The real danger is that the Brown victory will wake Democrats up from their complacency and make them realize that they need to put together a political strategy for 2010 better than running against George W. Bush -- with the result being that their majority will not erode in November as much as it would have had they not been given this wake-up call.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 19.01.2010 @ 13:29
I think it's telling how many of Johnson's examples of what is wrong with the right today come back to Robert Stacy McCain. McCain, for his part, has returned the gesture as part of his openly-admitted campaign to pick fights with other people so as to drive traffic to his own site.
But personally, I find it all very tedious.
As for Johnson's other criticisms, I've been in agreement with you for a long time that the loonies are too prominent and have been allowed to become too powerful. But I'm also in agreement with you, and in disagreement with some of the other voices here, that the solution is not to leave but to let the cycle play itself out and after the upcoming disaster in 2012, start putting together a party that makes more sense and offers better ideas and good policies.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 1.12.2009 @ 21:51
Above all else, someone who blogs for a living should strive to write about things that are interesting. Sullivan's SPDS (Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome) has become even more insipid than the tawdry and trivial doings of Clan Palin. I have other things to worry about than gossip from a small Alaskan town.
Someone please let me know when Sully has something interesting to say on some other subject, because I won't be back to The Dish until then.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 19.11.2009 @ 15:37
Tom (and maybe even Rick?) don't you think my man Michael Reynolds was being just a leeetle bit sarcastic in comment #2? Like maybe his real point was "Nothing the Obama White House does can possibly harm Fox News"?
Mmmmmm - no, I think Michael was being serious (of course now he'll come back and say of course it was satire).
But your point about them not being able to harm Fox is, I think correct. So why are they doing it?
The scary thing that hit me after I published was - suppose there is no why. Suppose there's only "because:" - as in, because we can do it, because we don't like opposition, because we hate conservatives.
I think they will begin to backtrack this weekend.
ed.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 23.10.2009 @ 14:38
Seems to me that Fox can be unfair and imbalanced if it wants to be. And the White House still needs to deal with the facts that a) like it or not, Fox is a major news outlet and b) the White House is an organ of the government and not a campaign office, which means it needs to deal with a "hostile" news organization differently than it would if it were the Committe to Re-Elect President Obama. As consumers of the news, we do not abdicate our intelligence or critical thinking skills when we read or listen to what any news reporting entity disseminates to us -- Fox has a rightward slant; CBS has a leftward slant, you bear that in mind when you read them. It isn't all that difficult, really.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 23.10.2009 @ 12:10
Of course, the real problem is that "an honest, non-ideological appriasal of [conservative] philosophy" would require dispensing with hate and fear as the raisdon d'etre of the GOP. Hate and fear are powerful motivators and the human mind takes to them the way it takes to addictive drugs. The policy proposals that will ultimately rebound to the benefit of the country, which the Democrats have left wide open for the GOP to incorporate into a policy platform, are simply not as much fun as red-meat social issues and fearmongering.
If you'll forgive a self-plug, I think those policy opportunities include:
1. Strong dollars (which means higher interest rates and thus greater savings, but also encourages us to invest in foreign industries so we can bring the wealth of the developing world back home);
2. Constitutionally-mandated deficit reduction leading, eventually, to balanced budgets (I envision this being implemented gradually, with a Congressional super-majority to deficit spend thereafter during a time of declared war);
3. Encouraging development of nuclear power plants through completion of Yucca Mountain waste storage facility and meaningful solutions to risks of transporting the waste safely, tax breaks, regulatory reform, and, if need be, public-private investment partnerships;
4. Meaningful immigration and naturalization reform, which does not mean exluding immigration but rather streamlining the process to integrate more immigrants into the tax rolls and naturalize the hard workers;
5. Renewal of anti-terrorism as an ideological guide to foreign policy decisions rather than the existing ad hoc attempts to create localized "balance of power" arrangements;
6. Construction of a space elevator as a technological challenge and investment for future space development; a modern equivalent of the Apollo Project.
I don't claim that these are necessarily guided by a single, overarching political philosophy, although "living within our means" and "leveraging our technological abilities to our future advantage" would be really good starts. Maybe other readers of this blog think I'm off base with my policy proposals, maybe they have ideas of their own. I think that at this point in time, we're best served by having a debate about what new and different kinds of policies we can propose which will be in the public interest rather than leaving our policy thinking to "whatever the opposite is of what Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama are selling."
So if any of you think my ideas are wrongheaded, tell me what other policies would be better.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 12.10.2009 @ 11:29
Only nihilists argue that the existence of sin requires to abolition of morality.
That wasn't my point at all. "Family values" is a loser of a platform plank because it sets us up to look like hypocrites when our candidates are less than angelic. Which, let's face it, is a description that applies to pretty much anyone in politics.
There are plenty of ideas and policy prescriptions on the conservative shelf, collecting dust at places like Heritage and Cato and AEI until the Pelosi/Reid/Obama era, that prevents them from being anything but pipedreams, is over.
That is where I depart from your point of view, Travis. If there are those good ideas, we shouldn't be holding them back. We should be throwing out into the media, front and center, loudly and repeatedly proclaiming that there is an alternative to all this. We should be proud of our ideas, eager to market them, anxious to use them for the good of our nation, regardless of who is in the White House. The voters will remember who came up with these good ideas. (And frankly, they won't as easily remember who came up with the bad ones; the blame for failed policies always falls on the incumbent President, whether rightly or wrongly.)
Newt Gingrich put together a comprehensible and marketable policy platform in 1994 and used the power of good ideas to propel Republicans to take back outright control of Congress for the first time in two generations -- while a Democrat was serving as President. Who is the contemporary equivalent of Gingrich, what are these policy ideas, and why are the floodgates being held back?Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 5.10.2009 @ 23:05
Intellectual conservatism isn't "dead." It's "pining for the fjords." "Shagged out after a particularly long squawk." The only reason it looks dead is it PREFERS keeping on its back.
What passes for leadership in the Republican party these days consists of short-term tactics and unthinking contrarianism. David Horowitz proclaiming the value of Glenn Beck "exposing the tactics of the left" and calling calls for moderation in the social agenda a political "Stockholm syndrome" are perfect examples of that. No one is more thoroughly financially wedded to catering to the red-meat-eaters out there than Horowitz; while he is personally an intellectually brilliant man, he understands better than most that the audience who funds his eponymous "Freedom Center" care nothing for the kind of introspective, erudite, and most of all self-critical analysis that producing and enacting a real political philosophy requires.
Quite simply, it is insufficient to point to the opposition and say they're bad people with bad ideas. We need to be good people with good ideas. But all too often, those who most loudly preach "family values" messages are found to be philanderers or worse; those who attack the policy proposals of the Democrats have nothing substantive to offer on their own; those who cry the loudest that the Obama Administration is ruining America were the ones who cheered the loudest when the Bush Administration was doing the exact same things. But that requires someone to articulate something that possesses intellectual credibility, and as a functional matter, nearly no one to the right of the President is doing this.
Seriously, what was once "intellectual conservatism" has become the province of libertarians -- which means that despite all his myriad flaws, we're pretty much talking about Ron Paul as the only one actually coming up with ideas. For everyone else holding office or positions of political prominence, it's pretty much only a question of tone.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 5.10.2009 @ 14:27
In terms of running the government, I'm actually not particularly worried about the trip. AF1 and other support equipment will make sure that the President stays in touch with anything of real importance. The opening talks with Iran are not supposed to involve the President directly; any lobbying on Congress the President feels the need to do can be done over AF1 and other satellite uplinks (lobbying is not even classified information) and what, exactly, would the President's personal presence in the White House for a 48 hour period do to help revive the economy or improve war prospects in Afghanistan anyway? Bernanke and the JCS both probably would like it just fine if the President left them alone to do their jobs.
No, the real issue is not running the Administration -- the real issue is debasing the office of the Presidency to lobby for a vanity project like the Chicago Olympics in the first place. Rick is absolutely right to point out that the corrupt Chicago political machine is a good match for the corrupt IOC process and if Obama wanted to steer clear of getting caught up in that web of corruption, he would have been well-advised to have taken the day off to hang out at Camp David instead.
As for the first, I agree that as a practical and realistic matter, the presidency and those issues will not suffer in the slightest.
But symbolically? Obama off to take care of a routine political chore while he has a pretty full plate at home is, as I said, selfish. Expected cash bonanza to American business as a result of having the Olympics here is going to be no more than $3-4 billion - an unworthy sum for a president who is running a $1.8 trillion deficit to worry about. You are right, this is just not that important of an issue - unless you feel it necessary to pay back a political debt.
ed.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 28.09.2009 @ 10:25
Rick, you underestimate your own ability to be a voice for the change you (and I) hope to effect. Redstate may have to be written off, but there are more venues than it and you seem to get plenty of hits here. Keep on truckin'.Comment Posted By Transplanted Lawyer On 1.09.2009 @ 12:18