Around the Web

Tim Pawlenty is set to make his presidential bid official today. Yawn.

JB Van Hollen comes out against the lawless decision of Judge Maryann Sumi to block the budget repair bill, and Charlie Sykes has the scoop on Sumi’s conflict of interest regarding unions.

On federal spending and government shutdowns, Russ Vought makes the case for drawing a line in the sand.

Mark Levin has an excellent comparison of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush’s conservative credentials.

More union thuggery here and here.

And it turns out that Mitch Daniels is even worse than you (and I) thought.

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New on NewsReal – Reagan vs. Palin? Patti Davis Says the Sarahcuda Would Make Her Dad Spin in His Grave

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Leftists are generally happy to get a hold of so-called conservatives who are willing to bash the Right, but their favorite mouthpieces are the relatives of high-profile Republicans who are willing to go against the grain. A couple weeks ago, they paraded Ron Reagan Jr. around to suggest his father’s Alzheimer’s began in the Oval Office, and one of the Gipper’s other left-wing kids, Patti Davis, recently sat down for an interview with The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, in which she tried to argue that Reagan wouldn’t be much of a Sarah Palin fan if he were alive today:

When I tell her that Sarah Palin will be headlining one of the Reagan birthday celebrations, as keynote speaker of a lavish dinner at the former family ranch, Davis exclaims. “Are you kidding me?” She adds, “As far as Sarah Palin is concerned, I think he would be completely baffled at her fondness for shooting animals.”

Wait a minute—Reagan was against hunting? If that sounds surprising, that’s because Davis simply made it up. In a May 1983 speech before the National Rifle Association, the president called “America’s sportsmen, hunters, and fishermen” the nation’s “foremost conservationists of our national resources,” and said he “deeply appreciate[d]” the NRA’s efforts to teach children “marksmanship, firearms safety, and some of the values and ethics of hunting and the outdoors.” In the same speech, Reagan also laments “a kind of elitist attitude in Washington that vast natural resources must be locked up to save the planet from mankind.” Reagan would most likely say that, by hunting, Palin was participating in a proud, valuable American tradition; if he would find anything “baffling,” it would more likely be how little his own daughter understands his views.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Today would have been the late, great Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Many rightfully remember him for his unwavering support of free markets, limited government, and those suffering under Soviet oppression, but here it seems fitting to highlight one aspect of Reagan’s philosophy of liberty that the Right may be in danger of forgetting. In 1983, Reagan wrote a stirring essay called “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation” which demands to be read in full by all who call themselves conservatives. A key excerpt:

Regrettably, we live at a time when some persons do not value all human life. They want to pick and choose which individuals have value. Some have said that only those individuals with “consciousness of self” are human beings. One such writer has followed this deadly logic and concluded that “shocking as it may seem, a newly born infant is not a human being.”

A Nobel Prize winning scientist has suggested that if a handicapped child “were not declared fully human until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice.” In other words, “quality control” to see if newly born human beings are up to snuff.

Obviously, some influential people want to deny that every human life has intrinsic, sacred worth. They insist that a member of the human race must have certain qualities before they accord him or her status as a “human being.”

Events have borne out the editorial in a California medical journal which explained three years before Roe v. Wade that the social acceptance of abortion is a “defiance of the long-held Western ethic of intrinsic and equal value for every human life regardless of its stage, condition, or status.”

Every legislator, every doctor, and every citizen needs to recognize that the real issue is whether to affirm and protect the sanctity of all human life, or to embrace a social ethic where some human lives are valued and others are not. As a nation, we must choose between the sanctity of life ethic and the “quality of life” ethic.

I have no trouble identifying the answer our nation has always given to this basic question, and the answer that I hope and pray it will give in the future. American was founded by men and women who shared a vision of the value of each and every individual. They stated this vision clearly from the very start in the Declaration of Independence, using words that every schoolboy and schoolgirl can recite:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We fought a terrible war to guarantee that one category of mankind — black people in America — could not be denied the inalienable rights with which their Creator endowed them. The great champion of the sanctity of all human life in that day, Abraham Lincoln, gave us his assessment of the Declaration’s purpose. Speaking of the framers of that noble document, he said:

This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all his creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on. . . They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages.

He warned also of the danger we would face if we closed our eyes to the value of life in any category of human beings:

I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a Negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man?

When Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee the rights of life, liberty, and property to all human beings, he explained that all are “entitled to the protection of American law, because its divine spirit of equality declares that all men are created equal.” He said the right guaranteed by the amendment would therefore apply to “any human being.”

Was Ronald Reagan a Libertarian?

Libertarians often quote Ronald Reagan as saying the following:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

End of story? Not exactly. The quote continues as follows:

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.

Reagan recognized limited government, markets, and individual liberty as substantial common ground between the two philosophies, but on today’s biggest points of contention between conservatives and libertarians – abortion, marriage, drugs, and defense – he sided with the former. So should we.

Democrat Tax-Cut Propaganda Obliterated

Michael Eden at Start Thinking Right has a must-read article destroying the Democrats’ lies on tax cuts. Be sure to take the time to read the whole thing to learn all sorts of good stuff, not the least of which being the discovery of which radical right-wing corporate stooge said the following:

“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

Campaign Finance "Reform" and Reagans, Past & Future

Ann Coulter’s column this week is especially important:

Inasmuch as the current presidential election has come down to a choice among hemlock, self-immolation or the traditional gun in the mouth, now is the time for patriotic Americans to review what went wrong and to start planning for 2012.

How did we end up with the mainstream media picking the Republican candidate for president?

It isn’t the early primaries, it isn’t that we allow Democrats to vote in many of our primaries, and it isn’t that the voters are stupid. All of that was true or partially true in 1980 — and we still got Ronald Reagan.
We didn’t get Ronald Reagan this year not just because there’s never going to be another Reagan. We will never again get another Reagan because Reagan wouldn’t run for office under the current campaign-finance regime.

Three months ago, I was sitting with a half-dozen smart, successful conservatives whose names you know, all griping about this year’s cast of presidential candidates. I asked them, one by one: Why don’t you run for office?
Of course, none of them would. They are happy, well-adjusted individuals.
Reagan, too, had a happy life and, having had no trouble getting girls in high school, had no burning desire for power. So when the great California businessman Holmes Tuttle and two other principled conservatives approached Reagan about running for office, Reagan said no.
But Tuttle kept after Reagan, asking him not to reject the idea out of hand. He formed “Friends of Reagan” to raise money in case Reagan changed his mind.
He asked Reagan to give his famous “Rendezvous With History” speech at a $1,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser in Los Angeles and then bought airtime for the speech to be broadcast on TV days before the 1964 presidential election.
The epochal broadcast didn’t change the election results, but it changed history. That single broadcast brought in nearly $1 million to the Republican Party — not to mention millions of votes for Goldwater.
After the astonishing response to Reagan’s speech and Tuttle’s continued entreaties, Reagan finally relented and ran for governor. In 1966, with the help, financial and otherwise, of a handful of self-made conservative businessmen, Reagan walloped incumbent Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, winning 57 percent of the vote in a state with two Democrats for every Republican.
The rest is history — among the brightest spots in all of world history.
None of that could happen today. (The following analysis uses federal campaign-finance laws rather than California campaign-finance laws because the laws are basically the same, and I am not going to hire a campaign-finance lawyer in order to write this column.)
If Tuttle found Ronald Reagan today, he couldn’t form “Friends of Reagan” to raise money for a possible run — at least not without hiring a battery of campaign-finance lawyers and guaranteeing himself a lawsuit by government bureaucrats. He’d also have to abandon his friendship with Reagan to avoid the perception of “coordination.”
Tuttle couldn’t hold a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for Reagan — at least in today’s dollars. That would be a $6,496.94-a-plate dinner (using the consumer price index) or a $19,883.51-a-plate dinner (using the relative share of GDP). The limit on individual contributions to a candidate is $2,300.
Reagan’s “Rendezvous With History” speech would never have been broadcast on TV — unless Tuttle owned the TV station. Independent groups are prohibited from broadcasting electioneering ads 60 days before an election.
A handful of conservative businessmen would not be allowed to make large contributions to Reagan’s campaign — they would be restricted to donating only $2,300 per person.
Under today’s laws, Tuttle would have had to go to Reagan and say: “We would like you to run for governor. You are limited to raising money $300 at a time (roughly the current limits in 1965 dollars), so you will have to do nothing but hold fundraisers every day of your life for the next five years in order to run in the 1970 gubernatorial election, since there clearly isn’t enough time to raise money for the 1966 election.”
Also, Tuttle would have to tell Reagan: “We are not allowed to coordinate with you, so you’re on your own. But wait — it gets worse! After five years of attending rubber chicken dinners every single day in order to raise money in tiny increments, you will probably lose the election anyway because campaign-finance laws make it virtually impossible to unseat an incumbent.
“Oh, and one more thing: Did you ever kiss a girl in high school? Not even once? If not, then this plan might appeal to you!”
Obviously, Reagan would have returned to his original answer: No thanks.
Reagan loved giving speeches and taking questions from voters. The one part of campaigning Reagan loathed was raising money. Thanks to our campaign-finance laws, fundraising is the single most important job of a political candidate today.
This is why you will cast your eyes about the nation in vain for another Reagan sitting in any governor’s mansion or U.S. Senate seat. Pro-lifers like to ask, “How many Einsteins have we lost to abortion?” I ask: How many Reagans have we lost to campaign-finance reform?
The campaign-finance laws basically restrict choice political jobs, like senator and governor — and thus president — to:
(1) Men who were fatties in high school and consequently are willing to submit to the hell of running for office to compensate for their unhappy adolescences — like Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. (Somewhere in this great land of ours, even as we speak, the next Bill Clinton is waddling back to the cafeteria service line asking for seconds.)
(2) Billionaires and near-billionaires — like Jon Corzine, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg and Mitt Romney — who can fund their own campaigns (these aren’t necessarily sociopaths, but it certainly limits the pool of candidates).
(3) Celebrities and name-brand candidates — like Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Bush, Giuliani and Hillary Clinton (which explains the nation’s apparent adoration for Bushes and Clintons — they’ve got name recognition, a valuable commodity amidst totalitarian restrictions on free speech).
(4) Mainstream media-anointed candidates, like John McCain and B. Hussein Obama.
What a bizarre coincidence that a few years after the most draconian campaign-finance laws were imposed via McCain-Feingold, our two front-runners happen to be the media’s picks! It’s uncanny — almost as if by design! (Can I stop now, or do you people get sarcasm?)
By prohibiting speech by anyone else, the campaign-finance laws have vastly magnified the power of the media — which, by the way, are wholly exempt from speech restrictions under campaign-finance laws. The New York Times doesn’t have to buy ad time to promote a politician; it just has to call McCain a “maverick” 1 billion times a year.
It is because of campaign-finance laws like McCain-Feingold that big men don’t run for office anymore. Little men do. And John McCain is the head homunculus.
You want Reagan back? Restore the right to free speech, and you will have created the conditions that allowed Reagan to run.

Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. President

Ronald Reagan would have been 97 years old on February 6th, 2008.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”