A Blog for Bald Republicans, and anyone else!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inaugural Address

Just some thoughts I jotted down whilst watching the Inauguration. 

Three things in particular amazed me about President Obama’s inaugural address.
First, I was surprised how much President Obama had to say that I agreed with. His theme of making “real for every American” the promise of our Declaration — “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” –  is central to the Republican credo. What Republican could dispute that?
He’s the only president who has ever quoted the passage in full in his inaugural address.
President Obama may very well draw something different from that passage than we would, but that’s the heart of the argument we’re about to have.
Second, I was surprised by all the paragraphs that were missing.

The president made virtually no mention of the economy, at a time when millions of Americans are struggling and unemployed. All he said was, “An economic recovery has begun.”

He said, “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult,” but he failed to mention the oil and gas revolution taking place in the United States that offers the promise of low cost oil and natural gas for many decades to come, if we’ll only seize it.
The president said, “A decade of war is now ending,” and spoke of “winning the peace,” but ignored the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention new danger in Mali, Algeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran — and for that matter, Libya. He said nothing of Mexico, where just below our border lawlessness continues to rule.
These omissions recalled in my mind the Trotsky line: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” President Obama won’t have the choice to ignore these matters in the real world, even if he could in his speech.

Finally, I was amazed at the gaps in his discussion of “collective action.”
Much of it we could agree with: “No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future.” This is undeniable.
Nor, the president argued, could a single person “build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.” No Republican could dispute this. In fact, no thinking person could dispute this.

Yesterday wasn’t the first time President Obama has appealed to the importance of “collective action.” We’ve heard often from him in the past few years that “there are some things we do better together.”

Indeed, as a Republican I would agree and extend the claim: we do virtually everything better together.
Collective action, the cooperation and collaboration of many millions of people, is the rule, not the exception, in the modern world. It is so common that President Obama seems not to have noticed how many people are already peacefully working together every day on their own volition.

Yesterday as he was inaugurated, thousands of Americans worked to get all the necessary food into New York City. They didn’t even have to be told.
Somehow, without any vote in Congress, those well-fed New Yorkers could drive to the gas station and pump fuel into their cars which thousands of people collaborated to refine from oil. Still more people worked together to extract that oil from two miles below ground, and still others worked to transport it to each of the hundreds of gas stations in the New York area. All so that their fellow Americans could drive their cars wherever they liked, on a whim.
And those cars: Somehow they were assembled from pieces made all over the world, in China and Japan, in Germany and Mexico and in the United States. Probably tens of thousands of people worked together to make each of those cars which crowd the streets of New York City.

None of them could have done these things on their own. All required collective action.
But the president’s definition of “collective action” runs into trouble when he limits it to things we can do “as one nation, and one people.”
When the president speaks of doing things as one people.
It doesn’t sound like he’s talking about the kind of collective action that feeds New York City, provides it with affordable energy, and builds its cars — the collective action of small groups and large groups, businesses and charities and variously associated individuals.

The “collective action” the president speaks of is actually an inversion of real collective action, of true cooperation, of genuinely working together.
Obama’s “collective action” transfers to the federal government, to someone else, tasks that we the people now do together, ourselves.
The vision he describes outsources cooperation among citizens, to government — to him, and an army of federal bureaucrats.

Those items he listed as things we must do “as one nation, as one people” are precisely the things the federal government is poorly equipped to do.
The “networks” he referred to? They’re known as the internet, and we didn’t make it “as one nation.” Millions of us, collaborating in small groups, created it together.
Training the math and science graduates of the future? For decades, government has failed to provide equal opportunity in education for all Americans. When we achieve that goal, it will be because government frees students and teachers and parents to choose the education that’s best for them, as charter schools have done in many communities across the country.

The federal government is not, as President Obama implied, the only sphere for collective action. It is not the only place where we work together.  Go through his speech and replace the words “together,” “one nation,” and “one people” with “the federal government,” or “bureaucrats”  and you will have a better sense of why he is wrong.

Jim Holland
Cleveland, Ohio
(Not Newt Gingrich, from Atlanta, Georgia)  

Monday, January 21, 2013

House GOP

Have the House Republicans come up with a winning strategy on the debt ceiling and spending cuts? Or just a viable one? Maybe so.

They certainly need one that is at least the latter, if not the former. Barack Obama is up in the polls since the election, as most re-elected presidents have been. The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows him with 52 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval. Other public polls have similar results.

In contrast, the NBC/WSJ poll reports that only 26 percent have positive feelings about the Republican Party and 51 negative feelings. Toward Speaker John Boehner only 18 percent have positive feelings and 37 percent negative feelings.

It's usually true that groups get lower ratings than individuals and congressional leaders get lower ratings than presidents. Still, these results represent a pretty negative verdict on House Republicans' attempts to wrestle Obama into supporting their preferred fiscal policies.

Defections by enough House Republicans to defeat Boehner's Plan B approach to the fiscal cliff ended up producing a compromise considerably less to their liking. The agreement reached by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did limit effective tax increases to those with incomes over $400,000.

But it also gave Democrats something they want -- a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax, which threatened to engulf high-earning Democratic voters in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California. Republicans used to dangle a one-year AMT fix as a negotiating chip in fiscal battles. Now they can't.

The House Republicans seem to be emerging from their Williamsburg retreat with a united approach to the debt ceiling issue, however. Raise the debt ceiling for three months and couple it with a cut off of congressional pay if the Democratic-majority Senate fails to pass a budget, as it has for the last three years.

This is similar to the approached advocated by former Bush budget negotiator Keith Hennessey: Give Democrats an alternative between short-term debt limit increases with no immediate spending cuts and a long-term increase with serious spending cuts.

Senate Democrats are a more attractive target than the president. The NBC/WSJ poll shows only 16 percent with positive feelings toward Majority Leader Harry Reid and 28 percent with negative feelings.

Fully 36 percent have no view, significantly more than the 22 percent with no view about Boehner. That leaves plenty of room to drive Reid's negatives up. The no-budget, no-pay provision is perhaps a gimmick, but may strike a chord with voters.

And it may help united the 234 House Republicans, 43 percent of whom were first elected in 2010 or are freshmen first elected in 2012. Most share the views and impulses of the tea party movement and are determined to cut government spending.

The tea party movement, like the peace movement four decades before, injected many new people into an old party. Tea party voters, like peacenik voters, tend to prefer the purest candidates in primaries, and tea party congressmen, like peacenik congressmen, tend to take confrontational and purist stands on issues.

But just as peacenik Democrats learned that the public will not tolerate cutting off defense spending when troops are in the field, so tea party Republicans seem to be learning that the public won't tolerate defaulting on the national debt.

They feel quite differently about spending cuts. A poll by the Republican Tarrance Group for the Public Notice group showed 74 percent agreeing that the federal government spends too much and rejecting Obama's notion that "we don't have a spending problem."

So far this year the spotlight has been on divisions among Republicans. Twice Boehner has brought to the floor bills opposed by most House Republicans -- the fiscal cliff deal and the Sandy appropriation.

That violates former Speaker Dennis Hastert's rule never to schedule a bill opposed by a majority of the majority party. But Hastert served for only two years with a Democratic president, at a time when we had budget surpluses.

If Boehner can get a Republican majority for a short-term debt limit increase, the spotlight falls on Harry Reid and Senate Democrats. Reid has been blocking budgets because he can't get a majority of 50 Democrats.

House Republicans are learning they can't govern from just one house of Congress. But they can shine the spotlight on Senate and White House Democrats' inability or unwillingness to govern.
Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Naive President

America Has a Naive President

Dennis Prager
Tuesday, April 07, 2009

“The basic bargain is sound: countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them.” -- President Barack Obama, Prague, April 6, 2009

As far as nuclear weapons are concerned, the President of the United States wants America to disarm: “Countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament.”
It is hard to imagine a more destructive goal. A nuclear disarmed America would lead to massive and widespread killing, more genocide, and very possibly the nuclear holocaust worldwide nuclear disarmament is meant to prevent.

There is nothing moral, let alone realistic, about this goal.
Here is an analogy. Imagine that the mayor of a large American city announced that it was his goal to have all the citizens of his city disarm -- what could be more beautiful than a city with no weapons? This would, of course, ultimately include the police, but with properly signed agreements, vigorously enforced, and violators of the agreement punished, it would remain an ideal to pursue.

One has to assume that most people would regard this idea as, at the very least, useless. There would be no way to ensure that bad people would disarm; and if the police disarmed, only bad people would have weapons.

The analogy is virtually precise -- but only if you acknowledge that America is the world’s policeman. To idealists of the left, however, the notion of America as the world’s policeman is both arrogant and misguided. A strengthened “world community” -- as embodied by the United Nations – should be the world’s policeman.

To the rest of us, however, the idea of the United Nations as the world’s policeman is absurd and frightening. The United Nations has proven itself a moral wasteland that gives genocidal tyrannies honored positions on human rights commissions. The weaker the U.N. and the stronger America, the greater the chances of preventing or stopping mass atrocities.

On the assumption that the left and the right both seek a world without genocide and tyranny, it is, then, the answer to this question that divides them: Are genocide and tyranny more or less likely if America is the strongest country on earth, i.e., the country with the greatest and most weapons, nuclear and otherwise?

Moreover even if you answer in the negative and think that the world would experience less evil with a nuclear disarmed America, the goal of worldwide nuclear disarmament is foolish because it is unattainable. And unattainable goals are a waste of precious time and resources.

For one thing, it is inconceivable that every nation would agree to it. Why would India give up its nuclear weapons? There aren’t a dozen Hindus who believe that Pakistan would give up every one of its nuclear weapons. And the same presumably holds true for Muslims in Pakistan with regard to India disarming.

And what about Israel? Would that country destroy all its nuclear weapons? Of course not. And it would be foolish to do so. Israel is surrounded by countries that wish not merely to vanquish it, but to destroy it. It regards nuclear weapons as life assurance. And it regards the United Nations (with good reason) as its enemy, not its protector.

As for states like Iran and North Korea, they have already violated agreements regarding nuclear weapons. What would prompt them to do otherwise in a world where America got weaker? United Nations sanctions? And why would Russia and China even agree to them?
Finally, there would be no way to prevent rogue scientists from selling materials and know-how to terrorists.

The result of this left-wing fantasy of worldwide nuclear disarmament would simply be that those who illegally acquired or made but one nuclear weapon would be able to blackmail any nation.

What any president of the United States should aspire to is: 1). to keep America the strongest country in the world militarily (as well as economically, but that is not the question on the table); 2) to destroy those individuals and organizations that seek nuclear weapons so as to kill as many innocent people as possible; and 3) remain the world’s policeman. These aims cannot be achieved if America aims to disarm.

President Obama said “I am not naïve” in his talk. That, unfortunately, is as accurate as his statement before the joint session of Congress that “I do not believe in bigger government.”

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Wake up Notre Dame

The university's egregious error
By George Weigel
March 29, 2009

When a university invites a prominent personality to deliver a commencement address and accept an honorary degree, a statement is being made to graduates, students, faculty, parents, alumni and donors: "This is someone whose work is worth emulating." The invitation, in other words, is not to a debate, or to the opening of some sort of ongoing conversation.

The invitation and the award of an honorary degree are a university's stamp of approval on someone's life and accomplishment.Which is precisely why the University of Notre Dame, which claims to be America's premier Catholic institution of higher learning, made an egregious error in inviting President Barack Obama to address its May commencement and accept an honorary doctorate of laws degree.Since Inauguration Day, Obama has made several judgment calls that render Notre Dame's invitation little short of incomprehensible. The president has put the taxpayers of the United States back into the business of paying for abortions abroad. He has expanded federal funding for embryo-destructive stem-cell research and defended that position in a speech that was a parody of intellectually serious moral reasoning.

The Obama administration threatens to reverse federal regulations that protect the conscience rights of Catholic and other pro-life health-care professionals. And the administration has not lifted a finger to keep its congressional and teachers' union allies from snatching tuition vouchers out of the hands of poor inner-city children who want to attend Catholic schools in the nation's capital.How any of this, much less the sum total of it, constitutes a set of decisions Notre Dame believes worth emulating is not, to put it gently, easy to understand.Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic bishops of the United States, following the teaching and intention of the Second Vatican Council, have all declared that the defense of life from conception until natural death is the premier civil rights issue of our time. It is important to remember, however, that the Catholic defense of the right to life is not a matter of arcane or esoteric Catholic doctrine:

You don't have to believe in the primacy of the pope, in seven sacraments, in Mary's assumption into heaven, in the divine and human natures of Christ—you don't even have to believe in God—to take seriously the Catholic claim that innocent human life has an inalienable dignity and value that demands the protection of the laws. For that claim is not a uniquely Catholic claim; it reflects a first principle of justice that anyone can grasp, irrespective of their religious convictions or lack thereof.

Moreover, it is precisely that claim—that all members of the human family have a dignity and worth that law and public policy must recognize—that once led men like Notre Dame's former president, Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, to work for decades on behalf of civil rights for African-Americans. That claim and that work made it possible for Obama to be elected president of the United States. And, in a bitter irony, it is precisely that claim that is contradicted, indeed trampled on, by the Obama administration's policies on a whole host of life issues. This is what Notre Dame wishes to propose as worth emulating, by the award of an honorary doctorate of laws? This is what a Catholic institution dedicated to the idea that all law is under moral scrutiny wishes to celebrate? The mind boggles.

If Notre Dame wished to invite Obama to debate the life issues with prominent Catholic intellectuals during the next academic year, it would have done the country a public service and no reasonable person could object. If Notre Dame had invited the president to address a symposium on the grave moral issues the president himself acknowledges being at the heart of the biotech revolution, that, too, would have been a public service. For that is one of the things great universities do: They provide a public forum for serious argument about serious matters touching the common good. But, to repeat, a commencement is not a debate, nor is a commencement address the beginning of some sort of ongoing dialogue, as Notre Dame officials have tried to suggest.

A commencement address and the degree that typically accompanies it confer an honor. That honor is, or should be, a statement of the university's convictions.By inviting Obama to address its commencement and by offering him an honorary doctorate of laws, Notre Dame's leaders invite the conclusion that their convictions on the great civil rights issues of our time are not those that once led Hesburgh to stand with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and proclaim an America in which all God's children are equal before the law. And that is very bad news for all Americans.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who Is Bi-Partisan?

Records show McCain more bipartisan

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.
• Union attacks McCain with TV ad on economy
• Clinton tries to win back women for Obama
• Obama raises a record $66 million in August
• Trail Times blog

With calls for change in Washington dominating the campaign, both Mr. Obama, the Democrats' presidential nominee, and Mr. McCain, his Republican opponent, have claimed the mantle of bipartisanship.

But since 2005, Mr. McCain has led as chief sponsor of 82 bills, on which he had 120 Democratic co-sponsors out of 220 total, for an average of 55 percent. He worked with Democrats on 50 of his bills, and of those, 37 times Democrats outnumber Republicans as co-sponsors.
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, sponsored 120 bills, of which Republicans co-sponsored just 26, and on only five bills did Republicans outnumber Democrats. Mr. Obama gained 522 total Democratic co-sponsors but only 75 Republicans, for an average of 13 percent of his co-sponsors.
An Obama campaign spokesman declined to comment on The Times analysis.

McCain campaign surrogate Sen. Lindsey Graham, though, said the numbers expose a difference between the two candidates.

"The number - 55 and 13 - probably shows that one has been more desirous to find common ground than the other. The legislative record of Senator Obama is very thin," said Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, who has teamed up with Mr. McCain probably more than any other senator.

The Times study looked at the bills each man introduced as the chief sponsor, and at the bills sponsored by other senators that each man signed onto. The study excluded resolutions and amendments, focusing instead on measures that each man authored and put into the normal legislative process.

Former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, all independents, were grouped with Democrats because each caucused with Democrats during the time under study.

Bipartisanship is a frequent issue on the campaign trail, with the McCain camp and surrogates such as Mr. Graham arguing the standard is how often someone takes leadership on an issue in defiance of his own party - a measure by which Mr. Obama falls short and Mr. McCain clearly excels.

He even revels in his stances, telling the audience at a values forum at Saddleback Church in California last month his list is extensive: "Climate change, out-of-control spending, torture." He could have added campaign-finance overhaul, immigration, a patients' bill of rights, gun control and tax cuts as other areas on which he's broken with the majority of his party.

At the same forum, Mr. Obama said his major break with Democrats came on congressional ethics, when he sponsored a bill to curb meals and gifts from lobbyists.
In a memo to reporters, his campaign points to bills he worked on that gained near-unanimous support from both parties, including a bill more than a third of the Senate signed onto, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, pushing peace initiatives in Sudan, and a bill sponsored by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, on charitable contributions that passed by a voice vote in each chamber.

But foremost, his campaign cites his work teaming up in 2006 with Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican, on the Cooperative Proliferation Detection Act, a noncontroversial measure to secure weapons of mass destruction, and with Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, to force the administration to create a searchable database to track federal spending grants.
Speaking to reporters during the Republican National Convention earlier this month Obama aide Robert Gibbs said Mr. Lugar and Mr. Coburn would back up Mr. Obama's bipartisanship claims.
Mr. Lugar's spokesman said the senator is not doing interviews on the subject. Mr. Coburn, in an interview, said Mr. Obama is a good senator to work with, but said there's no comparison to Mr. McCain's long record.

"Barack is a great guy, a nice guy, he's a good friend of mine. He has passed two pieces of legislation since he's been in the Senate - had his name on two," Mr. Coburn said. He praised Mr. Obama's staff for the work they did on the spending grants bill, but he said Mr. Obama hasn't gone head-to-head against his leadership when it mattered: "Where have you seen him challenge the status quo?"

Mr. McCain on the campaign trail cites his own frequent Democratic legislative allies such as Mr. Lieberman, with whom he's worked on gun control and global warming; Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was his partner for immigration and patients' rights; Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, who worked with him on campaign finance; and Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who was the top Democrat on the Indian Affairs Committee when Mr. McCain was chairman.

Mr. Feingold, Mr. Dorgan and Mr. Kennedy didn't respond or declined through spokesmen to talk about the issue. Mr. Lieberman, however, has gone in the opposite direction, endorsing Mr. McCain for office and hitting Mr. Obama for failing to live up to his bipartisan claims.
Mr. Graham said it was unfortunate people weren't recognizing their work with Mr. McCain.
"What you've got now is, you've got some people who are afraid to recognize John's bipartisanship because of the nature of the election," Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Graham has teamed up with Mr. McCain on some of his most contentious bills, including the immigration and campaign-finance fights, and said they both have "the scars to prove" they were in the fights.

"I have experienced the price that's been paid to help John do some difficult things since 2004," he said.
Those fights are part of the reason Mr. McCain had trouble securing the Republican presidential nomination, including winning less than 50 percent of Republican primary voters' support, despite clearing the field less than halfway through the primaries.

The Times analysis found Mr. McCain's most frequent Democratic teammates are Mr. Dorgan, with whom he shared leadership of the Indian Affairs Committee and who co-sponsored 23 of Mr. McCain's bills, and Mr. Lieberman, who signed onto 15 McCain bills.
Mr. Obama's most frequent Republican partners were Mr. Lugar, who co-sponsored nine Obama bills, and Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, who signed on to eight of Mr. Obama's measures.

The bill on which Mr. McCain attracted the most support in the past few years was his plan to combat greenhouse-gas emissions. That bill garnered 16 co-sponsors, 14 of whom were Democrats, including Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrats' vice-presidential nominee. Mr. Obama himself signed onto another of Mr. McCain's global-warming bills.

Mr. Obama's best successes in attracting co-sponsors came on a bill to boost the union's bargaining power with the Federal Aviation Administration, on which all 38 co-sponsors were Democrats, and a bill to issue a postage stamp honoring Mrs. Parks, which garnered 24 Democrats and 14 Republicans.

The Times study didn't look at voting, but Congressional Quarterly conducts annual studies of senators' voting records.

Over his Senate career, Mr. McCain has voted with the majority of Senate Republicans about 85 percent of the time, while in his three years in the Senate Mr. Obama has voted with his party 97 percent of the time.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dennis Prager's Best

Why I Am Not a Liberal
Dennis PragerTuesday, August 12, 2008

The following is a list of beliefs that I hold. Nearly every one of them was a liberal position until the late 1960s. Not one of them is now.

Such a list is vitally important in order to clarify exactly what positions divide left from right, blue from red, liberal from conservative.

I believe in American exceptionalism, meaning that (a) America has done more than any international organization or institution, and more than any other country, to improve this world; and (b) that American values (specifically, the unique American blending of Enlightenment and Judeo-Christian values) form the finest value system any society has ever devised and lived by.

I believe that the bigger government gets and the more powerful the state becomes, the greater the threat to individual liberty and the greater the likelihood that evil will ensue. In the 20th century, the powerful state, not religion, was the greatest purveyor of evil in the world.

I believe that the levels of taxation advocated by liberals render those taxes a veiled form of theft. "Give me more than half of your honestly earned money or you will be arrested" is legalized thievery.

I believe that government funding of those who can help themselves (e.g., the able-bodied who collect welfare) or who can be helped by non-governmental institutions (such as private charities, family, and friends) hurts them and hurts society.

I believe that the United States of America, from its inception, has been based on the Judeo-Christian value system, not secular Enlightenment values alone, and therefore the secularization of American society will lead to the collapse of America as a great country.

I believe that some murderers should be put death; that allowing all murderers to live does not elevate the value of human life, but mocks it, and that keeping all murderers alive trivializes the evil of murder.

I believe that the American military has done more to preserve and foster goodness and liberty on Earth than all the artists and professors in America put together.

I believe that lowering standards to admit minorities mocks the real achievements of members of those minorities.

I believe that when schools give teenagers condoms, it is understood by most teenagers as tacit approval of their engaging in sexual intercourse.

I believe that the assertions that manmade carbon emissions will lead to a global warming that will in turn bring on worldwide disaster are a function of hysteria, just as was the widespread liberal belief that heterosexual AIDS will ravage America.

I believe that marriage must remain what has been in every recorded civilization -- between the two sexes.

I believe that, whatever the reasons for entering Iraq, the American-led removal of Saddam Hussein from power will decrease the sum total of cruelty on Earth.

I believe that the trial lawyers associations and teachers unions, the greatest donors to the Democratic Party, have done great harm to American life -- far more than, let us say, oil companies and pharmaceutical companies, the targets of liberal opprobrium.

I believe that nuclear power, clean coal, and drilling in a tiny and remote frozen part of Alaska and offshore -- along with exploration of other energy alternatives such as wind and solar power -- are immediately necessary.

I believe that school vouchers are more effective than increased spending on public schools in enabling many poorer Americans to give their children better educations.

I believe that while there are racists in America, America is no longer a racist society, and that blaming disproportionate rates of black violence and out-of-wedlock births on white racism is a lie and the greatest single impediment to African-American progress.

I believe that America, which accepts and assimilates foreigners better than any other country in the world, is the least racist, least xenophobic country in the world.

I believe the leftist takeover of the liberal arts departments in nearly every American university has been an intellectual and moral calamity.

I believe that a good man and a good marriage are more important to most women's happiness and personal fulfillment than a good career.

I believe that males and females are inherently different. For example, girls naturally prefer dolls and tea sets to trucks and toy guns -- if you give a girl trucks, she is likely to give them names and take care of them, and if you give a boy trucks, he is likely to crash them into one another.

I believe that when it comes to combating the greatest evils on Earth, such as the genocide in Rwanda, the United Nations has either been useless or an obstacle.

I believe that, generally speaking, Western Europe provides social and moral models to be avoided, not emulated.

I believe that America's children were positively affected by hearing a non-denominational prayer each morning in school, and adversely affected by the removal of all prayer from school.

I believe that liberal educators' removal of school uniforms and/or dress codes has had a terrible impact on students and their education.

I believe that bilingual education does not work, that for the sake of immigrant children and for the sake of the larger society, immersion in the language of the country, meaning English in America, is mandatory.

I believe that English should be declared the national language, and that ballots should not be printed in any language other than English. If one cannot understand English, one is probably not sufficiently knowledgeable to vote intelligently in an English-speaking country.

Finally, I believe that there are millions of Americans who share most of these beliefs who still call themselves "liberal" or "progressive" and who therefore vote Democrat. They do so because they still identify liberalism with pre-1970 liberalism or because they are emotionally attached to the word "liberal."

I share that emotion. But one should vote based on values, not emotions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dana and the President

President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour

Dana Milbank

Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee.

Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president's) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.

Along the way, he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president's. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him. His schedule for the day, announced Monday night, would have made Dick Cheney envious:

11:00 a.m.: En route TBA.
12:05 p.m.: En route TBA.
1:45 p.m.: En route TBA.
2:55 p.m.: En route TBA.
5:20 p.m.: En route TBA.

The 5:20 TBA turned out to be his adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, as if for the State of the Union. Capitol Police cleared the halls -- just as they do for the actual president. The Secret Service hustled him in through a side door -- just as they do for the actual president.

Inside, according to a witness, he told the House members, "This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for," adding: "I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama's biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.
Some say the supremely confident Obama -- nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that "the odds of us winning are very good" -- has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn't need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions.

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported last week that Obama has directed his staff to begin planning for his transition to the White House, causing Republicans to howl about premature drape measuring. Obama was even feeling confident enough to give British Prime Minister Gordon Brown some management advice over the weekend. "If what you're trying to do is micromanage and solve everything, then you end up being a dilettante," he advised the prime minister, portraying his relative inexperience much as President Bush did in 2000.

On his presidential-style visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem last week, Obama left a written prayer, intercepted by an Israeli newspaper, asking God to "help me guard against pride and despair." He seems to have the despair part under control, but the pride could be a problem.
One source of the confidence is the polling, which shows him with a big lead over McCain. But polls are fickle allies: A USA Today-Gallup poll released Monday found McCain leading Obama by four percentage points among likely voters. Another reason for Obama's confidence -- the press -- is also an unfaithful partner. The Project for Excellence in Journalism reported yesterday that Obama dominated the news media's attention for a seventh straight week. But there are signs that the Obama campaign's arrogance has begun to anger reporters.

In the latest issue of the New Republic, Gabriel Sherman found reporters complaining that Obama's campaign was "acting like the Prom Queen" and being more secretive than Bush. The magazine quoted the New York Times' Adam Nagourney's reaction to the Obama campaign's memo attacking one of his stories: "I've never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others." Then came Obama's overseas trip and the campaign's selection of which news organizations could come aboard. Among those excluded: the New Yorker magazine, which had just published a satirical cover about Obama that offended the campaign.

Even Bush hasn't tried that. But then again, Obama has been outdoing the president in ruffles and flourishes lately. As Bush held quiet signing ceremonies in the White House yesterday morning, Obama was involved in a more visible display of executive authority a block away, when he met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani at the Willard. A full block of F Street was shut down for the prime minister and the would-be president, and some 40 security and motorcade vehicles filled the street.

Later, Obama's aides issued an official-sounding statement, borrowing the language of White House communiques: "I had a productive and wide-ranging discussion. . . . I look forward to working with the democratically elected government of Pakistan."

It had been a long day of acting presidential, but Obama wasn't done. After a few hours huddling with advisers over his vice presidential choice, Obama made his way to the pep rally on the Hill. Moments after he entered the meeting with lawmakers, there was an extended cheer, followed by another, and another.

"I think this can be an incredible election," Obama said later. "I look forward to collaborating with everybody here to win the election."

Win the election? Didn't he do that already?