Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Real Lesson of the NY-23 Race

The conservative blogosphere has been abuzz about the New York 23rd district special election, and conservatives have been lining up to pick sides. This reliably Republican rural district in way upstate New York, vacated when President Obama appointed John Hugh to Secretary of the Army. Instead of holding primary, the party county chairmen picked the candidates. On the left is down-the-line Democrat Bill Owens, in the center is socially liberal and economically moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, and on the right is Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party. Often, the Conservative Party endorses the Republican candidate, and Doug Hoffman initially sought the Republican nomination, and was nominated as a Conservative when the pro-choice, pro-gay marriage Scozzafava (who voiced support for the bank bailout) was nominated. Recent polls show Doug Hoffman leading, which would certainly empower the Tea Party movement, and the New York Times has declared the race a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. But the truth is that grassroots Republicans have already been indicted in this race. If they really wanted a down-the-line conservative, they should have been involved before now. If Conservatives get upset at the Republican Party, take their ball and leave, the moderates, neoconservatives, and liberals will take control of the Party. And when they do, don't expect them to pick anything other than moderates, neoconservatives, or liberals. If conservatives are upset with the Republican Party, that is all the more reason to get involved and try to change it. The process might not be democratic, but the Republican Party county chairmen unanimously chose Dede Scozzafava as their candidate. I'd like to think that involved conservatives would have changed that, and we wouldn't have to be dividing the center-right voters.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Incompatibility of UN Goals

Tonight was the premier of Not Evil Just Wrong, Irish director Phelim McAleer's new documentary that challenges the Climate Change religious beliefs and specifically, the claims of An Inconvenient Truth. I watched it streamed online courtesy of Andrew Breitbart. Overall, the film was somewhat disappointing to me, long on emotion and mood, and short on details, but central point is one that needs to be said more often. Environmental controls, especially those that restrict carbon dioxide emissions, create poverty. Since the UN has been so bad at achieving it's original goal, world peace, it's primary activities in recent years have been centered around trying to alleviate poverty and fighting CO2 emissions. I question the ability of the UN to do either, but the combination is impossible. Three things are necessary to get third world countries into the first world: a stable political climate, economic freedom, and cheap energy. Restricting CO2 emissions eliminates two of those necessary legs of development. Giving in to the extreme environmentalists will not only hurt the ability to alleviate poverty for workers or the developing world, it will likely create more poverty.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What President Obama Should Do With the Nobel Prize Money

As many could probably predict, I disagree with Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. Obama has slightly reduced military action in Iraq, and has started the process to close the prisons in Guantanamo Bay, but he has dramatically escalated the Afghanistan War, spread it into Pakistan, expanded the ability of the NSA to spy on American citizens, started major saber rattling with Iran, and supported a deposed would-be dictator in Honduras. I joked on Facebook that maybe it should be renamed the Nobel War Prize. Despite my unheard objections, the Nobel committee has given the Peace Prize to our warmongering President. That's water under the bridge. But since President Obama has promised to give the $1.4 million prize to charity, he could do something really meaningful with it. May I suggest he give it to one of the nominees that really deserved it. (A few here and here.) I would give it to either Handicap International and Cluster Munition Coalition, Denis Mukwege, or Sima Samar. By empowering one of these worthy causes, Obama would have done more for peace and human rights than anything he's done so far.

To be fair to President Obama, though, I don't think many politicians deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Nelson Mandela deserved it for his efforts to end apartheid, but few others. For the most part, politicians create war and oppress individuals, and free people acting out of love improve the human condition. That should be acknowledged.

Saving Grace: Benkiser’s role in Perry Campaign an appeal to Evangelicals

Cross-posted from halc.us, written by Junta member Benito.

On September 26, 2009, Tina Benkiser, now former Chair of the TX GOP, announced her resignation to join the re-election campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry as senior advisor. According to the announcement made on Rick Perry’s website, her new role in the campaign was chosen because “she will be an important voice in promoting our message of fiscal responsibility and limited government.”

Perhaps, but it is more likely that Benkiser was tapped because of her significant, yet waning, influence with TXGOP leadership and strong Evangelical support. Since 2003, Benkiser enjoyed success in flooding the TX GOP with Social Conservatives. Now, Benkiser’s new role in the Perry campaign indicates a direct appeal to Evangelical Christians. Benkiser, an evangelical herself, has energized the social conservative base during her tenure with the Texas GOP, but her success in this arena alarmed many party faithful since evangelicals have been portrayed as being myopically concerned with social issues while tolerating fiscal and civic mismanagement.

Additionally, during the 2008 primaries, Benkiser, along with many GOP leaders, alienated the party’s liberty movement. She was accused of repeatedly breaking TX GOP rules to block their attempts at party reform through a genuine return to principles outlined in the platform. This even elicited a “fair convention” mini-movement, complete with shirts that bore the expression, “The GOP Rules! Let’s follow them”.

A Fresh Start for the RPT

Enrique Rangler, A-J Austin bureau chief, believes Benkiser’s move out is just what the GOP needs to begin rebuilding. He may be right.

“If Benkiser had run for another term next year, Tom Mechler of Amarillo, Mark McCaig of Katy and others unhappy with her leadership would have challenged her.

Mechler, who remains a candidate for party chairman, and McCaig, who is no longer running because Benkiser is bowing out, wanted to oust her because under her watch Texas Democrats have made significant gains, especially in the House.

Yet, the prospect of a nasty power struggle was one some GOP loyalists – already worried about the damage the Perry-Hutchison fight may do the party – feared.

“The resignation of Tina Benkiser from the Republican Party of Texas provides a great opportunity for Texas Republicans to begin to right the ship,” said Debra Medina, who is also seeking the party’s nomination for governor. “The Republican Party of Texas is in serious trouble and more of the same will not save us.”

Culture War against Hispanics

Benkiser’s social conservatism included a culture war against Mexican immigrants. Immediately before the 2008 convention, she commented on immigration restrictions saying, “We believe that we are in a war for our culture, and our activists understand that the principles that we believe in are the principles that will make Texas a better place and make the lives of Texans better every single day.” Declaring war against the state’s fastest growing minority, however, runs counter to attempts by the party to reach out to Hispanics.

In what appears to be an attempt to reach out to hispanic voters, Perry’s campaign has hired Austin-based advertising agency, LatinWorks. The Austin company will be “helping on a number of message delivery issues, including Hispanic outreach,” said Mark Miner, spokesperson for Perry’s re-election Campaign.

Fiscal Woes

While some would hope that new RPT leadership would be more inclusive, perhaps the most room for improvement would be in how the business of the party is run. When Benkiser took over the reins of the state party, the party had $194,500 cash on hand and $70,000 in debt. She leaves the party with $52,000 cash on hand and $258,200 in debt. Running a party can get expensive, but to be fair to Benkiser, no one has ever accused her of being a fiscal conservative.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Financial Writer Blames Conservatives for Destroying the Dollar

That's right. Instead of blaming the Fed and it's doubling of the money supply since last year, or blaming the government for their ridiculous spending that necessitated all that money printing, Reggie Abaca, blames conservatives. You see, by telling people that the Fed is printing an incredible amount of money, and explaining how that's bad for the value of the dollar, Ron Paul, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck are destroying the dollar, and that's the reason gold went up this week. It's not the act of printing money that causes inflation, it's telling people about it. I think Mr. Abaca could use a little refresher course on how inflation works, courtesy of Scrooge McDuck and Huey, Dewey, and Louie.