“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” Winston Churchill

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What is a conservative?

And who gets to write the definition?
I'm going to propose that conservative ideals go back further than Ronald Reagan. I would like to include the ideas of Adam Smith, whose 1776 tome The Wealth of Nations included the term "invisible hand" to illustrate the power of individual economic freedom. I would include Thomas Jefferson's "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Included should be the wisdom of the Founders to give us a written Constitution, in which was embodied the concept of limited government, federalism, and the mutual constraint of the separation of powers within the government.
I hold that a conservative is a constitutionalist, i.e., he is one who wants to "conserve" the constitution as understood by its' writers. Conservatism is a belief that the Federal Government should be restricted to the "enumerated powers" and that any other governmental power should be retained by the states or the people. It is a recognition that the national defense is an important and legitimate concern of the Federal government, but that many things being done by the government are not legitimate and should be restricted. It is a recognition that lowering taxes has the effect of giving more freedom back to the people. Conservatism tries "to see the good in you and me" and would allow us to succeed or fail on our own rather than enforcing government solutions for every problem. Conservatism realizes that Freedom of Speech is a concept of political freedom and says that unrestricted political debate is more important than unrestricted commercial speech; namely that laws limiting campaign financing and debate are unconstitutional, while anti-obscentity laws may not be. Conservatism would welcome foreign trade but would insist on fair treatment of our traders and producers as well as our consumers. Conservatism honors the Judeo-Christian foundations of our laws and the moral assumptions that are made, e.g. that life is precious and to be protected, that marriage is an institution defined by the uniting of a man and a woman, and that the ideal that children are best served and protected by having two parents is worthy of encouragement. A true conservative would welcome the current opportunity to incorporate conservative principals into solving the problems of today, rather than continually referencing an act of bravery exhibited in his younger days as an example of his "leadership".
Ronald Reagan may not have been the original author of the conservative cause, but he was certainly one of its' great spokesmen. For many years he most clearly enunciated the issues of Freedom and Conservatism. He once said, "...Government is not the solution to our problem, it is the problem." Washington has taken away our freedoms by creating campaign finance "reform". (McCain-Feingold) It would like to raise our taxes. (McCain-McCain) It refuses to enforce our borders. Instead of creating a reasonable program to supplement our workforce while enrolling workers into our tax system to cover legitimate services, it has driven migrant workers underground and then attempted to bribe them into a political fiefdom by welcoming them into our welfare system without assimilating them into our society, forcing them to remain in their downtrodden condition. (McCain-Kennedy) It wants to allow Americans to unilaterally fund the "global-warming problem" by raising our costs of living and doing business while allowing our trading partners to enjoy the competitive advantage of ignoring the whole issue. (McCain-Lieberman).
In this current crisis a spokesman for conservative principals is once again needed. We need someone who recognizes and can elucidate the great conservative values that enliven our nation. In a rough and tumble election battle, I think Mitt Romney has shown that he can be that spokesman and leader.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Open Letter to Mitt Romney and the Five Brothers

As I prayed over my oatmeal this morning I broke into tears as I thought about my gratitude for having two boys worthy and ready to serve on missions. I love and honor all four of my boys and all five of my girls.
As I contemplated my family, I thought again of the five sons of Gov. Romney. Governor Huckabee was just trying to be funny in the debate, but he really had it right. These boys really are sacrificing millions of dollars each from their inheritance to support their dad's campaign. I salute them for their love of country.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Home from Madagascar

Ted is home from Madagascar. His naturally sweet temperament has been made even more pure by his service to the Lord for the past two years. He has been entertaining us by speaking in Malagasy and telling stories about bugs and people. Lauren was so cute waiting for him at the airport. When he came in he hugged his mom and all the boys and shook hands with all the girls, including Lauren. Her side comment, "What an anti-climax." After two years waiting she gets a handshake. Oh well, that's the life of a missionary.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Florida Debate

Mitt lobs Rudy a softball question on China. He has asked him a question to make Rudy look good and he has asked a good enough question so that he also looks good. McCain follows by throwing an alley-opp to Huckabee on his favorite subject, i.e. The Fair Tax. It looks like Mitt is wanting to pull Rudy up to 2nd place by taking away votes from McCain. McCain's response is to try to send votes away from Romney to Huck. Ron Paul muddies McCain by asking him an economic question. Huck goes after Mitt on the 2nd Amendment. Mitt comes across as a reasonable conservative on gun control. Rudy asks Mitt about catastrophic insurance, mentions that McCain opposes catastrophic insurance. Mitt supports a "reasonable" catastrophic national insurance program. Wants states in "high-risk" areas to be able to bundle risk. Mitt uses question to bring up his health care program. Russert questions Rudy on Global warming. Rudy has good, conservative response of incentives for new industries, also recommends a national project equal to Space program. McCain reveals support for "cap and trade" carbon credits. "Climate change is real", he says.
It looks like Gov. Romney has seen that his "compare and contrast" approach has been twisted by opponents and commentators into "negative" campaigning and has taken a very positive approach to this debate. I think it is a great move.
My mom thinks McCain is a name-dropper. He does seem to drop well-known names with each question. McCain's mom said the Republicans will have to "plug their noses" and support her son.
Mitt does a great job asking questions about the amount of money he has donated to his own campaign and about his religion.
Ron Paul is the only one who can really tell it like it is about Social Security. Of course is political suicide, but it is true.
Huckabee uses his invocation of the Fair tax to deflect any serious economic questions.
Romney refuses to be suckered into a blind following of the Reagan icon to accept raising taxes. He instead lays out a reasonable program to save Social Security.
Rudy gets a slam dunk question about the NYT editorial.
Mitt gets a chance to defend the "flip-flop" charge by citing his record.
McCain even makes the angry charge appear unwarranted.
Huckabee defends the "religion" charge.
Paul promises to not leave the Republican party.
Conclusion: Rudy looked good. Romney looked better. McCain and Huckabee looked like secondary candidates. The Huck is funny. McCain ends with more name-dropping and then a tribute to Rudy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Michael Medved (again)

I just watched Michael Medved on the Glenn Beck show and remembered why I have been so disappointed with his (I think) less than rational criticism of my man Mitt. Michael is a brilliant commentator and an especially great movie critic. I depend on his movie reviews when I want to watch a movie. His characterizations are spot-on and I am rarely disappointed with his recommendations. His movie minute reviews are a must visit site for movie lovers. This is especially true if you want to be forewarned about rampant political correctness or left-leaning propaganda included in the plot or script. Michael deftly separates his political criticism of movies from the technical and entertainment qualities of the film. He always clearly depicts the level of violence and sexuality so that one knows what one is getting into. He is also clear about his love of beautiful women and I generally concur with his taste. I am sure he would think my wife is gorgeous.

Monday, January 21, 2008


My son Ted is returning home from spending nearly 2 years in Madagascar. What a fascinating place! It is the home to 13-17 million people of mixed racial and religious background. A French colony for years, official government business is still conducted in French, but the people speak Malagasy. According to Ted, it is a language that lacks many of the terms we use and so expressions must be created from a combination of words.

Ted loves the Malagasy people. He often spoke of their simple, fun-loving ways. He loves their jokes and games. On his birthday some friends got together to play games and eat. They celebrated his birthday by cracking an egg on his head and then pouring flour over it.

He and his missionary companions walked up and down the hills and roads looking for people to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many do not have addresses, and are found only by following complicated directions.

A fair-skinned American being a novelty, some of the parents would tell their children that the missionaries had horns or some other nonsense. Since an American who was fluent in Malagasy was so unusual and unexpected, Ted would join in the gag and call out to the children that he felt very hungry and would enjoy eating a malagasy child.

We're excited to get him home this Thursday night after 28 hours of travel. Then he and his brother Mark will both speak in church this Sunday. Ted to report his mission and Mark to say goodbye as he leaves for 2 years in Chihuahua, Mexico.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Michael Medved

I think Mike Gallagher will say most anything for its' shock value. I know the title of this blog is Michael Medved, but the reason I brought up Gallagher is because in the past I have had more respect for Michael Medved. I know that he loves to debate, but thought that he generally took more principled positions than he has taken lately in the case of his comments regarding Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. For example, Medved insists that Huckabee is a genuine conservative in all areas. I will acknowledge Huckabee's genuine and admirable pro-life and pro-marriage positions. I do not however believe that advocacy of a nationwide ban on smoking is a libertarian or conservative position. And, failure to admit raising taxes by saying that he "raised hope" does not answer the raising taxes question satisfactorily for a conservative who, in the words of one pundit, "hopes that my taxes will not be raised". Liberals always say that taxes are being raised for a good cause. All of their causes are good. I was reminded of the liberal mindset the other day when a commentator decried the amount of tax revenue it cost the government to allow the homeowner interest deduction. Any income that does not go to or through the government is "lost" revenue.
I'm sorry that Medved has been willing to allow the "identity politics" of Huckabee to slide by. His "innocent" question to the NYT reporter of "Don't they believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers?" was just too much. For a person with the training of Mike Huckabee, that would be analogous to him asking, "Weren't they the ones who begged for Jesus to be crucified?" We may be interested in how a person's religion strengthens their character, but we should not be concerned about how they worship their deity. I would like to see Mr. Medved more concerned about the invocation of religious code to question a candidates character than whether comparing political positions is "negative" or dishonest. All of the candidates have spoken or acted on the issues and all of those positions are subject to examination and debate, but to call every disagreement a lie is to question ones character without addressing the issues.
I was really sorry to see Mr. Medved be willing to overlook or even compliment Gov. Huckabee's "withdrawal" of his negative ad. I believe that he even praised his "staying positive". To me that single act was a brilliant political move. It was the most blatant, cynical act I have seen a politician perform. The reporters laughed out loud at its obvious political nature and yet most fell right in with the planned outcome. Huckabee's negative ad became the most talked about and seen ad of the campaign at no cost to the campaign while the candidate continued to claim that it was withdrawn out of his own distaste for negative campaigning. All the while he was decrying Gov. Romney's "dishonesty'. It was brilliant, even Machiavellian. It was very effective in the short run for Iowa, but I do believe that it may have exposed a hypocritical side of Gov. Huckabee's campaign that may have backfired for him in Michigan, where the evangelicals where more willing to listen to the issues than to necessarily vote for "one of their own".
Mr. Medved has continued to be very negative on Gov. Romney, witness his latest analysis of the governor's victory speech after the Michigan results were known. He noted that the points that Gov. Romney struck were the same as the Democrats. He made it sound as if Republicans do not want good health care or better jobs or better schooling and that lower taxes for middle-income Americans is a bad thing. Give me a break. We all want the same things, the question is how are we going to get them and what will be the governments role. Gov. Romney has outstanding, free-market and lower government solutions for all of those things, but Michael Medved felt that he had to criticize him for not making clear all of the differences in a well-deserved victory speech. Most people criticize the Governor for his technocratic, power-point presentations. Why not allow him to have a little jubilation, a little emotion?
Michael, you are such a great debater that you can probably win both sides of many issues. I hope many of the positions you have taken are for the sake of the argument and do not represent your "willing suspension of disbelief".

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why Buddha for Mitt?

Buddha is a nickname given to me in high school by one of my best friends and refers to my position as spiritual leader of our CASH ltd. group. Being the 'spiritual leader' makes reference to my being slightly less impulsive than him and not as big a natural brown-noser as our other group member.

I have been a conservative since before campaigning for Goldwater as a 9th grader in 1964. My political leanings have tended to be libertarian/constitutionalist with a desire for a strong national defense. I'm fiscally in the Milton Friedman camp of "politicians tend to spend just over the amount of tax revenue", ergo, the key to holding down spending is to hold down tax revenue. I'm also quite sure that there is no such thing as a "free lunch".

I have admired the strength of character that President Bush has shown in a number of issues including fighting radical jihad and taking a stand on protecting human life. I have been far less impressed by his ability to enunciate his values in uplifting and inspirational ways. Thus, my support for Governor Romney.

I think that Mitt Romney now holds the key conservative principals which are vitally important for our country today; A strong military, a drive to protect life and the traditional family, and a commitment to hold down taxes. In addition, I think that he has shown the ability to articulate these values in a way that people can understand and, more importantly, the ability to talk about them in a way that inspires others to want to support those same positions, not by just expressing platitudes, but also by using strong logic as well as appealing to the positions of the founders. Governor Romney has also demonstrated the real world experience of analysis, hard work, and team-building that will serve him well as chief executive and commander-in-chief.

I have studied many of his positions and observed closely the campaign to date and continue to strongly support his campaign. As I have reviewed some critiques of his position changes, I have determined the following: I'm glad that he changed his position on abortion and has fought against destructive stem-cell research. I believe he has always supported traditional marriage. I don't believe that being opposed to discrimination against gays and being for traditional marriage between a man and a woman are mutually exclusive. I think the same applies to support for legal immigration while opposing open borders and amnesty to illegal aliens. His positions, even while running for Senate in Massachusetts have remained much closer to conservative principals than his Democratic opponents and much more conservative than many pundits like to think they were.

We need a president who not only supports conservative principals, but who is also able to powerfully declare them. I think that Governor Romney is better when pontificating principals than he is when power-pointing programs, and he is very good at that. His talk on "Faith in America" had to be the most outstanding political talk this year, and perhaps for many years. I hope that his advisers are wise enough to encourage him to speak out on principals. Many of his ads are very upbeat and encouraging. I hope the people will see that. I think in general the media is too cynical to report upbeat, but that talk was so good that even many of them were unable to put it down for many days until they began to nit-pick some of the minor points. I'd like to see him develop some strong sound-bites. Ronald Reagan got to us with "In this immediate crisis, Government is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem." Mitt said, "When I am serving as your president, I will need the prayers of all the people." Whoever becomes president will need the prayers of all the people, let's hope that he deserves them.

Politics in Mesa

I met Brenda Tolman today, wife of Mike Tolman, running for Mesa City Council. I was immediately impressed by her enthusiasm for his campaign. Her explanation of his position on local government spending and taxes had me asking for a yard sign (she had me at "no property tax").

I've been a conservative since long before I could vote. My dad used to take us along to campaign for Goldwater in '64. AuH2O.