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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rush is Wrong

Rush Limbaugh didn’t like Chris Christy’s speech.  Didn’t think there was enough direct criticism of Obama.  Of course everyone will have an opinion which they are entitled to, but I strongly disagree.

In his criticism of the speech, Rush said “This is about Obama,” and what I say to that is, it shouldn’t be.  Because if it’s about Obama, then that problem is easily remedied by simply electing a different democrat, isn’t it?  Hillary Clinton is not Obama, right?  In fact, every other democrat is not Obama.

What Christy did was very wise.  He made this a contrast between Left and Right, between liberal ideology and conservative ideology.  When you do that, and if you successfully make that case, you make every democrat an unacceptable choice, and that includes Obama.  And that’s the message we want to convey or at least it’s the message we should want to convey.

There will always be another Obama waiting in the wings.  Yeah we need to remind people of everything Obama’s done wrong.  But republicans also need to seize every opportunity to change minds for the long term, not just for this election.  That’s what Christy did last night.  He tried to sell the bigger picture.  And I loved his speech.

The Debating Game

In an old episode of the TV show, Monk, the detective is staying at a bed and breakfast where he had once honeymooned with his now deceased wife.  Usually a loner, he ends up having dinner with another guest and has too much to drink.  In the morning he tries to seek out that man, only to find that he has disappeared and all of the other guests claim to have never seen him.  It later turns out that the other guests had discovered the man was a thief carrying a large sum of cash, so they killed him for the cash and then denied his existence to a mystified Monk in an attempt to get away with their crime.  Before he could solve the mystery of the man’s disappearance Monk first had to understand and deal with the conspiracy of lies that stood in his way.

A similar scenario plays itself out every day in this country whenever conservatives try to debate contentious issues with the Left, debate being the cornerstone of our political system.   One recent example is the debate over voter ID laws.  It is incomprehensible that people do not understand the logic or accept the reasoning behind voter ID laws.  Voting integrity is fundamental to the democratic process and the requirement of ID, which almost everyone already has, is the most minor of requirements.  But democrats engage in a charade of pretending not to understand or agree, and as I watch such debates on TV the absurdity of their position is always captured in the look of disbelief on conservatives’ faces.  It is the same look of disbelief that showed on Monk’s face as he tried to comprehend the behavior of people he knew to be lying.

This is our world, our reality.  We play the game, according to the rules of polite society, of trying to reason with and persuade people who have no intention of playing by those same rules and whose only real goal, in essence, is to get away with their crime de jour.  In the case of voter ID laws, it is patently obvious that the real intent of the Left is to (A) compromise the integrity of the process so that fraudulent votes, which favor democrats, are less likely to be discovered; and (B) to not lose part of their voting base that they assume is too lazy to bother with getting an ID.  But knowing how unacceptable these reasons sound, they lie about their motives, making the “debate” completely meaningless.

And how about the debate over “free” contraception?  Sandra Fluke, the newly contrived heroine of the democratic party, talks indignantly about “women’s rights” and the faux “war on women” as a means to justify her crime - stealing from others to pay for her birth control.  Her lie, which says that free contraception is a woman’s “right,” is just like all other lies that hide the intent to steal behind the banner of “rights.”  It is a declaration of intent.  Regardless of the law, regardless of the Constitution, regardless of the opinions of those who will be stolen from, Fluke and her fellow democrats intend to take they want.  Any pretense at debate about it is just that – pretense.

We have to engage in the debate.  We have to make our case.  But we don’t have to play along with the lies.  Instead of arguing about voter responsibility and how easy it is to get an ID, we could say, “You’re trying to encourage voter fraud, THAT is your real goal, and we aren’t going to stand for it.”  And instead of arguing over the phony war on women and the imaginary difficulties of obtaining birth control, we could tell Ms. Fluke, “You want contraception paid for by people who don’t know you, who have no control over your behavior and who don’t owe you anything.  How ‘bout you get a job or keep your knickers on.”

More importantly, though, we have to recognize these charades for what they are – subtle declarations of intent to steal and to undermine our Constitution and our society – and we have to act accordingly.  Let’s get serious about people who are elected or appointed as judges, because they will be deciding whether or not we can pass laws to protect voting integrity.  And maybe we should pass some laws of our own, such as a law against any mandate that requires birth control (or anything else) be provided for “free.”

In the episode from Monk, it wasn’t long before he realized the uselessness of arguing over whether or not the man who disappeared had actually ever been to the bed and breakfast.  He knew the truth.  Instead he solved the case by first proving that the other guests were lying, and why.  It’s time to take a page from his book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

When Giving Became “Giving BACK”

For the past several years now I’ve been unable to peruse a newspaper or magazine without running into the latest human-interest story about somebody “giving back” to their community or, more likely, some self-proclaimed do-gooder calling on everyone else to “give back.”  Too many people don’t seem to realize that the seemingly innocuous “giving back” catch phrase was the precursor - and now close relative to - the “nobody got rich on his own” and “you didn’t build that” tripe being spewed by leftists like Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama.  While many have been swift and vocal in their rejection of the “you didn’t build that” comment, some of those same folks seem to have no problem happily chirping about “giving back.”

Let’s start with this question:  When did the term “share” suddenly become inadequate to describe what people do when they give some of what is theirs to others?  The answer is it became inadequate when the Left realized that to “share” implies charity - the voluntary giving of something that belongs to you as opposed to the fulfillment of an obligation that is owed to others.  When we “share,” no entitlement is implied, as it is when we “give back.”  “Giving back” is, as with all things the Left does, a subtle manipulation of language intended to instill a subliminal message.  It’s meant to change the way people think about what belongs to them and to others, without ever engaging in a debate about it.  And it’s been working quite well.  Well enough, in fact, that Obama felt emboldened to be a little more open with the plan, only to find out that people don’t really like the leftwing agenda when it’s not veiled in catchy, grade-school slogans.

And it shares another trait with many leftist ploys in that it’s difficult to confront as the Left will simply portray you as a “meany” who doesn’t appreciate others in the community if you don’t go along with the “giving back” scheme.  Nonetheless I suggest, my friends, that the next time someone cheerily imposes upon you to “give back,” that you challenge them a little bit by asking what they mean when they say “give back.”  When they stare at you, blinking, and mumble something about giving or charity, politely set them straight on the real meaning of charity.  

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

This past Sunday Paul Ryan gave an interview with Brit Hume of Fox News, a relatively friendly venue.  Though I’m not a Brit Hume fan, I was excited to see the interview as I assumed it would be a refreshing change from the rehearsed answers, obfuscations and talking points that we see on a daily basis in these campaigns.  But I was sorely disappointed. 

Ryan, who normally speaks with refreshing candor, sounded like he had just spent the past two hours cramming for a course on “How to Avoid Giving Straight Answers in an Interview.”  It was maddening to watch.  Clearly, he had been given a political makeover by the Romney people and prepped to use scripted answers.  Apparently the Romney folks are so worried Ryan might say something that deviates or conflicts with “the plan” that they thought it worth stifling the trademark honesty and openness that Ryan owes his popularity to.  Do I really need to say what a mistake I believe they’re making?

If the experience with Sarah Palin taught us nothing else we should have learned that the first few days and weeks of a candidate’s introduction to those who don’t know them is a critical time.  People not previously familiar with Ryan (and even those who are) are beginning to tune in and pay attention, and many will make their assessment – like the old adage tells us – within the first few minutes.  Is this really the first impression the Romney camp wants voters to have of Ryan – that he’s a typical politician who dances around questions and recites scripted talking points?  And in Ryan’s case the damage is going to be exacerbated by the fact that expectations for Ryan are being driven up by a lot of the talking heads out there.  Nothing sours people like a person’s failure to live up to heighten expectations. 

I am a believer, as much as anyone is, in the importance of strategy.  But when strategy comes at the loss of substance, nothing is really gained.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On Paul Ryan as VP

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the way conservatism has been redefined over the years as much as the fact that the choice of Paul Ryan for VP is considered to be a very “bold” choice by Mitt Romney.  It’s “bold,” according to some, because Ryan has proposed making “drastic” changes to entitlements like Medicare and Social Security, “drastic” now being defined as finding ways to save these programs.  Oh my, what a radical!

I have mixed emotions about Ryan.  Given the people who were considered for the job, he’s a good choice.  He’s smart, respectable, charismatic, likeable, vibrant, and reasonably well known – all the things you want in a candidate.  Assuming Biden is still the choice of VP for Obama (that would be crazy on his part, but we’ll see), a televised debate versus Paul Ryan should deliciously showcase Biden for the sleazy, incompetent, mindless goon that he is, and it won’t do Obama any favors either.  The choice of Ryan also signaled – in the context of our new definition of conservatism – that Romney is ready to show deference to the right side of his potential constituency rather than pander to the “moderates.”  That showed some political astuteness and I am pleasantly surprised.  Dare we hope that the choice of Ryan is also a genuine reflection of Romney’s political philosophies as well? 

On the other hand, as we seem poised to accept – without protest - the narrative of Paul Ryan as “bold” conservative because of his budget that ostensibly has, as a primary objective, the rescue of Medicare and Social Security, I can’t feel anything but dismay.  While it may be the best we can hope for, it is – in my view – another nail in the coffin for the hope some of us have of getting back to the Constitution for real.