Sunday, 29 January 2012
The left's logical case for abortion rights had officially collapsed. We can thank CNN's Piers Morgan for administering last rites when he resorted to the tired, sensationalized, "Yeah, well, what if your daughter was raped?" argument with Rick Santorum in a televised interview.
There's a reason why any time we seek to settle a bitter dispute between two feuding parties, we turn to a disinterested third person to act as the arbiter. There's a reason that courtroom litigants plead their case before an unbiased, dispassionate jury of their peers. There's a reason that the president and the public evaluate the temperament of a judge before appointing or electing them to office. The reason is because we know that when attempting to come to a clear, rational, sound conclusion about serious and many times controversial issues, emotional connections to either side can cloud our judgment and confuse our thinking.
And that's also the very reason why on the great moral dilemma of our day - the legality of abortion - those holding to the ethically, scientifically, and constitutionally inferior position known as supporting a "woman's right to choose" (notice the habitual omission of what it is that women should have the right to choose to do) seek to inject as much emotion, as many exceptional cases, and as much passionately sensational rhetoric as possible. They may be short on logic, but they're not stupid when it comes to winning the battle for public opinion.
That's why you see virtually no liberal willing to speak to the most fundamental question of the entire controversy: the humanity of what is in the womb. They simply declare any discussions of humanness, biology, and personhood rights to be above their pay grade, and thereby dismiss themselves from any expectation or obligation to answer questions that would expose their logical bankruptcy. Instead, they set the parameters of the debate, and draw conservatives into wildly emotional exchanges that inflame passions rather than engage intellects.
Take the recent interview of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum conducted by CNN host Piers Morgan. Santorum is a pro-life stalwart and one of the few conservatives on the national scene who articulates the seemingly obvious position that if you believe an unborn child is a human being entitled to fundamental and constitutional rights, then there is no exception by which you can condone the denial of those rights. Otherwise, you are absurdly attempting to make a moral case for murder.
But in what can only be described as indignant tones, Morgan challenged this logical consistency not with an appeal to reason, but with this bit of shameful, back-alley journalism: "Do you really believe, in every case, it should be totally wrong, in the sense that - I know that you believe, even in the cases of rape and incest - and you've got two daughters. You know, if you have a daughter that came to you who had been raped, and was pregnant and was begging you to let her have an abortion, would you really be able to look her in the eye and say, no, as her father?"
Morgan's disgraceful retreat from sound logic to the manipulative playground of emotion-driven passions is as transparent as it is embarrassing. This question is not designed to reveal any truth in the abortion debate, but rather is a tactical scheme made for the cameras in which the liberal questioner puts the conservative respondent in a corner. If Santorum says he would deny his daughter's pleas, he looks like the cold and heartless goon that Morgan believes him to be. If he says he would relent and allow his daughter an abortion, he surrenders his moral high ground and appears a hypocrite.
And though Santorum answered the question effectively, stating that he "would do what every father must do...try to counsel your daughter to do the right thing," there's a greater point to be made here. Liberal politicians never have to answer such outrageous emotionalism in their interviews. Can you imagine, for example, Barack Obama being called on his condemnation of former President Bush's advanced interrogation techniques with this challenge: "If Sasha and Malia were kidnapped and were being held and brutally tortured by terrorists, and we captured one of their accomplices who had knowledge of their secret hideout, would you not authorize any force necessary to get your girls back?" Can you fathom the outcry against such a loaded, sensationalized question?
Or compare apples to apples and envision Obama being quizzed by Piers Morgan: "So if you believe that partial birth abortion is a legitimate medical procedure that violates no moral law, would you be willing to inject the saline into your own daughter's womb to burn your grandchild alive?" Such outrageously aggressive and offensively personal questioning would have Morgan looking for work within a week.
Yet that is what conservatives face every time they attempt to discuss the issue of abortion with liberals. If sound conclusions come from restraining emotions, and liberals conduct their entire case on the basis of emotion, what should that tell us about their conclusions?
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Sunday, 22 January 2012
When it comes to leaders in Washington, D.C. who really seem to "get it," who really seem to have their finger firmly on the pulse of the American mainstream, who demonstrate repeatedly an uncanny grasp of reality and an ability to dissect and address the issues that matter most to Americans, it's tough to name anyone who fits that mold worse than Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
After all, it was Reid who once took it upon himself to explain the rigors of our tax code by counseling how "[o]ur system of government is a voluntary tax system." This, Reid noted, is why, "of course[,] you have to pay them."
And it was Reid, the Pride of Nevada, who shortly before George W. Bush's surge strategy reversed the downward spiral in Iraq, gave his best version on Winston Churchill's famous admonition to "[n]ever, ever, ever give up," by advising, "This war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything."
Not that Harry's powers of clairvoyance are limited to foreign policy. The man who leads the Democrats in the United States Senate is on record proclaiming, "Social Security is a program that works and it's going to be fully funded for the next 40 years...No, it's not a crisis. This is something that's perpetuated by people who don't like government. Social Security's fine." Fine, insolvent...it's all the same.
With such a sterling record of precision and accuracy, then, it's understandable why the nation would be riveted to their TV sets as Reid appeared on Meet the Press to discuss the future of the Tea Party movement. Remember that Reid, along with fellow Democratic visionary Nancy Pelosi were the first ones to so correctly dismiss this "Astroturf" movement of Republicans as nothing real, lasting, or consequential - a point that 67 of their now defeated, ex-colleagues might dispute.
Nonetheless, in his trademark consistency, Reid first launched into a diatribe of how the Tea Party movement had, with ruthless precision, co-opted the Republican Party into an instrument of "obstructionism on steroids." Lamenting the stranglehold on meaningful legislation these obstinate Tea Partiers had produced, Reid longed for his Republican colleagues to shed the far-right fringe that had muscled their way into power and return to, "the art of working together, building consensus, [and] compromise." Yet then, committing such an instantaneous flip-flop that even John Kerry would blush, Reid concluded that, "I think the tea party's dying out."
This is the precise contradiction that is plaguing the left as they attempt to characterize the state of the Republican Party today, and more specifically the presidential primary. Half of the time they want to condemn the strength of the conservative and libertarian resurgence, and the other half they dismiss it as irrelevant and ineffective given that the likely Republican nominee is said to be the "establishment" Mitt Romney. I would suggest that both conclusions are inaccurate and reflect a fundamental misreading of the movement that has persisted since its inception.
But that fundamental misreading is not isolated to liberals alone. Conservative writers like Michael Tanner assert that since Rick Santorum stands for almost everything the Tea Party opposes, his rise is a bad sign for the movement. Business Week editorialized that, "If Newt Gingrich is the answer, the Tea Party has failed." And the conservative website Red State concluded that if Rick Perry drops out of the primary, it will be the, "ultimate failure of the tea party movement."
I would agree with those sentiments if the Tea Party movement was narrowly focused on winning a single electoral victory. But it's not. Now, there is no question that a great number of Tea Partiers wanted to see the "un-gaveling" of Nancy Pelosi in 2010 and want to see the defeat of Barack Obama in 2012. But the movement itself has always been larger in scope and purpose than temporary or immediate electoral fixes. In fact, that has been one of the common themes reflected in conservative circles over the course of the last few years: if this movement only affects the outcome of one election (think the 1994 conservative "revolution"), then it has failed.
The Tea Party is about a generational shift in thinking. It's about fundamentally altering the relationship between the citizen and the state. It's about reshaping and reformulating discussions to begin and end with fidelity to the Constitution. It's about reasserting the proper role of federalism, reining in the bureaucratic behemoth, and recapturing the essence of self-government.
The truest sign, then, of whether the Tea Party movement is having success is not to gauge who the Republicans nominate as much as it is evaluating the ground upon which the debate for that nomination was fought. From that angle, there is reason for Tea Partiers to be encouraged. Given that Mitt Romney wore the "Reagan Conservative" label in the 2008 race, and now is hammered as the "Massachusetts Moderate" in 2012, things are trending in the right direction...Harry Reid's genius notwithstanding.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Sunday, 15 January 2012
To say the moment was ripe for any earnest conservative who wanted to capture the Republican nomination for president would be an understatement. As Diane Sawyer sniffled out a question that makes even the most fanatical bleeding heart look cold, she dangled a long hanging fruit for any of the candidates to pluck with ease. To my great disappointment, none of them did.
After spending nearly a quarter of an hour at the recent Republican presidential debate discussing a hypothetical scenario where a state might want to ban contraception, Sawyer put on her trademark pained countenance and continuing the transparently obvious moderator pledge to direct all issues away from Barack Obama, challenged, "If I could come back to the living room question...what you would say sitting down in your living room to a gay couple who say...we want gay people to form loving, committed, long-term relationships. In human terms, what would you say to them?"
Anticipating the trap being laid for them, the Republican candidates gave carefully articulated responses that struck a balance between personal freedom and traditional morality.
But none of the candidates answered the question like they should have. I don't think I was alone in hoping that one of them would lean into the microphone and, after starting off by incredulously asking, "Are you kidding me?" unleash the following:
"Diane, we are living in a country with 9% unemployment, and let's cut the bull - everyone knows that number doesn't include the enormous amount of people who every week throw up their hands and leave the job market. If those were added, we've got closer to 1 in 5 Americans desperately looking for good, steady work.
We've got a record number of American families subsisting on food stamps. We've wasted a trillion taxpayer dollars on a government stimulus that brought no substantive job growth, but added more crushing debt to the backs of our children.
We have small businesses being threatened by the specter of an ill-advised healthcare entitlement that was crammed down Americans' throats despite their vehement objection. And to add to their frustration, all the folks who were clamoring and lobbying for the legislation are mysteriously all receiving waivers exempting them from its dire consequences.
For the first time in our history we have a majority of American parents who believe that their children will have things worse than they did.
We have a housing market that's depressed, an energy crisis brewing, and a border that is unprotected to the point where American families living near it are being terrorized by invading drug lords.
We have gas prices that are two times what they were when this president took office, and those increased fuel prices are simultaneously driving up the cost of living, placing an unprecedented strain upon the American family's budget.
We have an administration that is engaged in outright corruption - from gun-running schemes that result in the deaths of border officers to crony capitalism that sees taxpayer dollars flushed down green energy toilets like Solyndra.
Internationally, we have upwards of nine countries now under the thumb of the Muslim Brotherhood. We have a rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq due to our politically-motivated rushed withdrawal. Next door to that, the Caliphate-obsessed, apocalyptic madmen running Iran are pursuing nuclear weapons with the promise to use them indiscriminately in their efforts to bring glory to Allah. They are at this very moment positioned to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and thus hijack 40% of the world's oil - bringing on an industrial crisis around the world.
We face an increasingly hostile Chinese regime that is stealing our patents and intellectual property, hacking our computers, deploying advanced weapons systems and buying our debt so as to hold a position of economic blackmail over us.
Meanwhile our allies in Israel have never seen us as weaker or less reliable, and our allies in Europe are mired in an economic crisis from which they may not be able to avert total collapse.
And at precisely such a dangerous moment in world affairs, our President - who has been conducting social sexual experiments with our armed forces for 3 years - decides it is the best time to dramatically slash our defense budget and usher in a vast reduction in the size and strength of the United States military.
With all that on the table, Diane, you take valuable time in this debate to ask me what I'd say to a gay couple in my living room? If you've ever wondered, Ms. Sawyer, why fewer people than ever are tuning into your newscasts, this is it."
That's the answer that question deserved. And it's one I think would have brought with it the White House in 2012.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.