American Elephants

Scandal! Attack on the First Amendment! Unintended Consequences! by The Elephant's Child

Three must read articles for a Monday.
Victor Davis Hanson, one of clearest and most thoughtful observers of current affairs looks at the increasing national security scandals coming out of the ineptitude of the Obama administration. He compares their significance to scandals from other administrations fairly and cogently. It’s not a pretty picture.

Senator Mitch McConnell,  GOP Minority Leader, addressed the Heritage Foundation with a speech about how the Obama administration is pursuing restrictions on political speech, by every means possible, including bypassing Congress and the federal judiciary. Democrats don’t like to be disagreed with, and they want to stamp out the right to disagree. Conservatives understand that debate is an essential part of the American polity. Liberals want to shut you up by whatever means possible. The speech is here. Long, but worth it.

Douglas Ross, excellence in blogging, looks at ten things that a President Romney can do, by following the example of what the current president has accomplished with the approval of the Media in rescinding laws by executive order. Indifference to the rule of law can have unintended consequences too. This is tongue-in-cheek, but points out the real problems with the president’s actions.

Left and Right and The Battleground of Ideas. by The Elephant's Child

Back when George W. Bush won the presidency in the hotly contested Bush v. Gore Election, Democrats were beside themselves. They were enraged at the court’s ruling. They were enraged at George W. Bush. They were determined that such a thing would never happen again. After all, Progressives were the party entitled to govern.

But how to prove their legitimacy, to prove that they were the superior party destined to the White House.? They didn’t have any ideas, they whined. They needed think-tanks like the Republicans had, to give them ideas. Philanthropists Herbert and Marion Sandler helped to fund a Washington D.C. based think-tank,  The Center for American Progress, created and led by John Podesta, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.

Their website states “The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Scratch “nonpartisan.” They intend to offer a leftist counterpart to the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. What they offer instead is battle plans for Democrats.

A.E.I., founded in 1943, states as their mission, “to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism — limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate.

Heritage ‘s stated mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the  principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. An editorial in the Wall Street Journal summed up the problem succinctly back in 1999:

The error behind all of these failures is the liberal faith in the perfectibility of politics.  Liberals believe that the next law, or next federal agency. will somehow make up for imperfect human nature. But America’s Founders understood that politics could never be perfected precisely because men weren’t perfect. So they designed a system with a minimum of bureaucratic and legal control in which disputes could be settled by political debate. They did not want  to rely on lawyers or experts who could maneuver around or through a maze of campaign and ethics laws.  It’s taken us twenty years of picking through the ruins of liberal reform to relearn how right they were.

Is there a difference? I think so. Certainly Heritage studies issues that are before Congress and sends over studies based on prowling through the intricacies of the federal budget, the tax code, the Federal Register and comes up with points of concern and recommendations— which the members may find of interest or ignore entirely.  The blog at Heritage is quick hits and lightweight, but their studies are serious and worth attention.

C.A.P.’s work is directed to ‘how do we defeat the Republicans” and you will hear the talking points repeated in the media. This article: “The Untapped Electoral Power of Latinos and Citizens-in-Waiting,”certainly seems to be related to Obama’s attempt to pass the Dream Act by agency ‘adjustment of the rules.’ Watch for repeats of ‘citizens-in-waiting’ and ‘eligible but unregistered.’

In some key battleground states, the number of eligible but unregistered Latino voters runs into the hundreds of thousands or even millions. On top of these millions of potential voters, the Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are 8.1 million legal permanent residents, or green card holders that are eligible to become citizens and vote in the fall.

Here’s an article from The American, AEI’s online magazine:
(The article is worth your time)

The concept of ‘welfare’ has become an open, bottomless vessel into which every desire can be poured. One of the most successful linguistic hijackings ever is the Left’s appropriation of the term “welfare state.”

No one opposes the most basic version of a welfare state, one that provides essential public facilities, cares for the destitute and unfortunate, educates children, and protects public health and safety. Indeed, as the Supreme Court said in 1881, during an era regarded by the Left as a dark-age trough, “It will not be denied by any one that these are public purposes in which the whole community have an interest.”

A democratic polity can bicker over the scope of these functions. Some think care for the unfortunate should go a long way in the direction of income redistribution and that protecting public health requires extensive regulation. Others are more cautious. But these disagreements, while sometimes acrid, are within the bounds of civil political contest.

The problem is that the concept of “welfare” has become an open, bottomless vessel into which every desire can be poured: Government takeover of the entire health and retirement systems; detailed regulation of employment; manipulation of money; subsidies for housing, education, energy, food; or anything else that strikes the fancy of some segment of the public.

I do not mean to suggest that the two articles are, or should be, compared. But, to me, each is representative of the direction taken by the two think-tanks.

I am not an admirer of the Big Government Project, of which the Left is deeply supportive. I think they have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the line and are solely interested in the grasp for power. Their ideas don’t work. They do not examine the unintended consequences nor do they study the effects of their ideas on ordinary people. They have no understanding of imperfect human nature, and no real understanding of the blessings of the United States of America. Perpetually discontented, they always yearn for something else.

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