Thursday, May 29, 2008

I want to believe as he does!

A scene from the movie, Braveheart. Robert the Bruce, a Scottish nobleman, is despondent over betraying his friend William Wallace, who is waging a brilliant campaign against English tyranny.

Robert the Bruce:
Lands, titles, men, power... nothing

Robert’s father:

Robert the Bruce:
I have nothing. Men fight for me because if they do not, I throw them off my land and I starve their wives and children. Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk fought for Willaim Wallace. He fights for something I never had. And I took it from him, when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield and it’s tearing me apart.

Robert’s father:
All men betray! All lose heart.

Robert the Bruce:
I don’t want to lose heart. I want to believe as he does!

This describes my feelings of late about politics in general and the Republican Party and it’s nominee, John McCain, in particular. There is a lot of talk going on about how our candidate is less stinky than theirs is. This is enough for some, but I want more. I want to see John McCain fight for the job opening that is coming up in a few months because he passionately believes in something big.

Some people’s idea of a big idea is win the most seats in the next election. Sorry, but that is not a core principle vision. That is just a process of investing in marketing and polling experts. It’s like a spoonful of sugar. You might get a quick energy buzz, but it goes away quickly making you feel worse than before.

No, my idea of someone who had big ideas is Ronald Reagan. He created a business friendly climate for growth in America, and the resulting rise in economic profits helped him accomplish another big idea-the idea that the Soviet Union is an evil empire that must come down. He also had a couple of more big ideas that remain to this day unfinished business.

The one most people remember as an unfinished business is to cut Federal spending by eliminating cabinet agencies and wasteful government programs. The one that most people forget is his idea to repair the damage that has been created by gerrymandering. The 1994 midterm election ushered in 73 new Freshman GOP House members, and an opportunity to get something big done.

Unfortunately, the GOP should have started with Reagan’s forgotten big idea instead of the cut Federal spending one. This gerrymandering is basically just part of an incumbent protection system that blocks principled people from entering politics. The reason the GOP failed in the 1995 budget government shutdown is because incumbent careerist politicians unconditionally surrendered to Pres. Clinton. Had the emphasis been initially on dismantling the incumbent protection system, then there would have been a better chance of having more principled citizen legislators and less careerists occupying seats and negotiating with the White House.

Sen McCain believes in having good principled people enter into politics, and he believes in cutting Federal spending. I honestly think that Sen. McCain does want to believe as Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately there are some career politicians around him who worry that McCain will make a gaffe by fighting for what he believes. McCain needs to kick some of these folks to the curb just like Reagan had to do when he started the general election campaign against Carter.

It is possible for a SCOTUS ruling this summer that would offer McCain an opportunity to look at a fresh new approach to helping good principled people enter into politics. Here are just a few ideas for consideration.

1. Remove the limits on individual contributions to finance a campaign, and require all individual contributions to be open transparent data available to the public. Anonymous hidden contributions must not occur with the candidate providing the open and transparent data to the public that it does not occur.

2. Remove the idiotic and inconsistent limits placed on the income one can earn while serving in Congress.

3. Have some kind of a computer model to draw congressional districts in states instead of the current gerrymandering used by career politicians.

4. Voters need to elect non-careerists. Elect a policeman. Elect a fireman. Elect a doctor. Don’t elect someone who has been in politics all of his or her life.

I believe I can best sum up with a quote from John Adams:
The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tom Coburn - Social Conservative Extraordinaire!

I just finished reading a book written by Sen. Tom Coburn in 2003 that is titlled ‘Breach of Trust - How Washington turns Outsiders into insiders.’ My pre-conceived opinions and notion were that I was going to read a book written by a fiscal conservative with a lot of information about the politics of pork, career politicians, and the train wreck coming if Medicare and Social Security entitlements are not reformed. I did get those issues in spades in this book including graphs, a list of 10 things Congress does not want you to know about how it does business, and 3 myths that dissuadethe public from electing politicians who will truly represent their interests and govern within the confines of the Constitution. But I got so much more - hence the title of this blog.

Tom Coburn is an Okie from Muskogee who after working in his famly’s optical business became a doctor at age 35, and was elected to the House at 46 in his first attempt at public office from a district that had not been represented by a Republican since 1922 and was thought to be unwinnable. He did not win by campaigning on pork and dirty politics and corruption. He used a social conservative campaign theme and ran on the belief that the goal for the congressman was to represent the values and attitudes of his district, not the values of Washington’s privileged political elite. This is a very smart and savvy strategy in a congressional district where the Ds greatly outnumber the Rs. I wrote in an earlier blog about how small-town Reagan Ds think about politics.

In general, while the other schools welcome the representative character of our democracy, Jacksonians tend to see representative rather than direct institutions as necessary evils, and to believe that governments breed corruption and inefficiency the way picnics breed ants. Every administration will be corrupt; every Congress and legislature will be, to some extent, the plaything of lobbyists. Career politicians are inherently untrustworthy; if it spends its life buzzing around the outhouse, it's probably a fly. Jacksonians see corruption as human nature and, within certain ill-defined boundaries of reason and moderation, an inevitable by-product of government.
It is perversion rather than corruption that most troubles Jacksonians: the possibility that the powers of government will be turned from the natural and proper object of supporting the well-being of the majority toward oppressing the majority in the service of an economic or cultural elite.

Another major point in this book that exemplifies his social conservativeness is when he wrote about how his religious faith gave him the strength to fight for principle over the temptations of ego and prestige. He also confessed in the book that he was not perfect in this fight, and he wrote “I believe the Scriptures teach that the motives of man are always mixed and that we are made pure, not by our own works, but by grace.

Tom Coburn gave a speech in 2000 at a dinner benefiting Patrick Henry College. He began by quoting Rev Martin Luther King, Jr
Cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right?

Now I know that some people might say all well and good that you like this book written back in 2003, but what does any of this have to do with the present and the future. I think some of what he wrote about that happened in the past still holds true today. In other words I’m not talkling about political spin that truth varies from person to person, but that truth is absolute and we do not define truth for ourselves; truth defines us.

He writes what he considered the best example of political spin calculations backfiring - the 1998 midterm election. Most top Republican consultants and elected congresscritters™ assumed the Rs would capitalize on Clinton’s foibles and pick up several seats. When a few restless congresscritters™ suggested during a meeting of the Republican conference prior to the 1998 elections that our agenda might not be bold enough to motivate our base, Newt Gingrich responded dismissively,
Clinton has already taken care of that.

In November, these two storms-a conservative base disgusted by Congress’s spending orgies and a public confused and turned off by the GOP’s handling of the impeachment process-converged, forming a perfect storm that nearly obliterated the GOP majority. Rather than gain seats the GOP majority was reduced to a mere 5 seats.

In those early cheerful days of 1995 the House GOP with their 73 new freshman GOP colleagues adopted a budget that called for the elimination of more than 200 wasteful and unconstitutional government programs, including 3 entire cabinet agencies: the departments of Education, Energy, and Commerce. With battle between Congress and the White House over this budget resulting in a government shutdown, the GOP leadership, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole surrendered to Pres. Bill Clinton. The GOP has never recovered from this loss.

Tom Coburn summed up his thoughts as he prepared to leave Congress in October of 2000 for his constituents in northeast Oklahoma.
The real hope for the long-term viability of the American experiment therefore, does not rest with the Republican party-or any political party for that matter. instead, it rests with the American people who decided to turn the political world upside down in 1994. If the American people can reacquaint themselves with our founders’ vision and elect representatives with true political courage-which exclude almost all career politicians-our course can be righted.

AMEN to We the People reacquainting ourselves with our founders’ vision. I worry there has been a steady introductory diet of a Karl Marx vision going on for awhile in the USA. I also hope we remember the lesson of the 1998 election of thinking victory is possible when you have no bold positive agenda, and only a negative attack against the other party.

Cross posted at The Minority Report

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Lie - SCOTUS is final word on issue

A lot of people are concerned about who the next POTUS will be because of who they will appoint to be Justice on the US Supreme Court. I share this concern, but I disagree with some of the aura that some people apply to SCOTUS. SCOTUS is the highest appellate court in our country, and they do have the final word on an appellate case. They DO NOT have the final word on an issue.

It is a good thing that SCOTUS does not have the final word on an issue for people all across the political spectrum from right, center, and left. To ascribe this much power and authority to one lawyer who can convince 4 of his colleagues to go along with him is akin to squashing freedom and liberty flat. What has happened in this country in recent years has been an attempt by some to use SCOTUS as a shortcut to getting their way. Somebody wants abortion to be a legal medical procedure, and they don't want to have a bill written in the State Legislature and signed by the Governor that defines the medical procedure and the limits to how it can be performed. Too much time, and too much hard work. The short cut is shop for a judge who will decide from the bench with only a penumbra of proof that it is legal. Once a case is started a case end point is SCOTUS. What many people fail to grasp is that a case is just that-a case. An issue is an entirely different matter.

We The People have the final word on an issue. It is unfortunate how people are tricked into thinking this is no longer the case. Over the entire history of the US issues have been resolved bye We The People in many various ways. Slavery, for one, is an issue that was resolved by a bloody War between the States. It's not my favorite method of conflict resolution. We have had an issue with alcohol abuse creating havoc resorting to Prohibition Amendment 18. The consequences of crime syndicates cashing in on selling illegal booze was resolved by the Prohibition Repeal Amendment 21. There are many other examples of conflict resolution that have been resolved through the years in this country, and did not happen in our nation's Capitol.

In closing, I do think there are legal cases that are important. I believe that how a majority on SCOTUS decide these legal cases is important. I DO NOT think any decision on a legal CASE is the final word on an ISSUE.