Thursday, October 30, 2008

Conservatives for Obama

The worst thing that could happen for conservatives next Tuesday would be a McCain/Palin victory.

When I was a kid in the Eisenhower era, "Republican" meant being conservative--i.e. conserve-ative: prudent, responsible, devoted to leading the whole country, fierce in war but reluctant to get into foreign adventures, not given to government solving all problems...yet it was Eisenhower who built our interstate highway system.

And Republican congressmen would have dinner with their Democratic compatriots.

Then the Democrats decided it was time to try to actually win the Civil War, and the White South became available as a bloc vote.

The Republicans under Nixon ate the rat poison and got the Southern White vote in exchange for adopting that region's 18th century mindset.

It's gotten so bad that they now call actual traditional Republicans "RINOs"--Republicans In Name Only.

The best, most thoughtful summary of all this showed up in Colin Powell's recent interview on "60 Minutes" in which he endorsed Obama, despite his close friendship with McCain over many years. The reasons Powell gave were a repudiation of the Bush/Rove direction they've given the party, which I'd sum up as winning at all costs through finding the low road, and then tunnelling under that.

Of course if McCain/Palin lose, these low-lifes in expensive suits will assert that they just didn't go low enough--as if that were even possible at this point.

But actual conservatives will at least have a chance of reclaiming their party.

America needs responsible liberal, conservative, and centrist voices in its politics. Not ranting left-wing whirlie-eyes and their right-wing soulmates. These morons have done their best to wreck both parties. I just hope and pray saner voices can stand up to them.

So if you're conservative, pray for an Obama landslide. I wouldn't have said that before McCain picked Palin and demagoguery as his running mates. But he did and made the choice simple.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The GOP is never at fault

According to the pundits at Fox News, this financial crisis is 100% the fault of the Democratic Party, through its enabling Fannie and and Freddie to make cheap home loans to unqualified buyers.

It's never mentioned in so many words, but the images accompanying these diatribes never fail to point out the black face of Fannie's CEO and the black faces of many of these unqualfied buyers.

By this reasoning the banks and other financial institutions are the innocent victims of the Democrats and all those vile poor people; so using the bailout to succor the real victims--the rich--only makes sense.

As for ordinary citizens, the obvious solution (to the GOP at least) is to cut government spending and lower taxes. These are also the solutions to all other circumstances, good times and bad.
So once we've rescued the rich from the Democrats with the bailout, the government's job is done in terms of any active role in the marketplace.
See how simple it is if you're a Republican?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wife-beaters and the GOP

The sad spectacle of roughly half the country continuing to support today's Republican Party reminds me of the woman who continues to make excuses for her wife-beater husband, continues to bail him out of jail, refuses to press charges, believes her abusive husbands' promises that he's changed--that this time it'll be different.

You betcha.
Honestly, I'm not a big fan of today's Democratic Party either. But it's hard to imagine how they could do worse.
And yet I was just listening to Rush Limbaugh this morning, and his followers calling in believed totally. Repub=God; Demo=Satan. And no, I'm not exaggerating. They're absolutely certain that this time it'll be different.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

General Colin Powell endorses Obama

General Powell represents the tip of the iceberg. Huge numbers of moderate Republicans--myself included--have been ethnically cleansed from the GOP by the Machiavellian corporatists and right wingnuts who hijacked it in the Reagan era.

Regardless of your opinion of either Powell or Obama--his comments on the current GOP's leadership and its vile campaign tactics ring true.

Remember Reagan's famous comment that the scariest words you can hear are "We're the government and we're here to help you."

Oh really? I didn't see the banks turning hanging up on Treasury Secretary Paulson lately.

Today's GOP has nothing in common with the GOP of Eisenhower--or General Powell. It has become profoundly corrupt.

I want a viable conservative alternative to the Democratic Party. Only a Republican rout on Nov. 4 will give us a chance of that. If you love what the Republican Party once was, pray for an Obama landslide. I'm not ga-ga over Obama. But given the actual alternatives, I find Powell's arguments convincing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pity Party for Conservatives

Kathleen Parker is the conservative Washington Post columnist who said Governor Palin isn't qualified to run the country. The comments to her latest column contained a lot of back and forth between angry conservatives and cheery liberals. Here's my contribution:

To the gloating democrats on this forum:

I think it's time to express a little sympathy for the conservatives. Think about it: we who didn't vote for Bush and his congressional co-conspirators have been tremendously harmed by these criminals. But we weren't betrayed. Because betrayel requires a violation of trust, and we never placed our trust in them.

Conservatives voters have been betrayed. They believe in limited government, limited taxes, prudent management of our country, avoiding foreign entanglements, and going after those who attack us remorselessly.

Their party has given them the biggest expansion of government in American history, a huge increase in taxes (albeit put off for a few years--but where do you think the payoff for that trillion-dollar debt's gonna come from?), management of our country by incompentent cronies and party hacks, foreign entanglements up the wazoo, and attacking the country that hadn't attacked us while making the most half-hearted of efforts to go after those who actually had attacked us.

So--you think we're angry? Imagine how they must feel.

The problem is that the party that betrayed them continues to betray them by working hard--and often successfully--to redirect their rage at the Democratic Party and its presidential nominee.

For example, here's the exact and complete text of the robocall that's going out to many thousands of GOP voters:


"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayres, whose organization bombed the U.S. capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans, and Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.

"This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202-863-8500."


Now the rest of us look at Obama--his demeanor, his advisors, his innately cautious actions and proposals--and see anything but an "extreme leftist." I knew quite a few extreme leftists in college, and Obama's nothing like them.

The Republicans' efforts to paint Obama and his party as crazed socialist revolutionaries is despicable. They are seeking to delegitimize half the country and divide America into two warring tribes while our real enemies proceed with their plans.

But it's not hard to see how folks like the right wing ranters on this blog come by their beliefs.

Their only alternative is to repudiate the party they've trusted with their hopes and dreams--to realize that it has really, truly, profoundly betrayed them. These are people who respect authority more than we do, and to them such a repudiation feels like mutiny. Unthinkable.

I honestly feel sorry for them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain: "I'm not George Bush"

McCain is right--he's not George Bush. His voting record makes him only 90% identical to George Bush. By Republican standards that certainly qualifies calling him a maverick.

But Obama has pointed out that this 10% divergence isn't in economic areas. Where pocketbook issues are concerned McCain is virtually identical to our current president.

I've no doubt that McCain would execute his duties better than Bush. I think he'd make more effort to actually enforce laws Congress enacts, instead of doing whatever he pleases, as Bush has done.

So McCain would be a better Bush.

Woo hoo.

Is ACORN the greatest danger to American democracy?

That's what McCain said in the last debate--probably the single most irresponsible statement made in the whole debate series.

I do agree that ACORN is doing something wrong: it's taking monies it has received for legitimate purposes and diverting those monies into handouts for street people, who then did their jobs with the kind of diligence you'd expect from, say, a crack addict.

The way the left pulls stunts like this--and the way the right morphs this nonsense into dark conspiracy theories in an effort to win elections by hook or by crook--exemplifies the perils of American democracy that Alexis de Toqueville warned about over 150 years ago.

How about this: make it illegal to pay people to register voters unless they're bonded. And stop sending taxpayer dollars to ACORN until they quit diverting voter drive money into their help-crack-addicts-gets-more-crack project.

And for some real election reform, how aboput a bipartisan national drive to make the job of state election chief a nonpartisan position? Having rabid partisans like Katherine Harris run their states' elections is a vastly worse problem than ACORN's idiotic malfeasance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Immigrant blues

San Jose, California has a large Vietnamese-American community which featured in a recent brouhaha, with V-A activists marching and protesting and getting a recall election set for a member of the city council--a fellow V-A named Madison Nguyen whose mortal sin was voting not to name a V-A shopping district "Little Saigon," but rather something bland like "Saigon Business District."

That's it.

So I entered the following in a forum about this topic hosted by the San Jose Mercury News:

I don't have a dog in this fight, living in Palo Alto as I do. But FWIW here's what this looks like from the other end of Santa Clara County: San Jose's Vietnamese-American community is following the example of South Florida's Cuban-Americans: dominated by revanchist obsessions, eager to assert their rights under America's constitutional democracy, but slow to shoulder their responsibilities--to learn the respect for others' rights that go hand in hand with asking respect for one's own rights. Negotiation, compromise, don't have to master these skills...unless you want others to respect you. Ruling through pressure, fear, intimidation--well, that's how it's done in Hanoi, and that's what you look like here. Recalls can be mandated if you get enough signatures on a petition. That said, they should be reserved for major malfeasance--usually involving large sums of money or criminal behavior. Naming a business district in a way you don't like doesn't rise to that standard. Not by a long shot. If you've got the votes you could vote out the council member(s) you don't like and get the name changed to one you prefer--at the regular election. Making the naming of a business district the subject of a costly recall election makes you look ridiculous: self-absorbed, petty, bullying, short-fused, and ultimately sad--like a group that lost its old home and can't figure out a way to fit into its new home, spending all its days gazing fixedly into a rear view mirror. And Nguyen didn't even propose naming the district "Little Ho Chi Minh City."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The conservative choice for President

I've heard a lot of Republican commentators tie themselves in knots trying to describe Palin as ready to become the President of the United States if McCain were incapacitated.

She is not. The Couric interviews were a truer measure of her readiness than the Biden debate, since it precluded responding with memorized talking points.

I'm not saying this because I think Obama's a cynosure. He isn't either, but he obviously has the intellectual capacity and general knowledge required, as well as what I'd call the "presidential temperament."

This is really important. My Republican friends--including my spouse--should not vote for the McCain ticket even if McCain and Palin espouse the same values.

So would many bright 15 year old conservatives.

A values match matters IF and only if the person in question is qualified to do the job.

I may have the right attitude for a fighter pilot, but it doesn't matter because I'm old, myopic, and lack the God-given physical coordination required of a fighter pilot. So my attitude/character/values are irrelevant.

Let me stipulate that you may well think poorly of Obama's political positions; ditto Biden. But they obviously meet the basic standard of competency. Heck, the way Obama's run his race--from zero to hero--proves it in spades.

But even if you think Obama is a liberal who will appoint the wrong Supreme Court justices and sign every pork-laden spending bill his party's Congress sends him (like Bush did)--he can run the country. Palin can't. You know she can't. And whether McCain can or not, his age and medical history mean that if Palin can't you can't vote for McCain--even if his values match yours perfectly.

This is a bitter pill to swallow. I realize that. And I don't feel exactly happy about voting for Obama. After all, Obama believes that the ruling elite of Mexico should get to export Mexico's home-grown overpopulation crisis to America, at the expense of working-class American jobs and wages. And his defense of this stance is completely specious. He's simply pandering to Latino voters. Too bad McCain isn't much better.

But I can't vote for a ticket that could put someone as unready as Palin in the most important job not just in America but on Earth.

And our votes must communicate to both parties that we won't let political positions trump incompetence.

If you don't believe me about Palin's unreadiness, go back and look at her long interviews with legitimate journalists. She didn't just flub the answers--she didn't understand the questions. Her performance went beyond nervousness. She. Is. Not. Up. To. The. Task.

I was honestly tempted by McCain until he picked Palin. But besides Palin's falling so far short of the mark, it reveals McCain as someone who's willing to roll the dice. I want someone more cautious for my president this time around. And I'd bet dollars to donuts that the thing Obama is probably keeping under his hat is that he's actually more small-c conservative--that is, cautious and willing to listen to knowledgeable others--than his most rabid supporters think he is.

Vote--however reluctantly--for Obama/Biden. It's the conservative choice.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Palin and the VP debate

A lifelong conservative Republican friend decided she couldn't vote for McCain after he picked Palin as his running mate. She has no love for Obama, but from her perspective at least Biden could hold down the fort if something happened to Obama. Palin can't, my friend concluded, and further concluded that McCain's picking Palin revealed a deep flaw in McCain.

I'm not a big Obama fan either. But I understand why Palin did so much better in this debate than she did in the lengthy interviews: the GOP demanded a debate structure that limited answers to 2 minutes--to sound bites she could memorize. Same Palin--just different rules.

This goes beyond all the partisan blather in this forum on both sides. And it goes beyond the lies and exaggerations both Biden and Palin deployed (you can see a comprehensive list on

Palin is not up to the job, and it should be obvious to anyone who watched both the interviews and this debate. As one commentator pointed out, she often didn't understand the question in the first place.

I'm not saying she's stupid. But at this point she's not prepared to run the United States of America. I'd say this if she were a Democrat. By age 46 she would have some grasp of world affairs and how the economy works if she had the slightest interest in these things. She just doesn't. I admire how she took on her own party's establishment in Alaska, but that's not enough.

And all the talk about how she's more prepared than Obama is just whistling past the graveyard. Go back and watch the first debate between Obama and McCain. I don't agree with him about a lot of things, but he obviously has what it takes to be president, as does Biden.

I was once a liberal Republican--yes, such people existed in large numbers back in the 50s. Now only a handful are left in the GOP, drowned out by chanting loons who are conservatives in name only. I miss the party of responsible conservative people like Eisenhower, who established the national highway system. Today's Republicans would brand him a So-shul-ist for having done so.

And now my former party gives me a VP nominee who falls short of the mark--breathtakingly so.

What has the GOP come to?

Communism is ownership of business by government. What do you call ownership of government by business? Whatever it is, that's what the GOP now stands for.

This economic fiasco isn't completely the GOP's fault--but it is mostly. I only hope the GOP will be able to reform itself so it actually represents actually conservative Americans again.