A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

November 9, 2008

Opinion: Why President Elect Obama Won

Here is my analysis of a few key factors that elected our new President.  First just a few points.  This was not a landslide, not even close.  While Mr. Obama has in my view a clear mandate, he still has 46% plus who remain unsold.  However, gathering 52% is a good sign for his administration.  Secondly, statistically speaking he did NOT inspire people to vote more than in past elections.  The percentage of the voters relevant to total population was statistically insignificant in 2008 than 2004 and 2000. 

1) Ability to stay on message.  This is called by Jim Collins “The Hedgehog Principle”.  Hedgehogs in the business and political world have the ability to stay focused and on message.  They know what they do well and they make that their selling point.  The Obama campaign was highly disciplined.  Other than the occassional gaffe that he made against certain radio show commentators, which hurt him in all probability, the campaign, also helped by media which did not press the stories, would not allow themselves to be taken off their message, which was simple.  The message was, things are bad, we can bring about change.  The changes sought were tied to the current dissatisfaction the country has with the Bush Administration, but was generally short on details.  This was picked up by many as being vapid.  However, give credit to the Obama Campaign handlers.  They made a choice to keep him away from town hall venues and press interviews where he could be hurt.  I believe his relatively poor performance at Saddleback showed their wisdom in this and solidified their resolve not to let events they couldn’t control, such as the economy alter their message of change.  If anything they took the events handed to them and used the events to be an echo of a broad theme.

2) The financial debacle.  One of the things that in contrast to Sen. McCain’s reaction of “I must do something” was that the Obama handlers used the event to broadcast their theme.  This was in disregard to many of the inconvenient facts – the much of the problems of the banking mess were caused by policies created under President Carter and greatly expanded under President Clinton.  The correlation picked up by some in the media – mostly print – of ties to Fannie and Freddie and high ranking Democrats never was picked up.  Obama stayed out of the fray but framed the fray to buoy his premise that “change is needed”.  It worked.  While the crisis was not cooked by campaign, the decision to stay outside the mess initially showed him being detached, and that is not always a bad thing as it is more objective.  Many polls showed that McCain was gaining traction and had a slight lead up to this point.  This was caused in part by some slips by the Obama campaign, the momentum of the GOP Convention – which was effective, and the initial excitement of Sarah Palin into the foray. 

3) Ability to appear credible.  Sen. Obama’s largest hurdle was to keep the excitement of his base, youth and left to left of center Americans and expand his credibility to John and Mary Q. Public who are Center to Center Right.  America was seen, and most identified themselves as “Conservative”.  There is one bit of news that shows this to be true, at least socially.  California’s repudiation by the voters of same sex marriage – in a year where the left and center left continued to show their appeal over right and center right candidates by a 15% point margin – indicates that even among “blue states” there is a cultural position of maintaining the status quo.  Although he fared badly at Saddleback, and any objective reporting of the event along with the shift of pubilc sentiment alludes to that, the fact that Sen. Obama was visibly comfortable with the Evangelical community is important.  There is a reason.  Although politically many ” ‘Black’ Evangelicals” are left and left of center, culturally many of them are right of center – to include school reform (vouchers, NCLB) and most notably views on homosexuality  This allowed those Evangelicals who are more Centrist and whose interpretation of their Christitanity leads them to value social activism and bread and butter issues highly – such as The Soujourners – to ally with Mr. Obama.  Obama also showed a shift – and it was a major one – during the debates.  Stating that “conditions on the ground” would dictate American policy in Iraq was startling and far more hawkish than anything he or any other Democrat had said during the primary season.  This combined with his statements of expanding the war in Afghanistan and putting pressure on Pakistan took away the “wimp factor” in many.  Mr. Obama’s shifting to the center from the hard left of the Democratic base is as old as politics.  Run to your base in the primary, tack to the mainstream in general election.  It will be interesting to see how he governs.

4.  Weariness of the Bush Administration.  This is the real reason why Sen. Obama won the election.  I will not offer conjecture if Sen. Clinton would have fared better, but I think it would have been about the same.  By all counts this was the nation speaking with their ballots of their dissatisfaction with Iraq policies and the numerous failures of the Bush Administration – and there are many to bring to light.  The Bush Administration started losing this election with their victory in 2000.  Fifty percent of the nation was not happy with that result.  President Bush did enjoy many political and policy victories.  NCLB will remain with the nation in some form for many years.  Efforts to change the political and social framework in Africa will also remain.  Also, it is likely that US policies in the Middle East will remain in some form and that the “War on Terror” will be funded with many of the policies once opposed by the Dem base suddenly accepted.  The NYT reported about GITMO on Wednesday and it was amazing how suddenly GITMO was no longer the first level of Dante’s Hell.  
However, the many debacles of the Bush Administration including the handling of the Iraq War after the initial objectives had been achieved, the perception and reality of the “out of touchness” that the President had whether it was by not listening to then NSA Rice message to “Get back to DC NOW” or the realities and perceptions of the sluggishness of federal response to Katrina.  Throw in the perceptions of ABU and you get the picture.  Most reasonable people understand that the POTUS does not have a big say in economic trends.  They either benefit or take blame from the markets, but what Presidents can do is frame perspective.  Whether or not the latter is Mr. Bush’s fault – although many have viewed him as a “lame duck” since ’06, the people’s loss of confidence in the outgoing administration was in many ways deserved.  Sen. McCain had to fight against a skilled opponent and his own Party’s brand label.  Even Sen. Obama wouldn’t have been able to overcome those factors.

Summary:  All of this is prologue.  The interesting part to watch will be to see how Mr. Obama governs as President Obama.  If a President Obama is able to do as well as he did with the first three points in his administration it will likely enjoy success and populrity.  However, he won’t have George Bush to kick around after the first few months.  The onus will be on him and Congress to truly bring about policies that unite America.

I also believe he will shift back towards the left from the smaller moves he had made to the Center.  In many ways he should if you believe as I do he had a mandate.  The media and the Dems were correctly criticial of the Bush Administration – particularly from ’00 to 06 in not being inclusive.  I have a feeling the same will happen, and in some ways that troubles me as I am more Centrist than either the Bush or forthcoming Administration will be.

While I don’t believe he will make the US a “Socialist” country, I would be shocked if policies that favor Big Government a la New Deal and Great Society are not reintroduced.  There are other concerns that are shared.  Mr. Obama’s declaration of a “Civilian Defense and Security Force” equal in footing and funding to the US military is as vague as it is troubling.   I also think that this administration will be as partisan as President Bush’s was partisan, as President Clinton’s was partisan.  

Some things won’t change.  That is something you truly can believe in.

May 7, 2007

Why Fred Thompson is Just NOT What the GOP Needs

This was an article that I found on American Thinker, but it is something that had been brewing in my own mind for more than a little while.

Prior to last Thursday’s debate, and in some areas even more afterwards, Republicans are looking towards Fred Thompson as if he is the savior of the GOP, sans white horse, but with a very good voice. Fred Thompson is in many ways a solid candidate, and this may be the best chance for him to run, if he ever will run as Father Time is creeping up on him as he does on us all.

Right now, Thompson is netting between 10% and 17% of the polls, and his support for now seems to be draining off the front runner, Rudy Giuliani. One would think that it would come off of Romney’s share, since he is probably the most Conservative of the three front runners, but two recent polls show that Thompson is taking between 4% and 6% from Rudy Giuliani, and McCain and Romney’s losses are only marginal. Whether or not this trend continues is hard to say, but the possibility is that if Thompson does enter the race he could seriously challenge Giuliani or end up splitting the Conservative elements of the Party’s vote, and propel Giuliani to an easy win.

The only problem is that this may not be the year for a Southern Conservative to be running. I’m not the only one. Richard Baeher writes,

I think Thompson is by far the least likely of the 4 major GOP candidates to be elected if nominated, assuming he decides to run. This is due to one principal factor; his Southern roots. This may not be fair, but it is the reality of the 2008 race.

The GOP has done very well with the South, and cobbled narrow electoral victories in ’00 and ’04 by a “Solid South”, Western, Mountain and some Plains’ States. However, in 2006 the Democrats made large inroads into all of these areas, and even some Southern seats. This trend bodes badly for the GOP.

By the end of this year, I think either McCain or Giuliani will emerge as the centrist alternative to Thompson or Romney, and Giuliani is the more likely of the two. In a head to head race, a conservative, such as Thompson, or Romney, for that matter, could beat Giuliani for the nomination. But Rudy is a far better candidate than Thompson for the general election.

And there is a reason why.

The GOP needs to move beyond the South to win in 2008. A candidate who can run well in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and suburban America, is better than one who will pad the victory margin by 5% in Texas..It is how many states you win, not how much you win them by that counts

At the current time, Rudy is doing rather well in the following states, which means he is either ahead or only slightly behind, the Democratic frontrunners (Clinton and Obama) NY, NJ, PA, OH, CA, OH, MI and MD. There are a good number of electoral votes in these states, and despite protests of “liberalism” due to being where the bulk of the country is on abortion, the GOP can’t afford to put up a no contest sign over both coasts and the rust belt. The country is ready for a Centrist position, and not another Southern Conservative. No matter how good his voice sounds, or how orthodox his positioning is to the base of the GOP.

May 4, 2007

GOP Debate: Internals of Survey USA Poll Strengthen Giuliani’s Hand

I had posted about this poll last night, now with the internals the decision is clear, the first “scientific” poll has Thursday night as a big win for Rudy Giuliani. Here are how the internals bolster this support.

I have highlighted the demographics considered signficant in GOP elections.

Who won the debate:

All Giuliani 30% Next was Romney at 16%

18-34 Giuliani 21% (1) McCain 15%

35-54 Giuliani 34% Hunter 12%

55 + Giuliani 31% Romney 19%

White Giuliani 31% McCain 15%

Black Giuliani 32% Hunter 15%

Hispanic Giuliani 39% Romney 13%

Asian Gilmore 16% Hunter 11%

Conservative Giuliani 32% Romney 16%

Moderate Giuliani 32% Romney 13%

Liberals 24% Gilmore 11%

Republican 33% McCain 17%

Democrat 34% Romney 12%

Independent Giuliani 19% Romney 13%

Pro Life Giuliani 26% Romney 16%

Pro Choice Giuliani 33% Romney 11%

Vote GOP in Primary Giuliani 30% McCain 17%

Vote DEM in Primary Giuliani 33% Romney 10%

May Vote in Primary Giuliani 25% Romney 15%

By any stretch last night was a knockout win for Rudy, at least with the voters.

GOP Debate: Forget “Who Won” – Who Lost? Answer Fred Thompson

Well, the snapshot GOP debate is over and rather than mull over who are the winners I’ll go out on a limb, and disagree with many blogs when I make this assertion, Fred Thompson is the Big Loser. You may argue, how could he lose, he wasn’t there. If you did that, you just gave the reason. His absence here was notable, and it will hurt him.

The adage of out of sight out of mind must be remembered. There will be some likely shifting in the polls from the debate. My feeling is that Romney will pick up a few points from his anemic 10%, but where will it come from is the important question. There are a few sources, but there is no bigger source than the non candidate Fred Thompson who is around 15% in most polls, and Former Speaker Newt Gingrich who has about 8%, but I don’t think Newt is a viable candidate and he’s smart enough to know that he can’t win. He’s far too polarizing a figure.

So, that makes Fred Thompson as the most likely source to lose support, and it will go to Mit Romney who spoke articulately and clearly on a number of positions. I also think that when the dust settles, it is not likely that Giuliani will lose any ground, and will probably pick up a few points. Senator McCain is also hard to figure. On the one hand he spoke his voice, but he also seemed edgy and a bit too agressive for the format. He constantly went over his time, and I have a feeling that the base, that isn’t too enamored with him as it is, and is looking for reasons to vote against him, which may be unfortunate, I see him staying pat, but Romney closing in, and possibly losing ground to Giuliani. He could find himself in third place after this debate, which would be a disaster for his campaign.

However, former Sen. Thompson’s non participation and non announcement reinforce a perception about a dispassionate person, who does not feel a fire to run. That doesn’t bode well, as people want a Chief Executive who wants to be there.

Survey USA Poll: Giuliani Beats Opponents in Debate

A poll of 317 viewers watching the debate were asked to rate the performance of the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Mitt Romney 12%
John McCain 11%
Jim Gilmore 8%
Duncan Hunter 7%
Sam Brownback 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Tom Tancredo 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 2%

UPDATE: Drudge report is having an interactive poll, but it does allow for multiple voting, so pretty worthless.

The Debate: Who Won and Why?

You see the title; what is your answer. I will reply after I think.

Updated: Well I thought and I will now take out my teacher’s red pencil and give each a grade in no particular order.

Rep. Tom Tancredo – Looked frustrated at times. I think part of it is that his campaign is struggling for air, and the format hurt him as he tried desparately to get out his views and distinguish himself, particularly on immigration. I also think that people saw that frustration and it didn’t help. Grade D

Rep. Duncan Hunter – Was clear, concise, and strong in many of his answer. One area that may hurt him was he was the most aggressive on Iran, and to a country that is not at all happy with Iraq, showing this posturing towards another nation in the area, one that does make everyone nervous may hurt with many even among Hawks. His trade and pro-worker solutions were noteworthy. Grade B-

Mayor Rudy Giuiliani – He was strong on war on terror and framing himself in his model of Conservativism. The questions on abortion won’t help with the base, and will help him with those who are softer on pro-life/pro-choice. He stumbled on that area, but did make his case with his time as NYC Mayor. I still support him. Grade B-

Sen. John McCain – Anyone who said that he lacked vigor got the reply in spades, he was energetic, perhaps too much so, to the point of aggressiveness in tone and body language. He also really had a problem keeping to the time, and wasn’t held to the time limits strictly. He didn’t hurt himself, but I don’t think he helped himself too much. He came out fairly strongly against President Bush, with saying numerous times, “The war was mismanaged”. He seemed passionate and assertive, but perhaps too agressive. Grade C+

Gov. Mit Romney – Of all the candidates the former Bay State Governor stood out. I am not a big Romney fan, but if I had to declare an overall winner, it would be him. He was able to frame his “flip flop” on abortion, and gave a reason that was credible. He also was well versed on the issues and inviting. Grade A

Gov. Jim Gilmore – Did very well tonight too. He was able to state that he was the “consistent Conservative”. He also did well to elicit his positions. However, there are few moments that make him stand out, and he probably won’t see his coin rise. Grade B-

Gov. Tommy Thompson – Did very well on many areas, but there was one area that may hurt him, and that was the question about firing people due to their sexual practices. I also believe that there was a pause that would have allowed him to nuance his position, and his silence was pregnant. This will be picked up. I don’t know if this is a valid reason to terminate an employee in the private sector, other than religious organizations, such as a parochial school, which are exempt from such restrictions and understandably so. His Iraq solution is interesting and deserves a look. Grade B-

Sen. Sam Brownback – Made some good points tonight, and particularly in his stressing the need for the political process to have a more dominant role in the process. His stands on abortion will help only with those who don’t know him, as they are well known. He also held up his credos to the bases fondness of evangelical base. Overall he may have helped himself, but like so many in the second tier is so far behind. Grade B-

Rep. Ron Paul – Made his stand as the maverick in the field. He also came across as passionate, principled, and had a good wit. However, his views on foreign policy are going to hurt him in the end. As much as America may wish to go back to isolationism, that ship has sailed. He advocated himself well, but his views won’t hold. Hard to grade with this dynamic, but based on his performance, and not his substance B.

Gov. Mike Huckabee – He had some good moments, and probably the biggest yuck of the night with his joke concering “The Governator”. He came across as genuine but may have suffered from the format as his positions are hard to define from some of the others, and nuance of his stands may be lost in the shuffle. Grade B-

Overall big winner has to be Romney. He did very well, and being slotted first, by the draw helped him. I think the big loser was Tom Tancredo, and this is not a slight, but he seemed frustrated and this won’t give him much of a bump.

I think that the only shift will be Romney moving up, but the question is who will pay for this hike Giuliani – who probably won’t lose support, McCain or maybe the non-announced candidate, who will also miss South Carolina’s debate, Fred Thompson.

If I had to be like a reality show and only promote five I think these five will likely be in SC.

Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Rep. Hunter, and either Sen. Brownback or Gov. Huckabee.

Then again, I could be wrong.

May 3, 2007

Where You Stand Politically

So, you want to  know where you stand and how you can get that cool little icon like I have on my blog?

Well, just go to this site and take the quiz.  I would put no opinion if you are not sure about something.

Please post your results, and you get BIG TIME BONUS POINTS for reasonableness if you score Moderate, Conservative or Liberal!  I “hope” I have constructed a place where divergent views are allowed and where we gain from seeing each other’s perspective.  I also hope that sometimes someone will say, I see your point, or something like that.

So often politics are too personal, so maybe this would at least bring back agreeable discussion and dissent to the forefront.

I’m posting this on all topics to hopefully get maximum participation.

IF you wish to take the quiz it is here.

Thanks!

The Second String’s Positions on the Issues

UPDATED!!  Thanks for Feedback; I will add to the bios.

As promised I am listing the positions of the B List GOP Candidates for President. I expect tons of praise heaped upon me for providing this public service for you supporters of a “B List” candidate! IF you have information about these candidates PLEASE add them to the comments and I will update as I am able to do so. I always try to be fair.

I am not using the term as a perjurative, but any candidate at this point who is hovering near 1% in national polls may think they’re in the game, but unless things change radically, they aren’t.

Gov. Mike Huckabee I couldn’t find a Presidential site, opposes abortion rights, but respects rights as law, opposes same sex marriage, opposes Federal funding for medical care, favors privatization of Social Security, moderate towards school reform, strong anti-crime supporter, strongly supports gun ownership rights, favors path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, supports expanding free trade, no stated opinion on Patriot Act, favors strong military spending, supports anti-drug laws. Gov. Huckabee would be considered a Conservative/Centrist

Rep. Ron Paul (1988 Libertarian Party Candidate) favors lowering taxes, opposes free trade, opposes Iraq involvement, favors strong reform of immigration including fences, stronger enforcement of visa laws, no path to citizenship, no welfare for illegals, and end of birthright citizenship. opposes Patriot Act, opposes stem cell research funding, and is strongly anti-abortion, a fervent supporter of gun ownership rights, is opposed to drug laws, and is in favor of legalizing marijuana. Ron Paul would be considered a centrist/libertarian in the political view.

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Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) favors lowering taxes, favors Social Security Reform via partial privatization, favors change in energy policy (I would assume this is ethanol), opposes same sex marriage, very strong opponent of abortion, believes in human rights being placed to the forefront, strongly supports current Iraq policy, believes in strict constructionist judges, supports a new “Homestead Act” and agricultural reform, particularly towards ethanol production, stronger supporter of gun ownership rights, is strongly pro-business, supports tough drug laws, pro free trade, voted no on CFR, supports the Patriot Act, supports Guest Workers having a path to citizenship. Sam Brownback would be considered a Conservative/soft libertarian in the political spectrum.

Rep. Tom Tancredo Strongly supports “securing borders” and opposes “paths to citizenship”. Strongly supports gun ownership rights, Supports Iraq policy, supports flat tax, supports privatization of Social Security, supports school vouchers and opposes NCLB, supports market forces in agriculture with limited subsidies, supports limited spending of Federal government, strongly opposes abortion rights, opposes judicial activism, supports Federal Amendment to ban same sex marriage, supports The Patriot Act, supports business interests, supports current drug policy, has a mixed record regarding Free Trade. Rep. Tancredo would be considered a Conservative/Centrist.

Gov. Tommy Thompson Supports welfare reform, supports school choice, opposes partial birth abortion, supports stem cell research, fiscally Conservative – vetoed 255 spending bills as Gov. of Wisconsin, strong anti-crime record, supports war on drugs with treatment options, moderate on Energy policies, supports Free Trade, supports safe schools legislation, moderate supporter of gun ownership rights, moderate on public health issues, few statements regarding immigration. Thompson’s site has limited information, but based on his record as Governor he would be consdidered a Moderate/Centrist.

Rep. Duncan Hunter Strongly opposes abortion rights, opposes embryonic stem cell research, supports balanced budget amendments, concerned about eminent domain intrusions by SCOTUS, opposes same sex marriage, strongly supports gun ownership rights, supports “Conservative” justices, opposes hate crimes based on sexual orientation; feels current laws are sufficient, strongly supports war on drugs, supports moves to restrict gambling-particularly on internet, supports vouches and opposes NCLB, supports The Patriot Act, supports business, supports “Fair Trade” and generally opposed to “Free Trade”, strong pro-military voting record, strongly favors restriction towards immigration, favors some privatization of Social Security, supports Iraq policy. Rep. Hunter would be considered a Conservative/Centrist.

Gov. Jim Gilmore  Opposes abortion rights, opposes same sex marriage, strong anti-crime record, supports war on drugs, moderate on education issues, favors Social Security Reform, moderate support of Iraq policy, moderate on health issues, strong support of gun ownership rights, his statements had seemed to favor path to citizenship for illegal aliens, but recently has spoken strongly towards not allowing amnesty for illegal workers, supports increased military spending. Gov. Gilmore would be considered a Conservative/Populist.

 

By the way A Voice of Reason would be considered a Moderate/Centrist, but at times I do vary between Centrist/Populist.

IF you wish to take the quiz it is here.

Hint: If you are neutral I’d click no opinion.

May 1, 2007

The Count is 0-2, and It’s Late in the Game

Talk about a mess in D.C.

Through thick and thin, I’ve actually supported the President and the Administration. There have been times that the President and his “team” have done the right thing. Despite some errors I would agree with many who say that the President was sterling after 9/11. He set the right tone, serious, somber, compassionate, with more than a bit of letting all know that payback was going to be a bitch, and it was. Afghanistan, may have been impossible to have executed better, and considering the small number of assets on the ground, it makes the accomplishment even more admirable. I also support NCLB, and the way the policy was framed by having key leaders in the Democratic caucas work with leaders of the GOP to get important legislation passed. Is the legislation perfect, of course not. Any major policy change will have more than a few kinks to iron out, and it is also important to remember that most policies take more than a few years to get rolling. NCLB will likely be reauthorized and amended, hopefully without having its teeth taken out, which is why the spending increases it authorizes is justified. Furthermore, I believe that The Patriot Act, and no I don’t like some of its intrusions, is needed. Sometimes the needs of the many require a bit of sacrifice, and the reality of terrorism mandates the Patriot Act.

I can also give the Administration a pass on Iraq, in part. Part of me was more than ready to see Sadaam get the boot, and in all candor, he fully earned that rope around his neck. Also, the Iraqi people may have yearned to breathe free air, and you can argue that in many areas they are better off. There are also real reasons why this war has not worked out as planned, and four years to the day of “Mission Accomplished” the Democrats will hand in a bit of a snarky anniversary present to the President to veto. Got to love that timing. It is interesting to note that Bush 41 didn’t let US troops go past their mandate, a fact that was brought out in full light by George Clooney’s film, Three Kings, which seemed to have supported the idea, yet as we know full well, that we are in Iraq up to our eyeballs. Jon Stewart whose show I confess to watching on occassion, although he really needs to remember that there is another political party to bash on, possibly said it best, “Those people are crazy”. I had some reservations about the Iraq adventure at its start, and the argument of WMD didn’t move me too much. The concept of nation building did have an appeal, but now, I have to ask myself was it worth it. It’s too early to tell, and I think it will likely be 20 years before the fruits from the seeds which our nation’s policy has yielded in that region.

Enter the second term and so far even to this person

(who dragged his liberal wife, and trust me gang, she’s about as lib as they come – I mean she has the long curly hair and IS from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts – to a battleground state to do campaign work for W, and I still love the mental image of her with her “W” is for “Women” placard. Her mother STILL isn’t talking that much to her!)

who is on W’s side, has to give this second go round a C minus at best and more likely a D, and I’m marking on a pretty generous curve. Now before you consider me as an easy or tough marker, I’ll give you my other grades for Presidents:

W’s first term B+

Clinton 1 B-

Clinton 2 C+

Bush 41 B

Reagan 1 A+

Reagan 2 A-

Carter F

If you consider, Katrina and the lack of apparent INITIAL urgency, which has since framed the debate, that’s strike one. When you consider the lack of clarity in getting the message about Iraq OUT to the public and countering or framing the conversation in a light, that has to be strike two. Not looking good for ole W. More recently, the Gonzales flap, which has been blown out of proportion to some degree, and so we’ll have to call that one a foul ball. Hey, Gonzales isn’t a criminal, at least if he is the guys doing the investigating, who want to hang this guy, are about as efficient as the Three Stooges in their inquiries. So, still 0-2. Now the Scooter Libby debacle, and to me there’s a lot of smoke about this one. I never really paid too much attention to it, frankly in part because you needed an index card with notes to follow the script, so another foul ball, and the count holds at 0-2. When you throw in Harriet Myers, he got another foul ball as it ticked off the base. Now, I didn’t think that Ms. Myers was going to be another Madeline Murray O’Hare on the bench, but it was obvious that the base wasn’t going to go along for that ride, so another foul ball. If you add in a few of the other messes, which are not inherently Mr. Bush’s fault, but are at best foul balls, and some were tips that weren’t yet held onto by the catcher, including Walter Reed, and the recent flap over an Undersecretary of State being a client of a D.C. madam agency – he claims it was just for massages. That line didn’t work for Ted Haggerty and if you’re paying $500 for a massage, not only are you using icky methods, you’re also a bad consumer to boot. All of these “foul tips” are not helping the unrest coming from the stadium. You can add in the inability to get something done with illegal immigration if you would like, but that issue has more turns and twists to it than a gyrating whirling dervish on a high from drinking too much coffee, so that one was another foul ball.

While any Administration has its ups and downs, and it’s hard to make everyone happy, the past two year by most objective lighting has to be ruled pretty bad for the President. I also happen to be on his side, just as I was on President Clinton’s side. Because in the long run, being on their side is in my own interest. Put one in play Mr. President and perhaps you can start a rally and turn around the last two years of your administration, and if you want to use the grading metaphor, there is still time to turn it around if you study hard and do well on your tests!

April 26, 2007

What is a Liberal; What is a Conservative.

This brilliant post came as a result of a discussion on Woman Honor Thyself about gay rights. I love discussions which make me think, and something that had been ticking away just came out. It was one of my replies to many of the comments of “the left says this”.

There are so many mentions of the “left” and the “right” on blogs. Since I think many would consider this a “Conservative” blog, though I’m sure many “Conservatives” would call this place a den of Marxism or radical leftism, I asked think, What exactly is the Right would be a most approproriate question.

Are you of the “right” if you are a traditional conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater that wanted small government, few intrusions by the Federal into the state and high amounts of libertarianism thrown in?

or
Are you of the right when you want BIG government with HUGE intrusions of the Federal into daily life with low regard for libertarianism thrown in as shown by NCLB, The Patriot Act and “The War on Drugs”.

or
Are you of the left when you support such “big government” positions as shown by the three I mentioned and add The New Deal and some of The Great Society programs thrown in.

or

Are you of the right when you side with those who would say yes to expressions of religion in the public domain such as The Ten Commandments being on public displays, religious markers – including Wiccan due to a recent court ruling – being allowed to be put in government owned cemeteries for veterans at tax payer expenses (38 religions – now 39 are officially allowed)
or

Are you of the left when you feel that Wicca markers should be paid for by your tax dollars.
Are you of the Left or the Right when you contemplate the full circle that “Conservativism” has undergone when you look at the start of the GOP as a “more conservative” political organization dedicated to stopping the expansion of slavery, but shifted pretty radically left when Emancipation – was imposed on rebellious states, and then the Radical COngress of the 1860’s and 70’s were they left or right?

The terms themself are hard to monitor as being of the left/liberal or being of the right/conservative has little meaning anymore.

When I define myself as a Conservative by saying I like BIG Government with regard to The Patriot Act, NCLB, The “War on Drugs” and even other “liberal??” aspects of it such as The New Deal, Social Security, and The Great Society, I also realize that I am in favor of unions and worry about the ecology of the planet, and kind of like that the Feds stepped in and mandated civil rights in 1964 as well as intergration of public schools in 1952. Time to stop kidding myself, I don’t dislike “Big Government” so maybe I’m a lefty after all.

Maybe, what makes me self defined as a Conservative, is that I’m as HAWKISH as they come, well, except for the loonies who are to the right of me!

Such labels are impossible to uphold anymore in today’s hegemony of political stances. The question is which party puts up with diverging views better. And also, which one lines up with who you are at your core.

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