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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The Patriot Act Is Not Conservative

If Americans needed another reminder of why the Democratic Party is absolutely worthless, they got it during last week’s Patriot Act extension debate when Senate Majority leader Harry Reid again behaved exactly like the Bush-era Republicans he once vigorously opposed. In 2005, Reid bragged to fellow Democrats, “We killed the Patriot Act.” Today, Reid says that anyone who opposes the Patriot Act might be responsible for the killing of Americans. Dick Cheney now hears an echo and Americans deserve congressional hearings—as to whether Harry Reid is a sociopath, mere liar, or both.

But while Democrats stand pat for Bush Republicanism, the GOP now debates the extent to which it will remain the party of Dubya. Tea Party favorites like Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee and Congressmen Ron Paul, Justin Amash, Allen West and others, all voted against the Patriot Act. To varying degrees, each of these GOP representatives questioned the act’s effectiveness and legality. But unfortunately, most Republicans still won’t ask any questions. Read More…

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Israel and the Right

When President Obama said last week that Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders, Benjamin Netanyahu declared “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967.” Israel’s Prime Minister was clearly not pleased.

But perhaps even more perturbed was the American Right, with the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates offering the following reactions: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Obama’s Israeli-Palestinian policy a “disaster.” Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said “President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.” Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said that America would be “cursed” by God if it “rejected” Israel. A critical Sarah Palin even advised Obama to read the Old Testament.

Congressman Ron Paul was also critical of Obama’s Israel policy, but from a different perspective: “While President Obama’s demand that Israel make hard concessions in her border conflicts may very well be in her long-term interest, only Israel can make that determination on her own, without pressure from the United States or coercion by the United Nations. Unlike this President, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs.”

Paul added, “We should respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate her policy from Washington.”

This is not the first time Paul has taken this position. Read More…

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America’s Moral Decline

American moral decline has been discussed for as long as there has been an America. Conservatives have long noted how certain cultural shifts throughout our nation’s history have redefined social norms, transforming or even damaging traditional American values. They’re often right, as concepts like the sanctity of life, the institution of marriage and the importance of faith have all been under assault for decades.

But have we been too narrow in defining our traditional values? What, exactly, are American values? How are they unique to this country?

If socialism has defined much of Europe and the world for the last century, a healthy respect for the separation of the public and private sectors has long been a distinctly American value. But not according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB has tried to prevent the Boeing corporation from opening a new plant in right-to-work South Carolina, contending that the company’s decision to not to expand an existing unionized plant in Washington for the same purpose amounted to an illegal retaliation against union workers. The NLRB’s board members are appointed by President Obama. Read More…

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Newt Gingrich Is Not a Conservative

When Newt Gingrich criticized Congressman Paul Ryan’s Medicare voucher plan and repeated his support for individual healthcare mandates this week, many conservatives expressed outrage and shock. Conservatives were right to be outraged. But they shouldn’t have been shocked.

Simply put, Newt Gingrich has never been a conservative.

Perhaps a quick primer in perception versus reality is in order. The reason most presidential candidates are considered frontrunners is because enough people keep saying they are frontrunners. For example, candidates like former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels are considered frontrunners despite having less name recognition, lesser poll numbers and less fundraising ability than some of the other supposed second or third tier candidates. Still, their perception as such continues to dictate the current reality. Read More…

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Who’s a Republican?

After the first 2012 Republican presidential debate this month, newly appointed Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) director Christopher N. Malagisi observed:

Earth to Rep. Ron Paul… you are running for the Republican nomination for president, not the Libertarian or Democrat nomination. At various times throughout the Republican primary debate last evening, I had to remind myself I was actually watching a Republican debate. Without the interludes of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (and) Sen. Rick Santorum… you would think that Ron Paul (was) participating in a Democrat presidential primary debate, siding with Democrats on major social and defense policy initiatives.

Read More…

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