Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blood on the Water I

I am sure there'll be more Blood on the Water posts to come. Sadly, unlike 2004 it is the "conservative" candidate who is a dead duck.

Senator John McCain is not competent to win a Presidential election.

Ed Morrissey thinks this is about "Barack Hussein Obama". It isn't. It's about saying anything negative and critical, "disparaging", about "honorable Americans" named Obama and Clinton.

Yes, Cunningham called Sen. Obama by his full name three times. He also called him "Barack Obama" a fourth time, when he conjured up an angelic vision of "Barack Obama in the White House, Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House", and Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader". Ed Morrissey makes a distinction that Senator McCain does not. It's not just about a middle name. The whole critique is repudiated as "inappropriate".

I agree Cunningham laid it on with a trowel here, calling Obama a Chicago-style hack who will steal our money and get us all killed. That is, however, the basis of the post-World-War conservative movement: Liberalism is inherently corrupt, confiscatory and incapable of protecting the United States from its global enemies. And if you agree with that, but think name-calling is bad---"ism"s don't hold office, individuals do. "Fascism" and "Communism" never gave an order to anybody.

Anybody who does any surfing of the Right-Wing blogosphere knows that a lot of people backing McCain do it from "fear and dislike" of the alternatives, not because they rave about John McCain. In a time when "agenda" is a sinister term, John McCain is touted as the most "electable" barrier to the Democrat agenda, while apparently having sold America on the idea that he has no agenda of his own. I am a former Republican largely because too many within that party think simply opposing liberal Democrats is adequate, and preferrable to enacting a positive program of reform and renewal. McCain, today, did not even do that much, and promised to roll over again down the road. That approach is going to forfeit the "Anybody But A Socialist" faction as well as the conservatives.

Dole got less than 40 million votes in 1996. It may get that bad in 2008.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Terri Schiavo case is a good example of what is "tearing the country apart".
Here we see a strict, organized ideology, which holds to a universal truth, unalterable, holy, righteous, that demands total obedience in every situation. Schiavo could not be killed absent her directive. Period. Exclamation point!
And I do see, I really can, how people could feel that is not right, not correct, not holy, is arrogant, preachy, oppressive, mean, cruel, harsh, unfair, unAmerican and a sure loser. I can see that.
In practical terms, either the woman was killed or she wasn't. Either she died or she didn't. There wasn't a gray area between life and death, or reasonably, a shade in terms of precedent. We couldn't kill Schiavo and promise never to kill anybody in that situation ever again; or agree everybody could die in that situation except Terry Schiavo. It was definite and binding and determinative.
Nobody on our side of that issue will argue we were moderate, compromising, broad-minded. We wanted Terry Schiavo spared death by torture because it was right and necessary that always be the law.
What is tearing our country apart is the fiction that doing the direct opposite of our "ideology" is not an opposite, equally oppressive, equally immoderate, equally arrogant, equally strict ideology. What the opponents want to pretend is that striking us down every time is somehow "moderation".
If the Center-Right were truly moderate, broad-minded, avoiding the "evils" of knowing what to do all the time, they would always be a little bit unsure of whether the Religious Right wasn't onto something on any issue. Gay marriage--maybe. Abortion--maybe. No-fault divorce--maybe. If they didn't have their minds made up they'd argue each one separately. But they don't. They declare us wrong and dogmatic to boot.
The opposite of an ideology is not anarchy. The direct, constant opposite of an ideology is a contrary ideology.
I think involuntary euthanasia is wrong. That is a moral point of view. My morality guides my politics--I want involuntary euthanasia banned. Enough moral politics and I have an ideology--a philosophy of proper government.
If you want to challenge the moral basis of my ideology, and say abortion is fine and involuntary euthanasia is fine, that's part of our American freedom to have a different morality. But government policy cannot be unsettled. Either your opposite moral views are enacted or are mine. That fusion of policy issues with your morality means you have created a philosophy of how government out to be run--an ideology.
Only the Center-Right doesn't seem capable of admitting it. They're just being pragmatic instead of dogmatic. They're just leaving matters open. They're just restoring the American balance. They're avoiding the pitfalls of totalitarian government which flow from imagining you always know what is right.
Baloney. They're crusaders of a different faith.
"Get the morality out of politics" is putting a different morality into politics. And coupled to this inability to call that quacking bird a duck, is the strange notion that not only can you not enslave a free man, you can't engage him on a debate about right and wrong.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


In a chamber once known for cordiality if not outright gentility, McCain has battled his fellow senators for more than two decades in a fashion that has been forceful and sometimes personal. Now, with the conservative maverick on the brink of securing his party's presidential nomination, McCain's Republican colleagues are grappling with the idea of him at the top of their ticket.

"There would be a lot of people who would have to recalibrate their attitudes toward John," said Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), a supporter of Mitt Romney's who has clashed with McCain.

Many Senate Republicans, even those who have jousted with McCain in the past, say their reassessment is underway. Sensing the increasing likelihood that he will be the nominee, GOP senators who have publicly fought with him are emphasizing his war-hero background and playing down past confrontations.

"I forgive him for whatever disagreements he has had with me. We can disagree on things, but I have great admiration for him," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who has often argued with McCain over government spending.

As president, one of McCain's most critical relationships would be with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a necessary ally in the conflict with a Democratic-led Congress. But their relationship has been gravely tested... But McConnell said last week that he would have no trouble with McCain as the nominee or as president.

"We've had a great relationship since," McConnell said. "All of them [McCain's fights] have been respectable and entirely within the traditions of the Senate."

...Despite the senator's heresies on taxes, immigration and campaign finance, Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the Republican campaign committee, said McCain could appeal to independent voters.

"You'll have more Democrats running away from
Hillary Clinton than you'll have Republicans running away from our nominee," he said.

...After spending six weeks away from the Senate, he showed up for final negotiations on a fragile immigration bill, leading Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) to question where he had been. McCain responded by swearing at Cornyn loudly and repeatedly, according to witnesses.

Cornyn, who has not endorsed a presidential candidate, doesn't expect to befriend McCain anytime soon but said he will happily stump for him as the nominee.

"We've had our moments, but we've gotten over that and moved on down the road," Cornyn said. "You're talking about people who are professionals. You don't have to link arms and sing 'Kumbaya' to get things done."

I'm not about to give total trust to the Washington Post, even on direct quotes, but I don't hear of a flock of angry denials of misquotes here.

Such melting doesn't come from strength and confidence. It comes from desperation.

"You'll have more Democrats running away from Hillary Clinton than you'll have Republicans running away from our nominee," he said.

That's the Republican game plan? The other guys are more demoralized than we are?

There's a gangrene odor coming off the Grand Old Pachyderm. McCain will take well-deserved blame as the chief architect of the failure. But he's got willing accomplices who won't be remembered. You see some of them named here.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Grow Up. Vote For McCain.

Thought I'd pass that on. Zu Befehl!

If we don't elect McCain, Hillary and/or Obama will do irreversible damage to America, and the Democrats will win forever! And you conservatives will have to answer to posterity!

Heard that one lately?

Isn't that basically a center-right, Republican-partisan admission of failure? The GOP is incapable of changing minds. It can only hold fast against an irreversible tide of liberalism.

Why? How so?

The Big Tent of the Republican Party seems adamant there are no moral choices in politics, that we have to be pragmatic and practical. Raising taxes, for instance, is not the most popular choice, but it remains an option that must be considered--hence time limits on tax cuts. The notion that tax cuts are morally right, better than raising taxes, that the taxes come from people's money that is rightfully theirs, that taxes are a necessary wrong imposed on the public, is just a point of view that Republican policy makers are free to take or leave.

The problem there is that a moral code is not just a guide and a measure, but also a goal. The moral barrier to a life of theft not only puts our past behavior in perspective, and instructs our current choices, but it drives us to create a future where we earn honestly and are not reliant upon or tempted by theft. And when we abandon a moral code, and declare choices amoral, we not only "free" our present, but we unwrite our past and cast our future adrift.

If it is not morally right to keep taxes low, then it is not morally wrong to raise them. If we do not have to avoid future occasions of higher taxes, then we do not have to organize our budgets to do without that confiscated wealth. We will make pragmatic, practical solutions for our present prodigality. And that will mean chaos down the road.

And that's...OK. Not as if we had a moral crusade or something.