Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008) R. I. P.

The sixth of ten children, William F. Buckley, Jr. forged a movement that for decades was linked to his name.

The founder of "National Review" was a renowned controversialist and conversationalist. He hosted "Firing Line" for 33 years, the record for the longest-running show with the same host.

Buckley stormed onto the scene in 1951 with his "God and Man at Yale." He deplored how his university had recanted its religious and economic traditions for left-wing collectivism and Keynsianism. He was considered too brash and arrogant, but he also put himself on the map and gave modern American conservatism its start. Ultimately, he gave it respectability.

His wit was razor sharp and is quoted as saying, "Liberals are those who say they want to hear other viewpoints but are shocked and offended to discover that there are other viewpoints," and "The purpose of an open mind is to close it – on certain subjects, otherwise it is the abdication of the responsibility to think." In 1965 he ran for mayor of New York City as a member of the Conservative Party of New York when he was unsatisfied with the liberal Republican on the ticket. When asked what he would do if he won, Buckley quipped, "I’d demand a recount."

Conservatism in America, prior to "National Review"’s inception in 1955, was considered too scattered and varying to be of any use or any threat to the governing establishment. But he consolidated support from libertarians and conservatives in this country and forged a new coalition which, from the looks of things, he barely outlived.

A defender of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the crusade against Communism, Buckley wrote the John Birch Society out of the conservative movement when the group tried to label President Eisenhower as a Communist. He did not write, but published a scathing review of Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged" and essentially wrote the Randians out of the movement for their rejection of a fundamental belief in God and the importance of tradition. It was a sleight that the Randians, especially Rand herself never forgave.

The "supply-side whoopee," as he was once called, Buckley helped lead the Republican Party to nominate Barry Goldwater in 1964, who despite such a poor showing, led to the nomination and victory of Ronald Reagan and the conservatives in 1980. Another 16 years of organization and transmission of thoughts made conservatism mainstream.

Buckley retired as editor of "National Review" in 1990 and sold his final stock in the magazine in 2004 and spent his retirement (or rather, semi-retirement) years somewhat secluded from public life, still occasionally speaking on the radio or on Charlie Rose’s PBS program.

He reluctantly supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but by 2004 came to oppose it, like many conservatives of an older generation. He said that if he had known in 2003 what he knew by 2004, he would never have supported the operation. If only more people possessed his humility and a modicum of his intellect we might all have been better.

He was found dead in his study, which is only fitting. He was an erudite scholar whose vocabulary was maybe only outdone by the exhaustive Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. Maybe.

Russell Kirk left us in 1994. Barry Goldwater in 1998. Reagan died in 2004. Now we have also lost Bill Buckley. May we all be so lucky to read his words for we shall never see the likes of him again.

William F. Buckley, Jr. Dead at 82. Thank you, Bill. We shall never forget you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our Stupid Nation

No, I don't hate America.

However, I am more than disturbed about where our country is headed. John McCain is coasting to the Republican nomination who would be the most liberal Republican to run for president since at least Theodore Roosevelt, the liberal, warmongering tyrant. Meanwhile, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are mud wrestling to see who can get the most delegates with the least amount of substantive discourse.

What is perhaps even more startling than McCain's nomination is what is happening in the Democratic Party. There are two untested and inexperienced senators from liberal states who have said a grand total of nothing. Clinton is running because she feels owed the nomination. She has no experience at running anything. As the Bill Clinton gubernatorial administration in Arkansas in the 1980s and the Clinton White House of the 1990s demonstrated, she cannot even run a household. Who could possibly be less qualified to be chief executive than Hillary Clinton?

Perhaps Barack Obama. It's pretty much a tie for me. He's technically been in the U. S. Senate for 3 years but he's been running for president for the past 3 years, so what does he really know about even being a U. S. Senator? If you listen to Obama speak you will gain a grasp of something perhaps even more disturbing than what is found in the God-complex of McCain. Everyone knows Obama talks about hope, but have you ever stopped to think what he means by that?

For me, hope represents what God the Father gave us through the sacrificial death of his son. My hope lies in Christ the Savior who died for the sins of humanity. I sincerely hope yours does too. But do you think that is what Obama means? According to his memorable 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, he talked about how the audacity of hope "signifies the eternal promise of redemption through presidential politics" ( Language like that sure rings of a Messiah-complex. Does he somehow think he has all the answer, through "hope"? Or is it through the person who would likely be the most activist president this country has ever seen?

What is even scarier is the cult following the Illinois senator has attracted. I'm sure everyone knows an Obama supporter. Why do they support him so unconditionally? What, besides rhetoric, does he actually bring to the table? If he is telling us nothing, and the's the biggest orator of nothing I can think of, then beware of what he is hiding.

Anything that seems too good to be true usually is. This is a cult following that we may have never seen before, with the possible exception of George Washington. But Washington was the most restrained president our country has ever known. When Obama talks about eternal redemption through the presidency, do you actually think that includes any sort of restraint, or do you think he will invent a government solution to any problem, real or imaginary?

What we have with the Democrats, and especially Obama in this case, would be the groundwork for a fascist country. This involves the total control of our country as he sees fit. With language like that, Obama sets himself up to be the worst violator of personal liberty this country has ever known. Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush would hold nothing compared to what Obama sets himself up to do. With a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, nothing will stop him.

Human nature does not change. Power corrupts. If you wonder what the cult of personality can mean for a country, ask France if they were any better having had Napoleon at their helm for 15 years. If we never learn from these mistakes, we truly are a stupid nation.

God help us.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What does McCain mean?

Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone, but from the sound of it, it would seem that John McCain is the inevitable candidate. He is approximately halfway to the number of delegates needed to capture the nomination. Each of the 3 major candidates won primaries or caucuses yesterday. McCain won bigger states or won in states where it was a winner-take-all delegate count. But what does McCain give us?

By his victory speech from last night one might have thought that McCain had not only captured the nomination but already won the general election. McCain's arrogance is coming through with full clarity. He has been acting like he is owed the nomination or he is entitled to it.

Dissent is an aspect that is not welcome to John McCain. The Republicans' most recent debate a week ago fulled captured this. Any opinion where Mitt Romney differed from him, McCain blasted him because he doesn't have the right kind of experience. He happily jumps on Ron Paul for suggesting that maybe our country's policies have led to Islamic terrorism. McCain once said in a debate, "We should never think that we brought this on ourselves." Well, Senator, what should we think? Whatever you tell us to think? You act as though your word is the revealed Word of God.

McCain feels adequately prepared to lead the nation's military because he has been in the military himself and served on the Armed Forces Committee. But McCain dismisses all issues which do not center around radical Islamic terrorism which he calls ad nauseum, "the transcendent struggle of our time."

McCain knows nothing about the economy or the courts so he has to talk about war issues. McCain has already promised that there will be more wars. I ask, more wars for what? Democracy? Supplanting evil regimes? Finding Weapons of Mass Destruction found in rogue states? It is none of our business to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. If Iran starts setting up in the Gulf of Mexico, then it is our business. Building up their country's defense is one thing, it's totally another if they're firing missiles at us.

But what does McCain think this war is about? They hate us because we're free? That's nonsense. We've been free since the 18th Century and we were never attacked by Islamic nations or suffered terrorism until we became a loyal ally of Israel and started meddling in the Middle East. It's fine to be allies with Israel, but their affairs are not ours and neither are the Iranians or the Iraqis for that matter.

And what is this transcendant struggle McCain keeps talking about? Bands of terrorists who are not affiliated with any country are somehow more dangerous than Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union? We should have stuck to hunting down these bands of terrorists, not looking for more monsters to slay.

The United States has a proud tradition of non-interventionism, not isolationism. Our country was never isolated from the rest of the world. We traded with them and immigrants came to our country. We've always been part of the world, but we never intervened in the world where we weren't wanted. Conservatives are always talking about the Founding Fathers but what did they have to say about interventionism? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson each said that we should stay out of the affairs of Europe and that we should avoid any entangling alliances. With that in mind, what does NATO, the UN, and Israel mean to us? Iraq did not attack us, terrorists given safe haven by the Taliban in Afghanistan did. Our mission in Afghanistan is necessary, Iraq is not.

McCain always says that Iraq is a pivotal front in the War on Terror. Well, after 5000 dead American soldiers and an incalculable amount of money spent, Iraq only applies to the War on Terror now because we went there in the first place. This is literally beating a dead horse, but Saddam Hussein was not plotting an attack on us. He had no reason to antagonize us. We were blinded by our own hubris in attacking Iraq.

So, what does McCain mean after all? He means the end of our republic. He is determined to expand the American empire. He will wage endless wars which are currently bankrupting our country. McCain is attempting to reconcile with conservatives, but don't expect it to last long. Once he has what he wants, McCain will abandon them. So, what does McCain give us? Nothing.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The True Colors of Diversity

While I have made my official endorsement of Ron Paul (not that my endorsement means so must because I am just a guy sitting at a computer) I also acknowledge some of the virtues of the other candidates running. I do like Mike Huckabee’s personality and human touch. While the talk radio personalities don’t care for the former Arkansas governor, he does indeed have the Reagan charm which I find impossible to ignore. Mitt Romney exudes competence and confidence, unfortunately he lacks a certain amount of flavor.

With these factoids in mind, I wish to continue my discussion of diversity. This time I will be coming to the other party, the perceived racist and segregationist party. For the Republicans, there actually exists a diversity of ideas, which is what true diversity means, not the diversity of appearances. Take these past and present candidates for example:

Rudy Giuliani, now out of the race, is pro-choice and was so engrossed with liberal ideas of "gay rights" that he went so far as to march in Gay Pride Parades.

Mitt Romney is a convert to the pro-life movement, it seems, and favors the "No Child Left Behind" legislation many conservatives now spurn. Like Giuliani, he favors gun control and the Brady Bill.

John McCain is the biggest war hawk running. He favors open borders immigration policy and only since he has been ascending among Republicans has he decided to speak about border enforcement. He has a reputation for being a budget hawk, but he may be more accurately thought of as an earmark hawk.

Mike Huckabee is the most socially conservative candidate in the field. He is a free trader who borders on protectionism which makes him an aspiring economic nationalist. He favors a more moderate foreign policy that still supports Iraq but is more temperate in his dealing with Iran.

Tom Tancredo was the biggest immigration hawk while he was in the race. He pounded the immigration enforcement drum long before it became politically expedient and he is a hawk on the Iraq issue.

Ron Paul has a consistent pro-life and tax-cutting voting record. He believes in states rights and thus the 10th Amendment, the most neglected in the Bill of Rights. He also opposes the Patriot Act and any unauthorized surveillance by the government. He is also the lone non-interventionist among any of the Republican candidates who were ever in the race.

By contrast, the Democrats threw Senator Joe Liebermann out of their party for enthusiastically supporting the Iraq War to this day. An otherwise liberal senator, Liebermann was cast aside for one deviant position.

Tell me which party has diversity.

Identity Politics, Racism, and Democrats

To be entirely blunt, the Democrats are defined by physical identity, not ideas. Watch any of the cable news stations or the mainstream media and you will see what I mean. Throughout their entire race, the Democrats have been touting how they are the party of diversity because they have a woman, a black man, and a Hispanic man running while the Republicans have had as many as eight white men on the stage, now dwindled down to four.

But what is the real difference between the remaining Democratic candidates, Obama and Hillary Clinton? Both are for open borders, both are going to eliminate the Bush tax cuts, both want universal healthcare, both are adamantly and unapologetically pro-choice, both are activists for big government, and neither are willing to end the U. S. presence in Iraq. So, what is their main difference? To be crass, the only noticeable differences are that Hillary Clinton is a woman and Barack Obama is a black man.

Democrats are always touting Affirmative Action, giving jobs to groups of people who have in the past been discriminated against over ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Now the Democrats are stuck in a dilemma. Now they are faced with the competing interest groups that make up their party. Before the South Carolina primary, Bill Clinton went around gabbing about Obama’s background as a "black" candidate. I have nothing personal against Obama, it’s his politics which upset me. He is a black candidate only in the sense that he is a candidate who happens to be black (actually, only half-black for those of you keeping score at home). He is not the black candidate in the sense that Jesse Jackson was in 1988. Obama in his campaign has scarcely mentioned race. His whole agenda is about transcending race and being a candidate of unity. However, aside from his flowery rhetoric, I don’t think Obama can unite right-wing conservatives over to his side. But I digress.

Even when Obama overwhelmingly won the South Carolina primary, it was with most of the black vote with almost none of the white vote. Why? Is South Carolina still as racist as it is stereotyped? I figure not, but with all the talk of Martin Luther King Jr. and the "black vote" leading up to the primary itself, the Clintons’ effectively transformed the candidate of change into the "black candidate." The way the Clintons’ "ghettoized" Obama, to borrow Patrick Buchanan’s words, illustrates very clearly that Democrats, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, do not care about blacks or any other minority group. If Hillary Clinton and her team actually believed in their Affirmative Action mantra, they would drop out and allow the black man, long disenfranchised in this nation, to ascend to the nomination. But minorities are not their concern, power is, and it always was.

These identity politics define the Democratic Party. That’s why the Hispanic vote has been overwhelmingly going to Hillary. Hispanics don’t seem to trust Obama to represent their interests. By and large, they assume Obama will pay more attention to the black community and give them the shaft. Does this sound like the party of diversity? The candidates all believed in pretty much the same set of ideas. Obama and Clinton have identical voting records and ideals. So did John Edwards. So, if all the ideas are the same, then why does it matter if there are any policy differences between them? The rank-and-file Democrats are left to vote for the candidate they personally like the best or the one they think looks the best. Why are so many people flocking to Obama? He is young, good looking, and polished. He sounds good, but he’s just as dangerous of a liberal as Hillary.

So, what diversity does this represent? Democrats routinely harangue Republicans for being racist and sexist. Just last week I was watching Fox News and read a transcript on the screen from Air America Radio, that bastion of buffoonery and narrow-mindedness, describe Republicans as "just hating blacks and women." Gee, thanks for bloviating about that and giving us no reason as to why Republicans hate blacks and women. This host was perhaps thrown aside because Republicans don’t give special treatment to blacks or women just for being born with their DNA or anatomy. At the heart of that comment and this Democratic propaganda is racism.

Where Democrats can only see ethnicity and gender, I like to think that Republicans see people.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The McCain Dilemma

Super Tuesday is fast approaching which means it is possible that we may definitively know who the two presidential nominees will be. On the other hand, we may be even more muddled than ever.

The Republican field has finally dwindled down to the final four: Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul. The first two were expected to still be neck-and-neck, but several months ago nobody would have conjectured that Huckabee and Paul would still be around and while it is highly unlikely that either will capture the nomination, they remain pivotal players. Ron Paul's campaign website, has announced that the Texas Congressman has no intention of dropping out before the convention if they can help it. Their hope is obviously to save enough money to make it to the Convention in Minneapolis this September. The Paul supporters could be the decisive ones on who gets the nomination, whether it's their candidate or not. Huckabee is running out of cash fast and his campaign desperately needs a win on Super Tuesday, which is possible with so many primaries being held in the South, one of his strongholds, but the same can be said of McCain.

Speaking of that egotistical gasbag, McCain has become the media-anointed front runner of the Republican field. The most liberal Republican candidate left in the race was the focus of this week's debate on CNN. Most of the exchanges were between McCain and Romney while Huckabee and Paul were glorified spectators. If anyone needs an example of McCain's pomposity, hubris, and sense of entitlement, I urge you to find the debate on youtube or find a transcript. He was beyond offensive to conservatives. He had a chip on his shoulder which leads me to believe that he is not running for president out of a personal conviction to serve his country but because he feels he is owed it. His sense of entitlement for the nomination is appalling and makes him look more like Bill Clinton confronting reporters than Ronald Reagan. When answering a question about why he feels he should be commander-in-chief on the foreign policy and domestic policy front, he answered, "Because I'm a leader. . ." Well, I think I'm a leader too, Senator McCain, but I do not feel that entitles me to the Republican nomination.

Nearly all politicians run for selfish purposes: money, power, fame, etc. But most are pretty good about hiding those intentions. McCain, however, exhibits arrogance which I find absolutely offending. McCain has spent his career snubbing the conservative base of his party while appealing to liberals for which he has been rewarded by Democrats and the media for being a "maverick." Another way to put it is "a Democrat in Republican clothes." President Bush owes his second term to conservatives and actually listened to them when the outcry over the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers was announced, a pro-choice nominee. Bush took back the nomination (formally Miers withdrew her name) and nominated Sam Alito in her place. The president recoiled because he infuriated his base, his last remaining bastion of any support. McCain could possibly win the nomination without the Republican base. If he can get enough Democrats and Independents to vote for him, he could very well win the election. If he does, then expect conservatives to be marginalized even more. Bush still pays a modicum of attention to conservatives. McCain will devote little if any attention to the right wing of the party. It is being said right now that the conservatives are abandoning McCain. I say that the opposite is true. McCain long ago abandoned conservatives for political expediency. He does not represent conservatives and I believe he never will. The warmongering, open borders advocating, economically ignorant McCain would be the worst candidate the Republicans ever put up and his election could destroy the party and the conservative movement.

As Super Tuesday approaches, we may begin to see who the Republican candidate will be. If it is McCain, we may begin hearing "Taps" played for conservatives.

For more on McCain, I direct you to the preview of the next issue of "The American Conservative:"