You are currently viewing archive for August 2006
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
In today's Opinion Journal lead editorial, "Back to the Congressional Future: Let's think about how the Democrats would govern," the WSJ braintrust argues that the prospect of losing the House of Representatives to the Democrats augurs a return to the old "tax and spend" days.

Consider this excerpt:

"If you think Republicans have been spendthrift, don't expect much change from Wisconsin's David Obey (class of 1969) at Appropriations. Mr. Obey was one of those Democrats who ripped Mr. Clinton for endorsing a balanced budget in 1995. Rather than cut spending, his goal would be to spend less on defense and more on domestic programs and entitlements."

In reality, a change in majority would not mean a drastic change in policy. The Democrats might want to spend big and raise taxes, but that would never fly. Because the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate would have different spending priorities, the most likely result would be deadlock. Which would be GREAT! The GOP would lose their unlimited credit card. I am convinced that the Republicans are incapable of disciplining themselves; therefore, some tough love from the American people might be a blessing.

The Journal tacks on this disclaimer at the end of the piece:

"The House is only one half of Capitol Hill, and Republicans stand a better chance of holding the Senate, albeit with some losses there too. Mr. Bush will also retain his veto power, and he would finally have to use it. So the amount of liberal legislation that actually became law might not be all that extensive. But the national debate would nonetheless shift notably left. Voters looking to send a message to Republicans this fall may be surprised at their return mail from Washington."

But it is too little too late. Shame on the Journal.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
The sad decline of the once proud New York Times continues. From the corrections:

An article on Sunday about New Yorkers who are being discussed as possible presidential candidates in 2008 misidentified the last New Yorker to be nominated for a major party’s national ticket. It was Jack Kemp, a former congressman from the Buffalo area who was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1996 — not Geraldine Ferraro, a former Democratic congresswoman from Queens, who was the vice presidential candidate in 1984. (Go to Article)

To read all the corrections; Here Hat tip Powerline.

I have trouble believing that a major paper that takes politics seriously could make an error such as this. Even if the reporter was 28 years old and received a bad education (no matter the prestige of the degree), surely the reporter could have taken a few minutes research time. And, do the editors only proofread? The current ownership of the NYT has been a disaster for the "Paper of Record."
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Mass. Gov.Mitt Romney (R), speaking in Iowa, touted the necessity for all immigrants to learn English. He held up as a positive example the experiment in Massachusetts to move away from a bilingual track to an "English immerson" approach in which English only is the language of instruction, citing improved test scores. From Des Moines Register newspaper. Read article. I think that the 08 presidential election will have immigration, assimilation, and the future of American culture as centerpiece issues, along with terrorism. Romney seems to be staking out his ground.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) is now on his annual walking tour of Iowa. Though he will not announce himself officially, he acts like someone who wants the Democratic presidential nomination in 08. From the Des Moines Register. Read the article. I think that to have any chance at all, he must win the Iowa caucuses. On this year's walk he is meeting with Democrat policital activists, a necessity for the caucuses. A problem for him in the Dem primaries: he is centrist, more interested in governing for the well-being of the citizenry of Iowa (as he understands it), than in national political headlines or radical rhetoric. For some Iowans, his annual walks are their biggest reminder who is in the governor's office. However, if he can win the Dem nomination, his weakness in the Dem primaries would be his strength in the general election.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
For several years now the Democratic Party has counted on gaining almost the entire black vote. And, Democrats have used black churches as focal points for campaigning. Now more signs are appearing that Dems may no longer be able to take the black vote for granted and assume that black pastors and churches will support Dem candidates. Read this article concerning the governor's race in Ohio.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
In a recent post, "Feminists Awake," the Okie Gardener asserted that American feminism, as of late, has maintained a "disturbing silence...over the Islamic discrimination against women." He further averred that the "silence" might be a symptom of, what he called (I am assuming tongue-in-cheek here): "BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome: an almost irrational hatred of GW Bush leading to a lack of critical thought)." Allowing that there were exceptions, the Gardener directed us to an essay by one of those "critical" voices, Pamela Bone, a "feminist...awake and alert and calling on [her] sisters to confront the danger radical Islam poses to women's rights."

In the comments section, Bosque Boys favorite, Gossenius, took issue with Gardener's assertion, declaring him wrong on the facts. Moreover, Gossenius wrote:

"It's one of Rush Limbaugh's (and Louis Farrakhan's) favorite tactics, too-- identify a despised group, make up a negative fact about them (even if it is in an area you don't know about, such as what American feminist literature is addressing), then use this made-up fact to substantiate your attack on that group. It's pretty lame as a tactic. "

Manufacturing a false claim in order to cast some "despised group" in an unflattering light would be reprehensible, indeed. And, as Gossenius observes, it would be "pretty lame." For making up facts, especially in this context, would be easily exposed and humiliating to the prevaricator. In this case, Gardener asserts a "disturbing silence;" if he is wrong, and if there are numerous examples of the "Women's Movement" taking the Islamic world to task for abuse of women, then Gossenius has only to point to a few examples of condemnation within the vast body of feminist literature.

Furthermore, it is only fair to note that the Gardener never claimed specific knowledge of feminist journals. I inferred from his post that he was speaking of popular feminist organizations and public pronouncements.

One place to start might be the National Organization of Women website. A quick glance at the NOW site reveals prominent articles concerning presidential candidates in 2008, anti-Estate Tax strategy, essays on emergency contraception and Plan B, support for Ned Lamont, "the Truth about George" (Bush), and two international posts: 1) ways to work for "peace" in the Middle East and 2) a UN report on Human Rights violations against women (dramatic pause here) in the United States. A lot of information both entertaining and enlightening--but nothing on the plight of women in Islamist culture.

Another rhetorical tactic is negative projection; that is, associate your opponent with some known scoundrel. This stratagem is equally calculated--but less lame. For it is much more difficult to prove that one is not in league, somehow, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Louis Farrakhan.

Thanks for the post, Gardener. I think it is a fair question: why does it seem like we hear very little from feminists in the public square bemoaning the condition of their Islamic sisters? If you are right, and part of the reason lies in political fidelity and expediency, the feminists certainly are not alone in opting for party over principle.

(For example: We have asked this question previously: where are the fiscally conservative Republicans in the wake of the free-spending George Bush? Or, why were the paleo-conservatives and realists so late in finding their voice in relation to the President's neo-Wilsonian idealism?)

Perhaps, the women's movement in our country shares the American penchant for provincialism. Or, perhaps, the answer is as old as Martin Van Buren's pragmatic party culture in which a far-off culturally relative issue pales in comparison to a whole set of national policy objectives that are possible through party unity, discipline and fidelity.

And, last but not least, thanks to Gossenius for keeping us honest.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Since many of us are both political junkies and avid readers, don't miss this list of the top five political novels appearing in today's Wall Street Journal. Read here.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
The failure of the so-called second two-party system (Whigs and Democrats) to address vexing questions during the 1840s and 1850s hastened the coming of the Civil War. Once labeled the "bumbling generation" for their inability to achieve a lasting compromise, the politicians of the ante bellum period too often pursued partisan and sectional loyalties over common sense. Notwithstanding that notable exception, the two-party system has, in actual fact, proved quite adroit at finding long-term solutions to an endless parade of crises and crossroads in the life of our nation.

However, we are currently in a period in which compromise and solution-oriented legislating seems increasingly rare and difficult. Predictions of an Impending Crisis of Civil-War magnitude are hyperbolic, but the extreme partisanship and self-interestedness of the current generation of statesmen is depressing.

The upcoming vote in the Senate on the Minimum Wage bill presents an instructive dilemma for the leadership of the Democratic Party. For years, Democrats have called for an upward adjustment in wages as a cornerstone in their program to achieve "fairness" for working people. This bill cements a healthy increase ($2.10 over three years). On the other hand, the legislation also includes a permanent reduction in the "estate tax," which Democrats have resisted just as vocally. With midterm elections drawing near, and the Democrats riding the wave of mass discontent with Republican governance, the opposition party seemed poised to organize a national campaign around the issue of the minimum wage. The dilemma: what to do now? Take the minimum-wage compromise? Or hold out for all (and risk achieving nothing) while preserving a promising wedge issue for November?

In today's Opinion Journal the WSJ editorializes:

"The bill needs 60 votes to defeat a liberal filibuster, and nearly all of the 55 Republicans are in favor. So we are about to find out if Senate Democrats are more interested in achieving the policy goals they claim to want, or merely in blow-everything-up obstruction."

This is obviously a tough call for Democrats. This will be a telling week.