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Archive for October, 2009

Reclaiming the Party: Part III

As you may know, WordPress alerts me every time some other site links to mine.  Some of you exploring types may have already visited the blog The Pink Flamingo as a result of the recent comment.  Although neither my blog nor myself are mentioned specifically by name, you will find a link to my work in the line “the far right nut-jobs hate him”.  So what is my great sin that causes the author of the Flamingo to label me like that?  My criticism of Senator Lindsey Graham.  Then again, most of the radio and TV talk show pundits dislike Graham as the writer points out including:  Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.  Now does agreeing with these famous folks automatically make me right?  Certainly not, but it does clearly illustrate that displeasure with Graham is widespread.  Going on, The Flamingo claims that I dislike the Senator primarily for being “honorable and courageous” First of all; I can’t really speak about Lindsey’s honor.  Maybe he is honorable (and I certainly hope he is), or then again he might not be.  However, being a political opponent of his does not require me to demonize him.  Just because I disagree with much of his politics does not automatically mean that I think he is dishonorable.  Is he courageous?  Again I can’t say for certain though it must take a good bit of courage to face the angry crowds awaiting the Senator back home in South Carolina.  Despite the total political assignation rampant in today’s society, character attacks and political sparring can be mutuality exclusive.  On the other hand, this article labels ideologues such as myself as “irrational, demigod with delusions of grandeur, a mentally unstable creep who thinks he is big enough now to destroy the GOP”, “hates Republicans”, “nasty little libertarian nut-job”, and “doesn’t believe in defending our country”.

But let’s change topics and move north to the special election in the 23rd New York district.  Due to the promotion of former Rep. McHugh, that district is holding a special election to fill his seat.  As in most races, both the Democratic and Republican Parties have their nominees, but there is a twist.  I’ve said in the past that a Northern Republican is simply a Southern Democrat.  Given their increased tendencies for social liberalism and government expansion, their positions are often radically different from Virginia Republicans.  Such is the case with the Republican candidate in 23, Dierdre Scozzafava.  She supports abortion, gay marriage, the stimulus package, bank bailouts, and higher taxes.

Now besides the two major parties, New York politics also has the Conservative and Liberal Parties.  As their names indicate, these parties support either conservative or liberal candidates or positions.  Although these parties do support the major party candidates, they break with them when the choices are deemed insufficiently conservative or liberal.  As Scozzafava is undeniably liberal, it should come as no surprise that the Conservatives have chosen their own nominee, Doug Hoffman.  Ah, but here is where the plot thickens.  As a conservative Republican, does one support Scozzafava, the establishment Republican nominee or Hoffman, the more conservative candidate?  Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. King (NY-3) have endorsed Scozzafava.  RNC Chairman Michael Steele has also come out in support of her.  For Hoffman we have a laundry list including:  Governor Perry, Governor Pawlenty, Senator DeMint, Rep. Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh to name the most prominent ones.  And just yesterday, Mitt Romney chose not to endorse any candidate, a clear slight of the GOP nominee.  For anyone who’s read anything on this blog, I don’t have to tell you where I stand.

Although the race in New York will not settle the feud between conservative and liberal Republicans, it, just as the case with Lindsey Graham, demonstrates the growing rift between the so-called establishment party vs. the grassroots base.  Can a party exist without principles?  Can principles be successful if not channeled through a party?  Are we truly “Republican for a reason” as the RPV slogan goes?  In order to avoid splitting the party and our own increasing marginalization, conservatives must stand strong.  To twist a quote from Gingrich, we have to simply, calmly, methodically reassert American conservatism.  Liberty, limited government, personal responsibility, these are our principles.  Does embracing these values and expecting our leaders to do likewise make me a “right wing nut-job”?  If so, so be it!  I’m not ashamed to say that I love our country and the Republican Party far too much to let it be devoured by the establishment jackals.  Now where do you stand?

Update:  Scozzafava has bowed out of the race!

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Since this blog began back in June of 2008, I’ve written more about Lindsey Graham of South Carolina than any other Senator.  I suppose it stems, in part, to the fact he was (and still is) such a prominent and controversial figure in South Carolinian politics during my three month stint there.  Now there are certainly many issues that the Senator and I agree upon.  When it comes to both abortion and our second amendment rights, Graham is at the forefront of Senators.  However, once you consider his support for illegal immigrants (so-called immigration reform), cap-and-trade, Sotomayor, and bank nationalization one quickly comes to the realization that while Lindsey Graham supports a number of conservative viewpoints, he is clearly not a true conservative.

Recently Senator Graham got into a heated exchange with some of his constituents over some of his voting as well as the subject of Congressman Ron Paul.  As I did with my earlier post, Graham Vs. Sanford, I was planning to write a bit comparing the two figures.  While I was compiling my thoughts, I discovered that Charleston political commentator Jack Hunter, a.k.a. The Southern Avenger, had already done so.  Given that his thoughts on the subject closely mirror my own, why don’t I let him do the talking?  Therefore, without further ado, here is what he had to say:

In addition, Hunter goes on to add the following thoughts several days later:

To add further fuel to the fire, Representative Paul sent out an email titled “Hey Lindsey” on Oct. 21, which includes the following paragraphs:

The other day when Lindsey Graham went after me, and accused me of trying to take over the Republican party, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Partisan politics is one thing, and about the only thing politicians understand. But ideas are something else. And our ideas–the ideas of liberty–are capturing the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, and that is what counts.

Ever since our presidential campaign ignited a prairie fire of freedom, especially among young people, I see our progress everywhere. The bureaucrats are right, for example, to be worried at the Federal Reserve. After putting us into this economic pickle, the Fed is under attack for the first time in all its years. The Fed has devalued our dollar by 95% since it was founded by the big banksters and one senator in 1913, but it took the recent boom-bust engineered by the Fed, and then our presidential campaign, to rattle the china at their marble palace on Constitution (!) Avenue.

The most important lingering question in my mind is this, who will ultimately lead the Republican Party and hopefully our country.  Will it be faux conservatives like Senator Graham or will grassroots conservatives realize that they’ve been duped by the rhetoric of leaders like Graham and embrace the notion of a limited constitutional federal government like the one Congressman Paul advocates?  Foreign policy aside, I strongly believe a majority of conservatives whether admitting it openly or just in their heart of hearts, would far prefer principled statesmen like Paul over Graham.

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With Election Day about two weeks away, you may be wondering why I haven’t been writing more about the election.  The answer is twofold.  First of all, I’ve been extremely busy with work.  I certainly wish I had more time to blog during a time like this, as the news is practically unlimited.  The second is that I’m a bit restricted about my subject matter.  As a result of my current employment I can’t write as much as I’d like about the statewide races or the House of Delegates.  Believe me, I’ve read, seen, and heard a lot that I’d love to share, but for the good of my work I’ve refrained from doing so.  The reasoning for doing so is that I don’t want this blog to be used against my employer.  This campaign is not about The Virginia Conservative, per se and the small potential exists for my writing to serve as a “macaca moment” for our opponents.  Now that’s not to say that I’ve been coerced into writing favorable articles about any particular candidate or issue.  I assure you that this blog has, and will continue to focus on my ideology and my understanding of current and past events and politicians.  Although I may abstain from discussing certain issues, I will not distort my politics under any circumstances.

Moving on to an unrelated subject, I wanted to share a few pictures with you from Sunday.  That night I attended a Social Distortion concert with a friend from work.  Of all of the iTunes that I play at both this job and my last, I’ve gotten the most comments/complaints about Social D’s version of Ring of Fire.  Although I’m sure most people are far more familiar with Johnny Cash’s version, is it honestly better or just different?  Decide for yourself.

Either way, it was a great concert and I encourage you to check out their music.

Social D 1

Social D 2

Only 14 days until the election so let’s get out there and win this thing!

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I’ve heard a number of people say that we have to elect Bob McDonnell as Governor and we have to retain the House of Delegates.  Of course we do, but my question to you is, what are you prepared to do about it?  Do?  Well, they answer back; I’m planning to vote for them.  Now don’t get me wrong, voting is a critical component to any candidate’s success.  But, if you really cared, shouldn’t you be doing more?

Some activists donate their money.  Funding is one of the two most important means of support of campaigns.  Want to donate to Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, Delegate Matt Lohr, or any of the other candidates?  My advice is to head over to RedStormPAC and donate today.  But what is RedStorm?  According to their website, “RedStormPAC is an independent political action committee (PAC) whose mission is to support conservative candidates with an avenue for small dollar donations, organized by committed conservative activists who want to help fellow conservatives utilize the ‘long tail’ of online fundraising.”  In addition, “100% of every contribution is passed directly to the candidate or organization. You donate $100, the candidate will get $100 and RedStormPAC processes the transaction at-cost to itself.” Simplicity itself.  As we don’t have much time left, every dollar could make the difference.

Assuming you have already done so (or you don’t have the funds to donate), we arrive at the second campaign lifeblood, volunteering.  Personally, I’ve been volunteering since high school.  The reasons for volunteering varies:  you have a personal connection with the candidate, you want to advance your political ideology, you expect some sort of quid-pro-quo advancement, or you’re helping out a friend or relative who is engaged for one of the other three reasons.  Whatever your reason for getting involved, the most important thing is to go out there and relentlessly advance your candidate and his or her principles.

Campaigns never have sufficient money or volunteers but an increase in one can offset a lack of the other.  Additional funding can be used to hire additional staff to promote the ground game or deliver extra ads to the voters.  More volunteers offer a low cost method to perform vital campaign functions: phone banking, door-to-door, mass mailings, usually for a handful of pizzas.  So, the take-home message is to get involved whether through donations or volunteerism, or both.  Although voting is very important, if you truly care, it is not enough.  With less than 30 days until election, now is the time to open your checkbook.  Stop by the campaign headquarters of your local delegate or the RPV and put in some quality hours.  Although it is poor grammar, don’t you think you should put your time (or money) where your mouth is?

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I’m sure that many of you got to sample the limited edition Pepsi Throwback.  I certainly did and I must say that I thought it tasted much better than regular Pepsi (though I wish they offered a caffeine free variety).  If you didn’t know what sets the beverage apart from the normal variety, what makes the drink special, it is the sweetener.  While Throwback uses natural sugar (from cane, beet or both), these days most non-diet carbonated soft drinks (whether regionally called colas, pop, Coke, or something else) contain high fructose corn syrup.

But…this isn’t a food review blog?  What does this Pepsi product have to do with politics?  Representative Ron Paul has the answer.  In his bestselling work, The Revolution: A Manifesto, he discusses this topic.  The reason for the switch is one of cost.  It is cheaper for soft drink manufactures to use the corn syrup.  But wait, you say…in other countries they use sugar, why would it be more expensive in the U.S.A.?  The answer is subsidies and quotas.  Not only does the federal government subsidize corn growers, as Ron Paul tells us, “The United States government limits the amount of sugar that can be imported from around the world.  These quotas make sugar more expensive for all Americans, since they now have fewer choices as a result of diminished competition.  The quota also put at a competitive disadvantage all those businesses that use sugar to produce their own products.  That’s one reason that American colas use corn syrup instead of sugar:  American sugar, thanks to the quotas, is simply too expensive.”  (p. 72).  Paul goes on to agree with my assessment of sugar versus high fructose corn syrup writing, “And it’s also a reason that colas in other countries taste so much better.” (p. 72)

Although I’ve read that given the popularity of Pepsi Throwback, it will be returning to the market later this year, it will only be for a brief time.  So if you haven’t tried this sugar sweetened drink, you will have another chance.  Unfortunately, government interference with the free market will likely make sugar drinks too expensive to be sustainable in the long run, despite the superior taste.  After all, with corn farmers receiving additional income from our tax dollars, and the price of sugar kept artificially high, without substantially higher retail prices sugar products like Pepsi Throwback will be nothing more than a memory of days past.  I say that it’s high time to let the unfettered market decide, not the powerful corn and sugar lobbies.  Given a true choice between sugar and corn syrup, I know which one should be thrown back.

P.S.  For far more information on this subject, I recommend reading the drink comparison site bevreview.com.  They have a very comprehensive article on the subject.

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I want to direct your attention to an important post over at Deo Vindice.  It includes an excerpt from a recent Rush Limbaugh program.  Although I don’t always agree with Rush, he and James Atticus Bowden outline the path conservatives and libertarians within the Republican Party must take if they want to reclaim the party.  At the end of the article, Deo Vindice boldly asks of our representatives, “Will you co-sponsor legislation to return Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare to the states – and govern with the powers as written in the Constitution?  Yes or No?”  It’s not a question for the meek, as answering yes will galvanize many foes against you, but it is question that must be asked nevertheless.  So who among us will champion liberty and limited government?  Who is worthy of our support?  Who will stand to reclaim the party?

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