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Author Archives: Matthew Kilburn
I need to apologize to my readers for the long period without any posts. I’ve been busy working on a few things, both personal and related to college – including an attempt to form a new College Republicans chapter. As soon as I’ve gotten things sorted out, I’ll post an update on this site – it could be that new commitments will bring an end to this site, or that extra time will allow further development of the Act Blog. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.
If John Roberts had been found to have said, prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, that he believed white males possessed any kind of superior intellect or judicial abilities, he would rightfully have been run out of town as both a racist and a sexist. Yet when Sonia Sotomayor is revealed to have previously made statements that “A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life”, clearly indicating a belief that women and minorities are superior in the legal field. This is unacceptable.
But there is an inherent flaw in her view – a “wise Latina woman” is no more able to put herself in the position of others than is a white man or woman of similar judicial ability. A Latina is no more able to know or understand the experiences of a white man than the opposite – and, in any case, justice is supposed to be blind; decisions are to be based on the written letter of the law – not the personal experiences of the judges involved in the case. Justice can hardly be applied equally when cases are determined by the life experiences of the presiding judges.
“Racist” is not a term to be used lightly or without a full understanding of its meaning, yet when someone states a belief in the inherent superiority of “Latina women”, that is a racist statement – and neither racists nor sexists belong on the Supreme Court.
North Korea has a long history of ignoring the global community and making dangerous and hostile moves that threaten to engulf East Asia in military conflict. In 2006, the Communist Nation tested a Taepodong missile over the objections of the global community. Last year, the attempted to detonate a nuclear device underground, though the results were questionable. Just since President Obama took office, they have tested more missiles, and successfully detonated a nuclear weapon equal in size to the Hiroshima bomb which killed more than 70,000 people.
Combined, these tests threaten the security of the United States – it is now clear that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and that they are quickly developing the technology (through improvements to their Taepodong missiles) to deliver such weapons to distant locations – presumably including the United States. These facts demand that the United States eliminate the North Korean threat before it can be used to further blackmail the developed world.
Thus far, Dimplomacy has failed. Only through what amount to bribes has the international community been able to delay – and just delay – further development. This is unacceptable. Continued appeasement of the North Korean regime will only further damage our credibility and will, in the end, still lead to a Korean nuke that can be delivered at will.
While, at this point, military action is clearly justified, there are good reasons to avoid yet another military conflict on the Asian continent. It may still be possible to avoid such conflict, but in order to do so, the US must move beyond North Korea and the United Nations and put direct, significant pressure on China to solve the problem before we do. As Gordan Chang points out on Forbes.com, China holds enough leverege in North Korea to put to rest any crisis that develops:
Today, China supplies about 90% of North Korea’s oil, 80% of its consumer goods and 45% of its food. Beijing is Pyongyang’s only formal military ally and its primary backer in the United Nations Security Council and other diplomatic forums. If it weren’t for the Chinese, there would be no North Korean missile program, no North Korean nuclear program and no North Korea.
Knowing the power China holds in this situation, and their need for continued good relations with the United States (on whom they are just as dependent as the reverse), President Obama must issue an ultimatum to the Chinese government, making it clear that we view our national security to be at risk, that we will take action to end the Korean threat if China does not, and that we will view attempts to restrict any efforts to block such action as hostile acts. It goes without saying that we must also be willing to back up that ultimatum with action if China is unwilling or unable to prevent further development of the North Korean threat. That must include, but not be limited to, airstrikes and limited ground incursions to eliminate missile pads, and, if possible, nuclear weapons development.
Clearly a victory for Democracy and American values – we’ll have to see if further action is taken to invalidate the existing marraiges.
Shortly after it became apparent that Barack Obama would be the Democratic Nominee in 2008, some groups of unhappy Clinton supporters began calling themselves PUMAs – standing for “Party Unity My Ass”. They believed, for whatever reason, that Barack Obama was unsupportable in 2008, and many promised to actively support McCain. This prompted many Republicans to believe that the election could be won on the backs of such PUMAs, and the party strategy was altered accordingly, culminating in the selection of Sarah Palin – a female Governor many now recognize was ill prepared for a national run – as the Vice Presidential nominee.
Unfortunately for us, the packs of PUMAs running to the polls in support of John McCain never materialized, and some of the adjustments made to the Republican campaign in hopes of attracting such voters likely did more harm than good. It wouldn’t be fair to say that PUMAs never existed – but in the end, they were far too few in number and far too low in dedication to actually help us on election night.
So, with the disaster that was PUMA hunting so fresh in the memories of the GOP, you would think that most within the party would be hesitant to once again spend time and energy chasing shadow demographics in the hopes of improving our standing. Yet some in the GOP, usually within the moderate Republican blogosphere, are actively encouraging the party to abandon its socially conservative base in order to attract what are usually defined as “upper-middle class, suburban, secular voters”. They believe that there are large swaths of right-of-center voters who are receptive to many parts of the Republican message, but who end up voting Democratic or staying home because of our positions on social and cultural issues.
But this does not seem to square with what polls have proven in recent months. And even where it does, its debatable whether or not the trade-offs required to attract such voters are truly worth it.
Little is offered to define exactly who or where these voters are – other than their title as secular suburbanites – and so its very difficult to try and determine exactly what kind of people we are looking at, but its probably fair to say that they are White, between the ages of 40 and 60, making more than $45,ooo a year, and attending church a few times a year or less. But with the exception of church attendance, all of those demographics either voted Republican, split, or voted Democratic by a margin less than the nation as a whole did – all this in a very anti-Republican year.
Whites supported McCain by 55%-43%, Those in the 40-60 age group split virtually down the center, those making between $50k and %75k a year went narrowly to McCain, and even those self-described as Suburban voters supported Obama by smaller margins than the national average. This comes, once again, in a highly anti-Republican year with an extremely popular and charismatic Democratic nominee.
Moving beyond Demographics and into the category of issues, it has been shown time and time again that those who consider social issues a top priority are a relatively small group, and that those who are socially conservative are far more likely to be persuaded by the positions of a candidate on such issues than those who are socially liberal; with social moderates – which these mystery “secular suburbanites” likely are – being even further disinterested.
Finally, even if there were substantial numbers of secular suburbanites who could easily jump to the GOP were it not for social conservatism, what would be the cost of adjusting our stances on those issues? It seems unlikely that we could pull that group in without abandoning the Socially Conservative base – a group who has helped to make the GOP what it is today, and, without whom we would be in much deeper trouble than we are today.
In the end, unless those who want to chase the secular suburban voters who are supposedly just a couple position shifts away from jumping behind the GOP can provide solid evidence that such a group truly exists in the form they say it does, its probably not worth the effort.
Despite all efforts to prevent Barack Obama from speaking at Notre Dame’s commencement address, the President will soon depart Washington for South Bend, IN. This is nothing less than a complete embarrassment of the Catholic faith and a dark stain against Catholic education in the United States. As a supporter of abortion rights – which Barack Obama unquestionably is – the President breaks one of Catholicism’s most important political stances: that unborn life is sacred, holy, and must be defended.
There are some who will try to make excuses, arguing that the President is not a rabid abortionist, and that he wants to reduce the number of abortions. That’s great – but he supports legalized abortion, he reversed the Mexico City policy, and the party he represents has attacked policies that permit doctors and other medical personnel to refuse to assist in the destruction of innocent life. Others will argue that the President is an advocate for the quality of life – and that those who oppose abortion are really just pro-birth. My only response to that is that being “pro-birth” is nothing to shy from. Without birth, without the child actually being brought into this world, everything else is completely meaningless.
There are certain circumstances where is MIGHT be acceptable for the President to speak at a Catholic Institution – if he were to open himself to challenge or rebuttal, or if he was simply being brought in as one side of a political argument. But that is not the case. Barack Obama is being granted the privilege of giving the commencement address AND and honorary degree. Both suggest that the President is not just another individual with his own opinions, but a superior voice and authority worthy of sending whatever message he might choose to the Catholic youth of this country.
and that is not the case, it is, in fact, a complete embarrassment.