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Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
In this previous post, I offered 4 suggestions for the future of of the Tea Party "Movement." My first suggestion was

1. Any movement needs goals to rally around. As a first objective, TARGET BIG SPENDING MEMBERS of Congress for defeat. Use the list prepared by the Taxpayers Union.

I wish to elaborate.

Why is it important to have a clear goal? Because to form a movement out of a more general unrest, a clear goal is necessary to give cohesiveness.

Why is working toward a goal my first suggestion? Logically, would goal-setting not come after my last suggestion: 4. Use the means of communication to EVOLVE A COHERENT IDEOLOGY WITH CLEAR GOALS.?
Logically, yes. Realistically, no. Most people do not get excited about the intellectual process of developing a coherent ideology. Stopping to do so would cause the momentum to be lost. Also, there really is something called "the paralysis of analysis;" we can spend too much time talking about the problem to the detriment of solving the problem.

Why go after big-spending members of Congress? High taxation and excessive Federal spending were common complaints at the Tea Parties. Let's start there. Responsibility for tax policy and for Federal spending ultimately rests with Congress. So let's put some fear into the members of Congress.

What are the chances of success for this goal? Can incumbants be turned out of office? In 1830 the chances of ending slavery in the United States would have seemed slim. In 1928 the chances of achieving equal rights for all races in the U.S. would have seemed slim to none. Giving up before getting started is the one sure path to failure.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
I offer a few thoughts to my fellow Americans who attended the Tea Parties last week regarding the future of the movement.

1. Any movement needs goals to rally around. As a first objective, TARGET BIG SPENDING MEMBERS of Congress for defeat. Use the list prepared by the Taxpayers Union.

2. Any movement, especially in its early stages, is in danger of being coopted by established groups. Avoid being swallowed by existing groups. DO NOT BECOME AN ARM OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

3. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE. Movements are formed through communication that brings like-minded people together. God bless the internet.

4. Use the means of communication to EVOLVE A COHERENT IDEOLOGY WITH CLEAR GOALS.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Today from about 11am to 1pm there was a TEA Party Rally in Lawton, Oklahoma. One of many nationwide, the purpose was to protest soaring deficit spending, Big Government, and excessive taxation.

There had been little publicity; I did not learn of the rally until last night by way of a flier in a local restaurant. The location was along a major east-west boulevard near city hall. I arrived about 11:45am and climbed up on a bench to count heads: about 130 people, with some coming and going. I think 180 protesters total would be a conservative estimate. [pun intended] The local newspaper and television showed up for perhaps 20-30 minutes around noon.

The crowd skewed older and white, though all ages were represented and a few minority members. Dress ranged from lawyer-level suits to jeans and sweatshirts. Lots of U.S. flags and a couple of "Don't Tread on Me" snakes. About 1 in 5 carried a placard, most homemade, though a few had been printed. A PA had been set up, with patriotic music playing when no one was speaking. Open mike, with no dignitaries in evidence. Speaker topics ranged from taxation and deficit-spending to pro-life and respect for veterans. Interestingly, all the speakers were brief, stating their names, having their say for 3 or 4 minutes, then moving back into the crowd.

Will the TEA Party Movement accomplish anything? Will it have legs? I don't know. A woman standing next to me expressed the wish that the Republican Party had put up a table to register people. Nothing of the sort was in evidence by any party. One man, though, was passing out brochures from, about which I know nothing. We'll see as 2010 draws nearer if there is TEA impact.

btw, yes, I could not resist the opportunity of an open mike.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Historically, I have NOT been a huge fan of Rick Perry (more on that later, perhaps), but, irrespective of past disagreements, he is looking better to me everyday. Why? His brand of strict fiscal conservatism is likely to be the recipe for survival in the lean and tumultuous years to come.

From the office of the Governor of the great state of Texas:

"Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas’ Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment"

Granted, this statement is freighted with political posturing, but I thoroughly appreciate the look, sound, and sentiment behind it. I admire any politician willing to stand up for federalism rightly understood through the prism of the Tenth Amendment.

I reserve the right to take back my tentative initial support, but this lovely symbolic stand is worth noting and watching.

With all his faults, Rick Perry's political ship may have just come in.

Worth reading and watching.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Last night Farmer and I were guests on a webcast (see here for April 7th archive). The issue of the Republican Party's relationship to conservatism came up when I challenged the assumption that the Republican party is the natural home of conservatism: citing Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford, men who were not ideological conservatives in the sense of the Conservative Movement (that term itself a topic of conversation).

Farmer replied that since Reagan, the Republican party should be the home of Conservatives, but that the Party had gone off the rails.

I would like to continue the discussion.

Did Ronald Reagan really transform the Republican Party into the Amerian Conservative Party?

I don't think so.

Exhibit A: George H. W. Bush. Although a loyal Vice-President to Reagan, will anyone argue that Bush 41 is now or ever has been a genuine Reagan Conservative? Yet he became the Republican standard bearer in '88 and the forty-first president.

Exhibit B: George W. Bush. Although conservative in many ways, will anyone argue that his Compassionate Conservatism is the same as Reagan Conservatism? Would Reagan have put forward the Prescription Drug Plan? Yet GWB was twice the Republican Standard Bearer and the forty-third president.

Exhibit C: The Republicans in the U.S. Senate from 1980 until now. Are these all Reagan Conservatives? No, though most are conservative in some ways.

It seems to me that the Republican Party was not remade by Reagan into a homogenous, cohesive, party supporting Reaganism.

Italy and Israel have numerous political parties each relatively pure ideologically. In order to form a government, several parties must agree to form a coalition. By contrast, in the United States, with our Two-Party System as it has evolved, both parties are of necessity made up of internal coalitions agreeing to cohere for political success. Reaganism dominated for a time, but it did not completely transform the other Republican Party coalition members.

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
I have not been paying close attention to the G-20 summit, but that doesn't really matter. In fact, skimming can sometimes be a great advantage in these affairs. Nothing that transpired at this most recent meeting of global leaders is likely to have any more impact on the world than the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars. So, no harm in covering the event ET style.


The pictures are good. The camera loves our President. Michelle, evidently, is the new Jackie. They both exude confidence and style. Not since Reagan has an American president so graciously inhabited the role of leading man. At a glance, our tall, dark, and handsome president plays the part of Philosopher-King with great skill.

Gut Instinct: I like this guy (still). Seriously. I think he is smart and stylish, and, overall, at least in terms of symbolism, I think he did us proud on this trip (at least in the superficial sense that most people in the world now associate America with a cool and charismatic person of great charm and bearing).

On the other hand, there are some things I don't like. Some things that he has done over the past few months that worry me.

Little Things:

It bothers me that he gave the Queen of England an iPod made in China filled with his speeches and other frivolous material. Is he trying to be disrespectful--or does he just not know the difference?

He is cool and confident--but sometimes he is too cool and overbearing. In that vein, I am uneasy when he makes fun of Nancy Reagan, Jessica Simpson, or the Special Olympics.

For the Record: the "Special Olympics" comment was unfortunate and, worse, "unpresidential," but it would be hypocritical to get too exercised over a cruel joke. Perhaps it is a generational thing--but my guess is that most readers my age have engaged in similarly tasteless humor. Of course, now that I think about it, I have not tossed around Special Olympics as a "goof" for at least twenty-five years. But, still, give the guy a break. And, please, conservative talkers, enough with the sanctimonious condemnations.

But the tendency to say something cruel for a laugh speaks to a certain cold-bloodedness. The pattern speaks to a certain harshness. Frankly, it belies a certain lack of empathy (and to say it publicly speaks to his sense of invincibility--which is also troublesome). It all bothers me a bit. Of course, Ronald Reagan's purported inability to be an engaged father to his children bothers me to this day. Martin Luther King's infidelity makes me wince. I like my heroes flawlesss--but, alas, they are all human. And not every imperfection necessarily corresponds to a tragic malformation of character.

Perhaps more substantially, I am annoyed by the President's tendency to conflate our economic problems for political expediency. I know this Ivy Leaguer understands that the recession, the banking crisis, and our long-term structurally unsustainable national debt are three distinct obstacles posing extremely divergent threats to our existence. But he happily fuses them together regularly to beat up on opponents and rally support among the less discerning.

That bothers me.

And, it goes without saying, there is the BIG THING:

It worries me that this President favors a complete restructuring of American political culture in the mold of a modern European welfare state. That bothers me.

But other than those kinds of quibbles, I still like him.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Who in the Obama administration is in charge of gifts for foreign leaders and heads of state? DVD's for Gordon Brown when he gave Obama a relic from a British anti-slavery warship? (DVDs that would not play in Britain.) And now, for the Queen, a made-in-China ipod. Here is the story, linked by Gateway Pundit.

Appearance is part of the reality of leadership. Obama, with his gaffe-gifts, is not projecting an appearance of competence. See also all the tax-cheats that have been nominated; even more than when I wrote this post.