Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's a Big Tent, But It's Not That Big

The term "Big Tent" has been used for some time now, but recently the meaning has taken on new life. In the good ole days of the conservative movement, the big tent idea meant that the hawks found room for the isolationist and the free market gurus scooted over for the hands on fed types. These days it seems that some want the tent so big that there would be no need for the dang thing because we include everyone.

Case in point, Colin Powell. General Powell is an intelligent man with a distinguished background, but he is not a Republican. Sure, he calls himself one, but true conservatives know that he simply is not. We have known it for a while with no skin off the knee, but now Mr. Powell wants control of this party. He wants to move it to the warmed over middle and beyond. He wants a huge tent. A look at the history of General Powell will show you that he voted for JFK, Carter and Obama. Conservatives raise your hand if you did the same. Anyone? Aren't you supposed to support the candidate of the party that you belong to? Apparently not. I believe his idea of moving the party to the left is a ploy to cripple it beyond repair.

Second case, Tom Ridge. The pro-choice former governor of Pennsylvania has ruled out a run against another lifetime politician Arlen Specter. But, what he has done is to publicly disagree with the voice of the Republican party, Dick Cheney. Ridge said two weeks ago that waterboarding is no longer an issue and that release of memos on interrogation techniques by Obama have not made the country less safe. One other Republican agrees with that (see above). Reports have Ridge positioning himself for a possible White House run in 2012. The only problem with that is he is mirroring Obama on many issues. So in a battle between Obama and Obama Lite, who do you choose?

I of course have strong feelings when it comes to the conservative movement, mainly because I am a strong conservative. This tent we are under is pretty darn big and when it comes to what we stand for, can only get bigger with like minded folks. We cannot allow it to be stretched and distorted into something that we don't recognize or believe in for the sake of winning elections. For goodness sake, we nominated the most left of all Republicans for president and it didn't work. Now let's get back to what we know best. I am talking a real shift to the roots of conservatism. The roots that William F. Buckley wrote and spoke so eloquently about. The roots that set our modern movement on its path. We don't need more moderates or more liberals in the Republican party to make it successful again. We need more conservatives.

"Radical conservatives in this country have an interesting time of it, for when they are not being suppressed or mutilated by Liberals, they are being ignored or humiliated by a great many of those of the well-fed Right, whose ignorance and amorality have never been exaggerated for the same reason that one cannot exaggerate infinity.There are, thank Heaven, the exceptions. There are those of generous impulse and a sincere desire to encourage a responsible dissent from the Liberal orthodoxy. And there are those who recognize that when all is said and done, the market place depends for a license to operate freely on the men who issue licenses — on the politicians. They recognize, therefore, that efficient getting and spending is itself impossible except in an atmosphere that encourages efficient getting and spending. And back of all political institutions there are moral and philosophical concepts, implicit or defined. Our political economy and our high-energy industry run on large, general principles, on ideas — not by day-to-day guess work, expedients and improvisations. Ideas have to go into exchange to become or remain operative; and the medium of such exchange is the printed word."

William F. Buckley in the first issue of National Review (19 November 1955)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sotomayor says Ethnicity Shapes Her Decisions

President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, has already made some waves despite being introduced only hours ago. Sotomayor is Hispanic and female, a double whammy that Obama is throwing at Republicans and daring them to vote against. Since the story broke this morning, many have been busy looking at her record and her previous words. Among those words are these: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”. She has also explained that her ethnicity and gender would make a difference in her judging versus others on the bench. Perhaps the most upsetting to me is her insistence in 2005 that the “court of appeals is where policy is made.”

One would think that policy is made by the legislative branch. Only the most liberal of Obama's final four would think otherwise. The republicans are prepared to dig in their heels on this one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ron Paul's Son Forms Committee for Bunning's Job

Well, what do you know? Congressman Ron Paul has a son and he lives in Kentucky. His name is Dr. Rand Paul and he is an eye surgeon from Bowling Green. He announced on Friday the formation of an exploratory committee for the senate seat from Kentucky that is now held by Jim Bunning. Tre Grayson has likewise filed for his committee. This is good news for the bluegrass conservatives in their fight to revitalize the party. Now we will have to wait for the veteran to make a decision on running, or for it to be made for him.

Rand Paul is a career doctor, but he is no stranger to politics. Besides working on his father's campaign last year, Dr. Paul has been the chairman of Kentucky Taxpayers United. This group keeps tabs on Kentucky lawmakers and rates them on tax issues. I am just now getting familiar with Rand Paul, but there are a few things that I know for certain. He is strong on national defense, a real Second Amendment advocate and a no bail out and low taxes man. I like that a lot. This is no way an endorsement of his campaign, but it sure does bring some national attention to the badlands across the river. Here is the link to his web page if you would like to learn more....or donate.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Governor Daniels of Indiana Smacks Down Baby Boomers

Governor Daniels of Indiana is not an easy guy to figure out. He confuses members of the press and political people of both parties. Why you ask? Because he is a leader.

In these times of GOP doldrums, when we do see someone who bucks the conventional wisdom and easy path, it is so uncommon that it usually confounds us.

Case in point: The Butler University commencement speech of 2009. A nice, safe, warm and fuzzy send off for the graduating class, right? Wrong. More like a 2x4 to the collective face of baby boomers who, quite frankly, deserve it.

Read some excerpts from this incredible speech below.

“As a 10-year-old, new to Indiana, Butler basketball was about the only entertainment our family was able, or at least willing, to purchase for me. On countless frigid evenings, someone's dad would drop us off in the Fieldhouse parking lot, and someone else's dad would pick us up, after watching the Bulldogs either beat or scare the pants off some big-name larger school. I might stumble over my own college's fight song, but I still know yours by heart.”

Hey, it is Indiana so of course it is going to open with basketball. He went to Princeton so who can blame him for loving Butler athletics.

"Even though the whole notion of a "generation" must be discounted as the loosest of concepts, within limits it is possible to spot the defining characteristics of an age and the human beings who create it. Along with most of your faculty and parents, I belong to the most discussed, debated and analyzed generation of all time, the so-called Baby Boomers. By the accepted definition, the youngest of us is now forty-five, so the record is pretty much on the books, and the time for verdicts can begin. Which leads me to congratulate you in advance. As a generation, you are off to an excellent start. You have taken the first savvy step on the road to distinction, which is to follow a weak act. I wish I could claim otherwise, but we Baby Boomers are likely to be remembered by history for our numbers, and little else, at least little else that is admirable."


"All our lives, it's been all about us. We were the "Me Generation." We wore t-shirts that said "If it feels good, do it." The year of my high school commencement, a hit song featured the immortal lyric "Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today." As a group, we have been self-centered, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, and all too often just plain selfish. Our current Baby Boomer President has written two eloquent, erudite books, both about..himself. As a generation, we did tend to live for today. We have spent more and saved less than any previous Americans. Year after year, regardless which party we picked to lead the country, we ran up deficits that have multiplied the debt you and your children will be paying off your entire working lives. Far more burdensome to you mathematically, we voted ourselves increasing levels of Social Security pensions and Medicare health care benefits, but never summoned the political maturity to put those programs on anything resembling a sound actuarial footing."

At this point the squirming in seats of the parents section must have been almost audible.

"Our irresponsibility went well beyond the financial realm. Our parents formed families and kept them intact even through difficulty "for the sake of the kids." To us, parental happiness came first; we often divorced at the first unpleasantness, and increasingly just gave birth to children without the nuisance of marriage. "Commitment" cramps one's style, don't you know. Total bummer."

Let no uncomfortable topic go untouched.

"As time runs out on our leadership years, it's clear there is no chance that anyone will ever refer to us, as histories now do our parents, as "The Greatest Generation." There is no disgrace in this; very few generations are thought of as "great." And history is not linear. Many generations fail miserably at the challenges they confront, and their societies take steps backwards as a consequence. Consider Japan before World War II, or Americans in the decades before the Civil War. And yet in both those instances and many others, the people who followed did great things, not only redeemed all the failings but built better, fairer societies than their nations had seen before. In fact, true greatness can only be revealed by large challenges, by tough circumstances. And your opportunities for greatness will be large."

Your generation can be great…especially compared to your parents.

And please, just to revise another current practice, be judgmental. Whatever they claim, people always are, anyway - consider the healthy stigmatization of racist comments or sexist attitudes or cigarette smoking. It's just a matter of which behaviors enough of us agree to judge as unacceptable. As free people, we agree to tolerate any conduct that does no harm to others, but we should not be coerced into condoning it. Selfishness and irresponsibility in business, personal finances, or in family life, are deserving of your disapproval. Go ahead and stigmatize them. Too much such behavior will hurt our nation and the future for you and the families you will create. Honesty about shortcomings is not handwringing. Again, this is a blessed land, in every way. Amidst the worst recession in a long time, we still are wealthier than any society in history. We are safer, from injury, disease, and each other than any humans that ever lived. Best of all, we are free. The problems you now inherit are not those of 1776, or 1861, or 1929, or 1941. But they are large enough, and left unattended, they will devour the wealth and, ultimately, the freedom and safety we cherish, at least in our thankful moments. So you have a chance to be a great Butler class, part of a great generation."

Take that political correctness.

In a brief, intelligent, yet straightforward head shot, the Governor has done what almost no one in Government, media or certainly academia has had the stones to do…lay guilt where it belongs.

A lot of my friends keep asking me if this guy is going to run for president and I just say, “he is doing too good a job as Governor for us to spare him.” But of course doing your current job really really well is a great way to get promoted.

You can read the entire speech here.

Chris Faulkner

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Standards, Caps, Restrictions and Taxes

Sorry for my long delay in posting. Little League and the honey-do list have gotten the best of me the past couple weeks.

I have been thinking a lot lately of what it means to be an American and just how much liberty and freedom we are losing in this era. Now, the way I see it, I am a free man. I live in the greatest nation on earth, pay more than my share of taxes and generally am a good citizen. So, why isn't that enough for politicians? Let's look at a few ways our freedoms are being pushed aside for a nanny state where the decisions are being made for us. I am sure some of these are ways in which you have not thought of before.

"To force a man to pay for the violation of his own liberty is indeed an addition of insult to injury." - Benjamin Tucker

CAFE Standards: The Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standard is nothing new. It was first dropped in our lap in the 1970's during the "oil shortage" crisis. You may have heard that this process is a good thing because it mandates that fuel mileage increases are forced on the auto manufacturers. I totally disagree. Some of you may not be able to decide for yourself if between a car that gets 50 mpg or one that gets 5. Well, I can and I actually want that choice. The truth is that CAFE Standards have not reduced our dependence on oil, have not lowered smog or pollution levels and have not achieved one item set out in the charter. The only the standards have done is to give an advantage to foreign auto makers and to create less safe automobiles by forcing manufacturers to build them lighter and smaller to achieve the mpg standard. I want the freedom to make that choice.

Caps: More commonly known as Carbon Caps or Cap and Trade, the measure to reduce carbon emissions by evil American companies that is causing "Global Warming." Where to even start on this one? So, the government wants to save the planet by capping how much carbon can be released. They will set a baseline amount and when the company reaches its limit, it can "buy" or "trade" carbon credits from another company or from the government. This is purely a shakedown. This is nothing other than a tax on corporations and the cost will be passed on to you. The funny thing is that "developing countries" will not be held to the same caps as the U.S. will. In the liberal point of view, America is always the bad guy. Now for the truth. Carbon Caps will drastically increase the cost of energy and will send American jobs overseas to countries that have no standards for emissions. Any ozone saved? No. Any jobs lost? Yes. More money out of your pocket? Big time.

Restrictions: This one runs the gamut. We have restrictions on information, restrictions on business and even restrictions on how many times you can transfer your own money between accounts each month. What I want to focus on is the federal government's restrictions on private businesses. I am talking bail outs here folks. The fed gave AIG a big bail out. AIG is a company that made a lot of dumb moves and deserved to get knocked down a few pegs, but the employees are the ones that took the beating. The fed knew when it issued the bail out that some employees were due bonuses. The bail out went forward. These employees were working under a contract with the company and abided by that contract. The lawmakers caved to public pressure and knowing that they couldn't just steal the money back, decided to tax it at a rate of 90%. That is theft by law. When the government gets into the restricting mode on free enterprise, ugly things will happen. They have forced out CEO's and closed dealerships. They have not only restricted how business is done, they have restricted the entire market from doing its job.

Taxes. This may be my favorite subject to complain about. It was Will Rogers that said "It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for." How true those words are. We are taxed on just about everything we do or buy and the list gets longer everyday. The newest victim is sugar. Our benevolent government believes you don't know how to handle your sweets and plans to slow you down some. A planned tax on everything sugar is hitting the halls of congress and affects everything from soft drinks to cereal. Oh yeah, you are going to pay more for them. The government claims that this is to reduce the numbers for diabetes and related illnesses. But, at just 16 calories a teaspoon, are they really looking out for you or preparing you for socialized medicine. Then they will be able to regulate, read tax, everything you consume. They wanted more fuel efficient cars (see CAFE above ) and now the income from gas taxes has gone down. Now they want to tax you by how many miles you drive. The tax on cigarettes keeps rising and the poor disproportionally pick up the tab. Another industry taxed into extinction. Indiana's property taxes may eventually be capped, but the sales tax just went up. If you see the words license, fee, surcharge, or other such synonyms, just insert the word TAX. The American people are fed up with it and it shows. The tax day TEA Parties were a huge success. We are now saying enough is enough. The land of opportunity has turned into the land of broken promises were our children are burdened with the government's debt load. Robert A. Heinlein said "There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." Most of the time the government does not know what is good for the average American. We know what is best for us and our families, and its not standards, caps, restrictions and taxes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Should you be angry at the “Republican Party” about backing Specter before he bailed on us?

The short answer is no. The “why not” is a little more complex. There will be some who will now be angry at Sen. Cornyn and the National Republican Senatorial Committee for backing him in the first place. Really? Keep in mind the RNC, NRSC and the NRCC are NOT issue driven organizations. They are member driven organizations with only ONE goal…majority status, that’s it, no other reason for being.

Before I get too academic in my defense of these organizations let me say that Linc Chafee is a scumbag and it made me sick to my core that we defended that waste of space in the 2006 GOP Primary. Ok, had to get that off my chest. I mean at least Specter had the decency to get out before the election and give us time to get our own campaign in place.

Now back to the Party. Just a bit of clarification for those not familiar with the committees in DC and how they work. These definitions are my own and in NO way represent any official mission of the committees…this is my “unofficial” take on what they really are all about-

· Republican National Committee – take the White House back and keep it…that is it…end of story.
· National Republican Senatorial Committee – defend current Republican Senators, win open seats and then knock off Democrat incumbents. Those are listed in order of priority.
· National Republican Congressional Committee – defend current Republican Members of Congress, win open seats and knock off Democrat incumbents. Those are listed in order of priority.

So if you want the committee to be ideologically pure you should cool your jets. They are not think tanks, they are membership retention organizations. If you are mad at the NRSC for backing Specter in the first place call your own Senator and yell at him/her.

Is the RNC not conservative enough for you? Then check your state party. State Party too liberal for you? Work your county party.

Tis’ the season of our collective Republican discontent and the party apparatus is a convenient punching bag. Here is the real lurking danger…Years ago Democrats were angry that their National Party was not “Progressive” enough so their unions, lawyers and environmental groups hammered it to splinters. Now they are a collective lurching group of special interests.

Is that what we really want for Republicans?