An upstart political blog aspiring to keep alive the faint spirit of bipartisanship.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rush is Right

That's something I haven't said much in the last few years. I especially didn't say it right before the election when Rush told his audience he had a "gut feeling" that McCain would win.

In fact, Rush Limbaugh has never missed the mark so badly in his entire career than during this presidential campaign. He thought he could help Hillary overcome Obama's big lead and he was wrong. He thought that McCain was a new man after selecting Sarah Palin and he was wrong. He thought Republicans could make gains in the House and Senate and he was wrong. He thought attacking Obama's albeit questionable associations endlessly would be enough to stop his momentum and he was wrong.

However, to his credit, Rush seems to have learned. On today's show he admitted (largely free of sarcasm) that attacking President Obama personally "did not work and will not work" in the future."

I think that's smart. We can talk about Barack largely having the media on his side and that may be true. But it's not what makes Obama so Teflon. What does that is having the same qualities that aided Clinton and Reagan before him. Obama is a gifted communicator. He has an ability to speak before a crowd as if speaking directly to that person's heart. And whether you like the message or not, that ability overcomes a lot of other ugliness that could otherwise get in the way (i.e. Monica Lewinsky, Iran Contra, et al.)

Rush went on to say the Republicans best hope is to attack Obama's ideas.

Once again, he's right. We've yet to see those ideas in action so it's hard to fire a shot yet. But kudos to Rush for saying something I've been saying for a very long time. Now if only Sean Hannity could get past his boner for Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, perhaps we could actually talk about trade policy, defending our borders, government spending...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stay Away From My Radio and My Porn Too!

Recently a friend of mine linked to this blog as a "liberal" site. I got a kick out of that. From one point of view, I totally understand it as I've spent much of the past 4 years bashing Republicans. And I don't regret that at all. In fact, I think I've been vindicated.

However, rather than becoming liberal, I think my own politics are more of what I'd call "reasonable libertarian." In other words, I might not be ready to legalize heroin, but I do think we need to start pursuing policies that minimize the federal government's all-powerful reach over our lives where it has become destructive.

On that note, I got a kick out of this. During today's Sean Hannity radio show, a commercial ran where former Attorney General Edwin Meese promoted a free speech organization dedicated to fighting the "fairness doctrine" that would restrict political speech on radio.

I started laughing. I oppose the fairness doctrine very strongly. But ya know what? I also oppose similar efforts to restrict pornography. I happen to think it's all free speech and no business of the federal government's. Besides I've been known to collect a little of it myself! And guess what? It was former Attorney General Edwin Meese, of all people, who naturally led government efforts in the 1980s to restrict pornography!

Yet again, this type of hypocrisy drives me away from the Republican party. So to those on the left and those on the right, please just let me listen to Sean Hannity while I check out, ok???

Minority Leader Lundgren?

I was happy to hear the news that Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA) will challenge Minority Leader Boehner for that position in the new Congress next January. As candidates like Rep Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) kept bowing out, I found it impossible to believe that Boehner could continue his unchallenged leadership even in the wake of such big losses. I've been a fan of Lundren's over the years and his mentor, former Rep. Bob Dornan (R-CA), remains one of all-time political heroes.

The GOP needs new leadership and Lundgren appears to bring strong credentials conservative to the table. That said, he has been around Washington for a long time and perhaps is not the sort of "new blood" the Republicans seem to need. And then there's this video which shows Rep. Lundren being wined and dined on an all-expenses paid (by lobbyists) 4 day Hawaii vacation through a ridiculous loophole in lobbying reforms.

So, yet again, I really don't know what to think anymore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Future of Social Conservatism?

I made calls for the Huckabee campaign during the GOP primary season here in Florida, which is a good cross-section of the rest of the country in many ways.

Multiple people I spoke with seemed offended by way he tends to mesh his faith and his politics. Two people even told me they could not ever support someone “who thinks that God wants him to be the president.”

For me, these reactions were unfair. How can one possibly separate the values that form their faith entirely from the values that form their politics? It can't be done. Also, if someone were to run for president, wouldn’t it be a thing to pray on first and hope to find God’s guidance?

But I couldn’t get through to them. And I doubt even Huckabee himself could. And I've come to think there are tens of millions of voters (or more) who probably feel the same.

Following the Obama landslide win for president, the experience leads me to think that running on evangelical social conservatism (and I do include Catholicism in here when it places a litmus test of social issues like abortion, ESCR, and gay rights) will not help Republicans win national elections in the future. In fact, it will likely hurt. I think this component of the party can and should remain vibrant, but ideally it will largely be regionally and its effects felt more within particular state campaigns.

Look at California. Proposition 8 did pass and it did so with the help of many black voters. But it also seemingly had ZERO affect on helping Republican social conservatives on the ticket from McCain on down.

So I'm starting to think that now is the time to showcase the GOP’s libertarian streak more than ever, even if that does mean sacrificing the fight for some social causes. Think about the good this could do on economic issues, free enterprise, lowering taxes and spending, protecting gun rights, fighting crime, etc.

And success in these areas may in turn will breed possibilities for social gains in the future.

I’m personally a born again Christian who doesn’t say these things lightly. But I also never particularly liked spitting into the wind. In the 21st century, perception is reality. While not completely embracing the good in that, I also don’t think we can afford to just ignore it. Otherwise, Republicans better get used to “permanent minority” status as they’re conceding 150 electoral votes before elections even start.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Non-Vote

Due to the sudden passing of a close family friend, I was unable to cast a vote in the presidential election. I guess that's only fitting as it ended up serving as my long promised "none of the above" choice after all.

But I made the right prediction.

And, given the choice, I think America made the right call too.