Those that know me know that I am not a fan of Wikileaks. I am in full favor of the beat down of Julian Assange and fully believe the guy is a traitor to allied nations in the war against terror. And while in advance of the most recent leaks, I obviously wouldn’t have supported them, David Frum has made the case post leak that the latest leaks actually improve the positioning of the allied and U.S. case against Iran instead of hurting us in the worlds eyes and protecting Iran as it is assumed Assange was hoping.
Based on the information that is coming out, I have to agree with Frum. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t ogles of information contained within these leaks that could lead to the capture or death of many of our informants in the Middle East. It makes me ill to think that Assange knows that he is sending men and possibly their families and friends to death every time he releases these documents, and this just doesn’t seem to be a factor in him keeping secret documents…well, secret.
In the grand scheme though, this will likely pull in international support to put more pressure or possibly use military action on Iran. Check out Frum’s post here and you can decide for yourself.
Earlier today, I wrote a post on RightOSphere going after Democrats for not supporting the DC Opportunity Scholarship. It was sharp- though, perhaps backwards in style from the proper inverted pyramid- sincere and hard-hitting. However, it was a struggle to get it written and posted.
Partly, it’s the awful allergies wracking my body. Partly, it’s the fact that I’m tired of not having a job. Partly, it’s the fact that I don’t have a regular schedule, so I’m going stir-crazy. Partly, it’s that I haven’t slept well or much for the last four or five nights. Mostly, though, it’s the fact that the health care bill passed on Sunday and signed by the president today is going to sink this country into even more debt that it will never pay back.
Some are optimistic- we can turn this thing back, repeal it, etc. However, I think David Frum’s opening points here, and Mark Steyn’s entire column earlier this month, are more accurate. Namely, this is going nowhere, and it will badly hurt this country.
Please tell me I’m wrong. Please tell me that fighting against cap-and-trade, burdensome financial regulations, working on the Hill for the conservative movement and fighting to save the unborn is worth it. Because right now, it seems hopeless. As Steyn put it:
Because it’s worth it. Big time. I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (Let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative”).
The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.
Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A bigtime GOP consultant was on TV, crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass Obamacare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.
The left has ruined this country and, along with it, created an environment where a center-right country like America can’t even slow down our rampant red ink and dependency, never mind end it. 2012 is conservatism’s last shot. Should it fail, should we fail, we might as well kiss America goodbye.
Read the article below and let me know what you think in the comments section:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. taxpayer profits from bank bailout investments are being offset by estimated losses from American International Group and automakers and mortgage payment cuts for struggling homeowners, a U.S. Treasury report showed on Monday.
The Treasury estimated net losses on its $700 billion bailout program at $68.5 billion for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009.
The December report for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, showed that the fiscal 2009 net loss included estimated losses of $30.4 billion for AIG and $30.4 billion for automakers, with $27.1 billion in losses from the Home Affordable Modification Program.
These were much larger than a $15 billion profit registered from the Capital Purchase Program for banks and $4.4 billion in profits from other bank investments, asset guarantee and lending programs.
A senior Treasury official said the bank investments will ultimately produce a positive return for taxpayers. But the department was not yet ready to update its estimate of the final taxpayer costs for the bailouts.
The official said the Treasury would update its cost estimates on a quarterly basis as the bailout program shifts its focus toward small business lending and housing relief in its final 10 months of operation.
The Treasury in November said TARP’s ultimate cost estimate had been reduced to about $141 billion from $341 billion earlier in the year. Further reductions in the final cost estimate could aid the Obama administration as it faces pressure to produce a new budget that starts to show deficit reductions.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Unfortunately, this story was not the lead anywhere today, though Fox did have a related one on their top three stories. Drudge’s lead story today is about Scott Brown, the candidate for former Senator Kennedy’s seat (okay, that one’s fairly important). Yesterday, he had an accusation that Senator Reid (D-NV) had a facelift or something. Drudge did have this story, but buried several stories down. Meanwhile, cable news is failing as badly as usual to provide important news. Fox has the “tell-all” story about Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) as their lead story, and CNN has David Frum’s newest column as theirs. MSNBC actually has the most important lead story of the three, with an article about the death of an Iranian opposition leader. ABC is also not doing their job, with a massive lead story about President Obama allegedly playing favorites regarding the race card.
Once again, I’ll ask Americans to look at the important news. Who really cares if Sarah Palin is on Fox? Is anyone surprised? Reid has said two racial statements in recent weeks. Why are we letting our elected officials waste our taxpayer money over his comments? (Note- every time they go after or defend Reid instead of doing their job they are wasting taxpayer money.) We are losing billions of dollars to corrupt government, business and other officials and executives…and we care about something stupid Reid said or the common-sense career move of Sarah Palin? Give me a break. Let’s worry about the troops dying overseas, our sovereignty, the education of our youth and the other critical issues facing this country. Our mainstream/professional media certainly won’t do it, obviously, but in the age of the Internet and other technologies, we the people have no excuse.
Since the election of President Obama, the Democrats have been very effective at portraying the Republican Party as the ?Party of No.? Depending on your political persuasion, this could be completely true, completely false or somewhere in the middle.
In the last couple of weeks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been hammered by Erick Erickson of RedState and Michelle Malkin for not fighting to the very finish on the recent Senate passage of a health care reform bill. On the one hand, these criticisms are of delaying tactics would only have slowed the vote by twelve hours, which would have done nothing in the halls of Congress but would have, as Ed Morrissey points out, given the media less time to cover the vote?s aftermath. On the other hand, if the Republican leadership had held firm on the many opportunities they had to slow things down, for example by following Senator Judd Gregg?s (R-NH) advice, and Senator Tom Coburn?s (R-OK) wish to read every part of the Senate bill, among other tactics to slow the bill, senators would have had to go home for Christmas a) without a bill, and b) to face their constituents, the majority of whom dislike the Democratic versions of health care reform and whom are increasingly against them as time goes on.
Senators Gregg, Coburn and Jim DeMint (R-SC), among many others, have been vilified for their articulate and unyielding opposition to health care reform and other Democratic measures. However, they are also the poster children for what Republicans should be about- namely, being the party of ?No, But Here?s A Better Idea.? All of these senators, along with other Republicans, have jammed the Democrats but also offered their own solutions to the various issues facing America. They have also worked with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion on a case-by-case basis.
When it comes to dispelling the myth that Republicans have been, and are being, merely obstructionists, let’s start with Senator Judd Gregg. On the one hand, Gregg voted for Secretary Geithner?s nomination, nearly accepted a position as President Obama?s Commerce Secretary, offered support for the bipartisan Wyden-Bennett bill and has worked with Democrat Kent Conrad (D-ND) on a debt commission. On the other, Gregg has hammered Obama on debt, passed around a virtual handbook for Republican obstructionism and taken the lead on opposing Democratic reconciliation. Additionally, however, Gregg has offered his own bill as an alternative to the Democratic proposals.
Senator DeMint is probably most famous for his Waterloo statement and his numerous delaying tactics on health care reform (see here and here for examples). However, he has also worked with self-declared socialist Independent Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on halting the Bernanke nomination and bringing transparency to the Federal Reserve. As a representative of the Party of ?No, but here?s a better idea,? he too has put forth a health care alternative to the Democratic proposals.
Lastly, we have Senator Coburn. Coburn has slid in two gun amendments this year to two Democrat-supported bills, halting the DC voting bill in its tracks. He has also held up funding for veterans because he wanted to use unused stimulus funds for the benefits and loudly opposed the stimulus package. He also forced a reading of Senator Sanders? single-payer amendment to the Democratic bill. However, at the same time, he has maintained a friendship with President Obama, pushed a transparency bill with then-Senator Obama (D-IL) into law in 2006 and sponsored a Republican alternative to the Democratic health care bills on, of all places, Huffington Post. In fact, he wrote on Huffington Post not once but twice. This is a guy who clearly wants his message to get out to all Americans, not just his constituents or fellow conservatives.
The fact is that Republicans are trying to stop a very bad makeover of a massive portion of America in ways that swing from bad policy to unethical to unconstitutional. For an example of the latter, with respect to David Frum?s recent piece supporting the individual mandate?s constitutionality, he is wrong- an individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. Other bad components include the Senate bill’s abortion funding, the House bill’s public option and the lack of legitimate tort reform in either bill.
Personally, I think Republicans should have fought tooth-and-nail for a post-Christmas vote on the Democratic health care reform bill in the Senate. They should have offered amendments, yes, as Frum has said- but they have a responsibility to stop the bill first and foremost. That is what the minority is supposed to do with a bill as bad as this one, with as little power as Republicans and conservatives have right now- stop the legislation cold and start over with a bill that includes conservative and free market principles and ideas. Some Republicans are just being the Party of No, but sometimes saying?saying?’no’ is necessary, despite what some Democrats may say.
Conservative circles are dismayed by the news of Robert Novak?s succumbing to a brain tumor first diagnosed last year which forced him out of the full glare of the public spotlight.? Novak seemed, to this young conservative, like the kind of man one could ask a question of and truly expect an honest answer.? I remember reading his memoires, The Prince of Darkness, in which he recounts his five decades as the man lurking in the shadows of DC?s cavernous hallways.? He was a bad ass.? HuffingtonPost has a video clip of Novak after a brief skirmish with James Carville in which he storms off the set.? When someone is interested in politics during the years of their youth, they pursue politics with a significant amount of thumos that explains the swagger of so many Legislative Aids on the hill (deserving or not; and a majority tend to occupy the latter).? Prince of Darkness was an expose of a flawed individual who knew the secrets, knew the people, and attended those notorious ?cocktail parties? without remorse; a sort of Maltese Falcon-esque Humphrey Bogart.? I wonder if I would be labeled a ?cocktail elitist? for having drinks in DC with friends of mine in attempts to rub elbows with influential people like David Frum, Christopher Hitchens, Ann Coulter, or whoever else First Fridays invites out.? I?ve realized, any place (like my favorite stomping ground, Union Pub) that shows Chicago Bears and Nebraska Cornhusker football games cannot be ?elitist.??
There are myriad obituaries and tributes dotting the internet; and what is interesting is seeing how the two sides of the Conservative Movement are treating his death.? John Podhoretz?s piece seems rather curt to the average reader, while more ?Paleoconservative? periodicals are treating the event with a little more somber reflection on the man?s contributions to political life.? I did not agree with a great many of Novak?s positions, especially regarding the two recent wars in the Middle East, of which he stood against from the standpoint of a prudent conservative.? This leads to what I believe to be one of the most interesting takes on Robert Novak?s death: Stacy McCain?s article.?
David Frum?s attack on anti-War conservatives established an irreconcilable schism in the Conservative movement.? Novak was lumped in with the anti-war ?paleocon? faction, with good reason mind you; but ?unpatriotic? was a terrible charge to levy against him and many of the others.? I don?t believe that Novak took too seriously David Frum?s charge.? I don?t know for sure, but I imagine if he had been asked what he thinks of anyone who considers him ?unpatriotic,? I imagine he might respond much as he did when asked about the Valerie Plame affair:? ?The hell with you!??
I began this thread addressing the issue of Conservatives that were acting neither ?conservatively? nor even making any attempt to reconcile the many factions forming in the movement.? Mr. David Frum was the person I used as the vanguard of this particular predisposition mainly because of the advent of his NewMajority.Com.? Also, I found his name a delightful play on words and figured it would be appreciated by those of my acquaintances that were, and still are, William F. Buckley fans.? Mainly it was the former point that I sought to address, because I felt like I was bearing witness to a growing faction within the Conservative movement that sought to ?reform Conservatism? as though it were a party to be reformed.? It is slightly comical to me, that anyone calling themselves a Conservative can think this way if they are aware of Mr. Russell Kirk?s laments on the issue of conservatism as a movement in a party.? Conservative is a state of mind, being a Republican is a vehicle.? You cannot reform Conservatism, therefore what I believe Mr. Frum truly intends to do is to re-brand it as ?Republicanism.??
??????????? Conservatives and Republicans alike feel slighted by the recent regime that left power a mere six months prior.? Conservatives are of course divided further into the various principles they adhere to.? Neoconservatives are much kinder to President Bush, and easily ready the defenses against the gauntlet of attacks from Paleoconservatives, libertarians, liberals and mainstreamers.? Talk about President Obama?s ?blank slate,? President Bush was a champion of natural rights for those around the world by some; the advocate of unmitigated military expeditions by others.? He was a New World Order member hell bent on the destruction of the state sovereign in favor of a North American Union; and he was the Carl Schmittian disciple that put state above all and practiced the true international form of politics with a Hobbesian approach to state affairs and reckless disregard for the UN and international community.? He was an unapologetic radical Conservative by moderates; and a tax-cut and spend moderate Republican by Conservatives.? One got a very similar George W. Bush speaking to leftist rappers like Immortal Technique as they did rightist Conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones.? A convoluted portrait, as if Picasso were hired to have painted it to adorn the halls of the White House (I imagine something like this, you know, representing a Cowboy hat and such); A momentous digression, but interesting to point out to ?Bush Haters? nonetheless.? Either way, to be conservative is a reference of mind while being a Republican is the vehicle for action.? Mr. Frum and others on NewMajority seem to want to turn conservatism into something it?s not at the national level: a party.
??????????? Mr. Frum?s, and others?, actions are not malicious in that they are trying to ruin conservatism as some would suggest.? The NewMajority site claims to want to build a ?conservatism that can win again,? taking the bite out of standing on principles, and turning conservatism into a pragmatic arm of the Republican Party.? Here in lies Mr. Frum?s misunderstanding because as I have said before, Conservatism is a state of mind for people that may occupy the Republican or Democratic Parties (it happens to make up more of the Republican Party than Democratic, though I cannot see how one reconciles their conservatism with the Democratic Party of today as Henry ?Scoop? Jacksons or Zell Millers could in their day).? Conservatism, per se, is claimed by those who abhor it as an ideology.? It is contra to that notion, because conservatism was supposed to be the anti?ideal.? Conservatism is not a neat package.? At times I find people trying to argue this to Mr. Frum, or others on his website; but their plights seemingly fall on deaf ears.? They argue that they stand on principles, but the Republicans ask them to make their principles more malleable, ask for Conservatives to be more Republican because Republicans can win.? That?s like saying ?if you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns.?? Yes, the only the Republicans can win because they are part duex currently of a two-party system.? But Republicans have been losing as of the past half a decade, which has caused a stir and focused the limelight on the Conservative movement that led the party to its zenith since its inception.? The prescription for Republicans? recent ill-health has been to blame the Conservatives and try to get Conservatives to ?open up;? which is the wrong strategy.
??????????? One could go on about the policies under President Bush and the then-controlled Republican congress, and how they did not live up to Conservatives? expectations and it cost the Republicans.? I will spare you the lecture, as there is little of that horse?s decayed carcass left to beat.? Rather, to borrow a term from my dear friend Tom, I will take the route of a ?forward-looking Conservative? and expound on my last paragraph by reaching back and taking some of the past principles that deserve to come with us into the new millennium.? There are two tenets to the Conservative movement that are strong and can help the Republican Party gain prominence (maybe not a majority, but being steamrolled by an Executive-Legislative tyranny of the majority is time and space we currently inhabit, and frankly it sucks): fiscal Conservatism and Social Conservatism.?
??????????? Fiscal Conservatism is a boring topic in my eyes.? Economics is a rambunctious beast that can be tamed through myriad means.? It is circumscribed by the actions of the market forces, or by government.? One keeps it chained so that it can move about within the confines of an open space while still being contained within the boundaries set by other outside forces so it cannot run off.? The latter keeps the beast caged; unable to attain any inkling of freedom, it is stifled by the iron confines of government completely.? During the last generation, we saw that the forces that generally tend to keep economics chained in the yard let the Cujo loose because they felt his total freedom and depravity would lead to unmitigated growth and prosperity.? Cujo was his by a truck.? Now our economy occupies the oppressive cage in the vet clinic, while Dr. Obama and his Technicians seek a treatment.? There is a complete lack of freedom now, which will not help our situation either because our economy will not grow at all.? Furthermore, our President has decided to overzealously pursue all of the drastic changes he campaigned for in his first year while he has the most political capital.? This has brought out the fiscal conservative in the average citizen.? Anderson Cooper can make sexual jokes about the Tea Parties, and ?conservatives? can deride the Tea Party protestors all they want; but there is a spirit and a fight in these people that can help the party.? Recent trends demonstrate a growing unease regarding President Obama?s spending and budget, and a new Gallup Poll shows that Americans are becoming increasingly conservative regarding the size and power of the national government.? This Gallup Poll released other preliminary numbers showing more Americans classifying themselves as ?Conservative? which now hovered at 40%, and David Frum was quick to squelch our optimism with his The Week piece? in which he makes the important argument that 40% won?t win elections.? He leaves out that we witnessed an impressive growth in self described ?Conservatives? at a time when the label and brand have been lambasted by the liberal media since 2006.? The Conservatives in the Republican Party need to act Conservative about spending, and the problems that arise from this are two fold: 1) history has not erased the fact that Republicans spent like drunken-sailors under President Bush and 2) it makes us the ?party of ?no??.? It is important that men and women like Mr. Frum continue doing what they are best at, molding Republican policies to be more Conservative.? How can we accomplish what we want by spending less, or incentivizing better behavior??
??????????? The second ?type? of conservatism was the one that took the most grief by their counterparts in the movement (libertarians) and liberals alike: the social Conservatives.? Being socially conservative can be broadly defined, but we imagine white bible-thumpers from the south.? While a lot of white southerners demonstrate a deep attachment to their faith and abiding by the teachings of that faith, we cannot let social conservatism be defined this way.? What about the black families that have strong values and a sense of tradition?? What about Hispanics who tend to be Catholic and also possess phenomenal family values?? There are a lot of pundits that dwell on hating social conservatives and deriding the party for failing to rake in more non-WASPs, but fall short in addressing the problem of attracting minorities on a foundation of social conservatism and family values.? Another Gallup Poll demonstrated America?s move into a Pro-Life direction, more Americans were self described as Pro-Life over Pro-Choice for the first time ever.? This is despite the fact that it is inherently an up-hill battle for a ?pro-life? movement because of our basic beliefs in curtailing what we view as government intrusiveness.? Nevertheless, people are deciding that protecting the concept of ?life? is a part for government even in this sense, and the increase came among Republicans and Moderates.? Also, there is something to be said about the Proposition 8 vote in California.? I have still managed to find an article that attempts to spin the Prop 8 outcome as some ?Republican surge to keep gays from marrying? and give no credit to the vote attributed by minorities.? As a matter of fact, the entire article is dedicated to snuffing out the African American vote by stating well they only make up ten percent of the population anyway.? Never mind that 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8, and furthermore, Latinos also supported the measure according to a Public Policy Institute poll; this in a state that voted 61% to 37% in Barrack Obama?s favor.?
??????????? Conservatism can be an inclusive tent, we need to find the ways and means to include people that don?t mean surrendering our ideals though.? This is not about ?reforming conservatism? because it cannot be reformed; the Republican Party can be reformed, but the drive to stand ?athwart history yelling ?stop?? and fighting for the principles or traditions you hold dear is a different story.? I believe that the Republican Party can be inclusive, but it needs to remember who the party people are and who the Conservatives are.? We need to be better about arguing our points and reaching out.? Not ostracizing anyone who crosses us as is accused of some radio-show hosts, and certainly not by abandoning what makes us conservative in the first place by pragmatists and Party loyalists.? We need to preach a good sermon, and more importantly, we need to practice what we preach.? If you build a strong Republican Party on a foundation of rights and justice, we can unify conservatives of all races, creeds and religions.? Our conservative impulses are not something to transcend, but something to embrace.?