Republicans Archives

Obama Derangement Syndrome

Like the Bush strain before it, Obama Derangement Syndrome is an overly hysterical reaction to what are essentially policy differences.  The most recent episode of the podcast I contribute to, Shire Network News, dealt with this very real issue.  (And this is a right-leaning podcast; we do police our own.)  Talk of a possible military coup because of Obama’s policies is akin to suggesting that Bush would declare marshal law at the end of his term so he wouldn’t have to leave. 

As Col. Cucullu, the featured interviewee notes, during at least one time in our history we had a wholly unelected President — Gerald Ford — who first replaced Vice President Agnew, and then got a promotion when Nixon resigned.  We had this situation for a few years and yet no tires were burning in the streets.  This particular republic has proven to be extremely resilient in the face of strangeness like that

I’d like to point out another, more recent example; Oath Keepers.  Founded in March by a former Ron Paul staffer (which, in itself, throws a ‘paul’ over it), it is a group of "non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters who will fulfill the Oath we swore, with the support of like minded citizens who take an Oath to stand with us, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God. Our Oath is to the Constitution."  They have a list of 10 specific orders they say they will not obey.  (Compare this to the 7 promises that men of the Promise Keepers say they will keep.  Odd coincidence there.)

OK, fair enough, although if they swore an oath, and they apparently take it very seriously, why do you need an organization to promote that fact?  Following a quote from Gen. George Washington that starts, "The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves…", they say "Such a time is near at hand again."  Really?  Why didn’t this organization get started any earlier that March, 2009?  Did something happen then that caused these people to think that they would need to strive even harder to keep said oaths? 

A Presidential inauguration, perhaps, just 2 months earlier?  Coincidence?  I think not, especially given whom its founder supported in that election.  And this from a group calling itself "non-partisan".  Here’s an article in the group’s hometown newspaper, Las Vegas.  I’ll let you decide how "non-partisan" they are.

This is ODS in action.  At best, it’s inappropriate and nonproductive.  At worst, it’s wrong and counter-productive.  This is America, folks.  We can handle this.

What Will You Do For Me If I Vote For You?

Scott Ott, of ScrappleFace blog fame and occasional CNN guest, is running for Executive of Lehigh county in Pennsylvania.  Tuesday night, he went strolling around Allentown, looking to strike up conversations, maybe hand out a few campaign bookmarks; no real agenda in mind.

Turns out that when he enters a store and starts talking to the guys there, a chance to really discuss the issues crops up and he has what he called "an intensely practical, intelligent discussion about political ideology and freedom".  The conversation begins:

"What will you do for me if I vote for you?" the shop owner said. "Will you get me a grant for my store?"

I’m a bad politician.

I said (paraphrasing from memory), "The first thing I’ll do for you is put an end to the idea that public servants should hand out special favors to people who support them."

I told him that the next thing I could "do for him" was to abolish the idea that government is going to save you from your troubles, and to exchange that for the idea that you are responsible and free, and that no one cares more about your children, your business, your home and your neighborhood than you do. In addition, no one is better equipped to deal with the challenges of your neighborhood than you and your neighbors. But it won’t happen until you stop thinking that someone else is to blame, or that some outside agency is going to intervene to fix things.

He looked at me and said, "You’re a Republican."

I was delighted that he associates freedom and responsibility with my party.

His thoughts on that discussion, what the aims are (or should be) of the Republican party, and a sense of community that’s been lost elsewhere can be found here.

Voter’s Remorse

"Buyer’s remorse" is a phenomenon where, once a purchaser gets a product home and uses it, they decide it’s not living up to its potential, the advertising hype, or their expectations (realistic or otherwise).  According to Rasmussen, looks like America is getting a case of "Voter’s remorse".

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on six out of 10 key issues, including the top issue of the economy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% now trust the GOP more to handle economic issues, while 39% trust Democrats more.

This is the first time in over two years of polling that the GOP has held the advantage on this issue. The parties were close in May, with the Democrats holding a modest 44% to 43% edge. The latest survey was taken just after General Motors announced it was going into bankruptcy as part of a deal brokered by the Obama administration that gives the government majority ownership of the failing automaker.

Voters not affiliated with either party now trust the GOP more to handle economic issues by a two-to-one margin.

If voters didn’t realize that a President and a Congress in the hands of Democrats was going to be a big-spending perfect storm, they were just reading the advertising hype before casting their ballots.  Republicans certainly tarnished their "fiscal conservative" image in the last 8 years, no doubt about it.  But claims of "It would be worse with Democrats" is ringing true right on cue. 

And how about that "culture of corruption" that the Democratic party has tried hard to pin on Republicans?

Republicans also now hold a six-point lead on the issue of government ethics and corruption, the second most important issue to all voters and the top issue among unaffiliated voters. That shows a large shift from May, when Democrats held an 11-point lead on the issue.

There are others, and it’s worth reading.  Again I will say that most polls (or as fellow Stone Mark refers to them as, "cricket races") are simply a measure of emotion, and it’s also true in this case.  Polls that ask whether or not the economy is getting better measure what people think is happening.  What is really happening may be completely opposite to that. The general public, myself included, don’t know enough about economics to make the answer anything but a hunch.  But this poll is asking who people trust, which they, in fact, are experts on.  If the winds blow a different way tomorrow, these numbers could in fact change again.  However, the trend right now is that folks see where we’re heading, and they don’t like it.

Neither do the folks in Europe, where EU Parliamentary elections finished up recently.  This election, following the global financial crisis, shows which way the world leans when the find themselves in an economic pickle; to the Right.  The love affair with the Left and the Socialists has grown cold — more voter’s remorse — especially in France, which started a move to the Right with Sarkozy and continued with a crushing defeat for the Socialists, losing almost 20% of its French seats.  They may cheer Obama on the Left, but then they go home and vote Right when the chips are down.

Don’t Brand Them

Let them brand themselves.

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

No, no, no, no, no.  Let their actions speak for themselves, from purchasing interests in financial and auto companies, to ignoring bankruptcy law when dealing with those companies in order to pay off special interests, to spending billions (and taxing more) on universal health care, they can pretty much fill out the "Hello, my name is" badge themselves. 

I’m with Michael Steele on this.  All this will do is give the media and the Democrats a tool to hammer Republicans with.  "They’re comparing him to Hugo Chavez" or something like that.  While the truth is that they’re pulling us in that direction and not letting a crisis go to waste (as Mr. Emmanuel has declared), labeling them doesn’t change minds, or at least not for long.  Pointing out why their policies are flawed will.

The Accountability Factor

A growing list of "honest mistakes" by Democrats is leading this op-ed author to ask, "What does it take to disqualify Democrats from public service?"  If tax evasion, suborning forgery and using campaign funds for personal expenses ain’t enough, what is?  As commenter "socrates" writes:

Failure to pay $150K in taxes normally gets one in front of a Tax Court judge with the IRS burning your house down.

If you’re a Democrat it gets you a Cabinet position.

Both sides have corruption in their ranks, make no mistake about it.  But as I’ve said multiple times in the past, it’s not about corruption; it’s about accountability.  On the whole, Republicans tend to remove those involved with corruption, while Democrats, when they do anything, pass a motion and continue with the business of the day.  Read those links for a number of examples.

Nominating them for cabinet positions, right "socrates"?

Man is sinful; that’s just the way it is.  But if he’s not held accountable for his actions when he breaks the law, do we expect that we’ll have less law-breaking?

Bail? Fail.

Thanks to Senate Republicans, the auto bailout didn’t happen.  For now.  The UAW, et. al. may just be biding their time until there are more Democrats in the Senate (i.e. January).  More analysis (and specific credit to Sen. Bob Corker) from Francis Cianfrocca at RedState.

Back to the Future

This was the title of a post on Redstate by Aaron Gardner, regarding where the Republican Party goes from here.  Gardner started, as his foundation of what the Republicans need to stand for, from the party platform of 1980, when Reagan was swept into the White House with 489 electoral votes.  He made some of his own modifications, but overall the (lengthy) statement stands as a good starting point.

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Election Post-Mortem

I was on the road again this week, so not much time for a post-election wrap-up from me.  But now that the dust has settled, let me knock out a few thoughts.

1.  Exit polls indicate that the number of self-described liberals in this country and the number of self-described conservatives hasn’t changed hardly at all since the last election, and conservatives hold a 12 percentage point lead (34 to 22).  This is still a center-right country.  Obama would do well to remember that.

2.  You win with your base, and McCain took too long to pick it up.  Now, I know that others (our own contributor, Jim, being one) have said that the base took too long to converge around the candidate, but I have to respectfully disagree; I think that’s entirely backwards.  Conservatives in the Republican party have always looked at McCain with a cocked eye, and they — or, to be honestly inclusive, we — had a tough time with many of his positions.  Our minds weren’t going to be changed overnight because he won the nomination.  That’s not principled.

Conversely, McCain did, in fact, make moves to the right that eventually won over the base, but I don’t think he did it quickly enough.  However, if you win with (or lose without) your base, what about the highly-touted independents that were supposed to make McCain so popular?  The answer is…

3.  …they largely split between the two candidates, which throws out all the conventional wisdom on how to win elections.  It’s been all about the "bell curve", that huge group of voters in the center; neither Left or Right.  In a race between a center-Right candidate and a hard-Left one, the conventional wisdom was that the more centrist candidate would pull in the middle in droves.  That didn’t happen.  Karl Rove, love ‘im or hate ‘im, was right, as Dan McLaughlin noted on Redstate:

Karl Rove’s theory – one he perhaps never explicitly articulated, but which was evident in the approach to multiple elections, votes in Congress, and even international coalitions run by his boss, George W. Bush – was, essentially, that you win with your base. You start with the base, you expand it as much as possible by increasing turnout, and then you work outward until you get past 50% – but you don’t compromise more than necessary to get to that goal.

Standing in opposition to the Rove theory was what one might call the Beltway Pundit theory, since that’s who were the chief proponents of the theory. The Beltway Pundit theory was, in essence, that America has a great untapped middle, a center that resists ideology and partisanship and would respond to a candidate who could present himself as having a base in the middle of the electorate.

Tonight, we had a classic test of those theories. Barack Obama is nothing if not the pure incarnation on the left of the Rovian theory. He ran in the Democratic primaries as the candidate of the ‘Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.’ His record was pure left-wing all the way. He seems to have brought out a large number of new base voters, in particular African-Americans responding to his racial appeals and voting straight-ticket D. As I’ll discuss in a subsequent post, the process of getting to 50.1% for a figure of the left is more complex and involves more concerted efforts at concealment and dissimulation, but the basic elements of the Rovian strategy are all there.

John McCain, by contrast, was the Platonic ideal Beltway Pundit-style candidate, and his defeat by Obama ensures that his like will not win a national nomination any time soon, in either party. McCain spent many years establishing himself as a pragmatic moderate, dissenting ad nauseum and without a consistent unifying principle from GOP orthodoxy; McCain had veered to the center simply whenever he felt that the Republican position was too far. McCain held enough positions that were in synch with the conservative base to make him minimally acceptable, but nobody ever regarded him as a candidate to excite the conservative base.

Yes, this is essentially a restatement of point 2, but where as #2 is looking from the Right, #3 is looking from the center. 

Also keep in mind that the center is where most undecided voters live, some of whom don’t decide who to vote for until they in the voting booth.  Reagan won by sticking to his conservative principles and Obama won on his liberal credentials (spreading the wealth around, socializing health care, anti-war).  It wasn’t the blowout it should have been, given the perfect storm of an unpopular President, and unpopular war and a tanking economy, but a win is a win.

UPDATE:  John Hawkins concurs:  Top 7 Reasons Why the GOP Can’t Build a Political Party Around Moderates.

4.  McCain was hoist on his own petard; McCain/Feingold.  On election night, you could almost hear, in the back of your head, a voice-over saying, "This election brought to you by…campaign finance reform."  Another element of the perfect storm for Obama was the fact that he reneged on his promise to stick to public financing and hugely outspent McCain (yet still only managed an average victory).  This unconstitutional (in my humble opinion) program restricts free political speech, arguably what the First Amendment is precisely about.  McCain/Feingold is dead, for all intents and purposes.  At least it’s now irrelevant. 


I still respect McCain as a politician and a bridge-builder, and I believe he would have made a far better President than the one we’re going to get.  But cheer up, Republicans.  At least Obama is going to pay for your gas and your mortgage.

Shire Network News #151: Vote McCain

Shire Network News #151 has been released. There is no feature interview this week.  Instead, 4 contributors, including me, make the case for John McCain.  Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

In what will be my final segment before the (official) Election Day here in the US (people have been voting early all over the country), I want give you reasons, not to vote against Barack Obama, but to vote for John McCain.  There’s more to voting than voting against someone.

If your idea of "spreading the wealth" is giving to charities where the administrative expenses are far, far less than those associated with government welfare, vote for John McCain.  Basically, who do you trust with your charitable dollars; the Salvation Army or Ted Stevens?

If you’re idea of fighting terrorism is engaging the enemy where he is rather than waiting for the enemy to show up in our airports with a boarding pass for Washington, DC, vote for John McCain. 

Heck, if you believe we are, in fact, in a war on terror, vote for John McCain.  If Obama doesn’t think Iraq is a front in that war, he has no clue what that war really is.  Might as well send in Sgt. Schultz to fight it.  ("I know nothing…nnnothing!")

If experience means anything to you, vote for John McCain.  If, by the word "experience" you mean registering Mickey Mouse to vote 72 times, then I gotta’ say; you keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.  (Apologies to Inigo Montoya.)

If you’re idea of a free press is one that is free to ask the perfectly reasonable but tough questions without getting their access curtailed, vote for John McCain.  I wonder if Obama would treat Iran (in his "no-pre-conditions" talks) the same as WFTV if Ahmadinejad asks something inconvenient.  (Probably not.)

If you want a President who’s wife has always been proud of her country, vote for John McCain.  Michelle Obama’s view of her country depends on her country’s view of her husband.  The First Lady is a de facto ambassador for our country; we need one with thicker skin.  (Oooh, did I mention "skin"?  That might be considered racist when referring to Mrs. Obama.  Maybe I should say we want a first lady with "a more durable epidermis". )

If you want a President who knows a functioning, stable, Middle East democracy when he sees it, and isn’t willing to give terrorists free reign in Israel, vote for John McCain.  Of course, if you think spokesmen for terrorist organizations like the PLO are suitable babysitters, you’ve probably already made up your mind who to vote for.

And, frankly, there’s not much I could say to sway Obama supporters that simply refuse to acknowledge his socialist bent, the failures in other countries of his proposed policies, or the vast number of folks with whom he, not just associated with, but participated with.  It’s not that they can’t see; they just won’t see.  But you who still has your mind open, listen. 

Now is not the time to slack off.  There is a candidate who wants to take our country in the right direction, and away from ideas that have proven themselves destructive to those who have followed the piper’s sweet song, only find out later that paying him costs far more than they ever thought.  That candidate is John McCain.  When you step into the voting booth, consider this.

This is the 2nd and final part of my analysis of an open letter from Anne Rice. Part 1 was posted yesterday.


Anne Rice spends most of her letter covering this issue, and she starts with an assertion that, to me, shows a lack of consideration of the history of the issue.

I want to add here that I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party.

Ms. Rice does touch on these historical issues lightly later on, and I’ll hit them more in-depth then, but even looking at how the abortion issue generally falls between the parties today, I don’t see this as making sense. What I hear from Democrats are things like John Kerry with this sentiment:

I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many. I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman’s choice. It’s between a woman, God and her doctor. That’s why I support that. I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade.

If one’s commitment to Christianity should be “absolute”, as Ms. Rice has said, there is a big problem with this statement, that is generally the line religious Democrats use when talking about abortion, and that is the canard about legislating one’s religious faith, or sometimes call ramming one’s religion down your throat. Civil rights are very much a moral issue, but does Sen. Kerry have the same problem with legislating that? No, he’s very willing to impose his view on KKK members, and rightly so. It’s right, it’s moral and it’s the law. Legislators all throughout our country’s history, and more so in our early history, based many of their decisions partly or mostly on their religious faith. This excuse is disingenuous.

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