"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Herman Cain- Answer the question?

Is Herman Cain pro-life? That's difficult to say based on recent interviews. I personally have seen segments from three different interviews lately in which he is asked about his stance on abortion. He is quite clear on the fact that he supports life from conception. Wonderful so far. The problem comes when the interviewer asks him to state an opinion on whether or not abortion should be legal. Below is the segment in which John Stossell interviewed him on the subject.

Tonight on his show, Sean Hannity showed two other segments that followed the same lines: one on Piers Morgan's show and one on Megyn Kelly's. He asked Cain to clarify. Cain's response? He had been taken out of context. No clarification or statement of his views. Hannity unfortunately did not press the issue.

Cain gives the impression that he believes he is making himself crystal clear in responding to these questions. I could possibly excuse one instance as perhaps lack of experience at handling interviews or simply a gaffe, though that in itself points to other problems with Cain as a potential candidate in the general election. However at least three cases with essentially the same situation is inexcusable. I applaud the fact that Herman Cain is pro-life from conception, however he must also be able to articulate his official stance on abortion and whether it should be legal.

The following is posted prominently on the homepage of Cain's website:
Cain's View on Abortion Policy
"Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.

I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply "order" people to not seek an abortion.

My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.

As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100% pro-life. End of story.

I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.

I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life."

Herman Cain-

I don't think that I personally have a problem with the views Cain expressed in this statement. I do find it very disturbing that he had multiple chances recently to articulate his stance and he failed to do so. He wasted a chance on Hannity tonight when he could have made this explanation on a show that is watched by many members of the demographic from which he is hoping to receive votes. Herman Cain's stance on abortion is rare enough. It is extremely disappointing that he is unable to articulate it clearly when given the chance.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fundraising 2012

This post by a blogger named Matt Stiles is kind of interesting if you like statistics, as I do. It has maps that show where in the U.S. each presidential candidate is raising most of his or her cash. Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul seem to have the broadest geographical fundraising base.

Tuesday Dinner With Paul Ryan!

So I don't have much information on this yet, but my wife and I just got a last-minute (free) invitation to a posh fundraising dinner in Washington, DC. The featured speakers? London Fletcher, Pro Bowl middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins, and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. As a diehard Redskins fan and a big supporter of Paul Ryan's Roadmap plan to address entitlements and the long-term national debt, I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity!

There are few politicians that I would be more excited to hear speak than Paul Ryan. To me, Congressman Ryan is the epitome of what an elected official should be - courageous yet thoughtful, principled without being overly partisan, a policy wonk who is more concerned about long-term solutions than short-term political gain. He has been one of only a handful of politicians willing to tackle head on one of the biggest challenges to our country (Social Security and Medicare reform) with his Roadmap for the Future plan, and has taken a lot of cheap shots from both Democrats and Republicans focused on political expediency. Not to say Ryan's Roadmap is necessarily perfect, but it's a great starting point for debate. It would be nice if Ryan's opponents would come to the table with their own specific plans and a willingness to honestly discuss our country's urgent spending and debt crisis. For decades our politicians have been "kicking the can down the road" when comes to dealing with these long-term problems, which might be good for their careers but is terrible for the future of our country. I look forward to hearing what Congressman Ryan has to say on Tuesday and sharing it with you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pay my tuition!

A budding young intellectual explains why the rich (dun...DUN...DUNNNNNNN! *thunderclap*) should pay for his college tuition.  (from National Review Online)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So There was a Presidential Primary Debate Last Night....

Some you have probably noticed that I haven't had much to say about the GOP primary race up to this point. The main reason for this is simple: I don't have a clear favorite in the race yet and I haven't had time to watch most of the debates. Tonight I got to watch about half of the Republican debate, which was aired only on the Bloomberg network. I watched small portions of the first hour during commercial breaks from NCIS (my wife's pick of what to watch!), and then watched the entirety of the second hour. Here are my impressions about the candidates based on the portion of the debate I watched. I deliberately did not read or listen to any other analyses of the debate before posting this, because I wanted to give my personal impressions without being influenced by the opinions of the pundits.

First, I did not think the debate was moderated impartially at all. The questioners grilled some of the candidates unmercifully while apparently giving a free pass to others. Perhaps if I had watched the entirety of the debate I would have a different perspective, but I doubt it. One of the questioners, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, seemed to "have it out" for Rick Perry. Twice during the debate she asked him "questions" that seemed to not be questions at all but simply statements attacking him. I did not observe similar treatment applied to any of the other candidates, and thought Romney in particular seemed to getting a real pass. I also thought the time was divided very unequally among the candidates. For example, Rick Santorum was barely given any time to speak at all during the entire second hour of the debate, which was very unfair. On the other hand, Mitt Romney seemed to talking all the time. And the candidate "introductions" shown on the network prior to the debate appeared to be simply intended as attacks on them. I only watched the first one relating to Rick Perry and then changed the channel. Bloomberg was literally running an attack ad against Perry and pretending it was news. Sad.

On to the candidates, starting with Mitt Romney. Every time I see Romney in a debate forum, I'm impressed with his poise and polish. He's a very smooth debater and comes across as very well-informed on the issues. I thought he deflected criticism well and gave some very intelligent responses, but I think that has less to do with his skill as a candidate and more to do with the weakness of his competitors. I continue to be bothered by his full-throated defense of RomneyCare, including his clear suggestion that candidates such as Perry who oppose it don't care about the plight of the poor. I thought that was a harsh and unfair attack -- something I would expect to hear from the Left but not between candidates in a GOP debate. (Of course, Perry did imply something similar about Romney with regard to illegal immigration policy in an earlier debate, but it wasn't as a harsh of an attack in my opinion.)

The bottom line is that I don't really like or trust Romney, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Mormon. Romney comes across as a typically slick politician to me. He has flip-flopped on issues in the past and I don't trust his conservative credentials. He has refused to identify with the Tea Party movement. One of the things that disgusted me the most were his earlier vicious attacks on Rick Perry for stating the obvious truth that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Once again, this is the kind of political opportunism that I would expect from the Left -- and shows his willingness to put his own election before the good of the country. But as I watched the debate, I kept getting the sense that he is the only candidate (with the possible exception of Newt Gingrich who comes with his own set of problems) that is up to the herculean task of out-debating Obama in a general election.

I want to like Rick Perry. On paper he seems like a great choice: three times elected governor of the second-largest state in the country, an unabashed fiscal and social conservative, a likable, handsome guy who connects well with voters one-on-one. But he just doesn't seem up to the job, at least in the debate I watched (and based on what I read about other previous debates). Everyone from the moderators to the other candidates seemed to be piling on him, and he didn't seem able to fight back effectively. He did a poor job defending his record and didn't seem to land his blows against Romney. I think a lot of the attacks on Perry so far in this campaign have been very unfair, but that's the reality for anyone who wants to make a living in politics, especially a conservative. If he wants to get the GOP nomination for president he had better prove that he is knowledgeable enough and quick enough on his feet to fight back against those attacks and go on the offensive. He sure didn't prove that to me last night in the debate.

I have already written a positive post about Herman Cain, extolling his successful business background, his refreshing candor, and the work ethic that enabled him to work his way up from nothing. I didn't think Cain performed badly in the debate -- he displayed a great sense of humor and seemed confident in his answers. On the other hand, the debate did not include any questions about foreign policy which is Cain's greatest weakness. Maybe I have just been living too long in a suburban blue state enclave, but I think Cain comes across as a bit oversimplistic. His answers were repetitive and always seemed to come back to his 9/9/9 plan, which he touted as a virtual panacea for all economic ills. It would be easy for viewers to come to the conclusion (true or not) that Cain is a one-issue candidate that doesn't really have a lot to say beyond talking points about one specific economic idea. And by the way, I'm far from sold on Cain's idea to create a national sales tax.

For someone who has such a universal reputation outside the Republican base as a scary lunatic, Michele Bachmann actually performs pretty well in debates. As at other times, last night she seemed poised, intelligent, and relatively substantive, at least to me. Not to mention likable and far from crazy. And it's not like she's never accomplished anything in her life either -- her list of accomplishments include tax attorney, small business owner, foster mother of 23, state legislator, and U.S. congresswoman. It's a shame that the media is so unfair in their coverage that even many Republicans will only know her as the crazy Tea Party lady who's never done anything in her life. Still, there's no question she is about as conservative as you can get and probably too outspoken to be a winning general election candidate. I think she's a great leader in the U.S. House and should stay there.

Honestly, if I could pick my favorite candidate, regardless of his or her chance of winning the primary or the general election, I might pick Rick Santorum. Although he didn't get much air time last night, when he did speak he was effective. I thought he raised a great point about the danger of establishing a national sales tax in his question to Herman Cain. I also thought his answer on the topic of how to help people living under the poverty line was outstanding. He pointed out that one of the primary causes of poverty in the U.S. is the breakdown of the American family, noting that only 5% of children living with their married parents are under the poverty line. By contrast, a whopping 30% of children in single-parent homes live in poverty. Even in Republican circles, it's not very fashionable to talk about "family values," and I applaud Santorum for making this very important point. I also thought Santorum was most effective in challenging Ron Paul's somewhat wacky foreign policy views in a previous debate. I know that he is far behind in primary polls and is probably too outspoken about social issues to win a general election, but I am very glad that he is in the race and is willing to speak out on issues that the other candidates are too afraid to touch.

Newt Gingrich performed extremely well in the debate last night, in my opinion, which is consistent with his performance in other portions of debates I have seen. He has a solid grasp of domestic and foreign policy issues and definitely comes across as intelligent and confident. He seemed a bit less combative in regard to the moderators than he has been in the past, which was a good thing. Unfortunately, Gingrich's track record, both with regard to his personal life and his past political career, disqualifies him from being president in my opinion. I think he is a man with some severe moral failings and a good deal of arrogance who proved a poor leader the last time he was given a position of great authority, and I do not think he would perform well against Obama in a general election. However, I think he is a brilliant man who adds a lot to the debates, and I liked how he focused his fire on Obama last night and tried to unite the party by emphasizing that all the candidates on stage are much preferable to the Democratic alternative.

The debate last night was focused on economic issues, where I largely agree with Ron Paul, so I enjoyed listening to what he had to say and found myself mostly nodding my head. I think he, too, adds a lot to the debate and has a tremendous grasp of economics, but I could never vote for him. Among the shocking things I found about Ron Paul from previous debates, in addition to his extreme anti-war positions, his unwillingness to support Israel, and his belief that terrorists should be tried in civilian courts, are that he does not view Iran as a threat to the security of our country and that he does not believe that there should be any official recognition of marriage at any government level ("why do you even need a marriage license?"). The danger of Paul's benign view of Iran should be clear, now that we know that top government leaders of Iran recently plotted an assassination attempt on the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. right here in Washington, DC. I think Paul would make a good cabinet appointment to some purely financial/economic position, but he should never be president.

I saved Jon Huntsman for last because he is a candidate that I really don't like at all. He is generally acknowledged to be the most liberal candidate in the race, and the only one who has been outspoken in defending government regulation to help prevent man-made "climate change." Perhaps I could forgive some of his positions on issues if he didn't come across as such a snarky guy to me. One moment from last night's debate that made me truly angry was when Huntsman asked Romney a question. He started out by telling Romney he wasn't going to ask him about his religion (completely out of the blue -- no reason to even bring this up), then added as a sarcastic aside to Perry, "Sorry, Rick." I thought this was a really nasty dig, as to my knowledge Perry is not anti-Mormon and has not attempted to make Romney's Mormonism an issue in the campaign. He is not to blame if some of his supporters may dislike Romney's religion. It just reaffirmed the negative opinions I already had about Huntsman. Thankfully, he has no chance of winning the Republican nomination.

Perhaps this long post helps to clarify why I remain undecided about the GOP primary. Most of the candidates have strengths and weaknesses. Some of the candidates I like the best don't seem to be electable, and I don't trust some of the candidates that are supposedly the most electable and polished. I hope that the Republicans aren't pressured into coalescing around a single candidate too soon. I think that vigorous debate is what our party needs, and is the only way to ensure that we pick the best candidate to take on Obama next fall. The stakes for our country couldn't be higher.

Monday, October 10, 2011


As the subtitle of our blog says, this is "A Politics & Culture Blog."  Sports are a big part of our culture, inspiring metaphors in politics such as "hitting a speech out of the park".  Political metaphors are used in sports as well.  Remember a few years ago when the Detroit Lions "pulled a McCain" by going 0-16?  (OK, I made that one up.)  Let's talk sports!
  • With the continuing NBA lockout and the possibility of a cancelled NBA season, major US cities are bracing themselves for higher crime rates due to more NBA players out on the streets.  I have an idea.  Maybe we should give these guys something to do, say...playing basketball...around 12:00 AM when they might be getting into trouble with the law.  We could even allocate federal funds for it.  This is a brilliant idea!  Why has no one thought of this before?
  • The 4-0 Detroit Lions -- wait, 4-0? -- play against the Bears tonight.  I never thought I would say "4-0 Detroit Lions". 
  • The Tigers are losing the American League Championship Series two games to none against the Texas Rangers.  Go Tigers.

"Down With Evil Corporations"

The original photo is from the recent Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City. This version has been showing up around Facebook and the blogosphere.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thomas Sowell on the "Hunger Hoax"

Here is an interesting piece by Thomas Sowell on the "Hunger Hoax" (credit to Shawn Ritenour for pointing me to the article). Sowell sees it as a symptom of a bigger problem:
"An arrogant elite's condescension toward the people — treating them as children who have to be jollied along — is one of the poisonous problems of our time. It is at the heart of the nanny state and the promotion of a debilitating dependency that wins votes for politicians while weakening a society.

Those who see social problems as requiring high-minded people like themselves to come down from their Olympian heights to impose their superior wisdom on the rest of us, down in the valley, are behind such things as the hunger hoax, which is part of the larger poverty hoax."

I can see applications to the "childhood obesity epidemic" as well. We are all individuals and we all have the God-given ability to think for ourselves. To assume that the government must do something about peoples' problems, must help them to change their habits, the way they think, is demeaning. Some people may make poor decisions, but they are individuals with freedom and they should be allowed to make those choices for themselves. The role the government has taken in helping these people should belong to private charities only. They cannot force someone to change (though neither can the government), but if someone shows the inclination to change charities can help him to make a start and follow through.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Actually, I think they are more like Veruca Salt

Those of you who have jobs and lives might not know what's happening on Wall Street.  By "Wall Street", I mean the actual street, not a metaphor for big business.  Some young liberals got tired of the fluorescent lights in their parents' basement and went to New York City to protest the evils of capitalism...or something like that.
At a forum in Washington, D.C., today, Vice President Joe Biden compared the Wall Street protesters to the TEA party.  “There’s a lot in common with the tea party,” Biden said. “The tea party started why? TARP. They thought it was unfair we were bailing out the big guys.”  That's the extent of the similarities between the TEA party and the aimless protesters on Wall Street.  As Ann Coulter said, the TEA partiers have jobs, showers, and a point.  Also, the similarity that Biden pointed out is an overstatement.  Biden betrays his true thoughts by referring to the "big guys". 

For Democrats -- and Biden is no exception -- everything boils down to class warfare.  The Wall Street protesters on the left are no doubt angry that "fat cat" bankers got a bailout at the expense of the "working class".  On the other hand, the TEA party objects to bailouts on principle because it is unfair for the taxpayers to pay the price for somebody else's bad choices, whether that somebody is a "fat cat" banker or a homeowner who took out a bad loan.

The TEA party wants government to get out of the way so they can provide for themselves and their families.  The Wall Street protesters want the government to give them jobs.  And a pony.  Or at least a squirrel.

This says it all.  (Source: UPI.com)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Macaca Media

Michelle Malkin ably demonstrates the complete baselessness of the recent charges of racism against Texas Governor Rick Perry in this article. Like Malkin, I have not been overly impressed with Perry so far, but The Washington Post's "reporting" about him is inexcusable. Not that I'm surprised. This is what The Washington Post does to everyone they don't like. I am still angry about the dishonest reporting they did about late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart and the Summer of Mercy event in Germantown, MD. In 2009, they ran about 20 front page "news stories" about some thesis that the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, Robert McDonnell, had written more than 10 years earlier that supposedly provided evidence that he was "sexist." In 2006, they ran about 20 front page "news stories" about a word that Republican Virginia Senator George Allen used against a heckler on the campaign trail. Most people had never heard of this word, but apparently the experts at The Post determined that it was a little-known racial slur and therefore provided proof positive that Allen was an evil racist! They didn't even bother to put their dozens of discrediting articles in the editorial section. When it comes to The Washington Post, the front page IS the editorial section. The whole point of their paper is to cheerlead for candidates they like and to smear candidates they don't like. If you are a conservative and you choose to fund this enterprise with your subscribing dollars, you share some of the blame, in my opinion.

And don't even get me started on the charge of "racism." With few exceptions, when a candidate is accused of "racism" by the media, it simply means that the media wishes to discredit them to ensure they do not get elected. Any conservative politician, reporter, or pundit worth his salt has been labeled a racist more than once. If they are smart, they will wear it as a badge of honor. It proves that they are a threat to the Left and need to be silenced.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Anti-democratic democrats: an inadvertent moment of honesty

Bev Perdue, Democrat governor of North Carolina, recently suggested that her state should suspend elections in order to get more accomplished in government.  (She later said that her comments were sarcastic and a joke, which are dubious claims, given the tone of her voice and the notable absence of laughter from the audience.)  Gov. Perdue has revealed what we all know about liberals: they think they are smarter than all the rest of us dumb rubes and should control every aspect of our lives.  Here's what the always-brilliant Andrew Klavan has to say:  http://pajamasmedia.com/andrewklavan/2011/10/03/the-left-vs-democracy-appalling-but-not-surprising/

Field Guide to the Presidential Candidates

This opinion piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch is one of the funniest pieces of political commentary I have read in a long time!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Wall Street Journal Takes a Look at Herman Cain

I found this opinion piece by Dan Henninger in The Wall Street Journal to be an interesting read. Henninger's basic point is that Herman Cain is a substantive candidate with an impressive resume and deserves serious consideration. It was a little surprising to me to read this in the WSJ and the many favorable comments in response by WSJ subscribers, since Cain has been pigeonholed as a Tea Party candidate and not someone who would be supported by establishment conservatives. I admit that I was one of those people who initially wrote Cain off as not smooth enough to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, but I am starting to rethink that decision partially due to this WSJ editorial and due to Dennis Miller's endorsement of Cain on The O'Reilly Factor.

To my mind, Cain is the polar opposite of Obama. (And the more I see of Obama, the more attractive that is to me!) Obama is all show and no substance. Cain is all substance and no show. Obama has spent his relatively short life hobnobbing with the elites at Ivy League institutions and running for political office; Cain has spent his life in the private sector creating jobs, solving problems, and managing businesses. Obama was born in Hawaii, attended the most prestigious private colleges, and appears to have spent most of his life on the fast track to success, yet seems to nurse personal grievances against the U.S. Cain was born in the racially segregated Old South and literally worked his way from the bottom to the top through perseverance and determination, yet demonstrates an attitude of love and appreciation for our country.

There is no doubt in my mind that Cain would be a good president, and would probably be a tremendous breath of fresh air in Washington. The fact that he is not a career politician is a good thing in my book. He understands business and knows how to create jobs. He appears to be a man of great personal integrity and responsibility who knows how to work hard, motivate people, and solve problems.

My biggest concern is whether he would be able to get elected in the first place. In a country where people seem to base their voting decisions on 30-second soundbites, looks, elite connections, and the ability to talk smoothly and give a nice-sounding speech, will the blunt-talking, gaffe-prone Cain be able to catch on? I certainly expect a lot of mistakes on the campaign trail from someone who has never held political office before, and it gives me some pause. But, at this point, less pause than I have about voting for Romney or Paul or Perry or Bachmann or Huntsman.

One interesting thing that may work in Cain's favor in getting elected is the fact that he is black. The very fact that Cain is in the race as a Tea Party favorite demonstrates the utter ridiculousness of the popular leftist smear that conservatives -- and the Tea Party in particular -- are racist, but if he were to win the nomination it would make that smear seem all the more ridiculous to the American public. Certainly Obama would not be able to take the black vote for granted in a general election against Herman Cain, and while doubtless Democrats would continue to play the race card as they always do, Cain's presence in the race might make it that much harder for them to do it successfully. And if the media uses nasty, personal, race-baiting attacks against Cain the way they have done in the past against black conservatives, will the black community accept that lying down? I don't know, but it would be interesting to find out.