Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A field of RINOS

It looks like the Reagan revolution is now dead

Running for president on a third-party ticket in 1968, George Wallace famously claimed that there wasn't "a dime's worth of difference" between the Republican and Democratic nominees. Would anyone tuning in this year's crop of candidates say the same thing? Consider some recent sound bites:

* "You said we would fight for every job! You said that we would fight to get health care for all Americans! You said we'd fight to secure our border! You said we'd fight for us to be able to get lower taxes for middle-income Americans!"

* "Guess what they're doing in Washington: They're worrying, because they realize, the lobbyists and the politicians realize, that America now understands that Washington is broken. And we're going to do something about it."

* "Washington told us that they'd get us better health care and better education -- but they haven't. Washington told us they'd get us a tax break for the middle-income Americans -- but they haven't."

You don't have to be a political junkie to recognize those as specimens of populist Democratic boilerplate, right? The only challenge is to match each quotation to the Democratic candidate who said it. Except that no Democrat uttered those words. The three big-government platitudes above were taken from Republican Mitt Romney's Michigan primary victory speech on Tuesday.

No one is surprised when Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards insists that it's the federal government's responsibility to "get us better health care and better education." Coming from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the claim that the Bush tax cuts shortchanged middle-income Americans is all too familiar. But from a Republican like Romney, who casts himself as the truest, most Reaganesque conservative in the GOP field?

Romney's message used to be one of unabashed small-government conservatism: "Government is simply too big. State government is too big. The federal government is too big. It's spending too much." Those words still appear on his website, but there was nothing like them in his remarks last week. He told his supporters that Washington is broken and needs to be fixed -- which is decidedly not the same as saying it needs to be shrunk. Romney used to boast of the hundreds of spending line-items he vetoed as Massachusetts governor; "I like vetoes," he told audiences. But these days he's singing from a different hymnal.

To be sure, Romney is hardly the only Republican candidate to distance himself from the gospel of less-intrusive, less-expensive government. Certainly no one would confuse Mike Huckabee -- who as Arkansas' governor raised taxes, hiked spending, and expanded state regulation -- with Barry Goldwater, the original "Mr. Conservative." And the man who succeeded Goldwater in the Senate, John McCain, is guilty of such big-government abominations as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and opposing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.



Is this what GOP voters are going to have to settle for?

At least McCain is good on defence, I suppose -- and that is probably the most important thing at this juncture. I would not be surprised if a lot of GOP voters stayed home on Nov. 4, though. The best hope for conservatives on Nov. 4 is probably to win back GOP control of the Senate

In 2004, one of John McCain's closest associates, John Weaver, spoke to John Kerry about the possibility of McCain running as Kerry's vice presidential running mate. In "No Excuses," Bob Shrum's memoir of his role in numerous presidential campaigns, including Kerry's, Shrum writes that Weaver assured Kerry that "McCain was serious about the possibility of teaming up with him," and Kerry approached McCain. He, however, was more serious about seeking the 2008 Republican nomination. But was it unreasonable to think McCain might be comfortable on a Democratic ticket?

In ABC's New Hampshire debate, McCain said: "Why shouldn't we be able to reimport drugs from Canada?" A conservative's answer is: That amounts to importing Canada's price controls, a large step toward a system in which some medicines would be inexpensive but many others - new pain-relieving, life-extending pharmaceuticals - would be unavailable. Setting drug prices by government fiat rather than market forces results in huge reductions of funding for research and development of new drugs. McCain's evident aim is to reduce pharmaceutical companies' profits. But if all those profits were subtracted from the nation's health care bill, the pharmaceutical component of that bill would be reduced only from 10 percent to 8 percent - and innovation would stop, taking a terrible toll in unnecessary suffering and premature death. When McCain explains that trade-off to voters, he will actually have engaged in straight talk. There are decent, intelligent people who believe that equity or efficiency or both are often served by government setting prices. In America, such people are called Democrats.

Because McCain is a "maverick" - the media encomium reserved for Republicans who reject important Republican principles - he would be a conciliatory president. He has indeed worked with Sen. Ted Kennedy on immigration reform, with Sen. Russ Feingold on restricting political speech (McCain-Feingold) and with Kennedy and Sen. John Edwards - a trial lawyer drawn to an enlargement of opportunities for litigation - on the "patients' bill of rights."

McCain says he would nominate Supreme Court justices similar to Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito. But how likely is he to nominate jurists who resemble those four: They consider his signature achievement constitutionally dubious. When the Supreme Court upheld McCain-Feingold 5-4, Scalia and Thomas were in the minority. That was before Alito replaced Sandra Day O'Connor, who was in the majority. Two years later, McCain filed his own brief supporting federal suppression of a right-to-life group's issue advertisement in Wisconsin because it mentioned a candidate for federal office during the McCain-Feingold blackout period prior to an election. The court ruled 5-4 against McCain's position, with Alito in the majority.

In the New Hampshire debate, McCain asserted that corruption is the reason drugs currently cannot be reimported from Canada. The reason is "the power of the pharmaceutical companies." When Mitt Romney interjected, "Don't turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys," McCain replied, "Well, they are." There is a place in American politics for moralizers who think in such Manichaean simplicities. That place is in the Democratic Party.




Hillary 110 Minutes Late in St. Louis: "Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was scheduled to appear at a St. Louis-area high school at 8 p.m. Central tonight. In a manner reminiscent of her husband Bill, however, the former first lady is, as of this moment, 1 hour and 50 minutes late for the campaign stop. By operating on “Clinton Standard Time” and placing her needs, wants and desires above those of ordinary Americans who came out to see and hear her speak, she demonstrates how truly arrogant she is. And this lady wants to be president?"

Crooks in the FBI too: "The FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets. The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency's investigation of the network. Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency's Washington field office. She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file. Edmonds believes the crucial file is being deliberately covered up"

Inflation and the tax man: "Rudy Giuliani's tax-reform proposal includes indexing capital-gains taxes for inflation -- that is, putting the original price of the asset in today's dollars. All of the Republican candidates have called for low or lower taxes on capital gains, while the Democrats favor higher capital-gains taxes. But inflation-indexing of capital gains should be part of every candidate's 'economic stimulus' package, regardless of party affiliation."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


No comments: