Saturday, May 24, 2008


The Not-so-great Political Debate

Have you noticed that on practically EVERY campaign issue between Republicans and Democrats, there is no longer a question of WHETHER government intervention is needed. It is now only a question of how much government intervention.

Even when politicians use the buzz words "free market", it is usually followed up with some government program. Take John McCain's global warming solution. He says we need a free market solution in one breath, while in the very next breath he calls for a "cap and trade" carbon emissions system. And don't even ask about Barack Obama's solution, which offers just about every environmental government program imaginable, short of having "carbon emissions police" carrying CO2 detection devices, breaking into private homes in the middle of the night (although check back next week. Obama might change his mind).

Consider taxes. Do we need an income tax system where we have to report to the government every detail of how we, as individuals, make money? Do we need tax breaks for every special interest lobbyist in D.C.? No one in either party asks whether we should eliminate the income tax for an alternative form of revenue collection (i.e. the FairTax). No one in either party talks about eliminating corporate taxes, even though it would revive the U.S. manufacturing sector. McCain's idea to cut the corporate rate from 35% to 25% is a nice start, but that should be the argument from the Left, not the Right.

Look at healthcare. We got this problem when the government gave companies tax breaks for providing health insurance to employees. Now we have a large segment of the population which expects someone else to pay for their healthcare costs. But nobody asks if we should completely remove government's role from the healthcare issue.

Of course, we cannot forget high gas prices. Nearly every aspect of the high prices can be traced to government actions:
1. Gas taxes which account for more government revenue than oil companies make net profits from the sale of gas.
2. The devaluation of the dollar, which leads to higher prices when we buy gas from overseas.
3. The government's refusal to allow drilling for oil in places like Alaska and off the coasts of Florida and California.
4. The government's support of the biofuel industry (which has also led to higher food prices). Unfortunately, oil companies have no incentive to build new refineries in the U.S. when they see the government supporting an industry which could take a large chunk of their market share in the near future. Why build a refinery which will take 20+ years to see a profit when you may not need it in 20 years? In addition, our insufficient refinery capacity for our oil consumption forces the oil companies to order oil from overseas refineries (also adding to our cost).
5. Whether you agree or disagree, environmental regulations add to the cost. Everything from drilling for oil to refining oil has environmental regulations on it. These costs are all passed along to the consumer.
Aside from numbers 1 and 3 above, no one asks about the other three government interventions. And the taxes are only mentioned in McCain's absurd "summer gas tax holiday" (why not a year-round gas tax holiday?).

This is NOT to suggest getting government out of these issues is the only way, or even a good way. Rather, it begs the question of WHY the possibility is NOT even part of the political debate. Why would politicians ignore it? Unfortunately, this is a question that answers itself. Politicians from both parties can see that their own power rests in the expansion of government. The more government expands, the more power they have over the people.

Even people who think we need more government (i.e. liberals and socialists) would look at the period earlier this decade when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Congress in disgust. But they would happily give the Democrats that kind of control, even though we could expect the same levels of unchecked corruption?

The great irony is that socialism was descended from a political theory, Marxism, which was born from a healthy distrust of aristocratic European government's abuses of power. The even greater irony is that the anti-establishment leftists of the 1960's have become the modern day Democrats who LIKE the idea of more government.

"That government is best which governs not at all" - Henry David Thoreau
How did we go from a society with a healthy disrespect for government power, as exemplified by millenia of monarchical abuse of power, to one where we happily hand over the keys to our lives to government, without even asking "why?"

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Friday, May 23, 2008


Hit Me With Your Best Shot...Fire Away!!

Oh, Mrs. Clinton, did you really need to go there?

Only upside of this, is that it makes it a much easier for Obama to avoid putting her on the ticket.

UPDATE: Hillary apologizes -- sort of. Notably, the apology seemed more directed to the Kennedy family and those offended by bringing up the memory of the assassination.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the senator was only referring to her husband and Kennedy "as historical examples of the nominating process going well into the summer and any reading into it beyond that would be inaccurate and outrageous."
Even so, Clinton decided within a couple of hours to make a personal apology.
"I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns of both my husband and Senator (Robert) Kennedy waged in California in June in 1992 and 1968 and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination
primary contests that go into June. That's a historic fact," she said.
"The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy,"
she added, referring to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's recent diagnosis of a brain tumor. "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever.
"My view is that we have to look to the past to our leaders who have inspired us, give us a lot to live up to, and I'm honored to hold Senator Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York and have the highest regard for the Kennedy family," she said.
If Hillary Clinton is such a student of history, how is it possible that she didn't understand who else was assassinated in 1968. Or, for that matter, another black leader who was assassinated in 1965. There are only two ways to interpret her making that original statement -- venality or stupidity. Neither quality is welcome in a potential president of the United States.

Are we being too sensitive here? Should Hillary be allowed to make an allusion without it being interpreted like she's ghoulishly waiting for the possible assassination of her opponent? In a perfect world, yeah, she should be allowed to say that. However, we don't live in such a world. Forget about the racial component for a minute. Think about John Hinckley, who tried to kill Ronald Reagan, in an effort to "impress" Jody Foster. What if, in this overheated media-saturated environment, there is another Hinckley type out there who thinks shooting Barack Obama might "impress" Hillary Rodham Clinton? Sometimes, words need to be carefully considered before they are uttered.

This is one of those times.

UPDATE II: Oh, and talk about disingenuous! Back in March Hillary made a similar statement:

"I think people have short memories," she said then. "Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual."

An honest assessment would have conceded that primary contests in 1968 weren't beginning in January either. This process has actually gone on -- when one counts all the preparation and fundraising that started in early '07 -- longer than any nominating process in history.

UPDATE III: Americablog has some great video of pundits discussing this incident. Rachel Maddow sums it up perfectly. Eugene Robinson's outrage is pretty good too.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008


You Can Call Me A Space Cowboy...

Something that should have been put together a few years ago:

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Open Thread

With Haloscan acting all weird and all you folks a-commentatin' at record levels, here's an early pre-Memorial Day open thread.

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Hungry For Seconds

So, following today's headlines that McCain is beginning the interview process for possible running mates, comes the leak that Obama is doing the same. I'm not so sure that giving the vetting job to the guy who helped produce Geraldine Ferraro and John Edwards is exactly the best idea. But, hey, I'm not a Democrat and I can't imagine the questions that have to be run through to narrow down the right person.

However, I agree with
this post on Andrew's site. This shouldn't come as a surprise to those RT-ers who have seen my interest and admiration for the gentleman from Virginia for a couple years now (and apologies for not noting at the time that I used the same Webb pun-headline twice in a few months). Last fall, I predicted that a Clinton-Webb ticket would win the presidency. While that may no longer happen ("Wait, I'm not dead yet! It's only a flesh wound!"), there is just as strong a case to be made for Webb as Obama's running mate (except, perhaps, on the experience factor). For whatever it's worth, this would also be the most truly literary ticket presidential ticket in history.

The Corner notes Webb's strongly culturally conservative view of affirmative action, vs. Obama's more typical one. I think the combination could create a rather interesting honest intra-party Democratic debate on the question of preferences.

On the Republican side, McCain should certainly skew younger, though Louisiana's Bobby Jindal is too young (and only just got elected to the governorship). There is certainly a fair bit of support for Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty (who makes sense geographically and managed to survive the '06 Democratic tsunami). However, as a wild card, McCain might want to think about
this guy. Yes, he's only House member, but he's smart, truly reform-minded and a friendly, good-looking guy too (hey, if McCain is running against Obama, it wouldn't be bad to include some aesthetic considerations). On similar reasons, I'd also suggest Ryan's colleague, Jeff Flake, but unfortunately, he has the bad luck of being from the same state as McCain.

UPDATE: NRO's John O'Sullivan lists Webb's positives on a ticket with Obama. Andrew worries that Webb's past statements on women would look like a slap in the face to supporters of a defeated Hillary Clinton. That's a slight risk that could be gotten around with coordinated support from many female Democratic elected officials (particularly those who serve with Webb and Obama in the Senate).

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Deja Vu All Over Again

Hmmmm....Politico breaks yet another huge scoop, "GOP fails to recruit minorities".

Without a doubt, this one's up there with the Watergate break-in in terms of a groundbreaking exclusive!

Though I swear I might have read this story in, oh, say, 1998 or maybe 2000...2002... 2004...2006. Actually, not 2006, because the party did have Ken Blackwell running for governor in Ohio and Michael Steele for Senate in Maryland. Blackwell was slaughtered in a double anti-Republican wave (incompetence and corruption with the national party; corruption with the state GOP); plus, if one accepts the viewpoint of sometime Thots contributer, Madscribe, some of the inherent racism that lingers in the state. Steele might have won in Maryland if not for the national anti-Republican trend.

Anyway, as far as the rest, when it comes to the Republican Party and "recruitment" of minorities":

Been there. Done that. Read the book. Saw the movie. Played the video game. (Actually, I thinkI starred in the movie at one point -- or maybe it was a straight to DVD production...)

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Monday, May 19, 2008


SJC May Love The Praise...

...but there is a slight difference between croquet and, um, cricket.

Still, thanks for shout-out, First Things!


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