Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Discourse On Moral and Political Compromise

What follows is an excerpt from an online discourse I shared with a dear friend a few months back:


Pat Buchanan summarized it well in a column a few years back:

"Lesson: Political opportunism does not pay. At least when you stand on principle, there is honor in defeat. --snip-- "Part of the GOP leadership hierarchy has lost its faith. It may still declaim about less government and more freedom, but it no longer believes deeply enough to risk defeat. Our leaders seem to have come to look upon a loss of power like death itself, and hence, any abandonment of principle is justified to avert so intolerable a fate. "But a party terrified of defeat is already dead in its soul and open to intimidation. The dog can smell the fear in the man."

Buchanan was obviously talking about Washington, D.C. but the smell of fear and the stench of moral compromise that once stayed in D.C. is now all over a lot of GOP public figures here in the "Buckle on the Bible Belt" as well. More's the pity. There can be honor in principled defeat but there can be none in self-serving retreat.

The Taylor win was just the beginning. The GOP is gonna lose a house seat over this and they now have a self funded Democratic political powerhouse to deal with that can buy whatever office she darn well pleases for twenty years to come. Frankly, the Tulsa GOP deserves it for trying to foist Bill L and so many others like him off on us for so long.

Fellow Participant asks, "What would you do, have GOP voters stay at home?"

You bet. The GOP has been scr*wing its conservative base for decades with this strategy. Run right govern center. Stay just perceptibly right of the Democrats so that you can attract middle of the road "swing votes" while you ignore your conservative base. There is one way and way only for true conservatives, especially thecons like myself, to ever regain any influence in the GOP. Let em lose and let em lose big. Let them know that if they don't take our issues seriously they cannot count on our vote. Show them that if they insist on offering mediocre party hacks instead of real candidates we will sit it out. Frankly, from what I have seen from the GOP lately we were no worse off with Dems in power anyway.

I become incredibly frustrated with my theocon bretheren who never examine the candidates and then invoke the name of God to support for Dem's in GOP clothing despite their weak or imperceptible differences from Dems on key issues. I become even more frustrated with the growing number of Kool Aid drinkers who do not hold GOP pols feet to the fire on their issues and instead come running back to vote for any jerk with an elephant beside his name.

I will not vote for a candidate I do not feel is qualified. Period. No matter which party. I will not vote for a candidate who is morally compromised. Period. I will not support a political party that does not respect me, my beliefs and issues. Period. Its better not to vote than to participate in the election of a candidate that neither respects you nor will follow your wishes in office.

I regularly speak to churches and religious groups. I always speak on issues and never support a particular candidate. But, my stump speech has changed. I have read a lot of Bonhoeffer over the years and I am now advocating his position that people of faith must as a matter of duty refrain from participation in politics when it is purely a lesser of evils choice.

Fellow Participant comments that is the sacred duty of every citizen to always vote no matter how distasteful the candidates are.

"The church has three possible ways it can act against the state. First, it can ask the state if its actions are legitimate. Second, it can aid the victims of the state action. The church has the unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering society even if they do not belong to the Christian society. The third possibility is not just [to] bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself."

D. Bohoeffer, The Church and the Jewish Question, 1933

"While your contributors wrote with a circumspection appropriate to the occasion, they have laid an indisputable case for the illegitimacy of the regime now passing itself off as a democracy. Our government has delegitimated itself in at least two ways. On a purely political level, Americans hold that our rulers derive their authority to govern through the will of the people. Only the most partisan supporters of the present regime could insist that we still live in a functioning democracy. On the most essential matters of human life and conscience, the courts have systematically invalidated the will of the people. Furthermore, they have done this by constructing a jurisprudence that leaves no doubt they intend to continue ruling by judicial fiat for the foreseeable future. Only questions of relative insignificance have been left to the people to resolve for themselves. This is no small development and before we accept it there ought to be some sort of national discussion. I doubt most Americans are aware of the current impotence of their vote."

The End of Democracy, Dr. James Dobson, Pres. Focus on the Family, First Things, Jan. 1997

"For many decades now, control over the most important decisions affecting the conditions under which Americans live, work, and raise their children has flowed steadily from the people most affected toward state and federal legislatures and administrative agencies. The courts were hardly the only agents in this process, nor is it certain that they could have held it back. Yes, legislatures are more representative than courts, but they too are increasingly responsive to the interests and values of "elites." Yes, the judiciary all too often mirrors the biases of the knowledge class, but the legislative and administrative processes are all too often captured by the money class. And look not to the political parties, as presently constituted, for help. It does not seem an exaggeration to say that we currently have a party of big business paying lip service to traditional moral values, and a party of big government paying lip service to the need of working people and the poor. Even that distinction is collapsing as Democratic Party leaders cozy up to big business, and Republicans discover the joys of big government. The cracks in the democratic pillars of the republic, alas, may extend to the cultural foundations. Hittinger recognizes this when he questions whether the people have "tacitly consented" to the new regime."

Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard, The End of Democracy, First Things, Jan. 1997

"Only the Church collectively can decide at what point a government becomes sufficiently corrupt that a believer must resist it. But, with fear and trembling, I have begun to believe that, however Christians in America gather to reach their consensus, we are fast approaching this point. Most orthodox Christians are likely to find it impossible to support a political regime under which the judiciary-without any legislative license-sanctions abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual marriage. Few believers are likely to pledge their allegiance to a government under which the courts-in the name of "constitutional rights" they themselves have sole authority to read into the Constitution-can systematically close off any form of political opposition by declaring it to betray the "inevitable inference" of animus.

"And if, after prayerful deliberation, Christians corporately determine that our present government has violated its God-given mandate, what then? After the pattern of the confessing German church, the Church would first have to separate herself and declare her independence, disavowing any moral legitimacy indirectly or unofficially provided for the state in the past. Through her teaching and preaching office, the Church would need to expose the nature of the state's rebellion against God-in effect, bringing the state under the transcendent judgment of God."

Dr. Charles Colson, The End of Democracy, First Things, Nov. 1996

Fellow Participant asks me to restate the last post in "plain english."

My friend that is plain english. You have just perfectly illustrated one of the primary problems with the American electorate. Educated by schools that teach slogans instead of learning, informed by a media that condenses every issue to a thirty second sound byte and a maximum one hour wrap up for "in depth" reporting, most American voters are incapable of wading through the moral and ethical implications of their actions at the ballot box or anyplace else. The link at the bottom of that post is there for a reason. It's to allow a thinking participant to read some very smart people's analysis of the current state of American politics. I have degrees in law and criminal justice. I have a minor in the modern equivalent of journalism. I have authored over 200 bylined news articles and opinion pieces, several of them on political and constitutional issues. I have been published locally, regionally and nationally. Having said all of that, I have to think these things through very carefully and consult the wisdom of every source that I can trust before I come to a conclusion. I would suggest you do the same.

Fellow Participant replies that he participated and did what he thought was right.

We're caught in a no win cycle and will be until the voters find the collective cojones to "just say no." Who do you think defeated Medlock? Not Taylor. The GOP. The GOP wanted LaFortune and bet the store that they could crap all over voters like you and for that matter Medlock and still see you crawl back to ballot box at the last moment and support them when they chanted a few conservative and Christian code words and erected a Democratic straw man.

(This entire debacle)... did a great job of revealing just how corrupt the Tulsa County GOP has become. But, when the time came to follow the only natural and moral conclusion of that revelation, to have no part of it, (our so-called public voices) ... lost their nerve and by doing that, became partakers in what they beheld, losing their moral mandate to lead.

The GOP rank and file have to learn the lessons that our opponents take for granted. The Dem's never ever ever take their base constituencies for granted except perhaps for the black vote. If they scr*ew over the gays, the feminists, the unions or the teachers, they will be punished publicly and quickly and everybody on the hill knows it. Those people have clout in their party. Until the GOP conservative constituencies find the same kind of savvy and guts, we are going to be the "ignorant and easily led" sheep that the Dem's accuse us of being.

Friday, February 22, 2008

GOP to Conservatives: Drop Dead

From Townhall.Com:

GOP to Conservatives: Drop Dead
By Douglas MacKinnon
Friday, February 22, 2008

As with small children, many of the entrenched, beholden, or power-hungry hierarchy of the Republican party, simply wish conservatives could be seen, but never heard.

In a very telling headline, The Washington Times recently reported, “McCain Refuses to Pander.” In the first paragraph of the article, the paper said, “John McCain's campaign manager yesterday said the candidate will not pander for conservative support…” Yeah, we know. Message received.

For those conservatives or talk radio hosts who still don’t get it, or who are still not prepared to compromise their principles for the party, then some elder statesmen have some names they’d like to call you. Chase Untermeyer, the former high level official for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and the current president, said in a recent column, “At both the national and local levels, there are those who declare that certain Republican elected officials are insufficiently conservative and must be purged. Senator John McCain is getting the worst of these blasts right now, with some self-appointed tribunes of Reagan’s legacy saying they might even prefer Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – scarcely followers of the Gipper – to McCain.”

For those conservatives who admire President Reagan but would dare question the record of McCain, Mr. Untermeyer, labeled each a “SQUIRREL.” As in “Snarky Quibbler who Undermines and Ignores Ronald Reagan’s Enduring Legacy.”

“Snarky.” I guess if you went to Harvard, called yourself “Chase” instead of Charles, and mingled with the elites of the world, then “Snarky” is a name you might assign to conservatives who have an honest disagreement with John McCain. If you’re someone like me, who grew up in poverty, barely got an education, and never met an Ivory Tower elite worth a warm bucket of spit, then you might substitute the word “ethical” for snarky.

When I first came to Washington, I had the honor to work in the White House as a low-level writer for Ronald Reagan. While certainly lacking the pedigree of Mr. Untermeyer, I did share one or two special moments with that President. In a conversation that Peggy Noonan was kind enough to chronicle in her bestselling book entitled “When Character Was King,” President Reagan and I spoke in the Oval Office about the alcoholism of our fathers, poverty, and the cruelty of life. It was actually because of Ronald Reagan’s wisdom, kindness, and suggestion, that I was able to reach out to my estranged father.

Understanding that, I’m more than proud to plead guilty to using Ronald Reagan as the template for true conservatism. As such, I just don’t think there is any way that anyone can accurately equate Reagan’s conservative legacy with McCain’s moderate voting record. Does saying that make me a bad person? Am I now an Untermeyer “Squirrel?”

The thought of voting for Clinton or Obama makes me nauseous. We are a nation at war with Islamists who mean to exterminate us. To vote for Clinton or Obama is to vote for the authority to wave the flag of appeasement or surrender. I have no intention of voting for the next Neville Chamberlain.

John McCain is a good person. I do believe he has the best interests of our nation at heart. That said, as an American, it’s my right to disagree with him on substance. John McCain heroically fought and sacrificed to give me that right, and for that, I am forever grateful. On issues such as immigration, taxes, judges, global warming, drilling in Anwar, and the detention and prosecution of enemy combatants, I take issue with some of his past comments, votes, or current positions.

Unfortunately, the message I’m getting from the Republican establishment is that conservatives should bite their tongues, do their duty, and await the crumbs that may come their way in a McCain administration. Is that what it’s come to? Party loyalty before principle?

In endorsing McCain the other day, former President George H.W. Bush said, “…no one is better prepared to lead our nation at these trying times than Senator John McCain.” Really? No one? Does this incredibly decent former president truly believe that McCain is better prepared to lead this nation than say, his own son, Jeb? Or Mitt Romney?

In his endorsement, the former president also said, “…I believe now is the time for me to help John in his effort to start building the broad-based coalition it will take for our conservative values to carry the White House this fall.”

“Conservative values.” That’s all this election is about for millions of Americans who choose to put country before party. As such, they are entitled to have McCain further define or clarify his “conservative values.” He needs to earn their vote.

Like Untermeyer, former President Bush questioned those on the right who question McCain. He called such criticism “grossly unfair” and an “unfair attack.”

If some in the party succeed in quashing the conservative voice, then they will have silenced the conscience of America. Surely, John McCain will stand shoulder to shoulder with conservatives to prevent such an outcome.


Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the forthcoming novel, The Apocalypse Directive.

Copyright © 2006 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Destructive Personalities Revisited ...

It is absolutely fascinating to track who reads your blog and what they are interested in. My blog sites have the usual built in trackers and I have one of those little HTML modules tucked in as well that gives me more detailed information. You never know what will interest people. The most often read essay on this blog is the one about dealing with destructive personalities. This essay gets anywhere from six to ten hits per day, every day, day in and day out. Some of these hits are probably coming from psychology buffs but I suspect there are a lot of lawyers in there as well who are wondering what in the world to do next. Attorney/Blogger Norm Pattis nailed the problem with this statement:

So what do you do? Do you withdraw because the client's objectives have become repugnant? Do so and face the inevitable grievance and perhaps suit. Do you litigate the case to completion, papering your file so as not to become the latest target for the infinite wrath of a person with stripped gears? Lawyers and judges don't talk openly about this. This is water cooler talk -- talk behind closed doors.

Most of what is contained in that essay is derivative from other people's work. I just wrote my usual summary of what I had found in a lot of reading on the subject.

Perhaps the best discussion on this subject for lawyers is taking place on the Crime and Federalism blog which can be found HERE.

Norm Pattis, the founder of the blog, started his Sociopathy Project in 2005 and has done quite a bit of reading and writing about the effects of sociopaths, persons with borderline personality disorder and other problem clients. It is well worth the read and as a matter of fact worth Pattis writing a book if he had time. It would seem that his work did some good because one of his final entries in the project recorded a decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court which might open the door for attorneys who faced bar complaints that are later dismissed to recover some of their expenses.

The other prime source on this subject is Attorney and Mental Health professional Bill Eddy's High Conflict Institute whose website can be found HERE. Eddy was written a couple of books about the effect of high conflict personalities in legal disputes. At one time, a good portion of his work could be found online and while some of it has been withdrawn there are still good articles to be found there.

Friday, February 15, 2008

McCain Must Persuade Grassroots, Not Commentators

McCainiacs Must Persuade Grassroots, Not Commentators
By David Limbaugh
Friday, February 15, 2008

Political commentators from various points on the right-wing spectrum are still arguing about the McCain presidential candidacy, lecturing and scolding each other -- as if their opinions are going to decide the election. They take themselves too seriously.

The McCainiacs are warning McCain's conservative opponents that unless they stop criticizing McCain immediately, he'll never recover in time for the general election.

This assumes that if the pundits come around, the grassroots will follow, like mindless sheep. Newsflash: They are neither intellectually shallow nor easily led. They are informed, engaged, independent minded and principled.

Nothing illustrates this better than the controversy surrounding the revival of McCain's candidacy. I haven't seen this much anxiety among conservatives since the Clinton impeachment.

I've never received more e-mails, and they've never been more passionate. My correspondents fall roughly into three groups:

One group is outraged at conservative holdouts who aren't warming to McCain quickly enough to allay their fears that less than a unified GOP front will result in the end of the world under a president Clinton or Obama. My earlier statement that I would ultimately vote for McCain (however reluctantly) if he's the nominee didn't pacify them. Even to softly criticize him or gently nudge him to the right would be to forfeit the election to the Democrats.

The second group is incensed that conservatives would consider supporting McCain even as the lesser of "evils." Such would be a betrayal of the highest magnitude and disqualifies them from calling themselves conservatives. They will never vote for McCain. One, fairly typical, wrote, "For me to cast a vote for (McCain) at this time is totally unthinkable. I would have to don from head to toe our surgical isolation gear with heavy gloves and boots and wear a gas mask, too, and carry my ballot over to the ballot box by a pair of tongs. Then I would have to hurry home to shower off in the hottest of water and then douse myself with bleach. … And I say this knowing that McLame is (supposedly) more conservative than Obama or Hillary!!!"

The third group, though equally passionate, is less resolute. They view McCain's candidacy as presenting a dilemma. On the one hand, he's an inveterate opponent of many conservative causes, and voting for him in the general election would be enormously painful. On the other, not voting for him would be to facilitate the unthinkable. They feel utter despair.

Quite uncharacteristically, I find myself somewhat torn, as well. I couldn't ever vote for Hillary or Obama, but I don't think Republicans are so fragile that continuing this vigorous debate among ourselves is dangerous. Reagan conservatives have to continue to make their voices heard.

Many conservatives aren't impressed that McCain allegedly has an 80 percent lifetime conservative voting record. They view the numerous and substantial policy differences he has today with Reagan conservatives as disqualifying.

He says he'll extend the Bush tax cuts, but he vigorously opposed them initially. So what about other supply side measures, like lowering or eliminating capital gains and estate taxes? He says he'll protect the border, but does he still favor amnesty for some 20 million illegals without regard to what that could mean for security, the deficit, the culture, the rule of law and political demographics? Will he still call his opponents on this issue "nativists"?

He says he's a fiscal hawk, but since he's bought into liberal global-warming propaganda, will he push cap-and-trade, Kyoto, and other initiatives that could bankrupt our government and economy? Will he close Gitmo, bring terrorist prisoners within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and treat them like criminal suspects instead of war enemies? Will he continue to subordinate life issues to his beloved campaign finance reform crusade?

I would never consider voting for a Democratic presidential candidate just because the Republican was not optimal. But I understand why some have drawn the line at McCain's candidacy.

Regardless, whatever the McCainiacs do, they should not underestimate the intensity of conservative angst against him, his recent record and many of his current positions. His conservative opponents are legion and they will not be appeased with glib promises.

It wouldn't matter if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and every other conservative talk-show host and commentator came together and implored them to vote for McCain. A great many of them will not do so unless they are personally satisfied they are not selling their country down the river by electing John McCain.

So instead of focusing on Rush, Sean, Mark and Laura, the McCainiacs better address sincerely the concerns of the grassroots -- soon. Without the base, all the moderates in the world won't save him.

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today's Democratic Party.

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Copyright © 2006 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Alan Keyes Comments on McCain As The GOP Candidate

Comments about McCain

Asked about Senator McCain, Keyes said,

"He [has] betrayed conservatism in the name of bipartisanship, but actually in the name of trying to serve his own presidential ambition. And that includes the McCain-Feingold bill, a direct assault on freedom of speech, on the ability of conservative grassroots organizations to raise money, on their ability to communicate with the electorate."

Continued Keyes, "[McCain] has made a determined effort to shut down true democratic self-government in this country, so that people can't organize, can't raise money, can't associate, and can't communicate about the records of their representatives. And that kind of assault is a deadly blow against the possibility of self-government and constitutionalism in America."

"And we're just supposed to forget about it now," Keyes said, "and listen to his words that his pollsters tell him he's got to say to please and placate people, but I don't think people are that stupid. I really don't," Keyes said.

"The same is true of the border security issue," Keyes remarked. "[McCain] fought tooth and nail against the Minutemen and others who wanted to see the barriers put up and border security assured. Instead, he promoted an amnesty bill that would have devastated the sovereignty of the American people and would have produced demographic changes that confirm the invasion that, in effect, has taken place on our nation's territory and soil."

Said Keyes, "And now he wants us to believe, 'Oh, I'm in favor of strong border security, because I know you people won't vote for me if you know the truth.' Are we that stupid? Have we really become that gullible as a people that we let these politicians change their words and will ignore their actual work and record in the process? I hope not, and don't think so."

In regard to judicial appointments, Keyes said of McCain, "Other conservatives fought hard to get good judicial nominees set up there, and this guy, looking to refurbish or build up his reputation for bipartisanship, torpedoed their efforts to get good conservative justices through and joined hands with the Teddy Kennedys of the world to defeat the effort."

"This is not soon to be forgotten, by people who understand what it takes, the sacrifices that have been involved in trying to elect good solid conservative majorities in the Senate and the House, only to see them betrayed because of the actions of people like John McCain," Keyes said.

"So, I find it entirely implausible that good hearted and good conscienced conservatives are suddenly going to forget that whole record, which in point of fact means that [McCain's] been moving in a direction indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton. The only difference will be the label," Keyes suggested.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Interview With A Kamazkaze Republican

GOP: Mr. Kumpe, you have taken a very radical position. How can you threaten not to vote?
Kumpe: Voting is a right. It is not a duty. The American system of government gives us the right to choose our leaders. If the system does not provide a candidate whose leadership I can support, I have every right not to participate and by so doing voice my disapproval of the whole process.
GOP: But, if everyone did that you would assure that they other side won.
Kumpe: If McCain is the candidate, the other side has won already. Political labels and parties don’t impress me. McCain is a Democrat in everything but name. Look at the Ann Coulter column previously posted. I don’t care which party is in power so long as my issues are addressed. Unfortunately, neither side seems willing to do that.
GOP: You obviously support Mike Huckabee. Why?
Kumpe: So far, he has promised to govern from a scriptural perspective on key, make or break, issues. I’m not happy with all of his positions but he is where he needs to be on the key positions. No other candidate is or can be trusted to remain there after the elections.
GOP: What could McCain do to gain your vote?
Kumpe: Nothing. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. McCain has had a lifetime to develop a record and it is a record I cannot support. He wouldn’t change in office.
GOP: What could Huckabee do to lose your support?
Kumpe: Announce that he was McCain’s VP candidate or urge his supporters to vote for McCain if he drops out. If it became obvious that Huckabee was acting as a Judas Goat to shore up McCain’s dismal support in the Evangelical community, I would never vote for him or support him again.
GOP: That’s pretty strong. McCain is an old man. Huckabee might be the presidential candidate in the next election cycle.
Kumpe: Yes, but if Huckabee could loyally serve in a McCain administration he would not deserve my support. The key issues that we Evangelicals base our support upon are not negotiable. They are moral issues that define a man’s character and worldview. You can’t pick them up when they are convenient and then put them aside when it is more convenient.
GOP: You are treating your political participation the same as your religious participation. How can you do that?
Kumpe: There was a time early in the last century when the unconstitutional but nevertheless somewhat practical concept of separation of church and politics was feasible. There was a sufficient underlying base of Judeo Christian norms and values in the American population to allow Christians to leave politics to the politicians. That time is past. The underlying base of common Judeo Christian norms and values is gone and the political parties on both sides have drug the faith community kicking and screaming into the political process. Too many Christians have allowed their faith to become compromised to accommodate their political party. The key principles of the faith do not change. We are in this battle and we have to be just as tough as our opposition. The pro-abortion lobby has never supported a moderately pro-life candidate to win an election and they are still highly influential in the Democratic Party. The gay lobby has never, ever, ever supported a moderately pro-marriage and family candidate to win an election but they are arguably the most influential segment of the Democratic Party. They fight their issues to the death and have the respect of their party. You have to draw the conclusion Christian Conservatives do not take their issues as seriously as the pro-aborts and gays. And given that, the GOP neither respects nor takes seriously the Christian Conservatives. Until we get as least as tough as our opposition we will never gain ground. Christian Conservatives need to learn the old infantry adage, “ You’ll never take a hill you’re not willing to die on.”


This essay was originally published as an editorial on the Free Republic website. It was pulled after complaints by Bush GOP activists. However, the article was then re-published in several other places including the influential "Lone Star Conservative." This version of the essay was copied from that website:


From 1980 until 1992 Republicans occupied the White House. There can be little serious argument that the key voting bloc in those Presidential victories was the so-called "religious right." They were everywhere in the party from local precinct meetings to the podium of the national convention. They were the single most loyal and dependable voting bloc in the GOP. However, during the last GOP convention, leaders of the religious right were actually asked to stay out of view while so-called moderates espousing abortion, feminism, gay rights and affirmative action were allowed to make prime time network appearances. Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" fell on to the dust heap of political insignificance years ago. Founder Pat Robertson resigned from all participation in the Christian Coalition last week. What happened to the religious right? How could the most powerful voting bloc in the party come to such a state in just a few years? In my opinion, (1) they didn't learn that access does not equal influence; (2) they learned too late that fraternization can lead to assimilation; (3) they forgot that promises must be followed by performance; and (4) they forgot that principle must control politics.

Access without influence:

Access to political figures is a heady thing. Simply being in the presence of power has a narcotic effect. However, the fact that the Congressman or Senator will take five minutes to visit with you means nothing if the visit does not accomplish some useful purpose. Unfortunately, to many political access was and is frequently seen as an end rather than a means. Access means nothing if it does not result in influence. Access means you get invited to political and quasi-political social functions, the candidate or official calls you "my dear friend" or "tireless worker" in public, etc. For some people these sometimes empty symbols of recognition are the raison de etre of political effort. However, influence means that at the end of a meeting the politician forwards your agenda and defends it when necessary against your enemies. Access without influence is hypocrisy on the part of the politician and self-delusion on the part of the voter or worker.

From fraternization to assimilation:

It is a law of the universe that in every exchange one or both sides will be changed in some way by the other. The only question is who will change and to what degree? The religious right at its peak was a mile wide but in most places only an inch deep. Doctrinally weak in their own beliefs and lacking any real political education, many members of the religious right turned from wary fraternization to unthinking assimilation into the GOP mainstream. Equipped only with buzz words and biblically correct though intellectually unsupported political positions, many fell prey to better educated, more grounded "moderate" influences in the party.

The civil rights movement of the 1960's proved to be a political windfall for the Democratic party. By positioning themselves as the sole friend of America's largest untapped bloc of voters they assured themselves an unquestioningly loyal base to work from for generations. Desperate to counter this bloc, GOP strategists sought to isoloate a similar bloc of voters and found them in the under-represented sleeping giant of the American church. It was a brilliant political coup of massive proportions by GOP strategists. Millions of once conservative religious voters of both parties became part of the GOP "mainstream" within two or three election cycles. Without a clear cut political philosophy or adequate analytical tools, they became a politicians dream, a mass of easily influenced voters easily led to the left, right or center as needed to forge the necessary coalitions to gain or maintain power. And, as evidenced at the last convention, they can even to be told to sit down and shut up and still be depended upon to vote for the GOP candidate.

Looking back, the church failed to ground its people in the practical application of key doctrines and when its members were let out into the political system to change the world they were instead changed themselves.

Promises without performance:

The absolute proof of the failure of the religious right lies in its legislative record on key issues. The promises of the candidates that the religious right swept into power have not been followed by performance on the agreed upon agenda. While some good work has been done, while they frequently won the battle to elect their candidates they lost the post election legislative battles and are thus still losing the culture war.

GOP candidates waved the bloody red shirt of abortion in every election from state house to the white house for years. Judicial reform was a key issue among religious right intellectuals. But, after twelve years of Reagan-Bush, abortion was and is still legal until seconds before birth. Far from being over, the battle over abortion is being bitterly fought as we speak in the halls of Congress where a GOP majority has been quietly spiking pro-life legislation. Many cynics believe that they do this because they would rather have the issue and the votes it produces than victory. After twelve years in power, the Supreme Court's makeup did not appreciably change. Scared into submission by the vitriol of the Bork battle, only one true conservative Justice, Clarence Thomas, was nominated. And, even that victory was offset by the appointment of the strongly left leaning David Souter and the unpredictable Justice Kennedy. As we speak, even moderately conservative appointments by the second Bush administration are bound up in committee and political infighting. Pornography advanced from carefully zoned red light districts and movie houses into every home through the internet. Our national media is a sewer of perversion, far worse than before. Scenes and themes appear nightly on network television that were relegated to movie houses and premium cable channels only a decade ago. Premium cable channels show perversion that I will not describe twenty four hours a day seven days per week. And, anti-Christian bias in the culture and courts is now worse than ever. By any objective measure, the religious right won its political battles for the GOP but lost the war to implement its agenda.

Politics without Principle:

The key to the problem lies in the fact that Christian voters do not follow their issues. Trained by their churches to let the guy behind the pulpit worry about doctrine, they apply the same principle to their politicians. They can be quickly mobilized to elect a candidate but then either blindly hero worship him or worse simply lose interest. It is almost impossible to get Christian voters to criticize a candidate they helped to elect or hold him accountable for his actions. Once in office, he can abandon the agenda and they will simply look the other way. Until the religious voter learns to hold their candidates feet to the fire on key issues, regardless of short term loss of access, they will not change the political system or the culture. The pro-abortion lobby has not changed its position on key issues in thirty years. It has to date never supported a moderately pro-life candidate to help the Democratic party win a key election as pro-lifers have been asked to help so-called "moderate pro-choice" candidates time and again by the GOP. The same is true but to a much higher degree if that is possible for the gay lobby. The education lobby moves further left every election. Their extreme positions cost the Democratic party millions of voters and yet their access and influence within the party are unchallenged. The reason these hard line left wing ideologues remain powerful despite their relatively small number is simple. They take no prisoners. If their candidates stray from their positions they punish them. They are in the game for the long haul and stay focussed on their issues.

Shamefully, it must be said that in practice on the political playing field, the abortion rights lobby, the public education lobby and the gay rights lobby are far more dedicated to their cause than the Body of Christ. This has led to a new set of paradigms in GOP politics. Run right govern center. Stay in office by staying flexible. Political expediency governs the application of principle. Say what you have to to get elected but remember who on "the Hill" will punish you if you cross them. GOP candidates know that by simply learning a few Christian buzz words, getting the right high profile Christian to sit beside you at a meeting, attending a few prayer breakfasts, etc. that many gullible voters will vote for them. Later after the election, if even asked, failure to produce on their agenda can be blamed on the opposition, the courts or the bureaucracy. Cynically, the political key to the Christian vote is simply saying the right things on the stump that you can later deny privately on the hill, sometimes even before the election is over! And, the issues will be lying there waiting to be taken up again during the next election cycle.


Christian citizens must learn to participate in the political system in a way that does not compromise their key principles. They must get past the hero worshiping, elect 'em and forget 'em, style of participation and learn to track issues and measure results. They must learn to hold their candidates accountable and be ready to punish them when necessary even if it means losing access or even an election. Paradoxically in this conversation at least, Christians are not accountable in the end for results only faithfulness. They must remain faithful to their principles, support faithful politicians and refuse to support unfaithful ones. They must become every bit as dedicated to their issues as their opposition. Fortunately, gutsy, hard-ball faithfulness to the cause, as evidenced by the other side, is good politics and the only way to gain permanent influence in the political system.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kamakazi Republican or Principled Christian? Part II.

I believe in national sin. The Bible is replete with examples where the sin of a nation, even God’s chosen nation Israel, becomes so repugnant to Him that he turns the whole regime over to their enemies as both an instrument of His justice and a means to facilitate repentance. This principle is by no means limited to Old Testament times. Germany was a civilized Christian nation.

Adolph Hitler gained control of the German political system because he was tough on communism and made the economy work again. German Christians held their noses and supported the “lesser of evils.” But eventually, the seeds of evil planted in their political system brought forth fruit: the Holocaust, WWII and the destruction of the German nation. By the late 1930’s, Hitler’s excesses had become so repugnant that parts of the German state church were in open rebellion against their government. By the early 1940’s, as bombs rained down on their cities, pastors of the “Confessing Church” were openly praying prayers of repentance for failing to oppose the Nazis while they still had a voice.

American Christians have no idea how bad their bargaining position is in the current body politic. In Lawrence v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the moral values of the majority of the population as voiced through the political system would not prevent the courts from overturning laws they disapproved of. Increasingly, the alleged political voice of American Christians, the GOP, is telling them that they must go to the back of the bus and compromise their core values to gain any kind of voice in future administrations. At a past GOP convention, Bush operatives actually told Evangelical leaders and delegates to stay out of sight and maintain a low profile during the convention. But, during the same convention, so-called "Gay Republicans" were allowed to take the podium and address the crowd. I am ashamed to say that Evangelical leaders, complied, took it and did not walk out of the convention.

The single bargaining chip American Christians have left in the political system is the power to throw an election to the other side if the GOP does not produce acceptable candidates. But, increasingly, Christian Americans are being asked to hold their noses and vote for candidates which simply do not support their values. The excuse offered is that the unacceptable candidate must be acceptable because he is the lesser of two evils. The problem is that the lesser of evils is still evil and a seed of evil planted in the garden of politics always brings forth fruit.

I believe that every American’s vote counts. I believe that God will hold every individual accountable for how he votes. We Americans allegedly have a social contract called the U.S. Constitution. It is premised on the concept that our political system produces a government of the people, by the people and for the people. In short, we choose our leaders. But, attendant upon that choice is the responsibility for it. Imagine this conversation before the throne of God:

God: You were an American right?
Defendant: Yes.
God: You chose your political leaders, right?
Defendant: Yes.
God: You knew these leaders did not support Scriptural values, right?
Defendant: Yes.
God: But you chose them anyway, right?
Defendant: Yes.
God: Why?
Defendant: Because our political leaders said we couldn’t win the election by supporting men that promised to govern by your values.
God: I’m looking at the Scriptures here. Where do they tell you that part of your duty is to win political elections? Could you show me the chapter and verse?
Defendant: Well … it’s complicated. I can’t really.
God: No you cannot. I wrote this Book and it’s not there. But, can you show me some verses where I told you to be obedient to my Word and principles and let Me worry about the results?
Defendant: Do I have to? I’ll stipulate that the Bible is full of them.
God: So, you are telling me that you chose to believe POLITICIANS instead of My Word and voted in rebellion against my principles time and again?
Defendant: Well, I wouldn’t put it that way.
God: Well, I would. You chose them and now you are responsible for their actions while they were in office.

I have enough to account for before God already. I do not want to have that conversation. So, unless a miracle occurs and the GOP finds an acceptable candidate, I will not be voting this November.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I have seen an evil under the sun ...

I have seen an evil under the sun.

I will never forget the night in 1979 that I attended a massive pro-life rally at the Mabee Center in Tulsa. In a conversion almost as profound as my first spiritual conversion, I became a Christian Activist.

In the years to follow, I would march in front of abortion clinics almost daily at times, organize demonstrations against pornography dealers and plumb the depths of local, state and national politics looking for solutions. I attended interminable meetings and joined a bewildering mass of groups and coalitions. I read Schaeffer and Whitehead and then Blackstone. I taught myself to write and then worked for a newspaper to perfect my skills. I studied journalism and then the law. After I discovered the law, I continued my education through law school, passionately devoting my skills to the cause of Christ. I studied jurisprudence and explored the depths of Aquinas and Augustine.

But, after twenty seven years of pursuing righteousness in the public square, I have come to believe that much of it was a fool’s errand. The abortion clinic that I once marched in front of almost daily still operates but the protesters are gone thanks to draconian Federal regulations enacted despite decades of Republican political control. The pornography that I once protested against in front of dirty little buildings in bad neighborhoods now flows freely into almost every American home through the internet, cable and satellite television. Our public schools are more hostile to a Christian presence than they were when I started, thanks in large part to a string of Supreme Court decisions decided by a court almost universally appointed by Republicans. Sodomy is now so accepted in our society that a public career can be destroyed for criticizing it and we are teetering on the edge of an ethical black hole over end of life decisions and human engineered, perhaps part animal, “beings” and body parts.

In fitful nights and tortured days, I asked myself, “How can this be?” How can the will of God and the people be so completely subverted? I found the answer in politics. I saw that our most impassioned and purely motivated political movements usually devour their creators in a very short time and are then inherited by politicians who care not for the cause but only the power attendant to it. I saw that the passionate marchers who initially fill the ranks of these movements are first despised and then feared for their passion and ultimately converted into or forcibly replaced by more docile “issue voters.” I saw motivated citizens who were willing to devote their time and treasure to reclaiming their government and culture almost inevitably replaced by cynical professional politicians and policy wonks whose only constant credo is, "politics is the art of compromise." I saw most of all that our principles, our raison detr’e, were always negotiable in pursuit of the elusive “mainstream majority” position. And, I saw that in some men's eyes God and a particular political party were sometimes so completely identified with each other that it was equally heretical to criticize the will of either.

I found the answer in the words of Solomon: “Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. Ecclesiastes 9:15, 16.
“If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.” Ecc: 5:8.9.

And, on Solomon’s advice, I decided to rest in the comfort of an honest day’s labor in the vineyard of the Lord and trust Him to dispense justice in His time.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Kamakazi Republican or Principled Christian?

If the GOP does not offer an acceptable candidate I will not vote in the presidential election. Neither McCain nor Romney are acceptable. McCain does not understand the Constitution or he would never have passed McCain Feingold. Romney cannot be trusted - I Like Mike!to do anything other than say what needs to be said at the moment to achieve his desired goals. He is the ultimate political pragmatist and opportunist. Having said that, I resent people who repeatedly say that conservative Christian GOP voters must always choose the lesser of evils and violate their own principles.

Oklahoma’s own Don Nickels invented the big tent. I was a print reporter when the strategy was introduced and covered stump speeches where Nickles discussed it. In reality, the big tent strategy works on the principle that Christians will not abandon the GOP because the alternative would always be worse. There are three things wrong with this strategy. First, for every so called moderate voter the big tent attracts it pushes one out on the right. And, the problem is that you gain uncommitted, highly fluid voters in the center and lose highly committed, unwavering voters on the right. For every unprincipled, undecided moderate the GOP gains they lose a principled activist (like myself). How many uncommitted centrists does it take to replace a committed activist? A bunch. Consequently on the numbers alone, this strategy does not work.

Second, and more important, the big tent strategy is a political left handed ratchet that allows the other side to control the direction of the debate. Every move the GOP takes toward the so-called “center” moves the Democratic Party farther left. So, every election cycle the GOP must move farther left to pursue the so-called center that is being defined not within the GOP itself but rather by their opposition. I have watched this happen now through at least five election cycles. If the conservative wing of the GOP, especially the Christian conservative wing, does not draw a line in the sand, the leftward drift will continue each election cycle until the GOP is unrecognizable as a conservative entity.

Third and most important for Christians is the fact that we are not called to win. We are called to be faithful and trust God to honor our obedience. If a candidate’s positions clearly violate scriptural principles, a true Christian cannot vote for them. So, the Christian voter can vote when there is an acceptable candidate but must not vote when doing so will violate scriptural principles. He is NOT REQUIRED TO VOTE.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I am an old man. I have watched the same GOP strategies trotted out every election cycle since the 1980’s. They do the same things every cycle and then come back ask the Conservatives and Christians to believe them one more time ... never mind the fact that they have never kept their promises. If you saw a kid repeatedly sticking his hand through a hole in the fence to grab a candy bar only to have it slapped with a board you would call him an idiot after the second or third slap. The GOP has done that very thing to Christians and Conservatives five presidential election cycles. I may be slow but I am no idiot. In 1996 nearly a dozen of the best Christian minds in the U.S. held a conference to discuss what to do about the then current political and constitutional crisis. At that time Dr. James Dobson observed:

"Only the most partisan supporters of the present regime could insist that we still live in a functioning democracy. On the most essential matters of human life and conscience, the courts have systematically invalidated the will of the people. Furthermore, they have done this by constructing a jurisprudence that leaves no doubt they intend to continue ruling by judicial fiat for the foreseeable future. Only questions of relative insignificance have been left to the people to resolve for themselves. This is no small development and before we accept it there ought to be some sort of national discussion. I doubt most Americans are aware of the current impotence of their vote ...

"I stand in a long tradition of Christians who believe that rulers may forfeit their divine mandate when they systematically contravene the divine moral law. The accumulation of evidence, when combined with the lawless jurisprudence that produced it, should remove all doubt that our judiciary has, by act and intention, stepped out from under the moral law upon which governing authority depends. They have made it plain that they have no intention of regarding any higher law than themselves and that those who do will not be tolerated in the public square. Having tortured the First Amendment to exclude all but "secular" motives from public debate, Justice Kennedy, writing for the Court, goes on to include in the definition of religious belief those who hold that "there is an ethic and a morality which transcend human invention." Therefore, whether you believe government derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed or from a higher source, our government has clearly transgressed its bounds in such a manner as to lose its authority. This is where we are."

During this same 1996 conference, Dobson, Colson, Hittinger, Nieuhaus and others agreed that the time might come when Christians would be forced to quit participating in politics if the political system became so corrupt that there was no acceptable choice and any vote would participating in or at least acknowledging tolerance of the national sin. I believe that time has come if McCain is nominated. Ann Coulter did an excellent job of elucidating some of the reasons a McCain nomination would be unacceptable:

From Goldwater Girl To Hillary Girl
By Ann Coulter
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nominating McCain is the gesture of a desperate party.

Republicans are so shell-shocked and demoralized by the success of the Bush Derangement Syndrome, they think they can fool the voters by nominating an open-borders, anti-tax cut, anti-free speech, global-warming hysteric, pro-human experimentation "Republican." Which is to say, a Democrat.

As the expression goes, given a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat, voters will always choose the Democrat. The only question remaining is: Hillary or Obama?

On the litmus test issues of our time, only partially excluding Iraq, McCain is a liberal.

He excoriated Samuel Alito as too "conservative."

He promoted amnesty for 20 million illegal immigrants.

He abridged citizens' free speech (in favor of the media) with McCain-Feingold.

He hysterically opposes waterboarding terrorists and wants to shut down Guantanamo.

Can I take a breath now?

He denounced the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

He opposes ANWR and supports the global warming cult, even posturing with fellow mountebank Arnold Schwarzenegger in front of solar panels.

The only site that would have been more appropriate for Schwarzenegger in endorsing McCain would have been in front of an abortion clinic.

Although McCain has the minimum pro-life record demanded by the voters of Arizona, in 2006, McCain voted in favor of using taxpayer funds to harvest stem cells from human embryos. He opposes a constitutional amendment to protect human life. And he frets that if Roe v. Wade were overruled, women's lives would be "endangered." This is the same John McCain who chides Mitt Romney today for "flip-flopping" on abortion. At least Romney flips and stays there.

Of course the most important issue for pro-lifers is the Supreme Court. As long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, it doesn't matter how many hearts and minds we've changed. So it's not insignificant that McCain has called Justice Samuel Alito too conservative.

We ended up with David Hackett Souter when a Republican president was actually looking for an Alito. Imagine how bad it will be when the "Republican" president isn't even trying.

McCain uses the boilerplate language of all Republicans in saying he will appoint "strict constructionists." This is supposed to end all discussion of the courts. But if he's picking strict constructionists, he will have to appoint judges who will commit to overturning McCain-Feingold.

That could be our litmus test: Will you hold President McCain's signature legislation restricting speech unconstitutional?

In 2004, McCain criticized the federal marriage amendment, saying, it was "antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans." Really? Preventing the redefinition of a 10,000-year-old institution -- marriage, that is, not John McCain -- is part of the core philosophy of being a Republican? I had no idea.

I'm not a lawyer -- oh wait, yes, I am -- but Republicans were proposing to amend the Constitution, a process the Constitution specifically describes.

It's like saying it's antithetical to the core philosophy of Republicans to require presidents to be at least 35 years old. It's in the Constitution! And Republicans -- other than the ones who voted for McCain-Feingold -- support the Constitution. You might say it's part of our core philosophy.

Of course, back in 2004, McCain was considering running on a presidential ticket with John Kerry. Realizing that this would not help his chances to run as a Republican in 2008, when he would be a mere 120 years old, McCain quickly withdrew his interest in being on Kerry's ticket.

But he defended Kerry from the Bush campaign's suggestion that Kerry was not tip-top on national security, saying on the "Today" show: "No, I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense." So that was helpful.

McCain also explained to an admiring press corps why he wouldn't want to be anyone's vice president, not even a national defense champion like Kerry, citing the meager constitutional duties of the vice president as: (1) to assume the presidency if the president is incapacitated and (2) "to break a tie vote in the Senate." (At which point several members of the fawning horde were heard to remark, "What is this 'Constitution' you speak of, Senator?")

But McCain conveniently forgot the second of these constitutional duties just a year later when Vice President Cheney was required "to break a tie vote in the Senate" on a matter of utmost importance to liberals: federal judges.

Just one year after McCain had correctly identified one of two jobs of the vice president, he was indignant that a Republican vice president might actually exercise one of them. Better to let a gaggle of 14 Senate malcontents pick the president's judges for him.

As part of the "Gang of 14," McCain hysterically opposed allowing the vice president to break a tie on judicial nominations. Following the Constitution with regard to the role of the vice president, McCain said, "would be a terrible precedent." Yes, if members of Congress actually read the Constitution, they might realize McCain-Feingold is unconstitutional.

If Hillary is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with Republicans ferociously opposing her, followed by Republicans zooming back into power, as we did in 1980 and 1994, and 2000. (I also predict more Oval Office incidents with female interns.)

If McCain is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with the Republicans in Congress co-opted by "our" president, followed by 30 years of Democratic rule.

There's your choice, America.


Ann Coulter is the legal correspondent for Human Events and author of Godless: The Church of Liberalism .

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