Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why I am a Republican

I wanted to take the opportunity to post something here that was discussed over at my News Blog at Where I Stand. Before posting this, let me give a brief backgrounder-this is a response to a response. I wrote a piece critical of the President for not responding to North Korea sooner, the reaction was the typical "it is all the Republicans' fault, vote Democrat."

Here was my response:

I have come to see that talking to some of you (not all of you) here is like talking to a brick wall, largely because some (not all) people in blue land still do not understand that neither conservatism nor the GOP is a monolith (I incline to paleo-conservatism, for example), that you can disagree with the present administration on foreign policy (a whole lot of folks I know do) and still be a conservative and a Republican. For some of us, our support for the GOP (or at least for conservative candidates) is based on an ideology that we hold.

I identify with the Republican Party because I am a conservative, I am not a conservative because I am a Republican. I am a member of the Republican Party because the other major political formation made it clear around the early 70's that conservatives were not welcome in its ranks any longer, and beginning around 1972 there were systematic attempts to "clean out" conservatives of various stripes from that Party, often by using isolation as a tactic (Robert Casey, anyone?). At least the GOP doesn't make me feel unwelcome for expressing disagreement with the President when I feel it is merited.

This foreign policy was not "engineered, designed and implemented by my beloved GOP" so much as it was engineered, designed, and implimented by a President with his priorities in the wrong place. As to members of Congress going along with him-members from both parties are increasingly inclined to ignore their independent streak and vote the official line of the leadership. The Democrats have as much (or more) of a problem with this than many House Republicans do. I personally believe it is emblematic of "the great sort".

As for NP's saying that "I can't argue" that Democrats are better at foreign policy-Democrat foreign policy didn't impress me in the least under Clinton, it was a disaster under Carter and LBJ before him. The Dems have a record of disaster in foreign affairs for the last 40 years. Take Bush out of the equation, and the GOP has a great record of success (Berlin Wall). So yes, I can argue about Democrats' fitness to see to our collective foreign policy. This is a Bush problem, and I see it as such.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Morning King

Nicole and I will be at the Red, White, and Bluegrass festival in Cosby today. Here's a little Elvis to remind you not to be cruel and I'll be back a bit later!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Real fireworks on the Fourth

This 4th of July was one of those that will go down in family annals as one of the most unusual. After attending a family barbecue at which we enjoyed some of the best ribs I believe I've ever tasted, Nicole and I thought we've pay a visit to my brother-in-law to see how he is holding up and to see if he needed help with anything (he was recently involved in a very bad motorcycle accident, but miraculously survived-with injuries). Before going there, we had to stop by Nicole's uncle's place to complete a business transaction.

It turned out to be a good thing that we had to make that stop, because had we not done so, we probably would not have taken Old Dandridge Pike out to my Brother-in-Law's. Had we not been on Old Dandridge Pike, we would not have noticed the barn fire that was very quickly consuming a barn that we knew housed several horses belonging to a family friend. Nicole was the first to see the fire, largely because when she noticed the barn was aflame, we had passed it and it was in her rear view mirror. She turned the truck around into a nearby driveway so quickly that I had no clue what was happening until the truck had nearly done a full 360-degree turn and I could see the barn off to my left. Nicole was in a state of panic, thinking that if the horses were in the barn they were surely dead. We were both frustrated because we couldn't get ahold of anyone on our cell phones, but were able to call 911.

Fortunately, we weren't the only ones to call. We pulled up near the barn just as some New Market Volunteers were arriving. Nicole discovered that the horses were not in the barn, they were panicked but in the field and safe. She rushed into the field to corral the horses (my mother-in-law happened to be in the area and rushed over to help also) and put up a makeshift fence.

The barn, the horse trailor inside it, and the thousands of dollars of tack (that's saddles, briddles, leadropes, stirrups, and other related equipment, for those of you not familiar with horse stuff) were a total loss, but fortunately the fire did not spread. I was glad we could be there to be of help. The official cause of the fire is, at last report, a lightning strike.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where is the call to arms?

In the last 24 to 48 hours, we as a nation, have been collectively treated to the reality that North Korea, a Communist state known to have a leader (Kim Jong-Il) that is a maniacal lunatic, has Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in its possession. Further, these missiles have been tested-it would seem that the tests in question were quite deliberately carried out on the Fourth of July to draw our collective national attention to them. Meanwhile, we are being told by the White House that we have nothing to worry about because the missile tests failed badly.

If North Korea can produce enough missiles to have multiple failed tests in a two-day period, Kim can eventually produce ICBMs that will reach the West Coast and beyond if we do not stop him. I have long said that North Korea is the greatest terrorist threat in the world today. When certain of our leaders were busy preparing for war with Iraq because Saddam threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction, I wondered why we were not first preparing for conflict with North Korea, where Kim Jong-Il threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction.

To understand just how loony this character really is, I recommend viewing the Frontline documentary Kim's Nuclear Gamble [You can view it by clicking on the link]. This is a man who once kidnapped a South Korean movie actress and director to try and force them to show him how to make movies. He didn't do this so that he could use the knowledge for propaganda purposes (though I am sure it would come in handy for those reasons), he did it because he wanted to be a movie director. Rather than go somewhere to learn the art, he simply tried to kidnap the knowledge.

If you think we are at a point where we can wave some magic wand and bribe the nukes away from this man (as apparently the administration thinks, and as Clinton thought in the last administration), we are deceiving ourselves. With all of the President's "Axis of Evil" talk, he has done little up to now to try and deal with the most threatening member of that axis. We are now paying the price in terms of a very serious and imminent threat to our national security and the security of East Asia, and we do not have the ability to deal effectively with that threat because our forces are stretched thin in Iraq.

If "regime change" is now a legitimate foreign policy, why did we not first do this in Pyongyang?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Banners for the Cause

These flags were good enough for our forebears (the third example is a modern modification of the Culpepper Ensign), so it is fitting that the modern conservative movement should adopt these banners as our own.

True blue

"We were about one-third Tory, and a third timid, and one third true blue."
-John Adams

John Adams' description of the Second Continental Congress was also a pretty accurate description of America in July of 1776. The people were divided into three camps: Those who supported the Patriot cause, those who supported the Crown, and those who tried to take no position-or worse yet, tried to straddle between the two sides. After the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and the course of the Patriot movement became clearly defined, there was no more room for straddling the fence-either you favored or opposed independence. There came to be little room to try and straddle the fence anymore.

Like many other conservatives, I find myself often asking what the Founders would think if they saw America today. For the most part, I do not think they would be pleased

The Conservative movement today is at a similar crossroads. We live in a divided union, and it is fair to say that among the citizenry that can call themselves semi-informed, that about a third are liberals, a third are trying to straddle the fence, while a third are "true blue" as Adams would say. Within the Republican Party, it may be fair to say that only about 30 to 40% of party delegates are "true blue."

[I always thought the colors Red and Blue were improperly reversed. Red should probably represent the Democrats.]

Some people who call themselves conservatives but who insist on a position of compromise with the left have accused me and accused others of being "doctrinaire." This could not be further from the truth. A quick parousal, for example, of the local Knoxville and Tennessee blogosphere would show any educated reader that among the people in my sidebar such as Terry Frank, Stacey Campfield, Rob Huddleston, or Bill Hobbs would show you that not one of us sees eye to eye on every issue, nor do we insist upon everyone marching in lock-step. However, we all share a mutual belief that life needs to be protected from the cradle to the grave, that there is such a thing as American culture and American values and those values need to be preserved for future generations, and that the Constitution needs to be interpreted strictly and as it is written.

We also understand that we are at war. This is (fortunately) not a war that we are fighting with bullets, but with ballots. However, there is no room to cede territory to the enemy in this fight, because to lose this fight means that we will lose America. If the culture war is lost, we will not know America in fifty years. We have ceded so much in the way of time and culture to the left in the last fifty years, that if we give up any further ground, I fear we will have reached the point of no return.

There is little room to compromise or make deals with the extreme left-they have a party of their own. If you can't accept pro-life values, if you can't interpret the Constitution strictly, and if you believe your rights are civil and come from government, as opposed to God-given and come from Heaven, you ought to have no place in the conservative movement.

Because we are so bitterly divided, even within the political party that is home to so many conservatives, it is fair to say that many things may happen. One thing I expect will happen is that we will cease to be divided. We will win or lose the fight for America by the actions we now take.

Like the colonists of old, we must make a choice. Will we choose to let the left take our country from us, or will we stand up and be-as Adams called it-"true blue."

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Knoxville News-Corker

The Knoxville News-Sentinel showed very clearly where that paper is coming down in the Republican Senate Primary in a story on Bob Corker written by Tom Humphrey yesterday. I found the write-up to be the most openly pro-Corker piece written by any paper in the State. I'd say the KNS came as close as anyone to lionizing Corker in the Sunday Edition.

In the article, Corker does say that his 1994 Senate loss was "about the best thing that ever happened to me." If we are to judge on Corker's record since that time, it may have been the best thing to happen to Tennessee as well. Corker continues refering to Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary as "people from Washington," as if to say that Bob from Chattanooga never had a thing to do with lobbyists or lobbying in his life. People have asked me what my big problem is with Corker, and for me the biggest problem is his disingenuous attitude. No, I don't agree with Corker's supposedly-former positions on a number of issues, but I find the way he portrays his opponents to be even more deceptive. To the politically unschooled, Corker is a political outsider, and he portrays himself as such. However, he has a history as an insider and has gotten support from the lobbyists (and employed them as mayor) he pretends to decry. If Corker wants to play games about who is and is not an insider, we might refer to him as "Beltway Bob."

As for the KNS, I think it says a ton about Corker politically (and those who back him) that the News-Sentinel is giving him such favorable coverage. The News-Sentinel's liberal editor Jack McElroy has not shown himself or his paper dispossed to give solid conservative candidates good coverage, and where the KNS can get away with it in this conservative area, they'll take a liberal editorial line. Although to be fair to the KNS most Scripps-Howard papers tend to be Democrat or liberal papers, and our local Scripps paper is actually more conservative than some others. Nonetheless, the KNS takes a left-of-center editorial stance the majority of the time, and they are cooing over Bob Corker like a baby over a lollipop. That reality alone ought to cause bona fide conservatives in East Tennessee to sit up and take notice and begin to ask more questions about Mr. Corker.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Making it in the blogosphere

Well, I have officially "made it" in the Tennessee blogosphere. How do I know this? I officially have a Kleinheider nickname. I am now known in Volunteer Voter-land as "Honey Bunches of Oatney."

Since I read it every day, I am adding Volunteer Voters to the sidebar, and I recommend A.C.'s blog to others. Not because I agree with Kleinheider all the time-sometimes I agree with him and sometimes I do not-but his observations are often very sharp and he often spreads the word about what other bloggers around the State are saying and thinking.

Welcome to the continually growing sidebar, Kleinheider.

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