Fantasy World

One concern I heard expressed a few months ago was that Republicans had to be careful in talking about the bad economy and basing their election chances on it staying bad. I agree that a political party’s message cannot be entirely negative. If you want to hold office, you need to present a positive agenda.

The concern, though, appears to be unfounded for this year. In the short span before November 2nd, there is little hope that the economy is going to look much better. The policies that President Obama and the Democrat majority in Congress have put in place are doing exactly what they are designed to do—prolong the recession and stifle productivity. I don’t mean by that comment to insinuate that Obama wants things to stay bad; I just mean that his socialistic vision always leads to one destination—economic ruin.

I don’t expect things to get better under the current administration if the Congress doesn’t change hands. Some have speculated that Obama won’t mind a Republican-controlled Congress because it will give him somebody to blame. Well, he already has that technique down cold:

Some commentators—and not just those on the political Right—are predicting a doomsday for Democrats in the upcoming elections. They say the Democrat leadership will be stunned by the magnitude of the outcome and won’t be able to grasp why this has occurred.

Many politicians live in a fantasy world, it seems. The older I get, the more obvious that has become to me. I used to believe they knew what they were doing; now I know they’re just human beings, and the ones with massive egos have little connection to reality. Yet they continue to impose their “vision” on the rest of us.

American voters have only themselves to blame. They’re the ones who anointed these people and put them into office. They can reverse that mistake in 70 days. I just pray they will. I promise to do my part.

Variety

Let’s let the cartoons do the talking today—on a variety of issues. First, on the California judge’s amazing ability to see homosexual marriage as something enshrined in the Constitution:

While we’re on the subject, why stop there?

Then there are the continuing bailout policies of the Obama administration. Are we finally beginning to understand how this works?

Obama’s policies are actually endangering jobs. Sometimes, though, that’s progress:

Switching to foreign policy, it’s nice to know our president is on the right side of things:

We used to be engaged in a War on Terror. I’m not sure anymore what we’re engaged in. I can say without condition, however, that no one right after 9/11 ever said this:

Culture of Corruption Continues Unabated

I remember how Democrats used the corruption issue against Republicans in 2006, when they took back the Congress. There certainly was some corruption evident: Duke Cunningham of California is now in prison over financial irregularities; there were at least three sexual scandals as well. I oppose corruption no matter which party it hits.

At the same time, though, there was Democrat William Jefferson of Louisiana, who had $90,000 of FBI money in his office. He is also now in jail. I certainly don’t remember his case getting as much media coverage as the others.

One other difference: every time a Republican was caught in something, the party did not stand behind that person; that’s not always the case with Democrats.

Case in point: Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, who has now been accused of thirteen violations by the House Ethics Committee, which is composed of equal numbers from both parties. Rangel was chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws. All of his violations center around tax fraud. Will he be expelled from the Congress or merely slapped on the wrist? After all, we must recall the promise that Nancy Pelosi made when she became Speaker:

Is Rangel the exception or the rule?

In the past year and a half, we have seen the congressional leadership under Pelosi and Reid try a number of end runs around the rules as they shoved legislation down Americans’ throats. Is that ethical?

There was a certain political cartoon that came out prior to the 2008 elections that I think explains the situation better than most. I’ve used it a couple of times in these posts, but I think it’s time to resurrect it again:

This cartoon doesn’t exonerate Republicans who fail to hold to their standards, but it clearly shows what I believe to be the reality: the bar is much higher for Republicans than Democrats, thereby making it easier to see Republican failures. After all, it is the Republicans who claim to be standing for family values, etc. If they violate their public stance, the hypocrisy is stark.

Not so much for the party that promotes acceptance of abortion and same-sex marriage, and that accuses evangelical Christians of trying to force morality on the nation. For Democrats, the bar is pretty low to begin with–it’s not difficult to achieve the moral standards they set for themselves.

Charlie Rangel is the exception in the sense that he took his corruption farther than most, but the culture of corruption is alive and well among the entire leadership.

Lindsey Graham & the Liberal Ethos

The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted for the Elena Kagan nomination for the Supreme Court to go before the full Senate. Every Democrat on the committee voted in favor of her; every Republican—except one—voted against. That one was Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

I met Sen. Graham when he was still a congressman back in 2000. At the time, I was interviewing all the congressmen who had taken on the responsibility as House Managers to get the Senate to vote for the removal of President Clinton from office. The result of those interviews was my book Mission: Impeachable. Lindsey Graham was a House Manager.

We sat in his House office talking about the failed impeachment proceedings while I recorded his answers to my questions. I liked him very much. He was personable, with a good sense of humor. One of the chapters in my book was devoted to his involvement in the impeachment. Even at the time, though, some of the other Managers were not pleased with his actions as part of the team. He never seemed to have the same depth of commitment to the cause nor as strong a commitment to the rule of law.

Graham’s notoriety as a House Manager probably helped him win the Senate seat later. As a senator, he has been just as unpredictable as he was while serving as a Manager. He’s still folksy and likeable, but his views are not always in sync with the majority in the Republican party. Not too long ago, he declared that the Tea Party movement would soon fade away. Needless to say, that did not endear him to those who are seeking real change.

Now he has voted in favor of Kagan. This vote may lead to a primary challenge for him within the party when he is up for reelection in 2014. What was his rationale for the vote? He said, in effect, elections have consequences; since Obama won the presidency, he should get the nominees he wants.

I couldn’t disagree more. Senator Graham, your election should have consequences as well. People put you into office to counter the moves of a Democratic president who wants to foist another extremist upon the nation.

Republicans who just go along to get along will never make a dent in the dominant liberal/progressive agenda. They are in the establishment and are more concerned with being part of the liberal ethos that continues to rule within our government institutions and the culture of Washington politics. Sadly, Lindsey Graham appears to be one of those. It’s time for Republicans in South Carolina to hold him accountable and make sure they send someone to the Senate who will not kowtow to an agenda that is alien to our founding principles.

Words & False Perceptions

Historian Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent post in National Review where he questions the common perception that Republicans are the party of the rich while Democrats are for the “little people.” It’s a perception I’ve spoken against previously, but he makes the point so much better. I’ll let him make the case:

It’s surreal to see President Obama play the class-warfare card against the Republicans while on his way to vacation on the tony Maine coast, and even more interesting to note that now gone are the days when the media used to caricature Bush I (“Poppy”) for boating in the summer off the preppie-sounding Kennebunkport. The truth is that the real big money and the lifestyles that go with it are now firmly liberal Democratic.

If one were to ask for more evidence, he is ready to provide it—in abundance:

One can use an entire array of evidence — the preponderance of Wall Street money that went to Obama over McCain in 2008, the liberal voting patterns of the high-income blue-state congressional districts, the anecdotal evidence of a Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or George Soros, or the ease by which an eco-populist like Al Gore buys estates and creates corporations, or the rarified tastes of men of the people like John Edwards of two-nations fame, or John Kerry of multiple estate residences.

All of this makes Obama’s constant rhetoric against elitism seem more than a bit hollow. How can you speak out against yourself?

The more the polo-shirted Obama seems obsessed with golf, and the more he seems to prefer the landscape of the elite (who navigate the Ivy League, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Upper East Side, Cambridge, etc.), the more we wonder whom exactly he’s railing about. … In short, Obama had better get the populist photo-ops down a lot better, since his calls to soak the rich from the 18th hole or the coastal vacation home look increasingly ridiculous.

Progressives/liberals have been quite adept at using words to create perceptions. Class-language warfare has always been a staple, as has the use of the word “racist” to defuse any real discussion of issues. Has that last one worn out its welcome yet? One can hope. However, there’s always another word that can be inserted:

Isn’t it time to call them on their reprehensible rhetoric? Perceptions created by cultural/political foes are not reality.

What Real Hearings Would Be Like

I don’t watch Supreme Court confirmation hearings. I have much better things to do than see a preordained script followed. What’s taking place in the Kagan hearings right now is nothing but a show for the cameras. You won’t hear the nominee say anything of substance.

Then again, that’s really not necessary in her case. We may play a game about not knowing what she believes, but everyone really does know already. The key is for her not to tell.

The really sad part is that even if she were to tell all, she would still be confirmed. If she said the Constitution should be trampled and torn into shreds, she would be confirmed. It’s simply a matter of math—too many Democrats who will vote for her no matter what.

Hearings should get to the bottom of a nominee’s judicial philosophy. The nominee should be required to respond to specific questions about how he or she would determine constitutionality in various cases. Nominees should say why they agree or disagree with decisions the Court has made in the past. The funny thing is that Elena Kagan once wrote that those were what the hearings should be like. Apparently, she doesn’t agree with herself anymore.

There should be one overriding qualification: does the nominee believe that the Constitution, as originally understood, is the law of the land. If someone should argue that no one can know how it was originally understood, that’s an invalid argument. We have the Federalist Papers, we have the notes from the Constitutional Convention, and we have other commentaries from that period, particularly the one written by Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. Original intent is not a mystery.

Of course, we shouldn’t even be so concerned about who sits on the Supreme Court. If it were to stay within constitutional limitations, it wouldn’t be deciding the future of the country on a series of 5-4 votes anyway. Alexander Hamilton declared that the federal courts would be the weakest of the three branches. The ascendancy of the philosophy of the “living Constitution” changed that—and not for the better.

Federalism. Does anyone remember that? It’s when we have three co-equal and balancing branches of the government, each keeping a check on the others. It would be nice to get back to that basic understanding once again.

The Dance Begins

Today begins the next installment of the Great Supreme Court Dance as the Senate starts its hearings on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the highest court in the land. These confirmation hearings have developed their own rituals.

Here’s how the Dance will proceed:

  1. The nominee will state how honored she is to have been nominated.
  2. Democrats will praise her for her wonderful resume and her empathy for the downtrodden.
  3. Republicans will, to some extent, challenge her fitness for the bench.
  4. Democrats will accuse Republicans of an “ism” of some kind.
  5. Republicans will retreat from their best arguments against her qualifications so as not to be linked with whatever “ism” they are being accused of.
  6. The nominee will sail through the proceedings without having to say what she really believes about anything.
  7. The committee will forward her nomination to the full Senate with all Democrats voting for her and most, but not all, Republicans voting against her.
  8. The full Senate will confirm her for the Supreme Court with all Democrats voting to confirm and over half of the Republicans saying no [the rest will say that a president has a right to choose whomever he wants on the court].
  9. The country will be stuck with another radical who has no respect for the original intent of the Constitution.
  10. “Diversity” will have triumphed once more.

Given Kagan’s obvious dislike for the military, her support for vetoing a ban on partial-birth abortions, and her clone-like agreement with all things Obama, one would hope there will be some stout debate over her fitness. In no way does she fall into some imaginary moderate category.

Further, Kagan has no experience on a court. Republicans will have to pick through thousands of documents to find the key ones that illuminate her views. Considering how many documents they must peruse, it is obvious that this confirmation process is on an expedited track in hopes of not allowing time to examine them all.

Not all the Dance is choreographed ahead of time; there may be some surprises. While the probability of this proceeding as I’ve outlined above is somewhere in the range of 99%, there’s still that 1%. You never know for sure what can happen. So until this Dance plays out as I expect it will, I’m going to continue to write about her deficiencies and pray that a miracle of sorts will derail the additon of another radical to the court.