Monday, September 28, 2009

The Death of Conservatism

Hugh Hewitt recently interviewed Sam Tanenhaus about his new book “The Death of Conservatism.” The interview was broadcast on The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show on Thursday, 9/17/2009.

A week later, Mr. Hewitt posted an e-mail response to the interview from one of his readers. It made me think of the way Republicans are misinterpreting our political climate. The reader’s response was characterized as being extremely effective. I’m not so sure about that.

Politics is messy. Americans struggle over ideology, wondering whether “liberalism,” “moderation” or “conservatism” sets the right course. Even within the Republican Party, the going gets rough. One can get a sense of the state of affairs through the writings of Stacy McCain. His arguments are always colorful and passionate.

But what of this particular response to the Sam Tanenhaus interview? To the question implied by the title of the book, the e-mailer’s reply was simply, “No we’re not.” The respondent gave several examples of how conservatism still had “vital signs.”

It made me smile.

Republicans look at the task of “winning hearts and minds” and immediately concentrate on the “minds.” The Hugh Hewitt e-mail is a classic Republican response. It tackles the intellectual side of the argument quite well, but to what end? It has limited popular appeal.

Mr. Tanenhaus knows that his book is a smokescreen. He diverts the attention of Republicans to the intellectual battle of ideas, when they should be concentrating on the emotional battle of feelings.

Here’s a recent event that gives you an idea of where there might be a problem:

On Friday evening, 9/25/09, the Jay Leno Show began its hour of primetime entertainment with the traditional monologue. At 8:10 into the monologue, Jay introduces a segment titled “Great White Moments in Black History.” It lasts for 30 seconds and features a spokesman telling the story of Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who revealed in 2003 that she was the daughter of “noted segregationist” Strom Thurmond. Mr. Thurmond, in his twenties, had engaged in sexual relations with a housemaid, and Essie Mae had kept it a secret until after Senator Thurmond’s death. At the end of the sketch, the Jay Leno spokesman gives an expression of feigned amazement, and the audience erupts into laughter.

The joke was funny because it was about a dead Republican. If it were about someone else, it would not be funny. It might even be considered macabre!

The studio audience (and maybe some reading this post) did not get the inside joke from the bit. When Senator Thurmond fathered Essie Mae, he was not a Republican. Senator Thurmond did not become a Republican until he changed parties in 1964. Interestingly, he was not characterized as a racist until after he became a Republican.

Why bring this incident to your attention? It points out that Republicans have a long way to go in this battle. Republicans are not losing ground because they have bad ideas. It is because they are considered to be bad people. Our culture is creating this perception. Republicans are forever characterized as the ones wearing the black hats.

Frances Rice is doing what she can to set the record straight. She notes that “Martin Luther King was a Republican.” But Americans have trouble believing what she says. When they process that sentence, they react emotionally. Their hearts say, “This can’t be possible. Dr. King was a good person, and I know that Republicans are not.”

If you are hearing this for the first time, your gut is probably giving you that same feeling of dissonance, with a squirt of stomach acid telling you, “This is nuts!”

Nonetheless, it is true, and it indicates the difficulties that lie ahead for Republicans.

Republicans enjoy fighting the battle for the minds of Americans. They believe that if they can just set the record straight, everything will work out. Unfortunately, American hearts are being led in a different direction.

Who is winning the war?

Not Republicans.

UPDATE 10/20/2009:
A lesson in proper warfighting technique is provided by Stacy McCain.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Politics of Favoritism

The New York Times had a recent article on earmarks being inserted into the current healthcare legislation. It made me reflect on how our culture has come to accept political payoffs being brokered by those who represent us in Congress.

The story covers the specific accommodations made by certain Senators to individuals and organizations within their jurisdictions. It also highlights the efforts of Senator Orrin Hatch to get an amendment passed that would favor medical insurance plans in the state of Utah.

Senator Hatch’s amendment is a “tongue in cheek” effort to point out the arbitrary nature of some sections of the legislation. However, it is characterized by the New York Times as just another quirky effort by an out-of-touch Republican Senator. You have to get past that characterization to continue with the story.

The heart of the article is the disclosure of the manner in which earmarks are placed within legislation. It shows how the beneficiaries are not explicitly named. Rather, they are designated by a specific event that pertains to them, and them alone.

Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has a provision for more favorable Medicare rates to a medical facility in his home state of Nevada. The facility is the Nevada Cancer Institute, but it is not transparently named as such in the legislation. Instead, it is referenced as a facility “designated on June 10, 2003, as the official cancer institute of its state.” The National Cancer Institute could have designated any institute within any of our 50 states on that date, but (surprisingly!) there was only one, and it was in the state of Nevada.

And so a specific facility in a specific state receives preferential treatment from our federal government. Senator Hatch is criticized for trying to direct federal funds to his state; Senator Reid is begrudgingly celebrated for his expertise in working the legislative system to favor certain benefactors.

America’s culture is changing in tone. Our laws still protect individuals, but our politics accommodate favoritism. The idea of fairness is no longer a “given.” You must pay into the political system, either with time or money. If you don’t realize that, you risk being characterized as na├»ve.

It saddens me, this change in our culture. I still like the idea of America being the land of opportunity. It is unsettling that we so often see special favors being traded between the elite and powerful in our country, while the rest of us are left on the sidelines as “props.”

America will survive, but you have to wonder why, in aggregate, we no longer care about the “soul” of our country.

UPDATE 11/20/2009:
Senator Reid has designated $100 million in taxpayer money to assure a vote for his healthcare bill from Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.  ABC News' Jonathan Karl has the story.

It's as though taxpayers have given a Medical Power of Attorney to Congress, and Senators are using it to bribe one another.

UPDATE 11/24/2010:
Forbes has an article by Richard Epstein that looks at the recent spate of legislative waivers.  We see this with the current health care legislation.  Waivers, like earmarks, are another example of political favoritism.  The ideal for our representative form of government is legislation that stands on its own merits, without the necessity of waivers or earmarks for political identity groups.

UPDATE 12/2/2010:
Andrew Breitbart's Big Government has a post by J. Christian Adams that highlights a recent example of the politics of favoritism.  A payout of $4.6 billion to American Indians and black farmers to settle race discrimination claims was shepherded through by a political appointee within the Department of Justice.  Mr. Adams quit his job at DOJ in protest of this kind of activity, and he provides an insider's view of how an organization dedicated to promoting "equal justice for all" has strayed from that mission in its quest to advance identity group politics.

UPDATE 7/9/2012:
Matthew Mitchell with the Mercatus Center at George Washington University has a good background on the economic consequences of government favoritism.

UPDATE 7/20/2012:
Kimberley Strassel has an article in The Wall Street Journal showing where there is political favoritism, there is also political unfavoritism.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Y = C + I + G

Are there any Keynesians out there?

The equation in the title of this post is the classical description of spending for a given country. The equation describes how Total Spending (Gross Domestic Product) is made up of Consumption, Investment, and Government spending.

For those of you who are economists, please excuse the absence of the Balance of Payments component. I want to keep this simple.

Furthermore, I am going to ignore Investment. Converting money into goods and services is important, but like Imports and Exports, it is not going to help this discussion.

What remains is a very simple idea: GDP is directly related to the sum of our government’s spending and the spending of individuals. Why is this important? Because these two sources of spending COMPETE with one another.

Our country is embracing the idea that more government spending is what is necessary to make life better in the United States. It seems to be “the right thing to do.”

But is it, really?

I am one of those people who tend to personalize things. If I want to analyze a public policy, I look at what impact it will have on me. If I think of myself as the “C” in the equation, and our government as the “G”, an increase in government spending or an increase in my own personal consumption should lead to an increase in GDP.

But, in personalizing this, what if I am the only person in America, and the government is competing with me? Where does the “G” come from? It has to come from me, or it comes from “The Balance Sheet.”

I used to work for U S WEST, before it was taken over by Qwest. These are telecom companies, and they are regulated monopolies. They are governed by something called the Public Utilities Commission, which has jurisdiction over them setting rates and offering new services. In return for this oversight and regulation, they are given a guaranteed return on the customer base they serve.

I was impressed by the accounting at U S WEST, where budgetary numbers were always met. That may not be true today, but in the 1980s, the shareowners were rarely surprised by the financial data. If an income was expected for a given year, that was the amount of income reported. How was that possible? It was The Balance Sheet.

The Balance Sheet is what lists the assets and liabilities of a company; what it owns and what it owes. It goes up and down depending on asset valuations and company performance. That is expected. It is not of great importance to tie it to a budget.

What is NOT expected is to have income vary from budget. That is what you read about when you see reports that a company either “met expectations” or failed analysts’ expectations. Analysts are looking at income, and they judge failure in very harsh terms.

How do you move items from the income statement to The Balance Sheet? By using accrual accounting, where you categorize the income as “deferred income” or “anticipated income”. You simply classify it as something “about to show up” or “on hand but about to be spent” and put it on The Balance Sheet.

We get to see that with our government expenditures. If the money is spent, but it hasn’t shown up, it is a “deficit”. On the other hand, if the money hasn’t been spent but has shown up, The Balance Sheet shows a “surplus.”

Keep in mind that The Balance Sheet for most of us is an abstraction. We don’t care about it unless things are seriously bad. Instead, the income statement is where we focus. We want GDP to go up so that we are no longer in a recession. What do we do? We force the numbers up with government spending. Have the government spend more and GDP goes up. Life is good!

The problem with working to manipulate the numbers on the income statement is that you lose sight of the business. When your task is to make the numbers look good, your interest in the health of the economy (the state of the business) takes a back seat to the numbers.

That is what is worrying Republicans right now. Our government is doing things to make the numbers look good, and is losing sight of the country’s health. It is selecting winners and losers for the short term, and making structural changes that seem not in the best interest of America over the long term.

Of course, that depends on what each of us thinks is best for America. Not surprisingly, what we think is best for America often tends to benefit us personally.

When I personalize this issue, I find that deficit spending and/or higher taxes do not improve my personal well-being. When the government takes more from me, it lowers my consumption and that of my family.

I also have a strong suspicion that the government doesn’t spend money with the same care and efficiency that I do. I get the “double whammy” of reduced personal consumption and increased government waste.

Higher taxes slide the spending equation from me to the government. That may work for some people in the near term, but my diminished spending capacity is eventually going to make it so that I cannot give the government as much tax revenue as it needs. Here is how things are shaping up right now:

As the gap widens between what you and I spend versus what the government spends, we are going to feel a loss of opportunity and choice that has been an expected part of American culture for many years.

Republicans see a “Bad Moon Rising”. Our culture doesn’t see it at all.

UPDATE 5/22/2012:
The Facebook IPO brings up an interesting issue in tax policy.  Our government wants to figure out what to do with Eduardo Saverin.  Reichsfluchtsteuer might have worked in Germany, but is it appropriate for America?

UPDATE 7/26/2012:
Daniel Henninger, writing in The Wall Street Journal, carries the point further.  He notes that the results of the election this fall will be a mandate of the American public for either a pre-eminent public economy or a pre-eminent private economy.  That's profound!

UPDATE 8/1/2012:
Stephen Moore has a WSJ tribute to Milton Friedman.  Friedman was a monetarist; Keynes was a fiscalist.  Monetarists work to stabilize monetary policy.  Fiscalists manipulate it in an attempt to achieve governmental objectives.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Anti-Republican Cartoons

On Sunday, 9/20/2009, the Denver Post featured the latest political cartoon by Mike Keefe:

It's a standard caricature, but did you notice anything distinctive? What if you compare it to one of Mr. Keefe's cartoons from an earlier post:

In each case, the caricature is of a Republican. It's not a caricature of a Republican leader or a specific representative of the Republican Party. It's a caricature of the Republican everyman.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive here, but in each case, the Republican is a white male.

Mr. Keefe creates his cartoons reflexively. There is no purposeful attempt to demonize Republicans in general; it just comes out that way. A white male caricature is used to stigmatize people who belong to a particular political party in America. It is "right and natural."

Why is this important? It is because of the widespread acceptance of this behavior in our anti-Republican culture. Try to think of any other group you could stigmatize in this way with no adverse reaction from the populace. Could you do it to women? People with disabilities? How about an ethnic group? Try it with people of the jewish faith and you are anti-Semitic. Do it to people with dark skin tone and you are accused of Raaaaacism!

But when you do it to Republicans, it is appropriate.

UPDATE 4/25/2011:
Our culture celebrates Mr. Keefe's anti-Republican work.  On 4/18/2011 he was honored with a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for editorial cartooning.  Michael Ramirez was not nominated.

UPDATE 6/5/2011:
In the interest of fairness of context, please note that the Pulitzer Prize committee did award Mr. Ramirez a Pulitzer in 1994 and in 2008.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unspoken Accusations


Racism is becoming a defining issue in American culture. The theme is that if I am a Republican, I am a racist.

The accusation sticks in the air. When I encounter a non-Republican, I sense the attitude. It marks the person.

Here is my unspoken response to these people:

"I don't like that you affiliate with an organization that accuses me of being a racist!"

(Just so you know...)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is Your Baby Racist?

That is the headline from the cover of Newsweek for the week of September 14, 2009.

It gets your attention, and it’s meant to. It directs you to an article within the magazine (pages 53 through 60) by authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. Mr. Bronson and Ms. Merryman are releasing their book, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, and the Newsweek article is part of the promotion associated with their book tour. You can also read their blog on the Newsweek Web site.

The headline illustrates the cultural divide in America. I’m a Republican, so my reaction to the headline was, “What the hell is this about!” If you are a non-Republican, you probably thought, “This looks like some interesting research on a disturbing problem in America.”

Why the difference in reaction? It has to do with that unsettling theme in our culture that Republicans are racists. Some make light of it – I love Stacy McCain’s use of the word racism. (raaaaacism!) – but it still stings. Depending on where you are located in the political spectrum, it either hurts or it validates.

The article itself describes the work of Birgitte Vittrup in 2006. It notes that children as young as six months judge other children based on skin color. The rhetorical question is posed, “What’s a parent to do?”

The word that gets my attention is that children “judge” others. I think that word choice is significant. Children are not discerning the traits of other children. Rather, they are JUDGING other children. The article points out that this disturbing result comes from a sample of 100 Caucasian families in the Austin, Texas area.

Why am I worked up over this article? The reader is being told about an earth-shaking research study. The authors relate stories they have heard from parents and teachers about how they struggle to talk about race with their children.

The context is that this is a dialogue that parents and teachers must have with children. They must also talk about things like (shhh!) sex. These are the “difficult talks.”

I rebel against race being one of those difficult talks that must take place. It elevates the issue of skin tone to something akin to a life passage. I know that after the death of a family member, you might have the “Death Talk” with a youngster. Similarly, at some point you might have the “Sex Talk” with your child. But must we have the “Race Talk”? This implies that APPEARANCE is as significant as death!

If we are going to have “The Talk” about skin tone, should we have one about hair length? How about height and weight? Maybe there’s the ethnicity talk or the talk about religion. How about the anti-Republican talk?

As you might surmise, I take offense at the idea that we must judge people based upon appearance. It seems contrived. Must we have “The Race Talk” in order to move into a post-racial era?

Let me put a different context on this.

Let’s say that race is simply a political issue. If, as a politician, you classify a political group as a racist group, then it becomes important to keep that classification at the forefront of the American consciousness. If racism is perceived to be a problem, and you can convince people that those accused of racism are bad people, then you have a cause that can increase your political power. It feels good!

But is it… “good”?

The writers of NurtureShock look at 100 Caucasian families around Austin, Texas. That doesn’t sound too bad. The article characterizes the families (page 53) in this fashion: “It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity.”

You will have to ask yourself at this point, “Is that the impression I am keeping in mind?” Is this a study about multiculturalists?

What if it’s a study about white people in Texas? The distinction is important. It has to do with that “one-off characterization” effect, where you don’t directly criticize Republicans. Rather, this is simply a study of white people in Texas. You are left to connect the dots.

Furthermore, did you notice there is no study of a group of 100 families with dark skin tone, or varying skin tone - not even as a control group? The writers of NurtureShock simply look at 100 Caucasian families and see racial problems amongst the study participants.

At this point, you probably think I’m going overboard. But remember that we recently saw an instance of an individual who was able to discern the intent of a person who acts like a Republican, and that intent was racist in nature. Maureen Dowd, an opinion columnist for the New York Times recently wrote about her perception of a remark by Republican Joe Wilson. She said that when Representative Wilson called out “You lie!” during President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, his intent was to say, “You lie, boy.” Ms. Dowd believes she can divine what is in the hearts of Republicans.

When you hear Republicans accused of being racists, or see a study affirming the racism of Republicans, you might question if there is a political purpose behind the act. Why is it that our culture sees the political party that was expressly formed to uphold the Constitution and fight against slavery as “the party of racism”?

Maybe that’s a good question for a new study.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Open Letter to “Anonymous”

Dear Anonymous:

Back in July, I wrote a piece about Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University being accosted at his home by Cambridge Police Officer James Crowley. The post was sympathetic to Officer Crowley, and a few days ago you took exception. What you wrote in the Comments section was:
“Crowley would of beaten the daylights out of Rosa Parks. Six minutes after the 911 call was made, the man who made the error of Being Angry While Black was in handcuffs. Six minutes! Certainly some to that was the cop's travel time. Its not illegal to shout at cops in your own home or its porch.”

Since you made your comment on a site dedicated to the documentation of America’s anti-Republican culture, I wanted to clarify how you fit into the scheme of things.

The first point to note is that our anti-Republican culture puts racism and Republicans into the same box. Racists are Republicans, and Republicans are racists. They are a congruent set. When you speak of one, you imply the other.

I don’t know if Officer Crowley is a Republican or not, but I think you see that he exhibits Republican traits. He is a cop, so he must be in favor of “law and order” which is a Republican value. He is a white male, and you probably realize many Republicans look like that.

The second point is that our anti-Republican culture works through “themes”, those constantly reinforced slogans and beliefs that shape your attitude.

You see Officer Crowley putting the anti-Republican themes to work. The Officer is intent on curtailing the civil rights of Professor Gates. (“Republicans are shredding the Constitution.”) He singles out Professor Gates, knowing he is a teacher. (“Republicans are harming our children.”) Officer Crowley can’t wait to get to the confrontation. (“Republicans are bad people.”)

But here is where you “hit it out of the park”. The third aspect of our anti-Republican culture is intent.

You say that “Crowley would of (sic) beaten the daylights out of Rosa Parks.” You know Officer Crowley’s INTENT!

You are not referencing the non-racism stories that have come within the last few months: The Black Panther electioneering work in Philadelphia; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) brawl with a black conservative. Rather, you see Officer Crowley’s intent as something from a half-century ago; something out of Mississippi Burning. You know what is in his heart, and it is dark and sinister.

When you see or hear something about Republicans and you immediately know their intent, your mind has achieved the highest level in our anti-Republican culture. You no longer need further indoctrination. If you now wish to move on and further your studies, you might go to the Middle East and see what an anti-Semitic culture can do for you.

However, here in America, you have been “perfected”. You have been taught to hate.

Thanks for your post,

Howard Towt

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Subjunctive

In an earlier post on Anderson Cooper, I noted the style of denial/apology that is frequently used by American political figures as they attempt to recover from a verbal gaffe. It has a three-step format:

--The Minimilization
--The Subjunctive
--The Summation

“The Subjunctive” is the step that catches your attention.

Did you see the denial/apology from Van Jones? He is a recently-appointed administration official who specializes in “Green Jobs.” He also seems to have a penchant for making incendiary comments on political issues.

On September 3, Ben Smith at reported that the White House press office has issued this statement on behalf of Mr. Jones:

In recent days some in the news media have reported on past statements I made before I joined the administration – some of which were made years ago. If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize. As for the petition that was circulated today, I do not agree with this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever.
Can you deconstruct the elements of the denial/apology?

Here’s a hint: “The Subjunctive” is sentence number two.

Yahoo! News runs an AP story announcing the resignation of Mr. Jones. About the timing of the resignation, AP notes it was "...disclosed without advance notice by the White House in an e-mail minutes into Sunday on a holiday weekend..." (NTTAWWT).

According to the AP, Mr. Jones had this to say about the pressures he endured:

"On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."

This may be hubris, but I'm going to assume "The Subjunctive" is the part of the "vicious smear campaign" that nailed the coffin shut on this public servant.

UPDATE 2/19/2013:
Here in Denver, a state legislator got in political trouble during a gun control debate.  Joe Salazar, a Democrat, suggested women are too hysterical to handle a concealed carry permit responsibly. In backing away from his remarks he offered this justification: "I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That was absolutely not my intention... If anyone thinks I'm not sensitive to the dangers women face, they're wrong."

There's that subjunctive again...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There’s Something Happening Here

The title of this post is a lyric from the song “For What It’s Worth” by the Buffalo Springfield. I thought of that as I looked at some Web traffic having to do with current events.

On Pajamas Media, was a piece by Dr. Paul Hsieh co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM). His article was titled “The Free Market is Not Another Form of Rationing.” It was a rejoinder to the argument that the dreaded “rationing” in health care is already being done through pricing mechanisms.

On Pajamas TV was a piece by Bill Whittle refuting an assertion by President Obama that there is nothing special about “American Exceptionalism.” In Psychology Today, Dr. Barbara Oakley, a Professional Engineer and Associate Professor of Engineering at Oakland University, blogged about Journalism and Objectivity. She has a unique point of view, having spent time with the Soviets as a Russian translator.

Barbara Oakley on a Russian TrawlerThese were all articles by professionals: people with specialties in medicine, history and engineering. In each case, they used their expertise to evaluate issues of conventional wisdom; issues where our culture tells us the proper perceptions to hold. To their credit, they pointed out misconceptions that did not stand up to the hard test of reality.

I liked that. It made me think that America has some great people in its midst.

Keep in mind that these are not the great political leaders of our time. (Those pontificators work through a different channel of communication.) These people work through the Internet.

The Internet has its own hierarchy. The “rock stars” are sites like Instapundit and Power Line. These sites direct our attention to the issues that are impacting us, along with those that may be more personal (nanotechnology, recipes and photography in the case of Glenn Reynolds; soccer, beauty pageants and music for John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff). The sites perform the role of the 18th century “Town Criers.” They tell us what is happening and what’s worth watching.

The secondary tier of the Internet includes sites like William Katz’s Urgent Agenda and Hugh Hewitt’s TownHall site. These are professionals who have a more narrow scope of interest, but have established sources and great insight into the areas they cover. They have opinions that can make a difference!

The rest of us are in the dynamic milieu that is the world of blogging. Here we have blogs that are gaining popularity, and ones that are moving down. The keywords here are “movement” and “churn.”

Blogs are a diverse mass of humanity, and the encouraging thing is that people are making their voices heard. Another good thing is that many of those voices are from Republicans. The spirit of their blogs makes it possible for you to sense their heart and soul. Here are two examples:

Frances Rice is the chairman of the National Black Republican Association. She grew up in the South, joined the U. S. military, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years of active duty in the Army. She has a law degree from the University of California, and is a lady who is not afraid to speak her mind.

She knows that our American culture says if you have dark skin tone, you can’t be a Republican. It is a “profiling” burden that most of us don’t understand: a problem where people assume they know how you think simply because of the way you look.

Ms. Rice is working to dispel this stereotype by bringing needed attention to Republicans who have dark skin tone. Her most interesting work is associated with the task of getting Americans to understand that Martin Luther King was a Republican.

That borders on (gasp!) heresy in our anti-Republican culture. However, Ms. Rice doesn’t back down. She even makes a point of showing that the Democratic Party felt so strongly about keeping slavery alive in the 19th century that they tried to break our country apart and even started a war! This is a lady with a strong message and lots of courage.

Another strong individual is Dan Blatt from Gay Patriot. Here is a person who has a similar problem to the one being worked by Ms. Rice. If you are a gay person in America, you are assumed NOT to be a Republican. In fact, it’s a bit more militant than that. If you are a Republican and gay, you are vilified.

It is almost as if gay Republicans must wear a gold star of identification. (See the recent movie Defiance with Daniel Craig for an example of this effect.) In America, if you are a Republican and gay, you are supposed to be a Log Cabin Republican. But what if you just want to be a Republican without joining an organization? This is where the cultural aspect becomes an irritant.

Our culture should not be putting us into boxes based upon some sort of perceived identity. Dan lets Americans know that our culture needs to accept people for the identity they choose to celebrate, not one scripted for them by our culture.

These are bright, capable people making their voices heard. The Republican Party (The GOP) may not be anything to write home about, but these Republicans are doing us proud.

Wouldn’t it be fun to see these people attend a fantasy meeting with our Founding Fathers? The subject of the meeting would be, “Can This Culture be Saved?” The passion and energy of the meeting would be a thing to behold.

I would have to recommend Stacy McCain as the reporter-on-the-scene, where he would capture the verbal fireworks in his distinctive and singular manner.

How sweet it would be!

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