May 2009

Republicans Beware

by Bill O'Connell on May 31, 2009

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Republicans: Don't Fall Into This Trap

Republicans lose elections when they act counter to what people expect of them.  When President Clinton was undergoing impeachment, too many Republicans focused on what happened in the Oval office, leading Democrats to tut tut, “Republicans are just a bunch of prudes.”  In France, where taking a mistress and siring a brood is a way of life, were baffled at the commotion over here.  The argument should have focused on women’s rights and how Clinton, by his lying, was denying Paula Jones her day in court on a legitimate claim of sexual harassment.  If that was the gravamen of the discussion, the Republicans would have one on either the impeachment claim or by discrediting the left wing of the women’s movement by starkly painting them as choosing abortion as the sine qua non of their existence, rather than supporting the rights of a solitary woman against a powerful man.  Alas, the Democrats successfully dragged the fight into the mud, smearing everyone in the process.  When it was all done, you couldn’t tell a muddy Clinton, from a spattered Ken Starr, from a slime covered Republican Congressman.

Take the High Road

Today there was a news release from the Republican National Committee trying to make hay out of President Obama taking his wife to a Broadway play on the eve of GM filing bankruptcy, the state of the economy, etc., etc.  PLEASE!  Let the man take his wife to a play.  Barack Obama will have the Secret Service following him for the rest of his life.  It costs money to protect him.  What do we expect our President to do, stay home and bowl for the rest of his term?  The man still has very high approval ratings.  Trying to make these kinds of points is counterproductive and will probably raise his numbers and the Republicans negative numbers at the same time.  Instead of asking why he was doing that, ask him how he liked the play.

With the confirmation hearings approaching for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the Republicans have to be on guard for the same things.  Get off the “she’s a racist” bandwagon.  You’re playing right into the Democrats hands.  They are the party of class warfare and nothing would please them more than ad hominem attacks on a Puerto Rican woman.

Treat it just like any job interview.  Is she qualified to do the job? Don’t bring up any questions about race, sex, age, disabilities, or anything else you couldn’t ask on a job interview.  Instead of saying she is a racist for saying a Latina woman would arrive at better decisions than a white man, ask her to explain her thinking behind the statement and then follow it up with a line of questions about judicial activism.  On the Ricci case, ask her what would be the remedy that would pass muster in her court.  How many blacks would have to pass the test to allow the promotions to go through?  How many Hispanics? How many Asians?  Ask her if a white male wanted to sue the National Basketball Association because whites are disproportionally represented in the NBA, what would she rule?

Set the Table

Judge Sotomayor probably has the votes to make it to the Supreme Court.  At the same time most Americans are opposed to judicial activism.  If the Republicans stay on message and take this as an opportunity to point to another instance of this Administration taking away more and more of our liberties, they can head to the production studios and start making the commercials for 2010.  If they accept the left’s invitation to step into the mud pit, then when it is all over all anyone will see is the mud dripping from every participant.  Just say no.  No ad hominem attacks.  No inflated claims on small points.  Just a steady, consistent focus on whether on not Judge Sotomayor is an activist judge.  Here is the speech that we should hear from any Republican senator when the nomination comes up for a vote:

“Judge Sotomayor has a great American story.  It is a story that all Americans should admire.  She seems like a truly warm and caring individual, which are qualities than anyone should embrace.  However, in her judicial philosophy she doesn’t seem to be able to separate her personal feelings from the law.  Her passion would make her a wonderful legislator, but a judge does not make the rules.  Like an umpire in a baseball game, the judge calls balls and strikes, safe and out.  The umpire doesn’t directly influence the outcome for one team or the other, neither the underdog nor the favorite.  Justice should be blind.  Judge Sotomayor doesn’t believe that.  Therefore, regretfully, I will be voting against her.”

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Obama: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

by Bill O'Connell on May 30, 2009

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The Constitution in the Hands of Activist Judges

President Barack Obama has made his first nomination to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor.  She has a great American personal story, not quite as great as Clarence Thomas, but a great one nonetheless.  Here is what Barack Obama said about Clarence Thomas and Justice Scalia.

“I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas,” said the presumptive Democratic nominee. “I don’t think that he…” the crowd interrupted with applause. “I don’t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the constitution. I would not have nominated Justice Scalia though I don’t think there is any doubt about his intellectual brilliance. Because he and I just disagree. — Barack Obama with Rick Warren

Much of the ballyhoo over Judge Sotomayor has been about her background.  No one, I repeat, no one has a more compelling story than Clarence Thomas, but when he was up for nomination, the ad hominem attacks were disgraceful.  Barack Obama doesn’t think Clarence Thomas is a strong enough jurist?  You may disagree with Clarence Thomas’ beliefs but remember the context of the question from Rick Warren.  Warren asked who on the Supreme Court Obama would not have nominated and out of the nine justices, he picked Thomas.  So Obama thinks Souter has a greater legal mind than Thomas? Or was Obama trying to score a twofer?  He can bash a conservative to score points on the left, while showing he is not a knee jerk Affirmative Action type by singling out the black guy, so he can score points with independents.  Let’s be clear, Obama rarely makes a public statement that is not calculated for effect.

President Obama is now trying to get his first nominee confirmed and to do so is pointing to the tradition that President’s should generally get who they want, unless there is a serious problem with the nominee.  However, while in the Senate, he had a different view as shown during the confirmation of Samual Alito.  Obama voted to filibuster that nomination.

“As we all know, there’s been a lot of discussion in the country about how the Senate should approach this confirmation process. There are some who believe that the President, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. That once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question whether the judge should be confirmed.

I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record.” — Barack Obama speech on why he was voting against Samual Alito.

With the nomination of John Roberts, Senator Obama clearly stakes out a position favoring judicial activism.  He said that in 95% of the cases following the Constitution is fine.  The other 5% of the time judges should feel free to re-write the constitution.

“The problem I face — a problem that has been voiced by some of my other colleagues, both those who are voting for Mr. Roberts and those who are voting against Mr. Roberts — is that while adherence to legal precedent and rules of statutory or constitutional construction will dispose of 95 percent of the cases that come before a court, so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95 percent of the cases — what matters on the Supreme Court is those 5 percent of cases that are truly difficult. In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”  — Barack Obama’s speech on why he was voting against John Roberts

Okay, so show me where Ruth Bader Ginsburg has voted with Antonin Scalia 95% of the time.  If you take what Obama says at face value, if they followed the Constitution 95% of the time, Ginsburg and Scalia would vote the same way.  Since Scalia plainly says his philosophy follows “original intent”, that is, adhering to the Constitution as written, Obama must be admitting that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a judicial activist since she rarely agrees with Scalia.

“A lot has been made about the Supreme Court and my criteria,” Obama said in a 20-minute speech to 250 of the night’s biggest donors. “I want people who have a common touch, who have a sense of what it’s like to struggle.”

He praised Sotomayor because she knows that “every once in a while, people need a hand up.” — Barack Obama speaking on why Sonia Sotomayor should be nominated to the Supreme Court

In this statement about Sotomayor, he confirms what he really believes that personal prejudices, and by that I mean “pre-judging”, are an essential element for a judge.  He believes the Constitution plays a role, but where the outcome is not pleasant, by all means re-write the Constitution to give you the outcome you want.  But once again Obama flip-flops:

“There are, of course, some in Washington who are attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games, pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Sotomayor’s record. But I am confident that these efforts will fail; because Judge Sotomayor’s seventeen-year record on the bench – hundreds of judicial decisions that every American can read for him or herself – speak far louder than any attack; her record makes clear that she is fair, unbiased, and dedicated to the rule of law.” — Barack Obama’s weekly radio address.

First, I want to point to the Obama straw man, “some in Washington,” without naming who those some are.  So, here he says she is “fair, unbiased, and dedicated to the rule of law.”  Well, which one is it?  Biased, to swing those 5% of the cases that need a better outcome, or dedicated to the rule of law.

Teaching Moment

Judge Sotomayor’s nomination will probably be confirmed.  What conservatives must do is refrain from the name calling, any ad hominem attacks, and focus on whether or not she is a judicial activist or not.  The questioning should be respectful but unwavering.  Most Americans are opposed to activist judges.  The American people should be clearly informed that Justice Sotomayor is just that.  But if the long knives come out to damage her, that message will be lost, as will a valuable issue to use in the next election.  When adhering to conservative principles 60% of the American people are with us.  When we put up wishy washy candidates to appeal to groups, the Democratic playbook, we get slaughtered every time.

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Wobbly Republicans

by Bill O'Connell on May 27, 2009

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Wobbly Republicans

The drumbeat is starting.  The Democrats are gleefully opening their playbook to the right page and holding it open for the weak kneed Republicans to see.  “If you vote against Judge Sotomayor, the Hispanic vote will go against you and make you pay.”

Ah, the politics of class warfare.  Republicans fall for it almost every time.  That’s why we got John McCain as our nominee.  The news analysis will point out how fewer Hispanics voted for McCain than for Bush, with Bush getting 40% and McCain only 31%.  Maybe it was because McCain was a weak candidate?  Bush put forward Miguel Estrada for the Supreme Court, he appointed Alberto Gonzales as the first Hispanic Attorney General, McCain and Bush were both for open borders.  Boy, did that pay off!

Bush appoints Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State, followed by Condoleezza Rice as the first black woman Secretary of State.  So how did the black vote turn out for Bush?

So let’s get over copying the Democratic practice of appealing to groups and get back to our conservative principles of appealing to individuals.  Don’t worry about the black vote, the Hispanic vote, the gay vote, the union vote, the Catholic vote.  Worry about doing the right thing for all Americans.  The Democrats want us to worry about all these blocs so that they can get us to meekly wave through their nominees.  But when the tables are turned (e.g., Clarence Thomas, Michael Steele, Miguel Estrada, et. al.) they will be vicious, slanderous, mean and ugly.  They don’t give a damn about offending the black or Hispanic vote because they think they own them.  And when we put up candidates that are a weak imitation of the Democratic candidate, they do.

We need to stand for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and not back down from that.  The votes will follow.

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Sotomayor: Legislator-Yes, Justice-No

by Bill O'Connell on May 27, 2009

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Sonia Sotomayor’s story is a great American story.  Like Barack Obama hers is a story of overcoming adversity to live the American Dream.  For that we should admire her and applaud her.  However, her nomination to the United States Supreme Court is a poor choice.

Her personal story, her life experiences, her empathy, would all be excellent qualities as a Congresswoman representing the interests of her district and giving a strong voice to those she represents.  But the Supreme Court and all courts for that matter are based on two principles:  Blind justice and the original intent of the United States Constitution.

Blind Justice

We’ve all seen the famous statue of Lady Justice.  She holds scales in one hand and a sword in the other.  More importantly she is blindfolded.  The reason for the blindfold is so that she does not take into account what she sees, that is, she ignores race, sex, social status, height, weight, etc.  In other words she applies justice equally without regard to any personal factors.  Judge Sotomayor has said:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”

How does that work?  If a white male candidate had made a statement like this his nomination would not only go down in flames, he would probably be removed from the bench on which he was currently sitting.  Are there different laws for Latina women?  Are the laws applied differently based on your race or your upbringing?  If she makes that statement as a Congressional candidate representing a Hispanic district running against a white male opponent, that statement is fine, but as a judge, no.

Original Intent

There is an ongoing debate about the Constitution in this country with conservatives standing behind the original intent of the document and liberals saying that the Constitution is living, breathing and should evolve.  If you believe the latter point of view, we have no constitution. It is whatever a judge today says it is.  Tomorrow?  Who knows, it may take another breath.

Judge Satomayor says that policy is made on the Court of Appeals. (Video -  Policy is Made on Court of Appeals.) Laws are made in the legislative branch, which is Congress at the Federal level.  Policy is typically made in the Executive Branch in enforcing the laws.  The courts function is to interpret the laws written by the legislature, not to make new laws to their liking.  Such a statement by Judge Sotomayor is dangerous.  She is openly saying that she believes that the courts should usurp the function of Congress and other legislatures and has no problem with that.  Think about it.  A Supreme Court Justice is a lifetime appointment with no recourse to the people.  If we are going to have judges make our laws, let’s shut down the Congress.  I can guarantee you that no judge is going to write a 900 page opinion that no one will read.  It is the same effect.  It is also the same as taking away the right to vote, because once appointed, judges who make laws are not accountable to anyone.

Withdraw Your Name and Run for Congress

If you want to make laws, run for Congress.  I may disagree with your positions, but your qualifications for the legislature are excellent.  But judges must apply the law according to the Constitution.

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Here We Go Again

by Bill O'Connell on May 22, 2009

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We are about to get steamrolled by the largest energy tax increase in history and once again, it will be without anyone reading the 900+ page bill.  When Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee insisted that the bill be read into the minutes of the committee, the Democrats hired a speed reader to read the bill. Speed Reader Reads the Energy Bill

After enduring about a minute of the yammering, the Republicans cried uncle, and everyone had a good laugh, about the whole thing.  Once again the joke’s on us.  The government will take away more of our liberties and it’s loads of good fun.  Let’s re-elect them all to see what a rollicking good time we can have next.

On Glenn Beck’s show this evening he pointed out that the bill that created the Interstate Highway system in the 1950s was twenty-nine (29) pages and that they were 6″x9″ pages, not even 8 1/2″ x 11″.  So we have another massive piece of legislation, no doubt chock full of goodies for the special interest groups (what else would require 900+ pages), that no one will read before voting on it; no one will understand what is in it, except some low level bureaucrats; and once again, we will be handed the tab.

What kind of representative government is this if no one represents us?  They only represent themselves and how they can stay in power to pick up their six figure checks and perks and parlay that into millions more if they should leave office.  It almost makes you want to take a shower after watching the news.

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Obama Irony

by Bill O'Connell on May 22, 2009

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“I stand here today as someone whose life was made possible by these documents.” — Barack Obama

Barack Obama said those words at the National Archives, as he stood before the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  He was there to defend his position on the War on Terrorism, or should I say, the Overseas Contingency Operation.

The irony is that as the child of a single mother, he probably owes his life to the fact that he was born before a slim 5-4 majority of Supreme Court justices found a non-existent Constitutional right to abortion in those documents behind him, in the Roe v. Wade decision.

“This child’s future is a broken home. He will be abandoned by his father. His single mother will struggle to raise him. Despite the hardships he will endure this child will become the 1st African-American President.” — pro-life commercial profiling Barack Obama

The most pro-abortion President in history probably most owes his life to the fact that he wasn’t born after 1973.

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Budget Buffoonery

by Bill O'Connell on May 16, 2009

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It seems like a bad dream.  The man who is spending like there is no tomorrow, lecturing us on how we are spending too much money.

President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

Is this a joke?  I keep waiting for President Obama to burst out laughing and say, “April Fool’s” but it’s well past April.

Two weeks ago Obama announced his budget and proposed $17 billion in spending cuts.  Let’s be generous and say he can deliver on that.  Big deal!  Twenty-five years ago, in 1984 President Reagan received a report from the Grace Commission, whom he charged with the task of finding areas of the federal government to cut costs.  The Grace Commission, led by Peter Grace, came up with $424 billion in savings in three years and $1.9 trillion in savings by 2000.  Let those numbers sink in for a moment.  In 1984, with a far smaller federal government, the Grace Commission was able find twenty-five TIMES as much savings as President Obama can find in his behemoth budget.  Unfortunately, the Democrats controlled Congress and therefore the purse strings, and scoffed at most of what the Grace Commission proposed.  Why? Less government means less power, and the statists are all about power.

Let me make a modest suggestion.  President Obama, dust off the Grace Commission Report and give it a read.  You might find some gems in there that are worth more than a paltry $17 billion in savings.

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The Drumbeat of Inexperience Continues

by Bill O'Connell on May 16, 2009

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Paying the Bill

Elected by the drumbeat of bashing Bush, President Obama now faces reality, and the American people see example after example of Obama’s lack of experience.  He campaigned on how he was going to change the Bush Policies, and where are we?

  • One of his first acts in office was an Executive Order to close Guantanamo.  Now, he doesn’t have a plan to make it happen and is saying exactly what Bush said, that there is not clear alternative.  Going further, he is turning Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan into his own version of Guantanamo
  • He was going exit Iraq within 16 months.  Now, not so fast.  It’s not that easy, when you actually have responsibility, to follow through on shooting from the hip or lip.
  • Military Tribunals were the wrong way to go.  Now, the military tribunals will continue
  • The release of pictures demanded by the ACLU. Obama was in favor.  Now? Not so much.
  • Obama now supports covert action in Pakistan

Bush’s Legacy

If Obama’s not careful he’s going to make Bush look like a genius.  But with every flip-flop, he puts America at risk.  Our allies such as Australia, wonder if we are the same strong world leader that we were before.

“President Barack Obama’s administration has continued this trend {against fighting a conventional war}, and risks unsettling America’s longstanding democratic allies in Asia by skimping on defense” — Australia Bulks Up, WSJ, May 6, 2009

Our enemies see this as signs of weakness and look for ways to exploit it.  Think Jimmy Carter and the Soviets in Afghanistan, Khomeini in Iran, Sandinistas in Nicaragua…

Joe Biden said we would have a crisis withing six months.  I don’t know about the timing, but the pieces seem to be falling into place.

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Pelosi Should Resign

by Bill O'Connell on May 14, 2009

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi continues to cling to the thin thread that everyone is lying but she.   Considering all the details surrounding the topic of waterboarding, she is either a liar or an idiot, take your pick.  But either character trait is reason enough for her to step down.  The American people deserve better.

We need politicians with integrity.  We need politicians who don’t split hairs over whether or not they were told something could be done or something was already done.  Either way, if she thought it was wrong she should have spoken up. Now she is calling the CIA liars and ones who do it regularly at that.  How much more can she demoralize those who are dedicated to defending us?

In the stimulus bill she voted to give the American taxpayer $8 per week in relief, while giving the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse $30 million.  Let them eat cake!

She can no longer effectively lead, if she ever could.  It’s time to go.

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Nancy Pinocchio

by Bill O'Connell on May 13, 2009

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I Didn't Know About any Stinkin' Waterboarding!

I heard a Democratic pundit on TV today say that calling Nancy Pelosi a liar was way out of line. It was far too strong a term to use regarding this delicate matter.  As Tony Snow used to say from the podium in the White House briefing room, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?”

A Flexible Lexicon

How many times did we hear the phrase, “Bush lied, {fill in the blank}”?  Bush was accused repeatedly, lustily, full throated, spittle flying, of lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  What is the definition of a lie?

“To make a statement that one knows is false, esp. with intent to deceive.” — YourDictionary.com

So, the CIA, the intelligence agencies of several allies, all provided information that indicated that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  Saddam had used weapons of mass destruction on the Kurds, and the Iranians.  So Bush reached the conclusion, which was backed by Congress, by their vote authorizing the use of force, and the UN that weapons of mass destruction existed.  Yes, they were all wrong, but how was Bush to know this information was false, when his advisors and the advisors of our allies said it was true?  So, how is this a lie?  Simple, a Republican is held to a higher standard than a Democrat.  For a Republican, a lie is whatever the Democrats say it is.  For a Democrat, a lie is whatever the Democrats say it is.

Dear Nancy

Nancy Pelosi sat in a room where she and Porter Goss were briefed on waterboarding, but she says she wasn’t briefed.  Documents prove she was there.  Porter Goss remembers her being there.  Did she have her fingers in her ears, stamping her feet, and yelling, “Nah, Nah, Nah, I can’t hear you!”?  Now let’s apply the above definition to dear Nancy.  She made several statements, all caught on video tape, vehemently denying that she knew waterboarding was actually used.  This was for one purpose only, to deceive the American people and her supporters, that she was not involved, nor did she approve in what has now been redefined as torture.

International Embarrassment

I don’t know about you, but I find it embarrassing to have such gutless people in positions of authority in government.  Say want you mean, mean what you say.  The bottom line is that these statists, have no principles.  They have no moral compass to guide their behavior.  Their only guide is how to tighten their grasp on power and how to take away as much liberty as possible from the American people.  In doing so, those same people will depend more and more on government and keep these moral midgets in power.

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