Center-Right (or Centre-Right) World Takeover Begins
Alright, that may be a bit of sarcasm, but May 1 may go down in history as a watermark day for the worldwide resurgence of small 'c' conservatism. Why? Recall that in 1997, a shift to the center-Left that began in this country in 1992 under Bill Clinton was completed when Tony Blair's Labour Party was a massive victory in the U.K. General Election and formed a Government with a huge majority. Two years prior to that victory, Labour gave a signal of things to come by winning control of local councils in local campaigns all over England and Wales.
Local Elections were held in England and Wales Thursday. What were the results? The Conservative Party kicked booty. It was, in fact, the worst showing for Labour at local elections in over half-a-century. Clearly, there were a lot of domestic factors in play-including an economy that some say is far worse on the other side of the water than it is here. However, past historical indicators show that when the Conservative Party does well in a U.K. election, the Republicans tend to to well (or better-than-expected) in a subsequent U.S. vote. Republican victories here sometimes presage Tory victories in Britain. Some examples: After Margaret Thatcher won her victory in 1979, Ronald Reagan was elected here in 1980. On the reverse of things, after Labour's 1997 General Election victory on the other side of the pond, the Democrats did better-than-expected in the 1998 Congressional Election-though they did not gain control of either House that year.
Iain Lindley has served until this election City Councillor in the City of Salford for Walkden South Ward-he did not run (or "stand") for election this time out. I first encountered Iain online some years ago in college on the online micronational simulation Morovia. It is safe to say that Iain's conservatism is more "modern" while mine is much more traditional-but his knowledge of the lay of the political land in Britain is far superior to mine. He maintains a great blog that I hope he will keep going after he leaves office (he has a bit to go yet), as he is very active in the Conservative Party in his community-I think readers might benefit from his perspective on the local elections in the U.K.
The question to ponder might be: Could this result be pointing to a November surprise here for the GOP in Congress?
"I'm not talking about 20 people or something — I'm talking about some serious change in the number of people who are employed by the state," he said.
The only budget cuts that Bredesen is proposing that the State can't live without are some of the cuts that he is considering making to the Department of Children's Services. Many of these cuts could likely be avoided if the Honorable Phil Governor would cease construction on his precious party bunker, which is eating an untold number of millions from the State Treasury (precisely $12.8 million, I believe). Something tells me that 12.8 million smackers would probably be enough to save quite a few of the jobs at DCS. What the Governor is telling us is that he can raise taxes-which he did last year-as part of a scheme he was told would fail. When it did fail, he's make Tennessee's kids suffer and blame the Republicans for it while the Governor will have a nice new party room under the house where he doesn't live. This speaks volumes about the Honorable Phil Governor's priorities.
As for the rest of the State "cuts," you'll pardon me if I am not overly sad at the thought of a few less bureaucrats running around the State Capitol and the Andrew Jackson Building.
Despite the recent show of strength bySen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the odds against her winning the Democratic presidential nomination are as imposing as ever — and probably worse.
Now, about the only plausible argument that Obama is more electable is to claim that Clinton’s backers would probably get over an Obama nomination better and sooner than vice versa.
Indeed, while Obama might lose some states by narrower margins than Clinton, his weakness among downscale and older white voters raises questions about whether he would be as competitive as Clinton in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, or, for that matter, run as strongly as Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., did in 2004.
Yet in spite of the reality that the Democrats are about to nominate a candidate who it would appear cannot possibly win, the internal damage to their party if they fail to do so could be irreparable:
Even if they wanted to nominate Clinton, the fear of damage to the party is sufficient to argue against it. Between the newbies — the young and new voters who are so enthusiastic for Obama — and the black community — who ironically were somewhat late to join the Obama bandwagon after his Iowa win — the fallout from a spurning of Obama would be profound.
So the Democratic Party is about to nominate a candidate that will almost certainly lose in order to save their political formation from total collapse. I must admit that if you had told me in January that this would be the situation the Democrats would find themselves in, I would have said you are crazy.
It isn't just the nomination process that has caused this to happen, but the Democratic Party's internal policy of playing on race, ethnicity, and gender as political issues. Now this way of doing political business will either cause them to lose in a year the pundits said they should win-and possibly lose in a landslide-or it will render their party ineffective at the national level.
Rep. Bill Dunn displays courage in the face of the Enemy as he boldly challenges House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh as to why he could not amend a resolution to include SJR 127-the Constitutional Amendment that declares that there is no constitutional right to aborticide in this State.
For the record, the House just killed the entire resolution at hand when it became clear that 127 was going to pass.Bill Dunn wins the St. Thomas More Award for courage in the face of Evil.
Mr. Graham has a right to his opinions, although many active, devout Christians disagree with them. And Mayors Haslam and Ragsdale certainly have a right to their personal opinions.
But I am surprised that our mayors decided to attach the influence of their offices to a message of exclusion and intolerance such as this.
First things first-I like Katie, and I'm not just saying that. She strikes me as a genuine person who really does try to reach out to others. In my limited dealings with her, she has been exceptionally kind and understanding and I have thoroughly enjoyed corresponding with her. She is both professional and courteous, and from what I have seen she is a fine lady. I also agree with her about Mike Ragsdale attending the Graham event-although for a different reason. Ragsdale is involved in what Catholics "back in the day" used to call notorious public sin. It is public knowledge that he has committed adultery against his wife who happens to have cancer. He shows no public remorse for what he has done, and because of that he does not do the cause of Christ justice by appearing at such a function for a public address (he is certainly free to attend the services and doubtless has spiritual needs to be served by them).
Like most liberals, Katie Allison Granju is well-meaning, and like most modern liberals she misses the point both of Christianity and of Christ. It is true what most so-called liberal Christians say about Jesus-he was the ultimate progressive of his time. He didn't just declare that he had come to forgive sinners, he ate with them and associated with them. He declared that anyone who believed in Him could be saved-regardless of their race, even going so far as to declare that a Roman Centurion had greater faith than any he had seen in Israel. He embraced women into his fold of followers, and when he rose from the dead he appeared to two women with the message first, who he then told to tell his Apostles-who at first did not believe them. Christ declared that God loved the world, not just the Jews-and that was indeed revolutionary thinking in those days in First Century Judaea.
There was another side to Christ, however. He didn't just declare a new day and a new way, He declared that there was only one way to God. He was (and is) that Way (John 14:6):
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.
Jesus elaborated on that theme over and over again in His preaching. Contrary to what is now proposed by many, that there are many paths to God, Christ maintained in rather stark terms that He was the only valid way to God. John 10:1-10:
Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.
This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.
Further, Christ made it clear that while his mercy was infinite, there really is such a thing as sin, and that after you are forgiven of your sins, you are to be free of them (John 8:2-11):
And Jesus went unto mount Olivet. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, And said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou?
And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?
Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.
The following verse was when Jesus proclaimed Himself "the Light of the World." The reality of sin, the need for a Savior, and the exclusivity of Christ as Savior are as much a part of the Christian message as love of neighbor and compassion for one's fellow man. Conservatives sometimes ignore the latter part of Christ's message, even if not purposefully. Liberals often try to say that Jesus didn't mean it when he said those things about being the only Way, or even that He didn't say them or the Bible doesn't really mean them.
As a Catholic, it is a fair assessment to say that Franklin Graham and I wouldn't see eye-to-eye theologically, but when Graham said that abortion is a murder and a sin, he is right-it is murder, and it is sin (not to mention a grave injustice against humanity). When he says that homosexuality is a sin, he is correct, it is a sin-period. The whole point of Christ is that even in the face of the worst sins there is the opportunity for forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope.
Liberals say that a message like the one Franklin Graham delivered is intolerant. By the standards of modern liberalism, Jesus Christ, the great progressive of His time, was very intolerant. His message is not one that makes the tolerant comfortable. It is a message that got Him crucified.
Liberals do not have to embrace Christ's message, and they can call it intolerant all they like (by their standards, I suppose they would be correct). It isn't my place to judge them for not accepting that message-that responsibility goes to God alone. The message is the message of Christ, however. Franklin Graham is a minister of the Gospel, and therefore we should not expect him to say that we should all hold hands, sing Kumbuya, and that any path to God is okay. That is not the Christian message.
If Mayor Bill Haslam wants to lend a few moments to endorse the Christian message, the Left does not have to like it-but he is well within his rights to do so. Is the message intolerant by liberal standards? Yes. It is the message of the Gospel. They didn't care for it much in Jesus' day, either. Christianity is not the faith of the tolerant, it is the reality of the Ressurrection and the Blessed Hope of the Redeemed.
You don't have to agree with it, but you shouldn't expect the message to be something other than what it is.
Even though Barack Obama finally "denounced" Jeremiah Wright, the Wright controversy and the baggage that goes with it have already dug deep into the public perception of Obama. If Obama shows any signs of weakness in the forthcoming Indiana and North Carolina primaries, his campaign then becomes a question of what-ifs:
The perception is that Obama is bleeding. But this COULD be a good thing for Obama, relatively speaking, of course. Clinton won the expectations game in those past three contests, primarily because it seemed like Obama had all the Mo’. But now that Mo’ is on Clinton’s side. What happens if Obama is still able to defeat Clinton by double digits in North Carolina and essentially split the delegates in Indiana? Of course, the bigger question for his campaign might be: What if he doesn’t? And what if those exit poll cross-tabs in North Carolina and Indiana show white voters abandoning Obama in greater numbers than in Ohio and Pennsylvania?
It is highly possible at this point in the race that Barack Obama will not do nearly as well in North Carolina or Indiana as his campaign people had previously been projecting. If that happens, then what does Obama do? He can't exactly pull out of the race, since he leads in pledged delegates and will have even more after those two contests even if he should lose. If Obama does lose, however, it will send him to the Democratic Convention a wounded and limping candidate.
Further, even if Hillary Clinton does lose both of the forthcoming primaries, if the race is close enough it will both cast doubt on Obama's ability to win and guarantee the brokered convention that the Democrats are desperately trying to avoid. The ultimate beneficiaries of all of this are Republicans, who could emerge as the party of consensus-even with a presidential nominee that few of us are collectively fond of. The Democratic Party is quickly becoming the party of the politically divisive, something that could hurt them in a year when the public focus is far from the Democrats' internal problems.
For those of you who haven't noticed, WBIR has a new website. As part of that site, I have the honor of being named one of WBIR's featured bloggers with my blog there called The Davy Crockett Newsstand. This is a blog about politics and life in Jefferson and Hamblen Counties from a small town perspective-particularly that of someone living in White Pine, Tennessee.
I was especially honored when Katie Allison Granju asked me if I'd be willing to be one of WBIR's featured bloggers and if I would be willing to do a hyper-local blog. I agreed, of course, and actually wrote a number of entries well in advance of the launch of the new site. I'd like to invite my readers to check out the Newsstand.
A reminder: Just because I'm now blogging at WBIR does not mean that blogging at this venerable old joint will stop...we will continue pressing on here at The World.
Newsweek recently published a piece that stated the obvious-that in the wake of Barack Obama's loss in the Pennsylvania Primary, and increasing doubts among everyday people in Middle America about his ability to understand what life is like for most of them, Barack Obama's national lead against Hillary Clinton is slipping:
After an important primary win in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton has reduced Democratic rival Barack Obama's double-digit lead among registered Democrats and voters leaning Democratic by more than half, according to the latest NEWSWEEK Poll. Plagued by controversies over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments and the candidate's own "bitter" remarks, Obama has seen his favorability rating slip significantly in the last week, the poll found.
One of the more problematic results for Obama was that four in 10 of registered voters (including Republicans and independents) now have an unfavorable opinion of him—and the same number said there is "no chance" they will vote for Obama if he becomes the nominee. Four in 10 registered voters (41 percent) say they have a less favorable opinion of Obama based on his association with his former pastor, Wright, whose racially and politically inflammatory sermons have been circulated on the Internet and covered in the media. A similar number (42 percent) say they will not vote for Obama because of comments he made about "bitter" small-town residents clinging to guns and religion.
For several weeks now, I have believed that Barack Obama's national lead against Hillary Clinton would begin to collapse as soon as more information about his ties to Jeremiah Wright, Wright's hatred of America, and anti-Semetism began to emerge. Obama has "publicly "denounced" Wright's comments and views, but one has to wonder how serious Obama's denunciation is when Obama sat under the man's preaching for 20 years. Further, we now know that Wright apparently told Obama that if he were nominated "you will probably have to distance yourself from me."
It is also becoming increasingly clear that Barack Obama holds to the same elitist attitude that most of academia does about Middle America-that we don't know what's good for us, but people like Obama do. Before the Democratic Party's nominating process is complete, Clinton will likely pull even with Obama nationally and may even surpass him. All of that may come too late for Clinton to win the Democratic nomination in Denver, but it does mean that Obama will receive the nomination as one of the most personally unpopular candidates the Democrats will have nominated in the last 50 years.
Gov. Phil Bredesen has said as much as $500 million may have to be cut out of the upcoming state spending plan amid worsening tax revenue projections.
We are now being told that the budget may not provide a sales tax holiday next year, and the Governor may look at cutting up to $500 million from the State budget. Meanwhile, around $13 million in taxpayer money can be allocated for a party room underneath the Governor's Mansion where the Honorable Phil Governor does not even live.
I've already commented that the Democrats are doing a fine job handing our folks the November General Election, so long as our people take advantage of the Democrats' repeated exercises in political stupidity. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean now says one of the two candidates "must" leave the race after June:
"We really can't have a divided convention. If we do it's going to be very hard to heal the party afterwards," Dean said. "So we'll know who the nominee is and that'll give us an extra 2 1/2 months to get our party together, heal the wounds of having a very closely divided race and take on Senator McCain."
"Either of these candidates, if it's time for them to go, they'll know it and they will go," Dean said. "They don't need any pushing from me. You know when to get in and you know when to get out. That's just part of the deal."
It is probably the case that either or both of these candidates have gotten "the talk" from Dean-you know, the one where Dean tells them that if they continue to press on, they are hurting the party's chances to win in November and that with every passing day, they are helping John McCain to pick up traction. The words in this talk are true, of course, primarily because each Democrat is succeeding in allowing the Republicans more time to gather ammunition against either of them-and the Democrats are providing the GOP the heavy artillery shells at no cost.
The problem, of course, is that Hillary Clinton does not care about having a divided convention- as long as she emerges from the Democratic National Debauchery as the party nominee. Barack Obama lives under the illusion that he is electable even if the convention is a war zone, so he won't pull out on his own. If a Democrat does drop out in June, it will be because the DNC finds a way to force them out.
Howard Dean may indeed be able to entice one candidate or another to leave the campaign in June, but to do so he and the party brass will likely have to find a heavy handed way to do so.
Over the weekend I attended the 105th Tennessee State Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Franklin. The convention was a very fruitful gathering, and I came away from it with a number of ideas about everything from fundraising to service projects for my local council. As tends to be the case with these affairs, I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to fellowship with other Knights from all over Tennessee.
Several Brother Knights at the convention may have thought that at times I was acting a bit strange. Truthfully, I wasn't feeling all that well during parts of the convention, and when I tried to speak, it was a labor and I was rapidly losing my voice. The reason for this is that I was having an acute allergy-related asthma attack. It has been several years since I have had an asthma attack so when it came on, I first assumed it was just my sinuses draining, then that I must be coming down with a very bad cold. When I went to the doctor today, he told me that it wasn't a cold at all-I now have an Albuterol inhaler.
I still enjoyed the State K of C Convention and hope to return next year-feeling far better than I did this time.
The highlights include a reference to additional comments by Wright -- that McCain claimed he had just seen yesterday -- in which the pastor compared “the United States Marine Corps with Roman Legionnaires who were responsible for the death of our Savior,” according to McCain.
“I have said that I will not…have any comment on it and that’s because I thought and I believe that Sen. Obama does not share those views” expressed by Wright, McCain said. “But Sen. Obama himself says it’s a legitimate political issue, so I would imagine that many other people will share that view, and it’ll be in the arena.”
I'd be willing to wager money that John McCain has heard it all week from the GOP grassroots that if he intends to beat Barack Obama, he needs to take his gloves off and fight, or at least let those on the front lines do the shooting for him. The more time that passes, the more it becomes clear that before November voters will have serious questions about Obama's past. Whether his supporters like it or not, all of the issues that raise these questions are fair political game.
John McCain's seeming lack of desire to attack his opponents at their weakest points is what is doing more to hurt the Republican Party at this state of the game than anything else. Between Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Democrats are handing McCain the General Election. I would guess that not a few State Party activists from around the country have told John McCain over the last few days that they will do their part for victory-but John McCain must do his.
A conservative journal of social, cultural, and ecclesiatical affairs grounded in a realistic Catholic Christian worldview. It is my hope that this site will be a reflection of Christ,the teachings of His Holy Church, and of the basic vision of a Christian social morality.