Friday, December 31, 2010

GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron Defends Gay Conservatives On MSNBC


Many people in the media and on political blogs have been talking about how some social conservative groups are boycotting the the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because they have invited a group of gay conservative activists known as GOProud to attend the event in February. Gabriel Malor, writing a post on  Ace's blog, explains that this isn't a complete boycott by social conservative groups since many of them still plan on attending the event. I don't think any fireworks will happen this year as it did last year when a social conservative named Ryan Sorba made a fool of himself by during his criticism towards the organizers of CPAC for inviting gay conservatives to the largest conservative forum in America.
In any event, GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron did an excellent job of explaining how a gay man can be a conservative on MSNBC. As you can tell by the watching the video above, the fill in host Cenk Uygur is flabbergasted over the idea that a gay man could be a conservative despite the fact that many conservatives are opposed to gay marriage and the repeal of DADT. I liked that Christopher Barron explained his support for conservative ideas and principles but I don't agree with his claim that the conservatives are united on the idea of gay conservatives or on issues that are important to gays and lesbians. However, as Hot Air points out, there is a split among conservatives that appears to be a generational gap in terms of support for gays: 
"There may be, as RCP argues, a generational gap on this question in Congress, with senators in their early 50s — even conservatives ones like Richard Burr — more prone to siding with the left on gay issues than older Republicans are. That’s perfectly in keeping with national polling showing more tolerance for gays among younger demographics. Which is to say, per Uygur’s critique, while the GOP hasn’t traditionally welcomed gays, it’s far more likely to do so in the future."
Despite the disagreement among conservatives about allowing gay conservatives to come into the fold, the Republican party has been making great improvements among gay voters. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, Republicans made history in the 2010 elections with gay voters:  
"In 2008, only 19% of gay voters supported Republican candidates in 2008. In 2010, it jumped up to 31% of self-identified gay voters supported Republican candidates for the U.S. House." 
Unless something big happens, the future for gay conservatives is looking good for them. Christopher Barron is absolutely correct that conservatives, as a whole, are more tolerant of gays than liberals are. Tammy Bruce, a well known lesbian conservative talk show host explains:  
"So, when it comes to my comfort level as a conservative who happens to be gay, here's what I know: while many conservatives are people of faith and their religion promotes a very different point of view than mine on homosexuality (and a few other things!), I have found conservatives to be more tolerant, more curious and more understanding of those who are different to them than I ever did when ensconced in US liberal leadership.
Are there religious extremists on the right? Of course, but they are marginalised and rejected. As an example, this year at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference), considered the premier, annual conservative gathering in America, a speaker stepped up to the podium and began verbally to attack gays and lesbians. He was summarily booed from the stage by a conservative audience that refused to allow such bigotry to continue.
As you might have gathered, I prefer the honest, decent and genuinely accepting friends and family I have in the conservative world. We don't always agree on everything, but isn't that the point? – being able to be yourself, make choices that best suit you, without fear of punishment or retribution. My friendships and relationships in the conservative world are not predicated on political correctness and enforced conformity of thought. They are based, instead, on mutual respect, honesty and understanding – concepts many modern liberals should consider revisiting."
While Cenk Uygur laughs at Christopher Barron for being a gay conservative, the laughter masks the fear  that many liberals have over the truth that the Republican party are pulling gay voters away from the Democratic party and that many gay people are finding themselves at home with conservatives. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2012 Competitors Vacationing In Hawaii For Christmas


Mitt Romney and President Obama are both in Hawaii for their Christmas vacation: 
"President Obama isn't the only politician vacationing in Hawaii this Christmas.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a possible 2012 rival for the president, is also spending the holidays in the Aloha State.
Romney and his wife, Ann, are on a two-week break with their five sons, five daughters-in-law and 15 grandchildren, according to the Boston Globe.
The Romney clan is on Maui while Obama heads to Oahu on Wednesday night to catch up with his wife and daughters, who left on Saturday."
Since they are on separate islands, I doubt Obama and Romney will run into each other. However, Hawaii isn't not that big of a state. Given that Romney is probably talking with family and advisors about running for 2012, the fact that Obama is celebrating Christmas nearby will certainly come up in his conversations with people. 
I wonder what is on both of their minds knowing that their political rival is celebrating Christmas in the same state you are in.
What do you think is on their minds as they enjoy Christmas in Hawaii?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mitt Romney Hinting He'll Run In 2012?

Mitt Romney is creating quite a stir on the internet with his Christmas card he sent out for this year:  The card shows Mitt Romney with his wife and 14 grandchildren along with a surprising caption for the photo: 
 Is that Christmas card a joke or not? It is real.
Nate Gunderson of MittRomneyCentral.com - a site dedicated to promoting Romney for the 2012 race - confirmed via e-mail to POLITICO that the card reproduced on the site is genuine ("I received one of them myself", he said).
I am also a team member of Mitt RomneyCentral and if Nate Gunderson says that the card is genuinely from Mitt Romney, then the card is no joke.
The message stating "Guess which grandchild heard that Papa might run again?" is certainly a tease. However, I personally think that it is an admission that he will run in 2012. Why would a politician say something like that and not run? To say it and not run just strikes me as an odd thing to do. 
I am predicting that Mitt Romney will make his announcement to run sometime around late January to mid February of 2011. 
When do you think Mitt will make his announcement for 2012?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Barak Obama & Sarah Palin: Both Are Too Inexperienced To Be President

I have nothing against Sarah Palin. I'm just opposed to her running for office right now. She can run sometime in the future after she gets more experience under her belt. Noemie Emery's Washington Examiner article, "Obama, Palin Met Fame Before They Could Grow" explains how Obama and Palin are alike: 
"Two years ago, two superstars lit up a dazzled political universe -- young, stunning, lissome, and bursting with talent -- and were propelled ahead of their time into prominence, after a minimal time on the national scene. Two years later, it seems as if this has done them no favors: President Obama is widely seen as "overwhelmed" by his office, and Sarah Palin is meeting resistance establishing her credentials as a possible candidate against rivals with rather more seasoning.
On election day 2008, Obama had been in the Senate for less than four years, two of which he had spent running for president, and Palin had spent less than three years as governor of one of the country's most remote and least typical states."
It is true that Obama and Palin are both inexperienced politicians who peaked too soon. The only difference is that Obama is President and Palin is not. However, I think that if Palin becomes President in 2012, she too will be overwhelmed with the position of being the President of the United States just as Obama is currently in over his head with his current job.
Palin supporters think that despite her short resume, she won't face the same outcome as Obama. That is wishful thinking. Many Palin supporters state that she is surrounded by talented and intelligent people and that she's doing all she can to study and learn the issues. I'm sorry...but "studying" will never give you the knowledge you need that only experience can provide.  It is not a substitute for experience. Neither  is  it  the equivalent to experience. And it never will be.
Obama is the perfect example of what happens when you let someone who is not qualified for the position obtain the job. Barak Obama getting "on the job training" has been a political disaster for the Democratic party and for America as well. We cannot have a president who is learning how to be president while working as the President. Neither can we afford to have some one who is "studying" up on the issues in order to appear qualified for the White House.
Noemie Emery points out that some of the greatest presidents needed time to grow and get experience before they became leaders of America: 
"Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were younger than they (42 and 43) when they became president, but their records of service were longer, and deep. Roosevelt was a state representative, police commissioner, governor of New York, and vice president; Kennedy spent 14 years in Congress, eight of them in the Senate, and been observing diplomacy at the highest of levels since he was 19."
The same principle is true for Republicans such as Ronald Reagan: 
"Eight years of this sort of semi-obscurity was what Ronald Reagan had in his two terms as governor, in the last stage of his transition from Hollywood-actor-plus-activist into full-bore political star.
Like Kennedy, he had 14 years from his first run to the White House, and the first 10 were spent finding his feet. Like Kennedy, they were spent in semi-obscurity, mildly famous -- as a former film star; as a celebrity's son who was a war hero -- but hardly the object of media frenzies."
If Palin and Obama were ever to be truly successful politiicans, they needed to earn time on the slope before going down steep black diamond courses. Noemie Emery feels that for both of them, its too late for that now to obtain the experience needed for the job:
"Obama and Palin needed the six years or so of semi-obscurity they were about to embark on before ambition -- and John McCain -- intervened. Instead, their growth was checked at a critical moment, and, as it seems now, won't be resumed quickly -- not in the presidency as Obama is learning, or in a media frenzy, as Palin has found. 
They are famous for life; they will always have money; what they can never have back are the years washed out by destructive celebrity. "She's been microwaved, she needs now to marinate," somebody once said of Palin. But the time for slow-cooking is gone."
I disagree. For Obama its too late. For Palin, she has plenty of time to gain the experience she needs if she doesn't run in 2012.  I am not saying she should never run again. I'm just saying that if Palin wants to be in the White House, it would be prudent for her to run in 2016, 2020 or 2024. Then she will be ready. And she will have my support if she wins the Republican nomination.
During the 2008 campaign, many people pointed out that Obama was not qualified for the job. Obama even addressed that issue himself and admitted he wasn't ready to be President:
Despite Obama's own words and criticism from Republicans, Democrats and news columnists; the Democratic party scoffed at the complaint. But looking back, I think Democrats wished that they took that criticism seriously. I fear that Republicans, who were correct to point out Obama's inexperience, will forget their own criticisms of Obama and make the same mistake with Palin as Democrats did with Obama. 
Thanks to Obama, we know know what happens when an inexperienced person attempts to work in a position that is way of their league. Lets not make that same mistake with Palin in 2012.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Palin and Huckabee: The Establishment Doesn't Like Us Because We're Not Wealthy

Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin are crying about how they're not included in the "cool" crowd of the Republican party because the're not rich like them. Their complaints are silly. 

Mike Huckabee just mortgaged $ 3 million dollars to pay for a new home in Florida. Sarah Palin makes plenty of cash from her books and television appearances. The fact that they complain about the establishment is all a bit silly. 

Listen to Sarah Palin complain about the political bourgeoisie within the Republican Party. She makes this complaint after Barbra Bush's stated on Larry King Live that she would like to see the former Alaskan governor stay in Alaska and after reports of "establishment" Republicans who don't want Sarah Palin to run in the 2012 election began circulating in the press. The key quote is below:
"I don't think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue bloods. And I say it with all due respect - because I love the Bushes - but the blue bloods want to pick and chose their winners, instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners."
What does Sarah Palin mean by calling Barba Bush a "blue blood"? John Hayward provides us with the meaning to this term in his Human Events essay "The Blue Bloodbath":
“Blue blood” is a term that resonates with a frustrated nation, weary of serving at the pleasure of an insular ruling class.  The inheritance of power, through family or party machinery, is of far greater concern to middle-class Americans than the inheritance of wealth.
Mike Huckabee also whines about the Establishment as he talks about how he gets snubbed by the "country club" conservative elites:
"It's about, again, to be blunt, the kind of country club attitude that we're not sure there are certain people we really want as members of the club and we're not going to vote them in. And we don't mind showing up to events to put up signs and making phone calls and going door to door making those pesky little trips that we don't like to do, but we really don't want them dining with us in the main dining room."
Crying about the Establishment is and not getting the proper respect is not what mature, aspiring, politicians do. And complaining about the elite of the Republican party isn't their problem. Its easy to use them as a straw man to knock down those who oppose you whether it the Bushes or somebody else. 

Too be sure, elitism exists in all sorts of places. It can pose a problem for a political party as Hot Air explains:
"Elitism is the tendency of an entrenched political class to assume that they can make better decisions for individuals and have a better understanding of individual interests than the individuals in question.  It makes no difference if the elites attended Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Cal State Fullerton.  It is fundamentally anti-democratic, as it negates the entire idea that an individual can govern himself, and should govern himself.  If the prevailing assumption is that individuals cannot govern themselves individually, it’s a very short hop to the notion that a group of individuals cannot be relied upon to choose their own political leadership, either."
There is a danger in targeting the establishment as the barrier to your political success.  Mitt Romney discusses the danger underneath the complaints made by Palin and Huckabee:
“The populism I’m referring to is, if you will, demonizing certain members of society: going after businesspeople, going after Wall Street, going after people who are highly educated, people who are CEOs. That kind of ‘All of our problems are due to that group’ is something that is unproductive.’’ 
Why is it unproductive to lay blame on one group of people? It is unproductive for the simple reason that politicians rely on creating class conflict as a way to win a political office. To create a conflict between classes, you have to get one group to envy, despise, mistrust or look down on another group. Todd Dittmann's American Thinker essay "The Dead-End Politics of Envy", explains how why class envy is a dangerous idea:
"Class envy, albeit one of the two foundations of the modern Democratic Party's soul (identity politics being the other), is very divisive and fuels mob rule.  It is a tool that exploits happy people who were previously neither aware of their forced group membership nor of their antipathy toward other groups.  It is a tool used in previous tyrannies but one that should remain on the historical scrap heap."
Essentially, class envy is not concept that brings about positive change in society but only a negative and destructive change in society since it introduces dissension and conflict in society by pitting one group against another to obtain the desired outcome or to achieve political power. As Mr. Dittmann noted, class envy is one of the tools that Democrats use to maintain power. I think class envy is no longer strictly in the domain of liberalism but now has seeped into conservatism as well. I'm not the only one who thinks this. While one blogger thinks that class envy is occurring on the part of the Establishment towards the TEA party, I think its the other way around: 
"...Are we witnessing a corresponding politics of envy on the right that turns the concept on its head as members of the GOP Ruling Class — the "blue bloods" called out by Sarah Palin this week in a radio interview with Laura Ingraham — awaken from their comfortable stupor to the sound of pitchfork-bearing members of the Country Class at the gates?"
Complaining about the establishment is childish and immature. However, getting people to support you by stirring up anger towards the rich and powerful is no laughing matter. Yet, certain politicians like  O'Donnell, Huckabee, Palin and Pawlenty exploit class envy to mobilize political support. One Los Angeles columnist writes about why Sarah Palin's complaint of the Bushes are silly and why she resorts to class warfare to draw support for her:
"Palin probably doesn't envy Mrs. Bush (why should she, she's a rich and privileged woman herself now) but she shrewdly uses others' envy of elites like the Bushes to stoke her fans. In politics, such maneuvers are called "class warfare," and when convenient, both sides use it and/or decry its divisive nature."
Politicians like the idea of pitch fork bearing country class members stomping towards the gates of the ruling class. With such anger, they can ride the wave of anger to political office. Which is why they they are presenting themselves as the champions of the middle-class and tea party, solid conservatives. 

Yet, as Ace explains, there's a glaring logical fallacy in their argument:
"Do the elite engage in the fallacy of the argument to authority, offering their status as the credentialed elite as a reason to support their ideas? Yes, they do. But what bothers me about this whole damn anti-elitist panic is that it replacing one appeal to authority with another appeal to authority which is nearly as odious, and actually a bit more when you add in the hypocrisy factor.
The old appeal to authority is rotten and horrible, you should not credit anyone who says "listen to me because I hail from the credentialed elite;" that's why we need to replace it with a new appeal to authority: "Listen to me because I hail from the striving low-to-middle class."
What?
I do not see the great benefit of replacing one regime of sneering dismissiveness based on happenstance of birth with an opposite regime of sneering dismissiveness based on happenstance of birth."
I'm not defending the political elite here. But like Ace, I don't buy into the notion that just because we certify that someone is not a part a certain group, it makes them qualified to lead us. What we're seeing is a form of elitism not from the top but from the bottom based on the argument that we’re better than you because we’re not rich ivy league people.

Not only is their argument flawed, but there's s a good reason to mistrust politicians who have no problems using class warfare and class envy to achieve political power
"For many in Washington (and in statehouses), ideas are to be trotted out at election time and when the cameras are on, while they focus on the acquisition and administration of political power. While they may believe in the primacy of the Constitution, in limited government, or have deeply held personal beliefs on social issues, they use the ideas to win elections, rather than wanting to win elections to advance the ideas."
While the quoted article above was made towards conservative elites, it applies equally to the blue collar conservatives as well. These who have no problems using  liberal tactics of stirring up class anger among the public towards those who stand in their way of political office are not to be trusted. They may advance conservative ideas but only to win elections at any cost.

Karl Rove was invited on the Laura Ingram show to address the complaints made by Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee of elitism within the Republican party.  Listen to the exchange between Rove and Ingram below:


Karl Rove wins the debate with this key point:
"I think it would be healthy for the party for us to have everybody jump in, and let them go out there and spend the next year making the case for themselves and making the case against President Obama and let people know what they got and show them that they can unite the party and reach outside the party like Ronald Reagan did."
That's how conservative politicians should run. As Karl Rove noted, complaining about the establishment is "unnecessary."  There's no need to whine about not being liked by the Establishment or that the Elite is keeping you down. There's no need to resort to class envy either. Let it remain a device used by the Left.  

Conservatives should stay with the well worn path of relying of winning elections on their own merits simply by making the case for themselves. They make a poor argument for themselves when they complain about the establishment and use class envy to divide conservatives from one another based on wealth and status. Just get out there and just compete in the realm of ideas.
All you have to be is the best hard working individual you can be and let the public vote.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!!

The economy, both at home and in most of the developed world, is still shaky. Most of us still wonder exactly how close we came to another Great Depression, and some are still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It feels that with every passing day of the last decade, our personal lives, like the Hanukkah top known as a dreidel, spin faster and faster. That’s the world of Hanukkah 2010, a world that needs Hanukkah and the opportunity it provides ─ to remember, reconnect, and renew.
This is not a Jewish thing, anymore than the world needing the beauty and promise of the Christmas story, even though we are not all Christian and will not all agree about the theological meaning of that story. This is about an ancient holiday which promises ways of helping us through turbulent times.
On Hanukkah we remember that we have it within us to play the game of life as much as the game plays us.We reconnect to the source of that ability, wherever we may find it. 
Hanukkah is a time of heroes, of people who made miracles happen and no matter what the cynic may say, heroism is not dead and there really are still heroes in our world.
In fact, today’s real heroes may be much closer than we realize. They may even be staring back at us when we look in the mirror. And that’s where the story of Hanukkah comes in.
Most of us, Jewish or not, have some knowledge of the story of brave, strong Judah Maccabee fighting to liberate the Temple in Jerusalem. But do we recall that he was a small town boy with few material or institutional resources at his disposal when he began his career? In all likelihood there was little special about Judah and his family until circumstance and their own determination presented them with a challenge which they saw as an opportunity.
In a culture that too often substitutes celebrity for heroism, and cynicism for sophistication, we need to recall that part of the story, also. It's the part that reminds us that everyone is already a hero, or at least has the capacity to be one.
Each of us, according to Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, is a living Hanukkah candle capable of spreading our own inner light in the world and living a story of heroism by doing so. Each of us can live our most deeply held values in ways that not only improve our own lives, but contribute to the lives of those with whom we live and work.
Rabbi Kook knows that true heroism begins with a sense of our own capacity and the need to resist the urge to minimize either it, or the obligation to rise up and make use of it in the best way we can.
What do we have in common with Judah Maccabee? A potential for heroism. In an age when people question whether there really are heroes anymore, Hanukkah reminds us that there are always heroes and we are they -- if we give ourselves permission.
I think its a powerful message that is applies to all of us. We often forget the true meaning of the holidays we celebrate as it gets lost in the lights, parties and shopping sprees but as the Rabbi points out, the meaning of these holidays grow more and more important as time marches on. His message may cliché but the point is worth repeating. The lessons embedded in these holidays will help us overcome the challenges that will come in the new year and we would be foolish to ignore them. 
He also makes a powerful point about heroes which goes does has a strong relationship to why we forget the true meaning of significant holidays. We often celebrate the superficial at the expense of the significant. We grant  rock stars, actors and actresses, sports figures and politician high status in our society while the true heroes fade into obscurity. When tough times hit, we don't look to rock stars, actors and actresses, sports figures and politician for moral and spiritual leadership. We may look to them as a means to escape our daily troubles but they will be in the same boat as the rest of us when the tough times come. True heroes provide leadership, guidance, support and safety in good times as well as bad. But they're extremely valuable, yet always in short supply, when the hard times come. Just as we need to remember the true meaning of the holidays, we need to remember the real heroes.
I believe it is possible to balance the fun and seriousness that comes with these holidays. We can remember the lessons of these festive times and reflect on them in our private moments. We can also enjoy the company of people that we cherish in our lives. We can also enjoy the more flashy and festive parts of the holidays as well. Just don't ever lose sight of the meaning in the fun. 
Speaking of finding joy in Hanukkah, I figured it would be fun to post all the awesome songs about Hanukkah for you to enjoy: