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    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    St Louis Today Editorialists Paint Caricature of GOP. Are they right? You read, I decide.

    The people who identify themselves as the "Editorial Board" of St. Louis Today, herein perpetuate myths about conservatives, and Republicans. I guess a caricatured version of the opposition makes it easier for these idiots, but, let me help them out here.


    Editorial: Eight myths to chill an old-school Republican soul
    By the Editorial Board

    In their op-ed, they say the GOP has become a "spectacle of smart, patriotic men and women putting their brains and integrity on ice to please a party dominated by anti-intellectual social Darwinists and the plutocrats who finance and mislead them."

    Heh? Social Darwinists? What does that even mean? Plutocrats? Isn't it the Democrat party who have given nprecedented amounts of money to the Obama campaign? Wasn't the Clinton administration and the Obama administration filled with refugees from Goldman Sachs? Seriously, this stuff is just laughable.

    "Consider the mythology that makes up GOP orthodoxy today. Imagine the contortions that cramp the brains and souls of men and women of intelligence and compassion who seek state and national office under the Republican banner."

    They go on to list these things you must believe, in their opinion:

    "• They must believe, despite the evidence of the 2008 financial collapse, that unregulated — or at most, lightly regulated — financial markets are good for America and the world."

    Liberal orthodoxy is that everything in the world can be tamed, if only our omniscient, all-knowing, Liberal Masters were allowed to make those decisions for us. What Liberals fail to point out is that these experiments have all been tried, with no success. The Soviet Union, and China are filled with 5 years plans, most of them dramatic failures. Even the vaunted New Deal was largely a failure of government planning. Conservatives don't believe that less regulation in free markets is correct for any other reason than that is what works best.

    "They must believe in the brilliantly cast conceit known as the "pro-growth agenda," in which economic growth can be attained only by reducing corporate and individual tax rates, especially among the investor class, and by freeing business from environmental rules that have cleaned up America's air and water and labor regulations that helped create America's middle class."

    This is a two part stupidity. Part one is that economic growth is attained by maintaining low individual and corporate tax rates. To that, again, I don't know how Liberals avoid history. I give you the Bush, Reagan, and Kennedy tax cuts, all of which were followed by sustained years of economic growth. Let me posit the alternative - which is that we increase rates. Is there anyone, other than former Soviet planners, who think THAT creates econiomic growth. Come on, not even Obama believes that.

    Part two is the gratuitous swipe at the GOP as against clean air and water. Conservatives recognize the need to craft and maintain regulations to ensure the safety of our drinking water and air. What we don't see is the need and the cost effectiveness of many more regulations that do little to further clean the air and water, and do more to stifle economic activity. Capitalism is the best way to ensure clean air and water. JUst look at the cesspools in Eastern Europer and China, if you want to see the results of unfettered State planning. This is just ridiculous. Again, it gets to the heart of Liberal conceit, which is that the hoi polloi can't see what's good for them (clean air and water) and need their Liberal betters to pass laws to make sure they are protected. Finally, it's a popular liberal myth that without the union movement of the early 20th century, we'd have no middle class. That's an untruth. The union and workers' rights movements of that time may have accelerated the formation of a broad middle class, but it would have happened eventually anyway as the economy and technologies matured.

    " Though rising health care costs are pillaging the economy, and even though health care in America is now a matter of what you can afford, Republican candidates for office must deny that health care is a basic right and resist a real attempt to change and improve the system."

    They deny it as a "basic right" because it is not a "basic right" as defined in our Constitution. Since Liberals pretty much interpret the Constitution however they want, I can understand their confusion.

    "GOP candidates must scoff at scientific consensus about global warming. Blame it on human activity? Bad. Cite Noah's Ark as evidence? Good. They must express at least some doubt about the science of evolution."

    The only scientific consensus in the "climate change" debate is that temperatures rose for a 20 year period in the late 20th century. After that, the rest is debatable, and most certainly isn't consensus. COuld the rise in temps be due to human activity? Could it be due to solar activity? COuld it be due to normal variations in the Earth's cooling and warming cycle? It could be a combination of them all. What is true, though, is that no models created by the global warming alarmists fit the actual trends, and none of them fit going backwards. What is also true is that AGW proponents have willfully manipulated data and lied, probably either for political reasons, or to keep the research bucks flowing.

    I see that the theory of evolution is now science. Nice trick.

    "They must insist, statistics and evidence to the contrary, that most of the nation's energy needs can be met safely with more domestic oil drilling, "clean-coal" technology and greater reliance on perfectly safe nuclear power plants."

    Anyone who says they want the US to be entirely energy independent is denying reality. Fossil fuels are traded in an international market.  We compete with China, Japan, France, etc for resources. 

    But, we can improve supplies of oil here at home, and use more coal and natural gas, sources found in great abundance in this country. That would lessen our dependence on foreign sources of oil, serve to reduce prices for energy, and improve our safety from blackmail from middle eastern dictatorships. Adding more nuclear plants would provide a greeenhouse-gasless way to produce energy and make all those plug-in hybrids actual non-polluters.  Adding to the worldwide supply will not only make us richer by becoming a net supplier (perhaps), but it will provide good, high-paying (and likely lots of unionized) jobs, and reduce enegery prices worldwide.

    I realize people may mistakenly believe we get a large percentage of oil from the Middle East, and I understand that's not true - our greatest suppliers are Canada and Mexico, and no, they're not poised to attack us. But, since so much of the world's current oil reserves are in Middle Eastern countries, they coutrol the price of oil to a large extent, and that's how they have us (and the rest of the West) over a barrel, so to speak. Want to mnimize that risk, encourage more production here, as well as in friendly countries (like Brazil, so Barry O has that part right).

    "They must believe that all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States can be rounded up, detained, tried, repatriated and kept from returning at a reasonable cost."

    This one really kills me. I mean, if you said this to one of your conservative friends, you either wouldn't be able to get up after the punch, or the laughter at your stupidity would drown you out for a while.

    Typically, these caricatures include some veiled statement that Conservatives are racists. Kudos to St Louis Today for avoiding that. I am amazed that St. Louis today has such an exact number. Perhaps they have been doing the documentation.

    My argument on immigration is that we should control our borders and that we should know who is in our country, where they are, why they are here, and that they have some valid reason for being here. We'd also love to debate what skill sets we need from immigarnts, how many we need, and we'd like to make sure we can assimilate them into the American experience so that they continue to be productive, valuable citizens. We used to actually have those debates, and we were able to assimilate immigrants into our society.  At some point, we just became an open borders country, and it's costing too much money to provide services to immigrants and it's a security issue (it's mostly a security issue). 

    If we need 2M immigrants/year, and they all come from Mexico, by all means, let's get it done, and let's put them on a path to citiizenship, and perhaps we need to make changes in that process to make it quicker and fairer. But, we need control of the borders for national security. Let's have the immigration debate, but let's have it honestly. This statement is just so dishonest that it means we can't have the debate with people who believe this.

    "Even though there are more than four unemployed persons for every available job, GOP candidates should at least hint that unemployment benefits keep people from seeking jobs."

    There's plenty of evidence that long-term unemployment benefits discourage job seeking. Like immigration, there's a balance somewhere between how long and how much we should provide in unemployment benefits before the beneficiary begins to adapt to that as a way of life. I don't think the conservative argument is that unemployment benefits prevent people from seeking employment, but there's a rational argument to be made for just how long should we provide them before we decide the beneficiary is, perhaps, unemployable, or isn't willing to look hard enough for a job.

    I could share anecdotal evidence of my own about people whom I consider are abusing the system, but, in deference to them, the system exists as it is, and they are doing nothing more than pkaying the game the way the rules are written, and, in my opinion, these folks are emblematic of a broken system.

    I look forward to the editors reply.  Not holding my breath.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    2012 GOP Field

    The 2012 GOP field is shaping up, and while I have no clear favorite, I have some favorites. Since CNN is hosting a debate in New Hampshire tomorrow, now is a good time to review the candidates.

    I'll go through the declared and potential candidates here in short form.  As the field gets more certain, I may devote a longer post to each of them, and their pros and cons, so my minions can form their own opinions, from mine.

    In no particular order are the near certain or declared candidates (Links are to their official campaign sites):
    • Herman Cain - Cain is an Atlanta native and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and Pillsbury executive who was also a Federal Reserve Board Chairman (Kansas City).  He hosted a local radio show here and was often a guest host on semi-Libertarian Neal Boortz's show.  You may remember Cain as the executive who in 1994 asked Bill Clinton who he should lay off as a result of HillaryCare.  He's a Tea Party favorite, a staunch fiscal conservative, and a social conservative, who happens to be black and devoid of elected experience.  If you saw Cain on Fox News Sunday recently, you may have noticed foreign policy is not his forte'.  I don't know what we can expect from him here, except that he's likely to stick with conservative principles - continue global war on terror, support for Israel, etc.

      My opinion - I like Cain. A lot.  He's a smart man, who thinks quickly, and has a homespun, folksy manner that really brings people in.  On domestic issues, he is going to run rings around Obama and the democrats.  Of course, that's pretty much true of all the candidates here, given they are not Keynesian fools, like Liberals.  He is going to be a solid social conservative, and I think he'll surround himself with pros at Defense, and, I sense he might actually recognize the State Department is a mess and correct that.

      What's not to like?  Not too much.  Some knock him for his lack of elected experience.  He plays that into a plus, which I think it is, too.  He demonstrated some "deer-in-the-headlights" looks in that first FNS interview when probed about Israel and "right of return" for the Palestinians.   And, he wants to get in office, review the intelligence before proclaiming anything on Afghanistan.  I don't think in this long election cycle, that he can continue that answer.  He's also 65 years old.  He doesn't look or act it, but, that's a little aged, especially for a cancer survivor.  The pundits don't think he can draw much more of a crowd or money.

      My prediction - Cain is going to do very well in Iowa, and be this year's Huckabee. It won't be enough to win the nomination, though.
    • Mitt Romney - the current front runner is the consensus choice.  I am hoping the consensus is wrong.  I like Romney, I think he'd make a fine president, and a far, far, far better one than Obama.  He'd bring competence and conservatism back to the White House.  Let's take his biggest albatross first, RomneyCare.  I don't think Romney has explained the Massachusetts law that he championed and signed well enough.  I am ok with what he did there.  He doesn't have to deal with the thorny Constitutional issues as a Governor, and, Massachusetts is about as Liberal as they come.  The way I look at, that state got what it deserved.  He says he'll repeal Obamacare, and replace it, and he may be actually,the best positioned Republican to actually get Independent voters to agree with him on that one.  He can make the argument that he's worked with both sides on this issue, understands it, and knows that what may work in Massachusetts won't work nationally. Anyway, I think there's plenty of room for him to maneuver on this.  RomneyCare hurts him with conservative GOP primary voters, but not with the rest of the country.

      The bad?   As one of those GOP primary voters, I will NOT vote in a GOP primary for someone who believes the climate change/global warming alarmists and their falsehoods.  Romney has said he believes this crap, so, he will not be getting my vote in the primary.  That's disqualifying for me.

      My prediction - Skipping Iowa will keep expectations low there.  Must win New Hampshire (and fairly handily).  I predict he will not win, or will win weakly, and that will effectively end his campaign.
    • Tim Pawlenty - the Minnesota governor has been running now almost as long as Romney, yet can't seem to get over 5% of GOP voters to admit he exists. Like Romney, he has solid executive experience in a Liberal state.  Unlike Romney, he mostly governed as a conservative, and had success in Minnesota, winning re-election.  He has outlined an ambitious and decidely supply-side economic plan that mixes tax rate changes and spending cuts to spur economic growth.  While some of the assumptions may be rosy, they are not unattainable, and are a cure for our flailing economy.  On foreign policy, I haven't seen a lot of him, but his positions are pretty much standard-fare mainstream conservative, and he's a strong social conservative.

      The bad?  Tim Who?  Unfortunately, that's the question a lot of people are asking.  Pawlenty is just invisible in this crowd. He needs a break-out in Iowa to get his name up, but, even though he was a popular governor in a neighboring state, he's not seeing much traction.  It's a long way, but, he needs to get some visibility and do well there.

      My prediction - I just don't know.  I want T-Paw in the race for the duration.  I think he'd be a great candidate, but, I just don't know if he can make it happen.  I predict a decent Iowa showing, but will it be enough to keep his campaign afloat?
    • Newt Gingrich - Ah, Newt, what have you done?  Not a good sign when all your top advisers leave, or are shown the door.  I realize Newt wants to wage a 'different' kind of campaign, and I know Newt has a lot of ideas.  I'd like to see Newt stay in for a while to elevate the debate, and force the other candidates to elevate their game, too.  Sadly, I don't know if he's even going to make it to Iowa.  He seems to be self-destructing, and he's a very undisciplined candidate.  He's with me on nearly every issue, but, in this crowd, so are a bunch of others.

      The bad?  A lot of bad with Newt.  I think Newt's time passed a long time ago.  I can't really forgive him for that PSA with Nancy Pelosi.  It's like sitting with the devil.  Also unforgivable, his statements on the Ryan budget plan.  It's ok to not like elements of it, but, it's not right-wing social engineering.  He has no real executive experience, and he is not a disciplined campaigner.  He's too old, and 3 wives and his treatment of numbers 1 and 2, not great.

      My prediction - Flameout and out of the race before 2011 is over.
    • Ron Paul - Look, Paul is a nut.  He's right on many issues and his Libertarian bent is great to have in the race.  I don't know how he stays in these things, but, I hope he does.

      The bad?  His supporters are really nuts.  He's about 100 years old.  His son would be a better choice.

      My prediction - will never get into double digits, yet somehow will persevere to the end.
    • Gary Johnson - the former New Mexico governor is, like Paul, a Libertarian.  Except, Johnson does it without drawing any support.  He wants us out of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq.  He wants us to stop using enhanced interrogation techniques, Gitmo shut down, and the Patriot Act repealed.  He's pro-choice, and pro-gay marriage and pro-legalization.  If you're a Libertarian, and I mean a true one, this is your guy.  You'd think those views would be more at home in the Democrat party, but, Libertarians also believe in individual choice and personal freedom, and the Liberal Fascist's view of government doesn't include either of those concepts.  Fortunately, most Libertarians know that.

      The bad?  Did I mention Libertarians live in a fantasy world?  I think I'd like their world, but it's a parallel universe to mine.  Also bad, he can't get the 2% support to get on the stage in tomorrow's debate.  Ouch!

      My prediction - May hang in til his money runs out.  Could be any day now.
    • Rick Santorum - I like Rick Santorum, and he's from an important blue state, Pennsylvania.  But, it's a blue state that rejected him wildly in 2006 (not a good year for Republicans anywhere, mind you), but has routinely elected Republican senators and governors (as it did in 2010).  Santorum is wildly right on the issues.  He's solidly conservative, and would be an interesting candidate.  But, there's a reason we don't routinely elect senators to the presidency.  They usually suck, just witness Barack Obama.

      The bad? To the rest of the country, he's Rick Who?  I just don't think he has the backing and support it's going to take to last long in this race.

      My prediction - Out after Iowa.
    That is the list of announced candidates.  Now, here are those yet to announce, with my predictions centered around whether they enter the race or not:. Links are to PACs or their personal sites associated with their current positions.
    • Sarah Palin - You can search this blog to see all my many posts about just Sarah Palin.  I just go back and forth on her.  She holds all the right positions, she strangely articulates them, and she's got a following and star appeal that approaches what Barack Obama had in 2008.  I do not think Palin is stupid, but in a recent post, I think I put my finger on my issue with her.  And my issue isn't with her, it's with some of her followers, and the Republican party in general.  We've been looking for the heir to Reagan for almost 25 years now.  We need to stop looking.  Palin is not Reagan, and no one is, and the GOP should stop looking for that person.  Palin could, I believe, stand on her own, and bring tremendous energy and excitement to the race.  She has a lot of negative perceptions that the state-run media has been more than happy to create and perpetuate.  Could she overcome them?  I think she could, because she commands the airtime.  Will she?

      The bad?  No one in the GOP outside a return of George W Bush drives the media mad like Palin does.  They will go into full blown Obama love again if she opposes him.  Not all bad, but she needs to be prepared for this.  Also bad, people think she's stupid.  That's a hard barrier to break through once it's set.  She's similar to W, who's grades were at least as good as Al Gore's (and who had a Harvard MBA and had not written an unreadable,, crappy book), in this respect.

      My prediction - I think 2012 is her time.  Obama is very beatable.  The Left doesn't realize it, but people HATE Democrats these days.  She needs to enter soon, but once she's in, it's her nomination to lose.
    • Michelle Bachmann - The MN Congresswoman is another Tea Party favorite and a strident defender of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (now that Superman has passed on all that stuff).  Again, she holds all the right positions, but, if you think Sarah Palin gets killed by the media, just wait to see what they can do to Bachmann.

      The bad? She has a tendency to say crazy stuff, you know, like the US has 57 states.  Oh wait...

      Prediction - I think what she does depends on Palin. If Palin doesn't enter the race, Bachmann is almost certain to get in.  I could see her doing well in Iowa.  Could be a dark horse, but will be an uphill battle.
    • Rick Perry - The TX governor has the benefit of leading the only state that has done reasonably well during our excursion into Obamanomics.  That Texas has a truly part-time legislature and is the least regulated state in the nation has something to do with it.  Perry's been a strong 10th Amendment advocate since Obama started destroying it, and he's opposed every last piece of crap legislation that has come out of Washington since, oh, January 21, 2009.  He also dispatched RINO Kay Bailey Hutchison when she tried to run for governor.  Perry's got a record, is a tough as nails conservative, and, if he gets into this race, he could become the front runner in moments.  If he gets into the race, it's going to be because Sarah Palin is not, and it's expected that his entry could include a strong endorsement from Palin.

      The bad?  What will Americans think of another Texan running for president? He isn't terribly well known outside Tea Party, GOP, and conservative circles.

      Prediction - getting in, and with Palin's backing, will quickly consolidate this race to a 2 way between Romney and Perry.  Look for Perry/Palin 2012.
    • Jon Huntsman - Former Utah governor and Barack Obama's ambassador to China is considering a run.  Look, he may be a nice guy, and a solid conservative, but, really, I don't even know the guy.

      The bad? See above.  Need any more than that?

      Prediction - going to get in, but will be out by the end of Iowa.
    Others are waiting, perhaps to see what happens, and others are just fantasies:
    • John Bolton - former UN Ambassador under Bush.  Would be a great president on foreign policy.I think he'll make a great Secretary of State in the Perry White House.
    • Chris Christie - the tough talking, results-delivering NJ governator has said repeatedly he's not running. I believe him.  Should the GOP falter in 2012, Christie is waiting to save us in 2016.  Sorry, Ann Coulter.
    • Jeb Bush - the Bush who SHOULD have been president in 2000 is not running, has expressed no desire to run, and probably had his hopes dashed ion November 2000 when his brother won.  But, how sweet would it be to replace the Fascist Obama with another Bush?  Seriously, how sweet would that be?
    • Trump - please.
    Ok, so I have some favorites and some not-so favorites.  

    Right now, my choice among the declared candidates is Cain, followed by Pawlenty.  Among the potential candidates, if Rick Perry gets in, I would seriously consider him, and, I am reconsidering my position on Palin.  Bachmann is a wait and see type.  Romney is a no way.

    I plan to watch the CNN debate tomorrow, maybe on DVR.  Hopefully you will, too.  I won't live blog it, but if I watch in real time, find me on twitter, twitter.com/sleepywhiner.


    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Steyn - The Obama Road to Nowhere

    Mark Steyn, as always, brilliant today, In National Review Online, on Obama's Road to Nowhere.

    A taste, then read it all:
    "The American Dream, 2011: You pay four bucks a gallon to commute between your McJob and your underwater housing to prop up a spendaholic, grabafeelic, paramilitarized bureaucracy-without-end bankrupting your future at the rate of a fifth of a billion dollars every hour."

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Sarah Palin. She's no Ronald Reagan

    Palinistas kill me.  Lately, they've been trying to equate Palin to Reagan, and while there are similarities, Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan.

    Let me stipulate that I like Sarah Palin.  Pretty much every position she takes is one with which I agree.  As a conservative, we're probably in lock-step, so, I have every reason to support her.  With the perhaps single exception of Herman Cain, she's the only candidate I expect to agree with nearly 100% of the time.

    Here's the problem with Palin for me.  I actually find myself thinking she agrees with me, vice me agreeing with her.  I don't get that feeling from a guy like Cain, who I have had the opportunity to listen to quite a bit here in Atlanta over the years.  With Cain, I feel like I am following him, and that I learn something new with him.  With Palin, well, she's a politician who happens to share my views.  I think she could learn more from reading my blog than I could ever learn from months with her.  It's not that I think she's stupid, nor that she's intellectually incurious.  It's just that I don't think she brings thought leadership to the movement.

    That may seem like I am knocking her, but I am not.  Seriously, Palinista's, I'm not.  Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, and even as far back as Woodrow Wilson, we have examples of superbly intelligent men who couldn't lead nor would even really be management material.  Academics are like that.

    So, I could get behind a Palin presidential run, or a Palin presidency.  I actually think it would be competent, and she'd at least be pushing my agenda.  I expect she'd be highly effective at getting my priorities executed.  But, don't tell me she's an intellectual force bringing new ideas to the conservative movement.  She's not.  She's good at framing ideas that are not her own, and at bringing to bare metal the flaws in the opposition's arguments.  But, I don't find any of her ideas or approaches terribly original, but derivative.  Even her famopus Death Panels was not her original thought. 

    We don't necessarily need that in a president, and I don't require it.  I need my president to get the things I want done, to be persuasive in doing so, and I'd like them to make the state-run media nuts.  She'd do all those things, and, she'd bring new blood to the movement.  I think she understands, at a working level what most people with common sense are thinking, and she gives voice to that, and more effectively than pretty much any other candidate out there (with the exceptions of Cain, and the non-running Huckabee). I find her Midwestern cadence and odd butchering of the English language grating and it drives me crazy, but, I have it on good authority that the way she talks rings true with large swathes of the populace (and these swathes vote).  So, I have to be prepared to accept it.

    But, it doesn't mean I have to listen to her ardent supporters say she's Reagan incarnate.  She is not.  And no one will be.  One of the GOP's and conservatives' problems is that we're all looking for Reagan II.  We're not going to find it.  Reagan was unique, and unique for his time.

    Sure, the media pilloried Reagan as nothing better than an amiable dunce, and a warmonger, and an old, senile man (during term 2).  Those of us who followed him knew better.  By 1980, Reagan had a 20 year record of real thought leadership in the conservative movement, and was a leader in it.  He came by his convictions honestly, and through thorough study of them.  He was intellectually curious.  He was a persuader, and he was able to make his arguments because he had thought them through himself. 

    So, you Palin fans, I am with you, but, please stop comparing Palin to Reagan.  Feel free to compare the treatment of her by the press to their treatment of Reagan, and continue to rebut it, but...I don't think your arguments are as strong as Reagan's defenders.  And, it serves neither Sarah Palin, the conservative movie, not the GOP, to try to turn her into something she is not.

    She could be a wonderful candidate, and a common-sense alternative to Professor-President Obama.  Let her.

    More on my candidate in a future post.