Friday, May 4, 2007

CNN: "Pulling U.S. forces from Iraq could trigger catastrophe"

TwoConservatives picked up on this article 2 days ago, so h/t to them for being ahead of me on the curve.

CNN, who is known for being moderate-left, recently featured an article that pretty much tells you that the calls by Pelosi, Reid, and company could have dangerous and far-reaching implications that would threaten the future and security of this nation. Click here to read.

Click here to read Charles's take over at TwoConservatives. He notes that a few of the simplest questions about the Democratic strategy have yet to be answered...or even recognized, for that matter.

Oh Dear Lord...

Raising Kaine knows how to misinterpret conservatives for their own political views like none other, except for maybe Daily Kos.

Now they're saying Fred Thompson blames Virginia Tech University for the shootings.

They totally ignore the fact that Thompson was making more of a reference to the university overriding state law in Virginia, not "blaming" the university. He was stating fact.

This is why I won't even bother signing up for a free membership to the website, it's not even worth the money you pay to be a member. It's one blog I read for the pure laugh I get from the misinformation they spread about conservativism.

The article RK references can be read here.

Weighing In On The 51st District Controversy

This is waaay out of my normal range for the statewide political scene, as I tend to focus more on the Northern and Central Shenandoah Valley. However, I've got to talk about the GOP nomination race in the 51st District of the House of Delegates.

Namely, I've got to talk about some of the slung mud going on from the lefty blogs on this one, especially towards Faisal Gill.

I read the Washington Post article on Gill's hiring of Tom Kopko (chair of the Prince William County Republican Committee) to create a campaign website for him, and that Kopko was paid a fee of $2000.00. There is nothing illegal about this, the transaction even took place before PW County School Board member Julie Lucas decided to enter the race for the nomination. Simply put, Kopko was paid for services rendered (in my opinion).

How is this illegal? Gill paid Kopko to make a website, which Kopko did...and all of this took place while Gill was the only GOP candidate at the time of the transaction. Now Julie Lucas wants to make an issue of this.

Well, a few lefty blogs in Virginia have jumped on this one as "another example of Gill's corruptness". Apparently, some are attempting to say that Gill is trying to "buy" his nomination for paying s. Gill apparently endorses and promotes terrorism (while having worked for the Bush administration, whose M.O since 9/11 has been going after terrorists), and called the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina "a worthy operation" (even though that statement was actually made by Abdurahman Alamoudi, some have attributed it to Gill, since Gill was once employed by Alamoudi). Gill has also been labeled a "Bush crony" since he used to work for the administration.

I don't know, seems like a stretch to me when you call someone a supporter/endorser of terrorism, then call them one of "Bush's cronies", and attribute their former boss's quotes to their lips.

Now, does Gill really stand for these things...well, maybe he does, I don't know. However, I would like to see something other than loose labeling and drive-by accusations by a known liberal rag (WaPo, I'm talking to you) before I start calling someone an enabler of terrorism.

Especially when they're Pakistani in origin...ya know?

Debate Thoughts

Here are a few of my thoughts on last night's GOP Debate...

- This debate was a good counter-response to the apparent solidarity amongst the Donkey nominees. The ten men on that stage pretty much were in unison on issues like Iraq, but had their own unique approaches to how they would approach these issues.

- Chris Matthews interrupted and talked over the candidates too much, but I'm not surprised. He was not the man to be moderating this debate, but to be honest...he could've been a lot worse about talking over and interrupting the candidates, as well. I give him about a "C" rating at best. Kudos to the GOP for going onto MSNBC and letting a known Democrat moderate your debate...unlike the Democrats, who refused to hold any kind of debate between their own candidates on Fox News, for fear of being asked real questions, I guess.

- I never realized how right Hunter Golden has been about Mitt Romney's ability to cultivate his own image. He does have a very slick, polished way about him. I think Romney came out of this debate in better shape than when he went in. He did take a definitive stance, and explained his past changes on issues in a very dignified, reasonable manner. My wife, who relies a bit more on "gut feeling" and image than I do, really preferred Romney over the other candidates.

- People are giving Guiliani waaaay too much crap for last night. He looked extremely comfortable and "in place" up there, and some people are taking that as indifference, because of his more fiery speeches and actions from the past. Also, when Guiliani gave his answer about abortion, he was not flip-flopping within his own answer, as many liberal pundits have attempted to say. Simply put, Guiliani "hates abortion", as he said, but respects a woman's right to choose as her conscience can be different than his...and he also believes that abortion is more of a state's rights issue...which should appeal to conservatives who are really looking for a "smaller government". Guiliani also scores points for knowing the difference between Sunni's and Shiite's, which tells me that Guiliani subscribes to the theory of "know thy enemy".

- John McCain finally lit the fire under his backside and showed us a similar candidate to what we saw in 2000. Unfortunately, I think McCain was a much more viable candidate in 2000 than he is now. If McCain continues to keep this fire lit, that opinion of mine may very well change. McCain, as well as Romney and Guiliani, all struck me as having some strong opinions on how America goes forward in the face of terrorism. I loved McCain's statement that he would follow Bin Laden "to the gates of hell", as well as Romney's statement that Bin Laden "will die". A passion for justice is something we need to keep alive in our society.

- Tommy Thompson didn't do much for his cause, neither did Sam Brownback. Tom Tancredo was constantly cut-off by Chris Matthews, and just wasn't forceful enough to get past the cut off for the extra 5-10 seconds he was looking for. While Tancredo is a fine politician, he's doesn't strike me as someone who would make a strong executive. Mike Huckabee came across well, but I simply see his as more of a Vice-Presidential candidate. He's got a good stance, and is well-spoken, but I think he lacks any kind of "standout" qualities for voters. Duncan Hunter proved that he has good knowledge of the military, but past the Iraq and Iran issues, I'm not sure what makes him more appealing than other candidates on other issues. That being said, Duncan Hunter is one of the better articulators of his opinions, even if he shares them with other candidates. That gives him an edge over the rest of the "second tier".

-Jim Gilmore was so hell-bent on saying, "I am a true conservative, I governed Virginia as a true conservative, I will be a president who is a true conservative, I eat true conservative foods, I drink true conservative drinks, I sleep in a true conservative bed with a true conservative wife in a true conservative house". I began to feel like I was listening to a broken record with Gilmore.

- Ron Paul was arguably the most bombastic candidate up there (only McCain could really stake any kind of claim to that title), and said some things that were great in principle, but not necessarily feasible on a federal level. At least, not immediately. However, the general sense of his message, which is to reduce government's size and influence, is something that should be recognized and remembered as the GOP moves forward towards 2008.

Final Debate Thoughts: No clear winner, but the biggest mover may be Mitt Romney, and that will probably show as he should leap-frog McCain and seriously challenge Guiliani's position at the top. The biggest winner, should he run, would be Fred none of the candidates really jumped out as the "obvious choice".

Thursday, May 3, 2007

This Should be Interesting...

Apparently, Chris Matthews is moderating tonight's GOP debate on MSNBC. I am interested to see how Matthews phrases the questions posed to the various candidates...will he just ask questions, or will he put them on the defense for having (R) next to their name?

Given the fact that this debate is shaping up to be a bit less civil than the Donkey Debate last week, it's only fitting that someone who has a history of being combative with Republicans will be moderating.

Should make for interesting TV.

American Students - Not as Dumb as You're Led to Believe

h/t to Barticles for the link.

In today's Washington Post, Gerald W. Bracey provides some interesting statistics comparing American students to the rest of the world, and why we shouldn't be so worried about our children's test scores compared to those of other countries.

Click here for the article.

Making a Case for Fred Thompson in My Own Mind

There are many, many conservatives out there who are pulling for Fred Thompson to run for the GOP nomination. The reasons are understandable. He's a solid conservative without the "neocon" label. He's a likeable guy. He's got media savvy. He has tremendous presence and has an "authority figure" persona. He speaks, and people listen. He also strikes me as someone who has good morals, but isn't a "christian conservative", a term that the mainstream liberal press uses to vilify many right-wingers.

I've been searching pretty far-and-wide on Thompson, trying to get a handle on what his political views are, since he's the popular alternative candidate to guys like John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Guiliani (who I favor at this point among those actually running). So far, it seems that his stances are pretty much run-of-the-mill conservative ideology. Smaller government, no tax increases, pro-2nd Amendment, and so on...mostly things I can agree with. So I decided to read into his political career a little bit.

He served as Chief Co-Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee as they investigated the Watergate scandal. In fact, it was Thompson who was responsible for Howard Baker asking the question of "what did the President know, and when did he know it." It's speculated that this question was a key element in bringing down Richard Nixon. While serving in the U.S. Senate, Thompson chaired the Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1997-2001, which investigated the campaign finance scandal of 1996, in which China was accused of attempting to influence American political elections.

He's a former lobbyist for several large corporations, has served on several bipartisan counsels, and is a registered foreign agent. These qualities strike me as someone who can work "across the aisle" and knows how to get his agenda across at the same time.

Thompson definitely seems to have the credentials to be taken seriously as a contender for the GOP nomination. I would like to see what he would bring to the table in the upcoming debates, so I hope that if he decides to run, he makes the decision soon.

I'm favoring Rudy at this point, but I'm leaning more and more towards Thompson each day. Maybe I'm getting caught up in the hype a little bit, but the man does peak my interest as a possible candidate.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

27th District - Issues With Tate's Finance Reports

I was reading the finance report for the past quarter for Mark Tate, who is running against Jill Holtzman Vogel. Usually, I don't go too in-depth into the finance reports unless I have a reason to. Apparently, according to VCAP, Tate is under investigation for some inaccuracies in his report.

The most notable inaccuracy was where Tate reported 0 loans taken out, but has received $155,000.00 in loan revenue, which equals nearly 47% of his total reported revenues.

Who knows if this is simply bad math, or more...but it's worth watching. However, as of right now, there is no indication that there was any criminal activity and may simply have been a poorly-filed report.

No "Peace" In Greenpeace

I find it amazing that so many environmentalists can leave the vulgar, obscene comments they have left in regards to Glenn Beck and others who have brought up the fact that Al Gore is a much bigger contributor to Global Warming than you and I are.

20X more than you and I, to be exact.

Click here for an article on Gore's "Carbon Footprint".

Environmentalists (who tend to promote themselves as peaceful, among other things) then retort with obscenity-laced tirades in their blogs and letters sent to those who bring up the matter. It's as if there is no such thing as "other side of the issue" with these people.

But it's OK that Al "Captain Planet" Gore contributes more, because he's a celebrity...right? Just like the rest of the Hollywood elite...who drive Priuses and use 1 square of toilet paper...then fly in personal jets for 3-4 hour trips, and contribute as much pollution in one 3-hour flight as a Prius does in 30,000 miles of continuous driving.

For these lefty's, the stats don't long as they're promoting an anti-Bush platform.

Virginia Beach Police Change Immigration Questioning Policy

Looks like they finally got it right.

"Under the new policy, Jacocks said, anyone who is placed under arrest will be asked about his or her citizenship and then, if the person is in the country illegally, police will notify a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agent. Previously in Virginia Beach, people arrested for minor offenses were not questioned about citizenship."

Of course, Chief Jacocks had to take his shots to make himself feel better...

"Asked about O'Reilly at the press conference on Tuesday, Jacocks said: 'I think he's a pathetic person, short on manners and large of mouth, whose inability to do anything constructive for anyone has relegated him to sitting on his duff and spewing insults and half-truths on a tabloid TV show.'"

Sour grapes, anyone?

Jacocks should realize that he's been attempting to play the "nobody would've cared if it wasn't an illegal immigrant" card. What Jacocks didn't realize is that the incident itself (a drunk-driving accident) opened up a completely different topic (allowing illegal immigrants to repeatedly break the law without even questioning their status).

He also stuck his foot in his mouth last month when he said, “Not only do we not have the capacity to do the federal government’s work in the area of immigration, but we have no business doing so.” Not realizing that being in this country illegally is the law...and it is his organization's duty to uphold the law.

He should've just kept his mouth shut.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A Story I've been Watching

I've been following this story for a while.

It seems that the URI College Republicans, who placed a satirical advertisement in the school newspaper offering a $100.00 scholarship to a "white, heterosexual male" in protest of URI's apparent abundance of race, gender, and sexuality-based scholarships.

URI's Student Senate has taken exception to this, and has pressured the College Republicans to issue a written apology. So far, the College Republicans have refused to issue any apologies, but have been more than willing to issue a written explanation of the satirical advertisement.

The Student Senate will vote on Wednesday on whether or not to revoke the status of the College Republicans as a school-sanctioned group.

The school's president, Robert Carothers, has directed the School Senate NOT to impose any sanctions on the College Republicans, as that would violate their freedom of speech. The School Senate has decided to go forth with a vote on the matter anyway.

So, what I gather from this, is that the School Senate feels that they have the power to not only tell the College Republicans what they can't say, and what they must say...but that they have the power to override a directive by the man who runs the university.

Where's the ACLU on this one?

Weekly Podium: How The GOP Went Wrong (And Can They Fix It?)

In the year 2000, the Republican Party gained something they hadn't enjoyed in several decades. They were fully in charge of the federal government. George W. Bush had just been elected in one of the most controversial elections in American history. The House and Senate were already under GOP control from the Republican Revolution of 1994.

After being pretty well left-for-dead in 1992 after losing the presidency, the Republicans regrouped, and powered by the "Contract With America" and voter dissatisfaction with how Clinton and the Democrats were running things, the Republicans swept into the majority in both the House and the Senate. Six years later, George W. Bush claimed the White House, and by January of 2003, the Republicans held power in both the Executive and Legislative branches of the U.S. Government.

This, of course, changed last November. The GOP lost their position of power for various reasons. Many are inclined to blame President Bush, but I believe that there is much more to this than simply blaming Bush.

First of all, the Republicans have always worked well as “the underdog”, in a sense. During Clinton’s administration, the Republicans were very good at rallying public support for their conservative agenda and control of “big government”. Along the same vein, Ronald Reagan was able to push through many of his initiatives despite facing a large Democratic majority in the House (as well as a Donkey majority starting in January of 1987).

When the Republicans attained the power that they had not been used to, it almost seemed as if a sense of revenge, power-greed, and lack of PR tact combined to bring them down. Republicans attempted to bull-rush bills into fruition, using their majorities to push their initiatives through. These were the same tactics that people did not like about the Democrats from 1993-1994, which led to the Republican Revolution in the first place.

In 1994, Republicans realized that they were entrusted with this kind of majority power by the American public because the American public was disenchanted with the Democrats. Middle America was tired of big government, and moved in favor of a more moral-based, smaller-government party who would bring some sense of personal responsibility and morality to a White House that had been riddled with sexual, moral, and personal scandal for the previous 8 years.

However, 9/11 changed the political climate. Bush, who ran on a domestic-policy platform, was now forced to become much more of a foreign-policy president than he (and the party) could have ever planned on.

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Bush and the Republicans pushed through initiatives to help safeguard our country from future attacks. Perhaps emboldened by the success of these initiatives, the Republicans began enlarging the size of government. It seemed that the mentality to expand the government’s powers to increase protection against terrorism now seeped into other aspects of Republican policy.

While they never approached the size and scope of governmental expansion that the majority of Democrats tend to stand for, the shift away from the appealing principles of Republican conservatism has alienated many moderates, who had swung in favor of the GOP between 1992 and 2004.

The Iraq War has not helped Republican causes at all, and has given the Democrats a rallying point for public support. However, I’ve always thought that Democrats would not be so strongly opposed to this war if it had been advertised as “military action to stop the Kurd and Shiite genocide by Saddam Hussein.” Democrats love military actions that stop genocides (see Bosnia in 1995, Kosovo in 1999). But I digress…

This shift, however, was not necessarily completely the fault of the Republican politicians, though.

The Democrats, reeling from the loss of Congress to the Republicans and the subsequent loss of the White House, spent several years regrouping and shuffling the party’s leadership, bringing fresher faces to the forefront. Since the nation began it’s recovery from the 9/11 attacks, the Democrats have worked to rebuild their party structure and began unifying their causes with two goals in mind, regain the Congressional majorities and regain the White House.

So far, the plan has worked, but it has not been as victorious for the Democrats as they would hope. As I have observed previously, poll numbers are not necessarily great for the Dems, evidence that the American public voted “against the Republicans” in 2006...not “for the Democrats.” With the GOP mired in a popularity downfall, the Democrats are out for political revenge. So far they’ve done a pretty good job of casting a critical eye on conservatism in general, even though it has been at the expense of the image of their own liberal ideals.

The Republicans haven’t done anything to promote their own image, Democrats are taking advantage of the opportunity presented to them, and then you have the media…the third prong of the GOP fall from grace.

The general mainstream media, for the most part, is liberal. This tidbit of knowledge is very common, and it supports the aims and goals of the Democrats. Ever since the Vietnam War, the general mainstream media has become aware of it’s own self-importance, and has become increasingly efficient in delivering news with their own proverbial “spin”. While many cry foul of a certain network not being as “fair and balanced” as they say they are, their version of the “spin” is one of the exceptions, not the rule, among the mainstream media outlets.

Nonetheless, the liberal mainstream media’s irresponsibility in reporting the news has been allowed to happen due to the apparent inability of the GOP to handle the leftward spin. It seems that Bush’s administration, no matter what they try, cannot seem to handle the spin. The media, realizing this, has capitalized on this opportunity to further their own agendas, and has furthered the Democratic agenda in the process.

Conservatism in general is under a lot of scrutiny and attack in the media, whether on the talking-head shows, in newspaper op-ed columns, or in political blogs. As my compatriot Hunter Golden has opined to me more than once, “conservatives are losing the propaganda war…badly.” Republicans and conservatives in general are portrayed as war-mongering, selfish, greedy, elitist, bigoted, and religious zealots. This image lingers despite the fact that those who fit the description are on the fringe of conservatism, and are not what constitutes the bulk of conservative-minded Americans.

Due to the current political atmosphere, many good initiatives have fallen by the wayside, One of the biggest reasons why is because George W. Bush has been unable to sell the American public, the media, or key Democrats on his policies in a convincing manner. This is a prime example of the Bush administration’s inability to handle the spin created by the media or the opposition.

To his credit, Bush has attempted to remain optimistic that he can work with the current Democratic majority in forging a bright future for America, despite the fact that the Democrats are not interested in any kind of bipartisanship at this time. It is this kind of optimism for the future that GOP leaders need to carry forward into the 2008 campaign season.

The GOP is in a position to restructure their leadership and rejuvenate the waning support and interest of conservatives and moderates both. New faces are emerging as old stalwarts are on their way out, and there is a growing sentiment amongst conservatives that all is not lost for the Republican Party.

Part of what will be necessary for the GOP to get back to what made them appealing to many Americans in the first place. In a 2006 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey best-described what the Republicans have to do to reacquire mass public appeal…

“The leadership must remember that the modern conservative movement is a fusion of social and fiscal conservatives united in their belief in limited government. The party must keep both in the fold. Republicans also need to get back to being the party of big ideas. The greatest threat to American prosperity today is a catastrophic fiscal meltdown resulting from long-term entitlements. Democrats have already lined up behind the solution of raising taxes and reducing benefits. But Americans want more freedom and choice in education, health care and retirement security. Republicans -- too busy dreaming up wedge issues to score cheap points against Democrats -- have lost sight of their broad national agenda.”

Armey later states, “When we get back to being the party of limited government, putting a national agenda ahead of parochial short-term politics, we will again be a party that the American voters will trust to deal with the serious challenges facing our nation.”

These statements are very accurate in their depiction of the road the GOP must take to become the party that America trusts for the future. As the future of the Republican party comes into being, future party leadership must bring something new to the party’s ideology, while still remaining to it’s true base of limited government and agendas built for the long-run.

If not, the GOP (and conservatism as a whole) will be in for a seriously tough time until at least 2016.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Broken Records

After hearing some of the speeches by the Democratic presidential hopefuls out in California, I ask myself "haven't I heard this before?" Will the Dems ever stick to their promise of focusing on all the issues, instead of pushing a single issue over, and over, and over, and over...

Personally, at this point, we know the spending bill that the Dems sent to Pres. Bush's desk will be vetoed. If the Dems attempt to continue to push this same bill, they will bog down Congressional activity with this, further hampering their image in the public eye...which is already suffering from a "lack of action" image, as seen in quite a few polls.

We need a compromise, and there is one floating out there right now. There is a proposed spending bill with the benchmarks that force Iraq's government to start taking more accountability in protecting it's own people (with no set timetable for withdraw) is the true spending bill that Congress should pursue sending to the President's desk. Should that bill reach the Oval Office, Bush should realize that this is probably as close to a clean bill as he is going to get from Congress, and sign that into action.

At least this way, we can allow General Petraeus a chance to carry out this new troop surge and battle plan that has begun to turn the tide. What you don't hear in the media is that there is less sectarian fighting this year (pretty much since the troop surge began) than in the previous years of this war.

Something for you people to mull over...

TJ Hooker: Not A Hillary Fan

William Shatner has an opinion, and you should read it.

It gave me a good chuckle, that's for sure. The best part is in reference to a possible Hillary Clinton presidency, in which Shatner replies

"She wins, I puke."

I guess if she does win, I'll be sharing a bottle of Emetrol with Captain Kirk.