welfare

Ann Coulter's CPAC Error

The Republican Party leadership is blind to the future; the party caters to its aging base while ignoring the younger generations. They are running a political deficit just as recent Republican administrations ran large budget deficits. This blindness is nicely illustrated in Ann Coulter’s recent address to CPAC. After giving a witty presentation she took some questions. The second half of the Q and A session displays contempt for the young -- and for the future of conservatism. See the video here (or below if I get the embed to work).

OK, so maybe adopting Ron Paul’s foreign policy is unrealistic. While we have our share of bungles playing world policemen, imagine if China took over that role. Imagine Burma, or Sudan...and shudder. So I am not suggesting that conservatives adopt a libertarian foreign policy. And certainly wouldn’t recommend going pro choice as some libertarians desire. The Right needs its religious faction as well. But I am greatly disturbed by this remark:

In fact, I always maintain that I’m more libertarian than most libertarians. I just wish they would stop babbling about legalization of pot. Because we have, before we get to that, we need to get to the elimination of the Agriculture Department, the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the EPA...

Sorry, legalizing pot is orders of magnitude more important than abolishing the Agriculture or Commerce departments. Paying a few extra tax dollars to raise excess soybeans pales in comparison to going to jail. The EPA might even be worth keeping -- for those who give a damn about the future; i.e., the young.

Does the Republican Party want to be the party of “getting government off your back?” When you are in jail or on probation, government is very much “on your back!”

Coulter somewhat realizes that marijuana legalization is part of the small government package, but she qualifies the sentiment with this zinger:

We’ve got a lot of work to do before we get to the perfect libertarian state where people can take drugs and I don’t have to pay for them when they can’t get a job.

Um, Ms. Coulter, quite a few drug users have jobs. In fact, in some industries, such as Hollywood -- you know, the last remaining industry where U.S. exports dominate the world -- marijuana smoking is endemic. Maybe they ought to lay off the scotch and take up pot smoking on Wall St. They couldn’t do any worse.

OK, it is true that some people smoke too much dope and get lazy thereby. And this population might go up a notch if pot was legalized. And a few of those lazy hippies might collect a welfare check. Well, here is an idea, and it’s straight from the Bible: deal with it.

Jesus was a hippie. He and his followers couch surfed across Judea criticizing the ungenerous rich. In between free meals bummed from leading citizens of the towns they visited, they made use of the gleaner laws, part of the welfare system of the day. They picked ears of corn from fields they did not plant. These were able-bodied men; they had access to the best healthcare in human history. Yet they collected welfare.

And this points to another lesson conservatives need to learn: welfare per se does not lead to laziness, crime, and broken families. Conditional welfare does. Expend too much effort making sure welfare recipients deserve some meager largesse, and people will get good at being poor, ill, and without family. A safety net that bounces the able back into the workforce must be generous enough to feed a few undeserving hippies. Study the Old Testament welfare system for ideas on how to do be kinder and gentler without becoming a RINO. Do so and the party might get a few more of those low income Christians needed to form a majority coalition. You cannot build a majority recruiting at the country club.

 

Liberal Fallout Zones

In Northeast Washington, DC off Minnesota Avenue a neighborhood sits tucked between the entrance ramps to 295 North and South. The four story buildings line a one way street that loops around in a circle. Residents of these buildings call the complex "Paradise." But in reality, this area is another liberal fallout zone. Instead of Nuclear disaster areas like Chernobyl in Russia, liberals in America have created desolate areas where the harm from their bombs (social programs) manifests itself as crime, hopelessness and generational poverty.

 

In an article written over 20 years ago Time magazine touched upon an issue that seemed epic at the time during the era of crack cocaine:

"...No one seriously thought the inner city could be transformed overnight. But few were cynical enough to envision what actually happened: an entire generation would pass as life in the black ghettos of a rich nation went from bad to almost unimaginably worse.

‘You tell me what went wrong,' asks Jonas Walker, 33, at the end of another long summer's day of hanging out on a street corner in Liberty City, a ghetto north of downtown Miami. ‘We got civil rights, we got welfare,' he says. ‘But look around here.' For emphasis, he kicks at a pile of empty beer cans littering the sidewalk."

The emphasis added in the quote is mine and America's current crisis is interrelated with the plight of urban area. The current situation in America's poor neighborhoods illustrates the perpetuity of this downward spiral.

Johnson's "Great Society" included historic civil rights advances but history has shown that Democrats have a tendency to attach riders to any attempts toward racial progress. Welfare and other social programs like subsidized housing created a dependency on the government that has crippled the ability of these urban areas to survive.

For instance, subsided housing provided by the government - commonly known as the "projects" - sprung up all over America after civil rights advances. Poor minorities were told where to live, how many to a household while the government doled out just enough money to keep some of the building from falling apart. During this same period a number of organizations inspired by the Cloward Pivan Strategy sprang up with the intent to add even more people to the welfare rolls.

"Cloward-Piven is a strategy for forcing political change through orchestrated crisis.

The strategy was first proposed in 1966 by Columbia University political scientists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven as a plan to bankrupt the welfare system and produce radical change. Sometimes known as the 'crisis strategy' or the 'flood-the-rolls,' bankrupt-the-cities strategy," the Cloward-Piven approach called for swamping the welfare rolls with new applicants - more than the system could bear. It was hoped that the resulting economic collapse would lead to political turmoil and ultimately socialism."

As the health care debate rages on across the country, American are waking to the realization that the same people who tested those social programs on minorities and the poor are now poised to unleash their new "test to the system" on a national scale. Bill and Hillary Clinton allowed their activist connections to influence their decisions on the Community Reinvestment Act and Universal Health care in the 90's. Now, the first community organizer to become President has employed strategies and tactics that can be traced to the early organizing of the welfare movement.

If the state of America's urban areas is any indication, most of the money for these so-called social programs never reached the people it was intended to help. This raises the question as to why, after 40 years of attempts to fix one sector of America's population, do liberals think that more failed programs are the answer? The answer may lie in the fact that the opportunity that liberals see on the horizon only comes once in a generation, and they are attempting a drastic social change.

Poverty is big business and a predicate for class warfare intended to perpetuate political power in the masters of that big business. In the current climate special interest groups are writing bills and influencing votes amid a huge liberal spending binge. People have tolerated the blighted urban areas; some lived there, while others drove by. But can America afford a fallout area that covers most of the country? Can we bounce back after the failed public healthcare system joins the graveyard of welfare, social security, cash for clunkers and so many others?

On the Political Dark Arts

The Dark Arts of Politics has an undeserved bad rap.  To begin, let's quote the classic master:

My view is that it is desireable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved.

Next, let's quote the modern master

People react to fear, not love --they don't teach that in Sunday School, but it's true.  

While it doesn't hurt to give voters a positive reason to vote for you (and it frequently helps) the most important thing to do in any election is the make the voters hate the other guy more.  The Dark Arts are an absolutely essential component of any successful politcal campaign/movement. A brief history of successful recent Republican Presidential campaigns shows this to be so.

In 1968, the Presidential election occured against the failure of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.  Johnson's welfare policies, aided and abetted by local politicians like New York's John Lindsay, gutted economic activity in America's cities.  Various Supreme Court Decisions, also abetted by local politicians like Lindsay, gutted the ability of local police forces to fight crime.  Taxes, Crime, and Welfare were all up; the result was urban riots across America.  When citizens objected to this state of affairs, politicans like Lindsay called them racist.  In addition, the cultural excesses of the hippie generation horrified many more traditional Americans.  People legitmately resented what was happening around them.

Against this background, Richard Nixon realized that most Americans were ordinary people trying to raise their family and live a good life.  Americans deserved respect and would vote for a politician who gave it to them; that was the origin of Nixon's 'Silent Majority.'  Nixon was able to channel the frustrations listed above to form a new political coalition as blue collar Democrats abandonded their ancestral party in droves.

The contrast between the respective parties' conventions that year is telling.  In a (reasonably) orderly manner, Republicans nominated Nixon and adopted a party platform promising 'law and order' and 'peace with honor [in Vietnam].'  Democrats, by contrast, were barely able to nominate a candidate and had a riot outside their convention.  When one party has an orderly convention and the other has a riot, why shouldn't the non-riot party campaign on law and order?

In 1972, Democrats handed Nixon a gift by nominating the candidate of Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion on a platform of "Come Home America."  Republicans countered by pointing out that the Democrat Party "has been seized by a radical clique which scorns our nation's past and would blight her future."  Nixon won a 49 state landslide.  Need I say more?!?

Reagan's use of the Dark Arts are particularly fascinating.  In the context of the Machiavelli quote listed above, Reagan was one of the few leaders who genuinely made himself BOTH Loved AND Feared.  Reagan's sunny optimism and the fact that he was ultimately a successful President cause us to forget that he was also willing to play political hardball when he had to.

In 1980, shortly after the Republican Convention, Reagan appeared in Philadelphia Mississippi and gave a speech that has been taken out of context by liberals ever since.  In this speech, Reagan made the pedestrian statement that:

I believe in states’ rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment.

Taken in context, it's obvious this was a simple statement about the role of the Federal govt. in economic policy.  While the content of Reagan's statement shows no racial meaning, he had to know it would antagonize the left.  This statement led liberals to characterize Reagan supporters (and working class soft Carter supporters) as racist.  This, in turn, fed on the same resentments Nixon did in a much more subtle way.  On top of that, Reagan did it with a smile on his face.  Simply brilliant!

Reagan's re-election campaign actually used the dark arts far more liberally than his first race.  At the convention, in Dallas, Reagan's U.N. Ambassador assailed the moral equvalence of San Francisco Democrats

They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do - they didn't blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians - they blamed the United States instead.But then, somehow, they always blame America first.When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.But then, they always blame America first.When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.But then, they always blame America first.When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.But then, they always blame America first.

Kirkpatrick's truthful declaration was not the only instance of the Dark Arts in Dallas that year.  At a prayer breakfast on the morning of his acceptance speech, Reagan told 17,000 Texans about the absurdity of how, thanks to liberal judges

we passed a special law in the Congress just a few weeks ago to allow student prayer groups the same access to schoolrooms after classes that a young Marxist society, for example, would already enjoy with no opposition.

Finally, in an election that also saw the greatest postive ad of all time, Reagan's Bear in the Woods ad was one of the greatest examples of electoral fearmongering I've ever seen.

Moving along to 1988, it's worth noting that most of the hits on Dukakis were self inflicted.  No one told Dukakis to call himself a card carrying member of the ACLU, not care about his wife getting raped and killed, or ride around looking like a doofus in that tank.  That said, it's time to discuss Willie Horton.

One of the great myths of modern politics is that the Willie Horton ad was somehow racist.  It wasn't racist, it was about crime and Dukakis' record on that topic.  It's true that Horton was a convicted murderer.  It's true that Dukakis furloughed him 10 times.  It's true that Horton assaulted two innocent people.  It's also true that that ad would have been just as effective had Willie Horton looked like this guy.  How was this not fair game?

In 2000, John McCain already had a long running fued with the Religious Right over Campaign Finance Reform.  McCain was the one who threatened to shut them down if they got in his way.  They had every right to hit back.

George W. Bush successful re-election campaign was notable to students of the Dark Arts for two reasons.  First, the swift boat veterans played an essential role in getting out the truth about John Kerry.  While some of the claims of what happened in Vietnam were disputed (and never setteled), no one can deny John Kerry's activities when he returned from Vietnam.  Given that the man lied about what American troops did in Vietnam to the U.S. Congress, isn't this something the American people have a right to know?

Finally, 2004 is notable because, more than any time since 1864, Americans had a genuine reason to feel afraid.  While Democrats like to whine about this fact, the simple fact is that who will keep you safe was a legitimate topic for a devestating ad.

So what does this all mean?

1) Opportunities for the Dark Arts arise from genuine problems.  That's why we shouldn't feel bad about using them.  To use some examples from the past 40 years:

- Why shouldn't people be afraid of rising crime?

- Why shouldn't people resent welfare recipents living off their taxes while they struggle to get by?

- If some liberal judge wants to make them get their kids up an hour early so they can get bused to some far off school, why should they accept it?

- If a sitting Governor gives some convicted felon a weekend furlough, why shouldn't said Governor be held accountable?  Why is that racist?

- If a sitting senator votes against a critical homeland security measure, shouldn't he get called on it?

 

2) The left is the aggressor in the culture wars.  They're the ones who want to take God out of the public square.  They're the ones who want six year olds to attend gay weddings.  They're the ones proposing taxpayer subsidized abortion.  Why should we feel bad about fighting back?  The tactics the left hates so much basically involves us calling them out on who they really are and telling the public what they really want to do.  What's wrong with that?

 

3) George W. Bush's Anti-Terrorist policies have worked.  In the next year, Obama will face politically difficult decisions regarding Patriot Act renewal, Guantanamo Bay, and surging in Afghanistan.  If Obama continues Bush's policies, we should quietly work with him to give him the votes he needs in Congress while letting him take the heat from his base.  On the other hand, if he chooses to discontinue any of these vital policies, we should come at him with everything we've got.  If this happens, there should be no hesitation to point out that "Barack Obama does not care about Americans' safety.  It's too soon to tell how this will play out, but we should be prepared for either possibility.

 

4) We really do love America more than they do.  I know it's not politically correct to say, but after 9/11 conservatives did this while liberals did this.  A couple weeks ago Joel Stein (of all people) penned this amazingly perceptive and surprisingly honest column.  Stein admits:

Conservatives feel personally blessed to have been born in the only country worth living in. I, on the other hand, just feel lucky to have grown up in a wealthy democracy. If it had been Australia, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Israel or one of those Scandinavian countries with more relaxed attitudes toward sex, that would have been fine with me too.

While his statement about sex was particularly pompus and obnoxious, this entire paragraph (and column) is revealing.  Liberals don't wear articles of clothing with American Flags; Conservatives do.

On a similar note, I would never have had my kids baptized by this guy.  I would never work with this guy on education.  That's why Michelle Bachman is my hero.

Ok, I've said a mouthful.  Comments on this one should be interesting.

Thoughts/Suggestions???

The Simple Solutions to Current Problems

I hope that this won’t sound like too much of a ramble that you hear while you’re sitting at a bar getting drunk, but it needs to be said.

 

The longest lasting issue that will affect every other aspect of the American way of life is the economy.  I’m not saying that we’re going into the next Great Depression, but we’re in a bit of a slump, it happens.  The best way to solve that problem is to go back to the basics and start over.  The Government has taken so much control over everything that can be done and “should” be done American entrepreneurs can’t excel.  The biggest hurdle to jump is the tax system that is currently set in place.  There are so many issues and impediments that you need to hire an extra tax attorney just to make sure that you’re not breaking any laws.  The simple solution is the FairTax.   

 

The FairTax is the simplest, most effective, and most efficient idea that a politician has ever conceived and supported.  With the weight taken off everyone’s shoulders so that they get all of their paychecks every week, people will want to spend money.  The idea with the monthly pre-bate check also encourages the low income families to either save for the future (maybe for college so we actually have more kids learning), or purchase things now so they go ahead and contribute back to the system. 

 

After becoming the world’s tax haven, more factories come back home while more come here for the first time.  We open up thousands of new jobs across the country (no more unemployment issues!).  And if as the economists who have studied the FairTax are right, then the economy doubles in 15 years!  This then fixes the bankrupting Social Security that I won’t get a piece of otherwise.  It helps with welfare, the country’s growing deficit, war funding, and anything else that our economy can spit out.  No one can avoid taxes on the FairTax, even those illegal immigrants who should have been deported. 

 

Next issue, illegal immigration.  It’s illegal, what’s the issue?  Deport them.  If we want to give them an amnesty program just to appease people, here’s my proposal.  We pay for the materials for a Great Wall of Mexico (I want to see it from space), but we get the Mexicans who want to come into the Land of the Free to build it.  In return, they become fully legalized immigrants.  We could even let them build apartment complexes for them to live in as long as they pay the Federal government rent.  With the apartment complex built near the wall, we then can hire them as border patrol.  We also would have to put a much smaller contingent of other American citizens behind that line to keep them honest from letting their cousin Jose in.  Maybe even just a load of cameras with automatic gun turrets to keep down on the number of Americans who would be sweating in that heat. 

 

Next and last issue, the Iraq War.  We are there, finish the job.

 

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