Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Farewell for Now..

Well, I've put off telling my readers this for a while now..Mainly because I've been fairly busy because of it. But now is as good a time as any to spill the beans..

For the better part of a year I have been working on joining the United States Air Force and in less than a week I will be shipping off to basic training and as such, I won't be able to operate my blog at least for the next couple of months.

Whether I will continue to blog after basic training, I am not sure. There are of course rules to how active one can be in politics while in the Armed Forces so that has to be taken into consideration. Personally I would hate to have to close down the blog and unfortunately I don't anyone to run it in my absence for the moment. So for now, the blog will remain open but with no new updates at least for now.

With all that said, I want to thank all my readers/followers for putting up with my political rants and raves over the last two years and I especially want to thank those who not only read my pieces but were moved enough by them (either in agreement or stark disagreement) to comment on them from time to time. To be honest, when I started this blog I never imagined that many people would be very interested in my opinion on the various political issues concerning America today. To today with this blog was now approaching 7,500 views since I started it in May of 2009. Most of those views actually came during just the last 9 months or so (at the time the blog only had about 2,000 views). And even though I won't be blogging for some time, I hope folks will continue to view and read my work here. Whether you agree with my views on the issues or not, the fact that people even choose to visit this blog and read my pieces is prize enough for me. It gives me real hope that more and more people are taking matters into their hands when it comes to politics in America and not just accepting what they see/hear from the many political bobble heads at face value.

So again, thank you all for reading my blog and I wish you all the best of luck in your navigation through the dense fog that is politics in the good old U.S. of A.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Santorum's Hypocrisy is Overwhelming

Hypocrisy in American politics is hardly anything new and is something that I have touched on several times in my short "career" of blogging and surprise of all surprises, this presidential election cycle is no different. Who is the latest offender of politics number one crime you ask? Why, none other than Mr. Political Loser, Rick Santorum.

After his virtual tie (and probably actual victory) with Mitt Romney here in Iowa a few weeks ago, many wondered if perhaps he was the man to fulfill the "Anti-Romney" prophecy hoped for by many GOP conservatives. And while few really expected him to win in New Hampshire, his rather poor showing nevertheless took a good deal of wind out of his political sail. But many of the anti-Romneys looked past that and hoped that Santorum's social conservative credentials would give him a good chance at winning the South Carolina Primary with Saturday. To date, however, no poll out from S.C. shows much evidence of any strong support there, but hey there's still 5 days til Saturday..

Now I have focused a fair amount on Mr. Santorum as of late chiefly because of his rather gross hypocrisy when it comes to one of the GOP's biggest tenants: Anti-Big Government. Every candidate in the race to date (including those who have dropped out) has preached against "big government" to various degrees, traditionally with Ron Paul at one end of the spectrum and Mitt Romney on the other. Not surprising, many of the candidates have spent a good part of the race seemingly trying to one-up the other on this issue and Santorum is no exception to this practice. The thing is, he is about the LAST person to be claiming HE is the candidate to push through smaller government if he moves into the highest office in all the land. Why you ask? Well I leave that once again to Erick Erickson of :

"Consider, if you will, this contrast. Ronald Reagan said, “The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom.” Rick Santorum, in 2008, said, “This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone.” I can handle Santorum’s view of social conservatism and the need for cultural integrity. But he goes off the rails when he blends it with a version of fiscal conservatism that is anything but conservative and which fuels the government leviathan that, as it expands, takes away core freedoms and is run by entrenched progressive civil servants who are anything but conservative." (1)

Now Mr. Erickson, like myself, is hardly disillusioned to the fact the Mitt Romney is not a consistent "Conservative" (both fiscal and social). Further, Rick Santorum's statements on social issues makes it pretty clear he is definitely more socially conservative than Romney, but it's that other part of the conservative equation that Santorum shouldn't do so much gloating about. He is without any shadow of a doubt a "big government" politician as judged by his voting record in the House and Senate (which I wanted to post directly here from Mr. Erickson's post but it's rather extensive).

Now enter Mr. Santorum himself earlier today on the issue of which candidate is more of a "big government" Republican, via NewsMax:

“Romneycare is a real scarlet letter here,” he said. “We can’t have a nominee that takes away the most important issue in this election, which is an explosion of the federal government and robbing of people’s freedom on the federal level with Obamacare.” (2)

So lets get this straight.. Rick Santorum, the man who voted for some of the most expensive and unfunded federal government programs in recent history, is preaching to Mitt Romney that his healthcare reform program passed in the State of Massachusetts should disqualify him from being the GOP nominee because that reform is no different that the "explosion of the federal government" that Obama's healthcare reform is. My God man, the folks at home can smell that wreaking pile of hypocritical BS through their computer screens!

For one, while "RomneyCare" may have been used as a model for "ObamaCare", that was a state-only program and last time I checked the GOP was the party of "states rights" aka states should have the ability to effect their own healthcare reform is they so decide. When it comes to the issue of "big government", trying to connect RomneyCare with ObamaCare is not only disingenuous it's down right ignorant.

Secondly, funny how Rick Santorum seemingly had no problem when he voted for "explosively expansive" federal programs like Medicare Part D (which while being a nice program in spirit, no one seems to have thought about how to pay for it) when he was in the Senate, but the moment it becomes politically expedient he starts preaching to the choir about how much of a big government Republican Mitt Romney is..Pretty shameless eh?

Long story short, if Rick Santorum wants to convince GOP voters that he is the better candidate compared to Mitt Romney, maybe he should stick to his usual "gay marriage will destroy America" (I am paraphrasing of course) social issues bit and leave the small government argument to the candidates with REAL small government credentials..Like the two candidates from the Great State of Texas.


The opinions and views expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

President Obama setting a Dangerous Precedent..

In something of a change of pace, I won't be commenting on the ongoing GOP race for the White House today and will instead focus my "wrath" on the current occupant of that building: President Barack Obama.

What has the President done to incur my wrath? To be fair, he makes a lot of decisions that either make me scratch my head or cause a "epic fail" facepalm moment. Oddly enough, the fact he has broken many of his campaign promises is not all the interesting to me since I am always quite cynical when it comes to the promises made by any politician, regardless of party. I am more concerned about the actions they DO take, and today the President made one doozy of a decision..One with very real consequences (both immediate and long term).

The decision I am talking about is when the President announced four Recess Appointments (which I will explain shortly) today. These appointments including three people to the National Labor Relations Board and one Richard Cordray to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Now what are recess appointments?

Normally when a President wants to appoint someone to a federal government body (aka Cabinet position, federal judges, ambassadors, etc), he must submit his choice to the United States Senate for approval. This is based on the "Advise and Consent" clause enshrined in Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The only time the President can normally get around this is when the Senate is in recess (no not when they go outside and play, though I wouldn't be shocked if they did that), which is when they are not conducting business and/or adjourned. Further, there are two kinds of recess appointment: (both have been ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court)

1. Intrasession Appointment- This is an appointment made during a Senator recess while the Senate is still in session (aka during say the holidays).
2. Recess Appointment- This is an appointment made when the Senate is not only on recess but also not in session, aka when they are adjourned for long periods of time (generally from the fall til January).

Further, said recess appointee can only hold said position for a short amount of time (currently the usual time is 1 fiscal year), at which time they either must be submitted officially to the Senate or simply leave that office.

Not surprisingly the Senate figured out some years ago a way to keep the President from doing such appointments too easily, in which they would hold informal but official Senate meetings every three days so they aren't technically in recess. It is a tactic used against many a President to make sure they aren't abusing their executive power. Here is where the President crossed a line today..the Senate wasn't technically on recess or adjourned for the session. In fact the Senate has been holding informal but technically official meetings every couple of days lately to prevent such an action and yet the President has simply gone and done it anyway.

Now considering the back and forth the President has been having with Congressional Republicans of both houses of Congress, such an action isn't really that shocking but it is still a very bold and worrying move by the President. To date, no President has ever tried such an action before and as such, no one really knows what to do about it. To be clear, there will be some immediate retaliation against the President (possibly even from Senate Democrats), likely in the form of blocking ALL appointments by the President for the foreseeable future but that is nothing compared to the dangerous precedent it sets. What the President has done is arguably unconstitutional and at best it is a invitation for lawsuits by anyone "wronged" by the actions of the appointees and as worst is an affront to the separations of powers that is the backbone of the U.S. Constitution. If such an action stands, what is stop future Presidents from simply appointing people at will every time the Senate leaves the building?

And for that reason, I strongly call on President Obama to recall his decision to appoint these four people and instead go through the proper path of appointment/nomination as is dictated by the U.S. Constitution or else he will be remembered in the history books as the man who attempted to wreck the very balance of power that is at the heart and soul of our federal government...Not the kind of honorable mention anybody wants right?


The views and opinions expressed in the above piece is solely those of the author's and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.

Congrats my fellow Iowans!

Well, a few minutes ago the Iowa Republican Party committee announced that Mitt Romney has won the Iowa Caucus..And by just the skin on his teeth.

This ended what has been indisputably the closest and most heated Iowa Caucus in our history with the top candidates (Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney) going neck & neck all night with neither have much of a lead as each new precinct reported this votes. It made for one very interesting and exciting evening for political wonks and regular folks alike.

And for that, we Iowans should be proud. There was talk not too long ago that Iowa could become irrelevant this year and that our vote was unimportant and should not be treated with any real serious thought..But low and behold in a period of just a few weeks the race here in Iowa has possibly changed the whole dynamic of the GOP race. Why you ask?

Rick Santorum had seen a meteoric rise in the polls over the last week or so here in Iowa and unlike previous up & comers, his rise was timed almost perfectly to give him an impressive showing here in Iowa and only narrowly losing to Mitt Romney, and I congradulate him on that. I make no bones about my dislike of Mr. Santorum, but I give credit where credit is due and he has earned his 15 minutes of fame tonight. We shall see if this new found fame and success (not to mention scrutiny) will continue past Iowa..

For the record, here is the final rough results for the Iowa Caucus via POLITICO :

Mitt Romney- 30,015
Rick Santorum- 30,007
Ron Paul- 26,219
Newt Gingrich- 16,251
Rick Perry- 12,604
Michelle Bachmann- 6,073
Jon Huntsman- 745
No Preferences- 135
Other- 117
Herman Cain- 58
Buddy Roemer- 31

But enough about that. I know many Americans either don't understand how the Iowa Caucus works and what the appeal of such a process is for political wonks and regular folks alike and I hope I can try and explain it here briefly.

First, I must admit that with tonight I have officially voted in both Democratic and Republican caucuses (though obviously not at the same time lol) and many outside Iowa will be shocked to know there is a very stark difference. The main difference being Democrats don't do a simple preference vote and instead organize people into groups (based on their choice of candidate) and when the 1st round of voting is done, if your candidate didn't get at least 15% of the vote, you were told to pick your 2nd choice for a candidate and then vote again. As such, it is not a "secret ballot" and thus a bit difficult for many to understand compared to a normal election. Also as you might expect, such multiple rounds of voting can take a while depending on how big your precinct is.

The Republican Caucus is quite a bit different. Firstly, while you are of course organized by your local precinct (just as the Democrats do). However the biggest difference is the method of choosing your candidate. Instead of huddling in groups and possibly having to make another choice if your candidate isn't popular enough, you are given a simple piece of paper with a list of candidates and are asked to mark your choice, fold your paper and return it the precinct captains. That's it, short sweet and right to the point. For my part, I live in a pretty small area and as such my precinct only had ~20 or people. As you might expect, voting doesn't take long nor does counting said votes.

So sounds pretty simple right? Well, many are probably still wondering why anyone would willingly give up 30-45 minutes of their lives for such an activity? Personally, even though my one vote is no more important than anyone else's vote, the fairly small number of people that participate in the Iowa Caucus makes you FEEL like your vote counts a little more than in a regular primary, not to mention you feel a certain amount of comfort voting with one's neighbors.

So as I finally bid my computer farewell for the evening, I want to congratulate all my fellow Iowans who took part in the Caucus, regardless of their choice for GOP nominee. And for those who skipped out, I hope that next time around you take part in this most Iowan of activities, whether just out of curiosity or out of passionate support for a particular candidate. It may not be the fastest or most efficient way to pick a nominee, it's still a fun experience and one I hope all Iowans take part in at least once. But you know what the best part about the Caucus is? Those horrid and annoying TV ads and phone calls will FINALLY stop/slow down!...At least til this Fall...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Starting to Get Real Interesting here in Iowa

Well, things certainly have gotten interesting over just the last week or so here in Iowa. Figures, I got on a little vacation to Michigan and the whole state goes crazy..Typical Iowa at its best!

And to be honest, I love an interesting political race. Races where the winner is clearly evident weeks before the actual vote is not only boring, but it's just plain unsportsmanlike in my political playbook. Many often claim that having too many candidates and too close of races makes for political chaos and internal party-bickering..But I think it clear evidence that even with all the money and the "establishment" behind a particular candidate, you can never be too sure. This is part of the reason the 2008 election was so interesting to young folks like myself I think. You just didn't know who was going to leading the polls next and it made it feel like your vote was more important than it normally does. This election cycle has been even more interesting than in 2008 and I think that is a good thing, no matter what the "experts" on TV tell you.

Which brings me back to the race here in Iowa. For most of the political season, the GOP race has shift dramatically here in Iowa which a new front runner taking over seemingly every few weeks or so. However that has all changed in the last few weeks. With Ron Paul's rise to the top of several polls here in Iowa a week ago, a sort of balancing force started. The result? The most up to date polls out today are showing a nearly statistical dead-heat between not two, but three different candidates! Of those, two are very family faces in Romney and Paul but a new challenger has now risen to the "big top": Rick Santorum. (1)

Now as my readers might remember, I've never been a fan of Mr. Santorum. I don't generally agree with him on ANY issue (which is fine), but the chief reason I dislike him is his outright bigoted statements he has made in the past towards the gay/lesbian community and a certain level of hypocrisy that goes with his positions on that subject and his claimed hatred of "big government". This is actually my problem with most Social Conservatives. Many preach against so-called "big government" as being too intrusive in their lives but yet they have no problem with largely morally-bankrupt politicians legislating morality from D.C.. Any one see the contradiction? Whether it's the federal government taking a bigger role in health care in this country or telling us what to do in matters of social issues, there is no different. They are two sides of the same "Big Government" coin and they should be treated as such.

And apparently I am not the only one who has picked up on this contradiction by folks like Rick Santorum. Erick Erickson of has also pointed out that the fundamental differences between such folks and liberals who want to use the Federal government to dictate on other issues is quite minimal. As Mr. Erickson puts it:

"That’s Rick Santorum. He sees government as the means to conservative ends. But in using government to get conservative ends he has expanded government and set precedents for liberals to use government in the same ways for more liberal government. Rick Santorum was complicit in making Americans more dependent on government and justified it under the rubric of compassion." (2)

So while the "mad rush" is now moving towards Mr. Santorum as the Tuesday Caucus nears, one does have to wonder..How is Santorum any better than the rest and how legitimate is his claimed stance as being against "big government" when he preaches almost exclusively on social issues the federal government has little business dictating in the first place? I suggest all Iowans take a VERY good look at Mr. Santorum before Tuesday and make sure they know the kind of politician they are voting for.

My kudos to Mr. Erickson in his recent posts covering the upcoming Caucus as well as his reports on the genuineness of Rick Santorum.



The views and opinions expressed in the above piece are solely those of the author and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.