Friday, February 22, 2008

Waving the Redstate Flag in the Bluestate's Face

Last week, Figgins and I decided to try a social-political experiment. We wrote an article on "... the passion-evoking, yet vacant, rhetoric of Barack Obama." Then we posted the same content on both a very conservative blog site and a very liberal blog site. Some of the results were pretty dramatic and some were to be expected but, in this process, we saw one aspect in a new light that was quite revealing and educational for us.

As you might expect. there was a difference in the volume of responses from the respective sides. Since the theme was obviously more inflammatory to liberal readers, we expected more of a reaction from that side. However, we were a bit surprised with how dramatic the difference was. The posting on the conservative site has elicited one (1) comment from last weekend to this weekend. On the other hand, I posted the article on the liberal site just as I left for church last Sunday morning and there were 97 comments by the time I got home from church. Of course, there are many possible reasons for this disparity, including my writing talent or lack thereof. The possibility that concerns me most, as a conservative, is that liberals are just more "on fire" about this election than are conservatives. Regardless of my writing ability, Obama's rhetoric is a topic that should rouse significant conservative interest. If conservatives are, generally, as disinterested as this experiment seems to indicate, we should just start adjusting to the thought of seeing liberal Democrats in the White House for at least the next four years.

And, you might expect that we received some just plain rude comments. We're encouraged to say that those were surprisingly few. There were at least as many thoughtful comments that led to some healthy dialog. However, there was one particular quality we were looking for from the responses that was glaringly missing ... Obama's much-trumpeted change.

Although I see little, if any, substance to Obama's oratory, I accept that many are believing, as one Commenter put it, "(His) message of unity to solve America's problems." Obama's campaign often positions him as a "post-partisan politician" in this regard. If that's the case, based on the comments I received from Obama supporters, that doesn't seem to be bearing fruit, or even taking root, in them. There I was, boldly "crossing the aisle" to express my views and I wasn't generally finding Obama supporters who were looking for common ground where we could connect. So, while it may be appropriate for Senator Hillary Clinton to be asking, "Where's the beef?", relative to the substance of Obama's message, I think it's even more appropriate and certainly more poignant for all of us to be asking, "Where's the change?"

With that said, I want to, again, go on the record in saying that I'm very much a fan of change along these lines. That was the focus of my earlier posting, entitled "Rediscovering America's Strength." In fact, at that time, I was hoping that the candidate I was supporting (Governor Mike Huckabee) would pick it up, as a main theme to his campaign. In spite of the fact that Governor Huckabee accomplished far more in the current campaign than was generally expected, its obvious that this "isn't going to be his day." So, I'm rooting for this theme to be picked up by the candidate who will be the Republican nominee ... Senator John McCain. Of course, I think this remains a great theme but I think its a particularly good theme for Senator McCain. He could put the much needed substance to this and do something for our nation that is truly heroic. How fitting that it be done by a man who is, in fact, a genuine hero of our nation?!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

We gotta keep callin' it what it is - BO-loney!!!!!!!

One aspect of the current Presidential Campaign Season has continued to cause Figgins and I to regularly cock our heads and look at each other with facial expressions that obviously say, "What the heck does that mean?!" This aspect is the passion-evoking, yet vacant, rhetoric of Barack Obama.

Actually, we touched on this subject in an earlier posting entitled The Better Angels of Our Nature?!?!?!?. Although that posting addressed Senator Ted Kennedy's old-style-politics approach to whip the crowd into a frenzy when he endorsed Obama (ironically, quoting the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln), the theme is the same ... words that evoke virtually overwhelming inspiration, but void of meaning in reality. Figgins and I have coined a word to use between us to sum this up. The word is ... BO-loney. One reason we chose this is because it incorporates the slang word "baloney", meaning "nonsense". The "BO" part is for two reasons ... (1) Of course, these are the initials of the one who has been uttering these empty phrases and (2) Like another meaning of "BO", this is nonsense that stinks.

In his most recent column in the Washington Post, The Audacity of Selling Hope, Charles Krauthammer addresses this matter more thoroughly than Figgins and I could possibly do. For us, his most ominous words are the ones in his closing paragraph:

"Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude."

The only words we can think to add to this and in fact, we feel compelled to add are: The best thing we conservatives can be doing for our country between now and November is to call it what it is ... BO-loney ... and to do so every time we see it!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Real Conservatives" position "Real Liberals" for 16-Year White House Stay

Since Figgins knows that I consider myself to be a "Real Conservative", he seemed pretty stunned when he heard me say that I think what many "Real Conservatives" are currently doing will result in "Real Liberals" occupying the White House for at least the next 16 years. I can understand his reaction. It took something pretty stunning to get me to that point.

What got me to that point was hearing Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson state that, if John McCain is this year's Republican nominee and if either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama are this year's Democrat nominee, for the first time in his voting-life he won't cast a vote for President. Up to this point, the related "McCain is not a real conservative" noise had been troubling me but none of the noise makers had stopped me in my tracks, as Dobson had done.

I know Ann Coulter caused quite a stir when she said that, if McCain is the Republican nominee, she'll campaign for Hillary Clinton. That's certainly not something you'd expect from someone whose current book is entitled, "If Democrats Had Any Brains They'd Be Republicans". I think Ann's oversight here is that it takes more than brains to be a Republican and/or a "Real Conservative". In addition to brains, it also takes common sense ... another key ingredient lacking in many Democrats and/or "Real Liberals". Though Ann's intellect is obvious, this anti-McCain statement makes her lack of common sense just as obvious. So, I think she'll fit in just fine across the aisle and I say, "Good riddance!"

"Conservative Talk Radio" has been making the most noise on this and as usual, the noisiest has been Rush Limbaugh. Now, much like Ann Coulter's, Rush's views generally line up with mine. And, also like Ann Coulter, Rush typically expresses his views in an intelligent and interesting way. However, the guy is a windbag and mostly enamored with himself and I wouldn't let someone like that set my course for me.

Dr. Dobson, however, is quite another matter. I haven't done the accounting but I don't think it would take the fingers on one hand to count up the people in this world who I admire more than Dr. Dobson. What he has done and strives to do through Focus on the Family is priceless in my view. So, when he sets an example, I take it most seriously. In this instance, though, I believe he is mistaken. After all, admire him as I do, he isn't perfect. The flaw in this, as I see it is that he is choosing to not participate as his way of being against. This, I believe, will be very destructive. What makes it worse is that he had and I believe he still has, the opportunity to take a position for something and to be quite constructive.

Initially, there were many more Republican Presidential Candidates than the three major candidates (Please don't expect me to include Ron Paul) remaining. Surely, there was a "Real Conservative" from that field whose views would have lined up reasonably with Dr. Dobson's. I don't understand why Dr. Dobson didn't take the constructive path of endorsing one of these.

Although the opportunity to choose from the initial field of candidates has passed, three candidates remain. Isn't there a more positive tack that Dr, Dobson could take than just being anti-McCain and anti-Clinton/Obama? If so, I think its necessary to look at the three and see if there's something that Dr. Dobson and the others may have missed in determining if any of these are "Real Conservatives".

What about Romney? Instead of just taking an anti-McCain stance, Dr. Dobson could have endorsed Romney but he didn't. Why not? The "Conservative Talk Radio" crowd are certainly behind that. They say Romney maps to all three segments of the Reagan coalition. But, I think they've missed some parts. The Reagan coalition had many more than three parts. Some of the parts that seem to not to be getting mentioned lately are things like having more substance than a glossy veneer and being trustworthy. You may want to reference what I detailed on this topic in my post entitled Honest Politician but I suspect Dr. Dobson sees this and thus, no endorsement for Romney.

And, what about Huckabee? Frankly, he's my guy but I understand concerns about his foreign policy skills and his "electability". But what is such a mismatch between their views that would keep Dr. Dobson's from taking the constructive path of endorsing Governor Huckabee? I'd really like to hear from this man, who I so admire, on this topic.

And, finally, what about McCain? Or, more appropriately, why set an example of not providing support that McCain will need to keep "Real Liberals" from securing, at least, the next 16 years in the White House? Being anti-McCain is always an option but, in determining who is a "Real Conservative", isn't one for-sure quality that they aren't a "Real Liberal"? McCain, at least, passes that test. Clinton and Obama don't! OBAMA IS THE MOST LIBERAL MEMBER OF THE SENATE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!!! Doesn't it make more sense for Dr. Dobson and the others to first see if they can settle their differences with McCain? Why not sit down with this unarguably genuine national hero, tell him your concerns, see if you can find common ground where you can meet and support him in order to avoid letting the "Real Liberals" take this country into another cycle of decay? I have to say, I'm sort of disappointed in Dr. Dobson with this. I know for sure that one thing we share is our faith in Christ. Central to that faith is that we have been forgiven through God's gracious gift, in Christ. The Scriptures teach us that forgiven people should be forgiving people so why shouldn't that apply to any missteps "Real Conservatives" see in McCain's past?