Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

Concerned For The Poor? Vote Republican

Poverty stands right in front of you
Poverty stands right in front of you (Photo credit: torephoto)

A common reason, at least among my self-proclaimed liberal friends, for their supporting Democrats and liberals in government is that they think these political groups expend more effort caring for the poor, the “downtrodden”, the people who have slipped through the cracks of our system and who need help more than you or I.

This is a real issue that affects real people and it is good that we expend time and effort both thinking about the poor, and working to alleviate their condition.

However, the poor are better served by Republican and conservative political ideas than by others, and here’s why:

First, we must agree on what is a suitable goal for the majority of charitable programs and acts. Conservatives consider the best default goal of charity programs to be the alleviation of immediate and extreme need and the readying and encouragement of those poor to re-enter the productive and self-sufficient mainstream as contributing members of society. This is based on the idea that people are more than physical bodies with physical needs, but are also, at the very least, minds with mental needs, and, depending on your metaphysical persuasion, spiritual beings with spiritual needs. Feed the body and you have resolved that need for today, feed the mind and soul with accomplishment and self-sufficiency and you have brought a person out from the true pains of poverty.

The default goal, therefore, of charity should be not simply the repeated alleviation of physical need, but it should contain a restorative function as well, encouraging the people taking advantage of the resources to move on to where they themselves are contributing. There are people who are unable to, in any way, contribute. However, these cases are rare, and we are limiting ourselves to talking about the type of charity that is most beneficial to the majority of people. Suffice to say, there should be programs for those completely unable to enter the mainstream. There are hospitals, homes, services, programs, all designed for these people.

To keep all poor in the permanent underclass of poverty and welfare families is to rob them of crucial aspects of their humanity. Unfortunately, the majority of government charity programs, in being designed ostensibly for the poorest and least fortunate, have been designed to discourage the sorts of behaviors and societal structures that we know are most conducive to producing contributing members of society. That a single mother can receive more assistance if she is not supported by a husband, while well intentioned, has certainly done nothing to encourage stable nuclear families in our poorest neighborhoods. That many programs are offered with little or no accountability or verification or auditing means that the efficacy of the programs is not evaluated and thus programs are not adjusted or changed or scrapped and redone when it is necessary to do so.

Finally, what people want and what people need are sometimes not the same. For people who are making their own way, they are free to do as they please, even by engaging in damaging behaviors, within bounds of reason and the law, without infringing on others freedom to do the same. Smoking, gambling, excessive drinking, eating raw dairy (that’s a joke, raw dairy is illegal but it ought not be), watching Glee, reading the Twilight series, and the like. When people are living on other’s charity, their freedoms in this respect are curtailed at the desire and discretion of those whose charity they are living upon. The government has not right telling people what they can and cannot eat, how they should or should not go about seeking employment, and the like, so long as those people are living their lives within the moral law and paying for all their chosen vices themselves. The government, or the charity, has every right to request people conform to their desired standard of behavior if those people wish to receive from their beneficence. A private charity has greater leeway in this than does government though. A private charity can expect some basic moral living or other requirements of lifestyle, while government needs to limit its requirements to the very basic regarding good use of its funds for the purpose of accountability to those who provided the funds, namely, you and I.

But what’s all this got to do with voting Republican? We’re getting to it, we just had to lay a little groundwork to make sure we’re on the same page and talking about the same thing.

First, conservative policies are generally geared towards greater job creation. We’re not talking about seasonal jobs or jobs with the Census Bureau. A healthy business climate is a climate that grows businesses, and growing businesses hire more people. Sure, some people are hired in Bangalore and some in Peru, but there are also more jobs here, where we live and can work. When there are more jobs and more people are needed to fill those jobs, poor people can get those jobs more easily. Liberal policies are generally geared towards the perception of equality, which is more difficult to pin down, except to say that if you see somebody who has more than you and your first thought is that somebody ought to take that from them, you should just keep voting liberal.

Second, conservative policies regarding charity encourage the restorative function. Recently, President Obama used an executive order to gut many of the requirements of the Welfare to Work program enacted by President Clinton and the Republican Congress lead by Newt Gingrich. By allowing states to not have to try so hard to get people back into the workforce when they are drawing welfare checks and are able-bodied by removing the deadline requirements, the program has been effectively gutted. Now, people on welfare are allowed to remain wallowing in their poverty and welfare-fueled subsistence without the states administering that welfare being requires to verify the recipients are seeking employment or engaging in training. Conservatives support Welfare to Work requirements because they recognize first the need of every human to be productive, both for their mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and for the need for the government charity to be carried out in a effective and efficient manner.

Third, conservative policies regarding care for the poor seek to build up the poor into becoming something besides poor. A primary goal of every conservative person is to see others taking responsibility for their own lives. When everybody is taking responsibility for their own lives, less is required of society, government, and other potentially powerful entities we humans must deal with. A government that less is required of is a government that will have to shrink. And people who are not is need of a strong government are people who are more capable in and of themselves. This is a chicken or the egg sort of point. We conservatives like small government and we recognize a certain sort of general population is required to make that possible, and we like a responsible and self-capable general population and recognize that will result in a necessarily smaller government. Not quite a paradox, but the two are intrinsically linked. So because of this desire for people’s generally greater capability, we want to see the poor growing up out of their poverty, mostly by their own strength, but assisted as necessary by those who are strong themselves. In the same way a butterfly hatching from it’s chrysalis must be left to struggle on it’s own if it is to have any chance of developing the strength necessary to survive, people who have done most of the work necessary to lift themselves beyond where they were and into new horizons of ability are blessed both by the new horizons and by the strength to handle that horizon. This idea of earned capability was championed by the ex-slave Booker T. Washington, who argued, against the darling of social studies W. E. B. DuBois, that the best way to open the roads out of slavery the widest is to remove every hinderance possible, so that it is only the capability of the person themselves that will limit ow far they go. Which brings us to the final point.

Conservatives believe the best sort of government charity is where the government gives, and then gets out of the way. First, the hard part: this getting out of the way means you are giving people the freedom to fail again, to fail completely and totally. The other side of this coin is that without the freedom to fail, you also do not really have the freedom to succeed. Conservatives believe in minimal regulation, only that which is necessary to prevent the most egregious abuses and damage. Conservatives believe in the right to work, which means workers should have freedom to form a union if they please, but are not required to do so in order to gain employment in the field of their choice. Conservatives believe in cutting out corruption at any and all levels, as it unbalances the fields of law, access to services, and business opportunity, and it puts needless restrictions and higher costs on people affected by it. A person who is poor but wishes not to be is better served by a soup kitchen and an open and thriving field of employment than by a Link card and greedy and corrupt politicians in some of the biggest metropolises in American, which, ironically, are run primarily by Democrat-controlled political machines.

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Clinton, Pelosi, Alexi, Obama & Republicans

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Image by dbking via Flickr

Former President Bill Clinton tried hard to get Democrats elected. He was indeed effective, just not so much in how he planned. And he’s no Godfather.

But Clinton’s biggest goof came months before the election. Former Democratic Presidents have made it standard fare to reinvent their presidencies. Jimmy Carter, for example, this year blamed the deceased Teddy Kennedy for blocking his big health-care bill 30 years ago.

Clinton’s reinvention was this: if the Democratic-controlled Congress in 1993-’94 would have passed Hillary’s healthcare bill, the party would not have lost the Senate and House in the Gingrich revolution.

The New York Times tries to tell San Fran Nan she’s not cut out for the job of Minority Leader. That’s gotta be a bitter pill. And they try sooo hard to not offend her *ness in the process. But it really boils down to them realizing they actually want to win, and will give up loads of agenda for the sake of that seductive power.

Meanwhile, President Obama was surprised by the unpopularity of the health care law he didn’t communicate the benefits of to us effectively enough:

Obama said the health care system itself is huge and complicated and that changing it eluded previous presidents because it was so difficult.”I made the decision to go ahead and do it, and it proved as costly politically as we expected — probably actually a little more costly than we expected, politically,” he said.

This encapsulates the reason Obama is no Clinton: Obama is first and foremost an ideologue. Clinton is first and foremost a flirt.

Obama believes in the moral superiority and absolute necessity of his vision of America and it’s government. He cannot change that even to maintain his grasp on power. He is no megalomaniac.

Clinton was able to adjust his ideological moorings post-1994 because his moorings were only to is being loved by everybody and being always before their eyes.

I do not believe an Obama second term is anywhere near a certainty. The 2010 sentiment will still be flowing strong and it will be up to Republicans to keep it strong and to attract more to their cause with a clear exposition of positive reform and real and worthwhile and very necessary change to show they can do more than be the party of No. It’s the Republican’s election to lose.

Alexi Giannoulias, who I had the privilege of confronting face-to-face before he lost his bid for President Obama’s former senate seat to Republican Mark Kirk, apparently gave quite the surprise at this concession speech. I cannot find video of this anywhere and am relying on reports of friends of mine who said that after congratulating Kirk in his win and hearing boos from the crowd at Kirk’s name, Giannoulias came down very strongly against such behavior stating that we ought to respect the office and its occupant.

Mark Kirk, the next day, invited Alexi to a local bar where they drank beers together and discussed politics.

Finally, some in the media think this election is the result of careful and shrewd planning by the Republican establishment. I’m more in the “Republicans only kind of suck” camp, and can report, from inside the belly of the Republican beast, that the establishment of the Republican party is as clueless and wary of the Tea Parties as the Democrat establishment is. It is only by convenience that the ideas of the Republican party more closely align with those of the Tea Party, and 50 years ago it would’ve probably been the other way around.

The PowerPoint slides presented to House Republicans in January 2009 seemed incongruously optimistic at a time when the very word hope belonged to the newly ascendant Democrats and their incoming president, Barack Obama. “If the goal of the majority is to govern, what is the purpose of the minority?” one slide asked.”The purpose of the minority,” came the answer, “is to become the majority.”

The presentation was the product of a strategy session held 11 days before Obama’s inauguration, when top Republican leaders in the House of Representatives began devising an early blueprint for what they would accomplish in Tuesday’s election: their comeback. (Columbus Dispatch)

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels blamed the Tea Party for the fact we didn’t take the Senate as well.

“We didn’t turn up the strongest candidates,” Daniels, who some think might contend for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, said in response to a question about the Senate tally.

That line probably just cost Daniels any chance of a 2012 nomination. He doesn’t get it.

To the extent Tea Party candidates can be blamed for their failures in the elections, they can be blamed for being unpolished. And I don’t consider that quite the problem others may. Yes it’s harder to win when you’re on a shoe-string and have no idea what you’re doing and no who does have an idea to coach you.

Which places the blame exactly where it ought to be: the Republican establishment. Failing to capitalize (literally) races such as the Reid-Angle contest in Nevada will win the Republican leadership no brownie points. The fact that, with as much laughing coming from the purported right as from the left at Sharon Angle, she came within inches of wiping that snide smile from Dingy Harry Reid’s face should be ringing alarm bells all over RNC headquarters.

If the NRCC wasn’t so busy trying to maintain the status quo with statist ideologues and their own ideas of the American dream, we’d probably have control of both houses of Congress going into next year.

The Murkowski/Miller race was another travesty. Obviously, Murkowski is popular, and if she won, she won. But she lost before she won. She lost, and then refused to give in as she ought to have. Give her points for tenacity, but make sure you’re giving her points for lust for power, greed for position, and the helpline number for Megalomaniacs Anonymous.

Further, the establishment of the Republican party has no more to offer most Americans than the Democrat party. More of the same. Blue bloods. Lifers. Idiots who can pass monstrosities and tell us we have to pass it to know what’s in it. People who haven’t earned a real dollar their entire lives.

Sure they’ve got experience. But seeing what experience has got us so far, I’m ready to place my bets on the newbie.

So move aside, NRCC, RNC, and all ye ol’ elephants. There are people here who have good ideas and real experience in the real world (that place that happens outside the beltway that you fly over every so often) who have beat you as surely as they beat all other comers.

It’s our turn.

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The “Big Tent” Destroying The Republican Party?

McCain is exactly what a GOP that treats the natural moral law as negotiable deserves. The natural law is the philosophical core of conservatism. Any party that abandons or downplays it becomes just another species of liberalism. Most “conservative” positions today are little more than the liberal positions of yesteryear, from Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to No Child Left Behind — a PC conservatism that Mitt Romney and McCain perfectly embody.

The American Spectator

Morris: Bill’s Hill Bio Load Of Trash

Dick Morris, long time confidant and advisor to the Clinton’s, says Bill’s bio of Hillary plays fast and loose with the truth. She’s not a white knight-ette so much as an opportunistic communist sympathizer and not-so-closeted Marxist.

Bill says: In law school Hillary worked on legal services for the poor.

The true facts are: Hillary’s main extra-curricular activity in law school was helping the Black Panthers, on trial in Connecticut for torturing and killing a federal agent. She went to court every day as part of a law student monitoring committee trying to spot civil rights violations and develop grounds for appeal.

Hat tip to Doug Ross.

Middle East Votes Huckabee

The FARS news service of Iran writes a glowing piece on Huckabee.

Regarding the conduct of Huckabee in the White House, there is a lot we do not know. Like another governor from the same state, Bill Clinton, Huckabee has little experience in foreign affairs. Nonetheless, last week he dropped a bomb in an article he published in Foreign Affairs, where all the other candidates have contributed articles. He wrote of “urgent concerns” regarding Iran’s nuclear program and its support for militants, saying that he does not discard the military option. But he was critical of the Bush foreign policy, which he described as “arrogant bunker mentality.”

In the Iranian context, his policy is being interpreted as a change, calling for bringing to the table non-military options as well. Huckabee is of the opinion that relations with Iran deteriorated following Bush’s “axis of evil” speech. In many points his message on Iran is more akin to that of the Democrats: there is a need for dialogue with Iran, and more diplomacy is needed. He quoted the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, who authored The Art of War 2,500 years ago: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

They like him.

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.