The Civil War & Lincoln
NLT is not being spammed: In light of the president's recent health insurance coverage edict, I propose that the
How to build your resume by blogging: Tim Seibel, who blogged on Santorum the Servant, provides material for Foster Friess's introduction of the GOP aspirant at CPAC today. (See my post here on his original.) Tim explains the mix of purpose and serendipity that led to his posting.
BTW, Tim comes out of University of Dallas and Claremont Graduate School and currently resides in Colorado Springs.
I knew someone who got a job with then-EEOC Chairman Clarence Thomas by writing letters to the editor of prominent newspapers and articles for the Claremont Review of Books.
Update: And while we're touching on CPAC, note Paul Ryan's speech, which contained this great line: "The only class warfare that threatens America comes from a class of bureaucrats and crony capitalists rising above society - calling the shots, rigging the rules, and securing their places of privilege at our expense." Cf. this NLT post decrying the use of the phrase "class warfare" by Republicans.
Our old friend Bob Reilly explains the need for a Republican moral rhetoric that can beat Obama's. "Political language is inherently moral, not managerial. It must convey visions, not just plans. It must explain why some things are good and others bad." A moral rhetoric is not a moralizing one, either. And it is essential for survival, too:
If you cannot articulate the cause for which you are fighting in moral terms, you will lose. Because they cannot do this, businessmen suffer from a sense of illegitimacy when they come to Washington. When your opponents scent this vulnerability, they go in for the kill.
On his 101st anniversary of his birth, consider this reflection on Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural, and compare it will these thoughts on FDR's First Inaugural. You will see encapulated the contrast between liberty and the desire for security. We also realize how difficult it is to make the case for conservatism--to ask for liberty means to undertake responsibilities, and Americans seem to grow weaker by the day.
Note how FDR asks Americans to trust him with extraordinary, even extra-constitutional power. By contrast, Reagan honors ordinary Americans by returning liberty to them.
"Given the increasingly likelihood that Romney is on his way to the GOP nomination," Steven Hayward has begun "Deconstructing Romney" over at Power Line. The theme of his first post contemplates his hope that, while Romney is far from a conservative star, "maybe he'll sell out to us."
It's a somewhat sad commentary on the times that the conservative movement must hope that our soon-to-be standard-bearer will betray his ostensible principles and pursue conservative policies. Obama was a far-left liberal who pretended to be a moderate during the campaign and subsequently governed as a far-left liberal. Nothing surprising there. Romney is a moderate running as a conservative - the manner of his actual governance is completely open to speculation.
Hayward (and the writers to whom he links) has a plausible argument that Romney will stay the rightward course. But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't need to speculate over plausible arguments?
The Economist runs an article citing that "Germany's eastern policy has never been stronger." I've long been an advocate of a New European reorganization which promotes Central Europe as a pro-American, fiscally-responsible political bloc between the Old Europe of the west and Russia's continuing sphere of influence in the east. I thus find it promising that Germany - the unrivaled engine of the European economy - "trades more with Poland's healthy economy than it does with Russia's sickly one" and that "once-communist countries such as the Czech Republic are closely linked to German industry's supply chains--more so, in fact, than some 'western' neighbours like Belgium or Denmark."
Of course, the nations of an emerging Central Europe are diverse and often raise competing interests - as the article aptly notes. But of particular interest is this note on influences across Europe:
Also waning is American power. The Obama administration's explicit reorientation towards Asia and military withdrawal from Europe is eroding old Atlanticist loyalties.
The result of America's power vacuum is that it "gives Germany more diplomatic space." And insofar as German entanglements continue to shift eastward, the strengthening center of Europe could prove greatly to America's interest. This is a win-win situation for the U.S., which can take a laissez-faire approach to Europe and still end up with a pro-American result. All we must do to seize this opportunity is to not actually antagonize our would-be allies - a feat which has thus far proved beyond Obama's ability.
P.S. The title of the article is "Love in a Cold Climate." Fittingly so. Here is Prague:
Pete, we miss you, though this may go too far: "The debates have been basically worthless other than for showcasing the weaknesses of the various candidates." But wasn't it important for us to see some significant sifting out (e.g., Perry)? And true, as Pete points out, the debates kept alive candidacies (in his view, Newt and Cain) that should have died out much sooner or never even have been taken seriously. Yet what does the example of Rick Santorum show us? He excelled at retail politics in a friendly market and had a distinctive voice in the debates, but he clearly lacked the money and the national experience that Romney has. The debates gave Santorum exposure he wouldn't otherwise have had.
Pete is right that it is impossible to run a state effectively (at least in times like these) and run for president--thus closing the door to perhaps the GOP's strongest candidates among governors Reagan, Bush I, and, it appears, Romney are two examples of those able to run full-time without the encumbrance of office (that is, significant office); Clinton and Bush II had friendly capitols.
Ross Douthat's op-ed, "Government and its Rivals" picks up on Jonathan Last's theme in my post below and accurately frames Obamacare's assault on the Church within the context of liberals' war against communities and aspects of the civil society which are not either liberal or pet agencies of the government.
WHEN liberals are in a philosophical mood, they like to cast debates over the role of government not as a clash between the individual and the state, but as a conflict between the individual and the community.
Critics of the administration's policy are framing this as a religious liberty issue, and rightly so. But what's at stake here is bigger even than religious freedom. The Obama White House's decision is a threat to any kind of voluntary community that doesn't share the moral sensibilities of whichever party controls the health care bureaucracy.
Douthat has also quoted and responded to his critics on the issue in a rejoinder titled, "Liberals and Catholic Hospitals."
It is impossible to speak intelligently on this subject without confronting the practical issues and principles raised in these two articles (and several of the articles to which they link).
Obama's attempt to weaken and destroy Catholic institutions is both morally and socially repugnant. On the first prong, he is abusively employing the power of the government to force liberal social policies on private groups (whose "diversity" and liberty is apparently of little value to Obama). Secondly, the result of Obama's campaign would be to weaken America's social services for the poor and needs, who are presently served in large numbers by Catholic charitable institutions. It is no coincidence that liberal policies are both unprincipled and socially harmful.