Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


So, I’m out in California at the moment (I got to run on the beach today with my shirt off--not to show off--heavens, no--but because it was that warm), where as everyone knows the place is burning up. Must be the wrath of God for approving gay marriage.

Oh, wait. . .

Say What?

An address from the "Office of the President-elect"? Giving faux-Oval Office speeches already? This seems like an unforced error.

Someday a clever president will figure out that he (or she) will do better by talking less. Not This One.

Whoa There

What’s this? Charlie Wrangel saying he wants to cut the corporate income tax rate to 28 percent? When McCain proposed this, Obama called it a giveaway to ExxonMobil. It makes good sense, of course.

If this story has legs on Sunday and Monday morning, watch for the stock market to rally. Which Obama really needs.

File This Under "Life Is Complicated"

So, there are calls from the homintern to boycott Utah because of Mormon support for Prop. 8. Except, um, that would mean boycotting the Sundance Film Festival. That would almost be as bad as flying first class on a commercial airline, instead of flying private, because of global warming.

Must Be Bush’s Fault

Let me see if I have this straight: five Ohio state government agencies, including the attorney general’s office, passed along information about Joe the Plumber to the media, but it is President Bush’s intelligence gathering operations against terrorists that pose a threat to our privacy and individual rights.

Cue Jon Lovitz: Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The Prudence in Proposition 8’s Passage

Madison’s "multiplicity of sects" at work in securing passage of California’s defense of marriage constitutional amendment: the Mormons played the lead role in a coalition of religious groups. The prudence with which this was done is key to future successful efforts at defending morality. Review the NY Times reporting of these tactics, apply to other battles.

The canvass work could be exacting and highly detailed. Many Mormon wards in California, not unlike Roman Catholic parishes, were assigned two ZIP codes to cover. Volunteers in one ward, according to training documents written by a Protect Marriage volunteer, obtained by people opposed to Proposition 8 and shown to The New York Times, had tasks ranging from “walkers,” assigned to knock on doors; to “sellers,” who would work with undecided voters later on; and to “closers,” who would get people to the polls on Election Day.

Suggested talking points were equally precise. If initial contact indicated a prospective voter believed God created marriage, the church volunteers were instructed to emphasize that Proposition 8 would restore the definition of marriage God intended.

But if a voter indicated human beings created marriage, Script B would roll instead, emphasizing that Proposition 8 was about marriage, not about attacking gay people, and about restoring into law an earlier ban struck down by the State Supreme Court in May.

“It is not our goal in this campaign to attack the homosexual lifestyle or to convince gays and lesbians that their behavior is wrong — the less we refer to homosexuality, the better,” one of the ward training documents said. “We are pro-marriage, not anti-gay.”

Best Thing About Obama

He uses a Mac.

Opera in Three Acts: L’Obama, ossia L’Avvento del Messia

Unfortunately, Obama’s crew is not a bunch of opera singers (updated link, courtesy of RC2). H/T Wheat & Weeds . Be prepared to croon to the moon at Barracco Obama, Il Messia, and guess who are "Guglielmo Priapo" and "Il Pomposo," among others.

Don’t Turn Me Into a Newt!

Some readers will get the reference, anyway.

Pardon the name dropping, but I asked George Will on Thursday whether he thought Newt would make a good chair of the RNC.

He visibly shuddered.

Palin as Patton

A spirited and persuasive defense of our Sarah. Better than a professor could do.

NSA secrets

This front-page Wall Street Journal story on the NSA during the Cold War is a good read, and references this massive report from George Washington University. Here are some highlights from the three volume report.

Obama’s "Creepy Cult of Personality"

Courtesy of Evan Thomas on Charlie Rose. Bonus! Commentary from Rushbo.

Politikids and their parents

Let me add this to the parade of pieces to which my fellow bloggers have linked, all at Culture11, NLT’s home away from home. Here are my concluding paragraphs:

In other words, what we’re facing now isn’t just an economic crisis; it may also become a crisis of the family, a crisis that could have significant political and moral consequences. I don’t have to explain what could happen to parental authority when parents can’t provide for their children. And I don’t think that it’s adequate to say, for example, that people who can’t keep their homes in the face of this downturn probably shouldn’t have been in them in the first place. It’s perhaps true enough: many of them were bad credit risks. But more than their credit score is now at stake. If Democrats ride to their rescue with a statist rescue package, they will have accomplished a morally and politically significant result. If they come to be seen as conservators of the family, it will be Republicans who will be writing books about what’s the matter with Kansas. And the Kansans, God bless ‘em, might be right to look to the Democrats to protect the family from the vagaries of an undisciplined and threatening marketplace.

So while I might take some comfort from the prospect that today’s Obamaniacal politikids might grow up to be Palindrones or Jindalists or to have a Huckabee in their bonnets, I’m also worried that our current credit crisis might recast the political scene altogether. Both parties have a large stake in addressing the current economic insecurity of our middle class and working class families. Republicans should remember that the market ought to be a servant of the family, rather than its master, and that the moral fabric of the republic depends upon its continuing integrity.

I also wrote another longish rumination on the election, which is set to appear in the forthcoming issue of
The City. (You can sign up for a free subscription on the page to which I’ve linked. There are plans to provide web access, but things haven’t yet proceeded to that point.)

Obama and the Clintonistas

This is thoughtful on the issue of Obama using so many Clinton folk in his transition (and administration), but it doesn’t mean that Hillary Clinton will take over the State Department. I think the Obama guys are floating this (and the Kerry baloon) for their own purposes. It is also in Hillary’s interest to be talked about in this way. If she has any sense she will want to have Reid’s job.

The Language of Power

When did Americans start to think that the job of the president is to "rule"?

Creative Destruction

David Brooks writes against bailing out Detroit. From this good article I especially liked this: "It is all a reminder that the biggest threat to a healthy economy is not the socialists of campaign lore. It’s C.E.O.’s. It’s politically powerful crony capitalists who use their influence to create a stagnant corporate welfare state."

Thought for the Day

So, we’re thinking of bailing out the Detroit auto industry to the tune of something like $25 billion. Hmm. I notice at at present stock market values, GM--the whole thing--is now worth less than $2 billion, and Ford is worth less than $5 billion.

Why doesn’t the feddle guvmint just buy up GM and Ford lock, stock, and barrell (and union contracts), and save the taxpayers money (at least for a while). I’m sure the feddle guvmint can run the auto industry at least as well as Amtrak and the Post Office.


Future of Alaska Felon . . .

. . . now appears even more uncertain.
Categories > Elections

Hayward Podcast

I had a twenty minute talk with Steve Hayward about the election. Given Steve’s mode, he packs forty minutes worth of reflections into half the time.   

No Left Turns Mug Drawing for October

Congratulations to this month’s winners of a No Left Turns mug! The winners are as follows:

Terrance Byrne

Matt Siders

John Presnall

Tom Moore

Sara Whitis

Thanks to all who entered. An email has been sent to the winners. If you are listed as a winner and did not receive an email, contact Ben Kunkel. If you didn’t win this month, enter October’s drawing.

Permission to Become Productive

According to Ceaser, that’s what the Democrats got with their enhanced majorities in Congress. I’m just a little less baffled than Jim about why the Democrats picked up seats. Americans may have stopped clamoring for immediate withdrawal from Iraq because of the surge’s success, but the president’s popularity didn’t pick up at all. And the country is just more Democratic than it was two or four years ago, for a variety of reasons. I would bet that the upcoming Democratic Congress is going to be all too productive.

Ivan the K Defends Our Sarah

...not to mention prudence and the true place of political philosophy, from Lilla’s trendy conservative anti-populism.

2008, 1980, and 1932

Here’s MY view of why 2008 wasn’t a realigning election. And why we should have every reason to believe that Obama will work hard to make 2012 (like 1984 or 1936) one.

The Demography of Obama’s 2012 Landslide given by Mr. Continetti. The Republicans are increasingly old, white and male, and they herd together in the South, Appalachia, and the Great Plains. Meanwhile, Obama is poised to do better in places like NC, VA, MO, IN, and so forth next time, and it’s hard to see how the Republicans mount a comeback in the West. This article might be excessively sobering, because it sort of downplays temporary aberrations that were the result of the economic mess. But all exaggerations contain a lot of the truth. For people who like to speak of emerging majorities, the Democrats certainly have the upper hand right now.

Amity Shlaes . . .

. . . again! This time she takes on Obama and what will be his self-sabotaging tax policy . . . self-sabotaging, that is unless she, and others who agree with her, can figure out a way for him to gracefully get out of the foolish things he’s promised to do.

Can You Say . . .

. . . false dichotomy? Democratic Strategist, Ed Kilgore sides with David Brooks in agreeing that the battle for the soul of the GOP and the Conservative movement is between so-called "Traditionalists" and so-called "Reformers" and that, unfortunately for Brooks (who thinks he’s in the "Reformer" camp) and fortunately for Kilgore (who wants nothing to do with either) the "Traditionalists" have won. I called this a false dichotomy but that’s not the same thing as saying that I don’t think there’s anything worth considering in both Kilgore’s and in Brooks’ pieces. There is. But, as usual, I think there is a mighty bit of confusion in all of this discussion (and not just on Brooks’ side of the argument) about the difference between securing principles and securing victory. It would be ever so nice to see more conservative commentators who were interested in securing both.


This Camille Paglia piece, commenting on everything from Obama, Palin, and the media, is worth the read. Just one paragraph, for the taste:

"I like Sarah Palin, and I’ve heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn’t speak the King’s English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World."

Obama Roast of Rahm Emanuel

I noticed this on CNN a few nights ago, but they just played the brief reference to Machiavelli’s Prince, but the whole seven minutes is very funny. It takes place in 2005 and is from YouTube. Very funny.

Footnote du Jour

From a post by Megan McArdle on libertarians and the GOP. On abortion: "The belief that there is an explictly libertarian position is held, as far as I can tell, almost entirely among liberals furious at pro-lifers. Persons have a right to be protected against the initiation of force, and libertarianism has no basic principles that answer the question of when personhood begins."


Does O Stand for One Term?

Here's an analyst who doesn't think Barack can get re-elected. That's because the economy going to stay really bad, and Obama doesn't really have any plan to return us to prosperity. My own view is that it's impossible to know, and the eventual return to prosperity probably won't be driven by any government plan. As NLT bloggers have often point out, FDR's plans didn't really return us to prosperity, but confidence in him grew anyway. His "positive" or policy-based landslide of 1936 dwarfed his "negative" landslide of 1932. In any case, we should hope things get better, even if Obama gets the credit.

This election was a lot like 1980 and 1932. The victories of Reagan and FDR were both repudiations of the clueless incumbent and affirmations of their personal qualities of leadership. 1936 and 1984 were ratifications of the CHANGE they were responsible for in the country's direction. Obama is clearly thinking BIG CHANGE that will be rewarded by a similarly positive reelection landslide.

Categories > Presidency

Happy Veterans Day

Reforming Big Government

I did a thirty-minute podcast with Bill Voegeli on his fine essay, "Reforming Big Government," in the current issue of the CRB. Very good conversation and article  

P.J. O’Rourke on the Collapse of Conservatism

Many thanks to Clint for pointing us to this angry (but it seems to me to be righteous anger) piece by P.J. O’Rourke. Of course, being of O’Rourke’s pen, it also comes with a healthy dose of humor and wit. It seems to me that somewhere in there, between the humor and the anger, are some healthy chunks of harsh truth. We should eat them no matter how hard they are to swallow.  

Motherhood and life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

It will be interesting to watch this drama play itself out. Michelle Obama is perfectly sensible in looking to the former First Lady for sound advice on rearing children with privacy and dignity within and without the walls of White House. I don’t think even the fiercest critics of Mrs. Clinton--at least as far as what the public record reveals about her capacities in this regard--could ever accuse Hillary of anything but careful and dutiful attention to Chelsea while they were residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And by all accounts and factoring in all considerations of scandal brought on by her father and pathos brought on by the complicated relationship of her parents, Chelsea Clinton appears to have grown into a healthy, happy and successful young woman.

But there is more to the story of motherly advice offered and motherly advice sought. There is also the story of the promised and not yet delivered assistance to Mrs. Clinton from the Obamas for her sizable campaign debt to vendors (and don’t even get me started on that topic!). This all adds yet another interesting dimension to the story and one wonders whether Mrs. Clinton would be equally eager to assist Mrs. Obama were such assistance not so desperately required. But one must assume that humanity would, in the end, prevail. Still . . . it makes for a different dynamic when one’s hand is outstretched.

Make no mistake about it: there must be something delicious for Mrs. Obama in seeking out this advice from Mrs. Clinton on the subject of being First Lady and raising kids in the White House when, according to every expectation of a year ago, it was to be her husband who would be coming to Mrs. Clinton (some time in the distant future) for advice about being President in the White House. How ironic (and also sad) that in the fullness of time, Hillary is to be regarded as expert in the one capacity for which she has demonstrated any real competence but for which she has voiced, on more than a few occasions, a not-so-veiled disdain. This one episode may illustrate the tragedy of Mrs. Clinton’s life: her burning ambition will serve to make her dissatisfied with the one thing that ought to be her glory and her epitaph: she has been a good mom.

Sounds Like My Kind of Blog I’ll fill my plate here often.

Cruisin’ with The Nation

As Squidward might say, Doesn’t this look like the most fun day ever?

Tax Rates and the Depression

This chart tells you all you need to know.

As someone mentioned here yesterday, everyone should run, not walk, to the nearest bookstore to get a copy of Amity Shlaes The Forgotten Man. One gushing reviewer called it "the finest history of the Great Depression ever written."

Statistic du Jour

In one week, the percentage of black voters who think American society is fair and decent more than doubles. (H/T, Ann Althouse)

A new day in America

I answered the call for jury duty today, spending roughly eight hours in voir dire for a criminal trial. (In a 42-person pool, there were three professors, at least two attorneys, a professional actor, a professional musician, and a number of other interesting folks. I think the musician was empaneled; needless to say, I wasn’t, else I wouldn’t be writing this.)

To fill the time as the attorneys were putting together the jury at the end of the long day, the judge (recently reelected to his second term on the bench) felt compelled to lecture us about this great country of ours. You see, he grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia (in the shadow of Mr. Jefferson’s University). From his house, he told us, he could see the Rotunda and Monticello. I’ll let go for a moment the fact that he told us that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in Charlottesville, but I can’t let go his claim, from the bench, that America finally sealed its greatness as a nation last Tuesday. I wonder how he would have filled the time if John McCain had been elected.

I should add that the judge was unopposed for reelection, and I doubt he’ll ever have opposition. I typically don’t mark the ballot when I know nothing about the person running for office. I don’t know whether I did it in his case or not last week. Next time, you can be certain that he won’t get my vote.

Obama and Immigration

Mickey Kaus suggests that Senator Obama would be unwise to being his Presidency by making immigration policy an early priority. Kaus thinks that an amnesty program would give the post-McCain GOP an issue wherewith to unify itself. On the other hand, it might also expand the Democratic party base in large battleground states, and, by uniting the GOP against amnesty, secure all those new voters for the Democratic party well into the future.

The War on Patriotism

Continues in the U. S. and abroad. (Update: link fixed)

FDR, Obama and a New, New Deal

Amity Shlaes reminds us--and Democrats especially--why Barack Obama’s frequent invocations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt ought not to be looked upon with complete satisfaction. FDR’s successes as an electoral politician and war president notwithstanding, he left a good deal to be desired when it came to his approach to a faltering economy. Shlaes shows why FDR may be exactly the wrong guy to conjure up at this moment in our history and also why her book, The Forgotten Man, should be on all of our nightstands as we watch the first 100 days of an Obama administration.

Puppy Love?

Bill Kristol points to the softer side of Barack Obama and notes that seeing it (in Obama’s victory speech) caused him to gulp: "Competence plus warmth is a pretty potent combination," he argues. Indeed.

A bit further on in the article Kristol writes:

Obama was, naturally, asked about the promised-but-not-yet-purchased puppy at his press conference Friday. (If one were being churlish, one might say that it was typical of a liberal to promise the dog before delivering it. A results-oriented conservative would simply have shown up with the puppy without the advance hype.)
Which leads me to this natural suggestion: Maybe that’s the problem with so-called "results-oriented" conservatives. In a country born out of poetry and drama, the problem with "results-oriented" conservatives is that their inability to inspire virtually guarantees that they get no results!

I don’t want to make too much out of the dog story . . . but I think it is illustrative of Obama’s ability and the GOP’s stunning lack of ability to connect with citizens (forget about voters) in a way that seeks to open up the path to friendship. Political friendships are built upon common interests and shared goals and political conflicts are begun because of a differences in one or the other or both. Obama will not be satisfied with merely coming out on top of this most recent political conflict. He wants to build a new and thoroughgoing political friendship that keeps him and his closest friends on top of that conflict for generations to come. Kristol suggests that leading GOP contenders consider bringing home puppies for their kids . . . Sure, fine. Bring home a dog if you want. But contrary to the old saw that "talk is cheap" I’d say that, in this case, that the result is cheap. Talking about it (and all things that open up the ties of friendship between themselves and those who don’t yet consider the GOP their home) is crucial. Talk in this instance is anything but cheap. It’s golden.

Happy Birthday Marines!

As if to punctuate their renowned bravery, some fine young Marines in Lakewood, California demonstrate that duty has nothing to do with simply being "on duty." Semper Fi to the Corps on their birthday today and may it (and we) continue to produce such men as these.

That Huge Voter Turnout? Didn’t Happen

The Politico has the details here.