From Hope and Change to Hopeless Chicanery + More

Posted on Mon 08/09/2010 by

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Brief

The Foundation

“There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises.” –James Madison

Publisher’s Note

Today’s Brief will be the only edition of The Patriot Post published this week. Our staff works long hours and they have earned some R&R with their families prior to the resumption of the school year. Thus, they will be out on a recess — or, as Congress now calls it, a “District Work Period,” for the rest of this week. The daily Founder’s Quote, Patriot Headlines and Opinion will still be available per our normal posting schedule. Please visit the website for those resources. We’ll be back on our regular publishing schedule with the Brief on Aug. 16.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander

Political Futures

Rep. Ryan's "Roadmap"

“We’ve gone as a nation, in less than two years, from Hope and Change to ‘hope we can change the stuff we hoped for.’ Still, a question — one of pointed interest to Republicans — looms: change to what? Meaning, what are you all going to do, assuming you take the House and/or the Senate, to fix the problems you identified as reasons for throwing out the Obamacrats? … Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin’s First District, one of the smartest men in politics insofar as I can tell, goes around touting his brilliantly conceived free-market, limited-government approach called ‘Roadmap for America’s Future.’ … Not a few Republicans perforce wish Ryan would cool it with the reform stuff. First, beat the Democrats, then do the reform: That’s the ticket. Sequentially, yes, that’s the way it happens. But strange things tend to happen after victories. … What has Paul Ryan in mind that makes particular Republicans, as the [Washington] Post headlines puts it, ‘wince’? Well, rationalizing the tax system — abolishing capital gains taxes, compressing and lowering the rates, including the rates for ‘the wealthy.’ On Medicare, Ryan would let under-55s receive a Medicare payment they could use to buy Medicare-certified health plans. Social Security? He’d allow the same demographic to invest a third of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement plans. And so on. The Roadmap is calibrated to whittle down, over time, the federal government’s long-term commitment to programs it can no longer afford. Realism is the rock on which Ryan has sketched his plan: We can’t do X, so we have to do Y. That’s of course where the trouble starts. Realism gets your average politician in trouble. A certain kind of voter prefers fantasy. Better to spoon out fantasy in dollops of spun-sugar promises and let future Congresses figure out what comes next!” –columnist William Murchison

The Gipper

“We should always remember that our strength still lies in our faith in the good sense of the American people. And that the climate in Washington is still opposed to those enduring values, those ‘permanent things’ that we’ve always believed in. … Washington is a place of fads and one-week stories. It’s also a company town, and the company’s name is government, big government. … In the discussion of federal spending, the time has come to put to rest the sob sister attempts to portray our desire to get government spending under control as a hard-hearted attack on the poor people of America.” —Ronald Reagan

For the Record

“Will higher tax penalties on investment really spur jobs and faster economic growth? Most commentators would say no. It’s really a matter of economic common sense. But Tim Geithner says, Yes! Speaking to a group in Washington [last] week, the Treasury secretary said that extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would imperil the fragile economic recovery. He argued that government needs the revenues from those top-end tax hikes. So failure to raise taxes would harm growth. And then he went on to say that the trouble with the wealthy is that they save more of their tax breaks than do other groups. OK. Are you confused now? Most people would be. Let’s start at the top. The coming tax bomb would raise the top marginal tax rate on capital gains from 15 to 20 percent, on dividends from 15 to 20 percent (or perhaps all the way to 39.6 percent) and on top incomes from 35 to 40 percent. Meanwhile, the estate tax could go as high as 55 percent. Now, it is indisputable that capital gains, dividends and estates are essentially investment. What’s more, most successful earners who pay top personal tax rates are, by nearly all accounts, the folks who are likeliest to save and invest. But Geithner is suggesting the economy doesn’t need more saving. … [T]he position of the Democratic Party in power in Washington is that transfer payments (taxing and borrowing from Peter to pay Paul) are good for growth and that investment is bad. Go figure. I guess it’s a battle between the demand side and the investment, or supply, side.” –economist Lawrence Kudlow

Government

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the Members of the House of Representatives back from their summer vacation Summer District Work Period early [this] week to vote on the bill passed by the Senate [last week] to increase taxes on corporations to pay for states to keep teachers on the payroll. According to Lori Montgomery’s reporting in the Washington Post, the bill is a ‘$26 billion plan to prevent the layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers and other public workers.’ … The House adjourned last Friday for its summer vacation August recess, but you and I will not only foot the bill to keep the public employees’ unions happy, but to fly all those Members of Congress to Washington from where ever they are, and then back from Washington to where ever they were. The only good news about that is the Senate [left] for its summer vacation August District Work Period and so the House will have to accept the Senate language as is or the Senate would have to come back and vote on any amendments the House adopts. I only point that out because I would much rather the House and Senate be on an extended summer vacation August break than be in session and do even more damage to the economy.” –political analyst Rich Galen

Insight

“Throughout history, government has proved to be the chief instrument for thwarting man’s liberty. Government represents power in the hands of some men to control and regulate the lives of other men. And power, as Lord Acton said, corrupts men. ‘Absolute power,’ he added, ‘corrupts absolutely.’ State power, considered in the abstract, need not restrict freedom: but absolute state power always does.” –U. S. Senator Barry Goldwater (1909-1998)

Faith & Family

“‘Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license,’ federal Judge Vaughn Walker wrote. So one judge overturned a measure approved by 52 percent of California voters in 2008 and upheld by the California Supreme Court in a 6-1 ruling. Some Californians will see this decision as the work of an elitist gay judge imposing his pre-ordained political views on voters. They can point to the fact that Walker issued controversial pretrial rulings on procedural issues that favored the plaintiffs contesting Proposition 8 — only to be overturned on appeal. For Walker’s part, he issued a temporary stay on his decision. So one judge will not have the last word on Proposition 8. Gay activists are ecstatic, but I don’t think you’ll see Mayor Gavin Newsom on City Hall’s steps crowing, ‘It’s going to happen — whether you like it or not,’ which is what Newsom said when the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2008. (To recap, the state’s top court overturned a gay marriage ban in May 2008, but upheld Proposition 8 after voters put it in the state constitution in November.) ‘Whether you like it or not.’ While Proposition 8 opponents style themselves as champions of tolerance, they’ve chosen judicial fiat over the slower, surer route of persuasion. … It’s pretty clear that given time and the right answers to the above questions, California voters would choose to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2000, 61 percent of voters supported a ballot measure limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. In 2008, support had dropped to 52 percent. Barring a backlash, you would expect state voters to approve same-sex marriage within the decade — which would avoid lasting rancor over a court-imposed decision. Instead, Walker went with: Whether you like it or not.” –columnist Debra Saunders

The Constitution's Rewrite

Reader Comments

“I appreciated your comment regarding the transformational vision of both Meacham and Obama, that they both ‘reveal unbridled arrogance and an underlying contempt for those who are just not smart enough to see it their way…’ Much as Jon Meacham was ousted amid disgrace, debt, and dilapidated morale (I’m sure everyone at Newsweek is feeling just peachy), the same will be Obama’s fate — amid disgrace, debt, and a dilapidated national morale. Like Jimmy Carter before him, we will need a real leader to articulate a ‘new’ vision for America — the vision of our forefathers, and bring us out of this ‘malaise’ that plagues us.” –Tim

“I have subscribed to The Patriot Post for sometime and usually enjoy the dose of liberty, but this article is IGNORANT. Your position of supporting the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is appalling, especially for someone that subscribes to the wisdom of the founding fathers. What happened to the quote that there is ‘no good war and no bad peace.’ Do your homework and you will learn that the founding fathers would have unanimously opposed these unconstitutional wars. Let’s replace the worst two Presidents in our history (Obama AND Bush) with a REAL liberty President. Support Ron Paul in 2012.” –Matthew

Editor’s Reply: Surely you meant to write “the author is ignorant,” not the article. In regard to support for OEF and OIF, I suggest you “do your homework” and review the words of the Marine anthem, most specifically what Jefferson had the Marines do on “the shores of Tripoli.” In regard to Ben Franklins sentiments, “There was never a good war or a bad peace,” in a 1783 letter to Josiah Quincy, you would seem to imply that Franklin’s meaning is that war is never justified. Only a fool who has never been in a combat firefight would suggest war is good. But Franklin wrote those words in the midst of a bloody Revolutionary War which, as I recall, he supported with enthusiasm.

Last, while you are doing your homework, may I suggest that you pick up a copy of Dissertations and Discussions (1868), Vol.1, and turn to page 26, for some apt thoughts on the subject from John Stuart Mill: “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. … A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”

“Alexander for President! Perhaps you do not want to serve, but neither did Washington. His country called him to service. We call you. Lead on!” –Hugh

Editor’s Reply: Warriors and Patriots rarely make great diplomats or politicians … Washington was the exception. I would be honored to man the front lines of the charge against the city which bears his name (as would every man and woman associated with The Patriot) and restore the Constitution he served to its rightful standing as the law of the land. I would then want only to return to my family and Tennessee mountain home.”

The Last Word

“Sacrifice is something that many Americans are becoming all too familiar with during this economic downturn. It was a key theme in President Obama’s inaugural address to the nation, and he’s referenced it numerous times when lecturing the country on how to get back on its feet. But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing summer sojourns — or forgoing them altogether — the Obamas don’t seem to be heeding their own advice. While many of us are struggling, the First Lady is spending the next few days in a five-star hotel on the chic Costa del Sol in southern Spain with 40 of her ‘closest friends.’ According to CNN, the group is expected to occupy 60 to 70 rooms, more than a third of the lodgings at the 160-room resort. Not exactly what one would call cutting back in troubled times. Reports are calling the lodgings of Obama’s Spanish fiesta, the Hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella, ‘luxurious,’ ‘posh’ and ‘a millionaires’ playground.’ Estimated room rate per night? Up to a staggering $2,500. Method of transportation? Air Force Two. To be clear, what the Obamas do with their money is one thing; what they do with ours is another. Transporting and housing the estimated 70 Secret Service agents who will flank the material girl will cost the taxpayers a pretty penny. Perhaps it could be that the Obamas, who seem to fancy themselves more along the lines of international celebrities than actual leaders, espouse a different view of sacrifice. … In January, President Obama insisted that ‘everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good. Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game.’ If sacrifice is the precursor to change, what will the family that ran on change offer up? Elitist doublespeak won’t cut it.” –columnist Andrea Tantaros

*****

(Please pray for our Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families — especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)

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