Democrats and identity politics dishonesty

Fox News is a venue more fit for exchanging sound bites than exchanging measured arguments. Yet, there is value even in analyzing sound bites, because those still should be backed by honesty and integrity. Over two consecutive nights on Megyn Kelly’s “The Kelly File,” Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and then Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman dutifully dropped their D-bombs, “diversity” and “discrimination,” to drive home a tired narrative that Republicans are mired in a racist, misogynistic, and homophobic past. Whatever else those bombs were loaded with, it wasn’t honesty or integrity.

Democrat Zimmerman twice asserted that Republicans were stuck in the 1950s. But Democrats seem to be mired in the 1960s, for that was when equal pay for women was enacted by legislation under John F. Kennedy. He’s been dead for more than 50 years, but Democrats keep exploiting the senseless women’s pay equality meme. To keep doing so, without substantiating evidence, is politically dishonest. And that dishonesty goes all the way up the chain to President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Zimmerman also alleges Republicans of wanting to discriminate against LGBT Americans, but this is just an empty smear. When social conservatives are amply justified to support policies based on natural law and common sense, the charge that they want to legislate Jim Crow animus against sexual minorities does not stick.

Do Republicans really have a problem with minorities generally? They do have a disproportionate lack of support among minority voters, but arguably that is more due to the stereotypes those voters hold of Republicans than the substance of Republican policies. Indeed, when it comes to Republican officeholders, the problem vanishes. For example, Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley are both nonwhite, female, twice-elected Republican governors. Democrats really need a new playbook.

And contrary to what Wasserman Schultz said to Megyn Kelly, Haley has had a very sunny approval rating in South Carolina, making her “one of the most popular Governors [sic] in the country.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is emblematic of what’s wrong with politics today. She is a con woman whose rhetoric is totally disconnected from reality. Zimmerman and Democrats right up through the President have this same disconnect. To be sure, they don’t monopolize this problem to the exclusion of Republicans. Inasmuch they blame immigrants for the econimic hardships of America’s working class, they partake in the disconnect too. But Democrats seem to be the masters of spewing identity politics nonsense.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4703064148001/did-dnc-chair-make-sexist-remarks-about-gov-nikki-haley/?playlist_id=928378949001

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Amnesty, conservatism, and reality

2012.11.18.3leggedstool
Scott Greer at the Daily Caller warns that “Pro-amnesty hawks are in for a rude surprise.” His analysis is questionable on several points.
1. No Republican supports amnesty. Which specific GOP-backed proposal, by a magic snap of the fingers, automatically grants illegal immigrants legal status without paying penalties?
2. Greer’s all-or-nothing vision is false. He predicts immigration reform will create “millions of new Democrats overnight,” but what specific legislative provision is he referring to? Republican-backed reforms typically mean that undocumented immigrants have to pay a fine and wait for several years before getting in back of the line just to apply for citizenship. And mere legal status is no ringing victory for Democrats. Meanwhile, he thinks Republicans like Bret Stephens naively anticipate a tidal wave of minority voter support if only they could pass immigration reform. I can’t see behind The Wall Street Journal’s paywall, but I’ve not heard or read anything to that effect from Stephens or others. The depiction is a straw man to boot.
3. There is no moderate wing of the Republican party. Greer pegs certain Republicans as “self-proclaimed moderates” without explicitly stating who does so. Neither do we know what they are moderate about: rhetorical tone or policy substance? In terms of tone, self-restraint, patience and foresight are marks of being a grown up. Bombastic rhetoric puts you on the loser’s path in the general election. Americans go for the happy warrior instead. In terms of policy substance, conservatism is a matter of principle, not what tribe one belongs to. Besides, isn’t identity politics what Democrats do? And no, “neocon” is not a tribe. Interestingly, Greer has made no case whatsoever as to which of the purported wings of the GOP is more conservative.
4. Greer offers no practical alternative. Assuming that demographic doom is written in the stars (and it isn’t), what is the real path to GOP electoral victory? Refusing to grant illegal immigrants any legal status whatsoever will turn off more independents than win them; they will see such a candidate, as Ted Cruz is shaping up to be, as callously bull-headed, not a hero with backbone. As Michael Medved astutely asks, what would Trump or Cruz’s plan be to win swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia? There is no hidden army of conservatives that stayed home in 2012. Rhetorical bombast won’t materialize that army. The progressive media will only use it to turn crucial independents away from the GOP.
5. Conservatives inhabit reality, not fantasy. Trump has promised to build a big beautiful wall and get Mexico to pay for it. He’s insisted that all illegals will have to leave America and touchback in their home country. Even those who have been economically and socially integrated for more than a decade. This is fantasy talk, and fantasy is the province of the deluded and of dreamers. That’s the base of the Democratic party, not the GOP. Politics is the art of the possible, not the bottom line of an anger retail industry.

Defunding Obamacare: principled, or pointless?

Robert Ariail, Townhall.com

For some time now, the Wall Street Journal editorial board has been warning about the futility of the strategy to defund Obamacare before it goes into effect in October.  The evening before Ted Cruz saddled up to fillibuster in the Senate, indulging the painful path to government shutdown, the Journal issued a preemptive, if qualified, “I told you so.”

We wish the GOP luck, since we support the policy if not the strategy. But however this charge into the fixed bayonets turns out, we hope the folks who planned it will take responsibility for what happens now.

The Journal points out that the leaders of the defund charge could not drum up solid GOP support, but only a “rump minority.”  And I think for good reason: Republican Representatives in swing districts can’t afford to take the blame for government shutdown.  A senator like Cruz does well to play to his base, with re-election five years away, if he’s not eying 2016.  Meanwhile, he and the defund (defeat) caucus are daring to doom vulnerable House Republicans by renewing the party’s image as overzealous shutters-down of government.  Democrats have been salivating for months.

As Michael Medved reminds us from time to time, there is no secret army of conservatives who will turn out in mass when the GOP takes its principled, suicidal stand.  That army doesn’t reside in swing districts; if anywhere, it would reside where the GOP will win by more than 20 points anyway.

Medved has posed this challenge on air over the past few weeks: what is the winning scenario for the defund campaign?  How do America or the Republican Party gain anything real out of this, whether in 2014 or for the foreseeable future?  President Obama has the bully pulpit, and the traction to outlast the GOP.  Even after the embarrassing Syrian escapade, the media’s irrational infatuation with the president is as recalcitrant as ever.

I’m firmly in the live-to-fight-another-day caucus.  I know the trite cries of “RINO” and admonitions to take a “principled stand” fly thick through the air these days.  So I take succor in the WSJ editorial’s biting claim to street cred:

These columns opposed ObamaCare before it was known by that name, and we may have even been the first to call it by that name. We also don’t need any lectures about principle from the Heritage Foundation that promoted RomneyCare and the individual mandate that is part of ObamaCare. Or from cable TV pundits who sold Republicans on Mitt Romney despite RomneyCare.

I’m not especially aware of Heritage’s transgression, but I feel the Journal on this one.

It’s refreshing to see cartoonist Robert Ariail’s no non-sense take on the situation.  The cliff image is all too prevalent these days, because we’ve been bouncing from cliff to cliff every few months.  It will be refreshing when posturing politicians stop clowning around, posing for “principle,” and actually get smart about saving the country.  Suck it up.  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Robert Ariail, Townhall.com

 

 

 

 

Arizona Dems’ unreasoned defense of gun buybacks

(Wikimedia)

I have to say, the Boston bombing earlier this week makes these days sad and sobering.  Breaching insanity-as-usual, there is for a time, something approaching a public consensus on the reality of evil.

Of course, it is one thing to admit evil exists; it’s another thing to take action that combats it.  Gun buybacks definitely aren’t one of those things.  Today an AP headline tells of an amusing way to deal with them: “Ariz. bill passed makes cities sell turned-in guns.”

The law in Arizona already requires that cities sell confiscated weapons.  All the new bill does is extend this to buyback guns as well.  This move exposes the absurdity of the buyback project.  The number of guns removed by buybacks are hopelessly miniscule compared to the stock in circulation.  And, only upright, conscientious citizens think of turning their guns over to law enforcement.  This increases the ratio of bad guys with guns to good guys with guns.  So buybacks are a losing proposition on two counts.  Inasmuch as cities decide to conduct these exercises in futility, why shouldn’t the state mandate that they recoup some of the cost?

Okay, so this is a slap in the face of liberal feel-good activism.  But the rejoinder by Democrats is unworthy of being called reasonable or logical:

Democrats argued that Republicans complain about the federal government when it requires the state to take action, yet they’re quick to force local governments to do what they want. “We hate it when the federal government mandates it to the state, and we’re doing the same thing,” said Sen. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma. They also complained about victims having to deal with the knowledge that a gun that killed a loved one could end up back on the streets.

This appears to be some sort of appeal to a double-standard.  But there’s a huge distinction between unwanted federal meddling and the state prescribing laws for the cities that are organized directly under its authority.  That distinction is the simple difference between the constitutions of the U.S. and Arizona respectively.  The Democratic senator is actually complaining about the compulsory nature of laws themselves rather than any hypocrisy Republicans might harbor.  But this is highly inconsistent coming from a party that thrives in direct proportion to the increase of government regulations, budgets, and lawsuits.

The complaint about guns ending up back on the streets is a non sequitur.  That happens already, in spite of the new bill being passed.  In fact, any gun that killed a person is more likely to have been seized than bought back.  How often does a person commit murder with a gun and then sell the weapon to law enforcement?  And if that were to happen, what is the likelihood the victim’s family would actually know or care about the ultimate fate of the gun?  Arizona Democrats sure are testing the limits of the emotional appeal.  Break out the tiny violins.

But what is most remarkable of all is that the AP reporter quotes these Democrats matter of fact, as if their statements actually made sense.

What’s wrong with this cartoon?

Stuart Carlson via Go Comics

Here’s a simplistic take on President Obama’s State of the Union speech.  Carlson, the cartoonist, sympathetically depicts Obama as calm and optimistic.  Meanwhile, Republicans are shown as afraid to work on the nation’s problems.

But why should we buy Carlson’s conception of what our country’s problems are?  Serious issues, like the national debt and our values crisis, are missing from the junk pile.  And of the concerns listed in the cartoon, some are hardly worth addressing, at least on the federal level.  Gun violence has declined drastically compared to twenty and thirty years ago.  “Mental health crisis” is more apt to a mountain of national dysfunction than “guns.”

Carlson’s cartoon reinforces the myopic notion that big government activism is the way to solve national problems.  But why propose a new federal preschool initiative when the extant Head Start program has been found to be of questionable value?  Like the manufacturing hubs proposal, it’s just another reinvention of the wheel, adding to the accretion of federal programs that don’t do what they’re supposed to.

The policy proposals laid out last week were predictable.  And so has been media coverage.  A report by Rachel Rose Hartman of Yahoo does little more than relay the White House’s talking points unchallenged.  Fair enough, we can recount all the times Yahoo reporters have uncritically parroted Republican initiatives.  On one hand.

Consider also an AP fact check of Tuesday’s speech.  In contrast to his challenges of Obama’s statements, fact checker Calvin Woodward goes out of his way to thoroughly stomp on Marco Rubio’s mention of a balanced budget amendment.  Dismissing it as unserious, he conveniently forgets that such an amendment failed to pass Congress by one vote as recently as the Clinton presidency.  He beefs that federal revenues declined during the recession, but ignores that they’ve since recovered.  And he launches a lengthy apologetic as to the necessity of deficit spending at the federal level.  We can only imagine the AP giving such generous balance to a Republican president.

As Kohaleth observed, “Nothing is new under the sun.” Mr. Obama wasted the bully pulpit again. Rather than make a genuine effort to unite the nation and move it forward, he did what he knows how to do best: deploy emotional rhetoric to build political advantage for his own party.  The President remains a one trick pony.  Media and the public they serve are largely lost in the pomp of the speech.  The only paean we can honestly deliver is one that declares Obama’s speech another pale and uninspired echo of “Hope and Change.”

Immigration reform: of RINOs and Rubio

20130210.huntingrinosIt’s been a couple of weeks since the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight preempted President Obama with a declaration of intent to tackle immigration reform.  I’ve not been totally on top of the news cycle since then, but I have sampled some of the conversation on the Right. I was heartened by Cosmoscon’s punctual endorsement of reform.  Charles Krauthammer’s more recent advice, with its retrospective “I told you so,” is a somewhat welcoming if wary analysis.

Yet, many other conservatives are beside themselves with complaints and grief.  They charge fellow Republicans with foolhardy electoral panic and lament the Charlie Brown naivete of working with Democrats.  In the worst instances, they let loose a cry of RINO–Republican In Name Only–against anyone they want to dismiss as spineless or traitorous.  For any conservative so tempted, do the rest of us a favor.  Vent your frustrations in private.  Try screaming into a thick pillow.  Such name calling has no place in a party of winners.

No one doubts the need for immigration reform.  But the rub lies in the long-running tension between enforcement and “amnesty.”  The National Review’s John O’Sullivan warns Republicans that amnesty would mean decades of Democratic domination.  He wants conservatives to realize that Hispanics vote Democrat for socioeconomic reasons rather than out of ethnic solidarity.  Although an astute observation, it’s only relevant if the proposed reform would result in illegal immigrants readily gaining citizenship.  But since it includes caveats like sending illegals to the back of multiple lines, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Besides, O’Sullivan is working with a straw man.  Who in the GOP is actually contending that bipartisan reform will automatically garner Hispanic votes?

Victor Davis Hanson, also at National Review, lodges his own reform reservations.  He observes that “special interests” (hardly ever an actually helpful term) are too entrenched, whether they be liberal activists working in identity politics or business owners dependent on abusively cheap labor.  As he sees it, committed liberals will never budge for a fence or strict enforcement.  But there’s little reason to think Republicans won’t be able to leverage public support for sensible enforcement measures.  At least as long as any would-be Todd Akins of immigration keep away from the media.  Quick, someone check Tom Tancredo’s whereabouts.

Looming above all this are the career prospects for that shiniest senator of the Gang of Eight, Republican Marco Rubio.  Immigration will figure into his Tuesday response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.  From what I can tell, he won’t fizzle like Bobby Jindal did a few years back.  Rubio seemed to acquit himself well in an interview with the Weekly Standard this past week.

Whether he acknowledges it or not, Senator Rubio remains a very decent prospect for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Maybe a time will come to grill him on his record.  But for now I’d encourage you to channel those prosecutorial energies into Karl Rove’s Conservative Victory Project.  Consider its effort to defeat a Republican primary candidate who once declared evolution and the big bang to be “from the pit of Hell.” I suspect this puts Rubio’s “I’m not a scientist, man” comment in a slightly better light.  Such a clear-eyed initiative buoys the conservative hope that leaders of Rubio’s vintage will get better with age.  All the more reason for Republican purists to put down their RINO guns.

Let’s get real about immigration. That 11 million people live a shadow existence in America is inhumane to them, dangerous to us all, and completely unsustainable. No conservative wants an “amnesty” like the ill-considered 1986 reform signed by President Reagan. If it comes down to it, we can deal with President Obama’s obstinate political wrangling when we cross that bridge. Until then, let’s show America what good bipartisanship is made of.

Reverse schadenfreude over Tim Scott

I have to admit, I was energized when I learned that South Carolina governor Nikki Haley selected Tim Scott to succeed Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate.  Here we have a female Republican of South Indian descent drafting a solid conservative who happens to be African-American.  Compared to their counterparts in California–the dusty, Democratic dinosaurs Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein–these two young and dynamic leaders come off quite favorably.

It is unfortunate that we have to talk about race so much.  Commentators from the Left have been less than charitable in characterizing the GOP’s celebration of the appointment.  One blogger at The Washington Post front-loaded her criticism this way: “Yes, the giddiness is almost embarrassing as Republicans congratulate themselves . . .”

No commentary where a form of the word “giddy” appears within the first three words can really be worth reading.  Regrettably, that was once the fourth word used in one of my older posts!  I think being on the receiving end of it, I will retire the adjective. It only betrays a reverse schadenfreude, where one is either frustrated at, dismissive of, or indignant at the joy of another.  Not a helpful attitude.

Neither is it constructive to refer to Senator-designate Scott as a “cynical token,” as happened in a recent New York Times editorial.

Whatever critics say, the Republican trumpeting is necessary, if only to counter the incessant squawking about a race problem coming from MSNBC types.  Take note of Scott’s ascension to the Senate, as it is just one more indicator that reality runs counter to noxious media narratives.

 

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