"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

KEEPING THE FAITH


BY

ROBERT HARKINS

Polls are ruinously flawed. While political analysis centered on polls may well capture the fleeting opinions of a few thousand Americans they also compromise analysis critical to the unmasking of politicians who intend the degradation of an American Culture, Constitution and Rule of Law.

The evaluation of any candidate should focus on character. What does he believe and how does his life conform to the virtues he claims guide his mind and heart? What does he do? Does he keep the faith or does his conduct lay bare his amoral contempt of all but the most recent brand of political pragmatism?

Senator Scott Brown accepted donations from conservative members of the tea party. Tea party volunteers also worked hard to help him defeat a Democrat. Obviously, he assured tea partiers of his conservative principles; how else could he have acquired their conservative support. Once in office, however, he voted just as would have the late and leftist Ted Kennedy.

Suddenly, the Senator’s character was transformed, or better said too late exposed. He was no longer that rugged conservative who drove his pickup truck all over the state. He became instead the great compromiser, the champion of bipartisanship who in his vote for the finance reform bill and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” betrayed those conservatives who placed him in office.

What is the just cost of betrayal? Tea Party representatives will serve him up a Republican primary opponent. Should Senator Brown survive a Republican primary he will fall to whatever "yella daug" the Democrats run against him. The Democrats will deserve their victory just as they will teach Senator Brown that he is not the only pragmatist in politics; and Senator Brown will deserve the defeat his betrayal so richly deserves.

Hard lessons teach this truth: It is better to discover the candidate’s character and to understand the principles that guide his conduct than to speculate unto distraction upon the passions of the moment as they are expressed in the turbulence of a thousand polls.

Senator Brown has failed the test of character. Suddenly, post election, tea partiers discover that he too has engaged the philosophy of “pragmatism,” a philosophy the political cast has so meanly debased that it may be used to justify any conduct, including betrayal, so long as it works—that is, so long as betrayal serves the ambition of the man whose iron character possesses the consistency of jello and whose immovable principles are up for sale.

Precisely the same superficial analysis, is daily expressed by pundits determined to impress the public with their powers of analysis. In fact, they degrade reason itself. Here are a few examples:

  • Will Obama triangulate, and if he does will the tactic work? Will he move to the center so as to win over conservative Americans as he denigrates those Republicans who have moved to the Right?

  • Polls show that the public now looks upon President Obama’s health care bill will less opprobrium. Should Republicans therefore soften their position on repeal? Should they mess with it a bit and let it be?

The intellectual flaws in these empty phrases are as legion as they are from a perspective of principle, good faith and reason, dishonest. Perhaps the pundits should ask these questions.

  • How can President Obama move to the center? If he has done nothing else he has convinced Americans that he will steer the American ship of state by a socialist star. He intends, as he once expressed the sentiment to Joe the Plummer, to spread American wealth around—and so he has, what there is left of it.

  • Does President Obama suppose that Americans will accept a political conversion which occurred by coincidence only after his shellacking at the polls? Are Americans really that credulous? How may a president repudiate the leftist ideology in which he is so deeply invested for a conservative philosophy he believes is an impediment to the invasive welfare state he would make ascendant over all.

The essence of art is beauty, of poetry enlightenment and of principle, eternal truth. Principle does not shift to fit the opportunities of the moment; principle is proof against the corruption of power, and all else is pathetic sentiment. Pundits, however, describe uncritically the politician’s “triangulation” as if the strategy were morally neutral. But it is a practice smacks of opportunism; it is a thing, as Lord Action wrote, birthed by a power that corrupts or corrupts absolutely.

  • Should Republicans adopt a more moderate political view? Should they move a bit to the center— i.e. become less conservative and more liberal— so as to avoid the criticism that that they have become too conservative?

  • Should Republicans, after two years of Democrat pummeling, engage the virtues of bipartisanship, so recently embraced by Senator Scott Brown, now that a conservative electorate has shellacked a leftist Democrat party for their arrogance, perfidy and breach of faith?

  • The Republicans won their majority on a promise so far kept, to repeal President Obama’s health care plan. As the polls show less resistance to the plan should Republicans now breach their promise as the New York Times and virtually every leftist mouth organ urge them to do?

  • Do the polls actually prove that the health care plan is not nearly so bad as the laws of cause, effect and experience are beginning to prove? Blue Cross, after all, has proposed an increase in premiums of as much as 59 percent and so far, scores of major corporations have obtained waivers from Obamacare.

  • How should Americans resolve trending polls on health care with the certainty that Americans will not—as the President has so repeatedly and firmly promised—be able to keep their doctor or their plan?

  • Does it matter that a tax bill past in 2010 effective 2013 will impose upon all Americans an additional 3 ½ percent tax on the sale of their homes and the collection of rents, regardless of the owners’ income? Calculate 3 ½ percent of the value of your home. Are you making less than $250,000 per year. Even so, the figure you calculate is precisely the sum you will pay in additional taxes—over and above the capital gains tax— should you decide to sell your home. Lest we forget:

“Mr. Obama told his economic team in a meeting at the White House that he intended to stand by his promise not to increase taxes on families making less than $250,000, aides said. He then sent his spokesman out to repeat that message in front of the television cameras. “The president made a commitment in the campaign. He’s clear about that commitment, and he’s going to keep it,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. The renewal of the promise came a day after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council, both refused to rule out tax increases on the middle class while discussing ways to pare the deficit.” [1]

But why should character, rather than poll results, be the test of political virtue and good faith? Because corruption of character is the clear and present danger and the certain cause of American cultural, political and economic decline. Journalist Charles Krauthammer, dismembers the calculated falsehood that Obamacare will lower the deficit as repeal would increase it.[2] The calculation is based on simple addition and subtraction. Democrats plan to increase health care spending by $540 billion and increase taxes by $770 billion. Subtract 540 from 770 and the remainder is $230 billion dollars. It is this sum, not yet taxed or spent that the Democrats claim proves that Obamacare will lower the deficit. However the $230 billion dollar surplus does not exist. It is a fraction of the $770 billion dollars Democrats intend to confiscate from the American people.

Now this next may seem a bit too naive: It may well be that Americans would prefer to keep the 750 Billion they have earned rather then see it taken from them by the Obama administration. I rest this naivety upon the following presumptions.

  • The $750 billion dollars does not belong to the government. It belongs to the millions of Americans who actually worked to earn it. As Americans earned it and own it, they alone should decide how to spend it.
  • Americans know better how to spend their own money than does the Obama administration. The Obama administration, on the other hand, has proved itself an economic profligate.
  • Americans, by their near destruction of Democrats at the 2010 November polls, have indicated none too gently that they do not want to squander $750 billion dollars on the purchase of yet another mindless and predatory, bureaucratic leviathan.

Charles Krauthammer has this to say of Obamacare.

[Obamacare] … boils down to a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes. Using that logic, Democrats trumpet a net deficit reduction.

Krauthammer also notes that Obamacare actually creates two new entitlements that will cost Americans for decades to come if the law isn’t repealed. It creates long-term care insurance that, with an aging population, “promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.”

But how could such a costly program actually reduce the deficit over the next 10 years, as the CBO maintains? The answer is that by collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years, you end up with a savings. A surplus.

Krauthammer quotes former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta: "Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as 'offset' to grease the way for another entitlement."

Declining resistance to Obamacare will not nullify its crippling impact on the economy. It will increase the costs of health care, decrease its quality and compromise its availability. Americans need only look to the promises breached. Democrats estimated Medicaid and Medicare would cost a bare and manageable fraction of the unfunded fiscal spectacle it has become. Democrats promised that Medicaid and Medicare would provide good and ready care to all. But instead, the programs have become a government labyrinth rife with fraud, an unfunded political mutation perched upon a precipice of moral and fiscal chaos.

Polls are deceptive. They deter reflection and analysis. They work cynicism into the body politic. They avoid the questions Americans must ask and their representatives answer with something more than frivolous sentiment or deception.

Isn’t it time to look to the character of the candidate Americans will entrust with power—and if he feigns his character then by their vote banish him into political oblivion. It may be better to ask, What do you believe? What virtues guide your conscience, mind and heart?

Oh, yes, and when you see him next ask him, Will you keep the faith?

What do you think?



[1] Peter Baker “Obama Renews Vow of No Middle-Class Tax Increase” (The New York Times, August 3,2009).

[2] Krauthammer Dismembers Obamacare's www.newsmax.com/Headline/krauthammer-deficit-reduction-health/2011/01/23/id/383645?s= (Newsmax, 1.23.11)

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