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.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Highlights of last week's convention

This past week, the Republican Party has met in Tampa, Florida, for their quadrennial convention. A lot of speeches were made, and I want to thank Tom Bowler for putting a lot of the more important ones on his blog, "Libertarian Leanings". (He did not put Chris Christie's speech on his blog, but I was able to find that one on Fox News' site.) I'm not going to quote all the speeches in ful, but I want to say what I think the most important points were.

Chris Christie has been criticized for making his speech more about himself than about Mitt Romney. But these criticisms have mostly come from Democrats who, I suppose, do not understand Republican ideas and ideals. Gov. Christie spoke of what he accomplished in the Governorship, not to brag about himself, but to show that Republican ideas can be implemented if the case can be made clear to the people, and the most important part of his speech was not where he spoke about his own background, nor when he spoke about Gov. Romney, but in between, where he distinguished between what the two parties' core beliefs are:

Our ideas are right for America and their ideas have failed America.

Let me be clear with the American people tonight. Here is what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats.

We believe in telling hardworking families the truth about our country's fiscal realities, telling them what they already know, the math of federal spending does not add up.

With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of this government.

Want to know what they believe? They believe that the American people [don't] want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties. They believe the American people need to be coddled by big government. They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them. They are wrong.

We believe in telling our seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements. We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren.

Our seniors are not children.

Here's what they believe. They believe seniors will always put themselves ahead of their grandchildren. And here's what they do. They prey on their vulnerabilities and scare them with misinformation for the single cynical purpose of winning the next election. Here is their plan. Whistling happy tune while driving us off a fiscal cliff as long as they are behind the wheel of power when we fall.

Now, we believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed, to put students first so that America can compete, that teachers don't teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children.

We believe — we believe we should honor and reward the good ones, while doing what's best for our nation's future, demanding accountability, demanding higher standards, and demanding the best teacher in every classroom in America.

Get ready. Here is what they believe.

They believe the educational savages will only put themselves ahead of children, that self-interest will always trump common sense, they believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, lobbyists against children. They believe in teachers' unions. We believe in teachers.

We believe — we believe that, if we tell the people the truth, that they will act bigger than the pettiness we see in Washington, D.C. We believe it is possible to forge bipartisan compromise, and stand up for our conservative principles.

As readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan of Chris Christie. And his speech made me feel that as long as people like him are in the Republican Party, I am still happy to be in there too.

I'm also a fan of Condoleezza Rice. So I was interested in seeing her words. She is, of course, an expert on foreign policy. So it was no surprise that one of her main points was that:

Our friends and allies must be able to trust us. From Israel to Poland to the Philippines to Colombia and across the world — they must know that we are reliable and consistent and determined. And our adversaries must have no reason to doubt our resolve — because peace really does come through strength. Our military capability and technological advantage will be safe in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s hands.

But in an election that mostly turns on economic matters and the sad Obama record in that department, her words in this area were also inspiring:

… most importantly, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild the foundation of American strength — our economy — stimulating private sector led growth and small business entrepreneurship. When the world looks at us today they see an American government that cannot live within its means. They see a government that continues to borrow money, mortgaging the future of generations to come. The world knows that when a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually loses control of its destiny. That is not the America that has inspired others to follow our lead.

I have been less convinced of Marco Rubio as a spokesman for our party. But I like his response to Obams's “you didn't build that” speech:

Mitt Romney knows America's prosperity didn't happen because our government simply spent more. It happened because our people used their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who then invest or spend their money in the economy, helping others start a business and create jobs.

And he certainly summarized the nature of the 2012 election in his words:

Our problem with President Obama isn't that he's a bad person. By all accounts, he too is a good husband, and a good father — and thanks to lots of practice, a pretty good golfer.

Our problem is he's a bad president.

And as someone whose parents escaped to this country from communist Cuba, his most telling point was his criticism of Obama's ideas on government as

…Ideas that people come to America to get away from. Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America.

The convention, of course, tried to show that the Republican Party is not just white males, packing the speaker's list with African Americans like Rice, Artur Davis (who went from seconding Obama's nomination four years ago to being a Republican convention speaker last week), and Mia Love (of whom I admit I'd never heard till last week), an African-American Congresswoman who is proud to identify as a Republican, and Hispanics like Rubio and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, who proclaimed:

I fear some of our leaders today have lost the courage to stand up. What we have now are politicians. They won't offer real plans, and only stand up when they want to blame someone else.

Which describes Obama to a T. All he can do is blame George W. Bush for everything wrong with our economy, even after 3½ years.

I have not discussed the two candidates' speeches. This will be put to another post.

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