Friday, October 28, 2005

Senate Hair Rule

Is there some type of Senate rule that all Senators have to wear a hairpiece or color their hair? Isn’t a gray and thinning hair line a sign of wisdom?

We do get the leadership we deserve.

Why Men Would Rather Stay Home on Sunday

Mike at Eternal Perspectives has written a great post named The Emasculated Church with excerpts from a book by Robert Hicks titled Uneasy Manhood.

As much as I love being contrarian, sometimes I need to know I am not completely alone in my observations and views. This post made my day because it gives me hope that other men recognize the problem and are starting to do something about it. (HT:Blogotional)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Start With Transparency

The Harriet Miers affair is another good example of how privacy hurts our ability to be appropriately informed. We should know, but don’t:

1. The real reason Ms. Miers was nominated by the President.
2. The real reason her nomination was withdrawn.
3. The sources of money who backed her nomination.
4. The sources of money who opposed her confirmation.
5. The elected officials who supported her confirmation.
6. The elected officials who opposed her confirmation.
7. The real views of Ms. Miers.

Democracy doesn’t work when the people we elect, the people appointed by the people we elect, and the people lining the pockets of the people we elect can all act in secret.

It is time to quit demanding privacy and start demanding transparency if we are going to have any chance of fixing the government mess.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

”You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run”

First the good:

1. Harriet Miers didn’t have enough fight in her; she didn’t deserve confirmation.
2. Harriet Miers didn’t articulate her views clearly enough to dispel doubts about her views; she didn’t deserve confirmation.
3. There were many conservatives who stood on principle in opposing her confirmation; Republicans are not a party of lemmings.

Then the bad:

1. President Bush has had 5 years to determine and refine a list of excellent nominees; it was careless of him to go with a last minute gut feeling about Harriet Miers. He may be a man of his word, but he also needs to be prepared for practically every possibility. He is starting to appear lazy and unprepared.
2. We don’t know how a single Senator felt about the confirmation of Ms. Miers; Senators need to go on record. Government and the people are not served when decisions are made through whispers. There should have been an up or down vote for her confirmation, just like Conservatives have been arguing for the last four years.
3. It has now become exceedingly more difficult to get a good conservative nominee approved; Republicans will pay a political price for the type of nominee most conservatives want and who may not even get confirmed.
4. The next nominee may be more like Souter or Kennedy than Sandra Day O’Connor; a track record of conservative decisions is not as important as a track record of impeccable character.

And the ugly:

1. Not a majority, but many conservative pundits sounded more like Air America than reasonable representatives of a noble cause; this will embolden those who lack civility.
2. Liberals didn’t spend a dime in borking Ms. Miers. Their war chest will be spent on the next nominee. It will get very ugly then.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

He Means What He Says

I support the Miers nomination.

President Bush is doing exactly what he said he would do while campaigning for a second term. He has proven time and time again that he means what he says and he says what he means. Ms. Miers can be expected to rule on the law and not make law because that is what President Bush promised.

Stewards of Conservatism

Hugh Hewitt has been taking a hammering from many in the conservative blogshpere for his defense of Harriet Miers and his desire for temperance in the Republican Party. I think Mr. Hewitt has really distinguished himself since the Miers nomination; not that he wasn’t already quite distinguished, but since the Miers nomination, he has persuasively argued for supporting President Bush’s nominee even if disappointed by the nomination. My entry today is an attempt to conceptualize Mr. Hewitt’s and my beliefs regarding the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is the vehicle or method for applying conservative principles to government decisions and actions. The conservative members and leaders of the Republican Party are the stewards of the conservative movement. Without the Republican Party, there is no conservative voice in government.

Ideologues need to understand the difference between advocating a cause, and the implications of advancing the cause in our form of government. There is nothing wrong with a conservative being hard core in their beliefs, but pragmatic in advancing those beliefs inch by inch.

Therefore, we need to care just as much about our vehicle that advances our beliefs, as we do about our beliefs. We need to be stewards of our party, not just ideologues.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Privacy and Freedom

Most Americans believe in the right to behave privately in ways that may not meet the approval of others. All of us have something to hide. We each have our own reasons for keeping certain aspects of our life hidden from our government, or our family, or our friends, or solicitors, or criminals, or our enemies, or just plain old busy bodies. We all have an emotional need for privacy to go along with many practical reasons for keeping some parts of our life and our past hidden from others.

Privacy is so central to who we are as Americans, the Supreme Court has ruled we have a constitutional right to privacy even though the verbiage for such a right is nowhere to be found anywhere in our U.S. CONSTITUTION. Privacy is so important to most Americans that we consider it to be an integrated attribute of our freedom.

Perhaps some of our thinking about privacy needs to change. We will always have an emotional need and some practical reasons for wanting privacy, but the real truth about privacy and freedom is the exact opposite of what most people believe. Freedom and privacy actually have an inverse relationship. As privacy goes up, freedom goes down and as privacy goes down, freedom goes up.

The more information we have, the more we are able to make decisions that reduce our risk of being able to achieve our goals and purposes. The opposite is also true, the less information we have, the greater our risk of not being able to achieve our goals and purposes. The internet has been a big boost in our ability to live freely due to the increase in good information that can be easily accessed.

As much as I like my privacy, there is nothing I value more than freedom. Perhaps all of us need to relinquish a little privacy in order to increase our freedom.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Conservative Penumbra?

Pundits and politicians who use the word “crony” to describe Harriet Miers and who use the word “cronyism” to describe the nomination of Ms. Miers to the Supreme Court by President Bush are revealing much more about themselves, their sloppy use of language, and possibly their sloppy thinking, than they are revealing about our President or his nominee.

Most of these slanderers who use slur words to describe the nominator and the nominee claim to be die-hard advocates of protecting the original intent of the U. S. Constitution. However, the U.S. CONSTITUTION is silent as to the qualifications of a Supreme Court Justice other than that he or she must be nominated by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Ms. Miers has fulfilled the first half of her qualifications the moment she was nominated. By definition, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and every other Justice remained unqualified right up until the point they were confirmed by the Senate. By definition, Ms. Miers will remain unqualified up until the point she is confirmed, but once she is confirmed, if she is confirmed, she will be just as qualified as any other Justice who has ever served on the Bench. Therefore, everyone who has not been confirmed, including Robert Bork, you, me, and Ms. Miers, is unqualified, and every confirmed Justice is qualified, by definition.

It is fair to accuse President Bush of nominating Ms. Miers primarily because of the close working relationship they have had for over ten years. However, it is not fair to claim that because of the close relationship between President Bush and Ms. Miers, she is therefore not suited to even be considered for nomination. Our President can either surround himself with the best and brightest and then move those people into other positions and roles as higher responsibilities in government need filling or alternatively he can leave the best and brightest outside of his inner circle waiting for better positions to become available. The former is much preferable to the latter in my view.

Condi Rice was considered by many conservatives to be too lightweight for the position of National Security Advisor. President Bush knew her well enough to know she could handle the job of NSA and once the position of Secretary of State became available, she was the perfect nominee to replace Colin Powell. Was Ms. Rice a crony or did the President do what we pay him to do?

Do these slanderers not believe in our constitution, do they think they know more about qualifications for the bench than the framers of our country, or are they like the penumbra crowd who read what they want into our constitution? Perhaps the divide between conservative and liberal is not so wide when it comes to applying the Constitution and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Conservatives can trust in Miers

I think Newt Gingrich makes the most compelling and simple case for why conservatives can trust in Ms. Miers and President Bush here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Little Bit Drunk

It wasn’t easy being enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Two weeks pay never lasted two weeks. The Saturday evenings before payday were like the movie Groundhog Day. Every Saturday evening before payday was a repeat of the previous Saturday evening before payday.

Marines back then would scrape together their last few pennies and head over to the base club to hang with other depressed Marines and sip the cheapest beer on the planet. The base club never managed to stay open until closing time because the beer money didn’t last that long. As the last remnants of the paychecks were handed over to the bartender and as the brews took effect, the frustration of the Marines grew, and as the frustration grew, the Marines needed to fight. The last person in the world a Marine wants to fight is another Marine. However, if the only person available to fight is another Marine, the other Marine will have to do.

Republicans this week have been acting like frustrated and depressed Marines, the Saturday before payday, and a little bit drunk. Some conservative Republicans were so ready for a fight with the Democrats that when no Democrat's showed up to fight, they had to take out their frustration on other Republicans. They are frustrated by the fact they have labored so hard to acquire some power and they are depressed by the fact they are not able to have all of the power. Just like a Marine wanting more beer, these conservatives wanted more power.

Marines who woke up on a Sunday morning in 1980 with a black eye, a swollen jaw, and various bruises knew that payday was just around the corner and good times were on the way. It is amazing how men trained to do serious bodily injury to others with their bare hands are able to restrain their aggression when fighting another Marine. Perhaps it is a sixth sense or perhaps it is just the honor of a serious fight to a draw with a comrade.

The Marine Corps Private, the Saturday before payday, after a beer or two, seems to have more honor than some of the conservative commentators this week. It is one thing to disagree with the decision of President Bush. Maybe our President deserves a bruise or two. It is an entirely different matter to try to take him out completely. Claiming that President Bush has lost the right to be trusted due to one bad decision is wrong and completely over the top. A person does not lose the right to be trusted for being wrong. A person does lose the right to be trusted for not keeping their word, or breaking a promise, or telling a lie. President Bush can not possibly be right all of the time, but he has done nothing to forfeit our trust.

As crazy as it sounds, the fights on base between Marines are good for the Marine Corps. It is good to know the guys you are going to battle with have what it takes and are willing to do whatever it takes to win the battle. The guy with the courage to fight, and the control to know when to stop fighting, is the guy I want next to me in any battle.

There are many Republicans this week who need to develop a little control to go along with their rhetoric. If they are able to develop control, the conservative movement will strengthen and good times will be on the way. However, if conservatives are not able to develop control, all of the hard work will have been in vain.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Blankley Wisdom

Tony Blankley has a thoughtful, funny, and profound take ending with this:

"Consider, in the alternative, the deeper disappointment that liberals contemplate in this dreary autumn of their aspirations. The last remaining champions of their principles sit aged and infirm on the high bench -- their former brilliance now brittle and susceptible to being chiseled and crumbled by even the most modest conservative laborers.

Victory may not be heroic, but it will be ours. "

More Blabber

There sure are a lot of commentators who worship at the church of Saint Ronald Reagan [the Ronald Reagan who nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to sit on the Supreme Court; the Sandra Day O’Connor who has been just as likely to legislate from the bench in favor of the liberal position as judge the law from the bench according the intent of the legislators who wrote the law] who are now outraged that a mere mortal like President Bush would have the audacity to nominate anyone who does not have a proven track record of conservative activism. I wonder if being a conservative means having a very selective memory of the accomplishments and failures of the patron saints.

I have to include President Bush as a Blabberer today also. It doesn’t ring true to me that Ms. Miers is the best possible person to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. If President Bush would claim that she is the surest bet to judge the law and not make law, it would sound more believable. However, there are many more judges and lawyers who are more accomplished and have more of a proven track record than Ms. Miers.

It is also a bit troubling that President Bush is asking everyone who voted for him to trust his judgment in the nomination of Ms. Miers. I do trust his judgment, but I also wonder why he didn’t have a wider circle of advisors who he trusted in order to choose a nominee who would uphold his campaign promise and be more popular with the conservative establishment.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The American Thinker

The American Thinker thinks there is more to the nomination of Harriet Miers than meets the eye.

"President Bush is a politician trained in strategic thinking at Harvard Business School, and schooled in tactics by experience and advice, including the experience and advice of his father, whose most lasting political mistake was the nomination of David Souter. The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court shows that he has learned his lessons well. Regrettably, a large contingent of conservative commentators does not yet grasp the strategy and tactics at work in this excellent nomination."

Look Good or Do Good?

One of the big plagues of our time, perhaps all time, is the prioritizing of looking good above doing good. I work for a Fortune 500 company with an uncountable number of Vice Presidents. These Vice Presidents come in many different shapes, size, and gender, but the one thing they all have in common is the mastery of business verbiage. Most of them have held many different positions as they have climbed the corporate ladder playing it safe, talking a good game, and appearing competent without ever rocking the boat.

Most of our Churches are no different from a large company. The Pastor and Church Leader who dresses the right way and says the right things which sound pleasing to the majority is able to rise through the ranks without ever having to actually achieve any results by taking an unpopular risk in order to achieve an important goal. Just as in business, the appearance of good is valued above the doing of good.

Politics might be the worst of the three. At least since FDR, and probably before, most Democrats have advocated social programs and social spending that sounds a whole lot better than it actually works. The fact that many of these programs have hurt the very people they are supposed to help hasn’t deterred the advocates because they continue to get elected based on what they advocate, not on what they achieve.

The conservatives who are opposed to the Supreme Court Justice nomination of Harriet Miers by President Bush are no different than any other group of advocates who are more concerned about appearance than results. President Bush could have nominated a sitting Judge who appeared to be a conservative and this group would have been happy eventhough there is no guarantee the person nominated would judge the law and not make law. Instead President Bush kept his campaingn promise and nominated a person who he is sure will judge the law and not make law. What a refreshing exception to the plague of our time.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Back on His Game

President Bush has seemed a little off his game since returning from his August vacation. Promising to do whatever it takes and to spend whatever it takes to rebuild New Orleans was the response of someone wanting to bypass a controversy and get back to more important long term matters. While New Orleans is not a long term National problem, the precedent that was set by President Bush when he promised to rebuild New Orleans will create a long term national problem. The funding of the Federal government will forever be more expensive and more difficult to control as a result of the promise to rebuild New Orleans with Federal dollars.

The nomination of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court has left many in the conservative movement more than a little depressed today. While I know practically nothing about Harriet Miers, I think I know enough of President Bush to know he did not appoint Ms. Miers primarily as some type of compromise with the Democrats. Perhaps, he appointed her in order to avoid an ugly fight with the Democrats. However, he appointed her primarily because he has known her long enough to know she will uphold his campaign promise to appoint Justices who will interpret the law, not make the law.

I don’t always agree with President Bush, but I do respect him as a man and as a President. He is a man of his word, which always carries the most weight with me. I am comforted to know that President Bush has known Ms. Miers for over 10 years. I think it is preferable for our President to appoint someone he is sure about than it is for him to appoint someone who may look better on paper, but still come with too much uncertainty.

Liberals and conservatives can keep blowing gaskets over the fight they wanted that it doesn’t look like they are going to get. I’m happy my President is back on his game.