Sunday, July 29, 2012

Standing Up for Chick-fil-A and Freedom

On Wednesday, I will be joining what I imagine to be tens of thousands of fellow Christian conservatives by patronizing Chick-fil-A, though in all honesty, I probably would have gone there anyway.

The Georgia-based fried fowl eatery has been my favorite fast food spot since high school.

Not only is the food delicious, but also they stress quality control (unlike practically every other national fast food chain aside from In-n-Out).  Their restaurants tend to be relatively clean and the primarily young people who work there are very customer service oriented.  All of the free-standing restaurants I’ve visited employ “floaters” who walk amongst the dining customers to ask for refills or to remove food trays. 

Another trademark of the company is their “closed on Sundays” policy that is plastered on their signs, doors and billboards, which I suspect has as much to do with alerting potential customers that they’re not open on that day as it does to remind the general public that this company honors the Christian Sabbath even at the loss of considerable profits, which is something people of all faiths should respect and admire. 

It was only a matter of time that the overtly Christian food chain would find itself enveloped in controversy as American society and government becomes increasingly secular and intolerant if not outright hostile towards traditional Christian values and those who publicly subscribe to them.

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy made comments that he believes marriage should be reserved as the union between a man and a woman and further opined that a nation that blatantly defies the will of the Lord risks receiving His judgment.

The first part is hardly controversial.  Up until a few years ago, an overwhelming majority of Americans maintained that the government should only recognize traditional marriage.  Furthermore preserving the exclusivity of traditional marriage has been endorsed in statewide plebiscites across the country, including California.

As for the second, a brief perusal of the Old Testament would explain why someone who believes the Bible is more than a collection of creative writing stories would believe such a thing. 

But the secular-liberal cultural Jacobins could not bear to see this verbal sally by a prominent businessman espousing American traditionalism and Judeo-Christian values go unanswered and have responded with name calling (Bigot!), boycotts and protests involving the very juvenile conduct that former Pennsylvania US Senator Rick Santorum was subjected to by tawdry gay activists until the Republican presidential candidate qualified for Secret Service protection.

The gay activist community has gone from “merely” seeking tolerance (striking out sodomy laws) to demanding full acceptance of their agenda (which ranges from same-sex marriage to allowing transgendered men to use women’s restroom).

In the new secular society, one loses his/her/its right to even think “different”.  Imagine RuPaul screaming at a Christian minister for being a societal apostate and there you have the future if America continues its glacial slide away from traditionalism and liberty into a constitutionally neutered cultural abyss. 

Perhaps the most absurd aspect of all is the declaration by liberals of a boycott of Chick-fil-A because of its executive’s personal views that are consistent with Christian teaching.

If conservatives boycotted every company that funneled a portion of its profits to liberal causes and politicians, we would have to create our own separate economy.

I am not pleased knowing that every time I buy a movie ticket, purchase a Hewlett Packard computer printer or pick up a new pair of Nikes, etc. a smidge of my money is lining someone’s pocket I don’t like, particularly Planned Parenthood and other abortion providing entities.

And for those socially conservative Cowboys haters out there, apparently the Dallas franchise supports Planned Parenthood.  I needed another reason to loath the Dallas Cowboys like I needed another reason to visit Chick-fil-A.

Conservative consumers who either don’t care enough to go through a proscription list before shopping or simply respect those companies’ right to hold/support disagreeable views and causes have indirectly funded liberal organizations.  

There’s more to the liberals’ war on Chick-fil-A than glitter bombs.

It gets worse (and scarier).

Apparently public officials in Chicago and Boston have decided to play George Wallace to Chick-fil-A declaring that planned franchises shall not darken their burgs. 

To his credit, liberal New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a same sex marriage advocate, has disagreed with his fellow big city chiefs’ bluster saying “political litmus tests” for businesses are wrong in principle and illegal. 

And so I will be waiting in what I expect to be a very long line at the Metairie Chick-fil-A on August 1st standing not only for a company I liked prior to the recent controversy but for the right of someone to speak his mind about his faith without fear of harassment from the commissars of political correctness and suppression by the state. 

Eat MoR Chikin, StaNd uP 4 liBurTee.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Election 2012: Running Mates Romney Should Not Select

During a campaign stop with the candidate in Baton Rouge, a top Romney aide speculated that his candidate could very well choose his running mate as early as this week.

Granted that’s not saying Mitt Romney will announce his selection this week or anytime soon, though that hasn’t stopped media outlets from jumping the gun.

I’m betting the pick won’t be promulgated until the weekend before the convention.

An early roll out would take away some of the suspense and intrigue from the start of the Republican National Convention, turning it into an even less interesting prolonged political informercial while providing the Democrats weeks to define Romney’s running mate in paid and free media before the convention.

There are far better (and cheaper) ways to shift discussion away from Romney’s taxes and his time with Bain Capital than to play the veep card this early.

Below is a list of individuals who may very well be presidential candidates themselves in the future but would make less than ideal running mates for Romney.  

  1. Chris Christie  Though I had hoped the brash and bulky New Jersey governor would have sought the GOP’s presidential nomination, Chris Christie should not join Romney on the ticket.  There’s little chance Christie could flip his state to the GOP and his outspokenness would provide too much of a personality contrast.  That said, Christie should have a prominent speaking slot at the convention.

  1. Paul Ryan  Considered one of the party’s rising stars, Ryan’s greatest liability as a running mate is the budget proposal that bears his name.  Romney has been struggling to frame the election in terms of what President Barack Obama has done with the US taxpayers’ money instead of what Bain Capital did with their own, which has taken a toll in the polls. 

Choosing Ryan would make the election as much about the Wisconsin US Representative’s budget as it would ObamaCare.  Think endless Democratic nitpicking.  Though Ryan possesses many of the traits that would ordinarily make him an ideal running mate, Romney cannot afford to spend time defending and explaining Republican theoretical budgets when he needs to focus all of his time and resources railing against Obama’s very real (and expensive) budgets.

  1. Marco Rubio  Sixteen years ago, there was a lot of excitement about the possibility of Colin Powell serving as Bob Dole’s running mate...and a lot of disappointment when someone else got tapped.  To avoid a similar letdown, the Romney camp initially got out word that Rubio was not being considered for the second spot on the ticket only to have to declare that the Cuban-American conservative would indeed be vetted.  As I have said previously, I don’t think either is interested in a Romney-Rubio ticket.  Rubio would risk his favorite status in 2016 by being part of a November 2012 defeat while Romney would risk being overshadowed by his own running mate. 

  1. Bob McDonnell  The Old Dominion state could be the Florida of 2000.  Though Virginia has been reliably Republican in presidential elections since the 1970s, the combination of a large black population with a growing white liberal/federal bureaucrat electorate in NoVa has made it a true toss-up.  The big rub against McDonnell was the state legislature’s acrimonious handling of a bill mandating an ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed, though I don’t see how this should be a disqualifier.  McDonnell should only be brought on if it will make or break Romney in a state where he has consistently trailed the president this year.  For what it’s worth, the state’s attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli would be a better pick, firing up the right while making a parochial play in Virginia though I am not holding my breath about that scenario. 

  1. Tim Pawlenty  The candidate I initially supported for president in 2012 was the former governor of Minnesota.  The “first runner up” who lost to Miss Alaska in John McCain’s veepstakes, Pawlenty was considered the default electable conservative to Romney in 2012.  But after an emasculating debate performance where he wouldn’t own up to his ObamneyCare crack in the presence of the GOP frontrunner and a decapitation at the hands of US Representative Michele Bachmann in the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, the self-proclaimed Sam’s Club Republican dropped out the race and fell in line behind Romney. 

Aside from being a “safe pick”, I don’t see what Pawlenty brings to the table.  He couldn’t deliver his own state during the primary/caucus season (which went to Rick Santorum) and he won’t carry it in the general election (Minnesota hasn’t voted Republican for president since Nixon’s 1972 landslide).  If Romney wants two scoops of vanilla ticket, he might as well get a sprinkling of electoral votes from a true swing state.  

When measured against Pawlenty, McDonnell or Ohio US Senator Rob Portman would be far better selections.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Election 2012: Why Romney Should Keep His Mouth Shut (About His Running Mate)

Ann Romney, the wife of the soon to be certified Republican nominee for president, recently dropped a hint that her husband Mitt is mulling the possibility of choosing a female running mate.

Was the first lady-in-waiting was providing a sincere tip on what has been a secretive veep screening process or was Mrs. Romney merely throwing out fodder for a one or two day story to erode the Democratic Party’s narrative that the GOP is anti-woman?

My bet is the latter.

The most likely woman to join the Republican Party’s 2012 ticket is New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, who is a “triple threat”: female, Hispanic and swing state resident. And she’s barely being mentioned.

There’s also been some discussion that Romney will announce his running mate choice ahead of the convention.

Once again, this is also likely pr fluff.

Or at least I hope so.

Arizona US Senator John McCain didn’t do much right as a presidential candidate though he perfectly timed the announcement that Alaska governor Sarah Palin would serve as his running mate.

Palin’s introduction to the nation sucked out all of the oxygen from the just adjourned Democratic National Convention and the surprise choice knocked the wind out Obama’s political apparatus.

For a brief shining moment, it looked like McCain had a chance, as Barack Obama’s own running mate humbly mused about the wisdom of his own selection.

Even the Democratic Party’s hapless 2004 candidate scored on his running mate roll out, though the man selected later proved to be cad.

The media’s frenzy over the identity of Massachusetts US Senator John Kerry’s pick led to a botched front page “scoop” by the New York Post, which featured a picture of then-Missouri US Representative Dick Gephardt under the headline “Kerry’s Choice”, which naturally focused even more attention on the Democratic ticket.

Romney would be making a terrible mistake not sitting on his choice for running mate until the eve of the convention or even later.

The speculation buzz going into the convention allow him to dominate the mainstream media while keeping the Democratic Party’s attack machine off-balance as they would have to spend time and resources developing multiple plans of attack.

In contrast, announcing early would allow Obama & Co. to mercilessly blast Romney’s selection and plant seeds of doubt that maybe the GOP presidential nominee should go in a different direction while there is still time.

For a charismatically challenged presidential candidate, Romney needs to keep as much lightning in a bottle as possible and avoid an anti-climactic convention.

There’s also the Paul factor.

Thousands of Texas US Representative Ron Paul’s supporters will be converging on Tampa Bay for two competing Paul events: an unsanctioned three-day “PaulStock” music and politics festival at the Florida State Fairgrounds sans their icon though featuring Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and an official Ron Paul rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome where the libertarian champion will address his delegates the day before the convention.

It would not be in Romney’s interests to allow Ron Paul and his supporters to overshadow the start of the convention’s proceedings, especially if Paul doesn’t deliver an endorsement though both events would have a tough time competing for attention with Romney’s unveiling of his running mate.

The more the media speculates about potential running mates, the more Romney keeps his face and message on the networks. If Romney’s folks are smart (and this might be a bit of an assumption), he and his surrogates will continue to tease and drop hints to the salivating press corps up until Tampa.

Better yet, he might not even publicize the pick until the Monday or Tuesday of the convention at a major appearance in a swing state.

The opening sessions of the convention tend to be “dead days” where party apparatchiks get their two minutes of fame reading bland canned speeches that are equally ignored by the CSPAN viewing audience and those assembled in the hall.

The start of the convention could use some excitement as it’s unlikely George W. Bush or Dick Cheney will be called upon to fill in the gaps.

The general public isn’t going to pay much attention to the presidential campaign until after the national conventions. People right now care more about Great Whites stalking kayaks than policy or the election.

Romney would be wise to refrain from deploying his “weapon of mass distraction” until “shark attack season” draws to a close.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Supreme Mistake

In a surprise, a US Supreme Court consisting of five Republican appointees and four Democratic appointees ruled that ObamaCare was legitimate by a five-four majority, with President George W. Bush’s chief justice joining his more liberal colleagues.

Many people on both sides felt that the current ideological divide favored a negative ruling on the matter but John Roberts, the very jurist that then-US Senator Obama voted against confirming, threw a curveball to one and all.

Liberals hailed the ruling that preserved the Obama Administration’s signature policy act. Establishment conservatives rushed to defend Roberts citing technical aspects of the ruling that pertain to what they claim to be the big legal picture.

And then there are grassroots conservatives and TEA Party activists who view the court’s ruling for what it isL an unmitigated constitutional disaster that has assembled the superstructure of a future American socialist state.

Count me and the four US Supreme Court justices who dissented in that last group.

Admittedly I am no legal scholar.

I’m not even a lawyer (though I once played one in a movie).

But I do know there are differences between fees, taxes and fines.

A fee is something you pay for the use of a service.

For example, if you want to see bison roaming around Yellowstone National Park, you’ll have to pay a fee at the frontgate.

A tax can be many things though the primary purpose is to generate revenue. Sales taxes collect money from voluntary transactions.

If I go to a store in Louisiana and buy a pack of chewing gum, I’m going to pay a mark-up in the neighborhood of 8% on that purchase.

And then there are taxes for “being” and economic achievement.

If you own a house or make a certain amount of money, then your actions have brought you a degree of tax liability.

A fine is a primarily fiscally punitive assessment intended to coerce individuals to follow the law.

In a number of communities, if you don’t maintain your lawn, you can get hit with a fine.

If you don’t obey the speed limit, you receive a fine.

If you decide to clean out your car by tossing trash out of your window, you receive a fine.

ObamaCare’s individual mandate requires people to purchase government-approved health insurance. Failure by individuals making a certain amount of money to purchase said insurance results in an escalating financial penalty/assessment.

How the head of the judicial branch could confuse a fine with a tax is astounding.

Under the ObamaCare individual mandate, a citizen is in violation of the law by 1) being alive, 2) making a certain amount of money and 3) not buying something.

The so-called silver lining celebrated by the conservative establishment was the supposed limitation imposed on future federal exploitation of the US Constitution’s commerce clause.

And that may very well matter in future rulings in the short term, though that posture is only good under the current court composition.

Give Obama another four years and the chance to fill a few seats vacated by conservatives with liberals and the oft-abused commerce clause will rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

While one door related to the power of the federal government was closed, a bay window that would allow the federal government to simply do the same thing through another avenue was opened.

To borrow Huey P. Long’s famous High Popalorum and Low Popahirum analogy, instead of being skinned from the ankle up, the American public can be skinned from the neck down.

You’ll have to forgive the TEA Party for not reveling with champagne over the totality of the ObamaCare ruling.

Did Roberts really believe that the individual mandate was intended to be a tax, something President Obama strenuously denied throughout the debate on his health care plan?

Or was Roberts haunted by the bitter controversy surrounding the high court’s role in indirectly deciding the 2000 presidential contest and the ghost of FDR’s court-packing scheme hatched after a conservative court frustrated his early domestic economic policies?

In his 2012 State of the Union, President Obama gave a special “shout down” to the Supreme Court about rejecting the constitutionality of his health care legislation sending a clear message: wipeout the centerpiece of his domestic agenda and the president would work to undermine the credibility of the judiciary.

As the head of the national judicial branch, the generally conservative Roberts “took one for the bench” and found an imaginative way to make the individual mandate constitutional by remolding what was clearly a fine/penalty and turning it into a tax.

In an attempt to justify his punt, Roberts wrote in his opinion, “It’s not our job to protect from the consequences of their political choices.”

I concur with the spirit of his comment.

Voters need to go beyond a politician’s smile when casting a ballot and understand that the candidate who might put them in a state of euphoria through rhetoric could later enact policies that hurt them professionally or personally.

From a political standpoint, the court’s ruling has reset the presidential campaign.

In a rarity, specific policy and by extension what type of government we will have for at least a generation.  may very well overshadow the candidates as the focus of the election. 

Is ObamaCare the point where the American electorate begins to gingerly back away from capitalism’s edge or shall the nation deliberately plunge into the valley of western European socialism?

November will be a milestone one way or the other.

Contrary to his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts's view of the court's responsibilities is dead wrong.

It is his job to determine whether executive actions and/or enacted legislation brought before his court conforms to what is allowable under the constitution.

By ruling as a chief justice instead of a supreme court justice, Roberts has signaled through his incorrect decision that he's more interested in protecting the judiciary instead of the constitution.

How any conservative can celebrate this capitulation is beyond comprehension.