Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Political Ponderings About Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich (and His Catholic Conversion), Pro-Life, Libertarianism, & the Great Importance of Every Vote (Partially vs. Mark Shea)



Gleanings from several Facebook threads, where lively discussion has been taking place. Mark's words will be in blue.

* * *

I've watched all the debates and I think Ron Paul is a kook on foreign policy. I've never cared much for libertarianism. I think it is naive, half-baked, virtually warmed-over liberalism, that doesn't comprehend the inherently social nature of both Christianity and human behavior. Domestically he is not nearly as bad, but the wacko foreign policy is the deal-breaker.

Dick Morris made a good point on Hannity tonight: that if Paul manages to win in isolationist-tending Iowa, he'll be "frontrunner" (heaven help us!), but then he'll have the bullseye on his back and all the attention, and he will be crushed like a rotten tomato when kooky details come out. This will probably effectively end his candidacy.

* * *

Basic rights apply to all and are not "state issues." E.g., the bill of rights. The right to life is the most basic of all and shouldn't even be an issue. So we need to pass an amendment establishing the obvious legally, once and for all. Same thing with the definition of marriage.

If we do the "states' rights" routine then we have a situation like slavery: with "death" states and "life" states: where a human life is protected here in this spot, and then you go five feet over a boundary and it's fair game for slaughter. This is some of the foolishness of libertarianism. No! We went through that with slavery, and this is far worse than that.


I just don't want a scenario where Roe is overturned and it goes back to the states. Then it is great in the red states, but abortion will remain legal in all the blue states. I remember back in 1972, when childkilling was legal in New York. I was in favor of it back then because I was a good brainwashed liberal and utterly ignorant as to what it was about (I thought we were talking about a few cells, etc.).

It has to be a constitutional amendment, to be done with, once and for all: establish the right to life, as it always should have been. It was such a casual assumption that it was simply stated initially as "self-evident," in the Declaration. I don't think the founding fathers could conceptualize an America in which people thought it was moral to kill a child in its mother's womb. It took the sexual revolution and the modern ultra-secular liberal mind to bring that horror and abomination about.
 

I didn't say that Ron Paul wasn't pro-life. I'm talking about ideal conditions and moral principles: that pro-life ought to be a federally-protected right. I'm arguing against the position that making it a states' rights issue is fundamentally superior to dealing with it on the federal level. Universal rights ought not be a matter of individual states, because they apply to everyone equally.

The slavery analogy does indeed apply because we would have states with abortion and others without it (that was the analogy: similar to the situation in the 1850s). It shouldn't be allowed anywhere, just as slavery shouldn't be allowed anywhere. Those who owned slaves fought ferociously to keep their so-called "right." Those with a vested interest in abortion fight ferociously to keep their so-called "right" too.

Of course I will rejoice if Roe is overturned. I agree that this is better in the short-term than how it is now. But I think we can't let up with that and should still push for a constitutional amendment. It may take another 20-30 years.

The easiest way to accomplish it would be for Christians to actually have a lot more children than secularists, and to raise them as good Christian disciples. If we did that, legal abortion would be completely over in 20 years. We would conquer by demographics. But unfortunately, we have bought the anti-life contraceptive mentality, and so we are little different from the surrounding pagan culture; hence abortion goes on and on.
 

The article I posted above about 80% of young evangelicals being sexually active supports my point exactly about how compromised we are with the sexual insanity of this culture, leading to abortion, since having sex sort of leads to babies coming into existence, even despite all the marvelous anti-life techniques and devices. 

I'm not a Democrat. I'm a homeless conservative who refuses to vote for any candidate who advocates grave intrinsic evil. For my conviction that Catholics should attempt to avoid the everlasting fires of hell, I am told I'm a purist when in fact I'm looking for bare minimum decency. When I note that Ron Paul, despite his various glaring faults as a doctinaire libertarian, does not ask me to support grave evil, I am suddenly declared impure and found to be a Democrat on the basis of nothing. There's no pleasing some people. :) The real issue is no longer left/right. It's our Ruling Class vs. the rest of us. Ron Paul gets this. Our Ruling class, on both sides of the aisle, just passed a law reducing all of us to having the same rights as the unborn enjoy, get that he gets it--and want to destroy him. He's not perfect, but he'll do.

Now you're doing the Tweedle Dum / Tweedle Dee libertarian thing, huh?

I might have been [a Democrat] before the Dems made abortion their sole core value. But that happened a long time ago. I'm also not a Republican or Libertarian. I am allergic to party loyalties and ideologies. My rule of thumb in voting is that I will vote for what works (more or less, nobody's perfect) and is not intrinsically and gravely immoral. This year, that leaves only two candidates I'm will to consider: Paul and Huntsman. There's not enough space here, but for my philosophy of voting [see my recent article]

Do I think Paul is perfect? No. Do I think him a kook? Sometimes. But then Gingrich is a massively bigger kook with a swollen ego and a lying tongue to boot. And Romney is a total phony. If all I've got to choose from is kooks and phonys, I'll take an honest and modest one. Because, as I've been told so many times by people who complain I'm a purist for not voting for people who wish to enact policies worthy of hellfire, we're not voting for a pope or St. Francis of assisi. We're just looking for a relatively decent President.

You don't think Paul's views on Iran and nuclear capability are kooky enough to be a deal-breaker? 

No. I've been stampeded into war by hysterical War Party representatives once. I decline to let it happen twice. And, by the way, our troops who have been sent to suffer and die by these chickenhawks are pouring money into military vet Paul's campaign in percentages that outstrip all the other GOP candidates and Obama. It appears they have figured out that the chickenhawk pols who have never served themselves, who gratefully leave them unemployed to the tune of one million vets, who scheme to deprive them of benefits, anand who dump their remains in landfills while denying them Bibles at Walter Reed are not to be trusted as they plot to shovel them around like manure in pursuit of their plans for Empire. I think the troops have a pretty good bead on who has our country's best interests in mind.

I agree that we're not voting for a saint or a pope. That's why Gingrich's past sins are not troubling enough to me to disqualify him. And I accept his conversion to Catholicism as genuine, and haven't yet seen a good reason to seriously question it. People simply assume that it is some kind of ploy. I've seen no evidence of that at all, and it's quite Catholic as well (if we wanna talk consistent Catholicism) to extend charity and the benefit of doubt, even to a politician.

It's not Gingrich's past sins I care about. It's his present lies, including his ongoing lies about his despicable treatment of his wife, of course. But particularly his lies about influence peddling and, most especially his recent lie about when human life begins. First, he said implantation, then quickly amended it to conception. So which time was he lying? Personally, I think he said implantation to signal his willingness to butcher babies with ESCR. Then he lied in order to pacify the base. He's not a stupid man. And he knows what the Church's teaching is. So it's rubbish to say he "accidently" said "implantation". It was, like everything he does, a calculated political move. Anybody who trusts that man, especially with his track record, deserves the betrayal he is surely going to get.

Newt's answers to the onslaught of attacks, on his site . . . 

Newt fans: Caveat emptor. I just wanted to make clear that I'm not a Dem. I don't vote for people who support the murder of helpless babies. Not under any circumstances. Ever.

For what it's worth, I discuss the racism thing on my blog. I've yet to see any evidence that [Ron Paul] is a racist. Only that he tolerated racists, which pretty much fits his uber-libertarian tendency to not want to tell jerks what to think. I see no evidence at all of anti-semitism. I have no idea what the cloning thing is. As to the smoking ruin thing: yes, they used the mushroom clouds over America hysteria generation device in 2003. Worked great at stampeding us. I decline. The Iranian mullahs are aware that one nuke unleashed against us would turn all of Iran into a vast sheet of glass. Also, as Paul has pointed out the proclamations of Iran's weapon's capability are, rather as with Saddam, not nearly as certain as they have you think. Meanwhile, the real menace we face is a Congress and President who, in the name of "security" just passed a law making it possible for the Prez to declare you and enemy of the state and throw you in jail forever without hope of appeal. I'm rather more afraid of that. Crazy Ron seems rather sane when he agrees with the Founders that habeas corpus is a good thing and multiple unsustainable wars of Empire are crazy.

In any event, Paul will NOT be the GOP nominee, so a vote for him will only be in a primary. It will probably be Gingrich or Romney (whom you've classified as kook / liar and phony, respectively), so it looks like you'll be passing up the presidential slot on election day 2012. Don't imagine a non-vote from you (along with others who take your general position) would have much effect on the results in a blue state like Washington, anyway (Obama won it 58-41).

Just so. Nor will your vote, nor the vote of any other American have an effect on the outcome of the election any more than an air molecule has an effect on an oncoming train. But (and you really should read my piece I link above) it will have an effect on me if I choose to support grave intrinsic evil. So I decline to do so and instead make a rough prudential judgment to support one of the few candidates who does not pledge to commit sins worthy of the fires of hell. He's got oodles of problems that I'm quite happy to grant. But they are problems I can live with. It's all in Cdl. Ratzinger's 2004 letter on voting for the proportionate good. [referenced in his article]

I disagree that votes are as inconsequential as your dramatic metaphor. The famous example is JFK in 1960, where if one person had voted differently on an average of one per precinct (I think that is what was said), it could have had a reversed outcome. And of course there is 2000 and Florida, where a few hundred votes would have swung the election. Or if Gore had carried his own state: those who knew him best . . . That's why I specifically mentioned your state, where your "non-liberal" vote would have less effect (since we're talkin' electoral college).

I did read your piece. The same letter [from Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal] seemed to give leeway for voting for non-perfect candidates, so it is debatable from the outset that you would necessarily be "support[ing] grave intrinsic evil" -- based on the reasoning in the letter. In other words, that particular principle (which is a good one) is not completely supported by the letter in question, by your own description and interpretation of it.

In my opinion, if you sit out on the presidential vote, it's the same as giving Obama your vote by default, since you have not voted against him. It seems to me that there ought to be a concern for booting out the rabid, extreme abortion advocate (not to mention his intransigent economic stupidity), even if it is a non-perfect candidate (which anyone besides Jesus and Mary is destined to be anyway).

There is more than one way to view anything: especially in political matters.


Argh. Okay. One last thing. It's just not true that abstaining or voting third party is voting for Obama. Voting for Obama is voting for Obama. The way we got to this pass was by being held hostage by Republicans who argued that failure to vote for them and their crappy policies was "really" a vote for this year's Dem bogeymen. We will be, forever, slaves of the party as long as we continue to play that game. I refuse. I will vote my conscience, since I can find no proportionate reason to vote for the candidates you mention, who plan to take my vote and use it to do things condemned by Holy Church.

Here is what "realism" gets us. Goodbye to all that.  

It's not voting for him, but it is aiding him. Obviously, if it is roughly a 50-50 scenario and a bunch of opponents of Obama decide that they can't support the opposing guy, then 50-50 eventually goes 50-49 in Obamessiah's favor, and he wins, and the guys who sat out (if in large enough numbers) indeed contributed to that. I don't see how that can be denied.

This is how Clinton won in 1992. That was a third party. But say all the Perotistas sat out. Clinton would have still won 43-40 or whatever it was, if they wouldn't have voted for President Bush (the Elder) under any circumstance. Thus, conservative stupidity and shortsightedness and apathy on the abortion issue (Perot was a pro-abort) brought us eight years of President Clinton.

Non-voting from someone who is conservative like yourself is largely the same scenario. If enough people think like you (Paul or bust), then we'll have four more years of Obama. It won't be because of people like me who will vote for anyone the GOP puts up (including even the kook Paul). What then happens to the country (truly frightening to ponder) won't be on my conscience.

If we emphasize ourselves and our own conscience without any consideration of the tangible results (as you seem to be doing), then that is the fundamental libertarian error once again: extreme individualism with little or no concern for the actual results of non-action: evil triumphs when good men do nothing. It lacks the communitarian outlook. This is why it is wholly inadequate as a Catholic social philosophy. It's barely "social" at all . . . it fits great with Protestant sectarianism and (in large sectors) atomistic individualism, though.


* * *

Gingrich always does good, but it doesn't stop the avalanche of attacks. With fellow Republicans trashing him daily we're in great shape. I would think we'd have some semblance of sense and smarts, but I guess not. We'll break Reagan's 11th commandment ["thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican"] right and left . . . It's still ours to lose, if we don't forfeit out of stupidity and wrongheaded in-fighting. Why is it that so many Paul supporters seem to think everyone else is Attila the Hun while their guy is Sir Galahad? A black-and-white, conspiratorial world, I guess . . .
 
I like Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, and Gingrich, and I think Romney and Huntsman ore okay. I don't think Paul is a good candidate because of his isolationism, which I consider equally naive and dangerous, and due to my general dislike of libertarianism. If Santorum is the very best, it doesn't mean much, practically speaking, because he isn't gonna win it. I think Gingrich is great, as stated in many of my posts. I don't think he's shady or dishonest. I believe he has had a genuine Catholic conversion. I don't think he's perfect. Reagan was the greatest Republican president since Lincoln. I don't favor Romney because I think he is moderate (to some extent) and has waffled too much. But I think he'd probably be a pretty good President, and infinitely better than President Obama.

Gingrich is solidly pro-life and pro-marriage. He's a good conservative. He made money as a private businessman. I have no problem with that. I don't see that it was unethical. He advised the mortgage companies to do other than what they did. The culprits in all that were Rep. Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd. Republicans tried to prevent it to no avail, because they were in the minority. 

[Steve Schell asked: "Why do you believe that Gingrich has had a substantive conversion experience? What do you base that on? How would you begin to demonstrate that point to me?"]

His report; what his closer friends say about him; the fact that he has written books and done documentaries about popes; his talking about the Eucharist on secular TV, and about repentance before God in debates.

Are you in the habit of questioning other conversions, like mine, or those in Surprised by Truth or on The Journey Home? I doubt it. Yet when it comes to a politician, we become all cynical. Why? That is the question here, not some foolish requirement of absolute certainty that a person is not lying through his teeth.
That is not thinking the best of a person, rather than the worst (1 Corinthians 13). It is a command to extend charity and not fall into cynicism, which is the leading trait of atheism and agnosticism, not consistent biblical Christianity.

As I have said before, if we want to play the game of questioning every convert or the genuine piety of someone, out goes St. Paul (killed Christians), and King David (murder and adultery), St. Peter (denied Christ three times), and Moses (murderer). All of a sudden, we have to throw out much of the Bible, based on attitudes that you display. Disagree with a man's policies if you wish, but don't judge his heart and casually assume that he is a liar.
A double standard seems to be applied: we accept most converts' words as genuine, at face-value, while we are too often highly cynical of politicians' spiritual odysseys.

Beyond that, I think I have enough spiritual discernment after 34 years as a serious Christian, to make out whether someone is speaking genuinely about God or not. I can spot a fake a mile away: and that has been confirmed times without number (and is part of my work as an apologist who is on the lookout for counterfeits and errors and wolves in the flock). I don't see anything non-authentic whatever in Newt Gingrich's conversion. If I'm fooled and he turns out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing then I am, but I don't expect that to happen at all.

You're not likely to vote for Gingrich. I just want to see Christian, Catholic charity extended towards him, just like anyone else, in this matter of his religious life.
 

* * *

It's [Paul's foreign policy] called isolationism . . . it is a policy of non-intervention. Paul ain't gonna win: not even the GOP nomination, let alone the Presidency. So his followers have a choice of either getting behind the GOP nominee, or pouting and going third party or not voting and possibly getting Obama re-elected.

If that's what you guys want, you may very well get your wish, given the way Gingrich is now being treated by folks like The National Review. We can be stupid and sabotage our own chances, and fight ourselves to death if we wish, and let the country go bankrupt and become Greece in four years.

I would gladly vote even for Paul vs. Obama. I don't care who it is. If an aardvark ran again Obama, it would have my vote. It would get more done in a month in office than Obama has in three years. And even an aardvark (unlike Obama) knows that you don't kill your own offspring.


None of the other GOP candidates are evil incarnate. We have seven pro-lifers vs. an extreme childkilling proponent in the White House. It's a no-brainer by Catholic social principles. You (and other Paul supporters or "nobody else" partisans of any candidate) can be extreme if you like: the result will be Obama re-elected and disaster on many levels. We have to pull together to beat him. It's ours to lose. Unfortunately, we conservatives are more than enough stupid and foolish (politically) to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

We have good pro-lifers to choose from. Gingrich has a 99% rating from Nat. Right to Life. Santorum isn't perfect. He supported pro-abort Spector for Senator. He's still very good, but that was a black mark. This is not a time to play around and engage in mere abstract politics and supposed superior principles. Babies continue to die. Politicians aren't saints (did anyone labor under the illusion that they were?). The next President could appoint a Supreme Court Justice that may make it possible to overturn Roe. We were dumb enough as a country to elect Obama, when we had a great chance to overturn Roe. Now we have another chance, and no one talks about abortion at all, because the pocketbook is always #1 above anything else.

There is some realpolitik there. The problem is how to work together (if possible) with people with whom one disagrees (coalition-building). So there are pro-abort Republicans. How are they to be treated? Gingrich took the stand that they shouldn't be outright purged.

One could disagree with that without necessarily questioning the person's overall pro-life commitments. I would prefer that they be purged, myself, but I understand the outlook that says Republicans need to have a majority to get things done, and unfortunately, that includes some pro-aborts and otherwise liberal members: often from the northeast, etc.


* * *

Some people [i.e., Gingrich] actually have a productive record in Washington, and got things done! I know it's hard to believe; it's been so long . . . People have very short memories. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I remember the Reagan era too, and what was said about him, including by country-club Republicans in 1976 and 1980.    

* * *

If we squish all of Obama's qualities together we get class warfare, widespread governmental corruption, 9% unemployment, rabid promotion of childkilling, the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, Obamacare, and $5 trillion of new debt that our children and grandchildren get to pay off.

We will campaign by presenting facts, while Obama will campaign by contending: "my opponent is a scoundrel." Well, a guy might win by such "campaigning" if he had anything to brag about at all in his term. But with his abysmal record, it will be political suicide. Meanwhile, many Catholics continue to vote for the preservation of the wholesale slaughter of over 4000 children a day: self-inflicted terrorism. It's amazing.
 

Newt Gingrich [along with the other six Republican candidates] knows enough to know that killing babies in their mother's wombs ought to be illegal, which is something many Catholics and other Christians still haven't learned, since they continue to vote for the childkilling advocates, thus enabling the holocaust to continue: including a vast disproportion of African-American abortions: virtually a self-genocide (as Jesse Jackson used to talk about). 

Detroit is flourishing under liberal government since time immemorial: about half our high school students don't graduate and can't read. 40-50% unemployment of young black men, families decimated in the inner-city because of Great Society paternalism and social engineering. High crime rates, rotten neighborhoods. We're just about to go bankrupt. Everything is hunky-dory. Let's do more liberalism: add fuel to the fire so it can get better. 

[addressing a Catholic Democrat, who is also a deacon] Whether you have donated a heart and give 95% of your money to charity (praise God for all your good works) has nothing whatever to do with whether you uphold the abortion holocaust or not by your vote. It would be nice to have a serious, substantive discussion for a change with a Democrat. If you can't rationally defend your voting for pro-aborts, then don't. But insulting others and waxing paranoid is no answer.

* * *

[addressing a person very cynical about both parties and the entire voting and political process, as if Christians are soiled by any participation whatever in these things]

Do you honestly think anyone here is stupid and ridiculous enough to actually believe that a mere political party will "save" them? You come to this conclusion simply because I post a facts-based article about the history of conservatism and liberal smear attacks?

Yours is the ultra-naive dangerous view here, because you forsake your civic duty to elect the best political representatives that we can put in office. This attitude is why we have abortion today: because Christians didn't care enough about political involvement to prevent that outrage from happening in the first place.

"'The liberal media' is a myth" is perhaps the most absurd single sentence that anyone has written on this page in its eleven-month existence. Many studies have documented the far-left orientation of the media: far more so than the general public. We're talking in the range of 90% who are left-leaning, and almost as many who don't attend church.

This attitude of "to hell with all the politicians" will prove more dangerous to our society in the long run than even liberalism has, because it is the spirit of despair, cynicism, and apathy, which always goes against God's will. The Christian is the eternal optimist and idealist: looking ahead; looking to transform society with the gospel and the message of the fullness of the faith, in Catholicism. Jesus is Lord of all of life: not everything except politics.


How could Jesus say to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"? How could Paul tell us to "honor the emperor"? How could the state be called an agent of God in Romans 13? We vote in order to remake the government in the Christian image, as much as possible: to preserve justice, to protect its own people from tyranny.  

The "English Reformation" was not from God. Nor was the French Revolution, or Russian.  I like the idea of disobeying unjust laws, which is why I was in Operation Rescue from 1988-1990. There is a Law of God above all human laws. Doesn't make all human law bad; rather it means that some are unjust and immoral.

The American Revolution has been questioned on Christian grounds. I would defend it on the basis of nations having the right to self-govern, rather than be governed by a power lying across an ocean; in other words, an opposition to colonialism. The right to self-governance . . .

Constitutional Republicanism is not the same thing as egalitarianism. Catholics like the principle of subsidiarity. I think the key is to have an informed populace, so that voting is informed, not polemics and propaganda-driven. The answer is not to "diss" voting, but to have an educated people.

Meanwhile, 4000 babies are slaughtered every day. Those who don't vote are allowing this to continue, on the principle of "evil flourishes when good men do nothing." Our duty is to end this horrendous injustice and others by voting for people who will work to end them, and to provide for the poor, etc.

We can play pie-in-the-sky philosophical parlor games, but meanwhile there are very real injustices and sins that have the sanction of law, that we can change for the better. You sit on your hands on election day; millions of others who think as you do, do the same, and the babies keep dying because good men do nothing about it. The Bible is about concrete justice, not abstract philosophy.


Liberals have never smeared anyone. They don't even know how to do it. And I have some great oceanfront property in Kansas to sell. Any takers?

No one ever said they [conservatives] didn't [ever smear people]. But it is exponentially less than the liberals do. Conservatives need only tell the truth about liberal positions, rather than cowering in fear, as we usually do, out of lack of principle and self-confidence (from years of being derided outsiders). For many years now, liberals have been reluctant to even describe themselves by that word. They know it is political death. So they pretend to be "moderates." They know that the public by and large rejects their agenda.

There is no need to smear them at all. The truth is sufficient and ugly enough to defeat them in all but the bluest states. Bill Clinton actually did what he was accused of! That was not a smear. He lied, and he was caught.
John Edwards actually did have a child out of wedlock and lied about it. That's not a smear, either. Even The National Enquirer got it right.

President Obama actually did attend the church of a radical black liberationist preacher [Jeremiah Wright] for 20 years, and he DID know an unrepentant terrorist [Bill Ayers] and engage in Alinksy tactics, etc. He was the most liberal member of the Senate and gave us many idiotic "present" votes, and saw nothing whatever wrong with partial-birth infanticide, etc. All of that is true. The American people were snookered by his campaign rhetoric. This time he can't fool people because he has a terrible record to run on.

Whether Cain is guilty remains to be proven. Thus far not one shred of hard evidence has been offered. Running him out of town, strictly on anecdotal hearsay of several bimbos of questionable character is classic liberal methodology. Guilty until proven guilty. That's how much justice Cain got. Now we have to listen to blowhards put him down. Maybe he in fact did what is claimed. I'd be the first to condemn it if so. But I won't trash a man with no solid evidence or proof whatever for doing so.
 
     
* * *

[replying to someone who questions Newt Gingrich's conversion to Catholicism]

What gives you the right to judge a man's soul and his entire conversion as "fake"? On what basis? You're able to read hearts and minds? You have a beeline to God or something? He tells you things that other mortals have no inkling of?

Newt is guilty of big sins in the past; therefore his conversion can't possibly be real? Okay, that takes out St. Paul (murderer), St. Peter (betrayed Christ), King David, with whom God made an eternal covenant (adulterer and murderer), Moses (murderer), Matthew (tax collector for the Romans), etc. I'll admit that Newt is a wolf in sheep's clothing if you concede that Paul, Peter, David, and Moses all went to hell due to fake conversions . . . Deal?

How ironic that we may have the first real Catholic ever as President (religion meant little to JFK): a guy who has written books about popes and who talks about the Eucharist and the mass on national TV, and people simply conclude that his conversion is fake. The devil must be laughing his socks off over that.

As a convert who has himself had his own spiritual journey lied about (publicly) times without number, mischaracterized, with motivations entirely questioned, and little or no concern for actual fact and documentation, I can empathize with this more than a little. The sad thing is that it is Catholics who are often leading the charge in questioning a man's soul and trying to read his heart and judge him harshly.

* * *

I would say, sure, Gingrich is full of himself, but then, so are, I highly suspect, most politicians. You have to have a big share of (shall we say, charitably?) "self-confidence" to get up and listen to yourself speak and have folks hang on your pearls of wisdom for days, weeks, and months on end: be adored. Unless you are a very well-grounded person (in God), that could truly get to you after a while, and create hubris. It's the same dynamic as being a movie or rock star. We see what those things have done to hundreds of victims.  

Many are assuming that his conversion is not genuine. People can actually change. I'm testimony to that myself, and I'm sure many of you are too.

Gingrich has a solid pro-life record. I went through this with McCain four years ago: people were saying he had a lousy record on the issue, and in fact he had an excellent one. The same with Gingrich. 98.6% Lifetime Pro-Life Rating from the National Right to Life Committee.    

A candidate may not be absolutely perfect. Hence, both Bushes allowed abortion in cases of rape and incest. That's not in line with Catholic teaching, yet many of us voted for both of them because of the vast superiority to the Dem on the issue.

Capital punishment and abortion are not on an equal plane. The Church teaches that abortion is intrinsically evil, unlike capital punishment (which it highly discourages in recent documents but does not classify in the same way as abortion).

Therefore, it is quite different to vote for a pro-life, pro-death penalty politician, compared to voting for a pro-abort, anti-death penalty. According to the Church, it is far preferable to vote for the former. Anyone who votes for President Obama (or any pro-abortion candidate of either party) is participating indirectly in allowing the holocaust to continue.


Just be aware that if you vote third party, you could help Obama to be re-elected. This happened in 1992, when "pro-life" people were foolish enough to vote for pro-abort Perot, thus costing Bush the election and allowing Clinton to get elected. People can help allow evil to flourish in many different ways.   

* * *

Newt is saying he doesn't support amnesty (nor do I: not in any blanket sense; we do have to respect laws or they will become meaningless). Rather, he is making necessary distinctions. I think conservatives gain by doing so. The backlash against Perry was because he went too far: saying we must pay all this college money, and if we don't agree, we don't have a heart. He apologized for it, but the damage was done, and it may have sunk his campaign. 

Of course we must distinguish between "pro-immigration" and "anti-illegal immigration." I hold to both. There is no contradiction. How to deal with illegal immigrants now here is a third distinct problem. Virtually no one (no one I know of, anyway) is against immigration per se and no one is against securing the border.

Newt Gingrich's interview last night on Hannity was extremely impressive. I am excited about his candidacy more than I have been with anyone since Reagan. He really continues the same tradition. He noted how his policies in the 1994 re-taking of the House were the same as Reagan's: lower taxes, lower regulations, and encouragement of business and the entrepreneurial spirit. 11 million jobs were created as a consequence. And that was with a Democratic President . . . Newt also has the advantage of saying that he worked with the other party (in Washington: not just in a state, where it is a lot easier) and actually got things done: balanced budgets, reformed welfare.

One thing he said was excellent (paraphrase): "we shouldn't move to the center in a general election, but move the center to us, and present a stark contrast; then conservatives win." It's hearkening back to Reagan again. It will work. The landslide is ours to lose. This is our best opportunity to really make huge changes in Washington, since 1994 (and that revolution was led by Newt, so it's sort of deju vu all over again).
  

I have been lambasting Romney, but let it be stated that I like him personally, and would be happy to vote for him if he were the nominee. He's infinitely better than Obamessiah. But I think Gingrich is far preferable to him. That's what primaries are about: we make our case for "our guy." We've had a lot of good choices this year, and I am delighted that Newt is currently on top. 

I don't think it is difficult at all for Newt to win over the moderates and independents and "Reagan Democrats", because Obama has already long since lost them. They have nowhere else to go. There is no reason for them to stick with Obama, when they forsook him two years ago. They will vote for "different" and "change" from the miserable status quo. All the polls show this. Plus, if he makes Rubio VP, we get tons of Hispanic votes and take Florida for sure: two very important things. If he makes Santorum VP, we take Pennsylvania: a crucial swing state. If he makes Bachmann VP, we get more of the women vote, some tea partiers who might be reluctant, and Minnesota. Lots of good choices this year. I think it will be a landslide. It's '80, '84, '94, and 2010 all over . . .

I think Newt is a solid mainstream conservative in the tradition of Reagan (not much different from Bachmann or Santorum), but an exceptionally thoughtful and idealistic one: hence, he may take somewhat different positions on occasion. I would expect this. I do the same, myself, with some issues. It shows that he is a thinker, not a clone or a sheep. To me that is a plus, not a minus.

As for passing bills, no problem: we're gonna take the Senate, too, and keep the House (probably win more seats). Things will get done because Newt is a go-getter, not the same old do-nothing nonsense that we have now in DC: with the House doing all the work and the Senate killing everything before it has any chance; and Obama playing golf and campaigning rather than making law.

Newt is an actual leader. He has also shown that he can work with the other party: because he did in the 90s. Newt has the proven track record in DC, and that is something Romney can't match. I don't care if Newt is an "insider" as long as he is the right kind of "insider": a true Reaganite progressive conservative (as I would describe the position): in the Jack Kemp mold as well.

He talked about the Eucharist and going to Mass last night, in a room of South Carolinians (probably 90% Protestant), and of writing books about Pope John Paul II and Reagan. He's a thinker, an idealist, a guy who actually gets things done, a Catholic convert, historian. All of these are great things. Most of the opposition to him seems to be merely personal dislike and noting past sins that he has long since repented of. Hence many have questioned the genuineness of his conversion (those who know him well: guys like Bill Bennett and Sean Hannity, do not at all).

Mormonism in a President is not a deal-breaker for me, either. All I have said about that is that it will hurt Romney with the evangelical vote and in the South: perhaps fatally so if he got the nomination. Thus as a purely political consideration, it is an important factor. I do think, though, that for most who have a problem with that, they would still choose him over Obama, if they are at all conservative or even moderate.

The Republicans who actually got things done in Washington in the last thirty years were the solid conservatives (panned as "far right" by liberals and moderates): Reagan and Gingrich. This is a matter of record. In foreign policy there is more consensus in the GOP, so Bush I and Bush II had successes there: but did very little domestically. They lowered taxes. And what was Bush I's downfall? precisely, trying to compromise with the Dems: raising taxes while getting an empty promise that they would cut spending (that never happened). That's how depending on unwritten promises from the other party works: a double-cross and a lost election because of it. But one can work with the other party and maintain one's principle and conservative views, as Reagan and Gingrich did.


"Middle of the road" is about as exciting and motivating as the same thing in music. If you sit in the middle of the road, you get hit by traffic coming from both sides; both directions. You gotta be on one side or the other to move ahead and make progress: can't straddle the line, trying to please everyone and satisfying neither in the end.

And that is one good reason of many to support Newt. He won't be attacked anymore than Reagan was. Who cares? That's like saying, "the sun is coming up tomorrow." He can deflect that, with facts and a smile and a good return jibe that is true, not distorted like the Dem smears about him will be. He's gonna kick butt and mop up . . .


* * *

There is no particular admiration here for big corporations, but it doesn't make me advocate socialism. That's a case where the supposed "cure" is worse than the purported disease. 

* * *

If one goes too far into libertarianism, there is a large ground where it meets liberalism. That's why I've never cared for it. In some ways, libertarianism is even worse than liberalism, because it doesn't understand communitarianism and social responsibility. It is to politics what Protestantism is to theology and religion: individualism gone awry. 

* * *

I for one, though, don't want to stop this [the "Occupy" mobs] at all. I'd love to see it continue right through to November 2012: a whole year of 1968 Democratic Convention riots (I remember seeing those on TV)! I think it would be fabulous. We would take about 47 states in the landslide victory. As it is, we'll probably win in a landslide, anyway (Dick Morris thinks so). 

You gotta love it when the big advocates of free speech and right to express opinions, tried to shout down Karl Rove at a speech. I absolutely love it! I've always been a big fan of highly ironic absurdity.

Reminds me of the incident in the abortion rescues when some pro-abort goon had a woman pinned down, choking her, and at the same time saying, "stop interfering with women's bodies!" or some such . . . 

So far I haven't seen any of these rich famous people who visited passing out hundreds of dollars. Maybe I missed it. Spread the wealth . . .

You can break a law if it is immoral, but it has to be done peacefully, and you take the consequences of it, without being a total jerk (fighting with the cops, rioting, etc.). Examples: civil right movement, abortion rescue movement that I was part of. I broke trespassing laws, because a higher law was involved: saving babies' lives. These guys are not peaceful or respectful of those around them. That's the difference.

These same kinds of clowns were out there when we were blocking abortion clinic doors: mocking us, and in some cases beating us. Left-wing radicalism never changes in its essential character: going all the way back to the French Revolution (or even the English so-called "Reformation").


I will always diss rabble-rousing mobs. It doesn't accomplish anything. You can only protest with class and dignity. Otherwise it backfires big-time, as we see happening now.   

* * *

"Conservative" means to conserve traditional American values, including the right to life. It has the connotation of "tradition" in it, which is why it is a good word, that resonates with orthodox Catholics. 

But the present status quo is legal childkilling and in that sense I am a radical or revolutionary against left-wing, anti-Christian ethics, which is increasingly becoming the norm in our society and indeed, in western "civilization" as a whole. 

I'm actually more like a neo-conservative, but certainly with a lot of traditionalist elements. See my statement on politics on my Facebook profile. I voted for Pat Buchanan once in a primary. I don't care much for his isolationist policies (nor Ron Paul's). But Pat's a good guy. I respect him a lot. He's always a gentleman and disagrees with class. 

* * *

Here is the article by Gingrich's daughter [about Newt supposedly serving his first wife divorce papers on her "deathbed"] Turns out the visit goes all the way back to 1980, and the woman (Jackie Battley Gingrich) is still alive. She had an operation for a tumor the day before, that was benign. They were already in the process of getting a divorce, that she requested.

So leave it to liberals to spread a rumor about their hated target supposedly abusing someone on their "deathbed" in 1980, who is still alive today; and completely distorting the actual facts of the matter. :-) The daughter was there. I think she can be trusted to give an accurate report.


* * *

The real test will come in SC and FLA, because some conservative "anti-Romney" will win Iowa and Romney will almost certainly take NH. So it'll be a tie, with the advantage going to the one who can take SC and FLA. If Romney by some fluke loses NH, he is already toast. The main thing about winning Iowa is "momentum." I think Romney will have big problems in the south, being a moderate, and because of his Mormonism. I believe his campaign will be essentially over once we go through the southern "Super Tuesday" (if that is still called that). 

We will all have to get behind whoever the Republican nominee is gonna be. After all this primary "division" it'll be time to get united and defeat the Clueless Socialist / Social Divider. 

Obama is history, no matter what lies he tries to throw, to get folks' minds off the issue. Their minds get back to the issue every time they look at their bankbooks and compare them to their bills. So try as they may . . .

All polling indications suggest this. He is even lower than Carter in mid-1980, and we all know what happened to him. He's completely lost the moderates and independents, and has decreased in almost every other category (having now alienated even liberal Jews, with his nonsense about Israel), etc. Swing states are NOT gonna vote for him again. Ohio won't. Pennsylvania probably won't. Virginia certainly won't . . . GOP just gained control of the state legislature there, showing the trend.


* * *  

The Facebook discussion thread underneath the cross-posting of this post there, contains additional intense exchanges about Ron Paul's positions on abortion: particularly regarding the exception clauses (rape, incest, life of the mother). He allows for those, which is a "limited pro-choice" stance and not completely, consistently pro-life. His views are shared in this respect by Gingrich, Romney, Huntsman, and Perry, while Bachmann and Santorum are the only consistently pro-life candidates, who would disallow it in all cases.



More thoughts in another Facebook thread: mostly about the ridiculous, pathetic, savage conservative and Republican in-fighting that is taking place, and the intensely personal attacks against Newt Gingrich.







* * *

9 comments:

RedBlade7 said...

Hi,

I am the owner of xcopfly.com, which Mark linked to "Here is what realism gets us".

Getting a lot of hits in my logs from Facebook, but I don't have an account and thus can't see the discussion. Could you please reply here with a snapshot of what's going on?

Just asking because on my site, I frequently mention how shocked I am that in recent years the GOP is becoming the party of Hillary Clinton, abandoning Judeo-Christian values in favor of promises to "create jobs" (virtually a myth in economics, *especially* when applied to the Executive Branch).

I also wanted to comment on this:

"that is the fundamental libertarian error once again: extreme individualism with little or no concern for the actual results of non-action: evil triumphs when good men do nothing. It lacks the communitarian outlook. This is why it is wholly inadequate as a Catholic social philosophy."

Libertarians (small-l) do indeed have concern for the outcome of a libertarian society. The neocon Keynes said "in the long run, we are all dead", this was a criticism of libertarianism because libertarianism focuses on the long run. And as for being upset over people not having faith in Christ or another moral backing, that applies to lots of people in many countries, most notably Al Qaeda. (This is where I part ways with Ron Paul, he feels intervention is the *only* cause of terrorism). And if you want to start a Catholic commune, nothing's stopping you except a non-libertarian government who won't allow it.

Thank you, Dan

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Dan,

The Facebook threads are public. I don't believe you need to join up in order to see it (but I'm not absolutely sure: one may have to be on Facebook, but not necessarily a "friend"). Here is the link to the latest one (just see if it works), but I also pasted a lot from several earlier discussions:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=295597367148212&id=100000749848938

RedBlade7 said...

Nope, must log in and create an account.

Dave Armstrong said...

Okay, so it must mean public to those who are on Facebook, without needing to be a friend. It's easy to join up. You get the general gist of the discussion by seeing the exchange between me and Mark Shea. I've been arguing with several Paul-ites and generally opposing libertarianism.

RedBlade7 said...

I just read the thread via my mother's Facebook account, and saw it in context, with your comments and everyone else's comments.

Thank you for the link - I had e-mailed the video link to Mark as a blog submission.

Yes, I heard the parody ad, pretty dumb and didn't even sound like him.

I should mention also about Catholicism and libertarianism, Ron Paul's background is paleolibertarianism, which is a Pat Buchanan splinter group that is absolutely not the hookers-and-pot kind of libertarianism. Wikipedia defines it best:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolibertarianism

But Wikipedia leaves out the information here:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/lew-rockwell-and-the-strange-death-or-at-least-suspended-animation-of-paleolibertarianism

Thank you, Dan

Teresa said...

Just to make a point - The main reason that Santorum supported Specter is because Specter pretty much blackmailed him, said that he wouldn't support the judicial nominees if Santorum didn't support him. I doubt that we would have gotten as good Constitutional strict constructionists on the bench if Specter hadn't voted in support of Alito and Roberts. I'm not saying what Santorum did was necessarily right or wrong but maybe the best option at the time.

Dave Armstrong said...

Interesting. It did have a long-term good outcome then, since the two Justices will long outlast Specter. I think in that sense, a good case can be made for what he did.

Thomas Yonan said...

Just a quick note to day that politics does not seem to be Dave's strong point…

First, Dave skews Ron Paul's position by suggesting that Ron Paul would allow for abortion in the hard cases, i.e. rape and incest. However, Ron Paul is against all abortions, as he has made amply clear in a number of places. What Ron Paul opposes is the idea that the problem of abortion in this country can be remedied by means of the law. Ron Paul thinks only a moral conversion of society will effect the necessary change.

Ron Paul favors turning the abortion issue back to the individual states since he does not think it is the proper jurisdiction of the federal government. Certainly, Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton) was a usurpation and abuse of power by the federal. Nonetheless, this is where Ron Paul errs, but so does Dave Armstrong.

First, on Ron Paul: turning the abortion problem back to the states will eventually bring the issue back to the federal Supreme Court since the subject involves the right to life, wholly recognized in the Declaration. More so, a proper reading of the Due Process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments will show that the Constitution prohibits abortion. I can lay that argument out whenever needed. The Roe v. Wade Court fully realized that on a proper reading of the Fourteenth Amendment the instant case fails, which is why the Roe Court gave short shrift to the scientific evidence on the pre-natal child.

Now, Dave Armstrong errs by advocating a human life amendment. The last thing we want to do is open up the Constitution for an amendment in this current political and social atmosphere. Anything can happen to the Constitution if it is opened for amendment. We can't risk that.

Dave also errs just by advocating an amendment because said amendment is superfluous. That is, the Constitution’s Due Process Clauses merely need to be given a correct reading. Meanwhile, Dave should study the Roe v. Wade documents.

Second, Dave vents his prejudice against libertarianism. Personally, I am not a libertarian, but let us recall such things as that Pope John Paul II co-authored a book with a very active Italian libertarian. Also, Dave is under the illusion that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is libertarian. Actually, Ron Paul is following the very wise foreign policy of President George Washington. Perhaps Dave would like to label George Washington as libertarian with a whacky foreign policy.

Dave’s Fox News/Neocon political views are a distortion of reality. Dave has swallowed hook, line and sinker all the neocon propaganda about Iran. I doubt that Dave knows anything about the history of many decades of U.S. meddling in Iran, and to what purpose. I will end here by saying the head of Israel’s intelligence agency says that a nuclear-armed Iran does not necessarily pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, according to Israeli ambassadors: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/29/israeli-spy-chief-downplays-iranian-nuke-threat/

I can cite many other intelligence sources that expose the neoconservative pro-war hype about Iran for what it is.

Thomas Yonan said...

Just a quick note to day that politics does not seem to be Dave's strong point…

First, Dave skews Ron Paul's position by suggesting that Ron Paul would allow for abortion in the hard cases, i.e. rape and incest. However, Ron Paul is against all abortions, as he has made amply clear in a number of places. What Ron Paul opposes is the idea that the problem of abortion in this country can be remedied by means of the law. Ron Paul thinks only a moral conversion of society will effect the necessary change.

Ron Paul favors turning the abortion issue back to the individual states since he does not think it is the proper jurisdiction of the federal government. Certainly, Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton) was a usurpation and abuse of power by the federal. Nonetheless, this is where Ron Paul errs, but so does Dave Armstrong. First, on Ron Paul: turning the abortion problem back to the states will eventually bring the issue back to the federal Supreme Court since the subject involves the right to life, wholly recognized in the Declaration. More so, a proper reading of the Due Process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments will show that the Constitution prohibits abortion. I can lay that argument out whenever needed.

The Roe v. Wade Court fully realized that on a proper reading of the Fourteenth Amendment the instant case fails, which is why the Roe Court gave short shrift to the scientific evidence on the pre-natal child. Now, Dave Armstrong errs by advocating a human life amendment. The last thing we want to do is open up the Constitution for an amendment in this current political and social atmosphere. Anything can happen to the Constitution if it is opened for amendment.

Dave also errs just by advocating a constitutional amendment because said amendment is superfluous. That is, the Constitution’s Due Process Clauses merely need to be given a correct reading. Meanwhile, Dave should study the Roe v. Wade documents.

Second, Dave vents his prejudice against libertarianism. Personally, I am not a libertarian, but let us recall such things as Pope John Paul II co-authored a book with a very active Italian libertarian. Also, Dave is under the illusion that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is libertarian. Actually, Ron Paul is following the very wise foreign policy of President George Washington.

Perhaps Dave would like to label George Washington as libertarian with a whacky foreign policy.

Third, Dave’s Fox News/Neocon political views are a distortion of reality. Dave has swallowed hook, line and sinker all the neocon propaganda about Iran. I doubt that Dave knows anything about the history of many decades of U.S. involvement and meddling in Iran, and to what purpose. I will end here by saying the head of Israel’s intelligence agency says that a nuclear-armed Iran does not necessarily pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, according to Israeli ambassadors: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/29/israeli-spy-chief-downplays-iranian-nuke-threat/

I can cite many other intelligence sources that expose the neoconservative pro-war hype about Iran for what it is.