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Friday, November 30, 2007
Adolescent America

The way liberals and conservatives view their fellow Americans is markedly different. And this differing perspective leads directly to many of the political differences between the two groups.

Liberals tend to view most of their fellow citizens as children. Children largely incapable of taking care of themselves. They are not to be trusted with their health care, their retirement planning, their personal protection, their children's education, their safety, their charitable giving, their well being, etc. Rather than allowing people to make their own decisions in these areas (and live with the consequences), liberals believe that since people can't take care of themselves, the government must do it for them. For their own good of course. This belief leads to the liberal embrace of maternalistic state policies designed to ensure the well-being of the citizenry.

Conservatives on the other hand tend to regard most their fellow Americans as mature adults. They are rational, competent, self-reliant grown-ups perfectly capable of analyzing available information and reaching decisions that serve them best. If the government would only get out of their way and quit interfering where it isn't needed, people could run their own lives and make their own decisions. And live with the consequences. This leads to the conservative impulse for limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility.

The reality is that neither group's understanding of the American people is accurate. While the majority of Americans certainly aren't children, they haven't really reached the threshold of adulthood either. When you really think about it, the American people are for the large part teenagers.

Like teenagers, they will loudly proclaim their independence and their ability to stand on their own two feet. You're not the boss of me, I can take care of myself. Until they need gas money for the car. Or they get in trouble on their mortgage. Or when they need money to buy books for the semester. Or help pay to send their kids to college. Then, they present an open palm to Mom, Dad, and Uncle Sam and aren't shy about borrowing the credit card, receiving a farm subsidy, or getting government help having their home rebuilt after a hurricane, wildfire, flood, etc. whether they had the proper insurance in the first place or not.

Teenagers want the independence without the responsibility. Americans want the government to leave them alone unless THEY really need help. They may be against government spending in general, but when it comes to their pet programs, they feel its justified.

As Ramesh Ponnuru observed a few weeks ago in National Review (sub req):

And it's not just recent history that calls the administration's political premises into question. Spending restraint has rarely rallied conservative voters, and the GOP's reputation for it has never been much of a political asset. Polls have not recently been showing a public desire for less spending. But even when they have indicated such a desire, it has melted away when people were asked about particular spending initiatives. As long as spending programs benefit people who "work hard and play by the rules," as former President Clinton put it, the public supports them.

This idea of American adolescent came up a few weeks when my wife and I were discussing health insurance. She has a great deal of experience in the area and was telling me about a local company that is trying to migrate to a program where their employees would be responsible for their own insurance. Instead of the company paying the premiums, the employees will pay them and then be reimbursed by the company. It's the first step toward a system that would remove the company from the process altogether with employees being allowed to choose the health care plan they want and pay for it themselves with the additional income they would receive that the company now uses for health insurance. Sounds great, right?

To conservative ears, yes. Get the employer out of the picture. Give us the money, let us decide. The problem is in the execution. How many Americans do you really think are capable of managing under such a system? While conservatives would like to think nearly all Americans are, I have my doubts about many of my fellow citizens. It's not that they couldn't manage it if push came to shove, it's a question of their desire to if given the choice. People are busy. Or at least they like to think they are. For many, having to manage their own health care wouldn't be viewed as an opportunity, but a burden. And for instance, if they missed their premium payments and ran into problems with coverage, they'd scream bloody murder and blame the insurance companies.

I believe that this is one of the reasons that President Bush's push for Social Security reform never made much headway. While the idea of allowing individuals to have more control over their Social Security again rings the conservative bells, it probably was viewed as merely another hassle to fret about by others. You mean I have to decide where the money is invested? What happens if it doesn't pan out as I hoped? Meh. Easier to just let the government worry about it for me.

Coming to terms with this reality and accepting the unpleasant truth of Adolescent America is a pre-condition for conservatives if they harbor any hope of a resurgence in future elections. As Jonah Goldberg pointed out at National Review Online:

But the ideal conservative program of a federal government strictly limited to constitutional responsibilities and nothing else would fare miserably at the polls. Almost as badly as an ideal socialist program.

Like it or not, pushing messages of personal responsibility, an "ownership" society, and small government (as appealing as they may sound) is simply not going to play in an America that just doesn't seem quite ready to grow up.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007
A Hitch in His Comparison

Christopher Hitchens on the silence of the mainstream media on the culturally unorthodox beliefs of Mormon Mitt Romney:

Why should Romney not be made to give an account of himself? A black candidate with ties to Louis Farrakhan could expect questions about his faith in the existence of the mad scientist Yakub, creator of the white race, or in the orbiting mother ship visited by the head of the Nation of Islam. What gives Romney an exemption?

Actually, no. Precedent suggests a candidate with ties to Louis Farrakhan need not expect those questions from the media either. Whatever exemption Romney is getting was first extended to now Representative Keith Ellison.

Not only did the media not see fit to ask for details, they avoided the question of his radical ties/beliefs almost completely. The gatekeepers deemed that just wasn't relevant information to help voter's determine one's fitness for office. Romney has faced the Spanish Inquisition over his beliefs compared to the free pass Keith Ellison received.

BTW, you can't mention the Spanish Inquisition either, what with Giuliani still in then race. Your self-censorship is greatly appreciated.


Friday, September 28, 2007
A Form Of Linguistic Terrorism

Nice to see the Democrats finally getting serious about national security:

As Gay City News went to press, a vote was expected on September 27 on a cloture motion to bring the federal hate crimes bill, the Matthew Shepherd Act, to the floor of the US Senate. People for the American Way called the 60 votes needed "attainable." The measure would include sexual orientation and gender identity among numerous protected categories.

The act is attached to the Department of Defense authorization bill, but President George W. Bush has said he will veto it if it includes the hate crimes legislation.

The House passed its version of the bill in May by a vote of 237-180, not enough of a margin to override a veto.

The bill is a top priority of the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Senator Ted Kennedy, liberal Democratic warhorse from Massachusetts and the co-lead sponsor of the measure, called hate crimes "a form of domestic terrorism."

Sigh. Leaving aside the issue of whether we should even have "hate crime" laws (we shouldn't), the trend to conflate terrorism with just abut any domestic issue that you can imagine is disturbing. It minimizes the threat of REAL terrorism and diminishes the meaning and impact of the word.

It's also disturbing to see Democrats attaching bills that pay off one of their pet special interest groups to legislation with broader national interest and importance. This expansion of "hate crimes" should sink or swim on its own.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007
You Down With OPP

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal looks at other people's politics (free for all):

DailyKos holds forth regularly that "our democracy is in danger" from money in politics and loudly supports McCain-Feingold and other campaign and media restrictions. The New York Times position on campaign finance reform is that it "has not gone far enough," and that more should be done to control donors and prevent changes that would "open the spigots to corporate and special-interest money."

Of course, it's always other people's influence that's a threat to democracy. DailyKos's misadventure was resolved with a Federal Election Commission ruling that allowed it (quite properly) to escape the rules it wants foisted on everybody else. And we certainly defend the Times's right to sign advertising contracts at whatever price it wants to charge--without the FEC combing through its books in search of rate discrepancies.

Unfortunately, the Times's passion for regulating everyone else's speech has now boomeranged, with politicians calling for an investigation into its favor to MoveOn. This is getting to be a bad Times habit: Recall its campaign for a special counsel to investigate media leaks that turned into a probe of its own sources and led to judicial rulings that limited press freedom.

House Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Tom Davis (R., Va.) wants hearings on whether the MoveOn discount represented a contribution in violation of campaign finance laws, and whether those laws are actually enforceable. Mr. Davis is indulging in some partisan opportunism here, and we wish instead that he was explaining that the problem is not that these organizations slipped through some campaign finance net. The problem is the net.

The answer to bad campaign fincance law is not more regulation. It's less.


Monday, September 17, 2007
It's All About Being Hated By The Right People

An e-mail from MoveOn.Org reveals that they're planning to go after Rudy Giuliani:

This weekend, Rudy Giuliani launched a series of attacks on us for exposing the White House spin on the "surge."

Giuliani is hoping to scare war critics into staying silent. But that isn't going to happen. We've put together a rapid-response ad which demonstrates that Giuliani doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to leadership on Iraq: He was booted from the Iraq Study Group after missing meeting after meeting so he could make millions of dollars giving speeches.

We want voters to know that Giuliani can't be trusted on Iraq. Can you help with $25 to get this ad on the air in Iowa? Click here to see the ad and contribute.

I imagine the booze will be flowing fast and free at Giuliani Campaign HQ tonight. Being attacked by is a mark of honor for any Republican candidate and I expect this will only serve to cement the rapidly developing impression that he is pulling away as the front-runner for the GOP nod. Now, if he could just get Michael Moore to say something bad about him...


Saturday, September 15, 2007
Curb Your Exuberance

Alan Greenspan has a new book out and most of the attention on it has focused on his criticism of President Bush and the GOP Congress for their profligate spending. I found this nugget from a story in today's Wall Street Journal (sub req) to be far more interesting:

From serving under so many presidents, Mr. Greenspan concludes that there's something abnormal about anyone willing to do what it takes to get the job. Mr. Ford, he writes, "was as close to normal as you get in a president, but he was never elected." The Watergate tapes, he says, show Richard Nixon as "an extremely smart man who is sadly paranoid, misanthropic and cynical." He recalls telling someone who had accused Nixon of anti-Semitism that he "wasn't exclusively anti-Semitic. He was anti-Semitic, anti-Italian, anti-Greek, anti-Slovak. I don't know anybody he was pro."

Ronald Reagan's ability to instantly tap one-liners and anecdotes in support of a particular policy represented an "odd form of intelligence." He describes Bill Clinton as "a fellow information hound" with "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth" whose relationship with Monica Lewinsky "made me feel disappointed and sad."


Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Free To Lose

Kay Hymowitz on how libertarianism breaks down when it come to the family in a piece at OpinionJournal (free for all):

A libertarian, according to Brian Doherty, "has to believe" that "the instincts and abilities for liberty . . . are innate," that we possess "an ability to fend for ourselves in the Randian sense and to form spontaneous orders of fellowship and cooperation in the Hayekian sense." But this view of the relationship between the individual and society is profoundly and demonstrably false, especially when applied to the family.

Children do not come into the world respecting private property. They do not emerge from the womb ready to navigate the economic and moral complexities of an "age of abundance." The only way they learn such things is through a long process of intensive socialization--a process that we now know, thanks to the failed experiments begun by the Aquarians and implicitly supported by libertarians, usually requires intact families and decent schools.

Libertarianism did not have to take this unfortunate turn. Ludwig von Mises himself warned that the attempt (of socialists) to undermine the family was a ploy to strengthen the state. Hayek, too, grasped the family's role in upholding the free market. Coming of age in Europe around the time of World War I, he stressed the state's inefficiency but also warned, more generally, of the limits of human reason. "Hayek's economics was rooted in man's ignorance," Mr. Doherty writes; so were his political views, which included both an enthusiasm for freedom and a Burkean respect for customs and institutions.

It is difficult to say why this aspect of libertarianism has faded away, but the sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset once provided a partial answer. In Europe and elsewhere, he observed, modern radicals have tended to be of a Marxist, collectivist bent; in America, with its peculiar Lockean legacy and Jeffersonian ideals, radicals have gone to the other extreme, searching for absolute freedom. It is a quest that has left little room for the confining demands of family and other unchosen social bonds.

This is one of the reasons that I am not now nor have ever been a libertarian. While certain aspects of libertarian political philosophy have an undeniable appeal, when you try to anchor your foundational principles upon it, you find yourself drifting in too many critical areas.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007
You Still Here?

In an ideal world, yesterday's announcement from Senator Chuck Hagel that he was resigning from the US Senate would have been effective immediately. That way we wouldn't have had to listen to his long-winded, blustering, rambling, self-serving question statement to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker this morning. To their credit, they did a nice job rebutting most of his salient points while maintaining their composure and dignity, more than can be said for the lame duck Senator from Nebraska.

By the way, why do Senators constantly have to remind us--as Hagel did this morning--that "It's my job to represent the people and ask the tough questions, blah, blah, blah..."? Yes, we know it is Chuckie. What the people would really like you to do is quit talking and ask a freakin' question.

I look forward to the day when we won't have Chuck Hagel kicking around the Senate anymore.

By the way, if you're not able to watch or listen to the Senate testimony live (consider yourself lucky), you can follow every self-aggrandizing moment at the Power Line Forum.


Monday, September 10, 2007
Civilians In Control

I was able to catch a little more than half an hour of the Petraeus/Crocker testimony in front of the House today on the radio, and, for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. With the exception of a gentleman from Hawaii and a gentlewoman from California, the Representatives were serious about the business at hand and not just trying to score cheap political points. The questions were intelligent and thoughtful. Moreover, they were often the kind of questions that I would be asking the general and the ambassador if I had the opportunity.

That was the beauty of it. No matter what your view is on the war in Iraq, the surge, or how long we should stay, today's hearings should once again remind you how lucky you are to live in a country such as ours. In the midst of a war, the commanding general and the highest diplomat in the theater are required to come back and undergo a grilling by representatives of the people. It was a great demonstration of the strength of our system of government.


Saturday, September 08, 2007
Not More Hageling

Hagel is calling it quits:

Chuck Hagel will announce Monday that he is retiring from the U.S. Senate and will not run for president next year, people close to the Nebraska Republican said Friday.

Hagel plans to announce that "he will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008," said one person, who asked not to be named.

Hagel has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Monday at the Omaha Press Club.

According to one person interviewed, Hagel told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Friday morning that he had decided to retire. Hagel's staff learned of his decision that afternoon.

And there was much rejoicing.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Nomen Est Omen

Needless to say I'm shocked at Sen. Larry Craig's recent troubles. When I heard that a Senator from Idaho was involved in an incident in a bathroom, I assumed it had to be this guy.

This juvenile humor moment brought to you by Depends. When you're in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and need to relieve yourself, but are afraid a member of the US Senate may have preceded you into the rest room, take control of your situation. Remember, Depends.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Dumbing Democracy Down

In the latest issue of National Review, Jonah Goldberg calls for something that I've long thought should be mandatory, a voting test (sub req):

This may be a hint about what America really needs. If more voters isn't the answer, how about fewer? Left-wing mythology has led liberals to push for an ever-expanding franchise. Even now, there's a movement afoot to lower the voting age to 16, on the assumption that social policies will be much improved under the influence of people who think MTV's Pimp My Ride is the bomb. But in a rational society, it would go without saying that young people are less wise, less informed, and less qualified to make important decisions.

Take that insight a step further. Obviously, the policy of not letting very young people vote is arbitrary, and is unfair to the few hypereducated and precociously wise teenagers out there. Well, what about grown-ups caught on the other side of that line? There are millions of adults just as unqualified to vote as your typical teenager. The wisdom of the masses is depressing indeed. Numerous polls have found a majority of Americans unable to name a single branch of government. And in 1987, 45 percent of adult respondents to one survey thought that Karl Marx's dictum "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" could be found in the U.S. Constitution. No wonder liberals think there's a gusher of votes out there for them.

Now, the instinct of the engaged and informed political junkie (i.e., the type of person most likely to be reading this article) is to say, "O my stars and garters! There are a lot of morons out there!" But in truth Americans are very smart about the things they care about, and ignorant about the things they don't. So why should those who don't care about voting be harangued to vote? I don't get to vote on who should make it into the Rose Bowl, so why are we so desperate to get the input of people who know less about government than I do about football?

Poll taxes and property requirements would discriminate against the poor. But what would be so awful about a simple test of civic knowledge? Choosing the questions would be contentious, but the debate would itself be wonderfully educational. For starters, I'd suggest the test questions immigrants must answer in order to become U.S. citizens. They are so very vanilla--How many branches of government are there? What are the branches of government?--and yet they'd set a pretty high bar for many, if not most, Americans.

Seems like a reasonable requirement. We don't let someone drive a car until they can demonstrate a knowledge of the rules of the road. And if you think voting doesn't hurt others like bad driving does, remember that I'm represented in Congress by Keith Ellison. Ouch.

Before Lefties get their undies in a bundle about this idea and start screaming about "disenfranchisement," they should consider Goldberg's conclusion:

A voting test would send the signal that it's a valued accomplishment to be an informed citizen. It would allow politicians to aim their appeals ever so slightly higher than the dumbed-down, Rock the Vote gutter. Would such a reform make conservative policies more likely? I don't know, and that's really not my chief concern. But I predict that shrieking and screaming from the Left would reveal which side thinks its success depends on voter ignorance.

C'mon Lefties. If you're the smart ones, the reality-based community and all that and we're just a bunch of mindless drones who take our marching orders from talk radio and Fox News, then you should welcome such a test. Shouldn't you?


Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Norm Watch

Victor Davis Hanson's latest ruminates on the upcoming 2008 election and some of the dynamics we have to look forward to:

In general, I have supported the military's efforts consistently-and still adhere to a general past admission that when Army and Marine Captains, Majors, and Colonels-who are both in the field and also privy to larger tactical and strategic dilemmas-collectively seem to agree that we should not be in Iraq and cannot win, then that is a most valuable barometer, and we should not be in Iraq and must leave. Still, the war will end not when Democrats say so (a given), but when key Republican Senators this fall, worried about their positions in the 2008 election, defect and thus give the opposition a veto- and filibuster-proof 2/3s majority in matters cutting off funding, reminiscent of Vietnam circa 1974-5.

We just might happen to have one of those Republican Senators in Minnesota. The funny business associated with Norm Coleman's behavior on Comprehensive Immigration Reform does give one pause. He's a savvy political animal who understands the liberal inclinations of much of his constituency and he's a career politician with nowhere else to go, at least for the moment, and determined to keep his job. An unsettling combination when it comes to needing a guy with resolve in the big votes ahead. I still find it hard to believe Norm would go wobbly on such a significant issue. But to be safe, let's hope the Democrats aren't able to continue to convince the majority of Minnesota voters that the US has lost the war and pulling out immediately couldn't make things any worse.

Events on the ground will go a long way toward dictating this outcome. But the newspaper headlines and Democratic strategists are likely to press their defeatist public relations campaign no matter what. VDH's comment on the presidental election applies will apply to this campaign as well:

I assume that the 2008 election will be one of the most distasteful, dirtiest, and unpredictable campaigns in American history.


Monday, June 25, 2007
Be the Change

Today's Supreme Court decision curtailing the ability of the Federal government to abridge the freedom of speech is a welcome development. According to the legal eagles at Power Line, it is a narrow holding which does not entirely blow up the provision that bars non-profits from naming a candidate in a broadcast ad within 60 days of an election. But hopefully the fuse has been lit for future challenges. Until then, organized groups of citizens will have to continue to watch what they say very closely, lest the politicians and bureaucrats disapprove of how they are interfering with the government's elections and drop the hammer.

The namesakes of this campaign finance legislation, McCain and Feingold, rightly get most of the discredit for imposing these laws on us. But we should note the lost Minnesota history behind this particular feature of McCain-Feingold now under scrutiny. Yes, it was sponsored by one of us. Hint, this person was short, angry, rode in a green bus, and is considered a minor prophet in certain sections of Kenwood and Mac-Grove. No, not Kathleen Soliah. It's Paul Wellstone. The facts, from March 27, 2001:

By a 51-46 vote, the Senate approved Monday an amendment offered by Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, to expand McCain-Feingold's restrictions on union and corporate advertising to also include non-profit groups like the Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association -- groups with "501c4" status.

Supporters of campaign finance reform say the amendment is unconstitutional and fear the amendment could result in President Bush vetoing the legislation.
(Ed note - ha!)

But Wellstone said the amendment was needed to prevent a proliferation of non-profit organizations from "carpet-bomb(ing) our states with all of these sham issue ads."

"This is a loophole that must be plugged," said Wellstone.

Senator Wellstone referring to the First Amendment as a loophole. I guess when the only tool you have is a suffocating straight-jacket, every problem looks like a loophole.

BTW, I see on sale now at Wellstone Action, a new book:

Politics the Wellstone Way offers a comprehensive set of strategies to help progressives channel that energy into winning issue-based and electoral campaigns.

Chapter One: Making your opponents' criticism of you illegal.


Friday, June 01, 2007
This Is What It Sounds Like When The Doves Cry

Rumors of a coming "conservative crackup" have been much exaggerated in recent years, usually fueled by members of the media eager to exploit the slightest hint of conflict and perhaps engaging in a little wishful thinking as well.

But if the recent fallout from the immigration bill is any indication, we may now actually be on the precipice of a major schism within the ranks of the conservative movement. When you've got the editorial page bigwigs from The Wall Street Journal and the editors of National Review going at each other with hammers and tongs (actually most of the hammer throwing is being done by the WSJ crew), you know that the we've reached a critical point.

At Opinion Journal, Peggy Noonan believes that Bush's immigration push has already torn the conservative coalition asunder(free for all):

What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker--"At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.

For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don't like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don't like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.

But on immigration it has changed from "Too bad" to "You're bad."

She goes on to say:

Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them.

With Republican prospects in 2008 already looking grim, the timing of this split within conservative ranks could not be worse. Welcome back to the wilderness.

UPDATE: A few more thoughts upon further reflection.

At the heart of the immigration divide is the problem that the "Republican Future" which the Bush administration believes they are trying to build is not the future that the current Republican base wants.

President Bush has now managed to put himself in the unenviable political position of simultaneously being on the outs with the Left (who have despised him since day one) and now the Right (at least a good part of it). This of course is the muddled middle ground that media types like to claim stake to when they throw out the defense, "I get criticized from the Left and the Right, which means I must be doing something right." No, it probably just means that you're wrong.

UPDATE II: More from the Never-ending Apes, Freedom Dogs, and Vox Day, who nobly resists the temptation to say "I told you so" (not).


Saturday, May 26, 2007
You Talk Too Much

Last night I caught part of "An Hour With Al Gore" on the Charlie Rose show (video of the entire interview is available). This was the latest incarnation of Gore: confident, hip, laid-back, cool. He was wearing a trendy brown outfit and sporting fashionable cowboy boots. If it wasn't for his jowly--badly in need of several tucks--face, you might have thought him a Hollywood actor promoting his latest movie instead of a former vice president promoting his latest book, "The Assault On Reason."

From what Gore said during the interview, I understand the book to be his call for a return to reason to politics. Apparently the root cause of the current troubles facing the country is that the public is largely uninformed about the key issues of the day. Rather than reporting facts, the media is more interested in entertainment and fluff, giving people would they want, rather than the facts that would help them understand the "truth." And if anyone is brave enough to question the prevailing wisdom being dished out, they are immediately shouted down and "punished," which serves to intimidate others who might have spoken out.

That all of this was coming from a man who hobnobs with the likes of Laurie David, Sheryl Crow, and Leonardo DiCaprio (I'm the king of the fluff!) and has unilaterally declared the debate over global warming "over," struck me as as a touch ironic. I also found it interesting that during the entire portion of the interview that I caught, the topic of global warming never came up, giving credence to the notion that he is still considering jumping into the 2008 race.

While his image has changed since 2000, at the end of the day, he's still the same Al Gore, seemingly incapable of answering a simple question without veering down several different alleys of thought, loosely related to the original question. By the time he stops talking, you forget what the point of the question even was. He also shares with John Kerry the annoying habit of interrupting his own answers in mid-thought with "Let me give you an example..."

Rose hypothetically asked Gore "Say it's 2008 and you're just been elected president," (the crowd dutifully applauded) "What are top five things that you do to turn the country around and return reason to public life?"

It was an excellent question and I looked forward to getting further insight as to where Gore's real priorities lie. Twenty minutes (or maybe it just felt like twenty minutes) and three follow up questions later and Gore had yet to name even ONE action that he would take if he running the country, to say nothing of five as Rose had requested. I wanted to scream "Stop blathering and answer the question!" and had flashbacks to the 2000 campaign when Gore oft displayed the same tendency to talk and talk and talk without ever really saying anything.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Rush To Judgment

Mark Moyar, author of the excellent book Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965, writes in today's Wall Street Journl on the dangers of tossing around the "Worst in History'" label (sub req):

It was an unprecedented comment from an ex-president, someone who isn't a disinterested observer. Mr. Carter may be trying to spare his own administration the "worst in history" label, which it fully deserves.

As president, Mr. Carter managed to alienate nearly every major country in the world and did so without asserting American power in ways that might justify that alienation. No other president has crammed as many foreign policy debacles into a four-year period. The Sandinista takeover of Nicaragua and the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis are but two examples of many. Near the end of his term, it should be remembered, Mr. Carter's approval rating fell to 21%, the lowest in the history of polling.

Of course, the reason Mr. Carter, and others, rank President Bush at the bottom is the Iraq war. Mr. Carter himself did not get the country into a war during his presidency, likely because he lacked the fortitude. If we want a useful comparison with presidents who did get us into a difficult war, we need look no further than the two men who put the United States into its last protracted conflict, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Kennedy commands much admiration among the literati, in part because his Vietnam decisions have been misunderstood. Four-and-a half decades after Kennedy dramatically deepened America's commitment to South Vietnam, we are just now learning critical facts about his actions. This alone might cause us to beware of sweeping pronouncements about a president and his place in history while he is still in office.


Thursday, April 12, 2007
Not What You Think

When you begin reading a Wall Street Journal editorial called The Fannie Tax and the first three words are "Democrat Barney Frank," you wonder just what might lay in store.

Housing. It's all about housing. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and whatnot.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006
You Can't Have One Without The Other

Ramesh Ponnuru has a piece in the latest issue of National Review on the crisis of conservatism:

Which brings us, finally, to the real crisis of conservatism, which is neither political nor philosophical but a mixture of both. That crisis can be boiled down to two propositions. The first is that, at least as the American electorate is presently constituted, there is no imaginable political coalition in America capable of sustaining a majority that takes a reduction of the scope of the federal government as one of its central tasks. The second is that modern American conservatism is incapable of organizing itself without taking that as a central mission.

The Republican party is a coalition that includes some libertarian-minded members, some social conservatives, and some voters who have a foot in both camps. It is easy to imagine (as Sager does) that it can choose which kind of majority party to be: one oriented toward the libertarians, or one oriented toward the social conservatives. If that were the case, a voter could root for one definition or the other, depending on his own priorities. But only one of those coalitions would actually form a majority. If over the last generation the Republicans had not absorbed the statist social conservatives at the price of losing some libertarians, it would have remained a minority party. If it had instead tried to pick up libertarian Democrats while alienating social conservatives, it would have become a much smaller minority than it already was.

You can try to separate the economic and social conservatives, but it's an illusion to think the groups can prosper independent of each other.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Who Own The Middle-Class Voter? Owns, Owns!

Ross Douhat and Reihan Salam, who blog at The American Scene, have a piece in the Weekly Standard that looks at why white middle-class voters, much maligned by liberals after the 2004 election for their irrational voting in books such as What's The Matter With Kansas?, were more receptive to the Democrat's message of economic populism this time around:

For Rose, the economic story of recent decades is not one of immiseration but one of dramatic gains for both middle and working-class families. His most striking finding: When you average-out family incomes over 15 years and capture only the peak earning years--from age 26 to 59--fully 60 percent of Americans will live in households making over $60,000 a year, with half of these households making over $85,000. This has meant that more and more workers feel like beneficiaries of the changing economy rather than victims of it--and as a result, feel comfortable voting for the GOP.

So what happened in 2006? Why is left-wing populism suddenly resonating? What's masked by Rose's averaging, and by the general picture of working-class success, are the tremendous fluctuations in annual income created by the globalized economy. This has made economic security, not poverty or prosperity, the central concern of today's working class--whether you're talking about the small business woman who can barely afford health care or the autoworker who's just discovered that his corporate pension is a mirage. And the bad news for the GOP is that the left has begun to figure out how to speak their language. In cutting-edge polemics like Jacob Hacker's The Great Risk Shift, the smartest liberal voices are focusing on voter anxiety about health care and income volatility--anxiety that the GOP hasn't even begun to find a way to address.

The good news for Republicans, on the other hand, is that the left's preferred solution--making America more like Europe through a vast expansion of the tax-and-transfer state--is still extremely unpopular with most voters, which is why Democrats talked up economic security in 2006 but were thin on policy detail. To working-class Americans struggling to figure out how to get ahead in a more competitive economy, when you can expect to change jobs several times in a decade let alone a lifetime, the "Lou Dobbs Democrats" don't have much to offer--a minimum wage increase, a critique of the alleged inequities of small-bore trade deals, and tough talk on border security that will be drowned out in a caucus that's eager to liberalize immigration laws and increase the influx of low-skilled laborers. Once the artfully named bills pass and the signing ceremonies fade into the past, working class voters will probably wonder, as Walter Mondale once put it, "Where's the beef?"

This gap between what the Democrats are promising and what they can deliver offers a renewed opportunity to the GOP. To date, Republicans have failed to come to grips with the issue of economic insecurity, offering table scraps and tax credits in place of real solutions. This signal failure is the reason that the Bush-Rove vision of a lasting Republican majority has hovered just beyond the GOP's reach. It's easy, however, to imagine a renewed "ownership agenda" focused on spreading capital ownership, freeing workers from employer-based health care, rewarding low-wage work, and defending the interests of hard-pressed parents. The question is whether Republicans, in their present state of drift and disarray, will be farsighted enough to embrace it.

In May of 2005, Hugh Hewitt had an essay contest where he asked people to describe what the GOP message should be for the 2006 midterm election. This is part of my entry:

The GOP strategy for 2006 should be to follow up the "ownership society" message that George W. Bush pushed (not aggressively enough in my opinion) in his 2004 reelection campaign. The message is a powerful one that appeals to all Americans, but particularly to young twenty and thirty-somethings that the party has made inroads with already. It also has strong appeal to minorities, who are beginning, however slowly, to realize how hollow the Democrats message of victimization and government as the only answer really is.

It's a message of personal responsibility, individual freedom, and optimism that encapsulates the American Dream. But it needs a little rebranding. Instead of "ownership society" it should be simplified to "It's Yours."

It's your retirement.

It's your health care.

It's your kid's education.

It's your government.

And most of all, it's your country and it's your future.

It's impossible to say that such a message could have prevented the loss of the House and Senate in the recent elections. But, as Douhat and Salam point out, it is a message that at least begins to address the issues of middle-class economic security that the GOP for the most part chose to ignore in 2006. There is no reason that Republicans shouldn't own these issues if they decide to focus on them.


Thursday, March 30, 2006
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech (unless it's politically advantageous to do so)

One of the things that's always bothered me about John McCain is the apparent lack of underlying principles that guide his actions. On particular issues, like immigration and campaign finance reform, he's all over the ideological map and his appears to have arrived at his position based on crass political calculation rather than core beliefs.

Byron York reports that McCain is again leading the charge for politics over principle, this time in an effort to neuter those notorious 527 groups:

Advocates of the first course are being led by--no surprise--Sen. John McCain. He blames the Federal Election Commission for failing to rein in 527s in the last presidential race, and in early March he unveiled a formal proposal that would limit contributions to 527s to $25,000 per person per year. That means Soros's $24 million would be cut to $50,000 in the next two-year cycle. McCain's Senate proposal is supported by a similar measure in the House sponsored by Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays.

It's disturbing that other Republicans seem willing to join McCain in their putting personal political interests first:

Yet many in the GOP--actually, most in the GOP--are instead leaning in McCain's direction. And the reason is not any principled belief in campaign-finance reform, but rather the fear that Democrats will use 527s to beat the hell out of Republicans in 2006 and 2008. GOP House aides who follow the situation believe that most House Republicans would vote for limits on 527s. And a key Senate aide says that a very large number--perhaps all--of the Senate's Republicans would support limits, and do it for nakedly political reasons. "Republican members believe that 527s are a bad thing, gnawing away at the vitals of our majority, and that what McCain supports means their elimination," the aide says. "No doubt the bad guys will just find another section of the tax code to abuse for anonymous giving and deadly attacks against Republicans, but for now, since Republicans don't like them, and McCain is scared to death about what they could do against him come primary time in '08, there's a marriage of convenience underway."

This abandonment of principle for near-term political gain sickens opponents of campaign finance regulation:

It would be an understatement to say that Republicans who oppose regulation on principle find the current situation disheartening. "From a conservative standpoint, it's clearly wrong to jump on the regulatory bandwagon for what's perceived as short-term partisan gain," says Bradley Smith, the former FEC chairman, who has been one of McCain-Feingold's most forceful critics. Adds Cleta Mitchell: "The thing that is so discouraging is that my party, which opposed McCain-Feingold, has become the party that throws in with the guys who want to regulate everything. It just gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach."

York closes by reminding Republicans that what appears a win in the short term, may very well come back to haunt them down the road:

So what is the lesson? That 527s should be strangled? Doing so not only would run against Republican belief in freedom of expression, but would make it harder to score targeted political points in coming campaigns. That's something Republicans might come to regret in 2008 if they find themselves in a race against a certain senator from New York who was once a First Lady enmeshed in numerous scandals. "There are huge numbers of voters in America who have no knowledge of Travelgate, cattle futures, the whole thing," says Bradley Smith. "Who's going to talk about that for Republicans? Are they counting on CBS to do it?"

These days, however, Republicans seem more than willing to shut down the 527s. In the end, it is impossible to say whether 527 regulation would hurt or benefit either Democrats or Republicans. But it is possible to say that it would be yet another step in the wrong direction for political speech. "We are on the road to serfdom in American politics with campaign-finance reform," says Mike Pence. "We are eventually going to end up on the doorstep of George Soros's house, telling him what he can and cannot say." And not just Soros: T. Boone Pickens and Bob Perry, too. Republicans and Democrats alike.


Thursday, March 09, 2006
Fear As A Primary Motivator

Along with many of my fellow conservatives, I have not been especially thrilled with the actions of the Republicans who currently control Congress. There is a laundry list of issues on which the stances of GOP members in "The People's House" as well as "The World's Greatest Deliberative Body" have proved disappointing. But, as this excerpt from a e-mail titled "What Winning Would Mean" shows, things could be a hell of a lot worse:

Last week Debra from New York City e-mailed and asked me to write more about the difference between Republican control and Democratic control of Congress. I thought for a day or so and decided that the best way to describe this was by talking about the people who will lead when Democrats win control of the House.

Taking just the House of Representatives, here is a small slice of who will be leading:

* Nancy Pelosi--a progressive--becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives.

* John Murtha--a veteran and anti-war champion--would become chair of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations. He would be in charge of the budget for the war in Iraq.

* John Conyers--who forced a national debate on the Downing Street Memos--would be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

* Henry Waxman would be chairman of the Government Reform committee--he has a bulls-eye on war profiteers like Halliburton.

* Barney Frank--who has led efforts to rein in out-of-control CEO pay--would be in charge of the Financial Services Committee.

* David Obey--who led opposition to the Republican budget--would be chair of the House Appropriations committee--protecting Medicaid, food stamps, veteran's benefits, student loans and more.

* Charles Rangel--who predicted the Medicare debacle--would be chair of the House Ways and Means committee--protecting Social Security.

* George Miller--a big advocate for working people--would be chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and could bring a vote to raise the minimum wage.

That is just a sample--six of these eight are either members or founders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Put aside for a minute any disappointment you might have in the Democrats overall--these leaders are what we'll get if we win in November. They are champions on issues we all care about.

Be afraid, be very afraid.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Word To You Mother

When Cindy Sheehan first appeared on the national stage, most Americans were willing to cut her a lot of slack. After all, she had lost a son in Iraq and we could empathize with the searing pain and indescribable sorrow that follow the loss of a child.

Over recent months, that slack has slowly but surely disappeared. From the camp out in Waco to chaining herself to the White House to threatening to run for Senate if Dianne Feinstein didn't support the Alito filibuster, Sheehan has lost whatever credibility she once had as a grieving mother and is increasingly viewed as nothing but a tool of hard-Left radical activists. For me, the last straw was when she traveled to Venezuela to play kissy face with Hugo Chavez, one of the leading voices of anti-Americanism in the world today. Don't mean to dare question your patriotism Cindy, but playing footsie with a self-declared enemy of our country leads one to be a bit skeptical about your motives.

I don't think my feelings towards Sheehan are by any means unique among conservatives. That depths of that animosity was amply demonstrated last night at The Patriot Forum with Michael Medved. After Medved opened with a half-hour on why elections are so close these days (not just in the US), the audience watched the State of the Union on the very big screen at the auditorium. Fox News of course.

It was an interesting experience to catch the SOTU with an enthusiastic and partisan crowd. During the speech itself, there were a number of moments when the audience erupted in applause, a few people even choosing to imitate the action on the screen by rising to their feet at appropriate moments.

But the most notable reaction, the line that elicited the loudest cheering and hollering from the crowd occurred before the speech began when one of the Fox talking heads (possibly my dog Shep Smith) announced that Cindy Sheehan had been arrested. Suffice it to say that the place went wild with the news. Medved had earlier clued us in that Rep. Lynn Woolsey intended to bring Sheehan to the speech with her and there was an expectation that she would do something untoward in an attempt to disrupt the speech. Part of the crowd's reaction was no doubt relief that such a disruption would not occur, but most of it was likely a release of pent up frustration with the way that Sheehan has been anointed by the media as this untouchable paragon of moral authority who was beyond criticism no matter how outrageous her views were.

Finally, people had a chance to express their true feelings about Cindy Sheehan. The patience is gone. The empathy has disappeared. The understanding has reached its end. There isn't any more slack in the line for mother Sheehan.


Monday, October 31, 2005
Trick Or Treat?

This morning, President Bush announced his next nomination for the Supreme Court:

Once again, I considered a wide variety of distinguished Americans from different walks of life. Once again, we consulted with Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate. We received good advice from more than 80 senators. And once again, one person stood out as exceptionally well suited to sit on the Highest Court of our nation.

This morning, I'm proud to announce that I am nominating The Great Pumpkin to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Every Halloween the Great Pumpkin flies through the air with his bag of toys, and just think...if you and I sit here all night, we may get to see him!"

Coming on the heels of the Miers debacle, news of The Pumpkin nomination already has the chattering classes chattering.

Conservative columnist George Will was far from pleased, "He nominated a pumpkin? A f***ing pumpkin? What the f*** is going on here?"

Meanwhile, talk radio shock jock Hugh Hewitt welcomed the announcement, "This is a great day for America. President Bush has a solid record on the judiciary and we should respect his judgment on this matter. I'm certain that The Great Pumpkin will make a great justice. Critics of The Pumpkin nomination are nothing more than East Coast elitists who likely have never set foot in a real pumpkin patch."

John Hinderaker, from the influential blog Power Line, urged conservatives to avoid a rush to judgment, "Let's wait and see how The Pumpkin handles the Senate hearings. I think it might be helpful for the court to have someone with a business background. The Pumpkin has done a lot of good work for Viacom, United Media, and Dolly Madison over the years."

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Friday, October 07, 2005
Feedback From The Base

Whatever camp you're in regarding the Miers nomination--for, against, or undecided--there is one fact that no one can deny: it has teed off a good sized chunk of the much ballyhooed conservative base. Supporters of Miers can't quite seem to grasp why this particular action by Bush has set off the firestorm within the conservative core that it has. And, if it was only the Miers nomination that people were upset about, their outrage would appear to be a gross overreaction. The problem is that for many conservatives, the nomination is not the first straw, but rather the last.

And, if even a minority of these folks carry through on the threats they are now making to abandon their President and party, it could have far reaching consequences in 2006 and beyond. Consider this e-mail that I have received from Nathan after this post comparing Miers nomination to getting hamburger after being promised filet mignon:

I like the analogy to building a deck but getting shafted on the reward. It describes part of my disappointment and partly why I'm upset with the Roberts and Miers picks.

But that analogy doesn't go deep enough. I'm not just miffed that I spent a couple of weekends working on a deck, only to get stiffed with burgers instead of steak. I'm angry that I spent 25 years slaving away on it, only to get stiffed with Mystery Meat instead of steak. Twice.

Maybe a deck on a house isn't big enough to convey the depth of my anger. Think of a different "deck," the deck of a ship.

For the last 40 years, the USS Supreme Court has been veering further and further off course, always to portside, away from the safe and prudent course originally laid out by the shipbuilders, and heading toward the rocky shoals of bigger government; taxpayer-funded-abortion-on-demand; extinguishment of religion in public life; special privileges based on race or sex or sexual preference; same-sex marriage; wild social spending; idiotic foreign adventures; and other dangers.

Those of us who wanted a course correction were told that first, we needed to change the crew. We elected a GOP majority in the House. Then we were told we needed to change the officers. We elected a GOP majority in the Senate. We were told we needed to change the captain. We elected a GOP captain.

Now we're told that even though we control the entire ship, we can't change the course of the ship radically, it must be done incrementally, by appointing ever-so-slightly-right-of-center pilots who gradually will nudge the ship back on course. And although you know nothing about them, trust us -- these are the right people to do the nudging.

I don't want to nudge the ship a little, I want to throw the wheel hard to starboard and go to flank speed. Not a complete reversal, maybe, but a major course correction for sure, not some hoped-for nudge.

I've patiently been swabbing the decks of this damned ship since Jimmy Carter was the captain, waiting for the stars to align so we could get the pilots we were promised. This was supposed to be my time. I wanted to see some major payback action. But what did I get? Mystery Man Roberts. And now Mystery Old Maid Miers? And I'm supposed to be satisfied?

I'm furious. I don't give a good G** damn if the Republicans never win another election as long as I live. I'm done with them. No more time. No more money. 2008 will probably pit Hillary against McCain and frankly, I can't tell which one I despise more, a pox on both their houses.

Here's my attitude in a nutshell: I trusted you. You screwed me. Now there's going to be Hell to pay.

Dismiss Nathan if you wish. Tell him to sit down and shut up. Wax on about the "perfect being the enemy of the good" all you want. Try to convince yourself that this is just another brilliant strategic masterstroke by Karl Rove.

But, no matter how you twist it, the fact of the matter is that the choice of Miers has driven him from the Republican fold. And I'm afraid to say that he's far from the only one. Part of the base is goin' boys and they ain't coming back.

Miers may turn out to be a fine justice and Bush and all those who supported her nomination from the start will be vindicated. But at what price?

One of the arguments put forward by supporters of Miers is that her nomination is practical politics. They claim to be looking at the larger political picture and long term alignment of power. They talk of "incremental gains" and "moving the ball forward."

Which sounds all well and good. But who are the foot soldiers who are going to hold the political ground that conservatives have gained so far, to say nothing of expanding it further? Who is going to provide the money, time, and passion required to win the critical races in 2006, 2008, and beyond?

Don't look for Nathan, he's already gone.


Monday, September 19, 2005
Stuck on You

As any resident of the Twin Cities knows, bumper stickers are the preferred way for Democrats to deal with political loss. Driving the highways and byways of these towns you see them everywhere, symbolic, tragic, self adhesive tributes to their fallen heroes: Kerry/Edwards, Gore, and, of course, the many faces of Wellstone!

If Elisabeth Kübler-Ross had used the Twin Cities as a case study for her research, her stages of grief would no doubt have been:

Bumper Stickers

This summer, I saw a literal loser mobile with stickers for Kerry (loss in 2004), Gore (loss in 2000) and, believe it or not, a Mondale! (losses in 2004, 1984, 1980). Mondale's name with a trailing exclamation point may be the most inappropriate use of punctuation in political history. Unless it was there to express alarm rather than excitement. All things considered, it would have been more correct to go with something like: Mondale;

Dave in Minneapolis has also noticed the bumper sticker phenomenon and writes in with a suggestion:

I'm wondering if either of you has access to a warehouse full of old Bob Dole '96 bumper stickers. I see a constant stream of "John Kerry" or "Kerry/Edwards" bumper stickers as I drive around town (usually they're on the back of that slow-moving vehicle in the left lane). Since the people sporting these stickers obviously haven't cottoned on to the fact that the election is over, and that their guy lost, perhaps the rest of us could put up "Dole" bumper stickers so they don't have to feel so bad about looking so silly.

Of course, their stickers could be a sign of a problem deeper than simple "denial": it could be that keeping these bumper stickers around gives them a certain feeling of smug satisfaction - a feeling that, because they voted for Kerry, somehow they're better than the rest of us. Once again, I view the "Dole" bumper sticker as the perfect antidote: "Oh yeah, you think YOU'RE cool 'cuz you voted for Kerry? Well I voted for Dole! Take THAT, Mr. Smug!"

If not that, do you at least have some old "Hinderacker for soil and water conservation district" bumper stickers? This should send the same message. I await your thoughts and guidance, and possibly the blueprints to Hugh Hewitt's garage (which I'm sure is chock full of old inventory for BOTH campaigns).

A good idea, unfortunately, we don't have access to Dole bumper stickers ourselves. But someone out there on the Internet does. In fact, you have your choice between Dole's ill fated campaign in 1996, in 1988 or in 1980. Or perhaps you'd prefer his vice presidential plunge in 1976? Or maybe you really want to send a message about Quixotic irrelevancy, try this fleeting glimpse of another Dole effort.

Sadly, none of these are probably enough to shake the Democrats out of their electoral fantasy funks. At this point they're in too deep. Drastic times call for drastic actions and perhaps only one remedy will work. Scaring them straight.


Thursday, August 04, 2005
The Politics of Profit

One of the long-held articles of conventional wisdom that needs to be put to rest once and for all is the notion that U.S. corporations are politically conservative. Corporations have no core political beliefs. They care about one thing and one thing only: profits. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just the way things are and personally, I wouldn't want it any other way.

I think people have fallen for the "corporations being conservative" line because, over the years, conservatives and corporations have come down on the same side of a number of issues such as taxes, government regulation, and, especially of late, free trade. But while conservatives embrace lower taxes, less government regulation, and more free trade because they fundamentally believe in these positions, corporations support them solely because they believe it will help their bottom line. And only THEIR bottom line. Not their industries bottom line and certainly not in the bottom line of their competitors. In fact, corporations will often call for more government regulation and less free trade if they feel it will help their competitive position.

We can see the latest example in a story from yesterday's Wall Street Journal (sorry, subscription required) on the good start for big business in Bush's second term:

These are good times for business in Washington. President Bush's first term was a mixed bag for his corporate constituents. They got the tax cuts they wanted and some easing of environmental regulations, but also a massive increase in securities regulation and a war that threatened to undermine the appeal of American brands abroad.

Term two is turning out to be very different. The Indian agreement is just one of a long list of pro-business actions that got significantly longer last week. Congress passed a Central American Free Trade Agreement eagerly sought by business, as well as an energy bill and a transportation bill that had been stalled for years. Add to those the new bankruptcy law and the changes in class-action lawsuit rules approved this year, and you have got what the lobbying group Business Roundtable's John Castellani calls an "unprecedented string of accomplishments to help drive the America economy."

With the exception of the energy and transportation bills (especially the transporktation bill), the aforementioned actions should be pleasing to most conservatives. But look what's looming on the horizon:

If anyone thinks this business push for government activism is a temporary phenomenon, well, think again. The elephant in this smoke-filled room is health care.

Health care has become a migraine-intensity cost headache for any company that acts responsibly toward its workers. In the coming years, you can bet that the fiercest lobbying for change won't come from labor or liberal social groups, which have been pushing health-care reform for three decades. It will come from the companies -- and perhaps state governors -- that are footing the bills.

There still are plenty in business who give lip service to the notion that the government that governs least, governs best. But their actions belie their words. The business plans of big business today increasingly involve government.

More government, less cost for business (at least in the short term), and higher profits. The bidness of bidness is indeed bidness.

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Monday, May 23, 2005
Peace In Our Time

Who is the biggest winner in the Great Filibuster Compromise of Aught Five?
Senate Democrats
John McCain
Bill Frist
All other possible GOP candidates for President in '08

Free polls from


Friday, March 04, 2005
Reason #657 Why Campaign Finance Laws Are A Joke

They're trying to take bread out of Eddie's mouth:

The FEC, thanks to a John McCain lawsuit, will have to calculate the value of a link on a political website in order to determine whether the owner has overdonated to a campaign -- in other words, committed a felony. Bigger blogs will come under closer scrutiny, which means that any expression of support on CQ with a referential hyperlink may well get valued at more than the $2,000 maximum hard-cash contribution.

In order for me to operate under those conditions, I will need to hire a lawyer and an accountant to guide me through the election laws and calculate my in-kind donations on almost an hourly basis. How many bloggers will put up with that kind of hassle just to speak their minds about candidates and issues? John McCain and Russ Feingold have effectively created an American bureaucracy dedicated to stamping out independent political speech, and the courts have abdicated all reason in declaring it constitutional.

In case you're curious, we estimate that the value of a link from Fraters Libertas is approximately .0003279 cents. At least that's what we're telling the FEC.


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* The First Team 11am-1pm
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Podcast Archives

This week on The First Team:

Brian and John continue to voice their heated rhetoric and troublesome vitriol.

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