President Obama’s Strategic Miscalculations

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Fred Barnes, a Conservative political commentator for Fox News and the editor of the “Weekly Standard” magazine, wrote a straight factual piece in the Wall Street Journal that details Why Obama Isn’t Changing Washington.

To start with, Barnes reviews the president’s statements when campaigning for office:

“Change must come to Washington,” Mr. Obama said in a June 2008 speech. “I have consistently said when it comes to solving problems,” he told Jake Tapper of ABC News that same month, “I don’t approach this from a partisan or ideological perspective.”

Mr. Obama also decried the prominent role played by lobbyists. “Lobbyists aren’t just a part of the system in Washington, they’re part of the problem,” Mr. Obama said in a May 2008 campaign speech.

What happened? Obama and his Democratic majority have gone so far as to change the locks on doors so that Republicans couldn’t get into sessions when the Healthcare Legislation was being drafted. Hardly partisan politics.

As for lobbyists, Barnes points out:

“The bigger the role of government, the more lobbyists flock to town. By pushing for his policies, the president effectively put up a welcome sign to lobbyists. Despite promising to keep them out of his administration, he has even hired a few.”

To answer his own question: “Why Obama Isn’t Changing Washington”, Barnes says that:

“. . . the president made three strategic mistakes (or, really, misreadings of the political landscape) and they’ve come back to haunt him and his party.

“First, Mr. Obama misread the meaning of the 2008 election. It wasn’t a mandate for a liberal revolution. His victory was a personal one, not an ideological triumph of liberalism.

“Second, Mr. Obama misread his own ability to sway the public. . . . The president spent much of the summer and early fall touting his health-care initiative. He spoke at town halls, appeared on five Sunday talk shows the same day (Sept. 20), turned up on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and on “60 Minutes.” All the while, support for ObamaCare fell. His address to Congress on health care on Sept. 9 is now remembered only for Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s shouted accusation, “You lie!”

“Third, Mr. Obama misread Republicans. They felt weak and vulnerable after losing two straight congressional elections and watching John McCain’s presidential bid fall flat. They were afraid to criticize the newly elected president. If he had offered them minimal concessions, many of them would have jumped aboard his policies. If that had happened, the president could have boasted of achieving bipartisan compromise on the stimulus and other policies. He let the chance slip away.”

I would add that Obama’s worst mistake was his assumption that Americans are willing to give up the America they know and love for an America with a government that overwhelms their lives with taxes and with rules and regulations that take away their ability to make their own decisions.

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‘Hate Criminals’ Not Easily Intimidated

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The Daily Political Blog Politics Daily has published an article about hate crimes. The article is filled with data and statistics (taken from the FBI’s 2008 Hate Crimes Report) and these statistics indicate that hate crimes are up!

The idea that a crime committed against an individual may (if the individual is a member of a protected class) carry two different punishments has never made much sense to me. I guess the theory is that giving a person a harsher sentence for striking out against someone because of WHAT they are rather than WHO they are will reduce the number of crimes against members of those “protected” groups. The protected groups by the way are: race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Personally, as I said before in an old post, I feel that hate crime legislation violates the First Amendment (equal protection under the law) and the 14th Amendment (the prohibition against double jeopardy but apparently Legislators are neither reading or paying attention to my posts.

Regardless of how I feel about hate crime legislation its very interesting to note (as they did in the Politics Daily story) that there were 7,783 “bias crimes” committed in 2008, a rise of 2% over 2007.

Because of the stiffer penalties imposed at the Federal and State level for attacking a man because of his race or religion or etc. one would think that this type of crime would be going down. That, of course is a government’s only real option in a situation like this — make new laws and impose stiffer penalties; i.e., ‘pile on those disincentives and you can stop any behavior you want to stop.’ Too bad it doesn’t work.

Hate crimes are as old as the Bible and, when you boil it down, people who commit this type of crime are doing so because of their own insecurity and emotional instability. Laws and rules may have a small impact on a few of these people but they will not come near to solving the problem.

Demoralized in America

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I read the news and see that the Democratic majority has totally bought into President Obama’s vision of Utopia; a United States that needs to be remade into a country that is less of a threat to our enemies and more acceptable to European Socialists. This is not a paranoid delusion or a flight of fancy or an observation without a basis. They (the president and Congress) are intent on emulating the failed British and Canadian healthcare systems; they will happily destroy our economy and the nation’s productivity in the name of that sham called global warming; they are doing everything they can to strengthen unions by taking away the choice of workers who believe that people should be judged on their performance as individuals rather than on their seniority; they refuse to call terrorists, terrorists and have started giving our enemies the same legal and Constitutional rights as U.S. citizens, they have demoralized the military by putting the safety of the enemy (and world opinion) above the safety of our troops and making “diversity” superior to safety and common sense; and, as you know if you read, watch or listen to the news, the litany of governmental malfeasance goes on and on and on.

The realization that these destroyers are the majority in the US Legislature and, as the majority, they can do almost anything they want added to the fact that they are apparently more devoted to the president’s “vision” and to their mission to “remake” America than they are to the Constitution or the American people, has demoralized many Americans — including this one. If you are one of these demoralized Americans — lets get over it!

Let’s get over it — we’re winning!

It started in New Jersey when Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine lost his reelection bid to Republican Chris Christie and simultaneously in the Virginia governor’s race when Republican Bob McDonnell scored a resounding victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds. It continues as Obama’s popularity in every poll is lower than it ever had been; and continues with the public backlash over the obscenity of civil trials for terrorists and over the stupidity of Gen. George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff who feels that losing diversity in the military would be a bigger loss than the loss of life by a terrorist.

Unless the president and the Democratic majority do a complete turnaround and begin acting like responsible Americans who understand and buy into American Exceptionalism, it will continue. It will continue in November of 2010 and then in 2012 it will finally unseat the Obomination in the White House.

Salt and Pepper: Religion and Public Education

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The Cheatham County Tennessee School District is being sued by four students who are protesting the District’s position that allows, and apparently encourages, religious activities in the district’s schools. According to an article in the Tennessean:

The lawsuit alleges: a planned prayer took place at graduation last spring; the Gideons International were allowed to speak to classes and distribute Bibles; a cross hangs in a classroom; and a history teacher taught that the United States is a “Christian nation” and decried the separation of church and state. The suit asks the court to stop the activities.

Now this may seem like a frivolous lawsuit to some — to those of you who believe that your own religious beliefs have no borders and should have no limits — as well as those of you who argue that no one forced the kids to pray at the graduation or accept the Bibles or look at the cross on the wall and you would be right — well at least partially right. But when we come to that situation where students in a classroom, some of who may not know better, have to listen to a Christian Evangelistic version of U.S. History and an abstraction of the Constitution we’ve reached an unquestionable limit and have begun to corrupt the educational process.

The broader picture is: The United States is not a “Christian nation”; it is a nation based not on religion but on morality, a basic morality that forms the basis of ‘civilization’ as we understand it and practice it — a morality that exists apart from any religion — a morality that is, by law, the basis of even the most ardent atheist’s behavior.

I realize, of course, that it’s human nature to want to share a good thing and religious people believe that they have not only a good thing to share — they feel that it is their duty to share it. I wish they would also realize that there are many people in this world who have their own “good things” going in their lives (their own religions and/or their own non-religious or quasi-religious belief systems) and that Christian (or other) evangelism is not only an intrusion into these other people’s lives, it is an insult to their intelligence and their choice of life style.

Thou Shall Not Govern

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Separation

When I ran across a recent article at “Air America” online titled: Abortion Restrictions In House Bill Show Power Of Organized Religion In Politics I broke into a sweat! (Well not literally!) However, how could it be that I, a self-professed proponent of Conservatism, could agree with ANYTHING that the “wacko Libs” at Air America propose. Perhaps I need to reevaluate my dedication to Conservative values as well as my blanket condemnation of “Libs.”

The Air America article begins like this:

The Catholic Church successfully helped deliver a crushing blow to the abortion rights movement on Saturday by insisting that abortion restrictions be inserted into the newly passed House health care bill. But this isn’t the first time that a religious organization has used its power, money, and influence to merge dogma with public policy.

Well, damn it all, they’re ALMOST absolutely right!

Two things: 1) Their naming of the “Catholic Church” as the culprit is a bit questionable — Evangelicals do deserve a big share of the credit; and 2) While they are correct that abortion restrictions ARE based solely on religious dogma and they are also correct that this isn’t the first time religion has influenced government actions; (same-sex marriage restrictions are now, thanks to religious influence on government, imposed by most states and are fully supported by federal fiat.) They are NOT right however when they suggest that the health care bill should have no restrictions on abortion. Taking religion out of the equation, abortion, in the majority of cases anyway, is a completely elective procedure and, as such, neither abortion or any other strictly elective procedure should be paid for by U.S. taxpayers. (Of course if sanity prevails, there will be NO Federal Health Care bill and this discussion will be moot.)

What about those Conservative values that deserve my reconsideration?

After just a bit of investigation I quickly discovered that I am not a textbook Conservative but I’m not far off. “Conservapedia” — the Conservative version of Wikipedia — lists 19 specific Conservative agenda items that a true Conservative is supposed is supposed to embrace:

– Classroom prayer *
– Prohibition of abortion *
– Abstinence education
– Traditional marriage, not same-sex marriage *
– Respect for differences between men and women, boys and girls
– Laws against pornography *
– The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms
– Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)
– The death penalty
– Parental control of education
– Private medical care and retirement plans
– Canceling failed social support programs
– No world government
– Enforcement of current laws regarding immigration
– Respect for our military … past and present
– Rejection of junk science such as evolutionism and global warming
– Low taxes, especially for families
– Federalism (less power for the federal government and more for local and state governments)
– A strong national defense

The four asterisked (*) items above are where I personally take my leave from this particular set of values; allow me to clarify my reasoning. Conservatism is, to me, a strictly political realm and while this list reflects a great set of personal values, those four asterisked items, IMO, have no place in the world of laws or politics. You may have also noted that these items are near the top of their list — a clear indication of how religion has already perverted political thinking.

My bottom line is this: Religious values are important to many (or most) people but they properly belong only where people willingly accept them: in the church, in the home, possibly in some microcosm of the community (where they are accepted by all members of that community) and, in general, in the lives of those who embrace them; they should NOT however have the force of law. Our great nation is NOT just populated by Christians or Jews or Hindus or Moslems or by any other single religious group and our laws should be strictly secular — not reflect the beliefs of any religion.

There are, of course, logical exceptions to a general statement like the preceding and they are, without exception, already codified into all of our laws: restrictions against causing physical harm, taking someone else’s property, etc. These may all be religious values, at least in most religions but in the context of law, they are the rules of any civilized nation.

One final note on abortion: My view, embraced by those people who are falsely label pro-abortion, is that an unborn baby is not subject to the laws of the United States (or any other entity) until it is born. People who believe this are pro-choice, not pro-abortion; they recognize that abortion does indeed terminate a potential life and that act (or “sin” for you religious folks) is the responsibility of and the rightful decision of the woman carrying the unborn child and the man who took part in the conception. That’s called “choice” and an individual’s choice is far more valuable than the religious proclamations of any religious or government body. You can “damn a woman to Hell” for her choice but arbitrary laws should never be able to prevent her from making that choice. That would be (or should be) completely outside of the realm of government.

We seriously need to keep the gate closed between the worlds of religion and politics — not doing that will, eventually, draw our system of government closer and closer to theocracy.