principles

CNY bloggers get it


The GOP principle poachers do not.

And Cornell's Professor Jacobson on "the 'purity' cop-out":

Who demands purity and wants chaos?...
 

...It’s always the Tea Party for refusing to give in to Obama’s demands.

I’m sick of that narrative, particularly when it comes from our own side.  Why is it that we are the recipient of these inflammatory accusations, not the Democrats?

...It’s not a question of “purity.” That’s a convenient word to use to diminish the opposing view without addressing the merits.

...Why is it a test of “purity” to refuse to give in to an economically irrational, purely political demand?
 
And how would it create “chaos” if tax rates rose on everyone?  You may not like that outcome, but it’s not chaos.  To the contrary, it might have been a wake up call to the American population that the cost of big government cannot be borne by the top 2%.  You want big government, you pay for it.  That’s not chaos...
 
...Nor does it violate some conservative principle to say that raising taxes is not the answer, and to focus on controlling spending and reforming entitlements.  We proposed an entirely rational method of preserving economic order...

...There were alternatives, except that the House leadership fell into the trap of viewing the choice as going off the cliff or not.  It was a failure of nerve and a failure of creativity coupled with an announced willingness of Obama to go off the cliff, which resulted in horrible legislation which Senators did not even read prior to approving it.

Given the failure of leadership, why was it a “purity” test and a wish for “chaos” to decline to vote for the leader?  Why have a vote at all, if Yes is the only answer.

To dismiss the criticism of the tax rate rise and the abysmal failure of the Republcian negotiating strategy as a “purity” test and desire for “chaos” is a cop-out which just encourages further unreasonable demands from Democrats.

For Republicans to make the accusations against the Tea Party without justification is just icing on Obama’s cake.
 
Time to hum a few bars of "The Rattle Hymn of the Republic":
 
 

 

Principles, realpolitik, and party animals

Whenever I go to look up a word in the dictionary (I know—how anachronistic is that?), it always seems as though I come across infinitely more interesting words to read about than the one I was looking for. Similarly here: this essay that appeared on an Arizona blog this past summer was much more interesting than whatever forgettable item I was originally searching for:

We have a serious problem in the Pima County Republican Party, and it consists largely of registered Republicans behaving like democrats. I use the word “democrats” with a small “d” intentionally, because I am not referring to card-carrying members of the Democratic Party (though that comparison would work well too) but instead to the ancient form and theory of government that is democracy. Democracy’s premise, as we all know, is that every citizen participate full-time in the administration of government, which itself depends upon the input of every citizen for the settlement of every issue.
 
Contrary to popular opinion, America is not a democracy. Hopefully, it never will be, because democracies don’t work. They never have, which is why Aristotle called democracy a corrupt form of government. America is, and was intentionally established to be, a republic, one made different from any republic that had previously existed by its unique combination of extension, mixed government, checks and balances, and separation of powers. The two political parties that comprise our two party system today are named for the political philosophies they are supposed to most closely resemble. Republicans, in their policies, carriage, and character, are supposed to reflect the principles, values, and characteristics of republicanism. Democrats are likewise expected to reflect those of democracy...
Read the whole thing and the comments, too. The setting for this particular uproar is Pima County, AZ, but it could be almost anywhere.
 
Entire books (not to mention some Federalist Papers) have been written on the subject of political parties and the relative advantages and disadvantages of having them.  In the short term and as the system is currently constituted, though, electing candidates is a function of political parties.  I hear, however, what Bruce Walker is saying in his piece in American Thinker from 2010:
...Parties and factions thwart much of what the Constitution intended to maintain. 
 
Spoils and loot, promised offices, supercilious defense of the indefensible under the false banner of party loyalty -- all that and more flow naturally from the organs of political parties. Consider the almost supernatural abomination that is Obama health care. What gifts of our money were proffered to politicians for their votes? What threats of reduction in rank in party hierarchy were hissed? The obscenity of such grand arm-twisting and public bribery is so ordinary to us that we just assume that this is the way our government was supposed to operate.
 
But that is so very mistaken. Many of those men who wrote the Constitution also signed the Declaration of Independence. The purpose of government, they knew, was to preserve liberty. Political parties were as contrary to that purpose as political parties would be in the jury room of a trial. The absence of interest, the focus on the rule of law, the neutrality of government -- these were the values which the Constitution was intended to cherish and to nurture. Parties sneer at those noble ideals.
 
What would politics in America be like if we could make the political party a stigma of shame? Candidates would have to campaign on what they personally believe...
You know...their principles.  What an idea.  As it is, we do have parties that do have stated principles, but these often seem to get jettisoned in the heat of a campaign or in the midst of the fray on some particular issue. And what is often referred to as "the base" becomes disgusted as a result and rightly so. From a post at the American Majority blog Liberty Rising:
Whether it’s Penn State or politics, there’s always a reason why the masses never can quite fathom why what’s being done behind closed doors is actually being done, in spite of popular outrage or even votes at the ballot box. That’s because, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan—and in direct contradiction to our common sense and decency as citizens, as neighbors, as people—the first order of business for any entity, whether it’s a government agency, a church, or an NGO is to ensure its own survival. Self-preservation is job #1, anything else (including public sentiment or something as laughable as the “will of the people”) be damned...
 
Of course, thanks to The Godfather films, we all know that the Mafia has “Omerta”:  their own, lethally-enforced code of silence...political parties also tailor their own versions of the gangster’s creed of “snitches get stitches.”
 
There are the endless urgings for inspectors general or internal investigations only, for folks to “keep it in the family”, for members of one party not to “air their dirty laundry in public”...These, along with the various incumbent-protection programs sponsored at the organized, partisan county committee level all the way to the state party level (not to mention the national committees) are powerful barriers to real change ever being able to take place, at least in electoral politics.
 
Because anything or anyone who threatens real change is a threat to the system. To the Powers That Be. To the carefully cultivated and nurtured-over-the-years hierarchy that allows those who are kings of a particular hill to stay there, cries for reform or for an end to the insular status quo continually being ignored all the while...
And as Reagan also said, "Status quo, you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in'."
 
Things are changing, despite the difficulty of seeing that when you're in the middle of the maelstrom and despite the opposition of the powers-that-be. From zombie at PJmedia in August:
The Green Party faced off against the Tea Party on Saturday in Napa, California.
 
Democrats? Republicans? Snort. What do you think this is, the 20th century?
 
Neither of the dinosaur parties were much in evidence as the nation’s two new emergent parties did battle for the heart of America.
 
Green or Tea, which shall it be?...
Indeed.
 
In a piece entitled "Pouring the Tea into the GOP," Walter Hudson of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots gives a little background on this change that's afoot (emphasis mine):
“I want you to infiltrate the Republican Party.”
 
So said an August speaker at a meeting of the North Metro Tea Party in the Twin Cities...
 
...this speaker was no Tea Partier. This was Tony Sutton, the sitting chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. For those in attendance, his invitation was shocking...
 
...Regardless of motive, leaders of the Republican Party of Minnesota (MNGOP) have reached out to Tea Partiers and invited them to attend the caucus in 2012. Tea Party groups in the state had already been planning for caucus night. However, they had done so anticipating a hostile reception.
 
Now it seems the welcome wagon has been rolled out...
 
...In our meetings with MNGOP activist Jonathan Aanestad, who was assigned by the party to coordinate the Republican Midwest Leadership Conference breakout session, we discovered that there had been an ideological struggle taking place within the MNGOP between conservatives and moderates long before the Tea Party rose...Along with Pat Strother, CEO of the marketing firm Strother Communications Group (SCGPR), Aanestad conducted extensive market research analyzing the state of the Republican brand.
 
Though it was not their objective, what SCGPR found was nothing less than an empirical explanation for the rise of the Tea Party. They found that Americans identify as conservative 2 to 1 over liberal. They found that while the Republican brand was stale or negative among many focus group participants, conservative principles and values were dominant. They concluded that the Republican brand had been critically weakened by ideological moderation. In order for the MNGOP to increase their effectiveness, SCGPR concluded they must rebrand the party as decisively conservative and committed to four “pillars” – fiscal responsibility, sensible government, free enterprise, and personal responsibility.
 
...Particularly striking were those pillars. The three core principles of Tea Party Patriots are listed on their website as fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. Many local groups add individual rights to the list. These four are all but identical to SCGPR’s pillars. In essence if not directly, Aanestad and Strother are saying that the Republican brand is failing because it lacks what the Tea Party is preaching. Isn’t that precisely what the Tea Party has said all along?...
 
...So it seems the Tea Party and the GOP need each other. The former needs the latter’s infrastructure to elect favorable candidates. The latter needs the former’s conviction and energy to revive its potency. Despite territorial protestations on either side, this is real politick.
 
Even so, the movement cannot wholly merge with the party. The lesson learned from the past 15 years is that the function of ideological formation must remain separate from the function of political action. One corrupts the other. A political party’s mission to elect candidates undervalues ideology. An ideological movement’s mission to promote principle undervalues the practical. So the two must maintain a delicate symbiotic relationship, keeping to their own roles and trading value for value.
 
One of the ways the Tea Party will retain its distinction is to remain effectively non-partisan. It is true that most of the movement’s political action will channel through the GOP. However, that is only because the GOP is most likely to embrace Tea Party principles. The Democrats are just as capable if not as willing to trend conservative. Indeed, engaging Democrats and trying to shift their party to the right must remain a Tea Party priority. It would be a wonderful day that would see the two major political parties competing to better steward individual rights. Such a day may never come if the Tea Party neglects Democrats...
 
Well.  Do read the whole thing for more historical perspective.
 

Like Captain Renault

some may be shocked, shocked, to find that distrust on the parts of both Republicans and Tea Party folk needs to give way to mutual benefit.

We're living The Clash of the Titans—if a party, its purported principles, and its base are not getting along then we have a huge problem from the village to the federal levels.

Walter Hudson concluded his column with this: 
In the short run, however, the immediate political emergency requires a uniform assault against President Obama and his leftist allies. That means working with the Republicans to restore the credibility of their brand, recast them as true conservatives, and take back our country for liberty.
 
Your call—tyranny or liberty?
 

Video: Principles and patriots

The text was posted earlier but for those who couldn't be there, here's the video of an inspiring speech...Tom Reynolds, Vice Chair, Town of Newfield and Vice Chair, Tompkins County Republicans, at the 2011 Tompkins County Republican dinner on September 30th:

Principles - from Paine to Reagan

A speech given at the Tompkins County Republican Dinner honoring veterans, September 30, 2011, by Tom Reynolds:

Many years ago, I came home from work and there was a letter on the table.  It started, “Greetings from the President of the United States.”  I had been drafted.  So I did what millions had done before and after me—I shook hands with my dad and took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.  Not just the parts of the Constitution that I liked—but the whole thing. We Republicans believe in the Constitution as it was written, not as Eric Holder thinks it should have been written.
 

After I got out of the army, I got married, started a family and began a career.  But while I was minding my own business, a movement was taking hold of America; call it what you will—socialism—liberalism—statism. At their core, they’re all about government controlling our lives.  

Republicans believe we should control our lives.  

Republicans believe the Constitution was written to limit government, not empower it.  

During the 60’s and 70’s, liberalism captured our media.  But in 1980, a strong voice echoed across America.  A voice that said capitalism, the free market, the private property ownership system worked.  That America was a shining city on a hill and the last best hope of mankind.    

And we rallied to that voice.  Liberalism may have captured the media, but it hadn’t captured our hearts and minds.  

But of course, the media dismissed Ronald Reagan as a crazy cowboy from California.

And when Reagan applied his economic wisdom to foreign affairs and said the Soviet Union was condemned to the ash heap of history and that it was an evil empire, liberals gasped and said, “he can’t say that!” 

But the people enslaved behind the Soviet Union said, “yes!

We Republicans know that liberalism will fail.  It failed in the Soviet Union—try finding it on a map today.  And remember, USSR stood for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Communist China couldn’t feed its own people until they let capitalism in and now they’re a world economic power.

And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you what a success European liberalism has been. 

Liberals criticize Reagan because—in his era—the rich got richer.  Well, so did most other people.  But in the Obama era, the poor got poorer, as well as the rest of us.  

Obama has made the federal budget a gigantic Ponzi scheme, where he borrows more money to pay back the money he owes.  Frankly, Ponzi was a piker.  We need to rename them as “Obama schemes”.   

One thing we Republicans know that liberals have not yet learned: eventually someone has to pay for everything.

Almost 100 years ago, my maternal grandparents came over ‘on the boat.’  Probably everyone in this room can trace their ancestors back to immigrants.  Think of their courage; they left their families, their homes, their churches and any support system that existed…in many cases, to never see them again.  

But they came.  Not because there was a social services network to greet them. But for the chance for a better life.  And they achieved that life by going to work—by getting a job.  

Republicans believe in jobs, not a lifetime on social services.  Jobs give us dignity.  Jobs increase our self worth.  Jobs contribute to society.  Welfare begets welfare.  We believe in helping our neighbors, but not in a welfare state that condemns people to being slaves of the bureaucracy.  

Jobs are what we Republicans are about!  

And, I might add, my grandparents were legal immigrants.

During the depths of the American revolution, Thomas Paine wrote, “the sunshine soldier and the summer patriot will, in this crises, shrink from the service of his country; but he who stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

We are in crisis!  Liberalism has spread throughout our government and threatens to bring down the very foundations that made us—without apology—the greatest nation in history.  Will we be sunshine soldiers and let liberalism’s false idols destroy all we hold dear?   We must rise to the moment and take back our nation—town by town, county by county and state by state. 

And in 2012—Barack Obama—we’re comin’ for you. 

Paine asked people for their blood. We ask for your time, your sweat, your energy—and yes—your money.  We all know that it takes donations to win elections.  

But we are a party resurgent, even in Tompkins County.  Why, we even have a Republican running for the mayor of Ithaca.  This is our time and our moment.  We must succeed or our nation will endure more years of darkness.

Before we meet, Republicans say the pledge of allegiance.  Its words have meaning and we unashamedly say, “under God.”  But we should not forget the next word—“indivisible.”  We Republicans believe in a United States.  Our opponents seek power by dividing our nation.  Not just class warfare based on wealth, but by dividing us between the ruling class in government and “we the people.”  

Republicans believe in uniting, not dividing, and that “we the people” govern our nation.

Tonight, we honor those that have served our nation, for without their sacrifices, we would not be here.  Over the years, I’ve heard many words of praise for veterans, but my favorite was said by—who else?—Ronald Reagan.     

Reagan spoke on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, at a place called Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy coast.  Pointe du Hoc is a cliff and on D-Day, US Army Rangers scaled that cliff under murderous fire.  They took great casualties, but they took that cliff and the liberation of Europe had begun.  

In front of Reagan were the living survivors of those Rangers, their families, friends and others.  In his simple but elegant way, Reagan praised them and by extension, all the many victories for freedom that America has led.

Reagan said, “Behind me is a monument that symbolizes the daggers thrust into the top of the cliff by the Army Rangers.  And in front of me are the men who put them there.”

Inspired by the words of Paine and Reagan, the deeds of the veterans in front of us and guided by the principles of our party—the principles that made America great—we must leave here tonight revitalized and reenergized.  Not just for the tasks of the next month but for the years ahead.  

With your dedication, the liberation of America has begun.  

Let's just do it!

Thank you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.  

Principles

NY-26 is far away -- you have to go over, under, around or through the lakes to get there.  And yet the reasons for the loss of a red congressional seat seem so close.

From NRO:

Corwin was probably the best choice of the three candidates running — but her failure to stand on principle [about free trade] is what caused a safe Republican seat to fall into the hands of a liberal Democrat tonight.

From Erick Erickson at Red State:

Cuomo cut an ad for Hochul. Hochul’s been blasting Corwin for not supporting Cuomo’s agenda, which amounts to running to Corwin’s right on spending.

From The Other McCain:

In the middle of a recession, why would you nominate an heiress for Congress? Not to play class-warfare here, but do you really think that it helps the GOP win over hard-pressed blue-collar voters when you run a candidate who inherited part of a $400 million fortune? You think folks can relate to that?

Conservatives have a powerful fiscal message, one that will increasingly resonate as the debt-fueled economy inevitably crashes.  But Repubs, Tea Party types and others on the right need to decide who they are and have the courage to stand on their principles if they want the electorate to believe that they are serious.  Trying to find a moderate position is a trap.  Conservatives won't believe you and the takers will go for the one that offers more candy.  Stand up for sound principles now, so that when it hits the fan, the people who are looking for adult leadership will know where you are.

Picking Winners and Losers

The last time that the IDA (Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency) was considering "assistance" for the B.J. Wholesale Club (plus apartments, plus a bird sanctuary) up by the mall, I caught Mark Finkelstein discussing the project on the radio and laying out pretty clear conservative principles, including that government should not be picking winners and losers.  I was cheering him on until he got to the end of list and went right off the rails.  In spite of his principles, he said that we need to (publicly, financially) support this project in order to snag some low-level retail jobs in the county.

I was shouting at the radio and just about drove off the road.  
 
If this project were really viable, B.J.'s would want to build it without public assistance, and if not, those jobs wouldn't last anyway and the public money would be wasted.
 
Today, Richard Hanna makes the same argument for govenment not picking winners and losers and then goes off the rails, voting against cutting the federal subsidy for NPR as if somehow support for one notably biased media outlet (and a cheerleader for larger government) isn't picking winners.
 
Picking winners is a hallmark of excessive government and it never ends well.
 
The Chevy Volt is a great example.  Outside of its paltry 25-mile all-electric range, this anemic hybrid (falsely billed as an all-electric) gets less gas milage than a conventional Honda and costs twice as much.  To keep Government Motors and the favored auto workers union afloat, the federal government favors the Volt with a $7,500 tax credit.  
 
Even with the tax credit, almost no one is buying the Volt.  No problem for those that can pick winners:
Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.
 
Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants.
OK, back to the IDA.  The B.J.'s project is back.
 
With a few tweaks, the developer is looking for public money for his project.  IDA financing for a retail store was a bad idea before and it's a bad idea now.  If the developer thinks he has a good project and wants to fund it himself, by all means let it go ahead, and make sure there is no unnecessary regulatory burden in his way.  If the developer doesn't want to take the risk himself, then let it go.
 
Doing anything else is trying to pick winners and losers, and taxpayers will end up holding the bag in the end.
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