Saturday, September 06, 2008

True Conservatism is Hard Work

Now that both party conventions are "in the can" the race for the Whitehouse has kicked into high gear. No more "presumptive nominee" language.

As I ready myself for the face-to-face debates, the TV interviews and all of the "air time," I can't help but wonder which candidates will tell me not only what they promise to do, but the thinking behind their promises. In other words, give us the reasoning behind your positions, don't just promise us you'll do stuff.

What is best for our country and why? Tell me that. Appeal to my intellect, not just my emotions. And tell me why your ideas will actually work and why the other guy's won't.

Obama promises to raise the minimum wage. OK. Why? How does that strengthen the economy? I don't understand. Follow MY thinking on this and tell me where I'm failing to understand.

Let's say that I'm a small business owner with twenty-five employees making the minimum wage. Suppose Mr. Obama takes office and he raises the minimum wage. Now my payroll costs have gone up. Instead of employing twenty-five people, I had to let three go to cover my additional payroll expenses. Three more people just entered the unemployment line.

Now there are ways around this, ways I can keep all of my people and still absorb the minimum wage increase. 1) The government could cut my taxes to offset my additional payroll costs. 2) The government could loosen up or eliminate some of their heavy burden regulations, all of which cost me money to comply with. 3) I could raise the cost of my products/services to offset the additional payroll costs.

Options 1) and 2) would be welcomed. But they are very, very unlikely to happen. Option 3) is not a very good option because I become less competitive in the marketplace. Of course my competitors would also be faced with these same choices, so that may be a wash. But then our collective price increases have just added to the inflationary cycle. Yes, my employees are making more money, as are employees across the country, but prices have also gone up because businesses need to make money to stay in business. So we are back to where we started from.

Help me understand how over-taxing and over-regulating businesses will keep jobs in the country. Help me understand how raising taxes on "big oil" will lower the price of gasoline. I just don't get it. Can anyone explain this to me?

If the government bails out homeowners who over-extended themselves, who maybe did not read the "fine print" about their adjustable rate or their balloon payment, my hard earned money, collected at tax time from Uncle Sam, will be thrown down the drain. My government is using my money to reinforce the bad judgment and bad spending habits of my foolish countrymen.

Psychologists call this co-dependency. Co-dependency takes two parties. One party misbehaves. The other party fails to confront, allowing the bad behavior to continue. The second party is known as the enabler.

Our federal government, and many of its state counterparts are guilty of grossly enabling millions upon millions of Americans who refuse to step up to their own responsibilities.

Someone please explain to me why we continue to throw money at public education. Benjamin Franklin once quipped that insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Our public school systems do not need more money. They need more people committed to the idea of hard work and its commensurate rewards, people who have no problem failing students who don't perform, people who will not put up with nonsense. Public education needs to get back to teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, teaching our young ones how to think and reason and analyze ideas. Private schools, charter schools, and home schools are running rings around public schools, and often with fewer resources.

True conservatism is hard work. One has to actually engage the brain. True conservatism requires adhering to principles despite their unpopularity and the temporary difficulty such adherence might bring. It is kind of like walking with Jesus in a way. We are to obey Him even if it makes our lives more difficult.

I don't want platitudes. I want a clear-headed plan. I want a plan built upon sound, defensible, proven principles. And if the plan is good, even though it will cost me something, I'm in.

Liberals, and those who vote them into office, seem to want the easy road. "Give me my share." "Take care of me." "It's my right."

It is easy to be a liberal. All one has to do is point the finger at someone and blame them for their difficulty. As a liberal, one only needs to think loosely, put together a speech or a platform that sounds good. But when it is dissected and analyzed, huge holes in reasoning are usually found. For example, Barack Obama claims that our focus on Iraq has left Afghanistan weakened. What he fails to note or acknowledge is that Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan, is openly harboring and providing succor to Al Quaeda and Taliban terrorists in the mountains that border their country. Could it be that Pakistan, a sovereign country in its own right, has made our job more difficult?

But to be a conservative, one has to work. One has to think and reason. One has to assemble all the pieces of an argument, not just parts of it. It takes work. It requires not only critical thinking skills, but the willingness to employ them.

Being a conservative also means that one has to step up and take responsibility. Todd and Sarah Palin chose to have their baby, Trig, despite the fact that they knew he had Downs Syndrome. Extra work, extra care, extra time, extra thought would accompany this tough decision of theirs and they did not shrink back. They saw Trig as a blessing, not as a "punishment" as Mr. Obama does, reflecting on his response should one of his young girls become pregnant at an early age.

God created us to manage our own lives. Government in its most basic form begins with the self. It then extends to the family. The idea of big governments taking care of millions of people (or should I say trying to take care of millions of people) is not found in Scripture. The only job a civil government should tackle in this regard is "setting the table" to make it possible for people to take care of themselves, to manage their own lives.

Oh sure, we are to be our "brothers keeper," to share his burden and to help carry his load. But that's OUR job, not the job of our government in Washington. And it's OK to ask for help. It's OK to receive charity now and then. My family certainly has. We have been through long seasons of hand-to-mouth existence and have survived because of the kindness and charity of others. But not as a lifestyle. Not as a permanent state of being.

I have experienced a job layoff, collected unemployment, been without work, and stood in the SERVE line for food and financial assistance. I know what it's like to wake up every morning not knowing how my bills are going to be paid. I know the fear of losing my home, losing everything. I have driven cars that were just one breakdown away from the junkyard. I have worked two jobs to try and make ends meet. I got up at 3:30 in the morning to deliver papers. All of this to keep my kiddies fed.

I have started three businesses in my lifetime. Two are now defunct and the third exists only on paper. I know failure and it is not fun. So I write from first-hand experience.

And I still say we need to get off our butts and quit blaming others for our problems. Our lives are our responsibility, not others, and certainly not the government's.

This November, when I go to the polls to vote, I will not vote for the silver-tongued, platitudinous promise maker. I will pull the lever for the candidate who best understands the principles and ideals that made this nation great, the party which has traditionally celebrated and promoted hard work, self-reliance, and personal responsibility.

Voting Republican might, in the short term, make life a bit more difficult, but in the long term will ensure a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

Voting Democrat might make you feel as if you are voting for "change," but in the end you will only be burdening your children and grandchildren with the bill for the "freebies" you get today.

McCain/Palin '08.

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Friday, September 05, 2008


When John McCain sewed up the Republican Party's nomination this spring, I, like millions of other true conservatives, shook my head in disbelief and disappointment. The man known as the "Maverick" had betrayed his party and our conservative cause. His role in McCain-Feingold, his "gang of 14" efforts and its impact upon judicial confirmations, and his leadership in the failed Senate push for "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" angered me and countless others. My vote on November 4th would be cast for him, but tepidly, reluctantly, more as a vote against ZerObama than for the aging Senator from Arizona.

And although I am still angered at Mr. McCain for the "shamnesty" debacle in the Senate last spring, and what I deem are his several other misguided efforts, I have begun growing unexpectedly warm to him these last few days.

Last Friday's introduction of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin shocked me as it did the rest of the world. His nearly flawless rollout of the announcement on the heels of his opponent's Invesco Field spectacle delighted me. Palin's spectacular Wednesday night address in St. Paul assuaged any doubts about his judgment for his veep selection. And during his Thursday night acceptance speech the ice continued to melt.

I have begun to see his maverick nature in a new light. Sarah Palin's war against government corruption, even within her own party, got me to thinking afresh about how my party's own representatives in Washington had betrayed us. We Republicans had the Whitehouse, the Senate and the House. And what did we do with this power? We squandered a perfect opportunity. Our Republican representatives, and even our president, recklessly authorized the waste of billions upon billions of dollars of the people's money. Big-moneyed lobbyists bought influence. Corruption ensued.

Although not nearly as charismatic as his running mate, McCain, speaking to his party and the nation, laid out his case for reform. He pointed to his own party's failures and to the failure of big government to deliver upon its myriad promises to make our lives better. He said:

"We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans -- government that doesn't make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself."

Earlier in the election season, I had learned of McCain's strong record of opposing legislative "earmarks," what we used to call "riders," those troublesome bill attachments filled with self-serving "pork-barrel" money--the reason most of West Virginia's parks, bridges, and public buildings have Harry Byrd's name in front of them. Why should the money I worked hard to earn in Virginia money go to fund a "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska?

McCain and his team have proven to be far smarter, far more adept and intuitive than I, and many others, gave them credit for. They craftily conceived their theme of "Country First," and brought Palin on board to reinforce it with her dynamic testimony of taking on waste and corruption. Then Thursday night as he walked haltingly out on the stage, unable to raise his arms above his shoulders as he waved to the crowd in the convention hall because of the torture he endured, my resistance softened to this unusual man. Then he won me over with the very personal story of his own awakening, his own painful road to discovering his love of country over love of self. He demonstrated true humility, even alluding to being broken by his captors in Viet Nam and how his countrymen saved his life, feeding him when he could not feed himself.

Both Palin and McCain are authentic. ZerObama is smoke and mirrors.

Honestly, as one who has long carried a burden for the direction this country has taken these last forty years, my hope has been renewed. Both Palin and McCain have shown me that in our cause of liberty and our battle against the ever-encroaching menace of big government, we are not alone. I have been energized afresh to fight. McCain invited me to join him to do just that.

"Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what's right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our childrens' future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

This election is no longer about choosing "the lesser of two evils." Clarity broke into our lives this week. And on November 4th, when I go to cast my vote, I won't be holding my nose after all.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm a Palinista

The news of John McCain's selection of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate came as a surprise to everyone.

Not long after McCain had sewed up the nomination I stumbled across her name somewhere in one of the many political blogs I peruse every day. And after reading a little bit about her, I thought that she would be a great choice for the "maverick" Senator from Arizona to add to his team. But I dismissed the idea as a real longshot. When the news came last Friday, I could barely contain my excitement.

Governor Palin has taken the nation by storm with her short but successful history of cleaning up corruption in her home state. With her NRA membership, her PTA,"hockey mom" everydayness, her Downs Syndrome new-born, her "choice" to walk the walk regarding her "pro-life" stance, and her good looks, she is the talk of the nation.

Sarah "Barracuda" Louise Heath Palin played high school basketball. Her team won the Alaska small school championship in 1982. She served as a leader in her high school's Fellowship of Christian Atheletes (FCA) chapter. Beneath her picture in her highschool yearbook are these words: "He is the Light and in the Light there is Life." She represented her home town of Wasilla Alaska in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant and came in second. She owns a float plane. She fishes and she hunts. Moose stew is her favorite food. She rides snowmobiles. In 1988 she worked as a "sportscaster" for KTUU-TV in Anchorage.

Her husband Todd, part Yup’ik Eskimo, is a registered Independent and a member of the United Steelworkers Union. Together, they run a commercial fishing business.

Their son is soon deploying to Iraq.

She is a Christian. She and her family hold membership at The Church on the Rock in their home town of Wasilla, and attend Juneau Christian Center when working at the state capital.

Palin's very well delivered introductory speech in Dayton, Ohio on Friday morning made it clear that she is a force to be reckoned with. She has shaken things up quite a bit in her home state and enjoys an 80% approval rating as governor. She is clearly a strong conservative, although she is fiercely independent. She opposes federal "earmarks" and has stood up to "big oil."

From what I've read, Palin is the most knowledgable of all the candidates on both major party tickets when it comes to the oil industry. She has conducted meetings with Canadian leaders, and oversees the Alaskan National Guard which is our first line of defense against the Russians who are a mere fifty miles across the Bering Strait.

Today Ms. Palin disclosed that her seventeen year old daughter Bristol is pregnant. Bristol and the baby's father, known only as "Levi," plan to marry soon. Bristol made her own "choice" to see the pregnancy through.

What I like so much about this family is that they are as real as they come. True, red-blooded American pioneers, living life with gusto, unafraid to stand up for what they believe, yet flawed like all of us. Just plain real.

In fact, I am so excited about this unexpected development that I sent the McCain campaign $25.00. I would never have done that without her on the ticket. In fact, I have never done it for any presidential candidate until now.

Palin has already been assaulted by the left wing media, and no doubt will continue to be. Left wingers are trying desperately to a find of photo of Sarah Palin in a bikini. (I put that last line in there just to draw more hits to my blog. Sorry suckers. Although it is true.)

I'm a Palinista. You go Sarah! And Lord, keep them all safe. Amen.

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