Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Ray Kinsella: No, it's Iowa.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
(Source: iowapolitics.com) 14,302 ballots cast
- Mitt Romney, 4,516 votes, 31.6 percent
- Mike Huckabee, 2,587 votes, 18.1 percent
- Sam Brownback, 2,192 votes, 15.3 percent
- Tom Tancredo, 1,961 votes, 13.7 percent
- Ron Paul, 1,305 votes, 9.1 percent
- Tommy Thompson, 1,039 votes, 7.3 percent
- Fred Thompson, 203 votes, 1.4 percent
- Rudy Guiliani, 183 votes, 1.3 percent
- Duncan Hunter, 174 votes, 1.2 percent
- John McCain - 101 votes, 0.7 percent
- John Cox- 41 votes, 0.1 percent
Just by eyeballing the crowd at the Straw Poll I knew Romney would win, and who most of the other top vote-getters would be. Romney supporters were everywhere and his campaign camp occupied the large central courtyard that George W. Bush did in 1999. I could tell Brownback would do well also and Tom Tancredo's "Army Against Amnesty" seemed to have a lot of boots on the ground as well. The only surprise for me was Mike Huckabee's final vote tally. I didn't recall seeing that many of his supporters about. I figured it would be Romney first, Brownback second, and Tancredo and Ron Paul fighting for third.
Of course I was disappointed by Ron Paul's showing, but not entirely surprised. I was hoping for third or fourth. Ron Paul still gets the top prize for the youngest, most passionate, vocal, and, shall we say, "colorful" group of supporters. Every so often a bunch of them would parade around the grounds with their signs and chanting "Ron Paul," often accompanied by two dudes in Revolutionary War dress with a fife and drum. Paul had the most supporters waving signs on the streets leading to the event and at the entrance.
In the long run, Paul's small, energized base may be worth more than the large numbers that showed up for the other candidates. Most of the other candidates chartered buses, hauling folks down from all over the state and paid the $35 entrance fee for them. I received invitations from several candidates. Mitt Romney's invitation promised a free ride, a free ticket, a free catered lunch and grand old time. Indeed, his area featured a large performance stage with bands, a rock-climbing wall and various carnival rides for the kids.
Contrast that with Ron Paul's campaign. His campaign didn't bus his supporters down, the meager lunch provided consisted of volunteers roasting a few wieners on a grill and some popcorn, and the entertainment consisted of a few amateur local bands. Ron Paul's supporters were their on their own time and largely on their own dime. Many of Romney and Brownback's supporters were probably fair-weather supporters who will support a candidate as long as there's a free lunch and entertainment involved. Will they turn out for the actual caucus in January when there is no free lunch? Ron Paul's supporters will, giving the others more of challenge than they may think.
While we're contrasting the Paul campaign with the others, here are some more things to think about: Romney's area had slides, the rock-climbing wall etc... Paul's area featured prominent placards featuring quotes from the founding fathers and great political thinkers. Romney's speech centered on the uplifting story of some guy (a Hispanic, he pointed out) winning some medals for the U.S. at the Salt Lake Olympics. It was all flowery platitudes. Dr. Paul's speech centered on the Federal Government's drift away from Constitutional rule of law. He mentioned eliminating the federal Departments of Energy and Education, how 9-11 might have been prevented by allowing a freer exercise of the Second Amendment, and repealing the 16th Amendment, to name just a few ideas presented. In short, Romney's campaign is based on the meaningless, feel good symbolism of the neo-conservatives (along the same lines as Bush II's "compassionate conservatism"), whereas Ron Paul's campaign is based on the ideas and ideals of grownups.
The group pushing the FairTax (a national retail sales tax to replace the income tax, an idea I fully support) had the biggest presence at the event. Romney, by the way, doesn't support the FairTax. The NRA and many different conservative groups had booths at the event, as did several vendors. My compliments to the entrepreneur selling olive-drab tee shirts with the words "RINO Hunter" on them.
I had gone to the Ames straw poll in 1995 and 1999 and it was mostly like I remembered: half carnival, half political convention, hotter than hell and my guy loses.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
This is vitally important because America currently does not have a viable political party that advocates such. The Tenth Amendment is dead. The Second Amendment is on life-support. First Amendment free speech rights, the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and Fifth Amendment property rights are increasingly under assault from various government entities. Spending has skyrocketed, borrowing against the economic freedom of our heirs. The powers of the President (a single, fallible man) have expanded tremendously in the last seventy-some years. Both Republicans and Democrats have played a part in this erosion of personal liberty.
More importantly at the moment, all of the Republican presidential candidates except Ron Paul have played a hand in it as well. Most of the candidates supported the police-state "Patriot" Act. McCain, Romney, and Giuliani have all actively worked to restrict Second Amendment gun rights. McCain also took a big bite out of the First Amendment with his McCain-Feingold "Incumbent Protection Act."
Contrast these with Ron Paul's record in Congress. His website lists his achievements succinctly:
- He has never voted to raise taxes.
- He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
- He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
- He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
- He has never taken a government-paid junket.
- He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
- He voted against the Patriot Act.
- He voted against regulating the Internet.
- He voted against the Iraq war.
- He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
- He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.
In short, he supports smaller, Constitutionally limited government. There was a time when the Republican Party stood for that. Unfortunately, the neo-conservatives now in charge of the party do not. In 2006 the neo-cons watched their party lose control of Congress. Perhaps if Ron Paul wins the Ames Straw Poll, or even makes a good showing, the neo-cons will begin to lose control of their own party.
Can Ron Paul lead the Republicans to victory in 2008? I don't know. But he can lead the party back to where it should have been all along, at it's small government, Goldwater-Republican roots.
Friday, August 03, 2007
NATIONAL DEFENSE: You'd think from hawks like us, they would at least receive high ratings here. Nope. Primarily because we have served, we know how the system (dys)funtions. First off, with the most technically advanced military on the face of the earth, we cannot even secure our own borders. Second, at the heart of things, the military is just another top-heavy bloated ineffecient bureaucracy that requires about 20 "support" people for every rifleman it can put boots on the ground. Even in WWII, Winston Churchill ruefully noted, "Your military peacock is mostly tail." And, in every major war this country has been involved in, the "professionals" usually mess it up from the beginning and we have to mobilize the good old citizen-soldier "amatuers" to come clean up the mess.
FOREIGN POLICY: Very poor marks. We are becoming despised throughout the world for our constant meddling in everyone else's affairs. We have traditionally supported the most hienous of dictators as long as they were "our" dictators. We shovel billions into numerous countries that hate our guts, as long as they promise to "be good". Just like Hitler did at Munich. I believe it was Anwar Sadat who made a comment along the lines that he had spent years trying to figure out the subtle cunning Byzantine strategy of America's foreign policy before he finally realized it was simply stupidity.
MANAGING NATURAL RESOURCES: Hahahahahaha!. I work in that field. When 85% of an agency's budget stays in D.C., where there isn't a single National Forest, that money is not being spent wisely, efficiently, or usefully. Next.
MANAGING MONEY: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! Our government has literally bankrupted the entire country. If the National Debt chips were called in all at once, every family in America would have to cough up something like $680,000 to cover our politicians' screw-ups. None of us can write checks on money we don't have without facing jail time; our "leaders" on the Hill can do it to their black hearts' content on or off duty.
SOCIAL SECURITY: Whew! Too short of breath for anymore maniacal, bitter laughter. This was nothing more than a Ponzi scam right from the beginning. The money entrusted to the government has long since been "borrowed" and pissed away. They couldn't have made good on their promises even if they hadn't been raiding the cookie jar. The average person would have seen more return on their retirement funds from investing in baseball cards.
WELFARE: We've had a War on Poverty since the Johnson Administration, and it's been an abysmal failure. Where are all the politicans crying, "Pull out! It's a war we can't win!" Again, part of the reason is that 90 cents out of every single dollar goes just to feed the bureaucracy administering the "war". If political drones and hacks working in government actually SOLVE a problem, then they are out of their jobs, so they simply MANAGE the problem for eternity.
DELIVER THE MAIL: Puh-leeeeeze!
MANAGE HEALTHCARE: As P.J. O'Rorke says, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free." Socialized medicine is a terrible idea to begin with. Will 90 cents on the buck go to "administration" of the program? If you have ever had the misfortune to go to a VA hospital, you have seen the dark Orwellian world of socialized medicine. You might be better off with a witch doctor and a bag of leaches. If the government ran abortion clinics, there would be a ten-month waiting list.
PROTECT ITS CITIZENS: Again, puh-leeeeze! Even the Supreme Court says that law enforcement has no obligation to protect YOU as a citzen, only "society as a whole." So, when you call 911 and don't get help for two hours, tough. Plus, they're trying to take your guns away so you can't even protect yourself when they are too incompetent to. A whole alphabet soup of Federal bureaucracies had all the pieces to the 9-11 puzzle before it happened, but they were too busy knitting diversity quilts and worshipping political correctness and trying to catch Idaho hillbillies in sting operations involving shotgun barrels 1/4-inch under an arbitrary length limit to put it all together and act on it. Bush's solution? Create an even bigger, more complex and compartmentalized super bureaucracy to fight for turf with the already-existing bureaucracies.
RUN A COURT SYSTEM: I keep reading stories about how all across the country, they can't get people for jury duty. I personally think it's because we the people are completely losing faith in our pathetic court system. Let's face it, the LAST thing that will ever come out of official court proceedings is anything resembling the truth. This is not a rant against unscrupulous defense lawyers, either. As Scooter Libby and the Duke Rape Case prove, prosecutors, especially Federal ones, are ready, willing and able to manufacture "evidence", suppress real evidence, and even create "crimes". Our judges have wayyyyy too much power to rule on subjects that they have less knowledge of than I have about interstellar faster-than-light space travel. Plus, by now, what with all the new "rights" the courts keep finding in pustules popping out of our "living Constitution", cons in prison and foreign terrorists have more rights than the average citizen on the street.
LEGISLATE MORALITY: First off, this really isn't the government's job. Secondly, the politicians need to have at least a tiny spark of some morality of their own before they start casting stones. Thirdly, their efforts seem to center on destroying the Judeo-Christian traditional family unit, the building block of Western Civilization. In places like Filthadelphia (William Penn is spinning in his grave) it has become a prosecutable "hate crime" the quote Scripture from the Holy Bible.
Which leaves us with....what? What does our government do well these days? Basically, all I can give them high marks for is turning huge amounts of money into fecal material. It's kind of like feedings $20 bills to a goat.
Is there a solution? Yup. It's called RON PAUL 2008!!!!