I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Can We Learn From The Pilgrims?

In remembrance of the first Thanksgiving, I thought that it would be appropriate to take a look back at what the Pilgrims were thankful for and what they had learned in their first few years in “The New World”. The story often told throughout the liberal academia is that the inept Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving by holding a feast in honor of the Native Americans for their help in surviving their new surroundings. A look at the actual writings of Governor William Bradford sheds a slightly different light on the real story of Thanksgiving.

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, they had entered into a contract that stipulated that they would share everything that was harvested with the community at large. All property was community property. All crops were stored in a central storehouse for the entire community to share. We all know the story of what life was like during that first winter in the “New World”. Many succumbed to disease and the cold temperatures of New England. Bradford realized that the “social experiment” of collectivism had failed. He quickly reorganized the community into a free market society. In his words, “young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without [being paid] that was thought injustice.” Bradford understood that the incentive to work hard to reap the rewards of your labor was lost under a socialist society.

The Pilgrims learned that in order to not only survive but also to succeed in their new home they needed freedom; freedom to work in a vocation of their choosing, that would provide for their families and their futures. The Pilgrims would not sit idly by and watch their neighbors starve to death if their crops did not come in; they would help where they could, but they expected each man to provide for his family. They discovered that the harvest was much greater under the free market system than the harvest seen under the socialist system.

Another aspect of the Thanksgiving story that is conveniently forgotten is the simple fact that the Pilgrims were giving thanks to their Creator for His grace in providing a bountiful harvest and his protection. In our world of political correctness there is a fear of mentioning anything that could resemble a Christian reference. Of course, educators are hamstrung by the notion of separation of church and state. The fear of mentioning God in the classroom has led to the edited version of our country’s origins. The Pilgrims fled England because of religious persecution. They desired a country where they could worship God in a manner that they wanted. This desire is what led to the statement in our Constitution that the government would make no law hindering a religion or establish a state religion. In my copy of our founding documents, I have been unable to find where it prohibits the mention of God’s name in our schools. How does a teacher accurately discuss the Declaration of Independence in class when it mentions the Creator?

This Thanksgiving weekend, take time to relax and reflect on all for which you are thankful, but do not forget where our country came from and the lessons that they learned along the way. In this season of corporate bailouts, I would hope that our leaders in Washington realize what the Pilgrims learned nearly 400 years ago. What incentive will these corporations have to restructure their business if the government consistently bails them out?

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't Let Congress Turn The Auto Industry Into Another Amtrak

Since early September, when the political elite in Washington informed us of the dire need to bailout the financial markets, we have see a building tide of industries, states, and even cities clamoring for their version of a bailout from the federal government. The “experts” in Congress promised us, that the bailout would shore up the financial markets and we would all be better off. Now that the markets have continued to drop, congressional leaders response is that we need to bailout more companies.

Representative Barney Frank was asked when the bailouts would stop and his response was as confusing as the clamor for government bailouts. Frank claimed that the bailouts would stop when they stopped working. Maybe Mr. Frank has been too busy with his reelection campaign to notice that the bailout has not worked. In fact, most economists believe that the bailout accentuated the problem. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped an additional 3000 points since the bailout that was going to save us all was passed.

This week, executives from the “Big Three” automakers were on Capitol Hill to try to convince lawmakers of their need for a bailout of their own. After the hearings, congressional leaders held a press conference to explain their inability to come to any agreement on a bailout. Their explanation was what we have come to expect from Washington politicians. They shifted the blame to the automakers, not for their failing companies, but for failing to present them a plan on which they could agree. They set a date of December 2 for them to present plans for a bailout on which they could come to a consensus.

Does Congress believe that if they just throw money at the problem that the crisis will just disappear? This has become the normal routine in Washington. Whatever the problem, politicians just throw money at the problem, but don’t change any of the contributing factors that led to the problem. Look at government funded education. For years the public school system has been a breeding ground for failure or mediocrity at best. Government’s answer is to throw more money at the schools but never changing how or what they teach. Then they are surprised when the results are the same.

I realize that this may be a completely foreign concept to Congress, but since when do we reward poor business practice by giving them taxpayer money? I believe that the government should get out of the way of failing businesses. They should do whatever they can in the way of tax relief to aid in the expansion of businesses, but why should they reward those who make poor choices? I believe that after Congress throws money at the auto industry, the automakers will be in the same situation within a few short years. They need to restructure their business so that they can compete with the foreign competition. The process will be painful, but the U.S. auto industry will be better off in the long run. The taxpayers need to let the politicians know that based on their history of failures, we do not want them to meddle in the affairs of private companies.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conservatives Need To Get Back To Reagan Basics

Over the past week, there has been a constant parade of political “experts” through the news networks to propose their recommendations to the Republican Party to renew the party. The suggestions have all had a familiar ring to them. The “intellectual” opinion is that the Republicans need to jettison their conservative values and ideals. They believe that conservatism is the reason behind McCain’s defeat and the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006. They completely disregard any of the other competing forces weighing on the minds of the voters in the past 2 elections.

It will come as no surprise, but I do not agree with the self-proclaimed experts. I believe that the major problem within the Republican Party is not that they are too conservative, but rather that they have neglected their responsibility in educating the voters on what they believe. Of course, then they have to actually govern as conservatives.

It is not enough to say that as a political party we believe in smaller government. The average voter does not care what that we are for a smaller government unless we explain what a smaller government means and why we believe it is the right choice. Some of my Christian friends have asked how I could be a conservative and a Christian at the same time. They believe that my conservative position on the role of government is in contradiction to Biblical teaching to take care of the poor. I believe that as a Christian we should take care of the poor and downtrodden, but I do not believe that it is the government’s responsibility. I believe that the community at large is better at dealing with those in their own communities. Local churches give more food and aid to the homeless and the poor in their communities than the government could ever dream of helping. The sheer size of the bureaucracy of government makes it inefficient in helping the poor. Jesus did teach that we should help the poor, but I have never read in my Bible that as long as we pay our taxes than our responsibility to the poor is done.

We cannot simply say that we are pro-life and expect that the voters will simply accept it and be with us. The age-old axiom, “you are preaching to the choir” holds a lot of truth in this case. Claiming to be the Pro-life party will bring pro-life voters to you, but it does nothing to educate those who may not have a strong position either way. We need to explain why we are pro-life. We need to explain that the procedure known as partial-birth abortion is a horrific and completely unnecessary procedure. I do not know of any medical condition that would require a pre-term baby to be vaginally delivered to the point of leaving the baby partially in the birth canal, and then piercing the live baby’s skull to suck the infant’s brain out to kill the baby. If an expecting mother is in such a bad physical state that she will not survive a normal delivery, how is she protected by inducing labor only to partially deliver the baby as normal before killing it? We need to explain why we are against government funding for abortion and the readily available abortion on demand for any reason. We do not believe inconvenience is a feasible reason for ending a human life.

Campaigning on lower taxes is great, but it needs to be taken to the next level. We need to explain why we believe lower taxes for everyone is the best option for our economy and for our government. We need to educate the American public about taxes. We need to change the debate from a class envy debate to a debate over taxes themselves. Obama was elected claiming that 95% of Americans would receive a tax cut, but the problem is that roughly 40% of Americans do not pay federal income taxes. We need to educate the public about who actually pays taxes and how much they do pay. The top 1% of income earners pays roughly 40% of taxes. We need stop sitting back and letting the Democrats spin a tax cut for all tax payers into an unfair tax cut for the rich. We need to educate the public why an across the board 2% rate cute for someone making $1 million is still a 2% rate cut. It is the same 2% cut that someone making $40,000.

The Republican Party does not need to move away from conservative values and ideals. We need to take a page out of the Reagan notebook and do what Reagan did. Ronald Reagan was known as the “Great Communicator” because of his ability to explain his conservative policies to the American public. We need to get back to taking our case directly to the people. This election has shown the media’s affinity for liberal ideals and candidates. We need to sidestep the mainstream media and take our message to the public.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

My Excitement Over The Election Results

After a few days of reflection on the presidential election results I have come to the conclusion that I am excited. As my liberal friends pick themselves up off of the floor, allow me to explain. I am excited at the unique opportunity for conservatives to get back to their core conservative principles. The Obama presidency is exciting in the fact that an African-American has been elected to the most powerful office in the world. While I disagree with Obama on virtually every issue and I wish a conservative African-American had been elected in his place, I am happy to see this historic day.

After the election, many of my Christian friends, who supported Obama, have called upon fellow Christians who did not support Obama to pray for him and support him. As a Christian I will pray for our President no matter which political party they may represent, but I will not support policies that are contradictory to my own conservative ideals. I will support President Obama when I believe he is right, but when he is wrong I will not support him. I supported President Bush on his tax cuts for all Americans, and the War on Terror, but I did not support him on the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, or the No Child Left Behind Act.

Conservatives have the opportunity to regroup and to hold our leaders responsible for their votes and actions. November 4, 2008 was a day when the Republican Party was once again punished for their failure to legislate as conservatives. Our elected Republican leaders became proponents of big government, huge spending bills, and earmarks. They believed that bipartisanship meant that all conservative ideals are thrown out the window and we accept what the left gives us. They believed that the method to win elections was to become more like the Democrats, while during the last 3 weeks of the campaign Obama was acting like a conservative promising tax cuts. Why would the voting public choose a Republican acting like a liberal when he can just vote for the liberal?

Conservatives have 2 years before the midterm elections to find true conservative candidates. Candidates that not only talk about controlling spending, smaller government, tax cuts for everyone, promoting a culture of life, and free market principles, but also fight for them in the arena of ideas. Conservatives do not want to be paid with lip service on conservative ideals, we want and expect results. The Gingrich led takeover in 1994 of Congress was successful because they laid out a bold conservative agenda and proceeded to follow through with it. Unfortunately, many of the newly elected congressmen lost their way shortly after the first 100 days. They became typical Washington bureaucrats with an insatiable appetite for spending and big government principles.

Over the next 2 to 4 years I expect to see candidates like Governor Bobby Jindal and Governor Sarah Palin come to the forefront. They will bring new free market ideas to solve our economic, health care, and energy problems. The solutions will weigh heavily on the private sector for their research and implementation. As a conservative I believe that the American private sector can and will provide the answers we need if they are free to do so. It is an exciting time in the United States and in the conservative movement.