28 February 2008

A Church Liability Nightmare

Last summer, continuing its long slow slide toward valuing homoerotic behavior over Scripture, my former denomination, the ELCA, passed this resolution:

Substitute Motion for Model Memorial cited in Recommendation E3: Restraint in Discipline Proceedings. (The Landahl Motion)

RESOLVED, that in an effort to continue as a church in moral deliberation without further strife and pain to its members, the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates who are in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Churchwide Assembly prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those
rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.

(The amendment and other proceedings are available at ELCA.org in the 2007 Churchwide Assembly (CWA) reports.)
To the chagrin of my former colleagues, I have publicly commented that this represents a potential nightmare of legal liability for local congregations. Here is my argument for that, as posted on listserv this week.

I have said this before, but I think it bears repeating. This resolution has potentially created a liability nightmare for local congregations. The ELCA as an entity, and the synods of which it is composed, have been legally and corporately structured in such a way as to (they hope) insulate themselves from lawsuits over pastoral misconduct.

The CWA has potentially stuck it to every congregation where the pastor goes astray. How?, you ask. Like this:

In trial law, a significant part of the defense for an employer against a lawsuit regarding the misbehavior of an employee is if the employer has rules and regulations governing the conduct of employees. If you have made a good-faith effort to have a policy in place for how the employee was to act and what procedures they were to follow, and you could demonstrate a good-faith effort to train the employees in the proper procedures to protect the interests of the clients, you are generally shielded from excessive liability judgments in actions brought against you by disgruntled clients. In order to overturn liability limits in many industries, the client/plaintiff would need to demonstrate either gross negligence or willful misconduct. If they could demonstrate either, your liability could potentially be unlimited.

To explain this with a practical example: under the Warsaw Convention of 1929, as updated, the legal limit that you can collect from an airline in the event of the death of a loved one on board an airplane is US$250,000. If, however, you can show that the airline displayed gross negligence or willful misconduct in its operations, you can collect as much as a jury wishes to give you. That is the basis for lawsuits against United and American Airlines over September 11 (I am not sure of the current status of the suits, but this is background to them, and they were filed.) The lawsuits claim that the airlines should have known - gross negligence - or did know - willful misconduct - that someone might hijack a plane and crash it into a building, and therefore the airlines have unlimited liability in their failure to foresee and prevent 9/11.

Part of the airline's defense is that they had security procedures that met industry standards, that they follow government regulations and are therefore limited in their liability.

What does this have to do with the Landahl resolution? Suppose that a local ELCA pastor engages in sexual misconduct. The local church has as part of its defense in a liability lawsuit the fact that they are part of an organization, the ELCA, which has standards for clergy conduct. But the CWA has now instructed the ELCA , for all intents and purposes, not to enforce those standards for clergy conduct. That means that a significant leg in the local congregations' defense has been pulled out from underneath them.

In the airline example above, imagine the impact on the lawsuit if there are minutes from a shareholders meeting where a resolution passed instructing the airline not to take all possible security measures, if they compromised an employee's sense of justice. It would be almost the same as if there were no security measures in place at all, because it is completely subjective. That is functionally what the ELCA CWA has done.

Yes, you can argue that the ELCA is only not enforcing their policy in a very limited set of circumstances. But, I can tell you that I would not want to be the out-of-town insurance company attorney trying to split those hairs in front of a jury when some local residents, be they kids or adults, have been injured by a pastor's sexual misconduct.

I have always maintained that churches are relatively safe from large lawsuits, because no judge was going to hand over 100-year-old church property over an accident. I believe that this is the exception to that rule.

And yes, most churches have insurance that covers against pastoral sexual misconduct. One major loss, however, and churches are going to find that that insurance either becomes astronomically priced or simply unavailable, because the Landahl resolution, in removing the congregations defense, has also removed the insurance company's liability limit.

If I am right, and frankly, I pray I am not, the Landahl resolution may well have very long-lasting implications for the ELCA and for local congregations.

24 February 2008

Obama equals a new populism? I'm sorry , no.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, one Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation, suggests that Barack Obama "could lead to a redefinition of presidential campaign rhetoric" because he is not a traditional antibusiness or antigovernment populist.

His opponent is decisiveness and rancor, and his political movement is among the most inclusive ever seen in American presidential politics.

After his victory in Wisconsin, Mr. Obama said: "The only way we will bring about real change in America is if we can bring new people into the process, if we can attract young people, if we can attract independents, if we can stop fighting with Republicans and try to bring some over to our side. That's how we win elections; that's how we will govern." He is not the first politician to speak in such unifying terms. But rarely has it been couched so clearly in the context of a populist movement.

I am sorry, but I live in Wisconsin. I listened to Mr. Obama's campaign commercials during the run up to the primary. The other in Mr. Obama's commercials is the guy making more than you are. He calls for "economic justice" and then assaults CEOs who "make more in 10 minutes than the average worker makes in a year." That is typical class warfare rhetoric. I suppose Mr. Obama's alternative would be... what? The government setting pay scales? Draconian taxation levels for those whom the market has determined are worth the most?

This is not a new populism. It is the same old antibusiness, anti-rich guy populism that has been around for a long time. The big problem with it today is this: most Americans now owns stock through their 401(k) or other retirement plans. The rich guy that this populism wants to soak is you and me

23 February 2008

Cheating

It comes as not surprise to me that Bill Belichick is now exposed as a serial cheater. It also comes as no surprise that he is very much in-your-face-so-what? now that he has been caught.

It does surprise me that this has been so un-covered by the media.

And it does not surprise me that they are going to let him go on.

I think he ought to suffer the same fate as Pete Rose: banned from the sport and ineligible for the Hall of Fame.

But that assumes that the NFL is about the game. It is in fact about money.

And speaking of the loonies at the NYT...

Gail Collins writes a silly piece today complaining that Satellite Assassination Quite Costly.

What is most silly about this is this statement:
Small, paranoid minds wondered if the government was not being completely forthright about its motives. The weapons the military mobilized to do the shooting are part of the missile defense system. Some people think the whole poison-gas story is just an excuse to give the Pentagon a chance to test its hardware.
What is most silly about this is that it is premised upon the notion that the military and intelligence services are obligated to tell us absolutely everything.

Collins seems to imply that the United States is divided into three groups of people:
  • small paranoid minds who think the government might not be completely forthright about its secret activities designed to keep us safe
  • normal people who will assume that that's an okay thing for the government to do
  • and, New Orc Times journalists and columnists who just don't get it that this is a dangerous world, and it is the governments job to protect us even, and here's the tricky part, if they have to do it in secret.

Does anyone remember...

... when the New Orc Times was a serious newspaper. It has certainly been a while.

Think back to the intelligence stories from a few years back, where the Times decided that their story was more important than a legitimate means of tracking terrorist finances. Or that it was okay, and even helpful, to tell terrorists how and when the telephone conversations were being monitored?
will
Now they have sunk to the level of the Star, publishing pointless innuendo. One might expect such an accusation from a conservative, like John Gibson on Fox News yesterday, who said, "if you're going to have a sex scandal, you probably ought to have some sex." But the Times is also being skewered by, of all people, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer! ( A newspaper whose editorial board is frequently about as intelligent as a post, which is where I suppose they got the name.)

I could not find this only P-I's own website, but it is here, with a hat tip. Managing editor David McCumber writes:

"To me, the story had serious flaws. It did not convincingly make the case that McCain either had an affair with a lobbyist, or was improperly influenced by her."

"For a story that dealt with the maybe, looked-like-to-some-people, nobody-knew-for-sure dalliance in an extraordinarily elliptical fashion, it sure had a lot of impact."

"This story seems to me not to pass the smell test. It makes the innuendo of impropriety, even corruption, without backing it up. I was taught that before you run something in the newspaper that could ruin somebody's reputation, you'd better have your facts very straight indeed."


I do not understand why these people continue to get a White House press pass, and are considered serious journalists. Really.

FWIW: I also just noted in doing a final edit on this piece and inserting my links that even the Boston Globe declined to publish the story! the Globe is often regarded as more liberal, and I've heard not much good about its journalistic standards, but apparently they exceed those of the parent paper!

Follow-up: The Public Editor at the NYT closed out his column on this matter with this:

I asked Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, if The Times could have done the story and left out the allegation about an affair. “That would not have reflected the essential truth of why the aides were alarmed,” she said.

But what the aides believed might not have been the real truth. And if you cannot provide readers with some independent evidence, I think it is wrong to report the suppositions or concerns of anonymous aides about whether the boss is getting into the wrong bed.

'Nuff said.

As usual...

... this column by Dan Tomasson tells us more about the author than the subject he is writing about.
The next 11 months are likely to be the best argument for doing away with the constitutional two-term limit on the presidency and not because anyone would expect the current occupant of the Oval Office to seek a third go round but because he is prohibited from doing so makes him about as important in the scheme of things as the person who sweeps up the place at night.
Remember Rudy Giuliani in the weeks after 9/11? His term was expiring. His replacement had already been elected. Some people talked about the need to suspend the charter of the city of New York so that Rudy could stay on longer to guide us through the crisis. Giuliani correctly pointed out that as important as one individual can be, it is the strength and character of the American people that make the country flow.

President Bush will be unimportant only to those who decide he is unimportant.

Is anyone surprised that is a member of the MSM that thinks Bush is already unimportant?

14 February 2008

Bad for our image... and a non sequitur

Barack Obama made a campaign stop in Madison, Wisconsin this week. It was the rally at which he proclaimed victory in the Potomac primary, and was useful for him as the Wisconsin primary is this coming Tuesday. He had the good sense to take his campaign to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a place sometimes referred to by folks around the state as the People's Republic of Madison. It was an audience that suited him well.

Putting more form, but no more substance, behind his theme of change,
Obama urged students to join his cause, stating, “Change doesn’t just happen from the top down; change happens from the bottom up.”
But then came this non sequitur:
The crowd of students broke out into applause in support of the candidate’s declarations. The group didn’t seem to mind that his speech focused more on his goals than his plans to accomplish them. He referred to John F. Kennedy, saying, “When JFK said we were going to the moon, nobody knew how we were going to do it. But, we set a goal, and we made it happen.”
Wait a minute! I thought change doesn't happen from the top down. So how did JFK set a goal of change ... and then accomplish it? Clearly the dynamics of change are more nuanced than Mr. Obama is letting on.

It is also interesting that even a UW-Milwaukee student reporter took note of Obama's failure to put any meat on his lofty goals.

And then... as if to drive home the fact that you can take a hick out of the sticks, and put him in a Big 10 university setting, but he will still be a hick, the reporter noted this:

Before the senator arrived, students were tossing around an inflatable cow above the crowd.
Just plain bad for our image as a state...

Benign?

Okay, this is a great story. I'm happy for the man, and I think this doctor is a great practitioner of the medical arts.

But what struck me about this story was this odd statement:
Gurrieri shook hands with [Dr] Chris Britt, who immediately noticed Gurrieri's hand felt "spongy," a symptom of acromegaly, a benign tumor at the base of the brain that can lead to blindness, diabetes, high blood pressure and premature death.

If the benign tumor can cause blindness, diabetes, high blood pressure and premature death, aren't all
tumors, ultimately, benign?

imagine that!

One of the more irritating songs ever is John Lennon's Imagine. It has become an anthem for baby boomers who sit around listening to it on their Bose stereo speakers while monitoring their E*TRADE portfolios on their home computers. It is in fact a rather lurid song that describes an atheistic, socialist Nirvana... as though capitalism and faith are the sources of all evil.

The hypocrisy of the song is evident in the fact that its author spent years in court battling over the very kinds of possessions he decries.

I also find that one of the more irritating individuals in the world today is Yoko Ono. Have you ever actually heard a Yoko Ono song? Trust me. You don't want to. Have you seen any of Yoko's art? I use the term loosely. Yet as a stand-in for her late husband, she gets all kinds of play. She even appeared at the opening of the last Winter Olympics?!? What was that about? Yoko Ono receives the sort of attention Truman Capote used to get, except that she has no portfolio in her distant past to merit it.

So I found this little piece rather amusing. It seems that there is a singer named Lennon Murphy who contacted Yoko a few years ago to ask if she could use just the name Lennon as her performance name, and Yoko gave her consent. I'm not sure why she asked Yoko, since I don't think Yoko or John ever asked the Lennon Sisters for permission to use their name... Yoko agreed. But now that Ms. Murphy seems to be on the cusp of making some money, Yoko suddenly gets all possessive about her late husband's name, which as far as I know she's never bothered to take.

Don't be so narrow-minded, Yoko. You do not and should not own a relatively common last name.

After all, even if you could own the name ... imagine: no possessions.

What a load of crap!

This just appeared on the AP wire on MSNBC.com

Let me say that I'm glad they've figured out to do something about this satellite, and I'm glad that the military has an excuse to test our anti-satellite capability, but the whole thing has been pretty silly. Satellites have been falling back to Earth for 50 years, and no one has ever been hit by one. This has been media hype, fed by the Pentagon, in extremus.

Something else: I have been interested in all things military since I was in junior high. I remember articles in some magazine-it might have been Strategy&Tactics or it might have been Discover-dating back into my high school or college days that discussed the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union both had developed the capability of shooting down each other's satellites.

Now this silly AP story makes this claim:

Shooting down a satellite is particularly sensitive because of the controversy surrounding China's anti-satellite test last year, when Beijing shot down one of its defunct weather satellites, drawing immediate criticism from the United States and other countries. A key concern at that time was the debris created by Chinese satellite's destruction...

What a load of crap! The concern that was expressed at the time of the Chinese missile test had to do with the balance of power and a possible Chinese capability to disable our ability to see what they were going to do in places like the Taiwan Strait. Anybody who thinks that the concern was falling debris has his head in the sand, and clearly did not listen to the stories or commentary that was run at the time.

What if AP stand for? All Phantasy?

PS: if you think that the Navy has to modify these missiles in order to hit a satellite, like they've never done it before, I've got some land to sell you, and it will never need watering...

12 February 2008

An interesting read

I will resist the temptation to quote this blog post in full, but here is the punch line of Greg Gutfeld's recent rant:
What I always find amusing is that the champions of tolerance - the people who earn their keep painting the right as hateful, mean-spirited people - actually wish death on people who don't agree with them.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who happens upon a progressive opinion on a blog. Beneath every compassionate liberal is an undercurrent of fascism. Comforted by a complicit press, and knowing they can't win on the playing field of ideas - advocating death is the viable option.
(BTW: I watched Gutfeld's show on Fox one night and found it offensive. But I still do not wish him dead.)

A question for the senators seeking the Democratic nomination for president

A question for the "withdrawal from Iraq Left", including Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton:

What do you want Iraq to look like in 25 years?

Consider this history. In 1945, we invaded Germany. We still have forces stationed there. In 1945, we occupied Japan, and we still have some forces stationed there. In 1950, we came to the rescue of the people of South Korea. We still have some forces in Korea. In 1993, we sent troops into Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1994 into Macedonia and in 1999, we sent troops to Kosovo. We still have troops in the Balkans. In 1991 we sent troops to liberate Kuwait. Guess what.

On the other hand, in 1955 we started sending advisers to South Vietnam. We increased that to a full-fledged deployment in 1964. We withdrew our forces in 1973, and, tragically, withdrew our support of our allies in late 1974 and early 1975.

In 1958, we sent troops to Lebanon and quickly withdrew them. In 1965, we sent troops to the Dominican Republic, and pulled them out as soon as we thought our interests were safe. In 1970, we invaded Cambodia and withdrew in 1973. In 1982, we were back in Lebanon, but only for a short while.

In 1992, we sent troops to Somalia and pulled them out a year later after the tragic loss of a large patrol. In 1993, we sent troops into Haiti and pulled them out two years later.

While there are other deployments since World War II, these are, I believe, the largest and most substantial deployments the United States military has made in combat situations since 1945.

Here is the rub: South Vietnam fell and Vietnam is today one of the more repressive communist regimes remaining; Lebanon remains unstable; the Dominican Republic is an economic backwater; Cambodia continues to struggle against Khmer Rouge rebels and internal discord, especially after the deaths of over a million people under Pol Pots regime after our withdrawal. Somalia continues to be a failed state; and Haiti remains a humanitarian disaster.

On the other hand, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, and the Balkans are all stable, and democracy has taken root or is a growing movement.

So, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, I have a question for you. Since Iraq sits at the hub of an area that has been unstable for 1500 years, and since much of the world’s energy, and therefore food, is dependent on what happens in that area of the world, I ask you this: what do you want Iraq to look like in 25 years, Somalia and Haiti, or Germany and South Korea ?

Assuming that we can withdraw our troops in the sort of precipitous manner we have demonstrated with our cut- and- run attitude in so many places at the cost of so many lives will doom us to disaster in Iraq. I believe that the presence of American troops in places like Germany, Japan, Korea, Kuwait and the Balkans, among others, is a stabilizing force that enhances democracy, stability, and freedom. This is in the interest of the Iraqi people, and in the national interest of the United States.

Freedom isn't free. So why do you assume that we can have it without asking Americans to pay any price at all?

Which Dem do the Republicans want to face?

Peggy Noonan asserts that because of his race, Barack Obama will be bulletproof in the fall campaign, and therefore Republicans would be better off if Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee.

I am not so sure that Noonan has this one right. The problem with Obama, as James Taranto pointed out last week, is at this point his campaign is all form and no substance. I truly believe that when Obama is forced to define the actual policy agendas which underlie his concepts of "Hope" and "Change" most Americans will find out that Barack Obama is to 2008 what George McGovern was to 1972: a naïve, isolationist fever in the minds of the media and of the Left-wing, the defeatist antiwar activists, the idealistic young and the scared.

Too funny

I suppose that is hardly fair to call Day by Day the best comic on the web is what it is the only one I read. I did enjoy this one this morning:




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11 February 2008

A Modest Proposal on Immigration

Today, the Wall Street Journal offers advice to Senator McCain; he should continue his moderate stance on immigration and dealing with illegal immigrants, because most of America agrees with him, and the talk radio/blogosphere right never will.

I am not so sure that most of America does agree with the McCain-Kennedy proposal of last year. The problem most Americans face is that they have been offered two extreme proposals. The Right wants to offer only a sand-them-all-back-where-they-came-from bill. The Left, and oddly, President W., all want to talk about some form of amnesty-and yes, that's what it is-and a "path to citizenship."

I do not think that either of these extremes meet with the approval of most Americans. Over year ago I contacted my congressman and senators and offered my modest proposal for immigration reform. David Obey, to his credit, had his computer answer with a thoughtful letter. My senators did not answer me all.

So here, today, are some rationales, and then my modest proposal.

Rationales

1. I have become convinced that we cannot and should not attempt to deport 12 million illegal immigrants. I have to take off my shoes to count the number of stories I have read recently about children who are being separated from their parents because their parents are illegal and they are citizens. Each of these stories ought to serve as a cautionary tale to possible illegal immigrants. They do not. They serve simply as examples of how a legalistic mindset is prepared to inflict incredible suffering on families. The fact that this willingness to inflict comes largely from those who spend a great deal of time talking about family values ought to trouble all of us on the Right.

I also believe that there could be significant economic consequences to removing 12 million unskilled laborers from the market. The evidence for this is not overwhelming, but given that the economy is widely believed to be somewhat shaky, I do not think it is a risk we should take.

While most Americans could be affected by an economic downturn, I truly believe that more would be deeply troubled by the separation-of-families stories which will only grow in number as deportation/ enforcement is attempted. I believe this soft spot in the heart speaks well of Americans.

2. If you have a problem with mice, there are three possible solutions: attempt to seal your house completely, put down lots of traps and buy a cat, or seal up those things that the mice are attracted to, like food. Because not all mice are after food, you will probably need to do all three. But most effective of them will be the third option: remove what attracts the mice and make it unavailable to them.

In terms of illegal immigration, you do this by drying up the supply of jobs illegal immigrants come here to take.

3. All that being said, I do not believe that most Americans want our government to be vindictive toward illegals, but they do not want to exactly reward bad behavior either.

4. If, by this point, you have been offended by my use of the term illegal aliens, and you wish that I would use a more politically correct term like undocumented workers, my advice to you is to get real. You will not be taken seriously as long as you try to offer euphemisms to soften the blow of someone's bad behavior.

My Modest Proposal

1. Pick a date certain. I do not care what it is. Call it S-Day (S for Stay). Anyone who can prove that they were here on S-Day, who have not broken any other laws, gets to stay. Period. Those individuals will be given 90 days to apply for and receive a permanent S Visa.

2. Since I do not believe that most Americans want to reward bad behavior, and in my opinion, United States citizenship is about the ultimate reward this world can offer, those individuals who receive S Visas will now, and for evermore be, resident aliens. There are two exceptions to this. Any individual wanting to apply for citizenship may do so by returning to their native country and working through the process legally. The second way in which my proposal would permit a person to gain citizenship would be that they enlist in the United States Armed Forces and serve, honorably, for seven years.

Fines and such are silly window-dressing, and I do not believe that most Americans are interested in them.

3. If we are going to remove the thing which attracts illegal aliens, we are going to have to shut down the job market which employs illegal aliens. The only effective way that I know to do this is to jail those who employ them.

Make the penalty very simple and very stiff. Hiring a person for a job without ensuring to the very best of your ability that they are either a citizen, have a green card, or have an S Visa, will result in a six-month mandatory jail sentence per offense.

Lock up a couple of Hollywood housewives with Guatemalan pool boys, or a couple of plant managers for IBP, and the job market for illegals will disappear. When there are no jobs, illegal border crossings will dwindle to a trickle.

This particular piece ought to serve as some comfort to the Left. It is their claim that they wish to punish the business people who exploit illegal aliens. This lets them do that. It is also their claim that they want to raise the standard of living of the lowest paid workers in America. Given study after study that makes it clear that an influx of illegal workers drives down pay for those who are here legally or naturally, it is logically impossible to support higher wages and illegal immigration. The effect is only to support the latter and the former suffers.

That is it; my modest proposal. I truly believe this proposal offers something for everyone, but no one gets everything. Business does not have to try to figure out how to work without 12 million of its current employees. Those already present get to stay, so our compassion gene is sated. Those who seek a larger military force-including me-now have a ready-made pool of volunteers, perhaps enough to fill out another division. Those who want enforcement get enforcement from here on out. And even those who get to stay, do not receive the ultimate benefit.

Will anyone adopt something so sensible? Well... it would take the cooperation of both parties in Congress and a president who wants to lead, and a business community that is willing to be moral and practical.

So I do not hold out much hope for my modest proposal.

09 February 2008

Why McCain has won

Conservatives who are complaining about John McCain's takeover of the Republican Party have only themselves to blame.

First, this was not exactly an inspiring lot. Thompson never seems to have woken up, although I did like his attempt to slow down the process which had already started a year ago. Huckabee sounds like a preacher, which is not a problem if you're a preacher. It is not how I or most other people want their president to sound. Romney, an able manager, never came off as a leader. Giuliani comes off as a leader but has so much baggage.

I can't find it, but I heard a reference made by one of the talking heads on TV to a conservative columnist who had written "do we actually have to elect one of these guys?"

Second, it has been noted all week that while the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham have suddenly become fans of Mitt Romney, they came late to the party, only really concerned about stopping McCain. In truth Romney became the conservative not of choice, but of default. The public voted everyone else out, except Huckabee, whom most have found not to their taste. (I suspect it has to do with his wearing his religion on his sleeve. It could just be that Americans have had quite enough of the denizens of the Arkansas governor's mansion...)

Hence, as Time magazine points out, James Dobson endorses Huckabee -a man with whom he should share much - only after it is down to Huckabee or McCain.

So only after Fred and Rudy and Mitt have dropped out, and McCain has all but mathematically sealed the GOP nomination, does Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson come out and endorse Mike Huckabee as "our best remaining choice for President of the United States," now that it can't possibly make a difference. Given how this season has unfolded, there is something beautifully appropriate about that.
This not only shows that Dobson has lost any claim to being a serious player in politics, not that I'm sure he ever should've been, but it also shows that his personal animosity toward John McCain is more important to him than the policy issues he claims concerning him.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, McCain has promised to appoint strict constructionist judges. Dobson says he will not vote for McCain; he would rather stay home and not vote at all.

If he contributes, thereby, to the election of Clinton or Obama, and they appoint liberal judges who again uphold in Roe V. Wade, we will have, in part, Dobson to blame.

04 February 2008

I'm Back ... and I can live with McCain

Let it be said that I confess to being a conservative. The failures of government to live up to the promises of liberalism have left me with no real alternative.

I now choose to vote in favor of the right to bear arms, less abortion, lower taxes, smaller government, a strong national defense, an aggressive foreign policy that supports freedom, immigration reform, and de-centralization of government authority, among other things. (More on immigration reform later.)

That having been said, I believe that the best option for Republicans as we move into Super - Duper Tsunami Tuesday is to vote for John McCain.

First, McCain is the most electable of the Republican candidates.

Barak Obama is the George McGovern of 2008. He is all the rage with the left, and the "youth." He is for an immediate pullout from Iraq, and, frankly, would do little or nothing in the war on terror, in spite of his bluster last summer about invading Pakistan if we can't find Osama in Afghanistan. Domestically, when push comes to shove and he has to start giving some definition to his promises of "change", most Americans are going to find that he is Progressive-off-the-charts, and he will go down in flames much as did McGovern (on whose campaign this then-idealistic 13-year-old worked his tail off.)

As for Hillary Clinton, she is not electable, unless the alternative is intolerable. She has this albatross around her neck named Bill, not to mention a lot of documents nobody gets to see, and she can't give us a good reason. She would have been better off releasing the documents last summer because they are going to come out, and they are going to come out in September 2008, and no one is going to be able to forget them before election Day.

In a race against either Barak or Hillary, I believe that many Americans would find Mitt Romney intolerable for a number of reasons, including his history in business as a cost/job cutter, and religious bigotry. (I am not one who wants a religious test for public office, but in general, Latter Day Saints bother me. Nonetheless, I could probably vote for him, especially given the alternatives.)

There is also the issue of record.

McCain is the co-author of the McCain Feingold campaign finance legislation. I don't like it, but I see a man who saw the problem and decided to do something about it. Likewise, the McCain Kennedy immigration bill, now defunct.

On the other hand, Romney has come somewhat late to the conservative cause. He was a Mormon who was governor of Massachusetts, but the history of "progress" during his tenure is troubling. Now he says that he has changed his mind, and that he is a true conservative.

That would be a little like me saying that I am the true conservative, when the truth the matter is that back in the day I seriously considered drafting a will at 21 because Reagan had been elected. I soon realized in my liberal delusions that the will would be useless after a nuclear war, which I thought was imminent. I may be a conservative now, but I am still hard-pressed to call myself a true conservative since I came so late to the party.

McCain on the other hand has an American Conservative Union rating of around 85%. That means that he has voted with the "conservative" position almost uniformly. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and others are fond of saying that McCain has stabbed the Republican Party in the back too many times. What I see instead is an inside outsider - and McCain really is an outsider, I suspect in part because of his POW experience - who has a few pet peeves that he is prepared to address without being an ideologue.

This makes them very attractive to the old media, because he makes headlines. That makes him more electable.

Finally, James Taranto, as he does so often, puts it into words better than I can:
Romney has emerged as the candidate of "conservatives," or at least of conservative political activists. The chief rap on Romney, though, is that he is not a man of conviction--that in his two runs for statewide office in Massachusetts (U.S. senator in 1994 and governor in 2002) he expediently took positions that are very liberal by GOP lights, and that differ drastically from the views he now espouses.

The conservative defense of Romney, we suppose, is that he didn't really believe those positions, whereas when McCain has departed from the conservative mainstream, he has been sincere and committed. Fair enough. But who is going to be a more loyal supporter in the long run--someone who agrees with you on everything, but insincerely, or someone who agrees with you on some things, disagrees with you on others, and is clear about which is which? [emphasis added}

Which pretty well sums up why I believe that John McCain is the candidate Republicans ought to vote for, and grit their teeth, remembering that politics is never pure.

No, they are never pure. I mean, really: do you remember that we're elected George W. Bush as a "conservative?" Give me a break, and give it to me when I received my "economic stimulus" check.