Wednesday, November 29, 2006

happy belated thanksgiving.

I know what I am thankful for:

First and foremost family. They made me who I am and guide me to what I will become,

My girlfriend. She puts up with my crap daily and looks beautiful doing so.

My country. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that we are collectively the luckiest human beings to ever trod upon this earth. We owe everything to those that have fought and struggled to make this the freest, most prosperous nation on the planet. We delude ourselves if we think that it isn't a special nation and that we will always have it.

Beer. Pretty self-explanatory, I believe.

Mark Steyn. It burns me that the best, funniest and most insightful writer in the English language these days is a Canadian by birth. "America Alone" is pure gold.

Sam Jackson Jr. He'll do schlock or serious and is always awesome at both.

Mango milkshakes. Go to a Vietnamese restaurant and have one. Trust me on this.


Sports (especially rugby)

The air I breathe, the food I eat and the freedom I cherish.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The end of the world as we know it

The Democrats won. Good for them. They ran a principled campaign of decidedly avoiding any issues and speaking in vague terms about corruption and a new direction. Luckily for them, the Republicans readily supplied them with enough of the former for people to desire the latter. Will there really be a new direction? It'll be new if 1968 is new for you. My opinion is that the country voted out of disgust for the system and a disgust for our present politicians. And, in that case, I'm always happy to see. Washington is sick, and, unfortunately, it will always be sick. No changing of the guard will render that any differently. Too much money flows into D.C., and an excess of unearned money (as in D.C.) and power inherently are corrupting. This sad dance will continue unless we elects saints to serve in the US government. I don't see that happening any time soon.
That was the genius of the framers in wanting a small, limited government. It keeps people from corrupting themselves with money and power (the two are often interchangeable). As long as we look to D.C. to solve our problems and elect people to do so, we will have corruption and incompetence.
I am not absolving the Republican congress. They were a dismal set of leaders and so full of pork they practically farted bacon. Jim Talent ran a positively horrible campaign and on that basis alone, he deserved to win (McCaskill's was even worse and will be a marginally bad senator, if she is lucky). They made the choices to put the symbolic over the substantive and to line their own pockets. This election was a pox upon both your parties and the one in power will always bear the brunt. So, I'm not happy about the outcome, but it's what happens when the GOP act the way they did. The Dems have two years to show us that we were right to pick them over the GOP, but I very much doubt it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Can't believe I agree with Chris Matthews

As I watched Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman salivate over the GOP's defeat, Matthews made one good point. Claire McCaskill claimed victory before her opponent conceded defeat. As a former Carter man, Matthews was obviously rooting for McCaskill. But pointing out her mistake brought up a good point. In the past, a candidate would never call themselves victorious until the other side said "you win, I lose." It was once a more standard practice. Plus, it prevented you from looking foolish (does the name Thomas Dewey come to mind?). Must be a practice of the political past.

As of this writing Michael Steele hasn't conceded defeat. If he wants a political future he should admit defeat. The absentee ballots have no chance of putting him over the top. You don't want to give up -- but you should know when to say when.

One other observation...

It's a lot easier being a pundit than running as a candidate. We can criticize corrupt Republicans all we want. But as a critic it's easy to point out shortcomings than to go out and correct them. It takes a special breed of person to run for political office, whether they are a Democrat or Republican. It's easier for us to criticize when we're typing on a keyboard or behind a microphone.

The Republicans Must Do Some Soul Searching

I will concede this...

The Democrats did a good job this election cycle. They took out powerful members of the House. They took our the #3 senator in Rick Santorum. They took out Missouri's own Jim Talent (does he have any future in politics)?

This election came down to a few things.

1) Public unrest on Iraq. I don't know if Americans feel we're LOSING the war. But they don't see much progress. I agree... we could be doing a better job over there. But more importantly, with all the progress we've made over there, we are losing the PR battle. Talk radio and the blog world hasn't been enough.

2) Corruption in their own party. This may prove to be the biggest issue. Between Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Mark Foley (and too many too mention) the Republicans infuriated their base this time around. I don't think it's a winning solution to "teach them a lesson." I agree, the GOP needs to get it together. But in the process they lost great senators like Santorum and Talent (probably Allen) who are solid conservatives. Losing guys like Lincoln Chafee is no big deal. But in showing the Republicans are unrest, the conservates chased out a few followers of Ronald Reagan.

Where do they go from here?

Who knows. I'm not political strategist. But the Republicans need to stand tall on principles they make them great (when they aren't corrupt). They are right on taxes and right on the economy. I believe they're right on Iraq but they have lost the PR battle.

The Republicans cannot blame smear campaigns (though it's tempting) and act like Democrats cheated. True, it's normal for an incumbent president's party to lose elections in his second mid-term. But in the last few years the GOP had a glorious opportunity to show off true conservativism. Instead, too many House members got tied up in corrupt politics. They could have put the Democrats out of power for a decade. Instead they imploded. Now they have to pick up the pieces and focus on 2008.

I'll say it again...

The Democrats did a great job this election season. The right needs to stop carping about smear ads. They need to show America they care about limited govt and the American people. Yes, they had their butts kicked. But they can rebound.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tuesdays Election

The mid-term election will be running in 48 hours. The Republicans are expected to lose every seat they have -- even the ones that aren't up for re-election. By Wednesday morning we will see a Democrat House majority of 415-0 and a Senate majority of 100-0. George Bush will be forced to undo his tax cuts (aka a tax increase), bring the troops home from Iraq, appoint nothing but San Francisco judges and have the name God systematically removed from the Constitution. It'll be a harrowing day.

I'll be honest...

I expect the Republicans to lose some seats. Dewine is probably gone. Lynne Swann doesn't stand a chance in Pennsylvania. Santorum is probably finished. I'm predicting Jim Talent and George Allen keep their seats. I don't understand why the races of Talent and Allen are close. Claire McCaskill is a lightweight against Talent and Allen's opponent has an infatuation with perverted ideas. He should have been run off long ago.

I heard John O'Neill on the radio a few nights back. He mentioned a new tactic of the Democrats. They are propping up guys like Jim Webb that have a military past, then they're running them in red states. They hope voters get the impression that they support the military.

Very transparent strategy but it makes sense. Guys like Webb are on the fringe because in the last election military members voted 80% in favor of Dubya. There's a reason the men and women of uniform lean to the right -- Republicans actually respect them. There are a couple other states trying the same tactic -- can't think of them as of this writing. It'll be interesting to see if this strategy pays off.

This is the a tough election. The polls (which, of course, never lie) have the Dems taking control of both houses, which isn't uncommon in a two term presidents second midterm election. But I'm hoping things don't unfold this way. It would show that 1) The Democrats really can't win anything 2) it allows us to keep fighting in Iraq 3) it gives us hope for another Roberts or Alito in the Supreme Court.

I argue against those claiming there's no difference between the two parties. Senators like Allen,Talent and Santorum are true conservatives. The House contains countless Reagan conservatives (Dana Rorhabacher, Duncan Hunter). The true conservatives stand for 1) lower taxes 2) strong immigration policies 3) victory in the Middle East 4) privitized Social Security 4) constitution abiding judges... just to name a few.

There is a difference between the two parties. There will always be moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe that make cynics believe conservatism is dead. Don't buy into this rhetoric. Conservativism will always be worth fighting for as long as liberty is worth fighting for. Many on the right are appalled at some of Bush's liberal policies on Medicare and his overall spending. Yes, he's not Barry Goldwater but his policies are much closer to Reagan than any Democrat.

Don't buy the negative rhetoric -- we can prevail this election season. Get out and vote on Tuesday.