The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The financial "bailout"

Senator John McCain thought it important enough to suspend his campaign and suggest postponing the debate. Senator Barack Obama obviously didn't, so the debate went on, since McCain couldn't just let it go to Obama by default. (If I'd have been in McCain's shoes, I think I'd have sent Gov. Sarah Palin to Mississippi to debate Obama!) But both have apparently signed off on the resulting solution with reservations.

It's clear that the responsibility for following up on this process will extend long beyond Jan. 20, 2009. So the incoming President (and since we do not know who that will be, both Obama and McCain) needed to be involved in these discussions. What could possibly have been on Obama's mind when he first said he wasn't needed, then only came to Washington because President Bush gave him a personal phone call?

Is Barack Obama prepared to take on the responsibilities of the Presidency?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last night's debate

Barack Obama is supposed to be a great orator — and perhaps he is, when reciting a prepared speech. But last night he began just about every remark with a heming and hawing that shows he cannot think on his feet.

And he seems to forget that his opponent is John McCain, not George Bush — at least he used Bush's name at least as much as he did McCain's. Perhaps he might like to be charged with every mistake of a past Democratic President?

McCain made one great point: The President to be inaugurated in January doesn't have anything to do with how we got where we are (In Iraq, which was the topic being discussed at the time, or in any other matter). He has to determine what we do from this point on, and he cannot rewind the clock and do a "do-over" from 2000.

Obama seems to think that Iraq was a distraction from fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He fails to see the interconnection; perhaps because what he considers important in Iraq is that he was bankrolled by Saddam Hussein's banker, Nadhmi Auchi. We don't want Middle Eastern Arab money controlling our President.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Some of the Obama supporters seem worried by the likelihood of being "swiftboated" as John Kerry was 4 years ago. But what does that mean? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth pointed out things about Kerry that were true, and reflected badly on Kerry. They should have been pointed out. What this meant, though, was that the people were turned away from the issues that Kerry wanted to stress to others, like Kerry's character and honesty, which reflected badly on him.

Obama, similarly, wants to pick and choose the issues that the American people will use as a basis for their votes. He is afraid that they will vote based on his character and trustworthiness, rather than on his issues.

So "swift-boating" isn't such a bad thing, really.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The women supporting Gov. Palin

I see a number of liberal Democrats taking offense at many women's switching to the McCain-Palin ticket after having supported Sen. Hillary Clinton's failed Presidential run. They object that Gov. Palin isn't someone who favors the things that Sen. Clinton did — which is true.

Actually, I have to agree that people should support a candidate based on their political positions and their qualifications, and not just their gender (or race). But I never saw those liberals disavowing the support of those women when it was going to Sen. Clinton. Now, all of a sudden, when this lock-step "support her because she's a woman" attitude turns them away from the Democratic Party and toward a (gasp!) conservative Republican, Sarah Palin, it's something reprehensible to them. And none of them seems to be complaining about the stratospheric levels of African-American support for Barack Obama!

Frankly, if I were campaign manager for McCain-Palin, I'd take all the votes I could get. And not worry about whether they are voting for Palin without studying her ideology. I bet a lot of them supported Hillary Clinton without looking at her ideology.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Obama-Biden ticket

In 1988, the Democrats nominated Michael Dukakis for President and Lloyd Bentsen for Vice-President. Some people thought Bentsen was a better candidate for the Presidency than Dukakis. Even one member of the Electoral College — the only people who had the ability to do so — voted that way.

This year, it looks as if the Democrats repeated this trick (nominating a ticket with a better-qualified Presidential candidate in the #2 slot). Certainly, at least one Democrat I know thinks so; she was preparing to vote for Biden in the Presidential primary, and would have done so except for a glitch in the notices, so she was given the wrong location for her polling place. (Since Biden had already dropped out, even though he was still on the ballot in this state, she didn't try very hard to find out where her polling place really was.)

But when I asked her whether Biden's presence on the ticket might get her to vote Obama-Biden, she pointed out that it would still be Obama in charge if that ticket won, and she just can't trust him. Right now she's still expecting to vote for McCain-Palin. But it seems likely that had the Democratic ticket been Biden-Obama rather than the other way around, she would have voted that way.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On Sarah Palin

Well, I said I wasn't happy with Sarah Palin as John McCain's choice for a running mate. But it looks like an act of political genius!

McCain's poll numbers are skyrocketing, and Palin seems to be the reason. Conservatives find her someone they can enthuse over, and those women who were supporting Hillary Clinton just because they wanted to see a woman in an important position seem to be flocking to the McCain-Palin ticket. Last figure I saw was that 29% of the people who had supported Hillary Clinton will vote for McCain-Palin; quite a big number considering the political spread between the two!

I still think it undercuts the experience issue. But people see in Sarah Palin what they had been seeing in Barack Obama: a fresh face, someone who might bring about some changes in the Washington establishment. And with Sarah Palin, these characteristics are real— she actually has a record of bringing change in Alaska!

No question that Obama is running scared: How often do we see a presidential candidate deigning to train his rhetorical guns on a vice-presidential candidate? But he has been doing so lately!

It looks as if John McCain made a pretty good decision after all. And making good decisions is really what we elect a President to do.

McCain-Palin in 2008!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Is there really such a thing as "too honorable"?

The September 8 issue of Time magazine has a cover picture of John McCain, with a cover story that seems to imply that he has too much of a sense of honor to be a good President. Seeing this made my eyes blanch in disbelief. Can anyone be too honorable for the Presidency?

It's true that Jimmy Carter had a sense of propriety that went well beyond the usual — the "lust in the heart" quote, for example. But Carter's flaws were not excessive honor; they flowed from naïveté about the way the world works. And I think that McCain's sense of honor poses a refreshing contrast to his opponent's rather dishonorable past. A person who would stab his political mentor in the back, as he did Alice Palmer; a person who would favor a corrupt machine politician, like John Stroger, even against a personal friend (Forrest Claypool); a person who would steer government favors to a corrupt slumlord (Tony Rezko), even while representing a poor constituency in the Illinois State Senate; this is Barack Obama.

I for one say that John McCain's sense of honor is an unalloyed positive.