New on NewsReal – Do Haley Barbour’s Racial Recollections Expose a Bad Memory, or Something Worse?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

So common are accusations of racism from the Left that everyone with a right-of-center political disposition should expect to be accused of hating people with different skin colors at some point in his or her life. This week, it’s Haley Barbour’s turn. The Republican Governors’ Association chair is in hot water for comments that allegedly downplay racial strife in segregation-era Mississippi:

Both Mr. Mott and Mr. Kelly had told me that Yazoo City was perhaps the only municipality in Mississippi that managed to integrate the schools without violence. I asked Haley Barbour why he thought that was so.

“Because the business community wouldn’t stand for it,” he said. “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

In interviews Barbour doesn’t have much to say about growing up in the midst of the civil rights revolution. “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

At the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg finds Barbour guilty of first-degree bigotry:

Writer Andrew Ferguson takes Barbour at his word, arguing that if Barbour’s segregationist roots become an issue in his presidential campaign, it will be because of “Washington political reporters who enjoy moralizing about race and public education while sending their own children to progressive schools like Sidwell Friends and St. Albans.”

The piece is an exquisite example of the conservative racial two-step: a blatant expression of racism, followed by aggrieved wailing at the mere thought of being called a racist. It proves that Barbour is either dishonest or so blindly ignorant that one can scarcely imagine how he’s managed a successful political career.

Of course, Goldberg has falsely smeared conservatives as racists before, undermining the idea that she’s accurately identified some common right-wing trope in the “conservative racial two-step.” But what of Barbour’s case?

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Fiscal and Small-Government Conservatives Need Social Conservatives

I just came across this American Thinker piece by self-described agnostic libertarian Randall Hoven, who has a strong defense of conservatism from a libertarian standpoint that all who consider themselves moderates, centrists, libertarians, social liberals, secular conservatives, or any combination or variation thereof really ought to read to get a better idea of who their real friends and enemies are.  In particular, the following passage supports something I’ve believed and argued for a long time:

I’m still searching for the mythical creature that is the “financially conservative, socially liberal” politician.  In virtually every case, the pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage politician is the first to vote against a tax cut, the first to vote for more spending and quick to compromise principles on any issue there is.

Using the National Journal’s ratings of Senators in 2007 , the correlation coefficient between “economic” scores and “social” scores is 90%.  That means they almost always go together; financial conservatives are social conservatives and vice versa.   Every Senator scoring above 60 in economic issues, scored above 50 in social ones.  Every Senator scoring below 40 in economic issues, scored below 50 in social ones.  If there is such an animal as a “financial conservative, social liberal”, it does not exist in the US Senate.

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.”

Around the Web

The Iraqis don’t want us to leave yet, and a narrow majority doubts that Barack Obama cares about their situation. Great…

Is Christianity true?

In National Review, Jason Lee Steorts reveals the dark side of Ayn Rand.

I love the video game Portal as much as the next guy, but giving people academic credit for playing it is really pushing it.

Here are two links about alleged right-wing violence not being so right-wing after all. (Hat tip to Ann Coulter)

And here comes backdoor amnesty. Boy, some leadership from the opposition party would be nice….

Around the Web

At NewsReal, David Swindle asks the disaster-in-chief a darn good question about Islam.

Fox News’s usually-apolitical Dr. Manny Alvarez calls out Dingy Harry on Democrat racial profiling.

More on Prop. 8: Professor Nelson Lund has a good summary of the issue, while Father Roger Landry highlights Vaughn Walker’s ideology and the potential threat to religious liberty in his decision. And has Walker been buttering up Anthony Kennedy all along?

Did…did Connecticut Republicans really just choose the candidate from the WWE to run against a phony Vietnam vet when they had a real Vietnam vet to choose from? Why?

Another Palin hater isn’t quite what she appeared to be. (Hat tip: Ann Coulter)

Gee, what a surprise.

It Begins: Republicans Running Away from Marriage

Speaking of Republicans being their own worst enemies

Needless to say, I couldn’t agree less with Doug Mataconis and the Republican leaders to which he refers:

Certainly, there are areas of the country where taking a strong stand on gay marriage won’t hurt, and very likely could help, a Republican candidate. For the most part, though, it’s fairly clear that this year’s electorate is focusing on the economy and jobs, not whether or not the two guys in Apartment 3B can get a marriage license or not. If the GOP is smart, which is I admit an unanswered question, they’ll keep quiet on this and let the case make it’s way through the Courts.

Problem Number One: I don’t think this is a losing issue. Though the poll numbers are narrowing, many still show majorities opposed to redefining marriage. And as I said yesterday, 4/5 of the states have marriage protection legislation either on the books or in their constitutions. And this is all with national Republicans virtually silent on the issue. (And it’s not for nothing that Barack Obama won’t endorse same-sex marriage…) Especially considering the fact that the political winds are turning against the idea of the elite few telling states what to do, it’s high time our leaders tried their hand at, well, leading public opinion instead of following it for a change.

Problem Number Two: The post is all about strategy; no mention is made of principle. If Proposition 8 is an judicial affront to the rule of law, and if redefining marriage is fundamentally wrong, isn’t it worth some degree of political risk to say so? Doesn’t our political parties owe anything to the public good?

Defending Marriage: What Comes Next?

With another judge attacking marriage in California, the next question is where we go from here. Higher courts will review the decision, of course, but whatever they decide, you can be sure the legal challenges to state marriage definitions will keep coming. It’s difficult to see how true marriage and the will of the people can be secure without a constitutional amendment of some sort, whether it’s an outright national definition of marriage or a man-woman union or simply language revoking the judiciary’s right to address the matter.

How plausible is either scenario? More so than you might think. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states currently preserve marriage legislatively, and 30 have put it directly in their constitutions. So public support is already a good chunk of the way to the 38-state threshold that would be necessary to ratify an amendment to the Constitution, and an increased perception that the courts won’t let the people make their own decisions (which may be fueled not only by this, but also by the feds suing Arizona and potential copycats, as well as legal battles over individual healthcare mandates) could be enough to push them the rest of the way.

Ironically, the biggest wild card I see is the likelihood of the Republican establishment running away from the issue out of perceived political expediency. We can always count on the GOP to pull defeat from the jaws of victory…

Does Nikki Haley Want Affirmative Action for Political Parties?

One of the Right’s latest rising stars is Nikki Haley, Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina. There’s certainly a lot to like about her, but before getting their hopes up too high, her fans should note something she recently said on “Hannity”:

http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=XdZu2GaGeu

I don’t want a House full of Republicans, I don’t want a House full of Democrats. It’s the mix that makes it work.

The Founding Fathers did discuss the importance of moderation and counterbalancing forces in government, to keep radical changes from being implemented too easily, but I don’t think quotas for each party is quite what they had in mind, especially when one of those parties doesn’t simply disagree on certain policies, but stands directly opposed to the core principles upon which America was founded.

If the war against radical Islam must be won, then we shouldn’t “want” anyone in office who stands for defeat. If unborn babies have a right to life, then we shouldn’t “want” anyone in office who stands for their murder. If Americans have a right to choose what to do with their own money, bear arms to protect themselves, or any number of other things, then we shouldn’t “want” anyone in office who would thwart those rights.

Besides, the Republican Party is so divided on both principle and strategy that they hardly need Democrats to keep them on their toes. Nikki Haley may turn out to be a great governor, but that’s one status quo we shouldn’t expect her to upend.

Is Ann Coulter Out of Her Mind?

I love Ann Coulter, but her latest column, in which she defends Michael Steele’s Afghanistan comments, bothers me. A lot.

Yes, she and Steele are right to call Obama and the Democrats out on their posturing about Afghanistan as the “good war” and Iraq as the bad one. Yes, the populations of the two countries are vastly different. No, I don’t know what the best strategy in Afghanistan is (check out David Forsmark and John Guardiano for two competing schools of thought).

Further, in our zeal to make these points, conservatives must be careful not to lose sight of what our ultimate goal should be in Afghanistan—and whatever we decide, we need to stick to it regardless of who’s in the White House. Ann punts on that question, and I don’t recall her voicing any of these concerns during the Bush years. But Afghanistan is “Obama’s war” might be true as far as it goes, but focusing on that aspect on it diminishes the significance of the war and obscures the core question of whether or not America should be there. And yes, in calling it a war “of Obama’s choosing,” Steele did suggest that it wasn’t worth fighting, and that Democrats held a monopoly on the blame for it.

Coulter suggests we’ve already won in Afghanistan, and that a minimal troop presence there to “prevent Osama bin Laden from regrouping, swat down al-Qaida fighters and gather intelligence” is sufficient (wait a minute—weren’t we trying to leave behind a government & military stable enough to do that on its own?).

What disturbs me most is, near the end, how easily—and suddenly—Ann lends credence to the old liberal trope about “neoconservatives” being for “permanent war.” One would think a pundit who’s repeatedly been on the receiving end of such smears would think twice before deploying it herself.

Come on, Ann.  For years, I’ve defended you as better than this.  Don’t prove me wrong now.