Monday, August 6, 2007

Don't Have A Spirit Of Fear

A lot of what you are saying is very thoughtful and I agree with much of it. I had instinctive reactions and will answer point by point in the context of your email, below. But, I want first to strongly question an assumption under the surface of your statement that there are critical things at stake if Republicans lose. For one thing, I don’t believe I should sign on to something wrong because of a spirit of fear. Defending what is right is my job. Beyond that, it’s God’s. Am I going to tell God, “Well, I know I endorsed all of those bad things, but I was afraid for other things? I really thought it was helping you in the big picture, and you need all the help you can get.”

But I don’t think we should even totally fear Democrats. There is really a striking assumption in your thinking: And that is that Democrats mean and will do what they say. Most of them, at least the national and media-covered ones, I don’t think they do. The bottom-line is power. They want to manipulate the voters’ emotions. If (when?) technology makes it graphically plain what abortion is doing, and the nation turns decidedly pro-life, the Democrats will become “pro-life.” A lot of Democrats like Al Gore and Richard Gephardt, were pro-life until they got to the national stage. That issue is just an example:

The Democrats can say all they want about pulling out of Iraq, and it’s a one-upsmanship battle, right now. At the start, I thought Bill Richardson was the most level-head, feet-on-the-ground Democrat. Now, grasping for a breath of attention, Richardson is all: “Let’s bring them all home, right now.” Frankly, he’s talking to (at) the left-wing doorkeepers in the Democratic Party: “Look at me! Look at me! Open the door! I gave the password!” But, there’s no way that President Bill Richardson would do that. Not only that, neither would any Democrat…probably even Mike Gravel.

Once the political dance contest is over, the winner who is sworn in has something infinitely bigger to deal with: That person is ACTUALLY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! It would be like a doctor who was out on a bender the night, before, who is called in the morning to perform emergency surgery on a family member: That’ll sober you up, quickly.

When you are sworn in as president, and are regularly briefed and advised about security, diplomatic, and global necessities, you don’t say, “Nah! Forget all that!...”, not even if you’re afraid of offending your base. For that matter, “offending” may be too strong a word: how about “ruffling?” The fact is that most of your own party (and even the NY Times, if you’re a Democrat) will now assume that what you do is necessary, and not motivated by politics or money or imperialism… And, you will do what is absolutely necessary.

The fact is, I don’t believe any of these guys is about to summarily pull out and abandon Iraq to the wolves. I’d believe Ron Paul WAY before I believed what any of these Democrats are saying. When Iran’s “Achmedinejad swears destruction, we should pay attention. When Democrats are making annoying buzzing noises, we should flick hem away from our ear. Ron Paul is something of a curiosity to me. I don’t believe he’s a clown, like Michael Medved said he is (WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO REPORT THAT MICHAEL MEDVED ALSO SAID THAT MIKE HUCKABEE PROPABLY HELPED HIMSELF THE MOST AT YESTERDAY’S DEBATE Hugh Hewitt didn’t even mention any of what he sees as the also-rans other than Romney and Giuliani– and now, we return to our regularly scheduled program). But, I can only speculate that Ron Paul might be nestled in an anachronistic dogma that we can best address any problems by being an example and by trading with others. I believe that there’s generally a lot of truth to that. But, in a word of today’s travel, communication, and destructive technology and an ideological enemy dedicated to the point of suicide…uhhh, I’d be pretty slow to bury my head in the sand. And, a president of the United States can’t responsibly do that with the nation, and in fact with the world, given our capacities.

That’s why a Democrat probably won’t do that, either: if all advisors, diplomats, and foreign contacts are telling you of grave situations, you blow them off, and very bad or terrible things happen as a result, the truth will out and you will be shamed to an extent that Richard Nixon never dreamed. Heck, in today’s environment, you’d surely be impeached!

Bill Clinton was as feckless a president as America has had in our lifetimes, maybe ever. And, he didn’t bring the country to the ground…down yes, but not to the ground. And that may have been as much or more for the protection of his own reputation as it was love for America. The biggest damage a president will do is appointing judges, vetoing bills, and being a poor model. That isn’t nothing. But it probably isn’t the whole ballgame.

By the way, Hugh Hewitt means well, but he’s perceptually pop-culture bound: the people don’t make the choices, the (liberal) media does.



James H said...

I think you are right on a lot of things. At least I pray you are. I saw Dick Morris write that even if Hillary got in there would be no massive withdrawal. That they understand the consequences of that would be on their shoulders not Bushes

I am glad Medved said what he did. HAs Huckabee been on his show much?

Larry Perrault said...

Huckabee has not been on Medved's show at all, that I know of. I'm pretty confident that Huckabee will show strongly, but I can't be sure how strongly. In my history, I've had a tendency to expect more of people than they deliver: "Surely they...Well, I'm surprised."

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Hi James & Larry: Unlike Larry, I take the Democrats pretty much at their word. Do I believe Obama would invade Pakistan? He seems very committed to the ideas, but I don't think he's going to get the chance. What kind of Supreme Court justices does Larry think President Hillary will appoint? If President Hillary "only" withdraws half the American troops in Iraq, wouldn't that make sitting ducks of the rest? (I mean wouldn't it result in many more deaths?) Is President Hillary going to do anything about the tremendous unfunded liability with Social Security and Medicare? I submit she is going to make it worse. Gee, is President Hillary (or any other national Democrat) going to "secure our borders?" I submit she will do nothing about borders -- why should she? Where is the political incentive to do anything? The fact that the tiny Republican "base" doesn't like Mexicans? What Bill Clinton did -- reducing the size and strength of the military and eviscerating the intelligence community led directly to 9/11 -- and to the current international chaos. He also appointed two of the most liberal, pro-abortion judges in the history of the Republic. He remains much loved by a majority of the American people. Prepare for more of the same . . .

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Additional Response to Larry's column "Stranger in a Foreign Land,"

Defending what you BELIEVE to be right is in fact your obligation. My point is that I don't see how you defend them by not opposing people who believe the opposite. I wonder if the explanation to God you mention wouldn't instead revolve why you didn't "choose ye this day" between the partly objectionable and the completely objectionable?

Your point is that the Democrats don't "really" mean what they say. My point is that they probably do. Yes, being President is a lot different from running for President, whether you're Hillary Clinton or Mike Huckabee. However, as you point out with Gore and Gephardt on abortion, there are certain stances a Democrat MUST take -- such as being pro-choice -- if he is to run for President. With Republicans, obviously, there's not a litmus test.

What you said about Richardson is also instructive. As he's veered to the Left, he's gone up in the polls. Republicans are big on "purity of heart," as Romney recently noted. Democrats have that problem to a much lesser extent (when they have it at all).

As I said previously, Bill Clinton did great damage to the FBI and the CIA, not to mention the U.S. military. He did so because, well, "it's the economy, stupid." It turned out (First WTC bombing, African embassies, the Cole, and the run-up to 9/11) that it was not the economy, stupid (Bill). The American people persist in liking Bill a lot, perhaps for some of the same reasons they like the Simpson family.

I generally stay away from commenting on Ron Paul and Hugh Hewitt, lest I resort to bad words. Hugh's favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, who has spent $20-plus million has 8% in the new Gallup Poll. Take out MI, MA, UT, and NH, and he's well below Huckabee nationally. Mitt has some big decisions to make in the next 45 days. Right now, the race is probably between Rudy, Fred, and Mike, with John still having a chance but a slim one.

steve maloney

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I think the "Mike's-way-or-the-highway" move that's sprung up among some Huckabee-ites could destroy his campaign and quickly. If the only Republican candidate he's enthusiastic about is himself, then he's got a serious problem. To a degree, both Giuiliani and McCain have written off MANY evangelicals as hypocritical and unreliable and are pursuing a different strategy (a 50-state strategy to be exact). Giuliani believes (I think) that the "pro-life movement" is all rhetoric and little real action. He wonders where the concern is about children (including children of immigrants) who have been born. He may wonder, as I do, if the pro-life movement is so strong,why is the infant mortality rate in the U.S. so high? What steps is the pro-life movement taking to address that serious problem? If the answer is, "Not much," then the hypocrisy charge (and worse) holds. Either all children count, born and unborn, or in effect none of them do. There is such a cocoon of self-righteousness in the "pro-life" movement that there is no room for logic or facts to penetrate. As for Tancredo, you give him too much credit. I see no Christian charity (love) in his statements. He seems to have no grasp of the fact that we are ALL immigrants, and we (our predecessors) came here for basically the same reasons the Mexicans are arriving. In his blog, James H notes that because of the Hispanic backlash, any Republican candidate is going to have trouble in FL, AZ, and (Tancredo's) CO. In fact, FL and CO have an Hispanic Senator and AZ soon will. Also, Tancredo is receiving significant financial support from some very suspect anti-immigrant (and perhaps anti-Catholic) groups, including FAIR.