Saturday, May 03, 2008

Points to Ponder:

When you lose a parent, the child in you dies. [Don Felder]


Thursday, May 01, 2008

On Reminding Readers of the Significance of "May Day" and Revisiting In Brief a Common Flawed Antiwar "Argument":
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

For some odd reason, May 1st has historically been a day that your host has not blogged on. This has never been out of a plan but was instead realized earlier today when we did an archive search for threads posted on this day to re-present if the subject matter in them was particularly pertinent to the day in question. With May 1st we have the traditional "May Day" celebrations by those who masquerade under various masks of marxism.{1} Though there is a United States counter-celebration today known as "Loyalty Day"{2}, it is far less well known than "May Day" celebrations.

But anyway, as the "May Day" celebration is the more well-known of today's celebration and considering how I despise with every fiber of my being marxism, it is surprising to me that I have only once in the history of this weblog written on May 1st other than what was blogged this morning in the wee hours. The thread happens to pertain to some extent to contemporary situations in that many of those who are involved in protesting the subject covered in the thread and who utilize the flawed arguments dealt with in said thread happen to be either marxist in reality or at least by logical extension are sympathetic to the overall weltanschauung of marxist socialism. So with that in mind, I wanted to take this time to remind readers of that thread{3} and present here in even briefer form a schemata of the arguments dealt with in that thread. Briefly therefore at this time, here is the previous post's argumentation with all exposition boiled away and presented in a far simpler form for easier digestion:

A common argument of pseudo-"peacemakers" pertaining to the war in Iraq and their opposition to it is to claim that all who supported the war somehow should "go enlist themselves" or something similar to that. Our first response to that assertion is that it would put the economy into the toilet rather rapidly since a large proportion of those who support the war{4} are those of the more technically skilled jobs, computer technicians, engineers, business owners, entrepreneurs, etc. while those who are whining about these things tend to be those who do not contribute to the economy except (at best) as a worker. This pattern fits that of the marxists who love to indiscriminately tear down existing structures to build anew without concern for whether or not they will make a situation better or worse with their machinations.

Those who make this "chickenhawk" argument do not address the fact that not everyone has the physical tools to be a soldier. Some of us are just fine but have certain physical limitations which would not allow for such things however we may wish otherwise. There is also a problem with many who make the flawed "chickenhawk" argument who have in the past supported United Nations "peacekeeping" operations who have not bothered to enlist for those projects themselves; ergo with the latter sorts there is internal contradiction in what they have failed to do and what they now expect their adversaries to do which renders their stance both illogical as well as hypocritical.

But even with those who can avoid the trap of internal contradiction and hypocrisy, they do not escape the problems of illogicality and impracticality not to mention manifesting either (i) an ignorance of history or (ii) a disingenuous and malicious agenda on their part.

The ignorance of history is twofold, the first being that many of the arguments advanced by these sorts are from the Vietnam era and include questions such as asking "would you send your son or daughter to fight": an assertion that implies a military draft or some other form of coerced service. As there has been no military draft in the United States since 1973, this makes all the "would you send" kinds of question-arguments absolutely irrelevant to the modern context. We have a volunteer military now and those who enlist do so with an awareness of the possible risks. That is one reason the branches of the military offer favourable financial packages such as money for service, access to government loans for housing and education, etc. But even beyond that there is one point we have raised over the years which we do not recall seeing anywhere else and it is one which cuts the "chickenhawk" argument off right at the neck, namely this one:

If everyone in support of the war went to Iraq, other than the serious overcrowding that would be involved among the other things already noted, there would also be a surrendering of the homefront to every kind of seditious specimen imaginable!!! [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 1, 2006)]

Vietnam taught us that we can win every battle on the field and still be perceived as the loser{5} if the moral fortitude to stay the course in a conflict is undermined on the home front by usual suspects{6} and their willing useful idiots in the mainstream media. And this is one reason of no small importance as to why not everyone who supported the war in Iraq or the current postwar reconstruction of both the nation and the government structures could be over in Iraq as enlisted soldiers.

The issues of practicality, overcrowding, and the detriment to the economy in America aside for a moment, if the home front contained only agnostics or those in varying degrees opposed to what we were doing in Iraq, we would ultimately set the stage for defeat.{7} Those therefore who make this argument either are ignorant of history and what happened in Vietnam -as well as the problems brought about as a direct result of the latter{8}- or they are aware of it and simply want to see us defeated in Iraq by undermining the moral fortitude on the homefront necessary to insure that we can achieve our objections over there.

No matter how you slice it, the "chickenhawk" argumentation cannot withstand rational scrutiny and therefore need not be taken seriously by anyone with a normal intact functioning brain. And as has been noted on this humble weblog in years past, whatever the reason such people do these things{9} they encapsulate what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind{10} and not without reason. This is why the notion of leaving them unopposed on the home front would be a suicidal and profoundly stupid proposition because there needs to be on the home front in any war people willing (as well as able) to combat such people and their propaganda.


{1} Points to Ponder on the Many Masks of Marxism (circa July 3, 2005)

{2} Wikipedia entry on Loyalty Day.

{3} Revisiting the Flawed "Chickenhawk" Argument (circa May 1, 2006)

{4} By support this term can be understood as either supporting the mission as it is laid out over there or even supporting the mission if not the methodology being used at a given point in time. Your host happened to fall into the latter category for a good three years as we noted in a posting late last year after the strategy in Iraq was changed to one far more to our liking.

{5} If we should have learned anything from Vietnam -a war won on the battlefront but lost in the halls of Congress due to the influence of the marxist sponsored "antiwar" movement- it is what happens when there is a loss of support on the home front. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 9, 2007)]

{6} See footnote six.

{7} [I]f all that was left in America were either those agnostic on the war situation or in varying degrees opposed to it, the ultimate result would be our defeat if we were not out to completely wipe the country off the map. (And of course we would not seek to do that at all.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 1, 2006)]

{8} [T]he US's post-1975[...] track record of not "having our allies' back" was a significant reason for the Iraqi distrust of us for a while after the ceasing of major military operations in Iraq. And in the case of the Iraqis, they only had to remember what we did after the ceasing of major operations after the 1991...

This is why I have never jumped on the whole "we have to get out because the Iraqis are not stepping up" school of thought that even permeates the outlook of some conservatives initially supportive of the war effort. Unlike them, I was taking history as my teacher here and recognizing that the Iraqis knew what we did last time and what the result of our failure to have their back did under Hussein's regime. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 26, 2007)]

{9} Whether such people do these things because of an illogical solipsistic situation, because they are marxists posing under the mask of being "peacemakers", or whatever else. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 1, 2006)]

{10} This is what they had in mind when referring to enemies "both foreign and domestic."

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Economy grows by 0.6% in first quarter of 2008

The link points out that this is the same rate of growth registered in the final quarter of 2007. In other words, we are not in a recession but heck folks, who has been saying that for a while now???

When it comes to the economy and the stock market, there is far more mixed signals on the matter than seems to be the msm's inclination to portray. One thing we do know for sure is that the economy has slowed down but as for an actual "recession", it is still too early to tell. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 20, 2008)]

The question about whether or not we are in a recession remains a mixed one -Goldman Sachs has a substantially better first quarter than was predicted yet Bear Sterns loses in a year over 80% of its value and is sold on the cheap to J P Morgan, Chase, and Co.

There is nothing definite either way to say whether we are in or bound for a recession or not -though that the economy has slowed from what it was doing for the past five years is undeniable. But watch the msm try to pull the same crap they did in 1992 when -despite the fact that we had been out of a recession for about six months to a year- they continued up to the day of the election claiming we were still in a recession. No matter what happens in the coming months, I predict the msm will not deviate from the template they used in 1992. The question is, will the influence of the alternative media as a check on the msm be able to make a difference??? Only time will tell. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa March 18, 2008)]

On the So-Called "Recession"...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 1, 2008)]

I for one am not convinced there is an actual recession -it looks to me like a market correction more than anything. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 25, 2008)]

So whether or not we actually go into a recession or not, let the record show that we have not met the criteria for a "recession" yet and after the 2008 first quarter returns, we will not do so{1} until approximately September or October of this year. And I reiterate at this time my prediction on what the msm will do even if the criteria for a "recession" is not met at that time which I noted in the above excerpt from March 18, 2008.


{1} If we even do mind you.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Miscellaneous Musings on Threads of Interest:


Politicians as Comics: A Sideshow on Pop TV (Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times)

The line between reality and fiction continues to blur.

Justice Scalia on 60 Minutes About Bush vs. Gore, the Jurisprudence Involved, Etc. (CBS News)

A couple tidbits on each point starting with Bush vs. Gore from 2000:

"I say nonsense," Scalia responds to Stahl’s observation that people say the Supreme Court’s decision in Gore v. Bush was based on politics and not justice. "Get over it. It’s so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasn’t even close. The vote was seven to two," he says, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision that the Supreme Court of Florida’s method for recounting ballots was unconstitutional.

Furthermore, says the outspoken conservative justice, it was Al Gore who ultimately put the issue into the courts...

There is also a nice tidbit in the thread above on originalism{1} as it pertains to the subject of abortion -something that many who call themselves "pro life" would do well to consider.{2}

But on the court issue, it is nice to see Justice Scalia affirm something we have long said and last year finally wrote a bit on for this weblog:

And no to any Bush Derangement Syndrome readers of this humble weblog but there was no presidential "stolen" elections in either 2000 or in 2004. The Supreme Court made the correct decision under the law in 2000 with the blatant crime being the activism of the Florida Supreme Court on that matter.

Yes we all know that the vote to stop the recount was 5-4 for Bush, but there is more to the story than that. For example, 2 of the 4 who sided with Gore concurred with the majority that there was no uniform standard of vote counting and that there were constitutional issues in what the Florida State Supreme Court was requiring. Further still, one of those justices who concurred with the majority but did not vote with them was a personal friend of Al Gore and therefore he arguably should have recused himself. With such a recusal of course a 5-3 vote on the matter would have taken place...In other words, 7 of the 9 justices concurred on the problems in Florida but had a plurality of views on how to remedy the problem.

More could be said but the constitutional problems in Florida with the vote counting -to say nothing of 50,000 military absentee ballots which were ignored and the military vote for Bush would have been at least 70%- presented a problem that could not be resolved during an election cycle. Besides, Bush had already won four recounts anyway. There is no rational way to conclude that Florida was "stolen" in 2000 when all the factors above among other ones are taken into account. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 29, 2007)]

We thank Justice Scalia for finally coming to see this matter our way ;-) As for those who continue to whine about this matter or even tacitly act as if it somehow is or ever was a credible position, some song lyrics from The Eagles come to mind from their Hell Freezes Over tour in 1994 which will end this posting:

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little ass

Get over it...


{1} I last noted the issue here but the upcoming post on the necessary third way in politics between the unconstitutional liberal common approach and the unworkable approach commonly posited by conservatives who "love the Constitution" will to some extent deal with the subject of originalism.

{2} Though written at length by us before, to summarize it in a nutshell, there notion of a "constitutional right to abortion" is obviously absurd but there is also no provision in the Constitution for making abortion illegal. Justice Scalia recognizes both of these factors in his judicial reasoning and even though he personally is opposed to abortion, he does not allow his personal views to dictate how he rules on cases. This is what a solid originalist justice is supposed to do and why we need as many originalists on the court as we can get.

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Tuesday, April 29, 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 II of a Dialogue)

This posting is a continuation from the first part of a dialogual series which (if you have not read it yet) can be accessed here. I also want to remind the readers of the colour schemata noted in the first part of the series so there is (hopefully) no confusion as to who said what and where:

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...

The budget grew over 30% with a Republican congress during the first six years of his presidency. As the only reason we got Alito was a refusal to accept Miers and as the surge only was announced after the Republicans lost congress, even half of those achievements can be taken away as minimal concessions W made. It would not be hard for McCain to be more conservative than W as the bar sure is not set that high. I would advise that you put down the crack pipe and look at W's real record. The liberals like [name deleted] who savage him have it all wrong: he is one of them. All the Republicans did in six years of congressional control with a Republican president is vindicate my decision after the 96 elections to throw them under the bus. I saw this coming then in faint outline when the Republicans did not have the guts to follow through when Clinton called them on their bluff about the government shut down, when they achieved virtually nothing they solemnly pledged to do with the Contract With America except welfare reform and eventually a balanced budget. And the final straw for me was when the establishment stacked the deck to give the nomination to Dole in a year where probably any of the other candidates in a general election would have beaten Clinton. As Limbaugh and others pretended otherwise, I saw problems with the Republicans in congress then and in the establishment. But unlike them, I was not and have not felt any obligation to support them.

I supported W in 2000 partly because the thought of Gore as president was disturbing but also because he appeared to be an an energetic executive and I knew that such would be needed. This nation always needs an energetic executive as the federalists like Hamilton, Morris, Washington, Adams, and others (including Madison initially and then later on as president) realized and supported. W in that role has been horrible. I am not about to publicly bash him though as it is unbecoming to do so in the final year of a lame duck presidency but that does not means I will not say this in private to you and others -or say so publicly in a benign manner and leave it at that without explanation. Much the way I did not bash the pre-surge approach even though I thought it was short sighted and a failure (something I admitted on the blog only in mid [to late] 2007 after the surge was so obviously working) I am not going to give any additional ammunition to those who want to hang on the Republican nominee the W Bush record. But the reason is more tactical than any special affinity I have for W.

[Disclaimer: Obviously by posting this thread, I changed my mind about not mentioning this stuff publicly -SM]

Boy, Shawn you know how to serve up the red herring with the best of them. I have never said that Bush didn't have his problems or that the GOP doesn't have its serious problems. I have made almost identical laments regarding both and you know it!

I am aware of your laments on those matters.

What I am saying is that Bush is better than McCain would be, that's all.

I disagree with you on that point XXXXXXX -primarily because I refuse to negatively judge McCain presidential potential before he goes into office should he be elected president. I would not have disagreed in 2000 (where I supported W over McCain) but that was eight years ago and I instinctively went with the party with executive experience over the one that did not: Bush having run businesses as well as been Governor of Texas. I also had a lot of optimism about what W would be able to know the whole "now that we have a Republican president and Republican congress we will show the Democrats what it means to govern in a fiscally conservative fashion" sort of stuff. Thanks to that bunch of losers they may well have destroyed the Republican party as a viable party right when the Democrats themselves can only win by claiming to not be Republicans. Pretty sad really.

To wit: the war. All of McCain's newly found conservative sycophants are talking about how much of a hawk on the war Johnny Mac is. Let's see, he wants to close Gitmo, which means bringing terrorists here to the U.S. which would afford them constitutional rights.

Not necessarily. Senator McCain does not favour giving terrorists constitutional rights and has said this bluntly more than once. Indeed with this current Supreme Court, they are not likely to get a sympathetic hearing if we look at the totality of the decisions they have handed down on national security issues thus far.

And as far as the detainees getting the rights of American citizens (read: constitutional rights), consider the following from last month:

I asked the Senator whether he would have any reservations about the execution of the six detainees on trial at Guantanamo Bay for their role in the 9/11 attacks, whether he is comfortable with the current legal regime for trying detainees, and whether the interrogation techniques used there cast doubt on the fairness of the trials. His response:

McCain: No. I would not have concerns. I rely to a large degree on my friend Lindsey Graham, who is a JAG lawyer and who has been intimately involved in this whole process. These are not individuals who deserve the protections of the kind of judicial process that a citizen of the United States would have. We did not give those rights and privileges in the Nuremberg tribunals...these tribunals as far as I can tell...are appropriate and they are the way to address these particular cases...and there's nothing in the Geneva Conventions or any other rule of law that I've ever seen that said that the same rights and privileges apply to them as apply to American citizens. [LINK]

In other words, your assumption that closing Gitmo would involve the defacto giving of constitutional rights to terrorists does not jive with what McCain has noted he wants to do.

He also has been [moonbat]-like on the torture issue sponsoring what Rush Limbaugh rightly calls the "al Qaeda bill of rights. He also uses Kerryequse global test lingo, lamenting about how the appeasement-loving "rest of the world" would view us if we used heavy handed interrogation techniques, even in ticking time bomb scenario question. I think Tom Tancredo had a great line in response to that when he said, "Worry about waterboarding? I'm looking for Jack Bauer." After all, effective interrogation and intelligence gathering (and yes, if that necessitates torture, which by the way is not intrinsically evil, in and of itself, despite how hard [name deleted] and [name deleted] want to spin it, then so be it!) is essential to any war effort. And McCain has worked hard to undermine our ability to do just that. If McCain is a hawk, give me a dove, please!

This is a subject that McCain has firsthand knowledge about unlike you and me. I place very little stock in military advice asserted dogmatically by those who do not understand the environment involved. You certainly served in the military but to my knowledge (and correct me if I am wrong) you cannot claim any expertise in this area -and even if you could I would assess your statements in the same manner I do anyone else's.

Being a POW by itself does not give someone expertise in this area.

I did not say it gave expert status now did I??? It does not bode well to accuse me of red herrings and then immediately do the same thing yourself !!!

In fact, an argument can made that because of such a truamatic experience, it can cloud one's judgment.

Arguments can be made for both sides of this. I have my views on the matter and they happen to coincide with yours for the most part. But that does not mean that those who disagree with us on this matter cannot legitimately call themselves conservatives. Differences in the application of agreed upon principles are not the stuff of anathemas.

Many of those who have real expertise, like trained interrogators, as well as documented evidence of the effectiveness of methods McCain opposes (waterboarding got Khalid Shiekh Mohammed to give up key information) carry alot more weight than McCain's experience as a POW does here.

I am not comparing McCain's experience as a POW with the views of trained interrogators. That is quite an apples and oranges attempt on your part. However, I will always give some credence to those who have been in the arena over ivory tower sorts who theorize about what they have no actual experience of.

And quite frankly I don't think McCain's exerience as a POW is influencing his positions as much as political opportunism is. He just uses the former to advance the latter. And I think that much is rather clear to anyone who has intelligent eyes to see with.

There are trained interrogators who support the methods McCain opposes and trained interrogators who oppose them. I am not making my support for them a sine qua non of what constitutes being "conservative" XXXXXXX. It appears to me though that you are doing this and on what basis???

Furthermore, you apparently are not aware that when the Senate voted to ban federal agencies from using interrogation tactics not in the US Army Field Manuel (one of which is waterboarding), McCain opposed the proposed ban. It is certainly possible that he is gambling on the Bush Administration not using that approach again rather than take a stance on an outright ban but it is on the record for those who are interested in knowing how their senators and representatives vote on issues.

Furthermore, Why is it that when Dick Durban says what he says about comparing our troops and intelligence agents to Pol Pot, he is engagin in sedition while McCain's positions are really no different in substance and McCain gets a pass because he was a POW?

When did McCain in any respect approximate Dick Durbin??? It is true that McCain noted that one of the war crimes that the Japanese were tried for was waterboarding. It is also true that the manner in which they did it differs from the way in which we did. But you and I both know that that sort of nuance is lost on the lions share of people including the voting public. (Hell, look at the problem I am having trying to get a neutral point of view on Wikipedia on this subject for an illustration of this.) In a political season, nuanced positions are the death knell of election hopes. I wish it was otherwise but history demonstrates unequivocally that it is.

If anything McCain should have loudly denounced Durbin by saying "Senator Durbin, as one who experienced first hand the kind of treatment the Pol Pot-type communists treat their enemies, I can tell you you haven't the first clue as to what you are talking about. Whether or not you agree with the tactics our side uses they are nowhere close to that of the Pol Pot-types. And I demand you retract those vile comments." And McCain's credibility as a former POW would have been such that the left wouldn't have dared trying to demonize him for it.

I agree with you here in principle. However, you would do well to review the proceedings of that day and you would realize that the placement of Durbin's statement which was at the end of the legislative day just before the close of the session. He also raised it in the context of an energy bill and took some time to concur with proposed legislation from Senator Harkin of Iowa and then diverged into his tirade. You can see this by noting these threads where the entire speech was given:

RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD -- Senate - June 14, 2005 pg. 6591 (Senator Harkin and Senator Durbin) pgs. 6592-6593 (Senator Durbin recognized for 25 minutes)

RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD -- Senate - June 14, 2005 pg. 6594-6595 (Senator Dick Durbin with three minute extension of remarks granted)

You read that right: the subject in discussion when Durbin went off on his rant was the renewable fuel standard. Furthermore, if you read the Congressional Record, you will see that the very next entry is this one:

ADJOURNMENT UNTIL 9:30 A.M. TOMORROW -- (Senate - June 14, 2005)


The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate stands in adjournment until 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 15, 2005. Thereupon, the Senate, at 7:19 p.m., adjourned until Wednesday, June 15, 2005, at 9:30 a.m.


In other words (to use a football analogy), Durbin used his time and leverage at that session to run out the clock -including taking the three minute extension when he did to insure that he could not be responded to in that session.{1} The next day, Durbin tried to defend himself without apologizing for the statements and was condemned for it by the leader of the Illinois Republican Party Chairman (Durbin is an Illinois senator). I am sure I could find the exact transcripts of Durbin's dodges from that day in the record if I had time to peruse it all. The day after that, Al Jazeera ran with the story. Then on Thursday, June 16, 2005, Durbin's refusal to retract and apologize for his statements was met with angry retorts by four Republican senators on June 17, 2005.

I unfortunately cannot find The Congressional Record for that Senate day online so I have no idea where to acquire the text offhand. (And the online congressional record site is blocked in the internet archive by the owner's robot.txt so I cannot verify if it was ever there or not.) However, based on what I can verify (and thanks to a bit of additional tracking in the internet archive for the thread), Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia was the primary bulldog on this and his age (81) and length of time in the Senate (since 1979) were of no small significance. Similarly Senator Mitch McConnell who is the senior senator from Kentucky who outranked McCain in the Senate by virtue of position (Senate Majority Whip at the time) and Senator McCain's fellow Arizona senator Jon Kyl (the junior senator from Arizona whose total time in the congress is the same as McCain's) was particularly vocal in his denouncements. So too was Senator Jeff Sessions the junior senator from Alabama.

If you want to claim that McCain also should have raised his voice, perhaps so but Durbin was getting hammered that day by a number of senators and justly so. It is possible that McCain viewed what the others did as adequate. I do not know because I cannot find the Congressional Record for that day to know who said what and where. But it is not as if Durbin went unrebuked for what he said and I am not about to put an unfavourable interpretation onto what happened out of personal animosity towards Senator McCain as you seem intent on doing.

But McCain was quieter than a mouse fart.

Considering the pummeling that Durbin was getting from mostly higher ranking or longer tenured senators, I do not have a problem with this. If no one had spoken up, it would be another matter altogether but "Turbin" Durbin did not get away with it now did he???

But yet when fellow GOP Sen. John Cornyn takes McCain to task for trying to shove amnesty down the throats of the American public, McCain tells him to "fuck off"!

That was a direct affront to McCain individually. And I say that not because I supported McCain's presumably know that I have denounced amnesty proposals publicly and explicitly numerous times going back explicitly on this weblog over four years. But to compare a direct personal affront to McCain personally and a statement that at best implied McCain and from which four senators (three of which have equal or greater tenure or position of authority in the Senate) already responded to is a different kettle of fish altogether.

It would be akin to you being present while someone verbally attacked the military and then they were effectively slapped down in rebuke by a major general, a captain, a major, and a sergeant. Would you feel the need in that company to also say anything extra??? Probably not. But what if someone else came into the room and went after you personally??? It makes more sense that you would respond to them than you would in the first scenario.

Look, there is a degree of politics involved when you have elections and politicians running for office. And all candidates have to try and come across as to some extent diplomatic on various "hot point" issues -even if the degree of nuance and carefully chosen words for doing that can bother those who consider themselves the "real deal." We both think highly of President Reagan and he did this too -albeit not to the extent of most who run for office. Do not forget this: the last conservative candidate who bluntly told people what was what was Barry Goldwater and we know what happened to him when he ran for president. We had Duncan Hunter this time saying what was what and he got nowhere. Fred Thompson understood the issues better than the candidates running ahead of him and yet he could not catch traction either.
As far as Goldwater is concerned, it wasn't his conservatism that cost him the 64 election, it was one, he was running against the ghost of the recently assasinated JFK, something you had told me Goldwater admitted.

That was one reason sure. There were many ingredients to the gumbo and that was the one Goldwater generally focused most on -perhaps out of respect for his friend JFK who would have been man enough to stand or fall against Goldwater on issues unlike that cowardly bully Lyndon Johnson. Another was that he was half Jewish...Goldwater being an Anglicanized version of the name Goldwasser which was the name of his paternal grandfather. There were many reasons in essence -enough to probably write a book about.

Number two, the differences between conservatives and liberals were nowhere as stark back then as they are now.

Are you kidding??? XXXXXXX, I am laughing as I read that statement from you. There were some areas of common ground then which now do not exist now but there are also significant differences then which now no longer exist. Reagan's A Time For Choosing speech encapsulated the stark differences of the visions then and now and Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative -a book I still hold in high esteem for its role in the development of my political outlook years ago{2}- is still of great value in this area. Those sources should be perused by you if they have not been in a while.

Number three, Goldwater was not the articulate voice Reagan was at least when he was elected in 1980, if not at the time (many believe his Time for Choosing speech did more to advance the conservative cause back then than anything Goldwater said).

Goldwater was not the polished speaker that Reagan was but that was not a major factor -Senator Goldwater was a gifted public orator in his own right after all. What was a factor though is that Goldwater personally had a habit of saying what was on his mind without concern for whomever's overly delicate sensitivities he offended. Between that and certain conservative stances he took which were against the grain{3} and Johnson's campaign dirty tricks combined to sink Goldwater's candidacy -along with Eisenhower's refusal to support him because of Goldwater's late 1950's statement about the Eisenhower Administration being a "dime store new deal."

But those factors aside, Goldwater did break the establishment's decades old hold on the party as well as electorally breaking through the old "solid south" on principles for the first time in 110 years if we exclude Hoover's 1928 sweep of the south.{4} The involvement of McCarthy in 1968 helped Nixon get through and the result was the 1972 landslide which was duplicated and exceeded in 1980 and then in 1984. Etc.

As far as Duncan Hunter is concerned, his conservatism wasn't what sunk his candidcacy.

I never said it was. What I said was that he was similarly blunt as Goldwater and this contributed to him being unable to get traction in the crowded field -that and whomever ran his campaign deserving to be shot for gross incompetence but that is another matter altogether. His bluntness was one reason and the other was the media tarring him with the brush of that xenophobe Tancredo and pitching them as clones when they are not.

None of the candidates who were blunt on the problems got traction because the public as a rule does not like to hear the truth: a subject I am not about to go into now but that gets to the heart of it in a sentence.

Number one, he is just a former congressman who really didn't have much of a following.

His lack of being a governor was a liability this is true. (Executives like governors and mayors always have advantages in running for president.)

Number two, while there are things I like about Duncan Hunter, I think he has a great deal of growing up to do before he can be considered presidential timber. I think he ought to consider running for Governor of CA. That would give him the springboard from which to make a serious run at the presdiency.

I agree with this stance actually.

However, he would have to learn how do a better job as a campaigner. And he ought to rethink some of his populist positions. BTW, guess who Hunter endorsed after dropping out? You guessed it, Schmuckabee!

Must you remind me??? I already blogged on my disappointment with that right after it happened.

Now if you think Hunter is this great guy, but Huckabee is such as disgrace and Hunter endorses him over a more conservative and before he dropped out viable candidate Romney, what does that say about Duncan Hunter viz your view of Huckabee, hmmmmmmm?

I can understand a lot of people who had problems with Romney XXXXXXX. I was not one of them even if Romney was my fourth selection. Romney could not escape the suspicion of many that his views were changed so completely and so recently as to be questioned as to their substance and that was a key reason why his campaign faltered.

Fred Thompson? C'Mon man, you know that Thompson was asleep at the switch and showed absolutely no energy and didn't act anything like a serious candidate.

I was disappointed in the way Thompson ran generally speaking. Of those who were allowed into the debates, his statements on the positions were the most articulate and correct. Unfortunately, it takes more than that to run a campaign.

Quite frankly, if any of those candidates had made McCain defend his actions with any real seriousness, like they should have, McCain's candicacy would have been sunk a long time ago.

I cannot argue with you on that so I will not.

"You also need to remember what I said previously about how different offices come with different functions and the like. Senator McCain as a senator has a different role than he would as president and the difference of the office means a difference in how you go about doing things. To use a religious example, Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Pope John Paul II's CDF prefect approached issues one way and as Pope Benedict XVI his approach has been strikingly different. The difference is the positions: as CDF prefect, his role was preserving doctrine. As pope his role is guardian of the common unity and as the largest voice of Christian conscience in the world. We are seeing things from Benedict as pope that we did not see from Ratzinger the prefect and this is analogous to what a president does and what a senator does...not a perfect analogy but one that to some extent should be taken into consideration on this matter."

Please tell you are not serious here.

I am serious. I noted that the analogy was not perfect but it does nonetheless apply here to some extent.

Before this analogy can even be considered, you would have to cite an instance where Ratzinger had, in his capacity as CDF prefect, sided with those who dissent from Catholic doctrine against the pope.

No I do not. Conservatism is not exactly the same with the principles involved as Catholicism is with doctrine; however with applications of core principles there is a similarity and that is what I was referring to. On the latter, I could list a number of things that John Paul II did or sanctioned that Cardinal Ratzinger was not happy about. The difference between Ratzinger and McCain is that the former has a much greater store of prudence.

I understand the difference in roles between a senator and a president, but that is not what is at issue here. What is at issue is John McCain's active repeated attempts to undermine conservative efforts, while having the audcity of claiming to be a conservative. If you are going to try to insult my intelligence with a lame ass analogy like this, you could at least humor me and act like you are trying to intelligently interact with what I am saying. This is moonbat shit Shawn, really!

The analogy works albeit imperfectly. But considering your track-record thus far in being wider than Oprah's backside after a month of binging at Ezell's{5} of the mark, I would advise being careful in presuming any moonbattery on my part.

About McCain's allegedly seeking the VP spot on the John "F-ing" Kerry ticket. His denial wasn't all that passionate. I mean, if that wasn't true don't you think McCain would be screaming "HELL NO"?

Not necessarily. This is politics and those who habitually scream and rant are quickly painted as lunatics. Furthermore, this is not the senate or house floor where tirades could go mostly unreported -this is a candidate running for president and anything of this sort would be a major media point of focus. McCain is not that stupid whatever else you may want to say about him.

If McCain was even sympathetic to consevatism, not to mention being conservative, would have done so with more passion than he did. After all, he has no compunction in letting his temper fly when attacking conservatives.

This is speculation on your part. Not all conservative-minded people are the same way. And sometimes when McCain has attacked conservatives it was to avoid being painted with the same brush as those he does not agree with. You may not like this or you may question his prudence on the matter{6} but at bottom you are engaging in a lot of speculation and presuming the worst in McCain at every opportunity it seems.

I mean, any conservative in their right mind would, especially someone like Johnny Mac who can go ballastic with the best of them, would do at least that.

Depends on the situation and the place XXXXXXX. Going ballistic is not usually a good approach to take unless one does so sparingly.

Again, McCain does all the time when going after conservatives.

I already covered this.

To succeed in politics you have to be Machiavellian: smile and pretend all is well for the cameras (maybe be a touch snappy but not too much) and save the stack blowing for private.

Besides, McCain actually did publicly state he would consider it if asked.

As you raised this point again, let us deal with it to show the context.

And he also considered bolting the GOP but Jumpin' Jim jumped first first (say that real fast ten times) stealing his thunder.

Considering the sort of underhanded approaches that W's campaign used against Johnny O'Mac I can understand a possibility that he entertained the idea. But then again, I am one who is not a Republican anyway.

Exactly what underhanded approaches did W's campaign use against McCain? Proof please!

Read up on what happened in South Carolina in 2000 for starters. I have done enough thus far in tracking down sources to substantiate my positions against what you wrote and this email needs to be ended at some point.

In fact, Bush bent over backwards and sideways to accmodate John McCain, especially after he became president.

After he was president sure, I will not argue with that.

That's why he signed MF into law. It was a stupid ass thing to do, but that's why he did it.

McCain-Feingold was an unfortunate piece of legislation: well intended but woefully inadequate and procedurally problematical.

And, even granting that they did, how does this justify McCain's behavior? I mean this would not only hurt the GOP, it would have hurt the conservative aganda all the more.

There you go with the "conservative agenda" as if it is a single monolithic mentality when it is not. Conservatism is not whatever Rush Limbaugh says it is XXXXXXX.

McCain's even entertaining the idea of being VP on the ticket of the unrepentant John Kerry is at the very least tantamount to McCain, of all people, condoning Kerry's actions in 1971. Gee, I wonder what former Senator Jeremiah Denton thought of that, given the rather vitriolic way he criticized Kerry in 2004. Without minimizing McCain's ordeal, it paled in comparison to what Denton, along with Stockdale, went through. If you ever heard of the movie When Hell Was in Session that was about Denton's ordeal. If you can even "understand" why McCain would do some thing like this against this backdrop, you are suffereing from a strain of Bush Derangement Syndrome that is every bit as potent, albeit different, as that of what Stephen Hand and Mark Shea are suffereing from.

Again, can you provide serious proof of this other than from the mouth of the same John Kerry you would claim any other time was a lying fraud??? For until you do, I will not even dignify the above with a response. Aaah sod it, I will respond to this to show you just how RIDICULOUS this whole line of argument on your part is. Here goes:

McCain said in a television interview that he would consider the unorthodox step of running for vice president on the Democratic ticket — in the unlikely event he received such an offer from the presidential candidate. "John Kerry is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years," McCain said Wednesday when pressed to squelch speculation about a Kerry-McCain ticket. "Obviously I would entertain it." Within hours, the Arizona senator's chief of staff, Mark Salter, closed the door on that idea. "Senator McCain will not be a candidate for vice president in 2004," Salter told The Associated Press, saying he spoke for the senator. McCain had emphasized how unlikely the whole idea was. "It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk," the senator told ABC's "Good Morning America" during an interview about illegal steroid use. "They'd have to be taking some steroids, I think, in order to let that happen." [LINK]

Yeah, that is a real serious response there!!! This is no different than if I were to entertain the idea of Rush Limbaugh giving me all the cigars in his humidors along with the humidors themselves if someone asked me if I was open to that idea. Sure I would entertain that idea (damn right I would!!!) but the likelihood of it{7} is so slim as to be considered impossible.

Honestly, I don't see where you're not and my being still Republican have anything to do with this.

Simple, I do not at any time feel compelled to have to defend Bush or the establishment Republicans whereas you by virtue of being a professed Republican give every appearance of needing to beyond the realm of the reasonable. Either that is the compulsion on your part or else it is taking the view that whatever Rush and Dave say is THE Conservative position and any other positions (even if they have longer pedigrees in the conservative movement) are anathema to "THE conservative movement." Boy, I thought it was liberals who claimed that conservatives marched in mindless lockstep fashion, not fellow conservatives!!!

To be Continued...


{1} The remaining senate time that day was to handle nominations and confirmations.

{2} The Conscience of a Conservative: An Upcoming Amazon Book Review (circa March 8, 2005)

{3} Including against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on constitutional principle rather than going along with the zeitgeist.

{4} Which I do because it was motivated by solely antiCatholic bigotry against Alfred Smith and not on actual principles.

{5} For those who do not know, Ezell's Chicken is a chain of sorts which serves southern style chicken, sweet potato pie, and a variety of other fixins which are simply delightful. Oprah has eaten there and her picture is on the wall along with her raves about the quality of the food. I happen to love the food there too though due to my current weight reduction regimen, I cannot allow myself to get anywhere in the vicinity of one of those places but I digress.

{6} Or his seeming inability to be as tactful in dealing with those he does not agree with as the late William F. Buckley Jr. and those of Buckley's mindset can do.

{7} You need to remember that the media asks politicians a lot of these "would you consider this hypothetical situation" kind of questions in press conferences and the like. It is considered part of the diplomatic game to play along generally speaking.

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Points to Ponder:
(On the Vice of "Needing Public Approval")

I never suffered [from] the dire need for approval. Rather than be like a creeping vine climbing up a tall tree where I could not stand alone, I preferred to be intellectually-emotionally and morally self-sufficient. [Early in life], owing to the lack of proper, rational guidance, I was blindly rebellious and desperately sought self-assertion. As I matured, however, the blind rebelliousness progressively decreased; and I was less under the control of my subconscious, emotional sense of life, and became increasingly directed by an explicitly verbalized, conscious, rational philosophy of life. The blind rebellion had been replaced by a passionate desire to discover the dispassionate, objective truth. At the time that my maturation was reaching a pinnacle, I became thoroughly fact-centered, truth-oriented; which placed me out of step with the rest. It’s not that I was a lone wolf; it was that I learned to think for myself; which I came to understand required privacy. [Mike Mentzer (circa 2001)]

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