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Archive for the ‘Context’ Category

Sam Tanenhaus, the Senior Editor of the New York Times Book Review, offers what he calls “an intellectual autopsy of the [Conservative] movement” on the website of The New Republic. Coming in at a bulky 6,652 words, it’s certainly doesn’t enable my online ADD reading tendencies.

I gave it a cursory skimming, but I can’t bring myself to explore its depths. Actually I’m afraid that a tome titled “Conservatism Is Dead” that was written by a senior anybody at the notoriously ideological NY Times would send me into a rage from which I might not recover for the rest of the day. The concluding paragraph is enough to make me roll my eyes:

What our politics has consistently demanded of its leaders, if they are to ascend to the status of disinterested statesmen, is not the assertion but rather the renunciation of ideology. And the only ideology one can meaningfully renounce is one’s own. Liberals did this a generation ago when they shed the programmatic “New Politics” of the left and embraced instead a broad majoritarianism. Now it is time for conservatives to repudiate movement politics and recover their honorable intellectual and political tradition. At its best, conservatism has served the vital function of clarifying our shared connection to the past and of giving articulate voice to the normative beliefs Americans have striven to maintain even in the worst of times. There remains in our politics a place for an authentic conservatism–a conservatism that seeks not to destroy but to conserve.

Yeah, right. What’s that they say about bulls and pastures?

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This article:

The purchase of a piece of property in America, a single-family house, a PUD (planned unit development) or a condo (flat within a condominium) will guarantee you and your family a green card. This is one of the extreme measures implemented to help stall the meteoric fall of the United States economy in light of the economic crisis, Bulgarian weekly Stroitelstvo Gradut reported on January 15.

Thirty-five accredited investors will have the opportunity to acquire real estate in the south-eastern state of Florida – by purchasing a house – they will be granted a green card for permanent residence and right of employment for the buyer himself and his/her entire family.

Additional conditions are that the prospective buyer must have a clean criminal record, a good credit record, the ability to present and prove a decent monthly income, and no outstanding financial obligations or credit liabilities. The purchase itself can be done either with cash, bank transfer or monthly instalments, but the financial resource must be proven legitimate.

The US government has allocated 10 000 such visas nation-wide for potential investors in real esate, under a programme approved by the US Congress. Florida’s is the first such programme that has actively been given the green light to commence.

is tying Michelle Malkin’s stomach in knots. Most of her commenters are suffering indigestion as well. I must be missing something.

A question for those of you who are doubled over at the waist after reading this piece:

  1. Do you not think that 10 months of housing inventory is a bad thing?  Would you not like to dump some of that inventory on “accredited investors?”
  2. Does the specter of, God forbid, another terrorist attack preclude you from agreeing to 10,000 visas for “potential investors in real estate?”  If so, does the “clean criminal record” requirement not ease your mind?  Recall our stock answer any time the left complained of executive overreach: “No one expected that after seven years we would not have been attacked again, so the administration is getting something right.”
  3. Or is your concern one of lost jobs?  Because throwing 10,000 real estate investors into an economy of 303 million does not seem statistically relevant.
  4. Or is your concern something else?

Relevance statement: I’m filing this one under Florida governor Charlie Crist.

Disclosure: I’m not 100% sold on this green-for-green policy either. But for much different reasons, apparently.

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And that is “Bush.” At least when following the name “George W.” And unless used well in context.

But what a long, strange eight years it’s been, no?

For the record I wish President Obama very well. To the shock of my wife I will add that many of his challenges appear to be no-lose propositions. After possibly a bit more constriction, the economy will largely heal itself, with or without effective or ineffective government action. Give me 18 months for nearly all major indicators to have recovered any lost ground. Over the next four years combat operations should largely cease in Iraq, and the conditions there should continue to gradually improve. And the attentive reader may have noted that the administration did not make a last-minute announcement that, by the way, we’ve been holding on to Osama bin Laden for several months now. Any remaining policy issues seem altogether trivial when compared to that trifecta: Economy — Iraq — Afghanistan. And who believes that — even if national policy is left to coast in neutral — any of these concerns will become more intractable over just the next year, to say nothing of the next four years?

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Or so it seems. According to Andrew Breitbart:

What the Republican Party needs to do now is figure out how to make up for 40 years of ignoring the net effect of film, television and music, and the youth culture that goes along with it. When will the people who make the big decisions and write the big checks realize the AM radio band is not enough?

As I’ve written and stated many times, college Republicans and other young conservative activists need to go Hollywood – in mind, spirit and even in location.

If you’re not buying his argument, then, quick! Name ten conservative celebrities. Drawing a blank? Name five. Still nothing? Okay, name just one true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool, celebrity conservative. The only one that springs to my mind is Kirk Cameron, and I’m not even sure he counts anymore.

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Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse,” according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.

The command’s “Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)” report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. “In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

That bears repeating: our military equates Pakistan and Mexico, in terms of the states to watch for rapid and sudden collapse.

Relevance statement: knock on wood, but a collapse south of the Rio Grande would be a tragic — and very real — foreign policy challenge for President Obama. And therefore a marquee issue in the 2012 contest. And since Texans can see Mexico from their front porches, Ron Paul should be considered a front runner on that basis alone.

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Some (especially the younger generation of) Christian Evangelicals are embracing new causes. This makes perfect sense. After all, the old ones have been exhausted and we’re not converting anyone by continuing to have them with ever-increasing shrill tones. Those have reached such a high dB level that we are causing people to have tinnitis. Yes, we still believe in abolishing abortion and we still frown on an unrepentant gay lifestyle, but everybody knows that already, so why do we have to keep harping on it? It’s counterproductive and we come across as fanatical bores, so shuddup about that already! Here is Tom Krattenmaker’s take on it:

This younger wave will not stick to the narrow old script — abortion, gays, the erosion of Christian prerogatives in the public square — that has governed publicly applied evangelicalism since the ’70s.

These modern-day abolitionists, along with growing ranks of faith-fueled activists in the fight against global poverty, disease and other forms of human degradation, might not see themselves as political. Even so, intentionally or not, they could end up changing the meaning of a political movement and idea — “pro life” — that has been at the center of one of the most rancorous political arguments of our time.

Here are some more details about the new conversation, some of which might be a bit troubling to old-school evangelicals:

Also finding room on a more broadly defined “pro-life” movement are poverty, torture, immigration, health care, disease prevention and climate change. With that has come more talk of respecting the humanity of gay men and lesbians and new interest in cooperating with progressives and non-evangelicals (including the new president) on strategies to reduce the incidence of abortion.

“Respecting the humanity” of homosexuals might  be code for conceding the gay marriage debate. “Reduc[ing] the incidence of abortion” means no longer insisting that abortion be completely eliminated. Those two issues might be deal killers. Of course, nobody seems to be dealing with the Christian Right right now anyway, so it might be a moot point.

All in all, though, having this conversation makes much more sense than continuing to have the old one. After all, the objective is to bring more people around to our way of thinking, perhaps to save some souls and, as a bonus, win some voters, too! The key to winning the libertarians’ vote will be to show how we can take up these causes without involving the government. The key to winning back the Hispanic vote will be to show that we value them as partners in embracing causes like these, causes with which they naturally tend to gravitate. Add those two groups to the existing base and that sounds like a majority coalition to me.

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What do you suppose Jesus Christ meant when he told us to love our enemies? Would He have me love an Islamo-Fascist who wants to murder me just because I’m an American? I believe He would. It would behoove us Christian conservatives to be aware of this great truth. That said, I don’t think He would have me simply give in to my enemy. Their cause isn’t just, isn’t good. Even so, I can’t fight hatred with hatred. I have no idea how to love my enemy right now, but I’m sure that the Holy Spirit will eventually lead me to an answer, the right answer. Perhaps Luke 22:35-38 will point me in the right direction.

That said, please indulge me while I make the point I was trying to make: no matter how much I’m grappling with this admonition from the son of God that instructs me on the treatment of my enemies, I should always be aware that Barack Obama and his supporters are not the enemy. They are fellow Americans, fellow travelers in this crazy experimental journey we call Democracy. From this point forward I resolve to try to treat them like I would an errant kid brother who has gotten things all mixed up in his head. I wouldn’t hate my kid brother for being clueless. I would do everything I could to lovingly try and help him see things straight again. (Of course, I might give him a well-deserved noogie every once in a while, too.)

Let us conservatives resolve to treat liberals in much the same way. We will not win the debate, we will not convince anybody of anything, unless we do so. Furthermore, we will remain in the wilderness for as long as it takes to realize this fundamental truth.

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