Friday, June 01, 2007
Sometimes, you don't say anything about a truly great work. You just stand back and admire it. Peggy Noonan's latest editorial in America's greatest paper says just about everything you need to know about the Post-Reagan Republican Party, the Bush Legacy, and the sad few years we will probably face thanks to our national l'enfant terrible. So I have nothing to say other than please read it!
To quote Stan Lee as a former true believer in the Red State party, "'Nuff said."
UPDATE: Oh crap, I should have known RAG would have beat me to the punch on such an obvious pun for a headline.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Thanks to Ed McGonigal for keeping RT readers up to date over the last couple of days on the emergent Fred Thompson candidacy.
It's only appropriate for my return to note this column from Cato Institute's David Boaz on Rudy Giuliani:
As mayor, Giuliani had many successes. Crime came down. He cut taxes and held down spending. But his prosecutorial personality sometimes threatened personal freedoms. He cracked down on jaywalkers and street vendors. His street crime unit used aggressive tactics to confiscate guns from city residents, resulting in wholesale searches and detentions of citizens, especially young minority males, and occasional tragedies like the shooting of the unarmed Amadou Diallo.
When a police officer fatally shot another unarmed black man, Patrick Dorismond, Giuliani had police release Dorismond's sealed juvenile arrest record. The city later settled with Dorismond's family for $2.25 million.
And it should distress many conservatives that Giuliani took umbrage at affronts to his dignity, perhaps most notoriously when he tried to stop city buses from carrying a New York magazine ad saying the publication was "possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn't taken credit for." The First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams notes in his book, "Speaking Freely," that "over 35 separate successful lawsuits were brought against the city under Giuliani's stewardship arising out of his insistence on doing the one thing that the First Amendment most clearly forbids: using the power of government to restrict or punish speech critical of government itself."
As a presidential hopeful, Giuliani's authoritarian streak is as strong as ever. He defends the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. He endorses the President's power to arrest American citizens, declare them enemy combatants and hold them without access to a lawyer or a judge. He thinks the President has "the inherent authority to support the troops" even if Congress were to cut off war funding, a claim of presidential authority so sweeping that even Bush and his supporters have not tried to make it.
Giuliani's view of power would be dangerous at any time, but especially after two terms of relentless Bush efforts to weaken the constitutional checks and balances that safeguard our liberty.
I couldn't agree more.
The New York magazine incident, by the way, is particularly troubling because it underscores the how petty Giuliani could be.
There is a thorough analysis of Fred Thompson's "political positions and votes as they pertain to all three parties" (Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians) over at ControlCongress.com by Jace Walden.
From the post, here are the things which I personally like about Fred (in no particular order):
–Would like to impose a two-year limit on welfare benifits for recipients who are able to workHere are the things I don't like about Fred (again, in no particular order):
–Would like to slightly increase spending on national defense
–Supports decreasing the Captial Gains Tax, Cigarette Taxes, Income Taxes, taxes on domestic and international businesses, and would also support eliminating taxes on savings and investment
–Believes that a woman should be able to seek an abortion under any circumstances as long as it is in the first trimester
–Is not “Christian enough” for James Dobson and the religious right
–Supports eliminating government regulation to encourage [investment] and economic expansion in the private sector
–Wants to allow the natural cycle of the market to create jobs without government intervention
–Supports school choice programs so that parents receive vouchers that can be used to send their children to participating schools.
–Wants to decrease spending in federal health care programs and research
–Would like to limit the growth of government to 2%
–Would increase penalties on the selling and trafficking of illegal drugsI did leave out a few things from the Walden post about which I don't really care.
–Voted for McCain-Feingold
But taken on the whole, and assuming this post portrayed him accurately, Fred looks like someone I could vote for. Mind you, I am not endorsing Fred...yet.
Labels: Fred Thompson
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Here comes Fred!
You would have to be hiding under a rock today to not realize that former Senator Fred Thompson is running for president.
What can we expect from Fred? A conservative in the Reagan mold, without the Newt Gingrich baggage.
Here are some snippets from a speech Fred gave on May 4th:
Some want us, to the extent possible, to withdraw from the world that presents us with so many problems, in the hope they will go away. Some would push us towards protectionist trade policies. Others see a solution in raising taxes and redistributing the income among our citizens.
Wrong on all counts. These are defensive, defeatist policies that have consistently been proven wrong. They are not what America is all about.
Let's talk about the issues here at home, first. A lot of folks in Washington suffer from a big misconception about our economy. They confuse the well-being of our government with the wealth of our nation. Adam Smith pointed out the same problem in his day, when many governments mixed up how much money the king had with how well-off the country was.
Taxes are necessary. But they don't make the country any better off. At best they simply move money from the private sector to the government. But taxes are also a burden on production, because they discourage people from working, saving, investing, and taking risks.
That is the key thing liberals always miss when discussing taxes (which is why I put it in bold). People take financial risks for one reason: they have nothing to lose, whether they have been backed into a financial corner, or they have more money than they will ever need. Either way, taxes take away the ability of either of these people to take risks. If not for the risk takers, you wouldn't be reading this right now. Government funding didn't put personal computers in everyone's home. While government funding may have started the Internet, it was private funding that made it take off.
That's why the economy booms when taxes are cut. When the Kennedy tax cuts were passed in the 1960s, the economy boomed. When Reagan cut taxes in 1981, we went from economic malaise to a new morning in America. And when George Bush cut taxes in 2001, he took a declining economy he inherited to an economic expansion -- despite 9-11, the NASDAQ bubble and corporate scandals.
The Democrats, of course, want to raise taxes. They only want to target the rich, they say. A word of advice to anyone in the middle class -- don't stand anywhere near that target.
I see Fred knows his history. That was how the 16th Amendment got passed.
But for those of you who see taxation as a necessary evil which is needed for the government to solve whatever ails society, Fred has this to say:
The growth of government is not solving these problems; it's causing a lot of them. Every level of new bureaucracy that is created develops a level of bureaucracy beneath it, which creates another one. Pretty soon there is no accountability in the system. A new head of a department or agency comes in from out of town and, after a protracted confirmation fight, wants to spend his or her few years in Washington making great policy and solving national problems, not fighting with their own bureaucrats. So they just let well enough alone. Then you start seeing the results. Departments that can't pass an audit, computer systems that don't work, intelligence breakdowns, people in over their heads.
Yet people in both parties continue to try to federalize and regulate at the national level more and more aspects of American society -- things that have traditionally been handled at the state and local level. We must remember that we have states to serve as policy laboratories for innovation and competition. That's how we got welfare reform. Our system also allows for the diversity of our large country. Our attitude should be, let the federal government do what it is supposed to be doing -- competently. Then maybe we will give it something else to do.
On illegal immigration:
The government could start by securing our nation's borders. A sovereign nation that can't do that is not a sovereign nation. This is secondarily an immigration issue. It's primarily a national security issue. We were told twenty years ago if we produced a comprehensive solution, we'd solve the illegal immigration problem. Twelve million illegals later, we're being told that same thing again. I don't believe most Americans are as concerned about the 12 million that are here as they are about the next 12 million and the next 12 million after that. I think they're thinking: "Prove you can secure the border and then people of good will can sit down and work out the rest of it, while protecting those folks who play by the rules."
On term limits and Social Security/Medicare:
Sometimes I think that I'm the last guy around who still thinks term limits is a good idea. The professionalization of politics saps people's courage. Their desire to keep their job and not upset anybody overrides all else -- even if it hurts the country.
So the [Social Security/Medicare funding] problem gets kicked a little further down the road. This action is based on the premise that our generation is too greedy to help the next generation. I believe just the opposite is true. If grandmom and granddad think that a little sacrifice will help their grandchildren when they get married, try to buy a home or have children, they will respond to a credible call to make that sacrifice -- if they don't think that the sacrifice is going down some government black hole.
I am going to quote my friend, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I don't think he'll mind, even though it was a private conversation. He said, "People talk a lot about moral issues, but the greatest moral issue facing our generation is the fact that we are bankrupting the next generation. People talk about wanting to make a difference. Here we could make a difference for generations to come."
Of course, anyone who quotes Tom Coburn is ok by me.
Labels: Fred Thompson
Monday, May 28, 2007
Memorial Day 2007
In honor of the day, I did want to point to this Mike Lupica column from the Daily News today. I'm not that much of a fan of Lupica's non-sports material (of which he's been doing quite a bit of late). However, this one about Cpl. Jake Wood seemed to hit just the right tone. Go drop by Jake's blog and drop him a note if you feel so inclined.
Labels: Memorial Day