Category Archives: Politics

The Gingrich Problem

According to exit polls in South Carolina, more than half of the people who voted in the Republican primary describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.  Most of those voters said that it is very important to them that a candidate share their beliefs.  Most of them voted for Newt Gingrich.

These polling data are strange.  To begin with, the only Protestant still running for the Republican nomination is Ron Paul, who is a Southern Baptist.  Gingrich is a recent convert to Roman Catholicism.  Santorum is also a Catholic.  Romney is a Mormon.  So, if South Carolina voters who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical want a candidate who shares their beliefs, Ron Paul would have been the better choice.  A few of them, apparently, made that choice, but most did not.

Of course, the more glaring problem is Gingrich’s personal life.  I won’t rehash it, as it is well known by now.  I do not understand how evangelicals in the Republican Party can overlook Gingrich’s indiscretions.  The reason that I do not understand it is that evangelicals, as a general group, were out for blood when Clinton’s affair with an intern came to light.  They wanted him impeached and found guilty and ousted.

Here’s the thing.  Everyone who was willing to overlook Clinton’s bad behavior has no business maligning Gingrich.  Likewise, everyone who wanted Clinton’s head on a platter has no business excusing Gringrich’s behavior and supporting him in the nomination process.  It is called hypocrisy and a lack of integrity.

I am speaking in generalities, which has its drawbacks.  Obviously each individual is responsible for his own actions.  I myself was against Clinton for his disgraceful conduct; therefore, I am against Gingrich.  My moral sensibilities do not change just because a candidate has a different party’s initial after his name.  In fact, a case could be made that Clinton is an overall morally superior person to Gingrich, since he has stayed married to his first wife and apparently–one can hope–has learned to be faithful to her.

It is probably unfair for nonchristians to judge Christians as a group; it is always unfair to judge individuals for the behavior of a group.  However, unbelievers will judge Christians, and the judgment will not be favorable.  As a group, the so-called Christian right acts hypocritically, excusing the sins of Republicans and hammering on the sins of Democrats.  (Of course, the same thing happens in the converse, but let’s not go there.)

Here’s the bigger problem.  Nominee Gingrich will carry a lot of baggage.  Faithful family man, Barack Obama, will be his opponent.  Not only will Gingrich’s moral failings come into play, but so will the ethics charges that were brought against him in the House of Representatives.  He might be well qualified to be President, and I believe he is, but his dirty laundry will be a huge liability.

It makes no difference to me who the Republicans nominate.  However, if they are smart and–more so–if they want to live up to their stated principles, Republicans who are evangelical will not help to nominate Gingrich, and they will not vote for him if he does get the nomination.

 

Christians and Ron Paul

Voddie Baucham of Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, supports Ron Paul as a presidential candidate.  Alex Tokarev of Morthland College in Illinois does too.

At least I am not the only Christian in America who sees Ron Paul as the best Republican candidate.

Thoughts on the Iowa Caucuses

Wow!  I was surprised at how well Rick Santorum did in Iowa. 

I had predicted that the results would have Romney, Paul, and Gingrich in that order.  Somehow Santorum was not even on my radar screen for the top three spots. 

I find it interesting that Santorum spent very little money but spent a lot of time touring the state and talking to people live.  It goes against conventional wisdom that one must buy slick advertisements, as did Rick Perry.  He reportedly spent $4 million in Iowa.

I also find it interesting that a Mormon and a Roman Catholic tied for first.  It doesn’t matter to me, but it is interesting that it doesn’t matter to people in Iowa either. 

I am glad that I was right about Paul’s placement above Gingrich.  I knew that he would do well in Iowa based on polling data and on the “word on the street” that I had access to.  He is only a bit behind the top two, and I believe that he will gain more support now, especially if and when others drop out.  I was amused that the CNN report that I read this morning did not even mention him.

It’s a funny thing about Ron Paul.  The people who are against him make two opposing claims–that he is unelectable because he does not rally appeal to people and that he has rabid support from people that give him high polling numbers.  I have even heard staunch conservatives, especially evangelical conservatives, claim that he is now the favorite of the left–because he wants to avoid war and legalize drugs. 

In fact, I would think that Paul would make the perfect third-party choice.  As a libertarian, he does endorse many favorite views of the left as well as many favorite views of the right.

Oh, and the stuff about his being a racist and a homophobe is nonsense.  It is typical political smearing.  It is no different from saying that Obama is a secret Muslim.

I am guessing that at least some of Bachman’s, Huntsman’s, and Perry’s supporters will switch to Ron Paul.  I particularly think that support in Texas will shift from Perry to Paul. 

Of course, I’m still pretty sure that Romney will get the nomination but not defeat Obama.

Voter ID–Short and Sweet

To get a library card at the New York Public Library, you must show an identification card with a photo.  To open a bank account you have to show an ID with a photo and your actual physical address, which you must also verify with a utility bill.

So why is it so oppressive or cruel to expect people to prove their identity when they vote?

Iowa Caucuses and Beyond

Before the 2008 Iowa caucuses, the polls predicted that the U. S. would be choosing between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.

In other words, there is no way to know on this eve of the new year, who we will be on the ballot, for the Republican Pary, in November.

In last year’s Iowa caucuses the top four Republicans were Huckabee, Romney, and (with the same percentage) McCain and, my favorite, Thompson.  The top three Democrats were Obama, Edwards, and Clinton, and they were quite close in percentages.  In other words, we should not put too much stock in who wins or loses in Iowa.

I predict that the top three Republicans will be Romney, Paul, and Gingrich, in that order.  I am considering the polling data and what I am hearing and reading about the man on the street in Iowa.

I will not be voting for any Republican candidate next year, unless I have no Libertarian to vote for in a particular office.  However, I would like to see Ron Paul succeed this time around.  He won’t, but I still hope so.

I am quite sure that Republicans will go with a “safe” candidate the way that they did last time, by which I mean Romney, of course.  He probably will not win against Obama, but who could?

Occupy Wall Street or Work on Wall Street

A story on CNN about a participant in the Occupy Wall Street movement caught my attention.  It seems that she decided that maybe it really was better to get a job–just like the hecklers have been telling the OWS crowd. 

If you want a laugh, read the article.  Nothing more needs to be said.

Car Free Week, But Not for Governor Patrick

     I have written before about Al Gore’s hypocrisy when it comes to “green” living.  I’m sure that he is just an anomaly.  Pretty sure.  Then again, I wonder why it is so easy to find these stories.  From time to time, even the mainstream press reports on things like George Clooney flying around in a private jet to urge people to reduce harmful emissions.  I’m not sure that they are always trying to expose hypocrisy, but they do so anyway.

     The Boston Herald has reported that Governor Deval Patrick drove to work in a car on the very first day of Car Free Week, which transportation officials in Massachusetts have been promoting.  “You got me!” he said to journalists.  Indeed.  Then he urged other people not to follow his example, but to use public transportation throughout the week. 

     You might say that he is, after all, an important person.  He has to get to urgent meetings and sometimes has to travel across town several times a day.  Although it is true, most people who drive a car can give you a good reason that they are doing it.  They have jobs to get to, visitors to pick up at the airport, kids to take to clubs and sports, shopping to do.  They have urgent meetings to attend, in some cases.  And, besides,  we do not have an aristocracy in America.  We certainly do not have anointed kings and princes whose feet must never touch the ground or who must never be allowed to perspire.

     If Governor Patrick and other politicians really believe that we are going to ruin the planet and kill ourselves in the process, then they would take action and not just make speeches.  When I see people walking the walk, then I will begin to give more credence to the talk.

Al Gore should invite Governor Patrick to his home in Tennessee, which uses about ten times as much electricity as other Tennessee homes.  They can swap laughs over how they tell everyone else to treat the earth more kindly.

Literal, Not Figurative, Theft by Uncle Sam

Those of you who like government power will love this item.  Then again, the ACLU doesn’t like it, so maybe you won’t either.

An editorial at Forbes by Daniel Mitchell exposes something that I was not aware of–seizure of assets held by non-criminals.  You can read it yourself, but the key points for me are as follows:

  • The government should have the power to seize assets that were illegally gotten, such as in a bank robbery or a case like the Bernie Madoff rip-off.
  • Because of the presumption of innocence, the government should take people’s assets only after a person is convicted of a crime.  (I would add that they should have the power to temporarily seize assets that are needed as evidence in a trial.)
  • There have been cases of innocent bystanders (presumably anyway) having their assets confiscated because they happened to be among the assets of known or suspected criminals or because of some technical violation of an obscure (and unjust?) law.
  • There are now 400 laws, apparently almost double the number from 10 years ago, related to asset seizure by the government.  And they still want more.
  • Local agencies benefit from seizing assets, because the national government “rewards” them with a sizable portion of the loot that they take.  In other words, there is a tantalizing incentive for taking people’s welath away from them.

But we should trust the government to do the right thing, you might argue.  Sure, I answer, because there have never been any crooks in the government!

A more serious answer is that it is never, ever the right thing to take people’s belongings away from them just because you grant yourself the power to do so.  We have reverted to tyranny with these laws.  They should be abolished.

Why, I wonder, do people distrust Catholic priests, factory owners, and used car dealers, but they put absolute faith in politicians and bureaucrats?  Do those people sport a halo that proves that they have only the best intentions in their hearts?  Do they have a track record of doing only what is good and right for other people?  Are people simply apathetic–as long as they are not the ones having their property seized?  Are some people even happy to hear that the government is taking all that money, considering the budget crunches?

Warning:  it could be you next time.

Paul for President?

Among conservative Christians that I know, Ron Paul does not rate very highly.  Some consider him too kooky.  Some dislike his foreign policy stance.  Some specifically dislike his position on Israel.  Some of them question his commitment to the life of the unborn.

I like Ron Paul, and if he were to be nominated, I might vote for him for President rather than the Libertarian candidate, as I was planning.

He just won a GOP straw poll in California, getting 45% of the vote.  Rick Perry came in second with 29%.  Mitt Romeny received only 9%.  Paul has won, or come in second, in several of these straw polls.  Maybe he has a chance, after all.

The Chosen One Falls

According to a CBS poll, President Obama now has a 43% approval rating. His disapproval rating is 50%.

Hmm. . .

The man who promised hope and change has apparently not delivered, as far as about half of the American public is concerned. I am surprised for two reasons.

I am surprised because he was praised to the hilt by the mainstream media during the campaign. You would have thought that he was born in Bethlehem and that his mother was named Mary. He was above suspicion and above scrutiny. Well, well, well. . .

I am also surprised because during the campaign it was a mortal sin to criticize or disapprove of Barack Obama. If anyone did, he or she was immediately branded a racist. It appears that people are now willing to take the risk of being so branded in order to admit that the President is not doing such a good job.

I don’t actually put much stock in these ratings. The average person is happy with the leaders who are currently in charge if the economy is booming and unhappy with current leadership if the economy is not doing so well. The actual performance of the people in question is not evaluated by the average person.