Confessions Of A Member Of The “Far-Right Fringe”

I confess.

I believe in God, and I’m a Christian. I believe in the Second Amendment as the Founders meant it, and that as a law-abiding citizen I’m a member of the “militia” as defined under the US Code Title 10. I love guns; I own guns, including “assault weapons”; I shoot my guns regularly. I’m a veteran. I’m against granting amnesty, under whatever name, to illegal aliens. I think abortion is wrong, and is not solely just “a woman’s right to choose”. I consider myself a member of the Tea Party.

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STRAC in ’69

Guilty as charged. Mea culpa.

And because of my views and beliefs, I’ve been castigated and excoriated by Democrats and their fellow socialists in this country for decades. It’s reached the point where if I state my views and I don’t hear insults in return, I have to wonder if I’m actually speaking clearly, or have made some other mistake in communication. Did I garble my sentences? Speak in tongues? Have a “cerebral incident”? What?

My political opponents on the Left have called me a “radical”, a reactionary, a fanatic, a zealot, an “extremist”… and that’s when they’re in a good mood and feeling polite. Early in his first term Commissar Obama’s Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano branded small-government gun-owning veterans who are pro-life (that would be me) “potential terrorists”.

All well and good. The sun is in the sky and things are right with the world.

But wait! What’s that I hear?

Why… the same criticisms coming at me from my other flank! Power players in the Republican Party seem to have gulped the Democrat Kool-Aid and decided that we people who believe in these principles actually are part of the political “fringe”! Hold on a sec… aren’t these the exact same principles the GOP claims to represent?

roveWell, according to Karl Rove, among others in the Establishment GOP, apparently not. It seems that actual principles are okay, as long as they don’t interfere with just winning elections, and those who actually believe that elections are about advancing actual principles really are members of the extremist “fringe”, an inconvenient group that must be ignored if not outright shunned.We saw it in practice after the 2010 election, when new House Speaker John Boehner completely marginalized the Tea Party-backed conservatives who were newly elected to their seats in the House, giving the GOP the majority status there. “Thank you, now go sit in the corner and shut up” was the message then.

Rove and his cohorts have formalized that message with the formation of a couple of PACs (Link) whose goal will be to influence elections, starting with the primary process, with the aim of having “the most electable” candidates win. The problem is, of course, what their definition of “electable” means.

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Crist’s Commissar clinch

Rove and the others are the same people who backed Bush’s two attempts at amnesty for illegal aliens; who backed Bush’s TARP and “bailout”, as well as his expansion of Medicare; who are now talking about “sensible, common sense” gun control; who supported Charlie Crist (who later defected to the Democrats) over Marco Rubio; who backed Arlen Specter (who also later defected to the Dems) over Toomey; and who constantly and reliably disparage the Tea Party and other traditionally conservative factions of the electorate.

In other words, these are the self-anointed geniuses who regularly spit in the eyes of what would reasonably be considered their “base” – the very voters they actually need in order to win – and then turn around and scratch their heads and wonder why they end up losing elections, especially at the national level.

One of Rove’s group’s goals is to “… protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.” In other words, party uber alles, principles be damned.

But what does that really mean? Abandoning core principles the GOP has traditionally claimed to represent, in the hopes of stealing some of the Democrats’ reliable base? Then what’s the point, if all they want to be is a modified form of Democrat, the Dem-Lite Party? Why would anyone vote for them at all? And why are they intent – whether by design or not – on redefining the political spectrum leftward? And how did the Tea Party – whose main issues are fiscal prudence and limited power in government – become defined as “far right”? Isn’t that a fundamental principle, and “centrist” by definition?

Rove, Boehner, and the rest of the Establishment GOP hacks are exactly the reason why in 2008, when the GOP nominated that idiot McCain, I quit my GOP registration of almost 40 years and re-registered as an Independent. I’d had a bellyful of that party of clowns who didn’t care one bit about principles. Their entire raison d’être is simply to “win” elections, though they’ve completely lost any sense of purpose as to WHY that win could actually be important as anything other than a simple power grab.

A  complete disconnect from any sense of real purpose or underlying ideology or philosophy, coupled with an uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, all wrapped in a cloak of sanctimony and hypocrisy.

© Brian Baker 2013

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Incrementalism: The Potential Death Of This Country…

And Its Potential Salvation

Today (10 April), Rick Santorum dropped out of the primary contest for the GOP’s presidential nomination, leaving the field clear for Romney to cinch the nomination as there are no other credible opponents left.

Those who know me know I was never particularly thrilled with any of the GOP entrants into this election’s race. Too many “moderates”; too many RINOs (Hunstman, for example); too many wing nuts (Gingrich, Paul); not enough classic Reagan conservatives (not one I can think of).

That having been said, think about what Romney’s nomination really means.

Our country is poised on the brink of national suicide due to the socialist policies proposed – and in many cases, enacted – by the leftists. How did we get here? That’s a question due some real consideration.

The seeds of modern “progressivism” were sown by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, but they didn’t flower until FDR, and his then-radical notions of Social Security, deficit spending for the New Deal, and his other government work programs. Think about that; there was a time when Social Security was actually considered “radical”.

Now look at the kinds of programs we have that are currently under consideration, or have been enacted into law. A “healthcare” law that forces people to buy a product under threat of government penalty (Obamacare), and which effectively nationalizes the medical industry and 17% of our GDP; a national debt that exceeds our annual GDP; a “national security” law that allows the US military, on American soil, to arrest and incarcerate American citizens without trial, and effectively suspends the right of habeas corpus; all the way down to laws that dictate to us what kind of light bulbs we’re allowed to use in our own homes and what kind of bags we’re permitted to use when we go grocery shopping.

If any of these laws had been proposed 80 years ago when FDR was President, do you think there’s any chance they’d have actually been adopted? Of course not! Anyone who proposed such ideas would have been laughed out of town, if not tarred and feathered.

But 80 years of incrementalism – the constant erosion and chipping away at our rights and traditional American values and ideals – have made each and every one of them a possibility, if not an actual reality.

Clearly, I – and many like me – would have loved to have seen the GOP field a candidate around whom we could have rallied and who would have taken a strong position to reverse this devastating trend. But here’s a bit of political reality: it took us 80 years to get into this mess, and it’s very possible that the radical changes that have to take place to reverse it simply aren’t practically possible to achieve in one four- or eight-year administration. A candidate who advocated essentially burning things to the ground to return to sanity would have a hard time actually winning the election, first of all. More importantly, it took us 80 years as a society to transform into what we are now, and it’s going to take at least a couple of decades to reverse the damage in a way that won’t itself cause massive damage. Institutions, as well as individuals, are going to have to be given time to remake their own circumstances and practices to accommodate the changes we as a country have to make in order to survive the mess we’ve made of things.

And that may, in fact, mean that Romney is the right guy at the right time. No, he’s certainly not Reagan; no, he’s not an innately traditional conservative. But he is a practical guy who understands the problems we face, is a political realist, and as a successful businessman understands the economic issues at hand. He won’t burn down the house, but I think he will start the pendulum swinging back.

And let me address the “Reagan issue” for a moment. Most people forget that as Governor of California, Reagan signed some pretty “liberal” laws into effect. Yet look at how he performed as President. There’s often a big difference between being a Governor and a President: different issues; different governmental powers and functions in play; and different constituencies between a provincial state office and a national office.

It’s time to put an end to the internecine battle on the right over the nomination that’s simply giving Obama and the leftists sound bites they can distort in their campaign ads for their desperate bid to retain power.

Let’s move on.

 

© Brian Baker 2012

 

The Rubber Meets The Road

On  Monday, 26 March 2012, The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) begins hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Long-time readers of my blog (my thanks to you) may recall that way back in September of 2009 (Here) I predicted that any “mandate” that people buy health insurance would guarantee a constitutional challenge that would reach the Supreme Court. I was one of the first to make that prediction.

Time has borne me out on the accuracy of that prediction. Even aside from the legal issues involved, Obamacare has proven to be hugely unpopular with the people. The major GOP presidential candidates have vowed to repeal it should they become President. It was one of the big issues that led to the “shellacking” the Democrats took at the mid-term elections in 2010.

But even though there’s an alternate political route to getting rid of Obamacare – repeal – it’s not an acceptable alternative. Here’s why.

The “mandate” in Obamacare requires people to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Whether that penalty is called a “fine” or a “tax surcharge” is irrelevant. A penalty is a penalty. By doing so, Obamacare takes the unprecedented step (in this country) of forcing people to enter into a contract to purchase something from a vendor under the guise of “the greater good”. Once that rationale becomes accepted as valid, there’s no limit to the power the government has to regulate and control what people must do or buy moving forward; government’s power becomes unlimited. A rationale of “greater good” can always be found for whatever the latest “crisis du jour” is. Not enough domestic cars sold? You must buy an American car. “Unhealthy” eating habits? You must buy and eat three carrots per week per person. No matter how silly an example you can dream up, it can become a government “mandate”.

Our Constitution defines a federal government of strictly limited powers. Obamacare’s mandate removes all limits on those powers, all under the guise of “the greater good”, of course. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that Obamacare – or at least the mandate – be found unconstitutional. Otherwise, this country’s liberty is completely doomed.

And that’s why the political alternative of repeal isn’t acceptable. If the mandate is somehow held to be constitutional, a repeal is meaningless, because the power to reinstate it remains for the next change of watch; and future laws imposing draconian mandates are just around the corner. The whole idea has to have a judicial stake driven through its heart.

© Brian Baker 2012

Panic at CNN:

Who Are These “Independents”?

And Why Is Everybody Chasing Their Votes?

If you follow the political punditry you know that all the talking heads are constantly pontificating about how the various candidates and their policy proposals are going to be received by the bloc of the electorate variously described as “independents”, “moderates”, and variations on that theme.

Democrat and Republican operatives alike seem to think that these “independents” are a left-leaning group who want “progressive” social policy coupled with a modicum of fiscal restraint. For the Democrats, this means constant surprise when their policy proposals are rejected by the majority of the electorate. For the GOP this means that the Establishment hacks, in their constant search for winning nominees, repeatedly back the least conservative candidates – commonly labeled RINOs (Republican In Name Only) – in the apparent hope that they’ll be able to lasso in some votes from liberals.

I have no idea where either party gets their ideas of what comprise the “independents”. And I think they’re both dead wrong, other than in the idea that winning over “independents” can be key to winning elections.

The most obvious and recent indication is the rise in popularity and influence of the Tea Party, an amorphous group that rallies around traditional conservative principles of fiscal restraint, small government, individual responsibility, and an Originalist interpretation of the Constitution. These are hardly “progressive” positions. We also saw the rise and fall of the “Occupy movement”, and how they failed to resonate significantly with the populace, and in fact wore out their welcome without really having any effect whatsoever.

Polling data consistently show that the people in this country consider themselves to be “right of center” politically. Further, the data show that over the years, while the percentage of the electorate that’s registered as Democrat has stayed pretty stable in the mid-30s percentile, the GOP has lost about 18% of its registered voters to the “independents”. In other words, where in the past the electorate was split pretty evenly among the three options, the Democrats are unchanged while the GOP’s share has shrunk to the upper-20s percentile with the loss going to the uncommitted.

That’s important to note. The Republicans’ loss did NOT translate into the Democrats’ gain. It translated into an increase in the size of the uncommitted.

The question then becomes: why?

I think it’s instructive to look at the clear lessons of history to find our answers. Traditional American conservatism almost always does extremely well in the voting booth. Look at Reagan’s two landslide victories, followed by Bush the Elder’s landslide as Reagan III and his defeat as his more real and more liberal self. As a matter of fact, whenever the GOP runs their Establishment RINO-type candidates, they don’t do well at all: Dole, McCain; even Bush the Younger didn’t do very well against two rabidly leftist opponents, both of whom ran incredibly inept campaigns.

Contrast that with Bobby Jindal’s sweeping success in Louisiana, running on true conservative principles in a Democrat stronghold; or Sarah Palin’s success (whatever you may think of her now) doing the same thing in Alaska. Even Scott Brown’s success in winning “Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat” in that most liberal of states, Massachusetts, was based on his opposition to Obama’s landmark socialist healthcare legislation. In Massachusetts, that’s what passes for conservative.

More history: as Daddy Bush became more and more “compassionate”, his support left him in droves and coalesced around Ross Perot, giving Clinton the win. But a mere two years of Clinton’s unchecked leftism swung control of Congress to the GOP and its 1994 Contract With America, a clear statement of conservative ideals, forcing Clinton to “triangulate” into a less-leftist “moderate”.

We saw the pattern repeated with the last Bush. His support kept dwindling as his policies swung more and more leftward, costing his party the control of Congress in 2006 and the loss of the presidency to Obama in 2008 when the GOP ran a candidate – McCain – who was almost indistinguishable from Obama on policy positions. But again, a mere two years of Democrat control of the entire apparatus was enough for the electorate to rebel in 2010, giving the House to the GOP and winnowing the Democrat majority in the Senate to a razor-thin margin. Yet another repudiation of leftism.

I can understand why the hard-core leftists who inhabit and control the Democrat party want to ignore all this. To acknowledge it would mean they’d have to abandon their goal to fundamentally transform this country into yet another “social democracy” such as those in Europe.

But why the GOP keeps clinging to this idea, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, defies all reason and logic. Are they really stuck on stupid?

I guess we’ll soon see.
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© Brian Baker, 2011