I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Let's Blame Bush

The raging wildfires in California have shown once again that for every tragedy, there is a way to push the blame onto the shoulders of George W. Bush. The Lieutenant Governor of California, John Garamendi, blamed the President and the War in Iraq for the devastation caused by the fires. He said that the state was not able to respond effectively because of the National Guard being in Iraq. The small detail that Garamendi seems to have forgotten is that out of the 17,000 National Guard troops in California, there are only 2000 on duty in Iraq. The remaining 15,000 are standing by waiting to be called upon.

After the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blamed Bush for spending too much money on the War and not nearly enough for the crumbling infrastructure of the United States. I believe that senator Reid needs some professional help or at the very least some high school civics classes. The Congress passes spending bills, the president just signs them into law. If Senator Reid was so concerned about infrastructure spending, why didn’t he propose more funding for bridges and roads?

After Hurricane Katrina, there was a stampede to the cameras to blame Bush for everything from failing to send in FEMA before the storm hit, to blowing up the levees in the poorest of neighborhoods. On the FEMA issue, the President is bound by law to wait for the request from the states for help from the Federal government. On a side note, the administration was in contact with the city and state officials pressing them before the storm hit to start the process, but the officials balked. I don’t think I need to comment on the outrageous claims made by Louis Farrakhan in the Katrina aftermath.

The events of 9/11 sparked a firestorm of conspiracy theories about who was involved and who was to blame. President Bush was blamed for everything under the sun concerning 9/11. Many still claim that Bush knew about the attacks beforehand and in some cases masterminded the attacks so that he could attack Iraq. I find it amusing that the man that the conspiracy theorists believe is the dumbest man ever born, was able to pull off the biggest cover up in the history of the world. Even though many of the Democratic Congressman accused Bush of knowing beforehand, they still voted to authorize the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Could it be that we live in a culture that promotes passing the blame onto someone else? If you go on a killing spree, it is not your fault. The evil gun manufacturers made you go out and buy the gun and forced you to kill. Better yet, your parents never bought you the G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu grip so it is their fault. Your neighbor drives an SUV and you accidentally rear end him at a traffic light. Your Prius is totaled so it is your neighbor’s fault for driving an SUV. I believe it is time that the general population in America grows up and start to take responsibility for their own actions. Stop searching for someone to blame in every natural disaster. Grownups realize that sometimes bad things happen and there is no one to blame.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Republican Retirement Spells Opportunity

Former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert announced this week that he will not be seeking reelection next November. Hastert is just one of a dozen or so Republicans in the House that have announced their retirements. The Democrats have obviously seized on the retirements to try to portray the Republican party as weak and surrendering. I would like to take the opportunity of Hastert’s retirement to analyze who is leaving and the opportunities that have opened up for the Republican party.

Hastert is the most notable congressman to retire. He took over as Speaker when Newt Gingrich stepped down in 1999. He ran the House until January when the Republicans lost the House and Nancy Pelosi took control of the gavel. Hastert has been a staunch supporter of the president and the war on terror. His support for the defense of our country will be missed. Hastert’s tenure as Speaker was notably different than Newt’s, in the lack of controversy and spending cuts. He does deserve credit for ensuring the tax cuts of early 2001 were passed, but the caveat is the sunset clause of the cuts.

Representative Deborah Pryce of Ohio has been considered a moderate Republican by the media. A moderate Republican is defined by the media as one who often votes with the opposing party. A moderate Democrat is anyone that has a ‘D’ beside their name. Pryce has a mixed voting record on abortion, gun control, and taxes. She was a member of the freshman class of 1994 of Congress.

Congressman Charles “Chip” Pickering has also announced his intentions not to seek reelection next year. Pickering has been a member of the House since 1996 and has a very conservative voting record on all issues tracked by the non-partisan website On the Issues. Pickering will be another member that will be missed.

Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois said that he found no enjoyment being in the minority. LaHood was also a member of the freshman class of the House of 1994. While LaHood’s voting record is a promising footnote to his political career, his comments about leaving because of being in the minority will remain his political legacy. If all that was keeping LaHood in DC was being a member of the majority, then we are all better off with him not there representing us.

In the Senate there have been a few big name retirement announcements. Senator John Warner of Virginia and Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska have both decided to bring an end to their long political careers. Hagel has been an outspoken critic of the President and the war in Iraq. He was a leader this past summer in trying to pass the horrible Comprehensive Immigration Reform. His voting record is mixed which automatically made him a media star as a moderate.

Senator Warner has a distinguished military record and has spent nearly 30 years as a Senator from Virginia. He has been a strong voice for the military while he served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has voted for more gun control and has voted to increase federal funding for stem cell research. Warner will be missed on issues relating to our military but on other issues he has been much less than desirable.

There are a total of 17 Republicans from both houses of Congress that have announced their plans to retire. Some members will be missed and others cannot leave seen enough, but the real question is, what will the Republican party do to fill their vacant seats? The Citizens Against Government Waste: website shows that most of the Republicans that are leaving have not been very tight with the government’s wallet when it came to pork. Will the Republican leadership stand up for the American people and our money by sending true conservatives to run for Congress? I believe a true conservative is one who is for lower taxes for all Americans, and for cutting back on the spending habits that would make a drunken sailor shake his head. I believe that the Republican party’s trouble over the past few years has been the lack of fiscal responsibility in Washington. The Republicans lost their control of Congress due to their hypocrisy on the budget. They all claim to be for lower taxes and cutting spending but a quick check on the CAGW website shows that the Republicans have been just as greedy as the Democrats when it comes to spending our money. If the Republican party ever wants to regain control of the Congress they need to take this opportunity to run true conservative candidates. They have a chance to reshape the Republican party into a conservative party, will the Republican leadership show true leadership? Or will it be business as usual in Washington?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Whose Money Is It Anyway?

Every election season is filled with a whole host of promises from the candidates. Each speech is a constant stream of promises to spend more money on the special interests of the particular group before which the candidate is pontificating. This election cycle is no different than the previous ones. Some candidates promise more than their fair share, while others still promise to reduce spending and keep the government’s greasy little fingers off of all of our wallets. On the Democratic side of the aisle, it appears to be a race to see who can promise the most spending and who can raise the tax burden the highest. They all claim that they will not raise the taxes of the middle class, but when they promise to let the Bush tax cuts expire, that is a tax increase.

Senator Hillary Clinton, the media ordained nominee, has promised billions of dollars to a veritable smorgasbord of spending increases. Her promises add up to a staggering $724,000,000,000.00 over a single term of her predicted presidency. That is a 25% increase of the current $3 trillion budget. Does anyone actually believe that a liberal Democrat will be able to fulfill these promises without opening up tax increases to the middle class? Most Democrats believe that the only way to increase tax revenues is to raise the tax burden. Most Republicans believe that the best way to increase tax revenue is to cut taxes and let the economy grow to increase tax revenues.

These are just a few of Senator Clinton’s proposals. She has proposed that each baby born in the United States will be given a $5000 bond. For those interested, according to the latest census there are roughly 4 million babies born in the United States every year. Just a quick side note, this idea was originally posited by former Senator Bill Bradley in his recent book, The New American Story. Clinton has also laid out her latest Universal Health Care proposal, which her campaign suggests will cost $110 billion per year. The former first lady has pledged $50 billion for a strategic energy fund to find ways to increase energy efficiency. Another proposal is to create universal 401(k) program for all Americans at a cost of $25 billion per year. These proposals alone amount to $620 billion over the 4 years of her first presidential term. Let us not forget that no government program ever comes in at less than the forecasted cost. The programs are always exponentially more than forecasted.

Hillary has admitted that she has “a million ideas”, but she realizes that she cannot implement them all. In her words, “the country can’t afford them all”. It makes me wonder, which of the groups that she has promised her spending will be left standing at the altar. I once heard a former politician say that if a politician ever promises to give you something, you must ask yourself, from whom are they taking it from? I feel the need to remind those who are salivating at the prospect of these proposals. The government does not produce a single service or product that produces income. The only possible way for the government to get money for their proposals is to take the money from the American people. Undoubtedly, the supporters of Clinton are jumping up and down cheering when she announces her plans. I will admit that on the surface her proposals make for great political theater, but a closer review shows government expansion at the cost of much higher taxes for all of us. The scariest part of these proposals is that we still have over a year left before the presidential election. How many more proposals can she come up with? How much more of our hard earned money does she want to steal?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Am I A Hypocrite?

Am I a hypocrite? Before my liberal friends jump to answer, allow me to explain what topic I am referencing with the aforementioned question. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the MoveOn.org ad in the New York Times that begged the question, “General Petraeus, or General betray us?”. I then went on to explain my disbelief and anger for an organization that would question the patriotism of a decorated war hero for the sole purpose of political gain. Now I find myself in the position of defending talk radio personality, Rush Limbaugh, for his comments about phony soldiers who are against the war in Iraq.

Rush made his comments regarding one particular “soldier”, Jesse Macbeth. Macbeth claimed that he was an Army Ranger that had returned from Iraq and he needed to shed the light onto the crimes of our military in Iraq. He claimed that he had participated in various unspeakable crimes while serving in Iraq. He joined anti-war organizations, where he appeared across the country retelling his story wherever and whenever possible. On September 21 of this year, Jesse Macbeth disclosed in federal court that he was lying. Macbeth was in the Army, but only for 44 days. He was discharged before he ever completed basic training. He was never an Army Ranger. He was never involved in any combat situation. He had never participated in any war crimes. He was never in Iraq.

According to the transcript from Rush’s show, which I also heard live, Limbaugh referenced that the anti-war groups use the “phony” soldiers as a way to make headlines, but when the truth comes out, there are no retractions or apologies. Rush made no reference about the brave men and women who risk their lives everyday in Iraq. He didn’t even talk about the men and women who did serve honorably and have made negative remarks about the war. He specifically mentioned one alleged soldier who lied about his service and his role in war crimes.

After Rush’s comments, the liberal organization Media Matters posted his comments and started demanding an apology from Limbaugh. Liberal politicians immediately followed suit. Senator John Kerry condemned the remarks by Limbaugh calling them disgusting. I find it odd that Senator Kerry finds Rush’s comments disgusting, but yet he made blind accusations against all military in Iraq. He accused our troops of kicking down doors in the middle of the night and dragging innocent people out of their houses. Kerry had no proof of his accusations, but yet he made blanket accusations against our troops.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that Media Matters receives financial support from MoveOn.org. MoveOn is the same liberal group that bought the “General betray us” ad. After the outcry about the full page ad subsided, a MoveOn funded group, Media Matters, decides to take one phrase spoken by Limbaugh and distort it into an attack on all troops. The “betray us” ad targeted a decorated general who has served honorably for many years. The “phony soldier” comment targeted an admitted fraud, who lied about being a decorated war hero. The difference is obvious to me, but I am an admitted partisan.

I believe the entire “phony soldier” saga comes down to the simple fact that the left has not been able to compete with Rush Limbaugh. Rush has been on the air for nearly 20 years. The left believed that when Clinton was elected in 1992, that Rush would disappear because he would have nothing to talk about. When he was still on the air after 8 years of Clinton, they hoped that he would finally be silenced. They believed that again he would have nothing to talk about. They have tried to start their own liberal talk radio, but they have not been able to compete with Rush. They have started to talk about the Fairness Doctrine, in hopes that they might be able to kick Limbaugh off of the airwaves because of his conservative viewpoint. The Fairness Doctrine has not gained much traction, so I believe that they are hoping to have Rush kicked off the air for insulting our military. The problem remains that their accusations are based on false information, much like the story of Jesse Macbeth.
So, am I a hypocrite? How can I defend Rush, but condemn MoveOn.org? I believe the difference is clear. On one hand, you have correct accusations against a lying coward, and on the other you have disgusting accusations against a decorated war hero. You decide, am I a hypocrite?