Not change, but more of the same

November 23, 2008

What kind of change can we expect from a President Obama?  Not much.

President-elect Barack Obama has answered bipartisan calls for the disbandment of the White House office central to the Karl Rove-style politics the Democrat condemned as a candidate. The office stays.

Patrick Gaspard, a New Yorker and longtime labor operative, will head the Office of Political Affairs, the Obama transition announced on Friday.

First, let me point out that the fact that it was a Republican that created this office (and the much-revered Reagan, to boot) is despicable.  The government has absolutely no right to confiscate taxpayer money for political purposes.

What do defenders of the office claim it’s value is?

But others, particularly those who’ve served in previous presidential administrations, have defended the office, saying the nation’s chief executive needs someone in the White House to give him a sense of the political impact of policies and legislation.

If you have a President whose staff is unable to “give him a sense of the political impact of policies and legislation,” then you have a pretty incompetent President.

We’ll see much partisan sniping about this office, particularly as it appears that Obama has broken (yet another) campaign promise.  However, what Republicans should be focusing on is the fact that this office should not exist, regardless of who the President is.  Rather than putting all of the attention on Obama’s broken promise, Republicans should be explaining to the American people how they’re being robbed for political purposes.

Of course, the chances of this happening are pretty slim.  To do so would mean criticizing Reagan as well as both Bushes, and we all know that our current GOP won’t criticize one of their own.

H/T: Patterico

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Can blogging be lobbying

November 23, 2008

Washington state is considering.

Blogger beware? State regulators are wondering whether online political activism amounts to lobbying, which could force Web-based activists to file public reports detailing their finances.

In a collision of 21st century media and 1970s political reforms, the inquiry hints at a showdown over press freedoms for bloggers, whose self-published journals can shift between news reporting, opinion writing, political organizing and campaign fundraising.

This is a very frightening proposal.  I’ll set aside the discussion of the un-Constitutionality of campaign finance reform laws in general, but suffice it to say that requiring bloggers to file financial reports would be a big, wet towel on the blogging fire.

But, of course, that’s precisely the point.  The one blogger quoted in the story runs a web site named horsesass.org.  Now, I haven’t visited it, but based on the name I’m guessing he criticizes the government occassionally.  And that’s precisely what the government is trying to stop.

Blogs are pure, unadulterated, citizen activism.  Granted, unless you’re really good at it you probably don’t have much effect on anything, but it’s still a mechanism for “Joe Average” to vent his frustrations with his government.  We all know the government doesn’t like it when you vent…


The imminent debate on healthcare

November 22, 2008

Despite the fact that I disagree with about 90% of what he says, I enjoy reading Steve Brenan’s ‘Political Animal’ blog over at Washington Monthly.  Today, he put up a post regarding conservative’s fears about Democrats passing universal healthcare.  He makes some good points, and cites conservatives to back them up.  Basically, the argument is that if Democrats manage to give everyone healthcare, the public will reward them for that.  Well, there’s not much to argue there, but does that mean that universal healthcare is good public policy?

It goes back to what I’ve referenced a few times already.  Just because something is emotionally appealing to the American people doesn’t mean that it’s good policy.  The public would certainly reward Democrats, but I would argue that the passage of universal healthcare would most certainly not be the death of conservatism.  Politically, liberals would surely benefit in the short term.  However, conservatives need to have a bit more faith in their ideas.  We argue constantly that universal healthcare would fail miserably because of high costs to the taxpayer, long waiting lists, etc.  If we truly believe that, then what are we so afraid of?

If the Democrats manage to pass universal healthcare (which we should certainly try to prevent from happening), it would be a teaching moment for America.  Conservatives too often concede the moral high ground once some socialist element has been injected into our government.  Take public welfare, for example.  When is the last time you heard a prominent conservative say that we should do away with the entire system and return to a private charity model?  No, they concede it as a necessary evil and the game is lost before it’s begun.

Should Democrats pass universal healthcare, we must remain loyal opposition to the concept entirely.  We must monitor it’s every step and point out every flaw and negative consequence.  Rather than concede that it’s something we have to have only that it was implemented wrong or some other such nonsense, we must consistently and repeatedly oppose the core ideas behind universal healthcare.  Unfortunately, if history is any indicator, all of our politicians will move a little further to the left and we’ll sink further down this hole.


Guantamo silliness

November 22, 2008

That Obama is talking about closing the prison at Guantamo is no surprise, as it was a campaign promise repeated often during the race.  Powerline takes a look at a piece appearing in the Weekly Standard by Tom Joscelyn regarding the detainees and makes the following comment:

With respect to the fourteen “high value” detainees at Gauntanamo Bay, in particular, there is no good way to house them after that facility has been closed down. Perhaps the most appropriate course would be for the Bush administration to shoot them before Obama takes office.

Obama finds himself in the unfortunate position of reality meeting his rhetoric.  Obama made quite a few promises during the campaign that he is now going to have to make good on in order to keep his followers enthralled.  The reality of governing is going to prove to be very tricky sledding for Obama.  The Guantanamo example is an obvious one, but I’m confident that many more will reveal themselves as the Obama Presidency unfolds.

UPDATE: I just came across this: Expert: Closing Gitmo ‘Not An Easy Process’