Republicans Archives

The following is a repost of a blog post I wrote over a year ago (August 23rd & 24th, 2007) during the presidential primary season.  It was in response to an open letter by the author Anne Rice on her personal web site.  Ms. Rice is the author of the Vampire Lestat series of books, but, after returning to the Catholic church in 1998, stopped that project. 

I’ve searched her web site for the letter in question and cannot find a page that has it archived, although many of her other writings, going back to 1996, are on there.  It was copied and posted on other forums, including here, so you can read along at home.  (Warning: This is a link to the right-wing Free Republic web site.  If you fear cooties emanating from there, turn back now.)

I think the issues covered in this endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party nominee are still relevant now, especially how it relates to Christians, how they can and should work through the political process, how Ms. Rice believes her choice of party advances that, and where I disagree with her. 

It was originally posted in 2 parts due to its length, and so it shall be this time. 

This is one of my longer posts, possibly the longest I’ve done on the blog. What happened was, I was reading an open letter from a Christian planning on voting a particular way, and as I read further and further into it, one objection after another kept coming to my mind, and one problem after another regarding the writer’s reasons kept getting in the way. Finally, I realized I’d have to just set aside some of my typical day-to-day blogging of the link-and-quick-comment type, and go in-depth into the problems I see with the author, and Christians in general, who vote Democratic for specifically Christian reasons, and especially regarding the social issues brought up in the letter. Pull up a cup of coffee and sit back.

Anne Rice is a Catholic author. I’ll admit to not being too well-read, but as a Protestant my knowledge of Catholic authors is even more limited. Therefore, I’m not sure how much Ms. Rice’s views are mainstream Catholic, although whether or not they are really isn’t the crux of this post. I do want to discuss the views she espouses, and espouses quite well as an author. That she is a Catholic and I am a Protestant has really no bearing on my criticism of her recent public letter dated August 10. I know Protestants who would agree with her on these issues, so this is not a denominational thing. She professes Christianity, as do I, and we have very similar goals, as far as I can tell, on the topics she discusses, and yet we’re voting differently. Ms. Rice wrote a lengthy letter to her readers on her main web site (no permalink so don’t know how long it’ll stay on the front page) about why she is endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. The reasons she lists for that endorsement, to me, run completely counter to her list of important issues and goals. If she is truly concerned about those goals, I don’t follow her endorsement, nor the endorsement of other of my friends and acquaintances of any Democrat in the current group. I want to address the inconsistencies I see in this post.

Ms. Rice starts out with her Christian and Catholic creds, which I respect and am willing to accept. She talks about how, while the separation of church and state is a good idea, the voter does not have that prohibition, and in fact must consider their vote based on their religion.

Conscience requires the Christian to vote as a Christian. Commitment to Christ is by its very nature absolute.

I agree wholeheartedly. But, she also correctly notes, we have only 2 political parties in this country. (She believes, as do I, that a vote for neither Democrat or Republican, whether it’s a non-vote or a vote for a 3rd party, is essentially a vote for one of the two major ones, no matter how you slice it.) In short:

To summarize, I believe in voting, I believe in voting for one of the two major parties, and I believe my vote must reflect my Christian beliefs.

Bearing all this in mind, I want to say quietly that as of this date, I am a Democrat, and that I support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

And that last clause is where the disagreement begins.

Charitable Giving

The first paragraph of explanation deals with giving.

Though I deeply respect those who disagree with me, I believe, for a variety of reasons, that the Democratic Party best reflects the values I hold based on the Gospels. Those values are most intensely expressed for me in the Gospel of Matthew, but they are expressed in all the gospels. Those values involve feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and above all, loving ones neighbors and loving ones enemies. A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I feel that this is enough.

First of all, neither the religious right nor the religious left have a lock on charitable giving. At the same time, as was noted on this post regarding a study by Arthur Brooks, conservatives outgive liberals by quite a significant amount. How does this relate to how the political parties differ in their view of the government’s role in this? Ms. Rice, I believe, falls into a trap by simplistically equating the advocacy of government charity with Jesus’ admonition to the individual to be charitable. Democrats say the government should give more, so by her reckoning thy are more in line with her Christian view. However, it has always made me wonder how when Jesus tells me, personally, to be charitable, that somehow this means that I should also use the government to force my neighbor, under penalty of jail, to be “charitable”. I put “charitable” in quotes because when there’s force involved, there’s no real act of charity. How Democrat Christians get from point A to point Z on this boggles my mind. Another statistic from Brooks’ study brings this point home; People who believe the government does not have a basic responsibility to take care of the people who can’t take care of themselves are 27 percent more likely to give to charity.

On top of this, the bureaucratic inefficiency filter that we’re all forced to funnel our “charitable” taxes through siphons money away from the needy, as does the massive fraud that goes on in a big government program that has little accountability.

Conservatives believe that forcibly taking money isn’t charity, and that it is not government’s role to rob from Peter to pay Paul, and that the way the government handles this creates dependency and causes further problems, like giving fathers a disincentive to stick around. Because of this, conservatives give more of their own money to local charities where the administrative costs are much lower. The Republican party, the current home of most conservative political ideas in this country, purports to support these goals, and while they don’t always follow those principles, they have done better at this than Democrats. An expanded role of government in the area of giving to the poor is not the best way for that to happen, and as a Christian I believe it’s not moral to force others to give when they don’t want to. Again, Jesus asks me to give; He didn’t ask me to force others to.

Ms. Rice, in ticking off a laundry list of values, seems to be falling for the framing of the issue that Democrats have put forth; welfare = caring. There are other ways to care, which can have much better results.

Part 2 tomorrow.

The Final Presidential Debate

Short take: McCain finally started hitting on the policy issues that he was missing in the first 2 debates.  Mostly, he took on some of Obama’s mischaracterizations of him.  He should have started this 2 debates ago.  I felt better about his performance, but the quick poll of undecideds on Fox showed movement toward Obama.

Random items:

* The "even Fox News" line from Obama shows how much a blind spot Democrats have for rampant liberal bias in the media.  And if this is his only shot at them, it only proves they are indeed balanced.

* "Joe the Plumber", Joe Wurzelbacher, got about 60 minutes of fame, well more than his allotted 15.  Folks that don’t read the blogs may not have known who he is (though the networks have wanted to make sure you know about that 106-year-old nun who’s voting for Obama), but McCain made sure he got the word out.  Hopefully, they’ll find out that this small business owner is going to get taxed more under Obama, and that "infuriates" him.  Maybe they’ll find the video of Obama telling him he wants to "spread the wealth around" (translation: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need).  Hopefully.

* Obama still insists that 95% of people will get a tax cut, ignoring the fact that many people pay no taxes at all.  And as a conservative pundit noted (forget which one), Bill Clinton campaigned on a middle class tax cut.  Amnesia set in as soon as he sat down in the Oval Office.

* Finally, McCain drove the point home that he wants to give you choice over your healthcare, and not introduce a federal bureaucracy into the mix.  Obama’s plan may sound modest enough, but it’s the foot in the door for an even bigger program.  "This worked, so let’s make it bigger and stronger."  That’s what happens to government programs.  McCain’s plan stops at giving you a credit and letting you spend it with no federal mandate whatsoever.  He avoids the slippery slope. 

And now, the home stretch.

President of LA’s NOW Chapter Endorses Palin

Now, she did this as a private citizen and not representing the National Organization for Women, but it’s still a big thing, and I wanted to highlight this, especially since the media is sure to ignore it.

Details at the Wizbang blog.

Palin Rumor Update

Charlie Martin has gone as far as getting the URL to point to his ever-updated list of rumors about Sarah Palin.  Since last I visited there, there have been new ones added.  Here are a few (and details are on the site):

#72: No, she didn’t try to charge rape victims personally for rape kits.

#76: No she didn’t institute a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies.

#79: No, Palin didn’t eliminate or “void” the Alaskan WIC program as Newsweek claimed.

#83: No, she did not cut the Special Olympics funding in a recent budget, except in the Washington sense of “didn’t increase it as much as someone wanted.”

#84 Yes, she did bill the Alaska State Government for per diem on days when she was “home.”  But that’s the way the law is written, and even doing what other governors did, she still had expenses one-third to one-fifth of the previous governor’s.

Bookmark that page.

True Bipartisanship

Everybody says they want more politicians in office that fight corruption, wasteful spending, and are willing to go after their own party to do it.  Yet Sarah Palin is continually talked down by Democrats, who’s concerns about corruption seem to have taken a holiday.

Now comes word that their concerns about bipartisanship — about both parties working together — is also on vacation.

Sen. John McCain’s record of working with Democrats easily outstrips Sen. Barack Obama’s efforts with Republicans, according to an analysis by The Washington Times of their legislative records.

Whether looking at bills they have led on or bills they have signed onto, Mr. McCain has reached across the aisle far more frequently and with more members than Mr. Obama since the latter came to the Senate in 2005.

In fact, by several measures, Mr. McCain has been more likely to team up with Democrats than with members of his own party. Democrats made up 55 percent of his political partners over the last two Congresses, including on the tough issues of campaign finance and global warming. For Mr. Obama, Republicans were only 13 percent of his co-sponsors during his time in the Senate, and he had his biggest bipartisan successes on noncontroversial measures, such as issuing a postage stamp in honor of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Democrats say that they want bipartisanship, and indeed have praised McCain’s overtures to them in the past.  But all of a sudden, that seems to be ancient history.

Now, I will say that I’m not entirely a big fan of some of McCain’s bipartisanship. McCain-Feingold “First Amendment Abridgement Act” (my name for it, not theirs) is a prime example.  But outside the campaign season, politician and voter alike keep complaining about how all this bickering in Washington keeps them from doing “the people’s business”.  But here we are, with the most bipartisan politician for President I think we may have ever seen, and suddenly Democrats have lost all interest in it.

Oh, and Sarah Palin is also quite adept with respect to bipartisanship, getting a 75% job approval rating from Alaska Democrats.  Congress can only dream of such high numbers.
Guess “bipartisanship” just means “doing what I want you to do”.

Palin v Earmarks

I was going to put a blog post together on this issue, but Dan Spencer at Redstate has done so, and with links to keep you busy for quite some time.

Among his list of things Palin has done on the earmark front, and contrasted with Obama:

  • She ordered her administration to cut the number of earmarks (including the "Bridge to Nowhere").
  • He consistently supported said bridge, even refusing to redirect funds for it to Katrina victims.
  • She significantly reduced the number and dollar value of earmarks to the state of Alaska.
  • She vetoed nearly $500 million in government spending over 2 years
  • He has requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks over 3 years.

The "Responsible" Media

With a tip of the Blogger’s Fedora ™ to PowerLine, Charlie Gibson dabbled in some out-of-context quoting to try to slip up Sarah Palin last night.

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Yes, the exact words, but in the middle of a 3-sentence thought that put it in context.  From the video:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.

To break it down linguistically, the "also" that begins the second sentence continues the "pray for" thought.  So to put the phrase that Gibson was referring to in its context, it would more correctly be "Pray that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God."  That is a very different statement than the one Gibson infers; suggesting Palin was declaring it as such.  Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to catch that and clear it up.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words.

But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”

But apparently, Gibson’s deceit couldn’t help but try to pull more out of context.  And it simply had to be deceit, because if he read or heard enough of the quote to pull out those phrases, he couldn’t possibly have missed the very nearby context.

Gibson did apparently dry off quite well before the interview after being so long in the tank for Obama. 

Shire Network News #145

Shire Network News #145 has been released. The feature interview is with El Marco, whose photoblog, Looking At The Left is doing sterling work in exposing the reality of leftist protests. 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 1939, Frank Capra directed a classic film entitled "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington", which won an Oscar for Best Writing.  In it, Jimmy Stewart plays Jefferson Smith, leader of the state’s Boy Rangers, and is appointed, mostly as a joke, as an interim to fill out the term of a recently deceased Senator.  While there, Smith doesn’t just sit back and idly do what he’s told.  Instead, when he sees corruption and graft, even in his own political party, he acts against it, culminating in the films filibuster scene on the floor of the Senate.  (That’s when filibusters were filibusters.  None of this "cloture vote" stuff.) 

Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith is the Everyman in Washington, the small town boy who makes good, and what each of us believes we would be like if we only had the chance. 

Moving from the theater screen to the political scene, John McCain chose Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, as his Vice Presidential running mate.  To rousing shouts of "Sarah who?", the American political scene, and the media trying to cover it, were thrown into a tizzy.  Immediately, they fired up their dirt-digging Ditch Witch because they had less than a week to fill up their buckets of mud. 

What they found was a women’s basketball player who led her small town team in prayer before the game, and nicknamed "Sarah Barracuda".  A beauty queen pageant winner who won both the "Miss Congeniality" award and a college scholarship.  A college graduate with a major in journalism and a minor in political science.  A hockey mom, and a PTA member.  A moose hunter, with better aim than Dick Cheney.  A 2-term city councilwoman.  A 2-term mayor who was voted into office on a platform of fighting wasteful spending and higher taxes (which she did).  An ethics supervisor who actually supervised ethics; she quit her position because of ethics violations in her own party, and she continued to pursue those violations resulting in record fines.  (Did I mention the guys were in her own party?)  A governor of the state who ran on a clean government platform against a governor of her own party and won, and who sold the previous governor’s jet for starters.  And someone who, throughout all this, maintained a huge popularity rating.

>whew<  So then, with their mud buckets still clean as a whistle, the press, the Democrats and the liberal bloggers had to come up with something.  So they did.  One anonymous diarist on the Daily Kos (where else?) started the rumor that Sarah’s 5th child was really her daughter’s, and that Sarah faked the pregnancy to cover it up.  When it ultimately came out that Bristol Palin was pregnant now, the shock value had already worn off.  As hard as the NY Times tried, putting Sarah and/or Bristol on 3 front page stories on the same day, they just couldn’t get past the fact that the family, given a bad situation, was acting on their principles

The same went for Trig, their Down’s Syndrome baby.  Knowing what was ahead they chose life.  For that, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards proclaimed that "Women voting for this ticket is just like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders."  Right.  So allowing children to live is like poultry suicide.  And vacuuming them out when they’re inconvenient is…what, exactly?

Anglosphere rock start and former SNN contributor Andrew Ian Dodge pointed me to more sources of left-wing media smears.  One Washington Post story, later picked up by the NY Times, claimed that Palin slashed funding for teen mothers.  What they failed to note in the story, however, was that she actually tripled the spending on it.  The "cut" came when she wouldn’t quadruple it.  That, of course, is the liberal mindset that comes free with an Obama presidency.

The "Troopergate" allegations of firing a public safety commissioner are probably the worst thing to come out.  I mean, the governor firing someone who the courts agreed served at the sole discretion of the governor must be a scandal, right?  Palin denies that the firing was over the fact that Walter Monegan didn’t fire her ex-brother-in-law Mike Wooten, who himself, it has already been established, tasered his son, drank on the job, and threatend Palin’s family; firing offenses all.  So the firing of Monegan was legal, and if you want to make a connection to Wooten you do so at the peril of your own credibilty.  Yeah, there’s a scandal for you.

The Left is just waiting eagerly for something — anything — to come out that will allow them to brand her a hypocrite, and will manufacture it if necessary.  Don Surber said it best:  "You can be an unrepentant terrorist.  You can be a perjurer.  You can be an ex-klansman (Exalted Cyclops at that).  But Lord help you if you are a conservative and you run a stop sign."

And I would add, "or a Republican woman with hair that is out of fashion".  Yes, they’re even going after that.  Sarah, just prepare yourself for the photographs of you at the scene of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, or in the crowd at the Kennedy assassination.  Y’know, it would be nice if there were a national organization for women to defend her against this treatment.  But I imagine she can handle it herself.

Lisa Schiffren at the National Review Online noted another Veep selection similar to this one.  He’d only been governor of New York for 2 years before getting on the big ticket.  He was an anti-corruption reformer when he was the New York City Police Chief.  He also did a lot of hunting (but no moose, as far as I know).  Maybe Sarah Palin is no Teddy Roosevelt, but he turned out rather well, don’t you think?

Look, Democrats, media, leftist bloggers; please listen to me.  You are watching the movie "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" and you’re booing the Jimmy Stewart character.  Loudly.  Granted, he’s in a brilliant disguise, but it’s still the Everyman (or Everywoman) looking at you from your TV screen.  Politically speaking, Sarah Palin is the anti-corruption, cost-cutting, true-to-her-values type that everybody says they want to see in Washington.  Well, at least they say they want it.  Consider that.

Palin’s "Troopergate"

I read this post on the TalkLeft blog by “Big Tent Democrat” last Sunday.  It’s regarding the issues surrounding Sarah Palin’s reassigning of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, allegedly because he wouldn’t fire Palen’s sister’s estranged husband.  BTD takes fellow liberal blogger Josh Marshall to task for his coverage of the issue, specifically over the fact that Marshall seems to take all the accusations against Palin at face value (guilty until proven innocent) and Marshall’s contention that this kerfuffle may hurt Palin politically.

For starters, the Left seems to see this entirely in a political lens.  BTD notes:

Let’s face it, Marshall’s interest, and everybody’s for that matter, is almost entirely based on the political implications of this story. And here is what Marshall is missing – the story is likely to have little political implications for Sarah Palin. And if there are any, they are likely to be positive.

Quite an honest admission from BTD, who reiterates this point at the end of the post.  Not mentioned in this post or Marshall’s is that, while there has been an investigation opened into this, Palin hasn’t been subpoenaed — because she’s been so forthcoming!  This is another example of what I’ve noted before; Palin seems to be the kind of politician everybody says they’d like and wish there were more of.  And indeed this corruption-fighting, cooperative governor enjoys 80%+ approval from her constituents.

But Big Tent Democrat goes over the accusations and the facts of the case and find no “there” there, which to me is the larger point.  So many on the left smell blood in the water, because it’s all political.  In the meantime, there’s no credit given for the unusual openness shown by Palin simply because she’s of the wrong party.

Hey liberals.  You’re watching the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and booing Jimmy Stewart (in a brilliant disguise).

UPDATE:  John Hinderaker at PowerLine notes that the NY Times called itself “squeamish” about covering the John Edwards “love child” story, and had to (in their words) devote more time to the “big issues facing the country”.  But today, they had 3(!) front page stories on Bristol Palin.

Times’ Public Editor Clark Hoyt said of the Edwards coverage, “I do not think liberal bias had anything to do with it.”  I’m sure he said it with a straight face, too.

Palin’s Top 10

Yesterday, before McCain’s VP announcement, the Democracy Project blog put put their top 10 reasons why she should be VP.  Definitely worth a look.  My favorites ones are 9, 7, 5 and 2, but read the whole list.

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