Saturday, July 04, 2009

In Praise of Sarah Palin

In advance of the nation's Independence Day, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin once again asserted her own independence, by stepping out of "politics as usual" and stepping down from her position as Alaska's governor. See her speech here.

By doing so, she again violated our image of the "typical politician," holding the well-being of her family and her state above her own interests in power and influence. Though Palin has done nothing wrong, she has been hounded by the press and besieged by nuisance lawsuits for months, even after the election that brought her to prominence as the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican party was over. It was this unending distraction that convinced her that the interests of the state could be better served by her Lieutenant Governor, and the interests of her family lie with her resignation as governor.

How refreshing it is to be treated to a person in a leadership position who steps down from that position for the good of others, rather than one being forced out of office by scandal, selfishness, sexual deviance, or criminality (not to mention those who refuse to leave--yes, I'm talking to you, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, David Patterson. Some things really do disqualify you from leadership, and adultery should be one of them.)

Palin stated in her resignation speech (which, like Sarah herself, struck the media like a bolt from the blue, shoving all other news temporarily off the map, and stunning even the most savvy of press observers) that she could do just as much good work for the people of Alaska out of the office as in it, something she said she has always believed about political power. Essentially, she said that it's not the office one holds, or the name on the door, or even having a door at all that makes powerful political influence; it's the passion of the activist and the depth of the commitment.

On July 3rd, Sarah Palin proved her mettle as a champion of the interests of Alaskans, a fiscal conservative, and a family-focused woman. She recognized that all the attention she was getting--not for her policies, her position, or her record as Governor--were wasting the time and resources of the people of Alaska, the people she had pledged to serve. Defending one's self against Vanity Fair articles, former campaign workers, and late-night comedians takes time and effort. And, as Governor, her time and effort was to rightly belong to the people of Alaska. If she was going to have to fight personal battles to protect her family and her reputation, it would have to be on her own time. Rather than continue this drain on Alaskan resources, the Governor assessed her team, and realized that there were people on it who could carry on without her--and without the lightning rod she had become.

She did the right thing. As she did when asked to serve as the candidate for Vice-President (a position, you may have noticed, that invites the kind of unending personal attacks she is still experiencing--unlike that of governor of Alaska, which is supposed to be an office respected by the national media, or at least ignored.) As a side note, I would say that after Dan Quayle was no longer Vice-President, he was also no longer mentioned by the national media. Nor was any other such figure hounded while out of the national running.

In fact, that's the history of the Sarah Palin we've come to know. She does the right thing.

When she saw corruption on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Committee--corruption she was powerless to do anything about, even as the Ethics Supervisor--she resigned in protest. Then, from the outside, she pursued the case, eventually driving the Attorney General and the Republican Party Chair from office. She did the right thing.

When faced with a late-in-life potentially hazardous pregnancy, Sarah welcomed the advent of a new baby. When told this unborn child would be born with Down Syndrome--despite, as she told an Evansville pro-life audience, a momentary flash of fear and understanding of just how easy it would be to have an abortion and make it all go away--she stood true to her strong faith in God, her stalwart belief in the intrinsic value of human life, and her love of family. She had the baby, and at 5-months old, Trig Palin did what few adults ever do in their lives. He became a symbol of hope to activists and parents of the disabled all over this planet, a living proof that children with disabilities can be welcomed, cared for, and equally cherished. Women need not fear them. Societies need not abort them.

Again, in the face of life-changing challenge, she did the right thing.

When her teenage daughter came to her as an unwed mother, she again stood by the principles of her faith and her family. In the Palin's faith, all life is precious. All life, no matter how conceived, damaged in the eyes of society, inconvenient, or frightening. Even knowing she was about to be thrust into the spotlight, Sarah Palin did not move to cover up her family's "secret." She made no attempt to shun her daughter or keep her from the family stage. Instead, she welcomed both her daughter and Levi Johnson, Bristol's then-fiancee, into a political adventure that few ever experience. She stood on stage, challenges and all, and spoke the Politics of Truth to the American people.

Again, she did the right thing.

And now, as she leaves the Governor's mansion, we do not expect her to simply go away. We know that God has raised her up "for such a time as this," that she will be preparing for the "open doors" that will be given to her in the next few years. Whether she will run for office again remains unknown. Whether she is the kind of person who should lead the American people is a question we can already answer.

Yes. Because she can be trusted to Do the Right Thing.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Constitution Under Fire: First Things First

Today we are going to start looking at what the Obama Administration is doing that looks suspiciously like "remaking" the United States in ways the Constitution never envisioned. Some might call these initiatives "attacks" on the Constitution. I leave that up to you.

First, let's remember what the First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

That's rather meaty, but that hasn't stopped the new regime from attempting to re-design it.

Is religion under attack? Well, at the moment, there's no concerted effort to overtly violate the First Amendment on this issue, but there are some disturbing signs that the once-friendly atmosphere that supported, encouraged, and nurtured a religious sentiment might be on its way out.

For example, the President's new "Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Initiatives" has added "Neighborhood" to the office created by President Bush to help small faith-based programs compete with secular agencies in the race for federal grant dollars (of which, by the way, there are a lot more to be had in coming months, once the Stimulus Bill goes into effect.) This is in keeping with President Obama's Alinsky-style (you'll excuse the expression) "faith" in grass-roots initiative, and his near-deification of the community organizer.

For the president and his followers, "faith" is not the key to neighborhood sustainability; "community" is. In other words, where President Bush was constantly reminding us that government could not love you, and that only a human being, motivated by the love of neighbor that comes through faith, could minister to a person in need with "a cup of cold water and a kind word," the Obama vision is quite different.

Although he got his start in the churches of Chicago's South Side, he very quickly converted the power of faith into a political force, concentrating on the "Rules for Radicals" method of making demands on government. Where a normal faith-based institution centers on prayer and faith, the type of community organization Obama spent his Chicago time building sees faith as merely the tool by which to achieve community power.

In keeping with his belief that the government can easily replace (and is in fact preferable to) an institution of faith, the President has in mind to change the charitable donation rules so that people who fall into the category he determines to be "rich" cannot claim the full deduction for their charitable contributions. This will, no doubt, reduce the amount of money available to churches and charities--thus requiring Big Daddy government to step in and take over the functions of such organizations.

In re-shaping the new office, Obama is also planning to "review" the rules under President Bush which allowed religiously-based charities to hire people that agreed with their religious mission. The President and his staff believe these rules are unconstitutional and are planning to alter them so that religious organizations that compete with non-religious ones for federal dollars would be required to follow all the rules and regulations that ordinary businesses are susceptible to--including equal opportunity hiring rules that would force a church to hire someone who actively opposed the religious mission of the ministry.

In addition, most religious broadcasters believe that the "hate crimes" legislation pushed by the Administration will make it difficult to discuss the Biblical position on homosexuality over the public airwaves, to the point that even simply reading the Bible on air might be construed as "hate speech."

So, that's just a little on the religion part of the Amendment. What else is in there?

How about freedom of speech? How do we like that?

While the president has claimed that he is not interested in a revival of the Fairness Doctrine, and the Congress has legislatively closed off that possibility, the same day Congress voted on it, Dick Durbin got a different Amendment passed, which opened up the door to local content requirements that would, eventually, spell the end of national talk-radio programming--which is, in fact, its aim. The fact is that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, and others make the new Administration very very nervous.

Local content regulations would basically require that radio stations provide a specific number of hours in the day during which national programming would be pushed out by locally based programming.

But the fact is that Limbaugh and his compatriots are what make local affiliate stations profitable. Advertisers know they are getting millions of listeners, and they pay for the time. It is highly unlikely that audiences would stick around for local talent, especially if it were required to provide a "balanced" (which means "liberal") perspective. They would simply shut down all controversial programming, the national hosts would move to a pay outlet, like Sirius or XM, and the local station would revert to non-controversial music.

There is also the consideration that we could see a new effort to use the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), passed during the Clinton Administration, which forbids protesters--as well as the volunteers that the pro-life movement calls "counselors"--from approaching women entering an abortion clinic. One could argue that this draconian legislation interferes with the pro-lifers' freedom of speech (as well as assembly).

Now, freedom of the press is also undermined by the "fairness doctrine" or any disguised version thereof. But these days it seems like it hardly matters any more. The "free" press has voluntarily enslaved itself to the current administration. Moreover, while it's not unconstitutional, we can look at the treatment of oppositional press persons during the campaign. If you recall, there were several incidents in which unflattering press treatment of the candidate was responded to with a stony wall of silence. Several reporters who had been less than complimentary to the Obama campaign were bumped off the campaign plane right at the end of the campaign, to make room for more friendly reporters.

What will happen to the press if they ever break free of their hypnotic attraction to the President?

We have yet to see an attack on tne freedom of assembly or petition--but, remember, it's only been a month.

Stay tuned for the next "Constitution Under Fire" report, "Disarming the Second Amendment."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What A Conservative Is--And Is Not

Rush Limbaugh gave a wonderful speech at the CPAC convention, as we all know by now. In it, he attempted to give a definition of "conservatism," which I won't go into here, but he well admits that his was what we in the academy used to call a "functional" definition of conservatism, rather than the type of strict definition one might find in a point-by-point explanation.

Since the fundamental premise of my blog is that I am a conservative, I now present to you the definition of "conservatism" that I am working with here.

But, first, what a conservative is NOT.

A conservative is not born that way; as with salvation, you cannot merely be raised to be a conservative, the child of conservatives, or the citizen of a conservative region or country. You must come to conservatism on your own, embrace it of your own free will, and practice it as an individual.

A conservative does not believe that government is the solution to most problems. As Ronald Reagan famously said, "too often, government IS the problem." A conservative who falls on hard times may find himself taking public money--but he will not prefer indolence to work, and he will not press the state to provide increasing stipends for his willingness to not work.

A conservative is not a member of any particular club, a person of any particular ethnicity, or a holder of any particular office. He or she is simply a person who is committed to the principles of conservatism.

So, what, exactly, are those principles?

The principles of conservatism can be found in the Founding documents of the American Republic--the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. They are summarized with great skill in the Declaration, the preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. However the principles pre-exist the documents, as they flow from the innate and God-given rights of man; it was merely the genius of the Founders to identify them.

Conservatism in a modern sense is encapsulated in the three-legged stool of ideology that Ronald Reagan brought with him to the White House: social, economic, and military. On the social leg, a conservative is one who holds the positions of traditional morality and culture--pro-life, pro-family, value-based judgments, moral absolutism, patriotism, faith, and freedom.

The second leg of the stool is economic, and consists of a loyalty to free-market capitalism and private enterprise. Free people, free markets, capital flowing freely according to its best interest. The "invisible hand" of the market will ensure the most profitable outcome,providing there is minimal regulation to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation.

The final component is a commitment to a strong national defense. During the Cold War, that meant defenses to weaken and ultimately defeat the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union (the uterly vile, atheistic, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist nature of which was what made it evil, by the way). Once that task had been completed, new enemies arose, and by 2001, they made themselves known in a big way.

Thus, today, the conservative positions are against abortion, gay marriage, and the persecution of the church by the state and agents thereof. They are opposed to interference with the private market (bailouts, stimulus packages, nationalization of banks and car companies, socialized medicine, statism in any form.) And they are opposed to any reduction in our military forces, any retreat in the war on terror, precipitous withdrawal from Iraq and/or Afghanistan, failure to control the nation's borders or encourage or facilitate illegal immigration, any reduction in our traditional support for the nation of Israel, or the slightest movement toward undermining our precious right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

Can you see why conservatives are not really big fans of the new administration?

It's not just that President Obama is who he is, though. It's also that he is who we said he would be--and the Democrats and fair-weather conservatives promised he wouldn't be.

People like Christopher Buckley swore he couldn't possibly govern from the left, while conservatives were screaming that he would increase the availability of abortion, pick up where Hillary left off in socializing the health care system, legalize marijuana (give it another three months, tops), and meddle unceasingly in the educational system.

We appear to have been right about what he would do once in office.

Now, would some of you disillusioned Obama voters who replied to our warnings not with "oh, there's nothing wrong with that," but with "oh, no, he won't do that," take the time to listen to us when we give you "the rest of the story?"

Because it's not going to be pretty, and it's not going to work. We don't have to "hope" he fails, because his policies are guaranteed to fail. We just have to pray he figures out his failure before he takes all of us down the socialist rabbit-hole with him.

And that God will have mercy on us all.

Thirty Days to Socialism

It's been a while since I posted here, and a lot has happened. First off, this "red zone" went blue in this past election, largely because of people who came over the state line to harass Hoosiers into voting for Obama, and because of the number of socialist college students that infest this once sensible state.

There is much to be said, and then there will be much more to be said, but for now I will just introduce the new order with a piece I recently did over at It will help explain where we will be going this year in the Dispatches.

"Thirty Days to Socialism"

No, it's not a book. It's the life you and I and the nation are actually living. The American people are buying it hand over fist, and small groups to support the concept are springing in neighborhoods everywhere, led by cadres of loyal supporters of the present president and administration.

Oh, they don't call it that. They call it a "stimulus bill," and a "recovery package." They use code words like "transparency" and "accountability," but in the best Orwellian tradition, they don't mean either.

They mean socialism. Redistribution of income. Nationalization of industries and banks. Other societies have called them "five year plans" and "industrial policy." But they all mean socialism.

In just thirty days, the President has managed to bring the people to the trough he serves them from, filled to the brim with goodies and handouts. In just thirty days, he has persuaded America to spend more money than most of us can even understand, a debt that now must be monetized, because our friends the Chinese are no longer interested in our long-term bonds. The delirious Congress and three turncoat Republicans have handed over more than 700 billion dollars--which really is only a small portion of the nearly nine trillion in guarantees and bailouts and supports that have been flowing from DC since last October.

In just thirty days, using words like "crisis" and "impending" and "catastrophe"--by showcasing the "losers in life's lottery," who mewl and beg for their kitchens and their health care, knowing that only the great President can make them whole--the newly minted (literally--have you seen Montel hawking those coins?) president has made socialism palatable even to some Republicans.

Lindsey Graham--one of John McCain's staunchest supporters, one of Obama's former bitterest enemies, and yet always an undependable conservative--has said that nationalizing the banks should remain on the table. Now Alan Greenspan--husband of NBC's Andrea Mitchell--has made noises indicating he, too, might favor a nationalization of the banks.

How long before someone moves to repeal the twenty-second amendment, so we can live in the same "paradise" as the Venezuelans?

After all, getting this far only took thirty short little days.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why Does Trig Need A Mommy, and Other Questions for the Media

Recently, the Democratic chattering class and the media have developed a fondness for mommies and babies that they have never before displayed (it must have been all those cute pictures of the Palin family with their Down Syndrome child.)

Suddenly, liberals everywhere--especially feminists--are incredibly concerned that if Mrs. Palin becomes the Vice-President of the United States, poor baby Trig might be deprived of 24-hour a day access to his Mommy.

This, we are informed, would be a disaster of epic proportions.

But why?

Aren't these the people who are endlessly scolding those of us on the socially conservative side of the spectrum for our silliness in expecting children to have both a Mommy and a Daddy?

Daddy Todd Palin, currently the First Gentleman of Alaska, is a stay-at-home dad, and plans to continue the practice as the Second Gentleman of the United States. He is, by all accounts, a devoted and wonderful dad. Mommy Sarah takes her baby to work with her as needed, and the family all works together.

But if this is unsatisfying to formerly anti-traditional liberals, would they like to withdraw their support for homosexual couples having and/or adopting children? Particularly when both parties are working?

If it's okay--even, many argue, preferable--to raise a child with two Daddies and no Mommy, or two Mommies and no Daddy, why is it suddenly child abuse to raise a child with a full-time Daddy and a working Mommy, and lots of relatives, sitters, and nannies (as I'm sure will be available to the Vice-President of the United States)?

I'm just asking.

I would also like someone to tell me how old one's children must be before one is allowed to enter the full-time work force? I ask this because I always thought feminists were adamant on getting us all back to work as soon as possible after giving birth, but now Sally Quinn tells me that Bristol Palin--an engaged young lady (when I was a feminist, everyone over 12 was a "woman" (or "womon," if she were a lesbian or an enlightened radical)--requires the care of her mother for an unspecified amount of time:

McCain claims he knew about the pregnancy, and was not at all concerned. Why not? Not only do we have a woman with five children, including an infant with special needs, but a woman whose 17-year-old child will need her even more in the coming months. Not to mention the grandchild. This would inevitably be an enormous distraction for a new vice president (or president) in a time of global turmoil. Not only in terms of her job, but from a media standpoint as well.

So, does that mean that we should not hire as public servants anyone whose children are small, or in poor health, perhaps people whose siblings are on the edge of divorce, or who might have any reason to think about their family--even a little bit--while at work? What about people who have elderly parents who might become ill or die?

And is this requisite judgment retroactive? Do we judge politicians on this behavior in the past? If so, what do we make of Joe Biden, who was sworn in as a Senator at the bedside of his critically ill sons after an accident that took the life of their mother and brother? Was that the wrong choice to have made? Should we now judge him to have been an unfit parent and bar him from the vice-presidency? Or is the Senate so much less stressful and time-consuming than the Vice-presidency that it doesn't matter--and, if so, why is it considered on the Obama side to be so much better a training ground for the office than a Governorship?

And why, oh why didn't anyone question the propriety of John Edwards continuing to ravenously seek the presidency--an office very few people really wanted him to have in the first place--while his wife was, quite literally dying of cancer? Why didn't anyone ask whether that would have been a terrible distraction to the devoted husband he was claiming to be at the time?

Is it because he is a Democrat, and the media rule on Democrats is "touch not mine anointed?" You'll note that the Republicans didn't ask the question; they're too polite. But until the media clarifies its rules on family devotion, I will remain in the dark.

No, really. I just don't understand the rules.

Like, did anyone bother to ask Jack Kennedy about his children? As I recall, they were small at the time (remember John-John saluting the coffin?) I seem to remember that the Kennedy children were all over the White House all the time. Lots of cute family pictures of babies playing near the President's desk and all that. Is it only okay for men to bring their children to work?

The Obamas kids are both girls, both will reach the age to make sexual mistakes before eight years in the White House are up. Is it too much pressure to put them in the White House? Might all that stress lead them to rebellion?

And what about Michelle? She already works. how is she going to handle the pressures of being First Lady, all the travel and entertaining, while trying to be a good mother to two little girls, driving them to ballet and piano lessons? She's already talked about how much time she spends planning their lunches and reading labels on the food she is buying--how will she ever find time for all that in the demanding pressure-cooker that is the life of the First Lady?

I'm not asking these questions, but I do wonder why the media doesn't.

After all, they don't seem to have a problem prying into when Bristol Palin might have become pregnant, whether the Palins were married when Track was conceived, what discussions the Palins had with their doctors about the impending birth of their baby (normally, under liberal rules, an unheard-of intrusion into the right to privacy; HIPPA takes a dim view of it, too), and a lot of other things that used to be labeled "off limits."

I'm just asking for a set of written guidelines, that's all. Just tell me the rules.

Democrats Trash Flags, Republicans Wave Them

Not to questions anyone's patriotism or anything, but whatever could have possessed the organizers of the Democratic National Fiasco at Invesco Stadium last week to leave 84 trash bags of flags behind?

If you watched the ascension of Obama to his perch as the official Democratic presidential candidate, you may have noticed the unusual spectacle of tens of thousands of Democrats waving flags throughout the stadium.

But what happened to the flags after the styrofoam columns went back to Hollywood is a pretty interesting story in and of itself--and another example of the genius of the McCain campaign.

It seems that the Democrats left the 12,000 flags in garbage bags, "in and near garbage bins," according to the vendor who claims to have found them. The vendor then gave them to the McCain campaign (quite probably because he figured that John McCain had a pretty good idea how to treat a flag.)

As a result, the McCain campaign was handed a pre-filled template of American iconography:

Boy Scouts were sorting through 84 bags of flags in Colorado on Saturday, before a McCain supporter had veterans distribute them to the audience.

“We want to find good homes for these flags,” radio host Dan Caplis said at the rally, adding that whatever flags remained would be placed at memorials throughout Colorado.

Audience members, who booed when Caplis announced that the flags were left in Denver, waved the flags and chanted “U.S.A” before McCain arrived at the rally with his running mate, Sarah Palin.

How sweet is that? Boy scouts. Veterans. War memorials. "U.S.A." Sarah Palin.

The Obama camp has a lot to learn about politics, if they allowed this to happen.

Caught utterly flat-footed, a DNC convention spokesman could only sputter ineffectively:

Damon Jones, spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, released a statement saying McCain should applaud the fact that thousands of American flags were “proudly waved” at their convention.

“But instead his supporters wrongfully took leftover bundles of our flags from the stadium to play out a cheap political stunt calling into question our patriotism,” he said.

Wow. Another example of total political incompetence. To say that McCain should "applaud the fact" that American flags were "proudly waved" at the DNC convention just underlines the notion that there is something unusual about Democrats waving flags. And it really doesn't matter if the flags were "wrongfully" taken (which is unexplained, as well). The apparent fact that they were in garbage bags is undisputed by Mr. Jones.

The flag code says that a flag is to be disposed of by burning, once it is no longer useful. Or, it can be thrown away if it is "worn, damaged or tattered beyond repair."

So, we are left with two possibilities. Either the Democrats don't know how to treat the flag, or when they are given flags, they destroy them.

Either way, it gave the McCain camp a chance to honor veterans, wave flags, and interact with Boy Scouts.

Grand-slam home-run.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Introducing John Sidney McCain, Political Genius

Though conservatives nationwide continued to doubt the wisdom of selecting Senator McCain as the standard-bearer for the GOP until approximately eleven-o'clock last Friday, over the last week he has proven conclusively that he is the right man for this time to take the reins of the presidency.

For those who doubt, consider the evidence. Prior to the convention, the political buzz was that Obama was going to go to his convention, hit it out of the park, and get a big statistical bounce, after which, the Republicans would put on a lackluster, dispirited convention (assuming the hurricane didn't wipe them out), and eventually lose the election.

What a difference a week makes.

It began the day after the Democrats' overblown finale of their "history-making" convention. Playing up the unity image, Hillary's people were allowed to keep their votes, but Hillary herself, acting as a New York delegate, put Barack over the top and gave him the nomination. Hillary and Bill gave what were considered wonderful, unifying speeches, and the media was in hog-heaven. Chris Matthews' leg was, no-doubt, positively vibrating.

Then, in an astonishing moment of hubris, the One chose to accept his nomination like a rock star--in a stadium, to a cheering throng, at a ticketed event, featuring too many Hollywood big-wigs and high-profile entertainers to count (Oprah, I understand, cried her false eyelashes off.)

John McCain chose to leave the event alone, filming a quick congratulatory video lauding Obama for his historic nomination. At the end of his statement, he said:

"Tomorrow we'll be back at it. But, tonight, Senator--job well done."

Boy, he wasn't kidding.

McCain got "back at it" so fast and so furiously, Obama never knew what hit him (or, rather "who" hit him.)

The first glimmer of his genius came the next morning, as we all awoke not to glowing reminiscences of the past four days of Democratic politics--but breathless anticipation of who John McCain was going to pick for his vice-president.

It would have been a small story, but as clues began to come out that it might be the female governor of Alaska, it became a news tsunami.

Thus, the Democrats' convention quickly disappeared down the memory hole, flushed even further into the sea when Governor Palin opened her mouth and revealed herself to be an unexpected star.

While Hurricane Gustav threatened to both destroy New Orleans (again) and divert the attention of the media from day one of the Republican convention (scheduled to feature keynoter Joe Lieberman, originally), McCain demonstrated his superlative political instincts by insisting that the convention be scaled back to only the legal requirements, to allow the GOP to pay close attention to the oncoming storm. President Bush and Governor Bobby Jindal (Republican) were graciously granted the spotlight for the duration of the danger, and Laura Bush and Cindy McCain used their personal speeches to appeal to the delegates to raise money for Hurricane Relief.

As if that weren't brilliant enough, he had already--without controversy--permitted the writing of the most conservative Republican platform in decades, which pumped up the delegates quite a bit. It is unclear (at least to me) how much McCain had to do with the selection of speakers, but whoever was, demonstrated sheer political mastery. Knowing when the networks would join the broadcast (not until 10 p.m.--a ridiculously late hour, but the trend in recent elections), the convention planners set up the second night to have Laura and George Bush address the convention delegates. The President appeared via satellite, since he was busy dealing with the Gulf Coast), and was not seen on the network broadcasts--perfectly allowing those in the hall to see the president they still love, while sending the symbolic message that the era of Bush is over, and the new era of Republican reform under McCain is about to begin.

In prime time, Senator Fred Thompson gave a rip-roaring barn-burner of a speech, demonstrating why he had been dragged into the primary in the first place. Some wags and pundits that night even suggested that McCain might not be able to meet expectations in his speech, leading Republicans to wish they had picked Thompson.

Then, for the second time in two elections, a Democrat spoke to the Republican National Convention. And not just any Democrat, but the Democratic party's vice-presidential candidate in 2000! In a convention where political and personal courage were major themes, Senator Joseph Lieberman took his political life in his hands to fulfill his friend John McCain's request to appear and cast partisanship aside, urging all Americans to put country first and elect John McCain. It brought the house down.

Mark this: John McCain, by this point, with the selection of Sarah Palin and the promise to bring the Republican party back to its roots, had brought his base so far back to the fold that they were unabashedly cheering a man they vilified a mere eight years ago.

And he wasn't done yet.

The next night, after revelations of Palin's daughter's pregnancy had ignited a firestorm of attacks and counter-attacks, the also-rans of the primary lined up, one by one, to endorse their former rival, the vice-presidential nominee they didn't turn out to be, and the newly reform-oriented Republican party. One at a time, Romney, Huckabee and Giuliani delivered the kind of speeches they should have given during the primary season if they really wanted to be president.

And then came Sarah.

To thunderous applause, the self-described "hockey mom" introduced herself to the nation, demonstrated her unabashed love for her family--no matter how "challenging" they may be--pledged her fealty to John McCain and the reformist Republican party, and took withering shots--not at Joe Biden, but at Barack Obama, continuing the narrative begun when she first appeared, that she herself is more qualified to be president than Obama (though not nearly as qualified as McCain.)

When McCain appeared faux-unexpectedly (Obama did the same thing at his convention), the screams of the crowd were more likely gratitude to him for picking Palin than expressions of love for McCain, but the delegates were certainly well on their way to fully embracing McCain--moderate reform and all.

On Thursday night, Cindy McCain made her first major speech before a national audience and proved conclusively that she would be a far better First Lady than Michelle Obama, though she said not a word about it. Her speech was about John and her family, the country, and the Palins. But her introductory bio and the details of her personal narrative revealed to the nation for the first time that she has already been essentially doing the work of first ladies for decades--visiting foreign countries, working with the poor, being one of many charity-minded people who serve as the American face of compassion around the world.

It's a powerful image. Who would be a better first lady? The woman who adopted a baby from Mother Theresa's orphanage? Or the woman who makes $100,000 working part-time at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and complains about the price of piano and ballet lessons?

Then, introduced by a biographical video and a stark, dark stage piece voiced-over by Fred Thompson, McCain appeared, again to thunderous applause.

I won't go into the speech here. Suffice it to say, by the end of the convention, McCain had done two things that had seemed impossible only a few weeks ago:

He had unified the base of the Republican Party behind his own reformist agenda, and he had re-established the Republican party as a conservative party, with conservative principles, intending to govern from the right, for the good of the entire nation. And to do so in a bipartisan spirit, reaching across the aisle to likeminded people, working together to put country first.

The full impact of this can only be understood when one looks at the world of talk radio. Today, even Rush Limbaugh (who has in his archives, parodying songs ridiculing "Maverick John McCain" for not being a real conservative) is enthusiastically supporting the Republican ticket. And so is the base of the Republican party, who will go home, call someone at party headquarters, and sign up to work their hearts out to get this "change" and "reform" ticket elected to the White House.

If he can do this with the Republican party, I can only imagine what he can do with the nation.

And the clearest sign that his strategy has totally succeeded came this morning, the day after the convention. While last Friday the Democrats' good-buzz aftermath was marred for them by the selection of Sarah Palin, today all the news is about the last night of the Republican National Convention, the newness and freshness of Sarah Palin, and the surprising new fighting spirit of the GOP.

Last Friday, I may have seen a snippet of the Obama megaspeech about six times--and only because it was part of top-of-the-hour news.

Today, the political narrative is all about Republicans, and I have seen many, many repeats of different parts of the McCain speech all day long.

According to the most recent polling, Obama's 8-point lead after his convention has either dwindled to two or disappeared entirely. Add to that the Nielsen overnights that show that McCain pulled even more viewers than Obama's record-breaking acceptance speech (and even though Obama had an 80K headstart) and that Palin's speech drew only a few million less than Obama's--and more than Hillary's or Biden's--and you cannot help but conclude:

John McCain may have the best political instincts we've seen in the Republican party since Ronald Reagan.

Job well done, Senator. Job well done.

Now Is The Time: Come Home to Your Senses, Joe Lieberman

Before he goes back to Washington for the final session of this Congress, there's one more thing Joe Lieberman should do.

Become a Republican.

At the moment, Lieberman is an "Independent Democrat," but he still caucuses with the Democrats. But the word in Washington these days is that the Democrats in the Senate are so angry with Lieberman for having the (excuse the expression) audacity to speak at the RNC convention that they are planning to strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country--not their party. At the moment, the Democrats control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, with Lieberman technically an independent, but caucusing with the Democrats. Were he to officially become a Republican, it would make the Senate a 50-50 split, with Dick Cheney (a Republican, in case you hadn't noticed) to break the tie.

Were Lieberman to switch parties, the Republicans would control the Senate for the next few months. It would be a risky move for both the Senator and the Republicans in the Senate. Taking the reins of power so close to the election presents both the possibility of total failure and the promise of sweet victory. Taking the power out of the hands of an obstructionist, do-nothing Senate and actually doing something as the election approaches could be just what the country wants to see.

If Republicans squandered the opportunity, however, it could merely mean greater losses in November.

It would mean rolling the dice. But, right now, in the Democratic Senate, Lieberman doesn't have much more left to lose.

Sarah, Plain and Cool, Driving Democrats to Dysfunction

You knew it would happen. It took mere political moments for horrified Democrats around the nation to find sexist, elitist, and downright crazy ways to attack Senator McCain's VP-designate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Although few knew her before last Friday, she has emerged as clearly the coolest Republican that ever lived. She hunts and fishes, her husband is a snow-mobile champion, she's a marathoner and a union member, kicked the crap out of the Alaska GOP on principle, has a son going to Iraq, and was known on her high school basketball team as "Sarah Barracuda" for her tenacity and grit. She even played with a fractured ankle once--and helped win the game, anyway. She eats moose and caribou, brings her 5-month old baby to work with her, and (unlike McCain) can multi-task with baby and blackberry.

It's time to white out all those "Chuck Norris" and "Fred Thompson" jokes and write-in "Sarah Palin." She makes Arnold Schwarzennegar look like Pat Boone.

First, it was the campaign itself, risking its newly-minted image as the party of middle class, small-town voters, by sniffing:

Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Slightly later in the day, The One himself (and his running mate--let's call him "The Other") then quickly tried to mute the campaign's heavy-handedness with a pretense of politeness:

"We send our congratulations to Governor Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for vice president. It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics," the statement said."

But the game was already on. Obama/Biden fears and despises this ticket, because it one-ups them on several fronts.

First, and most deliciously, it provides one person out of four in the race that actually has some executive experience--some real, hands-on, decision-making, voter-serving, budget-crafting, making-it-work executive chops. Obama, Biden, and McCain have never done any of that. They've never run a company, much less a city or a state. They've always been one of one-hundred, individually accountable to no one, and ultimately responsible for nothing. McCain's character, at least, has been forged in the fires of adversity, in the Hanoi Hilton. So we know a bit about his intestinal fortitude.

All we know about the courage quotient on the other ticket is that Joe Biden rides the Amtrak, and Barack Obama made a speech four years ago.

Then there is the "woman thing," so to speak. While the Obama campaign couldn't find any qualified woman he liked and trusted enough to be his number two (go away, Hillary), in a party so woman-centered it requires by rule that the majority of convention delegates be women, McCain effortlessly discovered one last February, and esteemed her enough to put her in the mix. And, as time went on, it was her scrappy life story, her heart, and her values that kept her in there--not her gender.

Because we now know that, in this most intense competition she held her own with all the media's darling front-runners, and made the cut at every turn.

And now the Democrats are wailing like banshees, because that was Hillary's historical moment. It's bad enough that Hillary couldn't close the deal for the top of the ticket--but to be shown up by (gag) Republicans in their open-mindedness and egalitarian feminism!

It is a most miserable day for the Democrats--cheered only by the prospect of a killer hurricane coming to wipe out the RNC convention and showcase the "compassion" of Democrats.

The attacks on the remarkable Sarah Palin have come quickly and ruthlessly, and some of them are some of the starkest examples of lift-wing hypocrisy anyone's seen in years. Let us first look at who she really is, before we put on our hazmat suits and wade into what the Democrats are trying to do to her.

Her political experience (she was on the City Council while Barack was a "community organizer"--one of those people that hoped and prayed that Aldermen and mayors would look kindly on his petitions for help, or at least not wreck his plans) is dismissed as "mayor of a town of 9000." Barack entered the state senate in 1997--a beneficiary of the Chicago political machine, and a ruthless player, having eliminated all his opposition on a technicality, including the woman who made it possible for him to run in the first place.

By 1997, Sarah Palin was in her second year as mayor. By the time young Barack Obama keynoted the Democratic National Convention in 2004, while running to be a first-term Senator, Palin had been term-limited out of her two as mayor, having not only cut her own salary while in office, but taxes by 40%.

By 2004, she had already resigned as Ethics Commissioner of Alaska's Oil and Gas Commission, objecting to the Commission's lack of ethics. When Obama was taking his oath of office, Sarah Palin was driving the resignation of the State Party Chairman from the Commission and the Attorney General from office.

On February 10 of 2007, Obama announced his run for president, effectively ending his attention to the Senate (having been in the Senate barely 2 years). (For example, from September to November of 2007, he missed 80% of Senate votes.)

While Obama was missing votes, Sarah Palin was racking up an 80% approval rating as governor and fighting corruption in the Alaska Republican party. Obama, for all his time in one of the most corrupt political clubs in the nation--the Chicago Democratic machine--never saw fit to challenge it at all.

But the women of the Democratic party are losing their minds. How dare this person call herself a woman! How dare any woman disagree with their pro-abortion, anti-family agenda!

Kim Gandy of NOW called Palin "a woman who opposes women's rights," failing to see that not every woman in America believes that it is a "right" to kill an unborn child. Palin is, in fact, a woman who has paved the way for other women, holding challenging jobs usually reserved for men, while raising a family as well.

The Democrats don't know what to do with themselves. The Republican party has shown them up for the ideologues that they are. The Republican party has nominated a woman more qualified than the Democrats' ticket-topper, without making an 18-month long giant deal about her gender. It has, instead, allowed its candidate to select her on her merits. She is not a crony, and she is not a Washington insider. She promises to bring no state of any electoral heft, nor does she come to the position after years of thirsting to be president.

He has found a woman called by duty to do what's right, and willing to set aside her interests for those of the country.

It's a tremendous coup for the GOP. In their eagerness to quell excitement, the donkey party and its minions have already insulted small towns, women in general, mothers, Alaska--anything they can think of.

First, there is the "why did she have a Down Syndrome baby?" argument (which we've already seen in this very forum.) That seems to take as its base that it is her own fault--she was too busy, she should have stayed home, she should have told people she was pregnant, she shouldn't have flown in the last moments of her pregnancy, and on and on and on--that the baby was born with DS.

But there are no facts to this argument, since the Palins knew very early on what the circumstances of their child were to be, and they made the decision to trust God and act out out of love, instead of fear.

Then there is the appalling rumor spread across the lefty blogosphere that five-month old Trig belonged not to Sarah, but to Bristol (some comments have even insinuated that the father is shipping-off-to-Iraq Track, or maybe even the handsome Todd [her father--there is very little that is too abhorrent for the imaginations of these cretins to entertain.])

Of course, now that we know that Bristol is pregnant and engaged, the timeline rules out the possibility that Trig was borne by Bristol. So much for leftist logic.

But if it's not enough to attack her for confusing you with her family, what next? I know--attack her for not being attentive enough to her family! After all, shouldn't conservatives want her to stay home with that baby?

Sally Quin flutters and clucks over Palin's failure to live up to the lifestyle rules she thinks Palin is supposed to play by as an evangelical. (Palin, by the way, is a Pentecostal, not a fundamentalist, and not a Baptist, from whose annals Quinn chooses the requirements to assign the Governor). Then she assigns Palin to monitor her soon-to-be-a-grown-and-married-woman daughter, essentially forever:

And now we learn the 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant. She and the father of the child plan to marry. This may be a hard one for the Republican conservative family-values crowd to swallow. Of course, this can happen in any family. But it must certainly raise the question among the evangelical base about whether Sarah Palin has been enough of a hands-on mother.

Nice feminism, there, Madame Quinn.

Once again, liberals misread the people they most despise, Christian conservatives. Christian conservative women do not live in electricity-free huts, barefoot and pregnant, chained to the stove, waiting for heaven. They are all around you, working in the home and out, and many are twice as smart as any network news anchor parroting DNC talking points from behind a desk.

"Being a mother" does not have to mean staying home all the time, particularly when one's husband is already doing so. Few Christian women these days consider it a requisite of holiness to lock one's self away for 18 years. There are a great many Christian professional women whose mothering skills are enhanced by helpful husbands, older children, and gracious female relatives--all of which Palin has, in abundance. Besides, this is a discussion that should have been settled while she was a mere governor. She's going to be working somewhere, it seems--why not the vice-presidency (which, to be fair, actually isn't as hard as being a governor.)

No one asked Jack Kennedy what he planned to do about his children. No one is asking Barack Obama--whose wife works--how he is going to handle fatherhood and the presidency. And, even more hypocritically, when was the last time someone read Barbra Boxer or Nancy Pelosi or any other woman in elected office the riot act for not being at home "where she belongs?"

The new concern of Democrats with the vice-presidency is comical. After all, wasn't this the same office in which Richard Nixon famously was never allowed above the first floor of the White House? What were John Edwards' qualifications to be president? Gerald Ford? For that matter, by their standards, their own presidential candidate isn't qualified to be vice-president!

And that's another fascinating dynamic of this. As a game-changer, McCain has succeeded admirably, because the comparison is not being made between Biden and Palin, but between Palin and Obama. Every time a surrogate is asked about Palin's inexperience, the conversation is instantly redirected to Obama's inexperience, which keeps the focus of the presidential campaign where it belongs--on the utter unpreparedness of the Democrats' choice to actually be president (we are still waiting for anything Obama has ever done that compares to the things both McCain and Palin have done--or even anything that compares to what Biden has done! Matter of fact, Obama can't even say he lived in the White House and failed to reform health care--and she wasn't even considered good enough to consider!)

But it's not the attacks on her experience that are the most egregious. The worst media behavior has been about sliming every part of her personal life they can possibly grab hold of. Really, think about it: Obama wants to kill babies who have just been born (if their mama meant to kill them); his willing media allies are engaged in trying to destroy a five-month old baby with Down Syndrome.

And the hypocrisy of it all is mind-blowing. The same women who have been haranguing women in the home to get out and make something of themselves, to use their talents for the good of the world, to unchain themselves from the house--and the baby as soon as possible. These are the women who demand government-sponsored daycare (and Obama wants to reach down to age zero to take the babies out of the home) so that mommies can get out and work.

Today they want to steal Sarah Palin's shoes and chain her to the stove.

Keep it up, Democrats. This moose-dressing, gun-toting, corruption-cutting, baby-saving, Superwoman will break you. You can't beat someone who won't quit, and you can't cow the newly energized base by throwing mud.

Sarah Barracuda's in the game now. And she's bringing an army with her.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Cindy Sheehan’s recent unwelcome appearance at a Democrat leadership press conference does not bode well for the future of our new Congressional masters. (For the video, go here.)

Instead of having the opportunity to bask in their new power and announce the House Democrats’ plan for the new Congress, Democratic politicians found themselves shouted down by Sheehan and her merry band of pranksters, forcing Rahm Emanuel to end the presser early and the Democrats to withdraw to another venue.

While the new leadership is attempting to appear statesmanlike, awaiting the President’s thoughts on what the future holds, the rabble that believes it elected them is storming the castle, waving torches, screaming for an immediate pullout.

Welcome back to Vietnam, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the Age of Aquarius all over again. (Actually, more like still, since an astrological “age” is 2150 years. In fact, the 60s weren’t even in the traditionally recognized “age of Aquarius,” which begins in either 2000 or 2150, depending on whose theory you use. But, then, attention to detail has never been a hippie value--unless you count staring at the lines in your hand for hours, at which the pot-addled and LSD-drenched once excelled.)

Nevertheless, it seems clear at this point that the sensibility of the hippie is on the ascendancy in ways we haven’t seen since we thought the 80s killed them all off or pushed them into the corporate world (Jerry Rubin, Ben & Jerry's, Fruitopia....)

Watch, as elemental feminism ascends to the halls of power. Nancy Pelosi is a mere taste of that which is yet to come. As we move to the technological place where men need not participate in virtually any area of American life, the polymorphous perversity repressed since the age of Freud is no more than a Dead album away from attaining full acceptance.

The masculine will collapse under its own ideological weight. The educational efforts of LGBT activists will flower, as a new crop of young adults emerges from high school to help frame the debate in the next election. Rejecting the old, tired, restrictive linguistic traps of “male” and “female” they will vote for new legislators that sever the linguistic and legal bonds of gender and extend the bonds of matrimony to whosoever will come to express their love for one another, for as long as they both shall feel like it.

It doesn’t take a Weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. To coin a phrase.

The traditional marriage activists are on the ropes. No doubt about it. While referenda put to the voters at large still win large majorities, they’re not nearly as large as they once were. Florida is aiming to put the question on the ballot in 2008, but the new rules on Florida initiatives will make it difficult to pass, requiring a supermajority to make it law.

The old sentiments of hippiedom seem to have sunk in to the culture. What’s marriage, after all? Just a silly piece of paper. If Bob and Fred want one of those pieces of paper, why not? And why shouldn’t Bob and Fred express their love however they choose? Love is cool, man. And choice rules.

And we have a war, man. A war that’s killing American kids, a war that nobody volunteered for—oh, wait. We’re going to have to change some of those signs.

Survey the political landscape. Deja-vu, baby.

The lead performers of the political drama as it opens on 2007 form a masterpiece of collective counter-culture consciousness. From the Eleanor-Roosevelt-channeling feminist to the fun-free environmentalist, the left side of the aisle would be perfectly at home alternately chanting “Die, Pig, Die” outside the Democratic National Convention and following Pigasus through the mud as the jack-booted fascists give chase. Except that, this time, they’re going to be running the convention. And their pals in PETA won’t let them humiliate a pig anymore.

On the right side, we have a perfect lineup of hardhats and militarists, eager to wade into the fray and smash a few heads. From the former P.O.W. hawk that agitates to put more troops into this generation’s Vietnam, to the unofficial sultan of homeland security and hard-line law enforcement, the Republicans are polishing up their tough-guy/grown up images, burying the scandals of the past as fast as they can.

The “silent majority” that elected Nixon is silent again, and as of 2006, no longer even an electoral majority. In the last election, the moral traditionalists were narrowly defeated—but defeated, nonetheless—by a rather loud and angry mix of people who hate what’s going on in Iraq, but don’t really have a cohesive plan for what to do next.

The doves are flourishing; you can hardly see the GDP rise or hear the stock market roar for the noise of their wings—and their studded tongues—flapping. Hollywood is again passing bucks to such hopeless peaceniks as Dennis Kucinich and their re-vamped standard-bearer, the novice film-maker Al Gore. Gore’s cachet with the chic set is rising, while dour Hillary is even having problems ginning up interest in Iowa.

And the media world is gaga for ‘Bama

Groovy, baby.

Except that, politically, the era of the hippie was not a love-fest. It was a mess. And it led to America’s first real loss of a war (you can’t count Korea, because it’s still technically on.) So, if we’re moving into that mode, what comes next?

Read the tea-leaves and see.

Once the Watergate Congress had arrived in Washington, ready to put the Nixon era behind them, they also made sure to bring in a new stand on Vietnam: lose at any cost. Right now, only the Cindy Sheehans of the party are moaning that tune. The leadership is doing its best to pretend they are doing something else.

But when the Congress decides to stop sending troops, and then to stop funding the war itself, it won’t be long before we get the rest of the Democrats’ Vietnam strategy: watch American servicemen on tv trying to escape from a nation the Congress made them give away.

It didn’t take us nearly as long to get here this time. At this point in the Vietnam episode, we were only up to May of 1967. It would be another eight years before the children of the Haight and their compatriots in the media succeeded in engineering the American defeat—a defeat that would frame the global image of the US until, ironically enough, we beat Saddam in the original Gulf War.

Of course, it makes sense that we would move more quickly this time. After all, the learning curve wasn’t nearly as steep. The media and the leftover counter-culture had been loaded for bear since September of 2001, when International A.N.S.W.E.R. first let the world know that it wasn’t going to stand for any standing-up-for-America-type behavior.

For the War for Iraqi Liberation, we barely had a six-month window. The media—even those embedded with the troops—soon reverted to their natural “blame America first” mentality. The pundits and the Democratic politicians were in full bray against the war by the end of 2003 (having temporarily given up on trying to get the people to pin the label on the war in Afghanistan, which by then we clearly seemed to have won. At this point, they barely bother to pretend they don't want us to lose.

Unfortunately for them, the American people weren’t thirsty enough to drink the Flavor-aid right then. But they’d get there. And the Democrats knew it.

Although they lost in 2004 (despite their pal Dan Rather’s valiant effort to libel the president with doctored documents), they kept up the drumbeat. Everything bad was because of Iraq. Everything good was despite it. If the stock market went up, it was because the oil companies were manipulating everything in order to make more money out of the war. If any disaster happened, it would have been avoidable had we not had all our resources flailing away in Iraq.

The booming economy was swept under the rug. The new schools, roads and infrastructure built by Americans in Iraq stayed in the closet, while the daily body count of soldiers and the uncountable toll of civilians was announced with great and unseemly glee. Each thousand-death mark was breathlessly awaited and scrupulously observed.

Every mistake, misstep, or malfunction of the US in Iraq was blasted from the rooftops. We stared at the naked Iraqi pyramid from Abu-Ghraib for months, regardless of whether it had any real news value that day or not. The outrage of the president and his senior officials and the fact that the perpetrators were caught and punished were totally ignored. As far as the Big 3 media were concerned, Abu-Ghraib was the real American soldier.

Just as when the nation brayed for the head of Lt. William Calley and the peace movement demanded immediate troop withdrawal for the My Lai massacre, the Abu-Ghraib photos have been used as an excuse to justify backing away from supporting the war, and every event since has been twisted in that direction.

“The people” are tired of the war, and the media is eager to exult in its defeat of the imperial US monster that roams the world forcing its will on weaker nations. A good 30 years of counter-culture indoctrination, thanks to the good offices of the National Eduational Association (and the other NEA, the National Endowment for the Arts) gives them a good shot at doing just that.

This time, we may have beaten Saddam, but the midterm elections make it more than likely we will soon fall back to our fallback position and let the Congress lose the war.

Oh, by the way. You may be wondering why I didn't mention the President's new initiative in Iraq--the "surge" he announced this week. That's because it really doesn't matter much. We can surge and make it work, or we can surge and do it wrong--the media and the liberal cloud over this nation will stay the same.

If we win, they will paint it as "democracy at the point of a gun." If we lose, they will crow, "I told you so."

I hope I’m wrong. But the signs don’t look good. I don’t see anything out there to stop the love-train from papering the Middle East with a false, unlasting peace.

Don’t shoot the messenger, man. I just say what I see.

And what I see is a major bummer.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


There's a phrase they use in television to refer to a show that has simply gone one step too far in pursuing the entertainment dollar. The show that has finally entered the vast wasteland in its quest for ratings. They say it has "jumped the shark"--a derisive reference to a Happy Days episode that drove its audience away when the character Fonzie…actually jumped a shark. On water-skis.

The show's audience never fully returned.

In recent years, Americans have gotten used to hearing reasons why we should boycott Walmart. So much so that we barely pay attention to the emails, right and left, that flurry into our inboxes, insisting that big-box discount giant Walmart no longer deserves our patronage.

On the left, we hear that Walmart, a stubbornly non-union shop, is unfair to its workers, pays sub-optimal wages, offers lousy insurance, and is destroying the mom-and-pop store (the what?) On the right, we are told it is too commercial, too materialistic, does business with nasty regimes--like China, which seems to be its number one supplier of…well, just about everything but food.

Through it all, Walmart has sailed on, secure in the knowledge that, as long as it delivers the goods without alienating its core market--the red-state, semi-rural discount shopper--nothing can take it down. Even while becoming the number one target of American lawsuits, with a new one filed every day of the year, America kept coming to buy its groceries, guns, lingerie and lawn tractors at Walmart. 24 hours a day.

Until now. Now, Walmart just might have jumped the shark.

All over red-state America, the news was "out" last week.

Walmart is now a proud--though apparently only "loud" because the American Family Association got wind of it--member of the Gay Chamber of Commerce.

The what?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Gay Chamber of Commerce,
and Walmart not only is part of it--it went down on its big corporate knees to beg for the privilege.

As part of the partnership, Walmart is not merely pledging not to discriminate against gays--which there has been no evidence it has ever done. It will also sponsor two conferences of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and pursue corporate relationships with businesses with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered owners (LGBT.) In addition, one of Walmart's corporate vice-presidents will serve as an advisor to the Chamber.

Why Walmart would feel the need to pander to what amounts to less than five percent of the public is a mystery--

One reason may be the oft-repeated claim that gays have more disposable income than heterosexual consumers. But the data on this assumption has yet to be clarified.

Even if that is the case, Sam Walton's dream wasn't about people who could afford to go elsewhere. His genius was in maximizing the consumer dollar of those who had little to begin with, in bringing quality merchandise at discount prices, while making the consumer feel welcomed and valued. Walmart has always done so in an environment deliberately designed for the comfort of the consumer. At Walmart, you get a friendly smile, a family-friendly atmosphere, and an invitation to come back soon (which most of us know we will.)

But maybe those of us in the red states have gotten over our psychological need to be greeted at the door by a warm and friendly smile. There are now other stores that keep late hours and have reasonable prices. It's nice that Walmart price-matches, so you only have to roam around cyberspace and page through the ads that come in the mail, then head to Walmart to get the sales prices on everything. At this point, however, we may have to admit that "nice" and "convenient" cannot be our highest values.

It may be time for Christians and moral conservatives to ask themselves whether it is too high a price to pay, to save a little money. Walmart may have forgotten that it's only the premier store of its kind because consumers made it that. And they did it because Walmart cultivated the image of being a "family-friendly" store. Other stores have imitated it and are making inroads into its market share.

Already, the usual suspects in the Christian activist community are weighing in. From the American Family Association:

Randy Sharp said his organization wasn’t surprised by the news because it was the latest in a “long list” of Wal-Mart actions to “recognize and endorse a personal sexual behavior.”

“It’s disappointing. I personally chose two months ago to stop shopping at Wal-Mart ... and I think others will follow suit,” Sharp said. “Up until a year and a half ago, the AFA applauded Wal-Mart for their pro-family policies, but now it seems Wal-Mart has decided to push aside that legacy left by (founder) Sam Walton and joined those who look at the bottom line and stock prices.”

The Family Research Council's response:

"I don't think this is something that will sell on Main Street America, where most Wal-Mart stores are located," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council (FRC). "I don't think cheap prices on goods from China will be enough to stop a rollback in their customer base if they choose to go down this aisle."

Shoppers, generally, will go where the best deal is. But if the deals are essentially the same--but one constitutes a morally offensive environment--I wouldn't bet the market that Walmart can stay on top.

Walmart should have checked the waters before it jumped this shark.

Friday, January 14, 2005


The record/tape/DVD/etc club, Columbia House, is launching a new venture. It's called "Hush," and it should be of interest to two sets of people: perverts and moralists.

Perverts will be thrilled, because the House is partnering with Playboy to start an adult video club, along the lines of its specialized clubs for other types of material--including Christian music and video.

Which brings me to the second set of "persons with interest."

All you born-again believers who joined Columbia House to get 12 CDs for a penny, eager to get your copies of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith and Carman on the cheap need to start thinking twice about putting cash into the hands of the people who brought you the so-called "sexual revolution."

By partnering with Playboy, Columbia House has revealed to us how far they are willing to go to make a buck. Never mind the copious evidence that pornography is one of the most common gateways to child seduction, exploitation, and sexual abuse. Ignore the attempts of the government itself to reduce the amount of incomprehensible filth pouring into your email box--now Columbia House wants to dump yet more trash on your doorstep and over the Internet.

Columbia House may have a "Christian" selection club. But it has no Christian sensibilities. All the company wants is to rake in all the money it can, selling anything it thinks it can sell. All they want is your money.

Do your family a favor--and don't give it to them any more.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Sixty-three years ago today, something happened that changed the course of history. And it had nothing to do with Elvis or the Beatles.

At 8:00 a.m. on December 7, 1941, 353 Japanese airplanes bombed Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii (not yet a state, by the way.) The attack destroyed 18 American ships and 161 planes, earning the Japanese a declaration of war as requested by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the following speech to Congress:

To the Congress of the United States:
Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

You'll note that it was not only Pearl Harbor that was attacked, but also Malaya, Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippines, Wake Island, and Midway Island. It was a full-out assault on the United States and her holdings. It was undoubtedly a terrible shock to those who had put their faith in the League of Nations and found that the world was still a dangerous and violent place.

It is popular to gloss over the Pacific side of World War II, given that the European theater produced such horrific images and truths we carry in our collective memory to this day--primarily the concentration camps, the emaciated prisoners freed by the victorious allies, and the inconceivable inhumanity that the Third Reich turned out to be. Yet it should not be forgotten that the Japanese attacked without provocation and with utter disregard for human life. Over 3000 American military personnel lost their lives that day (and doesn't that number sound familiar?)

Immediately after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese rounded up an estimated 12,000 Americans and Filipinos and put them into brutal prison camps, where they remained for the duration of the war. The Japanese fought fiercely throughout the war, and it was only the reality of the atomic bomb (not just a threat, as we relied on thereafter) that brought them to their knees.

Today we like to forget the horrors of Luzon, Guadalcanal, Burma, Midway--and scores of islands we no longer know the names of. But we must not do so.

Although today the Japanese are generally considered a threat to us only from an economic and trade standpoint, we must never, ever, forget how dangerous the world is, and how fragile all alliances are. Peace is almost always a temporary state in the international arena, and nations have no friends. It is said that there are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests, and Americans should remember that as we look back at our own history.

Sixty-three years ago today, 3000 Americans died in a vicious sneak attack. Three years ago, another 3000 died. The first time, the nation came together, Democrats and Republicans, and gave the President an unprecedented amount of grace to finish the job over four intense years of fighting. The last time, the nation came together--for about three weeks. Then the president's opposition set to work undermining the war on terror. It was a shameful episode in American history, and the men and women of World War II would not have understood it. But that's life in the twenty-first century. Our president is tough enough to take it.

Today, take a minute to honor the memory of the victims of Pearl Harbor, as well as those of the 9/11 attacks. And take heart that our president stands firm and echoes the words said those sixty-three years ago:

"With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God."

Saturday, December 04, 2004


When I was a child, there was a big billboard next to a bridge in town that read, "US OUT OF THE UN." It was sponsored by the John Birch Society.

Whenever we drove past it, my Democrat mother would let out an exasperated sigh and look away with a look of disgust. So I knew that had to be a bad idea. At the very least, a Republican one.

After I became a Christian, I began to understand the scandal and the disgrace that the UN represented. But the billboard was long gone, and it seemed unlikely that the sentiment would find popularity again among any but the most isolationist of Americans (like Pat Buchanan.)

But now, a new day is dawning, and we re-visit the idea again--seriously, this time. It's not just a slogan any more. It's being seriously talked about in the houses of Congress and the homes of Americans.

The ever-widening Oil-for-Food scandal has laid bare the clear reason why the world was against our action against Iraq. After all, you don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, and that's exactly what President Bush--unbeknownst to him--was proposing when he went before the "world body" and urged them to do something about the dictator they had been threatening for more than a decade.

Little did he know that Saddam was serving as an open cash register for France, Germany, and Russia. We knew we couldn't trust them; but it seems we didn't know why (another thing Porter Goss should be looking into--why didn't our own CIA know the program was rife with corruption? They could at least have warned the president about the extent of opposition he would face.) The powerful members of the Security Council, who moved heaven and earth to prevent President Bush from being true to his word, had less than no interest in deposing Saddam. "Regime change" was not on their agenda, as long as "slush fund" was on their bank statements.

This is only the final nail in the coffin, the tip of an iceberg that conservatives have been tracking underwater for decades. While moderates are content to disdain the United Nations as a "glorified debating society," chiding it for its ineffectiveness, conservatives object most to those things the U.N. actually does do--bashing Israel, handing out condoms, undermining the culture and tradition of third=world countries, undermining national sovereignty, and attempting to impose one-world government on passionately patriotic countries like the United States.

As we watch the story unravel, let us cheer on the moderates--and, yes, the liberals as even they sicken at the nepotistic fraud of the Annan family and the corporate corruption that is the UN--in their efforts to "mend it, not end it." Fine. Let them see if they can fix it.

But know this: the conservatives had it right first, and the institution is on its last legs.

And we'll be there to shoot it when it falls.



"Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.'
"Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep."

In this passage from John, Jesus gently brings Peter back into the fold after the headstrong disciple has denied Him three times, in the hour of His need. Peter is, no doubt, depressed and blaming himself for not having the courage to speak up for Jesus only hours after professing his undying fealty. Jesus sets him straight, and then invites Peter once again, as he had originally called the disciples, "Follow me."

Jesus tells us repeatedly that the world will know we are His because of the love we show, to each other and to others. It is compassion and love that should define the behavior of a Christian. And the outward evidence of that love is that we feed his sheep.

I am President of the Board of a local interdenominational helping ministry, and I and my fellow soldiers in the armies of compassion now look toward what some might call the "easy season," but which always brings to me a pang of regret.

For it is in this season--the holiday season--that people all over the nation turn their eyes toward God, whatever they perceive him to be, and feel the tug of a charitable impulse. There is, frankly, no shortage of generosity and programs between Thanksgiving and Christmas (sometimes, as people eye their end-of-year charitable donation tax total, the season extends to the end of the year). The poor and the hungry generally are fairly well-fed, and, this season as no other, those in need can find clothing, shoes, groceries, presents for the children--all manner of material need met to ensure that everyone has a "Merry Christmas." And, as a person working in this type of ministry, let me thank all those who give from the bottom of my heart, and let you know that your generosity is truly appreciated.

But I must, at the same time, remind us all that Jesus said, "Feed my sheep"--not "Feed my sheep at Thanksgiving and Christmas." As the saying goes, "Need knows no season."

It is wonderful to provide a turkey dinner for the homeless twice a year, but let the Lord work on your heart and contemplate what it means that these, the least of these, are not going to be brought out from poverty by two good dinners and a new coat.

Every week, I see people who have fallen into poverty or onto hard times, and their schedules do not conveniently follow a calendar. Gas companies, electric companies, and grocery stores don't become much more forgiving of those unpaid bills just because we are celebrating the advent of the One who paid the price for us all. And when the season for giving has passed, the landlord still expects rent, and the children still want food.

To help these--the lonely, the least, the lost, the left out--the ministry I serve depends entirely on the generosity and love of God's people in the churches. All our expenses are paid by the churches, and all our assistance is provided by church volunteers. Although Christianity is not merely a day, nor even a season, but a complete reformation of the believer's life, even Christians seem to fall into the mindset to meet need on an artificial schedule.

In my church, we believe in "divine appointments"--that God brings to the believer's attention and into their path the needs He desires us to meet. Rick Warren, in the best-selling The Purpose-Driven Life, says that "life is a test." God's tests to us, His tests of our faith, His tests of our love, come each and every day, in a wide variety of disguises. Perhaps today He has challenged you through this message, and you are wondering whether there is more you can do than offer donations, gifts, and alms during the Christmas Season.

Rest assured, there is.

More than anything else, the ministries of Christ across this country need your prayers. But do not pray only for the ministries--pray, as well, for direction as to how God would have you bless those ministries and the people they serve. Perhaps He would have you add to your seasonal generosity with a monthly stipend to a ministry or a missionary or a program that He has laid on your heart. Perhaps He will ask you to join this army as an occasional volunteer. Perhaps He would ask you to get down in the gutter with the very least of these with a cup of cold water (or, in the winter, hot chocolate) and a kind word.

But this year, don't let the season go by without going before God with an open heart and an open mind, asking Him where your best place of ministry lies.

Because hungry children and hurting grown-ups need a Merry March and a Merry May every bit as much as they do a Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Let’s congratulate Bob Shrum.

He has just presided over his eighth losing presidential campaign. And he’s considered the Democrats’ “best” strategist.

Perhaps they should re-think.

As I predicted, on election day, the evangelicals turned out in record numbers, and they voted for Bush. One-quarter of the electorate–11.7 million people–were self-identified “born-again Christians.” Seventy-eight percent of them voted for Bush. That constituted somewhere between 59 and 78% of the born again population. The only demographic groups that gave the president a higher percentage of their vote were Republicans (93%) and Conservatives (84%)–neither of which merits a headline.

But the evangelical vote is definitely something to write home about. More to the point, it’s something to write George Barna about.

George Barna is a man who is going to become very, very popular in the near future.

Who is George Barna, you ask?

He’s the founder and director of the Barna Group, Ltd., a former pastor, a graduate of Boston University, recipient of two masters’ degrees from Rutgers and a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University.

He’s also the man who has, for decades, been compiling every imaginable statistic concerning evangelical Christians.

He knows all about us–our politics, our opinions, what we think of our pastors, what our future pastors think of us, how strongly pastors and congregations feel about a variety of topics, how many of us there are, and which issues activate us.

If I were a politician–especially a Democrat, hoping to hold on to a seat or get one in 2006, or even aspiring to win the Big One in 2008–I would sure be trying to get this guy’s cell number. Better than any other pollster, pundit, or media maven, Barna has his finger on the pulse of the born-again voter–and has had since before anyone thought there was any life in it. His treasure-trove of trivia is now worth its weight in gold, but he won’t be working for Hillary anytime soon.

You see, while his information is public knowledge, and all you have to do is do a little internet digging or buy one of his books, his services are not available to just anyone. Barna has five divisions, and they work for churches. The ultimate goal of the corporation is to bring about the spiritual transformation of the United States–by which we might mean something like the Jesusland map that Michael Moore finds so spooky.

But, whether you approve of his hopes for a renaissance of reformative evangelical Christianity, the facts at his fingertips are undeniably solid. Over the years, he has written 35 books on various trends in the Christian community, and pastors of virtually every evangelical denomination swear by his evaluations of the spiritual climate in America.

Ever since the election, puzzled Democrat leaders have been trying to figure out how to “talk to” these mysterious “values voters.”

As the saying goes, they should ask the man who owns one.



I was reading some depressed Kerryite blogging today. It’s amazing how arrogant these people really are. I thought I had seen unsupportable arrogance in college, but this election tops everything.

They are describing themselves as a “fledgling democracy movement,” as though evangelicals are the Chinese government and they are willing sacrifices going under the tanks at Tiannemen Square. They feel as though their “lives have been stolen” from them. They “can’t believe it’s happened.” They are “afraid to graduate and look for work in a nation like this.”

How disconnected from reality can one be?

The fact is, this is the same country it was the day before the election. The business climate is the same. Did these radical youth think that, if Kerry won, Wall Street and the other places they want to work would suddenly fill with benevolent pro-environment employers offering free health care to them and their gay partners? Did they not know what the world around them was like?

No, they didn’t. The mainstream media betrayed them, by perpetuating the image in their heads of what “real” Americans were like. If you watched enough Dan Rather, you would think the nation was chock-full of angry young voters, radical people of color, feminist women, and gay couples.

But that’s not true.

What’s true is that the biggest identifiable constituency groups in the Democratic party are media members, Hollywood entertainers, and academics. And there aren’t enough of them to populate Providence, Rhode Island–much less win an American election.

The intensity with which the vote-rockers threw themselves into beating the Bushies was breathtaking. They should get an A for effort, as they tried every slick and creative new way they could think of to get their man elected.

But the problem is that elections are decided by voters, and they didn’t get enough. The complexity of their efforts to win a game that boils down to a lean, mean ground game reminds me of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where Jones is attacked by a sword-wielding assassin who shrieks and pivots and flourishes menacingly–until Indy just takes out his gun and shoots him dead.

Ordinary and efficient beats fancy and foolish every time.

Unfortunately, that’s not an avenue open to the electorate (even if we got a law passed, you can bet the Courts would never let it stand.) So, we’re going to have to put up with this for a while. I was prepared for a bit of a letdown to course through the bloodstreams of the valiant vote-rockers, maybe a week or so before they got bored, took midterms, and went home for Thanksgiving Break.

But, after seeing the outpouring of apparent grief, disillusionment, suicidal and homicidal ideation that has flooded the airwaves and the internet since the election, I’m really beginning to think there’s something seriously wrong with some fraction of 48% of the country.

This is not the way grown-ups lose an election. This is the way two-year olds lose the privilege of watching yet another episode of “Dora the Explorer.”

It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, though, considering that exit polls show that the only age group Kerry won a majority of (constituting 17% of the electorate) was the 29 and under crowd. Every other–EVERY other–age group went to the President (30-44 by 53/46; 45-59 by 51/48; and sixty-plus by 54/46.) One wonders what the results would have looked like, were it not for the misguided Vietnam-era sop to the college students that allows 18-year olds to vote. Despite the fact that they are generally still thinking like high school students–and those in college are considered so irresponsible that the college or university takes responsibility for them ("in loco parentis")–still, since they could be sent against their will to Vietnam, the Congress and the people decided to roll the dice and let them vote.

And look what happens.

Rather than graciously accepting defeat, those wacky young people are saturating the internet with conspiracy theories, dark threats, angry editorial cartoons, bitterness, rage, and resistance. It seems they have so little to do in their ordinary lives that they have endless time to forward email and fabricate plots.

Since the folk-singer vote went so heavily to Kerry, I suppose we can expect to be hearing about “two stolen elections” for years and years to come. No doubt, the button and bumper sticker industry will continue to boom, as they produce more and more clever variations on “Bush lied” (what rhymes with “stolen?") And, of course, since they know where their interests lie, the tenured radicals will continue to teach the young (even the 45% of them that voted for Bush) that their government is illegitimate and their leadership to be resisted.

Strange as it may sound, the voters of 1960 should thank their lucky stars for Richard Nixon. Had he not refused to sue over the results of the Texas and Illinois votes, it is entirely likely that John F. Kennedy would never have been president. And those who voted for Kerry should be grateful for Nixon’s good grace, too–since without John Kennedy and Vietnam, there would never have been a John Kerry to agitate on behalf of.

But instead of imitating their candidate (who, to his everlasting credit, had the class to bow out gracefully), the Kerry voters are still hanging on to the almost nonexistent hope that provisional ballots in Ohio–or maybe the panhandle votes in Florida–or maybe one of Nader’s lawsuits–or magic fairy dust–will hold the key to victory. They are not budging until we let them count all the votes again. They don’t care if they have to sit in lawyer’s offices for the rest of their lives. Nobody’s going to tell them they’re wrong.

But those of us who have had children should be able to see where this is going. The Kerry voters will scream and cry and dig in their heels and re-count the New Hampshire vote and wail about how unfair it all is. They’ll tell us every chance they get that they really, really, really want Kerry to be president, and the only way that rotten old George W. Bush could have won is if he cheated!

“You’re trying to ruin our lives!” they’ll cry to us, through Air America (the radio equivalent of standing in the corner and holding your breath). “You’re all mean and hateful, and we WON’T obey you!” they’ll scrawl across the pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times. “George W. Bush is a FINK!” they’ll pound out on the keyboards at Democratic Underground and Slate.

And then they’ll look sideways at us like manipulative Angelica in Rugrats and say, “We’ll never ask for anything again, if you just let us win.”

And we would really like to have some peace, the adults among us. We are awfully worn out by letting them rant and ignoring them, because even when you’re ignoring someone, if they’re screaming you can still hear them, and if they’re scratching it still hurts.

And then we’re going to have to apply some tough love to the little monsters. They’re not going to like it. The truth may sometimes hurt, but its more loving to tell them the truth than to let them live the lie.

If you know a young voter in denial, let me give you some help in explaining the results of the election to them. Sit them down at a calm time and turn off the tv, the computer, and the Nintendo. Be sure you have their full attention. Then, try something like this:

“First off, I want you to know this is going to be hard. I know you’re unhappy right now. I hear that. But this is just getting out of hand. You need to understand that, however you approach it,” (take a deep breath here, then proceed with clarity and firmness, “John Kerry lost.”

(Be sure to have plenty of Kleenex ready when you have this conversation; they’re going to take it hard.) “John Kerry is NOT going to be president of the United States.

“And, sweetie, the reason he’s not going to be president of the United States is that more American voters wanted President Bush to stay President.” (At this point, the young voter may stare at you in shock and horror, unable to understand how you–even YOU–could betray him. Stay strong.)

“I know, I know. The Europeans told you Kerry was going to win. The media told you he was going to win. All the people you know voted for him. All the people you met promised they were going to vote for him.

“But that’s not what happened.”

When your young voter breaks down in denial and disbelief, you may have to go a step further and provide the proof positive that President Bush did, indeed, win. And so did many, many Republicans. To-wit:

The results of the election–across the board–are totally clear. It wasn’t just the President who won. It was the most conservative choices for the Senate and the House. It was the constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman–and even an amendment that rejected the very notion of civil unions, as well. If the nation didn’t want the agenda and ideology of George W. Bush, they have a funny way of saying so.

The Founders were very wise. They understood that if they allowed each state to have the same vote, it would dilute the effect of the individual votes of those in the more populous states. Conversely, to provide proportional representation would disadvantage those in the less populous states, who may have more land, and who in a federal system were supposed to be equals on a state-to-state basis. Thus, they devised a bicameral system, in which one house contains representation for the people that provides equal representation by population, and one that provides equal representation by state, in the form of two Senators. In this way, it was believed that voters in both large and small states would have their say.

Once you have gone over how the system works, it’s time to get to business. (Remember: it’s not you they hate; it’s George W. Bush.)

“You see, darling–I’m going to be as gentle with this as I can, but there’s just no way to make it any better for you–the problem is, MOST people didn’t want to give you the president and vice-president you wanted. In fact, the majority of Bush voters were voting for Bush, while the majority of Kerry voters were voting against Bush. Sadly, neither those who voted for him nor those who did not seemed to care much about who occupied Kerry’s spot on the ballot (though, to be fair, they evidently didn’t want it to be Ralph Nader or Michael Badinarik.)

“That’s not a very mature reason for voting.

“And I’m sorry to tell you this, honey, but the voters also picked a lot of people you really aren’t going to like. You could have won control of the Senate, if a higher number of states contained Americans that preferred John Kerry to President Bush. But they didn’t. The Republicans run the Senate, 55 to 44. And you could have won control of the House of Representatives, if enough people in each district agreed with the Democratic agenda more than the Republican one. But they didn’t. The Republicans won the House, as well, 231 to 200.

“And you might even have gained a foothold in the statehouses, if voters in individual states preferred your agenda to the Republican one. But governors are Republican, too–29 to 21. And, of course, you lost both the popular vote by (at least) three and a half million votes, and the electoral college, 286 to 252. Oh, and I almost forget–there were also 11 winning ballot measures on defending traditional marriage.” (Wince sympathetically here.) “Sorry. I know you really cared about that one.

“So, I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re Blue, I guess you have a right to be. Let me put it in sports terms. It’s always a disappointment when your team doesn’t win. Some of your friends were happy when the Red Sox won the Series, remember? But then some of them–the New Yorkers–were kind of sad, right?

“Well, look at it this way. You wanted the Blue team to win the election, but they barely got in the game.

“Basically the Reds just beat you, 5 games to none.”