Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Fair"-ness Doctrine

Certain high-profile Democrats would like to bring back the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", and of course Conservatives are rightly screaming bloody murder.

Yes, of course, it's blatantly unconstitutional. And yes, it's rather Orwellian to call it "fairness". Just as "social justice" means "affirmative action" rather than "equal protection", and "economic justice" means socialism rather than more-or-less laissez-faire capitalism, so too does "fairness" mean "whatever the heck we want".

Does "equal time" mean for 911-Truthers too? (Now "troofers" in some camps - I like it!) For every crazy "controversial issue" we must have equal time?! I think not.

But it's just another part of the broader attack on the First Amendment. No wonder the Fairness Doctrine is being considered in a world where the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regime reigns over our allegedly sacred political speech - where it took a 5-4 ruling by a brand-spankin' new Supreme Court to admit that organizations have the right to merely mention a candidate's name regarding an issue that happened to occur during a campaign. It boggles the mind what those four minority Justices might have been thinking.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More Shamnesty

Fox News Sunday: Trent Lott and Diane Feinstein

A central fraud committed by those trying to sell shamesty is the line pioneered by McCain, saying that the status quo is "silent amnesty". In a sense they're right, but they're implying that it's the current bill or nothing at all.

But that isn't the case. Congress could pass a good bill. But this one isn't. They could fix the problems in this bill, but they won't, and they won't allow meaningful debate on amendments.

Bill Kristol is one prominent conservative who is self-admittedly "soft" on illegal immigration, and he thinks the bill stinks. When the "soft" folks aren't on board, something is terribly wrong.

MTP lowballs on immigration

The first segment of Meet the Press pitted Pat Buchanan against Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Really, I shouldn't have to explain why that's a bad idea if one wants to promote meaningful debate on the topic of immigration, but since Tim Russert and Chuck Todd didn't see it, I guess I need to spell it out. Rightly or wrongly, Pat Buchanan is seen as a nativist bogyman by the Left, and thus anything he says will be immediately discounted. And rightly or wrongly, Rep. Gutierrez, qua Chicano, will be seen as soft on illegals and not serious about the subject generally.

From what I'm seeing this is a hyperbolic Nixon-v-Kennedy all over again. Buchanan is wiping the intellectual floor with Gutierrez, while the younger, better looking Gutierrez filibusters and lies and complains about the "texture and tone" of Buchanan's criticism.

Buchanan gave his standard litany of substantive policy actions that should be taken; Gutierrez completely ignores this, and complains that the critics aren't offering a solution; Buchanan counters "I wrote a book on the subject."

Russert concluded that they had "a pretty good microcosm of the debate" before ending the segment. I find this conclusion accurate, but terribly sad.

(I think there is more than a little irony in being called a "racist" by a group called La Raza)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Corn Mafia

Members of the Senate corn-state mafia blocked an effort to repeal ethanol tariffs.

With any luck, the modified Presidential primary schedule will reduce the political sway of the corn lobby over time. But for now, we're stuck with the sort of crap.

If this country was actually serious about replacing a meaningful amount of gasoline with ethanol then they would kill this tariff. But they aren't, they're only interested in protecting the corn lobby. The federally subsidized push to ethanol has already increased the cost of all corn derived products (including beef and dairy), effectively taxing all citizens through increased food costs. I've been sour on corn-ethanol for quite some time as it seems to be an open question whether or not the production of ethanol is net energy positive, and one should always be suspicious when the government chooses one technology over another. This failure represents the continuation of a cynical protectionist scheme, and it exposes the hypocrisy of those who want lower fuel costs, the environmental promise of ethanol, or the foreign policy implications of less petroleum dependence.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Powell on Meet the Press

When I saw Colin Powell was appearing on Meet the Press I figured he'd rip into the Bush administration with everything he had. Well, he didn't.

The only serious criticism he gave of administration policy was the Guantanamo prison facility, which Powell would rather close and put the prisoners into the normal civilian criminal justice system. Also, he suggested that the administration should talk to baddies such as Iran and Syria just as a matter of good faith, to establish dialog, not necessarily in relation to any particular crisis.

Otherwise, he must have infuriated the Left with his first-principles defense of the Iraq invasion. He refuted the idea that administration officials had lied, merely that they were wrong about the WMD case. He did allude to his preference for a much bigger invasion force, but that was well known before this interview. He also made one very obvious observation that the military component of the "surge" is, by itself, insufficient to bring about a satisfactory result. He didn't explicitly say that the troop surge was a bad idea.

I somehow doubt that all of this will be reported very heavily. Rather, the media would rather report that Powell has meet with Obama, and that Powell has not committed unconditional support of the GOP candidate. I think that puts Powell in shared company with the majority of Americans, and is thus not a major story. The major story is that he's sticking by his judgement about the Iraq invasion based on what he knew at the time. If only the American people would understand that we don't possess a time machine, and that D's and R's made decisions based on what we knew, or thought we knew, at the time. The "Bush lied" crowd is feeding off the cognitive dissonance of those trying to reconcile their earlier support for the war with their current dissatisfaction. Powell has utterly rejected that notion, and that is precisely why the media won't report it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The McCain-Kennedy-Bush-Saddam-Osama Immigration Bill

There's a lot of noise about the seemingly defeated Shamnesty bill. Several GOP Prez candidates have referred to the "McCain-Kennedy-Bush" bill. Why must we engage in ad hominem attacks against our own President? We expect the Dems to do that, and I admit it's a little fun linking bad things to Ted "The Swimmer" Kennedy, but shouldn't we be above that? Shouldn't this bill have been defeated because it's a dumb bill, not because of who's politically attached to it?

I think the GOP loses a lot of credibility when we deal with personal attacks and fail to focus on the issues and cold hard facts.

I mean, Bush has done way more than his fair share of stupid things, but you'd think from all the noise that every single thing he does is wrong. He probably ties his shoes wrong and brushes his teeth wrong too.

Do we as a party gain from bashing Bush just for being him? Once upon a time, back in the days of the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers, political debate was more constructive and less destructive. Let's be a little more constructive in our criticism.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Free Market in Politics

WashTimes reports that the RNC has fired all its internal phone bank solicitors after a steep falloff in donations. Anonymous fired staffers blame the falloff on distaste for the President's immigration plan. The RNC blames its aging phone system and what would be a burdensome replacement cost. Staffers acknowledge the frailty of the system, but it is quite obvious what straw broke this camel's back.

Several thoughts occur:
(1) Money is speech. McCain is wrong.
(2) Republicans are in fact principled, not just blindly and uncritically following Bush wherever he may lead us, as many Left-o-crats would have us believe.

Myself, I might be inclined to support some sort of legal status for illegals. But only if I thought the bill (and the administration) could act seriously to control the border. Of course, I have no reason to believe that border security will actually be a priority, as evidenced by the utterly pathetic pace at which the border fence is being constructed. I also know I'm not alone in feeling insulted for the insinuation of racism and nativism that has been spewed from Bush, Linda Chavez, and the Left writ-large.

I'm also a little sad that the job of phone solicitor no longer exists at the RNC. That job was a proverbial life preserver to young politicos trying to force their way into the "system". The elimination of these positions further widens the socio-economic gap for who gets to participate in Republican politics.