Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. Urp.

Yesterday’s post about fund-raising appeals from the RNC brought in a range of interesting comments. Certain fellow members of the VRWC seemed to be dismayed by the idea of withdrawing support from the Republicans simply because they behave almost exactly like Democrats.

El Jefe Maximo probably said it best:
     In general I agree with this post, but given that it’s true, what can we do at present ? We have between 20-30 or so percent of the electorate that is actively dangerous, or supports dangerous candidates and policies (one part intractable poor, one part very bright and rich movers and shakers); then 30-40 percent that is reasonably conservative; and everybody else wishy-washy in the middle…
This being the case, what can we do? Yeah, I’m disgruntled at the Republicans on many levels right now, but I don’t see any alternative to them other than handing the country over to Cindy Sheehan and company. We will then lose the war…
If the Democrats even get control of one house of Congress in 2006, we will see hearings and investigations on a staggering scale. The President will have difficult avoiding impeachment…
As I say, I share your concerns. But I see nothing we can do about them, at present, that won’t make matters worse, other than to keep yelling at the solons when they get it wrong. We must hang together now or hang separately next year.
Well, Jefe, you may be right. I hope the possibility that you are right will concentrate the minds of senior Republicans, and maybe steer them onto a new track. Both trains are headed over the cliff right now — does it really matter which one we board?

If it weren’t for the war against the Great Jihad, I would not have felt so compelled to vote a straight Republican ticket in 2004. I don’t agree with President Bush on everything about the “War on Terror,” but at least I know he is serious about it and not swayed by every little shift in the political winds. Most of the rest of his policies are not conservative, if the word “conservative” means what I think it does.

But I don’t see anyone coming up in 2008, Republican or Democrat, who looks likely to continue the war in the same spirit. Every Republican whose “turn” might be due has already shown himself to be less than adequate for the job. Or herself — consider Condi’s shameless toadying to the Saudis.

So I think the next three years will be our last shot for a while.

In the meantime, we need to look to the long term. We need a national political party that adequately represents a majority of the American people, and right now we don’t have one.

We know what the Democrats stand for: pandering to left-wing interest groups, expanding the government, and turning over our national sovereignty to unaccountable non-democratic trans-national institutions.

We also know what the Republicans stand for: “We’re just like the Democrats, only we’ll spend less money,” plus doling out favors to their buddies in big business.

If we want to be represented by a national party, one or both of the existing ones will have to be hit where it hurts. When moths start flying out of their empty pocketbooks, they will start paying attention.

I’m not in favor of a third party, at least not yet. But there’s an alternative, one which I keep harping on. Since I don’t seem to be getting through, I’ll make it prominent enough for everyone to notice:

The Republican Primaries in 2006

If the GOP gets a wake-up call in the midterms, it might have enough of a salutary effect to allow us conservatives to pull the (R) lever in 2008 with a clean conscience.

And if the Republican majority gets shaved a little thin next year, or even if one house turns Democrat, would that be so bad? Until Jan 20th, 2009, President Bush will still be Commander-in-Chief. And most of us remember how much Ronald Reagan was able to accomplish, even when both houses were controlled by the Party of Pinkness.

The Club for GrowthBut, by my troth, the Republicans in Congress need to be shaken until their back teeth rattle. And, as I’ve said repeatedly, the shaking device required is the Club for Growth. Remember, these are the people who backed Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter, when President Bush and Senator Santorum supported Snarlin’ Arlen. These putative “conservatives” let a true conservative go down rather than violate a mindless “party loyalty.”

What the heck is there to be loyal to when it includes the likes of Arlen Specter? Remember the consequences of this loyalty: the Gang of Fourteen and a likely uncontested filibuster of Judge Alito. That’s what party loyalty gets you.

The Club for Growth finds good, solid, Constitutionally-minded conservatives and backs them in the party primaries against the good ol’ boys in the Pork-’n’-Pay Club. The CFG has a very impressive track record in its efforts.

Here’s their mission statement:
     The Club for Growth is a national network of over 30,000 men and women, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom.
The Club for Growth exists to encourage, and make possible, the enactment of pro-growth economic policies by the federal government. The primary tactic of the Club for Growth PAC has been to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries.
Club for Growth Policy Goals:
  • Making the Bush tax cuts permanent
  • Death tax repeal
  • Cutting and limiting government spending
  • Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts
  • Expanding free trade
  • Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits
  • Replacing the current tax code
  • School choice
  • Regulatory reform and deregulation
And they even have a blog. Go over to the Club for Growth Blog and see what they have to say.

By all means, write a sharp note to your senator or congressman. But, while you’re at it, drop a check in the mail to the Club for Growth.

If you’re going to keep bitching about the darkness, for Heaven’s sake, light a few candles.


ShrinkWrapped said...

I know Rudi is not a conservative, but I would suggest he is the best person fot the job in 2008 (barring some strange occurences between now and then). It is hard for non-New Yorkers to appreciate how bleak things were in New York when Rudi was elected. I didn't particulalry like him at the time; he seemed like a spot-light loving, power abusing, grandstanding prosecutor. However, he instituted the zero tolerance policy on quality of life crime (the "broken windows" approach) which helped break the atmosphere of chaos in the city. He also refused Saudi blood money (what politician ever turns down "free" money???) and was the main thing holding the city together after 9/11. He may have lots of faults (none disqualifying, IMHO) but he has run a giant city on a balanced budget, has never been afraid to antagonize the right people, and made an ungovernable city work; that's a pretty good record.

moderationist said...

Politics is about winning elections. Rudy is the only one who could win in 2008 that wouldn't send the country into a tailspin. Purist conservatives just won't win.

Baron Bodissey said...

jdroll -- Yes, I thought Toomey was in charge (he's the one who sends us all our CFG emails). But I couldn't find it on their site, so I left it out. Thanks for the URL.

Baron Bodissey said...

Shrink -- I could probably vote for Giuliani. I'd have to bite the bullet real hard to ignore a lot of his policies that I disagree with, but he does have the qualities of a real leader. I don't think he'd give any quarter to the Great Jihad.

moderationist said...

The talk show hosts seem to be drumming up rage more at republicans than at democrats. If the dims take control in 2006, it will be 2 years of impeach Bush. If they take control in 2008, it will be national health care, huge tax increases, plus gutting the WOT.

Baron Bodissey said...

moderationist --

The Republicans at this point are Socialism Lite. Look at what they did with the Medicare prescription drug bill -- saddled us with a huge additional piece of socialized medicine, inefficient and expensive, to be paid for (or abandoned) by the taxpayers of the future. Then there's nationally centralized socialized education, brought to you by Republicans.

Instead of additional taxes, they do things like mandate Sarbanes-Oxley, which you pay for through higher prices rather than taxes. The Republicans can claim that they didn't raise taxes, but they forced the private sector to do useless and expensive things, without funding it.

As for the GWOT -- what's the prognosis for Frist as Commander-in-Chief? Even George Allen climbed on board the "Second-Guess the President in Iraq" amendment.

They're disgusting. I will not be blackmailed by the old "it's either us or the Red Menace" routine. I don't believe that we have to continue to tolerate the behavior of the Republicans just because the Democrats are marginally worse.

The fact that congressional representatives have gerrymandered themselves into safe Republican districts does not make them immune from party primaries. There's still a lot we can do without voting the Democrats into power or starting a third party.

It is time to throw the rascals out.

bordergal said...

I don't see any information on environmental protection and immigration.

Do you have any idea what their stance is on these issues?

Regulatory reform and deregulation sounds wonderful, but it can be a slick cover for a lot of undesirable items. As they say, the devil is in the details.

I for one don't want a free market economy like China, where they are systematically destroying their water, soil, and air in the quest for economic growth. NOT a good long term plan, if you have over a billion people to feed.

Papa Ray said...

"I don't see any information on environmental protection and immigration."

BG, if you mean the repubs, they (with the exception of a few) seem to care less about our borders or protecting the environment.

Immigration has long been a hot button for people in the border states but has just lately is starting to effect other inland states.

If we don't see some drastic improvments in border control in 2006, there is going to be hell to pay for every border state rep in DC.

Americans as a whole (except for the liberals) don't care much for tree huggers and the such so any legislaton that affects jobs or like the boondoggle in Alaska affects us getting our gas cheap won't get much attention by the reps because it will lose them votes.

Like what happened in LA. one of reasons the levees were not built the way (and where) they should have been because the enviro folks sued and stopped it (twice).

That kind of enviro is becoming less and less popular but we need to push for alternate energy sources and means more and that means that the wind tower parks and other plant facilities may have to be built where people don't want them.

Nuke plants need to be built and a bunch of them.
The new little plants like the Japanese have should have already been built.

The WOT had better make great strides in the next three years or so because I don't think we can find another president that will be willing to engage our military in any meaningful (preemptive) manner. No one seems to understand that this war is going to be going on for a long, long time.

That we are fighting for our very survival seems to not been understood by many either.

I've worn out my welcome with my reps in DC and in Austin. I have sent so many emails that I am sure they just delete them as a matter of course.

But I'm not giving up.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Dymphna said...

Border Gal--
Being for "environmental protection" doesn't say enough.

*What does "protection" mean?

*Which environments, particularly?

*And what regulations are the wisest use of the land, air and seas?

If smaller government included less "environmental" regulation, that would be a dandy idea. It's the regulations and the set-asides which are hurting the environment and the economy.

For example, the decision to eliminate controlled burns in our national forests has resulted in devastation of millions of acres destroyed by nature herself.

For another, the move to federalize more and more wilderness areas means fewer jobs, less land to build on, and less opportunity. The price of home-ownership is outrageous. A good case could be made for its link with "environmental" "protection."

bordergal said...


Oh, where to start.
My Master's thesis is on the Clean Air Act, so I know a bit about the convolutions of environmental legislation. I agree that environmental law should be as efficient as possible.

However, China is a lovely case in favor of environmental law. Their air quality is horrendous, which will cause serious human health defects (including birth defects, which are up). They are exporting their toxic air polluants and others to the US via the prevailing winds. They have areas where the soil is so contaminated by heavy metals that they are impacting crop yields (and of course, the biomagnification problem), and farmers are rioting because their livelihoods are being destroyed. Much of their good topsoil is also wasted through erosion. Their water situation is dire. Pollution, overuse, I hate to think what is happening to their fisheries.

When it comes to wilderness protection, you and I will have to disagree. I personally adore the Wilderness Act, and areas that are declared Wilderness are already federal land. Those reserves also protect wildlife habitat, and charismatic big species. Have you ever read the Lewis and Clark book "Undaunted Courage"? Or any other historical ecology book? The changes that have been wrought in this country's habitats are heartbreaking. Did you know that there was an east coast bison, now extinct?

Conservation and conservative have the same root, after all. I have always thought of environmental protection as a conservative value-and we protect the health and quality of HUMAN life when we protect our surrounding environment, and do not overexploit it.

I know all about the cost of home ownership. I live in California, where my little 1000 square foot 40 year old house is worth over 400,000.

BUT, one of the main issues that is driving home prices is population growth, which in turn is driven by immigration. I think our environment and our standard of living is not enhanced by crowding more and more people into less and less space. I'd like to see rational growth policies that keep us at a sustainable level. After all, who really wants the rest of the US to turn into LA?

So, this is my long winded way of saying that I favor protection of air quality, soil, fisheries, water quality, forest health, wildlife, and wildlife habitat. Yes, and wilderness, too. After all, this earth is god's gift to us, and we should be good stewards.

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

bordergal said...


I thought that the eastern forests have a fairly active prescribed fire program. Was I wrong?

The long time federal policy of fire suppression was a big ecological mistake. However, now that there is a great deal of urban/wildland interface, fire managers have a lot fewer options in dealing with the problem. People tend to get upset about smoke, and in CA can shut down a prescribed burn with three nuisance calls. It's also a chancy tool, one that can get out of hand quite quickly if weather conditions are right (or wrong). There was a burn a couple of years ago on the Sequoia National Forest which smoked out the head of the local air pollution control district. Oh, was there ever heck to pay then!

And if things go wrong (and sooner or later, they will, fire is a chancy tool near population centers), there you are, on Page One as responsible for burning down some poor 80 year old couples home. That's not a position most wildland firefighters would relish.

Dymphna said...

Border Gal--

Developing countries -- e.g., China -- have horrible records re the environment. Probably no one was worse than the Soviets in the modern era...and none worse in ancient times than Native Americans who killed off their tribes with poor environmental practices...unless maybe you want to look at some of the desert areas in the Middle East. Wherever man goes, he leaves a large footprint.

Where there is prosperity, there is enough space to consider saving the space you live in. When you're worried about survival, the environment takes a back seat.

Your house in California is as expensive as it is bec of the building codes that have come into being, the union wages and benefit practices, the land management practices that drive up costs without commensurate benefits to anyone except those already in possession of property, and the other un-economic practices in that state. Read Thomas Sowell. You also have a population crunch, one which existed before the Mexican flood.

Often government interference makes things worse. California couldn't survive were not Colorado's water ripped off at rates amounting to pure stealing just to keep Californians watered. California is probably the most artificially-maintained ecology in the country. The cliff dwellers who slide in every mud season are just one example.

The Western US will always have large fires. It is the nature of the woodlands. It can be managed better than it is, but as long as there are huge tracts of "wilderness" there will be huge fires in the West.

The woodlands of the East are less dense, get more moisture and are less prone to drought-driven fires. Thus it is easier to control them and to use them as recreatiion areas. They're simply not as dangerous an environment.

My concern for any Club for Growth candidate is that he *not* be someone willing to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol -- an envy-driven, ecologically and economically unwise trap for free market economies that will not help developing economies, just hinder the others.

As an example, take the New Foundland fishing area. Had it been privately owned or regulated, you can bet there would still be fish there. Governmental regulations don't work well and never will. Government is too large, unflexible, and cannot think in anything but macro-systems. A few laws, a lot of incentive to markets to conserve, and you've got a good system.

BTW, if China had a middle class there would be an environmental "movement." Pray God it doesn't splinter along ideological lines like ours has. No body slings mud like an environmentalist.

Except maybe a Baptist.

bordergal said...


I'm not so sure I'm willing to trust market forces without including watchdogs with very large teeth, as well as market incentives. Greed and power are two very motivating factors, and there have been enough examples of corporate malfeasance to make me wary. I particularly like the way corporate execs award themselves large bonuses as their company tanks, while the worker bees lose their pensions.

I agree about the Kyoto protocol.
As for California, well, the situation here would require a much longer post then I have energy for right now.

However, I disclaim all responsibility for the current mess, since I voted for Tom McClintock!

Rick Darby said...


Although I mostly agree with the policies of the Club for Growth as you've outlined them, I don't see how they would constitute any serious reform of the Republican party. Most of them, in fact, are positions any present Republican could support, at least in the abstract.

None of the Club's ideas challenge the party's present myopia, which arises from the very assumptions of this Club -- namely, that every issue that matters can be boiled down to economics.

The 'Pubs are failing in leadership of World War IV not primarily because of adopting any leftist viewpoints, but because they can't see beyond economics. They are focused on keeping power by trying to ensure that everybody makes enough money so as not to kill the golden goose.

They wink at illegal immigration because they believe cheap fast-food and house-building labor will keep the engine of prosperity chugging along. They won't acknowledge the reality of the worldwide Muslim jihad because that would require putting the country on a war footing and call for a suspension of galloping consumerism -- which they are afraid might cause a recession that would see off their majority.

Managing the economy better, including shrinking the pork barrel, is worthwhile; but leading the world out of the encroaching darkness of the Muslim threat and the Third World invasion of the West is going to take a lot more than just smarter monetary policy. No amount of tax reform and spending redirection can substitute for courage, vision, and character.

Baron Bodissey said...

Rick -- Generally, I agree with you.

My "buts":

1. Shrinking the prok barrel is necessary, but not sufficient, to combat the Islamist threat. National security cannot adequately be maintained when so much of our GDP goes into profligate pork spending and entitlements.

National security will never be adequate as long as the taxpayers' money is considered a private slush fund available for doling out to favored constituents and big contributors. We need to put the fear of God into the spendthrifts.

2. I think you're probably right about some of the CFG people and immigration. But not all of them. For example, our congressman, Virgil Goode, is a strong proponent of enforcing our immigration laws (and passing better ones), yet he is a strict fiscal conservative. The two positions are not mutually exclusive.