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Governor Squish

Neo-neocon and I are in another conversation about Mitt Romney. I am coming to know more about Romney’s career than I do my own.

Our arguments revolve around my contention that Mitt is a finance guy, ultimately a friend to Wall Street over Main Street. This puts me in uncomfortable agreement with Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s career with the two Bain companies.

I want to set aside the “finance guy“ part of my objections to Romney. Neo has previously argued that Mitt’s instincts are more conservative than he gets credit for. She holds that he was Governor of a pathetically leftoid State, and did the best he could (I’m paraphrasing).

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Blame or Blowback?

It’s one of my maxims that “the people” is not “the government”. When we talk about America, the nation, the country, the idea, I say that’s something quite different from the electeds and bureaucratic structure which seeks to administer law and uphold social order.

Righty hawks fairly accuse the current President as “blaming America first”. Obama has stated the country is flawed. He sees racism and victimization that government power must rectify. He wants a Constitution that includes positive rights, obligating each of us to a collective goal. Barry blames the American people and the American culture.

The concept of blowback,

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Paulbots Exploiting the Process

In 2008, Rush Limbaugh announced “Operation Chaos”. The plan was to have righty voters participate in the Democrat primary process as supporters of Hillary Clinton. Limbaugh thought that it was important to make extend the Dem primary and give Hillary time to soften up Obama before he faced whoever the righties nominated.

I imagine there’s some of this going on now in the righty primary process. Ron Paul’s success in Iowa was attributed to support from Democrats (and Independents). The conventional wisdom says these voters are lefties who would vote for Obama in the general election. From what I hear from the Progs on the radio and in meatspace, I’m not sure the conventional wisdom will hold.

There’s faction of lefties who are participating in the GOP primaries not to weaken the eventual nominee, but expressly to see Paul become President:

Most of us identify as Democrats or Independents and/or supported Obama in 2008. We believe that on issues that matter most – war vs. peace (Iraq, Yemen etc.), civil liberties (Patriot Act etc.), and crony corporatism (bailouts etc.) – Obama has pursued a course similar to George Bush. Our reasoning is laid out in this article by Robin Koerner on the Huffington Post that “went viral”, coining the term “Blue Republicans” for those of more liberal sensibilities who are registering Republican specifically for Ron Paul.

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An Intelligent Conversation on Paul’s Foreign Policy

Within the comments on a Vox Popoli post about Santorum comes a reasoned and reasonable discussion of Ron Paul’s foreign policy. At last!

Following are excerpts which I think flow together well enough. I would normally put this in “blockquote” style, but it is long so I am not quoting in favor of readability.

===

SWW
I think you're essentially correct, that the foreign policy is an obstacle for many. It doesn't help that the media mostly distorts his position and attempts to box him in with gotcha questions. All in all, I think he handles it quite well.

But let me ask you, or anyone, how would you articulate the non-interventionist position any better, so that it wasn't automatically disregarded as crazy.

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Mitt’s Inspiration

One of the better parts of Romney’s shtick is his vision for a resurgent America. His campaign book is titled No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Wikipedia explains:

The title makes reference to Romney's contention that President Barack Obama has repeatedly apologized for past American actions during trips abroad, and the subtitle to Romney's belief in American exceptionalism. The book avoids anecdotes about Romney's personal or political life and focuses much of its attention on a substantive presentation of his views on economic and geopolitical matters, including his inveighing against the resurgence of populism. Government is seen as having some valuable roles, such as fostering innovation and expanding health insurance coverage to everyone. The book largely avoids discussion of social issues.

Expansive, caretaker government? Check.
Warning against trusting the people over the elites? Check.

His two major negatives are embraced. That the current President is a scoundrel is a given. I give Romney no credit for beating that drum.

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I am resolved to take Trenton

Professor Gingrich puts the Second Amendment in narrative context:

It’s fifteen minutes you will not mind spending. He’s an excellent lecturer.

The Battle of Trenton, which anchors this talk, deserved its place in American mythology. Determined men with a flash of daring can overcome impossible odds.

Gingrich refers to Paine’s pamphlet, The American Crisis. Thomas Paine is one of the people I want to be when I grow up. His rhetoric was as essential as Jefferson’s brilliance, Franklin’s wisdom or Washington’s integrity. Many more are familiar with these words than they are with their place in history:

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Thumping the Political Bible

Ron Paul’s supporters are regular accused of hoping for their own messiah. They’re tarred with the same brush used on the Hope-and-Change unicorn squad. Doesn’t make sense to me, because nobody wants a messiah who promises to leave everybody alone as much as possible. That’s almost an anti-messiah.

After last night’s Iowa caucus, Tam sees it like this:

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The Last American Tyrant

Neo-neocon and I had a lengthy back-and-forth in the comments to her post about what Romney might do as President.

She made an excellent case for his credentials as a manager. I hold he is not what most people think of as a “manager”. He’s a consultant, somebody that managers hire. And worse to me, he abandoned initmate hands-on consulting to become a finance guy, somebody who works with bankers to manage debt and leverage.

From my comment that puts a frame around my perspective on President Romney:

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Temple of Yesterday

Buffalo, NY abandoned train station -- interior

A temple (from the Latin word templum) is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites.

It is easy to imagine prayers offered and sacrifices made in a grand space like this. One might say commerce is the American religion. Our glory was built on rails. Every respectable town had a train station. Cities built temples of transportation.

Trade and transport are both future-oriented. People go somewhere to get something they think will make tomorrow better than yesterday.

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Romney ’08

As the righties are trying to get comfortable with Romney, I’ve read a few times that in 2008 the knock on Mitt was that he was too conservative. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember much about the ’08 GOP primary race. I liked Giuliani for whatever reasons, and when he dropped out, I must have stopped paying attention.

I have a hard time imaging Romney as “too much” of anything. McCain was the maverick, so I guess Romney could have been more conservative than that. Looking over the Wikipedia entry on Mitt’s 2008 campaign, I was reminded of this: Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car on a family vacation.

Yup. Now I remember. That was big news for days.

Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon."

I can hardly wait for Big Media to rediscover this damning character flaw.

As to the rest of the Wikipedia entry and evidence of Mitt’s alleged conservatism, I lost interest before finding any.

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Fragments on Foreign Policy

As I argue around the intertracks, I find it necessary to confirm, extend and adjust what I think I know. As Big Media and the Righty Establishment is apoplectic over what they think Ron Paul’s foreign policy is, I wondered what the current foreign policy of the United States claims to be. To Wikipedia!

The officially stated goals of the foreign policy of the United States, as mentioned in the Foreign Policy Agenda of the U.S. Department of State, are "to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community." In addition, the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs states as some of its jurisdictional goals: "export controls, including nonproliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear hardware; measures to foster commercial intercourse with foreign nations and to safeguard American business abroad; international commodity agreements; international education; and protection of American citizens abroad and expatriation." U.S. foreign policy and foreign aid have been the subject of much debate, praise and criticism both domestically and abroad.

The essential test for all of that is: Is it Constitutional?

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A Gospel of Democracy

The People’s Economist, Walter E. Williams, writes about democracy and the Arab world:

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I’m O.K., You’re a Paulbot

During the two most-recent Republican debates, Ron Paul got to me. He said, “We all swear the same Oath.” An oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

If we are a nation of laws, integrity to that oath is the supreme qualification to hold the office of President. Or any government office, really.

Investigating Paul’s policy ideas, I have found that the Big Media and blogosphere characterizations are inadequate when they’re not entirely disingenuous. He, above all the other candidates seems to attract ad hominems instead of criticisms.

It is difficult to find a logical deconstruction of a Paul idea, but you can barely type a “P” in the search box before a hundred hits with words like “loony” “crazy” “wackjob” come up.

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Another Kind of Harassment

Imagine the hysteria if it turns out than Herman Cain was not guilty of sexual impropriety, but instead of unwelcome Evangelism? Particularly with the new “third woman”.

Say she was a bit unstable at the outset. She found a listening ear in Mr. Cain, a Baptist Minister. Turns out the third woman was pregnant, and on the outs with her inseminator. Cain offers her a place to stay for a night, away from a tense and deteriorating relationship. He talks of G-d and the purity of her unborn child.

Amidst her own dysfunctions and a world—perhaps family—inclined toward simply erasing the problem via abortion, she began to see Cain’s advice as an intrusion. And as a payday, an escape from a life gone off the rails.

Some would call this fairytale “blaming the victim”. And it may turn out that Cain is a philanderer. But that doesn’t square so well with his biography.

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Now He Owns the Bus

I am enjoying Herman Cain’s campaign. I think his “smoking man” ad is brilliant.

As discussed over at Chicago Boyz, it weaves together several messages to several audiences. If you’re in one the targeted groups, you’ll get it.

What un-targeted groups think about an ad really doesn’t matter. Except in this case, popular media’s indignance over seeing a real live tobacco smoker actually helped the message find more of its intended audience.

Adding to that, I have heard a couple versions of Cain telling this story (my retelling, not a direct quote):

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Occupy Somebody Else

I am not a percentage. I am a free man.

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Forgetting Shanksville

It is the eleventh of September, time for the annual admonishment, “Never Forget.” But all we can do is whisper into the winds of history. We have not forgotten Pearl Harbor, but there are a diminishing few who can recall a visceral memory of a date that will live in infamy.

We will forget. Or, our descendants will. They will have their own tragedies and their own battles, as real and as urgent what we honor today.

We are called to remember courage, but it is courage inspired by a defeat. The United States lost the Battle of September 11th.

December 7th would be a national day of shame if that defeat was not avenged. How will we avenge 9/11? Ten years on, is it too late to redeem that loss through a complete victory over the enemy who still haunts us? If we could accept a surrender, would we?

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Countdown to Hiroshima

Today starts an exercise over at I Want a New Left:

I thought it would be a good idea to spend the first five days of August recounting Japanese atrocities during (and preceding) World War II. The Japanese have been our allies throughout my lifetime, and ordinarily I wouldn’t make a point of mentioning their atrocities, but too many liberals and leftists make such a fuss on Aug. 6 about our dropping an atom bomb on Japan that young people today often don’t even know the context of that decision. To counter this ignorance, I want the first five days of August to be used for reminding them of some of Japan’s atrocities from the WWII era.

Happy Bataan Death March Day to you.

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Insulin for Uncle Sugar

The Sunday night headlines tell me there is no agreement to raise the U.S. government’s debt ceiling. The left end of my radio is convinced that a failure to keep borrowing means defaulting on the debt. They’re wrong:

assuming we have $150 billion (I'm a pessimist) in revenue to spend [for the month of August].

First, there's what we must pay.  That's $29 billion in interest.  We have $121 billion left.  Everything else is, legally, a choice.

[emphasis in the original]

Denninger works through the choices, and somebody—or bodies—will not get what they are expecting. But fully funding the raft of Social Security and VA benefits, plus paying the troops and returning zero-interest loans to the IRS tax refunds leaves more than $12 billion.

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Declaration, Rough Draft

A true first draft of The Declaration of Independence is not available to historians. Jefferson’s “First Rough Draft” has the same feel as the final version we are used to be familiar with. It begins:

A Declaration of[1] the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.

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