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Just Say No

Republicans finally find their role. Newer, but better? Gran letdown. Plus more.

2.2.09

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NEIN
Re: Philip Klein's Getting to No:

One is startled by one of the author's conclusions (see his last paragraph), that the Republicans are acting hypocritically. However, given their performance over the past many years, clearly it is true. This is just more self-serving behavior, no doubt. But if that is so, then we have a serious Catch-22 to deal with. If the Republicans do the "right thing," they may someday get back into power. If they someday get back into power, we know (given that they are self-serving hypocrites) what to expect (nothing good, to be sure). Perhaps the very best scenario, from a conservative point of view, is for the Republicans to remain the minority party forever, to continue their hypocritical stance against all that they really believe in. And, as the old Jewish (I think it's Jewish) saying goes, "If you pretend long enough, even God will be fooled."
-- David Reich
Auburn, New York


I listened to Robert Gibbs, the new White House Press Spin-etary, attack the Republicans for voting against the latest quasi-legal bribery scam (the so-called "stimulus package").

His opening salvo was that we have to change the way things are done in Washington -- meaning, of course, that the Republicans should start voting the Democratic Party line.

When pressed to explain why it wasn't rather that the Republicans were voting their principles, he said that the Press should ask them because he "couldn't get inside their mindset."

Curious that! He was able to "get inside their mindset" when he accused them of being politically obstructionist, if not downright heretical.

For the Democrats, "bipartisanship" applies only to Republicans, who are supposed to vote the Democrats' party line and against their own principles.

Of course, you could accept the Obamatruth that when Obama "won the election," it nullified the wishes of the other half the American who voted against him and his policies.
-- A. C. Santore


While we're saluting the Nay Sayers, a strong salute to Army Col. James Pohl, the military judge at Gitmo who refused the White House request to suspend the trial of USS Cole terror mastermind Abd al-Nashiri.

Col. Pohl stated his refusal was to "protect the public interest in a speedy trial" by the military tribunal set up by Congress and Pres. Bush in 2006. Maybe the military judges trying the admitted mastermind killers of 9/11 will stand up to liberal pressure and proceed with their duty to our people as well. At the very least, our military that risked their lives to catch these villains are not about to allow the killers of 17 US sailors in the port of Yemen to escape the hangman's noose. God bless them.
-- Tim O'Neill
Pompano Beach, Florida


One has only to compare pre-election speeches of both the incumbent and his one-time female opponent to the publications of the ADA in the early '60's to see the source of their radical departure from the admonitions of Washington so long ago. Not that they were/are the first, but certainly the most extreme. Schlesinger at Harvard probably wrote their dialogues which are about as socialist as anything ever produced by the Fabians. A NIV translation of Ecclesiastes 10:2 says it all: "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows how stupid he is."
-- Ellen McClay


Like good conservatives everywhere I was heartened by the House Republicans stand athwart history in voting a unanimous No to the Democrat's so-called "stimulus" bill. It should be called the "No Liberal Pet Project Left Behind" bill. Gladdened hearts all around see a return to conservative principles, albeit a day late and dollar short, and foresee more such holding of the line. Hope springs eternal but I am skeptical and will believe it when I see the Republicans see it through. For now, I'm holding off on the champagne. We must remember that, as Mr. Klein mentions almost as an aside, the bill did pass and must go to the Senate whose version is even more gratuitous and is dominated by Democrats and therein lies danger of capitulation. Let recent history be out guide.

The unanimous House Republican "no" should make it easier for Senate Republicans to vote no en masse as well...or not. I'd like to hope for the former but surely we can count on a few of the usual Republican suspects, the self-styled "mavericks", to "reach across the aisle" and side with the profligate Democrats to help railroad this monstrosity through. Already there is talk of resuscitating the quisling "gang of fourteen" to subvert and circumvent principled party opposition. In any event, something will pass there which will have to be reconciled with the House version. Then back to both houses for a vote where we will then see the House Republican's true convictions.

Because, wasn't it just the other day a similar drama unfolded with the first "bailout" of $750 billion? The House Republicans took a principled stand and then, within days, caved under pressure to help deliver up that virtually unchanged stinking pile after a bit of perfume was applied in reconciliation? Of course, that was under an ostensibly Republican president and so they could be said to be following their President's wishes in what appeared to be a true emergency. At least that's what they said by way of exculpation if not if not in defense of their vaunted principles. We see how that's working out.

So, the question is not so much what they did in Round #1 this week but what they will do once a few token tax tweaks are thrown in for the benefit of their cover and a few billion here and there are trimmed back by the savvier dems and our quislings? Is the lesson learned from the "bailout" fiasco a genuine return to first principles or a rehearsed kabuki dance in which they are permitted to save face in the first act before their betrayal comes in the second?
-- Mark Shepler
Jupiter, Florida


“With a mere 177 votes in the House and likely just 41 in the Senate, a united Republican front will be necessary if there is any hope of thwarting Obama's more ambitious legislative goals, such as government-run health care.”

Of course, Mr. Klein is correct regarding the need for Republicans to act early and often to forestall the scarier aspects of the Democrat power grab. However, when it come to health care, the combination of SCHIP expansion (a done deal) and the stealth provisions built into the “stimulus” package for Medicare and COBRA expansion, among other goodies, has already enabled Ms. Pelosi and her minions to establish a pretty solid beachhead. We all know that once these programs are put in place, they will become permanent of the budgetary landscape. The 19th century British colonialists called it “the thin edge of the wedge”.

Oremus!
-- Richard Meade
Bayside, New York

While I understand the political and philosophical place from which you are writing I think your point that Republicans are finally seeing the light about government spending is false.  Republicans are not working to combat government spending because they feel it's wrong and counter-productive to the economic growth we desperately need, they are simply trying to survive as a party and consolidate their base in opposition to the Dems' obvious might right now.

The truth appears to be that the Republicans of today aren't against government spending, they're against the Dems' type of government spending. This is supported by your own argument in the article that cited the bloated spending of the Bush Administration over the past 8 years that was happily sanctioned by Republicans throughout. -- Keith Van Essen


OLD MAJORITY

Re: W. James Antle III's If It's Not True, It's Not New:

By reading your article, you appear to be a liberal Republican. I am a former Democrat, turned Republican, and now Independent. Not because my values changed, but because the parties changed. The Democrats are now extremely liberal, and the Republicans are now Democrats. If Republicans want to rule again, they NEED to go back to conservatism. I am an average citizen, and see average citizens every day. We are a right of center nation. Most (except extreme libs.) Democrats can relate to conservative values. Most people want the government to leave them alone, low taxes, at least strong restrictions on abortions, and strong national security. Unfortunately, we have the left-wing media duping half the nation into believing Dumbacrats are the party for our country. You elitists need to go out and see the real America, get out of your small pampered world.
-- Martin Rainer


I have been reading this new site and am particularly interested in the discussions that identifiy the Republicans' problems with the Northeast (I'm from New England). Trying my best to be polite and modest, I'm surprise at how little some of the writers really know about the politics of those regions. I've been intimately involved in politics for decades, most recently for the last seven years in some very high profile races in which we won three and lost one. A Republican revival is far more complicated than purging ourselves of social conservatives or embracing Bush-type compassionate conservatism. To be sure, there's a great deal of hard work to be done, but the tone and recommendations of what I've read so far in the "New Majority" suggest they're not the ones to depend upon.
-- Paul Zisserson
Cranston, Rhode Island


This article is timely in that it finds the Republicans in disarray and seemingly re-consigned to the wilderness in which they have found themselves for so much of the past 80 years. I am throwing in my .02 USD as a former Republican who would rarely find any reason again to vote for the Democrats, too.

Frum is among those whose intellectual pretensions send him in search of elitist approbation of the liberal intellectuoidal establishment of which the news media are no small part. His new majority seems mostly a retreading of libertarianism in the same way that Obama’s change is the same-o same-o drivel from his party’s tax, spend, and abort heritage.

There is more to Frum’s pursuit than meets the eye however. In the vernacular political science of talking head parlance there is an emerging troika of voter classes now labeled as blue, purple, and red. It is this purple group which Frum wants to lasso into the Republican party but a nation as diverse, fractured, and polyglot as America is long past a two party facade.

The Republican ascendancy of the past 12-15 years was always very tenuous because of these stirring political compositional changes but the Republican proposition was exposed for the charlatanism that it always was when we saw that Republicans governed just like Democrats but without the Paris Hilton celebrity with which Democrats ooze.

I am a rigid social conservative who sees much societal benefit from protecting unborn children, heterosexual marriage, and a number of other sanctities which have served society well over the centuries. There can be no compromise with acts of murder and that is precisely where frum is the new amoral real politic apparatchik.

So I have happily left the Republican party for greener pastures in the Constitutional Party. We’ll never win any important elections but at least I can vote with a clean conscience and keep my duty before god in good faith -- something which the new majority despises. Republicans in all important respects are democrats (liberals) a generation behind.
-- David Bonn


It is becoming tedious to see the likes of David Frum argue once again that the road back to power is for Republicans is to exile social conservatives. As others have pointed out, this experiment has been tried and has been in fact a disaster. Witness what is left of the Republican Party in Christine Todd Whitman’s New Jersey. There the Republican party is essentially defunct. In contrast In the liberal Northeast one of the few popular Republican office holders is the very pro-life governor of Rhode Island, Don Carcieri. Moreover during the presidential race McCain had two surges in his popularity. The first came when he made a clearly more pro-life statement than Obama, during his interview with Rick Warren, and the second came when he picked Sarah Palin for his running mate. Palin was clearly not hurt by her pro-life stance, but rather by what were unacceptable performances during interviews by a hostile media. (My bet is next time around after a couple more years as Governor of we will see a more seasoned performance from her.)

Frum’s problem is that he is a not really a philosophical conservative, and thus as a liberal on social issues, and wishy washy on economics he has no clear political home. He thus wants to transform the party into something that mirrors his views. There is a very small market for this. In fact one could argue the one aspect of his project that is not “conservative” is support for the war on terror. To support the use of force to suppress the Jihadist while certainly a good idea, need not stem from a conservative philosophical stance. One might be opposed to the Jihadist as a liberal because one hates any fervently held religious ideology (a la Christopher Hitchens) or one might oppose them regardless of political philosophy because one recognizes the Jihadists are homicidal lunatics, regardless of how they feel about Islam, and whether their lunacy has a specific religious flavor. One might even be a conservative and think that the Iraq war was ill conceived, Sure Saddam was a monster, but reconstructing Iraq may never be achievable In the long run, and the problems with taking responsibility for this are legion. To some degree they even lead to the current disaster of electing Democratic majorities and a socialist President.) All that said it does not seem to me like the problems with the Republican Party are because there are too many pro-lifers!
-- Michael DePietro


NOT EVEN A CHOICE
Re: George H. Wittman's Israel Readies Iran Takeout:

Your neighbor, who has told you repeatedly that he means to kill you and your entire family, is even now at a gun store purchasing a shotgun and ammunition.

You inform the police, but for whatever reason, they remain unconcerned and advise you to do nothing precipitous.

You remember a similar neighbor who, 70 years ago, killed most of your ancestors. You swore it would never happen again.

What do you do while time (and your family) remains?

This is no scenario.

WHAT do YOU do NOW?
-- David Govett
Davis, California


HIT'EM WHILE THEY'RE DOWN
Re: Paul Chesser's All Seriousness Aside:

The current panic in global warming camps has far more to do with loss of income than in loss of credibility. Knowing that without the constant barrage of dire warnings in the MSM, the carbon offset sellers, the green technology messiahs, etc. cannot find funding for their continued parasitic existence. Only through government funding for their efforts are they able to continue. No self-respecting venture capital firm would touch the flim-flam artists selling such crap.

Like President Bush’s refusal to federally fund stem cell research, venture capitalists also took a pass on the technology as far too cash intensive with little hope of positive results or timely return. Washington DC would be well advised to retain a VC firm or two to help them understand exactly what should be, and more importantly should not be, worthy of consideration for funding. These are the people who fully understand and can analyze risk and reward.

When the tax-paying minority finally (if ever) realizes what their stolen incomes are being used for perhaps then we will exercise our constitutionally guaranteed rights to replace our current government with one that actually represents us.

Al Gore, please go home to your gigantic mansion and shut up.
-- Greg Mercurio
Vacaville, California


CLINT EASTWOOD, SELL-OUT

Re: James Bowman's Gran Torino:

Watching Clint Eastwood buying into the pabulum of the Left’s morality is disheartening. Mr. Eastwood was once a man of admirable moral quality and his movies reflected a strong sense of right and wrong. Sadly, he has somehow morphed from the righteous (and dangerous) “Dirty” Harry Callahan into one of the many namby pamby police lieutenants/bureaucrats he once bemoaned. Eastwood has lost sight that while both the arsonist and the fire fighter may both found at a church burning, they are not morally equivalent.

Mr. Eastwood is correct in asserting that a society is well served when it questions the need, motivation and costs of violence. As a veteran of a foreign war, I fully understand that violence can cause psychological damage (and the lack of treatment for our returning troops is shameful), but war is sometimes the only moral choice. Eastwood explores these costs in his movie, Flags of Our Fathers, but he never addresses the issue of the worthiness of the sacrifices that were made. If Japan and Germany were left to their own designs, the world would be less free and many more lives would have been snuffed out. If predatory nations are forcefully dealt with early, and that may include pre-emptive violence, the cost of human life will surely be much less than if they were allowed to continue with their malfeasance. Positing hypotheticals, such as what if Chamberlain had stood up to Hitler prior to the invasion of Poland how many lives would have been spared, is a popular task among historians and philosophers. Posing hypotheticals does not seem to interest Mr. Eastwood. He is certain that all violence is wrong.

Moral equivocation ends with a null set of answers. Take two students. One is a bully and the other stands up to him. What is learned from this violence? The one who stands up to the bully demonstrates courage (though he may end up in an ass whooping). He is willing to stand up for his rights and the rights of others; he has used violence as a means to create peace. He has used violence morally. Further, he is likely to grow into a man of moral convictions. If the bully goes unopposed, he has learned violence is a useful means to serve unjust ends. He may well learn to become a street thug, a predator in his community. If opposed, he learns that a moral (and possibly physical) cost is to be incurred. Both boys have used the same means, violence, but arrive at very different ends.

Violence, like any other tool, is a moral neutral until it is used. The intent and the use of the tool produces an outcome that can be judged as moral, amoral or immoral. Violence may be the last answer, but sometimes it is the only just answer.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

Gran Torino was ignored by the simpering, Hollywood nabobs and critics because it shows guns and violence being used for the benefit and safety of people in their neighborhoods.  I am certain Sean Penn, Leonardo diCaprio, etc., really had their panties in a wad when they saw this very good movie and had to move hard and fast to be certain it was ignored by the Oscar nominators.

As the critics love to say..."it was a gritty drama." That it was -- and a helluva good story, too. The theater was packed the afternoon we went to see it...so obviously I am not the only moviegoer in flyover country who liked it.
-- Judy Beumler
Phoenix, Arizona


FAMILY MATTERS

Re: Eric Peters's Green with Madness:

There were several interesting points in the Green with Madness article. I agree with the main thrust of your piece -- that the auto industry can't possible handle additional environmental requirements. I would only add that a 40 mpg minimum mileage requirement not only affects those who need to drive a truck for work, but is a slap in the face of families with more than two children. A minivan or other vehicle that gets 40 mpg and can seat 5 to 6 people will probably cost $60,000 or more, if one ever exists. My apologies for not being able to pile my family into a Prius.
-- Jeff King
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey


SKIP TO THE END

Re: Ben Stein's A Bleak Day:

I think Congress has found a way to bypass attaching earmarks to appropriations bills. Just pass an earmark bill up front.
-- Harrrell Huff
Montgomery, Alabama


Dear Ben,

PLEASE RUN FOR PRESIDENT.

You have our vote!

However, there may never be another election as long as "Heir Obama" impostor is in power!

God help us.
-- Jeannette Haley
Nampa, Idaho


GOT IT DOWN PAT

Re: Tom Bethell's The Good War? Maybe Not:


Very simply: Yes, WWII could have been avoided had the Allies smashed Germany hard in 1936 in the Rhineland reoccupation.

But making a deal with Hitler is a fool's game, and only a craven antisemitic thug like Pat Buchanan would think it would work. (Well, it would have, for him -- he would have joined the Nazi Youth if it had existed when he was a child.)
-- Scott A. Joseph

PROMISES MADE

During the campaign Barack Obama said over and over that seniors earning less than $50,000 would not pay one penny of taxes. Remember that? Oddly enough, we haven't heard one world about this promise since Obama was elected. There is not a word about it in his trillion-dollar stimulus bill either. Most of the so-called tax cuts in this bill go to people who don't even pay taxes -- in other words, they are just getting more welfare. As it stands, seniors earning less than $50,000 will continue paying thousands each year in federal taxes. What's more, under Obama's plan to "fix" Social Security, it appears that they may see their benefits cut and contributions go up for Medicare. There is also the array of hidden taxes on energy, food, and transportation that have begun to be discussed.

What happened to Obama's promise to seniors? What do you call someone who promises you something over and over again, and then forgets about it when it's to his advantage? There are several words that come to mind, but I'd start by calling that person a liar.
-- Jeffrey Folks 
Knoxville, Tennessee


SHINING EXAMPLES

I’m not going to pay my taxes this year.
I face this decision with calm.
Should I have to face down the IRS
I’ll call Timothy, Charlie and Tom.


Because of their shining examples
I know this harassment will stop.
We can all be secure in withholding these dues.
It’s good to have friends at the top.
-- Mimi Evans Winship


DIE DIE DIE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Bill Kristol's Departure:

Upon reading Emmett Tyrrell's piece on the decision of the New York Times to no longer require the services of Bill Kristol, I was reminded of the climactic scene in the movie Billy Bathgate.

Perhaps David Brooks, in the Stephen Hill role, pushed Bill Kristol (as Billy Bathgate) out of the Times' op-ed club so he wouldn't be there when Lucky Luciano's crowd showed up to wipe everybody out. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
-- Greg Richards


Simply stated, the "Gray Old Lady" can not die quick enough!
-- NJCJR

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