Rand Wins, America Loses

I’ve put a lot of effort here and on NewsReal into defending Sarah Palin from various attacks.

Tonight, I regret every word of it.

Thanks in no small part to her endorsement (as well as that of James Dobson, Jim DeMint, & Erick Erickson), the deranged Rand Paul won the Kentucky GOP’s Senate nomination (more on Paul’s hideous record here and here).

Palin’s celebration of Paul’s victory on tonight’s “Hannity” consisted entirely of empty blather straight out of the Paul camp’s press releases: the grassroots are rising up, the establishment better take notice, blah blah blah.  Does she know anything about Paul’s record?  About how he’s diametrically opposed to her own views on national security?

Some of you who don’t share Paul’s affinity for appeasement or his tolerance of bigotry might nevertheless think Paul’s win is no big deal, because he only has one vote and most foreign policy will be set by the executive branch.  But first, consider that Democrats campaign for keeps – we all know the lengths to which Democrats will go to falsely smear conservatives as extremists; just imagine the field day they’ll have with all of the real dirt in Rand’s closet.  I predict a Democrat victory in the general election.

Second, odds are that more than a few mushy Republican pols and would-be candidates will interpret Paul’s win, and his legitimization by other mainstream “true” conservatives, as an indication that it’s okay and/or smart politics to tack left on defense issues.  Do we really want two pro-appeasement political parties?

I hope Jim DeMint is rewarded with the primary challenge of his life.  And Sarah Palin has proven that she does not deserve the presidency.

Advertisement

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading

Will Amnesty Torpedo the GOP’s Comeback?

Now that healthcare reform has passed, there’s been chatter about a possible amnesty encore.  Some speculate that “immigration reform could KO health care.”  On the surface, that seems to make sense – the public hates ObamaCare and everything the Democrats did to pass it, and given how much they hated amnesty when President Bush pushed it, trying again could backfire spectacularly on the Democrats.

However, it could also end up killing all the momentum and goodwill the GOP’s built up with the public over health care.  The GOP will have enough trouble maintaining momentum on healthcare going into 2010 and keeping it all the way to 2012, and unlike healthcare, a fair number of prominent Republicans can be expected to defect to the Left on immigration, casting fresh doubts in voters’ minds as to their judgment, responsibility, values, and trustworthiness.

RNC Chair Michael Steele needs to get in front of this as soon as possible by committing to support only anti-amnesty candidates and opposing any pro-amnesty ones.  If the GOP is to regain the public’s trust, it has to make it crystal clear that its defectors – even leaders such as McCain, Kyl, Graham, and McConnell, are just that: defectors.

Conservatism Must Not Abandon the Cultural Front (Updated)

My NewsReal colleague David Swindle has been debating Pajamas Media’s Mary Grabar on the subject of drug legalization.  I side with the arguments made by Grabar, Ann Coulter, and others against legalizing drugs, but I’ve honestly never cared enough about the issue to explore it in depth.

I know there’s an argument that true conservatives should recognize that arresting people for voluntary drug use goes beyond the proper role of limited government.  But y’know what?  We’ve got plenty of cases of government overreach and violated rights in this country that don’t involve destructive behavior—stolen property due to eminent domain abuses, innocent babies destroyed in the womb, politicians constantly looking for new excuses to paw through their constituents’ wallets—that frankly, the tribulations of potheads fighting for the right to light up register pretty low on my sympathy meter and priority list.

But hey, maybe the Founding Fathers really would side with the libertarians on this one.  I’ll read with open-minded interest David & Mary’s continued exchanges, but I have to strongly disagree with one of David’s assertions:

John McCain lost to Barack Obama because of politics, not culture. Obama was a more exciting candidate who ran a much more effective campaign. It’s that simple.

A conservatism that can win is one which understands itself and defines itself as a political movement, not a cultural one. To do otherwise is to begin to destroy a functioning coalition that has been vital to defending America since Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr., and Ronald Reagan brought it together in the 20th century. Conservatism must take the same approach to culture as the Constitution does — neutrality. Such an attitude worked for the document which has guided and protected our country for centuries and it will work for the Movement who has the same objective.

Far be it from me to read too much into the defeat of John McCain, the poster boy for almost everything a Republican shouldn’t be.  2008 was the culmination of years of GOP incompetence and lack of principle, and for reasons completely unrelated to ideology, Barack Obama was perfectly positioned to seize upon it.

But it’s another thing entirely to assume that culture played no part in Obama’s ascendance.  A culture that worships gratification (particularly sexual) without responsibility or constraints, that believes truth is personal and relativistic rather than grounded in permanent wisdom, that has been conditioned to expect everyone else to provide for their every need and clean up after their every mistake, that sneers at traditional morality and religious belief…these trends and attitudes cannot help but play into the Left’s hands.

Simply put, a narcissistic, relativistic, secular, ignorant culture will always be receptive to a political movement that promises to give them things paid for with other people’s money, affirms their “if it feels good, do it” mentality, and assures them that supporting statism and “environmental consciousness” are the only forms of morality or compassion they’ll ever really need.

A conservatism that disregards our culture will not win; indeed, its political prospects will only diminish further still.  I grew up in a public school system completely dominated by the Left.  I have seen time after time how easily the average apolitical teen, bereft of solid core values and spoon-feed the consensus of popular culture, assumes the Left’s claims on government’s role and conservatives’ evil to be true, to say nothing of every liberal myth from man-made global warming to the military-industrial complex.

More importantly, I have seen the Right’s feeble response.  This is a battle in which the conservative movement is largely—and the Republican Party is completely—AWOL.  How many conservatives are formulating strategies to break the Left’s stranglehold on education, both K-12 and college?  How many are drawing attention to the corruption of Church teachings on compassion?  How many on Capitol Hill are challenging the Left’s poisonous sexual dogma, or publicly illustrating the connection between the Democrat Party and the cultural forces it cultivates and feeds upon?

Republican electoral failures cannot be attributed to a nonexistent emphasis on culture; indeed, it’s far more likely that our woes are intimately tied to our dereliction of duty on this front.  The same old tactics—conservatives talking to the same radio audiences, writing in the same magazines, and posting on the same blogs, all mostly to each other—will win converts to the Right from time to time, but not in numbers that can even begin to compare to how many people are unwittingly fed liberal presuppositions about the world by stealth in their schools, TV shows, music, and churches, all of which form an echo chamber, reaffirming the messages for one another.

Republican strategists tend to think short-term: what will get us back into power in the next couple election cycles? Say what you want about Democrats (Lord knows I’ve said plenty), but they see the big picture, and play for keeps.  Conservatives need to open their eyes to it, as well, and settle in for the long haul. Any real, lasting return to the conservative values of the American Founding will require comprehensive strategies and solid commitments to oppose liberal encroachments on every front.

David invoked President Reagan in his post; let me conclude by doing the same.  In his Farewell Address to the American people, Reagan said:

I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson No. 1 about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins.

UPDATE: David has responded here. It seems the differences between our positions are less than they initially appeared, and I certainly agree with his central point, that the force of law is not an instrument of value enforcement.  I’ll have more thoughts later, but thanks to David for his thoughtful reply.

Sorry, But Conservatism’s Still Not Dead

Yesterday Republicans took the governor’s mansions of Virginia & New Jersey, and Maine voted for true marriage.  David Horowitz is hailing Virginia’s ideological turnaround in particular as bad news for Barack Obama:

The 62-38 swing by 8:30PM EST  is a thirty point electoral swing since last November. And in a state whose northern heavily populated districts front on the White House lawn and whose news is national news. It’s early; New Jersey isn’t in. But the significance of this landslide cannot be understated. An electorally decisive part of the electorate who voted for Obama last November voted against him in Virginia today.

Which means: Obamacare is dead. For now.

Postscript: New Jersey, when you consider that Obama won the state by 15 points is also a landslide shift (20 points) — mainly among independents. By not governing as a centrist Obama has forfeited his margin of victory and doomed his health care reform. On CNN Carville said: If he doesn’t pass health care, the Democrats are going to get “slaughtered” because they will have shown that they can’t govern — they can’t get things done.

The Democrats’ only major victory is New York 23, where GOP bosses sunk gobs of money into a left-wing Republican, who was then trounced by the conservative third-party candidate Doug Hoffman.  Hoffman lost to Democrat Bill Owens, leading the usual suspects to blast the conservatives who rallied behind Hoffman.

Hoffman might not have been a dream candidate, but given how liberal (not to mention stupid and dishonest) the official GOP choice was, you can’t blame anyone for supporting him.  A four-point loss isn’t bad at all for somebody without experience as a candidate or a lawmaker; imagine how well he could have done if he had the support he should have had from the Republican Party all along (or if, at the very least, they hadn’t been actively working against him).

And besides, just because David Frum has decided to put politics over principle doesn’t give him the right to demand that the rest of us do the same.  The Republican Party’s self-preservation and expansion of power is not an end to itself—it’s a vehicle for advancing certain principles, and only has worth to the extent that it reflects or advances those principles.

Ronald Reagan: “Let Them Go Their Way”

Scarcely a day goes by that some “respectable” Republican doesn’t wave his finger in disapproval at those of us who believe in holding Republicans to some basic standard of principle, lecturing us about how we don’t really understand the nature of politics.  Michelle Malkin notes that Newt Gingrich is the latest finger-waver, invoking none other than Ronald Reagan in defending his support for the lying, cowardly, leftist Republican Dede Scozzaflava in New York.  Michelle offers a response from none other than Reagan himself:

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

Pat Toomey & Arlen Specter: Neck and Neck

I’ve written before about how the anger resercons like David Frum have for Pat Toomey is both unprincipled and foolish.  Today, with the 2010 midterms still over a year off, Arlen Specter’s once-profound lead has disappeared: Quinnipiac has Specter at 45%, Toomey 44%, “and voters say 49 – 40 percent that Sen. Specter does not deserve reelection.”  Anything could happen between now and Election Day, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that Republicans can regain Specter’s seat—and do it by putting principle over (faux) pragmatism.

No wonder the guys at New Majority haven’t mentioned Toomey in a while…

Palin 2012 Begins Today? (Updated)

Sarah Palin just shocked everyone by announcing that she is stepping down as governor of Alaska at the end of the month, before her first term in office is even up.  From what I can tell between her official statement and her brother’s remarks to Fox News, she’s citing the following reasons:

– her administration has largely accomplished in 2 years what they promised to do in 4

– fighting the onslaught of false & frivolous ethics complaints has become so costly to Alaskan taxpayers and consumed so much of her and her staff’s time that state business has inevitably gotten the short end of the stick

– she doesn’t feel she can do any good as a lame-duck governor, and new Governor Scott Parnell will ultimately be better for the state

– she feels she can best serve the country by fighting for conservative causes and individuals in as-yet unspecified ways

We’ll have to wait to see what she does post-office to know for sure, but it smells to me like Sarah Palin is running for President of the United States.

Jim Geraghty says her career is good as dead, and Morrissey & Co. are not amused, while Bill Kristol thinks stepping down could be shrewd.  I more or less agree with Kristol’s high-risk/high-reward assessment.  She’s risking criticisms that she can’t take the heat of the opposition and that she’s abandoning Alaska to her own ambition (between now and November 2010 is long for a “lame duck” period), both charges that could have been avoided by waiting out the rest of her term.  On the other hand, I have no doubt that the cost of fighting the smear campaign, both to the state and to the Palin family, is tremendous.  If she spends the next couple years boning up on foreign policy and genuinely fighting for conservative causes (Mitt Romney made a similar pledge, but his follow-through has been underwhelming so far), it’ll be time well spent, and she’ll be a formidable candidate come campaign season.  The Democrats have surely noticed slipping support for Barack Obama’s policies, and they can’t be thrilled at the prospect of somebody with Palin’s popularity and communication skills, free from the shackles of public office, becoming a regular spokeswoman against The One.

I also want to note one thing that caught my eye: Palin’s pledge to support good candidates regardless of “what party they’re in or no party at all.”  Could that be a warning that she won’t take lightly to liberalizing the Republican Party, and is willing to take her chances as an independent conservative?  Maybe I’m reading too much into a mere rhetorical bone thrown to bipartisanship, but resercons should tread lightly…

If nothing else, we can thank Sarah Palin for this: she got the talking heads to shut up about Michael Jackson for the longest period yet since he died.

UPDATE: Allah thinks she’s out of luck for 2012 but is really angling for 2016.  I doubt it—if she’s waiting another four years, then that would be all the more reason to finish her current term.  Naturally, speculation abounds that this is preemptive damage control for an impending monster scandal (maybe Dr. Sullivan has finally cracked the Trig case!).  I’m skeptical (of course the nutroots are gonna take the most disastrous possible option), but we’ll see.

UPDATE 2: Full disclosure: in retrospect, I think my early declarations that “Palin 2012 Begins Today” (sans “?”) and that there was little doubt left about her presidential plans were impulsive and premature, and I have changed this post accordingly.