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Friday, August 20, 2010

Towards an Activist Conservatism

The common stereotypes of liberals and conservatives are that liberals have no brains, and conservatives no hearts. To some extent, these are true.

Of course, I can immediately think of a thousand exceptions to each generalization. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, for example, was a brilliant liberal. And Barry Goldwater was a radical conservative with miles of heart. Some of my liberal friends are geniuses. Many of my Republican cohorts are close to bleeding hearts, like me.

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I want to Concentrate on Present-Day Conservatives

They have no


as evidenced by their immoral stand on opposing the extension of unemployment benefits for the nation’s victims of our recession (Depression). For example, one of my heroes, Rush Limbaugh, is positively bare-knuckle Darwinian on this issue, even Roman sadistic. He can spend half a broadcast attacking Obama because he has created a near collapse of the economy, with it being nearly impossible to find a job. Then, he literally laughs at the unemployed, calling them lazy freeloaders.

Of course, he let it slip on his radio show one day when I was listening, that when he was unemployed, he lived off his parents for an extended period of time. Lazy, good-for-nothing hobo! Much like Beck, who was surviving unemployed as a drunk in the back of his car. I guess sleeping in that vehicle was the origin of Beck’s paranoia.

Sometimes the often-brilliant Rushbo doesn’t have a brain. He’s had a stroke that day, or year, in the compassion area, and also in the logic region of his cortex. You can’t have it both ways, Rush. Either anyone can find a job if they look hard enough, or the economy is so bad that many simply cannot obtain employment. Which is it?

Plus, I contend, that among the unemployed are many over 50, who have the hardest time getting rehired, the marginally sick, the marginally retarded, and the socially challenged. And, surprise surprise, there are thousands with advanced degrees who can't find work, and other "over-qualifieds." All of whom continue to desperately try for new jobs, but who face the mountain of competing with younger, healthier, more- or less-qualified (you heard me) applicants who outnumber them 5 to 1. Add to this the fact that employers hesitate to hire the long-term unemployed. It's literally a jungle out there. Republicans, like Rush, don’t have a brain on this issue, and no heart.

I’m for an Active Conservatism

Some of my beliefs are:

Republicans, Now and Forever

need to fight for the rights and well being of every American. They should not foster dependence on government handouts, but they can actively pursue market-based solutions for all the problems that bother society.


For example, conservatives ought to actively pursue and promote market-based solutions to homelessness. Instead of just saying “Lower taxes and the market will take care of it,” they need to go a thousand steps further, and develop capitalistic solutions for this blight. Yes, I agree, some people will wind up back in the streets no matter what society does for them, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.

Christmas for Depression Era Homeless

Give a Man a Fish

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
                                                                             Chinese Proverb

Sermon on the Mount
This saying is oh so true. Republicans believe in the first part. They cheer snatching away the fish, even from all the people at the Sermon on the Mount. I think that’s okay, notwithstanding Jesus’ opposite example. (Yes, he GAVE people fish.)

What I disagree with, regarding Republicans, is they also absolutely neglect the second part of the adage. They don’t believe in teaching a man/woman to fish. They desire, rather, a do-or-die Darwinian survival of the fittest. The industrious, they know, will survive. The rest, who cares?

My problem with this is, yes, Darwinism does focus the minds of the underachievers—but among them, again, are the old, the ugly, the socially inept, and even hard-working capitalists who’ve bet on the wrong idea.

Teach These People to Fish, for God’s Sake!

Give them a time-limited opportunity to get back into the current of life. Don’t instruct them to swim by throwing them into the rapids, where they must struggle to breathe, let alone fish.

If you’re really going to be smart, give the woman a fish, a fishing rod, a manual, and a guide. She’ll soon be a fisherwoman if she has the talent, and then she can be a guide. By the way, this is what the rich do for their offspring all the time.

Don't Fall In While You Fish Here

What is Missing, Is Another Capitalistic Ideal, Investment

Republicans believe in “investment” in small businesses, new issues in the stock market, loans to new enterprises, lending for companies to meet their payrolls … but not in investment in individuals, in people during hard times, nor even in capitalists who’ve failed and want to try again. They believe in deficit spending for war, for people buying homes with mortgages, and for going to university. They do not love deficit spending for other worthwhile things, like keeping Grandma from begging on a street corner.

Unemployment Benefits

I do argue that extending unemployment benefits is an investment. It is not welfare. These people have been working all their adult lives, many of them successfully, paying taxes, and into the unemployment insurance program. It is insurance, not a handout. It is also an investment. Millions of these on unemployment now will go on to create their own businesses, find new jobs, and become sources of tax revenues in the future, helping the next group of unfortunates.

And, those who will never recover, who will forever remain unemployed, at least will get some time on this Earth without worry. They will be able to pay their bills, buy food, and keep their house or rental. This is an act of charity. So what? Aren’t Republicans proud of their charitable giving? It is not a sin to give people fish. It is also not a sin to help them learn to fish.

Republicans are Characterized as the Party of No

Because, at this moment in time, they are. This needn’t be the case.

They must get off their butts and come up with solutions to society’s difficult problems. Their ideas ought to be business friendly, deficit neutral, tax cutting, and revenue enhancing, but the market alone will not take care of everything. The market requires help from the ingenuity of hard-working, brilliant people with good values.

The welfare state, and socialism, are definitely not the answers. But neither is pure economic Darwinism. I propose an activist conservatism, and yes, a passionate conservatism, hard-nosed but full of heart.

Your Comments are Welcome Here

Have a great day!


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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Barrack Obama and Abraham Lincoln, Revisiting the Comparisons

How does Barack Obama stack up against his idol, Abraham Lincoln? Many compared his desire to be the Great Unifier to Lincoln. He was the first Black president, and would be the first “post-racial” chief executive.

For my liberal friends, brace yourselves; you’re in for a hard ride. If you are


read on.

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1988 Vice-Presidential Debate

During the 1988 vice-presidential debate between Democrat Senator Lloyd Bentsen and Republican Senator Dan Quayle, Quayle said, “I have as much experience in Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.” Bentsen replied, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.”

That put-down drew cheers and applause, stunning Quayle and sealing his reputation as a deer-frozen-in-the-headlights communicator, a sort of warm-up for the inarticulate George W. Bush. Like W, though, Quayle’s side won the election, under the leadership of W’s father, George H. W. Bush … despite people misunderestimating Danny Boy.

It would be oh-so easy to say something similar to Bentsen’s remark in comparing Barrack Obama with Abraham Lincoln. “Barrack, we know Abraham Lincoln, sir …” And we’d be entirely correct in that assessment. Lincoln was our finest president.

This article, though, is not entirely a bashing. Neither is it praise. Rather, it is an exhortation, on bended knee.

Comparisons to Lincoln

After all, Obama and his followers, including thrill-up-his-leg Chris Matthews are to blame for the Lincoln comparisons. Before Obama had even spelled out his positions, before he had any accomplishments besides community organizing, he was being compared in liberal quarters to big Abraham. Matthews said of Obama’s 2008 speech on race, that it was “worthy of Abraham Lincoln," and also claimed it bypassed Martin Luther King Jr.'s ‘I Have A Dream’ address as the "best speech ever given on race in this country."

Obama himself liked the idea of emulating Honest Abe, and steeped himself in Lincoln lore. He quoted Lincoln often, as when in the final push for the 2010 healthcare bill he said “I am not bound to win, but I'm bound to be true. I'm not bound to succeed, but I'm bound to live up to what light I have."

So, the question is a fair one, even this early in his presidency. How does Barrack stack up to our greatest president? I’m certainly no Lincoln expert, but I’ll offer a few comparisons.


Inheriting War

Lincoln inherited a war, or rather, his election was one cause of that war. (See The Top 9 Events that Led to Civil War by Martin Kelly)
With the election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln on November 6, 1860, South Carolina, followed by six other states, seceded from the Union. Even though his views about slavery were considered moderate during the nomination and election, South Carolina had warned it would secede if he won. Lincoln agreed with the majority of the Republican Party that the South was becoming too powerful, and made it part of their platform that slavery would not be extended to any new territories or states added to the union.
Obama, of course, inherited a war he did not support, in Iraq, and one he did, in Afghanistan. The Civil War was an existential war, whereas the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were meant to combat terrorism and brutality. Lincoln embraced the Civil War as a noble cause, whereas Obama rejected the Iraq War as a mistake, and treated the Afghanistan War as just something we had to do.

Lincoln’s War

Lincoln was ready to do anything to win his war, including the suspension of habeas corpus, harsh imprisonments, death squads, and Sherman’s notorious march.
Among papers found with Sherman were plans from the Lincoln government for a war of terrorism to be waged systematically against women and children in the South. These included detailed instructions, with illustrations for the soldiers. Houses were to be pillaged and then burned, along with all farm buildings and tools, and standing crops. Livestock was to be killed or carried away, and food confiscated or destroyed.

Particular emphasis was laid on destructions of family heirlooms – pictures of dead loved ones, Bibles, wedding dresses, and pianos. There were also directions as to how to persuade, or coerce if persuasion failed, black servants into divulging the whereabouts of hidden valuables.
and ...
The fact is, the Lincoln government intentionally targeted civilians from the very beginning of the war. The administration's battle plan was known as the "Anaconda Plan," because it sought to blockade all Southern ports and inland waterways, and starve the Southern civilian economy. Even drugs and medicines were on the government's list of items that were to be kept out of the hands of Southerners, as far as possible.
Charges made against Lincoln by detractors include:
Suspending the writ of habeas corpus and interfering with the press without due process, imprisoning thousands of citizens without charge or trial, and closing courts by military force where no hostilities were occurring.
and ...
Rations at Andersonville Prison
The deliberate starvation and murder of Confederate prisoners.

Obama’s Wars

Obama, by contrast, offers Miranda rights to prisoners, habeas corpus, and in fact treats War on Terror combatants better than American prisoners.

He fights the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with Rules of Engagement like … an officer being denied illumination to reveal the position of Taliban fighters who were mortaring his position at night, because the illumination rounds “might cause collateral damage.” The truth is that these rounds never cause collateral damage. This is an example of the hands-tied-behind the back warfare that Obama engages in.

The Economy

Lincoln’s Economy

Lincoln inherited economic hardship. Despite this, President Lincoln built a mighty army, and enacted an extraordinary slate of economic measures, including:
  • tariffs that enabled a new American steel industry;
  • development of railroads that would extend all the way to the Pacific Ocean;
  • agricultural improvements … by agricultural science, free land for farmers, creation of the Agriculture Department, and development of farm machinery and tools;
  • enticing immigrants, to rapidly increase population;
  • free higher education, through the Land Grant College system;
  • and national control over banking, with cheap credit for production.

Obama’s Economy

Obama’s economic policy has been to pass a stimulus package laden with pork, seek to eliminate tax cuts for the “rich,” and he has added government jobs, but not private sector jobs.

Still, as opposed to most Republicans, flawed as it is, I credit Obama’s interventions, along with Bush’s, as having saved the country from a Depression. My complaint is, the money could have been spent better, more along Lincoln’s lines, like for infrastructure.


Lincoln was a great orator. He spoke pretty words that pierced the heart of matters, much like, but even more elevated than, Martin Luther King, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The thing that elevated Lincoln’s prose was not only did it have cadence, but it had substance, the appropriate meaning for a country in dire emotional straits. Obama’s oratory, on the other hand, is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Compare Obama’s
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.
I will say this, Barrack had an auspicious beginning. He did give one quality speech, the (see the video here and read the text) keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention. The speech was effective because it was detailed,
My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father -- my grandfather -- was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.
and in it he genuinely reached out to all America,
And fellow Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, I say to you tonight: We have more work to do.
something he has forgotten how to do. If he could reclaim 2004, then he might have something there.

The Whiner in Chief

Lincoln’s Demeanor

Lincoln never complained. Criticism rolled off Lincoln’s back like water on a beaver. He faced a hatred so great that he paid for it with his life, yet he never felt sorry for himself. "With malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Obama’s Behavior

Instead of dwelling in the clouds, like Lincoln, Obama has become a hack politician whiner, one of the whiniest presidents in history, saying things like
First of all, I've got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration.
Aw, poor baby. He’s only got all the networks cheering him, MSNBC, CNBC, Hollywood, all the educational system, from kindergarten on up to graduate schools—and he must face, heaven forbid, one network that is fair and balanced. Give me a break.

Obama faces some hatred, not to the level of Lincoln, but still a kind of demonization. Yet, his reaction to it is far less noble. Can you imagine at all Lincoln, in his presidential years, saying "You can't have the keys back, you don't know how to drive!" Lincoln would have said something like, “We have our disagreements, but my honored opponents are sincere in their offers to help the nation.”

In fact, when I think of Obama, I think of a whiner. A great big baby, always complaining, always laying blame on everybody but himself, forever a poor me kind of guy. When Obama starts to speak I hear the wha whah whah wah-wah of Charlie Brown cartoons.

Dealing with Enemies

Lincoln in fact praised his enemies. “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” He reached across the divide to unite the country. He freed the slaves, but didn’t demonize the slaveholders. In presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Love your enemies: how Lincoln turned his rivals into allies, we meet Lincoln afresh as a leader whose "extraordinary array of personal qualities ... enabled him to form friendships with men who had formerly opposed him." He was the great uniter.

Obama, however, is very Nixonian, waging a boycott on FOX News, strong-arming congressmen who vote against him, and demonizing business, big oil, Wall Street, and all conservatives. Obama reaches across the liberal divide only—badmouthing the rest of the nation.

Fist Bumps?

If Lincoln had lived, and Obama succeeded him as president … Abraham would have posed for the “fist-bump” picture at the top of this post … Barrack would not have.

Obama would be too busy criticizing Lincoln for his suspension of habeas corpus and harsh treatment of civilians, leaving him a messed up economy, and any number of “crimes against humanity.” He’d go around apologizing to the world for our slavery transgressions, instead of being proud we were one of the nations that put the final nail in that horrible institution’s coffin. Lincoln led the country to a higher plane, in all respects. Obama leads us to Chicago.

Your Comments are Welcome Here

Have a great day!


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Left Versus Right, Two Hulks Bursting with Anger

The Left and the Right have always disliked each other. Both sides think the nation will collapse without their theories being enacted. Why, though, recently, has the animosity risen to a nearly revolutionary pitch?

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Back in the Day

When I was


Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy

Eisenhower Greeting the Troops

Kennedy Commanding PT109

I had steady Dwight D. Eisenhower and then charismatic John F. Kennedy as images of what a president ought to be. Eisenhower, a hero of the Western world for his effective waging of WWII, was a conservative, but he liked Social Security and many other Franklin Delano Roosevelt policies. Kennedy, a WWII war hero himself, was a liberal but he was tough as nails on defense, cut taxes, and was business friendly. I still admire both these men, as much for style as substance. Both were fairly popular in their time, although Kennedy did face some demonization down South.

Things are Different Today

With George W. Bush, we had a good guy (screams from the left!) but ineffective communicator and fiscal irresponsible, get demonized for eight years by the left, and sometimes by the right. I liked Bush for his brave, and appropriate I believe, initiation of the Iraq War. I did not cheer Bush for the politically correct way he waged the war, until the end, with the Surge. I did not admire Bush’s fiscal irresponsibility, his bumbling communication skills, and his failure to stand up to the bullies who were sullying his name.

The demonization of Bush, and of the right, was promoted by left-wing organizations like Media Matters and This was continued by Air America (Senator Al Franken’s old liberal stomping ground), and echoed by most of Hollywood, ranging from Barbra Streisand, the Sarandons (incl. Tim Robbins), and Sean Penn.

In my opinion, the right just turned the other cheek for many years. Bush was the ultimate nice guy. He never personally answered his critics, preferring to think that if he just did the right things, people would eventually come to appreciate him. He was wrong.

Now, the Right Has Learned to Demonize Back.

The answer on the right, starting in 1988, was Rush Limbaugh. Plus there were the very fair Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, and Michael Medved. And, some quite right-wing guys like Michael Savage began to lay the groundwork for more radical vitriol.

In, 1996, The right-wing Fox News Channel stood up to liberalism by presenting a fair and balanced viewpoint. On Hannity and Colmes they included conservative Sean Hannity with liberal Alan Colmes, and people like liberal Shepard Smith reporting the news, plus left-wing guests all the time.

Veering Hard Right

Dropping Alan Colmes from Hannity and Colmes in 2009 and changing it to Hannity’s America, and adding Glenn Beck, Fox moved hard right. Bill O’Reilly on the O’Reilly Factor did try to be fair and balanced, but veered left and right from time to time (i.e., left on big oil, right on the “Nanny State”).

Since then, the left has gone nuts, and the right. I worked with one female Media Matters fan at a defense contractor’s job. I was the Technical Writer. She was my immediate boss. She was vicious in her attacks on Bush, and then later, equally rabid in her assaults on Hillary, and … Obama. They were too “right-wing” for her!


Fox, indeed, recently has gone beyond fair and balanced into the land of even higher ratings and Beckdom. In my opinion, Beck makes a lot of good points, but I can never cheer for the guy because he’ll always be stuck in a time warp of revolutionary paranoia. He’s right to be frightened by this president, I believe, and by the left at this time, but I imagine he’d be in a panic about George Washington as president too. (“Do you know who Washington had working in his mess hall? That’s right, a British chambermaid, who used to change King George III’s chamber pot. Bet you didn’t know that!”)

The left has reacted in kind to the daily, sometimes accurate, hysteria of Glenny Babe. They, again in my opinion, have been demonizing for years, so they just notched it up a bit. Now, we’ve got two paranoids in a room who see the other as a mortal threat. Two giant Hulks have burst through their blue and red T-shirts!

Does Demonization Work?

Yes. Is it good for the country? Yes, if the person needs demonizing. On the other hand, your demon might be my saint. And, in the midst of villifying, important considerations on policy get lost, and the public becomes merely a bunch of cheerleaders for their side, and for the political demise of their enemies.

Your Comments are Welcome Here

Have a great day!


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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