Category Archives: general

If the Shoe Fits: Sotomayor IS a Racist and a Sexist

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.

-Matt

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US Must Hold China Responsible for North Korean Crisis

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.

-Matt

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Beware of a Return to PUMA Hunting

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.

-Matt

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Its Not “For No Good Reason”

Note: The Detroit Red Wings have advanced into the Western Conference Finals and are now halfway toward repeating their 2008 Stanley Cup Win – you’ll have to excuse any lapses in blogging over the next few weeks. GO WINGS!

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Of all the things about Josh’s recent article supporting Gay Marriage, one line bothered me more than any other:

“For me, when a law restricts freedom for no good reason it should be repealed.”

This argument seems to fall in line with traditional liberal arguments that our marriage laws are outdated, and that they serve no purpose other than to act as a form of legal discrimination against a minority group. Those holding this view believe, as apparently does Josh, that restricting marriage to its traditional form does little for the country.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Marriage is not just a status acknowledged by the government for tax reasons, it is a social and religious institution that serves as the most important building block of society. Marriage, between a man and a women, is the natural and ideal setting in which to bring up children, who are essential to the health of any population. By supporting – even elevating – traditional marriage through legal and economic recognition, benefit, and reward, the government helps to promote a society consisting of traditional values and institutions that provide a broad social benefit (though admittedly, not without some flaws). Would government endorsement of homosexual marriage damage attempts to promote such a social fabric? Its hard to tell, but its worth noting that countries with more “accepting” policies for homosexual unions (particularly in Europe) are currently facing a broad range of social problems – lower marriage rates in general, higher divorce rates, higher illegitimacy rates, and lower birth rates in general. Though its not likely these problems were caused directly by Gay Marriage, it is likely that they are tied together in a drift away from the traditional principles and unions that keep society strong. That, in my view, would be a dangerous road to travel down – hence my objection to any changes in the law which could potentially weaken or lessen the importance of traditional families.

I also have yet to see a substantial argument as to how permitting Gay Marriage would not open the door to any and all types of “marriages” practiced by various groups. If Gay Marriage is legal, then why not polygamy? Feel free to post a response on that, and I’ll front-page it with some analysis

This is not to say that I am against any legal partnership for those unable or unwilling to marry. Its true that there are certain benefits – hospital visitation, power of attorney, etc. – that many, not just Gays, do not have access to. I’ve long said I would have no problems with a legal partnership open to any two people who were not married – one with the legal rights but without the economic benefits or societal endorsement that I view as helping to promote a stronger social fabric. Whether it be a Gay Couple, an engaged straight couple, siblings, etc. – I see no issue permitting these people basic legal rights, and doing so might even help to cut down on legal fighting that erupts in certain situations. But marraige, as we know it, should and must remain in its traditional, man/woman form – and not just for “no good reason”.

-Matt.

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Apathy, More than Liberalism, is Allowing Social Decline

In any discussion on Gay Marriage, the person arguing in support of it is likely to argue that Gay Marriage is inevitable – because the current group of college-age Americans slightly favors it. Those supporting  “marriage equality” (which, as I’ve argued, already exists – no American is allowed to marry a member of the same sex, and all are free to marry any member of the opposite gender) believe – or want us to believe – that, since it is inevitable, we should just allow it now and move on.

But do today’s young adults really support Gay Marriage? Well, yes and no. In the literal, polling-question sense, yes – those currently between the age of 18 and 30 favor Gay Marriage by a small margin. But speaking from experience, this support is not so much “support” as it is disinterest in the issue altogether. There is no broad advocacy for Gay Marriage among mainstream twenty-somethings – those who support it do so largely because they don’t believe it effects them, and simply cannot be brought to care about the large effects on society. As I said, this is speaking from experience. Having been in several current-events or government-themed classes, we’ve been asked our position on the issue. Sure, half the hands go up, maybe even a few more than half, but its in an extremely half-hearted manner. Asked to defend their view, most who support Gay Marriage will give an unconvincing “why not?”. There is no passion, no dedication, no concern whether things unfold in one way or the other. Unlike those who believe in traditional families, who are usually able to back up their views either with deep moral and religious opinions, or else a logical social argument (for example, traditional families are the building blocks of our society) – there is no such depth to the views of those who are content to see Gay Marriage permitted.

This does two things – firstly, it demonstrates the dangers of an apathetic populace. If people cannot be brought to care about the preservation of traditional American values and traditional American society, then radical, liberal, and/or destructive  causes of all kinds will run rampant across this country. At the same time, it suggests that, even if we get to the point that a majority of Americans support Gay Marriage (which may or may not happen – young people generally become more religious and more conservative as they age, and its entirely likely the current generation will follow the same path), it could still be decades after that point before any Gay Marriage will be permitted by a vote of the people. Why? Because in general, the people who vote are the people who care, and those who oppose Gay Marriage are both far more committed and more numerous than those simply content to allow it to come into being.

– Matt

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Does Ridge Really Help?

In response to Josh’s latest post – in which he encouraged Tom Ridge to run for the US Senate against current nominee-presumptive Pat Toomey, I have to ask the question: just how much does Ridge help? Its true that, at the present time, Ridge probably has a better chance at beating Specter than Toomey does, but to fully endorse Ridge over Toomey, you have to make several assumptions about the state of the race in two years – assumptions that probably aren’t the best to make.

First and foremost, you have to assume that Arlen Specter will emerge victorious in the Democratic primary. That might seem likely with Barack Obama behind him, but Obama’s support could be temporary, or else very modest. Obama cannot upset the liberal base right now by supporting a moderate, former Republican over one of their own – he needs them far more than he needs a sixtieth Democratic vote (which comes with at least as many perils as benefits), and, in any case, its entirely possible that Pennsylvania Republicans will simply ignore the leadership and support a candidate more in line with their own views – much the same way that the GOP did with Specter. Since Specter isn’t much more of a Democrat than he is a Republican, and since his record is now clearly one of an opportunistic, self-serving politician, that isn’t at all unlikely.

Next, you have to make some extremely preliminary assumptions about the shape of the American political and economic climate 18 months from now. If, as is possible, the economy remains in a recession or some other negative or stagnated state, then President Obama’s popularity is going to be farlower than it is today – ditto for the entire Democratic machine. Despite recent bright spots (which are really just not-quite-as-dark spots), several perils remain that could lengthen, and even deepen, the recession. In the next year, America faces a likely second round of foreclosures, immanent tax increases, and the undesirable effects of whatever additional regulations that will almost certainly be introduced by the Obama administration – environmental and otherwise. Cap and Trade, stricter emissions standards, and promises to stifle any new bubbles before they emerge could very well combine to create another recovery that isn’t.

And those are just the foreseeable  headaches America will likely face. There are a number of potential problems that we can’t accurately predict. Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Oil prices, Mexico, Swine Flu, Pakistan, Terrorism, and a whole host of other potential economic, political, and military threats could develop at any time to test the new President. I can’t say for sure whether or not Obama will be popular in 2010 – he could be as popular as Reagan in 1984, or as popular as Bush in 2008 – but history indicates he’ll start slipping soon, losing Republican and centrist support as he becomes embroiled in partisan conflict and the dirtier side of politics. Midterm elections are almost always bad for the incumbent party – witness 1986, 1994, and 2006. In any case, its probably not a good idea to try and use current polls to pick a nominee for ANY race in 2010 – we tried that with McCain, believing a moderate skilled in foreign affairs would serve us well, and as I’m sure none of us need reminding, it didn’t work.

Finally, you have to assume that having Ridge in that Senate seat will provide a significant benefit to the GOP. Since he’s a 63 year-old moderate who would likely be good for, at most, one term, that probably isn’t the wisest assumption to make. I don’t have quite the same problems with Ridge that I had with Specter – Ridge is, at least, Conservative on a few major issues, but I’m not a fan of supporting a moderate over someone who is truly in line with the party platform for any position within the Federal Government (I have fewer reservations at the state-wide level, I could support Ridge for Governor without problem). I can’t guarantee that Toomey could win, but I can’t guarantee that Ridge would be any substantial addition to the GOP in 2010 either (I know the argument about the 60-vote margin, but Ridge couldn’t take office until 2011, and I find it unlikely that no other Senate seats would change hand in the 2010 elections – that means Democrats are likely to either have or not have a filibuster-proof majority, regardless of what happens in Pennsylvania). Toomey, at least, has the potential to re-energize the Pennsylvania Republican party, and to serve, if he were to win, as the start of a Conservative revival. With Ridge, there is no such potential.

– Matt

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Tom Ridge should Run

In an apparent reversalTom Ridge may run against Arlen Specter. Ridge may give him a run for his money. Pat Toomey’s appeal would be limited to conservatives. Tom Ridge remains popular from his stellar record as Governor that earned him sky-high approval ratings. He ran the Department of Homeland Security well, and is a Vietnam Vet. I’ll take that resume anyday.

As a side note, I did not support Specter against Toomey but I consider it just stupid to say “Im happy to see him go.” The Democrats got one more in their caucus. Thats just terrific. That puts them at 60. That means moderates like Snowe and Collins have less bargaining power and have almost no incentive to remain Republicans. 3 more Democrats and 3 less Republicans is of absolutely no benefit to me. Conservatives would be ecstatic to have a conservative Democrat like Ben Nelson come to their side, and alas the Democrats are ecstatic to have Spector and laughing at Republican ineptitude. The Republican party is in no position to shrink itself and go RINO hunting. You would think some people like being in the minority. Hopefully they don’t purge Tom Ridge.

– Josh

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