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Reflections on the Inaguration

Now that all the blog posts in the ‘sphere have been written about a topic, I, as is typical of my way, will weigh in long after the topic has gone cold.  I just returned this evening to the Centennial State from DC.  I would certainly have posted on Tuesday afternoon, but I specifically didn’t bring my computer and have no way of posting via my PDA. (On a related note, I was probably the only ‘mo in the entire Capitol region who doesn’t have an AT&T iPhone, so I was actually able to make calls on Verizon the entire day.  So nyah!)

A little background:  I go to all the Inaugurations, every time.  So while my conservative friends were shocked I’d go see him get sworn in, it was more of a civic experience than any sort of fan-worship.  In fact, most of the event wasn’t really all that distinguishable from either of Bush’s swearing-ins.  But I’m getting ahead of myself:

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On Milk, Movies & Expectations

Almost a decade ago, shortly after moving to LA, an acquaintance in a writing group to which I then belonged, raved about how wonderful was the then-new release, Being John Malkovich.  The flick, he claimed, had multiple levels of meaning and would soon rank with the great classics of cinema.

When I went to see the film, I was expecting a modern-day Citizen Kane, but discovered only a very quirky comedy which I might have liked better had I not expected so much.  And so it was last night with Milk.  That’s not to say the movie is not deserving of many of the accolades it has accrued. It’s just to say that, to me at least, it didn’t live up to the hype.

That said, the movie was an amazingly well done piece of cinema, well integrating its own dramatization of events in the 1970s with video footage of those very events.  Very well integrating.  And Sean Penn has truly earned his latest Oscar nomination.

The real problem with the film was the very difficulty of its project, trying to recapture on screen the live of a man during a turbulent time, in this case, the dawn of the gay rights’ movement.  A biopic is perhaps the most difficult of films to make, as a man’s (or woman’s) life, powerful as it is, doesn’t always make a great story.  After the movie, I was trying to think of all such films which moved me.  Only three came to mind, Patton, Braveheart and What’s Love Go to Do With It.  And each changed the facts to better dramatize the hero’s (or, in the case of that last film, the heroine’s) life.

Similarly, it seems the filmmakers added Penn (playing the eponymous Harvey Milk) taping his testament as a means to hold the various and disparate events of his life in the 1970s together.

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McCain shows Republicans how to take on Obama

Too bad he didn’t sound like this on the campaign trail.  At least, his criticism of some of Obama’s early initiatives helps quiet (but not totally extinguish fears) that the MSM might try to co-opt the one-time Republican presidential nominee, offering him favorable (fawning?) coverage if he bucks his party and backs the president.

In a great post today on Commentary’s Contentions, Jennifer Rubin finds the Arizona Republican faulting his fall rival for “grandstanding on Guantanamo.”  McCain believes the government should have proceeded with the military commissions which the president delayed.

On the big issue of the day, the Democrats’ supposedly stimulative multi-billion dollar budget boondoggle, McCain sounds a lot like a Republican:

I hope we can work together to, frankly, be a real stimulus package and not just a spending package that has every cat and dog and pet project that people have. . . .  Because the object of a stimulus package is to stimulate the economy, not to just spend more and run up the debt to our kids and our grandkids.

. . . . .

I think we should spend the money that we can immediately, but at the same time if we have a couple of quarters of positive GDP growth, then let’s start reducing and eliminating the huge, massive, unprecedented deficits that are going to accrue from these actions.

Somehow, I don’t think the Democrats will listen. But, there are growing signs the Republicans will take heed to his words.

It’s nice to see McCain not mincing words about the Democrats’ fiscal follies.

He also shows Republicans a way to oppose the President. We don’t just oppose for opposition’s sake, but oppose by articulating our reasons for doing so. And when those reasons accord with our party’s core principles, as they always should,  by opposing, we don’t just oppose Democratic policies, but also affirm our own conservative ideals.

The Conservative Straw Men the Left Set Up to Burn

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:07 pm - January 23, 2009.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

One of the great things about an “Instalanche” is not just the new readers we get, but also the comments they offer, sometimes quite succinctly summarizing the point of my post (oftentimes better than I could do).

When Glenn linked my post* on the hatred of the (gay) left, we got one such comment from another blogger, GeekwithA.45 (he might like my writings on gays and guns).  This clever blogger offers a great image to describe the projections some on the left cast on conservatives:

This is typical of my experience with the Left on gun issues: they project their own insecurities like mad.

They also love to set up truly vile straw conservatives to shun, and joyfully rope the rest of onto the strawman they set aflame.

With commentary like that, his blog has got to be good. Check it out!
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*Another great irony of this link is that of the eight pieces I penned, er pixeled, yesterday, this was the one to which I devoted the least effort, basically just writing it out on a whim when I had a brainstorm while reviewing comments caught in our spam filter.

The Democrats Must be Crazy

In his campaign for the White House, Barack Obama did talk at great length about the need to fix our economy, but he did not make a multi-hundred billion dollar “stimulus” the centerpiece of his economic plan.  With the federal government having just shelled out $700 billion in the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), the bailout, one would think that responsible stewards of the federal Treasury would not seek an even greater amount in additional government spending.

But, they are, even as the federal deficit reaches record levels, both in dollar terms and a a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). The stimulus bill the president says “is still on track.”

Megan McArdle wonders why some on the left opposed to TARP are indifferent the size of the “stimulus:”

How come progressives opposed to TARP II are very, very worried about the cost to the taxpayer, but not worried at all by the cost to the taxpayer of a massive fiscal stimulus, a lot of which is nearly guaranteed to be wasted by virtue of the speed with which the money must fly out the Treasury’s door?

Good question.

Meanwhile, Stpehen Chapman thinks additional spending is not the solution to the problem, but the problem itself:

We all know how we got into this economic mess. We spent too much, borrowed with abandon, and acted like the bills would never come due. So what’s the prescription for getting out? Spending more, borrowing more, and acting like the bills will never come due.

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This alleged cure deserves special scrutiny because it invites our policymakers to redouble the very policies that caused the crisis. Congress and the new administration are all too eager to abandon restraint so that we can overcome the consequences of excess.

As Glenn said in linking that post, “Yeah, that’ll work.

The Democrats must be crazy, or blind to fiscal reality. I agree we need to do something to improve our economy. Real deregulation and budget cuts might help. While a vast increase in spending may provide a short-term boost to the economy, in the long run, it will only exacerbate our economic problems.

So, I suggest the majority party try a different tack, based on policies which work in the real world and not just on the “drawing boards” of liberal think tanks and universities campuses.