Category Archives: Democracy

On Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican

At times it is easy to remember those days in the 80’s when Ronald Reagan was in the White House as some idealized time when the Republican Party was lead by the now iconic leader who has come to define the modern Republican Party. But the truth is the same divides which exist within the party today were present, and simmering below the surface in The Gipper’s days. What today would be called moderate Republicans, or less politely RINO’s, were then Rochefeller or Country Club Republicans. In fact the 11th Commandment dates back to the 1966 California Governor’s race and was in part a response to the vicious primary attacks in 1964 which left the eventual GOP nominee Barry Goldwater scared and made it easier for the Johnson campaign to pick up upon themes started by Republicans to defeat Goldwater in November 1964.

The 2012 Republican Presidential Contenders

The idea is politically sound. While differences in policy and capability are the foundation of any primary race and indeed our very democracy, our party should avoid the kind of personal attacks which can leave our eventual nominee damaged in the general election. Those of us who remember the 1980 election which first brought Reagan to the White House recall how the Carter Campaign repeatedly attacked Reagan’s platform as “Voodoo” Economics. Carter’s operatives were quick to point out that it was George H.W. Bush, then Reagan’s running mate, who had first applied the label to Reagan’s economic plan. Taken to its extreme, this kind of intraparty attacks can result in a political circular firing squad (a Democratic Party specialty) which makes the Lefts job of defeating Republicans so much easier.

I can almost hear some readers screaming “we have been fooled by these RINO before and we won’t let it happen again under the disguise of political politeness”. On the contrary, conservatives have won their dominant position in the Republican Party on the force of our ideas, not personal attacks. The media loves a good mud bath, its good ratings, and will always focus on the personal rather than thoughtful policy. As conservatives we will secure control of the GOP at the primary ballot box. But we must ensure whoever wins those primaries, they are in the best position to take the fight to the Democrats, and not scared by their own party.

To those who scream they would rather have a Democrat than a Republican that is not 100 percent to their liking; that thinking helped put Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the United States Supreme Court. I am not arguing for policy moderation. We as conservatives have fought for half a century to secure our policies define the Republican Party. When in the first half of the last decade a GOP congress and president forgot those Conservative values, not only did we see fiscal discipline vanish and deficits skyrocket, we saw the GOP returned to the minority and the White House lost. We must win the battle of ideas within the party, but we must do it on the strength of those ideas, not by personal attacks for they just leave all involved diminished.

What brought me to write this was my profound disappointment over comments by the Governor of Texas yesterday calling Mitt Romney a “fat cat” due to his personal financial wealth. It is absurd that any Republican would engage in the exact behavior we condemned when President Obama waged class warfare over the past few months. If a candidate cannot win the primaries on the strength of their ideas, even when contrasted with their opponents, they do not deserve to win. When they stoop to personal attacks against fellow republicans, they do not deserve our votes.

So today I stand on my soap box and ask all Republicans running for nominations at every level, stick to ideas and policy, and leave the trash talking personal attacks to the left. To my fellow conservatives and Republicans I encourage you to take personal responsibility not only in your words, but with your vote by letting those who would forget Reagan’s 11th Commandment know that they can forget your vote. The stakes are too high in 2012 for us to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Conservative, Democracy, Leadership, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republican Party, Rick Perry, Ronald Reagan, The Grand Old Party, The White House

Happy Independence Day!

Astronaut John Young Saluting the Flag on the Surface of the Moon, April 1972

On this Independence Day we celebrate the freedoms we at times take for granted but always cherish and enjoy. We give thanks to all those who have stood up to defend America from the Revolutionary generation to those who stand in harm’s way today. America is the shining city on a hill which attracts all those within whom the fire of freedom burns bright. To one and all, have a totally red white and blue July 4th!

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Filed under American Leadership, Constitution, Democracy

Chinese Communism at 90

This week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 90th anniversary, a milestone their Soviet counterpart never achieved. There will be parades with smiling children and banners exalting the virtues of Chinese Communism. Their success at building the world’s second largest economy will be trumpeted and their pride in one of the largest economic growth rates will be proudly hailed. Indeed the Chinese Communists will be celebrating what appears to be not only a successful past, but a bright future. This will be the narrative of the main stream media, yet as is often the case it will be disingenuously selective in its perspective.

Poster Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party

Buried deep in the coverage will be mention of how the Chinese Communist Party has held on to power when its older siblings in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are now on the ash pile of history. The true nature of the Chinese Communists was demonstrated in June 1989, the same time when European Communism was falling. The Soviets under Mikhail Gorbachev when faced with massive popular unrest reacted by implementing democratic reform and learned a truism of history, when people are given freedom they will seek more. In two years the Soviet Union was a failed chapter in the history books. The CCP did not emulate their European comrade’s mistake and reacted to the prodemocracy protests with the traditional tools of totalitarian dictatorships, they sent in the tanks.

Pro-Democracy Protesters in Tiananmen Square Surround the Goddess of Democracy in May 1989

Few of us who are old enough to have lived through that day will forget the images of the tanks arriving in Tiananmen Square where hundreds of thousands of protestors had gathered since April of that year to peacefully demand democratic reforms for the Chinese People. Today’s celebrations in that very Square are certain not to contain the 10 meter tall Goddess of Democracy created from wire, foam and paper mache by student which came to symbolize their desire for freedom. It is unlikely we will ever know how many people died that day, official government numbers were 241 and said to be mostly soldiers supposedly killed by those dangerous unarmed student protesters. The Red Cross initially reported 2,600 dead and countless wounded. Graphic video surfaced showing the effects tank tracks can have on unarmed protesters. While the Chinese Communist Party will flood the streets with protesters chanting of the greatness of modern China; the real symbol of the strength of the Chinese people is a single solitary man, who had been walking home with a bag in one hand and a packsack in the other who stepped out onto the streets alone and simply stood before the advancing tanks, moving when they move, and stopped them. He was later identified as 19 year old Wang Weilin whose fate has never been determined with certainty, however it has been reported he was executed 14 days later.

Lone Chinese Man Faces Down Advancing Communist Tank Column in Tiananmen Square June 1989

Lone Chinese Man Faces Down Advancing Communist Tank Column in Tiananmen Square June 1989

Twenty years later we are bombarded by the media’s message of a Chinese economic miracle and the inevitability of China emerging as the largest economy in the world. Indeed the west has been a willing participant in china’s development with massive technology transfers by companies like General Electric who just this January contributed its global avionics business into a joint venture with a Chinese state controlled firm (GE’s Chairman Jeffrey Immelt is also Chairman of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board). In doing so GE is working to build the Chinese aerospace industry in the naive hope of securing short term sales in china, a goal western firms are finding increasingly difficult. One can only imagine how much of the avionics technical knowhow being given to the Chinese Communists will ultimately find its way to the new Chengdu J-20 Fifth Generation Tactical Fighter which according to reports from the CIA rivals the performance of our own F22 Raptor. Yet much of the credit for China’s economic miracle has to go to the everyday westerner who enjoys the $600 iPad without consideration to the Chinese workers who live in near prison conditions in factory towns to produce cheap export goods fueling China’s economy. Maybe it is time for individual western citizens and corporations to take a look at how their own actions are impacting others in the world.

It is far from clear what the future holds for Chinese Communism and the impact it will ultimately have not only on the Chinese people but on the world. Those maps of China on the parade floats today show the island of Taiwan as part of China, something the people of that free island reject out of hand and should China attempt to impose communist rule on Taiwan by force the free world would be obliged to stop any communist aggression. At that point western technology transfers will seem even less well considered than they do today. Yet perhaps the biggest challenge to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party comes from the aspirations of the Chinese people themselves. Once a nation tastes the fruits of economic freedom, the aspirations for political freedom are hard to contain. What the Communists do not understand is that free markets go hand in hand with individual and political freedoms and are over time inseparable. History has shown us that once a people taste freedom, no totalitarian regime can deny them for long.

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Filed under China, Communism, Democracy, Foreign Policy, National Security, Obama Administration, Politics