Right Thinking From The Left Coast
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life - Albert Camus

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Million Little Obamas
by Lee

It looks like some of that brilliant sheen might be wearing off the Obama mythos.

The drama began with a tiny ad in a local newspaper — a notice that asbestos was about to be removed from the management office at Altgeld Gardens, the all-black public housing complex where young Barack Obama worked as a community organizer.

“You think it’s in our apartments?” a worried mother asked.

“I don’t know,” Obama replied. “But we can find out.”

What followed, Obama says in a memoir, was a life-altering experience, an early taste of his ability to motivate the powerless and work the levers of government. As the 24-year-old mentor to public housing residents, Obama says he initiated and led efforts that thrust Altgeld’s asbestos problem into the headlines, pushing city officials to call hearings and a reluctant housing authority to start a cleanup.

But others tell the story much differently.

They say Obama did not play the singular role in the asbestos episode that he portrays in the best-selling memoir “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” Credit for pushing officials to deal with the cancer-causing substance, according to interviews and news accounts from that period, also goes to a well-known preexisting group at Altgeld Gardens and to a local newspaper called the Chicago Reporter. Obama does not mention either one in his book.

“Just because someone writes it doesn’t make it true,” said longtime Altgeld resident Hazel Johnson, who worked with Obama on the asbestos campaign and had been pushing for a variety of environmental cleanups years before he arrived.

U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) said it was Johnson’s work, as well as asbestos testing conducted by the Chicago Reporter, that sparked the interest of Chicago officials and prompted Rush, who at the time was a City Council member, to launch an inquiry. Though he has not read Obama’s memoir, Rush, who has been a political rival of Obama in recent years, said Johnson’s role was so prominent that he was “offended” by anyone telling the Altgeld story without including her.

“Was [Obama] involved in stuff? Absolutely,” said Robert Ginsburg, an activist who worked in Altgeld with Johnson and Obama. “But there was stuff happening before him, and after him.”

I’m shocked, shocked that someone with the impeccable integrity of Obama would engage in such shenanigans. 

Posted by Lee on 02/21/07 at 09:59 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kiss the Ring
by Lee

If you want to see a sign of the sad times we live in, take a look.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party’s conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.

“I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned,” the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.

McCain also vowed that if elected, he would appoint judges who “strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench.”

… McCain later attended an evening rally promoting an abstinence program. He told the crowd of more than 1,000 teens and parents that young people have pressures far different from the ones he faced while growing up. “Sometimes I’ve made the wrong choice,” McCain said.

Man, McCain sure sounds like he’s trying to appeal to the fundies, doesn’t he?  What’s going on there?

McCain is trying to build support among conservatives after a recent rebuke from Christian leader James Dobson, who said he wouldn’t back McCain’s presidential bid. Conservatives question McCain’s opposition to a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He opposes same-sex marriage, but says it should be regulated by the states.

And there you have it.  That’s how much power James Dobson holds in today’s GOP.  You have to kiss the ring of the fundamentalist Christians or you don’t stand a chance.  Absolutely fucking pathetic, isn’t it?

Update: Wow.  Take a moment and read this.  It really puts the ring-kissing in perspective.

Posted by Lee on 02/20/07 at 09:57 AM in Election 2008  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Warped Priorities
by Lee

Sullivan is linking to this asinine comment by NRO regular Kate O’Beirne.

Sending sweet thoughts Rudy Giuliani’s way on February 14th is a bit much.  I understand the appeal of his demonstrable executive abilities and his law-and-order record.  I can see how some conclude that he is the right tough guy for the times.  But a great guy? Or a man of character?  Our mothers would have accurately nailed him - he’s a cad.  Many voters might be willing to overlook how he has treated the women in his life and Judi can smother him in Valentine kisses.  I still doubt that they will get him, but I know that she can have him.

This is the problem with the social conservative movement in this country.  They’re so hung up on immaterial issues like this.  George W. Bush probably loves his momma and treats his wife like a queen.  He’s also ballooned the deficit, gotten us mired in the most incompetently planned and executed war that I’ve seen in my lifetime, assaulted habeas corpus, officially authorized torture, alienated the United States on the world stage, and handed the Congress over to the Democrats.  None of these seem to matter to the true believers at National Review.  Why?  Because George is a heckuva guy who loves his momma.

Here’s the scoop.  I’m not voting for the prom king.  I’m not voting for the guy who’s taking my daughter out for her sweet sixteen party.  I’m not interviewing a babysitter.  I’m voting for the President of the United States of America.  I want someone who will defend my liberties, destroy my enemies, and generally leave me the hell alone.  There are certainly legitimate areas where Giuliani can be criticized on these grounds, but of the slate of candidates who have announced so far he’s clearly the best.  If my quest for a candidate who is competent in the areas that matter leads me to a candidate with issues in his personal life, I say, “So what?”

To put it bluntly, if Giuliani and his wife want to have swinger parties in the White House, I couldn’t care less.  If his wife likes him to dress up like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction and beat her with a cat o’ nine tails, that’s none of my concern.  If he likes to write speeches with a ball gag in his mouth while wearing garters and fishnets, all the better. 

If you need a heart transplant do you go looking for the best cardiac surgeon you can find, or do you go looking for one who treats his wife well?  If your house is burning down, do you care that the firefighter has been divorced twice and used to have a drug problem?  Do you want to live in a high-rise apartment designed by an incompetent architect who takes care of his elderly mother?

If the Bush years have shown me anything it’s that I’d rather have a competent prick than an incompetent gentleman.  Elections are job interviews, not popularity contests. 

Posted by Lee on 02/14/07 at 05:43 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Candidate
by Lee

It’s official, Al Franken is running for the US Senate.  Let’s hope that he does to the Democratic Party what he did to Air America.

Posted by Lee on 02/14/07 at 12:35 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Shape of the Field
by Lee

If you’re looking for advice on who to vote for in 2008, Jim hates McCain and digs Giuliani

As time goes on I like McCain less and less, especially the way he’s been sucking up to the fundamentalist religious dickheads lately.  I hadn’t heard about the little stunt Jim blogged on, but Giuliani is definitely my front guy.  I’d say that if the GOP nominates Rudy they’ll get my vote.  If they don’t, there certainly isn’t really anyone else on the potential slate (other than Ron Paul) that I’d ever consider voting for.  Brownback and Romney are both reasonable on the economic side of things, but they’re in a foot race to see which one is the biggest fundamentalist lunatic.

No thanks.

Posted by Lee on 02/10/07 at 06:38 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Assigning the Blame
by Lee

The president’s brother has been speaking out on what is wrong with conservatism in America.

At a time when the conservative movement is looking bereft, humbled by midterm-election defeats and hungering for a presidential candidate to rally around, Jeb Bush delivered yesterday in Washington a resounding endorsement of conservative principles, bringing his audience repeatedly to its feet.

In his lunchtime remarks to the Conservative Summit, Bush struck every conservative chord, blaming Republicans’ defeat in November on the party’s abandonment of tenets including limited government and fiscal restraint.

“Don’t take offense personally if I get mad at Congress,” the Republican former Florida governor began. “It’s important for us to realize we lost, and there are significant reasons that happened, but it isn’t because conservatives were rejected. But it’s because we rejected the conservative philosophy in this country.”

He added, “If the promise of pork and more programs is the way Republicans think they’ll regain the majority, then they’ve got a problem.”

Bush’s speech prompted three standing ovations from the audience of hundreds at the National Review Institute’s conference at the JW Marriott Hotel, reflecting the widespread concern among conservatives that exorbitant government spending led to the loss of majorities in the House and Senate and concern about whether Republicans would again embrace the traditional principles.

Sounds good, right?  Except for the inconvenient fact that it is his brother, the president, who is responsible for all this.  The Cato @ Liberty folks nail it.

But who’s he kidding? President Bush sponsored most of those “more programs,” and in six years he hasn’t vetoed a single piece of pork or a bloated entitlement bill or a new spending program. And if Jeb thinks “we lost…because we rejected the conservative philosophy in this country,” he must realize that his brother has set the agenda for Republicans over the past six years almost as firmly as Putin has set Russia’s agenda. If Republicans turned their back on limited-government conservatism, it’s because the White House told them to. Not that congressional leaders were blameless — and on Social Security reform, they did decide to resist Bush’s one good idea — but it was President Bush and his White House staff who inspired, enticed, threatened, bullied, and bully-pulpited Republicans into passing the No Child Left Behind Act, the biggest expansion of entitlements in 40 years, and other big-government schemes.

Here’s the cold, hard fact.  If the GOP wants to have the slightest chance in 2008 their candidate is going to have to completely repudiate the Bush legacy.  And, frankly, I don’t think they have the balls to do it. 

Posted by Lee on 01/30/07 at 12:47 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So Very Kerry
by Lee

John Kerry.  He was in favor of being president before he was against it.

An emotional Senator John F. Kerry today said he will not run in the 2008 presidential race and vowed to use his Senate perch to hasten an end to the war in Iraq, saying he would work with lawmakers from both parties to reverse President Bush’s troop “surge” and force him to withdraw virtually all troops from Iraq by early next year.

Additionally, Kerry said, he would be auditioning for the role of Lurch in the new film, The Addams Family Goes To Washington.

Posted by Lee on 01/24/07 at 04:27 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, January 22, 2007

Meet the Future
by Lee

In a field dominated by hacks, dickheads, partisan shitbags, fundamentalist Christians, lovers of government, and general pieces of human shit, there is one name in the potential pool of GOP presidential candidates who genuinely blows my skirt up, and that’s Ron Paul.

Reason: What would you anticipate the major issues you’d emphasize in a presidential run, if it comes to that?

Paul: Everything I’ve talked about for 20 years! I think the biggest thing for Republican primary voters is that most Republicans are turned off right now. They’ve had a beating and are reassessing their values. They have to decide what they believe in. The Republican Party has become about big government conservatism, and Republicans need to hear the message they used to hear: that conservatives are supposed to be for small government.

Exactly.  The problem is that the GOP has become drunk on the liberal mindset that government exists to solve people’s problems for them, especially if those problems can be solved in a good Christian manner.  Ron Paul makes so much sense so often that it’s a virtual guarantee that he’ll never get the nomination, especially in light of the fact that God’s stormtroopers currently dominate the party apparatus, and anyone who doesn’t think dirty fags deserve to be shipped of to Christian reeducation camps will never be able to make it.  That being said, if there’s anyone out there now who I think would make a good president it’s Paul.

Posted by Lee on 01/22/07 at 09:03 PM in Election 2008  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finding Their Guy
by Lee

I know that a lot of you out there are going to be weeping into your blood of Christ, but überfundie Rick “Anal Froth” Santorum has decided to sit out 2008.

Don’t expect to see Sen. Rick Santorum’s name on the 2008 presidential ballot.

“Absolutely, positively not. Absolutely not,” Santorum said yesterday on The Michael Smerconish Show on WPHT-AM (1210). “My wife would throw me out of the house if I do anything in ‘08.”

Even though he lost his Senate seat last week by 18 points to Democrat Bob Casey Jr., some supporters hoped he would still fill the social conservative niche on the Republican ticket.

William J. Bennett, the former U.S. secretary of education and national drug czar, had predicted a “draft Rick Santorum” movement, citing a lack of conservatism on the part of the current GOP front-runners, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Uh, no.  The main component missing from McCain and Giuliani is authoritarian Christian fundamentalism.  You can disagree with some of their specific ideas—I disagree with McCain on campaign finance reform and Giuliani on gun control, for example—but the main thing people like “Roll the Bones” Bennett don’t like is that neither of these men is a rabid fire-breathing authoritarian.  What Bennett and his ilk are looking for is a candidate who believes that everyone of every social and ethnic background has the right—nay, the obligation!—to live a virtuous, Christian life.

Update: And lest you think I’m making this up or being my usual Christ-punching self, take a look at this letter.  It’s a concession letter a fundamentalist Christian candidate sent to his opponent, a Hindu.

I’ve enjoyed much of this race, especially the people I’ve met...even you! I see your deficits--not all of them, and your potential--but not all of it. Only your Creator knows the real potential He’s put in you. Get to know Him and know yourself...you’ll be more interesting even to you!

The race of your life is more important than this one--and it is my sincere wish that you’ll get to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He died for the sins of the world, yours and mine--and especially for those who accept His forgiveness. His kingdom will come and His will be done--on earth as it is in heaven. There’s more....I love belonging to the family of God. Jesus is the way, the truth and offers His life to you and each human being. Pay attention...this is very important, Satveer. Have you noticed Jesus for yourself...at some moment in time, yet???

I’m sure the Christian prayed to Jesus when considering to run for office.  And I’m sure Jesus came to him in a delusion dream and told him to go for it.  And now, with the goddamned polytheist ending up victorious, I’m sure Jesus and His friends are up in heaven, laughing their asses off.

Posted by Lee on 11/18/06 at 04:14 PM in Election 2008  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, November 13, 2006

Splitting the Vote
by Lee

A day or two after the election I was listening to the Michael Medved show, and he was going off railing about conservatives who voted for other parties, such as the Libertarians.  Last night I came across a link to a column he wrote on this subject.

In Virginia, Democrat Jim Webb appeared to beat Republican Incumbent George Allen by a tiny margin of less than 7.000 votes. Meanwhile, 26,000 votes went to the “Common Sense Conservative” candidate of the mighty Grass Roots Party, who identified herself as Gail “For Rail” Parker. If two-out-of-three of the votes that went to this devoutly Christian, retired Air Force Officer (whose big issue was building more train lines) would otherwise have gone to George Allen, then her utterly meaningless candidacy handed control of the Senate to Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, and Barbara Boxer.

Montana provides an even more alarming example. Democratic John Tester beat the Republican incumbent Conrad Burns by a margin of less than 3,000 votes. At the same time, Libertarian standard bearer Stan Jones drew 10,324 votes. In general, Libertarians draw more than two-thirds of their votes directly from Republicans. Once again, the Stan Jones juggernaut (which earned an anemic 2.6% of the total vote) drew more than enough support to change the course of history for the worse.

See, here’s the thing.  I have no problem caucusing with religious types and social conservatives.  My whole life those groups have been a big part of the Republican Party, and that’s the party I’ve voted for more often than not, with the Libertarians coming second.  I’ve always felt that it was better to support the GOP and the libertarian elements contained therein rather than voting for the LP itself, mainly for the reasons Medved lists above.  There are enough areas of common interest between all the different factions of conservatism that a vote for the GOP was good enough in most instances. 

Not any more.

The problem with the contemporary GOP is that they expect the libertarian interests to always, always, always come in second to the interests of the evangelicals.  The libertarian wing is perpetually expected to be the one to back down for the good of the party.  When the libertarians complain about government spending, we’re told that this is necessary for the message of compassionate conservatism that the evangelicals support.  The problem is that there has been no reciprocal support coming from the other side.  Can any of you recall a single instance where the evangelicals said, “We should really back down on some of our political goals, because they’re anathema to much of the electorate, and we’re going to split the vote in our own party.” Of course you can’t, because it’s never happened.  The Christian socialists would never, ever back down on an issue, no matter how much it alienated their fellow travelers.  Terri Schiavo?  “Do whatever it takes, to hell whatever principles of limited government we used to stand for.  Saving this vegetable is the most important thing in the world!” The same goes for their war against gays, or against science, or anything else.  In EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE, the viewpoint of the evangelicals was given prominence.

What these election results show, clearly, is that the GOP is going to start playing footsie with the libertarians and telling the evangelicals to take their fundamentalism and get back in the rear echelon where they belong.  The GOP is going to have to actively woo libertarians again, or they can expect a lot more election losses of this nature in 2008.  And they’ll deserve every one of them.

Posted by Lee on 11/13/06 at 09:26 AM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Differing Viewpoints
by Lee

Take a look at the results of the straw poll from readers of this blog.  You can really see the conservative niche I’ve carved out for myself.  Out of all the nominees only four have positive numbers:  Gingrich, McCain, Giuliani, and Romney, the latter only barely. 

Now compare these results to those from other sites, like Ace or RWN.  These four RINO turncoats don’t hold a candle to true conservative heroes like George “Macaca” Allen.

Posted by Lee on 10/11/06 at 06:24 PM in Election 2008  • (3) TrackbacksPermalink

You Suck Through A Straw
by Lee

GOP Bloggers is running a straw poll for the 2008 election cycle.  Give it a whirl, some of the results have been surprising, some haven’t.

Posted by Lee on 10/11/06 at 12:56 PM in Election 2008  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bush Jr.
by Lee

Well, if Mitt Romney gets the nomination, we know whose fat Christian asses he’s going to be kissing.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, said Thursday his administration’s new restrictions on stem cell research are aimed at heading off an “Orwellian” future.

… I believe it crosses a very bright moral line to take sperm and eggs in the laboratory and start creating human life,” Romney told reporters. “It is Orwellian in its scope. In laboratories you could have trays of new embryos being created.”

They’ve been doing this for, oh, 30 years now.  It’s called In-Vitro Fertilization, and strangely enough, this technology hasn’t led to vast armies of hybrid human/gorilla/cheeta super soldiers.

It’s interesting.  What Romney supports, a massive intrusion by government into the private affairs of citizens and businesses, is far more “Orwellian” than the procedure he’s trying to ban.

Well, out of the 2008 potential candidates, he just got crossed off my list.  I’m not voting for anyone who makes this type of fundamentalist social activism a main part of their campaign.  The GOP is free to nominate someone like this, of course, and I’m free to vote Libertarian if they do so.

Update: Karen asks, “Lee, this guy was on my list, still is actually, so can you explain what you mean here?”

Basically, you don’t use a word like “Orwellian” without forethought.  Orwellian is supposed to conjure up images of totalitarianism, of fascist societies and Big Brother and individuals with no value as human beings.  The GOP, if it had the votes, would ban all research using embryonic stem cells, no matter what their origin.  Note in the article:

Romney spoke a week after a Massachusetts company, Advanced Cell Technology, said it had developed a way to make human embryonic stem cells without harming the original embryo, a finding it said could dispel ethical objections.

Up until now, the ethical objection raised by opponents of embryonic stem cell research (i.e. the anti-abortion lobby) involved the destruction of the embryo.  If you believe that life begins at conception, then destroying the embryo would be an immoral act.  Assuming that the claims by the company are true, we can now do embryonic stem cell research without harming the embryo.  So why is it Orwellian?  Why do we need to conjure up the fascist imagery?

Simple.  The GOP would ban all this research if they could.  Because they don’t have the votes, they don’t push for a ban, settling instead for Bush’s reasonable compromise on withholding funding.  Make no mistake, though, anyone who believes something is Orwellian would outlaw it in a second.  Romney is literally describing the process of IVF, mixing sperm and egg in a lab, as being Orwellian.  Presumably he’d ban that, too.

So, Romney would ban IVF and any research involving embryonic stem cells, even if it is possible to generate the cells without destroying the embryo.  And that, right there, is why the guy won’t get my vote.  Ever.

Posted by Lee on 09/01/06 at 12:05 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In Support of Rudy
by Lee

John Hawkins wrote an excellent piece yesterday arguing A Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani.  His case can be briefly summed up by saying that Rudy does not meet the social conservative standard many people in the GOP apparatus feel essential for a candidate.  Be sure and read the article for the specifics.

Today John has a follow up post here where he responds to a critic who says, “First. I’m not attacking Hawkins personally, indeed I enjoy his site.  But he is simply wrong if he thinks the 2008 election should or will be fought and won on partial birth abortion, the second amendment, or even illegal immigration.  There is one issue that the 2008 election should and will turn on - the global struggle to defeat proliferating Islamic Fascists.” John responds:

First of all, I would agree that fighting the war on terrorism will be a big issue in the 2008 election, especially since the Democrats have become such wusses that they make Neville Chamberlain look like Genghis Khan.

However, the war on terrorism probably WILL NOT be a decisive factor in the Republican primaries simply because most of the candidates will probably have very similar positions on national defense. In fact, other than Chuck Hagel, I believe all the major candidates could, at least at this point, be fairly called hawks on national security issues.

Does that mean that there won’t be differences between the candidates on the issue? No, but it’s also fair to say that Rudy doesn’t objectively seem to have any big advantage on the issue over most of the people he’ll be competing with for the nomination.

Granted, he did perform magnificently after 9/11, built up a tough guy reputation battling crime, and has certainly talked a good game on national security—but, when it comes right down to it, what does that mean exactly?

If, let’s say, one of the big issues is whether to bomb Iran or not in 2009, what makes anyone think Rudy could handle it better than Sam Brownback?

If we have to decide whether to hit a terrorist training camp in Syria, what makes Rudy more capable of handling that than Mitt Romney?

If a decision needs to be made on whether to take out a North Korean missile site, is Rudy better equipped to make that decision than Newt Gingrich? What about George Allen, Tom Tancredo, or Bill Frist?

The reality is that there isn’t, at least at the moment, any sort of gap between Rudy and the other contenders on national security. Since that’s the case, what will likely happen is that the primary voters will move well beyond national security and on to other issues. And unfortunately for Rudy, he is a middle-of-the-roader who will have the unenviable task of convincing conservative voters that he better represents their views than—well—actual conservatives. Once we get past these early polls, which reflect little more than name recognition, Rudy’s numbers are going to plunge.

I’ve expressed my support for Giuliani in the past, and did so in a detailed post a few weeks ago, which got lost when our hard drive crashed.  That being said, I think John is off base here.  I agree with him that, if you’re a social conservative, Rudy is not your guy.  But otherwise, out of all the assumed candidates, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see in office at this point.  Why?  Because if the Bush presidency has taught me one thing about elections, it’s that the person is the most important factor.

I’ve never been a single issue voter before, but I am going to be in 2008.  My issue is the war.  If we don’t win the war against Islamofascism, then nothing else matters.  The issues John mentions—gay marriage, abortion, etc.—are going to mean exactly dick if the Islamofascists manage to prevail in Iraq. 

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 10:57 PM in Election 2008  • (14) TrackbacksPermalink
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