Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Evolve Or Die

by Ned Ryun - February 21st, 2012 - American Spectator

This February marks the three-year anniversary of the Tea Party, and with the 2012 presidential election in full swing, many are wondering whether the Tea Party will be a factor in bringing down the Obama presidency and have the ability to drive real government reform. Others are wondering if the movement has run out of gas at the start of the final lap (as a Ryun, I must periodically make running analogies). In all honesty, the answer is both. The Tea Party is at a crossroads in 2012. One route will slowly take it into relative obscurity and the other can lead it to having an even greater impact than it has had already.

Excellent article with some very useful information about the 3 national groups that are using the Tea Party movement for the personal benefit of the egos who are running them. These national groups are a part of the problem. They are not the movement. In fact they in many ways conflict with the movement. However the chaos that allows these groups to act as if they are movement leaders is one key to the growing negative view that many hold about the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party too.

Democrats have hated the Tea Party movement since its inception. Curiously, Republican Party leadership has also hated the Tea Party movement since the earliest elections the movement participated in, shortly after it started. Unless you understand why, it is hard to understand the problems that Ned Ryun is addressing.

However there is one other complicating factor to the hatred aimed at the Tea Party movement. That factor is the visceral hatred by "social conservatives" of anyone who interferes with their long term hijacking of the "conservative" label. Most "social conservatives" are not conservatives at all. They are totally okay with big government, as long as it does not discriminate against their institutions. That is why they became a key component within the "compassionate conservative" wing that Karl Rove and George W. Bush created to steer the party away from conservative principles. Big government programs, heavy involvement in promoting nation building overseas, expanding the so-called safety net with new wasteful entitlements, Wall Street dominated regulatory suppression of small business and tolerance for tax money funneled to both corporations and Christian charities - these were the basis for social conservative enthusiasm for the "compassionate conservative" concept.

None of the above fits in with true conservative principles. One key problem that both the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party are struggling with is the confused identity of the conservative label. We have several wings in both institutions, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, traditional conservatives, Wall Street, neo-conservatives, Constitutional conservatives, populists and moderates. To varying degrees each group claims the conservative label. Even the moderates claim the label when they argue that being pragmatic compromisers does not mean they are not embracing conservative goals!

The meaning of the term "conservative" has been stretched by the various wings that barely fit the traditional definition, yet each wing uses their view of conservatism to berate the other groups, usually using the meaningless term RINO for those who do not agree with their definition. I think the RINO term has become popular so that groups who don't really know what conservative means can label those who disagree with them and not try and defend the actual differences - because they can't.

One group that has been seriously reviled during the growth of the Tea Party movement has been Republican political consultants. With their need to help the campaigns of many candidates who are not purely conservative, these consultants have long since abandoned conservative principles and embraced pragmatism above all. This allows them to structure a winning campaign for candidates who are focused on the acquisition of power rather than the promotion of principles. Political power is important, but not more important that principles.

This has left the Tea Party movement and a key component of Republican leadership battling for the soul of the Party in a destructive internecine war over the conflict between principle and pragmatism.

This brings us to the key component in Ryun's article that will be such a challenge to pull off. Ryun sums up the need for the change he advocates with his sentence, "If the Tea Party will evolve, and become sustainable with a more concise mission (we're taking over the local city council vs. we just want more freedom) and ability to fundraise, it can and will be a force beyond 2012."

However the question I ask is, "How is this different than the pragmatic quest for power of the consultants who have long since abandoned all but the most superficial support of conservative principles?" Ronald Reagan was a pragmatist, and it is one of the core strengths that made him such a great leader. However he rarely compromised, and on some core principles, he was inflexible. If you doubt that, go back and study the lesson of Reykjavik. Reagan overruled every single advisor he brought with him to that event. All of them were eager to compromise for a short term victory of major value. Only Reagan saw the need for sticking with long term principle. As often as he compromised, Reagan stuck to his principles at the right times.

It is that balance that the Republican Party, and its voters, have lost. We forget the lesson of Reykjavik if we make it an inflexible standard of never compromising. The consultants, like Reagan's advisers, are ever eager to be pragmatic and compromise for power. That is as bad as never compromising. Refusal to compromise has become a serious problem within the Tea Party movement and thus the Republican Party.

What Ryun left out of his article was guidance in how to strike that balance between principles and pragmatism when the goal is (as he states it) "taking over the local city council." I don't see how we can strike an effective balance when the definition of "conservative" principle itself is so confused. When principle is not clear - pragmatism allows for compromise on everything.

For Republicans and the Tea Party movement, the key to our principles is a shared definition of conservative, and right now that does not exist.

Monday, February 20, 2012

As Time Goes By . . .

- by Victor Davis Hanson - February 20th, 2012 - National Review Online

It is hard to remember a more tense time in the last 20 years. Tiny Israel may be poised to preempt the nuclear capabilities of Iran (an Iran that itself once attempted, unsuccessfully, to take out the Iraqi reactor at Osirak before Israel finished the job), whose terrorist appendages and missiles have the ability to do it a great deal of damage in return. How such a war would escalate or end, no one knows. There is no sense of a global effort to stop Iran’s proliferation, given that China and Russia seem to enjoy the irritation that Iran causes the West. I think U.S. policy amounts to a sort of shrug (we publicly discourage the Israelis, privately sorta hope they do, and publicly will sorta condemn them if they do). Whatever is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq, no one seems to know, or — despite our tens of thousands of troops in combat — even seem to care, given that the administration seems irked more than engaged.

Barack Obama is simply one of the most disastrous elected officials in the history of our nation. And his election could not have come at a more critical moment in the last 80 years. The out come of World War II was always critical, and despite my disgust with FDR over his economic beliefs, he did a brilliant job of assuring America won the war. He saw it coming. When needed he even turned our capitalists loose to build the most powerful military armaments mankind had ever seen. In the midst of war, FDR established the economic dominance that allowed our amazing success after the war as well. Yet few in America seem to see the parallels in our current situation to that earlier crisis. It need not have turned out well.

However rather than another FDR, with his faults, this time the Democrat Party has turned to a man who despises what America did, both during that war and after. Barack Obama's policies are a foreign policy nightmare.

The most frightening line in the article is "It seems more like 1936 than 2012 in Europe." Just like 1936, the voters do not want to believe that war is coming. This time, that includes our President.

For that reason alone, this is not going to end well.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Poll: Ronald Reagan
Named Best President

--- Since World War II

Ranks Second all time among the top three, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and George Washington

by Staff - February 2012 - KMAS News Radio

On the flip-side, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were neck-and-neck for the "Worst president since World War II" title. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said Bush was at the bottom of the pack...

The significance of this complete denigration of George W. Bush is the current candidacy of Rick Santorum, heir apparent to the big government, wasteful spending, ignore the people arrogance of "compassionate conservatism" which Bush and Karl Rove invented. Santorum is leading the pack among social-conservative-dominated Republican voters in the current primary campaign. I predict that like "W", Santorum's sanctimony and arrogance will not wear well, even if he wins. "W" is still adored by social conservatives and nothing he did is permitted to be criticized. They gave us Bush and it looks like they are about to give us another pious big government progressive as the so called "conservative leader". They are positive that opposing abortion is the only issue you have to agree on to make you a "conservative" and they are destroying the Party of small government in the process.

Social conservatives are not conservatives.

Monday, February 06, 2012

'The Mahdi Does Not Negotiate.
Neither Should We'

by Charles S. Faddis - February 6th, 2012 - Tampa Bay Online

Several years ago, prior to my retirement from the CIA, I was meeting with a senior Iranian asset in the Middle East. I had finished debriefing him on the intelligence he had to provide, and we had launched into a more expansive conversation about the overall direction of American policy toward Iran. I was trying to explain the rationale behind our sanctions regime and the thought process that had led us to conclude that we could persuade the Islamic Republic of Iran to modify its behavior.

The asset interrupted me. "You really don't have any idea who you are dealing with, do you?" he asked.

The real answer to that question is NO! Americans are delusional. Those who have a clear understanding of what is happening in the world are smeared repeatedly by our press as extremists. And unfortunately, average Americans accept that. Even Republican leadership accepts that.

Do you really think that Mitt Romney has a clue who the Islamo-fascists are? Do you think he has the guts to contest a long term battle with them? Do you think he will spend an ounce of political effort in explaining to the American people how we survive? He will avoid the issue and try and be popular.

America is finished, whether Barack Obama wins another term or Mitt Romney replaces him. I would not put much trust in Gingrich, Paul or Santorum either. And that is truly sad. At a critical time in our history, we have failed to produce a leader that the people in our society will listen to. Don't you wonder whether it is a problem with our leaders or a problem with the idiots who vote?