The Case for Marriage Equality: Perry v. Schwarzenegger

The 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia ended state bans on interracial marriage in the 16 states that still had such laws. Now, 44 years after Loving, the courts are once again grappling with denial of equal marriage rights — this time to gay couples. Two California couples have filed suit against Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that limited marriage to opposite-sex couples. The American Foundation for Equal Rights engaged David Boies and Ted Olson to lead the legal challenge. The plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger won in federal district court, and the case is now on appeal. Plaintiffs argue that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and impermissibly singles out gay and lesbian individuals for a disfavored legal status. The speakers on our panel believe that the principle of equality before the law transcends the left-right divide and cuts to the core of our nation’s character.

Featuring the co-counsels, David Boies, Chairman, Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Former Chief Counsel, Senate Judiciary Committee; and Theodore B. Olson, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Former Solicitor General. With comments by the co-chairs of the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Robert A. Levy, Chairman, Cato Institute; and John Podesta, President, Center for American Progress.

via The Case for Marriage Equality: Perry v. Schwarzenegger – YouTube.

Why I’m Seriously Considering Registering as Democrat

I can’t believe this sad sickness displacing reason within the Republican party.

I will never get in bed with Birchers, ever. Anyone Speaking at this convention will receive zero dollars from me, and zero support. In fact, anyone speaking is going to be constantly slammed by me as someone who spoke at a Bircher convention.

Why I Would Never Run for Office in Kansas

Why I Would Never Run for Office in Kansas

I’ve pondered if I should run for office; this because I am a life-long Republican in a red state with strong political opinions and in favor of reasoned action when it comes to politics. I speak well, debate well, and have convincing authoritative voice, and I could be a shoo-in. There’s a big however here…

My conservatism is staunch in most areas and my votes have been pretty much straight R most of my life, however I could never get past a primary in Kansas – the Sam Brownback religious wing would see to it.

There are several social positions they would torpedo my candidacy with rather than any true and meaningful policy positions that really affect the future of the country.

  • I support the 2nd amendment strongly; but they would counter that I am a godless atheist and therefor I must be some sort of  secret communist who wants to grab guns through stealth.
  • I support necessary, efficient, but limited government; they would counter that with my support of Gay marriage.
  • I support an abundant energy future for the world through science; but they would counter that with — get this — my support of science.
  • I support a strong military, strong foreign policy, and fiscal restraint in Government; they would counter that with my support of a woman’s right to choose with reasonable restrictions.
  • I strongly support the 1st Amendment and Article VI of our constitution; they would counter that with my support for real science in science classes over the pseudo-science of intelligent design and culture war crapola.
  • I support free trade and capitalism; they would counter that with my support of taking reasonable steps to limit our effects on climate.

The sad fact is that I could not win here even if I registered as Democrat – the reconstructionists have too strong a grip on political process in Kansas, and organized religion drives politics far more than it should. In other words, even the Democrats in Kansas are to the right of Republicans in NY, CA, PA, CO, OH, and FL on social issues.

Purposeful reasoned actions are what I strive for, and actions that are purposeless such as me running for an office I couldn’t hope to win are ridiculous – so that will never happen.

Could I win in some of those other states? Possibly, but not in current times.

Right now there is a huge putsch going on from the Religious right in the Republican party. It started with the Club for Growth tossing out Reagan’s maxim of never speaking ill of other Republicans back in 2005, grew into the “Great RINO hunt” and has continued ever since. The oxymoronically named “Club for Growth” pretends to be all about fiscal conservatism (which is all the rage now that Obama was elected as our president,) however I challenge you to point to a candidate they endorse who is not a dyed in the wool religious social conservative.

They have Rubio challenging Crist in Florida, and in New York 23 they are supporting a religious right third party candidate against Diedre Scozzafava, the GOP choice for the special election. In NY 23 we are quite likely to lose that seat for a good long time due to that third party support, and that’s in a few short days. In their quest for “purist” candidates who can pass all 20 of their litmus tests they are making it impossible for R’s to win in populous urban states. They seem intent on driving all moderates out of the party and they are succeeding so far.

Right now you have Michelle Malkin agitating against Dede from James Dobson’s studios, you have the nativist xenophobe minuteman lobby endorsing Hoffman over Scozzafava, and you have White Supremacist blogger Robert Stacy McCain blogging from NY for Hoffman’s campaign.

This strange alliance is a coalescence of desperation that gelled in the post election power vacuum, but they have set course for a Republican party that cannot govern at a national level. They favor the religious right combined with neo confederate and Paleo pup tents over the big tent, they favor freak show barkers like Glen Beck over putting together a consistent production  that can compete on the main stage of US Politics.

The loudest voices are rarely the ones you should follow, but these folks sure know how to make a lot of purposeless noise. We are set for defeat in 2010 – my prediction is that we will gain fewer seats than an out party in an off presidential election year should garner. They will trumpet the pittance we do gain to high heavens, but in these times and with this president our gains should be huge. You can come back and rub this post in my face in 2010 if I am wrong, but I suspect I am not wrong here.

*note: since I am linking to Little Green Footballs which is on the hater’s outcast list, comments will be closed the next few days. Workload prevents me from monitoring comments to stop jackanapery from the people after Charles for sticking to his principles.



The NRSC has launched a new Youtube ad, 60, which highlights the power the Democrats control now and how the Republican hopes of the balance voters effects coming into heavy play in the 2010 elections. With Campaign kitties low and donations to the actual party thin, expect the Republicans to focus mostly on the Senate in the coming election. The demographics of balance in the Senate are much easier to achieve for the diminishing minority party than a large comeback in the house.

Expect spirited house battles, but also expect that they will recruit self starters there who can go it mostly alone. Who knows, there could be a budding Gingrich out there somewhere.

Government Motors

Government Motors

GM? Today they get their final lifeline… 30 billion more in Taxpayer dollars, but still bankrupt:

But the officials said Sunday they would try to steer clear of getting involved in the automaker’s day-to-day operations, though the government will maintain the right to set upfront conditions for providing assistance in “exceptional cases.”

The administration expects company CEO Fritz Henderson will continue to serve in that capacity, officials said, though they added that Henderson serves at the pleasure of the board — some of whose members would be replaced. Those new members have not yet been identified, though administration officials said there would be some continuity between the old GM and the new GM.

The administration said it will also avoid involvement in determining which dealerships are closed as the automaker continues downsizing, nor will the administration seek to name members to an oversight board determining the company’s compensation for executives.

Also, just a couple of things to remember if you are seeing the astroturf spam about “Republican Dealers being picked on” that’s been making the rounds the past two weeks:

  1. Correlation is not cause
  2. 88 percent of Car Dealers are Republican donors anyway, a strong correlation was bound to be there, if they didn’t find a strong majority of Republicans in the data, something would be wrong. The difference between 92 percent and 88 percent is statistically insignificant with the small sample size of closing dealers.

Pelosi Prevaricates

Pelosi Prevaricates

Forty briefings: those squawking the loudest about enhanced interrogation techniques knew about it. If President Bush is a war criminal for this then so is Speaker Pelosi. See the video below where the  hypocrisy abounds:

Republicans Need New Strategy II: The Shores of Desolation

Our tide has receded and we stand amidst wrack and drying foam upon a desolate shore. What’s next for us? Will we starve and shrink, or can we somehow pull that tide back?

Republicans Need New Strategy II: The Shores of Desolation

tidal-flatsIt’s 256-178 against Republicans in the House of Representatives and it’s 59-41 in the Senate, our President is Democrat and likely to get two or more Supreme Court appointments during his coming term or terms. The most populous states in the country are solidly in the (D) column, and our last holdout states are being worked on by the Dems as I type (Pelosi was in Texas yesterday, and many prominent Dems are making regular sweeps – it’s the next populous red state they are working on converting to a grape.) That’s our reality and what we must deal with.

Our tide has receded and we stand amidst wrack and drying foam upon a desolate shore. What’s next for us? Will we starve and shrink, or can we somehow pull that tide back?

To do so takes a long term, mid term, and short term strategies based on reality. Neither strategies based on what’s happening in the news cycle at the moment, nor strategies based on worries and wishes will work.

There’s been lots of coulda, shoulda, woulda analysis of the past election but one thing is very clear – many of our pundits and strategists are now betting the farm on a four and out failure scenario and the conventional wisdom that the party out of power gains in mid term elections. While balancing will come into play, we can’t count on that alone in 2010.

I’m one of those nutty guys who likes to plan for worst case and be happily surprised and cheer like a madman if anything better does occur. You won’t see me thinking Obama’s going to shoot both of his feet off, and you won’t see me planning how to win last election, or thinking that we will still be in recession in four years. Capitalism is stronger that that, no matter what the Dems do – it’s a primal force of human nature that can’t be overcome. Even in Communist China and the old Soviet Union it can’t be overcome. Preparing for the last war you had instead of the war that’s coming is a classic military blunder and the outcome of that can be even worse in the political arena.

First let’s look at short term: what we can do until election 2010 and the levers we have available.

With the Democrat super-majority we do not have a lot of options. To ameliorate bad legislation our levers amount to these:

  • Blocking in committee and using procedural rules where we can based on specific reasoned points that create political opportunities. Easy grandstanding populist issues should be eschewed as the general public will see through these with the ever present aid of the adversarial press
  • Influencing moderate and right democrats on specific regional issues: pair off teams of Republican legislators from their region with Democrats who are on the bubble or at risk in conservative to moderate states. This will not work if the R’s are branded RINO and beset by the nihilistic far right of our party.
  • Influencing through public campaigns and the Democrat’s constituency – target the Democrat Congress critter’s base with the agitprop, not the Republican base or the already converted in his area. This means retooling some of the bumper stickers to appeal more to the left not to the right. The red meat we use against them must be cooked to their liking, not ours if they are to swallow it.
  • Working through the courts to challenge unconstitutional segments of new legislation. The opportunities here are plentiful, each new session of congress seems less capable of writing legislation that will stand up in court. e.g. a few Property rights and Free Speech cases in the West could get us a lot of mileage.
  • Working at State level to supercede and challenge that which is truly unconstitutional – doing this for social issues gets us the FAIL, doing it for gun rights, sound fiscal policy, property rights, and individual liberties gets us the win, because if we don’t pull back the West and some of the North east we become the permanent superminority. Becoming the new Dixiecrat party is not only antithetical to our founding (our first platform was “Free State Kansas”,) but it will also ensure that we become irrelevant at national level for the next decade.

These are levers we can pull – but they are near term tactics, not a strategy. To get to a workable strategy we have to know the terrain and we can worry about the local weather after we figure out where the hills and valleys are.

To do that I propose that the Republican party commission an objective third party firm to conduct a neutral survey. Not a push survey set up to highlight Republican issues like you get every election. (You know the one I’m talking about: it begs for money after trying to push your hot-buttons with a supposed survey.) Make some of the questions on the survey open: don’t give multiple choice selections instead ask openly without prompting what their top three issues are and allow them to hand write or voice their answer.

This survey needs to be of the general public and it needs to be set up not to elicit push or pull responses but rather to survey true beliefs and positions.

We need to also poll our own base with the same survey. We don’t need a Frank Luntz or Dick Morris type involved in this, we need a double blind uninvolved and objective third party firm that’s not tied to a party, think tank, or news agency. Neutral and objective must be our watchwords for this.

Why do we need it? There have been some amazing shifts in demographics the past fifteen years, and the traditional base of what constitutes a Republican has changed, and America has changed as well. With that change in terrain we are fighting on new ground. We need a real assessment. When that comes back we must take off our blinders, blinkers, and rose colored glasses.

First step is to match up areas of agreement between our base and the general public. Those are our strengths so we must make some of those our lead issues, and if they are our strongest cards  then we must base strategy upon them.

Second we must look at areas where we are in major disagreement with the general public. Those are the important stumbling blocks, those are the issues the Dems will make grape states with.

Pundits: Don’t assume you know this already. You might have an inkling, but don’t project your wishes on the results. When and if the returns come back read the sections that make you weep, take a look in the mirror and do some soul searching – don’t make up conspiracy theories to justify the difference, don’t what- if the results. Instead take it, absorb it, sleep on it, and then think on it some more before you come to conclusions.

While you are waiting on that survey that might never happen, please pick up this book, and look at some of the factors over the last few decades that defy conventional wisdom and punditry on elections. Red State Blue State, Rich State, Poor State contains a lot of charts and graphs based on empirical reality. It tries to be neutral, but the left loves it because it underlines their class warfare line that the Republican party is the party of the rich.

It turns out that Rich people vote Republican more often, and Poor people vote Democrat more often. Nothing earth shattering there, you could say the authors are being masters of the obvious. However the big paradigm shift you have to pay attention to is this: Poor states vote Republican, Rich States vote Democrat.  You can hypothesize about that if you like, but the conclusion I’ve come to is that populous states have larger middle and upper classes. What must we do to get them back?

To me the answer is not Populism as that appeals to the poor states already in the Republican column and not necessarily the middle and upper classes in more populous urban states.

If we can’t win populous states we can’t be a national party. Think on it please.

Update: The Sensuous Curmudgeon has an Open Letter to the Party that’s well worth reading here.

The next installment in this series will map mid-game and long term strategies: Where is the Republican party going to head for the rest of the century? Is it a positive appealing direction?

Tigerhawk and Trailmix: Hawking Obama Up

In light of the need to “hawk” Obama up, this does present some more opportunity for Obama to appear strong without large geopolitical ramifications.

Hawking Obama Up

Tigerhawk has some speculation today about solving piracy, it’s much like what I said last year. In light of the need to “hawk” Obama up, this does present even more opportunity than the Taliban in Pakistan for Obama to appear strong without any geopolitical ramifications.

Since Obama is already taking the war to our enemies in Pakistan with drones despite the rumblings from Pakistan, this wouldn’t be over the top for him to do. On the other hand, campaigns against piracy can be very problematic and politically cumbersome in their own right, as President Jefferson found out in an earlier era.

UPDATE: Fox News just stated that General Petraeus has announced that there will be “increased US military presence in the Horn of Africa area within 48 hours”.

UPDATE: In the “All’s Well that ends well” department: An Early Military Victory for Obama. Meanwhile the true Military test is really shaping up in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda is proposing quaqmire.

Bush Deficit vs Obama Deficit


Bush Deficit vs Obama Deficit

Washington Post has a graphic deficit comparison of the two budgets, and Heritage Foundation highlights some of the differences.

More on this from Karl Rove at the Wall Street Journal:

Last fiscal year, the deficit was $459 billion. For this fiscal year, it was $569 billion when Mr. Obama took office. Under his proposals, another $1.276 trillion will be added to the deficit this year, for a total of $1.845 trillion.

The CBO says deficits will fall for three years to $658 billion, still nearly 50% larger than any past deficit. After that, deficits go back up every year, reaching the trillion-dollar a year mark again in nine years. By 2019, the debt would reach 82.4% of GDP, a level not seen since 1947. With astonishing candor, even Peter Orszag, the president’s budget director conceded these levels of deficits and debt are “unsustainable.”

Update: Just in from Rasmussen :

Two-thirds of U.S. voters (66%) think President Obama is likely to raise taxes on people who [make] less than $250,000 per year. That figure includes 47% who say he is Very Likely to do so. [sic]

Also keep in mind that Obama’s Carbon tax is regressive: it will raise the price of energy for every person in the US, and it will raise the price or decrease the quality of every product in the US. [e.g. for the quality statement – when oil prices went up, Starbuck’s decreased the mil on the plastic cups they use, causing more “crush spills” when people grip them too tight.] Any rise in energy prices will also create rises in food prices since food production, transport, storage, and preparation are energy-intensive operations.

As Stephana points out in coments: we also have to factor in Congress’ actions over the past two years when Democrats were in control, they created the deficit ahead of this coming one. They are also now in process of breaking Obama’s campaign promises for him – yesterday the promised $400.00 tax credit went bye bye almost as quick as Social Security surpluses.

The only video that fits the zeitgeist:

h/t Little Green Footballs Spinoff links and to Lawhawk for the Rasmussen update