Politics Archives

Democrats, Do Overs, and Disenfranchisement

These are tough times to be a Democrat. After months of battling through primaries and caucuses, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are practically deadlocked in the race for their party’s presidential nomination. Even though several states are still slated to hold their primaries they aren’t going to ultimately decide who the nominee will be. That decision will be made by 796 “superdelegates” who are party officials who will ultimately select the nominee. Never before has the Democratic party had to rely on these unelected delegates to decide a nomination. This was the year the Democrats were supposed to win back the White House. Now, it looks like the party may implode before they can select a nominee.

To make matters worse, Senator John McCain has already wrapped up the Republican nomination which means he can focus on the general election and raise a boatload of campaign cash.

The question now facing Democrats in how to bring their nomination process to a peaceful end. Unfortunately for them, no one has a good solution.

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More on Notions of States and Restrictions

The conversation with Mr Sandefur of Freespace has continued. He answered, and then I replied (at my blog). He then replied again and here is my response.

Mr Sandefur seems to use only one method of argument, deliberate misconstrual. In his latest sally before I respond, it might be instructive to count both his rhetorical points and his misconstruals and see which wins out [note: score is 0 arguments, 4 misconstruals]. Again, to save space, find the rest below the fold. Read the rest of this entry

The "Identity Pileup"

When Maureen Dowd finally sees the problems brought on by identity politics, and calls it like it is, you can just see the chickens coming home to roost.  However, in the entire article, there’s something missing.  We’ll get to that, but first…

Dowd lays it on the line as to the choice that Democrats have to make.

With Obama saying the hour is upon us to elect a black man and Hillary saying the hour is upon us to elect a woman, the Democratic primary has become the ultimate nightmare of liberal identity politics. All the victimizations go tripping over each other and colliding, a competition of historical guilts.

People will have to choose which of America’s sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?

As it turns out, making history is actually a way of being imprisoned by history. It’s all about the past. Will America’s racial past be expunged or America’s sexist past be expunged?

My question to this is; in spite of all the common cause the Democrats have made with Martin Luther King, whatever happened to "the content of their character"?  Or their policies, given that this is the highest office in the land?  Instead, Democrats are fixated on race and gender.

Oh, and age, too.

But Hillary — carried on the padded shoulders of the older women in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island who loved her “I Will Survive” rallying cry that “I am a little older and I have earned every wrinkle on my face” — has been saved to fight another day.

And so we wind up with the very thing Democrats accuse Republicans of doing; voting (or not voting) for someone based on their gender or race or age or some other external characteristic rather than their positions.  This leaves Democrats in the unenviable position,and one of their own making, of seeming racist or sexist even if their true motives have nothing to do with either.

Welcome to our world, folks, where Republicans get accused by the Democrats, the media and the blogs of being racists and bigots regardless of how we explain our positions and our votes.  Stinks, doesn’t it?  So here’s what I see as missing from the article; can we possibly hope that this will be the end of identity politics?

I’m not so sure.  Dowd’s article, while noting the disaster awaiting Democrats…

Just as Michelle Obama urged blacks to support her husband, many shoulder-pad feminists are growing more fierce in charging that women who let Obama leapfrog over Hillary are traitors.

Julie Acevedo, a precinct captain for Obama in Austin, noticed that things were getting uglier on Friday, during the early voting, when she “saw some very angry women just stomping by us to go vote for Hillary. They cut us off when we tried to talk about Barack.

…doesn’t really seem to renounce it.  The sooner Democrats get rid of it, the sooner Spelman students will be able to make an informed decision as to whom to vote for.

[tags]Maureen Down,New York Times,Democrats,identity politics[/tags]

Mr Sandefur claims in response to my allegation that he completely misconstrued my first essay, with an essay in which he thinks that a state has “no rights.” And to be honest, I agree with him on that point … it’s just that neither do people. However in the context of his own question:

This is interesting because this really is the very center of the dispute between libertarians and conservatives. Does the state itself have rights valid against its own citizens, to act for its own preservation at their expense?

On this question, Mr Sandefur has five “objections” to that notion that the “state has rights”. So does a state have a right to craft laws which it believes will lead to its continuance? Clearly virtually every state does so and believes it is right in doing so. Clearly as well, that some states craft laws which belie an incorrect assumption about what will allow them to continue … and they ceased to exist. But, it might be interesting to examine Mr Sandefur’s arguments in the light of those I’d propose. Mr Sandefur’s arguments are, I think, derived from classical Libertarian positions … mine are not classical anything, conservative or liberal. Mine largely derive from recent digestion and assimilation of Jouvenel and Solzhenitsyn viewed in the context of modern and ancient historical events.

I’ll examine those five and attempt a response … below the fold.

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Obama’s LBB (Little Blue Book): Unions

I downloaded Mr Obama’s little Plan the other day. He says he’s in full support of strengthening laws which support and strengthen unions. Is he insane? Alternatively … stupid, pandering,  or evil?

He’s suggesting this in a global market were the local Ford unions just recently went onstrike for more, …  well, whatever. They (and Obama) are apparently not noticing that they’re now in direct competion globally with companies like Tata, who probably pay their employees $2.50 per day (and that’s likely a 10-12 hour 6 day-per-week workweek). Tata is now launching a 2,500 dollar automobile. Now it probably doesn’t have the bells and whistles that even a low end Ford does. But … I’ll bet it is a lot nicer than whatever Ford thinks it can make a profit at selling for $2500. It takes a lot of mechanization, get up and go, yankee ingenuity to make up over an order or so of magnitude difference in manpower. Furthermore remember that unions do the opposite of inspiring any of those three. Jobs are leaving Ohio, not because unions are too strong but because American salary demands aren’t competitive on the global market.

The Spoiler

Now that Ralph Nader has entered the presidential race, things get a little more interesting.  My personal feeling is that McCain would lose to Obama but could win against Clinton, with all her negatives.  Nader typically draws votes more from the Democratic candidate (just ask Al Gore), so with Obama looking more and more like the presumptive candidate, I like this development. 

One of the things that Nader’s candidacy always puts forth is that he is the candidat of real change, and that there’s not much difference between the two major parties.  Which, in my mind, means that those who vote for Nader on that basis really just don’t generally pay attention to what’s going on.  That most of Nader’s votes come from Democrats says, to me, more about Democrats than about Nader.

[tags]Ralph Nader,Al Gore,Democrats,politics[/tags]

Oh, That Liberal Media

Yeah, I know, that’s a cliche line if there ever was one, but the smear by the New York Times on John McCain is only the latest, and perhaps one of the most egregious, example in this election cycle.  They endorsed him while preparing this story, and now that he has the nomination essentially sewn up, they tossed a bunch of innuendo about him from disgruntled former aides on the front page.  The blogosphere has been all over this story, but Captain Ed gives a good post-mortem on the whole thing today.

So what do we have? We have salacious but completely unsubstantiated gossip, combined with a rehash of at least one old Times smear, placed on the front page of what used to be the premiere newspaper in America. And what exactly does that do for the Times’ credibility for the rest of this electoral cycle? They can’t run anything on McCain now without it being seen in the context of what the Times itself calls a "war" between the Times and McCain. Keller and company declared war on McCain yesterday, and it fired a bazooka of effluvium as its opening salvo. They’ve marginalized themselves for the next nine months.

Ed notes earlier that the Times has done what the Republican party couldn’t; fire up the base for McCain.  Blogger punditry on the Left still wants to milk this for all what it’s worth, but it’s unlikely their words will be taken seriously when trying to prop up rumor as some sort of "I told you so" moment.  Not gonna’ happen. 

[tags]John McCain,New York Times,politics,liberal media[/tags]

What Have You Done For Me Lately Ever?

Ed Morrissey notes an exchange between Chris Matthews and Texas State Senator Kirk Watson that is rather telling in regards to Obama’s accomplishment thus far.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “You are a big Barack supporter, right, Senator?”

State Sen. Watson: “I am. Yes, I am.”

Matthews: “Well, name some of his legislative accomplishments. No, Senator, I want you to name some of Barack Obama’s legislative accomplishments tonight if you can.”

State Sen. Watson: “Well, you know, what I will talk about is more about what he is offering the American people right now.”

Matthews: “No. No. What has he accomplished, sir? You say you support him. Sir, you have to give me his accomplishments. You’ve supported him for president. You are on national television. Name his legislative accomplishments, Barack Obama, sir.”

State Sen. Watson: “Well, I’m not going to be able to name you specific items of legislative accomplishments.”

Matthews: “Can you name any? Can you name anything he’s accomplished as a Congressman?”

State Sen. Watson: “No, I’m not going to be able to do that tonight.”

Matthews: “Well, that is a problem isn’t it?”

(Video is here.)

Indeed, that is the problem. A speech with “something something something change! something something something hope!” may get ’em swooning, but it’s also the perfect way to fly in under the radar and foist on the American people policies they had no idea were coming.

And it actually says more about Obama’s supporters, since they’re more than willing to vote based on platitudes and “free” government goodies than on actual, y’know, policies. Getting more people involved in politics is one thing, and a good thing, but getting them voting without a clue of why they’re voting is not a good thing at all for the democratic process.

[tags]Barak Obama,Democrats,Kirk Watson,Ed Morrissey,democracy[/tags]

Finishing What You Start

With John McCain’s victory tonight in Wisconsin, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will undoubtedly receive a renewed barrage of questions about when he’s going to drop out of the presidential race. After all, he’s trailing McCain by almost 600 delegates. Senator McCain needs to win only about 200 of the remaining delegates in order to get to the magic number of 1,191.

I don’t think Huckabee will drop out. He’s said many times that until Senator McCain reaches the magic number he’s not going to drop out.

To quote Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

It’s highly unlikely that Huckabee could win enough delegates to deny McCain winning the nomination. But that doesn’t mean that he should give up, either.

In fact, Mike Huckabee strikes me as a person who finishes what he starts. Anyone who commits to losing over 100 pounds has to have a firm sense of dedication not only to achieve that goal but to continue to do the things day by day that allow him to keep the weight off.

Mike Huckabee won’t win the Republican nomination this year. But he will have shown something far greater: the strength of character to finish what he started.

John McCain’s Conservative Problem

John McCain scored a huge victory in yesterday’s Virginia Republican primary winning nearly 51% of the vote and defeating Mike Huckabee by a double-digit margin. But a closer look at the results reveals McCain’s biggest weakness: his inability to win conservative voters.
McCain won the primary by over 50,000 votes. However, when you look at the individual city and county results McCain’s problems are immediately obvious to anyone who is familiar with the state’s demographics.
Mike Huckabee won in more rural and suburban counties which are the more conservative areas of the state. McCain won the larger cities and urban counties that traditionally lean more towards Democratic candidates. Even though McCain won a big victory8 he still did not do well in traditionally Republican areas.
Virginia has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1952. However, this year may be the year that Virginia turns blue. Consider this: the last two governors of Virginia have been Democrats (Mark Warner and current governor Tim Kaine). The last time Virginia elected a senator they picked Democrat Jim Webb over incumbent Republican George Allen. This year, long-time Republican senator John Warner (a RINO in every sense of the term, by the way) will retire and the aforementioned Mark Warner is a heavy favorite to win his seat over former Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate Jim Gilmore.
Unless McCain can figure out a way to get the conservative Republican base behind him, he’ll have a hard time winning Virginia. If he cannot win Virginia, he won’t be able to win the White House no matter who the Democrats decide to nominate.

Not Just Another Press Release

You expect this sort of talk from the Bush administration.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq faces an “extraordinary crisis”. Last year’s mass defection of ordinary Sunnis from al-Qaeda to the US military “created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight”. The terrorist group’s security structure suffered “total collapse”.

But this is not the script from the latest press briefing in DC.

These are the words not of al-Qaeda’s enemies but of one of its own leaders in Anbar province — once the group’s stronghold. They were set down last summer in a 39-page letter seized during a US raid on an al-Qaeda base near Samarra in November.

The US military released extracts from that letter yesterday along with a second seized in another November raid that is almost as startling.

That second document is a bitter 16-page testament written last October by a local al-Qaeda leader near Balad, north of Baghdad. “I am Abu-Tariq, emir of the al-Layin and al-Mashahdah sector,” the author begins. He goes on to describe how his force of 600 shrank to fewer than 20.

“We were mistreated, cheated and betrayed by some of our brothers,” he says. “Those people were nothing but hypocrites, liars and traitors and were waiting for the right moment to switch sides with whoever pays them most.”

Given that, this pronouncement seems at odds with reality.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq “is a failure,” adding that President Bush’s troop surge has “not produced the desired effect.”

“The purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “They have not done that.”

The speaker hastened to add: “The troops have succeeded, God bless them.”

If al Qaeda is having to regroup and has lost all this ground, then the Iraqi government does have “a secure time”, at least far more secure than it has been. If that’s her definition of success, I’d say the Surge has been quite successful.

That the Iraqis have had a tough time coming together and resolving differences is simply human nature in action. As I mentioned earlier, culture and tribalism can work against a shared national identity, both in Afghanistan and Iraq. It will take time, but we are giving them that time, successfully.

[tags]Iraq,al Qaeda,Afghanistan,Nancy Pelosi,terrorism[/tags]

Inside and outside of the Christian community at large views the prosperity gospel as errant, and proponents of the same such as Mr Osteen are seen as heretical. Now, I’m something of a Christian purist, if you don’t adhere to the Nicene Creed … you aren’t, by definition, Christian. Mr Romney as a Mormon, or Jehovah Witnesses for example, are not thereby, technically speaking Christian. Barack Obama holds to a church which professes what is called Black Liberation Theology. Now, I had formerly looked askance at that having associated Liberation Theology with the South American Catholic Liberation movement which intimately connected the gospel and Marxism, which I felt was probably “just wrong.” It was then remarked that the adjective “Black” has definite meaning and as such there is little or no connection with Marxism. However, I just looked into via a little googling what Black Liberation theology entails … and well first of all it’s not Christian, and secondly it’s not properly theology at all to my way of thinking. Mr Obama is not a Christian, he’s something worse. He’s a heretic claiming to be Christian but in fact is not.

Now I’m planning on going a little more details in future posts, but in precis it seems to me the theological content of Black Liberation (BL) theology might be summarized thusly. In my view, BL and the properity gospel are two sides of the same coin. Prosperity gospel is for the rich (white?) American folk hoping to get richer (simply put, Jesus = Good news (gospel) and what other than good news can one have than getting rich?). The other side of the coin, for those feeling or being oppressed is BL. For example:

The first question Bruce L. Fields asks in Introducing Black Theology is “What is black theology?” It is theology from the perspective of an oppressed people. It seeks to interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ against the backdrop of historical and contemporary racism. The message of black theology is that the African American struggle for liberation is consistent with the gospel—every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation.

I find the statement “every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation” to be, in a word, from the small “o” orthodox Christian perspective rankest heresy. An honest atheist is not dangerous in the way that man claiming to be your brother who in fact is not … is.

Now American’s Black included are notoriously ignorant of history. Historically speaking, one can argue that the majority of the starkly oppressed Christian churches have been the Eastern Orthodox. Now, I’ll admit some prejudice here, but I think it can be argued with that prejudice in mind that the proper Christian response to oppression can be found in the Early church and the Eastern church in lands conquered by Islam and the Orthodox church behind the Iron Curtain and under atheist communist persecution. If the American Black can claim oppression what by contrast does the Coptic Christian claim is his situation in Egypt, or the Antiochan Orthodox within Syria? In parts of the (former) Soviet bloc, it was a capital crime to baptize. I’m not saying the Black American today isn’t oppressed. But there needs to be another word to describe these other instances of oppression. A few people killed here and their is murder. Holocaust or Holodomor are not “murder” because the quantitative difference yeilds something which begs for a new word to describe and signify that difference.

In this series I’m going to examine Black Liberation Theology in more detail and contrast it, where possible, with a Christian viewpoint as well as, if appropriate, to contrast the how theological responses to the same stimuli played out in the East with the Black liberation ideas, and thus underlying and understanding what is meant by Mr Obama as Heretic.

Mark Steyn at CPAC

Townhall has some video of Mark Steyn, at CPAC. A couple of excerpts:

He quotes Gerald Ford as saying,

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.”

To which he adds,

A government big enough to give you everything you want, isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. And that’s what the Europeans have.

Take the time to watch it all.

Romney Out, McCain Rising

With Mitt Romney giving his withdrawal speech today at CPAC, the SCO poll should probably be worded, "Since John McCain is the Republican candidate for President…."  OK, OK, technically it isn’t true yet, but this essentially seals the nomination for McCain.

That’s one less chance for a brokered convention this year.  Ah well, the Democrats may still give us one, unless Howard Dean has his way.

[tags]Mitt Romney,John McCain,Howard Dean,brokered convention[/tags]

A Vote for Huckabee is . . .

I know all about spin.  I’ve been in public relations work for some 30 years, and I know spin when I hear or see it.  But in the last few weeks, the conservative talkers and others have projected Huck first as the liberal threat—with McCain—to the future of conservatives, the Republican Party, and the republic itself; and then as the strong conservative threat to the candidacy of Mitt Romney—siphoning conservative, mostly southern votes, from Mitt.  Spin can work, but it’s risky to spin the same guy two different directions in the same election cycle.  Huckabee is his own unique blend of faith-driven conservative populism.  He had a good night, probably his last, and he represented evangelicals well.  Today, I hope McCain selects him to be his vice president—but there is a lot of time to ponder that.     

The Conscience of James Dobson

I continue to be disappointed in the political pouting of James Dobson, who issued a statement yesterday saying he will never vote for John McCain “as a matter of conscience.”  Dobson is free to have his political opinions, of course, and McCain may not be his favorite, but to provide a spiritual flavor to his dis-endorsement by citing conscience is a misuse of his position as a Christian leader.  It is an embarrassment to evangelical Christians involved in the political process. 

Obama for Orator-in-Chief

Obama has been rated as the most liberal Senator in Washington, D.C., and he is the strongest peacenik to have a fair shot at the presidency since George McGovern, so I would never be able to support him—because of his political philosophy.  But I love to hear him speak; there is nothing like great political oratory, and Obama is the best of our time.  His speech last night was masterful. 

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