Thursday, May 27, 2010

Big Ideas, Not Big Government

At this point, it is fairly clear that the outcome of November's election is not going to be good for the Democrats. What's not clear, though, is whether it will be good for the Republicans. A surging anti-incumbent sentiment has already unseated several high-ranking party members of both parties, including Benedict Arlen Specter himself, and Senator Bennett of Utah.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, it's clear that there will be a good deal of new blood in Congress. Let us hope that it comes with new ideas as well. To that end, I'd like to encourage you to check out a site launched by the House Republicans to solicit policy suggestions, and give you (and me) a place to speak out for better solutions for our current problems than are being offered by the current Administration. The site is at In a manner similar to the Contract from America, the site intends to solicit policy suggestions and discussion by the American public. Since the launch of the site on Tuesday, May 25, the site has been up and down, dragged down by the volume of traffic -- most of which, at times, seems to be coming from the Democrat astroturf machine. As of late, things seem to have stabilized a bit, possibly because the SEIU thugs have lost interest in bashing Bush, Christians, and Republicans). And due to the volume of traffic and negative comments on the site, it's all the more important that we of Conservative mindset dilute the negativity on the site.

It's time that those of us with Conservative ideology begin to offer some new ideas, and this is a site that exists for such a purpose. It's not that "old" Conservative ideology doesn't work: It's that sometimes there is a disconnect between an ideology and a specific policy. We can be guided by our ideology, while offering new (and specific) policy suggestions to fix what's broken in Washington. And lateley, it seems to me that many people who recognize that our government is badly broken seem to get stuck in a rut, falling back to the same two or three policy suggestions:
  • Abolish the IRS and implement the fair tax.
  • Implement term limits for Congress.
  • Cut taxes
And while these suggestions do address specific failings of our government, I don't think they go far enough: Variations on the theme of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government are great; but what about enacting policies that ensure that government can never grow large again (regardless of what clown is in power) -- what about placing an absolute cap on the amount of money the Federal government can spend every year? Likewise, term limits may limit the career of one bad apple who happens to be a career politician; but what about a policy that allows the recall of the entire Congress when enough Americans are disgusted with the Congressional antics?

It's time that we all work together to brainstorm some newer, bigger ideas that will be sure to defeat Big Government, and a site like AmericaSpeakingOut is a great place to do that. The Big Ideas will catch on, even if the House Republicans aren't listening (as some have asserted).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Coming of Nationalized Pizza Delivery

Just as I indicated in my prior post that the Tea Party isn't always Right, it looks like the ACLU isn't always on the "wrong" side of every issue. I stumbled upon the following video, produced by the ACLU in 2007. And while it was produced in 2007, it seems far more likely to happen now that Obamacare is the law of the land (for now).

For your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Tea Party Isn't Always Right

This is fairly old news by now, but significant nonetheless. The Tea Party Express has officially endorsed a single Democrat, Walt Minnick of Idaho's First Congressional District. As the only Democrat to receive the endorsement of the national Tea Party organization, Minnick is perhaps the Loneliest Democrat. And in electing to endorse Mr. Minnick, the Tea Party Express is gravely mistaken.

You see, Tea Party Express is a national organization. But, how is Mr. Minnick perceived at the local level? I dare not try to speak for all Idahoans, but I am an Idahoan, and a resident of the First Congressional District, at that. And I think the Tea Party Express is mistaken in their endorsement of Minnick. To a point, I can agree with the logic expressed by Sal Russo of the Tea Party Express, quoted in the Idaho Statesman's coverage of the endorsement: "We have to reward some Democrats that have been willing to stand with us on the tough issues." And Russo has a point: Minnick has opposed Cap and Trade, Obamacare, and the stimulus bill. However, neither Mr. Minnick, nor any other Congressional candidate, has received the endorsement of the local Tea Party organization, Tea Party Boise.

I think it's important to look at Minnick's whole voting record, not just whether he stood on the right side of a few issues. Minnick is certainly not stupid: He knows that this Congressional district is among the most right-leaning districts in a state where the GOP enjoys a super-majority in the state legislature. He knows that he owes his election largely to the fact that his opponent, Rep. Bill Sali, was very unpopular within the state Republican party. (Prior to Sali receiving the GOP nomination for the seat, the Speaker of the Idaho House publicly proclaimed that he thought that Sali was "an absolute idiot...".) Minnick also knows that he can't show his true colors and vote with the party-line when his constituents are likely to be paying attention (on the "big" votes").

So, how does Minnick vote when he doesn't think we're paying attention (or care)? Here's a smattering:
  • He voted with the Democrats to nationalize our student loan industry (a vote which was proclaimed by Nanci Pelosi to be one of Obama's three pillars in his Blueprint for American Prosperity.)
  • He voted for Stimulus #2 (aka the "Jobs Bill of 2010).
  • He supported Cash for Clunkers (at least enough to vote to authorize the extension of the bill), and we all know what a success that was.
While Minnick has had the guts to stand up to his party on some issues of great importance, it's clear to me that his voting record (and not just the highlights I list here) is not in-line with the ideals of the Tea Party movement. Moreover, the Tea Party Express has undermined the ability of the local Tea Party to express an opinion on Minnick's performance. Should Tea Party Boise decide to endorse his opponent, the two opinions would largely cancel one another out. Both candidates would be able to claim to have been endorsed by the Tea Party. This is precisely why any endorsements from the Tea Party movement need to come from the local level. If "all politics is local politics", then national organizations need to stay out of the business of endorsing local candidates: Let the local organizations do the endorsing, and offer them funding as needed.