It used to be common for people to urge us to learn "the lessons of history." But history gets much less attention these days and, if there are any lessons that we are offered, they are more likely to be the lessons from current polls or the lessons of political correctness.
Even among those who still invoke the lessons of history, some read those lessons very differently from others.
Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."
GOP presidential contender Herman Cain has found himself contending with a variety of alleged scandals over the course of the last month, ranging from sexual harassment allegations to accusations of a long-term extramarital affair. The most recent allegation, which asserts that Cain had been involved in a 13-year affair with a woman from Atlanta, Georgia, led Cain to tell his senior staff on Tuesday morning that he was “reassessing” his campaign’s livelihood. However, there are mixed signals from the Cain camp regarding the future of Cain’s candidacy.
Cain’s declaration prompted some to wonder whether he would pull himself out of the race for a Republican presidential nomination, but Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block indicates that he simply meant he was conducting a “strategic reassessment” and “not a reassessment of withdrawing” from the race.
According to Block, Cain will be outlining the specifics of that strategic assessment during his campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio, where Cain will “lay out his way forward.” When asked if Cain would drop out of the race under any specific circumstances, Block answered that there are only two things that would prompt Cain to leave the race: “Mrs. Cain, and if we show up to do an event and no one is there.”
Republicans are amazing. It's possible they could lose the 2012 presidential election before 2011 is over. Really, they ought to rename that big river in Egypt (You know, “Duh Nile”) the Republican River. If you want to see an entire party in denial, with a few honorable and intelligent exceptions, look at virtually every Republican presidential hopeful but Ron Paul, the premier honorable and intelligent exception.
The others will talk about balancing the budget — though they believe the SuperCommittee should get that job done for them before any of them gets to the White House — but none, with the exception of Ron Paul, is in favor of cutting the military spending, euphemistically called the “defense budget.” Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania made that emphatically clear when I spoke with him in New Hampshire on Sunday. The same Rick Santorum has on op ed piece in today's New Hampshire Union Leader calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
No cuts for our worldwide military empire and no tax increases, praise God, but do pass an amendment that will tell us we must balance the budget.
What a wonderful opportunity for the Democrats to tell the country that these allegedly pro-life Republicans really love bombs more than babies — more than old folks, too, whose votes will be up for grabs in 2012.
Well, now they have done it. On Tuesday a bipartisan total of 61 Senators voted for and only 37 voted against provisions in latest Defense Authorization Act that would authorize the President of the United States to arrest and detain indefinitely, without charges or trial, people suspected of being enemies, or linked to enemies of the United States.
Most Democrats voted against the provisions but only two Republicans voted nay — despite the fact that it is the Republicans more than the Democrats who talk about the importance of abiding by the Constitution. The two Republican Senators who have both read and respected the Constitution of the United States and therefore voted against the travesty were Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The vote is such a blatant thumbing of senatorial noses at the Constitution of the United States that it might even be called revolutionary — or counterrevolutionary, meaning that it is an attempt to at least partially overthrow the revolution against the tyranny of the British crown beginning with the Declaration of Independence in 1776. When former Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) was criticized by some of his Senate colleagues for following a line of reasoning that is “pre-911,” the Senator, who cast the lone Senate vote against the controversial Patriot Act, replied that his critics were exhibiting a manner of reasoning that might be called “pre-1776.”
Now that Newt Gingrich has become the latest in a series of Republican frontrunners, he is getting the kinds of scrutiny and attacks that have done in other frontrunners. One of the issues that have aroused concern among conservative Republicans is that of amnesty for illegal immigrants, especially after Gingrich said that it would not be "humane" to deport someone who has been living and working here for years.
Let's go back to square one. The purpose of American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants. The purpose of immigration laws and policies is to serve the national interest of this country.
There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively.
The usually sober and thoughtful Wall Street Journal, on issues other than immigration, outdoes Newt Gingrich's claim that it would not be "humane" to deport illegal immigrants who have been living here a long time. A Wall Street Journal editorial says that it would be "psychotic" to do so.
The community of San Juan Capistrano, California, has backed down from ticketing a couple for holding Bible studies in their home after the couple’s attorneys filed a religious-freedom lawsuit against the city. Back in September, city officials had fined Chuck and Stephanie Fromm $300 after determining that the couple was in violation of a municipal code that prohibited “religious, fraternal, or non-profit” groups to meet in residential neighborhoods without a permit.
As reported by The New American, the couple hosted a mid-week Bible study that drew some 20 participants, as well as a Sunday service with an attendance of around 50. According to the code, institutions needing a permit included “churches, temples, synagogues, monasteries, religious retreats, and other places of religious worship and other fraternal and community service organizations.”
Just when thee sexual-harassment allegations against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain were beginning to recede from the news, an Atlanta, Georgia, woman has come forward to claim she was involved in a 13-year affair with Cain.
Cain’s latest accuser is Ginger White, a 46-year-old divorced woman who told her story in an exclusive interview with Fox 5 Atlanta. She asserted that she and Cain began their affair in the 1990s and that the physical relationship ended just before he declared his candidacy in May. She later repeated the story to other news outlets.
She said their on-again, off-again relationship allegedly began in Louisville, Kentucky, in the late 1990s, when Cain gave a National Restaurant Association presentation to a group which included White. Afterward, the two shared drinks and Cain invited her back to his hotel room, where he pulled out a calendar and invited her to meet him in Palm Springs, California, she said.
"I was aware that he was married, and I was also aware that I was involved in a very inappropriate situation — relationship," Ginger White told Atlanta television station WAGA.
“I cannot comprehend how my teenage grandson was killed by a Hellfire missile,” a grieving grandfather complained to Time magazine, “how nothing was left of him except small pieces of flesh. Why? Is America safer now that a boy was killed?”
President Obama had authorized the drone strike that killed the 16-year-old American boy in October. He had also authorized a different drone strike in Yemen that killed the boy’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki, two weeks earlier. Anwar al-Awlaki had attached himself to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Like his son, he was a native-born American and U.S. citizen and had never been formally charged with a crime. But Obama stressed in a press conference after the drone killing of the elder Awlaki that the father had been killed because he had taken “the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) charged today that Congress did not fix the unconstitutional detainee policy in the final NDAA bill. See update by clicking on this article's headline.
Texas Representative Ron Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy has endeared him to many of those who love the advice of America's Founders. His message to "bring the troops home" from not just Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Korea, Germany, and Japan, echoes George Washington's words in his farewell address where the first President advised, "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."
But the one part of Ron Paul's foreign policy that has been difficult to translate to much of the Republican base has been the idea of "blowback." Blowback is the concept that when some apparently innocent actions are undertaken by the U.S. government abroad, they produce a violent reaction. Rep. Paul's opponents in the 2008 presidential election used his explanation of blowback to imply that he believed that the United States was responsible for the September 11 attacks, just as his opponents imply today that he's "soft" on Iran because of a lack of willingness to engage in aggressive military attacks against Iran.
Ron Paul's explanation of blowback first attained national attention in a May 15, 2007 presidential debate in South Carolina. Asked by Fox News moderator Wendell Goler why he opposed foreign interventionism, the following exchange between Paul, Goler, and Rudy Giuliani ensued: