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The Coming GOP Purge

A Cure for Some of Our Ills

There has been, is and will be a lot of talk about what the GOP needs to do to win over voters in 2008. All such scribblings and conversations are erroneous and vain. There is very little the GOP can do to win back the confidence of voters. Sure, politics is local and good candidates combined with good campaigns can find victory in bad electoral years.

On the whole, however, the GOP is just not going to win. For one thing, all the talk about what the GOP needs to do to win the hearts and minds of voters will be impossible to implement. The GOP is out of power. So, when you hear a politician say the GOP needs to become the party of fiscal responsibility, the proper response is to laugh.

Right now, the GOP is responsible for very little. They’re in the minority. At the moment we still have the presidency but on the whole the Democrats are the ones playing offense. The opportunity for the Republicans to show the voters they’re interested in fiscal responsibility has passed. We had the chance, we blew it. There’s no reason for the people to give the Republicans another go after they had a working majority in every branch of government.

There are few things the out of power party can do to convince voters of meaningful action. One of the best is a purge. Let’s be frank, if George Bush was a prime minister in Britain he would have been forced to resign years ago. In the system we have now, it’s about impossible to remove entrenched leadership.

This isn’t to say it can’t be done. State party chairs, national leaders, elected leaders, all need to step down. (Gosh, it would also help a lot to get rid of Bush, a lot.) For elected leaders it’s not so important they retire than they simply fade away from the spotlight. The voters need to see the party they put out power (or the party they want to put out of power) is making significant, meaningful and public changes to personnel and message.

I’m not suggesting the GOP surrender its conservatism, just its leadership and message. Conservatism works because it yields to tradition and history (normally in ways that work). But it does take new applications to keep conservatism meaningful. Ronald Reagan wanted to cut taxes, deregulate and defeat communism. Now, taxes, communism and regulation aren’t on the minds of voters. Deal with it.

So, a summary. We need new leadership, fresh faces, new ideas (really, new applications of conservative values) in order to convince voters we’re making strides to meet their needs and demands. Even then, it might be 2010 or 2012 before the voters get the message.


Random Link

For the Night Writer:


Bargain Bin Movie Review

You Bet Your Life—The Best of Groucho Marx

Price: One dollar, found at Wal-Mart

It’s hard to believe people thought this stuff was entertaining. Don’t misunderstand; I’m a huge fan of the Marx Brothers, Groucho in particular. But this show is nothing but awkward silences, slow moving conversations and missed one-liners. If you don’t know or remember, You Bet Your Life didn’t actually involve betting one’s life, but it was in fact just a trivia show.

The banter between Groucho and the contestants was the primary source of entertainment value of the show. Unfortunately, this isn’t the slick, fast talking Groucho from the movies. The pace is slow; a sleepy and aged Groucho Marx sits and chats with people who aren’t especially entertaining.

The highlight of the DVD is when a professional pickpocket appears on the show and proceeds to pick the pocket of another guest, then Groucho’s pocket, next he removes Groucho’s suspenders from his suit and while helping Groucho back into the suspenders he picks his pocket again. The guy said he was a legal pickpocket, someone who helped local police departments in stopping pickpocket rings. Well, maybe that’s how he ended up.

What I find funny is the fact contestants who were good at the game could win almost 3000 dollars. A generation later, contestants on “Win Ben Stein’s Money” (A personal favorite of mine) could earn a whopping five thousand dollars. So, the money wasn’t bad on the show.

This forces me to consider what people will think of reruns of “Deal or No Deal” (presently the only game show I watch) in 40 years. They’ll probably think the same thing I think, “Man are these people stupid.”

And just like that, two episodes and an appearance by Groucho’s daughter and it’s over. Well, that’s what I get for spending a buck for a DVD.

Why is the AL dominating the NL?

The American League is dominating interleague play this year, and has over the last few years. The AL also has, over the entire lifetime of interleague play, an advantage over the NL. Since the eighties the AL has won more World Series titles and they have also won more All Star games. Why has the AL dominated the NL over the last few decades? The simple answer is the designated hitter.

For a long time, the American League was slow in becoming fully racially integrated. The National League was able to dominate the All Star Game (one of only two meetings between the leagues) until the 1980’s. Even in the 70’s, the NL was still reaping the benefits of full racial integration by having veteran Black players in the All Star games despite the adoption by the AL of the DH rule in 1973.

So it took awhile before the DH rule was able to strengthen the AL to a position of dominance over the NL. But now it can’t be denied, the AL has consistently beaten the NL for an extended period of time in every avenue the two leagues compete. So what is it about the DH that makes the AL stronger?

The DH allows GMs in the AL to be more flexible in creating their lineup. With a DH, a GM can sacrifice some offense and put an extra glove into the lineup and know his DH can make up for the difference in offensive production. In essence, a GM can have an extra glove and an extra bat in his lineup. Or, a GM can create a lineup and use the DH to allow his players a rest day without having to lose a valuable bat from the lineup.

AL GMs have so many more options with the DH. They can add bats, gloves, give days off, simplify their lineups or platoon more aggressively than their NL counterparts. In an NL game, there are multiple lineup changes (the double switch) which force a manager to take out two players in order to (basically) skip a pitcher’s at bat. NL managers need more utility players, unspecialized players who can manage themselves at multiple positions. With so many lineup changes there isn’t room for much specialization.

NL managers are also forced to go to the bullpen earlier than AL managers. Often when a team gets men on base in scoring position, with one or two outs, and the starting pitcher coming up in a tight game, a pinch hitter is used to try to get a lead. Thus an NL team in this position is forced to abandon an effective pitcher before their performance would otherwise require.

Pinch hitters are at a disadvantage over DHs. Most players hit best when they are in the field. They hit a little worse when DHing. But few players can consistently pinch hit with success. Even if a manager can PH a pitcher 3 times out of five, it still doesn’t approach what a DH can do.

What adds to the NL manager’s problems is the fact natural hitters who have mobility or fielding problems (Cecil Fielder’s and Frank Thomas’s) are going to migrate to the AL. These players make better than average pinch hitters but moving to the AL allows them more at bats and often better money.

Finally, better pitchers will also start to migrate to the AL. By not being forced to hit, pitchers can avoid potential injuries (from running the basepaths), focus more of their practice on pitching, stay in games longer, get more rest and prep time during games and be given more opportunities to win.

So, when everything is taken together, it makes sense the AL dominates the NL. Better players migrate there and the very ways teams are put together are more focused towards winning games. In fact, AL teams might even be making more money than NL teams (I’d have to check). The NL should consider adopting the DH rule in order to start leveling the playing field. But in the meantime, NL GMs might want to start trying to organize their teams like AL teams. It’s worth a shot.

Conservatism: A Philosophy for Living

Ignoring the fact conservatism isn’t really a philosophy, I did want to mention some recent research I’ve been doing on behalf of a liberal coworker of mine. He was trying to tell me liberals we’re happier, better people. Being liberal just makes ya feel good.

Well, after some quick research (involving stealing research from Peter Schweizer’s book “Makers and takers”) I was able to show my coworker wrong. Here’s a summary of the findings:

-Liberals are much more likely to be unhappy (based on numerous surveys). The more conservative, the happier the person.

-Conservatives donate more to charities (even when you control for taxation), they volunteer more hours and are more likely to give to charities that actually help people (over the more public policy oriented non-profits liberals fund).

-Conservatives are less likely to commit suicide

-Liberals are more obsessed with money, more interested in choosing a well paying career over one they enjoyed.

-Conservatives are more likely to get married, have children, practice good parenting, make sacrifices for family members, and they’re even more likely to hug their children (and the hugging thing is based on observation, not on self evaluation).

-Democrats tend to do more of the election fraud (ACORN anyone?)

-Liberals are more likely to cheat on their taxes.

-Conservatives have a better work ethic and call in sick days less often.

-Republican couples have better sex lives and Republican women are more likely to “dress sexy” for their husbands and they’re less likely than their Democrat opposites to fake an orgasm. (Seriously)

-Conservatives also are less likely to do drugs.

-Conservatives also whine less

Take that annoying liberal coworker.

From the Notebook

-To show everyone just how obsessed I am with the Christmas Gift Guides, I’m already working on the 2008 series. I’m starting to get to the point where all the funny ideas I had, have already been used. It’s getting more difficult to keep the Gift Guides fresh and funny, unexpected. The harder part is to keep from getting too weird as well. Just looking at my notes for this year, the series might even get a little more disturbing than normal.

-I’m still without internet at home and only internet I can access regularly is at my workplace or at Culvers. It’s frustrating but it is givinng me plenty of time to write posts in advance. With the scheduling tool provided by WordPress I only need to access the Internet once or twice a week but sometimes material gets a little thin, like it did earlier this week.

-With all the recent talk about the GOP and what can be done to save it this year (short answer, not much), it got me thinking about what I thought the ideal conservative representative would be. Well, my vision was clear. I think of conservatives as being back bench representatives who sit, smoke cigars, drink fine cognac and laugh at what is happening before them. They grab the floor whenever possible to delivering entertaining speeches about how whatever the House is trying to do won’t work because it fights human nature. Occasionally their votes matter. They’re not even the majority of whatever body they belong to. Maybe it’s too pessimistic a vision, but I rather like it.

-A project I’ve been thinking about for a long time but nobody ever seemed to think much of it was my idea for an online, hyperlinked US constitution. Every passage and every section would be hyperlinked to a directory of information on SCOTUS cases, legal historical notes and anything else relevant to allowing for research and analysis of the US Constitution. Personally, I think it would be a great resource. Maybe I’m wrong.

-I will be appearing on Dave Phipps’ Creative Department radio show on 1450 KNSI July 6th at noon. The Burger Tour book is the topic. I have implied oral consent to record and podcast the interview after the show appears so look for that in a couple of weeks.

-Another Weekly Twins Whatnot has appeared, with my contributions, available at the Bleacher Report.

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested by Mary Ann

Staff Sgt. Jude Voss

Staff Sgt. Jude Voss
1st Battalion, 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne)
U.S. Army

His courage illustrates a combat truth to these veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam: Soldiers aren’t thinking about glory or ideals in the midst of a battle. They fight for the men to the left and right of them.

And that’s just what SSgt. Jude Voss did in September of 2006 when, without consideration to his safety, SSgt. Voss ran through enemy fire and the burning, smoking debris of a truck to rescue Sgt. 1st Class Greg Stube. Sgt. Stube was in a bad way. Uniform burning and legs busted, but because of the actions of SSgt. Voss he is alive today.

Because of his actions that day, SSgt. Voss was nominated for and received the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action. “I did what everybody out there would do” Voss said. “I was just the closest guy.”

You can read SSgt. Voss’s story here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams. Those Who Say That We’re In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don’t Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Random Link o’ the Day:


Preventing the GOP ’08 Slaughter

There is a huge problem this election for Republicans. Great Republican victories have historically had winning themes which allowed for a uniform national message which could be carried by Republican candidates all over. For Reagan it was Morning in America (or, are you better off now than you were four years ago). In 1994 it was the Contract with America. National security issues carried us in ’02 and ’04.

But 2008 will be one of those election years where there won’t be a national message Republicans will be able to rely on. And it’s not because there aren’t winning messages out there. Gas and energy prices are a huge issue, one the Republicans are right on and the Democrats are wrong on (Jimmy Carter, gas lines, anyone?). The Democrat’s answer to higher gas prices is to raise taxes and limit supply; an instance in history where this method has actually resulted in real prices being lowered for any product on a long term basis isn’t recorded (and if it is and I missed it, it should be advertised by left wingers better).

Unfortunately, the comprehensive energy package proposals being offered by Republicans (increase domestic drilling and refinery capacity, more nuclear power plants, among other ideas) won’t help the GOP avoid getting hammered this November.

The voters are suffering from two mental blocks. The first is easy enough to understand, incumbent party fatigue. The GOP was in power for a long time, did some good but had that offset by an unpopular war and the ongoing status quo was simply unbearable for most voters. The other reason the GOP won’t be able to have a unified message is because the voters have no reason to believe anything a Republican tells them.

Think about this for a second. One of the ongoing memes at the GOP state convention was that the GOP needed to prove themselves fiscally responsible to voters, to reclaim the honor of being fiscal conservatives. The only way this makes any sense is if the GOP wasn’t practicing what they preached when they were in power. Not even Republicans think Republicans made any effort to hold themselves to the values which brought them to office in the first place.

How are voters supposed to believe anything an incumbent Republican says now? How could they possibly be expected to give the benefit of the doubt to the Party of no soul? Manufactured, focus group tested political messages from the GOP directed to the voters themselves will be laughed at, if we’re lucky. More likely, they’ll be totally ignored.

This is not to say there is no hope in 2008. Outside of John McCain (the only GOP presidential candidate who had anything more than a slim chance of winning) we’ll have to remember all politics is local. Good candidates running good campaigns could turn a slaughter into a mere disaster. It’s very possible to win in bad years and in tough areas, it’s just a lot of work and even then you need to get lucky.

Even in this though, the GOP isn’t likely to have much luck. Republicans are generally businessmen, less true believers. For Democrats, their political philosophy is much more personally encompassing; their politics is their religion. They run hard campaigns in tough districts much more often than their party opposites.

The “business” of politics dictates you put resources only into select districts often at the sacrifice of huge numbers of tougher areas. The GOP does this as a matter of policy. Tougher areas are left to fend for themselves, often creating a cycle of defeat which emaciates esprit de corps among even the local diehards.

An army of charismatic candidates, true believers, who know how to conduct solid campaigns with good ground games and pointed media management could be the saving grace for the GOP in 2008. Too bad Republicans don’t actually believe in such things.

And Upper Deck is Back

Court lifts TRO and allows the Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts product back into the market.