Saturday, November 13, 2004

Not all of Europe was unhappy that Bush was re-elected

You may have seen this Michael Novak column in NRO:Bolstered by Bush
Italy’s “House of Liberty” cheers for W

Since Michael has told us much about it already, I found it particularly interesting because this column mentions the sacking of the Italian candidate for the Justice Ministry of the European Commission, Rocco Buttiglione.

The panel conducting Rocco's hearing had never asked Romano Prodi or any other Italian politician, especially of the Left, what he personally thought about homosexual acts. A true answer, if it took the form of "I believe in civil tolerance, but personally I think such acts are not moral," would have landed any politician of Right or Left in deep political trouble with a significant plurality of Italian voters. That may be why the question has never been asked until now. It was asked of Buttiglione, and in such an aggressive and unexpected way that many in Italy are saying publicly that this was a deliberate set-up, engineered by laicists in Brussels still determined to "ecraser l'infame" — to erase every vestige of Christian faith — from their new laicist Europe.

But I also found this good news....
One striking thing about Italy these days, compared to 30 years ago, is how many former leftists have awakened to the illusions of the Left, and begun flocking to the center-right. Nearly every one mentioned by name in this article is one such, and the numbers keep growing, almost exponentially, among writers and other intellectuals. Everything leftist is increasingly being questioned — economic orthodoxy often first of all, but now leftist cultural politics, too. Even those not prepared to go all the way to the center-right, at least on all issues, are raising tough questions.

Could it be that even in Europe, the people are beginning to lose their love for liberalism?

Mr. Novak seems to think that this could be the start of something good:
What I conclude after this visit, more powerfully than ever, is that important new currents so visible in the victory of George W. Bush are also beginning to affect very distant places, and that great spiritual changes are beginning to display their first sprouts: a profoundly new vision of our own secular history, more open to religion than formerly; a new attention to the family and to the traditional morality on which its health depends; and a rethinking of fundamental economic principles concerning taxation, state power, and welfare programs. The notion is also gaining traction that the ideas of the Left belong to the 1950s, if not earlier, while those of Bush and others like him point to a new and more creative future.

Interesting numbers

From WSJ by James Taranto: "Democrats like to present themselves as the party of the downtrodden while characterizing the GOP as the party of the selfish rich. But a study by the Catalogue of Philanthropy suggests the opposite may be true. The Catalogue ranked all 50 states based on the percentage of adjusted gross income their residents donated to charity. The top five states were Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Alabama, all of which President Bush carried. Indeed, all of the top 24 finishers are "red" states; New York, at No. 25, is the highest-ranking "blue" one. Only four red states appear in the bottom 12: Virginia, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada."

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A tolerant but confused society takes political correctness to its illogical extreme

This story should give us a hint of what could happen here if we don't learn a lesson from what is happening in Europe. (Michael has been talking about this for months.)

The Dutch — like every other European society I know — were unwilling to recognize that they had potentially lethal enemies within, and that it was necessary to impose the rules of civil behavior on everyone within their domain. The rules of political correctness made it impossible even to criticize the jihadists, never mind compel them to observe the rules of civil society. Just look at what happened the next day: An artist in Rotterdam improvised a wall fresco that consisted of an angel and the words "Thou Shalt Not Kill." The local imam protested, and local authorities removed the fresco.

Arlen Spectre in More Trouble

It isn't enough that Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Sectre is credibly accused of "warning" George W Bush not to nominate judges that are "too conservative". Spectre has denied making these comments. Now, however, a 1995 letter has surfaced in which he attacks several leaders of the religious right over their pro-life stance. Following are some excerpts:
Ralph Reed, Executive Director of the Christian Coalition, issued a blunt threat: if the 1996 Republican candidate doesn't oppose a woman's right to choose, religious conservatives won't support the ticket.

...I want the Republican Party to stand up for individual freedom and the right to choose.
I resent people like Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and Pat Buchanan trying to give litmus tests to determine who can be a Republican candidate.

I want to strip the stident anti-choice language from the Republican Party 1996 platform and will lead the fight to do so at the next National Convention.
If Senator Spectre thought he could weather the storm easily it appears he was mistaken. This letter is going to fire up Christian conservative voters, who are widely credited with making up the additional voting margin that put President Bush back into the White House for four more years.

On the one hand, I believe that in order for the Republican Party to maintain it's majority status we must be a "big tent" party. People like Arnold Schwartzenegger and Rudy Guliani help bring additional voters. We must not become like the Democrats and enforce ideological purity on our members.

I am also not a fan of Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan (or Jerry Falwell, for that matter). I can, however, generally be called a social conservative.

If Arlen Spectre wants to be pro-abortion, er, "pro-choice", that is his right. That doesn't mean, however, that the rest of us have to go along with him. We don't have to acquiesce in his being chairman of the Judiciary committee. I still won't forgive him for voting against Judge Bork, or for his recent lukewarm comments regarding Justice Thomas.

On Tuesday, National Review editoralized in favor of dumping Senator Spectre and keeping Orin Hatch as chairman of the Judiciary Committee:
The public has handed the GOP a mandate to end the Democratic party's unprecedented attempts to filibuster the federal bench. For the second election in a row, voters have increased Republican control of the Senate by electing candidates who have promised to break the judicial gridlock. South Dakotans even ousted head obstructionist Tom Daschle, giving him the inauspicious distinction of becoming the first Senate leader in half a century to lose a reelection. Republican John Thune beat him by mentioning judges at every opportunity.
As this struggle looms, Senate Republicans need the steady hand of Utah's Orrin Hatch. His experience as chairman of the Judiciary Committee will prove to be a vital resource in the months ahead. The same goes for the bulk of his staff, which has already confronted Democratic obstinacy and won't waver as it joins the battle once more. Forcing Hatch and his aides to quit the committee over blind obedience to a seniority rule whose purpose is to keep the Republican party strong would be the political equivalent of a self-inflicted wound. Given the extraordinary circumstances, now is the time to make a narrow exception.
I agree; Arlen Spectre is not to be trusted with the chairmanship of such an important committee.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Were Christian conservatives duped into voting Republican?

Richard Cohen, an admitted liberal, says no in his column titled The real dopes are gullible Dems.
A phrase from a press release struck me: In voting for President Bush, "religious Americans were duped into voting against their best interests." The word "duped" helps explain why the Democratic Party is in the pits and John Kerry is not the next President. Only a dope thinks these voters were duped.
Christopher Hitchens writes about the Left's unwitting alliance with religious extremism.
So here is what I want to say on the absolutely crucial matter of secularism. Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left. From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Center, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudointellectuals has been willing to represent the worst face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed. How can these people bear to reread their own propaganda? Suicide murderers in Palestine—disowned and denounced by the new leader of the PLO—described as the victims of "despair." The forces of al-Qaida and the Taliban represented as misguided spokespeople for antiglobalization. The blood-maddened thugs in Iraq, who would rather bring down the roof on a suffering people than allow them to vote, pictured prettily as "insurgents" or even, by Michael Moore, as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers. If this is liberal secularism, I'll take a modest, God-fearing, deer-hunting Baptist from Kentucky every time, as long as he didn't want to impose his principles on me (which our Constitution forbids him to do).