Monday, January 31, 2005

Truth Trumps Politics

There are often occasions which call for party unity, and party unity has its benefits. However party unity is not inherently good, just as it is not a negative per se. In many situations we as citizens must choose to side with what our party asserts or in the alternative what our conscience upholds.

Viewing President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address, I felt this debate being ignited deep within the recesses of my brain. As the speech continued, the debating factions moved to the fore and I had to face the reality that this speech called for a personal decision on my part, and the part of all Republicans – nay, all Americans.

On one shoulder I had a Ken Mehlman look-alike espousing the virtues of party unity. On the other I saw myself arguing for me to “be real.” In the end, I came to the conclusion that it is imperative to always be honest, whether merely to myself or to others. As Polonius said, “To thine own self be true.” Therefore, I turned to those around me and spoke the unthinkable – “I didn’t like the speech.” This dislike was more a matter of style (as Buckley mentioned) than substance.

The problem was a failure to let Bush be Bush. The speech sounded like something from a philosophy text. It was loaded with idealistic verbiage. Has President Bush ever been seen as a man to use such flowery language? No. The President has a reputation as “everyman.” He talks like most Americans. So, when speaking to most Americans, he should be himself instead of someone who comes across as attempting to have a discourse with only certain members of our society. In my estimation the President’s greatest oratory moment came with a bullhorn to his lips at Ground Zero – where he spoke to America in a way America could understand.

The positive was seeing President Bush establish goals and shoot for the moon. The goals put into play by the address are more spectacular than President Kennedy’s goal for putting a man on the moon. From my understanding of 20th century history, people believed Kennedy was setting, pardon the expression, an astronomical goal. However, the aspect of Kennedy’s dream and its subsequent achievement that made it such a great moment in American history was its scale. Certainly, Bush administration officials would point to that fact. Another great goal-setter of comparison is Franklin Graham. In his January 2005 newsletter, Graham points out that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association set a “staggering” 2004 goal – to have 1 million people turn to Christ. In the end, 1.2 million souls made that leap of faith. While not the Earth-shattering goal and accomplishment of Kennedy’s era, some might say it is one of greater eternal importance. It is another example of the power of setting hard-to-reach goals.

Mr. President, dream. Dream big. Dream astronomical goals. And lead. Lead us towards those goals as protector of the American dream, leader of the free world, and commander of the war on terror. Yet, in doing so, please bear in mind the importance of leading us the way you have led us since September 11, 2001 – as yourself.

The Deaniacs won't go away

It is looking like the Dean chairmanship of the DNC is almost a reality. Morris was correct that the Clintons haven't done much of anything to stop the train, but I think the decision is a wise one. This gets Dean out of the way, since he has said he will not run for President if made DNC chairman. This allows Hillary to allow Dean to keep the liberal wing of the party together while she is able to move to the right between now and 2007. This gives her the best of both worlds, and it shows the Clinton political acumen. Now, if she can just keep from fainting....

Bush better be listening

As I have repeatedly predicted, the conservatives in the GOP are preparing for their standoff with the Bush administration over immigration policy. Bush's guest working idea has two roots, his connection to Texas and his desire to increase GOP gains among Hispanics. That said, many members of his party are, how should I say this, uncomfortable with the plan. This springs up in border states, such as Arizona where Rep. Hayworth has been vocal, and other states around the country (including North Carolina, where new Rep. Foxx (NC-5) beat out a very vocal Vernon Robinson in the GOP primary). (By the way, that was a primary race that saw immigration somehow become a major issue (though not mentioned today by Mr. Fund.) Now, Rush Limbaugh is warning the President of the impending fight. If I'm the President, I table immigration reform until later because I don't want to splinter my party now when I have more pressing issues to address.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Good rules of the road

Thanks Mr. Hiatt. Finally someone has spoken to the issue Armstrong-Gallagher issue with some common sense.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Evening my political balance...

Never let it be said that conservatives lack a sense of humor. The new billboards being sponsored by Citizens United are to "thank" Hollywood stars for the re-election of President Bush.

A potential battle of political families as Edward Cox, son-in-law of President Nixon, considers running against Hillary for Senate.

Rep. Howard Coble (NC-6) has been reappointed as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Ryan's Friday Ramble

Much to cover today in the ramble. So, here goes.

John Edwards is ready to get back in the game. (By the way, how many "centers" and "think tanks" dealing with poverty do we need? Forget starting new organizations, try presenting and instituting solutions. Politicians like to talk, they like to create organizations that make it sound like they are seeking a real solution, but it's often a smokescreen. While I believe that their hearts yearn for an answer, they succumb to the pressue to play politics instead.) It sounds like he's going to follow the Bill Clinton model looking for the third way. Wonderful piece about that today by Orrin Judd. He points out how President Bush used Clinton's own gameplan against Gore via his "compassionate conservatism." True.

Kenny Chesney is performing at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, NC this Saturday night. All tickets were $10 to benefit the tsunami relief efforts. He'll play a 2.5 hour show, so if you have tickets, I'll see you there. My goodnewss, it has been brought to my attention that someone sold a ticket on for $250! Unacceptable (unless this person does the honorable thing and gives that money to the tsunami relief). Feel free to email the seller and tell them to make the donation. I note also that the sale started before the tickets even went on sale. Hmm.

I can't help but agree with the position taken in the Opinion Journal today regarding Harry Reid's need to avoid following Senator Kennedy's lead. As Krauthammer said today, Hillary's got the right idea. I must also point out a wonderful piece from Vaclav Havel. I think the EU should listen to what he has to say. Many Europeans fought hard for freedom in the homelands, and he wants to make sure that the lessons of freedom grow rather than wither.

Anyone making any wagers on Dean's run for DNC chair?

Clinton's guru, James Carville, will speak at Wake Forest's Founders' Day Convocation on Thursday, February 3.

More to come... Why is there so much about the Democrats on my blog? We'll let you know when we figure it out.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Great commentary from two great people

I'll have a lenghty post, almost a column of sorts, for tomorrow that touches on the subject matter of this post. For now, I wanted to draw attention to some columns that placed truth over party unity to the betterment of all who read them.

Peggy Noonan asserted her disappointment with the Inaugural Address last week. This week, after being ridiculed by many conservatives for abandoning Bush, she reasserted her position again. God bless you, Ms. Noonan.

The conservative and literary giant William F. Buckley also had concerns with the speech, and I applaud him for being steadfast to his principles.

As members of a party, or as adherents to an ideology, we need not always blindly follow the pronouncements of our leadership.

I was already a tremendous fan of both of the above individuals, but their willingness to stick by their principles, even if unpopular with many, earned them special recognition.


I think it's time for me to give up on trying to understand Colin Farrell. Some people say he's a good actor. Maybe, but his judgment certainly seems flawed. After coming off a movie in which he caught flak for homosexual content (Alexander) (and realizing the uproar over the Nicole Kidman bathtub scene with a boy), now he's in the news again. This time he had a scene kissing a 14 year old actress. He plays John Smith in a new film, and Pocohontas is played by 14 year old Q’Orianka Kilcher. For obvious reasons, lawyers freaked out at the content and the scene was re-shot without Farrell kissing the underage girl. Shouldn't Farell have thought about the scene before it got this far?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

In case you get curious...

Periodically I will be placing some commentary on John Branch's blog at Drop by and check it out as I attempt to push Mr. Branch to post on a more regular basis. I may be a bit funnier there as well, tune in to find out.

Iowa Tax Idea

The Republicans in Iowa have been trying to find a solution to the young Iowans' leaving for greener pastures. An idea being floated by Iowa GOPers is to eliminate the income tax for all Iowans under the age of 30. Read more in the Des Moines Register.

I'm not sure how the idea will work out when numbers are really crunched, but it is certainly an intriguiing concept. Now all they have to do is make sure Iowa has the good jobs that these young people have been going out-of-state to find. Easier said that done, methinks.

Impressive pols to Raleigh

On February 7 and 8, former NC Governor Jim Hunt's Emerging Issues Forum will focus on health care. An impressive list of political leaders are going to attend - former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Secretary Tommy Thompson, Rep. Mel Watt, Sen. Richard Burr, Gov. Mike Easley, and Sen. John Breaux are listed as particpants in the forum. In addition, President Clinton will keynote a dinner as well. For further information, see their website.