Tag Archives: John McCain

It Is Time to Quit Being RINO Enablers

By Jerry McDaniel

Unless there is a change in direction, America is on a collision course with two ideologies, both dedicated to destroying the American way of life in any way they can. One is Islam; the other is socialism, operating under the American pseudonym “progressivism”. The final confrontation with Islam may not come before the Battle of Armageddon.  However, the confrontation with progressivism is here now. In just over seven weeks, we will be going to the polls to vote on the makeup of the 112th Congress. The outcome will determine the future of America for generations to come.

A vote for the Democrat candidate is an unequivocal vote for tyranny and despotism. A vote for the Republican candidate is not so clear-cut. The Democrat Party is made up almost entirely of progressives, while the Republican Party is a mixture of conservatives and progressives. The challenge for patriots in the upcoming election is to return control of Congress to Republicans and at the same time begin reforming the Republican Party. It has become painfully clear that the Republican Party cannot survive as the “big tent” party.  As we have pointed out in prior articles, big tents do not do well in major storms, and we are in the midst of a major political storm.

There are eight primaries coming up September 14. In virtually every case, the Republican Party is supporting the establishment candidate and going all out in its opposition to the conservative candidate. Whatever the outcome of these eight primaries, the decision for conservatives in November is whether they will vote as a principled patriot or as a RINO enabler. While the Republican Party has always been the home of conservatives, it is apparent they are not welcome in that home, except on Election Day.

Admittedly, there is a calculated risk in refusing to vote for a progressive Republican. At the same time that is the only way we are ever going to reform the Republican Party. As long as we keep “holding our nose” and voting for the “lesser of two evils” the Party establishment will continue to put up and support progressives, believing that most conservatives will put party above country and vote for the Republican candidate, no matter what. Until we make it clear that we will no longer abide by that theory, nothing will change.

The Republican Party is set to take over both houses of Congress in the November elections. Without the progressives, there may not be enough votes to override Presidential vetoes, but on the other hand, having progressive Republicans in Congress does not guarantee enough votes either. Republicans like Snowe and Collins can always be counted on to vote with the progressives. Those like Graham, McCain, Lugar and others of their ilk will vote progressive whenever they think they can get away with it, especially if they can “make a deal”.

If conservatives refuse to vote for progressive Republicans, the Republican Party will still likely take both houses, only with smaller majorities. More important, it will send a message to the Party that it cannot win without conservative support. That is the first step toward reform. If we do not reform the Party there is a likelihood that it will break apart on its own over the next few election cycles. If we are successful in reforming it, however, in 2010, 12, and 14 there is a chance of returning America to a Constitutional Republic.

It is not going to be easy being a conservative in districts and states where the only viable choices are between a progressive Democrat and a progressive Republican. That is a decision each of us has to make for ourselves. I am fortunate enough to have a fairly conservative candidate running for Congress in my district. However, Mark Kirk is the Republican candidate for Senate. I have struggled with this choice since the primary in February, and have decided that the Senate can do with one less progressive Republican undermining its efforts to get the country back on track. I have no idea at this point who I will vote for in November but it will not be for Mark Kirk or Alexi Giannoulias.

Who Enforces The Constitution?

By Jerry McDaniel

The number of people calling for Constitutional Amendments and Conventions seems to be growing along with America’s increasing dissatisfaction with Barack Obama and the direction his administration is taking the country. I have never quite understood the call for adding more amendments to the Constitution, but since so many of our fellow citizens seem to think that would solve our problems, why not give it a try.

We could start with an amendment listing what it is that we want the government to do for us, and then we could add one forbidding them to pass laws not related to those functions. How about one that says government cannot tax us except for what is necessary to carry out the functions listed? While we are at it, why not pass an amendment allowing us to keep firearms for the protection of our families and perhaps even allowing us to carry them when we go out in public? We could also pass an amendment forbidding government to interfere with our right to express our own mind when it comes to politics and religion. In fact, we could just tell the government our religious practices are none of its business. We could also pass an amendment that allows only Congress to make law, not the President, bureaucrats or judges.

My point is that calling for more constitutional amendments is like Mayor Daley of Chicago asking for more gun control laws to control crime. It is obvious that criminals who commit crimes with firearms are not particularly intimidated by laws against robbery, murder, assault and so on. So why would we expect them to be intimidated by more laws against guns. The same thing applies to adding more amendments to the constitution in the hope that they will in some way influence what government does. Adding another amendment to the Constitution is simply adding another law to regulate government to those already contained in the Constitution.

Any law is effective only when there is a very real likelihood that a penalty will be exacted for its violation. When the criminal knows there is little chance of their being punished for what they do, the fact that it is illegal will not prevent them from committing the crime. The same thing is true with members of government. The Constitution, along with its amendments is the law for government; therefore it applies mainly to politicians and government officials. The only penalty for its violation is removal from office, either through impeachment or through the ballot box. Expecting Congress to impeach its members for violating the Constitution is like deputizing Jesse James to apprehend train robbers or John Dillinger to arrest bank robbers.

The reason illegal immigration is the problem it is today is because those who are responsible for enforcing immigration law are not doing their job. Most thinking Americans realize that simply adding more laws will not correct the problem. The reason government’s violation of the Constitution is the problem it is, is because those responsible for enforcing it are not doing their job. Virtually every elected official who has been in office for any length of time is guilty of violating the Constitution. It is a crime to violate the Supreme Law of the Land, and yet, ninety to ninety-five percent of all incumbent politicians are returned to office by the voters to continue their criminal activities.

It is not the role of the Supreme Court or the Justice Department to enforce the Constitution any more than it is responsibility of drivers to enforce traffic laws. It is their duty to follow the law not to enforce it. When it comes to the enforcement of the Constitution, we, as voters, are the Prosecutor, Jury, Judge and Executioner. We are solely responsible for enforcing the rule of law on government. Until the American people realize and accept this fact, we can add all the amendments we want to the Constitution and it will make no difference. As long as we shirk our duty as the watchdogs of government, we have no right to expect someone else to do our work for us.

The voters of Arizona, while bemoaning the out-of-control problem with illegal immigration, again nominated John McCain as their candidate for Senate in the November elections. McCain has been one of the leading advocates for “comprehensive immigration reform” and amnesty for years. Illinois voters nominated progressive Mark Kirk as their candidate, again one of the most constitutionally criminal republicans on the ballot. Are we really sincere when we demand a return to Constitutional government and then go into the voting booth on Election Day and vote for a candidate that we know from experience, will not honor his oath of office and defend the Constitution?

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It’s Time To Retire Both Political Parties: Part II

The two-party system that has been in place for most of our existence as a nation has not served us well. For over a century, we have been moving inexorably toward the abyss of national socialism under the American pseudonym of “progressivism”. It has made little difference which political party has been in power. Under the Democrat Party, we move faster and under the Republican Party, we move slower, but always in the same direction. Now we find ourselves at the very brink of the abyss.

Most of us have been unaware of the perilous path down which our national leaders have been leading us. The election of Barack Obama and the introduction of one socialist policy after another by him and his progressive Democrat followers has brought the problem into sharp focus. For the first time in their life, millions of Americans are paying attention to the direction we are going and beginning to weigh the consequences. Anger and frustration has become the normal daily state of an ever-growing number of our people. The most frequently asked question is, what can we do to turn things around? How can we stop the seemingly unstoppable rush into socialism?

It is easy to blame, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, et al. A little reflection, however, points to another mostly unrecognized culprit. As already pointed out, we have been moving in the same direction for more than a hundred years. There is not an official in government that has been in office for that length of time. Presidents, Senators and Congressmen come and go while the condition continues to worsen. It is not the people in power that causes our problem— although they are certainly culpable and need to be held accountable — the real problem is the system itself. We have allowed ourselves, over the years, to become subjects of the Republican or Democrat Parties.

The last two elections have shown just how tyrannical these parties have become.  Two examples stand out, the nomination of John McCain for President in ‘08, and in Illinois, the nomination of Mark Kirk for Senate in this election. If you need further proof, consider the bills that have been passed and signed during this Congress, against the will of the people. If you need still more proof consider the situation with illegal immigration, particularly in Arizona. Decisions are made by members of the Party establishment and millions of dollars are targeted at the voting public to get them to “rubber stamp” the Party’s decision. All too often it works, albeit often against the best interest of the Country.

We are always going to have political parties and I am not suggesting that we get rid of them. However, the Republican and Democrat Parties have become too powerful, have too much control over government at all levels, and have strayed too far from our founding principles, for us to allow the status quo to continue. Both parties must be stripped of their power for the good of the country and the survival of the Republic. If that suggestion seems too radical for some, consider that the founding documents are devoid of any reference or foundation principle to justify the prominence either Party has in the running of our government today.

The good news is that reforming our political system does not require an Amendment to the Constitution. Primary elections, winner-take-all outcomes, and the nominating processes, are all extra-constitutional and in some cases unconstitutional. Ostensibly, the political customs and traditions developed over the years are for the convenience of the voters. In reality, they are designed to secure the power of the respective political parties. The timing and order of primaries, the gerrymandering of Congressional Districts, the hurdles aspiring candidates are forced to go through and a host of others are all designed to provide job security to incumbents and protect the Party in power.

A relatively small number of major changes could correct our electoral system and bring it in line with the Constitution and intent of the Founders. A similar small number of changes in the way Washington does business would return us closer to the model of government left to us by the Founders.

Electoral Process

The tradition of primary elections has no basis in the Constitution. Primaries are completely and solely for the benefit of political parties for the purpose of deciding on a single candidate for each office to appear on the ballot in the general election. The winner take all policy adhered to by most states is also not required by the Constitution. The Constitution does not require a majority vote for the offices of Representative or Senator. However, the Constitution does not preclude the states from requiring a majority vote for those offices. For those states choosing a majority requirement, a second runoff election could be held among the top vote getters for each office, similar to the process prescribed in Article II for choosing a President and Vice President by Congress when there is no Electoral College majority.

If we followed the spirit and letter of the Constitution and applied the electoral model put forth in the election of a President, to other elective offices, it would simplify the election process and more than likely, result in better representation. While the Constitution allows the states to determine the manner in which electors are chosen or appointed, it also allows Congress to set the time of choosing electors and the day on which they shall vote. Article II, Section 1, clauses 16 and 17 reads,

“The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”

Traditionally, the time for choosing Electors is a multi-step process, not sanctioned by the Constitution. Electors are first chosen in the primaries and advance to the party convention. The convention delegates then usually take the candidate with the highest number of Electoral College votes pledged to him or her in the primaries nationwide and declare that person to be their candidate for the general election. This step requires a percentage of the Electoral College candidates to change their pledge from the candidates for whom citizens voted, to the Party‘s ultimate selection. (Note: the name appearing on the primary ballot is the candidate running for office, but the real candidate is the Electoral College candidate pledged to vote for that candidate, not the candidate himself or herself.) This process is not only highly confusing to voters but is constitutionally suspect in its legality, if not downright unconstitutional.

A major factor in choosing Electoral College Candidates is the timing sequence of the various primaries, taking advantage of the “lemming” factor, the popularity of the candidates building on the outcomes of each succeeding primary. The wording of the Constitution clauses quoted above may allow each state to choose their electors on a different day. However, the normal understanding would be that all states should do so on the same day, just as the day on which they actually vote is required to be the same nationwide. The nation would be better served if the primary process were done away with and a general election day determined on which candidates for state, local, and Congressional offices, and Electoral College members were elected. If runoffs are required for various offices, those elections could take place on the same day the Electoral College meets to vote.

Summation: Under this process, a single “election day” would be held nationwide. Candidates for state and local offices would be elected as well as members of Congress and Electoral College members. Party affiliation would not appear on the ballots and would not be a factor in voting. The practice of substituting the names of candidates for President and Vice President for the Electoral College candidates would still be permitted as a service to the voters. Any required runoff elections may or may not be held in conjunction with the day the Electoral College votes.

This reform alone in our election process would remove much of the power from the two major parties and make it much easier for alternative parties to form and be counted.

To be continued in future posts…

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John McCain and the Bi-Partisan Myth

The most often stated qualification of John McCain as a Presidential candidate is his ability to reach across the aisle and solve problems in a bi-partisan manner.  This supposedly has great appeal to independent and moderate voters.  The evidence given for this is usually campaign finance reform and energy legislation co-sponsored by McCain and Democrats Russ Feingold and Joseph Lieberman.  Many if not most voters, weary of the Congressional wars of the past few years, seem to welcome this as a definite positive.

During the campaign, McCain has been preserving his ability to work in a bi-partisan way by studiously avoiding any specific criticism of Congress.  In attempting to identify the root causes of the financial crisis, for example, he blames “Wall Street” and “Washington”.  These broad terms are not sufficient, and only add to the animosity felt by many people against “the rich” and “government”.  Obviously, not everyone connected to Wall Street and not everyone in Washington is Corrupt.

Wall Street is simply a “label” used to designate our financial markets.  Only certain members of those markets are responsible for the current crisis, those who deal in sub-prime mortgages.  Among those, the most culpable are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Both of these institutions are government sponsored and operate subject to the guidance of Congress.  Both have been run primarily by members of one party for years, the Democrats.  This is a well documented historical fact that cannot be denied by anyone other than blatant partisans.

During the campaign, McCain often uses the politically safe, “Washington is broken” cliché to reinforce his “reformer” image.  At times he may even go so far as to implicate “Congress”.  However until this past Thursday, he has avoided mentioning any Congressional wrongdoers by name.  It could be that he is simply following the advice of Jesus to “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitation”. (Luke 16:9)  In case he loses the election he, no doubt, wishes to return to the Senate and resume his role as the “maverick” with the ability to “reach across the aisle”.

This bi-partisan image may serve his needs in the Senate, but it is costing him the election.  If he wins it will be due to voters rejecting Barack Obama and not because of a strong desire for the leadership of John McCain and certainly not because of his bi-partisan image.  Throughout its history America has always had a fiercely partisan government.  That’s the way the Founders set it up, either intentionally or unintentionally.  It may be unpleasant to many, but it is necessary for our government to function as intended.

In studying the literature of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries there is no doubt the Founding Fathers would have preferred a non-partisan government.  They often warned against the dangers of “factions” or partisanship.  However they established a government that requires a partisan political system.

The system of checks and balances required by our Constitution is perhaps the single most important factor in our becoming the strongest, and one of the most enduring governments in history.  In the arena of elective politics it is our two party system that preserves the system of checks and balances that keeps the government functioning for all the people.  The partisanship of each party prevents, or at least, lessens the excesses of the other.  Our unique method of electing the Chief Executive through the Electoral College rather than a straight majority vote of the electorate preserves the two party system.

More than two strong political parties would transform our government into a de facto parliamentary system rather than a republican system.  Since the election of a President and Vice President requires the majority vote of the Electoral College a multi-party system would more often than not throw the election of the President into the House of Representatives, resulting in a Chief Executive elected by the Legislature rather than the people.

In America the balance of power has always been between government tyranny and individual liberty.  For the first hundred years individual liberty held sway.  During the twentieth century the pendulum of power moved decidedly to the side of government tyranny thanks to the socialist policies introduced during the reign of Franklin Roosevelt.  Pure democracies always lean toward tyranny, either through the tyranny of the majority, or more likely through a ruling class of aristocratic elites, which is why we were setup as a republic.

In our own history, the Democratic Party has always been the party of government tyranny, grounded in its ideological beginnings in the Federalist Party of Adams and Hamilton.  For a hundred and seventy years it was the party of slavery and segregation.  Although the organizational history of the Democratic Party is generally traced to the one founded by Jefferson, there is no doubt it is the ideological descendent of the Federalist Party founded by Alexander Hamilton.

Just as the Democratic Party of today shares the big government philosophy of the early Federalists, the Republican Party, particularly the conservative wing, shares the love of liberty and the Constitution, espoused by Jefferson’s republicanism.  You can think of the political life of America as a continuum with republicanism, liberty and constitutional government on one end and democracy, socialism and tyranny on the other.  We are today somewhere between the center and the socialist side of that continuum.  If America elects Obama in November, we will move dramatically closer to the socialist side, based on his campaign promises.

If by chance we elect the McCain-Palin ticket, we may have a chance to slow down the advancement of socialism.  The last thing we need however is a President working in a bi-partisan way with the socialist wing of the Democratic Party.  The contest between Democrats and Republicans is a contest of ideology and principles.  Bi-partisanship is based on compromise, and principles can never be compromised and survive.  In the instances where McCain has attempted to work with Democrats in the past, the result has always been a net loss for the American people and the Constitution.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have made it clear over the past two years they are never willing to compromise until they have been soundly defeated, and then they merely withdraw in order to regroup and try again.  It would be good if we did have a non-partisan government that always put the good of the country above the welfare of the party.  Until someone invents a new kind of politician however, that is not going to happen.  Until then we need a President and Republican Senators and Congressmen willing to stand on the side of republican principles, the people and the Constitution; and not be taken in by the myth of bi-partisanship.

The End of Capitalism as We Know It?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Congressional and Administration officials are meeting in Washington this weekend to administer what American socialists hope will be the final coup de grace to the American Capitalist system.  Participants in the Socialist movement have been working tirelessly generation after generation over the past hundred years to bring about this day.

Beginning with the “Trust Busting” of Theodore Roosevelt, the first “progressive” President, and the stock market collapse of 1929, a couple of decades later, socialist have made steady progress toward their Karl Marx inspired goal of destroying our capitalist system and building a socialist utopia on the rubble.

Socialist policies have all but destroyed our industrial base, our educational system, our healthcare system, our social structure, and are on the verge of destroying our economic system.  Each time government encroachment on the private sector creates a disaster, the solution offered is always more government involvement.  The current financial disaster is no exception.

The hallmark of the socialist movement is to create chaos and then point to their opposition and declare, “They did it!”  It seems to work more often than not.  The meltdown of our financial markets demonstrates this tactic with a clarity that cannot be denied.  An analysis of the development of the crisis shows without question that the root cause is socialist policies, not the capitalist system nor the policies of the Bush Administration.

There is widespread agreement among economists and politicians that sub-prime lending practices, prevalent among mortgage companies, is the primary culprit.  A number of circumstances converged during an election year that virtually guaranteed the collapse of major segments of the financial markets.  That they occurred during an election year made any sane thought-out remedies unattainable.  Facts, mixed with and distorted by political rhetoric, rendered an objective evaluation of the problems all but impossible.

The rapid rise in energy prices, soaring home values with the corresponding rise in real estate taxes, the vagaries of adjustable-rate mortgages, and the stagnation of lower and middle class incomes stretched family budgets to the point they could no longer be sustained.  Mortgage payments, the largest item in the average budget, simply had to be postponed or cut back in favor of survival.  All of these, when objectively judged by the facts, are revealed to be the result of socialist policies.

The populist view of history as promulgated by the Democratic Party, the mainstream media and even, somewhat, by the McCain camp, is that the crisis caused by sub-prime lending was brought about by corporate greed and “eight years of failed policies by the Bush Administration”. The truth is somewhat different.  An article in World Net Daily on September 20 is quite revealing in that it links to two articles written before Bush took office in 2001.  One is in the Los Angeles Times, the other The New York Times, neither of which are conservative publications.

Both articles were written to praise Bill Clinton during the final years of his Administration.  The first was an article in the Los Angeles Times dated May 31, 1999 titled “Minorities’ Home Ownership Booms Under Clinton But Still Lags Whites’”.  The opening paragraph begins with,

“It’s one of the hidden success stories of the Clinton era.  In the great housing boom of the 1990s, black and latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded.”

By itself, that would indeed be good news, but the article then goes on to explain the factors that gave rise to this phenomenon.  By indulging in an obligatory swipe at the Reagan-Bush administrations, the writer undermined what could have been the best alternative explanation, the booming economy.

“But the economy isn’t the whole story. As HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo says: ‘There have been points in the past when the economy has done well but minority homeownership has not increased proportionally.’ Case in point: Despite generally good times in the 1980s, homeownership among blacks and Latinos actually declined slightly, while rising slightly among whites.” He writes.

He then returns to his theme of praising the leadership of Bill Clinton.

“All of this suggests that Clinton’s efforts to increase minority access to loans and capital also have spurred this decade’s gains. Under Clinton, bank regulators have breathed the first real life into enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, a 20-year-old statute meant to combat “redlining” by requiring banks to serve their low-income communities.”

“The administration also has sent a clear message by stiffening enforcement of the fair housing and fair lending laws. The bottom line: Between 1993 and 1997, home loans grew by 72% to blacks and by 45% to Latinos, far faster than the total growth rate.

“Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system…”

“…In 1992, Congress mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. …It [Fannie Mae] has aimed extensive advertising campaigns at minorities that explain how to buy a home and opened three dozen local offices to encourage lenders to serve these markets. Most importantly, Fannie Mae has agreed to buy more loans with very low down payments–or with mortgage payments that represent an unusually high percentage of a buyer’s income….”

“…But with discrimination in the banking system not yet eradicated, maintaining the momentum of the 1990s will also require a continuing nudge from Washington. One key is to defend the Community Reinvestment Act…The top priority may be to ask more of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two companies are now required to devote 42% of their portfolios to loans for low- and moderate-income borrowers; HUD, which has the authority to set the targets, is poised to propose an increase this summer“….

The facts presented by Ronald Brownstein in this article are indisputable and clearly point to Congress and the Clinton Administration as the primary causes of the eventual mortgage market meltdown.  A later article in the New York Times dated September 30, 1999 was less slanted toward praise of Clinton and gives us a few additional insights.

“… [A new Fannie Mae program] will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — [it] will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

“…Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people

“…In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called sub-prime borrowers.

“…In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.

“…said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”

Keep in mind both of these articles were written well before George Bush moved into the White House.  No one can honestly deny that the problem was inherited by Bush from the Clinton administration.  It is also true that both Bush and McCain attempted to rein in the excessiveness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but were prevented from doing so by socialist Democrats and their socialist leaning Republican allies in Congress.

It is imperative that McCain and Palin focus on these facts over the next few weeks instead of going along with the MSM version in courting independents and “moderates”.  This will not help in changing the results of decisions made in Washington this weekend or the follow-up actions by Congress next week.  It may, however, wake up some of the American voters encouraging them to vote some of the socialists in Congress out of office and give us a chance to begin returning the government back into the constitutional republic it was intended to be.
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McCain-Palin Falters on Reform

When John McCain and Sarah Palin take office next January they are going to be expected to follow through on their promises to reform Washington.  The possibility of McCain’s election is based on two factors, his choice of Sarah as his running mate and his campaign pitch as a reformer.  The new McCain campaign is less than a month old and already there are signs emerging that he may not be able to maintain his new image until Election Day.

His first big test is his response to the meltdown of Fannie, Freddie and AIG.  In my opinion, both McCain and Palin have fumbled the ball.  I am prone to give Sarah the benefit of the doubt because I understand that she has a duty to express views consistent with those of McCain, at least, during the campaign.

Many conservatives including myself see her as the future of the conservative movement and hopefully, the Republican Party.  Consequently, I may be more critical of her statements and actions than I otherwise might be.  I watched the two-part interview on Fox with Sean Hannity and a couple of times I was disappointed in her performance.

I also was disappointed with Sean’s conducting of the interview.  At times it seemed as though he was auditioning for Larry King’s replacement on CNN.  Sean asked all the right questions, but in such a softball manner that it appeared he was more intent on not damaging the image Sarah has built up among conservatives and independents than in getting an accurate picture of her position on the issues.

On one occasion he broached the accusation made by Democrats that she was “for the bridge to nowhere, before she was against it”.  She replied with a good exposition of her position following cancellation of the bridge project and a good explanation of the reasons.  However, she did not answer the question asked, which was more about her initial support or non-support for the bridge before the project became politically unpopular nationally.

I already knew that she supported building the bridge when she was running for Governor, and that she had changed her mind after being elected.  Since the price tag for the project had gone from $200 million to $400 million and Congress, because of the unfavorable publicity, had withdrawn its support, I understood her change of position and thought it was the right thing to do.  What bothered me was her reluctance to answer the question in a straightforward manner.  Sean did not follow-up on the question.

Another answer that bothered me was in response to a question on her position concerning the collapse of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and AIG.  For a minute, it appeared as though she had forgotten which ticket she was running on.  Her answer could easily have been from the Obama camp except that she did not blame Bush.  Instead she blamed Wall Street, Lobbyists, corporate greed and stockholders.  She did not mention Congresses’ involvement at all.  Again, Sean did not follow up.

On Thursday, McCain repeated the same list of culprits and for good measure threw SEC Chairman Chris Cox into the mix, stating that if he was President he would fire him.  McCain should know that the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission does not serve at the pleasure of the President.  He is appointed for a specific term and cannot be fired without proof of misconduct or malfeasance.  He should also know that the failures of Fannie and Freddie were not regulatory failures, but rather management failures, and the SEC does not manage the companies it oversees.

There were many causes for the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac including mismanagement, corruption, poor judgment and a host of others.  The “first cause” however was its efforts to carry out the mandate of Congress to maximize mortgages to low income applicants in order that more minorities and the working poor could participate in the “American dream”.  Mortgage brokers under pressure to issue more loans to high-risk buyers flooded the market with sub-prime, adjustable rate mortgages, with no money down and no income verification.  The results were foreseeable, except for the socialists in Congress who thought they were witnessing nirvana.

There is more than enough blame to go around, from the local corrupt Real Estate Agent to the corner offices and penthouses of Wall Street.  To target all the fish in the food chain while ignoring the sharks in Congress is not reform.  It is only “business as usual” with slightly different scapegoats.  McCain is focusing on the money Obama collected from Fannie and Freddie while studiously avoiding any mention of Dodd, Franks, and others on Capitol Hill feeding at the trough.

This is his big chance to demonstrate he will bring true change to Washington.  If he shows a willingness to take on his cronies in Congress his trip to the White House will be a “cake walk”.  Otherwise he is likely to loose his momentum to Obama while, at the same time, lending credence to Democratic desires to strengthen their grip on the economy.

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Is Real Reform Possible?

The McCain-Palin campaign is presenting itself as a reform ticket and the country is responding with increasing support.  Some polls have them moving into a double digit lead over Obama.  We have heard promises of reform before, but for the first time in living memory there is a real possibility it will be attempted.  The question is whether or not reform is possible.

Any meaningful, lasting reform would involve major changes in Americans expectations from government.  It would mean at least a partial return to constitutional government, which we have not had for several generations.  Socialist programs that have been implemented since the Great Depression would have to be rolled back and the federal government’s involvement in extra-constitutional areas would have to be severely curtailed.

Both McCain and Palin have expressed the desire to end “earmarks” and pork barrel spending. That’s a good start, but they are kind of a “gimmie” for most Americans and do not address our fundamental problems.  Real reform needs to take place in those areas the public has come to enjoy and expect, but which, sooner or later, will result in our collapse as a free nation.

For example, there is no constitutional authority for the federal government’s involvement in education or health care.  Yet, these two issues are near the top of the list for most Americans who are demanding the government “do something”.  The responsibility for these programs, if approved by the voters, belongs to the individual states not the federal government.  The principle of limited government with enumerated powers is the fundamental principle of our form of government.  We have been moving away from this principle for the past hundred years, since the rise of the “progressive” movement.

Many if not most of the economic and energy problems we are facing today can be traced to a basic principle of socialism.  Sooner or later, socialism always fails.  What we are seeing today is the end result of socialist programs begun in the early part of the twentieth century.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are perfect examples.  They were begun in 1938 as quasi-governmental organizations for the purpose of helping homeowners recover from the Great Depression and provide financing for a depressed mortgage industry.

Since then they have grown to the point where they account for more than half of the twelve trillion dollar mortgage market.  For decades, “social engineering” has been one of Fannie and Freddie’s major functions.  Poor oversight by those responsible for its management, coupled with years of mismanagement and corruption, and sloppy regulation by Congress left it unable to cope with the soft housing market that normally follows an economic “bubble”.

The result is that taxpayers are now on the hook for billions if not trillions of dollars worth of bad loans.  An indication of just how far we have drifted from constitutional government is the extent to which so many otherwise conservatives see the nationalization of over half of the domestic mortgage market as a good thing.

It only took forty years for socialism to wreck our healthcare system.  The current healthcare “crisis” is the direct result of the federal government’s involvement in Medicare and Medicaid.  As with the mortgage market, when a socialist program fails, the proposed solution is usually to nationalize those parts of the economy affected.  Healthcare and energy will be the next ones scheduled for nationalization if we continue on the current path.

Unfortunately, John McCain also takes a “soft” socialistic approach to the problems of energy, healthcare, education, and the economy, only differing from the socialist/democrat agenda in degree and detail.  There is no way of knowing just how Sarah Palin views the Constitution.  In the past seventy-four years I have never heard a journalist or anyone else ask a politician to explain just how a proposal or bill fits within the Constitution.  While most politicians on both sides of the aisle give lip service to a reverence for the Constitution, their actions indicate that compliance with its limitations is seldom considered.

There is no doubt in my mind that John McCain and Sarah Palin represent the best chance in my lifetime for real government reform.  I would feel much more comfortable, however, if once in a while they would explain why certain proposals of Barack Obama are unconstitutional and why those proposed by them are not.

In addition, I cannot help but wondering how the American people would react if McCain and Palin suddenly started attempting to eliminate unconstitutional programs.   How would they react if the redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation was ended, or subsidies for social and economic engineering, or bureaucracies and their accompanying subsidies dealing with education, energy, housing, urban development, agriculture, etc. were cut back or terminated?

Has an educational system dominated by socialism for four generations so indoctrinated our citizenry in the socialist lifestyle that weaning them off it would be too difficult to succeed?  There is no effort to counter socialism as socialism because too few Americans recognize it, or feel its effects on their lives and future happiness.  The consequences of socialism are masked behind an unsustainable level of debt.

Socialist programs seem to endure for about four or five generations before they collapse from their own weight.  This has been the experience of the Soviet Union, Western Europe and our own ventures into socialism.  This is easily seen by examining the history of European healthcare systems, the labor market in France and our own Social Security, Medicare and mortgage financing systems, to name a few.

In spite of the inevitable failure of these systems, most Americans would resist ending or even shrinking them to any meaningful degree.  The outcome of the November election is meaningless if we continue to ignore the damage socialism has inflicted on our form of government and our way of life during the past century.

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