Saturday, March 31, 2007

And They Call it Puppy Love...

As the song goes, love is strange.

A few years ago, I met this guy that I had an extreme crush on. He was cute and a bit of a curmudgeon, like me. I tended to bypass some of his faults as being part of his adoring character. The relationship never did work out and later on, I started to see some of his traits were not really that cute after all.

A lot of people who once really liked the President are starting to feel the same way. In the days after 9/11, I really did think that President Bush was a godsend and was looking forward to voting for him come 2004. The Iraq came and his support of the so-called Marriage Amendment and it all went downhill for me. If you read some of Andrew Sullivan's entries back circa 2001-03, you could see that Andrew definitely had a big crush on Bush. If you read Andrew now? Not so much.

In light of that, you might want to read how former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd has fallen out of love with the President. It's a heartbreaking story in my view. Why? Because this President could have been a better president than he was. And yet he wasn't. but while it is sad to see what could have been, there is also some hope in this article. After the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, Dowd went to work for the Scharzenegger re-election campaign, which was defintely more unifying than the presidential campaign of three years ago. Dowd has learned that it is better campaign to all the people and not just a slim majority:

“I think we should design campaigns that appeal not to 51 percent of the people,” he said, “but bring the country together as a whole.”

He said that he still believed campaigns must do what it takes to win, but that he was never comfortable with the most hard-charging tactics. He is now calling for “gentleness” in politics. He said that while he tried to keep his own conduct respectful during political combat, he wanted to “do my part in fixing fissures that I may have been part of.”

One would hope that as the Bush era comes to a close, we will go to a more "kindler and gentler" style of campaigning and governing. We need someone who will talk about America as a whole and not seek to divide us.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why the Gonzales Affair Matters, Part Two

This about sums it up:

The central unanswered question is whether the president and attorney general were shaking up the prosecutor corps to make it better or to make it into a political weapon to help the Republican Party.

That was today's editorial from the Chicago Tribune, not a paper known for wacky, liberal views.

Andrew Sullivan picks up on that and runs with it, by looking at a recent report which shows the Bushies have really been busy remaking the Justice Department into a fiefdom of the President:

From 2001 through 2006 the Bush Justice Department investigated elected Democratic office holders and office seekers locally (non-state-wide and non federal offices) at a rate more than seven times greater (nearly 85 percent to 12 percent) than they investigated local Republican elected office holders and seekers. This was so even though, throughout the nation, Democrat elected officials outnumber Republican elected officials at the rate of only 50 percent to 41 percent. Nine percent of elected officials are Independent/Other.

Is this what we want? Agencies of the government being used to smash the opposition?

Gonzales should go. Now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Global Warming and "Know Nothing" Conservatives

"The issue of environmental quality is one which transcends traditional political boundaries. It is a cause which can attract, and very sincerely, liberals, conservatives, radicals, reactionaries, freaks, and middle-class straights."
-Russell Kirk.

Russell Kirk is considered one the luminaries of American conservatism. You have to wonder what he would think how some who call themselves conservatives are enforcing an ideology that says global warming doesn't exist. The LA Times notes today in an editorial about how a small minority of conservatives are keeping Republicans on the anti-global warming side even though there are many in the GOP that would like to have some say in the issue. These rigid views comes even as the business lobby is coming around to the idea that something has to be done about climate change. The Times notes:

...Republicans who do believe in global warming get shunted aside. Nicole Gaudiano of Gannett News Service recently reported that Rep. Wayne Gilchrest asked to be on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio refused to allow it unless Gilchrest would say that humans have not contributed to global warming. The Maryland Republican refused and was denied a seat.

Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), both research scientists, also were denied seats on the committee. Normally, relevant expertise would be considered an advantage. In this case, it was a disqualification; if the GOP allowed Republican researchers who accept the scientific consensus to sit on a global warming panel, it would kill the party's strategy of making global warming seem to be the pet obsession of Democrats and Hollywood lefties.

The phenomenon here is that a tiny number of influential conservative figures set the party line; dissenters are marginalized, and the rank and file go along with it. No doubt something like this happens on the Democratic side pretty often too. It's just rare to find the phenomenon occurring in such a blatant way.

Now, I don't like Al Gore much either, but that doesn't mean I think that the topic of Climate Change is somehow a lefty conspiracy. What's amazing and sad is that this has become a political issue. It boils down to "if the Democrats are for it, then we have to be against it." Everything in the GOP these days is about politics and how to stick to the Dems and not about governing. With some in the business community like Dupont, leading the way on climate change, the GOP leadership might be heading towards being irrelelvant, becoming a small band of know-nothings, like those who believe the moom landing was staged.

For a more realistic Republican viewpoint, you might want to read this speech by David Jenkins of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Thanks to Michael van der Galien for the tip.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Cody Statement

I thought I would share a statement made six years ago, but gay and straight Republicans. For some reason, the document has been ignored, and should be shared.

Here is the Cody Statement:

We are Republican because we believe in limited government, free markets, a strong national defense, and personal responsibility;

We strive for Unity without the tyranny of uniformity, because the greatness of the Republican Party, like the greatness of America, is found in our tolerance for diversity;

We are full members of the Coalition that elected President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney; and Republicans everywhere, and we accept our corresponding rights and duties as such.

Some of us are straight, some of us are gay or lesbian, and some of us think it is nobody's business but our own what we are. All of us are American -- unique, multi-dimensional, defying any one label but united by three common commitments:

We are committed to Freedom; we believe everyone should be included in America's proud progression toward full civil equality for all, without regard to sexual orientation. Neither victim nor villain, we seek no special privilege, but we deplore being penalized. Many of us simply want to be left alone -- a creed of many Wyoming persons. We believe a government powerful enough to “give” all citizens what they think they might want will inevitably be powerful enough to take it all away.

We are committed to Family and recognize families form the core of civilized society, whichever of the many loving forms families may take in 21st Century America; we are joined in our commitment to be true to our ancestors, who fought and died, strove and sacrificed so that we could enjoy the blessing of Liberty today. We are committed to love and protect each other in the present, and we trust that the work we do will make our communities and our country a better place for future generations. We believe well-intentioned people always can find ways to live together in harmony, if we are just to try.

And while government can help ensure a good society, it cannot make a great society---only free people, acting in their myriad creative and generous ways, can accomplish that task.

We are committed to a respect for the Faith of the Founders; most of us, although not all of us, worship God or a Higher Being. But no matter what our private beliefs, we are all publicly devoted to an America in which everyone is free to pursue life, liberty and happiness. At the same time, we recognize the value and importance of moral and ethical standards. Cognizant of the violence which tears at our country, we band together in common defense against every kind of violence and hatred.

These are our commitments. We will certainly not agree on every issue, and we may vigorously disagree on some issues. But we are here because we believe sexual orientation should be a non-issue within the Republican Party. And so, inspired by our common commitments, we make these pledges.

We pledge to help the Republican Party become a truly “big tent,” welcoming all who share its values under its benign unfolding.

We pledge to help all Americans -- all Americans -- understand the great philosophical principles of the Republican Party and to encourage support for candidates wedded to the true spirit of those principles.

We pledge, in short, to be “Cody Republicans”: a Republican who is very traditional in holding the ideals of rugged independence, integrity, fairness and being respectful of your friends and neighbors; and persistent in our commitment for those ideals to apply equally to all.

We, the members of the Republican Unity Coalition, put our hand to this credo, The Cody Statement, in Cody, Wyoming, August 6, 2001.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Two Kinds of Conservatism

The recent spat between California Governor Arnold Scharzenegger and talk show host Rush Limbaugh shows two examples of modern conservatism.

The first example is what I will call "pragmatic conservatism" that is exemplfied by Arnold and the National Associations of Evangelicals. This type of conservatism is interested in results. While they don't see eye to eye with liberals, they are willing to cut deals to get things done. They are more interested in solving problems (health care, the environment, Dafur) than they are in fighting Democrats. The solutions they propose tend to be more market-based than the Democrats. This type of conservative isn't that interested in divisive social issues.

The other example is what I call, "political conservatism." This strain, is more interested in scoring politcal points than they are in producing actual policy. This example is clear exemplified by the Bush Administration. Unlike the pragmatists, they see those who oppose them as the enemy and seek to find ways to weaken their opponents. They are not interested in policy except when it serves their political interests. They use divisive social issues (abortion, homosexuality) and fear to bring out voters.

These are the two conservatisms that are out there today. It is interesting to note that one of these won handily in 2006 while the other one was "thumped."

There are many in California who are mad that Schwarzenegger isn't acting like a "true Republican," which I guess means, not hating the Democrats enough, pretending global warming isn't real, and not hating gays. The funny thing is that some of the most ideological Republicans don't really do anything. I think right now at this time, people want things done and if the Republican party wants to have a decent future, it might want to focus more on finding conservative solutions to problems and less on trying to pin people like myself and my partner as the bearers of all that is evil in the world.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why the Gonzalez Affair Matters

I know that there has been some shrugging of shoulders in the blogosphere as to why the issue concerning Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and the firing of eight US Attorneys simply because they weren't loyal enough.

Now at the surface, it doesn't seem like a big thing. These attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and they can be replaced at any time. It's quite normal when there is a change in party for the lawyers to resign or be fired by the incoming president. Gonzalez didn't do anything illegal in that matter. If the president wanted to fire all the attorneys because they had the wrong color hair, that's his (or her's) perogative.

There are a few things that are chilling here:

First, these firing took place in the middle of a presidency at the beginning of a second term. Second, these were attorneys already appointed by President Bush. Finally, the reason they were let go, was not because they weren't doing a good job, but because they weren't loyal enough.

Maybe it's me, but you would think you'd want US attorneys to at least appear impartial and fair since they represent the people of the US, not President Bush and not the Republican party. Suppose the gay man is the victim of a hate crime that somehow broke some national law. If that US attorney was hired because he was a soild Republican, would he truly prosecute the perpetrators? Or flip the script and make the US attorney a hired hack of a Democratic president. Would a Republican or conservative feel comfortable seeking help from them?

What has happened here is not illegal, but it could be potentially damaging to our justice system. Would anyone trust them? Would we know if they would work for all the people or just some of us?

A lot of people have seen the Bushies as creating some kind of a authoritarian or theocracy here in America. I think it is rather sexy to think we are fighting against some fascistic regime, but in reality, none of this happening. We still live in a relatively free society. Also, the people who make up the Bush Administration make crappy ushers of an authoritarian society. We've been witness to their incompetance too many times to count. If they were that nefarious, you'd think they would be better at all this. Russia's Vladimir Putin is the master, in that he is creating an authoritarian state without the public really knowing it. And if they had a role in the poisioning a Russian ex-pat, they really are masters in that they left no fingerprints on the body.

The Bushies aren't that good. However, what I do think they are doing is bring us closer to becoming some kind of bannana republic, where the leaders are corrupt and office are handed out to those who gave the most money to the President (witness the Michael Brown/FEMA disaster). Loyalty wins out over competence. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a reporter for the Washington Post, writes in his book, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone" about how some of the people hired to oversee reconstruction in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, were not given jobs based on expertise, but on their loyalty to current GOP orthodoxy (such as, were they pro-life or not).

That's what bothers me about the Bush Administration. I don't care if you are in favor of big or small government, you at least want your government to work and you want to trust it. I don't think we are at the level of corruption in countries like Nigeria, but we have slipped a bit. Under Clinton, FEMA was transformed from a federal joke of an agency to a top-notch disaster management team. It was headed by a professional, James Lee Witt, the head of the Arkansas version of FEMA. When Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, the head of FEMA was Michael Brown, a person with no experience in disaster management and whose only claim to fame was being a contributor to the Bush campaign. The people in Louisiana and Mississippi needed the federal government to come in and manage the situation. They trusted that the Feds would come in and help. That didn't happen. Meritocracy was replaced with nepotism.

Nepotism should have no place in a government. The government is not a place for the President to put all his friends in office. Yes, you would like people of similar philosphy, but you also want to know they can do the damn job.

That's why this scandal matters. The Bush Administation has done damage to the good name of the US government, making it a place where ideological purity is placed above anything else and in the end the people suffer, whether its the people of Iraq, New Orleans, or any other place.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Death of Neoconservatism?

Michael van der Galien and I have had a polite argument about neoconservatism. I tend to think it had good intentions when it started in the 70s as an alternative to the so-called New Left, but has degenerated into a philosophy that is focuses on a belligerent foreign policy and basically on bigotry towards Islam. Michael has a far less generous view, seeing the who ideology as dangerous. However, we both agree that neoconservatism has had a big influence in the GOP and it has hurt the party.

These days, Neoconservatism is not very popular among the general public. With Iraq becoming an albatross for the US, there is a lot of anger for neocons for having got America into this mess. So, with things going badly, there is a lot of talk about the coming demise of this movement. Jacob Weisberg has basically written an epitath:

...whether or not the neo-cons are prepared to face it, there are increasing signs that their moment is finally over. At the Defence department, Donald Rumsfeld has been replaced by Robert Gates, a member of the Iraq Study Group and an affiliate of the realist school associated with the previous President Bush. Paul Wolfowitz, the architect who wanted to build a new Middle East on Saddam’s rubble, has been moved to the World Bank, where he observes a Robert McNamara-like silence on the failure of his war. Another former Pentagon official, Douglas Feith, is under investigation for misrepresenting intelligence data to make the case for the invasion.

At the State department, Condoleezza Rice is returning to her realist roots and now actually seems to direct policy. She has embraced shuttle diplomacy in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, is considering conversation with Syria and Iran and even made a nuclear deal with North Korea. These steps signify a broader shift away from what the neo-con defector Francis Fukuyama calls “hard Wilsonian” ideas and back towards the less principled, more effective pragmatism of Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser, and James Baker, former secretary of state.

The most important sign of all is the fading influence of Mr Cheney, who for six years dominated foreign policy in a way no previous vice-president ever has. Mr Cheney is discredited, unwell and facing various congressional investigations. He was badly damaged by the Libby trial, which exposed his ruthless mania to justify a war gone wrong.

But the larger factor in Mr Cheney’s demise is that his neo-conservative hypotheses have been falsified by events. Invading Iraq did not catalyse a new Middle East; isolating North Korea advanced its nuclear programme; high-handed unilateralism has reduced American power. At the outset of his presidency, Mr Bush thought himself lucky to have a number two who did not aspire to his job. He may now grasp the hazard of lending so much power to someone with no incentive to test his views in the political marketplace.

As disciples of Bernard Lewis, it is unlikely Mr Cheney and the neo-con crusaders will apologise for what they have wrought. Like Mr Bush, they look to the long span of history for vindication. It will indeed be eons before anyone trusts them again.

I think it's too soon to start writing obituaries. For some reason, journalists and others love to write about the demise of so-and-so movement, usually after an election loss or when something has gone wrong. I've heard more often than not about how the Religious Right is finished, and yet we see them coming back to prominence again and again.

Neoconservatism is at a nadir right now, but that doesn't mean it is finished. Movements can also grow dormant, with thinkers "going underground" and waiting until there is an opening.

If you want to end a movement, you need to challenge it. Conservative Realists will need to start chugging out papers and studies as to why we need a less agressive foreign policy than the one the neocons have been pushing. In short, we need to present an alternative.

The neocons still have think tanks and thinkers with book contracts who can still peddle their ideas to the public. All they need is a politician that is willing to listen and boom, they are back in power.

So basically, unless I see a death certificate, I will tend to hear all those reports about the demise of the neocons as premature.

Let a Thousand Conservatives Bloom or Sign Up Now and Get a Free Totebag!

Pete Abel over at Central Sanity explains that he is not ready to give money to the Republican Party at this time. He explains:

It's increasingly difficult for me to tolerate the repeated references to Ronald Reagan and the multiple commitments to returning the GOP to Reagan's principles, especially when the apparent platform for doing so may be limited to three planks. As defined in Ensign's latest plea, they are the war on terror, immigration reform, and sustaining Bush's tax cuts.

The first two on that list are certainly worthwhile, but where's the strategy?

How exactly will Republicans, if they regain control of the Senate, suggest we conduct the war on terror? Will Reagan's effective combination of strength and diplomacy be restored?

On immigration reform, I'm encouraged by Ensign's language – "common sense reform that keeps our economy going and respects the rule of law." And yet, President Bush (rare as such moments of lucidity might be for him) actually made a relatively decent proposal on how to accomplish that reform, but the former GOP majority nixed it. (Granted, that nixing might have been due more to the belligerence of the House than the Senate; I honestly don't recall. Still, I hope the reader will excuse the error if there is one. Recent history compels me, fairly or not, to paint the whole lot of them with a skeptic's brush.)

And on tax cuts, yes, that's quite "Reaganish" in tone, but what about a balanced budget or even some old-fashioned Republican fiscal restraint? Haven't seen that in a long time, and I miss it..

Net: Before I can donate even a single hard-earned dollar to the cause of restoring a GOP Senate Majority, I need to first see some proof with my proverbial pudding. Other conservative-inclined individuals might accept shallow platitudes, honorable Senator, but I simply can't.

I can totally understand his frustration and anger. I'm also going to let you in on something:

I haven't given a dime to the GOP, not at the national level and not at the state level. Why? Because the current party leadership doesn't reflect my views.

However, I do give money to Republican organizations that do reflect my Republican values. They, in turn, support Republican elected officials and candidates who reflect those values. Some of those groups include:

There are probably others that I don't know about, but I would tell Pete he should consider giving money to these groups. They are in an uphill battle against the far right and they need support. The sad thing is that with the exception of the Log Cabin Republicans, none of these organizations recieve a lot of press attention. My guess is that the media has so bought into the notion that the GOP is made up of only neocons and theocons that they don't bother. I think that's a shame because they are standing up for the real conscience of the GOP.

This leads to another question. For some reasons, Americans tend to look at poltical parties and political philosophies in terms of black and white, vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I am thankful for Michael van der Galien who tries to show that political philosophy is much more diverse than liberal or conservative (which in Europe have vastly different meanings).

The fact is, conservatism doens't have to mean tax cuts all time, spend like crazy, and hating gays. There are many styles of conservatism beyond what passes for conservatism. Americans need to start seeing more nuance in out politics instead of thinking that there is only one way of thinking. Why should I let the neocons and theocons (and the media) determine who is a true conservative?

Do I feel at home in the GOP now? No, not totally. But I do know of the history of the GOP and I will make a home in the GOP. I consider myself a squatter right now and I'm not leaving.

Such political philosophies out there include:

I just think it's high time for Americans to start thinking outside the box and not let others define us.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Are you NeoCon?

You can find out by taking this quiz.

I came out as a realist.

Simpson Tells It Like It Is

Take that Gen. Pace:

In World War II, a British mathematician named Alan Turing led the effort to crack the Nazis' communication code. He mastered the complex German enciphering machine, helping to save the world, and his work laid the basis for modern computer science. Does it matter that Turing was gay? This week, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that homosexuality is "immoral" and that the ban on open service should therefore not be changed. Would Pace call Turing "immoral"?

Since 1993, I have had the rich satisfaction of knowing and working with many openly gay and lesbian Americans, and I have come to realize that "gay" is an artificial category when it comes to measuring a man or woman's on-the-job performance or commitment to shared goals. It says little about the person. Our differences and prejudices pale next to our historic challenge. Gen. Pace is entitled, like anyone, to his personal opinion, even if it is completely out of the mainstream of American thinking. But he should know better than to assert this opinion as the basis for policy of a military that represents and serves an entire nation. Let us end "don't ask, don't tell." This policy has become a serious detriment to the readiness of America's forces as they attempt to accomplish what is arguably the most challenging mission in our long and cherished history.

-Former Senator Alan Simpson.

These days, it is hard to find a Republican who proudly supports gay and lesbian Americans, so when one does, I'm definitely going to talk about it.

Kudos to the good Senator for speaking up and calling for an end to a ridiculous policy and for taking on the less-than-honorable General for his comments.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More on Hagel

The Washington Post's William Arkin thinks the Nebraska Republican will be the GOP nominee.

He says:

It is my own dream that America is aching for new ideas and new politics and that it will equally reject the pre-selected choice of the absurdly partisan Democrats while turning its back on any Republican ideologue seeking the presidency on an even more extreme red vs. blue coloring.

That would leave (Barak) Obama and Hagel to actually go up against the conventional wisdom and the machines, a presidential campaign that is actually about ideas.


Chuck Hagel's Non Announcement Announcement

I'm still trying to figure out why Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel made this big announcement to discuss his future and then tells the public he hasn't decided yet.

Such is the world of politics.

I'm my humble opinion, I really don't know what he is waiting for. As he said in his speech yesterday, the nation is looking for something new:

I believe the political currents in America are more unpredictable today than at any time in modern history. We are experiencing a political re-orientation, a redefining and moving toward a new political center of gravity. This movement is bigger than both parties. The need to solve problems and meet challenges is overtaking the ideological debates of the last three decades—as it should. America is demanding honest, competent and accountable governance.

The GOP is at a unique crossroads. Bush Republicanism is being discredited; having push the party from it's ideological moorings. No particular brand of conservatism is dominant; there is a vacumn waiting to be filled. I have no idea if Mr. Hagel is going to be the savior of the GOP, but nevertheless, he should at least throw his hat in the ring and give it a try. I know there are many who think his anti-war views will sink him among Republicans, but I don't think that is true. I think GOP voters are looking for someone who is willing to see the Iraq mess in a sober light.

The short of it is that Hagel should just get off the pot and run. If he believes the politcal ground is shifting, which it is, then he should be leading that change and helping people see a new kind of Republicanism that is suitable for the 21st century.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Back From Paradise

Sorry for the lack of posts- my partner and I left the cold and snow of Minnesota behind to spend a week in sunny Mexico. I am now back, so expect postings shortly.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Gore Mansion Flap: Big, Fat Hairy Deal.

I am not a fan of Al Gore.

I think he is a pompous jackass and none to good of a campaigner since he was the second in command to popular president and somehow managed to not win the 2000 election handily.

That said, I do commend the former Vice President for his work on global warming. He has been a committed environmentalist forever and hopefully, his documentary, "An Inconvienent Truth" will get more people interested in try to less the impact of climate change.

Having said all this, I think the current tempest in a teapot about Gore's mansion and all those Hollywood liberals jumping into limos and living in large house is full of....well, this is a family blog so I will simply say it's a bunch of malarkey.

Why you say? Well, maybe playing to sterotype as a gay man, I like to watch HGTV, the home improvement channel. What I find interesting is how many people in our country want houses with large master bedrooms, master baths (with two sinks), large kitchens with the latest high-end appliances and media rooms. I remember on one show a single woman bought a 4300 sq foot home for herself and her dog.

Cleaning that house has to be sheer hell.

The point of the matter is this, I don't think that Gore should be castigated because he lives in a big house. If that's the case then we better start pointing fingers at all those people who live in "McMansions" in the suburbs or who are tearing down old houses in the cities to be replaced by the McMansion's urban counterpart.

Yes, Mr. Gore probably should be living in a smaller house. I mean, all of his kids are grown and how often does he live there? But the fact is, Gore could live in a some hovel or go all Messiah like and just live where he can and his critics would still make fun of him. Why? Because they don't believe in global warming.

The organization that is making a stink about Gore's house also has doubts on the who phenomenon of climate change. So, are they really raising a legitamate issue or are they just trying to prove their point that climate change isn't a major issue?

Second, Mr. Gore isn't the only person living in a house that is bigger than what he needs. Many Americans seem to think we need to have a large house to fit our lifestyles when we could do with a lot less. My partner and I are looking for a home. We are looking for a place that will fit his grand piano. We aren't looking for a 5000 sq. foot home, but a modest home between 1000 and 1500 square feet. That's more than enough for the two of us and our two cats. If we are going to start pointing fingers, we need to point them at more places than a liberal windbag.

Finally, there is this. Mr. Gore does deserve criticism for something related to climate change, but it isn't about living in a big house. The thing is, for eight years he had access to one of the world's most powerful people and for some odd reason, global warming didn't get much attention when Gore was in office. THAT to me is something people should be asking. But our friends in Tennessee wouldn't ask that question, because then it means that they would have to acknowledge global warming and then they would have to do something about it.

So, let's lay off Mr. Gore on the house, shall we? It's a big non-issue and we have bigger things to worry about.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Calling Rick Santorum....

Robert Novak opines in his latest column that there is a feeling among the Republican base that the three leading candidates for the 2008 GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are not conservative enough for the GOP.

A "push poll" that was done for former governor of Virginia James Gilmore, shows that the "big three" might be considered too liberal to be nominated. In the push poll (which of course had Gilmore at the top) participants were told things that might alienate conservative voters: such as Giuliani's support for gay rights, McCain opposing tax cuts and Romney not making abortion illegal when he was governor.

What's interesting about this all to me is the defination of "conservative." According to the push poll and probably in the minds of many a Bush Republican, a true conservative, will always support a tax cut, will ban gay marriage and not give gays any rights, will ban abortion and will ship illegal immigrants back to Mexico.

But what Novak and probably a lot of Republians forget, is that there are many kinds of conservatism and not just their own (bigoted and narrow-minded, IMHO) viewpoint.

Fellow blogger Michael van der Galien links to an article about Rudy Giuliani, that presents a conservatism that I line up with:

Mayor Giuliani is calling on the Republican Party to redefine itself as "the party of freedom," focusing on lower taxes, school choice, and a health care system rooted in free market principles.

Delivering a policy-driven overview of his presidential platform yesterday, Mr. Giuliani outlined the agenda in a Washington speech before a conservative think tank that sought to make clear distinctions between his vision and that of the Democrats, if not his rivals for the Republican nomination in 2008. The former New York mayor's proposed redefinition of the Republican platform would signal a shift away from any focus on social issues, on which Mr. Giuliani is much less ideologically aligned with the party.

Mr. Giuliani talked about taxes, education, and health care, saying they are areas where Republican ideas trump those of Democrats.

Democrats, he said, would want to raise taxes to pay the higher costs of a war. "That shows a dividing line, and to me, a misunderstanding of how our economy works," Mr. Giuliani said. He said that while Republicans believe that the American economy is "essentially a private economy," Democrats "really believe, honest, that it is essentially a government economy."

Citing the tax cuts of President Kennedy, Mr. Giuliani said the Democrats' move away from a low-tax policy was one reason he left the party to become an independent and later a Republican.

On education, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that he had more success overhauling the New York City welfare system than its public schools, but he lauded "school choice" programs that allow parents to use government money to send their children to private schools. Those initiatives have long drawn criticism from some who contend they amount to an abandonment of public schools.

Mr. Giuliani promised to take on the nation's public school system, but he said would not seek to dismantle it. "I would not destroy it," he said. "I would revive it, reform it, and change it."

While saying the government needed to "find ways" to expand access to health insurance, Mr. Giuliani criticized Democratic proposals for universal health care that he said would threaten a "socialization" of the American medical system. "That would be a terrible, terrible mistake," he said. The solutions, he said, "have to be free market solutions. They have to be a competitive system."

Notice that he doesn't talk much about gays or abortion. He seems more concerned about things that most Americans are concerned about: health care, education, taxes. Giuliani is showing a different kind of conservatism that isn't obessed with social issues, which the government should not be so involved in, and more focused on "bread and butter" issues from a conservative standpoint. Rudy's conservatism is more of the traditional "classical liberal" stripe than the social conservative style and if the GOP is smart they will latch on to this form of conservatism than waiting for a "Social Conservative Moses" that will lead them to the promise land.

There is no "conservative void." There is void of imagination among the Republican base, who only seems to want someone like a Rick Santorum as their nominee.