Friday, August 3, 2007

Who's Conservative? The Cases of Heather Wilson, Rudy Giuliani, & Sarah Palin

STRATEGIC THOUGHT: Alaska's presidential caucuses will be held on Feb. 5, 2008 (Super Tuesday). As part of the Draft Palin for VP strategy, it's important that Alaska Republicans cast their presidential ballots for their favorite daughter, Gov. Sarah Heath Palin. ALL Republican presidential candidates (still in the race) should defer to the Governor and refrain from seeking caucus votes in Alaska. The symbolic caucus show of support would have the practical effect of showing Alaska's backing for Sarah's being on the ticket as the vice-presidential candidate. When she is named vice-presidential nominee, her Alaska votes would then go to the presidential nominee.

This weekend, I'll write more about "Cobb" (Michael Cobb Bowen), the Black conservative activist and his fine blog. Either this weekend or soon thereafter I'll write about the Gay Patriot blog and the two individuals who write there.

Today, however, I'm going to reprint a response I made to Larry about a column he wrote on his blog. He's a Huckabee supporter who's considering whether to support Sarah Palin for V-P. Larry and I differ about what it means to be a conservative in the context of American politics. Larry blogs at:

He believes people like George W. Bush, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani are not "conservative" enough to merit the support of philosophical conservatives. I disagree. The key comments below deal with Heather Wilson, a congresswoman from Albuquerque, NM -- and one of my political "projects" (somebody I support unconditionally).

Even though the Democratic "base" -- or a good chunk of it -- is deluded about certain matters (such as GWB's supposed "complicity" in 9/11), the Democrats tend to be more realistic about politics than Republicans. Apparently, nine-out-of-10 Democrats are "satisfied" with their choices for President, all of whom are staunch liberals.

The major Republican candidates for President -- Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain, and Romney -- are all more or less conservative. (Note: Because Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter have miniscule support, even in their home states, I'm removing their sites from my blogroll. I am not including Fred Thompson, because he appears to be having second thoughts about declaring for the presidency. )

A Mayor of New York (or a Governor of Minnesota, or a Governor of Alaska, or a Governor of Massachusetts) CANNOT be conservative in the same way as, say, a Governor of Georgia, Arkansas, or Oklahoma.

Mike Huckabee has been criticized for a supposed "liberal" tendency in supporting major road-building in Arkansas, which desperately needed roads. Sarah Palin has been criticized for following the direction of the Alaska Supreme Court and her attorney-general in regard to the provision of same-sex benefits for gay state employees.

Let's be realistic: if candidates don't get elected -- and Reagan knew this -- their "principles" tend to be little more than academic exercises. For example, one Republican woman I hope you and your blog visitors will look into is Heather Wilson, a congresswoman from the Albuquerque area. She's a graduate of the Air Force Academy, the first female veteran ever elected to Congress.

The district she represents is 43% Hispanic and "tends" Democratic. Every two years, the Democrats pour money into the district in attempts to defeat Heather (see the link for financial details). She is very pro-life and against amnesty (in the dictionary sense of the word).

The candidates running against Heather are ALWAYS liberal Hispanics -- a male in 2004 and a female in 2006 . The Club for Growth extremists would not support Heather because she's not quite "conservative" enough for them. However, if Heather ran as a female version of Tom Tancredo or Ron Paul, she'd be soundly defeated, and the district would probably be in the hands of the Democrats until you and I reached the age of 110.

One reason Heather wins is that she's a great communicator. Her last male opponent (2004?) was opposed to capital punishment. She ran an ad that said, "Democrat Romero opposes the death penality for child molesters who kill their victims." And down Senor Romero went.

If you can't get things across in a sentence or two or three (at most), don't bother.

Overall, when we ask if a federal official is "conservative," we also need to ask, "Compared to what? (or whom)?" Note: The Wikipedia article on Heather is an exercise in liberal bias, although most of the isolated "facts" are correct. Overall, she's a remarkable woman and would be a better President than most of the people who've held that office.

As time goes on, more and more candidates are going to face the situation Heather does, with a heavy Hispanic component in their districts. In a little more than a generation, nearly half the people in the U.S. will be legal residents of Hispanic descent -- something the Tom Tancredos of the world won't tell you.

Even now, candidates can't win districts with a strong minority flavor if they start sounding like Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. (who's one of my heroes). Many years ago, Mr. Buckley ran for Mayor of New York. He got 13% of the vote.

Larry, you're critical of Rudy Giuliani, another one of my heroes. In the context of New York City, Giuliani was very conservative, one reason the Far-Left in that city hates him. He cut the murder rate in half. He ran the sex merchants out of Manhattan. He took a bankrupt city and restored it to financial health. He has said he will appoint "strict constructionist" judges (read: Roberts and Alito types). There's every evidence he would listen to an election-determing conservative running-mate, someone like Sarah Heath Palin.

Granted, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention has said he won't vote for Rudy. On the other hand, he has said he understands fully why many of his fellow evangelicals disagree with him. Specifically, he says they believe Giuliani is the only candidate tough enough to beat Hillary Clinton.

No, Rudy is not Mike Huckabee. But at the same time, Arkansas isn't New York. Without considering the context, we can't get any sort of handle on political reality.

At the present time, I'm directing all my efforts to ensuring that Sarah Palin is on the GOP ticket. I'm not indifferent to which candidate heads the ticket, but I'm prepared to support the Republican nominee. For obvious reasons, I strongly oppose the election of either Senator Clinton, or Senator Obama, or former Senator Edwards.

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA

In the comments section, Larry P. raises the Wonkette/Mayor Sam comments about Sarah Palin being "hot." Here's my responses:

I have been working on the Palin effort for about two months, and the first time I ever mentioned that she was attractive was on the radio last Saturday -- -- which is available on archive until tomorrow (I think). I find the whole "Wonkette"/Mayor Sam thing to be humorous actually, but hey, like Black activist "Cobb," I'm "old-school." To me, "hot" usually means crank up the air-conditioner.

We are in a new era, and I seem to know as much about YouTube as I do about the Swahili language. I watch the cable new channels, and they seem to have a lot about Paris -- not the town in the France but the celebrity in Hollywood. However, if Sarah being "hot," whatever that means precisely, helps her campaign, well, great. (Rush Limbaugh called my friend Diana Irey -- see her on her web site -- -- a "babe." She said her teenaged children howled with laughter!)

One thing that really appeals to me is that Sarah has a Mike Huckabee quality -- she takes on mega-challenges (like defeating an incumbent Republican and a Democrat former governor). Earlier, at a young age, she ran for Lt. Gov. and finished second because she couldn't raise enough money. Her victory in 2006 marked only the 14th time in American history that an incumbent governor -- Republican or Democrat -- has been defeated in a primary.

She's totally different from the traditional Republican approach, which tends toward grumpy older guys (can I mention Dick Cheney?). She's the anti-Hillary in more than just appearance. She has FOUR kids (3 girls), all of whom seem very normal. Plus, I hear, she's "hot." :-)

The Fred Barnes article, "The Most Popular Governor," which is on my blogroll captures Sarah perfectly. She has a mystical/religious sense of her role in God's universe, but her feet are planted solidly on Planet Earth. She's an evangelical Christian who's also an accomplished professional. Wow, what a combination!

Stephen R. Maloney


Larry Perrault said...

I found your blog address, which I thought I had bookmarked. As I said on my blog, I don't like the language of "conservative enough." As I said, Bush is not an infidel: you can't be unfaithful to something that you don't intimately understand. Rusy Giuliani is qualified for a lot of things. But, because a cop, for instance, understands crimefighting, doesn't make him qualified to be a leader. Give him the appropriate job.

I also know that O"M the one who is different and inscrutable to most political observers. DIFFERENT is what we need. THE SAME, is what we've had all of my life and the reason olitical battles change: In the interest of "winning," positions are released to float away with the cultural current, while new battles that we think we can "win" (unlike the ones that we abandon) are emgaged. Outside of the immediate perception of "winning," this is a long-term prescription for losing. It should help to bear in mind that my concern is not about MY feelings, but about TRUTH. I'm not surrendering what I believe is important TRUTH, for the context of popularity and short-sighted "winning."

Larry Perrault said...

It sounds like you are quoting Richard Land, president of the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC. I have common-cause with Richard Land on one front, however significant: he's pro-life . Other than that, I don't follow his thinking. Hey, I have a lot more sentiment vested in my dad, who agrees with you more eventhan Richard Land, even though he's an evangelical minister! The Bottom-Line is not advancing and highlighting truth. The Bottom Line is ANYTHING-BUT-A-DEMOCRAT! At some point, without our this-election reading glasses on, we won't be able to tell the difference.

I've been looking at Sarah Palin: so far, so good. It shouldn't matter, but from an old-fashioned geographic/demographic perspective, Alaska is not a large population, though there might, be some pull for Westerners, in general. Unfortunately, politically speaking, the biggest advantage might be that SHE'S HOT!

Stephen R. Maloney said...

One of the reasons I support Sarah for V-P so strongly is that she will not sit around and be some sort of White House potted plant. She speaks her mind, and she tells the truth. Part of it is that solid Christian upbringing and a big part of it is her honesty. Issues of life, marriage, and family aren't just abstractions to her. I do believe it's probable that Rudy will win the nomination, largely because he has such a good reputation from 9/11. As for Mike, he's a special guy and, if he can survive well into the fall, he could suprise people and end up with the nomination. To me, ENOUGH is usually what we get in political campaigns. Politics isn't just saying, "This is me. Take it or leave it." It's more a question of saying, "What do you want, and what do you need?" The emphasis should be on need. I don't think Mike would disagree profoundly with that. I find Sarah -- like my friend and ally Diana Lynn Irey -- to be close to the perfect person and candidate. I bet she's tough to work for!(If she asked me to, I would. I'm a glutton for punishment.)

Stephen R. Maloney said...

I have been working on the Palin effort for about two months, and the first time I ever mentioned that she was attractive was on the radio last Saturday -- http://political -- which is available on archive until tomorrow (I think). I find the whole "wonkette"/Mayor Sam thing to be humorous actually, but hey, like Black activist "Cobb," I'm "old-school." To me, "hot" means crank up the air-conditioner. One thing that really appeals to me is that Sarah has a Mike Huckabee quality -- she takes on mega-challenges (like defeating an incumbent Republican and a Democrat former governor). That is the 14th time in Americna history that an incumbent governor has been defeated in a primary. She is totally different from the traditional Republican approach, which tends toward grumpy older guys (can I mention Dick Cheney?). She's the anti-Hillary in more than just appearance. She has FOUR kids (3 girls), all of whom seem very normal. The Fred Barnes article, "The Most Popular Governor," captures Sarah perfectly.

Larry Perrault said...

I'm sure you're mostly right about Huckabee's "pragmatism," though I'd be curious to see if he's be number 2 on a pro-choice ticket.

Anyway, it's not about ME. I don't believe in Narcissistic voting for the sake of your own self-satisfaction.

It's about what you will help to effect and be accepted. I could compromise on some things, but I'm not going to help push social dissolution of very fundamental principles. My father says you should vote for the best that you can, while you continue to fight in the party for what you believe. I think he doesn't well-enough understand that those who disagree with you in politics could care less about what you believe. You can shoot yourself, if you want, just kindly deliver your vote before you do.

It's kind of like saying, OK, you can rape the nation now, but I'm going top keep protesting it. "Yeah, yeah, yeah..Let's just get those clothes off."

I read the Fred Barnes column on Sarah Palin, and some other stuff. I'll read more, this weekend.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

The key thing about Fred's piece boils down to this: is it true? I believe it is. The pro-choice, pro-life dichotomy doesn't tell the whole story. Before Roe v. Wade there were 200,000 (more?) abortions per year. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, some states would have very restrictive abortion laws and some would not. The same challenges would exist but they'd move to the state level. Conservatives are part of the problem, not a huge part, but not totally without blame. Some of the extreme comments about abortion cause people to assume there's fanaticism mixed with sentimentality in some of the opposition to abortion. All children, unborn and born, should count. There's a girl in Pittsburgh being held in custody because she killed her 'father.' He had abused her, physically, emotionally, and sexually since she was 7. Holding her in custody makes no sense. Children and Youth's Services in PA had been involved for years but they did an awful job protecting her "life." She was born and people who should have cared about her just forgot about her instead. As we move forward, we need to confront some sobering realities -- and then as a society/community do what's necessary to protect children, born and unborn. We're apparently not ready to do right now, frankly.

Christopher said...

Whenever I hear a Republican talk about Heather Wilson, I get in defense mode. She gets attacked constantly as being a RINO, a term I hate very much. We are lucky to have her on our side, and she is nothing but an attribute. 2006 was horrible because of the northeastern Republican losses, and lost a good portion of our moderate base. This "purification" process that some want could end up killing our party.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Christopher, as I said, Heather Wilson is one of my heroines. She a very "tough" individual but she truly cares about the people she serves. I couldn't agree with you more about the "purification" process. I love the statement that "the perfect is the enemy of the good," because it's true.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

I don't think Bush takes certain positions because he's not "intimately familiar" with the conservative stance. Some of those positions he takes, as with immigration and No Child Left Behind, he takes because he thinks the conservative stance is wrong and harmful to the nation. As the (London) Economist magazine said, the right-wing victory on immigration is really a long-term loss. It probably will cost Republicans the votes needed to have any sort of enduring say in immigration. Almost all of the political animosity about immigration has been directed toward Republican conservatives who were desperately trying to forge a compromise. Sad.

Larry Perrault said...

As for ethnic populations in the general election, that concern is just another reason that I support Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination. He is well and sincerely equipped to address these populations, amd in fact, won 49% of the black vote in a reelection for governor. Just imagine what it would mean if a Republican won even 20% in a presidential election: that's death for the Democrat. I don't believe the other Republican candidates can fare as well, in that regard. Even the ones who don't evince overt hostility are pretty obviously soda crackers.

I didn't mean that Bush wasn't sincere, and I'm not in excellent position to judge that, anyway. I just don't think he has a systematic compass.

I have told you that I don't follow what is perceived as standard "conservatism on immigration, though I think tat philosophically, there's nothing "un" conservative about my view.

Like Huckabee, I believe that ordering border control must PRECEDE the other elements in the failed bill, mostly because I don't trust them to do it afterward, as demonstrated by the fact that they haven't enforced the law until now.

But, though it should be ordered if only for the integrity of the law, I generally favor Hispanic immigration and think another priority should be to streamline the ;egal process.

But I wanted to get to the abortion issue: I'm ardently pro-life and have served with and supported pro-life organizations and efforts.

But for many years, now, whenever the topic arises, I stress that the fate of babies is not my primary concern. Sure it's an injustic, but welcome to the word, where there have always been and will always be injustices. I believe in God, and these children are returned directly to the sender, the most able custodian, without ever passing through this vale of tears. In the big picture, they will be fine. But, the society that behaves that way is in DEEP trouble. As it digests and assimilates the acceptability of this behavior and the idea that we may defer over human life...EVEN ITS OWN CHILDREN!..., I believe that basic selfish disposition will manifest itself in innumerable ways. I believe that civility will dissipate and long-term civil society will not survive.

In the big picture then, it isn't about the babies. It's about the health of society. To begin with, it's unAmerican. But larger than that, it's a society in dissolution. So, not voting for Rudy Giuliani is not personal. I don't even dislike him, and that's irrelevant, anyway. I'm not going to aply this great pressure, I'm not even going to apply a pinky finger's worth of pressure, to the destruction of America's social foundation.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Larry, I wonder if it's possible to have "border security" without the support of the American people, a large number of whom benefit from having lots of willing workers available for difficult jobs. It also requires support from the 45 million legal Hispanics, who right now are suspicious that there's a lot of racism/ethnocentricism at work in the anti-illegal movement. Right now, Sec. Chertoff is trying to make renewed driver's licenses into technologically sophisticated national I.D. cards. He's running into a lot of opposition -- from people who say it's too expensive, too taxing on state resources. He also has noted the heavy opposition in border states to the security fence, to surveillance video, and to increased patrols. There's a tremendous amount of hypocrisy involved in the whole border security issue. Chertoff has invited Hunter, Tancredo, Sessions, and others to accompany him when he talks to Mayors, residents, employers, and others who essentially don't want any changes. I don't believe Mike Huckabee has truly tackled the real issues here, including the ones I mentioned. I supported the proposed Senate legislation, believing it was the best we are ever going to get.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

On the health of society: I mentioned my Black neighbors, Robert and Mary. The point is that people (relatives of theirs) have babies who need care, so Robert and Mary give it. I told Mary, "God put you on earth to take care of babies." I have a hunch that if we're both still here 25 years from now, she'll still have a couple around. She's good at it. She dresses them up and makes them mind. They adore her because she's an adorable person. When I went to the funeral of Robert's mother (Essie), the mourners came up to me, my wife, and daughter (the only three white people there) and introduced themselves. I thought it would be hard to find a better group of people anywhere. I hope the same kinds of groups flourish in tens of millions of places across the land. Nobody in that group was going to get an abortion. Why on earth would they? If all else failed, Mary would be there to take care of the child. If Mary couldn't, well, my wife and I could.

Mario Burgos said...

Interesting post. You might want to make one correction. It was Richard Romero not "Rodriguez" that Heather Wilson beat in 2004.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Thanks Mario, I'll make the change today.