Archive for April, 2007

Rosier Days Ahead

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Apparently The View has axed Rosie O’Donnell. Oh what will the cable news networks have to talk about without her?

Mike Gravel

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

I’m watching the MSNBC Democratic debate, and I have to say that Mike Gravel is… unique. I can’t say I agree with his politics, but his upfrontness and his ability to speak his mind and not play the partisan game of pretending to like your fellow partisans is pretty impressive. I won’t vote for the guy, but I do tend to respect political mavericks, and Mike Gravel is certainly that.

UPDATE: Matt Stoller, writing at the liberal blog MyDD, is impressed with Gravel. I have to say that Mike Gravel certainly made the most of his appearance, and, if he can get his message out, might be able to mount a stronger campaign than most expect. But that wouldn’t take much, given that he’s currently a notch or two below Dennis Kucinich.

My Ideal Candidate

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Glen Deans points out the SelectSmart presidential selector. I took the survey, and here are my results:

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
2. Kent McManigal (65%)
3. Newt Gingrich (65%)
4. Chuck Hagel (64%)
5. John McCain (62%)
6. Ron Paul (61%)
7. Fred Thompson (59%)
8. Duncan Hunter (58%)
9. Mitt Romney (58%)
10. Tom Tancredo (58%)
11. Sam Brownback (57%)
12. Rudolph Giuliani (51%)
13. Jim Gilmore (40%)
14. Mike Huckabee (39%)
15. Bill Richardson (35%)
16. Dennis Kucinich (34%)
17. Al Gore (33%)
18. Tommy Thompson (33%)
19. Hillary Clinton (33%)
20. Joseph Biden (33%)
21. Christopher Dodd (31%)
22. Barack Obama (31%)
23. Wesley Clark (30%)
24. John Edwards (23%)
25. Elaine Brown (10%)
26. Mike Gravel (9%)

As with Glen, Chuck Hagel came in suspiciously high in my survey as well. Not sure why that is, since I would have a very difficult time voting for him.

Conservatism Defined by JNB

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Two weeks ago Glen Dean defined conservatism, and then asked numerous other bloggers to do the same. I was one of the bloggers he asked, so I will do my best to explain what conservatism means to me.

First of all, I believe in a small, limited government. This is the core of conservatism in my opinion. I am not anti-government. I recognize the need for a government. Unfortunately, our current government has become far too big; it meddles in areas it has no constitutional right to. In my view, the federal government should only do the tasks outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Once we start ignoring the Constitution, we essentially descend into anarchy. This, I would argue, is happening now.

I believe that capitalism is the most moral and just economic system. I recognize that it is not perfect, but it is as close as any human system is likely come. Capitalism, for example, makes it possible for a person to become wealthy serving your fellow man. Other systems, such as socialism, rely on government force to achieve their ends. Capitalism leaves individuals to their own devices. It encourages competition and helps ensure that the best and brightest are rewarded, and has helped the U.S. become the most wealthy nation in human history. Problems with education, the environment, and healthcare (and numerous other problems) could be addressed far more effectively by allowing more capitalism and free market forces to do their work, and less government intervention.

In this regard, some might call me a Constitutional libertarian. I am not what some would call a purist conservative. I do not an immigration restrictionist; I think that immigration is generally good for the economy, and thus favor increasing current levels (although I do recognize the need for greater immigration security and favor increased border patrols as well as an orderly guest worker program). Studies by restrictionist groups usually cite the strain immigration places on the welfare state as reasons to oppose immigration, but these studies always fail to get at the real problem – the welfare state itself. Most objections to immigration can be traced directly to socialism. Curtail socialism and most problems with immigration evaporate.

I am also generally not a social conservative. When it comes to abortion I am pro-life, but beyond that I think social conservatives error in their desire to limit individual liberty. The mythical “homosexual agenda” is little more than an opportunity for demagoguery among politicians. I am sympathetic to social conservatives in many ways however; I think that stronger families are good and traditional ideals concerning morality and faith are positives for society. I just feel that imposing them at the barrel of a gun defeats their purposes. In short, social conservatism is a very valuable personal philosophy for living one’s own life (and one which I try to live my life based upon), but it is not a good governing philosophy.

So far I may sound libertarian, but on foreign policy I tend to side more with the neoconservatives (although not completely; I am not lusting for war with Iran, for example). I believe that radical Islam poses a very real and serious threat and needs to be confronted. I understand the value of multilateralism and think that we should work with as many allies as possible, but don’t think they should hold veto power over our interests (although, a minor criticism is that I think more could have been done in the past few years to convince other nations to join us). For this reason, I favor a strong military as it is one of the legitimate roles of the federal government.

Ultimately, conservatism for me is all about the role of government. A small federal government that provides for the basic security of its citizens while allowing matters that can be resolved by the free market to be resolved in such a manner is a government that I could respect.

Elsewhere, A.C. , Clark Stooksbury, and Mark Rose offer their definitions

Gun Control Support Unchanged

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Gallup Guru reports:

Two new polls conducted since the Virginia Tech shooting deaths report measures of Americans’ attitudes towards gun control. There is little evidence in either of a surge in support for gun control in the aftermath of the tragedy.

A Stunning Success and a Dismal Failure

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I’m a little late, but I’d like to point to a great article on the late Boris Yeltsin. Money quote:

Perhaps, as Yeltsin challenged in the final installment of his memoirs, no one else could have run what he called the “presidential marathon” better than he did, given the hand he was dealt. LIke Grant, he will be seen as a larger-than-life figure who turned out to be a so-so president. And if Russia in the next decade becomes a more prosperous and secure place, then many may be prepared to forgive his later mistakes in light of his earlier triumphs. But like his friend Bill Clinton (Yeltsin also faced impeachment in his second term of office), Yeltsin will forever be defined by his contradictory images. And as Clinton said at Richard Nixon’s funeral, so also is it appropriate for Boris Yeltsin — that the man be judged in light of his entire record of both achievements and failings — and that, no matter the mistakes he made, the things he got right be credited to him.

Volunteers for President

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

You might be hearing a lot of “Rocky Top” next year:

The men in question, you might have guessed, are Fred Thompson and Al Gore, both Tennesseans whose political histories are intertwined. It was Gore’s elevation to the vice-presidency that opened up the Senate seat that Thompson claimed in 1994. And it was Thompson who later led the (largely futile) investigation of Clintonian campaign-fund-raising misdeeds, in which Gore, with his cash-trawling trip to a Buddhist temple, had an infamous part. Now, after restorative stints in private life—Thompson focusing on his work as a screen actor and Gore on his as a global-warming Jeremiah—both are hovering in the wings, being begged by advisers and acolytes to take center stage again.

Will they? Thompson, I think so. Gore, I’m not so sure. But Gore definitely wants it.

Where’s the Outrage from Moderate Muslims?

Friday, April 20th, 2007

We hear that question bandied about frequently, often unfairly. Well, here it is. Unfortunately, this seems to be getting ignored by both the liberal and conservative media.

Booze Goes Away if it’s Illegal!

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I gots to agree with George Will on this one:

McCardell thinks that, on campuses, a drinking age of 21 infantilizes students, encouraging immature behavior with alcohol and disrespect for law generally. Furthermore, an “enforcement only” policy makes school administrations adversaries of students and interferes with their attempts to acquaint students with pertinent information, such as the neurological effects of alcohol on young brains. He notes that 18-year-olds have a right to marry, adopt children, serve as legal guardians for minors, purchase firearms from authorized dealers, and are trusted with the vote and military responsibilities. So, he says, it is not unreasonable to think that they can, with proper preparation, be trusted to drink.

I wasn’t aware that it was Reagan who pressured the states into raising the drinking age by withholding highway funds if they didn’t do so. Seems that would fly in the face of the idea of states’ rights. But who cares about that anymore?

On Civil Unions and Gay Cooties

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Fox News is reporting:

Gov. John Lynch told The Associated Press on Thursday he will sign legislation establishing civil unions in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire thus will become the fourth state to adopt civil unions and the first to do so without first having a court fight over denying gays the right to marry.

“I believe it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination,” Lynch said in an interview.

New Hampshire now joins Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut as states that allow at least some form of legal recognition of homosexual unions.

Call me a RINO, but I see nothing wrong with this. I’ve heard all the arguments against gay marriage and/or civil unions, and they’re all weak. Most of them seem to be based on an irrational fear of gay cooties (wish I could take credit for coining the term, but it comes from SayUnce). I fail to see how such laws will destroy marriage, harm children, or bring about the fall of Western Civilization. It seems to me that most people opposed are just letting their own predjudices and insecurities cloud their judgment. People should have the right to do what they want so long as they harm no one else, as John Stuart Mill said.

Anyone who wants to convince me of the error of my ways is welcome to make use of the comments.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.