Archive for March 2009

When Big Politics Is Small

Maybe it’s because I’m of a conservative nature just generally (and by conservative I mean slow to embrace, umm, change (hey, I’ve lived in the same apartment for 10 years — though ironically THAT is changing this year)), or maybe it’s my intolerance for arrogance, or maybe it’s my annoyance with forced and unwarranted pats on the back, but when I hear members of a certain political party in the state in which I live congratulate themselves on recent wins in a “tough” time, and then say they care about the grassroots when they at the same time avoid all attempts to let the grassroots have a say that might threaten their own power, I get…frustrated at how truly small-minded it all is.

This is indeed “Big Politics”, where the small man who thinks he’s in charge (and those like him) has turned a once-red state blue. Politics, from a conservative perspective, should be actually … small, but in the best sense. The people who are given the trust of the citizens should act small, and with care. Grand, sweeping gestures usually lead to something like, oh, say… the Great Society. Or a 2 trillion dollar debt.

Citizens who do their duty not out of small self-love, but out of love for their country are those who will do the best job, because their priorities error not on the side of narcissism, but on the side of the other. Other citizens. Sure, many Big Politicians may start as little guys, but they catch Potomac Fever, or they are surrounded by aids like the Big Politics-man I heard last night. And they get Big. And Fat. And forgetful of who, as my mom often said (quoting someone else) “brung ‘em to the dance”. Conservatives and liberty-lovers of all labels understand that you cannot be “big” to really advance causes that advance freedom — that you must think beyond yourself. You must care for something greater than your power. Greater than “government”. And liberalism, though it talks nice, carries a big government stick that will actually hurt the little guy.

Small Politicans are for the little guy. The real little guy. Yes, the Joe Plumbers. Yes, the mom-’n-pop dry cleaners. Yes, the small businessman. Yes, the taxpayer who works for a large firm that can hire him because they aren’t forced to allow card checks. The real little guy.

Gibbs takes swipe at … us?

Gibbs takes swipe at Cheney, ‘Republican cabal’ « – Blogs from CNN.com

Hey, anytime Rush or Cheney wish to guest (ghost?) write on the Cabal here would be fine with us. We would be honored. Honored.

Mr. Gibbs’ response to Cheney’s critique is classic, time-honored, pure pabulum :

“I would say that the president has made quite clear that keeping the American people safe and secure is the job — is the most serious job that he has each and every day.”

Well, okay. If Mr. Gibbs says that that is what Mr. Obama has made clear to the American people — we can all rest easy.   Has he — will he — make it clear in word AND deed to those who actually wish us harm? Well at least terrorists are no longer being terrorized in Gitmo. Or rather, they won’t be as soon as he figures out what to do with the really bad ones. NOT that there are really bad ones (except for the ones, that are you know, uhhh, really bad).

We’ve Seen the Future, and it is … wearing a blazer?

Below, Lane discusses, among other things, the pretty fake leadership crisis ginned up by Democrats over Rush’s terribly terribly insulting comments about how he hopes Obama fails (Our comment (okay my comment, but I’m addicted to the editorial we. Sorry.): it WILL fail. Socialism always does in the long run.)

And here, let us have 14-year-old Jonathan Krohn define conservatism – the meat in the shell:

(Yes, he’s homeschooled. OF COURSE he’s homeschooled.)

This is the type of kid liberals love to hate, though they love “the children.”  Though, it should be noted, he acts more like an adult, which is probably why they hate him.

Can’t we all just get along?

So this is what we’ve come to?  Patterico is fighting with Jeff, The Crunchy Cons are fighting with Paleo (which is to say Palin) Cons, and we’re all fighting over whether Rush is the right person to lead our party, or our movement, into the next phase.  Iowahawk has a particularly funny sendup of the whole thing;

My reference, obviously, was to the self-styled luminaries of “populism” who hang like a millstone around the Republican neck — the Sarah Palins, the Plumbing Joes, the Bobby Jindals, the Rush Limbaughs, the motley middlebrow state college pretenders to the conservative throne. A shared contempt for these arriviste oafs unites the Nassau summitteers perhaps even more than our shared fondness for a snifter of well-behaved armagnac VSOP.

uh-huh.

All of this is singularly un-helpful and, as Ace points out;

This is fundamentally an unserious and unimportant issue. And those who keep fighting it are apparently happy to dwell on the trivialities and distractions that Obama has admitted he’s cooked up for precisely the purpose of distracting you.

Ta-daa.

So what’s the real issue?  The Republican Party lost the last election and hasn’t had an impressive showing in an election since, when ’96?  I mean beating Gore was good (and thank you George Bush for that), and beating Kerry was fine, but other than Bush, the GOP hasn’t had a solid win in a long time.  We’d been losing our Congressional majorities for ten years before we lost them.  And figuring out who’s right and what we need to fight about involves figuring out why we’re on a ten year slide even though at the beginning of the decade it looked like the Democrats were the one who were going to have to re-design their party.

I think the answer can be found at the Coyote Blog

Seriously, looking back on it, did the Republican Congress between the ‘01 tax cuts and prescription drug disaster and when they were tossed in ‘06 leave any kind of legislative footprint behind?  Jeez, Republicans are whining now about all kinds of stuff, but what were they doing for 6 years?  Offshore drilling is a classic example.  They whined about the Democrats blocking more drilling last year, but what did they do about it the previous years when they controlled Congress and the White House?  I honestly think they were waiting for Bush to do something by executive order and take away any political responsibility off their shoulders.

The GOP didn’t lose because they pursued a Conservative Agenda, and they didn’t lose because they didn’t.  They lost because they didn’t do anything of note.  They were perfectly happy to fiddle away and allow Bush to take the lead and take all the heat as their majority burned around them.

Congressional Republicans, as long as they were acting on a conservative agenda, were fine, and even when they departed from that agenda they were fine, as long as they were seen to be doing something.  During Bush’s Presidency, they decided that their best bet was to keep their heads down and let Bush make all the decisions and take all the flak.  If things went well, they get Presidential coat-tails and if things went poorly, then they could claim they didn’t really support that program after all.

I’m sure in the media firestorm that followed the Iraq War and the wiretaps and all that jazz, it seemed wise to stay as far away from Bush as possible, while at the same time not curtailing his agenda.  But outside of the beltway bullhorn, the American people want their Congress Critters to do something, to stand for something, to lead us somewhere.

Without that leadership, the Congress was easily painted as nothing but a lobbyist’s shopping mall.  Scandals got painted with a broad-brush (excepting Democratic scandals of course), and the whole stinking lot of them got thrown out.  They didn’t get thrown out because of the War or the Economy or even their “Conservative Agenda”.  They got thrown out precisely because they couldn’t be seen to be doing anything at all.

So that’s the congressional problem.  The other problem was that the GOP relied entirely upon the Bush White House’s communication efforts to set a message and get it to the American people and they failed miserably.  The Bush communication team has got to become an object lesson in how not to speak to the American people (and the world for that matter).

Yes, as conservatives we are always going to be fighting an uphill battle against the media titans, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done effectively.  Congressional and National GOP leaders left the field entirely to Bush (again, probably because they weren’t sure whether he was a liability or an asset, so they chickened out and hoped to gain some or lose little), and this proved to be a disaster.

So, what about Rush, and his five little words (“I hope President Obama fails”)?  Patterico and company are right in that the media is going to twist our words to our opponent’s advantage at any oppurtunity so we shouldn’t make it easy for them, but Jeff Goldstein is right in that it doesn’t matter how “nuanced” we become, the media and the democrats and the victim’s leagues are going to twist our words anyway.

It is impossible to speak in a way that cannot be misinterpreted, especially when your interpreter is trying to paint you as maliciously as possible.

Conservatism does best when it speaks most clearly and directly to the American people, when it sets an agenda and follows it.  The Contract with America may be derided in newrooms, but it is still loved whenever conservatives get together to talk about what they have done right in the past.

A new contract may not be what is necessary, but neither are mincy words and milquetoast RINOs.

Rush is Rush, let him be Rush.  And when the media approaches our remaining Congressman with the question “what do you think about what Rush said?”  The answer should be, “I’m here to talk about what our President has done, not about what some media personality has said…” and then get back on the topic of Obama embarrassing the country with his diplomacy or destroying our economy with his socialist agenda.

Thanks

To Katy for the lovely post about my new darling daughter, Margaret Dixie.  And thanks to all our readers and fellow bloggers for their patience during my absence.  I hope to return to more regular blogging soon, but daddies have to have priorities :-)

But see below for a long one, and hopefully later today we can talk about the war for the heart of conservatism…

Amateur Hour at the White House

This is the scary-smart diplomacy we were promised?   First, there was the ridiculous, tit-for-tat letter attempt from Obama to Medvedeev.  If only you’ll stop helping the Iranians with their ballistic missile program (not their nuclear power development as has been wrongly reported in some quarters), we’ll ditch our missile defense system.  Said system which I and my Democratic allies have been railing against since the Reagan administration.

There were two things wrong with this silly letter (well two besides it being leaked and summarily rejected).  Diplomacy is not Chicago-back-room-pork-trading.  Russia’s not in it to divvy up the spoils of a captive set of tax-payers.  Russia is in it for Russia, so even if you were to offer them something, they are not going to want to give you anything in return.  That’s why diplomacy is so hard, even if you’re really smart and not just a poser with a teleprompter.  Diplomacy isn’t you and Rezko and Daley in a back room deciding how to slice up a pig, it’s Russia with a large club, trying to get all the pigs into his poke and not give you any.  So you better pick up your club, smart guy.

And here’s a little tip.  When offering the Russian bear a deal, you might not start with this line, “You give me what I want and I’ll give you what I want.”  It might work on the South-Side rubes the Democratic party has been taking advantage of for years, but it isn’t going to work on the world stage.  You can’t let the whole world know you want to scrap missile defense (EVEN THOUGH IT WORKS!), and then use it as a bargaining chip.  Oh, and the Poles, Czechs and Ukranians all say thanks for selling them back into Iron Curtain Slavery.

But hey, that was only stage one in the three stage, scary-smart diplomacy of the Obama Administration.  Read on, McDuff…

Continue reading ‘Amateur Hour at the White House’ »

Are we all Keynesians now? No.

The idea that government intervention helped end the Great Depression, and that the Keynesian policy of “managing demand” and interjecting a bunch of money into the economy is an effective way to fix recessions had gone, we conservatives mistakenly believed and hoped, the way of the Dodo bird. But it’s back, and with a vengeance. And a trillion dollar price tag that taxpayers will be footing for a long, long, long time.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH. (Sorry, that slips out involuntarily about once every two or three hours these days.)

Managing monetary policy (via the Fed) does have its limits. It deals with what the market has and is, and doesn’t attempt changing the foundations of the market system (which is always a losing proposition because that invariably leads to socialism). Adjusting monetary policy isn’t about changing the rules of the game, but about helping the market do what it must. And believe us, the market will still do what it must, but government interference (particularly the non-nationalization nationalization of banks last week) is  exacerbating the problem.

The current generation did not live during the Great Depression. We were taught that the WPA and other FDR initiatives helped end it. But that is actually debatable. World War II did more to get America moving again than works projects. The U.S. in fact lagged far behind other countries in 1936 and ’37.

And the list of economists who do not believe in more government interference is here, brought to you by the Cato Institute.

In protest of the Mortgage Bill and the Stimulus package that will not stimulate, libertarians and conservatives had “tea party” protests in Chicago (nice video by Founding Bloggers. We wish we could have been there!), St. Louis (where about 1,000 protestors gathered), DC (which does indeed look a little sad, compared to Chicago and St. Louis, but I’m frankly surprised they found ANYONE to protest it in DC), and elsewhere.

Protest marches struck us at first as downright unconservative. As Age of Hooper says, conservatives often have better things to do with their time — work, family, all the boring stuff that makes the engine go. But then again, there ARE some things worth fighting for, and worth protesting. Obama’s quick march to socialism is one of them.

A Toast to Real Hope and Change

A quick note of official Cabal congratulations to our friend and Cabal co-founder Lane on the recent arrival of his own bundle of hope and change — the real sort, that is. May she live long and prosper! And look, Robert Burns already wrote a poem in her honor. How very kind of him!

My Peggy’s face, my Peggy’s form,
The frost of hermit Age might warm;
My Peggy’s worth, my Peggy’s mind,
Might charm the first of human kind.

I love my Peggy’s angel air,
Her face so truly heavenly fair,
Her native grace, so void of art,
But I adore my Peggy’s heart.

The lily’s hue, the rose’s dye,
The kindling lustre of an eye;
Who but owns their magic sway!
Who but knows they all decay!

The tender thrill, the pitying tear,
The generous purpose nobly dear,
The gentle look that rage disarms-
These are all Immortal charms.

-Robert Burns