Political Diatribes

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Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on November 4, 2010

The Biblical version of this might be “To whom much is given, much is expected.” But the title above comes from my beloved Spider-Man. One of those things that just always stuck with me after reading it as a kid. It may only be a comic book, but it always struck me as filled with wisdom.

So, I don’t have a lot of time to provide an in-depth analysis of the 2010 mid-term elections. I hardly need to do so, since there are thousands of such opinions out there, many of whome will echo my own thoughts.

So, real quickly, let me just say “It was a very good night on Tuesday.” Speaking from a central Wisconsin perspective, it is the first time in my entire lifetime that my district has gone Republican. Sean Duffy defeated Julie Lassa! And on top of that, Ron Johnson defeated Russ Feingold. This was simply a pipe dream mere months ago, and I never even seriously thought there was any chance that old Russ would fall. The capitol went GOP, as well, with Scott Walker defeating Barrett. I don’t even know how to respond, this is such an unusual trifecta.

But it doesn’t end there. Both statehouses flipped from Democrat to Republican.

We all know by now that, nationally, the House had a historic number of seats switch from Democrat to Republican. We also know that the Senate will stay in Democrat hands, but there will be a minimum pickup of 6 seats, which is nearly double the norm for a mid-term election.

But my take on this is not one of euphoria, though I will admit it is one of relief. If these guys do nothing but stop the flood of horrible agenda items crammed through in the last 2 years, it will help us greatly.

But here’s the deal: This isn’t like the old days. Believe me, I am a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and that means I almost always end up on the side of the GOP. That’s true in the general election. In the past, I think many of us – even myself to an extent – believed that the GOP would live by its core principles and it didn’t necessarily matter who the individuals were. In the past, sins of incumbents were often forgive because, well, this or that GOP incumbent has the best chance in the general election, even if not perfect.

I’m not saying perfection is demanded, but I am saying that any abandonment of core principle is not going to be tolerated. The Tea Party movement needs to stay focused, needs to hold all of our politicians accountable, and needs to stay on message. And this message needs to be harsh. We need to be willing to stand up and say “Hey, we supported you, we elected you, and you let us down. We’ll find somebody else next time.”

In fact, that threat needs to be there even if it means we lose the general election. A big deal is being made in some circles about how the GOP could have won the Senate if the Tea Party hadn’t been so… so… principled in Delaware and Nevada. Imagine that. The largest criticism of the Tea Party is that they put forth candidates who didn’t win in the general election, even though they knew that candidate would have a more difficult time in the general election. And the reason they did it was because, out of principle, they couldn’t support someone that did not see things the same way the Tea Party did. That may not be the most strategic, but it’s the most principled approach. And even in that losing effort, it sends a clear and strong message: if you go off the reservation, we won’t save you.

Besides, who really cares about not winning the Senate? They wouldn’t have veto override power of a Democratic President, so whether they have a slight majority or a slight minority is, quite honestly, close to irrelevant. Others have delved into that analysis, and I won’t do it again here. But it’s a point worth noting in the context that the criticism of the Tea Party for “costing the GOP the Senate” is entirely a red herring. The analysist know it wouldn’t matter, in real terms. They also know that there may even be some political value in not owning both the House and the Senate. But it’s all they’ve got right now to try and undermine that movement.

It won’t work, mainly because the Tea Partiers don’t care. I can guarantee you that there aren’t a whole lot of Tea Party supporters wringing their hands today and wondering “If only we had supported the other guy in the Primary…”

Nope, Tuesday was a victory for the GOP, and it’s because of the zeal of the Tea Partiers. More importantly, it was a victory for America. But it’s only one game. Whether or not America is on its way back to being a Championship team depends on whether or not those who campaigned on Tea Party principles govern in the same way, and whether or not the movement that put them there continues to be vigilant, watch ALL of our elected officials, and approach 2012 the same way it approached 2010, without regard to party of incumbents who fail to pass the test.

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Posted in Elections, Opinion, Politics, Sean Duffy, Tea Party, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Congressional District 7 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let’s take a closer Look at Scott Brown Before we Canonize Him

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 22, 2010

Before I begin, let me say that I was as thrilled as anyone with the result in Massachusetts. However, let’s evaluate why that is: it was a repudiation of Obama, of Obamacare, and the overall Democratic agenda as well as their maneuvering in trying to further that agenda.

Now, I know there’s wide debate about whether or not this was all about Health Care and Obama, or about whether or not this was because Coakley ran a horrible campaign, or whether this was a bout local issues. I think everyone is lying if they claim to know exactly how much of each contributed to the final result. Clearly, all those things, if not the sole reason for the Brown win, contributed in some way, or at least helped people solidify the vote they planned on casting.

Give credit to Brown, who ran a smart campaign. But let’s also not ignore something very important: Brown took conservative positions on the few issues that were of immediate and highlighted importance. He did this in Massachusetts, and he won. You can make all sorts of excuses on all kinds of levels, but that in itself is pretty amazing.

But let’s face it: from my view, this was really less about Brown than it was about vote #41 in the Senate. It was less about Brown than it was Obama and Health Care, and Cap and Trade, and other things that were slated for 2010. Brown happens to be the guy who was elected to give us that 41st vote, and that’s great. But before we get too carried away and try to canonize the guy, let’s take a closer look at him and celebrate his strengths and recognize his weaknesses. Let’s just be honest about who he is and what we should expect.

The best source is usually straight from the candidate. His web site lists issues. It’s likely that he won’t take a firm position on something in print in a generally liberal state if he doesn’t mean it. So, if he’s straightforward, I’m inclined to believe that he feels strongly about an issue. If he’s kind of wishy-washy, it probably means he’s likely to compromise or cave on that issue. Let’s review, issue by issue, the “Issues” page on his web site:

Health Care
I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage, but I am opposed to the health care legislation that is under consideration in Congress and will vote against it. It will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for elders on Medicare. I support strengthening the existing private market system with policies that will drive down costs and make it easier for people to purchase affordable insurance. In Massachusetts, I support the 2006 healthcare law that was successful in expanding coverage, but I also recognize that the state must now turn its attention to controlling costs.

This is actually interesting to me. Of all the issues, most would agree that this is the one that had the greatest impact on the outcome of the election. He came right out and said he would be the 41st vote against Health Care. It’s clear that everyone believes him, since even Pelosi admits she doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate version in the House, which has made them realize more and more that Health Care Reform is either dead, or will be scaled back substantially.

But his actual words on this aren’t that of a guy who is against some sort of Health Care Reform, and he voted for the 2006 Massachusetts system. He doesn’t specifically highlight specific ideology on what kind of reform he supports, other than general positive ideas of lower costs in a private market. Is he for tort reform? Is he in favor of opening up competition across state borders? Is he for reducing government-mandated provisions in health care plans so that companies can offer lower-coverage/lower-cost options? I don’t know. Perhaps he has stated his positions on some of these things, but they are not outlined here. So, it’s great that he is against a public option, but there is a little concern on my part on what exactly it is he may support down the line.

Economy
I am a free enterprise advocate who believes that lower taxes can encourage economic growth. Raising taxes stifles growth, weakens the economy and puts more people out of work. Our economy works best when individuals have more of their income to spend, and businesses have money to invest and add jobs. I have been a fiscal watchdog in the state legislature fighting bigger government, higher taxes and wasteful spending.

This is pretty cookie-cutter stuff, and even moderates/liberals tend to paint themselves in these terms to some extent. So, hopefully he really means this and lives by it. If he does, this is a strong positive.

Energy and Environment
I support common-sense environment policy that will help to reduce pollution and preserve our precious open spaces. I realize that without action now, future generations will be left to clean up the mess we leave. In order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, I support reasonable and appropriate development of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and improved hydroelectric facilities. I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur.

I don’t have a real problem with anything written here. I particularly am thrilled that he opposes Cap and Trade. I have no issues at all with continuing research and development of alternative energies, and I like the fact that he focuses his environmental position on actual pollution. My concerns are what has not been said. By “pollution,” does he mean Carbon Dioxide? While opposing Cap and Trade, would he support other measures to “combat global warming/climate change?” That isn’t clear. Also, while I respect his willingness to further alternative energy, does he support utilizing our own fossil fuel resources? Tapping our oil and coal reserves? What about expansion of nuclear energy? All this is left unsaid, which concerns me.

Education
I am passionate about improving the quality of our public schools. Accountability and high standards are paramount. I support choice through charter schools, as well as the MCAS exam as a graduation requirement. I have worked to ensure that all children have access to a quality education. I am a strong advocate for the METCO program, which provides lower income students with broader educational opportunities.

Since it’s well beyond the realm of possibility to expect a privatization of all education any time soon, I don’t have an issue with what I read here. I am particularly happy that he stated that he favors choice. Even if we insist on publicly funding all education, if we can allow competition through choice and vouchers (he didn’t say vouchers, but I have to assume the two go hand-in-hand) we will have a much stronger system.

Immigration
I recognize that our strength as a nation is built on the immigrant experience in America. I welcome legal immigration to this country. However, we are also a nation of laws and government should not adopt policies that encourage illegal immigration. Providing driver’s licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrant families will act as a magnet in drawing more people here in violation of the law and it will impose new costs on taxpayers. I oppose amnesty, and I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants.

This is actually fairly strong language. It’s not particularly solution-oriented, but it does show some backbone. And I agree. I am not stone-hearted on this issue, but I think priority number one is to stop the inflow. He doesn’t specifically mention the wall along the border, but whether strong border enforcement means support for guards, more sections of barrier, and enforcement of penalties against companies hiring illegals, we need to first find a way to plug the hole. We need to balance the need for human dignity and protection of our society and costs. This is not a cut and dried issue, and no matter what actions we take it will not be pretty. It takes backbone, and I see a little bit of that here with these words.

Veterans
As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard, I am uniquely aware of the importance and sacrifice of our men and women serving in the military. I have been a vigorous supporter of legislation providing benefits to returning service members, as well as, benefits for the families of those killed in action. I believe we need to recognize the sacrifice of all of our servicemembers by keeping better track of returning military personnel so they get the services they deserve. That includes providing them with first-class medical care and other benefits to which they are entitled. I am known as a leader on veterans’ issues through my work on the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, the Hidden Wounds of War Commission, and the Governor’s Task Force on Returning Veterans.

Very strong in this area.

Gun issues
I support the Second Amendment and believe that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms as a basic constitutional liberty. I support safe and responsible gun ownership.

This looks solid.

Death penalty
I believe there are some crimes that are so heinous that they deserve capital punishment. Our Government should have the ability to impose the death penalty in cases where it is justified.

This is fairly vague, but since he doesn’t repudiate the Death Penalty, it generally fits the conservative position. It may surprise some of you to know that I am actually generally not in favor of the Death Penalty. I’m not universally opposed, but my acceptance is a very limited and narrow one.

Abortion
While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America. I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

While I am happy to see him take a position against the particularly heinous partial-birth procedure, and also happy that he supports notification and consent laws, the rest of this is pretty wishy-washy stuff. If I had to guess, he will not be among the strongest pro-life Senators, and for me this is a big issue. For some of you, not so much. So, this is probably my largest area of disappointment.

Marriage
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. States should be free to make their own laws in this area, so long as they reflect the people’s will as expressed through them directly, or as expressed through their elected representatives.

Generally speaking, this is good. I’m pretty sure it implies that the decision should not be made by judicial fiat. I’d prefer for him to go further and defend the Defense of Marriage Act, but all in all it sounds like he won’t be supporting a radical pro-gay-rights agenda.

Israel
Israel has made enormous sacrifices in an attempt to secure peace – including unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. I support a two-state solution that reaffirms Israel’s right to exist and provides the Palestinians with a place of their own where both sides can live in peace and security. As our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel lives every day under the threat of terror yet shares with America a dedication to democratic ideals, a respect for faith, and a commitment to peace in the region. Until a lasting peace is achieved, I support the security barrier erected by Israel which has proven successful in protecting Israeli civilians from terrorist attacks.

Scratching my head on this one. In favor of a two-state soluition for Israel? I flat out don’t agree with this. At the very least, I don’t agree with the United States attempting to impose this solution. If Israel and Palestine mutually agree on that solution, then fine. But until then, Israel currently exists and has borders. If someone said the U.S. should give Texas to Mexico, or that we should give California to illegal immigrants as a two-state solution… hey, wait a minute… maybe that isn’t a bad idea.

Iran
I support the bi-partisan Iran sanctions bill and believe that until Ahmadinejad gives up his nuclear ambitions he should be isolated from the rest of the world. With its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons, Iran represents the biggest threat to Israel. Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Meeting with him confers legitimacy when the only correct response is to treat him as an outcast. A personal meeting with Ahmadinejad, as suggested by my opponent, would embolden him and be used as a propaganda tool to strengthen his position.

Good. No words on whether or not we should just annihilate Iran, but I guess I can understand why that isn’t the most politically astute approach.

Conclusion: B or B+ in my book. There are definite questions, and definite concerns. There are areas of good stature and things that encourage me. You may well disagree with some of my takes on the issues and how I read his words. You may have better information that helps flesh out his positions. That’s all good. The intent here is not to suggest agreement with me, it’s to suggest that we all take an honest look at the guy.

This is not at all intended to temper enthusiasm over his victory. There are many, many reasons to be excited about this. There are many reasons to believe it provides some hope for a moderation in liberal policy – forced or not. There is hope that the upcoming election brings us good and bold candidates, unafraid to espouse conservatism. Candidates who are Republicans not because they represent what the Party does, but who are Republican because they present to the Party how it should be. Candidates who will not make the same mistakes of hypocritical government spending and straying from conservative principles. It’s one thing to be a moderate if you run as a moderate. It’s another to give lip-service to fiscal responsibility and then engage in pork-barrel politics.

Now, in closing, let’s also be willing to admit that our Republican leaders are not perfect. It’s OK to laugh at them when appropriate, and to poke a little fun at them when it’s called for.

Can we really ignore the fact that Mr. Brown ever did this?

And we all know that we’d be making fun of a liberal who said this during an acceptance speech:

“And just in case anyone who’s watching throughout the country they’re both available. No, no. No. Only kidding, only kidding. Only kidding, only kidding. Arianna… Arianna’s, definitely not available. But Ayla is. This is Arianna. This is Ayla. I can see I’m going to get in trouble when I get home.

And please… can we nip any talk about Scott Brown for President now, already? Let’s at least see the guy perform in the Senate for a while before going there.

OK, he’s not perfect. But he’s taken us on a fun ride the last week or so, and for that we thank you, Mr. Brown. Good luck in Washington.

Posted in Elections, Massachusetts, Scott Brown | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Massachusetts and Wisconsin District 7

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 21, 2010

The Old

The Old - 40+ years in Washington

The New

The New - Fresh, energetic representation

What can we take from something that happens in Massachusetts? Quite a bit, actually.

Lesson: If a Republican can actually win a seat in a Democratic stronghold – a seat held by Democrats for nearly 60 years – then it can happen here.

It won’t come easy. Scott Brown rode a wave of discontent, and was a gainst a Democratic candidate who, by all accounts, did not run a strong campaign. But even so, he won by getting out there and working hard, and the message he presented was a conservative message in large part. OK, let’s not appoint him a savior or anything… there are some issues where he is center to left, but the key issues that were the focus of the campaign were clearly conservative versus liberal in nature. And the conservative won.

Lesson: No matter where you are, or who you are running against, it is best to stay true to your core principles and not water them down. Sure, you need to present them well and make the case for why those ideas make sense, but you don’t run from them.

So, can it possibly be that a Congressman who holds a powerful seat in Washington, and who has been there for over 40 years, can be beaten?

Lesson: Yes!

How? Well, first we need to be respectful and honest. Clearly, Dave Obey once represented Wisconsin interests well. You simply do not remain in office as long as he has without there being a reason for it. I may not agree with many of his policies or ideas, but many here did. There is no reason to demonize him on every issue. However, it is quite fair to point out where he has gone wrong. The fact is that Dave Obey last met any reasonable challenge 12-14 years ago against a candidate named Scott West. I know Scott, and he’s a good guy. He would have been a fine COngressman. He had a good message and worked hard, and it is the closest race I can ever remember against Obey. Having said that, he was not all that dynamic. But there was still a positive response to his message. Had he presented more charisma, I think he could have won. Plus, that was during a time where Obey hadn’t really done a whole lot to irk people, other than policy differences.

Since then, there has been no serious contention for his seat. Truth be told, prior to that race, there had been no serious contention for years. In fact, I’m 42, and in my memory, that is the only close race I can remember for this seat.

That may be refelctive of Obey’s strengths, but it is just as much a factor of weak candidates due to a perception of invincibility.

I believe that times have changed. 2009-10 has brought general discontent with trillion dollar stimulus packages and health care reform. Dave Obey cannot hide from his part in this mess – in fact he assisted the drafting of the stimulus package, enriching his son’s department a mere $3 billion in the process. Massachusetts voters – and I believe thinking people everywhere – are not in favor of the health care overhaul. Add to that some general issues that simply does not reflect his constituents: general tax policy, social issues such as abortion, etc. and the time has come where people who are paying attention will recognize that he is not representing Central Wisconsin, but instead throwing his lot with the Democratic machine.

Sean Duffy provides us with an option, possibly unlike any other in my lifetime. Younger blood, energetic, truly representative of central Wisconsin values, a bit of star power, good presence, and a beautiful family to boot… it is time for real change in our district this coming November.

For those of you who are not from Wisconsin, this race could have national implications, and support from a broad base is needed. We’re talking about the possible ouster of a very key House Democrat here, currently the chair of the Appropriations committee. How sweet would that be? And believe me, this is possible. If you don’t believe it, take a look at Massachusetts.

In that spirit, I share the new e-mail from the Duffy campaign:

It was the vote heard ’round the world.

Last night, in the place where freedom in America was born, Scott Brown stunned the political establishment to become the 41st vote against the Democrats’ stranglehold on Washington. Scott Brown’s election, to Ted Kennedy’s seat no less, was a decisive rejection of the government’s takeover of health care and Washington’s disastrous spending spree.

Our Massachusetts victory is also a lesson that the right to represent the people is always earned, and never given. After 40 years of one party control of Massachusetts’ two Senate seats, the citizens of that state finally said “Enough.”

Here in Wisconsin, we are challenging our own 40-year political machine. Dave Obey first came into office the last time Massachusetts had a Republican Senator. And with your help, he will leave office this year in an historic sea-change election.

Let’s show Dave Obey that Massachusetts was not just a blip on the radar or a bump in the road. Today, we can show him that no Democrat is safe — and especially not the one who has been responsible for giving us trillions of dollars in new spending, waste, and debt.

Please contribute $40 to end Obey’s 40 year reign.

We are strongly positioned to give Dave Obey the race of his life and end his political career this November. The Wall Street Journal recently featured our campaign as the leader of the “new Young Guns” who are fighting to clean up Washington and end the creeping march of government intrusion in our lives.

In Massachusetts we fired the first shot, but the real battle lies ahead. Help me defeat the Appropriations Chair and secure another historic victory for our party and our country.

Let’s roll!

Sean

Click the link above to contribute.

Posted in Dave Obey, Elections, Massachusetts, Politics, Sean Duffy, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Congressional District 7 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

One Reaction to Last Night’s Election

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 20, 2010

One can’t hardly host a political blog without some comment about last night’s stunning upset in Massachusetts. There is such a plethora of information and opinions out there that there really isn’t a whole lot more to be said, I suppose.

However, I ran across one insightful analysis of the situation, from Hitler himself:

Posted in Elections, Massachusetts, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wall Street Journal Highlights Duffy

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 11, 2010

Read article: here.

Through the tall trees of northern Wisconsin, Republican Sean Duffy is stalking a giant. The 38-year-old district attorney is talking fiscal responsibility, job creation, entitlement reform. He’s scoring Washington for higher taxes, and for a health-care takeover. He’s Facebooking and Twittering. He comes across as a serious yet positive reformer, a combo that has caught the public’s eye.

He’ll need that eye, and more, since his Goliath is one David Obey, Democratic head of the Appropriations Committee, the liberal bull who has occupied Wisconsin’s Democratic-leaning 7th congressional seat since before Mr. Duffy was . . . born.

Seriously… Hope and change people… Put your money and vote where your mouth is. Obey may have at one time served Wisconsin well, I suppose. But the term “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” is appropo here. Nepotism in the gargantuan stimulus bill is a major issue, but he simply has strayed from Wuisconsin values. Wisconsinites in District 7: don’t allow yourselves to be bought. Don’t exchange principle for the promise of earmarks – pork – the purpose of which is to buy votes. We’ve been prostituted long enough.

Time to put principle on the front burner: Support Duffy. At the very least, check out his site: http://duffyforcongress.com/.

I don’t really do facebook or twitter, but apparently he’s active on both, so look him up there as well.

Posted in Dave Obey, Elections, Sean Duffy, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Congressional District 7 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Support Sean Duffy to Unseat Dave Obey

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on December 18, 2009

I did something I almost never do a couple days ago.  I contributed to a political campaign. 

Until now, I have felt the hopeless realization that Dave Obey will be me Representative until either I die or he dies.   This is the man who violated the trust of Wisconsin’s citizens by playing such a large part in the stimulus package getting passed.  This is the man who included Billions in the “crucial” stimulus package for an exercise in nepotism.

Obey does not fairly represent our voters, and hasn’t for some time.

The issue is that, for years now, there has been no viable candidate step forward to take him on. While I’m firmly entrenched in the “Anyone But Obey” camp, even I have to admit that the GOP candidates have been pretty weak.

For the first time in a while, I feel like we have a very strong candidate, and I fully support him. His name is Sean Duffy.

Today’s politics are seldom just a local thing. Please help, no matter where you are, drive Obey out and Duffy in. You can contribute here.

I’ll be trying to get the word out more on this site on reasons why it’s time for a real change.

Posted in Dave Obey, Elections, Politics, Sean Duffy, Wisconsin | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s Time for Dave Obey to Go

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 7, 2009

Stimulus-National Parks

Photo credit: Lawrence Jackson (AP). Dave Obey, looking like he has just screwed over Wisconsin - and everyone else.

For a stalwart of the House who has been re-elected in his Wisconsin District for 40 years because of name recognition and lack of viable candidates as opposition, Dave Obey flies under the radar pretty well. Even in his District (in which I live) you could ask 1000 people what they know about him and you’d maybe get a handful of people who really know anything about him.

He could be the most powerful no-name in Washington.

And he is an embarrassment to Wisconsin. But we don’t know it.

Oh, to be fair, there are certain things he has represented us well on. We are a rural and farming community with a lot of blue-collar workers. Any viable candidate will need to recognize the make-up of the district which he or she represents. But in a multitude of other ways, he is the antithesis of what we are about. We are not spendthrifts here who shun fiscal responsibility. We are not liberal on social issues. We are not socialists.

Dave Obey is all of these things. And he has the means of direct influence in Washington to help enact exactly the opposite of the issues we truly hold dear.

So, am I saying that the Wisconsin District is stupid for continuing to vote for him? No. They are not stupid. I would say that they are not properly informed. And that is not entirely their fault. The last time there was any remotely viable candidate to oppose Obey was probably 15 years ago or so, when an opponent named Scott West actually gave him a run for his money. Other than that little glimmer of hope, there has been nobody that had any money to compete. The seat has never looked endangered, so the Republican Party never bothers here. So, for decades, there has been little to no informational campaign that highlights Representative Obey’s issues.

Case in point is the recent stimulus behemoth. From NPR:

U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn’t like being asked about earmarks.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” he says. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important question facing us on putting together this package.”

Leaving out the earmarks does mean Congress will have less control over how the money is spent. But, Obey says, “So what? This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

That doesn’t mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

“The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. We are simply trying to build as many protections in as possible,” Obey says. “We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

That may not sound all that bad, but the most important point here is that Obey was instrumental in putting together a $900 billion spending bill. And there isn’t a lot of control over how the money that will trash our dollar will be spent. And his response: “So what?”

Oh, but there’s oversight so that after “stupid decisions” are made and the money’s already spent, then they’ll hold people accountable.

Whoop-de-doo.

But there’s more. As this source explains:

House Republicans are questioning a section of the economic stimulus package that routes nearly $2 billion to national parks, saying the money could be a hidden pet project for Obey’s son. Craig Obey, a senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, is a top lobbyist for the nonprofit group, which made public appeals for funds to repair and maintain national parks in the weeks before the House passed the bill.

That is pretty sleazy. $2 billion! When talking about the staggering amount of $900 billion, perhaps we start to lose sight of how big each billion actually is. Think, everyone. It takes a $1000 coming from one million people to total a billion. And Mr. Obey recklessly pushes through $2 billion in pork as a favor to his son? Is this what the people of Central and Northwestern Wisconsin want out of their Representative? No way.

This is egregious. It is mortgaging our future. And all he says is “So what?”

I am calling on the new RNC Chairman, Mr. Steele, to start today in developing a campaign strategy against Dave Obey. Pound his efforts in passing this bill over and over and over. Even if there is a short-term bump from this spending, we all know it’s irresponsible. Go with that. Over and over.

Anyone and everyone – in Wisconsin or not – let’s figure out a way how to get this guy out. Start today. I’ll help however I can. 527s, PACs, whatever. I know nothing about all that, so we need legal people and political people and RNC people and strategy people and advertising people and grassroots people…

Pass it on.

Anyone who has anything at all that I can post regarding comments by Dave Obey or votes by Mr. Obey that can help me get the word out here, send them to me at geezep@yahoo.com, or post a comment.

Anyone with contact information for anyone who could actually help organize any kind of campaign, let’s do it.

And no, I won’t be running. My wife would kill me. But I will help where I can.

Posted in Dave Obey, Elections, Opinion, Politics, Wisconsin | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Real Reason Why the Right Lost – An Unconventional Truth

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on November 21, 2008

There has been much debate about the reasons why the Republicans not only lost the White House in this election but also lost ground in both the House and Senate in each of the last two elections. Some argue that this is a rejection of conservative ideology, and conversely that it is an embracing of more “progressive” policies. Some argue that it a rejection of George Bush, and an acceptance of “Change.” More specifically, we will hear about Iraq, corruption, and so on.

Certainly, there are elements of some truth in many of these things, while at the same time being absolutely wrong. Let me count the ways:

  1. Rejection of conservative ideology: The kernel of truth here is that this was a rejection of Republican policy over the last few years.  The rub is that this was NOT a conservative ideology, but strayed from conservative ideology in countless ways.
  2. Embracing a more “progressive” ideology: Enough people like a handout and a freebie that when these things are promised, they essentially sell their vote to the highest bidder.  This is not an embracing of ideology as much as it is mere perceived self-interest.
  3. Rejection of George Bush’s policies: This is interesting, because most people, when presented with Bush’s “policies” can’t really give you firm examples of what they don’t like other than the war in Iraq, he’s dumb, and he’s too religious.   I will discuss where we went particularly wrong on this.
  4. Embracing Change: Everyone likes the sound of this.  People embrace change when things aren’t going the greatest without considering whether or not all change is good.  Some change will make a bad situation worse, and I think that people just longed for a new face and thought “to hell with worrying about policy.  I just want someone different.”   Many of these people will regret that decision, but only time will demonstrate this.

There are more and more things along these lines we could discuss.  But it misses the boat.  These things can be overcome.  Success in elections is much more about confidence, public message, and campaign strategy than all these things combined.  The Republicans should have bucked all conventional wisdom starting 5-6 years ago, done exactly what everyone said they shouldn’t do, and if they had done it I believe they’d have the White House today.

And what was their crucial mistake?  The mistake was distancing themselves from George W. Bush.   You know, the guy in the White House with a 30% approval rating.

Let me explain.  You see, this is not about distancing yourself from a man with a 30% approval rating in 2008.  This is about, as a Party, rallying behind your party’s President and getting in the face of the public and preventing him from ever reaching that point.   Bush’s approval rating has less to do with his actions as President – whatever you think of many of those actions – and more to do with a very persistent strategy of the Left.   The Left did a very simple and concerted thing:  they hated him, and they hated him incessantly.  Even when Bush had higher approval ratings, they hammered away.  They were starting to get there in 2004 but they ran a swizzle stick for a nominee.  But they ratcheted things up after that to ridiculous extremes, and they had a counterpart in a good deal of the media that helped get the message out.

You see, even the good things Bush did in the public eye was met with such relentless criticism that supporters eventually doubted him.  Sure, he screwed up on Harriet Meiers, but in the end he gave us Justices Roberts and Alito.  Most of America would agree that these are pretty good choices, unless you relaly lean left.  But the Left pounded away with words such as “extreme.”   And even though Bush was supported during 9/11, the Left found certain ways to undermine him on that.  They made fun of his initial reaction at the school, where he was informed of the situation.   They made some really ridiculous claim that because he released a picture of him working during the crisis, it was for political purposes.  Eventually, they allowed the nutjob whackos to rant about talking up conspiracy theories.  And while most Americans dismissed those things, it contributed to weariness.

The Left really stepped things up.  Despite holding both houses of Congress, they assailed the lowe approval ratings of Congress as a Bush phenomenon, and by extension, a Republican one.  They did not shut up.  Every thing was Bush’s fault.   There was never a thing Bush did right.   Iraq was labeled a disaster, and this was repeated so often that even when news outlets stopped reporting the boring news that there were almost no casualties in 2008, the lie remained alive that the country was near civil war and we were losing our men and women.   When the surge worked, it was either denied, or it was suggested that nobody – even Bush – really thought it was going to work as well as it did.

And where was the Right while all this was going on?   Running freakin’ scared.   Cowering.  Acting like jellyfish.   And that is the major blunder they made.

Perhaps it’s the nature of the party to believe that people will see through these kinds of tactics of fear and intimidation, but doing so is a mistake.  Sure, there are plenty of people who do see through it, but there are many more who simply do not pay close enough attention to things to understand that these non-stop claims are wrong.   From day one, every day, at every opportunity, the Republicans should have stepped up their public pronouncements against the claims of the Left.  Oh, some people tried valiantly, but most did not.   Senators on the Right meekly complained about unfairness while they were politically trampled. 

This is the root of what then started to become the unwinding of all conservatism.  Instead of boldly standing on conservative principles, defending the President at every turn, and calling out the Left on their lies louder and more harshly than the allegations were made, we started capitulating.  Bush was, in many ways, his own worst enemy.  Spending and corruption – previously liberal trademarks – entered the Republican household.   Maybe this embarrassment caused them to go hide in a corner.  But that never stopped the Democrats from boldly defending the Clintons during the 90’s.

With every Republican who tried to become more liberal or distance themselves from Bush, three things happened: (1) The Left became even more emboldened, (2) it actually lent credence to the anti-Bushies, and (3) people became more and more tired of the spineless conservatives and Bush.  

I truly believe that if, starting in 2006, all the Republicans would have continually made the case for why Bush was a good President – supreme court appointments, reduced taxes, family values, success in Iraq, etc. instead of acting embarrassed, then people would not have necessarily felt the need for “change.”   As soon as we started distancing, we lost.

Look at the end result…  distancing from Bush did no Republicans any good.  A few of the Senators who lost very publicly distanced themselves from the President.  Instead, the wave of Obamamania came through over the very discontent towards Bush that was directly or indirectly fostered by many Republicans.  Many in the GOP became the Left’s best weapon.   These other Senators didn’t necessarily lose for any reason other than the fact that voters for Obama just selected the Dem on their ballot for House or Senate.  Doing nothing to counter the discontent for Bush, and in fact seeming to agree with the merits of it probably cost the GOP 4 or 5 Senate seats, and God only knows how many House seats.

This was the most relentless, long-term, and vicious string of political attacks the Left has ever waged against one individual.   It could have been damped, if not stemmed altogether.  But we didn’t do it.  And now look what we’ve got.

Most disconcerting are the morons who continue to provide advice to the Republicans on how to turn this thing around.   “We need to be more inclusive,” they say.  “More tolerant.”   “Can’t be so dogmatic on social issues.”   In other words, we need to become more liberal.  

For the love of all that’s holy, look at what listening to these idiots has gotten us to.  They are the same ones who fostered the criticisms of Bush and  conservatism.  They are the same ones who thought running from the President was the best way to go.  They gave us John McCain instead of a true conservative. 

I implore all my fellow conservatives to realize the lessons in this.  Don’t stand for the continued character assault and relentless bullying of the Left whenever someone with conservative principles starts making headway.   I present to you the next victim of the relentlessly immoral attack machine: Sarah Palin.   Even conservatives who loved her started to let the Left’s rants get in their heads.   Don’t stand for it.

Listen, I do not necessarily agree with Bush on everything.  I will criticize when criticism is needed.   But there is a difference between fair criticism, honest disagreement, and vitriolic attack.  I stand by him, even in these troubled times – which by the way are much more the result of liberal decisions in the past, have absolutely nothing to do with the tax code, and not as much to do with lack of regulation as the Left wants us all to believe.   Barney Frank and Chris Dodd should be in jail.  And yet, Bush was blamed for the crash.

And the Republicans ran away and looked for their mommy.

Posted in Elections, Electorate, Opinion, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Perplexing Electorate and the Next Eight Years

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on November 15, 2008

Originally posted at http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on October 28, 2008.

Anyone who knows me well also knows that I have very strong political opinions. I’ve occasionally presented them here, but not too often. After all, with all this global warming statistical analysis, who has time for that? Plus, my meager little blog isn’t going to change the world, anyway. Plus, I really have decided to not push too many political buttons, since most readers don’t come here for that reason and anytime you delve into this arena, you’re bound to offend somebody.

But, with the Presidential elections only 7 days away, I am left perplexed by the U.S. Electorate.

OK, to be up-front about matters, I am a conservative. The intent of this post is not to argue about why conservatism is superior to liberalism. I believe it to be true, and others will disagree.

So, let’s just accept that 30%ish of us are pretty staunchly conservative and 30%ish of us are pretty staunchly liberal. I don’t know the exact numbers. Perhaps it’s not an even split, or perhaps it’s a higher percentage. None of that is particularly important, because it is not this group of people that perplexes me. Agree or disagree, one knows exactly why conservatives vote for conservatives and liberals vote for liberals. And while not universally the case, it is generally recognized in the current political climate that the conservative will vote for the Republican and the liberal will vote for the Democrat.

This is a little different from saying that each side is a strong supporter of that candidate. After all, McCain was probably my 4th or 5th choice among the Republican Candidates in the primaries. And just because he’ll get my vote doesn’t mean I’m overly excited about him. But compared to Obama, there’s simply not even a question about who is the better candidate for me to vote for.

Where my confusion lies is with that mushy middle. Those who are called independents, moderates, undecideds, or whatever the identifier of the day is.

The main reason I am perplexed has nothing to do with my own ideas of Obama and his own lack of qualifications for the Presidency, or his absolute liberalism on social policy that is out of step with the mainstream, or an economic policy that I think would prove disastrous in current times, or past ties with questionable characters, alignment with ACORN, Marxist professors, support for the “Freedom of Choice” Act, and the list goes on. I admit, I scratch my head as to why anyone supports this ideology, but since I know enough people personally who actually do support it, I understand that they exist and it would make sense to support Obama.

The main reason I am perplexed also has nothing to do with understanding that some people may align with one party on economic policy while aligning with the other on social policy, and that there is constantly a conflict in trying to determine which part of that means more to an individual at the given moment. I understand and accept that not everyone lines up well with either party, and so there is great thought put into the given candidates in order to settle on a preference.

No, the reason I’m perplexed actually has much more to do with the fact that an Obama victory coupled with an increase in the number of House AND Senate Democrats makes about as much sense as investing all your money in a single stock with no diversification.

Granted, we have only a limited ability to diversify our political leadership. There are, for all practical purposes, only two parties in the current framework. As much as I’d enjoy seeing more, the reality is that there isn’t a 3rd, let alone a 4th and 5th party that has any significant presence.

I suppose I thought it was not just mere lip service all those times where I’ve heard people talking about how bad it is to concentrate all this power into the hands of one party. I suppose that I thought a single-digit approval rating for Congress, both houses of which have a Democratic majority, should rightly put at risk some of those who are responsible for those record lows. It would seem to me that someone who is truly undecided and torn between the candidates would recognize that we are about to elect enough Democrats in both houses to put at risk a filibuster-proof scenario, while at the same time electing the most liberal Senator over the last two years to be our leader.

Of course, this is a nightmare scenario for conservatives and a dream come true for liberals. But for those in the middle of the road, is this truly what you want? Even if McCain isn’t all that exciting, and you may not like his stance on a war that will be coming to an end at about the same pace regardless of who gets elected, it would seem like the disparity between party power should leap forward to an undecided or independent voter as possibly the most important issue. Perhaps I underestimate how much the average person cares about that.

This is only my opinion, but here is what I believe is in store for us with an Obama Presidency coupled with a very secure Democratic majority. Some of you will probably think this is fine and dandy. I would think it would scare most others, conservative or not.

1) Freedom of Choice Act passes. Sounds nice enough, right? Well, regardless of your thinking on Roe v Wade, polls show that large majorities of Americans support some restrictions on abortion, including parental right to know, restriction of late-term abortions, not transporting minors across state lines, waiting periods, etc. This act effectively makes ALL restrictions on abortion illegal. Everything. It even goes so far as to force religious hospitals to offer abortions. It is a travesty. Obama has promised to make this his first act when speaking to Planned Parenthood. This is much more than an honest disagreement in ideology.

2) Suppression of Free Speech through the Fairness Doctrine, and other methods – The “Fairness Doctrine” is a sham, and it will be shown to be a sham. If there were a true fairness doctrine, it would apply to all media, whether radio, TV, newspapers, internet, etc. But it won’t. It will specifically target only that media which is condiered “right wing,” such as radio talk shows. Never mind that nearly all mainstream news leans left. This will be untouched. This will be a power play by the Democratic Party that is absolutely an infringement on free speech. What is amazing is that anyone will believe that this is necessary, considering they will have the executive and legislative branches all sewn up.

3) Suppression of Free Speech through intimidation. I’m not crazy. This has already happened, and it will only get worse. Talk to anyone challenging global warming, and you’ll understand what kind of intimidation I’m talking about. When the media are in bed with you, they can help portray dissenters as nutjobs. Worse, when it comes to anyone with dissenting opinions on liberal policies, whether it be economic or social, you’re a bigot, a homophobe, or a religious zealot who should have no voice. Just wait. This is already the case now, but things have only just begun.

4) Gay Marriage – Thank God I homeschool (well, at least I’m allowed to homeschool right now… wouldn’t be surprised to see pushback on that front within the next eight years, either). I can’t fathom the tripe all of our textbooks will have in them as public education continues to deviate from reading, writing, and arithmetic to social engineering on how to use contraceptives and present homosexual activity as a beautiful thing. Those of us with large families are considered an enemy of nature while we embrace unions that are unnatural.

5) Cloning / Chimeras / Embryonic Stem-Cells – Never mind that we have made so many advances with adult stem cells and alternative cells that act like embryonic stem cells without the need to clone and destroy embryos, you can bet this will be fast-tracked. Just another moral line we will be willing to discard.

6) Judges – Everyone thinks about the Supreme Court, but the President appoints all federal justices. This is literally hundreds if not thousands of judges over a President’s two terms. The scary thing about this one, unlike #1 – #5 is that those mistakes can be reversed in the short term. This cannot. I reiterate that this will be the most liberal President combined with the most liberal Congress in the nation’s history. It isn’t even close.

7) Carbon Taxes, and higher capital gains taxes – Carbon taxes are just plain stupid for all sorts of reasons, and so are higher capital gains taxes. There is no better way to crush investment precisely at a time where we are starving for investment.

And I haven’t even delved into general economics. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why people want to “change” to a guy who mirrors Jimmy Carter’s economic approach right now (or ever, actually). Whatever you want to say about Bush’s policies as it relates to the particular crisis we’re in right now, if there is anything saving us from complete collapse it’s because of the other economic policies in place. I really look at the financial sector and policies/regulations regarding that area as quite a different animal from the general economic policies of taxes and budget.

So, there it is. Are these really the policies the moderates want to see rushed through? Mark my words, this will be swift and dramatic. Pelosi laughably suggested that Congress will be much more bipartisan now with a large Democratic majority. I think she actually believes that lie. If bipartisanship means there is less fighting because you can just ignore the other side due to numbers, then she has a point. But this is not the definition of bipartisanship I know.

Well, anyway, that’s just one guy’s diatribe. Feel free to disagree that this will happen, or that it would be a bad thing.

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, Electorate, John McCain, News, Opinion, Politics, Talk Radio | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Operation Chaos, and Flummoxing the Left

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on November 15, 2008

Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on March 25, 2008.

In case you haven’t been paying attention to Rush Limbaugh and “Operation Chaos,” you are missing an amusing wrinkle in this year’s election cycle as it pertains to the Democratic nomination process. For the uninitiated, “Operation Chaos” can simply be described as this (keeping in mind that this dates back a few weeks, leading up to the Ohio and Texas Primaries): Once the Republican nominee is all but officially nominated, Republicans have an interest in seeing the Democratic process awash in uncertainty and controversy. The best way for this to happen is to keep it a viable (or seemingly viable) two-person race as long as possible. The longer the race is in play, whether real or perceived, the more carnage left in the wake of each candidates’ path, and the weaker either will be for the general election.

Now, with or without Republican cross-over votes, it certainly appears like this race will not be settled until the convention. But in typical grandiose style which has once again grated the mainstream media, Rush openly and publicly called for Republicans to engage in what once would have been an unthinkable proposition: cross over (or change parties if necessary) and vote for Hillary. There are no illusions of actual support for Hillary. This is simply an attempt to prop up the trailing candidate in order to extend the Democratic nomination process. The evidence as to whether or not this had any discernible impact is not clear. Depending on the analyst you listen to, it either mattered or it didn’t. But one thing is perfectly clear, and much more important than the actual statistical conclusions: a lot of people on the left are going bonkers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Elections, Operation Chaos, Opinion, Politics, Rush Limbaugh, Talk Radio | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »