Archive for the ‘McCain’ Category

One Blog, One Vote. Not Wasting It.

August 31, 2012

I’m following the comments on the conservative blogs and social media since the Republican National Convention, and I see two, diverging threads of interest.

One is cautiously optimistic that Romney WILL actually be better for the future of the USA than four more years of Obamanation.

The other sees no differences between them, and sees the choice as binary — either Obama OR Romney — is a false choice. Somehow, they believe, voting for a third-party candidate, or sitting out the presidential race, or even sitting out the whole election, is the only honorable and/or Godly choice. Romney is simply too flawed to be worthy of their votes.

I can identify strongly with portions of both threads, but the appeal of the sitting-it-out option for me is purely emotional, and I’m over it. I was angry about the selection process that gave us Romney, but hardly surprised. The same backstage manipulators that gave us McCain were responsible for giving us Romney, and I’m angry about that, too.

Anger, however, is a dangerous motivation for any decision, but especially for deciding how, or whether, to vote, and especially dangerous this time around.

Alan Keyes, whom I admire and respect, seems firmly convinced that Romney is evil, and only trivially different from Obama. He thinks voting for Romney “just” to keep Obama from a second term is tantamount to selling his soul. Others, friends whose opinions I take seriously, believe that, as well, to one degree or another.

A subset of the above group think Romney is just this election’s John McCain, but I think John McCain was not only a RINO, but an abysmal candidate for President. He may have been able to convince enough Arizonans over the last hundred years to keep him in the Senate, but he was either utterly inept at running for the presidency, or actively defeating himself at every turn, because he couldn’t have done a worse job of running for president if he really didn’t want to be president.

Either way, Romney is far better as a candidate. At least that is my current assessment, based on his acceptance speech at the RNC and his actions in the first day after that.

Having vacillated in 2008 between Joseph Farah’s “None of the Above” position, and writing in Alan Keyes because I could not bring myself to vote for McCain, and because there was no way in Hell I was going to vote for Obama, I finally settled on writing-in Keyes. I don’t regret that vote, because McCain was, and is, as sleazy and success-driven a politician as Obama, but with more history to prove it.

Contrary to what some of my Republican friends say, I have no faith that McCain would have been a better president that Obama has been. Where Obama is ideologically driven to do whatever is worst for America, I believe John McCain would have done whatever his sycophants and manipulators could persuade him to do, and he was as much a chump for the global warming scams and other liberal pretexts for grabbing power, and for establishment Republican “inclusiveness” and “compassionate conservatism” scams as any RINO, and as most out-front Liberals.

While his motivations might have been portrayed as noble, his results would have differed only in degree from those of Obama. If McCain could rationalize any decision with his imaginary legacy, or his chances at re-election, or that coveted chairman-emeritus spot on some tax-money-laundering “non-profit” foundation, he would have done so, and the Constitution, “quote-Conservatives-unquote,”  and his country could be damned.

Any reasoned comparison between McCain and Romney will go in favor of Romney, but, who cares?  Romney isn’t running against McCain. McCain isn’t running, Gingrich isn’t running, Bachmann isn’t running, Cain isn’t running, and Santorum isn’t running.

Ron Paul is running, as always. But it doesn’t matter, because he is a reptile with not more than one view or belief in a hundred in common with me, so he might as well not be running. Ron Paul zealots did their best to steal the nomination, and failed spectacularly. It was a pratfall-on-a-banana-peel, slapstick failure – one that would embarrass into silence and self-imposed obscurity anyone capable of embarrassment.

I now know what another four years of Obama would bring, and I see voting for him, not voting, or voting for a write-in or third-party candidate as an absolute betrayal of my country.

With the huge effort at vote fraud Obama and his troops will undertake, and have already undertaken, including registering illegal aliens, registering dead and non-existent voters, busing union stooges from one polling place to another to vote multiple times, forging and mass-producing fraudulent absentee and early ballots, the living, legitimate voters may be outnumbered. (That isn’t hyperbole. In more than one precinct in 2008, actual votes cast outnumbered registered voters significantly. Vote fraud is a Democrat industry. Fraudulent votes are the one commodity they produce on a regular basis.)

I will be casting my one, legal vote for Romney.

Arithmetic is relentlessly non-ideological, and absolutely dispassionate. My one, legal vote for Romney will require two votes for Obama from the dead, and/or cartoon characters, and/or union thugs, and/or incarcerated felons, and/or illegal aliens, to put him back in the lead.

One vote is all I have, and I’ll be damned (with apologies to my friends who think I will be jeopardizing my soul) if I’ll give Obama even the slightest advantage by wasting it.

Hard Choices Versus Bad Choices — There IS a Difference

August 10, 2012
Image

Do I take my chances on the fire escape, jump to my death, or quietly barbeque when the fire gets there? I’m trying the fire escape. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Here’s what I think about having to vote for Romney:

I can just throw myself out the window of my burning, ninth-floor hotel room, arriving with a splash on the pavement, or on the hood of some unlucky illegal alien’s cab.

I can try the rickety-looking fire escape, MAYBE making it to the ground at less than the speed dictated by the acceleration of gravity on a falling body, MAYBE living another day.

OR,  I can wait for the fire to cook me alive.

Rotten choice? Hell, yes.

Hard choice? Hell, no. I’m trying the fire escape — Romney 2012.

Tea Party Tugboats, Shove Romney to Starboard!

March 9, 2012
Tugs Dock Aircraft Carrier

Small but mighty -- tugboats maneuver the carrier USS John F. Kennedy into its mooring place. (Wikipedia)


Patient and constant pressure – that’s how little tugboats move big ships where they are supposed to go. That is what conservatives will have to do with the new (God willing!) president.

This is directed at you Republicans who say you will stand behind your non-Romney candidate for the nomination, no matter what, all the way to Election Day.

I feel your pain. I wrote in Alan Keyes in the general election in 2008, and have discussed extensively why I did that. Hand-picked loser John McCain was just too repugnant a weasel to vote for.  I still believe the GOP establishment picked him as the best candidate to hand the election to Barack Obama. Why? Because losing was less scary for them than winning and having to admit to the unpleasant state in which George II left us, and then (shudder) deal with it.

The flaw in my analysis of that election was that I swallowed the popular assumption that electing the “right” president would reverse the century of Progressive erosion that has nearly washed away our fundamental freedoms.

That erosion paved the way for Trojan Horse Marxist Barack Obama, the single most destructive president in history, who then did more damage to our Constitutional Republic than any president since Wilson, and is on a trajectory to become a virtual – or actual – dictator in a second term.

With A Democrat majority in the House and Senate until the Great Rebound of 2010, Obama rammed through legislation, and appointed “Czars” that threaten to turn the Constitution into a meaningless rag. Obamacare, with its thousands of pages of abuses and illegalities; “recess appointments” without recesses; Supreme Court nominees without any qualifications other than allegiance to his socialist world view; “Fast and Furious,” and other, grotesque miscarriages of justice by his sock-puppet Attorney General, apologies to despots not entitled to apologies… the list is long.

If he gets a second term, Obama and his crew of leftist hacks and clowns will accomplish their mission, turning the best country in the history of the world into a third-rate banana republic, without the capacity to grow a single banana.

In fact, he can do so much damage between now and his last day in office — even if it is next January – that any Republican president will have to administer the political equivalent of first aid, maybe even CPR,  just to pull our country back from the brink.

After the airway, breathing and circulation are restored, there will still be not just years, but decades of work to do, rooting out the regulators and executive branch hacks and parasites who have embedded themselves in the bloated bulk of our federal government, feeding on their host while contributing, each of them, to its destruction.

That is why I will vote for the Republican nominee in November, no matter who he (OR SHE!) is.

Our new (God willing!) president, prodded by the conservative tugboats in Congress and the tens of millions of Tea Party conservatives and Constitutionalists in the electorate, will have to apply patient and constant pressure to the right, forcing the government back into the role prescribed for it in our founding documents.

No single man or woman, no single president, can reverse the century of socialization advanced by Democrats and Liberal Republicans.

The angry and awakened conservative electorate simply cannot go back to sleep — even if the Republicans win big in November.

We have to take some of the time that we used to use to work, play and take care of our families, and put it into relentless, constant pressure on all three branches of government to get out of our faces, out of our pockets, out of our families, out of our businesses, and back into the constraints of the Constitution.

We can force a Republican Senate to approve competent and ethical appointments to cabinet departments and to the federal courts, and to soundly reject stupid, negligent or simply corrupt nominees, regardless of presidential or GOP hack pressure.

We can steer a Republican House to reject any act that doesn’t contract our debt, and to defund agencies that don’t have any Constitutional basis for their existence, while we wait for a chastened executive branch to abolish those agencies and departments. We can also compel our Representatives to initiate impeachment of unfit judges, and build fires under cabinet officials who have lost sight of their Constitutional limitations and responsibilities.

We can’t do any of the above without research, emails, calls, visits, campaign contributions and constant vigilance applied by millions of diligent, persistent voters.

We can push a rudderless America away from the emotional appeals of the progressives and liberal lobbies, and back toward

Like tugs moving a giant ship, or like a Cumberland River towboat pushing thousands of tons of gravel or grain downriver, we can steer the Republican “leadership” in the right direction – or replace them in the next elections.

Tug pushing barges, Cumberland River

Barge tug pushes thousands of tons of cargo on the Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN (Photo by the author)

NEWTRALIZING OBAMA

February 23, 2012

The cement is still wet enough to scratch my initials in, but it’s curing around my vote for Newt, March 6th.

Best Candidate:

We need a thick-skinned, sharp-toothed junkyard dog to beat the Obama/Media-Pimp/Soros/KGB/Muslim-Brotherhood complex.

Romney is such a gone-over marketing package that I see him as more package than product. Yes, he seems conservative on some issues — maybe even most — but he is SO polished and marketing-driven that I don’t think he will have a hard enough edge in debates with Obama and surrogates, and in ambush interviews with the Obamedia to keep conservatives interested and motivated, and to make a bold contrast between himself and Obama.

Santorum is a little too Mister Rogers for me, and, like Romney, he doesn’t appear to be capable of confronting Obama aggressively, and establishing the stark contrast that will make softer 2008 Obama voters think, “I voted for ‘change,’ not for ‘destruction’, and not for turning this country into a phony-baloney, socialist utopia. And that doesn’t make me a racist, it makes me willing to admit a mistake, and CORRECT IT.” 

There is too a strong vein of McCain-style, smiley-face milquetoast in him, and it can come out at the worst possible moment (think Arlen Specter), letting ObamaCo make him look flatter than stale beer.

Ron Paul may be capable of the junkyard dog thing, but how can anyone be comfortable with the appallingly-large component of wackoid, hate-spewing, racist loons who are stuck to him? Most of them have more in common with Louis Farrakhan than with me.

He can’t win the election, because his foaming-at-the-mouth acolytes will alienate everyone but themselves from him, and then they will turn on each other, leaving a battered few to show up at the polls… probably on Wednesday, after they run out of pot.

If a man is known by the company he keeps, Paul is a guy who is comfortable with a live grenade rolling around in the back of his pickup truck — probably Obama’s dream opponent.

Gingrich has shown repeatedly, in the 327 Republican debates, and in multiple ambush “interviews” that he can stand up under tremendous pressure and articulate conservative principles both rationally and persuasively, even in the face of the most intense, lying, hate-filed attacks Obama and his jackals can muster. He can punch, but most importantly, he can counter-punch, hard — and that is critical.

Newt’s so-called “baggage” is all out there, and none of it matters up against the Obama baggage (make that a Chinese mega-freighter full of shipping containers dripping toxic waste) already in the public record, AND the many, as-yet-undisclosed skeletons in Obama’s closet, many of which will spill out by Fall, despite the Obamedia’s best efforts.  If Newt’s campaign goes after Obama as it should and could, the baggage will all belong to Barack.

Best President:

None of the Final Four will make an ideal, constitutionally-sound president. If that’s what you’re looking for, forget it. Now, back to reality:

Santorum and Romney are in a mushy tie, as far as being trustworthy in the Big Chair. Either of them seems capable of being persuaded to do outrageous things in “the best interest of the majority (read, “Romneycare”, and “Arlen Specter”, as above), or in some Marxist-theology-tainted religious appeal, even if those things are explicitly unconstitutional and wrong — as long as they have the right emotional hooks.

Ron Paul is a non-starter. What does his acceptance of the support of his bizarre fan base say about Paul’s judgment? Nothing that makes me want him in the White House.

Add to that, he is clearly, fatally, 180-degrees wrong about Israel and foreign policy, and the threat of Islam. That he sticks with those insane, immoral positions is all the evidence I need that he has a deep character flaw, defective judgment,  and/or a tenuous grip on reality.

Okay, Least-Bad President:

Any of them would require a continuous prod with a flaming, sharp stick, to move them toward constitutional government and away from New Deal tyranny.  I feel about 1.5% better turning my back on Newt for as long as two minutes at a time. Mitt and Rick, not for a second. Either of them could be swayed by a good sales pitch, even if intrinsically wrong, if the emotional appeal were strong enough. Paul? I shudder to think of him loose in the Commander-in-Chief’s chair, spinning and squealing, without adult supervision.

My instinct is that Newt has a hard enough core to send any pack of lobbyist jackals dressed as a sales team packing, and feeling as if they had just had their bark peeled.  I can’t say that about any of the others.

Newt is my guy, by default — at this second.

It’s Time for Tough Love for Republican Leaders

August 4, 2011

I’m puzzled by conservatives who are critical of the conservatives who are critical of the budget deal.

I know you’re supposed to hate the sin and love the sinner, but a sinner who sins again and again needs not just love, but tough love.  House Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose debt deal is in the best tradition of deal makers like Bob Dole and John McCain, and  have dealt us into where we are today.

Yes, I know, Republicans [switch to parrot voice] “only control one half of one branch of government.” What kept John Boehner from walking out of the surrender negotiation with the White House and the Senate, stating clearly that he would not take part in a “compromise” that leaves us worse off than we were before? What kept Mitch McConnell from keeping his mouth shut at a time when he could be seen as competing with his own side?

Boehner and McConnell let the fear that they would be portrayed in the dinosaur media as causing a default guide their actions. Well, the default threat was a lie, the Dow is in a tailspin, trailing smoke, and no rating service in its right mind is going to let a debt-loaded borrower borrow more at less than confiscatory rates. And this was a great deal? Was it really better than no deal?

I don’t think so. These leaders failed us, and not for the first time.

It’s time for tough love, starting in the primaries.

John and Mitch, it’s time to retire.

Hey, Stupid Party! Anybody Home, in There?

March 30, 2011

“Give us money, so we can re-elect spineless leaders to ignore you until next election.”

I just got an email from the RNC, begging for money, again. I get them all the time, but, as I sometimes do, I will respond to this one in an “open letter” format.

The immediate trigger for this open letter was reading the following paragraph:

Nothing would make The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post happier than printing articles in April that the Republican Party is finished because the RNC’s Federal Election Commission first quarter report showed us lagging behind in donations from our nationwide network of conservative grassroots supporters.

Herein we find one of the stupidest things the Stupid Party believes: That we should give a damn what The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post thinks.

A pathetic and pointless desire for approval from these left-leaning media hacks is one of the most glaring weaknesses of the Stupid Party “leadership.” This “leadership” has brought us to this precipice, over which is a socialist autocracy in which the Constitution is an irrelevant, historical curiosity.

If the “leadership” had rejected the $105 Billion land mine in the continuing resolution that funds the implementation of the obscenity known as Obamacare; if it had rejected the taxpayer subsidy for killing unborn children to be handed to Planned Parenthood; if it had rejected taxpayer funding of the government’s left-wing propaganda organ, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, there might be a whisper of a chance I would give the RNC a dime.

Of course, none of that happened. The “leadership” in the House won’t even come down firmly in favor of not raising the debt limit – let alone on introducing the kinds of spending cuts that would really make a difference in the long run, and that would signal to American taxpayers and the world that there is any seriousness about getting us out of debtor-nation slavery.

What sorts of cuts am I talking about? How about defunding Obamacare, the Department of Education, the EPA’s “cap and trade” scam, the FCC’s initiative to regulate the Internet and shut down talk radio, all foreign aid to countries that routinely fund terrorism and discriminate against Christians, and – yes, I’m saying it – the Cowboy Poetry Festival. That is just a tiny percentage of the wasteful and self-destructive government activity we can do without.

Individual Republican candidates may see some small change from me, if there is any left over after buying gas and inflated groceries, but RNC, don’t hold your breath.

If you care so much about what The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post think, ask them for money.

“Extreme Circumstances” and Republican Surrender Monkeys — How to Make Nice and Lose a Country

May 17, 2010
Chamberlain

Senator Jon Kyl (L) leaves a meeting with Obama Adminstration representatives concerning the Kagan nomination... oh, wait! that's something else.

“’The filibuster should be relegated to the extreme circumstances, and I don’t think Elena Kagan represents that,’ said Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”—AP article carried on breitbart.com

Will someone please point out to me a Republican with a spine, anywhere in a senior position of responsibility in Congress?

Senator Jon Kyl clearly is not one. Senator Kyl, if intercepting this left-wing hack of an Obama nominee on a clear trajectory to a lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court is not “extreme circumstances,” what the hell is?

It’s only the judicial entity you and your colleagues have negligently entrusted with the power to say the United States Constitution is whatever they say it is at a given moment, that’s all. What little public record she has includes hostility to the military and free speech, and a fondness for abortion. Will you be astonished if she is also hostile to the Second Amendment and the other nine articles of the Bill of Rights? If you are, you are as clueless as you are spineless.

Does anyone understand why a Republican “leader” would roll over and play dead on such an issue even before hearings have begun? Is anyone surprised that the Tea party people and other grassroots conservatives and constitutionalists have turned their backs on the Republican Party “leaders?”

These eunuchs will make nice while the Socialist Democrats guide our country into the twilight, as a failed, post-constitutional, pseudo-European socialist state with no history and no future, and a debt to the Chinese that will make us their wholly-owned subsidiary.

Nah, no “extreme circumstances,” there.

Tennessee’s Eighth, and Conservative Ideals versus the Republican Establishment

February 14, 2010

More on Tennessee’s Eighth

I got some reactions from Donn Janes on my earlier essay on history and current events in the Tennessee Eighth Congressional District. His comments add great value to the discussion, so I thought I’d produce an addendum trying to take them into account.

The most important item is that I need to correct a crucial factual error. I described Donn Janes as one of “two Republicans [who] have stepped up…” to fill the seat to be left vacant by Tanner’s retirement.

Oops. Fundamental error… Janes is running as an independent, having explicitly divorced himself from the Republican Party and its many betrayals of Conservative standards and ideals. I registered as an Independent in Dickson County when we moved here, after decades as a Republican in Indiana, for the same reason. I should have been a lot more aware of the difference.

As if to scold me immediately for neglecting the best arguments for the parting of ways between Establishment Republicans and constitutional conservatives that has taken root in the last few years, I found a column by Alan Keyes posted Friday, February 12, in World Net Daily that distills the grounds for divorce. Some excerpts are reproduced here, but I strongly recommend the original article for the patient, scholarly and thorough dissertation that Alan Keyes, as usual, produces.

“In the days when my awareness of the U.S. political scene was just budding there were politicians in the Republican Party who openly identified themselves as liberals. For this sort of fact Wikipedia is as reliable a witness as any other:

“‘In the 1930s ‘Me-too-Republicans’ described those who ran on a platform of agreeing with the Democratic Party, or proclaiming only minor or moderating differences. A prime example is presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey, who did not oppose New Deal programs altogether, but merely campaigned on the promise that Republicans would run them more efficiently and less corruptly. …’

“’From 1936 to 1976 the more centrist of the Republican Party frequently won the national nomination with candidates such as Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Indeed, other terms for liberal Republicans include Nixonian and Rockefeller Republican.’

“If this take on the GOP presidential candidates of the 20th century is accurate (and I think it is) it confirms the notion that, for all their posturing in opposition to the Democrats on particular issues, the controlling powers of the Republican Party have no quarrel in principle with the New Deal worldview. On grounds that are at once aesthetic, practical and self-interested, they decry the excessive Democratic tendency toward openly populist egalitarianism. Yet, impelled by a self-adulating sense of noblesse oblige, they tacitly concede that the Democrats’ “liberal” agenda represents the higher ground of moral sophistication. What the liberal GOP elites reject is their frequent lack of sophistication in carrying out that agenda.

“In this respect, I suspect that the preferred candidate of the GOP elites in the 2008 election was … Barack Obama. He had all the outward appearances of cool sophistication, purposefully controlled moral passion and seeming respect for the ironically unselfish elite ambition benevolently to secure a position of unchallenged control over every aspect of human life. He seemed so moderate.”

Ouch. A better rebuke for my neglectful lumping of a conservative independent and a nominal Republican together was never delivered. Thank you, Doctor Keyes.

Stephen Fincher certainly impressed me in our telephone conversation as a conservative at heart, using the Republican establishment framework to get to power. That was a subjective impression, however, with no corroborating evidence.

As I said, Mike Pence’s interest in Fincher made me interested in him. However – always, the however – as I mentioned before, Mike and I are not in lockstep on several issues of importance.

I have not forgotten Mike’s embrace of a very McCain-like form of “immigration reform.” It was a rotten idea when McCain championed it, and it was no better with Mike Pence out in front of it.

I also do not agree with Mike’s tendency to go along with “anti-terror” legislation that has the effect of making America less of a fortress than a prison. If we want a safer country, let’s put the bars on the outside, not on the inside.

I have always harbored the irrational hope that  Mike was immune to the effect of cumulative exposure to the insidious, Inside-the-Beltway atmosphere he has been subjected to since January, 2001. Rationally, I have to admit that no one is completely immune to those effects – even Mike Pence.

I doubt that he has succumbed to the wiles of special interest like the United Autoworkers Union or the Sierra Club, but I can’t rule out that he may have been co-opted by an equally-powerful influence in his environment – the Republican establishment.

I described before, my phone conversation with Stephen Fincher. It would be reassuring to see the conservative, constitutionalist views I heard from him then, explicitly laid out on his Website. I would be especially impressed to see him step away from the farm policies that are the oldest vestige of socialism in American government, and that have done as much damage to the free market in agriculture as government involvement in health care has done, and will continue to do, to the free market for that industry.

My favorite civics text is by Libertarian P. J. O’Rourke: PARLIAMENT OF WHORES — a Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government. The author of this caustic, penetrating and hysterically funny appraisal of our “system” of government yields up the following observation concerning American “farm policy:”

“Farm policy, although it’s complex, can be explained. What it can’t be is believed. No cheating spouse, no teen with a wrecked family car, no mayor of Washington, D.C., videotaped in flagrant has ever come up with anything as farfetched as U.S. farm policy.”

If Stephen Fincher can convincingly break free of the web of obligation and obfuscation of current farm policy, emblematic as it is of what is wrong with the U.S. government, I, self-appointed mayor of Lower Danley Road, northeastern suburb of the unincorporated area of Bellsburg, Tennessee, will give him a serious, second look. As a farmer in a farming community, Stephen Fincher would be showing his allegiance to principle over economic and political self-interest by disavowing government farm policy, and the integrity required to take that step would be very impressive. As cordial and genuine a gentleman as Stephen Fincher is, I’ll have to wait to believe that when I see it in print.

The problem right now in Tennessee’s Eighth is the same problem we have had all over America as a result of going along with the Republican Establishment. The elephantine elite are distinguishable from Democrats/Progressives/Socialists/Economic Fascists only in style; not in substance. We who have followed this herd have swept up enough elephant dung to keep the compost heap going indefinitely. We don’t need any more.

Or, as Alan Keyes summarizes, in the piece cited above:

“People are now rising in opposition to the all-too-conclusive evidence of the Obama faction’s repugnant extremism. But they urgently need to ponder the fact that the phony moderation of the GOP leadership elites did more than anything else to put Obama where he is. Unless we look beyond the false alternatives they offer, we will only enable equally false election victories that will not put an end to the destruction of American liberty Obama represents.”

With apologies to Stephen Fincher, if I had to vote in the Tennessee primary today, I’d vote for Donn Janes.

Tennessee’s Illustrious Eighth — a Congressional District with a Colorful History

February 13, 2010

When we moved to hilly, middle Tennessee from the flatlands of Indiana, we moved to a congressional district with as many historical ups and downs as it has of the physical sort.

According to the Wikipedia page on the subject, both the recent and not-so-recent history of this area have been…. colorful.

Tennessee’s Eighth, carved out of the old Seventh, used to lump our rural home in Dickson County in with Memphis. As a result of the 1980 census, the legislature in 1983 left Memphis and most of Shelby County to fend for themselves as the new Ninth, and Dickson County in the Eighth, to face the future with most of Northwest Tennessee.

Tennessee's Eighth Congressional District

The Wikipedia list of US Representatives from the Eighth and its antecedents goes back to 1823, and lists party affiliations that include a Jacksonian Democratic-Republican, three Jacksonians, one Anti-Jacksonian, seven Whigs, a Know-Nothing, an Opposition Party (Whig spin-off) member, an Unconditional Unionist (not surprisingly, an artifact of the War of Secession, AKA up north as the “Civil War”), and more recently, fifteen Democrats and six Republicans. Talk about colorful…

The last time this seat was in Republican hands was 1973-75, when Dan Kuykendall was re-districted into it from the Ninth. Before that, the last Republican this area sent to Washington was in 1921-23 — so it’s safe to say that doesn’t happen every day. Given the generally Democrat history of the Mid-South, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

That’s the history. In 2010, however, things could be different. At the end of 2009, John Tanner, the latest Democrat to hold the seat, and having held it for eleven terms, announced his resignation. Tanner, in the tradition of the culturally- and fiscally-conservative Democrats who tend to prevail in the district’s demography, takes credit as a co-founder of the “Blue Dog” Democrat faction of Congress.

Indeed, his voting record may be more conservative than Madame Speaker probably finds to her liking, if the account on his page on Wikipedia is to be believed:

“Tanner is strongly in favor of balancing the budget and paying down the national debt. He has been a strong opponent of the fiscal policies of President George W. Bush, voting against many of the tax cuts passed during his terms; yet, he was one of 43 Democrats to vote to repeal the estate tax in 2006. Tanner was one of the few Democrats in the House to vote in favor of CAFTA and has long distanced himself from the majority of his party on issues such as bankruptcy law and lawsuit reform. He voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, the ban on “partial-birth” abortions, limiting death penalty appeals, and has voted against most gun control measures. On other issues he is more liberal: he often votes with his party on separation of church and states issues, and has consistently voted against the Flag Desecration Amendment. Tanner voted with the majority of his party to expand stem cell research and against renewing the controversial portions of the Patriot Act. He also supports affirmative action and public education. Tanner was firmly opposed to Bush’s attempt to reform Social Security.”

That sounds kind of moderate, for a long-term Democrat. Somehow, though, Tanner voted liberally enough to earn an 80% rating from the experts on liberalism at Americans for Democratic Action, based on his votes during 2008, the most recent year for which there are scores on their Website.

Wikipedia characterizes this voting pattern as “moderate,” but it might also be described as, “confused,” or, “expedient,” if one could see into Tanner’s motivations.

Only one member of the Tennessee delegation, Steve Cohen, who succeeded Harold Ford to the Ninth District seat that now includes Memphis, finished higher according to ADA standards than Tanner. Cohen scored 100% for 2008. Harold Ford has been in the news lately as a potential Democrat candidate for the US Senate in New York, so Cohen’s district is no stranger to liberal representation.

For comparison, even Senator Lamar Alexander, who is somewhat squishy on illegal immigration, and voted for the nomination of hard-core leftist nominee Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court, got a chilly 25% rating from the ADA.

Reporting from the other side of the political spectrum, the American Conservative Union gave Tanner a 13% grade for his 2008 voting record, an “F” in most grading systems that don’t pass everybody, and Alexander garnered  72% for the period, which was a low, low  “D” when I was in school.

Which makes one wonder: if John Tanner (80% from ADA; 13% from ACU), a founding Blue Dog, was a friend to the conservatives in Tennessee’s Eighth… did they need enemies?

More recently, the Eighth has had some color of another sort. The highest-profile potential opponent to Tanner from the (nominally) Republican side in the last few elections has been James Hart. To say that Hart has unconventional political views is to make a spectacular understatement. (See for yourself at his Website.)

Hart’s political orientation is a weird cross between an anti-government, neo-isolationist fringe that makes Ron Paul seem calm and conventional, and a white supremacy/eugenics theme that would be at home among hard-core, 20th-century Progressives like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger.

The Tennessee Republican establishment has backed away from him at every opportunity, as he recounts at his site. The lack of more credible GOP opposition in recent years is perhaps due to a perceived invincibility on the part of the incumbent, as fortified by McCain-Feingold, the Incumbent Protection Act. Certainly, Hart’s frequent use of the politically-radioactive phrase, “favored races,” has done nothing to encourage the Elephant Party Elders to embrace him. He embraces their rejection. It’s that kind of relationship.

This phrase has earned Hart Favored Villain Status among progressive observers of Tennessee politics, despite the historical roots of Eugenics being firmly bedded in Progressivism.

Anyway, that brings us more or less to the present. Tanner is headed for a cushy Congressional retirement, perhaps doubling as a lobbyist, or maybe just as a gentleman farmer, or a coddled academic, and the vacuum must be filled.  Two Republicans have stepped up: Stephen Fincher and Donn Janes.

I haven’t made up my mind, yet, but so far, I like both, and I suspect that either would be an improvement of several orders of magnitude over recent representation of the Eighth in Congress.

In email correspondence with Donn Janes, he impressed me as a firmly-rooted Constitutionalist. His lack of association with the Republican establishment doesn’t put me off at all, considering how incompetent and/or deceptive that establishment has been in recent years, as I have described in detail in “Compassionate Conservatism,” and other Reasons Why the Republicans Lost, and elsewhere.

In this case, it is not Eugenics looniness that seems to repel the Elephants, but the suicidal stampede of the pachyderm patriarchy to embrace Liberal Lite over grassroots conservatism. If this is their reason for giving Janes a dismissive sniff of the trunk, I consider that a major positive. Janes’s Website lays out his beliefs in some detail, and I can find nothing there to disagree with. I see no effort at obfuscation or deception in any of it, and I am strongly inclined to believe that he believes as he says he does.

On the inevitable other hand, Stephen Fincher also strikes me as the real deal. Fincher spent fifteen or twenty minutes on the phone with me, in which I gave him a gentle grilling about several issues I see as definitive. His Website, as I have noted elsewhere, was a little vague in some details I was looking for, but he filled in a lot of that in the time I had with him.

I asked him if he would refuse to vote for legislation for which no justification could be found explicitly in the Constitution. He said yes. He went into some detail, leading me to believe that he is a strict constructionist, and not a blank-check-ist, as far as interpreting the limits on government power delineated in the Constitution. In other words, I don’t see him signing off on something under the cover of the horribly abused “general welfare” provision.

I asked him a question I’d like to see answered by all 535 members of Congress. I call it the “regulation without representation” question. In the event that a federal regulatory agency passed a regulation that violates the Constitutional constraints on government power, would you vote to defund the agency involved, starving it of the resources to enforce such regulation?

I proposed the hypothetical (but all too likely) example of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) re-establishing a “Fairness Doctrine” that would impose restrictions on First Amendment freedoms of speech and press. Fincher said that yes, he would do anything he could to defund the FCC in that case, or in any case in which regulators attempt to bypass the legislative process on their way to violating the Constitution. I think he meant it.

I would love to see our regulatory royalty deprived of their salaries, expenses and benefits while they re-think their ambitions for violating the Constitution.

What does Stephen Fincher think of term limits? He says no member of the Senate should serve more than two (six-year) terms, and no member of the House should be there longer than six (two-year) terms.

(I think membership in either house should be seen as just as much a matter of disagreeable obligation as jury duty, rather than a lifetime occupation from which one retires early and lives like a king at taxpayers’ expense. Take away the perks of power, make the retirement benefits much less luxuriant, and see if we still have self-important hacks and crooks of any party hanging around like a persistent fungal infection.)

The FAIR TAX – Is Stephen Fincher for it? Yes, if he can assure himself that we wouldn’t wind up with a grasping IRS collecting income tax AND a sales tax, he would support the Fair Tax, or a reasonable variant.

Does he agree with my standard for bill size – “any bill too big for a regular human to read before it comes up for a vote is too big to vote for”? Yes. He says the huge size of recent bills is nothing but a haystack for hiding needles from taxpayers, such as pork barrel, bribes for special interests, and unconstitutional power grabs.

I strongly suspect that Donn Janes would answer all of these questions pretty much to my satisfaction, as well.

Stephen Fincher does, undeniably, have more connections with the Republican establishment than Donn Janes, but they are of a conservative pedigree. Fincher told me he is in touch with Mike Pence, Republican Representative from the Second District of Indiana, who is chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Mike Pence is a solid conservative, and has become something of a kingmaker among the conservative Republicans in Congress and elsewhere. While Mike is more conservative and less Libertarian in orientation than I am, I know and respect him from a long-time acquaintance going back before his time in Congress, and I believe he, too,  is “the real deal” — honest, intelligent and respectful of his obligation to uphold the Constitution.

If he says Fincher is a solid individual who would faithfully represent the interests of Tennessee and obey his oath of office, I’m inclined to believe it.

I am also inclined to believe that of Donn Janes, although I have less, independent corroboration.

Where does that leave us? I think we have two, good candidates to go up against the one the Democrats pick in their primary. Which one will I vote for? I don’t know, yet, but I’m glad to have “an embarrassment of riches.”

That is  much more agreeable than a choice between a tightly-wound Eugenics fan and an invulnerable incumbent with a C+/B- grade from the premier liberal organization, and yet the ability to pass himself off as a Blue Dog moderate.

Trying to Trust Sarah Palin

February 8, 2010

I like Sarah Palin.

I loved her nomination speech at the Republican National Convention, but not quite enough to vote for the aging opportunist at the top of their ticket.

That’s right – even a magical, electric moment of optimism, wit and apparent willingness to speak the truth couldn’t make me vote for Mister Incumbent Protection Act; Mister McAmnesty; Mister We Shall Not Speak of the Flaming Socialist at the Top of the Democrat Ticket as a Flaming Socialist.

Why? Because I suspected it was an act. I had looked at McCain’s history, and I did not see any chance of this man undergoing the transformation that would have been required to turn him into a leader with more allegiance to the Constitution than to extending the trajectory of his career as a professional politician to the big chair in the Oval Office.

Sarah Palin, I feared, was his last-ditch effort to look like a conservative; to draw back the Republicans, Libertarians and Independents who had been betrayed by two Bushes and a Republican elite that decided Democrat Lite was the way to go. The Republican establishment types too-often found themselves in disagreement with progressives and Socialist Democrats in style, but not in substance. The party of Specter, Snowe, Collins, Lugar and McCain was not, and is not, my party.

If they belong, I don’t.

The headlong rush of Obama, Reid and Pelosi to socialist utopia may have been more leisurely under McCain, but it would have been just as steady and determined.

Like the decades-old fires that burn underground in abandoned coal mines and peat bogs, the socialization of America would have progressed mostly unobserved by those above ground, until the smoldering earth opened up and exposed the extent to which the country’s heart had been burned away by the federal government, and the fire could not be put out.

I watched with interest Saturday night, as Sarah Palin addressed the Tea Party Nation Convention in nearby Nashville. I was not won over, although I wanted to be.

She seemed a bit tired, as if she’d had some sleepless nights to make the appearance fit into her busy schedule. She seemed not like a tea party revolutionary, but more like a slightly exhausted Republican, trying to sound the notes that would make tea partiers respond.

Respond they did, standing to cheer several times, as she struck out at the Obama administration’s cluelessness on national defense, its apparent willingness to destroy the economy, and its utter disregard and contempt for the Tenth Amendment.

I hoped to hear her explicit pledge to support candidates and movements that were committed to all of the Bill of Rights, but that never came. Instead, I heard later that she went from the conference to appearances for Rick Perry and John McCain, neither of whom is a big friend of the Constitution in general, or of the Bill of Rights in particular.

Why, Governor? I would understand if, to honor promises made during the late, lame, lamented election campaign, you appeared briefly with such candidates — but not when you join them on the campaign trail and seem committed to their victory. Remember, a President McCain would have been that fire burning underground, but more slowly — advancing the restrictions on free speech, pushing amnesty for illegal aliens, and pushing for more taxpayer bailouts like the TARP boondoggle. And then the ground opens up…

On another, jangling sour note, the Governor told us that, if she were president, she would endorse expanded exploration and exploitation of American energy sources, and to begin immediately to build nuclear power plants, because they are, “carbon-neutral.” Oh, boy.

Governor Palin, if you’ve been too busy campaigning for McCain to keep track, “man-caused global warming” is a colossal scam.

The “science” that was supposed to prove it has been exposed as fraudulent. The underlying motivation of the Watermelons – green on the outside, but red on the inside – behind the Cap and Trade bills, and similar schemes is, and has always been, the accumulation of power in the hands of central government.

If Sarah Palin doesn’t know that, or knows but won’t say so, why?  Is she just another closet progressive, dressed up like a conservative?

Beats me. I like her. I just wish I could trust her.