Friday, September 24, 2010

Even Bureaucrats Oppose Bureaucracy

I caught this article a few days back and was thrilled.

You know big government is too big when bureaucrats in charge of big government regulatory agencies are opposing proposed power grabs.

The head of the FCC recognizes that the Fourth Estate's independence is essential.  When a career regulator speaks out against a proposal to increase their own regulatory and financial power, you know something is wrong.

If only the people in charge of money, health care, insurance, and other parts of the public sector had the honesty and integrity that Attwell does, perhaps we wouldn't be in the mess we are in.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why Obama Dems and Tea Partiers are Good for America

It may sound odd to hear someone supporting both Obama and the Tea Party.  In fact, I actually support neither.

But I do see the presence of both as a positive force on American politics.  Although I would ideally like to see the rise of a legitimate third party, and a system which was not inherently controlled by two parties, I recognize that this is unlikely to happen, and especially to last, with our current system of government.  If, however, we are going to have a two party system, it is important that there really are two parties.

Can anyone tell me with a straight face that the Democratic and Republican parties are really that different on politics?  Can anyone clearly define the basic, philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats?  In doing so, do they not expect me to be able to find any exceptions sitting in elected offices?

"Blue Dogs" and "RINOs" are great for getting things done.  They are great for "working across party lines."  In reality though, they blur party lines, and their dominance of the American political system right now essentially fails to represent U.S. voters and their views.

Both parties have moved so far to the center that we really have no choice.  You can vote for someone with a D next to their name, who opposed the war, but thinks we need to "support the troops" by continuing our foreign occupation and further endangering our troops' lives, supports bailing out banks and auto-makers, and thinks gay marriage and abortion will come when society is ready.  Or, you can vote for someone with an R next to their name, who supports the war, but thinks it is time to wind it down, "opposes" bailouts in general, but thinks that banks and auto makers are "too big to fail," and thinks gay marriage, DADT, and abortion are too touchy and personal to be addressed by our current legislature, especially with the pressing economic situation.

Really, from a practical point of view, what is your choice?  The votes will go the same way.

The extremism of Obama's socialist-leaning Dems and the far right Tea Partiers is opening a real debate and providing real options to Americans at the ballot box.  Turnout in this midterm election will be high, as it will in 2012.  By providing real options, we are re-engaging America in politics.  This is exactly what establishment Republicans and Democrats are afraid of.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hypocrisy on the Left (Again)

This post had me smiling the other day.  First of all, I'm not a huge fan of Jesse Jackson to begin with.  Maybe I'll put up a post some day on that.  Second, though, the karma train just pulled into its station.  The only thing better would have been if something had happened to Al Gore's jet on the way to some global climate conference.

In addition to his divisive and one-sided race-baiting, apparently Jesse Jackson is also supporting the big government scam of "green" job creation.  Meanwhile, he is driving around Detroit in an Escalade.  Well, the Escalade is now missing its wheels, a window, and probably some expensive stereo equipment.  Building parts for a car that gets well under 20 mpg hardly counts as a "green" job.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Third Parties and Run Off Election

Recently, the Libertarian Party posted an article (I failed to read it in its entirety) pointing out that polls are now showing several Libertarian candidates in Georgia getting enough votes in November to lead to runoff elections.  At first, I did not see how significant this was.

Thinking about it, however, I now see that this is a huge step for Libertarians, independents, and third parties in general.  Talking to many voters, they often acknowledge that the views of third parties (usually Green or Libertarian) are actually closer to their own political beliefs than those of either major parties.  In election cycles where this thought prevails, particularly in election cycles like the current one, where there is huge discontent with the status quo and the party in power, the opposition party usually spends time and money trying to portray third parties as stealing necessary votes from close races.

I have always maintained that it is more important to vote for the best candidate, even if it does, in fact, steal votes.  The harm done by one elected candidate in one term is nothing compared to the damage to our society and nation done by a failing two party system over a period of several centuries.  By voting for third parties, every vote is another vote of confidence, and will, eventually, contribute to either the fall of the two party system or a change in the two prominent parties.

Runoff elections, however, provide us with an opportunity for an even more concrete gain from our "wasted" third party votes.  Essentially, the prospect of a runoff election provides voters with an opportunity to vote for the best candidate without risking pushing the worst candidate into office by "wasting" votes.  For example, if Georgians are confident that there will be a runoff election, they can express support for Libertarian values and candidates in the actual election.  Although the Libertarian may not win, they will cause a runoff election.  The in-power Democratic candidate will not win the first round of the election.  Libertarians can then vote in the runoff for the "lesser of two evils" candidate.

We should take this opportunity in Georgia, and wherever else it presents itself this November, and use the elections not as a referendum on the Democratic or Republican Party, but on their two party system as a whole.  Vote for the best candidate this November, and then vote for the "lesser of two evils" in the runoff.

The added bonus of this is that by forcing a runoff election, we force the two major parties to spend even more money than they already do on this election cycle, emphasizing just how much time, effort, and money it takes to coerce votes from people who really aren't happy with either option.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Immigration and the Latino Vote

I have never understood why being liberal on immigration has been linked with the Latino vote.  In fact, I think it is often more about the perception of the nature of the conversation than about the actual contents of it.  Both politicians and Latinos should read this post and think carefully about what is written.

For Latino voters.  Liberal immigration policies and lax enforcement actually hurt your self interest as legal, documented Latinos in this country.  By increasing the number of illegal aliens in our country, we increase the negative perception of Latinos in general, and the stereotypes of Latinos as falling into the category of illegal or undocumented.  If you are voting, you (or your family) presumably either came here the right way, or, at the very least, have since rectified your immigration status.  The jobs which undocumented immigrants are taking are jobs which, if you can legally vote, they are taking away from you just as much as from white or black Americans.  And, unfortunately, they are negatively affecting white and black Americans' views of you.

For politicians, bloggers, etc.  The way the immigration debate is carried out is part of why Latino voters are so uncomfortable with strict immigration policies.  Partly because of an extreme right fringe which is prejudiced and racist, partly by human nature to blame things on people who have obvious differences (race) from us, and partly by the attempts of the Left to make conservatives all look like the Klan reborn, the immigration debate too often becomes a racial conversation.  While most illegal entries are probably over the Mexican border, there are a lot of immigrants in our country who enter legally, but overstay their visas.  Many of these immigrants are white, and European.  They are often working, and receiving the benefit of publicly funded services, before their visas expire, and just continue on that way.

Also, for immigrants, and the first and second generations, understand that there is bound to be sympathy for the situations which cause Northward migration.  Many Latino immigrants are coming from countries where the political situation is unstable at best, dangerous at worst.  Many come from poverty.  Many who come from poverty have made great lives for themselves and their families since being here.  They want to see the same opportunity extended to other people.  The key to winning these votes is to focus on enforcing existing immigration policies, but not closing the door to immigration altogether.  A wall, both in reality and symbolically, is not just about illegal immigration.  It is a barrier between us and the several nations which make up our closest neighbors.  Latino voters, who feel a connection with their home countries, as well as can relate to the situation of those trying to enter our country, are unlikely to emotionally jump behind a wall or other attempts to cut off all immigration.

Finally, Latinos are not a unified, homogenous group of people or voters.  Latin America and the Caribbean consists of many national and ethnic groups.  Lumping all Latinos together does not encourage Latino voters to jump on board.  Moreover, special treatment for some Latino groups is unlikely to win the hearts and minds of Latino voters as a whole.  For instance, many Mexican and other Latin American groups are offended by the current (albeit unavoidable without either Puerto Rican independence or full accession into the U.S.) situation with Puerto Rico.  While Latinos from other parts of the hemisphere are accused of stealing jobs and benefits from Americans, and sometimes profiled by law enforcement or employers as "illegal," Puerto Ricans pay no taxes to the United States, but vote in federal elections and have unrestricted movement throughout the 50 states.  Another example is Cuban-Americans.  Although this has changed recently, for decades, Cubans have been treated differently than other Americans.  The policy was always that if a Cuban had one foot on American soil, they were automatically a refugee.  This was a political, more than humanitarian decision.  This can easily be seen by looking at the different treatment of people fleeing oppressive regimes in Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti, where the U.S. government supported the governments.  Moreover, many immigrants come here seeking refuge from situations, whether political, military or economic, in their home countries.  The Republican Party and its pandering (especially representatives from Florida) to the Cuban-American interest groups does not help their perception with the wider Latino voting community.

So, how can Republicans win the Latino vote?

Focus the conversation.  Don't open yourselves up to being called (out loud or silently) racist.  Make it clear that the issue is about enforcement of existing laws, and national security, not about protecting our culture or our society from an outside, racially separate influence.  It is not about Spanish language or Latino culture.  It is not about whites losing majority status in some states, and possibly the nation as a whole.  It is about not condoning the open violation of our laws, and about ensuring our national security.

Make sure to speak about immigrants in general.  Illegal immigration is not all Mexican and Filipino.  Talk about not just border enforcement, but visa enforcement.  Rather than only deploying more troops and agents to the border, let's talk about visa enforcement in places like Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, and various tourist destinations around the country.

Encourage equal immigration standards.  Cubans and people from some parts of Africa should not be given blanket refugee status while people from other corrupt, unstable, or poverty-stricken parts of the world must go through standard immigration proceedings.

Overall, widen the conversation to include comprehensive immigration reform.  Although his name has become somewhat taboo, McCain did not receive a huge backlash from Latino voters because of his immigration policies.  In fact, even Bush didn't.  Along with enforcement, talk about modernizing and updating our laws to reduce the burden, and increase the efficiency, of legal immigration.   Don't just shut illegal immigrants out.  Provide a clear pathway for legal immigrants to come in.

This is how conservatives can demonstrate that anti-illegal immigration positions are just that, and not anti-Latino positions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mexican Independence Day

Happy Mexican Independence Day everyone.  I sincerely mean that.

I also, think, though, that after 200 years of being nominally independent, it is worth reflecting on how independent Mexico really is right now.  Every day in Mexico, people die in the battle between the cartels and the Mexican government.  Each year, prominent public officials resign in fear or resignation to the cartels.

Each day, Mexican nationals die and get arrested trying to cross Mexico's northern border.  Each day, Mexicans go hungry because tortillas and other staple Mexican foods are too expensive.

Now, no nation is without its problems.  On their independence day, however, Mexicans should take a moment to reflect on where these problems have come from.  Is it the policies of the Mexican government, or the efforts of the Mexican people?  No.

It is a liberty-encroaching war on drugs personal choice in the United States.  It is a policy of subsidizing U.S. farmers and encouraging "free" trade in North America and throwing corn, which could feed the poorest of the poor in Mexico, into gas tanks of American-made SUVs (which, by the way, have now been bailed out by the government as well).

So yes, two years of independence is something to celebrate.  But Mexicans and Americans alike today should take a moment to think about how independent Mexico really is.  Stop the War on Drugs, and stop interventionist agricultural policies.  Then, perhaps, we will see a truly independent Mexico.