Thursday, May 08, 2008

More on Senator John McCain, the Boundaries of Conservative Republican Thought Historically Speaking, and Certain Troubling Contemporary Ahistorical So-Called "Conservative" Trends Thereof:
(Part IV of a Dialogue)

This is a continuation from the third part of this series which can be accessed here. To start from the beginning (if you have not read the previous parts) please go here. And though I have noted it in every part of the series so far, a reminder of the colour schemata in this series (to cut down on confusion as to the sequence of arguments) seems to me to be advisable; ergo I reiterate yet again what I noted in the first part of this series:

The orange font is from the emailer's original email while light blue font is my responses to the emailer's original note. The dark green font is from the emailer's follow-up to my first response while the regular blog font colour is my response to the emailer's follow-up note. Any sources I quote in this note will be in dark blue font and possibly smaller type as a result of the format this original text was taken from (I do not have time to change it). [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 26, 2008)]

Without further ado...

What I am surprised by is that you did not realize this until now or (if you did) you did a good job of hiding it. There is a reason I am not a Republican anymore XXXXXXX -a reason why twelve years ago I told the Republicans to blow it out their pieholes. I was sick of this crap back then and over time my view has not changed. Welcome to the realization I had back then: that the establishment usually wins because they stack the deck against those who are outsiders.

Tell me what good does leaving the GOP do? How does that help advance the conservative cause? This is the very thing the country club establishment wants.

To explain the dynamic I sense is coming will require a history lesson but heck, I am willing to provide it. To start with, there are conservatives in both parties XXXXXXX, not just the Republicans. There are also conservative Independents. Ultimately party loyalty is what is killing this country and frankly I think both major parties need to be obliterated.

Now before you think what I am saying is not possible, it happened in the 1800's on more than one occasion. To start with, the Federalists (party of Washington, Hamilton, Morris, and Adams) was the original party of those who favoured the Constitution and a strong federal government and an energetic executive. However, the Federalists did not come into being as a party strictly speaking until the 1790's after the dispute over the Bank of the United States and Thomas Jefferson founded a party in opposition to it which former Federalist James Madison joined.

The Federalists ruled from 1789-1801 and went into decline after the death of former President George Washington (1799), the loss of President Adams in the second contested presidential election to Thomas Jefferson (1800), and the death of Alexander Hamilton in his duel with Aaron Burr (1804) left the party without a strong leader to coalesce around. The Federalists made matters worse in their opposition to the War of 1812 and as a party they were dead after 1816.{1} It is true that there were still identified Federalists as late as 1830 but there was no party of that name or general principle by that time even if former Federalist and the greatest chief justice in United States history (Chief Justice John Marshall: an Adams appointee) was still running the Supreme Court into the 1830's.{2}

The opposition Republican party (now styled the Democratic-Republican party) was founded in 1792 and took power in 1801. By 1820 they were the only party in the country and thus the 1920 election was won virtually unopposed by incumbent President James Monroe: only the third time in history this happened after General Washington's two unanimous elections to the presidency in 1788 and 1792. However, that party could not sustain itself due to competing interests and it broke apart into factions between 1821 and 1824 which resulted in the election of 1824 having four candidates of the same party (Democratic-Republican or the old Jeffersonian party) with Secretary of State John Quincy Adams winning despite not getting most of the popular vote or even the electoral majority over General Andrew Jackson,{3} Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford, and Speaker of the House Henry Clay. From this election, President Adams and Speaker Clay went on to form the Independent Republican party from the more federalist-minded of the Democrat-Republicans while President Jackson's supporters founded what is the modern Democratic party. Those were the two parties that competed for the presidency in the 1828 election which was a rematch of President Adams and General Jackson -and Andrew Jackson beat President Adams pretty convincingly in that election.

Speaker Clay ran unsuccessfully as the nominee of that party against President Jackson in 1832 and was soundly beaten by Jackson despite there being an Independent candidate and an Anti-Mason party candidate in that election. But between 1832 and 1836 there was another party reconfiguration which resulted in the 1836 election seeing the Democratic party candidate opposed by four members of the Whig party -a party formed out of the Independent Republicans and Democrats who were pissed off at President Jackson. The Whigs tried to run four candidates against Vice President Martin Van Buren{4} to keep a majority and getting it thrown into the House of Representatives where one of four Whigs could be selected. The strategy backfired as Martin Van Buren won enough electoral votes to secure the victory. The election for the Vice Presidency was contested and thrown into the House of Representatives: the first and only time thus far that this has happened in case you did not know.

The newly formed Whigs would go onto win the presidency in 1840{5}, lose in 1844{6}, win in 1848 (with General Zachery Taylor), lose in 1852 (with General Winfield Scott as the nominee), and then come apart at the seams over the issue of slavery shortly afterward. The Republican party was formed in 1854 from the wreckage of the Whigs with the issue of slavery as its main issue running their first presidential candidate in a losing cause in 1856. They would succeed the second time with Abraham Lincoln as their candidate. At that point we had the two major parties we have had to this day.

I see us in the stages (and we have been for some time) of a major implosion of one or more major political parties and a similar recasting required today. Like those days it will require some major issues of convergence. The Federalists and the original "Republicans" were opposed on the principle of federalism. The Jacksonians were aligned against the recharter of the Bank of the United States and against business in general while the Independent Republicans (and the later Whigs) were a more business oriented party which was also less strident on the subject of slavery than the Jeffersonians. The Republican party came out of the wreckage of the Whigs with the signal issue of slavery and its abolition.

We are in a similar situation today where a major issue or two will potentially form another major party and whether it becomes a third party or merely replaces one of the major parties remains to be seen. We may even in the next ten to twenty years see two major parties formed: the situation today in many respects is as chaotic on some major issues as it was in the period from 1824-1854: a thirty year period where major parties were cast and broke apart until we saw the formation of the two parties we have seen as the winners of every presidential election since 1854. Those who were involved in shaping the previous formations did not do so from within the major parties even if they were sympathetic to{7} certain general presuppositions of one major party or the other.

There has been a kind of paradigm shift in the works for a long time -as far back as 1964 actually- and what happened in 1972, in 1980, and in 1992 were all ingredients that go into what we will quite likely be seeing in the not too distant future. (As similarly weighty issues shaped the new configurations along the lines of the way slavery and the approach to federal power shaped party reconfigurations in the nineteenth century.) The Democratic party has been living on borrowed capital for about a generation and I do not view what the Republican party has become in the past twenty years as anything worthy of being saved.

As far as the Republicans go, part of the reason I say that is the absurd and ahistorical mentality of those who ascribe one particular view of things as "THE conservative view" or "THE conservative movement." And yes, one of those I take issue with in this area is Rush Limbaugh but by no means is he the only one who does this. Whatever else a President McCain could accomplish possibly expediting that realignment which has long been in the making is one of them. As far as fiscal discipline goes, he cannot possibly do worse than the current president has done who (unlike his father) does not have the veneer of the excuse that President Reagan had for the deficits that stacked up during his presidency.{8} Even W's daddy can claim he had to fight a Democratically controlled congress in both parties unlike Reagan who at least had a Republican senate for the first six years of his term. (Budgetary matters while input on them can come from both houses and even the president to some extent nonetheless originate in the House which if they do not originate it, the money is not allocated; ergo the importance of having control of the House.)

There are in other words circumstances that mitigate the first six years of Reagan's term{9} and the entire four years of W's daddy's term. We need not bring Clinton into this because the deficits were smaller during his presidency and eventually there were surpluses: one good thing the Republicans did in his administration that he reluctantly went along with. (Another was comprehensive welfare reform.)

Since George H. W. Bush repudiated the Reagan legacy and by that cost himself the election in 1992, this has been what we have had to deal with. Gingrich's congresses promised a lot and delivered very little and the six years we had of a Republican congress and president were shameful in their fiscal lack of discipline.

The 1994 takeover of Congress refutes your implication that a straightforward telling them what was what conservative can't win. It sure did in 1994, irregardless of whether or not it was implemented.

My assertion stands because promises without action are worthless. Furthermore, midterm elections historically are usually of a lower turnout so that factor has to be taken into account as well. And besides, the Republicans in 1994 were hardly as "straight forward" as you claim. The whole "balanced budget in seven years" thing while better than what was seen previously was nonetheless a bit evasive because Gingrich and company did not bother to tell the American people that the reason for the deficits was ballooning federal programs that needed to be cut or eliminated outright in actuality not merely given smaller increases from year to year and trying to grow the economy to a balanced budget situation.

Now I must admit that I do not blame the congressional Republicans of the 1990's for taking the approach they did on the budget because they caught enough flack for it from the idiots in the media who were too stupid to realize that adding more money to a program every year -even if the amount added is less than what was originally scheduled- is an increase in funding not a cut. It was a good move but a lot more was needed. Certainly it is better than the idiots who ran Congress from 2001-2006 and whose 2006 budget was a 3 trillion budget that was growing every year and still running annual deficits of no small significance!!!

To give you some scope of this, the 1987 budget was 1 trillion. So the budget from 1987 to 2007 tripled. And considering the rate of inflation for that period in time, a credible argument cannot be made that those increases were for "cost of living adjustments" or whatever. We are in some serious trouble here when we have two parties which are birds of the same feather on issues such as the budget, so-called "free trade", illegal immigration, and other significant issues. This monopoly on significant issues cannot continue indefinitely and it will not be.

Can it be said that McCain has acted, in his political career, in manner "worthy of his suffering"? I think not.

His record is mixed but that is not uncommon for politicians of twenty years standing in DC.

Voting the wrong way on a bill that has complex facets is one thing, actively co-authoring legislation that is anti-conservative is quite another.

He considered running alonside the unrepentant John Kerry, whose, 1971 testimony was played repeatedly in the Hanoi Hilton, according the POW's who supported the SBVFT in 2004.


Again, we have John Kerry's word on this and if you want to trust Kerry on this than you are being amazingly selective in what you will accept from him.

No, we have McCain's word on that. McCain admitted that he would consider accepting a VP slot on Kerry's ticket.

I already dealt with this and what you are referring to was McCain speaking of an impossible hypothetical situation. If you think that was something serious then you are really in need of toning down the lithium dosages because it sounds like something Dr. Savage would say.

He panders to the media, many of whom who show more sympathy with his captors than they do the POW's.

This is "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" kind of stuff XXXXXXX.

How so? So, you don't think McCain panders to the left wing media and that that very same left wing media that has more sympathy for those who held McCain and his fellow POWs in totureous squalor for over a half decade? In fact, when I pointed this out to you before, you seemed to be in agreement with it. Why the sea change all of a sudden?

You just went from "many of whom show more sympathy" to "that...media has more sympathy" in a kind of universal statement. Furthermore, while I have no love for the msm (as you probably know) unfortunately they are at times a necessary evil to deal with. We can debate on the best way of how this is done but there is no "one size fits all" approach to be taken.

My intuition on McCain and the media is that McCain tries to take a Reagan like approach to the media but does not recognize that executives (be they presidents or governors) are in a better position to pull it off than congressmen and senators are - Reagan's profound superiority at public speaking over McCain notwithstanding of course.

This has always bothered the hell out of me about McCain.

Whether we like it or not XXXXXXX, the media is a necessary evil in a lot of this. Without them, it is hard to nearly impossible to get your message to a broader audience and with them, you have to deal with the fact that they have an agenda. (We have alternatives now that we did not have in years past but McCain is pretty old school in this regard to some extent.) Whatever prudence or lack thereof that you want to ascribe to Senator McCain in this area, it would be wise to view the situation for what it is.

How is pandering to the left wing media necessary for conservatives? If anything it is couterproductive for conservatives. The biggest mistake a republican not to mention a conservative one can make is pander to the media. This is the very thing that sunk Newt Gingrich.

What sunk Gingrich to a good extent is that he was a good guerilla fighter on the defensive but not really cut out to be the primary spokesman on issues pertaining to an overall agenda. There are other factors that led to his downfall but that was a key one right there. He is not the first leader of a revolution who once they were in power could not effectively govern nor will he be the last.

The one thing Rush Limbaugh warned the 1994 freshman class about was to not try to get the media to like them. That it would be the very thing that destroyed them becuase the left wing media hates republicans and conservatives even more so. You couldn't anymore worng when you say McCain isn't stupid. He is not only stupid, but his relationship with the media is a textboook example who of how useful an idiot can be.

As I said before, McCain is old school when it comes to the media. You see it as "useful idiot" and I see it as a seventy-one year old senator who does not understand many of the dynamics of the new media age we are in. I am not saying Limbaugh is wrong on this point in principle but he also spoke to the freshmen at a time when there was no real alternatives to the mainstream media other than the very small (but growing rapidly) talk radio outlet and the occasional conservative publication of limited circulation (like National Review).

With the advent of a more balanced overall media picture now -including more conservative-inclined cable news outlets like FoxNews, the explosion of the internet, and a variety of online sources such as Drudge, NewsMax, etc- the landscape is significantly different now than it was even in 1994 which (lest you forget) was two years before the launch of FoxNews. If you want to claim that McCain should have better adapted to the changing circumstances of media in that time, perhaps so but a lot of things have changed very rapidly in a short span of time and a rule of life is that older people (and McCain at seventy-one qualifies as old) do not usually respond quickly to these sorts of changes.

The recent New York Slimes non-story about McCain and the lobbyist could not be anymore timely in proving my point. This is a story they have been sitting on for eight years. Now, why would they sit on such a hot non-story for that long? Simple. They've been waiting for McCain to get the nomination so they can destroy him. IOW, they've been playing him. Sad thing is, a blind man could see this coming from a mile away, but McCain being so blinded by his desire to be liked was too stupid to see it. And since the left-wing media is a stable of whores and the Old Gray Lady is the madam you can expect a lot more of this.

Perhaps but people have gotten a lot more jaded about the msm in recent years. And unlike in previous times, there are a host of ways to fact check and otherwise examine these matters via "Armstrong research,"{10} That is why the msm has gotten their eyes blackened in recent years with an increasing frequency: that and the fact that the msm is not the only game in town anymore...just ask Dan Rather about that.

Before you use the "President Reagan went over the heads of the media to the people" line, remember that as president there is a bully pulpit of sorts that senators and house representatives do not have. Unlike the president who can call press conferences by virtue of his position -and thus has a platform for making their views known apart from media spin- senators and representatives cannot do that unless they at least implicitly do something that appears to support the media weltanschauung. And a Republican who does not toe the Republican party line fits that in a way that a Democrat who does not toe the Democratic party line does not. This is not to defend or excuse McCain mind you but instead to remind you of what he is up against. As president he will not be so constrained.

Reagan's ability to go over the heads of the media precedes his presidency.

He did it as governor of California too...another executive position. Prior to that, Reagan was the head of the Screen Actors Guild: another executive position of sorts. Starting to see a pattern yet???

Otherwise how do you think he got elected without the benefit of an influential conservative talk radio?

Two words: Jimmah Carter.

If he had that he would have even been able to destroy Clinton (the only Dem President since FDR to to get reelected) in 1996.

Who would have been able to destroy Clinton in 1996??? Surely you do not mean Reagan who was in the throes of Alzheimers by that point.

And given McCain's hero status as a POW, it gave him a great opportunity to speak over the heads of the media but he chose to be a suck ass. And given McCain's long standing reputation as a left wing media kiss ass, it would most definitely constrain him as president because reputations do matter.

McCain's hero status as a POW of a war that the msm despised and continues to despise. Or did you forget about that part of the equation???

This is a mere synopsis of the problems I have with John McCain. His nomination perplexes me greatly.

He was not even in my top four of candidates. In order, my candidate choices ideally were 1) Duncan Hunter 2) Fred Thompson 3) Sam Brownback 4) Mitt Romney 5) John McCain 6) Rudy Guiliani. I would vote for a Democrat before I would vote for either Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul so I need not mention them. I only want you to realize in my saying this that I am not enthralled by McCain being the nominee either but we have what we have.

You're number one guy endorsed the one you demonize the most. What does that say?

The pickings among the candidates that were left at that point were on the issue of illegal immigration akin to Scylla and Charybdis.{11} I frankly wish Hunter would have said nothing but it did not happen that way obviously. Imagine that: politics is the art of the possible not of the perfect.

On one hand, a good case can be made that he is better than both Shrillary and the Magic Negro.

Side note: that Sharpton parody from Paul Shanklin is my favourite parody in a long time!!!

It's one I would, under normal circumstances, instinctively embrace. But Rush Limbaugh makes the point that if we are going suffer in the next four years it is better that it be a Democrap holding the bag for it than a republican.

Limbaugh is not going to fail to support McCain. I remember in 1992 he said a lot of the same things about Bush's papa and then went out and supported Bush Sr. He will do the same thing this time -guaranteed.

Uhmm, don't think so.

I have yet to see Rush not support a Republican.

If anything, he will give tacit support at best. Remember, McCain is a totally different animal than Bush Sr. In fact, I think Rush is right when he says that his endorsing McCain would hurt him given the fact that conservatives are not going to enthusiasctically back McCain and Rush's endorsement will only scare the liberals McCain is going to have to win over.

Tacit or otherwise, he will endorse McCain: that was my point.

Now, I'm not sure if I would embrace that view, but it can't be dismissed out of hand given what a McCain Administration would bring in the unlikely event he wins in November.

I remind you that a year is a long time in politics...McCain has lower unfavourable ratings than Clinton (and that is not going to change) and Obama is still quite unknown. The more Obama is drawn out, the less attractive he will be.

Yes, but once McCain attacks Obama's liberalism, Obama can strike back by saying "Senator McCain just last year you were on the same side as us on many of these issues." IOW, Obama will have an easy time portraying McCain as the weaker version of himself that McCain truly is. Obama may be an empty suit, but he is light years smarter than McCain.

Obama's inexperience is going to hurt him against McCain after Hill is through beating Barack to a pulp. That is the value of Hill staying in the race: she will be able to go after Obama in ways that McCain could not if it was just him and Obama. And of course once she does that, McCain could then merely "concur with the senator from New York" on these matters.

And there are not a whole lot of issues which Obama can claim that he and McCain are simpatico on. Hillary would have an easier time making that argument than Obama would (albeit not by much) but she is not likely to at this point get the nomination unless she can lock up enough delegates to take it at the convention through a back room deal. If that happens, the fallout for the Democrats would be a lack of substantive unity going into November which would be a detriment to them.

I think these are things we conservatives have to think long and hard about in the next nine months.

As a former Republican you have my sympathies. But you wonder why I have in various ways endorsed a third option in politics for a long time. But for all your talk about how that throws things to the Democrats, now you appear to be willing to do the same thing but directly instead of potentially indirectly.

First of all, the main reason I oppose the stupid ass third party theory is that our electoral and governemental process doesn't faclitate more than two major parties in practice. I said this clearly when I utterly destroyed your Kingdom for a Third Party arguments a year or so ago.

That was three and a half years ago and your recollection is faulty on more than just the time line.

What, you don't think I would remember?

My how we revise the past and omit what is not convenient!!! I remember having to constantly explain to you that I was not proposing the traditional approach to third parties in that hypothesis but you continued to misrepresent my stance. Yeah, misrepresentation is "destroying [my] arguments" alright...more like erecting strawmen, knocking them down, and then crowing about "victory"...What, you do not think Iwould remember???{12} I may not be a Republican anymore but I still have a memory like an elephant most of the time.

If you care as much about preserving conservative constitutionally sound principles you cannot be indifferent to what happens to the Republican party whether you regard yourself as such.

Who said I was indifferent??? Just because I do not tip the biretta, bow three times, and incense uncritically the dogmatic pronouncements of Pope Limbaugh on what is and is not conservative does not make me indifferent.

At least the indirect approach sets the table for something possibly coming out of it other than establishment retrenching. But then again, you seem to not recall just how Reagan was really perceived by the establishment: he was as distrusted by the "far right" as he was the "far left."

No, your third party idea only further empowers the country club establishmment within the GOP.

Since you continue to not get the third party idea that I outlined (which is in many respects unconventional anyway), it is difficult for me to not laugh as I type this in response. You remind me of those fundamentalists who no matter how many times it is explained to them continue to say "but Catholics worship Mary."

It is damn difficult to have a dialogue when one party refuses to listen and (as a result) continues to caricature the position of others. Even if I do not always represent 100% accurately your view it is not for want of listening as people capable of critical discernment often have nuances to their positions which are not self-evident and require repeated emphasis. But one thing I do tire of very quickly is those who are set straight on an issue more than once and yet they continue to repeat the same misunderstandings or errors over and over again. How I choose to respond to such things depends on a case by case basis on my mood or level of patience at the time respond to this sort of thing in a variety of ways.

Let's see what your vote for Perot "set the table" for, eight years of Clinton and eight years of Bush.

At least I voted.

Now, it is safe to say that eight years of Clinton was bad.

Not completely. It did get us us six years of a Republican congress in both houses which derailed or otherwise watered down a lot of what Clinton wanted to do. If only from the standpoint of breaking that logjam of four decades of House control and Senate control for forty of the previous forty-six years it was a worthwhile endeavour because without Clinton as president, it never would have happened. But beyond that point, it also got us progress on welfare reform, a balanced budget, a nationalization to general elections for congressmen and senators that previously did not exist, and also contributed to a generally good degree of economic growth.

There are a few other bits and pieces here and there I could probably list if I gave this point a bit more thought but that is all I have time for now. Suffice to say your "safe" assumption here is not as "safe" as you presume it to be.

And if your BDS runs it's full course, you are going to wind up saying that Bush is worse than Clinton if you don't think that already.

You are confusing my realistic assessment of W with your McCain Derangement Syndrome. At least I gave W the benefit of the doubt before he was elected and then let him deprive himself of my good will over time while he governed. It is not derangement to do the same thing for McCain that I did for W. As far as the last two presidencies as a whole go, it is too early to be fair to either Clinton or Bush in deciding which of them was better than the other -particularly Bush since he is still in office now. Plus, even when he leaves in a year, some of his legacy depends on what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as how the court shapes up after his nominations particularly the selection of Roberts as chief justice.

Neither of them will be viewed as a great president -overall probably average at best for the both of them with W coming out a bit better on the basis of his court selections. But right now and in the here and now, he looks pretty bad and that is reality whether you like it or not.

Ergo, you unwittingly argue more forcefully than I do that your third party ala voting for Perot was foolish.

You mean the election where I voted and you did not??? I have not a whit of regret at that vote because I voted instinctively on something I had a faint shadow of knowledge of at the time. Knowing what I know now, I would make the same decision without a hesitation.

The realignment I spoke of earlier is coming and oftentimes ideas have to start outside the machinery of the major parties before either one will accept them -akin to the fact that alternatives to pharmaceutical remedies start outside the medical establishment more often than not only to be accepted by the establishment at a later date. The principle here is the same.

And I have also explained that this is why I remain republican.

Out of love of party is what it seemingly boils down to when you take it to brass tacks on some subjects.

And the [disputed issue deleted] reveals that I am a lot less willing to circle the wagons for our side when they choose to be two-faced wimps than you are.

No, that issue reveals that you are more willing to charge into windmills like Don Quixote than I am or (to use a WWII analogy) "fly kamakaze-like at aircraft carriers." If that is what you are asserting, then I agree with you. That is all you have accomplished on that one for the most part: alienating people who could be allies to the cause (even if imperfect ones) out of some stupid "my way 100% or the highway" kind of mentality. For your extolling of Reagan, The Gipper certainly did not take that approach (to his credit). You would be well to learn from him on that matter.

To be Continued...

Notes:

{1} The last time they fielded a candidate for president.

{2} He died in 1835.

{3} Who did but not enough to win the election.

{4} Whom Jackson gave his support to at the Democratic convention.

{5} With General Harrison beating President Van Buren only to be succeeded a month after his inauguration by Vice President John Tyler when the president died of pneumonia.

{6} When former speaker Henry Clay lost to James K. Polk after the incumbent President Tyler was denied the nomination and then kicked out of the Whig party.

{7} Or in many subjects perhaps supportive of.

{8} Winning the Cold War by bankrupting the Soviet Union is what I refer to here.

{9} And the deficits went down in the second half of Reagan's presidency as you presumably know was due to the economic growth.

{10} Aka "googling various terms."

{11} That was one of Hunter's main issues as you know: he was not about to endorse McCain on it and Romney's recent "come to Jesus" conservative view was obviously viewed as suspect.

{12} To note a few examples from our earlier discussion:

[Y]ou cannot find in this country's history a third party approach such as what I am advocating...

Yes it is telling. That is why I am proposing alternative third party strategery here...

I recommending a policy here that has reflections in the American experience with third parties??? No, I am not and surely you can agree with that much...

I am proposing this third option along with other ideas like my rider reform proposal and am not rehashing old ideas or approaches by any stretch...

Frankly, I think the general trends of third parties in history would make such multiplication unlikely. Remember, I am proposing a party that takes time to build a coherent philosophy and grass roots influence before running candidates for office. This is a radical approach for third parties to take which is why there are not likely to be a lot of imitators should one utilize this method as I am suggesting...

[Y]our argument is not interacting with the substance of what I am proposing...[Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa November 11, 2004)]


As subsequent emails from you continued to misrepresent what I was saying to no small degree, I decided to drop the issue at that time and not continue discussing it with you.

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Points to Ponder:

No one can claim to think in a purely abstract way and apart from personal mitigating factors in their apprehension of reality. This is why I have as I have gotten older and (hopefully) aged with some measure of grace focused more and more on foundational presuppositions and less on the round and round kinds of arguments that go nowhere. In a nutshell, someone who is not willing to reassess themselves in this area from time to time -to (in paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin) "doubt a bit of their own infallibility" makes themselves incapable of any potential progress as a human being. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 7, 2007)]

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thousands rally in May Day effort for immigration reform (APnews)

I already touched on the whole "May Day" subject in an expository musing back on May Day of 2008 and this thread does not in most respects surprise me much. It is the usual garbage about illegal immigrants whining about not being citizens such as this bit:

"We come here to fight for legalization. We're people. We have rights," said Eric Molina, an undocumented factory worker who immigrated to Zion, Ill., from Mexico.

Notice how the article does not say he is an illegal immigrant. Yes, he has "rights" -chief among them the right to be deported.

While most of the article is standard illegal immigration tripe, this part bears particular consideration:

Activists say this year's efforts are focused less on protests and more on voter registration and setting an agenda for the next president.

If I have not said it so bluntly before I will say it now:

Any "activist" or anyone else who attempts to register for voting those who are not citizens of America should be tried both sedition as well as violating the law and (if convicted) thrown in jail for at least ten years!!!

When my ancestors came to this country in the early twentieth century{1}, they did so legally.{2} They also learned the language and thereby were able to integrate themselves into the country. They did not come here arrogantly refusing to learn the language and expect everyone else to accommodate their refusal to learn the language, etc. Until these sorts are willing to do what countless immigrants before them did with regards to legalization and assimilation, they and their boosters deserve to be treated with contempt: the people themselves because they have broken the law and the boosters for not only promoting a policy dangerous to national security{3} but for something even more intrinsically insidious{4} than that.

Notes:

{1} I note this so that my views on the idea that my family owes anyone "reparations" can be once again on the record. Or if more detail is wanted on this matter:

With regards to the whole slavery reparations issue, I personally have no sympathy whatsoever for those who whine about wanting "reparations"[...] because my ancestors were also slaves economically[...] or otherwise[...] which is part of the reason they immigrated to this country. They also either arrived here legally or they quickly made themselves legal citizens. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 10, 2006)]

{2} Via Ellis Island and New Brunswick.

{3} Not to mention many of these sorts advocating polices that are by logical extension seditious.

{4} The policies these sorts endorse constitute a pattern that is guaranteed to trap the Mexican populace into the lowest caste of society with no possible chance of advancement because they will lack the tools needed to elevate themselves and their families. This is a sort of subtle sort of slavery that those who promote bilingual education and policies that work against the Hispanics assimilating into America inexorably endorse whether they realize it or not.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

With all the talk in recent weeks about the supposed "moral equivalence" of Senator Barack Obama having Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a mentor and Sen. John McCain being endorsed by "right wing" religious sorts, I want to remind readers of something I noted back in March:

And as Senator Barack Hussein Obama has been attending that church for twenty odd years and only now that he is running for office deigns to try and place some separation between himself and Rev. Wright[...], consider that the next time someone makes a big deal about something far more minor and insignificant -such as Senator John McCain spending twenty minutes in the presence of some bigoted preacher.

What is twenty minutes versus twenty years??? [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa March 21, 2008)]

I stand by my original observation and question on this matter as written.

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More on Senator John McCain, the Boundaries of Conservative Republican Thought Historically Speaking, and Certain Troubling Contemporary Ahistorical So-Called "Conservative" Trends Thereof:
(Part III of a Dialogue)

This posting is a continuation from the second part of a dialogual series which can be accessed here. To start from the beginning (if you have not read the previous parts) please go here. I also want to remind the readers of the colour schemata in this series so there is (hopefully) no confusion as to who said what and where; ergo I reiterate at this time what I noted in the first part of this series:

The orange font is from the emailer's original email while light blue font is my responses to the emailer's original note. The dark green font is from the emailer's follow-up to my first response while the regular blog font colour is my response to the emailer's follow-up note. Any sources I quote in this note will be in dark blue font and possibly smaller type as a result of the format this original text was taken from (I do not have time to change it). [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 26, 2008)]

Without further ado...

Like I said yesterday, McCain's self-serving (even for a politician) is all the more disgusting given the fact that he was POW in the Hanoi Hilton. People who have had that experience ought to know better than to act like McCain has. I am of the belief that war heroes who run for elected office have greater obligation to act uprightly than others do. The great psychologist and Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl would say that they have an obligation to live in a manner "worthy of their suffering".

What I do not understand is this: you are angry because we have McCain as a Republican nominee and have talked about throwing this to the Democrats in 2008 so that the establishment finally realizes that pretending that conservatives can be completely ignored is a policy that means certain defeat. But then in the past you said that my voting for Perot was stupid because it essentially gave the election to Clinton as a lot of people approached this as I did. Now you seem to functionally advocate now what I advocated then.

First of all, GHW,glaring problems notwithstanding, was nowhere near as bad as John McCain.

As I noted already, I do not agree with you on this. John McCain has been a senator who has to truck and bargain in the senate to try and get anything done whereas President George W. Bush has been the executive for going on eight years now who was and is in a position of far greater power and capable of getting a lot more done.

Whatever you want to say about McCain he was not a lame executive on numerous important issues as W has been for the first six years of his presidency. McCain did not fail to stand up with the power of the bully pulpit and threaten the veto pen to his own party if they did not govern according to conservative principles including fiscal discipline. The whole "well we are at war" excuse was pathetic...it may account for 2002 and 2003{1} but it would not account for 2004, 2005, or 2006.

And I do not give three shits about the fact that it will be another deficit this year: the Republicans messed up big time and attempts now to claim to have "learned their lesson" or whatever will have a difficult time sticking. The only real hope here is that the progress in Iraq continues to look good as it has been for the past fourteen odd months or so. At least with a Republican presidency in McCain and a Republican congress (if we can get that combination), I trust McCain to wield the veto pen against his own party unlike W who lacked the guts to.

GHW never sided with the left on issues for the express purposes of sticking it to conservatives.

What do you think all that "compassionate conservatism" crap was??? GWB presided with a Republican congress over one of the (if not THE) largest expansion of the budget in any six year period in history -both in terms of actual dollars as well as by percentage. And as so many conservatives were constantly calling for smaller government and fiscal restraint during that interim as always, the unwillingness of GWB to wield a veto pen to do anything whatsoever about this is a fact that by itself does not mesh with your statement above so that is all I will say on the matter.

And I am not advocating "throwing this to the democrats". In fact, I said if you would only pay attention to what I actually said, that I while I do not necessrily embrace the idea there is something to said about the idea that if things are gonna go to hell in a handbasket, it would be better if the Dems were left holding the bag for it than the GOP, as Rush Limbaugh put it.

We do not know if things are "going to hell in a handbasket" yet. There is a lot of talk about recession but we have not met the key indicators that would note a recession is happening. [Note: The rest of this paragraph was written in February. -ISM] Last Tuesday's "balance of trade" figures for January came in at $59.2B which was a tad below the estimate of $59.5B. It is a moderate indicator. Last Wednesday's "crude inventories" figure came in and also be a moderate indicator -they were ambiguous at best. Last Thursday had three figures, one moderate and two high including two retail sales figures -they were at -22% which was less than the -5% anticipated- and last Friday had consumer price index figures which are also high indicators that remained unchanged keeping the Core Consumer Price Indexes at 2.3% on the year which portends about a .75% funds rate cut by the Fed tomorrow.){2} The media is of course going to play the perceived problems for all it is worth as if it is the same way they played up every casualty in Iraq as "proof of a failed policy."

Besides, do you think if the Dems win and everything goes to hell that the media will paint it as anything but "the fallout of eight years of a failed Bush economic policy" or something similar? They did not do this with the mild recession early in Bush's term{3} but we both know that the media has no respect for the law of non-contradiction any more than apologist sorts do when it is not to their advantage. In the case of the msm, they are banking on most people having either no memory of that or no desire to actually factcheck them.

I also think that Rush has a point that there is no way the Dems are gonna do anything that will secure defeat if they have to be the ones to take the blame for it.

This election is wide open. Besides, they already think they will win no matter whom their person is so do not forget that. I for one want them to continue to be so arrogant because it increases the chances of their undoing.

They will surely do it if a Republican will. And with McCain in office with even bigger Dem majorities, as conventional wisdom predicts

Conventional wisdom in this election year has been wrong time and time again thus far. Even I who usually do well with political forecasting have been wrong to a higher degree than the norm thus far this year: the most difficult to predict election since 1952.

and the fact that McCain is a dove on the interrogation methodology (which is essential to any war effort and by logical extention can be as much a dove on matters like rules of engagement), they would be in position to do just that.

You are presuming without warrant that McCain's presumed opposition on some points means he is thereby in opposition or weak on other points which at best have a tenuous connection. There is a difference between rules of engagement and interrogation methodology. Come on, surely you can do better than this.

I mean what is the GOP minority going to do about it? Hell, they won't even be able to criticize McCain, who would be the leader of their party in the so unlikely event it will take a miracle he were to get elected.

For all the talk about McCain as president being the leader of the GOP, why are you seemingly not extending this to its logical conclusion and putting the largest chunk of the blame for the GOP's current mess in the lap of GWB??? It is pointless to claim that the Republican congresses are primarily at fault when the role of the executive is to lead and an "energetic executive" of the sort the framers envisioned will always be able to control the legislature.

Heck, Bush suddenly after six years finds his veto pen and is able to stymie the Democrats time and again in 2007 and also this year (thankfully). If he had been a man for the first six years of his term on the budget front, he could have done an even better job as "leader of the GOP" than he is doing now in keeping the Dems on a controlled leash of sorts.

The executive always has that kind of advantage. Similarly a weak executive is a disaster and while W has not been weak in a Carter-like way, he has nonetheless as a rule not been strong in a Reagan-like way or even (I hate to say it) the way Clinton was at times. Obviously his approach to 9/11 and the war on terror has been a noted exception of course. I can never take either that or the very good Court nominations from him -my annoyance at him having to be embarrassed into nominating Samuel Alito notwithstanding.

As far as John Roberts and his selection not only as a justice but as chief justice, that was something that I viewed as most excellent at the time{4} and brilliant in hindsight: possibly the most restrained chief justice since Chief Justice John Marshall at least thus far which may well make the Roberts nomination for chief justice the second most significant in United States history after the aforementioned nominee of the first President Adams.

This situation is not analagous to 1992.

Oh but it is. In 1992 you had a Republican president and a minority Republican party. Perot's involvement got Clinton elected as we would both admit to and two years later, we had Republican majorities in both houses of congress and a good degree of optimism of what that event could mean.

Of course the Republicans struggled against Clinton a bit the same way the Dems are against Bush now insomuch as the executive will always have an advantage over the legislature in the absence of a veto-proof majority. But from 1/2001-1/2007 we had Republican control of congress and the presidency and the abominable budgetary results cannot be explained away by you or Rush or anyone else. Just as in 1992 we had the issue of Republicans breaking promises and more of the same which led to their defeat, that is precisely what happened in 2006 where many pissed off conservatives deserted the Republicans in the election.{5} And it may well happen in 2008 as well unless the war issue can be gotten out of the headlines other than having good news to report (of course) and the economy can somehow avoid a recession.

Oh yes and there was a recession in 1992 also if you recall. And (of course) we also had those who played the "gee, if Clinton gets nominated the antichrist will rule" kind of crap which was intended to scare people into voting for GHWB and the same is the case with either Obama or Hill as the Democratic nominee. There are a lot of similarities to 1992 in the current election year. And one more thing while I am thinking about it.

I do not buy (at any price) the crap of the Republicans "not being able to govern in the majority" ala what Rush has said for a number of years. That argument may have been valid in the 1990's{6} but not in the twenty-first century and with a Republican president. For crying out loud, these guys were stood down by President William Clinton -a member of the opposing party. Are you telling me that President George W. Bush of the same party (the "party leader") could not have successfully stood up to them???

Make no mistake about it: the person most at fault for the disintegration of the conservative movement was {{{insert dramatic fanfare tune here}}} President George Walker "not Texas Ranger" Bush. Yet to listen to you, it was a sole senator from Arizona who deserves the blame there and who deserves no benefit of the doubt whatsoever before he is president of the sort that most people of decent will are willing to grant to any president.

W got the benefit of the doubt from me overall for six years with each succeeding year being less and less generally speaking since 2004.{7} I am not about to treat McCain any differently should he win than I have W except I will probably start him off with a lesser grade than the A+ I gave W starting on January 20, 2001.{8} Where he goes from there is up to him.

To be Continued...

Notes:

{1} The 2001 budget was approved by President Clinton before he left office so it does not count even though that year was a surplus.

{2} My prediction here was on the money.

{3} Which was the result not of Bush's policies but fallout from the "dot com" bubble burst that happened on President Clinton's watch.

{4} Bush replaced the constructionist with what from all appearances is a solid originalist thus holding serve on the court. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 8, 2005)]

For those who wonder what the distinction is between my varying choice of words to describe the two chief justices (Rhenquist and Roberts), see the recent clarification thread located here:

Clarifying My Use of Use of Various Jurisprudence Terms (circa March 13, 2008)


{5} In 1992 many voted for Perot, in 2006 not a few conservatives stayed home.

{6} I agreed with it then actually and considering the novelty of it for a couple of years, it was a persuasive argument.

{7} It has stayed fairly constant in the past years due to the progress of the war in Iraq after he wisely changed the Rumsfeld strategy a year ago and put General David Petraeus in charge over there on the ground and General Robert Gates in Rummy's spot.

{8} Probably an A-: time will tell.

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