Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Despite the conservative talk show blitz to demonize John McCain (and Mike Huckabee), is he really that liberal? I'll summarize some of his positions from McCain's official campaign website:
Overturn Roe v. Wade. Move toward ending abortion. Appoint Supreme Court justices who will interpret the law as written, not legislate from the bench. Supported Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito.
Lower taxes. Repeal the AMT. Require a 3/5 majority vote in Congress to raise taxes. Low taxes on dividends and capital gains. No Internet taxes. R&D tax credit. Reform Congressional budgeting.
Reduce barriers to trade.
No universal health care. Put families in charge of their health care dollars. Reform the tax code to eliminate the bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance. Promote open health care markets to encourage competition.
Bolster troops on the ground. Implement new counterinsurgency strategy. Strenghthen the Iraqi armed forces and police. Keep senior officers in place. Call for international pressure on Syria and Iran.
We need a strong military. Confront violent Islamic extremism and other terrorists. Increase the size of the American military. Modernize the armed services. Smarter defense spending. Effective missile defense.
Co-sponsored the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill built upon President Bush's proposal for a guest worker program. A lot of people called this amnesty. I suspect this is where you may take issue with McCain (as well as Bush).
Protect the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. Gun control is a proven failure in fighting crime.
Again, John McCain isn't my first choice, but if he wins the nomination, is he really so liberal we can't even vote for him?
I guess Rush and the rest of the conservative talking heads must think so. Is this just more idle chatter and whining, or are they really willing to lie down and let Clinton/Obama win?
If not, Republicans probably need to start rallying behind McCain pretty soon.
Monday, January 28, 2008
His main thesis is that a woman's deepest need is to be loved (no surprises here), and that a man's deepest need is to be respected (very counter- cultural stuff). This message is both simple and profound. Eggerichs takes his main Scriptural support from Ephesians 5:33, a verse that takes on a renewed and powerful meaning.
Men are commanded to love, because love does not come as naturally to a man. And while women are experts at showing love, they are not as quick to respect their husbands. With all the talk of women being submissive, we have missed this part about respect, and it makes everything else come into focus.
Finally, men and women can truly be everything God has created them to be, reaching an equality much greater than anything offered by the culture. Whether your marriage is already pretty good or not (or even if you're only preparing for marriage), this book will change your life and revolutionize your relationships.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Also, what about that French guy who lost over $7.2 Billion of his bank's money, causing the recent global market panic? I discovered that he and I are the same age, 31. I'm thinking my prospects are a bit brighter!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Fred Thompson is currently at 9.2% in the RCP average, and Intrade gives him a 0.4% chance at winning the nomination. As much as I'd like to vote for this fellow, his campaign appears to be on its last legs. [Edit: Thompson has now withdrawn from the race.]
Mike Huckabee, though still polling at 18.8% in the RCP average, also looks to be finished. His chances in Florida are poor, and it seems unlikely that he can do well enough on Super Tuesday to have a real shot at the nomination. He's at 3.5% on Intrade.
I would be interested in hearing more thoughts on McCain.
Monday, January 21, 2008
So where does this leave me? Maybe you should ask me after Florida. Giuliani's chances seem to be decreasing my the hour, and I might agree with some of you that this is not an altogether bad thing. I suppose at this moment, I am most interested in seeing Romney do well. Even though he is not very much of a conservative, he is at least more conservative than McCain and Huckabee (I dislike these two liberals almost equally).
Here is an interesting discussion over at Redstate. The comments are as interesting as the post. What will I do if the nominee is McCain or Huckabee? I have no idea. I'm glad I don't have to make that call yet.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Michelle Malkin (yet another real conservative) also doesn't think Huckabee is being above board, specifically on illegal immigration. This one even includes a nice (and highly evasive) little back-and-forth with Laura Ingraham.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Another potential outcome of South Carolina is the withdrawal of Fred Thompson. If Thompson is unable to make a strong showing in this first Southern state primary, where he once led the field a few months ago, it could be devastating to his campaign.
While declaring his support for Bush's amnesty:
“‘I do believe some of it is driven by racism or
nativism,’ he said of the opposition within his
party to Mr. Bush's view that illegal aliens should
not be deported but rather fined and eventually
allowed U.S. citizenship. ‘It's not amnesty to
make people pay for breaking the law,’ Mr.
Huckabee said.” (Washington Times , 5/17/06)
“Another bill in the draft stages, backed by
Gov. Mike Huckabee, would make illegal aliens
eligible for state-funded scholarships and instate
tuition if they graduate from high school
in Arkansas.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 1/27/05)
“...Last week, Huckabee described it [the bill] as
‘inflammatory ... race-baiting ... demagoguery.’
He said the bill, which seeks to forbid public
assistance and voting rights to illegal
immigrants, ‘inflames those who are racist and
bigots and makes them think there's a real
problem. But there's not.’” (AP , 2/3/05)
Q: Did you support tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants in Arkansas?
A: It wasn't a break. What I supported, and I still do, was the idea that you don't punish a child for the crime of a parent. I still don't believe that. I don't believe that this country has reduced itself to the point that when a parent commits a crime and breaks the law, that you grind your heel in the face of 6-year-old. What I did support was when a child had been in our schools all his or her academic career and wanted to go to college, if that student would apply for citizenship, then they would be able to go to college. It was a meritorious scholarship. Quite frankly, I would rather have them college-educated, I'd have those folks become citizens, college-educated, paying taxes, rather than being in a position where their income was so low they ended up becoming tax-takers. We punish people who break the law. We don't punish the children of those who break the law. (Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Nov 25, 2007)
"What we cannot do is allow our laws to be flagrantly broken, acting as if the economic benefits to consumers justify their utter disregard for not only our laws, but potentially our security. In the case of immigration, our laws are clearly out of sync with the economic realities of our global marketplace. It would be sheer folly to attempt to suddenly impose strict enforcement of existing laws, round up 12 million people, march them across the border, and expect them to stay.
What does make sense is a revision of our laws, one giving those here illegally a process through which they pay a reasonable fine in admission of their guilt for the past infraction of violating our border laws and agree to adhere to a pathway toward legal status and citizenship. In exchange, our government gains the capacity to know who is here, why they are here, where they are, and whether they carry a communicable disease. But much of the debate has become mired more in definitions than in a real solution." (Source: From Hope to Higher Ground, by Mike Huckabee, p.117-118 Jan 4, 2007)
“In the spirit of federalism, the proposed GOP
revision [to the platform] also would replace the
abortion amendment with a statement saying the
issue should be left up to the individual state
legislatures ...‘That's exactly what we have looked for,
and if it's left up to the states, more of them are going
to put some restrictions on abortion,’ Arkansas Lt.
Gov. Mike Huckabee said.” (Washington Times , 2/12/95)
“The Governor, a Republican, said yesterday that
private donations would finance abortions requested
by Medicaid-eligible victims of rape or incest until
1998, when Arkansas voters would decide whether to
amend the state constitution to bring it into harmony
with Federal law.“ (New York Times , 8/14/96)
As a long-time sufferer from extremely sensitive allergies to tobacco smoke (I take an allergy shot each week for this condition), I would like to see smoking banned in public places, or at least a requirement that smoking cannot take place when it would infringe upon the clean air of nonsmokers. For some of us, it is not a mere nuisance--it represents a very definite health threat. It should not be appropriate to indiscriminately blow toxic smoke on other people. (Source: Responses to Associated Press Questionnaire for AR Senate Nov 1, 1992)
“...the average Arkansan's tax burden grew from $1,969 in
the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1997, to $2,902 in the
fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005, including local
taxes...the Department [of Finance and Administration]
counts 21 tax increases that raised collections by $883.1
million.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 10/9/07)
“During Huckabee’s 10 years as governor, state
spending more than doubled, from $6.6 billion
to $16.1 billion in the fiscal year ending June
30, 2006. Meanwhile, the state added about
8,000 full-time workers to its payroll during
that period, according to the Bureau of
Legislative Research. That’s a 19 percent
increase.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 10/4/07)
For economic policy:
Huckabee and Clinton earned a “D” lifetime
rating on the Cato Institute’s scorecard of
governors. Huckabee received a “F” rating for
his last two years in office.
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1027; Club For
Growth, “Is Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee a Pro-Growth,
Economic Conservative?”; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/10/03)
Q: Should Internet sales be taxed?
A: Yes.(Source: 2002 AR Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002)
Huckabee claimed he would get rid of the IRS, a disappearing act that isn't so easy as he makes it sound. Huckabee said, "The first thing that I would get rid of would be the Internal Revenue Service--a $10-billion-a-year industry. I'm not being facetious. If we enacted the FairTax, we will get rid of the IRS."
It is true that the FairTax would get rid of the agency that we now call the IRS. But, according to the bill Huckabee supports, the Fairtax would "eliminate" the IRS by replacing it with a new Sales Tax Bureau, which wouldn't necessarily be much smaller than the existing IRS.
According to the Bush administration study on the FairTax, "The federal administrative burden for a retail sales tax may be similar to the burden under the current system." The FairTax would also require an entirely new type of bureaucracy to "keep track of the personal information that would be necessary to determine the size of the taxpayer's cash grant."
(Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP YouTube debate Nov 28, 2007)
Huckabee praised a "FairTax" without noting that it would actually impose a stiff retail sales tax & ease the tax burden on the richest Americans:
"A FairTax would eliminate the alternative minimum tax, personal income tax, corporate tax, & al the various taxes that are hidden in our system & Americans don't realize what they're paying."The FairTax proposes a "prebate" to soften its impact on low-income persons--a monthly check for the amount of tax paid up to the poverty level. But any sales tax also would lower taxes for those upper-income persons who save large portions of income that would be taxed under current law.
Pres. Bush's bipartisan Advisory Panel on Tax Reform rejected the idea, saying it would substantially increase taxes for 80% of taxpayers. The panel calculated that a sales tax would have to be set at 34% of retail prices, and the monthly cash prebate would amount to the largest entitlement program in history, at least $600 billion per year. (Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007)
Q: Are unions good for America?
A: The real fact is, unions are going to take a more prominent role in the future for one simple reason: A lot of American workers are finding that their wages continue to get strapped lower and lower while CEO salaries are higher and higher. And the reality is that when you have the average CEO salary 500 times the average worker, and you have the hedge fund manager making 2,200 times that of the average worker, you're going to create a level of discontent that's going to create a huge appetite for unions. So unions are the natural result of workers finally saying, "Look, I can't go from a $70,000-a-year job to a $15,000-a-year job and feed by family of four." That's when unions are going to come back in roaring form. (Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007)
"The United States, as the world's only superpower, is less vulnerable to military defeat. But it is more vulnerable to the animosity of other countries. Much like a top high school student, if it is modest about its abilities and achievements, if it is generous in helping others, it is loved. But if it attempts to dominate others, it is despised.
American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. My administration will recognize that the United States' main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists." (Source: America's Priorities in the War on Terror: Foreign Affairs Jan 1, 2008)
Q: You came out against waterboarding and you also came out for closing Guantanamo Bay because you said that it had become a "symbol," that it represents to the rest of the world about something bad about America. As president, how important would foreign opinion be in your determining your policies?
A: Well, I wouldn't let foreign opinion determine our policies, wouldn't let it dictate it. But we do have to make sure that we live in such a way as Americans that we have friends, not enemies, across the world. And over the past several years, it seems as we've made even our friends our enemies. We've got to change that. There is an important role that the United States has as the most powerful nation on earth militarily and economically, to act in such a way that people respect us and that people also realize that we are a great nation, not one that wants to push ourselves on others. (Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 "Choosing the President" interviews Dec 9, 2007)
The reason for the NEA endorsement:
“Governor Huckabee is on record opposing the most
important element of genuine school choice -
voucher programs” (Club for Growth White Paper)
Crime & Law Enforcement
“For 12 years, Ashley Stevens was a nameless rape
victim...Stevens, now 29 and living in Little Rock, came
forward to ask Gov. Mike Huckabee to reconsider his
intention to free convicted rapist Wayne Dumond. ‘I fear
for my safety and I fear for every woman that walks the
streets. He's a repeat offender and I think he will do it
again,’” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 9/24/96)
Less than a year after being released, the parolee murdered
39-year-old Carol Shields in Kansas City, Missouri.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 6/27/01)
“Gov. Mike Huckabee has reduced the sentences
of more state prison inmates than the previous
three governors combined. He has used his
clemency power to cut short 111 sentences for
prison inmates since he took office eight years ago.
That's 27 more than the combined number
receiving time cuts during the 18 years Bill
Clinton, Frank White and Jim Guy Tucker were in
office.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 7/25/04)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette titled the bill “Meth Makers
Relief Act of 2005.” “The prisoners who would
benefit...are the dealers-the source of the plague, the ones
who cook up the drug and spread it around. These are the
folks who prey on addicts lower down the drug chain.
These are the manufacturers and merchants of so much
misery in Arkansas...This bill not only cuts the time to be
served to half the original sentence, it also allows prisoners
to earn up to 12 days a month off their sentences for good
behavior.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 3/16/05)
Wow, that was a lot of quoting. I know that all these statements might not sway your opinion. I only want to give the best evidence I have for my disapproval of Huckabee. Nor do I really want 5,000 more lines of analysis as to why he really didn't mean what he said or did. Let's just agree to disagree on this one and move on. Surely we all have better things to do than sit up typing this stuff over and over for hours at a time...
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In my opinion, what's hurting the discourse here the worst is what you addressed in point 4: "In the case of Huckabee specifically, he is a crafty talker and that should be cause for discarding much or all of what he says." The critics of Huckabee, particularly on this blog, are too willing to disregard any conservative overtures he may make on the presumption that he is not conservative. We have already proven that Huckabee is not a conservative, the thinking goes, ergo any conservative policies or ideas he puts forth are lies with no other purpose than to deceitfully capture conservative votes.
But what reason do we have to believe Mike Huckabee is lying about his positions on issues? Because he raised some taxes when he was governor of Arkansas? Because he released Wayne Dumond? Because he's upfront about being a Christian?
We believe Hillary Clinton when she talks about universal health care and abortion. We believe Barack Obama when he talks about gay rights and the war in Iraq. Why shouldn't we believe Mike Huckabee when he takes conservative positions?
If we give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt as we do all the other candidates, he suddenly appears very conservative:
A surveilled border fence by 2010. Increased border patrol. No amnesty.
A constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Strict constitutionalist Supreme Court justices.
No universal health care. Expand health savings accounts. More control of health care options for Americans.
Completely eliminate the income tax and replace it with a consumption tax--the FairTax. Control spending.
A constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The War in Iraq
This battle is a generational, idealogical war, a vital component of the War on Terror. No timetable for withdrawal. Win the war.
The War on Terror
We are in a world war against Islamofascism. We must win. Increase defense spending to six percent of GDP, a $200 billion increase.
The United States must remain true to its long-standing commitment to the Israeli people.
Second Amendment rights belong to individuals, not cities or states. No gun control based on geography. Against assault weapons ban.
And yet for all this, Mike Huckabee is portrayed as nothing more than a deceitful closet liberal. Philip "wonder[s] about the governor's real intentions." Is it really all that sinister?
Mike Huckabee is mostly conservative, with a streak of populism. He engages in rhetoric that upsets many in the conservative establishment (pitting Wall Street versus Main Street, for instance), and he doesn't toe the GOP line on a few issues. I acknowledge that supporting Huckabee is a compromise for me. He is not a perfect candidate.
And yet, I don't think Mike Huckabee is a liar. I don't have any good reason to. And I agree with him on so many issues--certainly all of the most vital ones. But most importantly, I'm convinced he knows the Lord and has a genuine respect for the Bible. This makes him my best representative in the current field of candidates, and I'll do what I can to help him win.
This decision isn't blind faith in a man. It's merely the result of my own complex, internal calculus of information and beliefs. It's not perfect, and it's subject to change. If you reach a different conclusion, very well. I only ask that you carefully reexamine the popular caricature of Mr. Huckabee as a deceiver. I just don't see the evidence.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I thought Rush had it figured out when we described the phenomenon known as "identity politics." Identity politics can be best illustrated by looking at the Democrat party. When Democrats vote for one of their candidates, they tend to do so based on an identity. They could be voting for the African-American, the woman, the union guy, the environmentalist, the gay person, etc. They seem to vote based on an identity, a certain label that coincides with their own self-perceived label.
Rush pointed out that Huckabee supporters seem to be emulating this pattern. He is the Christian (better yet, the Evangelical), and his supporters, for the most part, are also Evangelicals. Do not take this to mean that all Evangelicals support Huckabee; the latest numbers break out to about a 33% rate of support. Even so, this line of reasoning seems valid. I will admit that few of my friends will own up to this analysis; they have a number of slightly more sophisticated reasons, mainly that he is viable and very pro-life. We have spent time arguing over such deep questions as, "Would you rather have a liberal, but pro-life president or a conservative, but pro-choice president?"
As long as the argument stays in the realm of policy, all is well. However, what I sense from some of Huckabee's supporters goes beyond the debating of policy. And while Huckabee does seem to resonate with would-be Christian identity voters (I see this among the ill-informed at my church), many of his followers appear to reach yet a deeper connection, one very fitting to Christianity: they seem to take Huckabee by faith.
Some Christians (especially in the past) divide the world into two categories: things that can be known by examining evidence and things that can be known through faith. This may not be a completely inaccurate way of describing the dichotomy, but I see it as simplistic. While many tenets of Christianity must be taken by faith, God does not leave us without evidence. Creationists are forever being cast as people who ignore "science" (i.e., evidence), choosing rather to indulge in faith. My point is that real faith, Biblical faith, does not eschew evidence; it welcomes it.
Modern feel-good, believe-nothing mega churches misuse the concept of faith. Many of them twist it around to mean anything you want, saying "just believe!" and the like. They remove faith from evidence and, thereby, do real harm to the true concept of faith. I fear that many of Huckabee's supporters are taking him on faith, without feeling any need whatsoever to look back at his past governance with anything like a critical eye. Many of these Christians have much to gain from supporting conservatism and much to lose as government expands and freedom shrinks. Jimmy Carter put together such a coalition in the mid-seventies, and then proceeded to wreck the country with feel-good, unbiblical (but Christian-sounding) and liberal policies.
Huckabee claimed in the last debate, not to have raised taxes but, rather, hope. It sounds inspiring on its face. Who could be against hope? But I have yet to hear anyone explain how raising taxes (taking more money from people and frittering it away on useless or harmful social programs) gives anyone more hope, except for maybe bureaucrats in Washington. Conversely, how does lowering taxes (letting people keep more of their earnings) steal away a person's hope? I wonder about these questions. I wonder about the governor's real intentions. And I wonder about my friends and relatives. My hope is that 2008 does not become a repeat of 1976.
A prominent Christian leader whose radio and magazine outreaches are solidly in support of biblically-based marriages – and keeps in touch with millions of constituents daily – says he cannot consider Arizona Sen. John McCain a viable candidate for president.
"Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," said James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family as well as the Focus Action cultural action organization set up specifically to provide a platform for informing and rallying constituents.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
The reason this is happening is because the left wants a left-leaning Republican candidate, so that:
1) The conservative coalition will be torn to pieces,
2) These two candidates will be easier to beat,
3) True conservatives will not show up at the polls, and
4) At least the government gravy train will keep chugging right along no matter who wins in the general election.
One commentator I read today did note that, according to his inbox, everybody's candidate won the debate. I understand that winning a debate is not the same as winning a primary. Even if he doesn't win, at least Thompson was hitting the right issues in a clear and forceful way. If true conservative ideas can't overcome cute one-liners, I'm not sure what else to suggest.
Bottom line: the left wants our nominee to be either Huckabee or McCain. Don't fall into their trap.
To bring up an increasingly practical issue for discussion--do any of our blog participants prefer McCain over Huckabee?
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Rush had a good point today: Conservative states don't get to vote in the primaries until the nominee has already been picked... Seems like that might affect the outcome just a tinsy bit...
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
-- Patrick Henry
Politicians actually do usually carry out the will of the people (most of the time). The real breakdown in the system is the poor quality of the average citizen, both morally and mentally. This is the only explanation for recent populist successes.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Also, I wanted to include just a short note to all you Hucksters. Rush actually came out and admitted it today: "Huckabee is not a conservative." You can accuse me of all manner of partisanship or lack of facts/brainpower, but you can't say that about Rush. He even addressed our discussion of priorities (abortion or taxes, etc.). His answer was that conservatism is a total package, either you are or you aren't. I like to think my answer is a bit more nuanced, but the point is that Rush won't throw all his conservative principles under the bus just to support someone who is extremely pro-life. He doesn't want someone who supports abortion, but he refuses to let that one issue (for which the president can do precious little) blind him to all others.