Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Bogeyman And Other Random Observations...

With the holiday weekend in the rear view, it was time to get reading and cracking on some stories that have been lingering around for a few days. I figured I would tackle a few at a time and see how that goes.

Bogeyman Bush

Lately it seems to me that President Obama's administration is preoccupied not only with the oil spill, burgeoning deficits, deteriorated relations with our allies, and our stagnant economy BUT with our last President. Since it is habit, it must be some sort of psychological defense mechanism like displacement or something. Who knows. All I know is few things make a leader look weaker than never looking forward, never accepting responsibility and always in a constant blame someone/victim mode. Read about it here, here, here, and here. Peggy Noonan stated it best when she wrote, "There is still a sense about Mr. Obama that he needs George W. Bush in order to give his presidency full shape and meaning. In this he is like Jimmy Carter, who needed Richard Nixon, or rather the Watergate scandal, which made him president". It wasn't the accumulation of bad things that happened under Carter that was his undoing but rather his constant deer in headlights look, like he had no understanding of what the hell was going on. Which is odd considering he is an extremely intelligent man, such as Obama but that alone does not make successful leaders as we are finding out once more.

Healthcare Debate Taking Backseat

The fact that one of the most contentious votes for a government program just took place a little over three months ago is no where to be found on the front pages is the fault of the Republican leadership. I have praised the likes of John Boehner, Eric Cantor and others during the debate, but I want to know why they have not pressed on with the issue. I know that most Congressional contests will be battled over the deficit and Obamacare but why not keep it in the forefront? I understand that four months is a lifetime in politics but tapping into America's distrust of Washington now instead of being the poster children for it should be the main impetus. I mean when this happens and nary a peep out of them? This recess appointment is a typical  move, Obama knows Berwick would never pass muster in a Senate confirmation. A man who has gone on record extolling the virtues of single payer and rationing would have no chance in this environment. Yet Obama picking this guy is more proof positive that of course he knows what his Obamacare program will eventually lead to, the aforementioned rationing and single payer. I mean by all accounts Dr. Berwick seems to be a fair mind and not partisan but he is ideological when it comes to health care administration. Read more about him here, here and here. More healthcare related reading here.

Suing Arizona?

The whole decision to do so reeks of pure politics. It is not based on any legality or common sense. I guess the DOJ will argue on the basis of the supremacy clause (federal laws trump state/local) but um correct me if I am wrong, the Arizona law just cites the federal law and asks their state authorities to turn over any offenders into the Fed system. I am sure that the DOJ has lawyers who are much smarter than I, but doesn't it seem odd that the federal government would sue over enforcing their own laws? Logically it seems absurd. Where are the lawsuits to all the communities who call themselves "sanctuaries", making it safe for illegals to congregate there? Now that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. A state or locality openly opposing the federal government's statutes sounds like a good case to me. But I really have come to expect nothing less from the Holder led DOJ. That leads me into another recent problem with this Justice Department. Dropping the case (after the DOJ actually WON the freaking case?) against the Philadelphia members of the Black Panthers who intimidated at a polling place during the 2008 election. If it wasn't racially motivated I am not sure what else it could have been. The case was pretty solid and the laws flouted were obvious, yet all they did was tell them you can't work at a poll until 2012 (when Barry tries to get re-elected and we need you thugs back out there)? Sounds like "justice" is optional in Holder's dojo.

Classical Liberalism

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine who is as "liberal" as they come. She said something that struck a chord with me and has stuck for a few days. I am not sure most people these days understand what liberal is or at least what the contemporary definition of it is. She said to me, "This country has too many rules and regulations". I was like "Huh? What?"...I of course agreed with her and mentioned that is one of the central conservative arguments these days. Obviously it is much more nuanced than that, we certainly believe in laws and regulation, it is the reach of certain federal laws into our personal liberties that perturbs us and differentiates us with today's "big government" lib.

The word liberal two hundred years ago meant exactly what we as conservatives today fight for. Adam Smith explained central government as having three functions: protection against foreign invaders, protection of citizens from wrongs committed against them by other citizens, and building and maintaining public institutions and public works that the private sector could not profitably provide. That last bit may give today's liberal the window for expansion of government but his and other classical liberal thinkers of his time were quite clear of their respect for free markets. Thomas Malthus opposed any income or wealth redistribution. The economic tenets of classical liberalism, that would be F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman were also fairly clear on all these free market philosophical questions. In some cases they were even more suspect of government involvement in the markets than present day conservatives. I know why we are called conservatives, we are hoping to conserve our true liberal heritage.

So the question I pose is, why do today's liberals call themselves liberal? It may be the philosophical break they see with Locke's natural rights which seem irrational to them (and more in line with conservative tenets) and their stricter adherence to utilitarianism. Not sure about that, because I do believe some current liberals do believe in the Declaration and it's words which affirm our natural rights. I do know that the advent of Progressives (Louis Brandeis, John Dewey, Lester Ward) and the influx of German thought into our universities and academia post Civil War have more to do with their lurch leftward and break with "classical" liberalism. All interesting philosophical any libs out there want to tell me why the liberal label suits you so well?

Closing Thought

Just when you thought the Obama administration couldn't be more bumbling and there anything more absurd than NASA promoting Muslim outreach? Ugh... here, here,here


SPN Headines said...

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Peace! :-)

THE KRIS said...

Interesting thoughts on the change in the meaning of liberalism, or at least the change in the ideas being expressed under that heading. Dare I say that conservatives did (or tried to do) their share of nation building, moral legislation, and government expansion over the last decade or so.

While I admit that my memory was refreshed by Jon Stewart, I remember Reagan wanting NASA to do the same thing with the USSR. It may be silly, but there certainly is a precedent.

Well thought out and written as always.

Ocho said...

K, What I think you meant to say is that Republicans have tried to do their share of nation building,moral legislation,etc. Most conservatives/libertarians reject nation building and moral legislation (over legislating habits or ways of life on either side of the ideological spectrum to us are pointless and flies in the face of liberty) in general, that is mostly a neo-con invention...i can get into a whole discussion on that philosophical schism if you wish. That's a whole other column.

What happened with expansion of gov't was an implementation of Bush's "compassionate" conservativism. Codeword for big government conservatism, an oxymoron if i ever heard one. Most cons would disagree with the majority of W's domestic agenda and give him props on foreign policy and his execution of the war on terror...or whatever it's called now. I was planning on writing about W extensively when i got the chance to dissect everything in hindsight.

Ocho said...

To add...where W succeeded is that he was able to get R's motivated to vote for his proposals (even if it went against conservative/party base principles), something this current President with larger majorites than Bush ever had cannot seem to do to save his life. The media can spin all they like about how the R's are obstructing the Obama agenda, they simply don't have the math or the history on their side. It's an idiotic argument to make and it goes nowhere.

THE KRIS said...

Indeed, "Republican" would have been more fitting, but as it turns out I was just trying to bug you. You argue in good faith, so I'll try not to stoop to that sort of thing anymore.

One thing I've always found to be true is that Republicans understand discipline in a way that Democrats do not. Even when they have a good idea (I credit them with a few) and a majority, Dems are unable to come together to get anything done. W knew how to press his advantage with 911, and got the Dems to sign off on Iraq. In the same situation a Dem president would have spent so much time listening to the complaints of every faction of his party that nothing would have gotten done. (I should note that I think that Iraq was a complete waste of time/life/money and would have been better left undone).

That said, Republicans ARE obstructing... it's what the minority does. But you are right, the real problem is that the administration isn't doing anything, not that the Reps are trying to stop them.

Ocho said...

If by obstructing you mean they are voicing their displeasure and showing no signs of cooperating on any other left wing ideas, then yes i agree that is the minority party's job.

They cannot obstruct in a legislative sense, they don't have the votes even if it is a straight partisan vote. The O can't get a good chunk of D's to vote on certain things because of the left wingedness (just made that up) of most proposals(too many ideas coming from safe libs like Pelosi,Frank,Boxer,Waxman,etc....they will never face the piper of getting booted in their ultra left districts). Blame Rahm(bo) for concocting the strategy for 2006's takeover, he had "moderate" dems run on more conservative leaning ideas in conservative leaning districts. They won on two factors R fatigue and the war in Iraq. Now these same members are reflecting their constituents desires not to have said left wingedness(there's my word again)be implemented. It won't matter, almost every single one of them will be unemployed come November.

Ocho said...

PS...Iraq was important strategery wise. It would take me too long to get into that but I do appreciate your reasoned opposition to it (because we have had that conversation before) unlike the myriad of morons trolling MoveOn or the Daily Kos.

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