Perhaps all is not lost. A note of calm from an old friend of the Bosque Boys,

Swabian Prince:

I won’t venture a prediction about the debate, but I think (to speak in the metaphor of the moment) the valuation on Sarah’s stock was way too high at the outset, but now has fallen way too low. I also think the race is very, very close, and much of the gloom in conservative circles is WAY out of hand, and shows how easily we STILL, even in spite of all we know, are manipulated by MSM and polling data. I talked over the weekend with a friend, a very distinguished political scientist, who is in despair because Obama appears to have “won” the debate, as demonstrated by the tracking polls inching toward him over the weekend. And this is someone who should know better. Much more to be said, of course, but I agree with Bill Kristol about letting Sarah be Sarah.

Somehow, the key role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in this financial debacle needs to be brought out more clearly, and the clear connection between Obama and the Dems and the culprits. (You no doubt have seen the videos that have been circulating.) And McCain absolutely has the credentials to do it. But maybe Sarah can start the process, since the media will be glommed onto her every word anyway.
~~ Swabian Prince
In response to my post on John McCain and the anatomy of an upset, candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives, and my good friend, Jamie Johnson wrote:


WACO: You make a good comparison. Yes, the NCAA basketball circa-1980s upsets are worth pondering, especially the Volvano strategy.

John McCain is slowly and steadily rising despite the media's over-the-top coverage of Obama's Middle East trip. Don't count Johnny Mac out -- those who do usually lose. He is the closest thing to an energizer bunny that anyone has seen in modern American politics.

Remember where McCain was in the Spring of 2007? People told him to pack it in, that it was all over. He had to lay off his whole campaign team. He had to start carrying his own bags again in airports. And that was when it happened -- he reconnected with the common man, the guy who ultimately decides every election.

In the midst of all the Obama worship, we need to ask ourselves one simple question: WHO WILL THE COMMON MAN VOTE FOR ON NOVEMBER 4?

Let me rephrase it. Who will be the candidate of choice for the independent, 44-year old, white male who is married (perhaps divorced) with two teenage children; who goes to work in jeans and carries a lunch bucket; who worries about his kid's future and his own retirement; whose wife (or girlfriend) often puts only one slice of baloney on his sandwich; who loves the flag and the pledge and the soldier; who respects the Good Book, even if he doesn't always live by it; and who hates what is happening to his country.

Despite what he tells pollsters when they call, despite what he may say to union activists in the lunch room -- when he gets in the privacy of that voting booth on November 4, where only God can see him -- which man will he vote for?

Answer: John McCain. Why? Because he sees himself AS John McCain -- a survivor, a guy who everybody counted out, a salt-of-the-earth type with calloused hands, chapped lips, a slight weight problem, etc. He is the Michigan man, the Ohio man, the Pennsylvania man -- the man who, 28 years ago fell in love with Reagan, and now sees an arrogant Obama acting as if he were already anointed President.

WACO, you are right. McCain may be the political Jimmy Volvano of 2008. And if he is, who will he find to hug on election night?
In reaction to the Sean Wilentz article in TNR, (which asserted that the Clintons have become victims of reverse "race baiting"), and in response to my previous post on that essay, a wise friend shared these insights with me via email. With permission, and under the sobriquet, Swabian Prince, I am very pleased to present this powerful analysis:

While Sean Wilentz makes some plausible points about the rather shameless non-innocence of the Obama people, in other areas the argument is tissue-thin. How can he seriously expect us to believe that Billy Shaheen’s remarks were “innocent”? Just on his say so? And I myself read the interview with Mark Penn, in which he WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to use the word “cocaine.” And the explanation of WJC’s comparison to Jesse Jackson is pathetic. In short, I don’t find any of his exonerations at all persuasive. The Clintons are not more ethical than their opponents, just more clumsy. No pair has more richly deserved the fate that now apparently awaits them. (Though even defeat will not mean the end of them. She will stay in the Senate forever. And I fully expect them to pull for McCain, if they can find a way to do so, so that she will have a second chance at the top slot.)

Where he is right is about the political use of the tactic of accusing others, preemptively, of “race-baiting.” But which party invented that tactic and specializes in its use? As far as I’m concerned, this is chickens coming home to roost. At one point Wilentz says that the Obama campaign was prepared to launch the anti-race-baiting even before the primaries began. True enough. But good Lord, EVERY Democratic campaign of any prominence is prepared to launch an anti-race-baiting campaign 24 hours a day. That is their bread and butter.

Wilentz does not mention the other form of identity politics in which the Clinton campaign has indulged itself with a dishonesty that rivals anything they are accusing Obama of. I’m talking about gender. For a perfect example of it—a pellucid example—see the quotation from Hillary in this [Jennifer Rubin post in Commentary]. The parallels are pretty exact. Just as Obama is running as the History-Making black candidate who is also post-racial (see David Hollinger’s embarrassing piece in the CHE), so Hillary is the History-Making woman candidate who is running strictly on her competence. Yeah right.

What we’re having right now is one of those “totems in collision” moments on the left, when two different articles of political correctness come into conflict. Generally, whenever race and gender come into collision that way, race wins. That was one of the many lessons of the OJ trial, and for that matter, the Clarence Thomas controversy. But of course, as the example of OJ suggests, the rest of us have to suffer from this. To Sean Wilentz I say, join the club. Now you know how it feels to be on the receiving end of the tactics your party has perfected.
~~Swabian Prince
I am posting Gossenius's thoughtful reply to my call to articulate a political philosophy (I continue to encourage you all to add your voices to that discussion). The following essay is provocative. Gossenius asks sincere and penetrating questions that demand honest introspection from Republicans and conservatives. As I am the most upper-case Republican within our community, I will take it upon my self to defend my Republicanism. You may expect my response forthwith.

Guest Blog: Gossenius

I agree with much of what Farmer says [from the comments section of the aforementioned post], and all of paragraphs 6 and 8-10 describe me as well. However, I would never consider myself conservative or Republican, and see the Republican Party and self-described conservatives being hostile to most of the values articulated there: Republicans in office seem to favor top-down moral control, big government, and a wholesale rejection of the restraint and humility expressed in Farmer's last paragraph. The reaction of Republicans to these charges seems to be often the same: But look at what Democrats do! A strange response on its face-- to say that 'the other side doesn't live up to the values we Republicans espouse and then betray.'

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Guest Blog

Here is the latest thinking from Bosque Boys friend, Tocqueville:

The New Jersey Supreme Court has unanimously ordered the state to grant all of the privileges and rights of marriage -- but not necessarily the word "marriage" -- to same-sex couples. The legislature has 180 days to act. The court leaves open the possibility that gay-marriage litigants can come back to the state courts at a future date and request full marriage.

Three justices concurred, saying that the state should have been required to grant full marriage under state law. Litigants thus fell one vote short of a majority for same-sex marriage.

This is similar to an earlier Vermont Supreme Court decision. Essentially, this requires (at a bare minimum) a kind of "separate but equal" regime between traditional marriage and gay "whatever you call it." The operative quote appears to be:

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution. With this State’s legislative and judicial commitment to eradicating sexual orientation discrimination as our backdrop, we now hold that denying rights and benefits to committed same-sex couples that are statutorily given to their heterosexual counterparts violates the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1. To comply with this constitutional mandate, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes to include same-sex couples or create a parallel statutory structure, which will provide for, on equal terms, the rights and benefits enjoyed and burdens and obligations borne by married couples. We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process."

The decision repeatedly relies on "the substantive due process and equal protection guarantees of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the State Constitution." But Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution reads in full:

"All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness."

The words "due process" or "equal protection" appear nowhere. Although this portion of the NJ Constitution (relied on by the court) has been in place for over 200 years, only today do we finally learn what it has apparently required all along. Here, then, is the revelation of that requirement (with marching orders and a hard deadline to the state's legislative body to boot). A most unusual (and politically calculated) decision (mandating to the legislature), which is backwards from a democratic system that usually percolates from the bottom up, not the top down. As appalling as slavery was, it was resolved by a Civil War and the 13th Amendment. As appalling as segregation was, it was primarily addressed by the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - laws that Congress was not told they "must" pass.

Political Impact

As far as political fallout, I think people can basically tell when judges are legislating policy matters or substituting their own policy preferences for that of the elected branch, and this perception isn't necessarily tied to whether one agrees with the result or not.

If it really is in the constitution, it shouldn't be all that hard to explain where it is and why the basis is found there, and it shouldn't take 90 pages and analogies to things that glow around the sun to say so. If the issue is such a winner, debate it in the open legislature. Otherwise we have surrendered our republic to an unelected elite in black robes who are unaccountable for their decisions. Just once, I'd love to see a legislature respond with the same thing Andrew Jackson did - "John Marshall made his decision, now let him enforce it."

Guest Blog Flash

This just in from Bosque Boys friend, "Tocqueville."

New Jersey marriage decision tomorrow:
So says the state supreme court's media notices page. Expect a decision at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Prediction: New Jersey's Supreme Court will "discover" that the state's constitution guarantees a right to gay marriage.

The deicision will send shockwaves across the country and influence the outcome of various elections in favor of the Republicans.

Guest Blog

The college atop a hill overlooking the Bosque River recently added two luminaries to its galaxy of stars. One of whom, "Jerry Vorhees," at my request, offers this insightful analysis of the US dilemma in re the Korean peninsula. Let's make him feel welcome. Hopefully, we can prevail on him to provide more on this subject and other IR matters in the future:

North Korea has become a "covert province" of the People's Republic of China. We now have evidence of a connection between the AQ Kahn's nuclear network, China, North Korea, and of course Iran. China is playing a delicate game with the United States via their North Korean proxies.

The trick for China is to push the United States to the point of desperation in our desire for Chinese cooperation without actually triggering a war in the region and losing access to lucrative American markets.

What am I getting at? Taiwan. From the first announcement by North Korea that they indeed possessed nuclear weapons, I had my eye on Taiwan. The main obstacle standing in the way of the mainland's desire to intimidate the Taiwanese into a more conciliatory position toward reconciliation is the wide spread belief that if China attacks Taiwan as its government recently voted to authorize, the Americans would feel obligated to intervene.

Indeed the China lobby in Congress would be hysterical if the United States allowed an attack on the Taiwanese to go unchecked. The ultimate objective of this latest Chinese-North Korean gambit could be a softening of the American stance on Taiwan in exchange for real Chinese cooperation on the North Korean issue, an issue they are themselves behind.

Friend of the Bosque Boys and contributor, Gossenius, has launched his own blog: Osler's Razor. The subtitle says a lot: "musings, rants, recipes, repressed memories, haiku, and drivel from a professor at Baylor Law School." I am already enjoying it, and I recommend it to you. As one of my favorite social commentators used to say, it's fun, "and if you're not careful, you might learn something before it's done."

Good luck.
Guest Blog

Special thanks to "Tocqueville," TBB friend and constitutionalist, who has been keeping close track of the recent legal developments in the same-sex marriage controversy. Please consider his string of insightful comments and reportage on these events, in chronological order (it is fairly lengthy--but well worth your time):

6 July 2006:

Gay marriage was dealt two defeats today.

By a vote of 4 to 2, the highest court in New York has held that the New York constitution does not "compel" the recognition of same-sex marriages. The matter, said the court, is for the state legislature to decide. Here is an excellent quote from the majority opinion:

"The dissenters assert confidently that "future generations" will agree with their view of this case (dissenting op at 28). We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives. We therefore express our hope that the participants in the controversy over same-sex marriage will address their arguments to the Legislature; that the Legislature will listen and decide as wisely as it can; and that those unhappy with the result -- as many undoubtedly will be -- will respect it as people in a democratic state should respect choices democratically made."

This marks the first state high court to address the substance of a gay-marriage claim since the outrageous Goodrich decision in Massachusetts in 2003.

The ruling, coming from a fairly progressive court in a deep-blue state, must be considered a significant set-back for gay-marriage litigants and further evidence that (if democracy is allowed to prevail) conservatives are not losing this battle. At the same time, the opinion does not undermine the arguments of those who have claimed that a federal marriage amendment is needed to block an activist Supreme Court from imposing gay marriage on the nation. That argument is largely premised on the demands of the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the questionable constitutional validity of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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This kata onar comment, abstracted from the Tiananmen Square Rembered post , deserves more prominence:

Thanks so much for this posting, Okie Gardner. I had a friend in college who was in China as a missionary when the Tiananmen Square massacre took place. I received a letter from her about month after the massacre. Her letter was an amazing mix of both terror and faith. Here's a quote from her letter:

"It's really difficult to know what to expect because the government is so unpredictable. Also, we aren't sure if we'll have any students! At this point we don't know how many are still even alive after the bloody suppresion. And those still living, they are scared to death to return to the school for fear of being arrested and imprisoned if not executed. It's comforting to know that their lives and our lives are not in the hands of the army or the leaders, but in God's."

Everytime I read this, I can't help but be amazed at the true freedom that faith brings. In the face of such tyranny, faith provided peace and freedom for my friend or her students. May our prayers--and buying habits--be made also for the political freedom of the people of China.
kata onar