Monday, October 31, 2005

One if by land, Two if by sea

With all the left wing forces mobilizing, the call is going out to conservatives... This is the fight we have been looking for, a chance for a solidly 5-4 court in favor of the right. Bells, whistles, sirens are all going off.

Sam Alito is the new nominee and one that we must get through. A second chance at the Supreme Court. If this one fails, all hell may break loose. He is a solid jurist, a strict conservative who has a paper trail. Bill Frist may have to use the nuclear option here and it appears that the GOP will have to close ranks to get it done.

Any ideas/predictions on the future of this nominee? From the timing, it appears that Alito will have his hearings until January. This would allow the media and the left to attack him for more than 2 months.

I believe he will be confirmed, the Gang of 14 will fail to 'save the Republic' again and filibusters will be taken off the table for Supreme Court nominees (or at least I hope this happens. I'm always game for a good fight).

Happy Halloween...

Halloween was always one of my favorite times at Miami. Over the weekend I was reminiscing about some of the more creative costumes that I saw over four years. While I was usually the typical Coach Tressel, I do recall Bob Ross (the crazy artist from PBS) being one of the better costumes that I saw.

Do y'all have any favorites?

Who Dey!

Solid win against a not so solid team...Nolan, just wanted to point out that the Bengals beat the Bears and Pack this year...ha! Are you a Sox of Cubs fan btw? Ohio State won, can't complain about that-the offense is looking better (and Ted Ginn is finally coming alive)...better late than never I suppose. Michigan still hanging in the Top 25...

I just felt like I was scalped by the Peuqot Indian tribe that inhabits Foxwoods Casino. I suppose that is what we get for stealing their land-although I am still not quite sure how these Native Americans also seem to have Italian last names.

alright...just wanted to ramble about sports and whatnot...feel free to throw in your two-cents.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Plamegate (I seriously hate adding gate to scandals)

So...I felt Fitzgerald's announcement of indictments was a bit anti-climatic (what with the left throwing around the word treason but the indictments only involving perjury and obstruction of justice-severe but quite different). I really don't understand how they can keep Rove under investigation-I mean one would think the guy would have had plenty of time to figure out if Rove or anyone else for that matter broke the law.

It looks as if the prosecution is unable to prove any wrong doing when it comes to "outing" Valerie Plame-only minor charges relating to the conduct of the investigation itself.

What will be the effect of all this? My guess is not much as long as it stays focused on Libby. The public doesn't know Libby and largely doesn't care. If it spreads to Rove-then things might change.

Looking forward to 2006...

Beyond the prospects of Governor Blackwell-this is one of the races that I am more excited about. I would say that the prospects of a Senator Steele from Maryland are looking very good. He has no primary opponent while there are 6 Dems running (including the former head of the NAACP). So far Steele is playing the unpopularity of President Bush pretty well-which could easily change by 2006 if new events unfold. This could be a pick-up for the GOP in the Senate next year.

Steele is a very solid conservative and proved himself to be very charismatic during the Republican National Convention (did any of you guys see him speak?).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Miami Student picks up on Boehner speculation

I was fairly surprised to randomly check out the Miami Student to find this. Surprised for two reasons, 1st-that anyone at the Miami Student was actually aware of the current speculation. 2nd-that in light of that, someone even wrote an article (and a decent one at that).

Anywho-primarily the article revolves around speculation and then the potential benefit it might have for Miami (not much other than clout as Boehner doesn't earmark). But I must say that the speculation in favor of Boehner is picking up steam (do some googling) regardless of whether the Student covered the story. We saw a lot of the same speculation last summer but Boehner was just mentioned as one of a group that could possibly be in line to assume leadership. Now he is the only one being mentioned.

It is widely speculated that the Republican Study Committee does indeed support Boehner. Boehner's long standing no-pork stance could really be paying off for him (as one of only a few GOP House members to vote against the pork-laden Transportation Bill) he can really step above the fray that is excessive spending by Congress and point to his own distinguished record.

My guess is that January will tell us quite a bit. If we don't see something in January a move might be made next fall if the GOP takes a hit in the 2006 elections.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers is gone!

Miers finally withdrew her nomination... so what do you all think? I would especially like to hear from Nolan.

I think this could be a good turning point for the last three years of the presidency. Some people are congratulating the president for "seeing his errors." I disagree - he pretty much had no choice at this point, with his approval ratings falling and base deteriorating. I congratulate conservatives. This proves that we are not a bunch of party hacks but really do care about the principles we fight for. Let's hope for a quality pick this time around.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brilliant Idea!

Here is a brilliant idea that I have seen around the internet-if/when Cindy Sheehan locks herself to the White House-don't arrest her, leave her...

What a great way to start the morning...

New (and apparently stronger) allegations that British leftie MP and anti-war pin-up George Galloway did receive Oil-for-Food money...Apparently the US Senate committee led by Norm Coleman has found the paper trail and it has been corroborated by Tariq Aziz (with whom Galloway had met on one of his junkets to the Middle East). Galloway has been actively defending himself against these allegations while attacking Bush and Blair across the world...this time his defense looks, well...Indefensible.

Kudos to Norm Coleman...I have the sad feeling that without him so much of this Oil for Food scandal business would have been swept under the rug...the media absolutely refuse to cover it.

PS...Galloway and Chris Hitchens have been going at it for some time...check out this coverage of a debate between the two. I highly suggest watching the video coverage linked at the end of the article (Hitch probably offers the best defense of the Iraq war).

Friday, October 21, 2005

Interesting theory...

Sorry for the lack of blogging-it has been a crazy week. But this is an interesting theory that has been going around a bit...apparently more than one person has emailed this in to Jonah over at NRO.
I can’t believe everybody is missing the real story here. Bush doesn’t want
Harriett Miers on the Supreme Court – he wants McConnell or Luttig. But he knew
that, after Roberts, he couldn’t just send up another white guy, especially for
O’Connor’s seat. So he sends up an obviously unqualified woman, knowing that
she’ll generate intense opposition from both sides. And here’s where the
subtlety kicks in – because her lack of qualifications are so apparent, he knows
that the attack against her will be something like, “This is THE SUPREME COURT
we’re talking about!!! Quality is what matters! Look at Roberts, he could recite
from memory every constitutional case since Marbury v. Madison, and has probably
written law review articles about the friggin’ THIRD amendment. How can we
settle for anyone less?” So after Miers is forced to withdraw or voted down,
Bush comes back with McConnell or Luttig, and says, “OK, you convinced me. I
tried the quota thing, but you said it was too important. So I’ve decided just
to go with the most qualified person out there.” And for good measure, he might
throw in something like, “I’d like to thank my good buddies Chuck Schumer and
Pat Leahy for pointing out my error. I couldn’t have done it without you
fellas.”

Wow-could this be true? I think part of me thinks it might be (or perhaps hopes it is the case). If so it would be an amazing move-perhaps comparable to Tom DeLay smiling during his mug shot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Why Michael Barone is the best numbers guy in the media...

Check out Michael Barone's entry today on his blog...he proves once again why he is the best numbers writer in politics today. His points about why R's and D's can't (or shouldn't) are particularly salient.

It is a must read. (unless you are a democrat-I think I'd prefer you not to read it).

Wow-This really misses the point.

I really enjoy David Ignatius' columns over at the WashPo. But I really think he should stick with his true expertise-the Middle East. Today's column How the Republicans Let it Slip Away, is pretty far off-base in my opinion.

Ignatius points to the DeLay and Miers messes as the sign of the downfall-which could be right, however he believes those messes have come up for the wrong reasons. For our lazy readers, here are some of the highlights:
The hard right, which is the soul of the modern GOP, would rather be
ideologically pure than successful. Governing requires making compromises and
getting your hands dirty, but the conservative purists disdain those qualities.
They swim for that beach with a fiercely misguided determination, and they
demand that the other whales accompany them.

Bush and the Republicans had a chance after 2004 to become the country's
natural governing party...Bush squandered this opportunity by falling into the
trap that has snared the modern GOP -- of playing to the base rather than to the
nation. The Republicans behave as if the country agrees with them on issues,
when that demonstrably isn't so.

The bickering over the Miers nomination epitomizes the right's refusal to
assume the role of a majoritarian governing party.

AND

Principles are a fine thing, but a narrow, partisan definition of principle
has led the Republicans to a dead end. Their inability to transcend their base
and speak to the country as a whole is now painfully obvious.

The 'meltdown' is not a result of maintaining a partisan definition of principle-but one not maintain a definition of principle. Bush sacrificed a conservative principle-choosing from the best quality available-to choose a loyal friend. Had Bush stuck to conservative principles, had he chosen another Roberts, there would be no outrage over the choice (except from the left). Miers, if anything, was a compromise choice, meant not to play to the base-so I don't even understand how Ignatius can include it.

Republicans have backed down on many other principles too...Social Security reform (which Ignatius says was unpopular...polling of those under 50 shows differently, and had Bush and Congress done a better job of presenting it, at least some of the elderly could have been convinced). Principles such as low or even *gasp* cutting government spending have been thrown out the window-much to the chagrin of many Republicans. Low government spending is a winning principle-nation wide-has been and will continue to be. Vetoing the Transportation Bill would have been a tremendous signal...and I think a political winner.

Arguments can be made that Bush is playing to the social right-but I don't think that is what is causing the point that Miers is trying to make. The schism isn't over social issues. It is about spending.

The only principle Bush has stuck to has been staying the course in Iraq-that is the one issue which is really containing the fury that could be in D.C.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is the Flat Tax finally catching on?

Debate about the flat tax is catching on again...and no it does not revolve completely around Steve Forbes (who has a popular new book). But his book and another popular book about a national sales tax have been just part of the debate.

While the flat tax is often considered unlikely in America...other countries around the world are or have actually enacted a flat tax (particularly in fast-growing Eastern Europe). Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Hong Kong, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania all have some sort of flat tax, ranging from 12%-33. All those aforementioned countries have growth in 2004 ranging from 6-12%...far out pacing their neighbors. (Courtesy of a site...that was courtesy of Andrew Sullivan).

Newly elected German Chancellor's chief economic adviser is an advocate of a 25% flat tax in Germany. Will this become the reality? Probably not-to be fair it might have cut the significant lead that she once had in the race.

However, this does show that the flat tax is perhaps a bit more politically viable than it once was. If Germans can run with flat tax, why can't small-government Americans?

How far would conservatives be willing to compromise on a flat tax (if at all-Steve?)?

Would liberals even be willing to consider some form of a Flat Tax without incredible amounts of progressivity?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Election 2006

It is never too early to speculate about the next elections. Some early polling has been released for the Ohio 2006 elections here. Zogby/WSJ has Blackwell leading Rep Ted Strickland 44.5-43.4 obviously well within the margin. On the Senate side, Paul Hackett-fresh off his 2nd district loss-is leading Senator DeWine 44.2-35.9!

This is certainly some concerning news for Ohio Republicans. Blackwell is the obvious primary leader thus far for the GOP as Strickland is for the Dems as reported today. Blackwell has a significant lead (which could change, especially if an opponent drops out, Betty Montgomery anyone?). Strickland's is much smaller. The concern is that this race is so close, likely a reflection of Taft's 15% approval rating. Blackwell has much higher statewide ID than Rep. Strickland. Can Blackwell separate himself from Taft or is Taft going to bring down the Ohio GOP ship in 2006?

Even more surprising is DeWine's lack of showing against Hackett. This poll was taken before Rep Sherrod Brown announced his candidacy...After previously backing out (wanna bet this poll had something to do with it?). Brown is a favorite with liberal activists across the country, particularly with his Grow Ohio campaign. Word has it, Hackett is now being pressured by the Democratic Senatorial Committee to step aside in order to prevent a primary (much to his chagrin). Brown is the probably the stronger primary candidate but perhaps to liberal in the general election.

Of course many are upset with DeWine's Gang of 14 work as well as particular stands on other issues. However I am surprised he is polling this low. How much is the Ohio GOP's troubles pulling down DeWine or is it DeWine himself pulling down his own candidacy. Brown and Hackett's name ID's have to be considerably lower than DeWine.

Other rumors floating around:

Former Congressman Bob McEwen challenging Mike DeWine.

The aforementioned McEwen challenging newly elected Congresswoman Schmidt or perhaps a challenge from State Rep Tom Brinkman.

So mixed news here. Some troubling, some good (Blackwell's primary numbers in my opinion). Will John Kasich ever enter into the fray? Any early speculation out there?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Miers haters?

It has been six years since we first elected Bush, and I am not going to sit here and say that he has been a great conservative. He is no Reagan, we all agree on that. This being said there are two areas where I am a firm supporter of Bush, foreign policy and legacy. In twenty years Bush will be another name on a list of "good" presidents, and Bush knows this so he will not make the mistake his father's mistake and choose a Souter, it ruined his father's legacy and he will not let it ruin him.

I don't understand this sentiment that I have heard from you guys, from Rush, from all over that Bush went out into left field and did not pick one of the names on the "short list" that we had assembled for him. Since when has Bush listened to anyone other than the people closest to him. That is why we claimed to be his big supporters, he surrounds himself with experts and he manages these experts. Are our memories that short that we don't remember two months ago when these same commentators were saying the same thing about Roberts.

I don't claim to be a fundamentalist Christian, or even a good christian, but in my time in politics I have learned that there is nothing that is a sure a thing as a conservative vote by a fundamentalist Christian. This woman is a sure thing vote that will be approved 95-5, and will vote to overturn Roe, follow Scalia on most issues, and finally be the shift to the right that we all worked our butts off to ensure. Bush knows it, Rove knows it, and I think that once we get past the skepticism that we all naturally have to every appointment we know it too.

Replacing Chairman Greenspan

The next big appointment that President Bush will likely make is that of Chairman of the Federal Reserve. While we tend to focus on Supreme Court appointments, this appointment might be even more important. Greenspan and Paul Volcker before him, are both recognized as Fed Chairmen who really understood the responsibilities and limitations of the Fed, most importantly the ability of the Fed to control inflation.

The NYTimes discussed this appointment in an editorial today. The editorial discusses the worry that the Miers and Brown (FEMA head) appointments concern them when it comes time to appoint a new Fed Chairman. The Times lists four names that are being widely discussed: "Martin Feldstein, a Bush adviser on Social Security and an economics professor at Harvard; Glenn Hubbard, Mr. Bush's former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and now dean of Columbia University Business School; Lawrence Lindsey, the former director of the White House National Economic Council; and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. "

The Times of course seems to prefer Feldstein and Bernanke as the more "independent" choices. But in reality, all of these men are wonderful options. But just for fun and in the tradition of Harriet Miers, I thought I might find the nominee from left-field that none of us would expect.

Perhaps a Republican Congressman that has owned a small business...two of our local reps would suffice-John Boehner and Geoff Davis have both been businessmen-both are undoubtedly Bush loyalists.

Michael Barton is the Budget Assistant for the White House Office of Administration (he pulls in a cool 47 G's each year) and while this would be a significant promotion, he has worked with budgets and money before. I assume he is someone Bush could trust.

Neil Bush wasn't so successful at his first attempt at banking...but he has a successful business now and would certainly adhere to Bush's principles.

Any other ideas?

Lets hope he picks one of the four mentioned by the NYTimes (I am sure he will)...this is just a little residual venting over Harriet Miers. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Miers Backlash-Day Two

Today featured, I think, the most damning criticism of Bush's choice for the Supreme Court-Harriet Miers. Today's column from George Will really rips into the administration, and more specifically, President Bush. To date, I think it might be the best overall criticism. While I will reseve final judgement until AFTER the committee hearings, I must say that I am disappointed in his choice.

Here are just two of the better excerpts:
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers' nomination resulted from
the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If
100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence
of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers' name
probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

Ouch. I have to say, Will's point is probably very true. How many lawyers are there in this country with similar legal credentials to Miers? I dare say thousands.
In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian
of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private
act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding
government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech.

Double Ouch. Again, Will is largely correct. How can a President of the United States sign a bill that he thinks is unconstitutional?

The folks over at the Corner have been conducting quite a debate over the pick themselves. Jonah Goldberg in particular, criticized the idea of Miers as a 'reliable vote' on the court. Which as he says really runs counter to the principle of the Supreme Court. It appears that in no shape or form will Miers be an intellectual leader for the court, one to help steer opinions along with the heavyweights of Scalia and Roberts.

For myself, a choice such as Judges Michael Luttig or Michael McConnell would have been perfect choices. Both have the judicial and intellectual credentials. Luttig is a borderline libertarian and McConnell has consitently voted on the side of federalism. Both would have certainly been "reliable votes" in addition to intellectual heavyweights. McConnell would have likely been a consensus pick, as he is a respected scholar-with support from all parts of the spectrum in academia.

Bush had an excellent opportunity to make a significant change to the court and he dropped the ball.

Welcome!

Today is a new day. As my torch continues to burn as a beacon of freedom so to will this blog...or something like that. This blog is not born out of oil, but of a forum of classic liberalism, free markets, contemporary politics, history, sports, and whatever the hell else we want. Feel free to join, participate, discuss, and share ideas.

Welcome. (and please excuse the construction).

--Ellis Wyatt