Archive for November, 2008

Life’s Not Fair; Get Used To It

Posted in politics with tags , on November 10, 2008 by nighttwister

From the time my children were little, I’ve worked hard to get them to understand this concept. I’ve repeated it so many times that I know they now cringe any time they say “That’s not fair!”, because they know what’s coming as soon as those words leave their mouth. It’s something that I believe we’ve forgotten as a party, and need to embed in our political subconscious.

For as long as I can remember, the mainstream media organizations have treated the parties differently. They are only too willing to cover stories for one that they are also perfectly fine with ignoring for the other. I give you three examples of this phenomenon.

Breaking the Public Trust
Over a year ago, William Jefferson (D-LA-2) was indicted for accepting bribes. Six months ago, Ted Stevens (R-AK) was indicted for accepting for falsely reporting income. Both leaders have broken the public’s trust, but Congressman Jefferson’s bribery charges are much more serious. Yet, even before Senator Stevens’ conviction, the media treated his the more serious, while mostly ignoring Jefferson’s problems.

Sexual Misconduct
Consider the difference between how congressman Barney Frank, who’s partner was convicted of running a prostitution ring from his house was treated vs. congressman Mark Foley who sent inappropriate emails and instant messages to underage congressional pages. Personally, I consider the latter to be worse since it involved minors, but even senator Larry Craig was treated worse by the media for his actions.

Gaffes
The recent Presidential campaigns highlighted the differences in how the candidates were treated when they misspoke. Every gaffe from Obama (57 States) and Biden (TV in 1929, 3 Words) were mostly ignored, while the media was more than willing to invent things and propagate rumors about missteps by McCain and especially Palin.

The fact is, we are not on an even playing field, and we never will be. The media is now openly the propaganda wing of the Democratic Party; the general public admits this, yet it makes no difference in how they vote.

This is the political arena in which we toil, and it is not going to change any time soon. Some think it is enough to enlighten the masses. Surely, once they realize how unfair the playing field is, they will demand that it change. As we have seen in the last election, this just isn’t the case. We need a new strategy to work in this environment. To that end, I make the following proposals:

Stop whining about how unfair things are.
People don’t like to hear others whine, even if they have a legitimate case. Sure, the traditional media is against us. Whining about it not only doesn’t change that; it just turns people off. Instead, we need to do our best to get our story out in other ways, such as letters to the editor, blogs, conservative radio, and word-of-mouth. We can also use these means to answer the slurs against conservatism in general, and our candidates in particular.

Find a modern way to tell our ancient story.
Sure, it’s a cliché, but I think everyone here will agree that conservatism works every time it’s tried. I’ve heard many times over the course of the past few months that it’s much easier to sound-bite liberal talking points than conservative ones. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. We must find a way to communicate conservative points, and why they are better than liberal ones, in thirty seconds. It won’t be easy, but I believe it can be done.

We need to hit some singles first.
Sorry for the baseball analogy, but it is my favorite game. When you’re down eight runs, it’s not the time to hit the long ball. There aren’t any eight-run hits in this game. We’re down about as low as we can be, so it’s time to concentrate on the issues we think we can win. This means we’ve got to stop whining when our pet issue isn’t being addressed. For instance, how about we concern ourselves with making sure that women considering abortion have access to all the information they need before making that decision instead of going straight to the Human Life Amendment? There are other examples I could give, but I believe you get the point.

We need to be positive.
I hear people all the time saying we need to stop the negative campaigning. Sure, people love a good train wreck, but ultimately the positive message won this time (empty as it may have been). We’ve got to stop talking about what’s wrong with the other side and start talking about what’s right about ours. We need to constantly promote the positive conservative message of freedom, opportunity, and prosperity.

We have to break up the circular firing squad.
We need to stop attacking each other. Every issue cannot (and doesn’t need to) be addressed at the same time. That means your issue may have to wait. If we continue to attack each other when we don’t get our way, or disagree over the minutiae of each minor point, we’re never going to progress. Also, we also need to call out conservative pundits when they aren’t being conservative. We need to do what we can to let people know that certain experts don’t represent us. We have to be relentless about this like RedState was about Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic for supporting the other side. We’ve either got to run these people out of business or force them to fully and openly admit they are not of us.

I believe we’ve got to constantly remember that life’s not fair, and we had better get used to it, otherwise, we’ll never be able to promote the freedom and opportunity that conservatism brings again.

Night Twister

The Obama Win: Come January

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, Energy, First Amendment, healthcare, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , on November 5, 2008 by Randy Streu

Congratulations to Barack Obama for a hard-won presidential election.  I won’t say it was well-played, because it was not — on either side.  But, the people have spoken and, sadly, it would appear they’ve grown weary of liberty, and have chosen instead to sacrifice it to the god of Financial Security.  History, it would seem, has not been as eloquent a teacher as Obama has been a communicator.  The irony is in how many of those voting for Obama were so very fond of paraphrasing Franklin: “those who would sacrifice liberty for security shall have none and deserve neither.”  And yet…

Does that sound bitter?  It isn’t.  I’m not even angry.  Just sad.

Democrat rhetoric during the last year or so has shown us, I think, the directions we’ll be looking as a nation, come January 2009.  In spite of the closeness of the election, there will be talk of “mandates,” and the Democrat win (aka the de facto ‘mandate of the people’) will be used as justification for more and more federal intrusion, higher taxes, and fewer freedoms.

People who sincerely love freedom, no matter who you voted for, I sincerely hope you watch this new administration closely.  I hope you watch for the erosion of our liberty — and I hope that, no matter who you voted for, you will fight to keep that freedom when the time comes.  This erosion is going to come in many small ways, from many directions.  It’s going to come as a gift — a trojan horse: in the form of healthcare, new entitlement benefits, new Social Security rules.  But these small intrusions will turn into larger ones.  These gifts will soon reveal their costs.  And, once the mistique wears off — once the thrill of making history has worn thin — we will perhaps begin, finally, to see what we have wrought.

Watch for a re-emergence of the so-called “fairness doctrine.”  The idea that freedom of speech only applies to private entities who willingly give up their podium to the opposition, in spite of the fact that the opposition controls the majority of the mass media, and suffers under no such requirement.  Make no mistake; this doctrine has nothing at all to do with fairness, and everything to do with silencing criticism of the establishment.  Congressional Democrats have long been vocal about their wishes in this matter, and Barack Obama will, given the chance, seek to abide by them.

Watch for unreasonable mandates to appear, with an aim toward crippling the energy industry as we know it.  And understand that, before those “evil” energy corporations go bankrupt, it will be you and I who first foot that bill.

Watch for “free healthcare” to become a mandate to business owners to pay beyond their means for employee benefits — benefits which were not negotiated between employer and employee, or even between employer and union, but instead introduced, coerced and enforced by federal government.  And watch the prices for simple goods and services skyrocket as business owners try to comply with federal law without going belly up.  And when the market finally ceases to be able to bear the burden, watch for the unemployment rate to acheive new highs.

Watch for the government to sieze control over your 401(k) as a means of alleviating the damage done by the collapsing economy, and place caps and limits on your retirement earning potential.

Will all of this happen under Barack Obama?  God willing, it will not.  But none of this is outside the realm of possibility, and, indeed, most of the policies listed are either direct interpretations of Obama’s own policies, or policy suggestions made within the Democrat Party.

This is History’s sad truth about handing over liberty for the sake of financial security: it doesn’t work.  It never has.  The most successful communist/socialist countries are either, like China, finding that they have to embrace some forms of Capitalism in order to stay afloat, or, like Cuba, are home to a vast population of the impoverished — but at least they have nice hospitals.   Most, however, either never make it out of third-world status or, like the USSR, finally kill off enough citizens to render itself unsustainable.

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
-Benjamin Frankin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1738

One Day Left: A Constitutional Conservative Looks at the ’08 Election

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, national defense, Obama, politics, taxes on November 3, 2008 by Randy Streu

I can’t pretend I’m not going to be relieved when this circus of an election season is over.  As a Conservative, this cycle has been frustrating and exhausting — and, at times, exhilarating.  One of the most sobering realizations for a Conservative in these times is that the vote for a Third Party candidate is a wasted one.  And, this election, there have been times where that was exactly the direction I was heading.  Granted, in these times, their imminent slaughter is not the only reason I couldn’t in good conscience vote for a party that stands more closely to my own values (such as the Libertarian or Constitution parties), but my level of irritation at recent actions of certain Republicans has definitely made it an option worth considering.

Still, though my Republican-of-choice was not ultimately chosen as the GOP candidate (indeed, neither were my second or third options… in fact, McCain ranked pretty near the bottom, to be honest), I still determined early on that I would hold my nose and cast my vote. 

McCain has done much since that decision to secure my vote (and yes, for you naysayers, his selection of Palin as VP still ranks, for me, as one of his better decisions), and some to make me question it.  But over all, this election has, for most Conservatives I Know, never really been about John McCain.  It’s not been about George W. Bush.  This is not a year in which Conservatives, by and large, will be voting for a candidate, so much as against a set of ideals.

I’m not going to elaborate much on which ideals I’m against — a cursory glance through the various posts on this blog should provide plenty of insight into where I’m coming from.  But, for one thing, I’m against the idea that the Government has the moral authority to determine who deserves the money a man makes, for the simple reason that he happens to make more than some arbitrary amount.  Barack Obama is for this idea.

This alone, with no other considerations, is enough to make me vote against Obama.  As it turns out, there are other considerations.   Many others.  Abortion, gun control, Foreign policy, character, integrity… getting the idea?  But even without these other things, I could still not vote for Obama, because of the first.

A man, or a party, who has claimed moral authority over a man’s property or earnings has also claimed authority over that man’s liberty, because property and liberty are inseparable.  A governor who would make a man a slave to another in this way (because, really, this is the end result of wealth redistribution) is not a man of solid character.  He is untrustworthy as a leader — certainly as a leader of what was conceived as a nation of free men.

Barack Obama claims to know the Constitution.  Scripture says even the Devil knows the Bible.  The question, for me, is not whether Barack Obama knows the Constitution.  It is whether he honors it; whether he loves it — not just as a solid “political document,” but as the foundation of this country.  Does he understand the meanings of it, and the intent of the Founding Fathers — and does he agree to uphold those ideals?  Because if he does not — and indeed, recently uncovered interviews appear to suggest this very possibility — how can he take an oath swearing to do exactly that, and still hold himself an honest man?