Posts Tagged ‘political parties’

Have you ever been a member of a group (e.g., Boy Scouts, Democratic Party, teachers’ union), or do you self-identify with some group (e.g., skeptics/ agnostics, Christians, political conservatives)? I suspect the answer is, “Yes, several.”

diverse group of people

Multi-ethnic, possibly mult- other stuff, group of people

Now, have you ever seen or heard someone from your group — or, at least, whom outsiders associate as part of your group — saying/doing something stupid, repugnant, or otherwise embarrassing? Yeah, me too.

Sometimes the offending party is someone who holds to the same ideas & principles as you and the rest of your group and who is normally a “fine, upstanding member.” But, something just sets them off on this particular occasion and you wish they would just shut up and go home. Or, maybe, it turns out the individual has a particular vice or, er, shortcoming that suddenly gets some attention. Once in awhile, though, there is some far-xxxxx radical or idiot or nutjob who is singled out by the media and gives your whole group a bad name. I hate when that happens. (OK, ok, I “strongly dislike” when that happens. Don’t want to be labeled a “hater”.)

For me, as far as the first type goes, it might be someone like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. I don’t follow either of them closely, but I’ve read at least one book by each, and when I hear/read them or about something they’ve said, I generally agree. Their styles occasionally grate on me, but we’re basically on the same page on most things. But, once in awhile, they will say or do something that will make me cringe that was, shall we say, tactically unwise, at best. (At least in the way it was phrased.) For example, Limbaugh’s addiction to prescription drugs or Coulter’s remarks about the 9/11 widows “enjoying” their husbands’ deaths. Groan!

As for the second, more radical type, I think of people like the “Christian” militia group who are currently in the news, or the Westboro Baptist Church whose members are always showing up & getting on camera with their signs & placards that says stuff like “God Hates Fags!” (I’m not Baptist, but I’ve known quite a few, and none of them were hatemongers like this crowd.) Now, I may actually agree on a couple very basic points with both of these two groups — uh oh, I’m in trouble now — but their rather extremist views (especially on certain topics) and activities are not something I can agree with or, in good conscience, condone. I’m sure other examples come to your mind, as well.

But, of course, the media love to jump on it, the bloggers eat it up, and those who hold opposing positions to yours will paint your whole group with the same broad brush. It’s frustrating and sometimes makes you want to scream, “I’m not one of them! I don’t hold that view, so don’t lump me in with those morons!”

I was trying to think of what an equivalent example might be for someone who is “on the other side of the aisle” from me politically, theologically, philosophically, etc. It’s not easy, especially when there are so many far-Lefties in both federal government and the news & entertainment industries embracing, literally and figuratively, Communist dictators like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. Is the “average” Democrat or liberal as disturbed by this as I am?

One possible example is those more “reserved” homosexuals who are exasperated by some of the antics of the “flamers” and more in-your-face activists. Another possibility is when one of the “New Atheists” (e.g., Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris) makes some incredibly scathing comment about the evils of religion or mocks & impugns some revered religious person. (On politics, I actually agree with Hitchens on a lot, while we are diametrically opposed on many (most?) theological/philosophical issues.) I know some atheists and agnostics that just shake their heads or roll their eyes at such provocative and, yes, judgmental comments. Any other examples you all can think of?

I guess what I’m getting at, here, is that we all need to be careful. Next time you are tempted to latch onto some wingnut’s comments or actions and accuse his/her broader ideological “community”, if you will, of being totally likeminded, take a step back. (Unless, of course, there is plenty of other evidence indicating that’s the case.) Remember how you have felt in a similar case and refrain, or at least temper or qualify your own remarks and conclusions. Or, to put it another way, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’ll try to do the same.

Stupak and the Blue Dogs caved / drank the Kool-Aid / got bought off — don’t hold your breath for that executive order, Bart — and the Senate’s bill passed the House. Now what?

Painting of the Battle of Waterloo

Famous painting of the Battle of Waterloo, by Robinson (c. 1820)

Some on the Left (and part-time Republicans like David Frum) are saying that the passing of Obamacare signifies a “Waterloo” moment for the Republicans & conservatives. Now, I don’t know much about the Waterloo Campaign, but I understand that Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo marked the end of the war and the end of Napoleon’s rule. So, I guess this is supposed to be it for the Republican Party as we know it — the end of any meaningful resistance to Obamacare and the end of the days of influence/relevance for the GOP and its supposedly heartless, hatemongering, “Right Wing Conspiracy” cheerleaders.

Naturally, I disagree with the sentiment. For one thing, the poll numbers for Obamacare were clearly in our favor — somewhere between 60% & 70% were/are against it. Other surveys indicate that America still leans conservative. We may be down, but we’re not out. If I was a better student of military history, I might be able to come up with a better metaphor. I’m thinking maybe something to do with George Washington and his battered & beleaguered troops in the American Revolution. There were many battles, and they suffered many defeats. Yet, through a combination of “luck”, Providence, perseverance, bravery & skill, and the overconfidence & arrogance of their enemy, the American colonies won their independence against the superior numbers of their elitist, tax-obsessed oppressors. See the parallels?

Of course, this wasn’t just any fight, this “battle for healthcare reform”. It was one where the larger opponent tied the smaller opponent’s hand behind his back, took his gun and left him with a knife. And, as the fight progressed, the larger opponent kept changing the rules. (OK, I could try to carry this analogy out further, but it’s late, so I’ll stop.)

The Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine combined the radicalism of Alinsky, the corruption of Springfield and the machine power politics of Chicago. Sunday was a pressured, bought, intimidated vote worthy of Hugo Chavez but unworthy of the United States of America.

[But,…] This is not the end of the fight; it is the beginning of the fight…. The American people will not allow a corrupt machine to dictate their future. Together we will pledge to repeal this bill and start over. Together we will prove that this will not stand.”

Newt Gingrich

General Washington pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. So, what can we do? A number of things are already underway or in the works:

1) Republican Senators are doing all they can (within the rules) to fight the “reconciliation” maneuver being used to pass the House-required “fixes” to the bill. (For example, there is still the issue of whether “reconciliation” rules can be bent far enough to pass non-budgetary proposals.) From what I can tell, the “fixes” have to be passed as is, as a package. So, if any changes are made to the “fixes”, it will have to go back to the House for a vote. (Or, whatever Pelosi & Co. can cook up to get around a vote, if they don’t think it will go their way.)

2) Republicans in both houses are releasing “repeal” bills. It’s a longshot, and it won’t happen anytime soon — not with our current, Democrat-dominated legislature, of course. And it probably won’t have a chance until at least 2012. But, the reasoning is that a) talk in Congress, the media, & the public will keep the idea alive and “get lawmakers on the record” before upcoming elections; and, b) the bills will be in place for if/when Republicans regain the majority (see below). Some Republicans in Congress see such efforts as a distraction and an unrealistic goal. But, as Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said, “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go after it.”

3) Over 3 dozen state governors and their attorneys general are suing Congress — 14 have already filed — for passing an unconstitutional law. Of the two main issues that come up, the first is the mandated health insurance. The argument (with which I agree) is that the Constitution gives no authority to the federal government to force any citizen to purchase any good or service, let alone from any particular merchant/source(s). The other concern is the unsubsidized billions of $ the states will have to come up with to support the millions of additional people being put into the Medicaid program. Most states are already casting about for ways to meet their budget; they can’t afford to have this thrown on top, too.

Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho

Gov. "Butch" Otter of Idaho (AP)

4) Meanwhile, a few states (beginning with Idaho and Virginia) are passing legislation to exempt their citizens from parts of Obamacare like “being forced to purchase government-approved health insurance.” As with the above lawsuits, the matter of federalism is also at issue. By instituting these federal laws, is the federal government infringing on the states’ sovereign rights?

5) It doesn’t really matter now, but had the “deem and pass” strategy been utilized by Speaker Pelosi to force Obamacare through without a House vote, Mark Levin — popular conservative talk-show host and constitutional law scholar — had already drafted a lawsuit to be immediately filed against President Obama, Att. Gen. Eric Holder, Sec. of Treas. Timothy Geithner, & Sec. of HHS Karen Sebelius for allowing such an “unconstitutional contrivance” to be used. (Not sure why Pelosi and Reid weren’t included.) Sort of a moot point now, but I am glad someone was prepared to challenge that ridiculous maneuver in court. There may still be opportunity for a similar challenge….

6) Stay Active! We need to continue to write; call; sign petitions; attend rallies; volunteer & donate to conservative candidates, PACs, Tea Parties, and other groups; etc. Let the current administration and its cohorts know that we will not stand idly by as they transform us into the European Union West. The rhetoric from the Right must be challenging and forceful, yet respectful (of persons & offices, not ideas). Marxist thought may be tolerated in America — people are free to read, say, and believe what they want — but it is, arguably by definition, NOT American and should have no part in our government.

7) Take back Congress and Take back America! In November 2010, we can begin voting out/against any candidates who aren’t & weren’t fully against Obamacare. We cannot let a few months’ time wash from our memories the stain that they left on the Constitution and our freedoms. We must vote solidly conservative leaders into office, so that they can begin repealing Obamacare, either in pieces or as a whole, if possible. We must replace it with REAL healthcare reform — common-sense, patient-centered, market-driven, and not under Big Brother’s control.

Let’s make Washington proud. George Washington, that is — as well as the rest of America’s Founding Fathers and the Framers of the U.S. Constitution. Let’s get America back on track! Can we do this? With the right people, the right strategy & tactics, with focus and perseverance, and with blessings & guidance from God above… “Yes, We Can!”

Here’s a piece forwarded to my email today. I’m assuming his numbers & facts are accurate, and he makes some interesting observations. Thought y’all would appreciate it.

The Lawyers’ Party
— by Bruce Walker

The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers’ Party.
Barack Obama is a lawyer.
Michelle Obama is a lawyer.
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer.
Bill Clinton is a lawyer.
John Edwards is a lawyer.
Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer.
Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate).
Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school.
Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress:
Harry Reid is a lawyer.
Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.

The Republican Party is different.
President Bush is a businessman.
Vice President Cheney is a businessman.
The leaders of the Republican Revolution:
Newt Gingrich was a history professor.
Tom Delay was an exterminator.
Dick Armey was an economist.
House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer.
The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon.
Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer? Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.

The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers. The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers. Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich.

The Lawyers’ Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America . And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers’ Party, grow.

Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail? Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.

This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers. Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case the American people. Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side.

Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation. When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming. Some Americans become “adverse parties” of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit. We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.

Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives. America has a place for laws and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked. When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in America is too big. When lawyers use criminal prosecution as a continuation of politics by other means, as happened in the lynching of Scooter Libby and Tom Delay, then the power of lawyers in America is too great. When House Democrats sue America in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning to do to us, then the role of litigation in America has become crushing.

We cannot expect the Lawyers’ Party to provide real change, real reform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in which every major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges is not what Washington intended in 1789. Most Americans grasp that we cannot fight a war when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders. Most Americans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore declining moral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy.

Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business. Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work. Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 66% of the world’s lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as “spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you” and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party. When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high!

For months now, the Democrats/liberals have been mocking Republicans/conservatives for having no ideas or solutions for healthcare reform or to address the energy issue or jobs & the economy, etc. (I pointed out in a previous post that this was baloney.) In his State of the Union Address, President Obama went on record again challenging the GOP for better alternatives. As Sarah Palin stated in her article “The Credibility Gap”,

He dared us to ‘let him know’ if we have a better health care plan, but he refused to allow Republicans in on the negotiations or consider any ideas for real free market and patient-centered reforms. We’ve been ‘letting him know’ our ideas for months from the town halls to the tea parties, but he isn’t interested in listening. Instead he keeps making the nonsensical claim that his massive trillion-dollar health care bill won’t increase the deficit.”

At RealClearMarkets, the Manhattan Institute’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth recently took a look at alternative healthcare proposals by two GOP members of the House of Representatives. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, has reintroduced his “Road Map for America’s Future”, which includes a food stamps-like approach to healthcare reform. People would receive tax credits (low-income individuals would get extra) to purchase the insurance plan of their choice among those available in their state, and the insurers are free to price those plans according to the market. (All state-licensed plans would be eligible.) High-deductible/low-premium plans would be allowed for use with HSAs or more traditional managed care or fee-for-service plans, and special, government-subsidized high-risk plans would be available for those with chronic illnesses. No changes in Medicare for those currently 55 or older; when the rest of us turn 65, we “would receive $11,000, adjusted for inflation, to buy a Medicare certified plan. Those with lower incomes or with more serious health conditions would receive more funding.”

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (AP, via the Daily Caller)

According to the CBO, “national health expenditures would almost certainly be lower [under Ryan’s plan] than they would under the alternative fiscal scenario. Federal spending for health care would be substantially lower, relative to the amount in that scenario, for working-age people and the Medicare population.”

Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, is sponsoring the Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 3400. Similar to Rep. Ryan’s proposal, under this plan people would be able to purchase health insurance with money from tax deductions. (If your employer provides health insurance, you can keep it.) States would subsidize high-risk pools for the chronically ill. Etc. Here’s an interesting innovation: Companies would be allowed (not required) to offer their employees a certain $ amount to pick-n-choose whatever plan they wanted on the open market, and that plan would be portable to their next job. Plus, the employer would retain the tax benefits it now receives for providing its workers with tax-free health coverage.

Federally-controlled public utility w/ mandated coverages VS. All Americans (even w/ special needs) able to buy whatever plan they want on the open market. I know which one I prefer….

In an attempt at bipartisan communication and reconciliation, President Obama joined “the opposition” at the House Republicans’ Annual Meeting in Baltimore last night (1/29/2010). Before the President took the stage, Republican Leader John Boehner, R-OH, presented him with a compilation of Republican policy alternatives for healthcare reform, energy crisis/independence, jobs, the budget, and housing. These were not brand new proposals but had been created and presented in Congress over the past year. Want to read them for yourself? Visit GOP Solutions for America.

President Obama, are you listening? (Reading? Paying attention and giving serious thought?) I hope so.

I may not always totally agree with Charles Krauthammer, but I respect him immensely and think he is one of the sharpest minds on the Right side of the aisle in American political commentary. And, I think he makes some good observations in today’s op-ed piece in the Washington Post.

To sum up, “the most important effect of Tuesday’s elections is historical. It demolishes the great realignment myth of 2008…. The Obama coattails of 2008 are gone. The expansion of the electorate, the excitement of the young, came in uniquely propitious Democratic circumstances and amid unparalleled enthusiasm for electing the first African American president. November ’08 was one shot, one time, never to be replicated. Nor was November ’09 a realignment. It was a return to the norm — and definitive confirmation that 2008 was one of the great flukes in American political history. ”

For an opposing view from the Left, try this op-ed column from Ruy Teixeira in the New York Times from a couple days ago.

Do Republican victories in these two key states represent anything significant? Are they an accurate barometer for our nation at large? Are they reliable indicators of what to expect in the elections of 2010 and 2012?

Personally, I am greatly encouraged. But, there is a lot of water yet to pass under the bridge (does that make sense?) before those elections take place.  And, as history has shown, a LOT can happen to change people’s views, expectations, and the course of events in just a few weeks’ (let alone months’ or years’) time. We shall see…