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, November 24, 2008

The choice of Hillary Clinton

It seems that Hillary Clinton is President-Elect Obama's choice for Secretary of State, and, to my surprise, she wants the job. If I were in her place, I wouldn't:

  1. Secretaries of State used to be considered, in the 19th century, prime prospects for the Presidency. However, there hasn't been a Secretary of State who moved up to the Presidency since James Buchanan (and there hasn't been any Cabinet secretary who moved up to the Presidency since Herbert Hoover).

  2. Hillary Clinton seemed to have a promising future in the U. S. Senate. But she needs to develop some seniority there to become an important Senator. Moving into the Cabinet short-circuits this path.

  3. Pres.-Elect Obama is an independent-minded man, whose ideas on foreign policy differ from Sen. Clinton's in many ways. However, in the Cabinet, she has to put forward his policies, and not proclaim her own. She will be in Obama's shadow.

I wonder what Obama is thinking in making the offer. But even more, I wonder what Hillary Clinton is thinking in accepting it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The first actions of President-Elect Obama

Earlier, we said that when President-Elect Barack Obama does something supportable, we will support it, and when he does something bad, we retain the right to criticize him. And it seems he's done some of both in his first days since the election.

On the positive side, he's shown some definite willingness to work with those who opposed him, having meetings with President George W. Bush about the transition and with Senator John McCain to identify points of shared interest, and (the most honorable thing he's done) emphasizing that he did not want the Senate Democrats to strip Sen. Joseph Lieberman of his committee chairmanship. Sen. Lieberman, a Democrat who lost his party's nomination in Connecticut but won as an independent, has been a loyal Democrat on most issues but worked hard against Sen. Obama's candidacy, and it is a good sign that Obama did not bear a grudge.

On the negative side, his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff is not a good sign. Emanuel is a vicious Chicago-machine politician, who once sent a campaign opponent a dead fish, and he's also associated strongly with the corrupt Bill Clinton administration.

And it's not certain how to rate Obama's choice of Eric Holder as attorney general. Holder seems to be well-qualified, but he was part of Bill Clinton's last-minute pardoning of Marc Rich and some Puerto Rican nationalists in his role as deputy attorney general. He deserves to be questioned intensely, particularly about Marc Rich. But he may be simply someone who went along with what his boss, the President, wanted. So the jury is still out on this one.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Sarah Palin's future

People are putting forth the idea that if Ted Stevens is re-elected, but expelled from the Senate because of the scandals, Gov. Sarah Palin should be put in that Senate seat. Certainly she is ideologically more religious-right that I would favor, but if she does become a Senator, by the time of the 2012 election she will be better-qualified than Barack Obama was this year, with more experience in the Senate plus some executive experience as Governor. And if she does as good a job in the Senate as she apparently has as Governor, she will be hard to beat for the nomination.

There are a lot of "if"s in that, though. I'm certainly not advocating Sarah Palin as the GOP candidate for the Presidency in 2012. I'd prefer to see someone more moderate, someone in the mold of Rudy Giuliani or John McCain this year. I do think she'd be an attractive candidate, with a lot going for her, particularly if by that time the then-sitting President Barack Obama becomes as unpopular as George W. Bush is at the moment.

In any case, Gov. Palin would bring a lot of new energy to the Senate if she is chosen. And with the low spirits of the party, perhaps we need that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The result of the election

This will be the last post with a label "2008 election" on this blog. The election is over. and the people have spoken. And in our tradition, we have to accept the result, for the next 4 years. As John McCain said in his gracious concession speech, Barack Obama is our President, beginning in 2½ months.

As I said in my last post, the United States survived Bill Clinton; it will survive Barack Obama. I'm not going into mourning for this country; and I'm not closing this blog. (It is not intended as just a John McCain blog; I started it before I knew who the candidates would be in 2008, and my first choice wasn't even McCain, though I was happy enough to support McCain once he became the obvious front-runner for the nomination.)

I retain the right to criticize President-Elect Obama when I think he is wrong, just as many others have criticized our current President when they have thought he is wrong. I also retain the right to support him whenever I think he is doing the right thing, though I doubt that will happen very often; this is not like a Parliamentary system such as Great Britain's, where "the duty of the opposition is to oppose."

John McCain joins a group of people I have felt should have been President but didn't make it. Some, like Bob Dole, at least made it as far as their party's nomination, as McCain did this year. Others, including Arlen Spector, Bob Dole's wife Elizabeth, George Romney, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and my own political hero, Nelson A. Rockefeller, never even got the nomination. Any of these might have made an excellent President, if the American people had chosen him or her for the job. (You note that all the men and women I have mentioned were Republicans, though Kirkpatrick started her career in the Democratic Party. This is no coincidence. I've rarely seen a Democrat I could support. Jimmy Carter, one of the few Democrats who wasn't too far to the political left for me, was too politically naïve for the job, and made a most incompetent President.)

It should be obvious to all who have read this blog that I believe that the people chose wrong. It seems that the economic meltdown came at just the wrong time; McCain had been starting to move upward in the polls and if there had not been such an economic collapse, I might be today cheering the public's choice of John McCain as our President-Elect. But the 2008 election is over. I hope I will still be alive in 2012 when, I'm sure, the people will choose a new President better qualified and more worthy.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Three days from now, Election Day

... and the polls show Obama far ahead. I hope they're wrong, and it's 1948 all over again; we'll see on Wednesday. But I have to assume they're going to be right, and the American public will misguidedly vote to put in the man I feel is the worst candidate a major party has offered since George McGovern in 1972.

This country will survive. It survived the Presidency of Bill Clinton, and it will survive the Presidency of Barack Obama. (Obama will be worse, but this country has amazing strength in the face of disaster.)

One of two things will happen. Either Obama will be able to push through the radical socialist changes he wants, or he won't. If he does, the American public will see how bad his ideas are, and a new Newt Gingrich will arise in 2010, as the first one did in 1994, on a "Contract with America" type of platform, and Obama will find himself with a hostile Congress in the second half of his term. If he doesn't, the American public will see him as just another smooth-talking politician offering to change the world but unable to do so, and he will not be able to win a second term. So either in 2010 or 2012, the pendulum will swing the other way.

I just hope I'll be alive to see it!