Friday, June 29, 2007

So Where's the Outrage?

Lugar and Voinovich want to take a knee to Al Qaeda. They want what Murtha wants, for the same reason that Murtha wants it. They're against our side. They're stumping for defeat.

Where's the outrage?

Republicans had no problem nailing traitors to the wall when they came with a (D). Now what?

I'm an independent now because I saw this coming some weeks back. The Party of Lincoln can't stand for anything. You can't be for victory and sustain defeatists. And until the Republicans purge the party of such scum, I won't stain myself with that (R).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fooey!

Center for American Progress says talk radio is conservative by squashing local, independent radio.

FOOEY!

Check Appendix C. KFI-AM Los Angeles is rated as having 13 hours of "conservative" talk a day, and ZERO "progressive" talk.

Ha!

Bill Handel has the #1 rated show in the morning drive in Los Angeles, he has 1 hour more than Rush Limbaugh, and he rants daily against Iraq, stem cell limitations, the Department of Justice, the entire Republican Party, and the Christian Right. "Zero"??

If they ignore the #1 guy in the #2 market, what else got swept under the rug?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Anniversary Retrospective

"Blogging From the Moon" as I once said, I don't much notice the passage of the seasons.

I actually did post on the Third Anniversary of Tan Horizons, May 14th 2007, without realizing it was the Third Anniversary.

Full of lukewarm coffee, I'm reading through my entries over the last three years. Fairly entertaining. I'm struck by how rarely I hit my stride these past years since working the graveyard shift. The fact that I don't have home internet this year is another millstone.

To help celebrate I'm going to throw out an old chestnut from the draft pile. I started writing this almost two years ago, December 5 2005. I never got around to coherently completing it. It's called Lock Up The War Room.
The clearest legacy of the Clinton Presidency is the War Room, a
General-Staff approach to electioneering. Just as the Prussians revolutionized
warfare with kriegspiel, continual exercises and experimental
models of transport, supply and tactics leading to the development of a
coherent, comprehensive war plan, so the War Room ran continual focus group
tests, surveys and polls, and regular press releases for disparaging the
opposition and floating policy trial balloons, for the control of Image and
creation of a successfully popular Message.

The development of satellite cable, national talk radio, and the Internet
made a conscious approach to the totality of campaigning necessary. The War Room
approach benefits candidates by offering maximum exploitation of the running
political commentary of the 21st century.

The pace and product of the War Room also fulfills the business needs and
professional focus of the 21st century media. As a perpetual broadcaster of
news, the media enjoys the fresh material for discussion the War Room provides.

The focus of the material also perfectly suits the media. Ideally, the
Washington press corps can intelligently cover every federal responsibility;
practically, they are not competent to understand most policy debates, let alone
explain them. The War Room's reduction of every policy to a poll result permits
the media to cover war, civil engineering, Social Security, industrial
emissions, or appropriations limits in the same way: in terms of public opinion,
institutional activity, or shifts in the social hierarchy of power-- areas where
the Washington press corps presumes expertise. The failure of the New Orleans
levees is an example; the reports of the engineers as to why the levees
collapsed is not given the attention paid to Congressional hearings, personnel
shifts in federal agencies, and poll results as to whether federal or local
leaders are more trusted.

Note the ease with which political analysts move from War Room to media
punditry. Dick Morris is performing the same role for his syndicate, as he did
for the President. The product his ruminations as columnist is identical to his
advice as counselor.

The Clintonian War Room seemed so successful that it was retained beyond
the 1992 election, as a tool for enacting the incoming President's legislative
agenda. In this role, despite partisan monopoly on the institutions of federal
government, the War Room failed miserably. It did continue to help the President
maintain high approval ratings. President Clinton preferred such high ratings to
enactment of an ideological platform, and the War Room retained its prominence.
Increasingly, it determined not only how and when to propose policy, but
increasingly, which policy to propose.

The War Room--so well adapted to modern media, and linked to a two-term
Presidency, has been retained by the GOP in its hour of power. Thus it is no
accident that the GOP, which shares the popular mandate and institutional
control that President Clinton enjoyed in 1993, fails to translate these
strengths into a successful legislative agenda. They have adopted a strategic
tool that is almost completely unsuitable for that purpose.

The War Room fails to advance legislation because it fails to appreciate
the personal qualities of salesmanship, intuitive empathy, and leadership. The
War Room's chief myth is that superior organization is to compensate for a lack
of such qualities or to minimize their impact on public opinion. It tends
towards reaction rather than direction of public opinion.

Salesmanship is the art of promoting an emotional connection between the
customer and the promoter, so that a business commitment is forged. Successful
business cringes from the old “it sells itself” approach. Ignoring emotional
appeal, and relying on the customer to perform intellectual analysis of the
values of the product compared to its cost, loses customers who could have been
persuaded into a sale.

No person ignorant of the basic need for emotional appeal is going to get
anywhere close to a War Room. Yet, we see candidates urged to “conserve
resources” and avoid “wasting money” on audiences that the experts judge to be
lost causes. Any California Republican can see the lean harvest reaped by such
an approach.

Another attribute undervalued by the War Room is intuitive empathy. Lord
Salisbury, the British Prime Minister, once marveled at Queen Victoria’s
“extraordinary” ability to know what her subjects expected of her
governments—which he found remarkable, as she had no practical experience of her
subjects to guide her. No human being can possess perfect empathy, but it’s
significant how deeply it’s appreciated and prized. In all fields of human
endeavor—from politics, romance, scholarship, sports coaching—nothing strikes so
deep an emotional chord as the unsolicited, sincere affirmation of our inner
values by someone else.

The problem is maintaining that sincerity while trying to regulate and
systematically generate that spark of empathy on a broad level, on an consistent
basis. It’s nearly impossible, and is the reason people want legal protection
against telemarketers calling them at all.

Am I arguing in circles? Politicians must bond emotionally with voters but
not strive to do so? Am I demanding the impossible?

No.

The bubble of 21st century celebrity hype must be exploded, and politics
needs to regain the distinction between being liked, and being respected. It
must remember that Americans place different demands on Larry King and on the
Senators he interviews. It must recall the value of leadership.

Margaret Thatcher defined leadership as the “absence of consensus”. This is
often misunderstood as arbitrary, unilateral reasoning. Margaret Thatcher knew
better. Leadership is not about reserving all debate or effort into one central
authority figure; leadership reserves the power to decide.

The American republic was set up to give the nation indirect control of
decisions. The voters have always understood that they will not directly control
the great issues of their lives. We have developed a method by which they can be
resolved peaceably through proxies. In return for


And there it rested. I see I also saved a couple of links for use in the final essay. One's to a Dick Armey op-ed calling for the sort of leadership I still long for. The other is to a Washington Post piece by Jonathan Rauch that I found horribly despicable at the time; it called for Bush to bail on Iraq in 2005 to avoid a midterm defeat, based on poll numbers.

We all know which way my former party has decided to jump. It's still falling.

We're starting to hear that the war in Iraq is "politically unsustainable". I hear that as if a heat wave is coming through: nothing you can do about it but hunker down. There's very little salesmanship left in U.S. politics; we're each left to rationalize our own reasons for nervous twitches towards one party line or the other.

I'd feel much, much better about the 2008 race if somebody were even talking about working towards building a bridge between the Presidential and Congressional races. That isn't on the table, for some reason. As I blogged before the 2006 election, Republicans will talk about anything but the use of power, if they win.

The final, inalienable freedom: the freedom to fail. We're building a heathen culture around that one. I'm reminded of the guy who sued the transit authority for being electrocuted while urinating on the tracks. Nobody could tell him anything, and everybody else is responsible for the consequences.

However, a positive note, as I blogged before: all political issues are people problems. Get different people, solve the problem.

Happy Third. Excelsior!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's Amnesty, Governor

Gov. Janet Neapolitano of Arizona, in the Washington Post:


No one favors illegal immigration.

Well, there's plenty who want an open border without regard to immigration law, and there's people who want immigration law to give everybody a green light, so I'm not sure that's true.

For 20 years our country has done basically nothing to enforce the 1986
legislation against either the employers who hired illegal immigrants or those
who crossed our borders illegally to work for them. Accordingly, our current
system is, effectively, silent amnesty.

Up until a few years ago our government was running sweeps of urban employers to halt illegal immigration. There's been a surge this century in illegal immigration, in part because the Bush Administration refuses to do what works, and in part because the government of Mexico is wholeheartedly supportive of the idea. So again, I don't think that's true.

We haven't caught the arsonists who torch the hills of Southern California each summer for the past few years; that failure doesn't amount to "silent amnesty".
· A man in the United States illegally was pulled over in Phoenix and charged
with driving under the influence. Immigration officers arrested him, his wife
and their 19-year-old son, who were also here illegally. An aunt says that their
12-year-old daughter -- who is an American citizen -- cries every day for the
family members who had to leave her behind. This is a fair immigration system?

Yes. Immigration policy doesn't resolve custody. They are free to bring their daughter back home with them.
The Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency has sent several top-ranking
students from Arizona State University to a camp in Eloy, Ariz., to await
deportation to countries they have never lived in. The students have earned top
marks, have never been in serious legal trouble and by all measures are primed
to become productive members of our economy. This is a wise immigration policy?

No. They should have been deported long before they started consuming state educational resources.
A team from an Arizona high school that has a high percentage of immigrant
students went to Upstate New York in 2002 to compete in a science fair. After
winning the top prize, the students crossed into Canada to see Niagara Falls --
and were stopped at the border when they tried to return. After nine hours of
interrogation they were allowed back into the United States, but a years-long
legal battle ensued over whether they should be deported. We spent precious law
enforcement resources on these high school students rather than on combating
putative terrorist threats or, indeed, on infectious tuberculosis carriers. This
is good homeland security?

Excellent, if they're questioning everybody as they should be doing, even high school students. Aren't the custodial adults responsible for abiding by all federal and state laws on their field trips? They did understand they were leaving the United States, did they not?

Don't label me soft on illegal immigration.

Why not? You seem willing to grant exceptions to immigration law at every turn.
It is fundamentally unfair and unrealistic to suggest that our system remain as
it is and ignore the 12 million who ran the gantlet at the border and managed to
find work in our country. It is not "amnesty" to require these individuals to
earn the privilege of citizenship, as have the millions of immigrants who came
before them.

I accuse her of being buttery-soft on illegal immigration because once they "run the gauntlet" and land in America, she wants them left alone. Congress can "require" they pursue citizenship, but as she's well aware, million of "immigrants" want nothing to do with Los Estados Unidos except to earn its dollars, and the whole point of "comprehensive reform" is to rewrite the laws to ignore those 12 millions.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Aloha

My new voter registration card came in the mail today. Party registration: REP.

I'm going to have to correct that. IND. I thought I'd already fixed it.

There's millions of words I could write as to Why, but brevity is the soul of wit: Duty. The usual modern American politician professes none.

Oh please, as if that's new. Well it is, fairly new. New as the War Room and the ticker-tape polling. The idea that you'd spend half-a-billion dollars to get elected, and then, having won a majority and a supermajority and darn near omnipresence, balk because weekly polls don't show the American public as a whole demands you do it the way you promised. Move the rocks out of the road and they'll roll. Somebody else, some national entity other than the Republican Party, must do the heavy lifting.

Fine. I'll go join that outfit, that ragtag bunch of misfits on a mission, where-ever they are, and wear their label. Conservative will do for a start.

Go check out hughhewitt.com or captainsquartersblog.com or powerlineblog.com or anywhere else the center-right hangs out. Soak up the zeigeist in the comments pages. It's almost entirely negative, cynical, hypocritical. I've lost the sense that Republicans, as a whole, are even trying to do their best for their country. The best is the enemy of the good. Better the lesser evil. The lesser evil is still evil, and good enough isn't.

And that's just the voters. The politicians are something else. Because they don't care. Because they don't have to. They are the Party. I had the delusion that it was about Me, and hundreds of millions of voters like me. I was sure wrong about that! It's about the careerists. We couldn't do anything (were we going to do anything--which we're not) without the sacrificial lambs who hold office. It's lucky for us we can even find the thousand guys willing to bear the burden of federal office.

I see plenty of others fed up too. For them it's Amnesty III. For me the camel's straw is the war. The conditional committment to the war. That, in and of itself, whether or not we keep fighting, is foully disloyal. It's slam-dunk unpatriotic to say, Keep fighting and I'll get back to you whether I'll let you win. And if it were anybody but Traitor (R), they'd be denounced for the defeatist swine they are. But Traitor (R) is our joe, and inviolate. That's sacred. Loyalty to the troops and our allies, and our honor, is optional: we may, or may not, sit in that section of the stands within the Big Tent.

The Big Tent is too crowded and smells like elephant dung. I prefer the fresher air outside.

Brevity. I will spurn Reagan's 11th Commandment, to do full honor to the Ten. As a man. As an American. Not a sheeple.

And if anybody knows some guys eager to actually solve runaway judges and a shrunken military and proliferation and the housing bubble and fuel inflation and terrorism and taxation and earmarks and criminal speech and soft bigotry of low expectations and Aztlan and illiterate grads and traffic and organized sports-crime, and Senatorial privilege, Arab doubt, European certitude, popular socialism and everything else I thought I was confronting by voting Republican, there's a vote available.

It's my duty.