al gore

Our Government Has A Fever.

I can just hear the slimy, smarmy voice of the greatest environut fraud of all time, Al Gore, saying that about Washville and the state of affairs there. Not that Al baby would have been a better bargain.

Though I don’t think he could have been any more destructive than this commie cabal, comprising much of our government, after watching the absolutely disgusting goings-on in Wisconsin, and other states and cities, who are financially over-a-barrel and enslaved to the entitlements granted to the public sector unions over a long period of time by weak-kneed governments… federal, state and local.

Successions of governments afraid of ‘public backlash’ (read: paranoiac fear of standing up to the goons and their willing allies, the communist (whoops, did I say that?) statist press… wholly owned by the Party. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which party.

I think we’re all agreed that this cannot stand. This didn’t start overnight. This mess is the result of sixty years or more of absolute irresponsibility by politicians of all stripes… continuously kicking the can down the road, buying a little time here and there, and then leaving office and making the taxpaying public pay the tab for the total unfunded liability of these claims. None of us out here in the private sector can claim such outrageous ‘benefits’.

So we come to this. There is a revolt in this country against the Marxist statists of the Obama regime, all of his tsars and political appointees, and the leftist statist press, who will go to any length to cover for their Anointed One… even treason. Yes, I said it and I’m not taking it back. Speaking of treason, this whole cabal just reeks of it.

I guess we are going to have to fight this battle on those terms. If they really seek to take it out to the streets… to paraphrase Rush Limbaugh… “Bring it on, there’s a whole bunch more of us than there are of you”. That’s the crux of the whole deal. There aren’t nearly enough of them to stop us when we are united as we are now. The united Patriot Movement scares the crap out of them because they fully well know that they and their radicals will never comprise more than 30% of the population.

Why else are they so desperate to keep the border undefended and our immigration laws in abeyance, while hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have turned our border into a one way freeway north. That’s why they desperately need an immigration amnesty… to flood their ranks with undesirables who will be their obedient servants as long as the goodies keep flowing. Uh… that’s goodies paid for by you and I. We have only this year to prepare… make it count!

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

It Will Have To Be Brave New Year.

Remember Al Gore, when he came out with that smarmy ad in which he says “The Earth has a fever”, or some such? Well, it has a fever ok, but not the one created by Gore’s fevered brain.

America today is faced with an entire globe that’s as flammable as gasoline on a hot summer’s day. With the exception of Europe, at least for now, just about anywhere you care to pick there are conflicts… actual, on the back burner, on the front burner or on the planning table.

South America is now starting to look like Russia’s Cuba being replayed with Iran’s Venezuela. To our direct south is a Mexico devolved into a narco-state… its government mired in a perpetual system of sanctioned corruption. No longer satisfied with just throwing their hopelessly poor and uneducated at us, they are actively sanctioning terror by giving tacit approval to the known terrorist traffic across its jurisdiction, disguised in the tens of thousands flooding across our undefended southern border every year.

Africa is a slowly boiling sludge pot of suffering humanity, mostly due to the gentle ministrations of the muslims’ genocidal assaults on Christians and other sub-groups. With China now in the mix in Africa, anything can happen.

The middle east is a leaking powder keg long overdue to go off, with many otherwise liberal Israelis coming to realize that there can be no peace with terror. No pointless and militarily indefensible limp-wristed political ‘land for peace’ will satisfy this enemy. The rest of the middle east watches closely in fear of a nascent nuclear monster in Iran and secretly, and recently not so secretly, hopes that Israel takes them out first.

Iraq is remarkably stable, with a new democratic structure which seems resilient even in the face of continued pressure from terrorist groups.

Afghanistan may not be the war Americans want to fight. It’s no secret that the Marxists in our government, led by the Marxist-in-Chief, have done everything in their power to ensure US defeat in Afghanistan. This is Obama’s war, he made it so. It has become a showpiece of his weakness, for all the world to see and judge.

North Korea and China are becoming dysfunctional symbionts, with the bipolar North Koreans playing nutcake roulette with an increasingly angry and impatient South Korea. Anything is possible here too… N. Korea, Iran, Venezuela… Russia is not the great player that she wants us all to believe, but she needs watching nonetheless.

Europe. Well, the best thing you can say about them is that there are no hot conflicts there, but just keep in mind that Europe was the launching pad for the two greatest slaughters of human beings in world history. So, nothing is impossible there.

It’s damning that, so far, the best solution that our present government can come up with is ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

Stereotype Threat

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word “Republican?”   

 

If you can’t think of anything positive, you’ve identified the primary problem facing the GOP in the 2010s. Despite the GOP’s recapturing of the House of Representatives as well as numerous governorships and state legislatures, the party’s public image has yet to fully recover from the beating it took during the Bush era. The 2010 midterm results were brought about by economic malaise and frustration with President Obama, not by the public’s re-embrace of Republican ideology.    

 

It’s still quite possible for President Obama to be re-elected in 2012, and it’s not hard to envision the GOP losing the House in two years as well. For all the chatter about America supposedly being a “center-right” country, the reality is that the country will not truly be “center-right” until Republicans finally challenge the stereotypes that have existed about the party for years. 

 

There are communities all across America filled with people who react with horror and disgust when they hear the word “Republican.” Despite Scott Brown’s historic Senate victory a year ago this month, his party’s losses in the Massachusetts midterm elections demonstrate that the Bay State is one such community. As Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein noted on November 8, “To most Bay Staters (in fact, most New Englanders), ‘Republicans’ are anti-intellectual, vitriolic, reactionary, ‘Party of No,’ Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Southern ideologues. ‘FOX Republicans,’ if you will.”   

 

Republicans can spend all day denouncing these stereotype as false, or lambasting media, academic and entertainment entities that are viewed as perpetuating these stereotypes—but wouldn’t it make more sense to simply shatter these stereotypes?  

 

Republicans need to ask themselves the following questions:  

 

1. Would supply-side economics be held in contempt by large numbers of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities made a point of demonstrating that supply-side economics benefited the vast majority of Americans, not just the wealthy?  

 

2. Would the notion of Republican anti-intellectualism have such currency if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities did a better job of spotlighting the right’s intellectual class? The recent Fox News special The Right, All Along: The Rise, Fall & Future of Conservatism did a commendable job of reminding viewers of the right’s intellectual heritage, but the broadcast was the exception to the rule.  

 

3. Would the idea of Republicans being scornful of science even exist if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities had more prominent figures who regarded environmental science as something other than “the new refuge of socialist thinking,” as Rush Limbaugh called it in his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be?   

 

4. Would the concept of Republicans-as-theocrats be as strong as it is in the minds of millions of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities were more vocal in embracing a federalist approach to social issues, as Jonah Goldberg recommended in Reason Magazine last year?   

 

The Democratic Party can only prosper if Republicans fail to address the underlying, long-standing issues that still make so many Americans uncomfortable with the GOP: the idea that Republicans lack empathy, don’t give a damn about anyone who’s not already a billionaire, loathe gays and single mothers, secretly desire Christian Shari’a, believe mankind plays no significant role in climate change, are obsessed with spending trillions to democratize the Middle East, regard public education as a wasteland and are generally selfish, uncaring jerks.   

 

There’s nothing wrong with demonstrating empathy. “Compassionate conservatism” may have been an empty slogan, but if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities don’t do a better job of showing that the GOP is not as hard-hearted as it’s often made out to be, the 2010 midterms will go down in history as a fluke.  

 

The last decade was an awful one for the Republican Party. Twenty years after Ronald Reagan’s ten-point victory over President Carter, George W. Bush—the man who was promoted in some conservative circles as Reagan’s true ideological heir—barely got past Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College and lost the popular vote. Four years later, Bush beat Senator John Kerry by three points, hardly a “center-right” blowout. Republicans lost control of the House and Senate in 2006 and surrendered the White House in 2008. Were it not for pro-GOP momentum generated by the Tea Party movement, as well as the aforementioned public frustration with Obama, the party would still be a sickly elephant ready to be put down.    

 

Too many Republicans still think of themselves as representing the country’s natural majority. This mentality leads to laziness, shortsightedness, arrogance and a failure to recognize and fix key problems. Republicans would be much better off thinking of themselves as a minority group, one that must confront and overcome stereotypes in order to obtain success and social acceptance. Before Republicans can change minds, they must first change their own. 

 

(Cross-posted at Notes from D.R.)

“Let America Be America Again”

Let’s try to figure out where we go from here.

 

Remember what it was like at the beginning of the 2000s? It was conservative Republicans who were filled with hope and a desire for change. Bill Clinton was nearing the end of his scandal-scarred administration, and Al Gore and Bill Bradley were dueling over who could move the country to the left more effectively. The Republican primary started off with a host of pretenders to Ronald Reagan’s throne, but soon settled into a brawl between Texas Governor George W. Bush and Arizona Senator John McCain.

 

Bush won that brutal contest and eventually defeated Al Gore in the Electoral College, after the US Supreme Court pulled the plug on the circus in Florida. Once Bush was officially declared the winner, conservatives looked to the next few years with unbridled optimism: with Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House, the right finally had the chance to rollback decades of progressive excess.

 

Bush was to be the JFK of the right—a young and vibrant leader ready to lead the country to a new frontier of domestic freedom and international strength. January 20, 2001 was to be a moment of renewal for the country—a time when America would regain its rationality, its civility, its moral integrity.

 

What happened to that moment? Why was it squandered? Why did conservatives and Republicans fail to keep their eyes on the prize?

 

The 2000s were supposed to be a conservative decade. Instead, the effort to liberate the country from liberalism was derailed—by a great fire in New York that motivated conservatives to support an expensive and ineffectively-prosecuted war in Iraq, by the intimidating power of the progressive media, by a President that was not actually committed to limiting the size and scope of the federal government. Lacking in focus and lacking in resolve, conservatives made the ghastly mistake of excusing Bush’s flaws even as average Americans found themselves unable to ignore his weaknesses.

 

The conservative moment of January 2001 lasted for mere seconds. At the beginning of the Bush administration, conservatives believed in reducing income taxes, eliminating government waste and protecting the nation from attack; by the end of the Bush administration, conservatives apparently believed in remaining loyal to incompetent government officials, implementing borrow-and-spend economic policies and compelling foreign countries to embrace democracy. No wonder so many Americans fell into Barack Obama’s open arms.

 

This was a wasted decade for the American right, and especially for the Republican Party. Are we in for more of the same over the next ten years?

 

Hopefully not. If optimism is indeed a fundamental tenet of conservatism, then one has to believe that the GOP and the American right will get it right—and that the development of a coherent, credible conservative message, and the recruitment of new men and women to deliver that message, will lead to electoral victory and political accomplishments in the 2010s.

 

Can such a “coherent, credible conservative message” be developed? Yes. However, in order to do so, we have to resolve the image problems and internal contradictions of modern conservatism.

 

A few months back, former National Review contributor David Frum visited the Latin School of Chicago to discuss the current political climate, specifically his concern that voting patterns established in one’s youth are hard to alter as one gets older. Two students at the elite high school told Frum they rejected the Republican Party because the party’s message came across as exclusionary and hypocritical—opposed to women’s rights and gay rights, deeply hostile to science, concerned about Obama’s reckless spending while dismissive of George W. Bush’s, etc. How did the Republican Party—and, by extension, the conservative movement—acquire this negative reputation?

 

It seems that conservatives and Republicans have largely lost the ability to successfully  communicate their views to the wider population. Ronald Reagan was able to reach out to those who disagreed with key elements of his message, but in the two decades since Reagan left office, the American right has turned inward, no longer bothering to convert more Americans to its cause.

 

It’s easier to speak to those who already agree with you. It’s also lazier. Somewhere along the line, it became the right’s unofficial policy to simply declare that America was a center-right nation, instead of doing the hard work required to make America a country in which conservatism is truly the default political template.

 

There is a belief that conservatives and Republicans need President Obama to fail spectacularly in order to make a full political comeback—but why does it have to be this way? Can’t conservatives and Republicans win again simply by building a better mousetrap?

 

Of course they can—if they use the right tools.

 

                                                 ____________________

 

“Participatory democracy requires popular deliberation,” Matthew Spalding notes in his 2009 book We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future. But our political discourse too often is stifled by the political correctness of self-appointed social critics on the one hand and the closed-minded ideology of single-issue advocates on the other. Neither makes a real attempt to persuade or listen. The debate among our political leaders is more narrowly partisan than it is broadly political, driven by immediate interests more than considerations of the common good. Rather than throwing up our hands and withdrawing from the public debate, though, we need to engage it in new ways by making a clear and forthright defense of core principles, applying them creatively to the questions of the day, supporting positions consistent with those principles, and generally reframing the national debate about the most serious issues before us. We need more popular scholarship and scholarly popular writing that is accessible and compelling to the general public, designed to shape the public mind and not just contribute to the dusty shelves of university libraries or the passing attention of the latest website.”

 

Once core conservative principles are clearly defined, it shouldn’t be that hard to defend those principles. Of course, it might be hard if conservatives are too exhausted from trying to determine exactly what those principles should be.

 

Is “limited government” a conservative principle? If so, it hasn’t been adhered to by recent Republican administrations. Even Ronald Reagan was unable to scale back the size and scope of the federal government. As Steven Hayward notes in his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, “Reagan was more successful in rolling back the Soviet empire than he was in rolling back the domestic government empire chiefly because the latter is a harder problem. While the partisan Democratic House that Reagan faced through his entire eight years was an important factor, it does not entirely explain Reagan’s failures. Rolling back big government was a harder problem for constitutional reasons, but also because of public opinion. The experience of the 1990s, after the Gingrich revolution delivered both houses of Congress to Republicans, suggests the public doesn’t support shrinking the government to the same extent that the conservative movement does. Conservatives resist facing this problem directly and openly, preferring to deploy expanded versions of the sound critiques from public choice theory to explain why the public really doesn’t like big government but can’t break the ‘iron triangle’ that preserves big government piecemeal. This is a cop-out.”

 

If “limited government” is truly a fantasy, then it might be wiser for conservatives and Republicans to position themselves as supporters of better government, in contrast to the hackerama and waste of progressive Democrats. As Hayward suggests, the average person is not opposed to big government per se, just inefficient big government.  If conservatives and Republicans began to place more of a rhetorical focus on maximizing government efficiency instead of peddling fairy tales about cutting the size and scope of government, perhaps the percentage of self-identified conservatives in this country would rise above forty percent.

 

The Republicans didn’t exactly demonstrate a commitment to maximizing government efficiency during the Bush years; if conservatives and Republicans are serious about converting more Americans to their vision, they must be willing to acknowledge that the last Republican President deviated from that vision.

 

Former Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett has set the template for the rest of the right in this regard, pointing out how Bush led conservatism to its low point in the late-2000s. In a November 20, 2009 Forbes.com article, Bartlett noted that Bush torpedoed the GOP’s credibility on fiscal-responsibility issues with the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. “Recall the situation in 2003,” Bartlett noted. “The Bush administration was already projecting the largest deficit in American history--$475 billion in fiscal year 2004, according to the July 2003 mid-session budget review. But a big election was coming up that Bush and his party were desperately fearful of losing. So they decided to win it by buying the votes of America's seniors by giving them an expensive new program to pay for their prescription drugs.

 

“Recall, too, that Medicare was already broke in every meaningful sense of the term,” Bartlett continued. “According to the 2003 Medicare trustees report, spending for Medicare was projected to rise much more rapidly than the payroll tax as the baby boomers retired. Consequently, the rational thing for Congress to do would have been to find ways of cutting its costs. Instead, Republicans voted to vastly increase them--and the federal deficit--by $395 billion between 2004 and 2013…Even with a deceptively low estimate of the drug benefit's cost, there were still a few Republicans in the House of Representatives who wouldn't roll over and play dead just to buy re-election. Consequently, when the legislation came up for its final vote on Nov. 22, 2003, it was failing by 216 to 218 when the standard 15-minute time allowed for voting came to an end.

 

“What followed was one of the most extraordinary events in congressional history. The vote was kept open for almost three hours while the House Republican leadership brought massive pressure to bear on the handful of principled Republicans who had the nerve to put country ahead of party. The leadership even froze the C-SPAN cameras so that no one outside the House chamber could see what was going on…the Medicare drug benefit was a pure giveaway with a gross cost greater than either the House or Senate health reform bills how being considered. Together the new bills would cost roughly $900 billion over the next 10 years, while Medicare Part D will cost $1 trillion.

 

“Moreover, there is a critical distinction--the drug benefit had no dedicated financing, no offsets and no revenue-raisers; 100% of the cost simply added to the federal budget deficit, whereas the health reform measures now being debated will be paid for with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, adding nothing to the deficit over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office…I don't mean to suggest that Democrats are any better when it comes to the deficit, although they have a better case for saying so based on the contrasting fiscal records of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The national debt belongs to both parties. But at least the Democrats don't go on Fox News day after day proclaiming how fiscally conservative they are, and organize tea parties to rant about deficits, without ever putting forward any plan for reducing them. Nor do they pretend that they have no responsibility whatsoever for projected deficits, at least half of which can be traced directly to Republican policies, according to Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag. It astonishes me that a party enacting anything like the drug benefit would have the chutzpah to view itself as fiscally responsible in any sense of the term.”

 

In a November 25, 2009 Forbes.com piece, Bartlett again held the GOP accountable, this time over the issue of war funding: “In recent years, Republicans have been characterized by two principal positions: They like starting wars and don't like paying for them. George W. Bush initiated two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but adamantly refused to pay for either of them by cutting non-military spending or raising taxes. Indeed, at his behest, Congress actually cut taxes and established a massive new entitlement program, Medicare Part D…Bush and his party, which controlled Congress from 2001 to 2006, never asked for sacrifices from anyone except those in our nation's military and their families. I think that's because the Republicans understood, implicitly, that the American people's support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has always been paper thin. Asking them to sacrifice through higher taxes, domestic spending cuts or reinstatement of the draft would surely have led to massive protests akin to those during the Vietnam era or to political defeat in 2004. George W. Bush knew well that when his father raised taxes in 1990 in part to pay for the first Gulf War, it played a major role in his 1992 electoral defeat.

 

“Consequently, Republicans resolved to fight our wars on the cheap and with deceptive cost estimates,” Bartlett continued. “On the eve of war in December 2002, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Mitch Daniels claimed that the war in Iraq could be fought at a total cost of $50 billion to $60 billion. Indeed, Bush even fired his top economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, for saying publicly that the war might cost between $100 billion and $200 billion.

 

“Of course, both Daniels and Lindsey grossly underestimated the actual cost. According to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost close to $1 trillion thus far. That is exactly what economists not on the White House payroll expected…In his 2008 book, What a President Should Know, Lindsey said that lowballing the cost of the war was a ‘tactical blunder’ because it allowed Bush's enemies to claim that he lied us into war. But at the same time, Lindsey acknowledges that the administration never rose to ‘Churchillian levels in talking about the sacrifices needed.’ He also says that asking for sacrifice in the form of spending cuts and tax increases would have served the important purpose of involving the American people in the war effort. As it is, war is largely out of sight and out of mind.”

 

 Bartlett and such commentators as Daniel Larison and Austin Bramwell of The American Conservative are providing the constructive criticism conservatives and Republicans need in order to make a comprehensive comeback in American political and cultural life. May their kind increase.

                                                _____________________

 

Another core conservative conviction that needs to be clarified is the right’s respect for the religious—and the non-religious.

 

In the fall of 1998, the late Jack Kemp drew some fire for suggesting that conservatives of faith were getting too obnoxious for their own good. In a November 8, 1998 Washington Post column, Kemp declared, “The 1998 midterm election was a referendum on Republican performance, not on the impeachment issue or on either party's agenda for 1999…. The electorate is practically shouting for Republicans to finish the job Ronald Reagan began in reforming the tax and regulatory apparatus. Instead, the party's cultural conservatives and religious activists insisted that it was more important to avoid risky reforms. They made the decision to sit on their hands, wait for a cultural backlash and rely on voters to punish the Democratic party for supporting a president who had misbehaved in his private life and lied about it to a grand jury…[The ‘98 midterms] demonstrated the limitations of a political campaign built around only cultural and social issues. It is impossible to separate the culture from the economy; a strong culture requires a strong economy. Those party intellectuals and opinion leaders who gambled this election on a cultural backlash are now licking their wounds and pondering their failures. There is absolutely a place for them in the party of Lincoln, but it can't be in a dictatorial role. Conservative social engineering is every bit as presumptuous as liberal social engineering.”

 

Kemp continued, “Americans prefer to receive their spiritual fulfillment in churches, synagogues and mosques. They are conservative in their values but they want a progressive conservatism, not a reactionary conservatism… Reagan espoused a conservatism that was based on traditional values and morality without legislating personal behavior. He knew that economic growth, personal freedom and equality of opportunity will allow America's faith-based institutions to thrive and provide a moral compass without government interference. Republicans must now demonstrate to the electorate--and especially to the minority communities--that we possess the vision and strategy to help all people get a shot at the American Dream.”

 

Kemp’s perceived potshots at social conservatives roused the ire of then-Boston Globe columnist John Ellis. In a November 12, 1998 article, Ellis wrote, “[Now] Republican congressional leaders talk about the need for ‘moderation’ and ‘pragmatism,’ code words aimed at supposedly overzealous religious conservatives. The ‘Christian Right’ is derided by Republican strategists and operatives as a ‘paper tiger,’ incapable of delivering votes in Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Former vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp delivers his own rebuke, prominently displayed in The Washington Post. Adding insult to injury, the national press amplifies all this, believing it to be true. It isn't true. It is true that the Democratic Party and liberal elements in the national media have successfully demonized religious conservatives as intolerant zealots. In this effort they have been blessed by the presence of such figures as the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, and various extremists in the antiabortion movement. But anyone who has spent time in politics knows that these are the Beltway faces of the religious right, Hogarthian caricatures of a much more humane and diverse constituency.”

  

“…[Social] conservatives are the soul of the Republican Party,” Ellis continued. “In the main, they are neither intolerant nor unforgiving. Reporters who have covered their political activities know them to be earnest, unfailingly polite, and deeply concerned about the moral climate of the country. These concerns are widely shared by the population at large. The agenda of religious conservatives is to reverse what they perceive to be the moral decline of the nation. They view the abortion issue as the most important moral issue in America since slavery, but they are not, in the main, abolitionists. Instead, they have adopted a strategy that tries to diminish the number of abortions performed in the United States by passing legislation that requires parental consent for teenagers and that outlaws the murderous practice of partial-birth abortion.

 

Religious conservatives have worked long and hard to return the educational system to basic values, insisting that school be a place of learning, not self-esteem management, and that discipline, manners, and good conduct be part of the program. They have also asked that a few minutes of silent prayer be included in the daily routine so that students might reflect on the wisdom of the ages. Religious conservatives have led the fight against the vulgarity of our media culture, engaging in economic boycotts of companies that produce mindlessly violent and egregiously exploitative movies, television shows, musical recordings, and publications. For their efforts they have been reviled by economic elites who profit from such ventures and by intellectual elites who imagine that The People vs. Larry Flynt is art. Religious conservatives have been at the forefront of the rebirth of volunteerism in America. Although their generosity and compassion receives virtually no national press attention, it has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. And religious conservatives have been instrumental in keeping the cause of human rights alive.”

 

Ellis is absolutely correct to note that social conservatives constructed the building the modern-day GOP currently resides in. However, conservatives and Republicans must always made sure there are no restrictive covenants or gentlemen’s agreements preventing social libertarians from moving in.

 

In a culturally secular society, there will naturally be Americans who are potentially sympathetic to the conservative message, but who have certain quirks. Perhaps they feel that both unborn babies and homosexual couples deserve civil rights protection. Perhaps they believe in an awesome God and a risen Christ while also believing that most of the folks on television who claim to speak in Jesus’ name are full of it. Perhaps they are opposed to both the War on Christmas and the War on Drugs. The conservative tent should have enough room to allow these people to be welcomed with open arms.

 

If a religious person and a secular person share the same views on economics, defense, the freedoms enshrined in the First and Second Amendments, etc., why should they not work together to achieve common political goals? There should not be a feud between these two factions—not when they have a common political enemy.

  

In addition, while strong Christian convictions have led many to embrace conservatism, conservatives should always be cautious about creating the impression that one must be a Christian in order to be a conservative. As Dinesh D’Souza notes in his 2009 book Life After Death: The Evidence, “…[We] live today in a secular culture where Christian assumptions are no longer taken for granted. There are many people who practice other religions, and some who practice no religion at all. The Bible is an excellent source of authority when you are talking to Christians, but it is not likely to persuade non-Christians, lapsed Christians, or atheists. In a secular culture the only arguments that are likely to work are secular arguments, and these can only be made on the basis of science and reason.”

 

Let’s make those arguments.

                                                ____________________________

 

“The [Republican] Party also must be more sober about the demographic transformation that is taking place in America,” former FCC Chairman Michael Powell wrote last year. We are a browning nation, but a Party seemingly incompetent in connecting with America’s diversity and its ascendant multiculturalism. We are stuck in antiquated notions of race. My kids saw Barack Obama not as black but as modern. His race and enlightened manner of dealing with it captures how the young see themselves.”

 

While equal treatment and equal opportunity are core conservative convictions, the American right didn’t always live up to this principle in the past. Unfortunately, a number of prominent conservatives acted stupidly with regard to racial issues in the 1950s and 1960s (William F. Buckley initially dismissing the civil rights movement, Barry Goldwater failing to join Everett Dirksen in supporting the 1964 Civil Rights Act, etc.), permanently damaging the perception of conservatism in the minds of millions of black voters.

 

Conservatives and Republicans might have some success attracting black small-business owners to their cause, but they have little chance of bringing large numbers of black voters to the right. While many blacks are culturally conservative, they are also, with rare exceptions, simpatico with progressive Democrats when it comes to economic and foreign-policy issues. Thus, overwhelming black support for the political left will likely remain the status quo for decades to come.  (In theory, working-class black voters could be encouraged to reconsider their voting habits via Republican-led efforts to establish school-choice programs.  However, the grim reality is that such programs, if proposed, would likely face resistance from affluent voters uninterested in having children from a different social class in “their” schools. As Peter Brimelow notes in his 2003 book The Worm in the Apple: How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education, “The voucher movement's fundamental and unspoken problem, however, is race. Government schools in wealthy suburbs are already de facto private schools — and they are de facto segregated, by class if not completely by race. Families who cannot afford to live in these neighborhoods cannot send their children to those government schools. To many suburbanites in these areas, vouchers just look like a new word for busing.”)

 

Instead of wasting time trying to change what cannot be changed vis-à-vis the black vote, conservatives and Republicans would be better off tailoring a message of hope and opportunity to other non-Caucasian groups. As Powell suggests, the GOP must find some way to connect with nonwhite voters who are not, as of now, permanently aligned with the Democrats. If the party fails to do so, it will be doomed demographically.

 

The conventional wisdom is that conservative/Republican demagoguery on the issue of illegal immigration has hurt the right’s image in the eyes of nonwhite voters. Perhaps conservatives and Republicans would be better off simultaneously encouraging an increase in legal immigration while denouncing illegal immigration.  When was the last time you heard a prominent conservative figure raise questions about the bureaucratic jungle a person must traverse in order to become a naturalized citizen? Without hearing such expressions of sympathy for those trying to become legal, recent nonwhite legal immigrants will naturally become suspicious of the motives behind anti-illegal-immigration rhetoric (that is to say, they will logically fear that such rhetoric is just a prelude to the “actual” goal, the limiting of legal immigration). As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby noted in November 2009, “It is…dispiriting to see conservatives assail immigrants instead of the insane immigration system that gave most of them no legal way to enter the United States… Of course illegal immigration is a problem. But it can only be solved by overhauling our dysfunctional immigration laws, not by demonizing or scapegoating illegal immigrants.”

 

There are plenty of nonwhite voters who think conservatives and Republicans are on point with regard to fiscal, social and defense issues—but they will not align themselves with the American right so long as certain figures on the right use rhetoric that suggests “they’ve been spending most their lives living in a pastime paradise,” to quote the famous Stevie Wonder song. When they see certain conservatives rant and rave about illegals and express little if any sympathy towards those who are striving to become legal…when they see certain conservatives implying that a President with a legitimately multicultural background isn’t really a citizen…when they see certain conservatives make nonsensical references to “pro-American” parts of the country…these voters get more than a little suspicious.

 

Conservatism, in the purest sense, respects the past while focusing on the future. So let’s try to keep the impurities out.

 

                                    ________________________

 

 

If the 2000s are to be remembered for the failure of “compassionate conservatism,” let the 2010s be remembered for the success of “clean conservatism”—a conservatism that’s not at war with itself, a conservatism that can reach those who are currently politically uncommitted, a conservatism that can maintain America’s greatness.

 

Clean conservatism is capable of self-criticism, always recognizing that inquiry is the only route to truth. Clean conservatism resists empty sloganeering, always honoring the intellectual roots of the movement. Clean conservatism is aware that not everyone will listen to its message, but nevertheless attempts to tear down the walls of ideological segregation in the United States. Clean conservatism proposes actual solutions to problems related to education, access to affordable health care and environmental damage, instead of allowing progressives to claim ownership of these issues. Clean conservatism recognizes that we are all Americans, and that there should be no conflict between urban and rural citizens. Clean conservatism pays homage to the achievements of the past, but recognizes that not everything that occurred in the past can be duplicated in the future. Clean conservatism sees more beauty in tomorrow than it saw in yesterday.

 

Clean conservatism ignores the slurs, the insults, the attacks, the nasty looks. Clean conservatism understands that this stuff comes with the territory. Clean conservatism presses forward, doing the necessary work to build a new center-right foundation.

 

Once that foundation is built, clean conservatism will win. It will win because its arguments will be stronger than the ones put forth by its opponents. It will win because its message will be more powerful than the messages of those who seek to discredit or demonize it. It will win because Americans will see themselves as truly belonging to this movement.

 

Years ago, conservatives embraced the catchphrase “Morning in America.” Today, and tomorrow, the vision should be more than just “Morning in America.” For what good is a beautiful morning if it leads to a terrible afternoon and an unbearable night?

 

The terrible afternoon was the mid- to late-1990s, when it appeared that the conservative vision had returned to power, only for that appearance to be revealed as an apparition. The unbearable night was the mid- to late-2000s, when the American right seemed to be mired in quicksand.

 

Instead of just “Morning in America,” why not have a beautiful day and a glorious night? A clean conservatism can speed up the arrival of this day—a day when parents can again be confident that their children’s quality of life will be superior to their own, a day when a worker can again make enough not just to get by, but to get ahead, a day when a Commander-in-Chief can trust the information he’s given before sending his troops into harm’s way, a day when no one is treated differently because of who they love, especially if the person they love is God.

 

A clean conservatism can deliver this result. A clean conservatism can truly renew America’s promise and America’s purpose. A clean conservatism can heal the injuries pessimism and hopelessness have inflicted upon so many of our citizens. A clean conservatism can provide honest hope, credible change, literal liberty…and justice for all.

Once Upon A Time – Another Visit To Fantasyland.

This is one of the days that my editor hates…she likes themes that match titles and have a modicum of logic to them. Shame on her…there’s so much going on right now that my brain gets the whizzies just trying to keep up.

There’s Carol Browner, re-affirming her absolute and slavish faith in the unassailable dogma of the Church of East Anglia. Pass that kool-aid, and don’t let little things like the discovery of the greatest scientific fraud conspiracy, for CONSPIRACY it is, in recorded history bother you. A bunch of elitist, ideologically-driven, leftist scientists with control over data and utilizing a completely incestuous peer review system, to ensure that outside commentary critical of their ‘genie in the bottle’ science was never exposed. All the while, conspiring with equally rabidly left-leaning, ideologically-driven scientists on this side of the pond to help legitimize and disseminate the same junk science. With their willing but not-so-bright accomplices, such as Al Gore and the equally fraudulent United Nations phony carbon trading schemes, power, control and riches were within their grasp. Until a funny thing happened on the way to the forum…the world woke up.

Meanwhile in our nation’s capitol, the usual White House rats are trying to foist off a major breach of security protocol on the Secret Service. The amateur Clown College is in full panic mode trying to cover up. At the same time the Chief of the Clown College has made a momentous decision which ONLY took about 14 weeks, one that any twelve year old could and would have made in fifteen minutes. That of sending the troops our military commanders had requested, to reinforce the men already in-country in Afghanistan, to accomplish the mission HE sent them over there to do. NOBODY in the military wants to serve under a gutless wonder and that’s what Obama is. Except leave out the ‘wonder’, he’s just gutless.

Now the Senate under the inimitable Dingy Harry Reid has been 'put on notice' that Harry will be working weekends to get the most massive rip-off in American history passed. Uh Harry, the Senate only has 14 working days until Christmas. It's extremely doubtful that the increasingly unpopular Reid can pull it off as Senators on both sides of the aisle begin to think of the rapidly approaching New Year, heralding mid-term elections in front of REALLY angry constituents and a nationwide electorate practically in a state of revolt.

With an economy flat-lined and unemployment affecting 1 out of 5 Americans, no one is willing to give Reid, Pelosi and Obama control over 1/6 of the American economy given their proven inability to manage even the simplest aspects of running this country. Don’t forget! CALL, EMAIL and WRITE to your Senators and every single one on the Senate list (just google it). Let them know they won’t be re-elected if they vote for this bill. Be CIVIL. Once again, it’s OK to be angry because we are! It’s OK to be forceful but leave out the four letter words. Those are the domain of the other side. Get ACTIVE! STAY ACTIVE! STAY INVOLVED!

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2009

 

Research Proves Global Warming Models Wrong

 

By Richard Boren

(Rick Boren is a contributing writer at LowDownCentral.com)

There is new research (review of it attached) which you may want to pass along to anyone who has been persuaded that (1) humans are causing the planet to warm, (2) this will have a disastrous effect, and (3) we should try to do something about it such as passing Cap and Trade legislation, installing subsidized wind and solar power plants, buying hybrid cars, CFL bulbs and so forth.   The more scientifically-oriented of you can go right to the attachment.  The article begins at the bottom of the first page. Others may choose to read the rest of this e-mail. Everyone should understand that it is NOT a proven fact that humans have any effect on the climate.  However, the media and some politicians treat it that way.  Those who say that "the science is settled" are just plain wrong.  Even Mr. Gore, if pressed, would have to admit that the predictions of warming are 100% the result of computer models. That's right, 100%.  It's all a prediction somewhat like predicting the weather, only much, much, harder. The people making these computer models insert the known facts.  They also insert various assumptions of how these facts will interact with one another, coming up with what they hope will be a model of the climate that will produce accurate predictions.  Those assumptions mean everything, and now the research proves that they are wrong.  And not just a little wrong.  It turns out that the assumptions are exactly backwards. At the risk of using a dated computer expression, don't forget that it's still true that Garbage In = Garbage Out (GIGO).  Have you ever worked with a computer spreadsheet?  Have you ever inserted your estimates of future revenue and expenses and seen how  a few little changes here and there can result in either huge profits or devastating losses?  You might, for example, realize that at 3% revenue growth you'll go broke in four years, but at 7% you'll be a billionaire in six years.  It's hard to be objective in those circumstances, especially if you have investors.  In the case of the climate modelers, virtually all of them are funded by grants designed to study the climate "problem."  No problem, no grant.  No fame either.  No political power.  Objectivity can be difficult to maintain.  The computer models on which all of the fears are based rely on the assumption that carbon dioxide (CO2), a weak greenhouse gas, will trigger something called positive feedback which will amplify its weak effect, causing the effect to grow and grow.  (Positive feedback here is not the same thing as getting compliments about your job performance.  In this case, it means that when more of something happens it triggers even more of it to happen, with a snowballing effect.)  The climate models on which the current fears are based all assume that this positive feedback will occur. Without this assumed positive feedback, no human-caused global warming will occur.  Without the positive feedback assumption, the predictions of the models wouldn't scare anyone. The good news for the planet is that instead of having to make feedback assumptions there is now real data, and it shows that in the real world the feedback is negative. This means that the warming effect of CO2 triggers an effect that offsets it.  Therefore, all of the models are wrong. In plain English, this means that increased CO2 will not warm the planet. Whoopee! You can read more about this in the attached newsletter, Access to Energy, with the article beginning at the bottom of the first page. (I've been a subscriber for over 30 years.)  For more background, and what you should do, please read on. As most of us know, Earth has warmed by about 1 degree over the last century.  It has been much warmer in the past, and we are still here.  It has been much colder in the past and we are still here.  Today we are in one of the better heat ranges.  Of course, at some point it would be too hot to sustain life as we know it.  As most of us also know by now, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a "greenhouse" gas.  That means that it tends to trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere rather than allowing it to escape into space.  CO2 is what humans and all animals exhale after breathing in oxygen.  It is also what is produced when we burn so-called fossil fuels like wood, coal and petroleum products.  No one doubts the benefits of the energy we get from these inexpensive sources.  Furthermore, plants need CO2.  Increased CO2 has greatly improved the growth of plants and trees.  However,  a legitimate concern is whether there is a serious or even catastrophic downside because of CO2's greenhouse effect.  Studying this issue has been the right thing to do to. CO2 is a relatively minor greenhouse gas, which means that its effect in and of itself is small.  There is not much of it in the atmosphere, about 300-400 parts for every million parts of air.  However, we are adding to it at a fairly good rate.  Given the economic realities, there is virtually no chance that countries like China and India are going to stop or even slow down very much.  To hear some people tell it, the very existence of mankind is threatened. That is, of course, unless we here in America turn our lives upside down and spend trillions of dollars on more expensive energy.  That will apparently convince the rest of the world to do the same.  Well, maybe not, but at least we'll be "green" --  green and poor.  Have you ever noticed that the poor people of the Third World don't care about being "green?"  Food and shelter come first. President Obama has advisors who are committed to the belief that humans are causing global warming and that we need to stop it.  Their mantra is "the science is settled."  I do not believe that they are intellectually honest.  Why else do they refuse every offer to debate the scientific issues?  Why do they resort to name-calling rather than dealing with the evidence? They will never admit that they are wrong, and Obama is not going to hear anything else. The information in the attachment is not going to get to him. Can you imagine Al Gore walking into the Oval office and saying, "Mr. President, there is new evidence on global warming.  It turns out that I was wrong.  There's no problem. We don't have to do anything about it."  It has been said that Al Gore is going to make a billion dollars off of cap and trade.  In my view he would deserve to make even more if he actually helped save the planet.  But he and the others who stand to make money or wield political power don't want to hear the good news.   And they won't unless you and others do something about it.  Last Friday, Glenn Beck interviewed Christopher Monckton, who briefly presented what I've discussed above.  This is probably the largest exposure this will get in the mass media.  If this troubles you, please tell others, including your elected representatives.  Spread the word: the sky is not falling.

 

The Story of the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals

Cro-Magnon Bore 

 

Once upon a time, tens of thousands of years ago, there lived in Europe two classes of primates. Although we don’t know what they called themselves, today we refer to them as the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals.

Although the two groups didn’t live together, their members would occasionally encounter one another in the forest. One day a young Neanderthal named Fil (pronounced “feel”) ran into an older Cro-Magnon named Thnk (pronounced “think”). Fil and Thnk had seen each other for years, and over time they developed the habit of taking a break from hunting by sitting down and having a chat beside the creek. 

Thnk began the conversation. “So, what’s up?” 

“Glad you asked,” said Fil, “we’re making big changes that will save Urth (pronounced “earth”). Urth was their name for the land in which everyone lived. 

“I didn’t know that Urth was in danger,” said Thnk. “What are you talking about?” 

“Our Witch Doctor studied the signs, and he told us that unless we stop using fire we will destroy Urth and us with it.” 

Thnk couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “What??? Stop using fire? How will you cook your food? How will you light your caves at night? How will you keep from freezing to death in the winter?” 

Fil answered, “That hasn’t been completely worked out, but our Tribal Chief has convinced us we are in a crisis. Both he and our Witch Doctor say that they are working on some promising alternatives. For example, they say that if we leave a bunch of rocks out in the sun all day they’ll get hot. Then we can bring them into the cave at night to keep warm. I don’t know how that would work on cloudy days, but they say that we’ll figure it out. They are putting our best wood gatherers and fire builders to work on the problem.” 

“We took a look at this issue ourselves,” said Thnk. Our Witch Doctor has been using a new kind of sign called Evdnc (pronounced “evidence”) and he doesn’t see a problem. In fact, our fire builders have discovered ways to make better fires with less wood. Now we have extra wood. I’m sure that we’ll come up with some uses for it.“ Thnk paused for a moment and added, “We just want to be warm and have plenty of food. Aren’t you afraid that giving up fire is big gamble? What if your Witch Doctor is wrong?” 

“I wondered about that,” said Fil, “but if I say anything, all of the others will say that I don’t care about Urth, and our Tribal Chief will make fun of me and will call me a denyr (pronounced “denier”). And they say that soon anyone who burns wood will be punished. I’ve been getting pretty cold at night lately, but I have to admit that I feel great about saving Urth so I guess it’s worth it. Besides, even if it doesn’t work out as planned we’ll still end up with soot-free caves.” 

A few months later Thnk saw Fil across a meadow. Fil looked thin and not well. Thnk thought about calling out to him, but it had started to snow so he headed for home where he knew that a nice warm fire was waiting for him. 

Much time passed. The Cro-Magnons evolved into modern man. The Neanderthals became extinct. All we know of them comes from the discovery of bone fragments found in remarkably soot-free caves.

Richard Boren

http://www.lowdowncentral.com/feature-article/2009/6/29/the-story-of-the-cro-magnons-and-the-neanderthals.html

 

Again leading from the rear

Thus Spake Al Gore:

If you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration.

It is my fervent hope that within the month we will see the former Vice President and a few dozen young persons chained to construction equipment outside Pittsburgh, chanting pro-nuclear slogans and eating soy granola.

I mean, that would be seriously fantastic.

Of course, it was just over a year ago that Mr. Gore said “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers, and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.”

While the spectres of Rachel Corrie and Daniel McGowan loom behind Mr. Gore, I can't help but wonder why he keeps putting the onus on young people to chain themselves to the construction equipment. Surely he's not afraid to get his hands dirty in order to save the planet? It's time to lead by example, Mr. Gore--and stop placing excessive burdens on future generations. Rather than asking the youth to risk jail or physical harm, wouldn't it be more responsible to encourage them to go see the last of the polar bears, or the few remaining glaciers? Before they're gone?

Let those few baby boomers who have a conscience bear the consequences of sacrifice. After all, this is a cause worth sacrificing for, isn't it Mr. Gore?

Three signs that #dontGo might be moving the ball

I have been a little skeptical of the whole #dontGo thing. Perhaps inappropriately so. I saw three thinigs today that might be changing my mind about the effect. At the very least, it is changing Democratic minds and raising GOP coin. I can't ask for better than that.

Grist and Open Left's Matt Stoller both object to this language from a letter from Al Gore's We Can Solve It campaign:

Last week, the U.S. Congress left Washington without addressing the energy crisis. They didn't deal with gas prices. They didn't move on solutions to climate change. What's worse, their inability to renew the clean energy tax credits means that government incentive programs to support the solar and wind industries will expire at the end of this year. Jobs will be lost as a result of their inaction.

Grist and Matt are right. When the greenies use that framing, we win.

Second, a Democratic candidate in upstate New York running against Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-NY) demands that Nancy Pelosi bring back Congress:

A top Democratic House candidate is calling for Congress to convene a special session to address the lingering energy problems that went unaddressed when the chamber adjourned earlier this month.

Gulf War veteran Eric Massa, who is making his second attempt at taking down Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.), stressed that he disagrees with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the issue. Pelosi has resisted calls — which have come almost exclusively from Republicans — for a special session.

And third, the RNC got in the game with an email this morning. This is both educating activists and raising coin. As Morton Blackwell noted last Friday, Republican activists see the GOP fighting for something. That's good.

Pointless: The Fight Against Global Warming

Crossposted at Right Minds

Recently, Al Gore made headlines by declaring that the world must end the use of fossil fuels for energy within ten years in order to prevent irreparable harm to the planet. According to the UK Guardian, Gore didn’t get into specifics in his speech, which was probably a good idea since the Alliance for Climate Protection (which Gore chairs) estimates that the cost of ending fossil fuel would range between 1.5 trillion and 3 trillion dollars. Gore claims that he is aware of the difficulties of this goal. He isn’t .
 
Reducing carbon dioxide by any meaningful amount is not just difficult—it is impossible. Anyone who claims differently simply has no idea of the role carbon dioxide plays in the modern world.
 
It really isn’t clear just how much carbon dioxide needs to go. Gore thinks all emissions should stop by 2018; that obviously won’t happen, even if we discover alternate energy sources which would provide for our energy needs. Gore and his alcolytles really don’t say just where the tipping point is—the emissions level in 1900 were 50 billion metric tons, and today emissions hover around 350 billion tons, but just where worldwide emissions crossed the line isn’t clear. For the sake of argument, lets assume that the salvation of the world depends on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by fifty percent. While probably actually less than Gore and company would want, that is a goal that is at least somewhat concievable.
 
And to meet even this comparatively modest goal, America, China, and Taiwan would have to completely eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions, and we still just barely reach this objective. And by America, I mean all of America—Canada and Mexico are included, along with the entirety of South America. That is what climate change advocates are up against—you could wipe two continents off the face of the earth and the problem would still exist. (Chart here)
 
Fortunately, Gore (Gore, by the way, seems to represent nearly all global warming doomsayers, so his statements usually speak for the whole movement), has a plan. By doing simple things like using environmentally friendly light bulbs, turning down the thermostat, and turning off lights when not in use, YOU can do your part to save the planet.
 
Nonsense. You could eliminate Great Britain and over 98% of carbon emissions would remain. Fighting global warming is waste of resources—if the science behind the theory is flawed, then doing so is unnecessary, if accurate, then it is futile. There is nothing we can do to affect global warming.
 
Most environmentalists would, I assume, would counter that argument by saying that when faced with a crisis of this magnitude, the least we can do is to try to stop it, even if the chances of success are slight. This is a bad idea. First, the concept of “humanity banding together to meet a near impossible challenge” only works in science fiction movies when the aliens invade Earth—it doesn’t hold up so well in real life. Second, humanity may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb—if the oceans will boil and the icecaps melt, we might as well preserve a decent standard of living in the process.
 
Furthermore, fighting global warming has a steep price. In Tanzania, the population can’t turn their thermostats down two degrees because they don’t have thermostats. In many South American countries, most people don’t have lights to turn off. Most of the globe remains poor in a world in which energy is mostly cheap and abundant. If Gore and his cronies get their way, energy will become immeasurably more expensive. These people will remain forever poor, victims of a war fought against an enemy that is either nonexistent or inescapable.
 
Climate change advocates should realize this fact. Taking government action to prevent global warming is more than pointless or futile—it is grossly irresponsible, and the global warming movement should consider the consequences of their policies.

 

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