Category Archives: Good Republicans

Why I’m not a Republican any more

I got a letter from Falmouth, Maine the other day. It was the first of the sixty or so I received from my fundraising mailing that didn’t contain a donation. Instead I found a letter from a fellow who had once contributed to Let Duluth Vote and our lawsuit who told me that he left Duluth because he was “fed up with the smug chumps.” He said of his friends left behind: “Well now they’re being shafted by the RED PLAN, but I’m not!” To this he adds: “Its sad that you’ve gone DFL. Look at you’re DFL colleagues . . . how can you be one of them?”

The answer is that in spirit I’m more Lincoln than Democrat. But even Lincoln worked hard to pull a party out of disperate parts, No Nothings (anti immigrant), ex Whigs (big government), Free Soilers (abolitionists), Anti Slave Democrats (who simply didn’t want the Supreme Court to rule that slavery could be legalized in all states). In his second presidential campaign he chose a Democrat, the much criticized Andrew Johnson, to be his running mate. How about that for a big tent?

Today’s GOP insiders are doing their best to keep the GOP a small tent. Read this about the conservative, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham, and tell me I should have stuck around. He’s being hung in effigy by the GOP’s Circular firing squad. C F Squads is how Democrats used to describe what they did to each other. At least I heard Lincoln’s name invoked and his wonderful quotation read aloud about ours being a government “of the people for the people and by the people” at the last DFL function I attended. As long as Abe is quoted somewhere even on the lips of folks in the other party our nation shall not perish from the Earth.

That last post

I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea about that last post. I’m still a big fan of Obama. I said as much at the Union endorsement screening (which by the way, surprise, surprise, endorsed Roger)

I heard NPR’s Saturday broadcast today tsk tsking about Obama saying he wanted to figure out who’s “ass to kick.” Commentator Simon was uncomfortable about the use of that three letter word synonym for derrière.

As Simon pointed out that’s not Obama’s style but I say big deal. The GOP commentators who seem to have prompted the crass comment are mostly “entertainers” dependent upon an income based on keeping about 15% of America happy – Fox News watchers. They demanded some emotion but the President just can’t cry as convincingly as Glen Beck. Obama’s awkward delivery of the line shows he has just what I want in a President of the United States. Rationality.

And I agree that someone’s ass ought to get kicked but I’m not sure whose ass it should be. BP, of course but there are others. According to the Rolling Stone story a lot of the criticism should go to the ex Senator of Colorado. During his term in the Senate, that was controlled by Republicans, he got in the habbit of proving that he was a good pro oil drilling, politician, no doubt to spare himself from GOP criticism. He had to watch his back side because Colorado is a fairly conservative state. He’s held that line as the Secretary of Energy prodded on by a faltering world economy dependent on cheap energy. Oh, and he has an hispanic surname – Salazar. I don’t expect Obama will kick his ass very hard.

Heck, Obama is like a target for a drunken Circus knife thrower with all the crises being dropped at his feet.

You can read the email I sent to Vic when he sent me the synopsis of the Rolling Stone piece: Continue reading

Domestic enemies

After stirring up the passions of a crowd of partisans at a Heritage Club event (and the H Club is not generally considered to be made up of wackos) Congressman Eric Cantor is asked why Obama shouldn’t be considered a domestic enemy.

More background here:

Contrast this accusation with this video example of the Right Wings’s war on drugs and consider the same question.

More background here.

Minnesota GOP seconds Sarah Palin’s choice of Governor

Nuff said.

Well, actually I’m not sure nuff said, quite says it all.

I attended most Minnesota State GOP Conventions from 1972 until Tim Pawlenty’s nomination in 2002. The last one I just made a brief visit to for old time’s sake. I was rooting for Pawlenty over Brian Sullivan but winced at his kow towing to the no nothings who demanded that he sign a pledge for no new taxes. It was the first evidence that he would do almost anything required of him by the Roger Ailes crowd to stay in favor.

I found a clipping last week from a few years ago that I was using as a book mark in my copy of “The Godless Constitution” by Isaac Kramnick and R Laurence Moore. The story was published in the Trib on June 16th, 2005 and was about one of the GOP’s top political correctness enforcers, Grover Norquist, beating Pawlenty up for raising “fees” and refusing to acknowledge that they were taxes.

Norquist was right and Pawlenty was playing word games to get hold of a little more money. Tim has been much truer to the neo GOP orthodoxy ever since. He’d like to be President so he can bring his Minnesota example of GOP purity to the national scene.

Palin, who aced Pawlenty out with the McCain team and who has since left him behind in the demography department has become the Big Sister of the GOP. Her posters loom over all GOP gatherings and her admirers are mesmerized by her chutzpa in speaking out of both sides of her mouth, ignoring reality, and her truthy approach to solving the world’s big problems. “Drill baby drill!”

The GOP convention seemed to appreciate her Gubenatorial choice, Tom Emmer’s, Palinesque certainty and confidence. He’s kind of pretty too and I think he was a hockey player like the man he hopes to succeed. That inspires confidence.

The GOP will kick butt in 2010?????

My old sparring partner Vic sent me this political analysis from the erstwhile GOP strategist, Dick Morris, who helped elect Bill Clinton President: Essentially Morris says that Democrats are toast.

What the hell, Harry. You can switch from being a Lincoln Democrat, to being a Lincoln Republican.

Morris is still angry with Clinton because he was canned by Bill at Hillary’s insistence for something on the order of letting his prostitute girlfriend listen in on private White House phone calls. He’s still smarmy but that doesn’t necessarily mean his analysis is faulty. In this case I think it is and I sent Vic this reply:


If I could just be in the Lincoln party that would be great.

Morris like Rove, Carville, Lee Atwater, Ham Jordon, and others before him has had his day in the sun getting a president elected. Today Morris is just part of the GOP echo chamber. His role today is cheer leading the Republicans out of hiding. Continue reading

$Obamacare vs. $Bushcare

The GOP Congressmen who are frothing at the mouth over the cost of Obamacare fell all over themselves to vote for Bushcare: a comparison:

However, Medicare Part D, like much of Medicare, is likely to grow much faster than the new health care entitlement that went into law. Therefore, if the new health care entitlement grows at a rate of say 6-7 percent per year, whereas the prescription drug benefit grows at rate of say 9-10 percent per year, it will turn out that around 2040, the Republican entitlement will be costing more than “ObamaCare.”

No more big tent

I read the other day something that I’ve noted but never quite put into words. The Democratic party which has been accused of political correctness for the past couple decades by Republicans never agrees on anything. In other words, when it comes to their agenda they fight like heck with other Democrats.

On the other hand the Republicans who like to accuse Democrats of political correctness, which means I guess that they all move in a herd, and will not brook dissent. This happens to be a very ironic situation but fortunately most Republicans are unable to distinguish irony.

Rush Limbaugh who claims only to be a conservative and not a Republican regularly gets Republicans who dare deviate from GOP scripture to apologize to him and beg his forgiveness. The party regularly complies and works hard to unseat Republican apostates like Cong. Jim Leach, Dede Scozzafava, Senators Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Chuck Hagel, John McCain and now Scott Brown, Governors William Weld, and Charlie Christ among others. Now GOP purists are even purging Republicans of the past who have been discovered to fail the purity tests:

The Texas School Board does not want too much teaching about Democrat-Republican President Thomas Jefferson – damned deists.

And Glenn Beck hates Teddy Roosevelt – damn socialists. And if you are a Republican who likes Roosevelt you’ve got big trouble.

In an apparent reference to John McCain, Beck condemned a “guy in the Republican Party who says his favorite president is Theodore Roosevelt.” He then read disapprovingly the Roosevelt quote that “we grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used . . . so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.”

“Is this what the Republican Party stands for?” Beck demanded. He was answered with boos and cries of “no!” “It’s big government, it’s a socialist utopia and we need to address it as if it is a cancer.”

And who is a good Republican? Maybe that ex democrat the late Senator Jesse Helms:

Appearing on “Larry King Live” in 1995, Jesse Helms, then the senior senator from North Carolina, fielded a call from an unusual admirer. Helms deserved the Nobel Peace Prize, the caller gushed, ‘for everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers.” Given the rank ugliness of the sentiment” the guest host, Robert Novak, called it, with considerable understatement, “politically incorrect” Helms could only pause before responding. But the hesitation couldn’t suppress his gut instincts. “Whoops, well, thank you, I think,” he said. With prodding from Novak, he added that he’d been spanked as a child for using the N-word and noted (with a delicious hint of uncertainty), “I don’t think I’ve used it since.” As for the caller’s main point “the virtue of keeping down blacks” it passed without comment.

Here’s an infamous ad from one of Jesse’s campaigns.

Poor old GOP couldn’t get away with an add like Jesse’s in 2008. But they showed their new open mindedness by selecting Michael Steele as their new GOP Chairman. Oh, but he’s one of the Republicans who had to apologize to that entertainer Limbaugh.

Here’s a little sylogism:
All Christians are as sheep before God.
All Republicans are sheep.
Republicans who are not Sheep are Republicans in Name only and should be cast out of the Party.

This sylogism has a couple corolary’s. Here’s my favorite:
Pundits on Fox News who are NOT Republicans can finger RINO’s for removal from the party.

Cheap money makes us stupid

Eleven PM, Saturday. I should be going to bed. Feeling hot and sweaty. Just clicked a link to a blog post Vic sent me. This one is by the Atlantic’s Meg McCardle.

Meg predicts that we are in for a series of new financial shocks this time in the commercial real estate world. A quarter trillion of possible defaults could take place each year for the next couple of years. It may not be the end of the world but its not got to be good.

This passage comes near the end of her post:

The best explanation for the calamity that has overtaken us may simply be that cheap money makes us all stupid. The massive inflows of international capital, which Ben Bernanke has called the “global savings glut,” poured into our loan markets, driving interest rates lower and, since most real estate is purchased with borrowed funds, pushing up the price of property in both the commercial and residential sectors. Rising prices, in turn, disguised any potential problems with the borrowers, because if they ran into cash-flow problems, they could always refinance, or sell. Everyone was getting bad signals from the market, and outlandish purchases looked almost rational.

That answer isn’t quite satisfying, especially in the face of another financial meltdown. We don’t want ambiguity and complex systems; we want heroes, villains, and a happy ending. But by now we should all know that real-estate markets are rarely the stuff of fairy tales.

Read the whole thing but if you are not an economist or a commercial landlord you may have a hard time following it.

So having read it I’m all hot and sweaty. Why? Well, I wanted to be something of a political sage, like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mocking Bird. I might be trapped in insane times but I’d personally stand up to the foolishness and do what was right. Well, I’ve not been very successful at that.

This notion of easy “cheap” money is much on my mind. Early on in my fight against the denial of a referendum on the Red Plan I ran across a UM Law Professor who was telling me about a book he’d been reading. The upshot was that bankers loved to have government borrow money because government in the US never goes bankrupt. All the state constitutions with the exception of one require that state’s never go into default. In Minnesota’s case ( and probably most other state’s cases) subdivisions like Cities that get into financial trouble can tell banks and bond companies to have the state pay up should they go into default.

Under these circumstances what banker wouldn’t lend government more than it could easily handle? And so Duluth’s school board got the biggest single school construction project in state history. It won’t save money on energy. It will cost double what the District told voters. The banks will be paid back by the taxpayers because that’s how it works. Easy money and everybody who is part of the project can hide behind school children and say Its for our city’s future.

I’ve been fighting two battles over the past three years having to do with the foolishness easy money provokes. The Red Plan is the first and its taken up three quarters of my energy. The other has been very personal and I’ve only alluded to it occasionally in the most veiled way. Continue reading

The most compelling reason to vote for McCain

The reason? Its divided government and this persuasive argument for it and a McCain Presidency comes from George Will. I agree with George but I will almost certainly vote for Obama.

I hate the idea of “card check neutrality” which is absolutely undemocratic. It will come to pass under Obama. I’ve long felt that the power in union management has tilted too far out of balance in management’s favor. Republicans have turned the NLRB into a toothless regulator making it very difficult for unions to legally unionize businesses. As terrible as ccn is, it is a swing of the pendulum. Someday when common sense and its negative effects on the economy kick in it will be scrapped or modified. It will hurt our economy but so do farm subsidies.

As for the “Fairness Doctrine, well, George has a good point here to. You could call it the regulation of political speech or in other words “political censorship.” Its very Big Brother and kind of like the, AHEM, Patriot Act.

Against George’s call for divided government I must consider:

The Christianization of the GOP
McCain’s health and possibly muddled thinking
Sarah Palin
His take no prisoners campaign
His primitive faith in the maxim “My country right or wrong.”
Obama’s nuanced understanding of the increasingly complicated and hostile world that we have gracelessly and unnecessarily offended

Is Palin a Poser?

As a thirty-year Republican pushed to the margins by a Party which has made abortion its first test of loyalty I’m struck by this question about the Party’s latest heroine:

“An interesting debate has been going on out of the media limelight. Sarah Palin’s decision earlier this year to have an amniocentesis to determine if her unborn child had Down Syndrome is not uncontroversial among pro-lifers. I’d be curious to find out from women readers, especially pro-life women readers, what their views of amniocentesis are, and how common it is for totally principled pro-life pregnant women to consent to having them. The reason for the debate is two-fold: a) if you are not considering an abortion, there isn’t much point in having an amniocentesis; and b) much more important for a pro-lifer, an amniocentesis poses a small but real risk to the life of an unborn child. According to the Christian News Service:”

Palin also believes in contraception contrary to most in her religous wing of the GOP. I agree with her. As a young Mother who gave birth eight months after she eloped I think that’s a very rational decision on her part. But its not part the Party line.

On the Passing of Gerald Ford

Gerry Ford is one of the four Presidents I’ve seen albeit before he became President. He spoke to the summer interns in 1971 when I was in Washington and welcomed us to D.C.

I was very partial to Ford and when Ronald Reagan attempted to wrest the GOP nomination from him in 1976 I was a strong Ford partisan. I always blamed Bob Dole for his defeat even though most people blamed his loss on the Nixon pardon. I thought the pardon was the right thing to do.

I just read this bruising critique of Ford by Christopher Hitchens which is worth a read. Whenever everyone starts starts acting like a herd (and almost everyone has been saying nice things about Ford) its worth paying attention to the dissenters. Hitchens hasn’t changed my mind though. I’m still a Ford fan.

Bush vs Bush

Years ago when the current President was still out of control his father had him talk to Billy Grahm to help straighten him out.

As President the junior Bush made a point of saying that he listened to his Father…the one in heaven implying that he wasn’t inclined to pay any heed to his own Father’s advice. Now, many people are pointing to the Iraq Study Group as the latest intervention by the elder Bush to help his struggling Son.

Yesterday the former President broke up repeatedly in talking about the honor of his son – Florida Governor Jeb Bush. 

Andrew Sullivan speculates that it is because the former President is grateful to have at least one son who wh is living up to the high standards the elder Bush would like, or would have liked, both his sons to live up to.