Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I write to you from the pleasant confines of BWI's new airport lounge, contentedly sipping a free coffee whilst awaiting transport to Atlanta to watch my Wahoos take on Auburn in what was formerly known as The Peach Bowl. Apparently, the $500 a year I send AMEX does get me something worthwhile now and then.

Thanks to the Kitten for giving me my liberty card to hang with the boys on New Years Eve. All good things to all readers of this blog--Merry New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Have You Contributed to Romney for President Yet?

Look to your right, folks.  We're on the verge of breaking through the $3000 point in blog support for the ultimate GOP Standard Bearer.  Looks to me like Newt is fading and Ron Paul will get ground down under the weight of his own statements.  Who will be the one to put us over the $3K level?

Don't forget to click the box saying that you know your referrer's information--that will track it back to the blog.

UPDATE:  A frequent visitor to the blog put us over the $3K point today!

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Well folks?  What have you got?  Watching your lead slip away in Iowa?  Worried what happens to your campaign when all your supporters go back to college?  Worried about losing to an ACC team in your Bowl Game?  Step right up and bitch away!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

WaPost Gets Iowahawked

Iowahawk takes a look at a recent WaPost piece on the Solydra scandal, and it is a gem.  Here's a wonderful bit from it, rightfully criticizing the Post's view of what the "scandal" at Solyndra actually was:

"Look, I have nothing against Linda Sterio, any more than I have anything against a waitress unwittingly employed by an Al Capone speakeasy. I wish her well in obtaining employment. But let's be clear: the scandal is not that she lost her job at Solyndra, it's that she ever had a job at Solyndra. And that she, and countless others, were deprived jobs at legitimate businesses because government sucked $500 million out capital markets to endorse and underwrite the "clean-energy" hustles of its favorite check-writing eco-crooks."


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Forget Scott Brown

Yes, I know.  He voted now and again in ways that have pissed all of us off.  But take a look at this piece from the Boston Herald.  He's voted with Republican leadership 75% of the time--the "other" Senator in Massachusetts--John Kerry--voted with Democratic leadership 97% of the time.  Indeed, he is among the most moderate of Republicans in the Senate, right there with his neighbors from Maine.  But he votes with the Republican caucus.  He's yet another vote toward control of the Senate.  Dead-enders can turn against him because he didn't turn out to be a perfect Tea Party candidate--but that is not a strategically sound decision.  You'd rather have Elizabeth Warren, perhaps?  Support Scott Brown.  Contribute.  Today.

National Review Has A Go At Wall Street

Kevin Williamson
Kevin Williamson, Deputy Managing Editor of National Review, is a very smart man.  He also has the look of someone who has done hard time, which tends to put me in a bit of an intimidated position when I read his know, he's smarter than I am, and he looks like he knows how to kill me in several imaginative ways.

Williamson has an article in the latest National Review, and National Review Online has graciously posted it here. In it, Williamson does a manful job of exposing the high state of crony capitalism running amok in the United States, fueled in no small measure by the ultra-cozy relationship between major Wall Street types and politicians of both parties.  Few emerge from this article unscathed, and if Williamson is to be believed, few should.

Many people wonder how Wall Street could have been so famously enthralled by the young man from Illinois, he of nary two years of undistinguished Senate experience.  Wasn't he a "share the wealth" guy?  Didn't he sound vaguely anti-capitalist?  Well--yes, He did.   But--and here is where Williamson is at his best--we shouldn't confuse Wall Street with free market capitalism.  It is a place in fact, where free-market capitalism has been replaced by state influenced--dare I say Fascist--collusion between government and capital.  So those who shook their head in wonder as investment banker millions piled into Barack Obama's coffers simply saw things wrong.  They weren't voting against their interests...they were voting FOR their interests--and that is, the best bet for continuing to give them the thumb on the scale needed to make the money they want to make.

I know, I know--I sound like a populist.  I sound like I am anti-Wall Street.  Well, I'm not.  I believe Wall Street carries out a necessary function in our-nay, the world's--economy.  I know there are a ton of hard working, virtuous people who do their very best to ensure shareholder value in their enterprises.  But you've really got to wonder how it was that SO MANY people that you once believed saw the world like you do voted for and financially supported a candidate so diametrically opposed to your beliefs.  The answer clearly is that I was wrong about them.  Those who voted for President Obama aren't interested in free markets and minimal regulation; those who voted for President Obama are interested largely in keeping the good deal that they had going as long as it could go.  Williamson's portrayal of  the sneering contempt with which some on Wall Street view REAL free-market capitalists (like the guy who sold you your car, who paved your driveway, who renovated your house) may have been a bit overdone, but it hit a nerve with me.

I've been a pretty consistent backer of Wall Street, and a fairly loud backer of free markets.  I'll continue to do both--but I will sharpen my thinking and rhetoric and be more willing to write about excesses enabled by the all-too-cozy relationship between Washington and Wall Street.  I hope that a change of administrations next year can move the issue forward, in a way that returns free-market principles to the world of high finance. But we all know where "hope" got us this time....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 Predictions

1. New Orleans will beat Green Bay in the NFC Championship game.
2. Kim Kardashian will write a memoir.
3. Kate Middleton will be with child by years' end.
4. Jerry Sandusky will be the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
5. On Election Night, riots will break out in Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia.
6. Eric Holder will dig in, the press will circle the wagons, and he will keep his job.
7. The Washington Post will set a record for most consecutive days running essentially the same article to remind us that George Allen used the word macaca in 2006.
8. The Occupy movement will gain steam when the weather gets nice, and something very ugly will finally happen at one of their rallies.
9. The press will suddenly become fascinated with the Mormon faith and there will be an unprecedented number of stories devoted to covering it.
10. At least one and perhaps both of my dogs will finally realize that they're simply never going to catch a squirrel.
11. In CW's continuing effort to be 'nicer,' he will get a Gator for Halloween to tote all the neighborhood kids around.

2012 New Year's Resolutions

Ok folks.  This is a new one--I generally don't make many New Year's Resolutions, and I'm not aware that I've shared them in the past.  Posting them here may have the capacity to make me try harder to attain them.  So in no particular order, here they are.

1.  Eat better.  Low carb, all year.
2.  Exercise more.  Even a little bit is better than nothing.
3.  Curse less.  I'm an educated, reasonably articulate man, but I can curse like a Sailor.  It's time to put that away.
4.  Be a "nicer" guy.  I don't think the first thing that comes to people's minds when they think of me is that I'm a "nice guy".  I guess I'm okay with that, as I don't really strive to be seen that way.  In 2012, I think I'd like to be seen as a "nicer guy", at least nicer than 2011.
5.  Be more patient. In all things.  With all people.
6.  Be there more for my family.  In all ways.
7.  Smile more.
8.  Strive to develop a more nuanced sense of humor; value lightness more, sarcasm less.
9.  Work around the house more, in the house less.
10.  Read more books, fewer URL's.

Scorecard--2011; Predictions--2012

It was a dismal year for my predictions--you can see them for yourself here.  Looks like I got exactly ONE of TEN right--predicting that unemployment would be under 9%.  Never one to be dragged down by poor past performance, here are my 2012 Predictions.  I invite my fellow bloggers to post theirs as the spirit moves them.

1.  Mitt Romney will be elected President
2.  Marco Rubio will be elected Vice-President
3.  Republicans will win majorities in both Chambers of Congress as a result of the 2012 Elections
4.  The Presidential Election of 2012 will be notable for its ugliness.  Apologists for Mr. Obama will claim the result was a sign of lingering US racism, forgetting of course, 2008.
5.  My renovation will be completed by the time I write next year's wrapup
6.  The Dow will break its previous high sometime during the year
7.  UVA's Football Team will lose only two games, one of which will be to Va Tech (which will play in the BCS Championship Game)
8.  Israel will be at war with at least one other nation-state during 2012.  The US will provide logistics and intelligence support, but nothing else. 
9.  Scott Brown will lose his Massachusetts Senate Seat
10.Scott Brown will be Mitt Romney's choice for Attorney General

Book Review: "In My Time" by Dick Cheney

The Kitten gave me a copy of Lord Voldemort's autobiography for Christmas, and it is worth the read.  It isn't US Grant's story, mind you, but it is an interesting, straightforward account of a very interesting life.

Essentially this is two books--one, the pre-Bush VP days, and the other, an account of Cheney's time as VP.  To my mind, the pre-Bush Cheney is far more interesting.  Power company lineman (and 2 time DUI recipient), asked to leave Yale (again, twice), college/grad student, husband, father, White House Staffer, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief of Staff, Congressman, Secretary of Defense, Corporate CEO--the man lived a big life.  A lot here I didn't know, and a lot here that helped explain why he was the man he was. 
The VP part of the book?  Well, it is told with less wistfulness, less joy, more business and dedication.  There is some serious score settling here--as Condi, Colin Powell, and Richard Armitage come in for some rough treatment.  The Bush Years were probably too fresh in my mind for me to really like this section--it seemed more like reading a stack of Time Magazines than reading a life story.  But there are some great sections in this part--especially the discussion of striking Syria's nuclear complex (something Cheney advocated), a job eventually taken on by the Israelis.

Cheney's treatment of GWB remains loyal and respectful, though it is clear the President's failure to pardon Scooter Libby created distance between them.  Cheney was never what he was portrayed to be in the press (pulling the strings, the man behind the curtain) and he's not afraid to say that here.  He was, however, a very different brand of Vice President, and his role in many of the most important decisions of the Bush Presidency sets him apart from the field in terms of influence and legacy.

Read the book.  It is clearly Dick Cheney's no-nonsense voice, with spare prose and sentences written that point you in the direction of conclusions but never actually take you all the way, especially when he was trying to say unpleasant things about another person.  Of interest to me was the fact that Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich came into the House the same year--and while most of Newt's time in the spotlight occurred while Cheney was in the private sector, the two did serve together in the house for ten years.  Cheney is again, respectful of Gingrich and gives him a good deal of credit for bringing about a Republican majority in the House.  But he did not align himself with Gingrich's young insurgency, choosing instead to send his Chief of Staff to Newt's meetings.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve....Second Biggest Traffic Day Ever!

Why was this? Why, it is because we were linked to by my favorite all-grown up blogger, Tigerhawk!  Thanks to him for the link and to Sally for supplying the post. 

♫ Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?...Long Time Passing ♫

Interesting piece today in the Washington Post (by our old friend Bob Woodward) describing Newt's troubles with the Republican establishment, specifically the 1990 budget deal between George Bush and Congressional Democrats. Woodward's thesis is that Gingrich was an uncompromising, emotionally unstable jerk who had a problem with authority and betrayed a sitting President thereby facilitating his eventual defeat. Perhaps, but if the 1990 version of Newt were running for President, I would be an enthusiastic supporter.

Compromise is overrated. Compromise is a politician's default position, not a leader's. Say what you will about Obama, Pelosi, Reed et al., when they had the power they didn't compromise. They have their policies and the opposition be damned. I respect that. Compromise is what happens when you have exhausted every possible avenue to winning. I think Maggie Thatcher described the Romney wing of the party exactly: "“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing. ” Amen.

Jonah Goldberg Masterfully Skewers Ron Paul

I've been kinda quiet here on the blog (but not on the real-time debate chats) about my distaste for Ron Paul as a Presidential candidate.  While there are a number of interesting domestic policy ideas in his satchel, his views on foreign and defense policy make George McGovern look like a war-monger.

Jonah Goldberg--a conservative thinker generally well-disposed to Libertarianism--takes Paul out for a spin in this wonderful column.  Here's just a bit for you:

"Paul’s supporters love to talk about how he was a lone voice of dissent. They never explain why he was alone in his dissent. Why couldn’t he convince even his ideologically sympathetic colleagues? Why is there no Ron Paul caucus?"

The Entitlement That Is Social Security

For its history, Democrats have been able to point to Social Security as something other than an entitlement, a program in which people essentially "pay for their own benefit".  They realized (FDR first among them), that for Social Security to be protected and popular--it could not be seen as a giveaway to the poor.  No, it must be equally available to all, funded of course, by the contributions of workers themselves.

Something happened on the way to Utopia though, and that is, the birth control pill.  That's right, the birth control pill (and the equal rights evolution) conspired to drive birthrates down in the United states to the point where there are only a few workers actually paying for every retiree (while there were over 50 when the program started in the '30's).  In less than 15 years, it will be two workers for every retiree.  The bottom line is that the program can no longer pay for itself, and its continuation is a function of co-mingling payroll taxes with transfers from the general treasury.  In effect, Social Security is now an entitlement, something that has come into sharp relief with the recent payroll tax fight on the Hill. 

We simply don't have enough workers to fund the program anymore, unless taxes are raised in dangerously non-productive ways.  It is time to means test Social Security and see it for what it is--an insurance policy to keep people from slipping into poverty when they stop working.  The fiction of "I paid in, I'm entitled to the benefit" is undercut by longer lives and earlier retirements. 

Note to liberals and their echoes:  I am not saying get rid of social security.  I'm saying we should end the fiction that it is anything other than an entitlement.  Doing so opens the way for the kinds of reforms necessary to protect the plan's ability to do good for those who actually need it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Virginia Ballot Fiasco

There will only be two candidates to choose from in Virginia's primary on Super Tuesday: Romney and Paul. It's an unusual system-10,000 signatures are required to get on the ballot, with a minimum of 400 from each of the state's 11 Congressional districts.

Newt, Perry, Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman (hard to remember that last fella!) didn't make the cut. While at least two and possibly four of those candidates will have quit the race by then, Newt was actually leading Romney by a significant margin in the last statewide poll.

Newt is crying foul and blaming the system. RedState is hinting at a conspiracy. The Republican Party of Virginia, who was responsible for verifying the signatures, better have clean hands on this one. But assuming their hands are clean, it's hard to muster too much sympathy for Newt. The rules may be dumb, arcane, whatever. But they're not new rules. Eight candidates managed to get on the ballot in 2008. Goes to show you the vital importance of organization.

Friday, December 23, 2011

We Now Interrupt the Joy of the Season... bring you a horror story:

Hey Everyone....Mitt Romney's Running for President

And you can contribute by clicking the link on the right side of the blog.  Make sure you check the "I know my referrer" block so that people will know you are a CW reader!  Check out the total, folks--we're really making a difference.  Every little bit helps!

By the way--if you have a chance, watch the video.  Some words you'd never hear Barack Obama say.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

So?  What's on your Christmas list this year?  Asking Santa for a little sweetheart deal for your "green" energy firm?  Looking for your your party's self respect after the Senate simply left town and said "deal with it"?  Miss your wife and girls in Hawaii?

Unburden yourselves, people.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Would Somebody Please Get Barney a Bra?

Barney on the House floor yesterday

I'm sorry to report to all of you that you cannot un-ring a bell...and you will not be able to un-see this photo.

Book Review

Here's a great gift for the non-Obama fan on your list. A 150-page manifesto of everything O knows about the economy published by a 30-year-old banker from Tennessee.

The entire book is blank.

Available on Amazon for $9.99.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dead Man Walking Holder and Voter ID

Our illustrious Attorney General Eric Holder--under withering pressure generated by the "Fast and Furious" scandal--has come out fighting and decided to choose opposition to state requirements that voters produce some sort of ID before voting as the parapet he will mount.  Check out this piece from National Review Online for a report.  

I went Christmas shopping during the past few days here in the People's State of Maryland, and each time I went to use my credit card, I had to produce some form of ID (as I choose not to sign the back of them).  I complied.

I will later today, attempt air travel via commercial conveyance.  I expect to show ID several more times.

I will check into a room on an Army post late this afternoon--and will be required to show an ID.

Yet when I go to vote next year in the Maryland Republican primary, I will not be asked to show a single form of ID.  Critics of doing so state that requiring an ID is simply a modern poll tax--a way for Republicans to keep largely minority Democratic voters from going to the polls.  Presumably, minority Democratic voters  have a very difficult time getting ID's, even when states sponsor legislation saying that they can obtain them for free as part of the ID legislation.  This is absolute nonsense, and the Attorney General has selected an issue that will serve the President well with a constituency he's already got locked up, while reasonable moderates shake their heads and wonder what the big deal is.  More of this please, Mr. Attorney General. 

Your race to return to the private sector (against Secretary of Energy Chu) just got more competitive.

Fairfax County Not Spreading The Wealth Around

Great post here from Reason's online offerings, one skewering oh so left of center Fairfax County Virginia's input to the Commonwealth of Virginia's legislature.  Home of the governmental professional elite, Fairfax falls just behind neighbor Loudon County as the two wealthiest counties in the country.  Apparently, spreading the wealth around only works when it is other people's wealth, as Fairfax is somewhat piqued at having to support the rubes unfortunate enough to inhabit the wilder environs of the Commonwealth. 

H/T--Glenn Reynolds' Facebook site.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

44th President is our 4th Best President, Says 44th President

O appeared on 60 Minutes last week in an interview where he coughed up a number of howlers, one in particular the view that he always knew it was going to take more than one term to turn things around in this country. This runs contrary to what he revealed in February of 2009, when he claimed if he didn't have things turned around in three years this was going to be a one-term proposition.

The best part of the interview, however, remained on the CBS cutting room floor. In it, the President made the absurd claim that "I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln -- just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history."

Newsbusters addresses the breathtaking narcissism better than I can. The entire interview is here, if you can bear to watch it.

Courage: The Keith Ellison Story

The Occupy DC losers have embarked on a hunger strike as a way of agitating for DC voting rights. It began December 8 and will likely end without fanfare long before DC voting rights are established or anyone dies of starvation.

Enter Rep Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota. To show his solidarity with the protestors, he's joined them on the hunger strike. One caveat: his hunger strike will only last 24 hours.

He's practically Mahatma Gandhi.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is Newt Nuts?

I didn't see the Republican debate last evening due to illness. I was in the clutches of a robust URTI with attending coughing spells producing a thick, green, bile-like secretion reminiscent of a cheap zombie movie. Misery loves company and I just wanted to share.

But I have watched much of today's coverage of the event and I need to ask, has Newt lost it? He wants to subpoena sitting judges? He wants to do away with whole circuits? He wants to impeach the judiciary according to his political whim? Ok, ok I know the history. I know Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and I know FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court. And if this was just a shot across the bow for our more activist justices, I say well done. But this was neither the time nor the place. And, if one attempts something like this, it behooves one to lay a little groundwork first, so folks can take it in context.

Look, I've seen the damage judicial activism can do and I take a backseat to no one in my frustration with the courts. Over the years I've watched California pass Proposition this or that on everything from taxes to immigration to affirmative action, and I've also watched as they were almost immediately struck down by the 9th. Circuit. I've seen judges take over school districts because they didn't like the funding or the racial makeup in a community. I've seen them invent rights that don't exist and ignore rights that do. Rather than defending and protecting the Constitution, we have chuckle-headed lawyers trained (it seems) in circumventing the the greatest political document ever written on the rights of man. I've seen it, I know it exists, and so have you. But Gingrich's remedy is bad politics and bad policy and it may well have ruined his candidacy.

I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but I know the courts are a co-equal branch of government, and if the Congress or the President or a State has a case against one of the more "inventive" opinions handed down by the Rose Byrds or Willian Brennans of the World, then they have a Constitutional DUTY to tell the courts to piss-off and take it to the people. And then, guess what? Ultimately the people will decide. And to borrow from WFB, I'd rather be ruled by the first hundred people in the phonebook than the first hundred lawyers in the West Legal Directory.

Well Hello There Mom

A high school in my ancestral homeland of Minnesota has managed to pull off a rather bizarre stunt.

At a pep rally, all the captains of the winter sports teams were led into the gym blindfolded. They were told they were going to be kissed by someone special, and that they had to guess who the mystery kisser was. Some of the mystery kissers really got into it...these were not innocent little pecks.

Harmless youthful fun, you say? The mystery kissers were the opposite-sex parents of the kids.

UVA vs. Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl

So what does $320 get you at the Chick-fil-A Bowl?  Four tickets in upper deck, end zone nose-bleed.  See you in Section 314...

Last Night's Debate

We had a good time live-blogging last night's debate, a debate that I found to be the most substantive one yet.  Michele Bachman was on fire, tearing into Newt with great impact.  Newt was alternately brilliant and rambling.  Santorum was strong, and I think his numbers in Iowa could surprise.  Huntsman just does not connect with me for some reason.  Ron Paul is just out there.  Rick Perry had his best debate yet.

My man?  Mitt did well...very well. 

Here's how it plays out in Iowa--you heard it here first:

1.  Ron Paul--28%
2.  Mitt Romney--25%
3.  Newt Gingrich--24%
4.  Rick Santorum-- 8%
5.  Michele Bachman--7%
6.  Rick Perry--6%
7   Jon Huntsman--1%
8.  Others-- 1%

Ron Paul will win because he's got committed volunteers and it is a caucus state.  College kids home from break will saturate the state and give him a "Pat Buchanan"-like victory.

Romney will beat Gingrich.  Folks will spend holiday meals among friends and family talking about the two men, and Newt will simply not digest as well as Mitt.

Santorum will surprise in Iowa.  He'll be able to claim a "victory" and then assume the "anti-Mitt" mantle. 

Bachman, Perry, and Huntsman are out after Iowa.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Well folks, what's eatin' you?  Anything you'd like to share with the broader audience. Anything to get off your chest?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Have You Contributed to Romney for President Yet?

Click the link to the right to donate to the next President's campaign.  Don't forget to check the box that states you "know my referrer's information".

Live Blogging the Debate

Sorry for the late notice everyone, but we'll live blog the Republican debate tonight using the Conservative Wahoo Chat feature on the right side of the page.  Looking forward to a big night for Mitt!

Happy Hanukkah

Presenting the Obamulke, the latest of the Obama campaign's shameless marketing ideas.

You can probably take your time in ordering, I'm just not seeing a rush on these.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jimmy Wires Turns 80!

My Dad turns 80 today, and we feted him in grand style in North Carolina over the weekend.  Dad always referred to himself as a "humble wire peddler", and he taught my brothers and me most of what we know about golf, talking smack on the golf course, the art of playing catcher, and how to grill bluefish--among other very important things.  Happy Birthday, Dad.  80 looks good on you.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Renovation Progress

Had several people ask about the renovation over the weekend, and the plain truth is that it isn't done.  We're close, but then again we've been close for four months.  Some painting, a little carpentry, some electrical work, and then of course, a ton of landscaping remains.

Here's a before and after that shows exterior progress.  Summer's obviously gone, so the two wings are hidden in the before. 
Dec 2010

Dec 2011
Aug 2010

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Republican Power Summit: Raleigh, NC

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, it was quite a night in Raleigh.  In payment of the debt earned through Virginia's non-performance against the NC State Wolfpack this year, I met The Hammer for dinner in a fine steakhouse in Raleigh, and what followed can only be termed as a delight.  My sister Kelly joined us, though Hammer's Mrs. was feeling ill and had to stay home (sorry Rachel, I hope you are available next time). 

The Hammer and CW
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.  The food was superb, the conversation first-rate, and the company was convivial.  Definitely a "do-over".  Thanks, Hammer, for your good cheer and friendship.And thank you to my sister Kelly who made the two of us look less like an old, gay couple.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tonights the Night

As a result of CW's out of control gambling jones, my wife and I will be dining this evening at his expense. As I have only briefly met CW, I am looking forward to conversing with a real Washington insider. It's not everyday a backwoods redneck like me gets an opportunity like this.

So CW, we shall see you at 8:00 (don't be late) and what time should we expect the limo?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guns Walk, Holder Balks

Not a fan of Eric Holder. I think he's a hyper-partisan political hack, I think he's a racial chauvinist, and I think his judgement can best be described as imbecilic. His testimony today before Dan Issa's oversight committee tells me two things. 1) Obama has no intention of firing this clown and has told Holder exactly that, and 2) Holder thinks he can ride this out. From a political perspective this is good news for Republicans.

In the upcoming campaign let's make Obama explain why ATF facilitated the purchase of over 2000 assault rifles (some say three times that number) by fraudulent buyers (often times foreign nationals) for the specific purpose of arming organized Mexican drug gangs. And how were we to track these rifles, by the trail of mayhem? Let the President explain away the hundreds of crimes committed on both side of the border, including a dead American Border Patrol agent, perpetrated with these weapons. Let's hear why the Mexican government was not consulted or otherwise informed of this asinine scheme that has resulted in damaged relations between our two countries. Furthermore, what did you Mr. President know and when did you know it? And finally, let's hear why there hasn't been a top to bottom reorganization at DOJ starting with Holder's resignation and possible indictment.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CW Bucket List Item....

West Wing Entrance.  A very cool day.
Some very gracious people on President Obama's National Security Staff had me over for a visit and discussion today.  We met in the West Wing---the "Situation Room" to be exact, and to be painfully specific, the very same room that the famous shot was taken of the President and his staff following the action during the Bin Laden takedown.

It was really a treat to be invited, and doubly so that we didn't do the meeting in the Old Executive Office Building (been there, done that) --a beautiful old place, but not the "show".

One of the things I came to learn during my final tour in the Navy was the degree to which where matters of foreign policy and defense are concerned, the adults are generally in charge atop both parties.  Folks working on this National Security Staff are no exception.  Very smart, very collegial, listening intently.  This was an all time great day. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hunting Report

CW, you didn't miss much. The only things we killed were time and brain cells. At least we didn't have to clean guns or game, but we did have a good time stressing our livers and inventing new remedies for hangovers and morning after cigar breath. Alcohol, tobacco and firearms--it's not just for government anymore.

CW on NPR Tonight

I was interviewed Friday for Sunday night's edition of "All Things Considered" (check your local listings).  It is a story on military retirement benefits, and I am apparently one of several people they interviewed.  I'll post the podcast when it is available.

The story is here, with a link at the top of the page to listen to the podcast.

The Payroll Tax Issue

Last year, President Obama and Republicans came up with one of their ridiculous bargains designed to show that the parties can "work together".  In it, the "Payroll Tax" was cut by about a third, meaning that the revenue flowing into Social Security and Medicare was also reduced.   This was--we were assured--a "stimulative measure", and it was one that was designed to make EVERYONE happy.  For Republicans--who it is thought cannot pass up a tax cut--it hit them right in the wheelhouse.  For Democrats, they could appear to be tax cutters by attacking the regressive parts of the tax system that EVERYONE (including a great number of their constituents that pay zero income tax)  pays.  This was a no-brainer for the Dems, as they could support it knowing full well that the resources available for Social Security and Medicare have very little to do with the payments from those programs--as we simply borrow and print money to make up the difference.  The fact that two of the biggest entitlement systems in the country would be underfunded seemed not to matter to either the irresponsible Republicans who supported it or the irresponsible Democrats who supported it. 

Now there is a debate on the Hill whether to extend the cut.  The WaPost gleefully writes of a "split" in the GOP over the issue, as some in the party that likes to consider itself more fiscally responsible (with some evidence to the contrary) are troubled with continuing to underfund these entitlements.  Dems would "pay" for them by raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" (you know, the ones the President vacations with at Martha's Vineyard and Oahu), and Republicans would "pay" for them by cutting spending elsewhere.

Friends, cutting payroll taxes is a ridiculous piece of political theater.  Republicans are fools for letting themselves get dragged into this one, when the fiscally responsible path (letting the holiday expire) is the politically risky one.  The President is already out there hammering Republicans for denying taxpayers $900 a year in these "hard times".

The hard, right thing would have been NOT to do the cut in the first place.  Comprehensive reform is the path to savings in those entitlements, not starving them of resources that get put in by other means.  Now that last-year's cut has achieved the status of "settled law", Republicans will get smeared if they continue to resist extending it.  They should get behind the extension, but continue to hold the line on what pays for it.  Bad strategy here, Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ponnuru on Romney

National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru has a piece in the latest National Review in which he declares for Mitt Romney, and in typical Ponnuru fashion, he backs it up with thoughtful writing.  Ponnuru doesn't shy away from considering Romney's weaknesses, but in a comprehensive net assessment of the field, he identifies Mitt as the man for the moment.  Ponurru echoes some things I've said here and elsewhere with a bit of solid thinking:

"On the other hand, there is also something to be said for calculation in a politician. Successful political leaders need to have a realistic sense of what public opinion, and the political system, will bear, a sense cultivated by the habit of calculation. And there is a limit to how much political risk conservatives should want a president allied to them to take. Most of the time conservative activists should be trying to reduce the risks of advancing conservative initiatives rather than to goad elected officials to political recklessness. Conservatives should, that is, point the way for ambitious politicians to advance good ideas that can command the support of a national center-right majority."

Ramesh has it right.  The process will play out, and I don't think it will be a quick one.  But in the end, Republicans will get in line behind Romney--because they don't want a second Obama term.

Let Them Eat Cake!

Our Royal Family decamps for a 17-day Hawaiian Vacation later this month.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Have You Contributed to Romney for President Yet?

Let's get going, folks!  Just a month until to get off to a good start.  Donate to Mitt Romney for President here, check the block indicating that you "know my referrer's information".

Ann and Mitt

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Well folks, it's that time of the week again.  That 13 year affair got you down?  A little worried those photos of you and Nancy Pelosi are gonna keep showing up?  Well--unburden!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Here's One Problem Solved

Oh you naysayers, you detractors, you malcontents; when will you put aside your prejudice, your bigotry, your obdurate racism and admit our beloved President has finally and forever solved one of the most egregious and immoral problems facing our society. I refer of course to homelessness.

As I'm sure you're aware, this was a terrible problem in the time of the Reagan/Bush takeover. It abated for the most part with Bill Clinton's wise and considered stewardship of our great nation, but came back with a vengeance during the Bush II regime.

Now under the awe-inspiring leadership of President Barack Obama, burdened by the most trying of circumstances not of his making, the problem has been definitively and decisively eradicated. One need only watch our ever diligent network news to draw this incontrovertible conclusion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Johah Goldberg on Joe the Puppeteer

I simply can't get enough Jonah Goldberg.  He is consistently the funniest, smartest guy writing on the right--ok, maybe he's tied with Mark Steyn.  He's got a piece this morning at National Review in which he compares Joe Thierrien, out of work puppeteer, with Joe Wurzelbacher--a.k.a. "Joe the Plumber".  It is a must read, especially for Goldberg's analysis of the wholesale abandonment of working-class whites by the Democratic establishment in favor of a coalition of the well-educated and largely lower class minorities.  Quoting Tom Edsall in the NYT, Goldberg writes:

“All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up . . . of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers, and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African American and Hispanic.”

The message here?  The Republican candidate for President MUST appeal to this group of working class whites.  The one doing so most effectively right now is Rick Santorum--and I would love to see Mitt Romney pick up the torch.  Working class whites have a streak of conservatism in them, and we can do better to swing them to our side. 

If you think that Republican prospects are better served targeting Hispanics with emotionally charged soliloquies about "law-abiding" illegals who have been here for 25 years, raising families and attending church etc--vote for Newt Gingrich.  If you feel our prospects are better served by getting the Reagan coalition back together...then Romney's your man.

More on Income Inequality

I've written quite a bit here about income inequality, specifically my holding that it measures nothing useful, only envy.  It is however, the "subject du jours" for the "Occupy" folks, and so it remains newsworthy.

In this editorial, Nick Schulz at AEI lays out three reasons why inequality has grown...and why they may be "inconvenient" to the "99%"  Worth a read. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On Yesterday's Drubbing

Virginia Tech rolled into Charlottesville yesterday and beat us like a drum, 38-0.  There was nothing good about this day, nothing at all.  They manhandled us on the offensive line, their skilled position players made ours look like Ankle-biters, and our defensive backfield evidently phoned this one in from whatever Bowl Game they were thinking about.

Worst of all, there were--to my estimation--at least as many Tech fans in the stadium as there were UVA fans.  Now of course, Tech travels well--and opposing teams have the opportunity to buy a certain amount of set-aside tickets.  But the tech folks were interspersed throughout the crowd, pretty much everywhere but the student section.  To me, this means that there were a ton of UVA fans who didn't go--but more execrably--gave their tickets to Hokies.

And because my season tix are on the low end of the dollar scale, I just happen to be in the general vicinity of where the opposing team's seats are set aside.  I was thoroughly overwhelmed by Hokies.  It really was an unsatisfactory day from start to finish.

On the subject of tailgaters--you don't get to park your vehicle and then set up your ring of chairs in the space next to you.  You put your chairs astern of your bumper, and leave the spaces for others.  It was AMAZING how many douchebags (of both schools) were taking up spaces like this--on the biggest game of the year with the largest expected crowd.  UVA cops/officials were nowhere to be found.

Walter Russell Mead on The Energy Boom

Wanna read a devastating take-down of the New York Times to get your Sunday off to a great start?  Take a look at this piece, which WRM eviscerates the New York Times' coverage of the oil boom in the midwest.  One wonders whether NYT would be so moved were it solar panel manufacturers and windmill placers who were blotting the landscape.  A sample of this thoroughly entertaining piece:

This is what economic growth looks like.  It is sudden, disruptive, often inconvenient.  It messes with the status quo.  New stuff gets built and not all of it looks like the Cloisters.  All kinds of rough and hungry men flock to it; they sometimes misbehave.  They spit on the ground, say unpleasant things about women, and generally fail to meet the behavioral standards of the Upper West Side.
Decline is so much more decorous.  Prairie towns slowly wither on the vine; the young people quietly leave, the stores gradually empty and close.  Reporters from the Times write haunting and moving stories about the gentle, drifting sadness of it all. Novelists in creative writing programs can write delicate tales of rural decline; filmmakers can make understated little films about the lost hope and vanished promise of the American dream.

H/T:  Instapundit

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Politics of Hate

This is former NY Times "Chief Theater Critic" Frank Rich in the lobby of a Broadway playhouse with presumably a rising young star (especially if Frank has his way). I say former because the powers that be at "The Old Grey Lady" promoted Frank to the opinion pages some years back due to his many years of service to (and being serviced by) the New York intelligentsia.

Mr. Rich has a wonderful column (click on the header) relating his views on right-wing extremism which he feels (Frank always feels) was directly responsible for JFK's untimely death, and of course our current President's problems.

Now, you may say this is claptrap, revisionist history that would make Oliver Stone blush. Perhaps but I say Frank Rich is a national treasure and if he's good enough for the salons of Upper East Side Manhattan, he's good enough for me.

*As a sidebar, Frank loves the new Hugh Jackman musical: "Sexy, sexy, sexy, oh and did I mention sexy! Great fun, old school entertainment. Hugh Jackman has a beautiful talent and is willing to share." Yeah, you wish Frank, you wish!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Health Care Is Expensive Because We Don't Know How Much It Costs

There are lots of things wrong with America's health care system(s).  The one on which I concentrate in this post is the pernicious impact of "employer-based" health care provision.  That is to say, the system under which most of us receive our health care.  A relic of WWII wage controls, health care through one's job developed as a "fringe benefit" not subject to the impact of wartime restraint.  In order to attract scarce labor, companies began to add health care...and the rest is history.

The problem with this system--at least in how it has metastasized--is that we have arrived a a point in which the average Joe has no sense of the real costs of health care.  Instead, he is confronted with a poor proxy, and that is the monthly insurance premium he pays--which for some reason, he feels is too high.  He feels this way because month after month, hundreds of dollars come out of his paycheck to subsidize everyone else's health care, while he and his family are only modest consumers.  Well, some may say, that is the nature of "insurance"--but from where I sit, it is an insurance like no other.

When I pay a monthly car insurance premium, I do not expect to receive routine auto care.  I do not expect gasoline.  I do not expect new tires on a regular basis.  Each of these services is priced separately and a transaction is the result of my having chosen among several providers.  Insurance kicks in on the high end--when my car is stolen, when I have had an accident--when a tree falls on it. 

Of course health care and car insurance are not the same; but that again, is a choice of our society.  Instead, we lump our payment into "premiums" set as the result of a negotiation between our employer and (usually) one insurance company, who has already negotiated a series of rates with "providers".  We--the ultimate consumer--are insulated by at least two other rounds of transactions from the TRUE cost of our health care, the result of which is, we are not consumers.  We are recipients.  We don't make choices, we receive care.  We don't negotiate for the value, we take what we are given. 

I came across this article this morning on Instapundit, telling the story of a startup that seeks to expose the true costs of medical care.  Why do I find this interesting?  Because I advocate for a largescale overhaul of the way we deliver health care in this country.  No my socialist friends...not single-payer.  I'm talking about a system in which consumers wield the power of their purse, choose among providers and spend their own money on routine health care while negotiating directly with insurance companies to deal with the costs of other than routine matters. 

We must break the employer provided health care chain, one that insulates consumers from cost and limits their choice--not to mention, holds down their wages and decreases tax revenue.  Less freedom and more government is not the answer.  The answer is empowered individuals. 

Libya: Be Careful What You Ask For

A leaked version of a report to be made by the UN Secretary General to the Security Council outlines systematic rape, torture and illegal detentions by the recently victorious (with the aid of the West) Libyan rebel forces.  The Arab Spring is in bloom, and its bounty may prove bloody.  We must continue to follow the law--that is, the Law of Unintended Consequences--as we consider what is going on in the Arab/Persian world.  All revolutions are not honorable and worthy, sometimes worse governments take over, and our interests must be at stake when we act. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Republican Debate

I'm sorry I didn't get to this yesterday, but I wanted to talk a little about the Republican debate on Thursday night.  Co-sponsored by Heritage, AEI and CNN, it was billed as a "national security" debate.  Here are a few quick thoughts:

1.  Wolf Blitzer is a pro.  He did a nice job keeping things moving and giving them opportunities to respond to each other, without letting it become a schoolyard brawl.  Downside to his professionalism and fairness was that we heard far too much from single-digit candidates.

2.  That said....two of the single digit candidates (Bachman, Santorum) did surprisingly well.  Bachman's insistent counters to Newt's immigration plan were the opening moves on an onslaught you've seen the past two days.  Santorum was good on identifying what we are fighting (radical Islam, not terror). 

3.  My man--Mitt--did fine.  Didn't hurt himself, was good on Afghanistan (v. Huntsman) and on immigration.  Wolf's great job of being "fair" to all kept us from hearing as much from Mitt (and Newt) as I would have liked.  If this turns into a two-man race (Mitt and Newt), it will be interesting.

4. Newt--clearly a great debater, Newt is very comfortable in those environments.  His defenestration of Ron Paul was just fun to watch.  His stance on immigration sounds nice and may play to those who wish to see the revitalization of the Republican Party through an outreach to Hispanics...but it opens him up to some serious attacks from the others.  His narrative ("why would we throw out someone who has been here 25 years, paid taxes, has kids and grand-kids here, goes to church) pulls at the heart strings, but where would the line be drawn?  What about 20 years?  What about 30, but don't attend church?  I think the others will make hay with this one.

5.  Ron Paul--this guy scares me, and I can sum up in two words why:  Ross Perot. Perot handed the Presidency to Bill Clinton in 92, and he could ensure Mr. Obama's re-election next year.

6.  TSA--I think there is a lot of ground to be gained for all the candidates by demonizing this ridiculous organization and its wasteful, inefficient approach to airport security.

Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends.  The Kitten's hosting the big meal here this year in our nearly renovated house, she's got the table set in festive style, the turkey is brining as I write, and all indications are it will be a great day.

I'm thankful this year for many things, but to the list of old standards I'll add my gratitude for the opportunity to fall in love again this year---with a little black lab puppy named Baloo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live Blogging the Debate

Sorry for the late notice folks, but let us liveblog tonight's debate using the Conservative Wahoo Chat box on the right side of the blog page.

Fun starts at 8PM.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Cup o'Joe TO GO, Please!!!

Got a very thoughtful personal note from Jill Biden the other day inviting me to sign the Vice President's (shhh, it's a surprise) birthday card. Never one to turn down a personal invite such as this, I offered my heartfelt wishes for his birthday and the coming year:
"Happy Birthday Mr. Vice President! I know this job is a tough one and at your age, you shouldn't have to work this hard. So I'm going to do my level best to see that you and your boss don't have to do this job one more day past the next inauguration. Don't thank me, I'm doing it for our country. All the best, Mudge"
Well, in no time at all, Jill wrote back with a very kind offer:

"Thanks for signing the birthday card.
Now, the Vice President would like to offer you a cup of Joe. Literally.
[Ed: "Ewww!]
Celebrate his birthday by getting the official "Cup of Joe" mug with a donation of $20 or more."
I just figured those of you who are not quite so intimate with the First and Second families might want to get in on this deal too. I'm sure they wouldn't mind you taking advantage of a $2.00 mug at 10x the price.

Consider it good practice for if they win another term.

■Three men decided to split the cost of a hotel room. The hotel manager gave them a price of $30.

■The men split the bill evenly, each paying $10, and went to their room. However, the hotel manager realized that it was a Wednesday night, which meant the hotel had a special: rooms were only $25. He had overcharged them $5.

■He called the bellboy, gave him five one-dollar bills and told him to return it to the men.

■When the bellboy explained the situation to the men, they were so pleased at the honesty of the establishment that they promptly tipped the bellboy $2 of the $5 he had returned and each kept $1 for himself.

■So each of the three men ended up paying $9 (their original $10, minus $1 back) totaling $27, plus $2 for the bellboy which makes $29.

■So where is the missing dollar?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lefties Wistful For Days Gone By

I've got some lefty friends who have got themselves all bound up over "inequality" of income, and how different things are economically than say, the 1950's.  Here's a great response to that historically inaccurate--or at least hypocritical--approach.  Read the whole thing--but here's my favorite part:

Even if you grant the premise that government should redistribute wealth to equalize incomes, the 1950s are odd years for the left to champion. “Social injustice remained pervasive,” Krugman cautions. Um, yeah. That’s the point: There is more to equality than pay schedules and tax rates. There is, for example, the composition of the workforce. Harriet did not take a second mortgage to finance her craft moisturizer boutique while Ozzie went to his UAW office. Harriet stayed at home. So did millions of women in the 1950s, thereby restricting the supply of labor and raising Ozzie’s wages.

You cannot have the economy of the 1950s without the society of the 1950s. Ozzie and Harriet were married. They could pool resources in ways today’s single parents and twentysomethings cannot. They did not have to worry about an influx of day laborers from Latin America or a flood of cheap goods from China. They lived in a society a portion of which systematically oppressed a minority race. Their government focused almost the sum total of its resources on defense and Social Security. There was no Medicare or Medicaid or war on poverty. It was the age of the “organization man,” the “lonely crowd,” of alienation and monopoly and “conformity.” All of these factors​—​not just high levels of unionization and a punishing top marginal tax rate​—​went into making 1950s America a “middle-class society.” Is this a tradeoff Americans would be willing to make?

Bunch of Capitalist Tools Speak Out Against OWS

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Once again folks, we've reached the point in the week where it is OK to whine.  So what'll it be?  Your Supercommittee falling down on the job?  Waiting for the 1000 point plunge in the market we'll see in the next three weeks?  What's got you down?

Have You Contributed to Romney for President Yet?

Well, it looks like it is Newt's turn to be the media's flavor of the month. This should be fun.  Click the link on the right and let's get ready for Iowa!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hey Kids, We Have a Visitor!

Former porn queen Marina Ann Hantis (dba Sasha Grey) recently made an appearance at a public school in Compton, California in a non-dramatic role. According to officials from the Compton Unified School District, Ms. Hantis took part in a reading program for 1st. graders at Emerson Elementary School.

After complaints from some parents ("They couldn't find a fireman or a police officer?" asked parent Dudley Wheaton. "They had to get a porn star?") embarrassed school officials expressed dismay as the visit had been arraigned by a local "talent scout" of some repute.

However, some parents were reportedly delighted with the choice citing Ms. Hantis' many awards and accolades including "Best Three Way Sex Scene" and "Best Group Scene" at the 2007 AVN Adult Movie Awards (although she did lose "Best New Starlet" to Naomi of "Britney Rears 3" fame that same year).

Liberal Millionaires Want to Pay More Taxes; Unable to Identify What Is Stopping Them

A group of lefty self-proclaimed millionaires trooped to Capitol Hill yesterday to tell their elected representatives that they wished to pay more taxes.  It is not immediately apparent why they were unable to avail themselves of the already established method of doing so, nor did it appear that the fawning sycophants covering the event thought to ask them.  I would LOVE to review the tax returns of this bunch, to see how many of them availed themselves of the various deductions and credits for which they were eligible.  Perhaps before they agitate to raise everyone else's taxes, they should consider methods to maximize their own rate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Immaculate Overreaction

Aspects of the Penn State debacle are starting to get ridiculous. The latest: former Steeler and Nittany Lion great Franco Harris, he of Immaculate Reception fame and a spokesman for a Pittsburgh-area casino & racetrack, has now lost his job because of his outspoken support for Joe Paterno.

Harris was critical of the Penn State Board of Trustees for firing JoePa, feeling they lacked courage in not standing by him. In other words, he was supporting his long-time coach.

This is NOT a defense of any of the utterly indefensible players in the Penn State drama. But stop and consider something: Sandusky just may be found not guilty. Before you guffaw, look at OJ...or Casey Anthony. Then what?

An Unlikely Romney Cheerleader

Ann Coulter declares it high time to rally around Romney. You read that correctly. Ann Coulter.

In her typically bitchy style, she brutally takes down Newt and makes the argument that for the first time in a long while, we'll have an articulate Republican, that it's time to give up on the ideological purity and that we need to give up finding Reagan this time around.

She's right, but it's worth reading the whole piece.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hammer's Review of Books

Some tyrants are born, some are made, and some are made worse by our reaction to them. Buchanan makes a good case that Hitler was not necessarily a candidate for biggest bastard in the history of the cosmos prior to Britain and France's engagement. The book takes you through both World Wars focusing primarily on the diplomatic missteps, manipulations and lies that led the West into the bloodiest, most costly conflict in history. And if you had any preconceptions about Winston Churchill being the greatest Brit since Richard the Lionheart, you're in for a surprise.

Recommendation: Read it, you might learn something.

This is sort of a throwaway book I picked up from the bargain bin. The author David Hagberg, relates a Soviet Naval officer's account of a mutiny aboard a Cold War era destroyer. In my opinion the book isn't written very well, this being the author's first foray into non-fiction, but the story does offer some insights into Soviet military organization, inter-service rivalries and the same cover-your-ass mindset we've all seen in our military.

Recommendation: Eh? If your stuck in an airport have at it.

This is a must read! It's a play by play of the financial crisis we are still living with today...and it names names. The authors follow the evidence like a good prosecutor and are brutal in their analysis. The facts in this book illustrate, in a real way rather than just theory, how dangerous it is to put politics before economics.

Recommendation: Read it or shut your yap.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tiger Beat Meets Sergeant Stryker

Former teen heartthrob*, former boy band member and one-time Mouseketeer Justin Timberlake did a good thing this weekend when he attended the Marine Corps Ball, sticking to a promise he made last summer when he was invited to accompany a young Marine to the annual event.

Timberlake wrote movingly in his blog about the experience, how he was humbled by the event, how proud he was to be there, and how it changed his life to be among his heroes.

Good for him.

*Never quite understood what made him a heartthrob, but I guess it's only me considering who he's been involved with.

Congressional Insider Trading

Big news this morning about yesterday's 60 minutes report on Congressional insider trading.  I didn't see the story, but UVA Professor Larry Sabato Tweeted an interesting idea--you get elected to Congress, you put your assets in a blind trust.  Sounds ok to me. In fact, sounds downright logical.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crazy Wins Over Stupid & Evil

As you may know, Republicans are either crazy, stupid or evil. And of course there are subsets of the above categories. For example, advocating freedom is a subset of stupid. Identifying with the Tea Party is a subset of stupid and evil. Being deeply religious is a subset of all three. See how it works?

I have to say I disagree with Sally. I don't deny that Michelle Bachmann is an "idiot", being of course a subset of stupid. But I take issue with her assertion that it is the reason for her downfall. Crazy is the clear winner here and even a cursory analysis of Bachmann's media coverage would lead one to this conclusion. So, can we all agree she is crazy, not stupid.

I'm sorry Sally but I felt compelled to point this out.

Michele Bachmann Is an Idiot

After a strong initial showing and surprise victory at August's Iowa Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann has been sinking like a stone and is taken seriously by virtually no one.

That isn't stopping her from making a fool of herself. Last night the GOP candidates met for (another!) debate in South Carolina moderated by CBS. She's taken a totally legitimate email from the CBS team and is screaming liberal media bias. The email (inadvertently sent to the Bachmann team) essentially said she won't be getting many questions as her poll numbers are low and they hope to spend more time on other candidates.

Not getting questions at a debate (a Republican debate, mind you) is hardly media bias, Michele. It's merely a reflection of your standing in the polls-and that standing is not exactly helped by your whining.

UVA 31 Dook 21

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, the Wahoos put another one in the win column yesterday, defeating the Blue Devils after three straight losses.  The prospect of an entire college career losing to Duke must have proved too much for the Seniors....

So the Hoo's are now 7-3, with Florida State and Virginia  Tech remaining.  I'd dearly like to win both of those games, would be incredibly satisfied with one victory (preferably over the Chokies, if needs be), but would--in the end--settle for playing both of them tough.

We'll see how things go. 

Romney and Conservatives

I had a long conversation yesterday with one of the smartest guys I know.  He's a committed conservative, and he's just not that into Mitt Romney.  The purpose of our call was for each of us to proselytize the other to his view (me, get him onboard with Mitt.  Him, get me offboard with Mitt).  Neither of us succeeded.  But the quality of the conversation and the thinking behind the two viewpoints led me to a "theory of the case"; that is, a sort of "Grand Unifying Theory" as to why I am where I am and why so many other conservatives are where they are.

First though, I will assert to you that I am more ideologically conservative than  the candidate I am supporting, though as I continue to read and watch Romney espouse his views, I find that he's more conservative than I thought six months ago. 

The very basic question here is how to fix America.  Both I and my interlocutor believe the country is in bad shape and that there is a lot of work to do to make it better.  Neither of us believe that the present administration can get it done, and both of us believe that the ideology of the present administration is at least partly responsible for the acceleration of our woes the past two years.  Both of us believe that the country (and the populace) has moved slowly but steadily leftward over the past 80 years, with only halting steps back to the middle here and there to arrest the drift (see R. Reagan).  Both of us believe that this drift must be reversed, and that it will ultimately serve as the catalyst for America's irreversible decline if not checked--and soon.  Where he and I differ is on how to make this happen--and this, I suggest, is at the heart of much of the Romney lukewarmity I see.

My friend believes we are already past the point of no return, that the other side is irredeemably corrupt and that no amount of compromise is going to fix things.  In fact, he argues that compromise is what put us in the pickle we're in, that we have compromised first principles granted us by the Founders, and that the only way to make things right is to hold steady to principles and elect a no-nonsense conservative as President.  He suggests that without such an adherence to principle, we'll lose not only the Presidency, but our lead in the House and any chance of taking the Senate.  His view of Romney is that he is insufficiently conservative and certainly insufficiently differentiated from the neo-socialism of the current administration.  These flaws suggest that he will be incapable of exerting the leadership necessary to move the country forward, that he'll deliver more of the same, making deals that maybe slow the "Road to Serfdom", but which do not ultimately create a U-turn in that road. He believes that Romney's steady but unspectacular numbers in the primaries are a reflection of the views of party faithful that we need a clean sweep, that we need to take on liberal neo-socialism head on, that we simply can't trust liberals and that compromise must end.  Put simply, a Romney Administration might slow the decline, but it will not turn it around.

I on the other hand, believe that a retreat to ideological purity will hand the liberals the victory they have been steadily moving toward, as no matter how skippy-jiffy I and my friend might consider conservative ideas to be, they simply aren't broadly adhered to enough in THIS VOTING population to serve as anything of a rallying point.  Let's face it gang--we are in the pickle we're in because many of these programs we all know to be cancers....are really, really popular with some elements of the voting population.  Voters are far too conflicted to be counted on in any way to come running to the conservative cause because we've got a great conservative candidate who can spell-bind you with his rhetoric--a la Newt--or inspire you with the simplicity of his solutions to hard problems--a la Herman.  Witness the COUNTLESS signs at Tea Party rallies two years ago saying "Hands of My Medicare".  Oh yes, we all cheered on granny as she poked Obamacare's threats to the program, some of us without ever really considering just how inconsistent with conservative principles Medicare is (while wildly popular with those who receive it). 

I believe the nomination of an ideological conservative at this point will lead to continuing gridlock and the certainty of our nation's continuing diminishment.  Not because what such a candidate would assert isn't right, or isn't what I believe--but because we can't sell it--at least not yet--to the George Bush voters who abandoned the Party for Barack Obama in 2008.  I see this as a math problem, and while we are all in love with conservative ideas and principles--a majority of Americans WILL NOT APPLY THAT LABEL to themselves.  We MUST target the muddled middle, voters who aren't ideological and who aren't political--but who recognize on some meaningful level that things are not right, that Barack Obama's path has made it worse--but--and this is a huge but--are NOT prepared to hear the inescapable truth that THEY are the problem.  That their cozy acceptance of easy mortgages backed by Uncle Sugar, student loans PROVIDED by Uncle Sugar, "save me from being underwater" restructuring deals pushed by Uncle Sugar and a whole host of other entitlements are what PUT US IN THIS POSITION, and that the only way out of this mess is to dramatically cut back on government spending.  At the heart of an ideologically conservative approach to these voters is the proposition that we have to "educate" them, that we have to convince them of the error of their ways and their own selfishness.  As wonderful as this notion is, and as fun a job as it would be--I simply cannot accept it as an electoral strategy.  I don't think you get elected President in this country by telling voters how screwed up they are.  I realize that this is a parody of an honorable approach--but it is EXACTLY how it will be portrayed by opponents. 

I support Mitt Romney for a lot of reasons--but mainly because I believe him to be a man of action animated by principle.  I support Mitt Romney because I believe that any notion that we are going to get ourselves out of this mess by creating some kind of modern day political Plymouth Colony is absurd, that any solution to where we are headed will necessarily involve some level of compromise.  The policies we seek to impact are simply TOO POPULAR for frontal assault, that the victory will be won,  one policy alteration at a time tilting the scale back in the direction of personal responsibility, limited government and free markets.

My friend and I agree completely on what the problem is, and that Mr. Obama isn't going to solve it.  I think his approach enshrines our diminishment by abandoning the playing field, and he believes my approach enshrines our diminishment by colluding with the forces that caused it.  I suspect that somewhere in between is a solution--and maybe the primary process is that solution.

Maybe the fact that conservative standard-bearers are grabbing headlines and making runs at Mitt will make him a better, more conservative candidate.  Maybe the fire nipping at his toes from Gingrich, Perry, Paul, Bachman et al will drive him to policy decisions more in line with the views of their supporters.  Maybe, in the end, Romney will be viewed as conservative enough to get the job done, and after a hard-fought primary season, the party will coalesce and he'll have the coalition he needs on our side to unseat the President.  This is my hope.  I don't think the process works with any other candidate.  I know I'll get some detractors on this one, and I accept your views.  I just think they are wrong.  But let's have some primaries, let's continue to let the process play out, and in the end, I'm damn sure I'll vote for the guy or gal with the (R) next to their name in November 2012. 
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