Archive for January, 2008

McCain Sees Foot, Shoots Several Times

January 31, 2008

Going into the California primaries, John McCain has a good lead. Getting the liberal governor’s endorsement of that state (who has not been a friend to any republican, conservative or otherwise) is likely going to help little.

What is going to hurt McCain in California is himself. Watching the debate, I saw the John McCain and the Mitt Romney I knew.

John McCain saw his foot and shot at it. He kept shooting until he started hitting it. And when Mitt Romney took the gun out of his hand and pointed out what he was doing to his foot, he poured salt in the wound, along with a healthy does of vinegar. I mean, Mitt Romney gave John McCain every opportunity to stop acting like a liar over Romney’s record. And McCain never took the opportunity, insisting on making himself appear as an even bigger liar than he really is.

McCain’s quip about working for patriotism and not for profit sounds nice. But it really isn’t, and a lot of people are picking that up. It is profit that writes the paycheck that pays the soldiers. It is profit that makes the money that buys the bullets, guns, helmets, armor, and combat vehicles. John McCain flew fighter jets bought with American profits.

Put another way, Romney pointed out that there was a way to reduce spending on the entitlement programs and still keep all the benefits unchanged. It is the same way that a business takes $1 and turns it into millions. It is called profit. See, if the money you put into Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were actually managed properly, the same way the profits of countless corporations are managed, then $1 would turn into $100. That’s the secret of capitalism, and that’s why “trickle down economics” works. Give the money to those who know how to grow it (the rich), and keep it out of the hands of those who only know how to destroy it (the government).

But John McCain would rather be a patriot in a land that has no profits. That’s certainly one way to show your love of your fellow beings—keep them from enjoying the bounties of liberty through profits.

It was remarkable how John McCain spent all his time focusing on those things that conservatives like least about him in the debate. A Romney supporter such as myself would hope he continues to carry this forward.

Good reads: California Debate: John McCain Reminds Conservatives Why They’re Suspicious of Him

Mitt Romney Strong in the Debate

January 31, 2008

The debate is down to two, with two others consuming valuable debate time.

This debate was pretty good. Romney laid into McCain’s record with facts. McCain shot back with lies. The audience booed McCain and cheered Romney. I really liked Romney’s speaking style, the way he worked in the elephant in the room—the entitlements are consuming most of the money of the federal budget.

Those who paid attention tonight are likely going to move towards Romney if they value Reagan conservatism. If they want smaller government, a strong economic sector, and a strong military presence in the world, they will gravitate to Romney.

Huckabee and Paul need to drop out right now.

It’s Certainly Not Over

January 30, 2008

I want to call your mind back to the beginning of this political season. There were a number of candidates running for the nomination, and more seemed to appear every day. Among all the candidates, Rudy Giuliani was the name most recognized, and thus the one polling the highest. Anyone who wanted to be president had to take out Giuliani first.

By the time the campaign started getting warm, Mitt Romney was leading in some of the early states. Mitt Romney was a next-to-nobody in the race, an undistinguished name among many.

Right before the polls closed, Mike Huckabee pulled ahead in Iowa by bringing more evangelicals to the caucuses than anyone predicted. Mitt brought his people in, which ordinarily would have been more than enough to secure a victory. But thanks to the unprecedented number of caucus-goers, it wasn’t enough.

In New Hampshire, John McCain was seen as a dead campaign. He had already run out of steam and money, and his advisors were abandoning ship. In 2000, McCain did remarkably well. In 2008, he eked out a close victory by bringing the independents to the republican primary. He certainly did far worse than he did 8 years ago. Nevertheless, the old media proclaimed him the inevitable nominee, despite the fact he had no money and no support going into other states.

South Carolina was sat out by Mitt Romney, seen as hostile territory thanks to the anti-Mormon sentiments the Huckabee campaign was stirring up. (Mike Huckabee has yet to call off his dogs on this.) Nevertheless, Huckabee had also fallen out of favor among the evangelicals, and they turned to McCain whom the old media had crowned the inevitable nominee.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney racks up some tremendous victories. He brings home gold in Michigan, a state in which John McCain tried desperately to do well in. He brings home a clean sweep of Nevada and Wyoming, making the other nominees appear as footnotes. At the end of the day, Mitt has more people who voted for him, and many more nominees. He is the true frontrunner. Yet, one victory after another, Mitt is marginalized by the old media.

At this time, Fred Thompson realizes that he is never going to get a single bit of positive press in the old media. He has been shut out despite being a popular candidate. Sadly, we bid adieu. Where will his supporters go, which are not a few? Polls suggest they are turning overwhelmingly to Romney.

About this time, we see Duncan Hunter part ways as well. Surprisingly, he throws his support behind Mike Huckabee. However, he commands such a tiny minority of voters that it is but a footnote.

Now we head into Florida, a state where Romney never polled well. A few weeks before the primary, Mitt Romney pulls very close to being neck-and-neck with Giuliani and McCain. A week before the primary, he pulls neck-and-neck with McCain as Giuliani starts falling behind. And a few days before the final votes are cast, some polls are showing him pulling out ahead.

When the votes are counted, it is McCain by 5 points, another close race. But something unexpected happened before the votes were all counted. Giuliani drops out and endorses McCain.

As the Florida votes sink in, we see two waves sweeping the Republican Party.

The first is that all the conservatives must get behind McCain because he is the heir to Ronald Reagan’s conservatism. Despite how silly this sounds, this is what a lot of people are thinking and feeling. Even McCain is trying his best to pretend to be Reagan. All of a sudden, all of his liberal positions, his attacks on the constitution and US sovereignty, are seen as a distant memory.

The second feeling to sweep the republicans is “Anyone But McCain.” There are enough people who would rather see a Hillary or Obama in the White House than an imposter like McCain. These people are not just throwing up their hands in disgust, they are throwing their weight behind Romney as conservatism’s last best hope.

We have yet to see which of these feelings will predominate the political landscape. As for myself, I am in the second camp. As for myself, I intend to do what I can to see Romney get the nomination.

But the story isn’t over even if the second feeling doesn’t predominate. There are plenty of states to go, and as Hugh Hewitt points out (link), even if Mitt does worse than expected, McCain still doesn’t win the nomination and there is a brokered convention, a brokered convention where the nominee is determined by hard-core, pro-life conservatives and not independents.

McCain Wins Florida; Romney Wins Conservatives

January 30, 2008

McCain wins Florida by a few points. He takes home a lot of delegates. More importantly, it looks like Rudy is out, and that makes this race a two man race between McCain and Romney. (Why is Huckabee still running? Many surmise it is to keep conservatives split and ensure that McCain wins the nomination with only a plurality.)

This isn’t over. Almost everyone thought that McCain didn’t stand a chance in the Republican Party. He didn’t, and still doesn’t, have anything going for him in the eyes of conservatives. I am seeing the message again and again, and my own head is thinking this thought in my head: If McCain is the nominee, I don’t show up in November. I won’t just not show up, I won’t be giving any money, making any phone calls, posting any signs, or knocking on any doors. I will tell all my friends and buddies to stay home in November. It’s over until the Republican Party starts acting like conservatives again.

It’s amazing how a guy can show up having a record as terrible as McCain’s, sing praises to conservative principles he never stood for, and denounce liberal scams he fought to pass legislation for, and get nominated. Are people really that stupid? Yes, we are. We elected Bill Clinton thinking he was a moderate—twice. We send people back to Olympia every year because after two or four years of raising taxes, they come back promising lower taxes. Lying works, in a sick way.

That’s okay, because I know in the long run it won’t last. Eventually, someone will get the courage to call these people on their scams and lies. Eventually, they will be blessed with enough persuasion to convince people of the truth. And when that happens, they win by landslides.

Note carefully how the vote fell in the exit polls. The conservatives are aggregating towards Romney. No, Romney isn’t the most conservative, but he is certainly attracting the three legs of the stool—the defense, social, and fiscal conservatives. If he plays his hand right, and he is doing a pretty good job now, then most of Huck’s, Thompson’s, and even Giuliani’s numbers will fall into his hand. And remember, McCain has yet to do nearly as well as Romney did in Nevada. (Romney is already picking up a majority of the evangelicals, showing that the social cons are moving towards him quickly.)

Combine that with the fact that now Romney is leading nationally among Republicans, and you have McCain a certainty only in the old media.

Either way, I strongly doubt that come time for the convention, that the delegates (who are all political junkies and all familiar with McCain’s record) will split for McCain. If McCain doesn’t pick up a majority of the delegates from the get-go, he probably won’t survive the convention.

McCain Lags Romney Everywhere

January 29, 2008

This is just about a done deal now. Mitt Romney is leading, a lot, in Florida. No one will be surprised when he wins today, probably by 8 or more points. (At least, no one who has been reading the polls.) Mitt Romney also passed McCain nationally.

I’m not too excited about this. I think a lot of us saw it happening about a month ago as Mitt took second in Iowa and New Hampshire. When he took first in Michigan, that’s when I was truly happy and certain that Mitt would take the nomination.

Now that people see this race as McCain vs. Romney, the conservatives are falling in line behind Romney. That means most of Huckabee’s, Thompson’s, Giuliani’s, Hunter’s, Paul’s, and Tancredo’s guys are lining up behind Romney. (I mean the republicans among Paul’s supporters, not the crazies.) That’s the majority of the party, because we are still a party of conservatives, people who put the individual above the state.

This is the way Bush won in 2000. There were several good conservatives, as well as a few liberals. Before the voting, it was pretty wild and the debate intense. As things started going forward, all the conservative republicans fell in line behind one candidate, and that candidate won.

I expect Romney to win, big time, in November. I don’t see any of the democrat candidates holding a candle to Romney the man or Romney’s policies. I see Romney having all the money he wants to run his campaign, and I see a new conservatism sweeping the nation.

President Hinckley Passes; Church Continues

January 29, 2008

President Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away on Sunday. The Deseret News has a tremendous obituary. (link)

To those of my readers who are not members of the LDS church, and to those of you who may be but aren’t old-timers, let me describe what is going through my heart and mind, as well as the hearts and minds of many members of the church.

First, all presidents of the church are beloved. They are not adored like kings or emperors, but cherished like wise men and humble servants. We miss him, his humor, his spirit, and his love. But we know that he is released from this life and lives on in the next.

Next, the church is well-organized. When the president passes away, the first presidency is dissolved. The Quorum of the Twelve meet, pray, and receive by revelation who the next president of the church shall be. Then they decide unanimously. After that, they lay hands on his head, and by the authority of their priesthood, they ordain him to the office of the president of the church. After that, he will call his two counselors by revelation, lay his hands on their head and ordain them. Then before the entire church, at general conference, they will announce the new presidency and ask for the common consent of the church. This is the way the church works, everywhere.

Everyone knows that most likely Thomas S. Monson will be called as the next president. That’s just the way it’s worked ever since President Joseph Smith was martyred. That doesn’t mean the twelve will not meet, will not pray, and will not receive revelation. It just means that we see a pattern in the way the Lord has worked, and we aren’t surprised when that pattern is continued.

I don’t expect much to change in the church as Monson is president. Sure, maybe he will tweak a few policies, or issue a few declarations, or reorganize some committee or group or organization. But the church will stay the same, founded on the same principles it was founded on when it was organized in 1830. That’s just the way it is.

Compared to other churches, governments, and organizations, this method is probably the strangest of all. I mean, our church is weird for claiming to receive revelation for every decision it’s ever made. But it is stranger still that we handle succession in this particular way, as opposed to holding an election or passing on the mantle by rights of succession. That’s just the way I like it, though. Israel was a peculiar people in the Old Testament. Early Christians were strangers in their own lands in the New Testament. And I would rather be thought of as strange than as worldly.

CO2 is Two Parts Oxygen

January 29, 2008

I watched, a bit, a special on clean energy. One of the technologies mentioned was “clean coal”–coal power where the CO2 emissions were captured and stored underground. The president in last night’s State of the Union Address, mentioned this technology as one of several that will help make the environment clean.

Something struck me as I watched the graphic showing CO2 being deposited underground. That was: what is going to happen to all of the carbon and oxygen in the CO2?

Normally, CO2 in the atmosphere is “eaten” by plants and other organic life, which release pure oxygen (O2) and use the carbon (C) for making sugars—sugars that the animals that eat the plants use for energy. The byproducts of CO2 end up in our lungs and in our food. Without them, we would die. Without CO2, we would never have oxygen or food to eat.

I would also like to add that I don’t believe that CO2 is any more of a pollutant than O2 or H2O. Yes, in concentrated doses, any of these chemicals can kill a person. But they are all part of the cycle of life, the cycle of life that has sustained us and our ancestors since the beginning of time.

PS: To those of you who can easily see through my scam, I congratulate you. Now it is up to you to use the same critical thinking skills on Al Gore and see if there is any fact behind his wild claims. To those of you who can’t, I promise you that there is nothing to worry about. I am trying to scare you the same way that the global warming evangelists are trying to scare you. You can safely ignore all of us and live your life in the best way you know how.

#1 Super Duper Top Priority Above Everything Else

January 24, 2008

Thinking about conservative priorities, I can point my finger to the one issue that we need to move forward, even at the cost of everything else.

That issue is the Supreme Court. We need, more than anything else, to get a majority of strict constructionalists on that court. If we win that one issue, we will win everything else for many decades to come.

Even at the cost of a secure southern border. If several more million illegal aliens pour into the country, that’s okay, because a strict constructionalist supreme court will uphold laws designed to limit voting to legal voters.

Even at the cost of the Iraq War and the War on Terror. If we suffer another terrorist attack on American soil, that’s okay, because a strict constructionalist supreme court will not entangle this war on unlawful enemy combatants by inventing rights they don’t have and tying the president’s hands in ways they should not be tied.

Even at the cost of the economy. If we suffer an economic depression, that’s okay because at least a strict constructionalist supreme court will begin to roll back all of the harmful, extra-constitutional programs, taxes, and regulations and eventually the people will be free to run their lives without the interference of the federal government as the constitution was written.

Even at the cost of  a democrat majority in the house and senate. See, if we can get a strict constructionalist supreme court, all the laws they write that are unconstitutional will get struck down anyway, and existing laws will be repealed as the issues are brought before the court.

I can’t think of anything more important this presidential election than getting someone that would put strict constructionalist judges above all other conservative priorities.

Note that the Supreme Court held the entire nation, swayed by foolish communist and socialist dreams, at bay, and protected the individual from the state for decades. That is, until FDR stacked the court. If we can get the court back to where it was before the New Deal, then we will see all of these things introduced since the New Deal disappear.

Now, who would be most likely to bend over backwards and sacrifice everything to get good judges on the bench: Romney, Giuliani, or McCain?

Hint: “Gang of Four” McCain, who split with the Republican Party to sabotage our efforts to bring all judges to the floor of the senate for an up-or-down majority vote (which the constitution clearly demands), is the wrong answer.

I know some of you have concerns about Romney and Giuliani’s picks in the past. Yes, Romney and Giuliani chose democrats to be judges. But look past their party and into their careers. Were these liberal judges, or constructionalist judges? That’s the question. Party affiliation, skin color, gender, and age are all irrelevant.

Pork and Republicans

January 24, 2008

This has everything to do with the elections.

The conservatives in the party have had it up to here (waving hands above my head) with the Republican Party.

Why?

Because they are no longer conservative. The days of Newt Gingrich and  Ronald Reagan are long over, and the chance of anyone sane getting a leadership position in the house or senate is very low.

We’ve seen this pattern in states all across the country. We are suffering from the effects of it here at home in Washington State.

The disease progresses like this. First, republicans are swept into congress based on their promises of real change and real reform. The changes and reform usually look something like this:

  1. Lower taxes and regulations so that people can earn a living and hire people to work for them.
  2. Limit the scope and size of government by outsourcing the work that government does and actually reducing the budget year to year.
  3. Expand and improve the efficiency of government in roles that it was assigned to do. This includes defense, law enforcement, the judicial system, and infrastructure like roads.
  4. Clean up the corruption by prosecuting corrupt officials (elected or otherwise) and stopping practices that are definitely in the gray area such as earmarks.

Once the republicans are swept into office, they quickly realize that they didn’t get enough seats to really see all these reforms through. They end up sitting across the table from the negotiators from the old members of government. They start making deals. They start cutting out priorities to get other priorities moving forward.

At the end of the day, they realize that not only have they not delivered on any of their promises, but that they have become what they despised. In order to achieve anything, they are doing exactly what they promised not to do. A desperate effort is made to sieze a super-majority, because with a super-majority, the negotiations are no longer necessary.

So they sit down with their campaign advisers, and ask, “How can we pick up even more seats next year?” And these campaign advisers do the math and research and polling and say, “You have to do what the other folks were doing, except better.”

So they run through a political season doing what the other folks do, all the while the original supporters are left wondering why everything changed. Why does Mike Conservative sound like Tom Liberal? Without the support of the people that elected them into office in the first place, and without being able to do what the other guys do better, they end up losing seats.

And then they sit down across the aisle in the minority, realizing that whatever power they once had was quickly squandered, and they have no hope of ever getting it back.

This is what happens. This is what happened here in Washington. This is what is likely going to happen in other states.

How do you change this? Well, it’s not easy. You can be tough in negotiations. That only means you will get nothing rather than a few things with compromise. So you’ll have to return to your supporters and say, “We accomplished nothing, but at least we didn’t slide backwards. Elect me and my friends next year and maybe we’ll get something, but I can’t promise it unless we get a super-majority.” That’s obviously not going to work, since the supporters are not there every year like clockwork. They get tired, disenchanted, and go home to go back to work.

You could try to be more conservative but still compromise. This is the position a lot of people have taken in congress. They wag their fingers at the less conservative members who wag their fingers back and say, “At least we are elected and in the majority. That’s all that counts, right?”

You could try to be a stealthy conservative. That is, Ted Kennedy on the outside but Ronald Reagan on the inside. This simply doesn’t work, for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for this all. Until the public shifts their opinions so that only conservatives are acceptable (and I believe we are shifting that way, slowly), we can’t expect to see the conservative agenda be the top priority for all conservative politicians.

All I can say to the republicans in office is: Do the best you can, stick to your guns as much as you can, but realize that we would rather have something than nothing. When you have someone like McCain that is abandoning the SS Conservative, it’s fair game to thrust him out of the party, but when you have a good chunk of the party saying, “We need earmarks or we don’t show up next year,” then maybe you need to soften the tone a little.

I don’t expect every candidate to be the most conservative candidate, especially those coming from more liberal districts. But I do expect those coming from conservative districts to be extremely conservative.

And all I can say to the people who vote is: Fight like mad in the primaries for the most conservative candidates, let the party know that you are not going to take it anymore. Prefer new blood to old blood, because we know that in politics, old blood is usually dirty blood. But when it comes to the generals, hold your nose, put your should to the wheel, and work as if the candidate were Ronald Reagan II.

We really need a massive shift in public opinion so that everyone everywhere abhors socialism and embraces the free market and limited government. That happens as we have talented people explain and defend these ideals, and as that message reaches out to the masses. Thanks to the liberation of media (especially talk radio, but there are other forms gaining hearts and minds like Fox News), this will be possible. But let’s remember why the airwaves are free-er today than they were thirty years ago. Someone called President Reagan made it a priority, above almost everything else, to see that the fairness doctrine was eradicated.

So conservatives, choose your priorities wisely, and carefully, and stick to your guns but be willing to compromise if it means the most important things can get done.

State of the Republican Race

January 21, 2008

It’s down to three now: McCain, Romney, and Giuliani.

McCain is the media darling. He is getting far better notes than what he deserves. He is doing worse today than he did 8 years ago, and yet he is the coronated king of the Republican Party. The real winner, as far as anyone can tell, is Romney. He is still the one to beat. With his incredible victory in Nevada, he is even more formidable than people feared.

Giuliani is on his last legs, at least as far as we can tell from outside the campaign. There may be some mojo left for him on Super Tuesday, but all signs are pointing to “no”.

I don’t know how people will line up when they realize it is a McCain-Romney race. I surmise that the Republican Party will line up behind Romney, especially when practically everyone in the Republican Party is shouting, “Anyone but McCain!” at the top of their lungs. If that is the case, then Romney will continue to increase as Huckabee, Thompson, and maybe Giuliani start to fall in the polls.

I remain extremely confident that Mitt Romney is the front-runner.