A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 4, 2007

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.


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.


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

Back to Basics: Meat and Potatoes Conservativism

“We’re the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?” Barry Goldwater

Notwithstanding any Adkins or Vegans who may chance upon this missive, it may be time for the GOP to reconsider their voyage into the New Social Conservativism, and remember what the Conservative movement was founded on. There are three factors:

1 – Fiscal responsibility shown by restraint in spending and in taxation.

2 – Concern about invasiveness of government into people’s life.

3 – Strong policy with regard to defense.

What is important is not what is stated, but what is left out. Many “RINO’s” are Conservatives in the true mold of the movement, but have been hijacked by those who kind of forgot #’s 1 and 2 on the What is a Conservative Memo. Maybe social hot button issues are best left to the state’s, hmm, what a Constitutional idea, and let government do what needs to be done in a lean and mean fashion. Of course some interaction with the Feds and the State government is needed, but since when does a person’s view about sex, abortion, marriage, the breeding habits of the manatee (okay, I digress, but you get my point) define one as a Conservative. They don’t.

Let’s go back to the Reagan playbook. It worked pretty well, didn’t it? It also allows for A Big Tent, which includes social moderates and independent voters. If you haven’t been keeping up on current events, the GOP needs every vote they can get.

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?

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”.

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.


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)

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.

April 22, 2007

E-Bay The Gun Runners Paradise

A post by my good friend Roger.

So let’s see if I have this all straight.

1. Cho, Seung-Hui, the mad gunman of VT, had an e-bay account.
2. He used this account to bypass federal and state background check regulations.
3. The good folks at e-Bay had no obligation to assure that the gun supplies listed on the e-Bay website did not get sold to the wrong people.

Wow! Now that makes me feel safe and secure. So is Cho, a buyer that could not pass muster on Federal or State background checks could purchase weapons and weapon supplies (presumably because his name never hit the Federal background check data base) then what is to stop some Christian, Muslim or Jewish fanatic from using e-Bay as its gun dealer of choice?

I feel for y’all, who think the Second Amendment preserves the absolute right to unfettered gun ownership. I’ll bet you are the same folks that scream that our borders ought be better secured. Do you see the (dis)connection here? If we want more security we have to begin with the biggest hole in the bucket. Regulate guns and gun purchases. Make ammunition subject to the same constraints as the weapons themselves. Background checks are a small beginning. Social responsibility is the responsibility of all of us, each and every one of us. Now is the time to accept that responsibility. Secure our borders and stop the insane flow of guns into the hands of those who would misuse those weapons.

My Comments:  You forgot he had a 98.5% rating.  Talk about nailing it on the head.  I was going to post on this, but happily GMTA.

I do own guns, but I’m not a looney, and I have NO problem with waiting periods and registration as well as reasonable safeguards to protect society.  Policy decisions always demand the “balancing” of rights of individuals and “safeguards” to society.  Well said, Roger.

April 17, 2007

Your Ideal Candidate

Found this site which allows you to measure your candidates positions by some positions which are important to you.  No surprise here, although I did not like all the options which were either or options, so on a few questions I clicked neither, as I would be “in between” polar positions on some issues.

A big shocker, Rudy wins, followed by McCain and then Hunter, who still has “no chance” to win.  Interestingly Fred Thompson and of all people John Edwards come in fairly close to each other, which helps me understand why I can tolerate Edwards more than most of the Dem field.  Pretty much this is a fairly accurate reflection of me, and Lord I hope most Americans.

Hope you guys see this and POST your results here!!!!!

1.  Theoretical Ideal Candidate   (100%)
2.  Rudolph Giuliani   (65%)  Click here for info
3.  John McCain   (64%)  Click here for info
4.  Duncan Hunter   (62%)  Click here for info
5.  Fred Thompson   (56%)  Click here for info
6.  John Edwards   (55%)  Click here for info
7.  Sam Brownback   (54%)  Click here for info
8.  Joseph Biden   (51%)  Click here for info
9.  Al Gore   (50%)  Click here for info
10.  Hillary Clinton   (49%)  Click here for info
11.  Newt Gingrich   (48%)  Click here for info
12.  Chuck Hagel   (46%)  Click here for info
13.  Tom Tancredo   (45%)  Click here for info
14.  Mitt Romney   (43%)  Click here for info
15.  Jim Gilmore   (40%)  Click here for info
16.  Wesley Clark   (39%)  Click here for info
17.  Barack Obama   (38%)  Click here for info
18.  Mike Huckabee   (35%)  Click here for info
19.  Christopher Dodd   (35%)  Click here for info
20.  Dennis Kucinich   (29%)  Click here for info
21.  Bill Richardson   (23%)  Click here for info
22.  Ron Paul   (22%)  Click here for info
23.  Tommy Thompson   (21%)  Click here for info
24.  Elaine Brown   (20%)  Click here for info
25.  Mike Gravel   (8%)  Click here for info
26.  Kent McManigal

Symbolism in Policy Decisions

This is a critical analysis, in draft form that I am writing as part of my boring coursework towards a doctorate.  I put this under a barrage of headings, as it really applies to so many areas.

However, I thought some of you political junkies might find it interesting.

The use of symbols in framing public policy is discussed by Deborah Stone in  Policy Paradox.  The author states (pg. 137) that “symbolic representation is the essence of problem definitions in politics”.  What she may be stating early on in the chapter is that these symbols become part of the framework that policy makers can use to make their intended goals based within a context of reality for the general public.  The author discusses four distinct types of symbols used by framers of public policy: Narrative stories, Synecdoche – or figures of speech – where a part represents the whole, Metaphors, and the purposeful use of Ambiguity in the choice of which symbols are used.

The author states that “policy problems usually have narrative structure, with heroes and villains and innocent victims” (pg. 138).  Of course this provides a framework where the general public can relate to the goals of the policy being sought.  These narratives have the typical themes of stories of decline and stories of helplessness and control.  The author states that the story of decline is typified by the statement, “unless such and such is done, disaster will follow” (pg. 138).  This can be done by using human or statistical information as the characters which anthropomorphize the sought policy.   The second genre mentioned, helplessness and control, typically is used to contrast the problems that helplessness bring about when compared with policies which bring people into a firmer grasp of control of their lives, by means of a public policy.  The author points out (pg. 139) that as these stories move from fate towards control, they elicit hope, which engenders support.  The author later goes on (pg. 144) to describe subtypes of the control story, and these involve conspiracy theory stories as well as stories that blame the victim.  The conspiracy theory story calls for the masses to rise up against the few, while the blame the victim storyteller will urge the few to stand up for themselves like the rest of society.

The second type of symbol is synecdoche – or representing a whole by the part.  The author shows how politicians – framers of public policy – use this type of framework to forward policy ideas unto the general public.  The author gives examples public policy in domestic life, in the public welfare arena, and with regard to public safety (pg. 145-147) became examples which symbolic cases were manipulated by political forces, and the author chose to solely use examples where more “fiscally conservative” policies were promoted by this technique to simplify complex problems for public policy consumers. 

            The author proceeds towards the use of metaphors as strategic reference markers by policy makers.  The author demonstrates how to effect change in policy is to treat one problem as if it were another problem by the metaphor of social institutions as being living organisms (pg. 148, 149).  The author outlines further variations of this metaphor by showing that natural laws pervade into social organizations which set limits and provide barriers towards change in society brought about by policy.  The examples cited by the author of trends in society towards oligarchy, futility thesis, and law of unintended results, (pg. 150) are reach represented as in the previous section by more “fiscally conservative” elements of society are the beneficiaries of this type of tactic. 

            The use of metaphor is also brought about by mechanical terms which often form a basis for many policy metaphors.  Terms such as “in order”, “checks and balances”, “balanced budget” are all used by policy makers to give a sense of soundness to their policy views.  Government actions or trends in policy are shown as “getting a foot in the door” or “leading towards a slippery slope” (pg. 151) all use mechanical metaphor to warn against policy changes when there is no real valid reason to oppose the new policy.  Another mechanical metaphor is the ladder, which typifies an escalation (pg. 152).  Still other metaphors, which show policy function of exercising restraint, by terms as “spillovers”, “leaks”, “seepages”, and even “containing Communism”, all use mechanical terms to show how policy, or its change, serves in helping society run more efficiently.

            Another type of metaphor which is commonly employed by policy makers is that of disease (pg 153).  Terms which imply disease, such as, “blight”, “infect”, “breeding grounds”, “dying industries”, all imply deterioration and decline of a society.  The author states, “The disease label discredits opponents and implies the moral rightness of treating them as less than human” (pg. 155).  A more aggressive metaphor than the disease method is when war is declared on some social ill.  Metaphors, such as “The War on Poverty”, or “Waging War on Cancer”, and the author could have easily added the “War on Drugs” and perhaps the “War on Terror”, are all used by policy makers to gather public support for a policy in the sense that it is a campaign within the public’s interest.  The author shows that the metaphor used may also be indicative of the political stance of a policy proponent.  Liberals and conservatives may call a policy a partnership or a giveaway depending upon which constituency is receiving the benefit of the policy (pg. 155). 

            Finally, the author addresses the intentional ambiguity of symbols.  These symbols can easily represent more than one thing to any number of persons, and the author’s premise is that this is not at all by chance, but by design.  The author’s use of humor by using a symbol of an alligator is effective, when she states, “pictures of alligators conjure up very different images on Izod knit jerseys than on T-shirts for the National Wildlife Federation” (pg. 157).  The clear thesis of this section is contained in the passage, “Politics is more like art than science in that ambiguity is central” (pg. 157).  The author’s point is that by use of purposefully ambiguous statements, policies which serve both sides of the political fence can be framed in language which is not offensive to either side politically.  Both sides benefit, as well as the public, at large, by the implementation of policy even if by ambiguous means.  The author provides her own summation of this point by use of an anecdote of trade negotiations between the US and Japan, where both sides were willing to use ambiguity, and leave a good amount of the details unclear, in order to provide the public with a sense of accomplishment and achievement of parochial objectives (pg. 160).  The author’s conclusion is that the use of symbols in all their forms “helps transform strivings into collective decisions” (pg. 161). 

            Policy is formed by various strategies, and is used to form new strategies.  In her closing the author states, “they represent the world in such a way to make their skills, and their favorite course of action) necessary (pg. 162).  The view of the author may appear Machiavellian, but she may well be on target with regard to how symbols are used to frame policy.

April 16, 2007

VTU Shootings: The Politics of Tragedy

From Ace (The ASS of Spades)


Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”

I wonder if he can look at himself in the mirror right now.

My Comments:  This is not the first and it won’t be the last time I say this, but what an absolute ass Ace is.

A Recipe for Disaster:

Start with a few million 17 to 22 year olds, all with rampaging hormones and “free” from the boundaries set by their parents and family lifestyle for the first time in their life.  Set to a steady flame of pressure due to academics and social factors.

Add a liberal amount of alcohol, the type doesn’t matter as the main ingredient absorbs all well, and if you think you’ve added too much, add a few more generous dollups, because that’s what college kids do.  Reset the flame to reach a high boil, because the ingredients fuse together so much better under high heat.

Finally, throw in the handgun of your choice, and don’t monitor it, after all, we don’t want civil liberties to get in the way of our delightful dish.  Any model will do, but automatics are so much better than a revolver.  This is what your kids need to finish an education.

Serves hundreds of senseless deaths a year, and guaranteed to keep them coming back for more.

What a complete jackass.  These comment, which are typical from The Ass of Spades” make it hard for sane Republicans.

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