Monthly Archives: November 2012

Veteran’s Day: Why We Remember

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When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today

Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Infantry Division at Kohima.

World War I was a ghastly conflict with tens of millions of men slaughtered in all the horrors that war in the industrial age was capable of mustering.  After the War which ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Veterans Day was set aside on November 11 to honor those men who had fought with courage for their country.  In our country Veteran’s Day eventually came to honor all those who had served in the military.  As Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “It is all together fitting and proper that we do this.”  Why it is important that we do that I will leave to Father Francis P. Duffy who served as a chaplain with the Fighting 69th in France in World War I.  You may read prior posts about him here and here.  Father Duffy was a man of faith and courage, so much courage that it was proposed that he be nominated for the Medal of Honor until he laughed at the idea.  His leadership skills were so valued that General Douglas MacArthur even briefly considered placing him, a chaplain, in command of the 69th, which would have been a first in American military history.  When the 69th got back to New York after the War Father Duffy wrote about its reception and why it was important to honor the men who had served, and, especially, the silent victors who remained in graves in France:

It was a deserved tribute to a body of citizen soldiers who had played such a manful part in battle for the service of the Republic. The appreciation that the country pays its war heroes is for the best interest of the State. I am not a militarist, nor keen for military glory. But as long as liberties must be defended, and oppression or aggression put down, there must always be honor paid to that spirit in men which makes them willing to die for a righteous cause. Next after reason and justice, it is the highest quality in citizens of a state. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Happy 237th Birthday to the Corps

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You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced, to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth – and the amusing thing about it is that they are…You should see the group about me as I write- dirty, bearded, their clothing food-spattered and filthy- they look like the castoffs of creation. Yet they have a sense of loyalty, generosity, even piety greater than any men I have ever known. These rugged men have the simple piety of children. You can’t help loving them, in spite of their language and their loose sense of private property. Don’t ever feel sorry for a priest in the Marines. The last eight weeks have been the happiest and most contented in my life.

 Father Kevin Keaney, 1st MarDiv Chaplain, Korean War

 

Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.
Ordered, That a copy of the above be transmitted to the General.

Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775 →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

An Admiral and Two Generals

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Well, I have to hand it to the Obama administration.  Obama reelected on Tuesday, they are already getting a start on the scandals that tend to plague most second term Presidents.  The resignation of CIA Director, retired General David Petraeus, over an alleged affair, a week before he was to testify before a Senate committee on Benghazi, brings to three the number of high-ranking officers connected with Benghazi, or its aftermath, who have seen their careers abruptly cut short.

Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette was relieved of his command of the Stennis strike group in the Mediterranean in late October.  Such a removal is unprecedented.  The Navy denies that the removal was in regard to Benghazi, and indeed the Stennis was in the Pacific on 9/11/12.   However the Navy has issued a fairly cryptic statement that the removal was for “inappropriate leadership judgment” during the deployment of the Stennis to the Middle East and has stressed that this does not involve any improper personal conduct by the Admiral.  All very mysterious.

The Combatant Commander of Africa Command  on 9/11/12, General Carter F. Ham abruptly retired on October 18.  Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz reported that in an interview he had with General Ham in Libya that the General told him that in regard to the Benghazi attach he had never been asked to provide military assistance.  The internet is ablaze with rumors that General Ham attempted to send assistance to Benghazi during the attack and was told to stand down.  Thus far the General has remained mum.

In regard to General Petraeus there are many questions.  Allegedly the  affair came to light months ago when the FBI caught his alleged paramour attempting to access his e-mails.  One might be curious as to why the FBI was involved in this and the answer is quite simple.  The FBI and the CIA have been at war with each other since the creation of the CIA’s predecessor the OSS in World War II and routinely keep track of the higher-ups in each organization.  (Yeah, I know:  our tax dollars at work.)  Apparently the affair has been known for at least several months, and I find it hard to believe that both the CIA and the FBI did not know of the affair before Petraeus was onfirmed as CIA Director, the background checks for such a position being extremely comprehensive.  This all raises the question as to why the affair triggers a resignation now.  His wife Holly works for the White House and unless she was in the dark on the affair, and considering how gossipy the military community tends to be I find that hard to believe, presumably the affair was known at the White House.

Petraeus is up to his arm pits in Benghazi, having denied that it was the CIA that failed to provide military assistance to the two brave Seals, Ty Woods and Greg Doherty, who died heroically leading the defense at Benghazi.  Now that he is retired, his deputy Mike Morell will testify next week.  Eventually I assume Petraeus will also testify, he has indicated post resignation that he is eager to testify, but now the story in much of the Mainstream Media will be pertaining to his affair rather than to his testimony. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

O God Our Help in Ages Past

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Something for the weekend.  After the election results this week, I suspect that O God Our Help in Ages Past, sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, will be of consolation to many of us.  Written by Isaac Watts in 1719 it is a magnificent hymn based on Psalm 89. (Psalm 90 in Protestant Bibles.)  The hymn is sung to the tune of Saint Anne written in 1708 by William Croft.  Here is the text of Psalm 89 which reminds us of the omnipotence of God in spite of the transitory events of this life that preoccupy us: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Election in Two Images

I’ve been mostly offline the last couple days due to a business trip — leaving early the morning after the election. I may write a bit about the election itself in a few days, but since I’ve spent the last couple days deeply immersed in ways of visualizing data, these two versions of the election map struck me as really interesting in showing what went on Tuesday.

This first image shows the size of the winning candidate’s margin for each county. (click for a larger view) [source]

This second image shows the direction of change in the vote of each county as compared to 2008.

UPDATE: Okay, one more image because with all the discussion of re-alignment and emerging majorities I couldn’t help putting one together:

Beached Killer Whale

 

 

Yesterday in my post on how the Republican Party can find its way back from the political wilderness I wrote this:

1.  Professionalism-The Democrats and their campaign staffs approach politics as a business, if not a war.  Republicans have for far too long tolerated well-meaning amateurism as a substitute for professional competence in politics.  Politics is a job like any other, and professional staffs can help take a lot of the ineffectiveness and clumsiness out of our campaigns.

A prime example of what I was referring to is contained in this post mortem by Breitbart of the disastrous Orca get out the vote project of the Romney campaign:

A source within the Romney campaign agreed to share his reflections on Project Orca with Breitbart News:

    It’s easy to point fingers after a loss and I wouldn’t normally do it, but consider what happened.

    Project Orca was supposed to enable poll watchers to record voter names on their smartphones, by listening for names as voters checked in. This would give the campaign real-time turnout data, so they could redirect GOTV resources throughout the day where it was most needed. They recruited 37,000 swing state volunteers for this.

    I worked on the Colorado team, and we were called by hundreds (or more) volunteers who couldn’t use the app or the backup phone system. The usernames and passwords were wrong, but the reset password tool didn’t work, and we couldn’t change phone PINs. We were told the problems were limited and asked to project confidence, have people use pencil and paper, and try to submit again later.

    Then at 6PM they admitted they had issued the wrong PINs to every volunteer in Colorado, and reissued new PINs (which also didn’t work). Meanwhile, counties where we had hundreds of volunteers, such as Denver Colorado, showed zero volunteers in the system all day, but we weren’t allowed to add them. In one area, the head of the Republican Party plus 10 volunteers were all locked out. The system went down for a half hour during peak voting, but for hundreds or more, it never worked all day. Many of the poll watchers I spoke with were very discouraged. Many members of our phone bank got up and left.

    I do not know if the system was totally broken, or if I just saw the worst of it. But I wonder, because they told us all day that most volunteers were submitting just fine, yet admitted at the end that all of Colorado had the wrong PIN’s. They also said the system projected every swing state as pink or red.

    Regardless of the specific difficulties, this idea would only help if executed extremely well. Otherwise, those 37,000 swing state volunteers should have been working on GOTV…

    Somebody messaged me privately after my email and told me that North Carolina had the same problems — every pin was wrong and not fixed until 6PM — and was also told it was localized to North Carolina.

The problems with Orca appear to have been nationwide, and predated Election Day itself. At Ace of Spades, John Ekdahl reported his frustrations as a volunteer in the field:

    From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.

    Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.

Ekdahl describes how volunteers were expected to print their own materials, and were mistakenly not told to bring their poll watching credentials to polling places. Attempts to communicate with the Romney campaign to ask for assistance were unsuccessful:

    By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here’s the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

George W. Obama?

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“History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes a lot.”  Attributed to Mark Twain although it cannot be found in his writings.  Looking at the 2012 election I am struck by how much it reminds me of the 2004 election.  The Democrats that year were as confident of victory  as we Republicans were this year.  Bush derangement syndrome was in full bloom among the Democrats as it had been since the battle over Florida’s electoral votes, and the Iraq war, which the Democrats increasingly opposed as the insurgency went on, added to their Bush hatred.  Bush presided over an infinitely better economy than Obama in 2012 but the public was increasingly uneasy about Iraq as the insurgency went on and the casualty lists grew.

Democrat confidence rested upon their erroneous assumption that the wider public largely shared, to some degree, the antipathy they felt for Bush.  Additionally, with Gore having won the popular vote in 2000, it was assumed that Bush would not be that hard to beat.  John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts liberal Senator, was not a particularly inspiring nominee, but he kept close to Bush in the polls, occasionally taking the lead, and performed well in the debates in which Bush seemed somewhat tongue-tied and tired.  Election day closed with the Democrats gleefully examining exit polls which predicted a sweeping Kerry victory.  Alas for the Democrats it was not to be, as Bush, with the assistance of a good GOTV operation in Ohio, amassed a popular vote victory over Kerry by 2.4% and an electoral vote total of 286.  The Republicans padded their Senate majority with a total of 55 Republican senators at the end of the election and gained three seats in the House for a total of 232. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Is Media Bias An Even Bigger Problem Now?

One of the reasons my more pessimistic (and, as it turns out, realistic) friends cited for believing that Mitt Romney would lose is media bias. I dismissed this not so much because I don’t believe that media bias isn’t an issue, but because I thought that there were enough countervailing forces to push Romney over the hump. Whoops.

I’m still leery of citing media bias as a principle cause of Barack Obama’s victory because doing so would diminish the more serious issues, and there are no shortage of reasons explaining why Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney. That said, it’s clear that a compliant media helped. From Candy Crowley giving a big assist at the second debate, to media silence over Benghazi (which followed years of silence on Fast and Furious), to harping on every minor (and not so minor) GOP flub, it’s clear that conservatives have been swimming upstream against a media tide.

But Ronald Reagan dealt with a biased media, and he managed to defeat Jimmy Carter, and then went on to win an even bigger landslide against Walter Mondale. Moreover, Reagan accomplished that in an ere where the only major national news sources were left wing networks and a handful of national daily newspapers. Now there are institutions like Fox News, talk radio, and blogs and other alternative media outlets. Haven’t these leveled the playing field?

Well, the problem is there are left-wing new media outlets, and they are just as well-read and well-watched as the right-wing outlets. Sure Fox is the king of cable news, but the sum total of the other television and cable networks outdraws the Fox viewership. And while talk radio may be dominated by the right, the left has outpaced the right when it comes to electronic media.

More importantly, while right-wing alternative media outlets may draw some non-partisans, we have become a polarized country even when it comes to our sources of news information. David French linked to a very informative graph that shows how conservatives and liberals are simply digesting news in very different ways, and left-leaning sources are ones which are very influential in the broader culture. We may shake our heads in disgust over the fact that many young people actually rely on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a credible news source, but that doesn’t make it any less true. As French notes, so-called moderates tend to read or watch left-leaning sites and programs, thus the new right-wing media isn’t penetrating the core demographic of younger voters. As someone perhaps more tuned into pop culture sites than most in these parts, I can testify that there is a definite leftist tilt that certainly influences those who are otherwise not especially tuned into current events.

I would also argue that the 24/7 news cycle hasn’t redounded to the right’s advantage. Sure Rather, Cronkite, Jennings, Brokaw and others were heavily influential, but they were on for 30 minutes a day – 22 if you factor in commercials. If a conservative politician made a blunder, they could plaster it on the nightly news, but then it was largely forgotten for another 23 hours. Now that blunder will be tweeted and re-tweeted, blogged about, joked about by Colbert and Stewart, mentioned on “apolitical” humor and culture sites, and broadcast on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and even Fox. There’s no place to hide. So while news outlets ignore the  president’s dithering while his ambassador was killed, everyone is sure to hear about “legitimate rapes” over and over again.

I maintain that there are bigger problems than media bias to overcome, but it is a larger problem than I had thought previously.

I Am Shocked, Shocked!

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Democrats producing fraudulent votes in inner city Philadelphia:

Across Philadelphia, GOP poll inspectors were forcibly (and illegally) removed from polling locations. Coincidentally (or not), Mr. Obama received “astronomical” numbers in those very same regions, including locations where he received “over 99%” of the vote.

Ward 4, which also had a poll watcher dressed in Obama attire, went massively for Obama. Mr. Obama received 99.5% of the vote, defeating Mr. Romney 9,955 to 55.

Is it odd that a county that expelled GOP inspectors and had people openly campaigning for Obama ended with 99.5% for Obama and 9955 votes for him? It’s up to you to decide. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

It’s All The Social Conservatives Fault!

I really, really wish I were joking about the title, but I’ve actually heard several folks seriously suggest this.  (Hugh Hewitt show had a co-host/guest suggest “dropping the abortion issue,” for example—thankfully, Hugh pointed out that was…not a great idea.)

In a campaign where social issues were not focused on, where the SoCon vote was assumed, where the entire point would be “It’s the economy, stupid” and our turnout dropped hugely… we should really ditch these social conservatives entirely and try to peel off some Democrat voters.  I was one of the folks that was saying at the beginning that we could not just assume we’d get our own base and that all we needed was to go after other groups, though I—like many others—thought that things were obviously bad enough that maybe the base could be taken for granted.

We tried the “shut up about social issues, focus on the financial short-term disaster.”   Shock shock, it didn’t work.  The “of course” votes didn’t show up, as best we can tell at this early of a time.  Of course there was fraud and probably voter suppression, but we knew from the start that we’d have to win so big that they couldn’t cheat.

I know the thinking Libertarians believe that Social Issues hurt us, and if we’d just drop them it would improve—but they ignore that if you let people do all the stupid stuff they immaturely desire, they are going to want to be saved by someone else.  (I’m ignoring the sub-group of thinking Libertarians that thinks having children at is a “personal choice” with no serious effect on the future of society, and mostly only something that ‘women want while they leach off men.’  I wish that last part was not a very slight paraphrase.)  Of course, thinking Libertarians think social issues hurt because when thinking Libertarians recognize the cause and effect of libertine personal actions in creating demand for a leech-State, they become at least isolationist conservatives, rather than Libertarians.  But I’m digressing.

So, we tried assuming that the rah rah Abortion!! stuff on Obama’s side would be enough to 1) get half our base out, and 2) get them to vote for Romney.  Clearly, that was wrong.

We focused on the economy.  I think we did pretty well on that, considering that Obama and Co could lie their tails off about what we actually said.  (It’s a given, sadly.)

That makes me think that we maybe should’ve beat on the military side of things a bit more as well.  I  have friends who are still active duty who thought I was blowing smoke up their rears when I told them there was never a protest when the Ambassador was killed, when that was known just days after the attack.  (Power Line linked an interview in a UK paper that included quotes from the guys who were opening a hospital with the Ambassador; they were on the phone when the attack started, and there was no mention of a protest, which would’ve been a pretty big deal.)

So, we need to actually make our own case, try to win the base before we try to peel folks off, and probably improve our communication networks.  I’m going to work even harder on applying this in person—when someone says something incredibly untrue in person, I’m going to politely correct them.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable and socially awkward, but that is what the other side’s tactics depend on.  At some point, the drunk in the party has to be confronted.  We’re there and past.

This is going to be especially hard on religious people.  There are a lot of very nice people who…well… voted for Obama because that’s what “nice” people do.  It’s never easy to stand up to family, no matter how wrong you know they’re being.

The Freedom to Fail *

I’ve heard Democrat voting described as wanting “the freedom to fail.”  I think that’s an interesting turn of phrase “the freedom to fail.”  From what I’ve been able to glean,  it means the freedom to try all kinds of interesting and bold new ideas without having to worry about starving if they don’t work out.  We have that already, it’s called childhood…or maybe even college.  Once you become an adult, taking responsibility for feeding yourself is part of the package?  Isn’t it?

We have a safety net in our society which is meant to keep people from starving to death if they find themselves in rough water.  I don’t know anyone who has an issue with it.  The problem I see is that what was meant to be a trampoline has become a comfy hammock.   There are people who are trying to use it to jump back into their lives, but it’s too cushy to get any bounce, and the other folks are settling in there and calling for more stuff.  It’s not supposed to be a vacation!

People demonized Mitt Romney when he talked about the 47% who receive government handouts.  It was one of the most honest things I ever heard a politician say, and I was disappointed when he backed away from it.  It is human nature to begin taking for granted the people who voluntarily step in to help.  Most people have had the experience of stepping into the gap to “temporarily” help someone else, but when we try to stop “helping” they get frustrated and angry that we quit.  The same thing happens with the government, we have only to look at the riots in Greece to know that this is true.  When you try to wean people, even the able bodied, off of free stuff they get angry.  Could the solution be to just stop offering the free stuff in the first place?

There comes a sense of entitlement with the idea that things should be “fair.”  I don’t know who the liar is who started the “we need it to be fair” cr*p, but I’d like to smack them.  The idea of “fair” gives other people the impression that they have a right to the things we have worked to earn.  It is not my responsibility to pay for your “Obama-phone“, but heaven help me if I try to stop paying for it.

It’s like taking my kids to the toy store and listening to them squeal with delight at all of the things I could buy them, but it’s as if my children brought along the force of the Federal Government to force me to buy all those things whether I want to or not.

Didn’t de Tocqueville say something about how the American Republic would last until the Congress discovered that it could bribe the people with other people’s money?  We’re there.  Half of the country voted on Tuesday to keep living off of the half that doesn’t want to be subsidized.  My only question is…What happens when the 50% of earners decide to quit?

 

*You can read the full, expanded, “Director’s Cut” over at Shoved to Them.

The Road Back

 

 

About one day of being depressed over the election results is as much as I can stomach.  Here are some practical suggestions for electoral comeback:

1.  Professionalism-The Democrats and their campaign staffs approach politics as a business, if not a war.  Republicans have for far too long tolerated well-meaning amateurism as a substitute for professional competence in politics.  Politics is a job like any other, and professional staffs can help take a lot of the ineffectiveness and clumsiness out of our campaigns.

2.  The Mainstream Media are an Arm of the Democrat Party-Republicans often react with shock and helplessness when they learn for the millionth time that most of the Mainstream Media owe their entire allegiance to the left-wing of the Democrat party.  It is not a fact to bemoan, but one to accept and to plan for.  Attack the media constantly for its bias and have plans to go over the heads of the members of the media to reach the voters.

3.  Conservative and Proud-Too often conservatives act as if they are ashamed of being conservatives for fear of alienating voters.  This is a mistake.  Confident assertion of what a candidate believes in is the only honest and effective means to win votes.

4.  Leave no Attack Unanswered-Romney left unanswered a constant barrage of attacks against him, husbanding his resources for a media blitz in the final weeks.  The election results demonstrate what a mistake this was.

5.  Outreach to Minorities-The Republicans cannot win national elections when they lose 95% of the Black vote and two out of three Hispanic votes. Conservative groups among Blacks and Hispanics must receive large funding from the Republican party and not just in election years. We have many able Republican members of minority groups who can spearhead this effort.  This is not tokenism or racial spoils, but an effort to engage conservative members of minority groups in forging a movement that can convert and inspire all Americans for the benefit of the entire nation. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Electoral Defeat-1780

 

 

“For I must do it justice;  it was a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts.   It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

(I originally wrote this post in the wake of Obama’s election four years ago.  It tells the story of how the great Edmund Burke suffered electoral defeat in 1780 for standing up for principle.  It reminds us that fighting for that which one believes in, no matter the outcome at the polls, is never a real defeat over time.)

So wrote Edmund Burke, brilliant writer and member of Parliament, of the Catholic penal laws in the Eighteenth Century.  Son of a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, suspected in his lifetime, probably incorrectly, of being a secret Catholic, Burke was a man who fought during his life for many causes:  reform in Parliament, support for Americans in their fight against oppression by the English government, prosecution of Warren Hastings for his misrule in India, his crusade against the French Revolution, all these and more engaged his formidable intellect and his luminous pen.  However, one cause he championed from the beginning of his career to the end of it:  relief for Catholics in Ireland and England from the Penal Laws.

What were the Penal Laws?  A series of statutes dating from the time of Queen Elizabeth I, and codified and harshened after the so-called Glorious Revolution in England in 1688, to transform Irish Catholics into helots in their own land and to keep English Catholics a despised and helpless minority.  Burke summarized the penal laws nicely in a speech to his Bristol constituents on September 6, 1780:

A statute was fabricated in the year 1699, by which the saying mass (a church service in the Latin tongue, not exactly the same as our liturgy, but very near it, and containing no offence whatsoever against the laws, or against good morals) was forged into a crime, punishable with perpetual imprisonment. The teaching school, an useful and virtuous occupation, even the teaching in a private family, was in every Catholic subjected to the same unproportioned punishment. Your industry, and the bread of your children, was taxed for a pecuniary reward to stimulate avarice to do what Nature refused, to inform and prosecute on this law. Every Roman Catholic was, under the same act, to forfeit his estate to his nearest Protestant relation, until, through a profession of what he did not believe, he redeemed by his hypocrisy what the law had transferred to the kinsman as the recompense of his profligacy. When thus turned out of doors from his paternal estate, he was disabled from acquiring any other by any industry, donation, or charity; but was rendered a foreigner in his native land, only because he retained the religion, along with the property, handed down to him from those who had been the old inhabitants of that land before him.

Does any one who hears me approve this scheme of things, or think there is common justice, common sense, or common honesty in any part of it? If any does, let him say it, and I am ready to discuss the point with temper and candor. But instead of approving, I perceive a virtuous indignation beginning to rise in your minds on the mere cold stating of the statute.” ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

What Is To Be Done?

The narrative game has begun. One of the major memes we can expect to hear now that the GOP lost the presidential race is that “extremism” is to blame. Many of us know that it was absurd to label Mitt Romney “extreme” on anything. Even those on the other side willing to concede this point will say something like “the GOP is being held hostage by the extreme right” and “the Tea Party is to blame for the GOP defeat.” This is all, of course, complete nonsense, but many Republicans will buy it.

I honestly don’t know if it is possible to isolate and eliminate the factors that are ultimately responsible for Barack Obama’s reelection and Mitt Romney’s crushing defeat last night. What I do know is this: in 2004, President Bush was said to have won primarily because of a surge of evangelical voters who stormed the polls to defeat gay marriage initiatives in key swing states. Last night, voters approved gay marriage in three states and defeated two GOP Senate candidates because of remarks they made to the media about rape and abortion. Neither “extremism” in general or the “Tea Party” is to blame; commentators have been quick to point out that Akin was not a Tea Party choice and that perfectly moderate Republicans such as Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin went down in defeat last night.

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A Mother’s Promise to the Nation

I know I speak for many, many other mothers out there this morning and I know they would say the same thing I am about to say.

The United States has just elected Barack Obama to a second term as President. News reports tell us that the narrow victory may have hinged on the women’s vote. It appears that the “lady parts” rhetoric about how women’s rights depend on contraception and abortion resonated with enough American women that it affected the election.

They didn’t want to “do it with just anybody.” No, it had to be with a “really great guy.” The one who will give them free contraception and abortion.

But America, I promise you that not all of us mothers raise our daughters to think this way. I promise you that there are plenty of us mothers and fathers out here teaching our daughters, and our sons, that real freedom comes from something beyond themselves, something greater than themselves.

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50%-48%

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Well, a nation divided down the middle has chosen to re-elect the worst president in our nation’s history while keeping the Republicans firmly in control of the House.  This ensures that no major piece of legislation will get through Congress in the next two years.  So the people collectively have voted for Obama and gridlock.  What lessons should be taken away from this debacle?

1.  The Triumph of Identity Politics -The mainstay of Obama’s victory were groups that he assiduously courted:  Blacks, Hispanics, single women and homosexuals.  That Obama has been a disaster for the nation in his economic and fiscal policies, and presided over a truly lousy economy, mattered not one whit to substantial majorities of these groups.

2.  Divide and Rule-Obama pursued a strategy of winning by getting his supporters to the polls and demonizing his adversaries.  The strategy worked and will no doubt be copied in the years to come, as politicians seek success through division.

3.  Vote for Revenge-Obama and many of his followers will no doubt assume that he has received a mandate to pursue his policies.  That is a mistaken view.  Through the manner of his winning, Obama has ensured that half the nation will be actively working against him and all his works until he leaves office.

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What’s Done Is Done . . .

Now that the polls are closed in the great swing state of Ohio that I call home, I am more reserved than I was all day.  Except for the counting, the re-counting, the hanging chads (electronic or otherwise), and the law suits that no doubt have already been drafted and need only be filed … what’s done is done.  The winner has been picked and only needs revealed.  As I, along with the nation, anxiously await the results, a thought struck me, not like a ton of bricks, but more like a whispered prayer.

The great miracle of history is how the God of the universe manages blessing in all situations.  This is obvious in cases where good triumphs over evil.  Yet the contradiction of the Cross demonstrates blessing even in the darkest moments of humanity.

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