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Putin v. Obama: the old gray lady edition

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin published his op-ed piece in The New York Times urging “caution from Russia” with respect to U.S. policy in Syria.  The piece is worth reading if you haven’t already, and it is an impressive piece of political theatre.  Although the left is up-in-arms over what they are calling Putin’s hypocrisy, that is completely beside the point.  Few with any wits about them should consider Putin to be anything but a power-hungry Machiavellian, though that is also what makes this performance so noteworthy.  The Op-ed piece is a complete and utter smackdown of Obama and Obama’s failed foreign policy in a very public sphere, and that is what has the political establishment in Washington, DC so hopping mad about it.   Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John McCain and John Boehner were all quoted expressing their displeasure in an article that appeared on Yahoo yesterday.  One wonders which heavy weights will express their dismay next: Harry Reid, perhaps, or Nancy Pelosi, or maybe even Lindsay Graham.  I’m sure Putin is feeling very afraid.

If you haven’t yet read the Putin piece, I urge you to do so, simply to observe the way Putin cleverly throws Obama’s and the left’s rhetoric back at them and calls them dangerous hypocrites and warmongers.  I’d quote the whole thing, but for the purpose of illustrating my point, the last paragraph will more than suffice.  Putin writes:

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Some conservatives I know are angry with thuggish Putin for saying that America is not exceptional.  But that is beside the point.  In fact, that completely misses the point.

Putin is simply echoing a point Obama made at a NATO meeting back in April 2009:

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we’ve got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we’re not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can’t solve these problems alone.

As Jim Yardley observes in the article from which I have culled the Obama passage above: “These words of the President are fairly typical of what has passed as thoughtful analysis from the current occupant of the White House.  They are words that would be right at home in the faculty lounge in Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts.”  So to return to our present context: Putin has cleverly turned Obama’s words against him for all to see, and in the context of the situation with Syria, he has revealed Obama to be an arrogant, narcissistic, posturing fraud.

Yesterday when I was in the car, I heard a very insightful interview about the Putin op-ed on the Tom Sullivan radio show.  I didn’t recognize the speaker’s voice, but I was impressed with all he had to say about how Putin’s strategy in Syria was all about making Russia and not the United States the dominant power in the Middle East.  He talked about the Reagan years and the fact that, aside from the arms buildup, one way Reagan was able to win the cold war was by keeping oil prices low.   He pointed out that to keep the Russian economy afloat, Putin has an interest in keeping oil prices high.  Likewise, for the sake of energy, Putin has an interesting in forming strong allegiances with as many Middle-Eastern oil producing states as it can.

It turned out the speaker being interviewed was none other than Col. Oliver North.  He called the Putin op-ed piece “brilliant” and said that with that clever op-ed piece, Putin had effectively changed the dynamics in the Middle East by very publicly embarrassing Obama in a way that let the nations of the Middle East see that Obama is weak, vain, and unreliable as a potential ally.  I haven’t been able to embed either the video or the audio here, but if you care to know more about what the future of the Middle East may look like as a result of Obama’s failed policies and posturing, you really owe it to yourself to listen to the whole interview.

When In the Course of Human Events…

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 5:21 pm - July 4, 2013.
Filed under: American Exceptionalism,American History

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

Enjoy!!

=========

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

“A government culture that has little respect for its citizens”

Just watch this:

H/t Ace & Powerline.

Let’s Help The Dogs of Oklahoma City!

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 5:35 pm - May 21, 2013.
Filed under: American Exceptionalism

As we have all seen following a destructive natural disaster, victims’ pets are also impacted.  Whether the pets have lost owners, or vice versa… my heart always goes out to pet owners after a disaster like Katrina, Sandy or the tornados in Oklahoma City the past two days.

Sometimes God answers a pet owner’s prayers…

But for those in the affected region  who aren’t as blessed, please help reunite pets with their owners and help take care of the four-legged friends that are displaced.

The American Kennel Club has an ongoing disaster relief program.  This is one of a number of ways you can help out.  Please donate!

Oh, If Obama’s Inaugural Address Were This Sweet…

Our First President had this to say on his Second Inaugural.


Fellow Citizens:

I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which has been reposed in me by the people of united America.

Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the Government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.

If only we were so lucky today to hear this from our re-elected leader.

First of all, it would be the shortest thing Barack Obama has ever said in public. 100 points.

Secondly, it would show that Barack Obama has humility and respects We, The People. 300 points.

Alas, the Tyrant Boy-King Barack Hussein Obama will deliver nothing like this speech today. Instead, we will hear the droning on of cliches and platitudes with no meaning and no firm plans to help American’s get back to work.

In short, the 2013 Obama Inaugural is merely Groundhog Day 2009.

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

GOProud Statement on the Aftermath of the Sandy Hook Shootings

From GOProud today:

(Washington, D.C.) – “Words fail to describe the horror of the massacre at Sandy Hook. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims of this incomprehensible attack.

“As policy makers begin to look at how we can prevent further tragedies like this, we felt that it was important for us to weigh in as an organization. GOProud is an organization of constitutional conservatives – gay and straight alike. We believe that our Constitution is a sacred document and that the rights it grants should be protected and defended.

“In the weeks and months ahead, policy makers in Washington and in state capitols around the country will look to find ways to prevent another Sandy Hook from happening – these will be important and necessary debates. We hope that as they debate issues like preventing gun deaths, the impact of violent video games, and the role of our mental health system in this country that they will also remember our 1st Amendment right to free speech, our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, and our 5th Amendment right to due process.

“We urge lawmakers to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin, who cautioned: Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Jeb Bush gets what Mitt Romney missed
(about conservatism and “economic mobility”)

Readers of this blog know that I have long been a fan of Jeb Bush, having favored the accomplished former Florida Governor as my candidate for 2012 at least since November 2010.

And while it is still too early to start planning for 2016, when you google that good man’s name, look at what comes up:

Our reader Kyle alerted me to an article that shows that Jeb understands an aspect of modern American conservatism that Mitt Romney failed to articulate.  ”Jeb Bush,” writes Mark Silva . . .

. . . the former Florida governor who based a political career on school reform, today called for a “restoration” of lost American values and economic mobility based on educational accountability.

With the gap between the impoverished and privileged in the U.S. widening, the solution lies in a regime of school and teacher evaluation, national standards and more “school choice” in alternatives such as charter schools, he said.

“We have these huge gaps in income,” Bush said at the start of a two-day Washington conference sponsored by his Foundation for Excellence in Education, “with people born into poverty who will stay in poverty.” He said: “This ideal of who we are as a nation — it’s going away, it’s leaving us,” adding: “There is one path that can change this course.”

Emphasis added.  Economic mobility, his belief that people born in poverty, reared in dependency, don’t have to stay in that condition and can rise about their circumstances.

It frustrated many Reagan-Kemp conservatives when, right after the Florida primary, Mitt Romney said because of the “safety net,” he wasn’t concerned about the very poor.

Reagan conservatives, however, have long been concerned about the poor because that safety net sometimes traps them in a cycle of dependency.   And we want to create the opportunities that will help them find the means to move up into a better economic situation. (more…)

George Washington’s First Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Standing Up For The Electoral College

I’ve been meaning to write something on this topic for months — and I would have preferred to do so before the election.  But better late than never.

I am a fairly flexible and open-minded person, always eager to learn things I don’t know and talk to people who have different life experiences for me.  I am certainly stubborn, but I’ve always prided myself of being a voracious learner. 

That being said, there are two things that I’m an Absolutist about.  The most important — sticking to the Constitutional principles, especially the First Amendment.  I have rarely found an issue of speech come up in my life where I didn’t stick to being a First Amendment Absolutist.  I may hate the what the person is saying, I do believe that free speech has consequences and one should accept those — but I RARELY will stand behind an effort to chill speech in advance.

The second Absolutist issue for me is the quadrennially-maligned Electoral College.  Yeah, I’m a geek about it.  In my view, the problem isn’t the Electoral College system itself — but the ignorance about it (and our system of government as a whole) by the American populace at large.

It PAINS me that our system of government and the philosophy behind America’s creaton is barely taught, and openly mocked, by our public schools and universities.  We have a dumbed down electorate that doesn’t understand WHY the process is what it is.

I think there might be a way to restructure the EC to make it more workable — each Presidential candidate wins one Electoral Vote per Congressional District, then the Two “Senators” Votes if they win the State’s Popular Vote.  But aside from some reform, the College works!!

I could go on and on for days about why the Electoral College is important, relevant and critical to our Federalist system of government.  Luckily for all of you, I was rescued by a more eloquent defense of the Electoral College by Richard Posner at Slate.com

Here is Posner’s reason #2:

2) Everyone’s President
The Electoral College requires a presidential candidate to have transregional appeal. No region (South, Northeast, etc.) has enough electoral votes to elect a president. So a solid regional favorite, such as Romney was in the South, has no incentive to campaign heavily in those states, for he gains no electoral votes by increasing his plurality in states that he knows he will win. This is a desirable result because a candidate with only regional appeal is unlikely to be a successful president. The residents of the other regions are likely to feel disfranchised—to feel that their votes do not count, that the new president will have no regard for their interests, that he really isn’t their president.

Please read the whole thing.  And forward it to friends and family who voted but don’t know anything more about our system of government than Sandra Fluke does.   Thank you.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Don’t despair; GOP has a deep bench committed to American ideals

We’re all a little sad today, particularly those of us who thought victory was within reach. Some readers have e-mailed me or messaged me, sharing their despair.

I may be down, but I am not despondent. Some say that we’re now on the same path as Europe, toward inevitable decline, but we have something different from Europe, we have the American ideal and individuals able to articulate it. When you look at those elected officials putting forward ideas to reform our failing institutions, you’ll see that they almost exclusively in the Republican Party.

Yes, the media tried to make Todd Akin the face of the GOP, but he is not. Paul Ryan is. As the dust from the election settles. He now becomes the new face of the GOP. And that’s a very good thing. He’s young, good-looking, articulate. Even in a year with strong Democratic turnout, Republicans held their House majority, despite, as Grover Norquist put it this morning,

touching but fondling the “third rail of American politics.” It is clear that if you are specific about your reforms they cannot as easily be misrepresented to voters. The Republicans in the House all voted for Ryan. They lashed themselves to the mast and thrived. Romney hinted he was sort of in that general vicinity. One party has a plan that has been tested successfully in the fires of an election. The other party cannot even write a budget that wins a single Democrat vote.

Paul Ryan will not alas replace Joe Biden as Vice President, but he remains Chairman of the House Budget Committee. And he’s not the only Republican waiting in the wings. Charles Krauthammer is optimistic because our party has a deep bench.

And Ryan is not alone.  There are others on our side with records of reform.  Bear in mind that Scott Walker survived a recall in a state that Obama won.

There are Americans out who still believe in the American ideal, leading still willing to champion that great vision.

Ryan’s Reaganesque Remarks Echo Nation’s Founding Principles

Last year, from a seat on bloggers’ row in the (metaphorical) rafters the Excel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, I watched the Republican vice presidential nominee deliver a speech that wowed us all.  ”If this were baseball,” I wrote from those rafters, “the ball would be up here.  Or further.  She’s hitting this out of the park.”

You could feel the energy in the hall.  You could feel it as people left the auditorium, seemingly floating, not walking, back to our cars and busses.

“Leaving the hall” last night, reports the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Republicans seem to have had similar feelings, offering “reviews of [this year vice presidential nominee Paul] Ryan’s speech that ranged from ‘fantastic’ to ‘awe-inspiring.’  If any were underwhelmed, they didn’t show it.”  Even non-Repubilcans liked it.   One 2008 Obama voter blogged that “Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.

Jim Geraghty called the speech “Reaganesque“.  Ryan skeptic Paul Mirengoff dubbed it “optimal“, his blogging colleague John Hinderaker called it “fantastic.”  The fetching Wisconsin Republican criticized, as Jennifer Rubin observed, “‘more in sadness than in anger’ with great expression of empathy for fellow citizens.

Glenn Reynolds listed his favorite lines, including the one about “fading Obama poster”.  Maybe everyone is buzzing about that one, but two other passages which struck me, the first, Ryan ribbing his running mate for his choice in music.  Can you imagine Joe Biden making fun of Barack Obama’s tastes in music (or anything else for that matter)?*

Perhaps, I should cite his conclusion where he harkened back to our nation’s “founding principles”, but it was this passage where he articulated one of those principles that really resonated with me:

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

In the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson listed the British government’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” against the American people.  The Constitution placed strict limits on what the new federal government could do. (more…)

Athene on Paul Ryan & the “meaningful” Republican campaign

“Americans”, observes Peggy Noonan in her latest column “are not ideologues“:

They think ideology is something squished down on their heads from on high, something imposed on them by big thinkers who create systems we’re all supposed to conform to. Americans are more interested in philosophy, which bubbles up from human beings, from tradition and learned experience, and isn’t imposed.

And this is, one reason, I believe that, as the 2008 campaign heated up in the fall, a good many wavering voters came to embrace Barack Obama.  He presented himself as a man who transcended ideology, an individual willing to listen to both sides and forge a consensus path.

In the balance of her column, this sage pundit details some of the challenges facing the Republican ticket now that Mitt Romney has tapped Paul Ryan as his running mate, but the campaign now at least has a theme:

Republicans know how meaningful this campaign became when Mr. Ryan was picked: He changed its subject matter just by showing up. And he is right in his central insight, which is his central political reason for being: America, to be strong again, must get its spending and revenues more closely aligned. It is irresponsible of the Democrats to ignore and punt and play with this great challenge. (more…)

Reagan & John Paul II Together Again

Wow…

GDANSK, Poland — Polish officials unveiled a statue of former President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II on Saturday, honoring two men widely credited in this Eastern European country with helping to topple communism 23 years ago.

People look at a new statue of former President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II that was unveiled in Gdansk, Poland, on Saturday, July 14, 2012. The statue honors the two men whom many Poles credit with helping to topple communism.

The statue was unveiled in Gdansk, the birthplace of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement, in the presence of about 120 former Solidarity activists, many of whom were imprisoned in the 1980s for their roles in organizing or taking part in strikes against the communist regime.

The bronze statue, erected in the lush seaside President Ronald Reagan Park, is a slightly larger-than-life rendering of the two late leaders. It was inspired by an Associated Press photograph taken in 1987 on John Paul’s second pontifical visit to the U.S.

Below is the original AP photo and the new statue of these two great leaders for freedom in the last century.

20120714-221432.jpg

20120714-221441.jpg

The Reason For The Season: Happy Independence Day!

Thanks to Dan for marking July Fourth earlier today. Here is my contribution, with a hat tip for the idea to Moe Lane from RedState.

The Schoolhouse Rock series taught history and grammar to Americans of a certain age. They are unforgettable parts of 1970s pop culture and I this was one of my favorites.

It seems there’s a lot of similarity to this story as the times we are living in today.

No More Kings, indeed!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

What gay Republicans (should) expect from the state

Consistent with conservative principles as articulated by the Republican Party at least since its founding — and particularly in the post-Civil War era as well as in the last third of the preceding century (roughly synchronous with the rise of Ronald Reagan), we should favor laws which do not distinguish based on race, religion, sexual orientation or any other similar factor differentiating one human being from another.

We shouldn’t ask government to sanction our sexual orientation, but do ask that it not condemn it.  We don’t need validation from the state to live freely.  And it is not warranted for the state to punish us for our difference — nor for acting upon our sexual/emotional longings for affection and intimacy.

We ask simply to be treated as human beings with each individual retaining the right to determine his destiny.

And by not asking for privileges based on our difference, we make clearer our commitment to freedom (and indeed to the ideal of equality under the law), to the state leaving each man, each woman alone to determine his, to determine her own destiny.  At the same time, we reaffirm the principles which have made this nation great, have made it strong and made it a shining example for those seeking freedom from oppressive regimes and seeking to replace such regimes with more equitable administrations.

In short, by not asking for anything from the government, we lead by example, reminding all Americans that we don’t need favors from the state in order to seek out opportunities, fulfill our own destines and pursue our own happiness, on our own or together with individuals with whom we choose to associate as part of groups we choose to join.

More on this anon.

NB: Tweaked the text to make it a bit bolder.

The American ideal:
individuals not government responsible for quality of our lives

Commenting this morning on “this analysis from Fortune editor and columnist Geoff Colvin that”, as he puts, “hits both Obama and Romney for offering agendas that are, he [i.e., Colvin] contends ultimately irrelevant to the problems generating anxiety and disappointment for America’s middle class”, Jim Geraghty concludes:

If we really can’t face the notion that we, and not the government, are principally responsible for the quality of our lives . . . are we even really Americans anymore?

Read the whole thing.

Freedom the focus of Romney’s economic address

Shortly after reading about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s economic speech in Chicago, I decided to read the address itself and see if a word search confirmed my hypothesis that the GOP presidential frontrunner emphasized the word, “freedom.”  Sure, enough the word,”freedom” occurred 32 times, (30 not counting the titles) in the prepared text.

This “word cloud” shows you just how central the word is to this man’s economic ideas:

Now, to be sure, this cloud does show that Mr. Romney also used the word, “government” a good deal (17 times by my browser’s count), but mostly to criticize state intervention in the economy:

The government does not create prosperity; free markets and free people do.

For three years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper in debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom.

In response to these attacks, the Republican was going to tell us “why economic freedom is so critical – and how” he would “restore it in order to get our economy growing again”.  He found that the ideal of liberty distinguished American culture:

But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out: freedom.

The American economy is fueled by freedom.

Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality.

He went on to detail some of the damage regulators do and took the incumbent to task for the crony capitalism he practices: (more…)

Republicans Must Keep Eyes on Defining Choice of 2012 Election:
Freedom & Free Enterprise or Bureaucracy & Government Control

In his book, The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future, perhaps the most important public policy manifesto of the Obama era*, Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, spells out the choice facing Americans in the coming election:

This is not the culture war of the 1990s. this is not a fight over guns, abortions, religion, and gays. Nor is it about Republicans versus Democrats. Rather, it is a struggle between two competing visions of America’s future. In one, America will continue to be a unique and exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, increasing income redistribution, and government-controlled corporations. These competing visions are not reconcilable: We must choose.

Clearly, the incumbent President of the United States has chosen the “other” path. And the real question for this fall’s campaign is whether the Republican nominee will be able to make a compelling case for American exceptionalism. On his good days, Newt Gingrich does do that. And from time to time so has Mitt Romney.

Rick Santorum, unfortunately, sometimes get bogged down in the culture war, managing, as Carol Platt Liebau (quite sympathetic to social conservatives) the contraception mandate, ”to transform the debate over the HHS regulations from an issue of religious liberty – uniting conservatives, libertarians, and other Americans of good will in opposition to the ObamaCare overreach – into an issue of contraception.”  (Via Hugh Hewitt.)

Indeed, many conservatives (& libertarians) have criticized the mandate with arguments nearly identical to those they use to articulate the principles of free enterprise.

We simply cannot lose sight of the stakes in this election.  The Republican candidate for President will likely win should he keep the focus on this choice and remain ever aware that the incumbent, his party and the legacy media will be doing all in their party to keep from having this debate.

* (more…)

Giving Thanks for the United States of America

I’m glad I stumbled upon this item in the Wall Street Journal today.

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

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We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Understanding the meaning of “pursuit”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:57 pm - November 3, 2011.
Filed under: American Exceptionalism,Happiness

The cover of the October 31 issue of the National Review featured a picture of a handful of #OWS protesters with a woman hoisting this sign at the center.

It seems that this young lady is not familiar with the the precise manner in which Mr. Jefferson updated the standard classical liberal list of rights. Up until, political philosophers often talked about the rights of life, liberty and property. In the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson removed the third, replacing it with the expression, “pursuit of happiness.”

I emphasized the two words the woman left out as they help us understand the Founders’ view of the role of government.

NB:  More on this anon.  Purpose of this post is to stimulate discussion on the reasons the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration with Mr. Jefferson’s expression intact, that is, why they understood “the pursuit of happiness” to be a right, but not happiness itself.