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I’ve been arguing with people a lot lately. Not sure what it is, maybe it’s the confidence that comes from electoral success, but the liberals in my life have been quick to verbal sparring. I don’t mind it, I enjoy the clash of ideas. It’s necessary in a democracy.

The problem I’ve found in these arguments is they always lead to the same topic: the war in Iraq. Obama significantly raising the debt? Well, “Bush, Iraq, Bush, Iraq” goes the liberal co-worker. Originalism versus empathy on the bench? “Bush, Iraq” goes the parrot, er, liberal. Occasionally you get lucky and the liberal thoughtfully explains how Bush started the spending spree. Normally just before going on a long rant about the war in Iraq.

And sure, I’ll defend the result in Iraq. A stable democracy, several elections, a constitution, autonomy, greater civil liberty and reduced genocide. I’ll take that case. Donald Rumsfeld’s plan for the occupation of Iraq was wrong, his thinking about the “light footprint” were wrong. His ideas about the military were revolutionary, maybe too much so. But after the initial mistakes in the occupation were righted by the surge, Iraq came together. Thirteen of eighteen provinces are under direct Iraqi control. All the other factors, like suicide bombings and coalition casualties are down. The country is close to full autonomy.

But when I make these points, they are ignored. “Bush Lied, Bush Murdered, Bush Tortured, Bush is retarded, Where are the WMDs? Do you like burning dark skinned people? We need to get out now.”

I can’t take it. I will say I think the case for going to war with Iraq was weaker than the case not to. I felt that at the time. Other issues related to Bush’s leadership are moot, Obama is now in office. How to finish in Iraq is more important. I do what I can to be forward thinking in these discussions but it is hard.

Eventually, I just say “you can’t put crap back into the donkey” and let that be my case for remaining in Iraq until the country is stable and fully autonomous.

Really, if I wanted to stay on topic I would never allow the “Bush, Iraq” misdirection and would stay on the subjects at hand: spending, taxation, deficit spending, the role of the judiciary, the sanctity of life, the role of government in a free market, etc.

The epiphany for me has been the fact the Iraq War has created such blind and irrational opposition to conservatives. Even though nation building and active foreign interventions aren’t conservative. The GOP will never be able to make headway until the ideas “Bush” and “Iraq” have left the cultural collective conscious. The GOP needs to foster an image that supersedes our association with the Iraq War and the memory of George W. Bush (rightly or wrongly) will have to fade before we can enjoy electoral success again.


Wednesday Hero

USS George H.W. BushUSS George H.W. Bush
U.S. Navy

Sailors assigned to the Air Department of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) are silhouetted against the setting sun at the conclusion of flight operations. George H.W. is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting flight deck certifications.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

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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On Sotomayor: Keep Criticisms Philosophical

President Obama has picked a veteran jurist with solid credentials. Sotomayor is probably the least offensive person Obama could appoint to the Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see what information comes to light during the confirmation process, but at first glance this pick looks like a strong one. Cynics will point to identity politics being behind Sotomayor’s selection, and there is probably truth to that. But this doesn’t mean the GOP should fall into Obama’s trap.

Criticising Obama for playing racial politics ignores the real issue, whether Sotomayor is unqualified for the Supreme court and if Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy is contrary to conservative legal thinking.

The answer to the first question is yes, Sotomayor is more than qualified for the position. She may not be the most qualified, but her resume is still impressive. Private practice, Asst. District Attorney, Eighteen years as a judge, 10 years as a law professor/lecturer.

Now, her judicial philosophy is harder to pin down. She doesn’t appear to adhere a specific legal dogma. Is she liberal? Probably. Is she a strict constructionist? Probably not. Will her presence on SCOTUS turn the court into an extension of the legislative branch? Not any more than it is. Sotomayor won’t swing the court hard one way or the other, she’s no Ginsburg (a former ALCU lawyer and unabashed liberal advocate). Ginsburg dedicated her legal life to righting what she thought were wrongs. Sotomayor, to me, is just a judge trying to be a good judge.

There really shouldn’t be much opposition to Sotomayor. Any opposition needs to focus on substantive issues related to judicial philosophy and the role of the judiciary in the public policy process. The public should understand that Republicans oppose activists judges and that they have reservations about Sotomayor. That’s a fair criticism.

Focusing on the issues and making the case for originalist philosophy should be the GOP’s strategy. In the end, the Republicans should give Sotomayor the benefit of the doubt. She is not the appointee to filibuster and doing so would be a constitutional tragedy and a PR nightmare.

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

Things look bleak for the GOP. The media is whoring themselves to blissful schadenfreude by hyping heated discussions between high profile Republicans. Liberals are riding high after consecutive electoral victories. The left dominates the news cycle and the chips on the shoulders of local Democrat Party minions keep outed conservatives rhetorically busy.

Poll numbers show declining GOP registrations and party ID. Arlen Specter plays politics and scores points with the media by leaving the GOP. Barack Obama patronizes dissenters with glittering generalities and empty rhetoric. Moderates are leaving the GOP in droves. Millions are switching parties. Maybe this really is the end of conservatism.

Amusing stuff. Desultory, but fun.

All this has happened before, as I’ve mentioned.  Some Examples:

50th Democrat State Legislator Switches to GOP; Georgia Rep., County Officials Join Republican Party
U.S. Newswire | January 4, 1996 |

WASHINGTON– Georgia State Rep. Ronnie Culbreth today became the 50th Democrat state legislator to switch to the Republican party since Bill Clinton was elected. Republicans have achieved a net gain of 572 state legislative seats across the country through party switches, special elections and regularly scheduled elections during that period.

Democrats Fleeing to G.O.P. Remake Political Landscape
Published: Saturday, October 7, 1995

She is the 43d state legislator and the 137th Democratic officeholder in the country to switch to the Republican Party since Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992.

Political historians cannot recall when so many elected officials at all levels of government, from local constable to the United States Senate, have abandoned a single party in such a short time.

“This is probably the greatest one-way exodus we’ve ever seen,” said John Morgan, a Republican consultant and political demographer.

Some say the Republican party is too far to the right. The truth is, Republican moderates no longer hold elected office. Moderates have taken the brunt of the electoral losses. Swing districts that elect moderates have decided on Democrat moderates.  Poof, no more moderate leadership in the GOP.

Eventually those districts will swing the other way, or new districts will become competitive.  Moderates will return.  I hope it’s not a 40 year hiatus like when the House of Representatives stayed in the hands of the Democrats, but Republicans still won enough elections to keep the Senate and presidency competitive.

A two party system is a competitive system.  Plurality voting results in 2 (or more) competitive parties. Single party takeovers are the products of revolutions.

Competition exists even in areas which first appear hopeless. In New York City Democrats enjoy at least a 3:1 registration advantage. Yet a Republican was elected mayor of New York. And re-elected. And his successor was a Republican (for a time).  Single party rule corrupts and free elections provide the cure.

Eventually good candidates will seek opportunities for elected office in swing districts (or conservative districts with Democrat officeholders like Colin Peterson). And they’ll win. Until then, the GOP should still engage the public and our opponents with ideas, solutions and alternatives to the political homogeneities of Democrat super-majority rule.

Turning on each other is the last thing Republicans should do. It’s a waste of time. Focus groups, triangulation and other pollster tricks can wait too. Attacking bad ideas? Pointing out policy flaws? Presenting liberty maximizing alternatives? Sign me up.

Wednesday Hero

Spc. Robert HamiltonSpc. Robert Hamilton
U.S. Army

Spc. Robert Hamilton, from Corpus Christi, Texas, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, prepares to bandage the thumb of an Iraqi boy in Ula Market in Sadr City, April 19. The boy cut his thumb while preparing meat at a local butcher shop.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

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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Self Study Works



Lincoln’s attempt to make a lawyer of himself under adverse and unpromising circumstances–he was a bare-footed farm-hand –excited comment. And it was not to be wondered. One old man, who was yet alive as late as 1901, had often employed Lincoln to do farm work for him, and was surprised to find him one day sitting barefoot on the summit of a woodpile and attentively reading a book.

“This being an unusual thing for farm-hands in that early day to do,” said the old man, when relating the story, “I asked him what he was reading.

“‘I’m not reading,’ he answered. ‘I’m studying.’

“‘Studying what?’ I inquired.

“‘Law, sir,’ was the emphatic response.

“It was really too much for me, as I looked at him sitting there proud as Cicero. ‘Great God Almighty!’ I exclaimed, and passed on.” Lincoln merely laughed and resumed his “studies.”

Twins Losing Streak

Relax.  In a probabilistic sense streaks like this are meaningless. Here’s an experiment: Write down what you think a fair coin toss looks like. “Throw” 162 mental coins and write down H for Heads and T for tails. Then either toss a coin yourself or go online and find a coin flip simulator and do the same 162 tosses.

Now compare your idea of a series of fair coin tosses compared to the reality. Look particularly at the streaks.
Continue reading

Circular Reasoning Part II

Leadership, N, The characteristics of a leader’s way of leading.

via leadership – Wiktionary.

What are the characteristics of leadership?  Why it’s those characteristics practiced by leaders.  Who are leaders?  Those people who show the characteristics of leadership.

Yeah, thanks for nothing free-online-user-generated-dictionary

From the Notebook

-Read “The Chase” by Clive Cussler. These are the sorts of books I read when decompressing from a class. I try to limit my intake of books like this, but they’re fun anyway. The Chase is an historical fiction novel taking place around the time of the great San Francisco earthquake. A private detective chases a really bad guy. Cussler always includes the coolest machines in his novels.

-Read “A Feel for the Game” by two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw. Most of the book is centered around Crenshaw’s Ryder Cup captaincy. It’s a great book for golfing enthusiasts, Crenshaw is very approachable. Real. Down to earth. Or whatever his ghost writer wanted him to look like. I’d read this book in conjunction with Harvey Penick’s “Little Red Book.”

-I don’t like Twitter. Won’t be joining Twitter anytime soon. But I do see some positives for writers on Twitter: it does help break the tyranny of the blank page.

-Was 2 months behind in “Wednesday Heroes” posts so that’s why so may of them have been cropping up this week.

-My latest MBA class is work-heavy. And buzzword heavy. Expect surly disgruntledness from me for quite some time.

Wednesday Hero

1st Lt. Michael A. Cerrone1st Lt. Michael A. Cerrone
24 years old from Clarksville, Tennessee
2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
November 12, 2006
U.S. Army

Cerrone’s men said in written statements of remembrance that he put their safety and welfare first. He lead from the front and all of the paratroopers would “unquestionably” follow him into battle.

His platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald H. Berryhill, said Cerrone was more than a leader, but a friend and “little brother.”

He remembers the first day Cerrone got to the unit. At the time, he was shy and quiet. But after a few months, he became more outspoken.

“I am truly blessed to have known him and to serve under his leadership,” Berryhill wrote. “He will never be forgotten. I will carry him with me always and I will always watch over his platoon. We will make him proud of his boys.”

Sgt. Cerrone was killed when a suicide bomber detonated the bomb he had strapped to himself in Samarra, Iraq. Also killed in the attack was Specialist Harry “Buck” Winkler. You can read more at BLACKFIVE.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

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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