Identity Versus Philosophy

Most voters do not think in philosophical terms. This is not to say they don’t have political philosophies. It’s just that they arrive at their politics—first and foremost—according to which politicians they like most.

This phenomenon is perhaps easiest to observe at the moment in Obama Democrats, who’ve seen so many liberal policy promises ignored or rejected now that their guy has become president. If the Left once hated the Patriot Act and our Middle East wars with a passion, under Obama that hatred and passion has evaporated as quickly as the antiwar movement. What liberals really despised was George W. Bush. Now that a Democrat continues with the same policies, the Left magically doesn’t find them so terrible anymore.

Sarah Palin is the new George W. Bush. This is not to insult the former Alaska governor, only to note that Palin has replaced the former president as a focus of Left hatred. Just ask the average liberal their opinion of Palin. The venom spewed in your direction won’t have much to do with any particular policies, it will instead be an immediate and emotional rejection of her very person, combined with some snarky tidbits about her accent or intelligence. Read More…

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Ron Paul Won the Debate

Ron Paul won the debate. Not necessarily the presidential debate that took place this week—but the most important debates now taking place in the Republican Party. Monday night’s event was but the latest example.

Observers who now give former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann high marks for their debate performances are not wrong. Both candidates exhibited well that presidential “style” of so much worth to pundits and voters.

But what about substance? Who best represents the GOP’s current philosophy?

At the second debate of the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, FOX News’ Carl Cameron posed the following question to candidate Paul: “Congressman Paul, yet another question about electability: Do you have any?” The audience laughed as did the other candidates. But Cameron’s condescending question did contain a valid point: What place was there in the 2008 GOP for a limited government, antiwar Republican? Read More…

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Who’s an Isolationist?

The term “isolationist” is much like the word “racist” in that it has become almost useless due to its overuse. For example, if the Left rightly considers Ku Klux Klan members racist—but also members of the Tea Party who merely criticize President Obama “racist”—such a glaring logical disparity cries out for a reassessment of terminology. A word that can mean anything can quickly become meaningless—and it also becomes a great rhetorical weapon in a political environment that substitutes smears for thoughtful debate.

Such was the case at the Wall Street Journal last week which published an editorial entitled: “The Kucinich Republicans: The House GOP turns isolationist on Libya and war powers.” The “Kucinich Republicans” were the 87 GOP House members who supported liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich’s bill forcing a withdrawal of American troops from Libya within 15 days. What made these House Republicans “isolationist,” according to the WSJ, is that they now undermine the President by challenging his constitutional war powers and questioning his authority according to the War Powers Resolution Act of 1973. Read More…

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Weinergate and Other Trivialities

When I first heard about the scandal involving Congressman Anthony Weiner and some inappropriate photos that were taken of his private parts, I could’ve cared less. I simply thought of Weiner as a big government liberal who was pretty much like everyone else in Washington, DC—part of the problem. If Weiner was ever voted out of office his liberal district would probably elect another candidate just like him. If he were thrown out of office for being a sexual pervert, the same sort of replacement would likely occur. Scandal or no scandal, Weiner’s ultimate fate would do little to advance the cause of limited government—so I simply didn’t care what happened to him.

Writing from South Carolina, when I first heard about the 2009 scandal involving my state’s governor, Mark Sanford, cheating on his wife with an Argentinian mistress, it immediately depressed me. In his thorough fiscal conservatism—including being a lone voice amongst governors in standing up to President Obama’s so-called “stimulus” spending—Sanford was one of the few Republicans dedicated to reining in government spending. Even before the scandal, I worried that Sanford’s successor would be just another conventional big government Republican. Post-scandal, I worried that Sanford might be forced him to resign thus making way for some handpicked GOP hack. Scandal or no scandal, Sanford’s ultimate fate concerned me precisely because I did not want to see one of the few Republicans serious about limiting government banished from the political stage. Read More…

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A Conservative Foreign Policy Comeback?

President Obama’s intervention in Libya—pardon me, “NATO’s” intervention in Libya—has become a moment of reflection for conservatives. Whereas the Right gave the last Republican president carte blanche on foreign policy despite cries from the Left about abuse of power, many conservatives now mimic those complaints by demanding that our current Democratic president follow the rule of law.

The Libyan intervention Obama promised would last only “days, not weeks” has now lasted over two months—a direct violation of the War Powers Resolution which requires the President to get Congressional authority for such action after 60 days. Writes conservative columnist George Will: “The U.S. intervention in Libya’s civil war, intervention that began with a surplus of confusion about capabilities and a shortage of candor about objectives, is now taking a toll on the rule of law.”

Will isn’t alone in his concern. While the establishment centrists of both the Democratic and Republican leadership continue to shield Obama from the rule of law, some of the loudest demands that this war president be held accountable continue to come from the Right. Read More…

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