Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Opportunists

Readers of this blog have surely noticed that some of the recurring characters are collectively known as the neoconservatives, or “neocons.”

Without going into too much detail, “neoconservative” is the term used to describe members of the Democratic party who left after George McGovern’s nomination in 1972 because they disagreed with the South Dakotan’s “Come Home, America,” pledge.

So, the neoconservatives are liberals who left for the Republican Party because they needed a political home for their doctrines of limitless war and intervention around the world. This found resonance in a GOP that, especially by the 1980’s and Ronald Reagan’s presidency, was determined to win the Cold War. In short, the neoconservatives are always looking for a war in which to plunge their country.

Many of these people have ample access to the nation’s print and television media. Bill Kristol is a fixture on Fox News, so is Charles Krauthammer, and John Bolton gets a favorable amount of time there as well. Bill Bennett gets regular time on CNN while Norman Podhoretz, his son John Podhoretz, and David Horowitz makes rounds on all the networks. Kristol writes a column for The New York Times, as does David Brooks, and Krauthammer’s op-eds come out of The Washington Post, two of the nation’s most influential, but hardly right-wing newspapers. Former President Bush speechwriter David Frum is on everywhere from the radio to The Daily Show. In short, there is no shortage of neoconservative opinion in the news world.

Most of these people are liberal on any of a variety of political issues. Bill Kristol occasionally calls himself pro-life, but the son of neocon founding father Irving Kristol was trumpeting Joe Lieberman for John McCain’s running mate this year and believed that Mr. Lieberman would be accepted by the Social Right if he was “introduced in the right way.” David Frum, who castigates anyone who deviates from the GOP’s current foreign policy, loves to remind people that he is not a social conservative or a conservative concerned with stopping illegal immigration.

These people support an open borders immigration policy that originated in the Democratic Party, the ever-growing federal government, disavowal of the Constitution and its limits, and they treat abortion with indifference. But the overriding issue for neoconservatives is foreign policy and a muscular, aggressive foreign policy at that. And any opposition to intervention anywhere for any reason is tantamount to “isolationism,” “appeasement,” and “surrender,” - just read Clifford May anytime.

These people obtained influence during President Reagan’s terms but gained prominence and agenda-setting status during the terms of the second President Bush. Neocons, holding important positions in the administration, pressured President Bush to confront Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and forcibly remove him if necessary. In a time after the attacks of September 11, 2001, with fear and shock still resonating, their scheme worked.

Now after more than five years in Iraq, and seven in Afghanistan, many Americans have grown weary of the all-war-all-the-time message of the Republicans and the neoconservatives. No bigger reason than frustration over the war in Iraq led to the election of a Democratic congress in 2006. And the war in Iraq was perhaps the biggest factor motivating people to vote for Barack Obama for president in 2008. The freshman senator from Illinois won his party’s nomination because he painted himself as an antiwar candidate who had opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. Once he became a general election candidate, he had to talk tougher on foreign policy to avoid criticism of being weak. That led him to making the war in Afghanistan his defining foreign policy issue, a issue that may well prove his ruin. But getting “tough” on the Afghan theater is what is making the supposedly antiwar candidate appealing to the neoconservatives.

This much is evident by the way the neocons are abandoning their president of the last eight years. The person never seen, but always mentioned during the campaign was the president who launched the war in Iraq. The neocons have been shy to defend the unpopular president many people believed they helped to ruin, mainly because they are flocking to the new president-elect, another person they want to manipulate and mold.

President-elect Obama has made Afghanistan an issue again and the neoconservatives are swarming him, heaping all their praise on him and every cabinet selection from the retention of Robert Gates at Defense to the selection of Hillary Clinton at State. These people need to stay in power and need to have influence on American policies. That they are so quickly singing the praises of President-elect Obama’s burgeoning cabinet, promises that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue.

This is far from a comprehensive look at the neocons (I have omitted references to their Trotskyite intellectual forebears, something a more detailed essay on the neocons would require) but a very brief introduction to the people that wrecked the American image and one American presidency. They have been lumped in the GOP for the last several years but look like they are trying to gain influence among a golden Democratic president.

People who so strongly supported (and crafted) the Bush foreign policy, so strangely abandoned the man but not the policies, and raced to kiss the ring of the new emperor are nothing more than shameless opportunists. It is time they are called what they are.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No Scandals Here

Sirens were literally blowing when on December 9, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on charges of soliciting bribes. The bribes he was interested in, as is now well-known, were for Barack Obama’s (seemingly always) vacant senate seat. “I’m not going to give it away for -bleeping- nothing,” the Chicago politician screamed. Pay-to-play indeed.

Much is being made about President-elect Obama and his connection to the Illinois governor and all-around sleazebag and not just because Mr. Blagojevich is another in a long line of, let’s call them shady, characters that have coalesced in some capacity around the Mulatto Messiah. First we had black nationalist and hate peddler Jeremiah Wright. Then there was Tony Rezko, who gave the Messiah money and has who has already been convicted of bribery. Then, as the McCain campaign became desperate in the closing weeks of the election, they invoked domestic terrorist-turned tenured professor Bill Ayers, ad nauseum. And when Barack Obama became a candidate for the U.S. senate, one of his biggest and loudest supporters was Illinois governor Blagojevich who knew the Messiah during the latter's minor league days in the Illinois state senate. All these acquaintances and past allies makes one wonder, Does this guy have any non-embarrassing friends?

But not 24 hours after his old boss had been led out of his home in cuffs, did the president-elect issue a statement that neither he nor anyone on his staff had consulted the governor and he believed the governor should resign.

Well, not quite.

It’s been revealed that Mr. Obama’s chief-of-staff and fellow Chicago politician, Rahm Emanuel, actually has spoken with the governor’s office.

Uh oh. Scandal a-ho!

Again, not quite.

Even though the president-elect has been caught lying, in front of all of the cameras, let it be known that none of these allegations will amount to anything.

First of all, Barack Obama does not currently hold office. He has resigned his senate seat and has not yet been sworn in as president, despite what he might want the masses to think with his vacuous “Office of the President-elect” seal. The man cannot be charged with lying under oath when he is not currently under any oath.

Second, even with the president-elect caught in a lie, either he or his many benefactors can easily triangulate their way out of it. Note Mr. Obama’s exact words: “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.” Despite such good documentation of his words, this sentence can be easily reduced to, “We did not have any knowledge of money changing hands or any attempts to do so.” Lie averted.

Third, Mr. Obama’s never ending honeymoon with the media is still not over. He played on their white guilt perfectly by incessantly summoning America’s past racial sins and he is regularly throwing them bones by giving them all of the Clinton officials to fawn over again. The media are such political partners with Barack Obama that even if the new president murdered a man on live television they would look the other way or rationalize that the deceased was but a racist who deserved to die anyway.

Finally, Barack Obama has already been protected from any worse of a scandal, in this instance by the criminal justice system in general, and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in particular. The most startling part of the Blagojevich arrest was not that he was attempting to sell off the senate seat or that he knew that he was being wire-tapped or that he still refuses to resign. No, the most startling part of the case is that the feds sprung the trap they set and arrested the crooked governor before he actually committed any crime.

It was like eavesdropping on someone’s cellphone conversation where he discloses that he is going to rob the liquor store tomorrow night and you call the police to get him arrested tomorrow afternoon. On what charges can they be locked up? Thinking about committing robbery? You and I both know that that is not a crime. Governor Blagojevich repeatedly tells the papers that he is innocent and has done nothing wrong. What’s depressing for people who yearn to see a corrupt politician thrown into jail is that they know he is right. He is innocent because he was stopped before he could accept a bribe. He will go free.

What this might mean is that Barack Obama and his people are likely more complicit in this matter than anyone is letting on. Why else would they spring the trap on a corrupt politician who is as much a man without a party as the president is, he has been so abandoned. This scandal will effectively be the end of Blagojevich’s political career. He may still avoid impeachment, conviction, and may well finish his term as governor of Illinois, but this is clearly the last office he will hold.

However, this scandal did have the potential to derail Mr. Obama. If they did indeed have contact about who would fill the seat, if any money was involved, and if it was documented on tape, he would be as politically doomed as his former Illinois colleague.

This is purely speculation but why spare Blago unless he could have brought “Barry” down with him?

So, as much as this writer would be pleased to see this president-elect impeached before he takes office, if that was even possible, the chances are slim-to-none that Mr. Obama will do anything but deflect this controversy like all the others. If he is going to be brought down, it will have to be better than connection to bribery.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Burning Christians at the Stake

*I have been on hiatus for awhile due to my wedding. This post was composed several weeks ago because a hot topic was the scapegoating of the Social Right by the GOP establishment. Still try to enjoy it.

In the aftermath of the dismal 2008 election results, the Republicans are certainly scratching their heads trying to figure out just what went wrong. But more than just scratching their heads, the powers that be in the party are pointing fingers. And not surprisingly, none of the fingers are directed at themselves.

Yet the narrative being constructed from such establishment luminaries as David Frum, David Brooks and Kathleen Parker tell their readers that the Republican disaster of 2008 was the fault of conservatives, both from movement types but mostly the varying components of the Christian Right.

Yes, you read that correctly: the reason the Republicans are losing is because of their base, the only remaining part of the coalition is the reason the Republicans are losing. It can’t be endless wars, the revolting amount of pork spent by the “fiscally responsible party”, the shameless bailouts, the incalculable national debt, the horrific mishandling of the economy, rampant corruption within the party, bad trade policies, a reprehensible open borders immigration policy, or just plain old incompetence. You‘re right, David Frum, it’s the fault of voters who care about abortion and gay marriage.

Even some talking heads on the Left like Mort Kondracke are placing the Republican loss squarely on the shoulders of conservatives. Mr. Kondracke asserted on Fox News that conservative (rather, Republican) talk radio was the reason because talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were too polarizing and setting policy.

This is laughable itself because rather than manufacturing any of the policies that have led to Republican repudiations in 2006 and 2008, the talk radio parrots merely supported them, as they usually end up supporting whatever the party decrees anyway.

How can talk radio be destroying the party when it is one of the party’s biggest assets? While the hosts might criticize the party at certain times, they do have a near monopoly on the radio air waves, which is an avenue to bash the other party all day long. They always come back to defend the party line, and always support their dismal candidate, even when that candidate is John McCain.

What this whole episode reveals is the real animosity felt by the Republican Party toward any and all conservatives. The GOP is not concerned about any of the issues conservatives care about (even beyond the social ones). Their only goals are to win elections and increase their power, not what is best for their country.

But isn’t it ironic that these liberals-in-conservatives’ clothes (Frum, Brooks, Parker, and throw in Jonah Goldberg) habitually infuse into their writings that these social issues are “lost” while every time those issues actually make it to the ballot, the results leave the values voters victorious? If these issues still resonate with a majority of the voting public, why show such ugly contempt for them and the voters that support them?

Yet all this outrage should provoke some sort of reaction among the conservative base of the party. It was becoming clear to me, and I hope it will for millions of others, that the Republican Party only views the Christian Right and values voters with contempt. They are pawns for the establishment, nothing more and nothing less.

The Republican Party has screwed itself up, there is no doubt about that. But why are they lashing out at the only people who faithfully support the party? These are the people who still came out in droves to vote for John McCain, the scourge of conservatives, when this was the man who was supposed to attract independents and moderates?

The party and the neocons (FYI: The people who actually set the agenda) are sore that they lost yet again and need to find a way to blame someone else. These people are wailing that Sarah Palin lost the moderates and independents for them. But could it also be that maybe, just maybe, John McCain lost them himself?

It has been said before that being a neocon means never having to admit you were wrong. Fortunately for them, they found a group to blame their failures on.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The More Things Change . . .

. . . the more they stay the same. Or so goes today’s cliché. That sums up the early prognosis of Barack Obama’s first advisors and potential cabinet appointments. The first name to filter out was Rahm Emanuel to be the Mulatto Messiah’s Chief of Staff. Mr. Emanuel is a Clinton administration veteran who, like the aforementioned messiah, is another product of Chicago politics. This is the man whose trademark threat is to mail dead fish to political enemies. So much for change.

The big news over the past weekend was that Hillary Clinton was rumored to be the next Secretary of State. That’s big news indeed. The freshman senator from Illinois was largely nominated by his party because he was the supposedly antiwar candidate. Hillary Clinton’s millstone, even more than her husband, was that she voted for the invasion of Iraq. Obama has the character to lead because he had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war before it began, we were told incessantly. After all, during the primaries and the endless debates that preceded them, Hillary’s biggest piece of political baggage was her vote for war and her shameless triangulating to an ambiguous antiwar position. All the while promising to extend a nuclear shield over Israel should Iran start the shooting. Now the supposedly antiwar president-elect, seems ready to appoint a notoriously pro-war advocate to arguably the most important cabinet post. So much for change.

On Tuesday of this week, it was revealed that the man expected to become the next attorney general is Eric Holder, the deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton who oversaw the Elian Gonzalez “catch-and-release” debacle as well as Bubba’s hundreds of midnight pardons, including the infamous tax evader, Marc Rich. Does anyone believe that the #2 henchman in those disasters is qualified to hold the top legal position in the country? So much for change.

The discovery of these new and potential appointments should not be too surprising. Barack Obama was the product of the Chicago political machine, a notorious black hole whose corruption is on a par with New Orleans. Yet, Mr. Obama campaigned on an image of one who was above politics, above rank partisanship, and one who possessed the character to lead. But he appears to be nominating only Chicago thugs and Clinton administration also-rans.

Justin Raimondo, the astute editor of antiwar.com, identifies the Mulatto Messiah as a veritable blank slate for a disgruntled populace. Since Mr. Obama was so vague on so many issues during his two-year campaign, people were free to assign any label to him that they wanted. If people were angry about the war in Iraq, they could make Obama their antiwar candidate just because he sounded good, not because he provided any reasonable opposition to the invasion. If people were upset because they thought the Bush administration unfairly favored big business, they could listen to Mr. Obama’s rhetoric and think that he would be a president who would be on the side of the taxpayers. Consider this: the freshman senator from Illinois voted for the bailout, loaded with pork, that saved the backside of Wall Street. Some populist.

The fake indignation of liberals over the past 8 years falls on my deaf ears. They are still crying about how President Bush lied or misled the country into war. If either of those accusations were true, they would unquestionably disqualify Democrats from ruling: If President Bush lied, the Democrats were the ones who helped finance the war from the beginning, despite their claim of his dishonesty. If the president merely misled, then how can the Democrats claim to have the competency to lead, when they willingly admit that they were duped by a C student who is constantly ridiculed for being an idiot?

Now for the harsh truth of what these potential appointments mean: very few Americans actually desire real change in their federal government. If they did, both Barack Obama and John McCain would have received 3rd party levels of votes. The majority, or rather supermajority, of the two major parties play the voters for fools, drowning them with empty rhetoric about change and leadership, but who ultimately do little different from their predecessors, even when they are from different parties. I do not expect a President Obama to differ very much from President Bill Clinton or either of the last two Republican presidents. But people will respond to his message because they like the packaging or continue to feel good about themselves because they showed to themselves to “not be racist” because they voted for a “black” man for president.

Something about this “change” smells familiar.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tyrannical Intolerance

When my native and socially backward state of Kentucky passed an amendment to constitutionally ban gay marriage in 2004, I am unashamed to say that I joined in with the bigoted majority. That much should not be surprising to anyone who knows me well. What is surprising is that the state of California also voted for a gay marriage ban.

For a moment of brutal honesty, I must admit that I did not take the now-infamous Proposition 8 very seriously when I first heard of it. I assumed it would pass. After all, those weirdoes in California would pass it, wouldn’t they?

In an act almost as unthinkable as Sean Hannity campaigning for Ron Paul, those allegedly pinko Californians passed the proposition 52-48. This was shocking because for years California has been running under a judicial dictatorship which granted marriage licenses to homosexuals. In an act that should have warranted his incarceration, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom joined in the act by granting licenses himself. The ballot initiative was just supposed to confirm that the people always wanted what the court had already ruled. Now the minority is shocked because a silent majority stills exists.

Less than 24 hours later, the mobs of gay marriage activists appeared to protest the vote. In watching the rabble-rousers and professional protesters, one thought leapt into my mind: Liberals only care about democracy when they win. I noticed this phenomenon on Election Night/early morning 2004 when President Bush was reelected and Republicans retained control in both houses of Congress. I was watching the results and listening to the talking points with a fellow baldy. At 2:00 am, there was a new shift of talking heads and the Republican was glowing. The Democrat, sensing it was all over for John Kerry, made a plea for the president to govern from the Center, despite retaining Republican majorities. It was laughable for 2 reasons: 1.) George W. Bush never governed from the Right as president, he did, however, govern on the side of the Republicans, NOT the Right, and 2.) The president’s party was victorious on all fronts - why should he have conceded the agenda? In 2008, no honest person believes Barack Obama, elected with a mandate and massive majorities in both houses of Congress, will actually govern from the mythical Center? “To the victor go the spoils.”

Should what has been voted on not count as law? That’s what these protesters seem to believe. Since the majority did not vote in the activists’ way, it should not count. I even know of someone who believes Barack Obama’s first unifying act as president should be to overrule the vote and end the bigotry in California. Aside from the ridiculous notion that an honest liberal believes that a majority of Californians are bigots, I am compelled to ask, What’s so unifying about anyone overruling the will of the majority?

If any real bigotry exists in this episode it is the bigotry towards Christians and anyone else whose conscience forbids them from tolerating the marriage of homosexuals. If some people believe that homosexuals should be allowed to get married, that’s fine, go ahead and vote your conscience. But there are still are a lot of people, in this case a majority of people, who still believe homosexuality is a sin and should not be rewarded. These people have every right to vote their conscience. Demanding the reversal of a mandate (George W. Bush was reelected by a slimmer margin than this proposition) is the ultimate act of the politically irrelevant and the sorest of losers.

This may seem like ranting about activists whom I oppose, which of course is one of the best reason to have a blog. Someone might be inclined to wonder, why does this cranky writer dedicate so much attention to what a bunch of activists are whining about? The reason is that this whole incident is actually less about gay marriage and more about the judicial dictatorship. It is because if the noisemakers do it long enough someone will step in and intervene.

The greatest victory of the Proposition 8 initiative was not that it banned gay marriage in California, but because it was a victory against the judicial dictatorship which illegally legislated from the bench and granted marriage licenses to homosexuals. It is a common error that only Christians and other religious folks oppose gay marriage. Secularists who still have admiration for the constitutional restraints on the government have reason to rejoice. No one should approve of judicial legislation. It is in direct violation of their constitutional function. The voters' rejection of gay marriage in California testifies to the undeniable fact that just because something has been codified into law through the court, does not mean the people approve it. For politicians' vacuous talk about the virtues of democracy, this time in California, it actually vindicates the voters who resented the high court's unconstitutional usurpation.

This issue is by no means over. This is evident because already since the election, gay marriage has been approved in the ironically nicknamed "Constitution State" of Connecticut, by judicial order, not popular vote. As of now, there are still only two states where gay marriage has been permitted, the aforementioned Connecticut and its neighboring Bay State, Massachusetts. The characteristic they share is that their gay marriage statutes were via judicial order, not legislative approval.

The murder of the unborn has already been an established law for a generation, which by no coincidence, was also granted through a judicial order. November 4 was perhaps only a momentary victory against the judicial dictatorship, but a victory nonetheless. When the inevitable pressure comes for the California high court to grant marriage licenses again, there should also be a proportionate response from those who oppose both gay marriage and the usurpation by that court. They should say “No Dictatorship!”

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Blame Game

That more Republicans were routed was expected and sadly, Lindsey Graham was not among them. The damage could have been worse but it was done nonetheless. In the days since the historic election of our country’s first mulatto president, the GOP has been scrambling to figure out why the results were so catastrophic. They have been playing every loser’s favorite pastime: the blame game.

As I have previously conjectured, the biggest problem for the Republican presidential ticket was its nominee, John McCain. However, that is not the news that has been wafting out of what is the remainder of the McCain Camp. Not 24 hours after Mr. McCain’s concession speech did anonymous sources from the McCain campaign begin leaking to the press about how scatter-brained, unprepared, and bitchy vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin turned out to be. This after John McCain himself defended her time and again in the past two months and insisted that he really knew her well.

One of the popular reasons given for John McCain’s loss was the dismal selection of this running mate. From spring through the last weeks of summer, the McCain campaign was spinning its wheels. The freshman senator from Illinois was the toast of the liberal media. He made an even bigger splash by selecting Joe “Big Mouth” Biden, a veteran Washington bureaucrat if there ever was one. Mr. Obama was praised for acknowledging his deficiencies in foreign affairs and picked a supposed expert to help guide him. It smacked of the selection of one Richard Cheney.

So, with the media continuing to drool all over the Great Purveyor of White Guilt, John McCain, trailing in every poll, struggling with a despondent party base, had to do something bold and drastic, and did. The selection of the Alaska governor energized the reluctant conservatives who have never been comfortable with Mr. McCain. They wanted to hear the Democrats’ favorite Republican talk about abortion, gay marriage, and traditional values, Mac’s least favorite talking points. Sarah Palin became the voice to pacify those dissidents and she ended up bringing almost all of them into the Republican fold. She was the greatest gift possible for John McCain’s campaign.

But after a few dismal interviews with the elite liberal media and after her attack dog shtick got old, there were grumblings, even from Republicans, that the good lady had to go. And thus were the first signs that if the Republican ticket lost, the blame would fall on the VP.

And so it has. Never mind that John McCain’s margin of loss was probably smaller, yes smaller, than it would have been had he not selected Mrs. Palin. Had Joe “Partial-Birth” Lieberman or Tom “Terror Level” Ridge been selected, none of the conservatives would have gone with the GOP this year. While Mr. Obama ended up with a hefty electoral vote total, the electoral map was far more red than blue. A McCain-Lieberman or McCain-Ridge ticket would have resulted in a McGovern-like loss and political marginalization for the Republicans. The Religious Right, and its sympathizers like myself, are the most reliable voters the party has. Remove abortion from the platform and the Reagan Democrats will return to their otherwise natural home.

The second scapegoat of the GOP loss arises out of the first one. The charge there is that the religious and values voters of the party are preventing the party from having a bigger tent. The folks over at takimag.com jumped on David “Axis of Evil” Frum’s recent suggestion that an overhaul to the party platform is needed from “abortion to the environment.” He would have been less obvious in his Christian-bashing if he had just demanded the values voters to “get out and stay out!” What is ironic is that this suggestion comes from a chief neoconservative theorist. Mr. Frum blames the values voters for keeping the GOP a small party. But this is the same man who exiled antiwar conservatives in 2003 who dared to question the party’s decision to uproot Iraqi society. He complains the tent is too small but he’s responsible for kicking out a contingent of intellectuals who did not fit into his narrow ideology. Even if conditions appear marginally better in Iraq today than in 2006, that does not change the fact that it is still an unpopular war that most in this country do not believe should have been launched in the first place. Based on this, is the GOP a small tent party because of those stupid and ignorant Christian voters, or because the party adopted a utopian ideology: wars for democracy. Are Christians shrinking the party or was it the policies that David Frum himself promoted and then fed through the president during his tenure as President Bush’s speechwriter?

Surely a change is needed for the Republican Party. However, kowtowing to Democratic talking points is not the solution. Republicans imitated Democrats in their spending habits for the first six years of the Bush administration and were perceived as corrupt as the Democrats of the early 1990s. For it, they were almost unanimously repudiated. For all the fuss made by the moderates and neoconservatives in the party about expanding beyond the base, they are the principal reason the party is in grave danger of losing the base itself.

Have Republicans not noticed that playing like Democrats does not win elections for Republicans? The country has not moved from Center-Right to Center-Left just because democratic socialist Barack Obama thumped donkey-in-elephant’s clothes John McCain. If it was Center-Left, would the gay marriage ban have been passed in California? The country has gotten tired of the Bush years and, rightly or wrongly, John McCain was painted as more of that.

Ron Paul and his message electrified the GOP before and during the primaries in ways no other candidate did. He wanted to bring the troops home, cut the budget, eliminate superfluous departments, replace government intervention with more personal freedom, protect one’s right to life, and return to the Constitution. It was a campaign that put Americans and America first, not corporations and false ideologies. Returning to these bedrock conservative principles should be a good place for the party to start if they wish to return to political relevance.

That is, now that the Republicans have time to sit back and reflect.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Neoconservative Carol

If someone locates my facebook profile, they will find a list of movies that includes "Airplane!" and the highly popular "Naked Gun" trilogy, all by the famous brothers Jerry and David Zucker. The classic spoofs have mocked movies and popular culture to my delight for years. This year, David Zucker, having had a political conversion of sorts, made a movie all neoconservatives and fervent war supporters are sure to love, “An American Carol.”

Responding to left-wing antiwar movies “Rendition” and “Redacted” that American soldiers were nothing more than murderers and that the whole War on Terror is nothing more than a crock, “An American Carol” sets to portray American soldiers as noble warriors volunteering out of selfless service to country and a burning obligation to defend freedom.

Kevin Farley, a lovable blob like his late brother, plays the fictitious Michael Malone, a character obviously based on socialist filmmaker Michael Moore, and a character whose only ambition is to see the United States dismantled. Kelsey Grammer breaks out of his Frasier Crane role to play the ghost of General George S. Patton. Through his airy portrayal, the audience is expected to believe that the dead Patton is even more “all-war all-the-time” than the live one. Together, the odd couple travels through history, a la “A Christmas Carol” to see how war has been used for good.

The central message of the movie seems to be that all wars are good as long as they are waged by the United States. In it, there is a sophomoric re-enactment of the infamous Munich peace conference of 1938 where that blundering idiot of a British prime minister Neville Chamberlain signed over the Sudetenland to Hitler, thus sealing the West’s fate by helping the Austrian corporal launch World War II. This comic book version of the events of 1938 is enhanced by the presence of the Japanese at the European peace conference, presupposing that like all wars, the nefarious henchmen are all united against everything that is good and free, i.e. the United States. It reminds one of President Bush’s now-infamous “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002, where he named Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as state sponsors of terror determined to threaten the United States, as if they were all united in a 3-headed monster of evil.

Back to the fake Munich: the point of this charade was to tell the audience that even talking to a potential adversary is tantamount to surrender, a classic neoconservative argument. And if you talk to that opponent, then expect them to become a genocidal maniac who will wage war on as many continents as possible.

On a note of history, the British probably could not have cared less whether ethnic Germans living in Czechoslovakia lived under German rule or Czech. The Munich conference was anti-climactic: war in Europe was probably already an inevitability once Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland in 1935 with no resistance, not when the Czech Germans were signed over to Hitler. And if anyone cares, the Japanese were thousands of miles from Munich.

Just as ludicrous was the characters' trip to a southern plantation where, in a world where there had been no Civil War, slavery still existed and the South’s “peculiar institution” still thrived. Never mind the fact that slavery vanished everywhere else in the West through gradual emancipation, not through bloody wars. The audience is supposed to believe that despite all the modernization and industrialization of the North, chained humans would be still be picking cotton to this day. Here is where the neocons’ undying devotion to Lincoln shines through: the ill of slavery could only be accomplished by war and no one can question the methods Lincoln used to bring them about. Today, the neocons impress upon the country that the president has unquestionable authority to fight terrorists and that the only way to defeat a network of terrorists not tied to a country is to invade and make war on countries we don’t like.

But perhaps the most unconscionable scene of the movie was a group of soldiers about to be deployed, who were all praying. I do not contest a soldier’s right to pray, but the scene presupposes that American soldiers are on a divinely ordained mission to bring democracy to the Middle East. They may as well have opened up the Bible and said that salvation comes through the United States.

The prayer scene also smacks of emptiness because in it, the soldiers are supposedly praying for their own protection in battle. But in war, there is an unavoidable atrocity known as “collateral damage,” which is what happens when unintended targets, oftentimes civilians, get caught in the bombing of a strategic target. It is unfortunate and every war has to deal with it. What is unconscionable is the indifference many in our country have for it. Many Christians in this country think of our country’s venture into Iraq as a divine mission or that George W. Bush was ordained to become our president. War is a spiritual experience in this flick which is unsurprising since war is the chief article of the neoconservative faith. If there should be any praying done in war, my unsolicited opinion suggests it should be for its speedy conclusion, for one’s own protection, and for the protection of innocents. It rings hollow when Christians wail over the atrocity of abortion but are strangely silent when fellow innocents unjustly die in war.

Regarding all this cynicism spewing from my keyboard, someone might be wondering, why all this fuss over a movie? The Zuckers’ lampooned airplane disaster movies in the early 1980’s to the delight of many. Why is this movie any different? It is different because the issue of the movie is an always hot political topic: war. The other Zucker movies have been light-hearted and even a little political. In the second “Naked Gun” movie (“Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear) President George H. W. Bush is portrayed as a bumbling fool and all the surrounding special interest groups are only concerned with destroying the environment. Since the early 1990’s, David Zucker has had some sort of conversion to the mainstream Right where war is the only answer.

There is still some slapstick humor, but it is forced and it gets clouded over by the political tones. The other Zucker movies are completely unserious and are a distraction from the trials of reality. Therefore it made laughing at this movie a little more strained because it took the matter of war so lightly. Yes, it was still a moderately funny movie but not the side-splitting one expects from previous Zucker flicks.

In this blog, much has been written about neoconservatives, their glorification of war, and their constant need for it. There are books one could read about neoconservatives, but watching “An American Carol” is a good introduction to the propaganda of their worldview without all of the hassle of actually reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Palin Destruction

Many were shocked when John McCain selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin while others were excited. I was perked up by the selection and even spent half an hour considering voting for Mac after all. That dissipated after I threw a bucket of cold water on my face: Sarah Palin might be a real conservative, but she has been condemned to the McCain agenda, and there lies her own destruction.

Much attention has been heaped on Mrs. Palin’s dismal showings in national interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric. The national media’s apoplectic hatred of the governor is the reason the interviews received so much attention in the first place. If she had been quick and articulate, no one would have ever heard of the interviews. Instead, the muddy answers had to be put on a loop because otherwise, only about a dozen senior citizens would have known about it. That doesn’t excuse the governor’s ambiguous responses, but it is something one should expect when a literal outsider gets dropped into a national campaign and is expected to shine. Providing vague answers does not mean someone is clueless but is still becoming acquainted with the agenda. It is an indicator that the McCain platform of eternal war and unlimited government was not in her DNA.

Critics wailed that she was not qualified for the office of vice president, especially since the man at the top of the ticket was hooked up to a breathing machine and feeding tube. But that brings up an interesting question: just who is qualified to be president? What job in either the public or private sector actually qualifies someone for the current job description of president, especially with all the powers which are not delegated to them in the constitution? Being a community organizer? Being a politician in Alaska? Flying missions over North Vietnam 40 years ago? I don’t think so.

Despite all that, there were soon catcalls for Mrs. Palin to be dumped, obviously from the Left, but even from the Right. Writing at Bush administration organ National Review Online, Kathleen Parker suggested that she be thrown overboard, and one can only assume it is because the governor was not parroting the Bush-McCain forever war message clearly enough, since that is the issue which most concerns them. It’s not about social issues, cutting spending, or doing anything about obtaining energy independence - it’s about the war, stupid. John McCain’s main issue is the war and she doesn’t do it well enough for them.

What really condemns the McCain-Palin ticket is the McCain message itself. This cacophony about the terrible candidacy of Sarah Palin is a ruse. This election was never really about the issues. If it was, then both Barack Obama and John McCain would have been defeated long ago. Mr. McCain won the nomination because he was a war hero. Mr. Obama won his nomination because the voters thought they wanted change but mostly wanted to elect a black man out of white guilt.

The problem is that Sarah Palin IS a conservative. Despite public denials, she probably was a Buchanan Brigader, she cut wasteful spending, lives out her pro-life views, and actually addressed the pro-secessionist Alaska First Independence Party. Imagine any southern politician addressing a League of the South or Sons of the Confederacy gathering. While pro-secessionist tendencies and admiration for the old American South were common among conservatives, the southern cause is not appreciated by the neoconservatives who turned conservatism into something diametrically opposed, but I digress.

The problem is not that Sarah Palin has some political deficiency. The problem is that she is a conservative who is running on a liberal’s ticket and thus has to defend a liberal’s record. That she struggles and stumbles should give authentic conservatives some hope. It means that when she is giving the McCain campaign stock answer, she is probably racking her brain to make sure she doesn’t let her conservatism slip out. After all, Mrs. Palin expressed support for Mitt Romney and admiration for Ron Paul. One acted like a conservative while the other is the closest there is to an outsider who is actually in Washington. A McCain or Establishment Republican she is not.

Contrary to popular regurgitation, Sarah Palin is not a hindrance to the McCain campaign. She did not tell her running mate to say, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” She did not force Mr. McCain to suspend his campaign, feign interest in the financial debacle, and then vote for the bailout. The McCain campaign is self-destructing but Sarah Palin is not the culprit, John McCain is. The only remaining enthusiasm for the failing campaign is because of Mrs. Palin. John McCain has never been a big crowd-grabber. Now he cannot be seen without her. She is the one drawing crowds for the Republican ticket, not the donkey in elephant’s clothing. After months of struggling to get the religious vote, John McCain finally secured it with the selection of Sarah Palin. His support in the election is stronger because of his running mate, not weaker. If the McCain campaign is weaker now than it was in mid-August, it is because of McCain himself.

This fuss over Sarah Palin and her conservatism is noteworthy because many traditional conservatives have sold their souls during the Bush administration. They latched on to the Bush administration like it was the second coming of Ronald Reagan. When President Bush became discredited, the conservatives who attached themselves to him became discredited as well. When people see conservatives defend someone who expanded the welfare state as well as the warfare state, they are apt to think that conservatives stand for all those things too.

Conservatives who bellowed against President Clinton’s bombing of Kosovo have defended the Iraq war to the bitter end of the Bush years. Conservatives screamed in defiance of Bill Clinton’s spending but looked the other way when George W. Bush and the Republican congress spent in ways that made Mr. Clinton look like the conservative. And once the presidential race became a contest between John McCain and Barack Obama, most of these same conservatives on the radio and in print, threw their lot in with Mr. McCain, a worthless and liberal candidate. Better a Republican than a Democrat, even if both are liberal.

Let us hope, even if it is just for her sake, that the Republican ticket loses. So perhaps one conservative can keep her soul.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chuck Baldwin for President

In a year of endless presidential endorsements for John McCain (Jon Voight, Chuck Norris, Tom Selleck) and Barack Obama (the rest of Hollywood and all other narcissists), I don’t suppose another endorsement could possibly cause any more damage.

Perhaps this is not an official endorsement. Endorsements typically come from celebrities who don’t feel they get enough attention. On this issue I tend to agree with, of all people, Kid Rock. One of the only remaining singer-songwriters honestly admits that he does not understand much about politics and cares little for celebrities who endorse candidates. He says that celebrities don’t understand politics and now they tell us how we should vote. It’s just another chance to force their views on the American people, the rocker tells us. This is especially true when most celebrities’ reason to vote for someone like Barack Obama is that he "represents change" and "has the ability (i.e. race) to unite like FDR, Kennedy, and Reagan." Blah Blah Blah. Love Me. Blah Blah Blah. Celebrity babble.

So, please think of this as my explanation for voting for Dr. Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.

As the two major candidates continually prove that neither major party has the fortitude to lead, 2008 would seem like the perfect year for a 3rd party to break through and shake things up. Republican Ron Paul would have been an obvious choice to disrupt the balance of the two-party system but Dr. No was content to remain in his congressional seat. Fair enough.

Bob Barr, former representative from Georgia, threw his hat in the Libertarian race and generated some enthusiasm. Mr. Barr wrested the nomination on the sixth ballot and is running with self-promoter Wayne Allyn Root. Enthusiasm for the Barr-Root ticket faded as more people realized that Mr. Barr is really just a Republican posing as a libertarian in order to cash in on Ron Paul’s popularity. When antiwar sentiment drew a million voters to Dr. Paul in the Republican primaries, it made sense that a consistently antiwar candidate would pick up that block of the vote. But while he was still in Congress, Mr. Barr voted for the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act. Today, he still says he would have supported the war, but would have executed it in a different way. In a nutshell, Bob Barr has the same Iraq position as John McCain. Likewise, Mr. Barr’s running mate says the invasion of Iraq was a disaster, that it should not have happened in the first place, and that the situation is such that he would not leave. The folks at lewrockwell.com are correct in attributing “neocon” status to the 2008 libertarian ticket.

That was the case against Bob Barr. The case for Chuck Baldwin is that he is a genuinely antiwar conservative. The host of the “Chuck Baldwin Live” radio program is a Baptist minister (W. James Antle III dubbed him "Reverend Right"), a syndicated columnist, and was the vice presidential nominee of the Constitution Party in 2004 when he ran behind Michael Peroutka. His website, http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/, is a repository of Dr. Baldwin’s writings, dating back to 2001. If anyone wishes to inquire about any of Dr. Baldwin’s positions, they are easily accessible. Also found are articles written by an assortment of journalists and other writers on topics ranging from foreign policy and immigration to trade and economic policies. To my knowledge, he is the only candidate in this year’s race who actively spoke out against the nation’s banking problem.

Dr. Baldwin repeatedly invokes Dr. Ron Paul in his writings. He particularly supports the good doctor’s “Sanctity of Human Life” amendment, which Dr. Paul brings up annually in Congress, only to have it voted down or killed in committee. One of Dr. Baldwin’s hammering points is that Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress for six years and did nothing to alleviate the abomination of abortion. Many values voters keep voting for the GOP because they have been duped by the party on the issue of judges. The logic goes that if enough conservative judges are appointed to the Supreme Court, then they can overturn Roe v. Wade. Republicans are more conservative, so they are the best bet to get abortion outlawed. But Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter, foes to values voters both past and present, were all appointees of Republican presidents. And if the Republican establishment knows they will always have the antiabortion vote, then what incentive do they have for nominating justices who actually would outlaw abortion? And Dr. Baldwin knows that if abortion would be overturned in the country, it has to be through an act of Congress, in whose authority the issue lies.

But perhaps Chuck Baldwin’s chief issue in the 2008 election surrounds America’s national sovereignty. He, like myself, is disturbed at the immigration mess that is literally turning the American southwest into “Mexamerica,” a region that is neither America nor Mexico in any definable way. He opposes the proposed NAFTA superhighway, which would connect the trade of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, as if the three supposedly sovereign nations had no border whatsoever. Dr. Baldwin insists that as national sovereignty fades away, so too will the remaining liberties of our nation. As a conservative Christian, Chuck Baldwin understands the value of religious liberty, for all religions, and how the de facto merging of the three North American nations could not guarantee religious liberty for anyone.

Now for a brief note on character. This summer there was a demonstration dubbed the “Ron Paul March on Washington,” an event orchestrated to oppose the continued war in Iraq and the federal government’s perpetual encroachment into the lives of its citizens. There, Dr. Baldwin was scheduled to speak for a substantial amount of time, but voluntarily withdrew some of his allotted time out of respect for Dr. Paul‘s schedule. In an election where all third party candidates were yearning for a Ron Paul endorsement and any connection to the man, Chuck Baldwin resisted and humbly declined to lobby for the physician’s vote of confidence. He repeatedly says that if Dr. Paul was currently in the race, he would not be running himself. He insists that the message of liberty is stronger than any one candidate and that he is not necessarily the best person to be its spokesman, but accepts it as the candidate of the Constitution Party. The resistance to lead is the most qualifying characteristic for a good leader. While Chuck Baldwin might have that characteristic, George Washington definitely had it, which made him the great leader he was.

I will not sit here and tell anyone that they must vote for Chuck Baldwin because I am or because I say so. I am voting for Dr. Baldwin because he has well-articulated opinions and positions with which I agree. I cannot agree with him on everything (a look at Martin Luther's Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms should be in good order), but his positives far outweigh his negatives. He is not running on name recognition or riding on someone’s coattails. In a country whose federal government causes more problems than it solves, I am voting for someone who preaches limited government, a message found in neither the Republican nor the Democratic party.

*I am not picking on Mr. Hanks by posting his video but it is merely one example.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Screwed coming and going

The events of the last two weeks, ie. the recent Wall Street crisis and impending $700 billion bailout, clearly demonstrates why each of the nominees and their parties are unfit to lead. John McCain suspended his presidential campaign to return to Washington last week in order to address the fiscal crisis that will result in the nationalization of our country’s banking system. After doing nothing and coming off as brutish in the debate, Mr. McCain proved himself inept. Continuing to shirk his senatorial responsibilities, the only contribution to the situation from the freshman senator of Illinois was an aloof, “Call me if you need me.” Now tell me, do you have the Messiah on speed-dial?

As last Friday’s debate approached, observers believed it was going to be exclusively about foreign policy. Not that I looked forward to 90 minutes of Senator McCain’s saber-rattling, but about half of it was dedicated to the financial mess and what each bonehead would do. It told us precisely why neither candidate should win. John McCain used the time to take a few new positions on the bailout, while it was the opportunity for Mr. Obama to tell the country that there isn’t a federal regulation he doesn’t like. (Lending institutions are bankrupt? Let the government take care of it! Public schools don’t teach enough sex ed? Let the government take care of it! Can‘t say anything nice about Barack Obama? Well, the government can take care of that - and you - too) One candidate promises intervention into the economy of our country while one candidate promises military intervention into other countries. Is there anyone still alive who remembers when the United States was a free country?

Regarding the financial debacle, Republicans point at Democrats while Democrats blame the Bush economic policies that (in their minds) forced banks to lend out money they didn’t have. It would be comical if not so tragic that the most irrelevant House speaker of all time, Nancy Pelosi, continually asserts that Democrats bear no blame for the bad money policies that are biting the country on the back side. As bad as the Republicans were, especially during the first six years of the Bush administration, it was the Democrats who promised in 2006 that they would end Mr. Bush’s atrocious war in Iraq and end Washington’s “culture of corruption.” Little did anyone know that it was only the corruptive majority party that would change. As for the economy, the Democrats blame the upcoming depression on the president “because it happened on his watch.”

That would seem a pretty damning charge, but Democrats Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who each head committees on banking, have each received generous amounts of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Despite receiving warnings, the two corrupt politicians continually claimed that the institutions were stable and intact. Considering what we know now, then we should probably assume that because the Democrats were the controlling party of the whole legislative branch, then they are also responsible. They were the ones truly just watching as the economy collapsed. The absurd $700 billion bailout serves only to save their own butts and the butts of their partners in crime. If knowingly lending out unsupported money to unsuspecting people is not a crime, then I guess neither is waging an aggressive, undeclared war against a country that never attacked us. Just a little something for Democrats to chew on.

Barack Obama can probably coast to the White House now. Before the primaries, John McCain infamously said that he did not understand much about the economy. He spent the past week proving it (somewhere Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and probably sobbing). Barack Obama demonstrates more competence in talking about economics, regardless of whether the content he knows will be useful for taxpayers. People will be more willing to trust him to handle money matters.

Even after eight relatively good years, the American masses tend to tire of the incumbent party. While Ronald Reagan was not quite as spectacularly loved during the 1980s and Republicans gloat, his general popularity did not immediately benefit Vice President George H. W. Bush. And despite Bill Clinton’s little impeachment problem, his enormous popularity did little to help Al Gore. In 2000, George W. Bush and the Republicans tied Mr. Gore to Mr. Clinton, despite the latter’s popularity. Even though George W. Bush’s popularity probably does not need to be reiterated here, it helps to show how the GOP nominee, whoever it would be, was in for an uphill struggle. The incumbent party is always bound to face trouble after eight years in the White House. Incompetence and corruption would only compound the situation, paving the way for the opposition party.

So, what to do? My unsolicited opinion is to reject all faith in the two governing parties. This not-so-unexpected calamity regarding the nation’s economy, readily pointed out by Ron Paul, tells this writer everything necessary to decide that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have the will nor desire to actually fix anything. Both parties stood by and watched as their mess came to fruition. John McCain’s ignorance and incompetence disqualify him from serving as president, with his age being the least of his problems. Barack Obama, who only intends to inject more fake money into the economy, somehow fund universal health care, raise taxes, and refuse to end a war that will soon be in its sixth unpopular year, will probably make taxpayers yearn for the good olds of George W. Bush.

Maybe the Alaska Independence Party in on to something.

Soon: Palin. What Happened?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Four More Years

John McCain may have motivated the conservatives in the Republican Party by picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice president, but we all knew that the old John McCain would return.

John McCain became nationally recognized politician because of his propensity to break ranks with his party. It is the primary reason that even during a heated presidential election, he is still the Democrats’ and the Mainstream Media’s favorite Republican. He is the Republican who loves the Democrats. John McCain denounces unpopular Republicans at every turn, joins forces with the Democrats to thwart Republican initiatives, and has been a steadfast supporter of amnesty, the most odious repudiation of conservative principles as far as today's piece is concerned.

During the early primaries, a New York Post writer predicted that it was the most conservative anyone would ever see John McCain. I nodded in agreement as that prediction quickly came true. In the months and subsequent nomination that followed, instead of consolidating support among the varying constituencies of the party, Mr. McCain focused his efforts on distancing himself from any Republican who dared to speak out against any liberal person or policy. The senator hammered the North Carolina GOP for an ad that linked local candidates who supported Barack Obama, to the latter’s infamous friend, Jeremiah Wright. Rush Limbaugh wondered what the senator would do once he denounced all of his supporters. Then came the appearance of Sarah Palin and the stampede of movement conservatives to Mr. McCain.

Then came the GOP convention of early September and the enthusiastic coronation of the would-be emperor. Despite their farcical “Country First” convention slogan, even I was a little moved by the Republicans. After all, they have to be better than the Democrats, right?

But, there was a little voice in my head that reminded me that I had a strong distaste for Mr. McCain for the past eight years for a reason: he is not a conservative. Mr. McCain stirringly rhapsodized about the multiple failures of government and his never-wavering support of unwinnable war, but the issue that was conspicuously absent was immigration.

It was during the pre-primary Republican debates that anyone last heard a word about our nation’s illegal immigration problem. When pressed if he would sign McCain-Kennedy or a similar bill, the monstrous amnesty bill that nearly buried the Arizona senator’s nascent campaign in the summer of 2007, John McCain asserted that he would veto it. He also promised that he would secure the border and enforce it.

Conservatives everywhere chuckled to themselves at the notion that Senor Amnesty would veto amnesty if it came to his presidential desk. But ever since he wrapped up the nomination, Sean Hannity and others have defended him as if John McCain = Tom Tancredo. Once he obtained the magical number of delegates in March, John McCain became mysteriously silent on immigration. Until Monday.

Speaking to a crowd in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Mr. McCain broke his relative silence on the issue. There, he expressed his intent to maintain a guest worker program, just one of the Bush administration’s euphemisms to describe their policy of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Mr. McCain then promised that it would definitely be a temporary worker program. He promised that people in the guest worker program would only work in the United States for a specified time, and if they stayed for the duration and did not renew their permits, then they would be forced to return to their native country.

Well, John McCain is back. Despite all the campaign rhetoric to the contrary, the Republicans have demonstrated again that they are unconcerned about the border. The entitlement incentives for people to illegally immigrate into the country have not changed. There are still “anchor babies.” Illegals can still obtain welfare. And the argument, “Well, they just do the work Americans won’t do,” has not gone anywhere. In addition, Mr. McCain was awfully vague about the enforcement of his guest worker program. Just how would it be enforced? It's not enforced now!

The startling truth in this debacle is that the Democrats actually do have a point about John McCain being four more years of the same, i.e. the Bush administration. However, John McCain’s immigration policy is probably not what they mean. But it cannot be overlooked that Mr. McCain is more of President Bush on immigration, as he is also more of President Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and sadly, Ronald Reagan.

Even before the selection of Sarah Palin, there were conservatives who reluctantly came over to John McCain because “he’s right on the war.” Mr. McCain obtained the Republican nomination in the first place because he kept telling the public that he would be a competent commander-in-chief, despite the fact that he has continually confused Sunni with Shi’ite. If John McCain, like President Bush before him, wanted to appear proficient on protecting the homeland, then I would have thought that securing the border and knowing who was in the country, would be a top priority. While there is nothing in the Constitution to warrant wire-taps, there are mandates for the executive to protect the homeland from outside invaders. Whether it’s terrorists who are hell-bent on murdering innocent Americans or illegal immigrants who sponge up the treasury, it is an unpardonable abdication of responsibility.

Will conservatives still allow themselves to be fooled by Republicans who do not have their interests and values in mind? Republicans tout the importance of securing the border, but they are the ones who have authored and signed some of the most horrific amnesty proposals. An influx of illegals who sap up welfare are more inclined to vote for the welfare professionals, the Democrats.

Does winning elections right now supersede long-term goals and possibly even political survival? Keep in mind that once John McCain wins the presidency, he no longer has to worry about a large Hispanic vote in Arizona. And once he is the president, he won’t have to worry about the long-term implications immigration policy will have on either the country or his party.

Conservatives largely looked the other way during President Bush’s 1st term, but swung some heavy lumber in 2007 when “comprehensive immigration legislation” was being proposed which would have granted amnesty to as many as 20 million illegal immigrants. They were finally tired of defending a man they once believed to be one of their own. Perhaps 2008 should be the year that conservatives abandon the Republican Party because of lies and broken promises due to illegal immigration.

And perhaps conservatives should phrase their discontent with Mr. John McCain in a way that he can understand: “No mas.”

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Worse Than Sexism

For the past two weeks, the Democrats have been near-apoplectic. They were nothing less than stunned. But when the freshman senator from Illinois passed over Hillary Clinton, recipient of 18 million votes, in favor of a candidate who received less than 1% at the Iowa Caususes, the Dems had to know that a woman would be in the running for the Republicans. And when they saw who it was, they were beside themselves, with hate.

Just take a look at the reception Sarah Palin has received from the liberals. Their first and foremost complaint is that the Alaska governor is a pro-life woman. She is a Fundamentalist Christian and a member of Feminists for Life.

How can that be? The Democratic Party has spent an entire generation force-feeding the public that a feminist can only be pro-choice and can either be a career-woman or a stay-at-home mom, never both. Mrs. Palin undercuts all their assumptions about feminism. The Alaska governor has a vibrant family and has molded a career for herself based on her own merits. She has won political office as a conservative woman and without having a famous name or a husband’s coattails on which to hang. She is a woman who worked hard, fought against the boys’ club of Alaska politics, did it her way, and the Democrats hate it.

The Donkeys have long told women that they have to choose between having a career or a family. Left-wing feminists tried to guilt the public into voting for Hillary Clinton this year because she had so graciously given up her law career to raise Chelsea while Bill went into politics. 2008 was supposed to finally be her turn.

Want proof of the Democrats’ horribly transparent double-standard? Take a look at the brutal treatment heaped on the Palins’ 17-year-old pregnant and unwed daughter, Bristol.

For years liberals and the Hollywood Left have glorified fornication. With the exception of the 2005 film, “40 Year Old Virgin,” how many recent movies can one name where the unmarried lead character did not bed their co-star? Abstinence-only, which Mrs. Palin advocates but has not imposed in schools, is routinely reviled. Then there was a firestorm over Bristol’s pregnancy and the gaudy rumors that Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome baby was really Bristol’s first child, an utter farce disproved once one calculates the conception of Bristol’s current pregnancy. Regardless, the liberals’ jumped on the rumor bandwagon in an attempt to shamelessly smear the Palins’ as hypocrites.

Could it have been that the liberals were railing because the young Miss Palin was not going to have an abortion? Could it have been that she decided not to murder the most innocent victim of her teenage indiscretion? Could it have been that despite all the Left has done to promote abortion and glorify licentious behavior that this young, conservative family from Alaska is demonstrating to their country that despite their mistakes, they are committed to a culture of life? Could it be that the Palins’ are living proof that families can keep all of their children and still be happy and productive?

These are all valid questions which grind at the cornerstone of liberal dogma: abortion.

Liberal women are making rounds to all the cable news programs clucking that Hillary voters will not turn tail and vote for the McCain-Palin ticket just because a woman is on the ticket. Some say that she is really a man because she does not support abortion on demand. The archetypal 1960’s feminist and all-around loudmouth Gloria Steinem spouted that Sarah Palin shares nothing more than a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. Some say Mrs. Palin is less of a woman because she does not support abortion or that her election to the vice presidency would be a step backwards for women. It was Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC who reported that only "uneducated" women would vote for Governor Palin.

To quote the noisy former tennis great John McEnroe, “You CANNOT be serious!”

The vitriol directed at Mrs. Palin tells this country just how the liberals feel about abortion and “choice.” Liberals have spent years demonizing conservative opposition to abortion when the latter says “’Choice’ only refers to one choice at all: abortion.” Liberals insist that they are not pro-abortion but pro-choice. They say they favor letting women have a choice with their bodies. That’s not pro-abortion, just pro-choice, they sermonize us. Yet, the Democrats’ enthusiasm for choice seems to apply only to a woman’s right to kill her child. Whereas Democrats fervently support abortion choice, they oppose any measure that permits parents to have the choice to pick their children’s school or the choice for Americans to do what they want with their Social Security money.

It is not enough that liberals just disagree with Mrs. Palin’s position on abortion. I disagree with Senators Obama, Biden, and Clinton on abortion, but I do not hate them or consider them sub-human or stupid because of their abortion views. I just believe they are wrong. But Sarah Palin, on the other hand, was mocked for being less than a woman. Why? What else could it be except Mrs. Palin’s beliefs about abortion?

This is hatred of Mrs. Palin, the person. This is not merely disagreeing with someone’s views. The liberals are trying, but failing, to destroy this person. If one wishes to see a real life example of someone being treated like a second-class citizen, this is it. If one wonders how the white man could have enslaved the black man for centuries, enslaved them because of who they were, then the treatment of Sarah Palin should provide an adequate analogy.

And why are they so consumed by the Republicans’ vice presidential pick? An innocent observer might infer that John McCain has dropped out of the race or that if he’s still in the race, he’s so close to death that he’s toting around an assisted-breathing machine. Or one might be inclined to think that it’s the Obama-Biden ticket vs. the Palin ticket. Comedian-turned-neoconservative Dennis Miller noticed Mr. Obama's preoccupation with Mrs. Palin by saying, “She is deep inside his melon.”

The Democrats are not simply bothered by the selection of Mrs. Palin, they are terrorized by it. If they thought they could beat McCain-Palin, they would not spend this much time trying to pick her apart and would dedicate their attention to Mr. McCain. Instead they are focusing their efforts on proving that they are sexist.

Indeed, this is sexism of the highest order. In my unsolicited opinion, I believe there should be a word that goes beyond “sexism” to describe what has been happening. Saying that a woman can only be a woman by supporting abortion on demand is intellectual and moral bankruptcy. I was too young to witness the “borking” of Justice Robert Bork, but I am a conscious witness of the attempted character assassination of Sarah Palin. The liberals keep trying to trip her up or try to get her to say something bigoted or inflammatory. They are the same tricks they tried on Mike Huckabee, which also failed. Instead, they will have to settle for Barack Obama’s off-the-cuff comments about bigoted Pennsylvanians or pigs with lipstick.

Despite the various pluses that are evident in the vice presidential pick, I still cannot vote for John McCain. The senator (and increasingly Mrs. Palin) is a steadfast proponent of "forever war," as embodied in the ambiguous “War on Terror.” However, that does not dull the glee that consumes me while I watch the Democrats utterly self-destruct. As a traditionalist conservative, I find great pleasure in watching the Democrats, who wrote the book on how women and minorities are supposed to believe and act, see their worldview crumble before their very eyes.

Tolerance is fleeting, isn’t it?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Sad Day Indeed

Seven years later, no American can see the date September 11 without thinking about that fateful and tragic day. When I read my history books and come across that date, even if it’s from the distant past (the Battle of Marathon was fought on September 11, 490 B.C.) I cannot help but think of the day of the terrorist attacks. When I have to mention the date itself, I prefer to call it the 11th of September because “September 11th” is so irrevocably etched into my memory as the day of the terrorist attacks.

What is nearly as sad as the terrorist attacks themselves is that September 11 is still a juicy political issue. On this sad day of remembrance, I still find many, especially on talk radio, who are mistaken about this day. It saddens this writer deeply to listen to radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity use this day to continue to defend the Bush administration’s imperial foreign policy. It is really quite astonishing that Iraq can be invoked so many times on a day that that country had nothing to do with. John McCain won the Republican nomination because he is such a committed defender of the American venture into Mesopotamia. But it was a terrorist network who took refuge in Afghanistan that perpetuated the attack seven years ago. Removing a dictatorial regime in a country that had done nothing to hurt us in the past was the arrogant, not the prudent course.

Also sad this day is the continued inability to admit that the United States is fallible. The more I listen to talk radio, since my paleoconservative conversion, the more I notice that State Worship is prevalent on the mainstream Right. On Wednesday, Mr. Limbaugh insisted to a caller that America is not the problem with the world, but the solution for the world. This is an arrogant statement that illustrates the problem America finds itself in. It is not that America is a bad country or that its people are bad. That is the implication that is made when people accuse others of “blaming America first.” It is naïve to believe that our government and its actions are benevolent and hurt no one. Conservatives, more than any other body, should know that government’s first inclination is to extend beyond its prescribed role and intervene unnecessarily. That axiom does not change just because a Republican is at the helm. Instead of applying a critical eye to the Republican president, many conservatives turned a blind eye and justified any measure as necessary.

Talk radio routinely chastises Senator Barack Obama for not sufficiently loving his country. It is true that the senator and his wife have said highly questionable things about the traditions of America and its people. Mr. Obama’s now-infamous comment in San Francisco about bitter Pennsylvanians hurt him in the last round of Democratic primaries and Mrs. Obama showed remarkably poor judgment in saying that she was not proud of her country until she saw that she had a good chance to become First Lady. But Mr. Limbaugh and others habitually harangue the Illinois freshman senator because he has said that, among other reasons, he wants to become president so he can make America a great country again. The talk radio Right has become inflamed by such comments. But by doing so, I wonder what these same personalities might have said nearly three decades ago when Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush appeared on campaign buttons that promised they would return America to greatness. Were they implying that under disastrous one-term president Jimmy Carter the United States was somehow less than great and that they wanted to return the country to a better time? It’s kind of funny how a Democrat can make Republicans feel less proud of their country but a disastrous two-term Republican president should not be able to do the same to Bush-weary Democrats.

The sad truth is that the terrorist attacks of Sepetember 11, 2001 did not dull partisanship. It did in the days immediately following the tragedy, but by the time the Bush administration set its sights on a Middle Eastern empire, the unity faded. The Republicans, with a lot of help from the Democrats, marched off to a theater of operations they had no business marching into.

Today, let us remember the heroes of New York, Washington D. C., and Pennsylvania. Their efforts should not be politicized on this gravely sad day. It stomps on their achievements in the midst of death. It should not be a time to justify war without end and likewise it should not be a time to justify one’s attempts to single out George W. Bush as a unique catalyst for the war in Iraq. September 11, 2001 was one day and nothing else.

We remember and honor the people who died that day and we can remember the heroism of those who ran to the rescue, not the ones who have capitalized the most from it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

America Last

On first glance, some naïve people might think that Senator John McCain had adopted a slogan of the Old Right.

“Country First”

If only. I first heard Mr. McCain utter this phrase at the Civic Forum held at Rick Warren’s mega-church. My first reaction was, What country first? Does he mean Israel First? For all the neoconservatives who gravitated to President Bush and his potential successor, their first item of duty was to protect Israel, not America, first and foremost. It is no surprise then, that the litmus test for one’s national security credibility rests on how loyal they are to Israel.

During this week’s Republican National Convention, there have begun to be utterances of “America First.” For anyone unversed, “America First” was a slogan adopted by the America First Committee, the largest and best organized antiwar movement in our nation’s history. They opposed the drive to war being pushed by President Roosevelt. It was bipartisan and had followers that included John F. Kennedy, his relative Sargent Shriver, Ohio senator Robert Taft, 15-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr. and its most famous speaker, Charles Lindbergh. Sadly, the aviation hero smeared his good name for perpetuity because he believed the primary perpetrators in the rush to engage the United States in a European war were Jewish. Thus, “America First” became, unfairly, synonymous with anti-Semitism. For a more detailed discussion of the America First Committee, I would recommend “America First!” by Bill Kauffman and “Reclaiming the American Right” by Justin Raimondo.

Watching the aforementioned Republican Convention and its slogan of “Country First” epitomizes how the conservative movement has been completely bastardized. Once synonymous with non-interventionism, the word “conservative” has now come to mean all-out war against whomever we feel like attacking. Our country was savagely attacked on September 11, 2001. So naturally the decision was made by the president and his advisers to attack Iraq and entirely dismantle a country that did not attack us and had no reason or capability of threatening us. Thus, the word “conservative” was made anew.

But perhaps the biggest rhetorical atrocity of Tuesday evening’s events was Republican Joe Lieberman’s address defending John McCain’s record and tying it to George Washington. Mr. Lieberman invoked words from our first president and most benevolent commander-in-chief: political parties are the downturn of our democracy.

While Lieberman correctly attributed the decimating effect of political parties on our country, General Washington never said anything about our “democracy.” None of the founders did. No self-respecting man of the late 18th Century would want to be called a democrat, only a republican (please take note of the lower-case spelling). When a woman saw Benjamin Franklin exit the Constitutional Convention in 1787, she asked him if this country would be a monarchy or a republic. The old statesman’s alleged reply was, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Notice that Mr. Franklin’s response was a republic, not a democracy. True democracies are mob rule (French Revolution) but republics elect leaders representative of the population.

Again, the old general was absolutely right about the catastrophic consequences that come from political parties. But both parties, especially the Republicans, conveniently ignore some more of the first president’s advice: avoid entangling alliances and the squabbles of Europe.

Our relationship with Israel is a textbook example of an entangling alliance, but no one in the GOP wants to hear about it, or hear about how powerfully the Israel lobby controls the party. It’s actually kind of ironic that Washington D.C.’s most famous Jew is the one delivering an address that cherry-picks the words of our greatest statesman to support a morally and intellectually bankrupt foreign policy that favors Israel, not America first.

The Republicans are only trying to fool the country into believing that they are in favor of “Country First.” Somewhere along the way, people are supposed to believe that “America First” once meant doing everything possible to keep the country out of war, while “Country First” today seems to mean that America will fight any war, anyplace on the planet, under the guise of protecting the citizens.

Entering this entangling alliance with Israel and fighting in a seemingly endless series of wars has brought nothing but trouble to the country and has done nothing but vindicate the words of George Washington. Why is it that Joe Lieberman could invoke words from President Washington to roars from the crowd but Ron Paul could quote the general about entangling alliances and get fitted for a strait jacket?

Or consider how Pat Buchanan summoned the phrase “America First” during his three presidential campaigns only to be charged with anti-Semitism. Why was Mr. Buchanan vilified while Mr. McCain is lauded because he puts “Country First” by promising more wars?

The simple answer: Mr. Buchanan represented a return avenue to the old American republic that minded its own business in its own hemisphere. Mr. McCain is a steadfast supporter of the American Empire with military bases in 130 countries.

Here is what “America First” actually means: Doing one’s best to protect Americans by returning from all corners of the world and conserving the military for missions that actually protect Americans. A president can put America first by keeping them out of everybody else’s wars. What, after all, was the point of braying at Russia over a relatively insignificant secession dispute with Georgia? Why does it matter to Americans who controls breakaway provinces of the old Soviet empire? How does whacking that big stick on the table, antagonizing a nuclear power like Russia, put America first? How does "We are all Georgians" (as opposed to "I am a citizen of the world") put America first? How does bombing Iran, another country that had nothing to do with 9/11, have to do with putting America first? What does sending National Guard troops on five tours of duty do to put America first? This could go on all day.

Don’t fall for the Trojan Horse of “Country First.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

John McCain's August Surprise

Just as Wellington said that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, so it might be said that John McCain won the 2008 presidential election the day he introduced Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate.

When major party conventions wrap up, the respective candidates customarily receive a bump in the national polls. The parties spend millions, and especially in this post-1968 era of conventions, they produce world-class shows meant to broadcast their candidates in the best light possible. The Democrats certainly accomplished that, especially with the Athenian background for the latest secular Messiah-philosopher, Barack Obama.

No candidate has better national appeal or poll numbers than the days immediately following their party’s convention. The McCain campaign’s plan from the beginning was to announce the vice presidential pick the day after the Democratic convention wrapped up, with the intention of stepping on Mr. Obama’s post-convention bounce.

Mission Accomplished.

So who is Sarah Palin anyway? I must admit to a substantial amount of ignorance about the governor, but as Richard Spencer of takimag.com suggests, I too am willing to give her a fresh and open look. As an ardent Buchananite myself, I was pleased to discover that she picked him over Bob Dull in 1996. But conservatives ought to keep in mind, especially with Mr. Obama’s crash to earth, that no one is ever as good as they first appear.

Mr. Obama campaigned and won his party’s nomination because he represented the “politics of change” and was not going to play by the same old dirty Washington rules. Then he passed over the first viable female presidential candidate in favor of Joe Biden, a veteran plagiarizer and Washington insider.

Unlike the top of the ticket, Mrs. Palin does have solid pro-life views, attested by her Downs Syndrome-afflicted baby. Mr. Obama is still haunted by a vote in Illinois to allow late-term and partial-birth abortions, especially when the parents discover that they are pregnant with a Downs Syndrome baby.

Undermining everything Barack Obama said he stood for, John McCain took Barack Obama’s rhetoric and threw it back in his face. An Obama-Clinton ticket would have united their party and been practically unbeatable; but Mr. Obama could not take the heat from the Clintons and buckled. If Mr. Obama had selected Mrs. Clinton, nobody would be talking about Mrs. Palin right now. The barking from the Democratic side is not so much contempt for the Republicans, but contempt for the candidate they regret nominating. They are only howling because they know millions of Hillary voters will pull the red lever this year. The Democrats are furious, but they have no one to blame but themselves. As I said earlier this week, he blew it.

Mr. McCain capitalized on at least two opportunities: He snatched up a woman who could serve as an alternative for Hillary voters who felt disrespected by the media and the party establishment. He also picked someone who was not from the Washington club. John McCain is the long-time Washington resident, but the maverick lived up to his reputation and picked someone from out of town.

Some early reports and polls suggested that perhaps 3 million Hillary voters would break for John McCain, even before the announcement of his vice president. Some women will vote for a woman on the ticket simply because of gender. Others were preparing to vote for the Arizona senator to punish the Illinois freshman senator for defeating their inevitable candidate.

Joe Biden, who suffers from chronic hoof-in-mouth, will have to be muzzled. She may not call for it, but with Sarah Palin on the ticket, Republicans can finally play the gender card, a custom usually ordained for Democrats. He has plenty of reasons to be careful. When it first seemed like Mrs. Clinton was being snubbed by the media after the Iowa Caucuses, she wept and the women came out by the truckload to vote for her over the boys who were being just plain mean. As Pat Buchanan said, the sisterhood beat the brotherhood.

Following their Hollywood-esque production of their manufactured candidate, the Democrats are in denial over the situation. They will undoubtedly try to harpoon Governor Palin for not having any experience. But as the only non-senator on the ticket, Mrs. Palin is the only one out of four on the major tickets who has any executive experience.

On “McLaughlin Group,” Eleanor Clift moaned that the pick of Mrs. Palin was merely a pick of convenience to steal the Hillary vote from Barack Obama. One might want to say to Ms. Clift: Yes, you are right, the selection of Governor Palin may have been a bold attempt to entice the Hillary voters. But would you mind explaining how the freshman senator from Illinois, not yet halfway through that first term, was automatically granted front-runner status when he announced his candidacy? Was it all that experience as a community organizer or all the legislative bills that he co-sponsored, but did not author?

I must announce that I have no intention or interest to vote for John McCain. The very little that I know about Governor Palin makes me want to consider voting for her, but unfortunately the 12th Amendment forces me to vote for the president and vice president together, not separately.

So while he may have selected a phenomenal right-hand-woman, Senator McCain is still hampered by the neoconservative foreign policy which destroyed George W. Bush’s presidency. He is still open borders at heart, he still opposes tax cuts, and if his 1999 statement is accurate, he has no interest in overturning Roe v. Wade. Mr. McCain is, after all, a political animal who, like his Democratic opponent, says whatever he must in order to achieve his goals.

But politically speaking, the selection of Sarah Palin was a grand slam.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

He blew it

Joe Biden? Really?

After the contentious and never-ending Democratic primary, Barack Obama limped toward a victory over the Clinton machine that had seen better days. Calling himself a "new kind of politician" who represented "change," the freshman senator from Illinois captured the hearts, minds, and wallets of Democrats gullible enough to think that anyone who succeeds George W. Bush will be better.

Mr. Obama won the Democratic nomination as much as Bill Clinton blew it for his wife. The former president, who became more of a loose cannon than ever before, was one verbal gaffe after another. He was talking so much I began to wonder when Billy had entered his name into consideration for the nomination.

It was the former president who really blew it for his wife. He was the main reason that Mr. Obama could not pick Mrs. Clinton for his vice-president. This is because if he had won, that would mean three different people would think they were president and the mother of all power struggles would have ensued. For my part, it would have been quite entertaining to watch. But the main reason Senator Obama could not have picked Senator Clinton was not because of all their bad blood (Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush had a bitter 1980 primary battle), but because Bill was a fast talker who repeatedly embarrassed his wife.

So naturally Barack Obama picked . . . Joe Biden?

The political world's most famous plagiarizer, 35+ year Senate veteran, and all-around big mouth is supposed to the right-hand-man for the Great Transcender, the Great Black Hope, and the Uniter and Changer. Plagiarism derailed Mr. Biden's 1988 presidential bid and landed him an "F" in a law school course, but those are, of course, only minor details. Let it also not be forgotten that Mr. Biden was the one who said that the Illinois freshman senator was inspiring, but inexperienced or that he was articulate, a racist smear if uttered by a conservative or a Republican.

This pick clearly demonstrates Barack Obama's emptiness as a politician. This fact may have been more evident for some to see than others, but the selection of Mr. Biden only confirms it.

Mr. Obama was nominated by virtue of his allegedly antiwar stance regarding Iraq. Even I had to admit that in principle and according to rhetoric, Senator Obama was basically right on the Iraq issue, but he was unconvincing. Obama conservatives ("Obamacons") such as Professor Andrew J. Bacevich and Justin Raimondo expressed interest in Mr. Obama as the solution to the George W. Bush-neocon catastrophe.

But no sooner than Mr. Obama had wrapped up the nomination did he appear before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and swear complete allegiance to Israel, our country's most entangling ally. The Obamacons were shattered because Mr. Obama revealed himself to be precisely what he told everyone he was not: just another politician.

His selection of Senator Biden simply brings his hypocrisy full-circle. The Delaware senator is a standard liberal committed to the preservation of abortion on demand, spending, and the welfare state. He also repeatedly lobbied for American intervention to "liberate" the Iraqis and expressed his interest in running as John McCain's vice president if our country's most famous prisoner of war would only ask him.

It seems kind of strange how Hillary Clinton's vote for the war precluded her from having the judgment to lead but Joe Biden's vote is just one element that makes him capable to lead if he is needed. Does this horribly transparent double-standard make anyone believe that Mr. Obama is non-partisan and a compromiser? No, he is merely another politician who will say whatever he needs to win.

This blunder may very well hand the election over to John McCain and another neoconservative administration. Now Mr. McCain does not have to pick the perfect running mate, just one who will not embarrass him. Mr. Obama picked Mr. Biden because he knows he is perceived to be weak on experience and matters of national defense. But in hoping to alleviate that deficiency, he created a calamitous new one.

Who knew that the "Politics of Change" meant the ability to change your mind and convictions to suit political expediency.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Cult of Personality, Redux

Now that Barack Obama’s lead has been all but squandered going into his own party’s convention, people seem to be noticing John McCain’s personality and the new life of his campaign. The Obama campaign has been sputtering for about a month now, but last Saturday’s “Saddleback Showdown” with mega church pastor Rick Warren was where Mr. McCain has looked at his best.

There is little question that Senator McCain was the winner of a forum that was based on issues such as abortion, Supreme Court justices, and the common conception of evil. It was an event that any national Republican is destined to shine. While Mr. Obama stumbled over whether life begins at conception (or at delivery or after a botched abortion), Senator McCain wasted no time in replying that life begins at conception. Even though it is Mr. McCain who has abandoned a family, something Mr. Obama has experienced personally, he won the debate on values and morality. John McCain’s winning performance may not have won the senator my vote, but it illustrates how he is the candidate currently winning on the basis of personality.

Republicans have been whining ever since it became clear that the freshman senator from Illinois was going to be the Democrats’ nominee that his primary victory was based on his personality. When the Republicans realized that were stuck with a worthless, liberal candidate, they began barking like starved dogs that Mr. Obama’s only appeal was his personality and tremendous oratorical skills. True, when he has a prepared speech and a pre-approved liberal crowd, Barack Obama rhapsodizes with the best of them. But those skills alone frightened Establishment Republicans who cheer for only Team Elephant because they realized they were stuck with a candidate whose favorite pastime was voting with Democrats and giving them the finger.

Interestingly, during John McCain’s best week of national polling, Republicans now seem to be enamored by their candidate’s personality. For weeks and months, talk radio and neoconservative magazines such as “National Review” and “The Weekly Standard” have been clamoring about John McCain’s war service, patriotism, and the senator‘s “The surge is working” line. For people whose main concern is the war in Iraq, not illegal immigration or taxes, this is only natural. Only a few months ago on “National Review Online,“ one of their contributors made up 10 reasons to vote for John McCain and not one had anything to do with any real policy. One of the author’s very carefully researched reasons was that John McCain’s name is remarkably close to the fictional action hero John McClane of the “Diehard” movies. So, despite their rantings about Barack Obama, the Republicans have emphasized a cult of personality around Mr. McCain.

One of the major reasons why John McCain won the forum on Saturday night comes from the experiences of his life. Stories included his P.O.W. time, his failed first marriage, and the adoption of one of their children. They were all warm stories, but there were no detailed plans at the forum, just like on the campaign trail. It was about John McCain the person, not the potential commander-in-chief. Sound familiar?

If you need further proof just listen to talk radio, watch “Fox News” or read any of the neoconservative publications. The majority of their enthusiasm for the Arizona senator are his patriotism, five years in a P.O.W. camp, and his countless scripted trips to Iraq. One party lionizes their candidate because he represents “change” and a slightly different skin color while the other party props up their candidate because his life has been turned into a TV movie. Do the Republicans detest the cult of personality or not? Or is it just when they don’t seem to have a good enough story on their candidate?

Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama would make a terrible president. He personifies how Chicago corruption can prop up an unknown candidate with no core values, other than the ones adopted by the audience to which he is speaking. John McCain has no real core values either, aside from waging war forever. For an alleged foreign policy expert, he knows remarkably little about world events. What he is passionate about is the military and his life narrative, as the Republicans continually promote.

So this is what American politics has boiled down to. Barack Obama does not actually represent change because he is a big government statist, possibly a socialist, who will wreck the economy through needless intervention. John McCain would be the second consecutive Republican president who is woefully ignorant of world politics. As tired as most Americans are of what George W. Bush has done, the majority of people are merely fooling themselves into thinking that America will be better from 2009-2013/2017 just because President Bush has left for Texas. Barack Obama is going to raise taxes and intervene in domestic affairs and possibly in foreign ones too. John McCain will possibly be less invasive domestically but expect bombing in Iran by the time he becomes president. The United States faces grim prospects for the next four to eight years and the biggest reason for that is the cult of personality. One side does it just as much as the other.

Shall we elect someone because they’re half-black and has a nice voice or shall we elect someone because he is militaristic and spent five years in a P.O.W. camp? Perhaps in 2012 we should forget the elections and simply vote between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.