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On Ted Cruz Running

As someone who watched most (really, it was too long) of Cruz’s speed at Liberty U, I have to agree with Charles W. Cooke about Cruz:

And yet, I hated every single moment of the address. Why? Well, because for all his obvious talent Cruz’s rhetorical style frankly makes my hair curl a little. Striking a pose that lands somewhere between the oleaginousness of a Joel Osteen and the self-assuredness of a midwestern vacuum-cleaner salesman, Cruz delivers his speeches as might a mass-market motivational speaker in an Atlantic City Convention Center.

Opening your campaign at Liberty U doesn’t signal to me. Well, it does, but not the benefit of Ted Cruz. I’m still leaning Walker. Tactically, I think Cruz was smart coming out early. He’ll consolidate a lot of support around him that might otherwise go to Huckabee, Santorum, or some of the other culture warriors who may enter the race.

It’s probably important for Walker to win the Iowa Caucuses. That’s probably why he’ll pander. Iowa is a neighboring mid-western state, and a loss there will signal Walker can’t find traction even among his own people. Rand might give Walker a run for his money in New Hampshire and Colorado, and non-southern politicians typically don’t do well in southern primaries, so South Carolina isn’t a sure thing either.

Still, we’re a year away from the start of the silly season, and Putin could get a lot more frisky, the middle east could be an even bigger mess, the economy could tank again, and all that could change the dynamic of the race.

Election Problems Headed into 2016

This bit from Jim Geraghty might shed some light on why so many Republicans are reluctant to alienate hispanic voters:

There are, in some circles, this insistence that “if we Republicans want to win again, we just need to do what Ronald Reagan did” as if 30 years hadn’t passed since Reagan’s last electoral victory. (If you plug Reagan’s winning percentages among various demographics into the 2012 electorate, Reagan loses.)

It might also explain why they want to run Jeb, as his brother managed to peel off a good big of the Hispanic vote from the Dems. Personally, rather than the mindless pandering the establishment GOP seems to like, I think the solution is “libertarian populism,” as it’s being called; basically railing against crony capitalism going after big corporations that buy favors and protection from government reduce competition in the marketplace. You can read more about that in Glenn Reynolds latest USA Today column.

Gov. Wolf’s State Police Appointee’s Theft on Video

If you just claim that it’s “for the children,” our new Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner (an import from Maryland) seems to argue that theft is okay – especially if you’re stealing from those who criticize you in your official role as a public servant.

Marcus Brown is facing opposition for appearing in uniform that creates the perception he graduated from the state police academy, which he did not. When a critic had signs printed pointing out that he shouldn’t wear such things that he did not earn and legally placed them on a public area, Brown apparently decided to steal them in the name of “[his] children” since their bus stop is nearby.

Now, stealing someone else’s signs from a public area is a crime. You’d think that means Brown would be apologetic for getting caught on video committing this crime, but he’s standing by his theft proudly – behind the back of the spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police.

I’ll be honest, if I lived out there, I’d be very tempted to have signs made up that say “Marcus Brown Stop Stealing Signs,” “Marcus Brown Stop Trying to Silence Critics,” and “Marcus Brown The First Amendment Applies in Pennsylvania, Too” and plaster them all over public areas to the degree allowed by law. There wouldn’t be a corner he could turn where he wouldn’t be reminded that Pennsylvanians value their freedom of speech and ability to speak their mind on what public officials are doing with their office.

Funny enough, the video that captures him stealing the signs in the name of “safety” for his children shows him leaving up non-critical signs in the same spot. It’s pretty clear he’s abusing the right of those who disagree with him and there is no safety issue involved. The video makes it appear that he singled out their message to be silenced based on the content critical of him and he now admits to taking the sign. Perhaps his stationary order got mixed up and he thought that being in charge of the Pennsylvania State Police was being charged with overseeing the Police State of Pennsylvania.

The Long Struggle

Speaking of Glenn Beck, today in his announcement that he’s done with the GOP, he offered me an introduction to a series of posts I’ve been wanting to link for a while now. Sarah A. Hoyt posted “A Winter At Valley Forge:”

You know, I read all over the net, mostly in comments (and more on that later) that the GOP had gone spineless and they had funded Obama’s amnesty. So I went and looked at numbers. 1/3 of the GOP flipped. ONE THIRD.

Two thirds held firm. And this on a matter that has emotional appeal to politicians if not to the people on the ground. You see, they are convinced if they vote against it it will drive Latinos away from the GOP. It’s what the media and their corrupted offices tell them. It’s the “smart” opinion, as opposed to all us rubes on the ground.

And two thirds held firm.

You’d think it would be a moment to celebrate. You know, ten years ago half of them or more would have caved. But we’ve been working on taking over the GOP. And it has effects.

It seems to me what we should be doing is celebrating that two thirds held firm, and taking notes of the cavers to primary them.

You’ve seen a similar dynamic in the gun issue. A few decades ago there were Republicans who would reliably line up to screw us on the gun issue. Mike Castle probably would have his own AR-15 ammo ban bill drawn up and ready to go. But where are those people now? Gone, most of them. Sure, there’s still Pete King and a few other squishes, but overall the Republican Party is now far more solid on the gun issue than they were ten years ago. Everyone was worried who we were going to lose after Sandy Hook. Our experience told us that we’d likely lose enough Republicans so that things that weren’t possible before may suddenly become possible. But that didn’t happen. With the exception of Pat Toomey and Mark Kirk, the GOP stood with us, and I have a feeling Toomey isn’t going to be crossing us again on much else between now and his re-election bid. They didn’t do it because they were such nice guys. They did it because we fought a decades long battle create that circumstance.

Sarah Hoyt has two follow on posts here and here. I encouraged you to read the whole articles, if you read nothing else this week. From the first link:

But beyond that – what do you expect to accomplish by saying “I will never vote for a republican again?” or “I’m going third party?”

I know what you think you can accomplish. You think the GOP will fall in line.

WHY WOULD THEY?

What you’re saying is “I’m going to keep the dems in power for the rest of our natural lives.”

You know what the unprincipled (most establishment) GOP hears when you say that? “I’d better cozy up to the left because they’re the future. Let me see what I can concede today. I sure would like to keep my job as the loyal opposition.”

Is that what you want? No? Change your tactics.

It took the gun issue a long time to get rid of most of the anti-gun and squishy Republicans, but we largely succeeded. It’s going to take an equally long time to get rid of the GOP establishment that prefers to chase big donors, and go along to get along, than to embrace any kind of populism. Populism, even conservito-libertarian populism, is scary for elites. There was never going to be a scenario where they were going to roll over and accept it without a fight. But we in the gun issue have shown it can be done successfully, even if the elites are against us. The same is true of the populist movement attempting to wrest control of the GOP, whether you want to call it the Tea Party, or something else.

Peddling Outrage While Leaving Out Key Facts

It seems that Media Matters set their sights on Cam Edwards yesterday, challenging him on biography. See, at one point Cam said he received a resolution from the Oklahoma State House. It turns out it was a citation recognizing from not only the House, but also from the Lt. Governor. Yup, big discrepancy there.

However, their focus is on trying to make him look like he’s a media version of “stolen valor” by claiming an Emmy award. They even got the local executive director to back up the claims, yet Media Matters and the executive director aren’t acknowledging that Cam did actually receive an award giving his name in the honors section for his “significant contribution” on the documentary that won the Emmy. It’s signed by their president and everything.

Now, Cam did take time to update his bio to be more accurate. I mean we don’t want the Media Matters folks to worry their heads about the “Great Oklahoman citation” wording any more. And now it’s clearer that it came from not just the House, but even the Lt. Governor at the time. But more importantly, he did re-word it so it more accurately reflects that his work was part of a team effort that won an Emmy.

As Cam notes, this is part of the effort to keep everyone outraged about everything. Even with evidence presented that raise questions about their accusations (right now, MM is calling the Emmy thing a “lie” on their front page, despite having been provided the evidence that he did receive an honor from them), it’s not about accurately reporting the situation.

What a Pain it is to Deal with Freedom

I had to take a couple of breaks from this Atlantic piece on how awful it is that the First Amendment allows unpleasant people to say unpleasant things in an unpleasant manner.

Yes, freedom does mean that some people will live and speak in a different manner than you – maybe even in a way that is offensive. Speaking out and telling them how offensive they are is often a great tool to get them to quiet down. In fact, such results might even be considered social shaming, which is a form of punishment that exists outside of government. It involves things like individual people making the decision to no longer support the people who offend them and letting them suffer social consequences that can often be extremely unpleasant. However, the Atlantic writer appears to believe that since such punishment doesn’t involve a police gun to the head, handcuffs, and a court room, it’s not actually any punishment at all.

I think what really got me going was the extreme elitism on display in this bit:

No one with a frontal lobe would mistake this drunken anthem for part of an uninhibited and robust debate about race relations. … If the First Amendment has become so bloated, so ham-fisted, that it cannot distinguish between such filth and earnest public debate about race, then it is time we rethink what it means.

It would seem that the argument is that if you can’t speak eloquently and aren’t engaged in thoughtful debate, then your First Amendment rights should be “rethought.”

I have to say that one reason this elitism on speech probably drove me a little more up the wall today is because I just witnessed someone in another forum who, to be blunt, is currently incapable of speaking eloquently or engaging in what the writer would consider “earnest public debate.” While her form of rather odd text speak at all times is nearly impossible for others to follow, that doesn’t mean the government needs to declare that she deserves less in the way of protection for her speech than what I deserve because I am likely capable of being more articulate in expressing the same things.

Freedom means that some people will make different choices that you don’t like. The beauty of freedom is that when those people are in charge, you can make the choices they don’t like and feel confident that you won’t be put away for the “crime” of those statements and actions.

Media Finally Noticing “Lost & Stolen” is a Sham

I congratulate Christine Vendel of PennLive for finally noticing something we’ve been screaming about for quite some time: that all towns claiming the sky was falling, and they needed a “lost and stolen” law to combat illegal firearms trafficking, were completely full of shit. The article acknowledges there is no enforcement, which we’ve also been blowing the whistle on to no avail.

This was never the problem our opponents claimed it to be, and now they are incredulously claiming, “It’s not measured by the number of fines. It’s measured by compliance.” So everyone who’s trafficking guns to criminals is just magically obeying the new law? This so laughably lacks credibility, it’s hard to believe they would even try to throw that turd at the wall.

This was never about stopping illegal trafficking. The goal was to weaken state preemption by pushing a non-issue that would easily pass in a number of towns. It was preemption they were after. So how did it work out for them?

The end result is Act 192, which strengthened the preemption law.

The Endarkenment Continues

Tam this morning:

Not only do we think Our Guy can do no wrong, but when Their Guy is in the big chair, we blame everything bad on him. The elected executive of our republic has metamorphosed into some Frazer-esque sacral king, on whose luck rides the success or failure of the harvest and the path and frequency of Gulf coast hurricanes.

Six years into this Administration and I’m frankly tired of politics, and not all that makes me feel disillusioned is to be found on the left. I had hoped that the Internet age would turn out to be a more enlightened than the age of mass media which precedes it. But then social media came along, and I suddenly realized that the Internet could be worse; much worse.

I’m still an optimist, though. My theory is that with the baby boomers retiring, and suddenly finding themselves with a lot of time on their hands, they’ve decided to resettle old scores, and turn the whole country into Del Boca Vista, writ large.

Things will settle down once Xers move toward retirement to take over from the boomers. We’ll be too busy helicopter grandparenting to generate this much drama.

NRA Convention vs. CPAC

Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review did this interview with a Philadelphia radio station yesterday, and I loved a comment that he made about the size of CPAC – a general right-of-center, every issue you can imagine convention – versus the NRA annual meeting which is largely single issue.

“And this is going to sound ungrateful, but it’s small because I’m used to the NRA convention which is Madison Square Garden-sized.”

This is the argument I used for years with people in the conservative movement when pointing out that they need to look more to what the NRA has done over the years. It seemed like the gun issue was so often overlooked, yet the NRA consistently turned out more people to participate than anything that was happening in DC circles. So it’s kind of funny to hear Cooke mention the vast difference in size for an event that wants to represent an entire “side” of the political aisle and the many different issues that come along with it.

Besides, the NRA convention is more fun in my experience. I was sick of CPAC by the time I went for the fourth time. Most of my friends felt the same way when I was in DC. But I still look forward to the NRA convention. While I’ve shifted what events I tend to visit at the convention, there’s still something interesting going on each day. I like that it’s a chance to dig deep into the issue – whether it’s connecting with other people passionate about grassroots, the law, or just getting out to shoot.

Anyway, go listen to the interview since I think it’s a really good one beyond the NRA comparison. I’ll have to add Cooke’s new book, The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future, to my wish list now.

Not just gun control

Remember, it’s not just guns they want to control. I find several parts of this whole fiasco disturbing. Right from the beginning of the article, DHS and FAA held a “conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener.” When one of those attendees (who runs a small drone shop) posted a picture and notes from the conference, DHS asked him to take it down (he complied).

Then we get to the meat of the issue – that a drone manufacturer unilaterally chose to add all of DC to their drones’ internal “no-fly” map. First, of course, that their drones have a “no-fly” map in the first place, and secondly, that “DJI is preparing an update that will increase the number of airport no fly zones from 710 to 10,000, and prevent users from flying across some national borders.” This is of course, pointless, as there are other manufacturers as the spokesam for DJI points out. Wired also points out that this won’t prevent terrorism, because there will always be workarounds, legal or otherwise.

Sebastian noted a while back about the wishes of gun-control advocates to be able to erect “no-smartgun” zones at will. It looks like their counterparts in drone control will get that wish. I can only hope that DJI gets what Smith and Wesson got from firearms enthusiasts when they kow-towed to the government.

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