Archive for January, 2008

After reading this transcript from today’s Glenn Beck show, I now understand the wisdom of John McCain being the GOP presidential nominee.

STU: Why aren’t you happy? Big primary last night. We had to talk about Republican issues.
GLENN: John McCain won.
STU: Yeah, John McCain, Republican, frontrunner.
GLENN: We’re the Republican radio station.
STU: I know, I know. And John McCain’s Republican. Look at the odds right after his bid.
GLENN: What did you say?
STU: The Rs right after his name.
GLENN: But he is not really a Republican.
STU: No, I said John McCain, R.
GLENN: Have you seen his amnesty proposal?
STU: I know, it’s fantastic. I now love it.
GLENN: What do you mean you now love it?
STU: I now love it. It’s going to be great. The —
GLENN: We were on the air for months hating it.
STU: No, it was —
GLENN: This guy was in charge of the amnesty program. He partnered with Ted Kennedy.
STU: Yeah, I know. We love partnering with Ted Kennedy. I think this is the future of the party.
GLENN: You know who Juan Hernandez is, right?
STU: Oh, Juan, he is a great whopper. He is going to be fantastic.
GLENN: You hated Juan Hernandez. Juan Hernandez is the guy who says there should be one great state, Mex-Ameri-Canada. He says that Canada and Mexico and the United States should just all get together, once a Mexican, always a Mexican.
STU: This is ridiculous. You are talking about yesterday when I said that?
GLENN: What?
STU: You’re talking about yesterday when I said I didn’t like Juan Hernandez.
STU: This is today. John McCain won last night. Now I love him. I need you to get a little bit more pep in your voice when you are doing these breaks. These songs are way down key. They are low-key. People are excited today to vote for John McCain for President.
GLENN: Hang on. Hey, that’s the eagles and desperado on WGOP radio where, whoo, cowboy, John McCain won last night. And I mean, it’s — hey. Maybe Joe Lieberman could run with him because they’re good buddies, too. Joe Lieberman and John McCain and wouldn’t that be, you know, the whole global warming thing. They will be on top of that one with John McCain in the White House. And congratulations from all of us here at WGOP where the party goes on.

How can you argue against Stu’s logic? After all, isn’t it time that we just set aside our core beliefs for the good of the party? Just because our core beliefs have stood the test of time doesn’t mean that they’ll forever stand the test of time, right? Isn’t it better to agree with the latest opinion poll than agree with time-tested principles like federalism, limited government and sovereignty?

Seriously, though, Glenn’s and Stu’s mock conversation is being conducted all across the United States. People haven’t seen proof that Republicans still have a set of core values. People haven’t seen proof that Republicans stand for something other than being in the majority. The truth is that Reaganite conservatives stand for something quite different than Democrats.

Earlier tonight, I had the good furtune of talking with King. While the conversation started about the upcoming precince caucuses, it soon moved into talk about McCain, Romney and the future of the GOP. One quick point of agreement was that anyone who says that they’re a Reagan Republican should be disqualified from being the GOP presidential nominee. The only top tier candidate who didn’t claim to be created in Reagan’s image was Fred Thompson, the candidate who was most like Reagan philosophically.

According to CNN’s transcript of tonight’s debate, here’s the final exchange between Anderson Cooper and John McCain:

COOPER: Senator McCain, would Ronald Reagan endorse you?

MCCAIN: Ronald Reagan would not approve of someone who changes their positions depending on what the year is.

Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan came with an unshakable set of principles, and there were many times, like when he had to deploy the [Pershing] cruise missile to Europe and there were hundreds of thousands of demonstrators against it, he stood with it. Ronald Reagan had a deal in Reykjavik that everybody wanted him to take, but he stuck with his principles.

I think he knows that I stick with my principles. I put my political career on the line because I knew what would happen if we failed in Iraq. I hope that the experience I had serving as a foot soldier in his revolution would make him proud for me to continue that legacy of sticking to principle and doing what you believe in, no matter what.

It’s interesting that McCain started with a cheapshot at Mitt Romney, violating Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. I can’t imagine him gaining points with that.

McCain then gave a telling answer, saying only that Reagan “came with an unshakable set of principles.” It’s interesting because Reagan’s “unshakable set of principles” were rooted in the Constitution, including the First Amendment. Not only is it true that McCain won’t back away from BCRA, he wants to ‘strengthen it.’ I’d bet the ranch that Ronald Reagan would’ve swatted BCRA aside the second it hit his desk.

More importantly, Reagan was steadfast because Reagan’s principles were honed over several decades, rigorous debates and constant observation of the economy and the Soviet Union. People viewed Reagan as an “amiable dunce.” McCain doesn’t want to talk about what principles Ronald Reagan held because they frequently would be at odds with the principles that McCain holds dear.

I suppose it’s good news that Sen. McCain is a politician that sticks with his principles. The’res no doubt that the bad news is that Sen. McCain stubbornly defends principles that any federalist, including Reagan, would’ve run from.

The other thing I took from Wednesday’s debate is that McCain was his usual smug self. Bill Bennett correctly stated afterwards that McCain is still evasive:

BENNETT: But Anderson, you pressed McCain on this question of immigration, because he answered three times, my bill will not come up; that legislation would not come up. But you asked, or someone asked, would you support it again. And he finally did say, I think he said no. On the five or six big issues that people try to tag John McCain as being liberal, immigration, campaign finance down the line, he doesn’t respond to those. What he says is well, I’ve got a record. I’ve got a life.

MARTIN: Actually, he did respond, Bill. What he consistently said was, look, the American people let their voice be heard. That’s not going to come up. So that sounds like someone who said look, I have ideas.

BENNETT: Let me finish my point. On those five or six issues, he tends to throw up this cloud of, I am who I am. I have served my country. The point I want to make here is that people want real answers to those question. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. And he has to watch a kind of moral superiority. Look, I’m John McCain. Everybody admires the hero thing, but it doesn’t constitute an answer to some hard questions.

The truth is that McCain is too often evasive on the stickiest of subjects. He clearly doesn’t like talking about the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. If you look at the video, he gets visibly defensive anytime he’s asked about it.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I just visited the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition’s website. What I found astonished me. There was a link to their annual meeting, which was held in Duluth on Oct. 17, 2007. the first few paragraphs were tidbits of information, including a skit, the election of new officers, etc. After that, they devoted a section to resolutions for the upcoming federal legislative session. The first resolution called for fixing Medicare Part D, the second resolution was about authorizing “the Re-Importation of Prescription Drugs.”

Pretty standard liberal fare in terms of health care thus far. The next section caught my attention. Here’s why:

Impose a Tax on Energy Companies’ Windfall Profits
WHEREAS, energy companies are overcharging American consumers and generating record profits, while consumers are struggling to pay for energy, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition (GMHCC) urges Congress to enact a windfall profits tax on energy companies, with the money to be used for low income energy assistance, for conservation and for alternate fuels.

Thinking people of all political stripes are probably asking what a health care coalition passed a resolution calling for an energy windfall profits tax. When someone figures that out, let me know because that one zoomed right over my head. I suspect that health care & a windfall profits tax on oil have as much to do with each other as spring training has to do with Instant Runoff Voting.

Here’s their next federal resolution:

Strengthen Social Security
WHEREAS, the Social Security system is in need of correction for its future solvency but would be endangered by carving private accounts out of the Social Security Trust Fund, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition (GMHCC) urges Congress not to divert Social Security funds into private accounts, and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GMHCC urges Congress to take the cap off of wages subject to the payroll tax, so that all gross wages are taxed.

After those resolutions, I proceeded to read their Minnesota resolutions. Here’s the text of their first resolution:

Create Universal Health Care
WHEREAS, the health care crisis for all Minnesotans continues to escalate with no solutions for affordability being offered by the private sector; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition (GMHCC) urges the Minnesota Legislature to enact a public, affordable, universal health care system for all Minnesotans, by passing Senate File 102 – House File 479, which would create a process to produce legislation for this purpose and require it to be implemented by 2010, and also proposes a constitutional amendment for the right to affordable health care; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition (GMHCC) supports, as stepping stones, state legislation to create a public health insurance system, such as one to unify state-subsidized programs, public employees’, retirees’, legislators’, and small business health insurance and that of universal coverage for children.

Let’s give GMHCC credit for their straightforwardness. Let’s also chastise them for proposing such a disastrous policy. The notion that health care is a constitutional right isn’t absurd because it’s beyond that. It’s also worth noting the inflammatory rhetoric that they used in the resolution:

WHEREAS, the health care crisis for all Minnesotans continues to escalate with no solutions for affordability being offered by the private sector

It isn’t a crisis when 91 percent of Minnesotans have health insurance. It isn’t a crisis when 59 percent of Minnesota’s uninsured are eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. It’s impossible to examine objective facts & conclude that Minnesota has a health care crisis. One of those objective facts is that Minnesota has ranked first or second in overall health in the nation each of the last 15 years.

It’s also fairly ridiculous to say that GMHCC is only interested in health care, especially when this is their vision statement:

Vision Statement
The Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition represents the interests of all citizens in Greater Minnesota on health care and other issues of economic and social justice.

  • We seek changes that promote the health and well-being of all citizens and correct the great economic inequalities in our society.
  • We seek to help build a society that lives out the values of compassion,integrity, meaningful relationships, and mutual accountability.

Simply put, GMHCC is just another liberal activist organization. Their big push this year is the government’s takeover of a huge sector of the US economy universal health care but it wouldn’t be surprising if some of their people showed up in 2009 working for another part of the socialist agenda. And, yes, socialism isn’t overheated rhetoric. Capitalism seeks to guarantee equality of opportunity; socialism seeks equality of outcomes.

Ask yourself this question: When was the last time you read about a capitalist organization seeking to “correct the great economic inequalities in our society”?

I’ve written about single-payer health care alot the last couple weeks. That’s because I know what’s at stake. Let me remind you of a few things I’ve posted. Here’s something that John Marty said about health care:

“We need to view health care as a community need, like we think of the police department or the fire department.”

Not coincidentally, John Marty spoke at another health care forum last September. The special guests at that day’s events were John Conyers & Keith Ellison. Here’s what Joel Segal, Conyers’ legislative aide, said at that event:

“Nothing is going to change except there will be no more stock market, investor-owned doctors’ offices or hospitals,” said Segal.

That’s what socialists sound like when they talk about health care. They view health care professionals, whether we’re talking about hospitals, doctors or pharmaceutical companies, as greedy money-grubbers. Where a capitalist sees profit as motivation for taking risks, socialists see profits as rich people taking advantage of poor & oppressed people.

Yes, that’s a bit of an oversimplification but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccorate. The question to ask is this: Which lens would you rather view life through? If you’d rather view life through a capitalist’s eyes, then you’d better be willing to work hard to defeat this constitutional amendment staring us in the face:

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to state that every resident of Minnesota has the right to health care and that it is the responsibility of the governor and the legislature to implement all necessary legislation to ensure affordable health care?
Yes …….
No …….”

If that constitutional amendment isn’t defeated, then we’ll have a socialized health care system in the near future.

In summation, GMHCC definitely advocates for rationed socialized health care but it doesn’t stop there. Based on their past statements & documents, the people that staff GMHCC believe in socialism as a general economic model.

That’s a message worth rejecting.

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I just visited enemy territory, aka Liberal in the Land of Conservatives. Eric’s come up with a great idea for Monday night, February 4th. That night, he’ll host a live webchat on the GOP & Democratic presidential races as well as a discussion of the Minnesota Senate race & “politics in general.” Furthermore, he’s invited Minnesotans to participate in a presidential poll for both parties.

So, to get back into the swing of things on a national level I have created two polls in the left sidebar to gauge the level of support in both the Republican and Democratic contests here in Minnesota. I will leave the polling open until Monday, February 4th. The only thing I ask is that ONLY people living in Minnesota participate and that you vote only ONCE.

To top it off, I am inviting ALL visitors to participate in the first ever Liberal in the Land of Conservative political chat on February 4th.

All that’s asked of people participating in the chat is that they discuss things with civility, something that I heartily agree with. follow the link above to Eric’s post for more details. This promises to be a fun event.

Just as an aside, I met Eric at the recent health care forum. I now consider him a friend & a gentleman. (Just because he’s on the wrong side of the issues doesn’t mean that he isn’t a gentleman. LOL)The most refreshing thing about him is that he’s genuinely interested in talking about the issues instead of talking smack.

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Earlier today, Captain Ed announced that he’d caucus for Mitt Romney when Minnesota holds its caucuses on Super Duper Tuesday. Of the remaining candidates, I find myself agreeing most with Mitt. Something that Captain Ed said, though, raised some red flags for me. This is the part that caught my attention:

This decision did not come easily. Some have complained about the choices available to the Republicans, but I have seen the field as a collection of highly accomplished, experienced candidates, almost all of whom I could support, enthusiastically, in a general election. That made the decision as hard as it was, and it forced me to analyze what I want to see in a nominee.

Frankly, this isn’t a great bunch of candidates. John McCain is certainly strong on the Iraq war but he’s also the guy who would pick justices who would preserve his only legislative ‘achievement’, campaign finance reform. He’s also the man who thinks that manmade global warming is so important that he’s willing to co-sponsor a huge tax increase to reverse manmade global warming.

That’s before we start talking about his role in the McCain-Kennedy Grand Bargain amnesty bill. Sen. McCain says that he “got the message” on immigration reform, that he’ll shut down the borders first before giving all the illegal immigrants amnesty. As I wrote here, we got the message, too, when he hired Juan Hernandez as his “Hispanic Outreach Director.”

That isn’t the resume of a great candidate. The only way you get there is if you’re good at rationalizing and if you use the loosest of subjective criteria.

Next there’s Mike Huckabee. His resume reads like a liberal’s. He’s cut some taxes, raised others. He tried giving illegal immigrants taxpayer-subsidized tuition breaks. That’s before we start talking about his foreign policy credentials, which are meager at best.

He’s run the Arkansas GOP into the ground, too, because conservatives frequently opposed his initiatives. According to the Washington Times article, anyone that didn’t follow him in lockstep was undercut by Huckabee.

Here’s another statement that I disagree with:

The Democrats have no one who can match that experience. Putting McCain or especially Fred Thompson against the Democratic nominee, whether that is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, effectively cedes the inexperience argument. It argues that Republicans consider resumes to be irrelevant, and that will have us fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

Having Fred Thompson as the nominee “effectively cedes the inexperience argument”? Who was the man that gave the most intelligent answers, whether the subject was foreign policy, immigration, specific entitlement reforms, the overall economy? Who mopped the floor with the other candidates in the ABC debate in New Hampshire? Who mopped the floor with them again in FNC’s South Carolina debate?

Putting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on stage in a debate against Fred would be a delight. He’d surgically destroy their arguments, just like he did with Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney during the ABC-sponsored debate from New Hampshire. Fred’s the only GOP with whom the word gravitas fits. Simply put, Fred was the smartest man on stage at the GOP presidential debates.

I’d further argue that Fred’s experience on the Intelligence Committee and Foreign Relations Committee gives him a depth of knowledge on the most important issue of the race that neither Hillary or Obama has.

To be fair, though, there’s much in Captain Ed’s post that I agree with. Here’s the part that I agree most with:

Both Rudy and Romney have led entire organizations in both the public and private sectors, with Romney getting the best in this area. They have had the buck stop at their desk. Both Rudy and Romney have transformed failing entities (New York City and the Salt Lake City Olympics).

It’s impossible to argue with Captain Ed’s arguments here. Both gentlemen have turned disasters into undeniable success stories. Here’s another statement with which I agree:

Mitt, however, has shown that he will fight in every state, while Rudy played a bit of rope-a-dope, and has apparently lost the gamble. Until the debate, I thought Rudy might have had the right idea, but Rudy still hasn’t come out of the gate in any effective manner.

Mitt has the resources needed to compete in each state, something that’ll be needed in the coming months.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Now that he’s almost mathematically eliminated, stories are coming out about the Arkansas Disaster that Mike Huckabee presided over. This is one of those stories. To say that Huckabee didn’t rebuild the GOP is understatement. To say that he didn’t make friends is also understatement.

Jake Files was a newly elected representative when all two dozen Arkansas House Republicans met for their first caucus in 1999. They had doubled their numbers in elections two months earlier, and were ready to join Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee in pushing for conservative government.

That was when Brenda Turner, the governor’s chief of staff, entered.

“Just walked in, shut the door and said, ‘There’s two kinds of people in the world: those who are for Mike Huckabee and those who are against Mike Huckabee. I’ll do everything I can to help the first group. I’ll do everything I can to hurt the second,'” said Mr. Files, who left the legislature after two terms.

Last night, I said that the first word I thought of when Mike Huckabee’s name came up was socialist. I’ll still stand by that but I’ll add that the second word I’ll think of now is dictator. Tyrant also fits. Like his responses to Mitt asking him if he raised taxes, Huckabee’s response to these charges is similarly evasive:

Jim Harris, a campaign spokesman who also worked for Mr. Huckabee in the governor’s office, said Mr. Huckabee was deeply involved in helping state Republicans.

“He raised a lot of money regularly; he campaigned tirelessly for GOP candidates up and down the ballot; he gave from [his political action committee] to GOP candidates,” Mr. Harris said, adding that Mr. Huckabee appointed years’ worth of Republicans to boards and commissions.

“This created a strong network of individuals who will run for office in the future under the Republican banner,” he said.

Huckabee’s GOP opponents tell a strikingly different tale:

Mr. Huckabee gave contributions as well during those years to at least three Democrats. Given that $5,000 of CLAPAC’s money came in a 2003 donation from the state Republican Party, that means some Republican money was used indirectly to aid the party’s own opponents.

“Go out and ask those ladies at bake sales or out raising money if they thought that money would end up in the hands of Democratic candidates,” Mr. Hendren said. “That’s what drove us up a wall.”

I’ve called Huckabee alot of things (socialist, tyrant are my favorites) but I wouldn’t call him a team player if my life depended on it. the more we learn about Mr. Huckabee, the less appealling he becomes. Frankly, I can’t find anything appealling about him once you get past the part that he’s pro-life.

This is the right time to remind people that the GOP going forward must strive to be a principled majority party. That doesn’t mean ideologically pure because purist parties are permanent minority parties. What it means is that we first define the most important principles that undergird our policies. Secondly, it means we direct our contributions to people who share those principles with us. That means that the RNC and the NRSC don’t get contributions until they stop supporting RINOs.

Thirdly, it’s the activists’ responsibility to tell their legislator what’s most important to them. Without that input, it’s guaranteed that they’ll lose sight of reality. If they stray too far on the most important issues, then we need to remind them that they work for We The People, not vice versa. From time to time, that means running a candidate in a primary against a straying incumbent.

Based on this information and these principles, it’s safe to say that Mike Huckabee didn’t care about staying faithful to conservative principles nor to the party that he belonged to. Furthermore, had the Arkansas GOP demanded fidelity to these principles, they never would’ve had to deal with him.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson has a must read column on why Fred Thompson’s campaign failed…and why it shouldn’t have failed. Here’s a delicious sample of Ferguson’s thinking:

The man or woman who seeks out such a life and enjoys its discomforts is not normal. Not crazy necessarily, but not normal, and probably, when the chips are down, not to be trusted, especially when the purpose of it all is to acquire power over other people (also called, in the delicate language of contemporary politics, “public service” or “getting things done on behalf of the American people”). The case is made, in defense of the contemporary campaign, that this is an efficient if unlovely way to choose leaders: It winnows out those who lack the stamina and discipline necessary to lead a rich, large, powerful, and complicated country. By this argument, Thompson failed because he deserved to.

But the opposite case is easier to make, that the modern campaign excludes anyone who lacks the narcissism, cold-bloodedness, and unreflective nature that the process requires and rewards. In his memoir, Greenspan remarks that of the seven presidents he has known well, the only one who was “close to normal” was Jerry Ford. And, as Greenspan points out, Ford was never elected.

Fred Thompson probably feels terrible at the moment, but he should be honored to be in Ford’s company.

Frankly, I was upset that Fred didn’t garner more votes than he did. I’m more upset with the way the media gave his campaign less attention than they’d give a leper. Most of all, I’m upset with right-of-center commentators who talked endlessly about the latest poll, the candidates’ cash on hand and other horserace-related topics while ignoring the candidates’ qualifications.

To this day, I’m still convinced that Fred Thompson was the most over-qualified presidential candidate since Reagan. To this day, I’m upset that conservatives, who say that the GOP has to be the party of ideas, ignored Fred like he was the Invisible Man.

After the 2006 midterm elections, analysts said that it was an “ideology-free campaign.” I said that the GOP had to return to being the party of ideas. That’s what I’ve devoted the last 14 months to. On issue after issue, I’ll bet that Fred would’ve drawn a sharp, compelling contrast between the Democrats’ position and the GOP’s position.

Conversely, the least-qualified candidate was Mike Huckabee. Simply put, his smartalecky answers were seen as amusing, which garnered him some attention. Frankly, I’ve never even thought of the Huckster as a second tier candidate, much less a first tier candidate.

One theory I have about why Fred didn’t do as well as some thought he would is because the GOP focused on being a big tent party that it forgot to be a principled big tent party. The GOP got so enamored with the majority that they tossed aside the principles that brought the GOP to the doorstep of being the majority party for a generation.

Another theory I have about the GOP’s rejection of Fred Thompson is their not understanding what the pillars of conservatism is built with. At its core, the three essential pillars of Reaganite conservatism were liberty, liberty and liberty. Fred understood that we needed a strong national defense strategy to keep us a free nation. Fred understood that we needed to keep taxes and spending low to give individuals economic liberty. Fred understands that Americans cherish personal freedom, which is why small l libertarianism is part of the Reaganite-Goldwater model.

Views like these might have earned another candidate a reputation for “straight talk”, maybe even the title of “maverick.” But Thompson was more subversive than that; he was an existential maverick, and his campaign was an implicit rebuke to the system in its entirety. He was a man out of his time. With its reduced metabolism and procedural modesty, his campaign still might have served as an illustration of what politics once was like and, if we have the audacity to hope, might be again. After all, by the standards of a century ago, Thompson was a whirligig.

The best thing that could happen to the GOP is for the next generation of GOP leaders to be Fred Thompson intellectual heavyweights. That’ll take lots of work because intellects like Fred don’t come along everyday. Let’s illustrate that by playing a little word association with the candidates.

The first word I think of when I hear McCain’s name is panderer. (The second is stubborn.) The first word I think of when I hear Huckabee’s name is socialist. The first word I think of when I hear Ron Paul’s name is either Neptune or Pluto. The first word I think of when I hear Mitt’s name is flip-flopper. The first word I think of when I hear Fred’s name is gravitas. The first word I think of when I hear Giuliani’s name is 9/11.

That should’ve been the big indicator as to who was best equipped to be the GOP nominee. Unfortunately, the first states allowed open voting, meaning that liberals could pick candidates as unqualified as Mike Huckabee and as liberal as John McCain.

It’s time we started picking serious candidates that would’ve tied the Hillary Clintons and Barack Obamas of the world in knots. That’s what Fred gave us. Which of the last debates, from the ‘Schoolmarm’ debate in Iowa to the ABC debate in New Hampshire to the FNC debate in South Carolina wasn’t Fred the smartest man on the stage? That string of impressive debates was nothing less than an intellectual drubbing by Fred.

While the other candidates each settled into their niches, Fred owned the stage. National security credentials? Check. Fiscal conservative? Yep. Federalist? Definitely. Immigration hardliner? Without a doubt.

The most-repeated ‘criticism’ of Fred was his……style. We were insulted by people who said that Fred didn’t have a fire in his belly. PHHHFTTT!!!! Give me a brilliant man who’s thought through the important issues of the day over a politician with fire in their belly anytime. That isn’t a difficult decision.

Finally, my hope is that we’ll take Fred Thompson, and like-minded politicians, seriously the next time around.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The LA Times Jonathan Chait is getting tired of the Clintons’ scorched earth tactics. In fact, he thinks it’s time for them to exit stage left:

Something strange happened the other day. All these different people, friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read, kept saying the same thing: They’ve suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we’ve reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.

The sentiment seems to be concentrated among Barack Obama supporters. Going into the campaign, most of us liked Hillary Clinton just fine, but the fact that tens of millions of Americans are seized with irrational loathing for her suggested that she might not be a good Democratic nominee. But now that loathing seems a lot less irrational. We’re not frothing Clinton haters like…well, name pretty much any conservative. We just really wish they’d go away.

The big turning point seems to be this week, when the Clintons slammed Obama for acknowledging that Ronald Reagan changed the country. Everyone knows Reagan changed the country. Bill and Hillary have said he changed the country. But they falsely claimed that Obama praised Reagan’s ideas, saying he was a better president than Clinton, something he didn’t say and surely does not believe.

It’s amazing that people on the left didn’t say anything about the Clintons when they directed their attacks at conservatives but now they’re frothing at the mouth now that they’re attacking a liberal. I won’t belabor the point that there is a double standard; that isn’t news.

My point is a much bigger point. The Jonathan Chaits of the world think that any charge against a conservative is accurate. That’s why they don’t challenge liberals when they disparage conservatives. Here’s proof of that predisposition:

Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along? Maybe not right to set up a perjury trap so they could impeach him, but right about the Clintons’ essential nature? Fortunately, the Journal’s attempt to convince us that the Clintons have always been unscrupulous liars seemed to prove the opposite. Its examples of Clintonian lies were their claims that Bob Dole wanted to cut Medicare, that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy, that Paula Jones was “trailer trash” and that Kenneth Starr was a partisan.

Except Dole did vote to cut Medicare, there was a vast right-wing conspiracy and Starr was and is a rabid partisan. (“Trailer trash” is, of course, a matter of opinion, and it’s a cruel thing to say, but as far as whether it’s a lie, well, it’s not like they called William F. Buckley “trailer trash.”)

Jonathan Chait saying that Bob Dole voted to cut Medicare isn’t supported by the facts. He voted for a bill that would’ve reduced the rate of spending growth in Medicare, which isn’t the same thing. Further, there hasn’t been a vast right wing conspiracy to trash the Clintons because the Clintons’ sleazy nature was apparent to anyone not suffering from BDS. Carville calling Paula Jones trailer trash is one of the ugliest chapters in American political history. It’s also typical of Clintonista attacks.

Jonathan Chait doesn’t bother checking the veracity of charges the Clintons make against Republicans because he’s assumed that they’re true.

I don’t know when the tipping point will come but it will happen. There will come a time when conscientious Democrats won’t be able to look past the Clintons’ behavior. There will come a time when they’ll say enough.

The Clintons’ unscrupulous attacks on Obama might speed the coming of that day.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

With most of the Twins’ offseason attention focused on trading Johan Santana, it’s understandable that Twins fans were apprehensive. Today, the Twins gave their fans reason for optimism by signing Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer to longterm contracts. According to the Strib’s LaVelle E. Neal, Justin Morneau signed a 6 year, $80 million contract while Michael Cuddyer signed a 3 year, $24 million contract with a team option for a 4th year at $10.5 million.

The best news of the weekend is that Twins GM Bill Smith says that today’s deals won’t stand in the way of them negotiating with Johan Santana in the hopes of keeping him with the Twins. While I think keeping Johan is improbable at best, the thought of keeping him here the next 4+ years excites me.

Signing Johan would give the Twins a rotation of Santana, Lirano, Baker, Perkins & either Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn or Boof Bonser. Their bullpen would be solid, too, with Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain and Dennis Reyes setting up Joe Nathan.

The biggest news this offseason that nobody’s talking about is that the Twins lineup is much improved. If the Twins don’t trade Johan for a starting centerfielder, they’ll sign either Corey Patterson or Kenny Lofton. Personally, I hope it’s Lofton because (a) he isn’t aging, (b) he’s still productive & (c) he’s got a great veteran presence in the lineup.

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that the Twins keep Johan & sign Lofton. Here’s what their batting order would look like:
Leadoff- K. Lofton, CF
2nd- J. Kubel, DH
3rd- J. Mauer, C
4th- M. Cuddyer, RF
5th- J. Morneau, 1B
6th- D. Young, LF
7th- M. Lamb, 3B
8th- A. Everett, SS
9th- B. Harris, 2B

They’ll likely be a bit weak at the bottom of the lineup but they’ll more than make up for it with the top & middle of the lineup. When the Twins traded for Delmon Young, I loved the move because he has the potential of being a superstar. He’s got one of the strongest, most accurate arms in baseball. He’s a power hitter. He’s got pretty good range defensively, too. He’s got the tools to become the Twins best hitter by 2009.

Having a middle of the lineup inhabited by Mauer, Cuddy, Justin & Young would be imposing at minimum.

Something that people haven’t thought much about is how good the Twins will be defensively. On any other team, losing Torii would be devastating defensively. If they sign Lofton, he’ll be solid defensively in terms of range, though he doesn’t have Torii’s throwing arm. Whatever they lack in center, they’ll more than make up for on the corners. Teams won’t take extra bases on Cuddyer & Young because they’ve got the two best throwing arms of all the corner outfielders in baseball. PERIOD.

The infield defense should be pretty solid, too, especially with the addition of Adam Everett at shortstop. While Everett’s bat isn’t a plus, everything I’ve read said his defense will be a positive. The reports I’ve read say that he’s got above average range, a strong arm & picks everything hit in his direction. Justin Morneau hasn’t made people forget about Doug Mientkiewicz or Kent Hrbek defensively but he’s improved defensively each year. The scouting reports on Brendan Harris & Mike Lamb are solid, too.

I’m not convinced that this is going to be a major rebuilding year. It might turn out that way but I won’t think that until I know Johan’s status. Until that’s settled, I’ll just be thankful that they’ve locked up 2 important players like Cuddy & Morneau for the foreseeable future.

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After getting his ass handed to him on immigration reform the first time, John McCain started saying that he’d “gotten the message”. He still insists that his bill wasn’t amnesty, though, making conservatives wary of his immigration ‘transformation’. This information should remove all doubt:

A reader alerted me to the fact that McCain’s “Hispanic Outreach Director” is the same guy who held that job for Mexico’s President Vicente Fox! U.S.-born dual citizen Juan Hernandez was in Fox’s cabinet as Director of the Office for Mexicans Living Abroad and is notorious for having said of Mexican Americans on Nightline on June 7, 2001, “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.'” Does McCain agree with this? Has he offered Hernandez, a former high-level foreign government official who presumably swore an oath to uphold the Mexican constitution, a place in a future McCain Administration? That’s not a rhetorical question.

I’ve said many times that people didn’t trust McCain’s second attempt because La Raza (NCLR) had veto power over anything brought up. NCLR are open borders advocates. Add the hiring Juan Hernandez as his “Hispanic Outreach Director” to the NCLR debacle and you’ve got an immigration reform disgrace. It’s pretty apparent that John McCain hasn’t changed his views one iota. He’s still the same pro-amnesty guy he’s always been.

McCain’s actions tell us what his position is. His actions don’t agree with his words, which is a polite way of saying that McCain shouldn’t be trusted with immigration policy. He’s as stubborn and prideful as anyone I’ve ever seen in public life. Frankly, I wouldn’t trust him on immigration policy if my life depended on it.

Here’s part of what Mark Krikorian wrote back in 2004:

There’s nothing secret about this effort. President Vicente Fox once referred to himself as president of all 118 million Mexicans, the 100 million in Mexico and the (then-)18 million in the United States, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens. And this is a long-term proposition for them: In June 2001, Juan Hernandez, former head of Fox’s cabinet-level office for relations with Mexicans abroad, said on ABC’s “Nightline,” “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think, ‘Mexico first.'”

Here’s more of Krikorian’s writings:

IDs for illegals.

One of the biggest problems for illegal aliens is their lack of identification; it prevents them from getting driver’s licenses or bank accounts and leads police to inquire into their legal status when stopped for traffic violations. This is a good thing, because making life difficult for illegal aliens is one important part of any successful effort to prevent illegal immigration.

But the Mexican government rejects our attempts at enforcing immigration controls and has launched a successful effort to get the Mexican consular registration card – known as the matricula consular – to be acknowledged by many banks and local governments.

Acceptance of this card confers a quasi-legal status on illegal aliens, partly shielding them from detection and incorporating them even more completely into our nationallife.

Juan Hernandez certainly knew all about this policy and encouraged it. Now he’s Team McCain’s amnesty policy director? Why should people trust McCain on immigration? Other than his words, what’s changed since McCain first teamed with Ted Kennedy on the first amnesty bill? Granted, he’s repackaged everything but it hasn’t been changed substantively.

This hiring should be seen in this light too: It’s just another instance of John McCain sticking his finger in the GOP’s eye. This is him giving the GOP the finger. It’s time the GOP thanked him for his years of public service, then tell him that they’re moving in a fresh direction.

We need to start down the path to maintaining our national sovereignty. It’s time we stopped practicing Washington politics as usual. Instead, we should reject the insiders’ games that McCain plays.

Most importantly, we should fill John McCain’s inbox with the message that we “got the message” he’s sending on immigration reform and that we reject his message.

UPDATE: Hot Air is all over this:

Hernandez and I go way back. He had a bad habit of calling you “My friend” during TV debates while smoothly peddling open-borders propaganda. I cured that bad habit several years ago during a Fox News segment by pointing out that he was not, in fact, “my friend.”
He is not your friend, either.
Hernandez was a close advisor to Vicente “Welcome to North America” Fox and headed up a Mexican bureaucracy called the “Presidential Office for Mexicans Abroad.” It was designed to allow Hernandez to travel across the country, meddling with local, state, and federal immigration enforcement on behalf of millions of illegal
aliens in America. He lobbied for illegal alien driver’s licenses and Mexico first, defended Mexican bus operators carrying illegal aliens to the USA, and promoted extending banking privileges to illegal aliens.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Though I hate admitting it, it’s time to move on now that Fred’s dropped his presidential bid. Before we move on, though, I think it’s important to learn from Fred’s campaign.

The biggest lesson to be learned is that Fred shouldn’t have teased us so long with his entry. Fredheads should’ve contacted his campaign and told him he needed to get in so he could carve out his niche. Had the Fred Thompson of the last few debates jumped in in July or August, I’m convinced that he’d be the prohibitive favorite for the GOP’s presidential nomination right now.

The next biggest lesson we must learn as a political party is that Thompson’s type of conservatism is appealling. The other lesson we need to learn is that we don’t need to abandon conservatism to attract more squishy moderates. I’m all for a big tent but I insist that it’s a principled big tent. Which leads to this important point.

John McCain’s way of collaborating with Democrats is the opposite approach that Reagan used in winning over liberals. Reagan won liberals over with policies that made too much sense to argue against. McCain hasn’t tried winning liberals over. History will show that McCain caved each time he worked with Democrats. The only time he didn’t cave was on the surge.

McCain caved on the Gang of 14 without a legitimate reason. McCain caved on the First Amendment when he teamed up with Russ Feingold, Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan on campaign finance ‘reform’. He caved to Ted Kennedy on immigration ‘reform’, even allowing an open borders advocacy group like NCLR a seat at the negotiating table for the second bill.

Because NCLR was doing the negotiating, we knew that McCain wasn’t talking straight with us when he said that he’d learned his lesson about comprehensive immigration reform. Everyone knew that he and Ted Kennedy simply repackaged the same teethless provisions into a new bill.

Now we’re down to Mitt, Rudy, McCain and Huckabee, though I don’t think Huckabee will be with us much longer. For the reasons stated above, I can’t support John McCain. Simply put, he’s too headstrong to not attempt to shaft Republicans again. I won’t tolerate that. I also can’t support Gov. Huckabee because I’ve seen too many of his dirty tricks. I won’t support candidates that I can’t trust. I also think his Fair Tax plan is a disaster waiting to happen.

That leaves Rudy and Mitt. I like alot of the things that Rudy brings to the table policywise but I just can’t endorse him. I’ll support Mr. Giuliani if he’s the nominee but I won’t go farther than that.

That leaves Mitt. As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve had strong reservations about Mitt. I’ve questioned Mitt’s abortion transformation. I’ve questioned him about flip-flopping on the Bush tax cuts. I’ve called him a convenient conservative who didn’t always apply the principles of federalism.

That said, there’s alot of positions that Mitt’s adopted that I agree with. He’s said that he’d make the Bush tax cuts permanent, something I strongly agree with. Mitt’s said that he’d aggressively fight the jihadists, something else that I approve of. While I’m not convinced that Mitt would hit the ground running with foreign policy, I’d feel alot more comfortable with him if his running mate was Fred Thompson.

Having a Mitt-Fred ticket would be rock solid, far more impressive than Hillary and whoever or Obama and whoever. Fred’s conservative credentials can’t be argued with. Equally important, he’d give the Romney administration instant foreign policy credibility. With Fred as VP, we’d also be certain that the judges and justices that Mitt picked would fit the Roberts/Alito/Thomas/Scalia mold. You can’t do better than that.

I’m not endorsing Mitt Romney at this point. I’m simply pointing out what the best ticket is at this point. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have misgivings about Mitt but I’d also be lying if I said that he’d have the most upside as long as he’s paired with Fred.

Let’s face facts about something. A Mitt-Fred ticket has much more of a chance of uniting the GOP than any other ticket. We’ll need that if we hope to keep the White House under GOP control.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative