Thursday, July 31, 2008

Campaign Mistakes and What Could Have Been

That was the title of a topic on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Tuesday night of this week. The host was reviewing some of the reasons that the McCain campaign is lagging. Looking at the caption for the story, the answer was obvious to me.

The biggest campaign problem for John McCain is that he was the one who won the nomination.

In a cluttered race, the Arizona senator was an early favorite to win the nomination simply because he had the most national recognition of any candidate in the Republican field. Despite the fact that his campaign suffered a near-death experience at this time last summer because of his atrocious immigration reform legislation, he was the most well-known candidate in the field. People knew Rudy Giuliani from his leadership on September 11, 2001 and the following days, but his northeastern liberalism was untenable for a Republican primary. If anybody knew anything about Mitt Romney in 2007 it was that he was a pro-choice Mormon (as late as 2005) from Massachusetts. Three strikes and he was out. Nobody had heard of Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson was vacationing, and nobody would give Ron Paul the time of day. So, it was John McCain who commanded the most notoriety.

Republican talking heads like Sean Hannity were pleading about electability at this time last year. That explains why he so enthusiastically supported Rudy Giuliani because the New York City mayor had a legitimate chance of beating the inevitable Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. The Clinton campaign went down to a stunning defeat that was only outdone by Mr. Giuliani’s even more disappointing campaign. So much for inevitability.

When it appeared that a Giuliani candidacy would hold no water in a nationwide election for Republicans, John McCain became the most “electable” candidate in the field. He talked a good game about the right to life, making the Bush tax cuts permanent, nominating strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court, and how he is a war hero. He appealed to the party’s conservative base while he had to before he returned to his role as a maverick, also known as a liberal Republican. And now no one can get excited about the McCain campaign. As it sits now, the best chance Mr. McCain has of winning the general election is if Republicans can scare enough people about Barack Obama, which is a distinct possibility.

John McCain presides over a disconsolate party. The Bush years have simply wrecked the Republican Party and reduced the conservative movement to a mere shadow of its former self. While conservatives were once the skeptics about government and questioners of increased power, they have now become the staunchest defenders of an administration that spent like drunk Democrats, vastly expanded the power of the executive, and defended wars that their conservative ancestors would have found appalling. Conservatives, for the most part, discredited themselves by attaching themselves so closely to President Bush, a now discredited president. Now they face the dilemma of having to support John McCain, who may very well prove to be worse than Mr. Bush. But keep in mind that Mr. Obama might just accomplish that as well.

As much as talk radio wants to blame Democrats for voting in Republican primaries to make Mr. McCain the nominee against a stronger Democratic opponent, the current scenario is ultimately the fault of the Republicans themselves. They got caught up in defending the Bush legacy before the man even leaves office, and became too consumed by the faux concept of “electability” or “winability.”

This year and last, Representative Ron Paul tapped into a vein of the Republican Party that was disaffected by the war in Iraq and by the Bush years. He, and to a certain extent Mike Huckabee, represented an anti-establishment strain that played well with many Republicans and Independents. He was a reminder of what the Republicans used to be before they became completely consumed with obtaining power and expanding it. Dr. Paul never voted to raise taxes, never voted to restrict the right to own a gun, never voted on legislation which would have expanded the power of the executive, has a 100% pro-life voting record, and voted against going to Iraq in the first place. Yet he was maligned and considered out of his mind. It is no coincidence that Republicans who identify themselves as “Ron Paul Republicans,” namely Walter Jones and B. J. Lawson of North Carolina, are the Republicans who are performing best. In South Carolina, Bob Conley promotes himself as a “Ron Paul Democrat” and appears to be a viable challenger to the increasingly unpopular Lindsey Graham. The Bush and McCain brand of Republicanism has been utterly repudiated and is doomed to defeat in November. The Ron Paul Revolution is a bright spot for Republicans to achieve electoral success but they do not seem particularly impressed with it because Ron Paul’s brand of Republicanism is not obsessed with executive power and hubris abroad.

Republicans and conservatives are in total depression over their massively disappointing candidate, but like the tragedy of the Bush administration, it was not inevitable. A genuine conservative could have been picked who would have had a viable chance to win this general election, but the party was too concerned with the retention of power and not some prodigal return to their convictions. The Republicans are facing electoral destruction this fall because they abandoned their political values and nominated someone who personified their power obsession the best. Now the Republicans are staring destruction in the eye with their lousy candidate. It is not as though no one saw this coming.

Happy voting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama the Almighty

In the event that anyone has been passed out in a field for the past week, I feel it is my duty to inform you that Senator Barack Obama has been on a much-publicized trip to the Middle East and Europe. It was a trip that one would expect of the American president, as the office is currently constructed. It is disturbing enough to see an American president checking in on the American Empire, as though he was checking in on his viceroys. What is yet more disturbing is seeing a mere candidate for president doing the very same thing.

Yet it does not stop there. Mr. Obama received a hero's welcome in Germany. Judging by the reception in Berlin, one might have thought the Illinois freshman senator's mode of transportation had been riding a colt and his destination was Jerusalem. Although, this builds into the perception of Barack Obama as the Messiah. And like all Messiahs to appear since the mid-1st Century, this one will prove himself false as well.

All the attention heaped on Mr. Obama and all the accolades make him too good to be true. Oh, the era of Bush is over, many in the United States and Europe are thinking. But, like anyone or anything that seems too good to be true, always is. Barack Obama will be no exception.

Everyone knows that Mr. Obama can put on a great show and he indeed put on a great show for the Germans as he spoke with all the elegant rhetoric that has made him so popular since his 2004 Democratic convention speech. Lost during all this commotion regarding this most recent Messiah is that he is very much another politician who is an empty vessel and only really interested in increasing his power. The Messiah treatment and Messiah complex will only make Barack Obama's tyranny once in office, all the more profound.

He looks good, sounds good, so he must be good, right? While I usually hold to the axiom, If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck, I feel the application will be too naive in Mr. Obama's case. When people want to put their trust in someone who only appeals to their senses, they are putting their trust in a false god.

And apparently Mr. Obama believes he is the Almighty one as well. The senator has already claimed that while he is president global warming will cease, America will return to its ideals, and that all divisions will be healed.

These are not just the meanderings of a candidate who will act more like a king than a president, but one who thinks he has the authority and immunity from criticism, of a god. When the "New Yorker" magazine ran its now-infamous cartoon of the Obamas', the candidate said it was offensive to Muslim-Americans, but not a word was said about how conservatives were the intended butt of the joke. This man will heal divisions? Maybe after he thwarts global warming and parts the ocean. Never mind that the notion that man, even collectively, can change the climate of an entire planet is the epitome of self-delusion and idolatry, but this only further proves the senator's Messiah complex (as if he can hold the oceans back from the coast).

Both Mr. Obama's Messianic reception and impenetrable shield from dissent pose real problems. There was revulsion from the Obama camp when people asked questions about his wife who had made some controversial comments on the campaign trail. Remember how nobody could even say his middle name (Hussein) because it implied that the man is a Muslim (doubtful).

Now cartoonists are prohibited from creating any material that could possibly be construed as offensive to Muslims or the Obamas'. Has it not been liberals who have long contended that there is a right to offend in America, a complaint they have long dumped on conservatives and Republicans.

Indeed, an Obama presidency would be frightening. And not even for the reasons that the neoconservatives keep railing about, i.e. that with a President Obama we can be assured of an attack because he will be considered too weak. However, one must ask, would he, as president, actively suppress free speech or any other liberty that we have left? The weakness on foreign policy really does not hold much water. Mr. Obama's position on Iraq is getting closer to John Kerry's indecipherable one, not to mention that he has already suggested bombing Pakistan (which he has no constitutional authority to do) and that he would bomb Iran in order to protect Israel's nuclear hegemony in the region, but I digress.

From the behavior of the Obama campaign, the answer to the question on free speech is a resounding Yes. We know that we cannot criticize him or his wife, so we probably should not be surprised if the Sedition Acts are resurrected. Even cartoons directed at conservatives but which depict Muslim extremism is deemed offensive. This is not the behavior of a republican president, but it is the behavior of a tyrant-to-be.

No one can speak ill of the king and no one can blaspheme against God.

Friday, July 18, 2008

National Review and Conservatism

When it was founded in 1955, "National Review" magazine adopted the slogan "Standing athwart History yelling stop!" hoping they could do something about the leftward and statist lurch happening in postwar America. Its founder was 29-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr., who stormed onto the scene in 1951 with his controversial classic "God and Man at Yale." The magazine was meant to be a conservative alternative to the liberalism that was beginning to dominate the country.

Its early contributors included Russell Kirk, Frank Meyer, James Burnham, Whitaker Chambers, and various other members of the Buckley brood. Mostly regarding Communism, "National Review" also wrote about culture, immigration, and domestic politics. For years it was the reliable source for conservatives who otherwise did not have an outlet for their beliefs. The magazine had a profound impact on a generation of conservatives.

However, by the 1970s the magazine began a slow downward spin to where the publication now resides. The addition of the neoconservatives from the Left marked the beginning of the end for "National Review" as a conservative magazine. It eventually became a magazine of the Republican establishment. In 1956, instead of formally endorsing him, "National Review" announced that they "preferred Ike." In the 1980s they still criticized President Reagan from the Right. By 2008, tepid criticism of the Republican primary field led to full-fledged enthusiasm for the John McCain campaign. But their hypocrisy neither begins nor ends with enthusiasm for Mr. McCain.

David Frum, one-time speechwriter for President George W. Bush, devoted a legendary smear piece to conservatives who opposed the then-impending invasion of Iraq. Entitled "Unpatriotic Conservatives," it served as the cover story for the March 19, 2003 issue. Mr. Frum proceeded to write out, or attempt to write out such landmark conservatives as Pat Buchanan, Taki Theodoracopulos, Robert Novak, and lesser known figures such as Justin Raimondo and Lew Rockwell from the conservative movement for opposing a war they felt was doomed to fail and not in America's interests. Mr. Frum not only rejected any dissent from the official presidential agenda, but equated conscientious objection to the war with treason. Opposing the Iraq War was racist, according to Mr. Frum. Does defending the federal government at every turn make one a conservative or a liberal? Until President Bush came around, unquestioned support of the government was considered liberal.

An even more recent example: the June 30 issue of this year featured a review by David Pryce-Jones of Pat Buchanan's most recent book "Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War." In it, Mr. Pryce-Jones made only personal attacks on Mr. Buchanan and accused the latter of being nothing short of a Nazi (for a long time I thought it was liberals who accused conservatives of being Nazis when they disagreed with them). For another example of "National Review" and their treatment of the aforementioned Pat Buchanan book, I direct you to Victor Davis Hanson's equally ignorant review. Feel free to read Mr. Buchanan's book and then the reviews and you will likely scratch your head about the reviewers' sloppy conclusions. There is no conclusive evidence that either of them actually read the book -- only that Mr. Buchanan departed from the officially-approved interpretation: Hitler=total evil, anyone who fought against Hitler=total good.

So what does this tell us? It is quite obvious that "National Review" long ceased to be a conservative magazine. From these few incidents, and my recent review of Jonah Goldberg's contributions to "conservatism," it looks like the publication's main objective is the suppression of any dissent from officially-approved Republican orthodoxy. This is an absolute repudiation of Mr. Buckley's original revolution. While it is true that some of the problems the conservative movement faces now are the fault of Mr. Buckley, mainly that he left the door open for the neoconservatives to take a prominent position in his movement, but the movement is unrecognizeable now from the one that hit the scene in the mid-1950s.

All the conservative apostasy is completed by their full support of John McCain. During the never-ending primary season the magazine assured its readers that they would support the party's nominee, whoever it was. Language and promises like that essentially make "National Review" useless as any sort of repository of conservative opinion. No one can honestly believe that Senator McCain is conservative. So why support him? To stay in the good graces of the Republican Party? After all, the senator represents big government and endless war. What's conservative about that?

Like much of talk radio, "National Review" is little more than a Republican Party cheerleader. They espouse conservative opinions when it's convenient. Honestly speaking, the publication was mildly tolerable throughout 2007 because its writers were frequently criticizing the primary field over their conservative credentials. Now that it's 2008 and it's McCain vs. Obama, everybody is jumping on board the "Stop Obama Express," even if it means supporting a candidate whose voting record is not much more conservative that Mr. Obama's and a year ago was the scourge of true conservatives.

Following the Bush administration, the Republican Party stands in ruin. The party which "National Review" vociferously defended may be headed toward monumental defeat. Now might be time for the editorial board to consider whether trading their principles in order to have a spot next to the power class was worth it after all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Smashed Idol

On March 4th of this year, the football player and prodigious record-holder Brett Favre announced his retirement. This was particularly grievous for me because there was not a year in my life in which I watched professional football without Mr. Favre playing quarterback as he famously set the record for most consecutive games played at his position.

Compounding my grief, and the grief of Packer Backers across the country, was the knowledge of Brett Favre's personality, youthfulness, and enthusiasm for the game. It was comforting to know that in an age of spoiled millionaire athletes riddled with scandals, that there was at least one participant who matched tremendous accomplishments on the field of play with grace and character off of it. Laurels were heaped on Mr. Favre by sportscasters, writers, coaches, and even opposing players. His presence and personality have been called legendary. By doing so, he achieved a rarity: mythical status for someone who has not been martyred. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King were pretty loathsome characters when placed under the microscope. A racist dictator, an illegitimately elected philanderer, and a Communist philanderer respectively. But all were consigned to the pantheon of American heroes once assassin bullets slew them.

Brett Favre holds a similar place of reverence without meeting such a fate. It is also so much of a shame that Mr. Favre is throwing so much of a sterling reputation away -- blinded by his own fame.

A media circus has ensued now that Brett Favre says he might want to return to the Packers, but the team has been uninterested because they have moved on, taking the star at his word that he was indeed retired. Now the two parties are locked in an epic "He said, She said" battle. And in this battle, the facts are more consistent with the team's side of the story. This ultimately led the star to do a 3-part interview with Greta Van Susteren of the Fox News Channel, as if this dispute was about a child custody case, not about someone playing another year on his $12 Million contract.

So what does this ordeal about a pseudo-retired football player even matter to anyone who's not interested in football? It is a case study that nobody is perfect, no matter how many accolades and testimonies, and that no one is immune from vanity.

Mr. Favre is now making unsubstantiated claims about what he said, when he said it, and yet continues to waffle on his true intentions about playing football again. He acts like he is entitled to this media show and sob story about how the team abruptly turned its back on him. The man has attracted so much fame and received so much good publicity that he has probably become estranged from reality and may very well believe that he is beyond question regarding this dispute.

Brett Favre's career was stupendous and unforgettable. He always put his team first and did everything possible to win. But now he seems to be the show himself. He retired, the team accepted, and got ready for their future without him. After all, the team is the Green Bay Packers, not the Green Bay Favres. Mr. Favre hasn't said he wants to return on behalf of the team or to help the team but because he feels the "itch" to play and wonders if he will scratch it. This whole ordeal is about one man, not the team.

No matter how much we might like someone personally or how much we admire their achievements, they are still human beings subject to original sin and human pride. The recent demonstration of Mr. Favre's humanness has demonstrated that he isn't as perfect as so many football fans claimed he was. His pride and sense of entitlement present him as just another spoiled athlete who is entitled to what he wants. Gone right now are the self-sacrificial aspects that made him such a beloved athlete. What have replaced them are opportunism and vanity. It's been a chance to get on TV and play the victim.

We should maybe not be surprised this has happened. People heaped praise on Mr. Favre as though he was a god walking among men. It figured that someday he would probably start acting like it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jonah Goldberg -- Not a Conservative

I have returned from a vacation of considerable length and have been catching up on my reading and I feel it is time to talk about Jonah Goldberg. The National Review Online editor-at-large and Republican establishment hitman has been taking aim at Pat Buchanan and his most recent tome, "Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War." I generally choose to avoid Mr. Goldberg and NRO because the prevalence of neoconservatism tends to be too much for my already high blood pressure. I was reading Tom Piatak on when his piece for June 25 directed me to Mr. Goldberg on NRO.

Talk radio and "mainstream" conservatives love to refer to Jonah Goldberg as a genuine conservative at every turn. Mr. Goldberg is a recurring guest on Sean Hannity's radio program and Rush Limbaugh could not stop singing the praises of Jonah Goldberg's massive book "Liberal Fascism." Regular readers of, The American Conservative, and Chronicles magazine are probably unsurprised that a self-described paleoconservative and Pat Buchanan supporter would label Jonah Goldberg a non-conservative or even a liberal.

Mr. Goldberg is an excellent writer who regularly skewers his opponents but a few pieces that I have stumbled upon illustrate his non-conservative credentials particularly well. First, Mr. Goldberg dedicates his June 25th column to the alleged hypocrisy and racism of Pat Buchanan because the latter prescribes different foreign policy solutions to different foreign policy circumstances. Mr. Goldberg then tells his readers that Mr. Buchanan's duplicity is on par with "The New Republic," a left-of-center magazine that Mr. Goldberg rips up in his book as one of the liberal admirers of fascism in the early 20th Century. Does he really mean to equivocate "The New Republic" with conservative stalwart Pat Buchanan? Jonah Goldberg makes any and every claim he can to prove his point and push his agenda.

The second column in question comes all the way from May 3, 2000 in which Mr. Goldberg advocates military and governmental intervention in Africa to save the continent from itself. I took the time to read the 3-page discourse, which based on its advocation of taxation and the government's responsibility to take care of the world, may as well have been written by Ted Kennedy, not some alleged purveyor of conservatism. To reduce the length of this entry, I am omitting his May 23, 2008 column in which he suggests John McCain name a Democrat as his running mate, as if there weren't enough Democrats already running on this year's Republican ticket.

Some may think that dumping on Jonah Goldberg for an 8-year-old op-ed is unfair because people's opinions and interpretations change. For example, 8 years ago I was 16 years old and believed that Governor George W. Bush was a principled conservative. I changed my mind through facts, the course of events, and probably a little bit of maturity. "9/11 changed everything," right?

From my perspective, the only thing that changed for Mr. Goldberg was the substitution of "Iraq" for "Africa" with very little of the rationale changing. It was "America's mission" to save the Iraqis just as it was to save the Africans. In each instance, it was the responsibility of the U.S. government and the U.S. military to carry out these humanitarian missions of mercy.

Conservatives have historically discouraged and shunned the use of the military for humanitarian purposes. The U.S. military is supposed to defeat enemies on the battlefields. That is the purpose of a military. One of Napoleon's dictates was that armies are to defeat armies, not to take cities. The main objective is to defeat the enemy. Getting involved with the populations opens up a can of worms that can slowly strangle the conquering empire. One might even consider this axiom to be the early 19th Century version of "no nation-building."

In fact, many critics bring up President Bush's now-broken promise of "no nation building" which cause his remaining defenders to say some version of this: "Well, 9/11 changed everything. It's not the same world as in 2000."

Judging by Mr. Goldberg's column of May 3, 2000, all that seemed to change was the destination of "America's mission." Though often billed as a conservative, the writer in question deployed all the standard liberal arguments for benevolent military intervention used from Woodrow Wilson through Lyndon Johnson.

Conservatives and libertarians are certainly not opposed to helping the downtrodden of humanity. We oppose the use of force and tax dollars to do it. Personally, I favor the peace corps, missionary work, and churches taking care of many of the world's least fortunate souls. After all, it has been said that more harm is done through intended good than from pure malevolence because of all the unintended consequences that come from unsolicited intervention. If conservatives are against foreign aid, then why not feel the same way towards military intervention where there is no national interest present?

Mr. Goldberg, in his 2000 article frequently refers to "our response." "We should" this and "We should" that when it comes to putting American troops in harm's way in Africa. He lectures the reader about "our" moral obligation, but even though he keeps using personal pronouns, it is the U.S. military that actually bears the burden and responsibilities he advocates. This is another tool employed by liberals who want the government to take care people they wouldn't take care of themselves.

Why does Jonah Goldberg even matter? He has no direct power or influence with this administration. Why does his opinion on U.S. policy toward Africa in 2000 matter in 2008? Well, the ideas expounded by Mr. Goldberg in 2000, a year of peace, suggest that he was already a liberal interventionist. The "9/11 changed everything" argument is rendered obsolete by Mr. Goldberg's own words. He was already in favor of intervening on the basis of human rights. This matters because, unfortunately, Mr. Goldberg is considered conservative by a majority of his readers when he is in fact the very opposite: a liberal.

So before anyone who happens to be reading this wants to heap praise on Jonah Goldberg for being a "great conservative," keep in mind that he is merely a Republican whose principles are liberal, not conservative. He is effective at skewering Democrats, which gains him admirers among the GOP, but is also adept when it comes to anyone to his right, as the piece on Mr. Buchanan can attest. Shall we listen to this man of the Left, masquerading as one of the Right, whose political convictions have more in common with Democrat Woodrow Wilson than the Republican and "Great Communicator" Ronald Reagan?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flag pins and other idols

As though Senator Barack Obama's American flag lapel pin had not been covered enough, talking heads on the Right have been questioning the senator's patriotism and love of country. Again.

Democrats have been screaming that, like Jeremiah Wright, the flag pin is not an issue. Well, they are half-right. The flag pin is not, but Reverend Wright was. A person's friends can tell a lot about the person in question. A flag lapel pin does not. The implication is that Mr. Obama is not patriotic or does not love his country because he does not wear an American flag lapel pin. If I was a politician who hated this country and was bent on its destruction, you can be damn sure I would wear a flag pin and anything else I could do to deceive the electorate.

During this resurgence of the flag pin issue, I have been noticing a disturbing trend on talk radio. Rush Limbaugh in particular has been hammering Senator Obama and the Democrats as unpatriotic and anti-American. First of all, "anti-American" is an empty and useless term. From the best that I can tell, "anti-American" only means arguing against whatever the user is arguing for. Second of all, when the 400 Million Dollar Man calls the Democrats unpatriotic or anti-American, his rationale amounts to simply their opposition to many of President Bush's policies. Mr. Limbaugh even lists the U.S. government as something the Democrats loathe. Who actually believes the Democrats hate government? They were the first to worship the state. Is this the best the talk radio king can do? The Democrats must hate America because they oppose Mr. Bush's foreign and domestic policies (I say they oppose instead of hate or denounce them because they probably only do so because Mr. Bush is a Republican and they would implement many of these same policies if they could)? Furthermore, it is this unconditional support for what the federal government does domestically and abroad that amounts to what I call "State Worship."

Conservatives have historically been skeptical of government and its intentions because right-wingers know as well as anyone that the constant temptation of government is to their their power. However, limited-government conservatives during the Bush administration have been the first and ablest defenders of a Great Society liberal. Not only that, but President Bush's words have become infallible. Despite the National Intelligence Estimate's claim that Iran abandoned its nuclear program five years ago, the president disputes it and the 21st Century Right has taken him at his word despite recent reasons to believe that Americans might want to be skeptical of their president.

This refusal to even question the president or the government amounts to state worship. To not support what the state is doing then becomes heresy and of course, "anti-Americanism." If love of country has been reduced to merely supporting what the federal government does, then I would like to hesitate as to whether I really do love my country.

Do not be mistaken. I greatly admire my country, its people, and its historic values of liberty and the right to privacy. I would rather live here than anywhere else in the world. However, I prefer as a Christian to leave my worship for the Triune God. Jesus Christ saved humanity from its sins. To constantly try to "save" the world (or just Europe) from itself is idolatrous because it turns the country itself into God and a savior. How many people in our great nation are still duped by the notion that we are the greatest gift the world has ever known or that America will be around forever as an imperial power? For that, I suggest that we consult the bones of all the other empires and world powers (including Christian ones) that thought and acted like they were infallible and immortal.

For decades now, and by no means is this relegated to the Bush administration, the federal government has become a god and an idol. There is a prevailing opinion that the United States is needed to solve the world's problems and that there are so many problems in the world because we are not engaged with it enough. There are also many who think and speak as though the United States somehow defeated original sin and is the good arbiter of the world -- as though we know what's best for the world and any criticism is apostasy.

My humble opinion is that this is state worship and idolatry. Why else does a matter as inane as a flag pin matter so much? Senator Obama represents bloated Great Society liberalism just as well, if not better than President Bush. Even before his infamous wiggling on Iraq, Mr. Obama has said that he would consider intervening in Pakistan and I would not rule out "humanitarian efforts" in Darfur if he is elected president.

After all, Barack Obama is just as much of a statist as George W. Bush. As far as these issues are concerned, why is Mr. Obama so much scarier than Mr. Bush? John McCain will continue the war, do nothing about immigration or the size of government, and is unlikely to lift a finger to halt the slaughter of innocents.

But we can all rest assured that "he loves America" because he wears a flag pin.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Deceiving Again

It's actually kind of laughable. Democrat cheerleaders and other socialists have been up in arms, particularly during the last week because their candidate, Senator Barack Obama, wait for it, has flip-flopped.

For all of the pandering, the grand rhetoric, the cult personality, and white guilt, it looks like 'ol Barry is just another "old politician."

Let us take a moment to review some of the grievances: in June before the Israel First AIPAC lobby, Mr. Obama rolled over to assure the Zionists that Israel's interests are indistinguishable from American interests. The neocon balancing act outraged "Obamacons" like's Justin Raimondo who realized they had been duped by someone they thought would end the war in Iraq. Not just that, but Senator Obama has been lauding the accomplishments of General Petraeus and how he will give heed to the commanders on the ground and the politicians in Baghdad. What this means is that Mr. Obama has gone from a dramatic withdrawal strategy to, "Well, let's wait a minute. We can't just rush out of Iraq."

Mr. Obama has also been praising the need for faith-based initiatives. Now he's just sounding like President Bush. For all his complaining about John McCain serving George Bush's third term, Mr. Obama is one tax cut promise away from doing so himself.

But what does all this mean, anyway? It all may just seem like some knit-picking, especially to the hordes of delusional Obamaniacs. But these repudiations of earlier positions really illuminate and poke holes in the strawman "New Politics" of Barack Obama. He won over the young people of the nation by convincing them that he was somebody different and would not play dirty politics, was a principled politician, and was a reformer of the Chicago political machine. Now he is wiggling on the one issue, the war in Iraq, that won him the nomination. That leads this cynic to believe that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Obama was just campaigning. Plus, the senator is from the party of Wilson, FDR, Truman, and LBJ; did anybody really think Mr. Obama was a principled non-interventionist in the model of Ron Paul?

I can already hear the Obamaniacs howling over Senator McCain's flip-flops on tax cuts and judges. I do not deny that that is a valid point because the Arizona senator has definitely "creatively shifted" on some agenda items. The main difference is that Senator McCain's flip-flops are mostly irrelevant because whatever "Bush-like tax cuts" or "Bush-like judicial appointments" he might put forward will be negated by a Democrat Congress which will be bigger than the one now. Mr. Obama is of the majority party and will tax, spend, tax some more, spend some more, and expand executive power much like President Bush did during his first six years in office. The difference here is that Mr. Obama belongs to the party that is officially "Big Government."

Senator Obama is slipping, but still in the lead. He campaigned for his party's nomination as a "new kind of politician," but he is very much status quo. The youth voted him in as well as the professional anti-war crowd. Well, the youth and everyone else is going to be taxed and the war in Iraq will continue. Looks like all that money spent on education in this country has really paid off -- for the Democrats.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thoughts on the 4th

It is the waning of another 4th of July and this day has given me an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of this momentous day and sadly, how it is abused.

The 4th of July is a day on which we as Americans remember our forefathers' fight against a tyrannical and faraway power. The colonists resented being told how to run the lives they were capable of running themselves. The soldiers of the War for Independence were patriots because they loved their country, as they perceived it, and fought for it. Today, as on so many other national holidays, the 4th of July has been turned into something so much than it really is.

Independence Day, the appropriate title for this day, is about winning our independence from Great Britain, not used as a justification for imperial and overarching endeavors that strongly resemble the tyranny that inspired this day itself.

Using the 4th of July as a day "to honor our brave men and women serving overseas" or "to remember the veterans of our foreign wars" is a shameful political act of sanctimony. The 4th of July is Independence Day and nothing else. Nothing more and nothing less. It is about the patriots who died to rule themselves in their own manner. The 4th of July is not about lionizing our nation's efforts in the bloody European wars of the 20th Century, or our emergence as a superpower. Perhaps it is the nascent historian in me, but I feel that the 4th of July only speaks for our independence as a nation and none of our subsequent exploits. The application of later military endeavors to the patriots of the American Revolution does a disservice to the latter because all they were fighting was their independence from the Mother Country. Men did not die in the fields of South Carolina so that we could invade Iraq twice or save Europe from itself.

Equating efforts of Revolutionary War soldiers with the U.S.'s military ventures of the 20th and 21th Centuries is loathsome and stops at nothing short of worship of the State. The Revolutionary War was about throwing off the yoke of a burdensome and meddling government, not to extend the policies of an expansive adminstration that gives no thought to the consequences of its actions.

Another thing we hear about on this 4th of July: the men and women of our armed forces are fighting for our freedoms.

Wrong. The Revolutionary War heroes fought for their freedoms. If anything, our armed forces are fighting so that the federal government has the freedom to continue to impose its will on the rest of the world. Invading a country that did not attack us does not count as defending our freedoms because nobody was attacking them.

Comparing the Revolutionary patriots to the soldiers of today is intellectually dishonest because their respective missions are fundamentally different, even opposed to each other. One fought to repel imperialism, another fights to support it.

Please note that these criticisms are not directed at the troops themselves but the reckless foreign policy employed by the Bush administration. Too often criticism of the aforementioned adminstration is attributed to disparagement of the troops. Sean Hannity makes a living doing this. Any Bush sycophant has to do that because of the unsustainability of their argument. But this is criticism of the State and its ever-expanding powers, not the brave sacrifice of those who fought to repel such a thing.

Happy Independence Day.