Saturday, January 26, 2008

Roe v. Wade and a Fred postmortem

Thoughts on the tragedy of legalized abortion in America and how the pro-life movement will ultimately triumph in this country. A postmortem of the Fred Thompson campaign. Fabian Story joins the show with his personal abortion story, and with the confession that he has voted early in the February 5th Primary for Mitt Romney.

Oatney On the Air-January 25/26, 2008

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Not a snowball's chance

One thing I have often wondered about many of the so-called Republicans who support Rudy Giuliani is by what basis these people actually believe this man ever had a snowball's chance in Hell of being nominated. Like lemmings marching to the news media beat, the Rudy crew kept quoting national polls showing him in the lead among the Republican contenders in a generic national primary ballot.

Say it with me boys and girls...

"National polls don't mean diddly in Primary season. Primaries and caucuses are statewide races."

I could have told any of the Rudy people this reality (and in fact I have on several occasions in the preceding months), but few of them would likely listen. Giuliani's campaign was based on the faux-image that Rudy built for himself: "Look what I did on 9/11. It makes me ready to deal with terrorism. I'm America's Mayor." Rudy was New York's mayor, not America's-and whether he was a great mayor in that city is still a matter of debate among New Yorkers themselves. New York is a great city and a nice place to visit, but Rudy makes the same mistake that many New Yorkers do in believing that what happens there actually matters to Americans outside of it. September 11th mattered because American soil was attacked, and that would have mattered to all Americans whether the attack occurred in New York or in Wahoo, Nebraska.

Whether a person is liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, the daily life of Americans in Fort Dodge, Iowa, or Warner Robbins, Georgia, or Erie, Pennsylvania, or Topeka, Kansas, or Carson City, Nevada, or White Pine, Tennessee is far removed from the daily life and affairs of Gotham. It seems more than a bit pretentious of Giuliani to come along and proclaim himself "America's Mayor" when most Americans neither know nor care how he ran the City of New York. In Republican circles, Giuliani is pro-choice and is very liberal on social issues, but those things aren't the worst of his crimes in the mind of the GOP grassroots-his 1994 endorsement of liberal Democrat Mario Cuomo for re-election as Governor of New York speaks volumes about where Rudy's real loyalties lie.

Did his supporters really believe that conservatives in America's heartland would buy in to Rudy's false Republican front?


Friday, January 25, 2008

No new sale yet

Since Fred Thompson's sudden but not-at-this-point unpredictable exit from the Presidential campaign Tuesday, people have been asking me who I might endorse for the Republican nomination. A couple of people even took the time to ask me that question while I was vacationing this week at Harrah's (I heard the news about Fred's withdrawal right after getting out of the jacuzzi). I can understand why people might be curious what direction I might be leaning since some folks have been quite forward about where they are going. Some people have "changed planes" so quickly that it really makes one think they already had their second choice in mind.

Truman Bean of Tennesseans for Thompson endorsed Mitt Romney less than an hour after he broke the news of Fred's withdrawal. So fast was the Bean's declaration for Mitt that I wondered if Mitt weren't his second choice-or his initial first choice-all along. Romney was the initial choice of conservative Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, but like most of us she dropped what she was doing when Fred got in the race in order to back him. Now she says she will likely return to the Romney camp. Congressman Jimmy Duncan had originally backed Romney too, and that initial choice had led me to wonder what the grand old man of Tennessee conservatism was thinking at the time. Perhaps he saw that Romney was like the energizer bunny-he could keep going and going and going. John Duncan Jr. is someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for and his opinion has always carried a great deal of weight with me. I also know that prior to Fred's entry into the race, Mitt Romney had a great organization here in Tennessee and many of the pieces of that puzzle are still around. It ought to come as no surprise that the Romney apparatus is very quickly coming together again.

Other Thompson supporters are making a break for Fred's old personal friend John McCain. Fred himself was making fundraising calls for McCain six months ago, which makes one wonder if the rumors that Fred really wanted the Number Two spot might have something to them. There is a widespread belief among GOP insiders at this point that we are down to a "stop McCain" or a "stop Romney" campaign. McCain is being seen as the anti-Romney, but do McCain's people really have cause to try and trash Romney considering McCain's very spotty record on conservative issues?

The truth is that from a conservative perspective, there are real problems with both McCain and Romney. John McCain has a history of selling out conservatives on issues such as so-called "campaign finance reform" (something that Fred Thompson actually supported also), as well as on judicial filibusters. McCain's record on illegal immigration is so horrible that it makes Mike Huckabee look very appealing on that issue. It is true that John McCain has a lifetime 85 rating from the American Conservative Union, but that rating has taken a very significant hit in recent years because of McCain's terrible votes on issues that conservatives care about.

Mitt Romney has been trying to position himself as the candidate of conservatives since the campaign began. Mitt is the good Mormon who (as his wife rightly pointed out) is a faithful husband and it is hard to say his personal values aren't genuine. Yet the Romney who now tells us how he is pro-life and will appoint strict constructionist judges to the bench was telling the people of Massachusetts in 2002 how "pro-choice" he was and how he had no plans to pursue a conservative agenda while in office-and he did not. The Romney we now hear sounds completely different than the Romney of even three years ago. When the current Mitt Romney speaks, you really want to believe the man. It sounds so grand, and when he talks he sounds like the most conservative man in the field, but his recent past actions tell another tale. Either he was being dishonest to the people of Massachusetts then (this is my theory), or he is being dishonest with Middle America now. It is possible that Mitt Romney has undergone a real Pauline-style see-the-light experience, but what seems more likely is that Romney underwent his conversion not on a "road to Damascus," but on the road to Des Moines.

Then there is Mike Huckabee. Like McCain and Romney, Huckabee presents conservatives with real issues, especially on the matters of immigration and taxes. He has made an attempt in recent weeks to come up with an immigration plan and even got the endorsement of the founder of the Minutemen. Mike Huckabee can't erase his past record either, and like McCain and Romney, Huckabee can only prove that he is authentic if we hold our noses and give him the opportunity to govern. One thing that I personally find palatable about Mike Huckabee is that we know without question that he is pro-life and will do his best to appoint judges who hold the necessary constitutional opinion that ultimately would reflect a pro-life worldview. He is also pro-Second Amendment and his administration is likely to reflect that view better than the present one. Aside from his spotty-to-poor record on other important matters, those good things are also overshadowed by the reality that Huckabee's numbers are not only the highest among the evangelical wing of the Republican Party (that is to be expected), but his numbers in other core groups of the GOP are incredibly low. Mike Huckabee very likely does not have the cross-party support necessary to win the nomination in spite of his great early showing-and we know he doesn't have the money, so that means he needs to fare very well on Super Tuesday to remain viable-something I think is increasingly unlikely.

All of this leaves me in the unenviable position of not knowing what to do. I am still very much open to giving one of these candidates an endorsement, but as of yet I just don't feel comfortable doing so. Nicole told me that on Super Tuesday she is still voting for Fred despite the fact that it really will be a wasted vote. If Fred should win Tennessee (which is now significantly less likely) those delegates will essentially go to the convention uncommitted and probably be thrown behind whoever the nominee is anyway. (People often forget that in a Presidential Primary you are voting for a slate of delegates, not directly for a candidate). I will vote on February 5th and will vote for President in the Republican Primary-I am just not sure yet for whom.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The abortion double standard

In this week when we remember with no small amount of sadness one of the most constitutionally and personally destructive decisions in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tennessee General Assembly has an opportunity to reassert its sovereign right to regulate the practice of abortion in this State. That check and balance was significantly curtailed by the decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist (2000), when the then-more liberal Court ruled that Tennessee's Constitution allowed for a "broader right" to abortion than existed in the federal Constitution. As is typical of more liberal judicial bodies, there was no precedent for the Court's ruling, it was merely created out of thin air.

The Tennessee General Assembly now has the opportunity to take back some of its constitutional authority by passing SJR-127, a proposed Amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that simply spells out in very clear detail that nothing in the Constitution shall be construed to presume a "right" to aborticide in this State. As we pointed out at the beginning of the legislative session, most Democrats in the Legislature don't want to touch this issue with a ten foot poll. Many of them campaigned as pro-lifers but their Caucus takes money from the other side. Other Democrats don't like to admit to their constituents that they are not pro-life, as it just might get them beaten in an election. One safe liberal Democrat in a safe district is State Senator Joe Haynes, who opposes the proposal and has called those who support it "extremists."

It is always interesting to hear those on the pro-abort side call those who are pro-life extremists, as if they are not guilty of extremism. In the case of Haynes, he has voted against parental consent laws that would require a minor child to receive parental consent before obtaining an abortion. Haynes also voted against a ban on partial-birth aborticide/infanticide. Somehow those positions qualify Senator Haynes as perfectly sane, but those who want to regulate abortion, even that of the partial-birth variety, are extremists.

Some in the General Assembly want to pass a measure that merely gives them the authority over abortion (it does not outlaw it) and they are extremists, but voting against a parental consent measure is not extreme. This is the double-standard of the pro-abortion movement. Those who want to protect and defend life are crazy, but those who wish to sanction the legal taking of life are statesmen.


I have returned

Much to the consternation of liberals, the uninformed, and the naive....



Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Yes, I know that today is the 35th anniversary of that wretched, unconstitutional, murderous Supreme Court decision, but I will have more to say about that when I return...

I have been invited to join a couple of other members of the White Pine Fire Department for an outing for the next couple of days at Harrah's Cherokee Hotel and Casino. Even those of us in the hardcore political world need a break, and I have been offered one and will take mine today.

If I can blog while on the Reservation, I may take a moment for a quick entry...we'll see.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Carolina roundtable

John McJunkin, Warner Todd Huston, Fabian Story and David Oatney discuss the results of the South Carolina Republican Primary and where the process goes from here. Adam Graham leads the discussion.

(Click to listen)

South Carolina Republican Primary Roundtable

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Doom is not impending

John McCain's victory Saturday in the South Carolina Primary has spurred both interest and scorn in some quarters, with some in the press all but ready to crown McCain the nominee, while others are talking a lot about the Republican "demolition derby" in this Primary season. Not a few are actively suggesting that McCain not be supported should he be the nominee in the fall.

First of all, everyone who is now whining that this is all over and McCain is going to be the nominee because everyone says so needs to be reminded that McCain is the latest "flavor of the week" in this unique 2008 process. We've gone from Huckabee to Romney to McCain in quick succession, and with a slew of contests left including Super Tuesday, nothing is decided yet. The other factor that everyone needs to remind ourselves is that if John McCain wins the nomination, it really isn't the end of the world.

Many conservatives tend to have a "doomsday" complex that says "if our man/woman isn't chosen, it is the end of the world as we know it." I have as many concerns about John McCain as the rest of the conservative movement (the number is great enough that I have lost count), but those determined to say that a McCain nomination will destroy the republic have apparently reduced the danger of a Clinton or Obama presidency. Conservatives have been surprised before, both pleasantly and unpleasantly. Before everyone merely jumps to the conclusion that a McCain nomination means the end of the conservative movement in the Republican Party, it needs to be stressed that the nominating process is far from concluded. If John McCain is the GOP nominee, he will have the task of uniting a fractured party and bringing out the Republican base to vote in November (without which he knows he cannot win)-something tells me that McCain won't be doing that by running on liberalism.

Relax...none of this is over yet.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

McCain and South Carolina

Congratulations today to Senator John McCain, who won a squeaker of a victory in South Carolina over Mike Huckabee, whose numbers were doubtless impacted by bad weather in the Carolina Upcountry yesterday.

McCain's words here are noteworthy, because if he actually were to govern based on the ideals that he proclaimed in victory last night, I believe we'd be alright.

Because South Carolina had a weekend primary, I have breeched one of my general conventions and blogged politics on the weekend. I will have more on the South Carolina Primary, as well as a link to the wrap-up show that Adam Graham, John McJunkin, Warner Todd Huston and myself participated in tomorrow


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