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Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
I recommend Peggy Noonan's column in the Opinion Journal today in its entirety: "Stop Spinning: Contrarian thoughts on Hillary, flag-burning, the Times and 'The View.'" It is brilliant and a must-read from start to finish.

I am posting and associating myself with her remarks on the flag amendment. She says what I have been thinking. I have held my fire on this issue over the last few weeks (a more apt analogy, perhaps, is that I "could not get a shot off"), but, nevertheless, Peggy Noonan gets it exactly right with her comments.


"The flag burning amendment is a bad idea, and will not prove, in the end, politically wise or fruitful to any significant degree. Three reasons. One is that the American people can sense, whether they support a constitutional ban or not, that they're being manipulated. They know supporters are playing with their essential patriotism for political profit. They know opponents are, by and large, taking their stand for equally political reasons. They can sense when everyone's posturing. It's not good, in the long term, when people sense you're playing with their deepest emotions, such as their love of country.

"Second, nobody thinks America is overrun with people burning flags, so the amendment does not seem even to be an exotic response to a real problem. There are a lot of pressing issues before the Congress, and no one thinks this is one of them. Voters know it's hard to do a risky thing like define marriage as a legal entity that can take place only between an adult human male and an adult human female. That actually would take some guts. It's easy--almost embarrassingly so--to make speeches about how much you love the flag.

"Third, Americans don't always say this or even notice it, but they love their Constitution. They revere it. They don't want it used as a plaything. They want the Constitution treated as a hallowed document that is amended rarely, and only for deep reasons of societal or governmental need. A flag burning amendment is too small bore for such a big thing. I don't think it will come up as a big issue every even numbered year. I think it's going to go away. There's too much else that's really needed."

On the other hand, I was also impressed (but not swayed) by the arguments of one of my favorite public servants, Orrin Hatch, who did very well in explaining the legislative and judicial history of this issue, as well as the principle at stake:

Hatch :

"[U]nelected judges have mistakenly concluded that it is the courts that have exclusive dominion over the Constitution. This was certainly the case in 1989, when a severely divided Court reversed 200 years of jurisprudence and overturned the considered judgment of the American people in almost every state.

"For generations, the American people provided protections for their flag. On June 20, 1989, forty-eight states and the District of Columbia had statutes that protected the flag from physical desecration. On June 21, 1989 all of those statutes were unconstitutional.

"How did this come to pass?

"One vote on the Supreme Court switched. That’s it. One vote, and the will of the people was overturned in nearly every state. For many years the Court well understood the obvious and compelling interest of political communities in protecting the American flag from desecration."

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Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
John Adams purportedly told his son, JQA, that considering all the blessings and advantages that his family and Providence had bestowed upon the younger Adams, it would be his fault alone, if he did not become president of the United States. Although that statement has always struck me as incredibly harsh, perhaps it is the appropriate key in which to begin a discussion of the political life and times of Albert Gore, Jr.

The Harvard-educated, senator’s son and ambivalent Vietnam veteran sampled divinity school, law school and journalism before he won election to Congress from Tennessee’s fourth district in 1976 and then a senate seat in 1984. He ran for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1988 and lost. He ran for vice president in 1992 and won. He ran for president in 2000 and lost (although he won the popular vote).

During the 1980s, he absorbed criticism (mostly directed at Tipper) from First Amendment advocates who charged that the Gores favored censorship of recording artists. His 1988 campaign for the Democratic nomination seemed to lack purpose and definitely wanted for charisma.

During his tenure as VP, he acquired a national persona as the wonkish, stiff and boring but loyal Clinton sidekick (although he countered that perception with a humorous, self-deprecating comedy bit). But no matter how hard he tried to blend his Southern Evangelical Populist lineage with his Washington-insider and Eastern-educated acculturation, the public never embraced him as much more than a parody of himself. Even the “liberal” media seemed reluctant to give him a fair shake (regularly laughing at him—and only occasionally with him).

In 2000, he ran for a Clinton-Gore “third term” and failed. He came close (only losing by 537 votes in Florida and one vote in the United States Supreme Court); but, nevertheless, he lost, squandering a good political hand.

Then, Gore seemed to slip off the face of the earth during the first few months of the Bush administration and, especially, after 911. He grew a beard. He grew fleshy. He seemed completely dislocated from politics and reality. Even Democrats seemed relieved that he was not president during the unexpectedly pivotal period in American history.

But, just as suddenly, Al Gore is back.

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Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
While the opponents to the President's Federal Marriage Amendment stand in the well of the Senate and decry the political cynicism of the Republicans and enumerate all the issues purportedly sacrificed in order to debate this issue, they are filibustering the resolution. That is, instead of calling the question, which all parties seem to acknowledge lacks the necessary two-thirds for passage, the opponents cravenly block a vote that would put their opposition on record.

As many of you know, I am a filibuster defender. I love the image of Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) talking himself hoarse in defense of principle. I believe that the filibuster represents the spirit of James Madison, who envisioned the Senate as a slow-moving, consensus-building department of government.

However, this is not a filibuster born out of principle. This is an attempt to CYA. Either call the question and vote, or stop the hypocritical rhetoric.