Economic primer on the stimulus

And it comes in a nice tidy 7 1/2 minute lesson, courtesy of the Center for  Freedom and Prosperity Foundation (h/t NetRightNation):

It’s been said many times in many ways, but those who fail to recall their history are doomed to repeat it. It seems that this video illustrates the effect the Bush tax cuts had on the economy; unfortunately the economic strength they created was sapped in part by government overspending at all levels.

I’m going to keep harping on one particular point until I’m blue in the face because it’s so right yet people can’t seem to see how right it is – money is better kept in YOUR pocket to spend where YOU decide it should be. Is there a toll which needs to be paid for the common good? Yes, there are some functions which government is appointed to do and there’s funding required to accomplish those tasks – one example is our military, which really doesn’t take a huge chunk of the overall federal budget.

The same goes for state governments, which have their own various purposes spelled out in their respective state Constitutions. Many require the state to fund public education, so that becomes an area states should take the lead in while the federal government butts out.

Once you reach the local level, those locally generated tax dollars should pay for basic functions of local government: public safety, roads, water and sewer systems if the municipality or other governmental entity features such systems, and the minimum amount of administration required by law. Even items which are associated with public service such as trash pickup and snow removal aren’t necessarily required functions – living outside the city limits I contract with a private refuse pickup service and they do a fine job.

So what would be a good stimulus plan? How about measures to create jobs in the private sector instead of increasing the number of unionized government positions? We know that President Obama is paying back one of the largest sectors of his support (both electorally and financially) by creating a huge number of government jobs and focusing other tasks on areas which are de facto unionized (for example, public works construction jobs which pay the so-called prevailing wage.)

And even if that money kept with John Q. Citizen simply went into a bank or to pay creditors, this would lessen the need for federal bailouts of those industries – either way I see it as a win-win situation (as opposed to the selling out Republicans in the Senate seem to want on the stimulus package.)

There’s a lot of work to be done, but the hard part is standing by and watching the politicians mess the situation up further. Maybe they need to watch this short video.

Republicans now party of Steele

Well, that’s one less statewide candidate the Maryland GOP has for consideration.

Needless to say, much of the mainstream media spin is that Michael Steele is the first black GOP head and was the most moderate of the five candidates who were formally nominated today. I damn well hope that the color of his skin had nothing to do with his appeal (and it probably didn’t) but certainly that will be the way this event is reported.

In a five-candidate race, Michael began in second place after the first balloting behind incumbent Chair Mike Duncan, but caught up to Duncan on the second ballot. Steele took the lead on ballot number three, which is when Mike saw the writing on the wall and bowed out. Subsequent ballots saw the perennial last-place candidate Ken Blackwell fold up his tent and endorse Steele after the fourth go-round and Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis drop out after the fifth.

In the end, Steele polled 91 votes to Katon Dawson’s 77, enabling him to finally win on ballot six.

So we have a guy from Maryland running the Grand Old Party. What does that mean for our state?

Obviously it takes Steele out of contention for 2010. And with signs pointing to Senator Mikulski making a re-election bid next year, it’s likely we’ll not see a very strong contender from our side this time around. The state party may decide to put all of its marbles on a possible Bob Ehrlich-Martin O’Malley rematch for Governor; however if you believe this post on Joe Steffen’s Darkness Rising blog Governor Ehrlich has a long uphill fundraising slog to regain the seat. It’s not like the Democrats aren’t going to lie and obfuscate their pathetic record of leadership in Maryland under O’Malley just to get whatever votes they have to count twice or make up out of thin air to win.

Probably the biggest favor Bob Ehrlich can do for Maryland Republicans is announce his intentions early, like this spring.

Granted, the Maryland GOP doesn’t have all that deep of a bench. It’s not for a lack of trying, but a good number of their players are either statewide losers or not nearly known enough to play at that level. To continue the baseball analogy, it would be like the Orioles roster was peppered with a few guys who got their cup of coffee in the bigs but struggled to succeed at Norfolk coupled with players who shone at Delmarva and Frederick but may not have been polished enough to play in Bowie, let alone the big leagues.

Obviously this isn’t to say we won’t be successful in 2010, just that the bigger push may have to come mid-decade when the Governor’s chair would be an open seat and Senator Mikulski may finally decide to retire. Pushing our House of Delegates ranks into the fifties and Senate numbers over twenty would probably rank as a successful 2010 campaign overall.

Where can Michael Steele help on that front? For one thing, he noted in his platform that:

My plan for winning the future relies on collaboration as the foundation to the road to victory.   We need to forge a new working relationship between the RNC and state and local parties that will deliver a unified message and assure an amplification of resources.  This will require constant dialogue.  It will require a free and open exchange of ideas.  And, it will require an immediate and collaborative examination with the Republican leaders of every state and the leadership of the RNC on what is and isn’t broken.  Each state Party must examine how the Republican brand, and Republican ideals, can best be advanced in their ongoing efforts to improve.  As leaders, our role is to listen to a broad universe of stakeholders, to unify around our common goals and then to create solutions that work.

And also:

Building our grassroots will be paramount to winning elections.  We must do a much better job of networking into our communities. We spend too much time talking to ourselves instead of spreading the gospel to potential believers. As a party we need to focus on the people who live and work in our districts.  We need to speak to them directly and we need to facilitate their grassroots and turnout.  We must build and energize new volunteer networks. Without them, we lack the most important means of communicating our message — word-of mouth and neighbor-to-neighbor. To that end, I plan to recruit and train 25,000 new activist leaders by 2012.  Many of these folks will become campaign managers.  Most will help organize, train and lead volunteer organizations in their communities.  Activist enthusiasm and energy has to be fed with knowledge and resources.  We will lead the way in cultivating activists through training tailored to their strengths, interests and the needs of our Party on the ground. As their enthusiasm matures into success we will continue to invest in their growth and will recognize and celebrate outstanding accomplishments annually in Washington, DC.  We need to ensure our grassroots activists never have cause to doubt the immense value we place on their contributions.

While Steele wasn’t my first choice, he seems to be a good choice. And while I’m not exactly what one would call a prototypical grassroots activist, I’m certainly not afraid to advance a conservative agenda!

So let’s hope that my assessment of the Maryland GOP is one of underpromising, and we can overdeliver both on a state and national level in 2010 – Lord knows we can’t do it soon enough!

Odds and ends no. 17

Yet another compilation of stuff that doesn’t take a whole post to discuss.

It didn’t take too long, but the guys and gals at Our Country Deserves Better have a gradecard for President Obama. I’m simply shocked he didn’t get F’s across the board, but I’m not too inclined to disagree with their assessments. They’re backed up from a plethora of sources in the mainstream media.

The short story is that OCDB gives Obama a D- for Taxes and Fiscal Policy, a big fat F for National Security, another D- for Protecting the Unborn, and a D for Appointments. What does that work out to, an 0.5 GPA? That may chip farther into BHO’s steep 15-point approval drop in one week.

It’s not exactly breaking news that the stimulus program passed the House of Representatives, but Obama’s reaching out to the GOP bore no fruit at all – not a single member of the Republican caucus voted for the bill. Can’t say as I blame them – after all, the President haughtily reminded House Republicans that “I won.”

I have to give credit to Congressman Kratovil on this one too – he was one of 11 Democrats who voted no (the only Maryland Democrat to do so, needless to say.)

Even with that tilt toward moderation and independence, Kratovil is certain to be a target to be defeated by the Republicans in 2010. As for the here and now, much of the buzz in GOP circles this week concerns the upcoming election for party Chair. Unfortunately for local fans of Michael Steele, his bid could come up short according to this website called yourrnc.com.

While I like Steele, personally I think a better choice would be Ken Blackwell of Ohio. He’s the subject of this American Spectator profile by Quin Hillyer. Unfortunately, neither lead the pack – the incumbent Mike Duncan does. It’s a classic case of establishment vs. grassroots brewing, I fear.

I know fans of the aforementioned Frank Kratovil aren’t big supporters of the Club For Growth, but that group brings up an interesting market anomaly:

Have you heard of the Congressional Effect? Let’s say you invested $1 in the stock market on the days when Congress is IN session and another dollar on the days when Congress is OUT of session. Can you guess which investment has a better historic return (HINT: Congress is very capable of creating political mischief)? Find out what the Congressional Effect was for 2008 here. And here’s an old article from our friend Amity Shlaes who explains it at more length.

While neither result is doing much for our 401.k plans, one has to wonder when the markets will stop paying such attention to Congress and revert to gauging business trends. Or is that now a thing of the past?

One business trend that seems to be semi-permanent in Maryland is driving them away through excessive regulation. I’m going to wrap up this edition by pointing out an excellent post by Richard Falknor on his Blue Ridge Forum blog.

Once again, Governor O’Malley is operating with the mistaken belief that cutting greenhouse emissions in Maryland – a state with about 2% of the national population, and one who’s the 4th largest energy importer as Faulknor points out – will make a sizeable dent in global warming.

Which, by the way is not occurring. Is it my imagination or do we have a winter storm every time Al Gore comes to town?

Lesson three: green that costs green

One final lesson, for now.

Over the last decade or so, a movement has arisen. It’s embodied by Al Gore’s schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, which unfortunately is factually challenged at best. In effect, this movement blames the advance of mankind and our expanding economy (which, in turn, creates a demand for more energy, predominantly based on burning carbon-based fossil fuels) for global climate change.

(It used to be global warming, but inconveniently the earth’s average global temperature has actually declined over the last decade. So the green movement needed a new term.)

In response, we have undergone a number of changes in our lifestyle. Let me say right at the top that I believe I speak for conservatives when I say we have no problem with energy-efficient methods of operation. Where we differ from Democrats is believing that there should be a choice in the matter, and energy efficiency should not be achieved through fiat.

An example of this comes with “smart grid” technology. Quoting from Wikipedia:

“…smart grid features could expand energy efficiency beyond the grid into the home by coordinating low priority home devices such as water heaters so that their use of power takes advantage of the most desirable energy sources.

(snip)

Some of the benefits of such a modernized electricity network include the ability to reduce power consumption at the consumer side during peak hours, called Demand side management.

This all sounds well and good. But where does “the ability to reduce power consumption” end? For example, if Barack Obama repeated Jimmy Carter’s idea about keeping our home thermostats at 65 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees during the summer, couldn’t that same technology reset your home thermostats to those levels whether you wanted them there or not? Personally I’ve found my house is most comfortable at 68 and 75, repsectively. But the green lobby has pitched these sorts of measures in the guise of combatting global climate change.

Then we have our energy sources. Democrats like President Obama believe that we should cut our dependence on foreign oil, and so do I. The problem with their approach is that they don’t want to drill for domestic oil! Obviously any oil or natural gas we find here lessens our need for imports, but that lesson is lost on Democrats. Instead they want to “invest” (read: spend taxpayer dollars on subsidies) in “alternative” energy.

What should be most offensive to every one of you is the fact that some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. who you’ve never met nor have you vetted for qualifications makes the decisions for you when it comes to the car you drive, the kind of light bulbs you use, and where energy companies can look for new sources of energy to rebuild our sagging economy.

The “green” movement is a symptom of a larger disease. When I cited the Pew study on Sunday, the Democrats’ 45-26 margin among the youth voters was only the second most alarming statistic.

What bothered me more than anything was the 69 percent of voters age 18-29 who thought that government should do more to solve problems, adopting an expanded role in our lives.

Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as noting, “(t)hey who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” While many use this as a warning about the PATRIOT Act (which is a valid criticism; personally I feel that act should have a sunset date), I look at this idea in a number of other ways.

On the whole, what the Democratic Party in place circa 2009 and their liberal, socialist followers would like to do is exert their control over your daily life.

This is perfectly embodied in the fact that, if you’re an employee who draws a paycheck, who gets the fruit of your labor first? The government does. Before you can cash your check at the bank or draw from the direct deposit, your money automatically goes to the federal and state government through backup withholding.

What I would suggest to our youth is to take an hour and study a copy of our Constitution, paying particular attention to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Bill of Rights.

You’ll see that it’s not a perfect document, but the idea that freedom and liberty for the individual can and should be paramount shines through.

However, the party you subscribe to and their method of governance ignore that clear advice, instead believing that rights truly belong to the government and should be given out as they see fit.

I know that theory and practice aren’t exactly the same, and elites seem to operate under their own set of rules. This is only because we the people allow them to. In a more perfect Union, Americans would be much more vigilant and protective of their own rights.

By subordinating yourselves and believing only government can bring about solutions, you sell yourselves short and doom future generations to either a Long March toward serfdom or another bloody revolution to once again break the chains of tyranny. It’s your choice – please choose more wisely.

Lesson one: the stimulus

Let me bounce off last night’s post, beginning with the so-called stimulus package.

In this case, though, it’s not just the young voters who want the government to do something, but almost everyone.

There’s no question we’re in a difficult economic period, but it bears repeating that the whole mess started when some of those who borrowed for a larger, more expensive home than they could truly afford found themselves unable to sustain their payments. At that point, the foreclosures began, the overbuilt housing market became even more saturated, and home values plummeted.

As money became tighter, harried consumers cut back on purchases, forcing retailers to close stores or go out of business entirely. In turn, this threw more onto the unemployment lines while at the same time states saw their revenues decrease at a time when they thought spending more on social programs was the way to go.

Enter the stimulus programs of the last 12 months or so. What did you do with your rebate check from last year? Many paid bills, while others put the money away in savings. As economic conditions became worse it was obvious that $150 billion didn’t do the trick – nor has the $350 billion used to bail out a number of banks appreciably loosened the credit market.

Step three seems to be where the Obama Administration and Democrats spend upwards of a trillion dollars on a number of scattershot proposals, including a tax cut for those who don’t pay taxes. In my day, that was called a welfare check – but then there’s no shame for being on the dole anymore. In truth, last year’s check was wealth redistribution too – those who earned above a certain threshold did not get one, either.

Let’s use a little logic here, kids. I know that most of you weren’t taught critical thinking in school, so this may be a foreign concept. Bear with me.

Those of you who are working – it’s likely you make a certain amount per hour and work 40 hours a week if you’re full time. To make math easy, let’s say you make $10 an hour, so your weekly paycheck should be $400. But it’s not, is it? If you’re like me, you have about 1/3 taken out for various reasons, mostly to pay taxes.

For the most part, those taxes go to the federal government. It was a law called the Community Reinvestment Act passed by the federal government which in essence told the banks that they had to lend to those who probably wouldn’t be good credit risks, or they would find it difficult to expand or merge to run more efficiently and profitably.

It was also the federal government who indirectly set the policy of easy credit for homeowners and others in order to make ours an economy based on consumer spending rather than investment.

So, in order to fix the problem they had a hand in creating, the federal government wants to take that money you earned through your hard work and, after they take their cut, give it to a vast array of organizations and inferior (e.g. subordinate to them) governmental bodies (who also take their cut) who will spend some of that money to “stimulate” the economy. Of course, also bear in mind that the money out of your check, even when combined with everyone else’s money, still will fall something on the order of a trillion dollars short of what the federal government would like to spend – for years to come.

Because of that shortfall, one (or both) of two things happen. The debt accrues over time because of interest, making it a larger burden on you later in life; or, the dollars you earn lose purchasing power because there’s more of them out there. You weren’t around for the double-digit inflation of the Carter years, I was. Your $10 an hour would only be worth $9 after a year, yet you work just as hard.

Now imagine that, instead of giving your money to the government who MAY provide you benefits (assuming you happen to be in a group who they target the benefits to at that particular moment, these things are always subject to change) you get to keep more of what you earned and spend it where you want to. Or you could save it and invest for your future dreams, like purchasing a house with a solid 20 percent down payment, as they did in the old days.

Does that sound appealing to you? Well, welcome to conservatism. It’s not practiced by the Democratic Party, so you may wish to rethink that political leaning.

If you’re not convinced yet, don’t worry. I have plenty more where that came from.

Tax reform even Geithner couldn’t screw up

Despite the fact Treasury Secretary designate Timothy Geithner managed to mess up his taxes over several years to the tune of underpaying $34,000 – even though his employer gave him instructions on how to deal with the issue and reimbursed him for the taxes paid – it appears he’ll be confirmed nonetheless; that is if the overwhelming vote to bring him out of committee is any indication.

But this post isn’t intended to bring up that old news; after all, don’t we all mess up on our taxes to the tune of many months’ salary for those of us who don’t work in the elite financial world? On the contrary, I think it’s a perfect time to discuss a subject I’ve waxed eloquent on a number of times before.

Little noticed among the hundreds of bills introduced in the House of Representatives is yet another attempt to implement the FairTax. For the fourth Congress in a row, H.R. 25 is sponsored by Georgia Rep. John Linder and will likely again never see the light of day, buried in committee. (Maybe he needs a new bill number since 25 isn’t cutting it.) The only problem I see with it is H.R. 25 doesn’t repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. (However, there is an aptly-numbered resolution in this Congress which does call for repeal.)

This would be perfect for someone like Tim Geithner, who claimed to simply use TurboTax to do his returns. (Listen, I used that program last year and will do so again – there’s no way I was $34,000 off! My refund wasn’t even a tenth of that.)

Some may argue that a recession is a poor time to enact a tax which is based on consumption, but I heartily disagree.

Now is the perfect time for the FairTax because we’d have a worst-case scenario for revenue generation. As economic conditions improve – as they surely would if those of us who are working no longer have to deal with the IRS backup withholding out of our check, meaning more money in our pockets to spend – the government could start gaining the funds to pay for other important items like an enhanced military and backstopping entitlements (at least until they’re sunsetted; hey if I’m going to dream I’m dreaming big!)

The problem with the Obama Administration’s favored solution to our economic woes is that they determine where the money goes and how it’s spent. (Not to mention they’re essentially creating the cash from whole cloth and adding trillions to our budget deficit. Didn’t the Democrats complain about the GOP presidents’ huge deficits? Why yes they did, just read a few of Final Frontier’s comments and somewhere she’ll make mention of that very point!)

Instead of bailing out every bank and automaker who has run into trouble because they couldn’t say no, why not truly stimulate the economy by allowing the public (read: the market) to determine where they spend their own money? I know, they may do something stupid like put it in the bank or invest the money in tax-free municipal bonds instead of buying the latest made-in-China electronic gadgets, but to each his or her own, right?

The more I think about the situation with taxation in our state and our nation, the more I think a consumption tax makes sense. I realize Maryland went to increase their sales tax and didn’t draw the revenue they expected, but that was because of competition from adjoining states. If every state has to collect a particular percentage federal tax, it may level the playing field to some extent. (I’d still go to Delaware for big-ticket items but perhaps that threshold would increase.)

So while I’m probably beating my head against the wall expecting some sort of sane action out of this edition of Congress, hope does spring eternal and perhaps Linder’s idea may finally get some traction.

Disappointed and disillusioned

And I thought it was the Democrats who allowed incompetence to rise to the top. Apparently the GOP really wants to follow in those shoes; that is if this report by Reid Wilson from The Hill’s Briefing Room blog is to be believed. (In a related story, they’re predicting a multi-ballot race, which I’ve suspected would be the case all along with several contenders.)

This compilation of those who have announced publicly who they’ll support for the Chairmanship of the Republican Party shows that the incumbent Mike Duncan has the plurality among those who’ve expressed a preference. Granted, there’s only about half of the 168 who vote that have gone public, but one has to wonder why some would continue with a leader who’s already lost one national election.

Perhaps it’s because we’re very close to the situation and there’s a favorite son candidate representing Maryland, but the buzz around Michael Steele based on his debate performance and name recognition doesn’t seem to be permeating all that many of those who actually make the decision next week.

It’s somewhat akin to the situation conservatives found themselves in for the 2008 Presidential primaries. There are several good candidates who will probably split the vote and allow the status quo to win. John McCain was the “establishment” GOP candidate in the 2008 election and Mike Duncan represents the establishment to me.

There’s no better proof of this than noticing that, despite the state having its own favorite son candidate in Ken Blackwell, two of Ohio’s representatives are in the Duncan camp. And this is something else I feel I need to comment on.

Bob Bennett was in charge of the Ohio Republican Party while I served as a Central Commitee member there. While the setup is somewhat different in the Buckeye State, the fact is Ohio Republicans have seen their onetime grasp of each statewide office loosened and ripped away because the state party brass relied too much on their own judgment. They didn’t trust the will of the GOP base enough to select the best candidates – well, that should tell readers in a nutshell why Duncan is the wrong man for the job.

Ken Blackwell has never been the darling of the establishment Republicans in Ohio, who seem to think that candidates have to be wishy-washy moderates to have a chance to win statewide. Unfortunately, the last wishy-washy moderate to win statewide from the GOP side was the reviled Governor Bob Taft, who raised taxes and became embroiled in the Coingate scandal. Once Blackwell finally had the opportunity to run for governor (Bennett and the Ohio GOP talked Blackwell out of running in 1998 in favor of avoiding a primary against their annointed Taft) the party had been damaged beyond repair and Blackwell became the scapegoat, getting less than 40% of the vote.

Personally, I think Steele would be a good national GOP chair but Blackwell would be a better one. One thing whoever wins the nod needs to make priority one is encouraging some of the deadwood to get out of the way and bring aboard new leadership at the state level.

The old guard is what gave the Republican Party both Bushes, Bob Dole, and John McCain. While many of them came in with Ronald Reagan, they squandered much of the Reagan legacy on candidates who failed to ignite the conservative base – or when one was selected, like Sarah Palin, they turned the long knives on her.

We’ve tried it their way for the last 20 years and with the exception of the Contract with America, the GOP record hasn’t exactly been stellar when compared with the stated party principles. Selecting the wrong guy to run the party may accelerate the rush toward the exits for conservative rank-and-file party members and voters.

Ten Questions for – Dr. Jim Pelura, Chair of the Maryland Republican Party

As I like to do on about a monthly basis, here is another installment of what I call Ten Questions.

Back in December of 2006, Jim Pelura and I came into our positions at the Maryland GOP together – I was sworn in as a Central Committee member and he was elected at that convention as Chair of the Maryland GOP. Admittedly, I voted for his opponent but obviously he didn’t hold that against me when he agreed to do the interview.

monoblogue: Let’s go back to the beginning. The 2006 elections have just concluded and Republicans were shut out in statewide races, including the relatively popular Governor Ehrlich losing a reelection bid. Nationally the GOP faced the prospect of being in the minority for the first time in 12 years. So what motivated you to run for the Chair position you now hold, and how many people thought you were completely crazy? 

Pelura: Why did I run?

I had been concerned for some time that the MDGOP was out of touch with the grassroots and the traditional Republican philosophy of small government, low taxes, fiscal responsibility and faith in the individual. I was concerned that the liberal agenda of the Governor and majority of the General Assembly would have no voice of opposition among the Republican rank and file. I was not ready or willing to give up on Maryland that easily.

As for the second part of your question………not as many as one would think, although a friend said that he was going to give me a few sessions with a psychiatrist for Christmas that year!

monoblogue: Oh, there were and still are plenty of voices of opposition to liberal policies here in the Free State. But you found yourself inheriting a Maryland GOP which was in dire financial straits and had to make some unpopular financial decisions. Were you surprised at the extent of the problem when you came onboard? And do you think that the Maryland Republican Party will be able to compete financially in 2010?

Pelura: If you remember, at the December meeting where I was elected, the outgoing Chairman announced that I was being left about $300,000.00. We all knew that fundraising would be difficult due to the recent elections and that money in the bank would be needed to “get over the hump”.

As we soon learned, that $300,000.00 was actually about $20,000.00 and there were about $60,000.00 in bills to be paid. Needless to say, I was surprised.

But, by making significant cuts in expenditures and taking out a line of credit, we survived.

Fundraising is still a concern, however, but there are significant “bright spots”.

The line of credit is nearly paid off, small donations are way up from in the past (in terms of the “health” of the Party, I would rather have 10,000 $1.00 donations than one check for $10,000), and many of the “big” donors are showing interest in giving to the MDGOP once again.

The Maryland Republican Party will be ready for 2010, both financially and in terms of good and credible candidates for elected office. Continue reading “Ten Questions for – Dr. Jim Pelura, Chair of the Maryland Republican Party”

A lesson in dominoes falling

This morning we learned that struggling retailer Circuit City has thrown in the towel, the latest in a series of chain stores to do so. In a few weeks, Americans will have another reminder of how economic times are as they drive by yet another shuttered storefront.

At the same time, President Bush leaves office with the catcalls of the liberals and the media (but I repeat myself) following him out the door and back to Texas. Frequent liberal critic “Final Frontier” delivered one scathing criticism of GWB on a previous post of mine, part of which I’ll reprise here:

I never said Bush acted like a”true conservative,” I said he simply went out and did whatever he wanted to do (or probably more correctly Dick Cheney), which turned out to be a disaster…

(snip)

…GWB and his republican pals DID spend their political capital by spending like drunken sailors, abandoning any sort of value system … and focusing on Iraq when they should have been focusing on Afghanistan and New Orleans. GWB and his circle of pals paid no attention to the growing fiscal crisis (and the Dems are equally guilty on that one), did not seriously go after bin Laden, did nothing in Darfur, did nothing in New Orleans, did nothing as international opinion of the U.S sank…

The diatribe goes on from there, and I left out the parts of her response concerning gay marriage for the purpose of this post. I do want to rebut Final Frontier in part by noting that Bush’s legacy will be one of fighting the Long War, and success isn’t measured there in what we did but what we did not have to do – that is to say, we haven’t had a 9/11 part 2 thus far.

Fairly or unfairly, anything negative which happens during a President’s term generally serves as another reason to blame him – given the media prism in our society today, it’s especially true when a Republican is president, not so much when a Democrat holds office. However, the comment FF makes does distribute blame equally between the Bush Administration and the Democrats for the economic woes we are facing – a surprising concession on her part.

But I’m choosing to look at this on a larger level, and to bring Circuit City into the picture. First off, I’m sorry to see them close because I liked them much better than Best Buy. Continue reading “A lesson in dominoes falling”

Venting on Human Events

Regularly I get e-mail updates from the Human Events website. Generally it’s for columns I like to read by writers with a number of disparate styles – Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Chuck Norris, Ted Nugent, and the Evans-Novak Report are among my favorites, even if I don’t always agree with them. It’s the latter which prompted the comments I’m going to revisit here.

I caught it at a time when I could have a front-page comment and steer an argument. So I wrote the following, based on quotes within the story:

“Republicans are comfortably settling into a minority position.”

Well, that’s problem #1 in a nutshell. And people wonder why conservatives are in a revolt?

“Indeed, some Republicans are quietly hoping Coleman will give up the fight.”

When stealing an election becomes an acceptable standard, it’s not just the Republican Party that’s in trouble, but the Republic itself.

Both these comments take the GOP to task for the very complacent attitude that I sense. Certainly there is an argument which can be made for giving the new Congress and President a chance, but I don’t really recall that same courtesy given to the last President – and he bent over backwards and forwards to exhibit his willingness to work with the other side. Remember the “new tone”? Continue reading “Venting on Human Events”

A leadership void

These are the first three paragraphs of an op-ed by Carter Clews at the Americans for Limited Government blog:

Every day in Washington’s political citadels, a new coalition triumphantly announces its emergence as the self-anointed savior of the increasingly moribund conservative movement. Or, some old organization “re-invents” itself and declares that it is now ready to lead as never before.

Most boldly proclaim their unbridled affection for the “New Media.” And some even demonstrate an admirable aptitude for digitalizing prose and pressing “Send.”

All of which is fine – as far as it goes. The problem is, it doesn’t go far enough. In fact, much of it at this point in time is dangerously going in the wrong direction. And the conservative movement desperately needs a few good men – and at least one good woman.

While the remainder is well worth the read, I’m going to take a slightly different angle on this and look at it in more literal terms. Continue reading “A leadership void”

Odds and ends no. 16

This is yet another collection of little items worth a paragraph (or two or three) of comment but perhaps not a full post on its own.

First, I want to announce two changes in format for my site, both of which will begin with this post. One is already something I do on Red Maryland because that site is a muli-contributor post. Beginning with this post, I’m going to introduce the “more” feature.

I wasn’t originally a great fan of that feature because I like to have posts be a complete block, but in many respects there will be advantages to this system. Ideally the totality of my posts would run the length of the sidebars so scanning a week’s worth of posts for occasional visitors would still expose them to my ads. (Hey, I like making a little coin with this site, you know, and the more the better.) So instead of 8 posts on the front page, I’ll push the number to 12 because that’s roughly a week’s output for me.

The second change is just a matter of preference, for which this post will be the first in the new format. Since I began the site, it’s always had a numerical post tag; for instance the last post was p=3225. When I began the site, it made perfect sense because the numbers were sequential. But after a recent WordPress upgrade I made for the site I noticed my numbers were no longer sequential, which defeated my purpose for having that post format. So now I’ll make my site conform more with most other sites which use a title slug as a post tag.

(Late note: this also retroactively updated items so those who have existing links to posts on my site may want to check and make sure they still work.)

Here it works out to be a nice point to insert a “more” tag, which I’ll probably begin to add in on occasions the post gets up around 700 words or so. Continue reading “Odds and ends no. 16”