act locally…

…or the democrats will have won.

why should the nutroots have all the fun? there’s still a battle to be fought on the local level with very worthy candidates. i’ve heard the opposing arguments, and they ring hollow. the stakes are too high to act like spoiled children when we don’t get exactly what we want. why did the conservatives turn out for bush in 2004? was it because of his committment to fiscal discipline? was it because we knew that he would take care of the illegal immigration problem once and for all? of course not. so why are we acting as if someone tricked us? the 2004 election was about iraq, the war on terror, and judicial appointments. those were issues we cared about then. aren’t they still important? the jury’s still out on iraq, but in those other two areas bush has been exactly what we expected. if we put democrats in charge, the whole country will suffer negative consequences, not just those republicans who have stepped off of the reservation. we will reverse programs that ARE working to try to gain an elusive ideological purity that will never be possible in any party. just something to consider.

there are some conservatives still in the republican party. some of them are incumbents running for re-election. some of them are challenging democratic incumbents, which is also an uphill battle. if you are lucky enough to have a conservative representing you in congress who is running for re-election, please don’t sit on the sidelines. do what you can to help them win. all campaigns would appreciate whatever time you can spare, even if it’s only an hour or two. not all of us can donate money, but there are other ways to show our support for those who agree with us on the important issues we are facing in this country.

last night i went to a debate between congressman john spratt (who currently represents south carolina’s district 5) and his conservative republican challenger, local businessman ralph norman. it was great fun to watch. it was also hard to decide who won. the important thing in this debate was that it was a debate about ideas. there were a couple pelosi references and bush references, but i believe that the audience got to hear a clear difference between spratt and norman on policy. i doubt any hearts and minds were changed there, however, since virtually everybody had already decided who they would support before this debate started.

for the record, i have done some unpaid campaign work for norman, and my family has as well. i support ralph norman because he’s the right guy for district 5, not because he’s paying for my endorsement. congressman john spratt is a decent fellow, i’m sure of that, but he has opposed just about everything the people in this district support. for that reason, we should let him get on with the business of retiring after this election. 🙂

related:
you can’t always get what you want
Conservatives Will Regret Putting Dems in Power-tony blankley (RCP)
A Blank Check from America?–thomas sowell (RCP)

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what he said

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents “interests, ” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

–former senator and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater

that’s where today’s conservatives have gotten off-message. the majority of the elected conservatives only pay lip service to smaller government and fiscal responsibility. it’s fortunate for them that we haven’t held them accountable for those two failings because of our emphasis on national security. while i think that we have our priorities straight when we put national security above every other area, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that conservative Republicans have been careless with the responsibility we gave them. they should hear that message from us.

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buchanan slams the neocons

The Bush democracy campaign brought stunning electoral gains for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. Our ally Hamid Kharzai is today little more than mayor of Kabul, as the Taliban roam the southeast and coalition casualties reach the highest levels since liberation, five years ago.

North Korea and Iran remain defiant on their nuclear programs. Vladimir Putin is befriending every regime at odds with Bush, from Tehran to Damascus to Caracas. Neocon meddling in The Bear’s backyard has gotten us bit.

Unless we grade foreign policy on the nobility of the intent, which is how the liberals used to defend disasters like Yalta, it is not credible to call Bush’s foreign policy a success. The Lebanon debacle, once U.S. complicity is exposed, is unlikely to win anyone a Nobel.

Bush’s trade policy has left us with annual deficits of $800 billion with the world and $200 billion with Beijing. Once the greatest creditor nation in history, we are now the greatest debtor. U.S. manufacturing has been hollowed out with thousands of plants closed and 3 million industrial jobs vanishing since Bush took office.

As for Bush immigration policy, the nation is in virtual rebellion. Six million aliens have been caught at the Mexican border since he took office. One in 12 had a criminal record. In April-May, millions of Hispanics marched through U.S. cities demanding amnesty and all rights of citizenship for aliens who are breaking the law by even being here. Bush and the Senate are in paralysis, appeasing the lawbreakers by offering amnesties and by opposing House demands that the president seal the border before the invasion brings an end to the America we once knew.

pat buchanan (real clear politics)

it is troubling what has happened in afghanistan with karzai, but that is a result of not completely finishing what we started there, and not as a result of having elections. democracy doesn’t always produce the desired results. it doesn’t automatically make citizens more free simply because they can now cast a vote for the leaders of their choice. there are cultural and societal changes that have to take place before democracy and freedom work in concert with each other. look at the united states for an example. where does our freedom come from? it certainly doesn’t come from the ability to vote, or from our government. freedom is individual. it’s personal. the same theory applies to other countries as well.

worry about iran first. then we can deal with north korea. i wish the president would wake up to the fact that putin is not our friend, and that we need to pay closer attention to what he’s doing.

i’m not going to address buchanan’s comments about trade policy, because i don’t know enough to dispute him on that point. he is dead-on about immigration, and i hope president bush gets the message that we are trying to send. however, i share buchanan’s pessimism about this.

pat buchanan knows where all the problems are. what he doesn’t seem to have is a solution to deal with all of these problems.

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the battle for iraq

iraqi prime minister maliki addressed a joint session of congress today, and this is part of what he said.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, our nascent democracy faces numerous challenges and impediments, but our resolve is unbreakable and we will overcome them.

The greatest threat Iraq’s people face is terror: terror inflicted by extremists who value no life and who depend on the fear their wanton murder and destruction creates.

They have poured acid into Iraq’s dictatorial wounds and created many of their own.

Iraq is free, and the terrorists cannot stand this.

They hope to undermine our democratically elected government through the random killing of civilians. They want to destroy Iraq’s future by assassinating our leading scientific, political and community leaders. Above all, they wish to spread fear.

Do not think that this is an Iraqi problem. This terrorist front is a threat to every free country in the world and their citizens. What is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty.

Confronting and dealing with this challenge is the responsibility of every liberal democracy that values its freedom. Iraq is the battle that will determine the war. If, in continued partnership, we have the strength of mind and commitment to defeat the terrorists and their ideology in Iraq, they will never be able to recover.

 

that’s the bigger issue here. terrorists must not be able to dictate the direction of a country.  that’s what the terrorists are trying to do in iraq. we cannot allow this. terrorism won’t stop after iraq, but we need to deal the islamic extremists as many damaging blows as we can. that’s why we need to support israel and any other country that is actively fighting terrorists. israel is doing its part against terrorism in its current struggle against hezbollah, but it’s a recurring problem for them. we may never see the end to the war against terrorism.  that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the growing threat it poses to each and every one of us.

that’s a good question

what is more important to iraq and iraqis as they look toward their future: liberty or democracy? one doesn’t automatically equal the other. while it’s true that democracy is generally preferable to other systems of government, it may not produce desired results in other areas. it may not produce the free society that we all want for the iraqis. in his attempt to simplify the message, president bush has distorted it. you can have liberty without democracy, but you won’t always have both.

maybe we should shift our focus from one to the other. we have elections there, and that’s great, but without removing the restrictions on individual rights, will the iraqis notice much of a change? their new constitution suggests that there will be more freedoms for the iraqi people. we shall see how well that constitution is enforced.

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tell ’em what you really think!

so now the republicans care what the rest of us think. it’s about time. apparently they have this survey. here’s the sales pitch. (h/t- california conservative)

The goal is to help the Leadership of the Republican Party gain an on-going and in-depth understanding of the issues which are of greatest concern to Americans like you.

Please take a moment to complete the ASK AMERICA national survey online at www.NRCC.org/AskAmerica.

As we enter this all-important election year, we need to know exactly how you feel about AmericaÂ’s War on Terror, and how secure you feel here at home. We need to know your direct views on many of the most important issues facing our politically divided nation: the economy, national defense, overhaul of AmericaÂ’s tax system, health care, strengthening Social Security, illegal immigration reform, government spending, and much more.

It addresses issues important to every concerned American who cares about the future of this country. It is time that we find out what you, the hard-working American taxpayers, really want.

good idea. so…take this opportunity to share your opinion with them. they asked for it. here’s what i said in the comments:

Border security should be first and foremost in any immigration reform proposals. Current laws must be enforced. The American people are reasonable, and would consider allowing a temporary worker program IF AND ONLY IF the first two conditions apply to any proposed legislation. We just don’t believe either party is serious about controlling our borders. Speaking only for myself here, I would add that we need to be just as serious about securing our country as we are about securing Iraq. There’s quite a bit of anger out there about illegal immigration. I hope that all of you will take our concerns seriously.

if there’s any advice/criticism you have for the republican party, you can also add it here in comments, or trackback from a post on your own blog. just keep it clean, please. 🙂 notably absent from this survey…direct questions about their reckless spending habits. maybe they know the answer to that question.

you can’t always get what you want

Conservatives should be wary of the idea that when they talk about, say, tax cuts and limited government – about things other than abortion, gay marriage, religion in the public square and similar issues – they are engaging in values-free discourse. And by ratifying the social conservatives’ monopoly of the label “values voters,” the media are furthering the fiction that these voters are somehow more morally awake than others.

george will

social conservatives have values that are shared by many people in this country, but they have to realize two things. first is that they will never get everything they want. legislating moral behavior to the degree that some of them are suggesting is impossible. the second thing they have to keep in mind is that they won’t do any better than they are doing now by voting for the democrats.

there’s nothing wrong with having absolute black and white positions on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. there’s also nothing wrong with saying that a political party would lose support from your group if it does not do what you tell it to do. the flaw in this strategy for groups like this is that they don’t consider the big picture very often. george w. bush may not be their perfect politician, and likewise the republicans may not be 100% hard-core as far as pressing their core issues.

however, there are not many alternatives for groups who see supporting life and opposing gay marriage as their core issues. where would these social conservatives go if they took back their support of the republican party? not to the current group of democrats, that’s for sure. we are talking about the party whose leadership is strongly in support of abortion, of gay marriage, and which also does not have a very comfortable relationship with the Christian community. as well as being out of step with the centrists in his own party, dnc chairman howard dean can’t seem to find much common ground with the rest of the country.

he opposes missouri’s voter id law, which requires voters to have a valid photo ID in order to vote. if he was really concerned about election fraud and people being disenfranchised, you would think that the democratic party would want to support this and other similar laws. this is another one of the many unpopular positions dr. dean has taken while representing the democratic party. even on the war in iraq, the american public doesn’t seem to agree that immediate withdrawal (whatever the current definition of that seems to be) is the right answer to what should be done about iraq.

dean’s attempts to reach out to the 700 club crowd have also fallen flat. that is because he lies about where the democrats are on social issues, and even goes as far as to claim that the democratic platform of 2004 supported the idea of “one man one woman” for marriage. it did not. dear howard, please stop before you hurt yourself. (I guess it’s too late for that warning, isn’t it?) if the centrists don’t like where howard dean is taking their party, then they had better take some serious action now, or they
are headed for another election defeat in ’06.

there is always the option for social conservatives, and for small-government conservatives, to take their ball and go homeÂ…that is to stay home on election day, possibly handing the congress over to the democrats. it is a tempting idea, but not because the republican majority hasn’t taken a hard enough line on abortion or the federal marriage amendment. the appeal lies with other areas where republicans haven’t lived up to the expectations we had for them when we elected them. one is spending. as i pointed out previously, these republicans aren’t fond of small government, and have demonstrated that quite well. even those who wish to make the attempt to reduce spending, such as mike pence, are brutally shot down.

the question is then: how do we reform the system? i don’t know if there is a way to significantly impact the process in washington and change the way it currently works. we hold politicians to a higher standard because they represent us, and we should. because i’m a conservative, i believe in personal accountability for everyone, and especially for those in DC representing me. unfortunately, a self-policing system will never provide the level of accountability that is necessary to keep our politicians on the straight and narrow.

that’s why it has become more important to stay engaged and to pay attention to what your representatives and senators are doing, and not just 6 months before an election. even if your congressman or senator is not in your political party, you still have a voice. you still can write letters, make phone calls, and bang on the door (figuratively, of course) until you get an answer.

accountability is not just about elections. it is also about citizens taking an active role and letting their representatives know where they stand on the issues currently being debated. look at what happened with the dubai ports deal. everybody got motivated to call DC and say “hey what the heck are you guys doing up there?” we need to do more of that. i think we are starting to pay more attention to issues, now that illegal immigration is front-and-center. that’s a good thing. i would like to believe that our voices are having some impact in this debate. we shall see what happens with this current immigration legislation in the house and in the senate.

the last word belongs to john hawkins:

Here’s my advice: set your emotions aside and think long and hard about what a Democratically controlled Congress would really mean. Is the satisfaction of, “teaching the Republicans a lesson,” worth the price? Think back to the Clinton years: conservatives certainly stuck it to Old “Read My Lips,” but the price turned out to be eight years of, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” In my book, that wasn’t such a great trade-off and keep in mind, when you’re talking about congressmen and senators, it could be worse. Incumbent politicians are tougher to get rid of than a cockroach infestation and 40 years from now, do you really want to be sitting around, remembering how you stayed home and helped the next Robert Byrd get into office? Folks, be mad at the GOP if you don’t think they’re doing a good job. Call your senator, call your congressman and give ’em hell if they deserve it. But, when November rolls around, make sure to vote because there’s more on the line than you might think.

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the meaning of citizenship

We Americans are citizens, not “subjects” like our British cousins. We used to see citizenship as meaning the ability to vote, to speak-up, and to hold a claim on rights bought and paid for with the blood of patriots selflessly spilled on our behalf. With this legacy came certain obligations. Not simply paying taxes, but actively contributing to the national defense, taking the time to learn about political issues and voting, and, as dramatically embodied in the classic New England Town Meetings, taking part in civic life to produce a better community and country.

The American Thinker— thomas lifson

we are beginning to recognize that it is no longer enough just to vote. we have to keep a closer eye on those d.c. politicians, because even the good ones go astray sometimes. it’s now up to us to keep them accountable. that’s our responsibility as citizens of this great country. it’s easy to get cynical and to believe that we can’t make a difference. it’s so tempting to just give up on the whole deal, and say to heck with all of them, but we can’t. this country belongs to us, and we should have a say in its future.

something to keep in mind

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility.

John F. Kennedy

interpret for yourself.

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UPDATE: this was part of JFK’s prepared Dallas speech, which, as we all know, was never delivered. thanks to james for the link.

bad PR for the “religion of peace”

A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.

Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize.

–Muslim dissident Ibn Warraq, from the article “Democracy in a Cartoon
(ht: malkin)

this guy gets it right. more muslims need to speak out against the violence. this is why our support of the danish cartoonists is important. we cannot allow the debate to be controlled by extremists who use offensive cartoons as an excuse to riot and burn buildings. michelle malkin has more alarming pictures of the protests in this post.

burning buildings over offensive cartoons is not the best way to promote Islam. it’s not the best way to sell Islam as a religion of peace. in fact, i’m having a hard time believing that many muslims who believe the way that ibn warraq does actually exist. it’s possible that there are moderate muslims who are simply practicing their faith without any desire for any sort of jihad. but they need to speak up right now if they are tired of extremists controlling their party and controlling the debate.

related:

Danish Embassy Set Ablaze: Can We Co-Exist–jay at stop the aclu
“Can Democracy Co-Exist with Extremism?”–california conservative
On Freedom of Speech and Islam: News, Commentary and Blogs…–small wars journal