Are The Rules Changing?

Monday, July 19, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

 

Jonah Goldberg has put into words what I have been thinking and feeling since the financial meltdown of 2008.  We have turned a page and entered a new era in American history.  He wonders if, as a result, the political rules have changed.

But what about when the rules change? For nearly a century now, the rules have said that tough economic times make big government more popular. For more than 40 years it has been a rule that environmental disasters — and scares over alleged ones — help environmentalists push tighter regulations. According to the rules, Americans never want to let go of an entitlement once they have it. According to the rules, populism is a force for getting the government to do more, not less. According to the rules, Americans don’t care about the deficit during a recession.

And yet none of these rules seem to be applying; at least not too strongly. Big government seems more unpopular today than ever. The Gulf oil spill should be a Gaiasend for environmentalists, and yet three quarters of the American people oppose Obama’s drilling ban. Sixty percent of likely voters want their newly minted right to health care repealed. Unlike Europe, where protestors take to the streets to save their cushy perks and protect a large welfare state, the Tea Party protestors have been taking to the streets to trim back government.

Go here to read the rest at Townhall.  When Obama won election there was much talk among his giddy acolytes in the media that he was the second FDR and that Obama would usher in a Second New Deal.  The cover of Time magazine that graces the top of this post is a prime example of the millennial fever that gripped the Left in this country at the beginning of the Obama administration.  Now it has all turned to dust and ashes for a large section of the Left.  In exchange for years of effort on their part they have an administration that has roused an angry electorate against it.  This bemuses the Left since many of them view the Obama administration as a failure because it has been too moderate (Yeah, I do find that hilarious), as noted by Eric Alterman in The Nation: Read the rest of this entry »


The Supreme Court, Abortion Jurisprudence, and Pro-Life Politics

Monday, May 17, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, is already being painted as a moderate by the media and some political interest groups. This portrayal of Kagan is difficult to dispute comprehensively because of her lack of a public record and accompanying statements that delineate her actual personal views on judicial philosophy, thus, complicating the venture of placing her on an ideological spectrum. 

Despite this hermeneutical difficulty, allegedly confident political portraits have been made with the details that we do know about Elena Kagan. The New York Times on May 11 published a piece—“As Clinton Aide, Kagan Recommended Tactical Support for an Abortion Ban”—by Peter Baker discussing a memorandum authored by Kagan while she was working for the Clinton Administration. Kagan in the memo counseled President Clinton to support an amendment, authored by Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), to Republican-sponsored legislation to ban partial-birth abortion that would include an exception for the “health” of the pregnant women in a ban—so broad an exception that it could be easily employed as a loophole that would prevent few, if any, partial-birth abortion procedures.

President Clinton and his advisors (in this case, Kagan) anticipated that the Daschle amendment would not secure enough votes to pass, but White House support could provide enough political cover for Democratic lawmakers who could reiterate their alleged support of the partial-birth abortion ban, but justify their vote against it because of the lack of inclusion of the broad “health” exception for the pregnant woman. In the end, the Daschle amendment failed and the Republican-sponsored partial-birth abortion ban, endorsed by the National Right to Life, was successfully sent to President Clinton who consequently vetoed it.  Kagan’s advice to the President was successful and held up the passage of a partial-birth abortion ban for six years.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life, before a joint-hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the Constitution Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1997 said:

“The Clinton-Daschle proposal is a political construct, designed to provide political cover for lawmakers who want to appear to their constituents as if they have voted to restrict partial-birth abortions, while actually voting for a hollow measure that is not likely to prevent a single partial-birth abortion, and which therefore is inoffensive to the pro-abortion lobby.”

In other words, a better reading of the facts is not that Kagan is “in the middle” on abortion, but rather she was advising President Clinton of the pragmatic steps (endorsing a pseudo-ban on partial birth abortion) needed to defeat the actual pro-life measure. Kagan may very well be a “legal progressive” as was recently claimed from the White House defending the nominee from the political left suspicious of her liberal credentials. Read the rest of this entry »


Reagan and FDR

Saturday, February 6, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Happy birthday Gipper!  Reagan and I share the same birthday.  My beloved bride has the same birthday as FDR, January 30.  My daughter’s birthday is February 9.  This time of year is a good time for cake at the McClarey household!

It will come as little surprise to faithful readers of this blog, that I consider Ronald Reagan to be one of the great American presidents.  My views on him are sent forth in this recent thread.  He restored our prosperity and brought the Cold War to a successful conclusion.  His radiant optimism was a tonic for the nation’s shaken morale.  He deserves to be on Mount Rushmore if there were room.

It will perhaps stun faithful readers of this blog to learn that I have similar feelings for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Although I believe much of the New Deal was counterproductive and completely wrong-headed, FDR understood that raising the nation’s morale was absolutely critical.  His sunny ebullient optimism, and his ringing phrase, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” were just what the nation needed.  His fireside chats, which Reagan emulated in his Saturday radio chats, were a brilliant stroke which helped forge a personal bond between FDR and much of the nation.  (Although not my Republican shoemaker grandfather who remained impervious to the charms of FDR to his dying day!)  During the war his leadership was masterful and greatly aided the US in winning in 3 and a half years a global conflict.  Prosperity was restored to the US on his watch, although it was due to the War and not the New Deal.

Reagan was a supporter of FDR.  He used to say he didn’t leave his party, his party left him.  Looking at Reagan side by side with FDR, it is hard not to believe that Reagan learned many valuable leadership lessons from FDR.

Reagan and FDR  were both ardent patriots with a deep love for this nation.  Their optimism was based on their belief that the US could overcome its present difficulties and go forward to a brighter future.  I find this personally appealing.  Optimism and courage are necessary both in our lives here on Earth and in our spiritual lives.  I have always agreed with Saint Francis, “Let gloom and despair be among the Devil and his disciples.”


Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

Thursday, October 29, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

In recent years Halloween has gone from a primarily child-oriented holiday to an occasion of commercial importance comparable to Christmas or Easter. National retail sales figures indicate that Halloween is the 6th biggest holiday for retailers — behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day — and rapidly gaining ground, particularly among young adults.

The trend has now sparked a movement of sorts — led by the Spirit Halloween retail chain — to move Halloween permanently to the last Saturday in October. Their online petition at this link (http://www.spirithalloweekend.com/ ) asks Congress to lend its official endorsement to the change, although that would not be strictly necessary since Halloween is not a federal or national holiday.

Read the rest of this entry »