Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Best of The Western Right: 2008

This blog has been very active this year, covering many topics. We had 405 posts this year, 388 by yours truly. Here are some of my favorite posts of 2008.

Understanding Government series (bureaucracy, democracy, decentralization, limited government, conclusion)

2008 Election Analysis
Analysis: President
Analysis: National
Analysis: Michigan
Analysis: Michigan Supreme Court
Analysis: Kalamazoo

2008 Election Preview (General)
61st District Election Analysis
2008 Election Preview (Primary)

The Right Agenda: Buy Guns
The Right Agenda: Stop Doing What Doesn't Work
The Right Agenda: New Leadership

Big Three Bailout?
Kalamazoo to Persecute Christians
Why Voting is Rational
John Niewenhuis Can't Spell
The Carl Levin Record
Whither the Bradley Effect?
Vote NO on Proposal 2
Thinking About Medical Marijuana
Faculty for Ayers
Julie Rogers' Office for Nobody
Stop the Bailout!
What Were They Thinking?
Faculty Strike Looming?
Tax Eaters Are Never Full
Liberal Fascism
Constitutional Convention? No!
DC Gun Ban Gone
The Truth About Global Warming
The Democrats' Court-Hacking Scheme
Stop the Climate Socialism Act
The Push for Poverty
Blacklisted by History
Trouble in Texas
The Larry DeShazor Record
Take Back the Nonsense
Registration Leads to Confiscation
What's So Great About Christianity
Carrying on Debate
Poor East Campus
Iraq War Questions
Amnesty by Any Other Name
The Issue of 2008: Immigration
Is Terrorism the Most Important Issue?
Ron Paul for President

Previous:
The Best of The Western Right: 2007
The Best of The Western Right: 2006

2008: The Year at Western

What happened at Western Michigan University in 2008?

In January, the Herald reported on the plans of the WMU College Republicans for the semester. WMU announced a plan for free tuition for students coming out of foster care. Western terminated a scholarship based on race to comply with the MCRI. The WMU College Republicans and college democrats debated the war in Iraq. This blog answered the debate questions.

In February, recent Western graduate Tim Nendorf announced a bid for state house (he lost in the primary). The Herald had some interesting content. The race for WSA president began to take shape. Western did not cancel class when the roads were coated with ice. More local issues were debated. Everyone felt bad about East Campus. The WSA discussed a tax increase. An important article, The Campus Rape Myth, exposed a feminist lie. Student groups made news on campus.

The WMU College Republicans announced that we would bring Ted Nugent to campus. This announcement sent liberals into a rage. Nugent did a radio interview on WRKR. WMU celebrated America First Day (March 31) with Ted Nugent. The event attracted about 1800 people, and received more news coverage.

Also in March, the issue of concealed carry was debated on campus. The claims of the WSA about its proposed tax increase were exposed as untrue. Jay Richards spoke on campus about capitalism. The WSA election took place. The WSA continued its absurdity. Danielle Harik was elected WSA president, and the tax increase passed with the support of 5% of students.

In April, this blog took a look back at the failures of the college democrats' Neoconservative Awareness Month. The issue of transparency in Western's spending was debated. Concealed Carry was debated again. WMU debuted some new facilities. The feminist nonsense behind Take Back the Night was exposed.

The WMU College Republicans were named a "Five Star RSO" by Western. The WMUGOP also elected new leadership.

Over the summer, leftist professor Don Cooney ran for Congress (he lost in November). The Board of Trustees raised fees. Timothy Greene was named Western's new Provost. An article skewered Western's medieval studies conference. The Board of Trustees raised tuition 9.2%. WMU part-time instructors discussed forming a union.

As a new academic year began, Western's faculty voted to authorize a strike. However, a strike was averted, thanks to an increase in their already large salaries.

Also in September, there was more news around campus. A forum for 61st district state house candidates was held on campus. This blog reported on the forum. The Western Herald celebrated seventy years of existence. The Herald reported on a meeting of the WMUGOP.

In October, the Herald reported on another College Republican meeting. Seven WMU faculty apparently signed a petition to support Bill Ayers. The Herald wrote an article about the Students for Life, who brought Chris Gast to speak about Proposal 2. The WMU police issued a crime alert. The Herald featured terrible writing. The Herald reported on yet another WMUGOP meeting. The Herald endorsed Chuck Ybema for state house. WMU released its annual security report.

In November, the New York Times quoted the chairman of the WMUGOP. UNC Wilmington professor Mike Adams spoke to the Students for Life about abortion and free speech. The WMU College Republicans had several changes in leadership.

In December, former WMU president Diether Haenicke was hospitalized following a heart attack. He was later released.

Previous:
2007: The Year at Western
2006: The Year at Western

Dave Barry's Year in Review

Bailing Out of 2008 - Dave Barry, Miami Herald

Haenicke Home

Former WMU President Diether Haenicke is home from the hospital after his heart attack.

Haenicke back home after hospital stay

Best Articles of 2008

It is time for the best articles of 2008. These articles were selected from roughly 10,000 articles this year. More than 400 articles appeared in this year's 52 POLITICAL UPDATES.

Energy/environmentalism was the most frequent topic, inspiring five updates. Tied for second were the culture war, government, news from abroad, immigration, education, and the economy with four each. What follows are my choices, in chronological order, for the nineteen most important news or opinion pieces of 2007.

William Jasper: Bailout Mania!
Eric Englund: Environmentalism Is Racism
Warren Mass: KAL Flight 007 Remembered
Steve Sailer: Freddie Mac’s Richard Syron—Architect Of The “Diversity Recession”
Gregory Hession: Restraining Orders Out of Control
Dennis Behreandt: Transatlantic Two-Step
Dave Workman: Kansas tornado produces gun rights bill
Peter Brimelow: “Immigration Is The Viagra Of The State”—A Libertarian Case Against Immigration
Lew Rockwell: What If Public Schools Were Abolished?
Walter Williams: Environmentalists' Wild Predictions
James Fulford: Civil Rights Law Doesn’t Care If You Die
Pat Buchanan: Whites Down To 10% Of World Population By 2060— Does It Matter?
William Jasper: A Bad Investment
Arthur Robinson: Nobel Prize for Death
Phyllis Schlafly: North American Union: It's the real deal
Thomas Kilgannon: The Supreme Court Stands Alone
Heather MacDonald: The Campus Rape Myth
Susan Easton: The EU's Treaty Treachery
Terry Jeffrey: Your $455,000 Loan to Uncle Sam

Previous:
Best of 2007
Best of 2006
Best of 2005

Monday, December 29, 2008

Barrett, Allen Wed

Two former leaders of the of the WMU College Republicans tied the knot on Saturday.

Tom Barrett returned safely from his deployment in Iraq a couple weeks ago. He was Chairman during the 2006-07 school year. The group was named best in the nation by the College Republican National Committee during his tenure.

Ashley Allen was Chairman of the group during the 2005-06 school year. During her tenure, the group brought Ann Coulter to campus. Coulter spoke before an audience of about 2500 people.

Previous:
Tom Barrett Overseas
Tom Barrett Deployed

Election Analysis

This blog has analyzed local and state elections going back to 2006.

2014 Pre-election Analysis
2014 Michigan Primary Election Preview
2014 Michigan Congressional Races
2014 Michigan State Senate Elections
2014 Michigan State House Elections
2014 Kalamazoo County Commission Elections

2013 Kalamazoo Election Preview

2012 Post-election Analysis
2012 Analysis: Michigan
2012 Analysis: Senate
2012 Analysis: Ballot Propositions
2012 Analysis: Kalamazoo
Fred Upton's Smear Campaign

2012 Pre-election Analysis
2012 Michigan General Election Preview (selective)
2012 Michigan General Election Preview (comprehensive)
2012 Michigan August Primary Preview (selective)
2012 Kalamazoo Primary Election Preview (comprehensive)
2012 Michigan Congressional Races
2012 Michigan State House Races
2012 Kalamazoo County Commission Election Preview

2011-12 Michigan Redistricting

2011 Election Preview

2010 Post-Election Analysis (General)
Analysis: Governor
Analysis: Michigan
Analysis: Kalamazoo

2010 Post-Election Analysis (Primary)
Analysis of 6th District Congressional Race
Analysis of the 20th Senate Primary

2010 Elections
2010 Election Preview
2010 Election Preview (primary)
Michigan Senate Races
Kalamazoo County Commission Races

2009 Elections
2009 Election Preview
2009 Election Results
Discrimination Ordinance Passes

2008 Post-Election Analysis (General)
Analysis: President
Analysis: National
Analysis: Michigan
Analysis: Michigan Supreme Court
Analysis: Kalamazoo

2008 Election Preview (General)

2008 Primary Elections
61st District Election Analysis
2008 Election Preview (Primary)
2008 Presidential Candidates

2007 Elections
Kalamazoo City Commission Election
Portage Elections

2006 Post-Election Analysis
Why Republicans Lost
Analysis: Michigan
Analysis: Governor
Analysis: MCRI
Analysis: Local

2006 Election
Analysis of local races

Saturday, December 27, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--Marriage

This update focuses on marriage. Marriage amendments passed in California, Arizona, and Florida on election day. Homosexuals in California responded with rage, threats, and intimidation. The relationship site eHarmony.com has been forced to offer same-sex dating by an "anti-discrimination" lawsuit.

Michelle Malkin: Gay Mob Shakes Down eHarmony
Michelle Malkin: The Insane Rage of the Same-Sex Marriage Mob
Thomas Sowell: The Right To Win
Jennifer Morse: Same-Sex Marriage and the Persecution of Civil Society
Gary Bauer: Same-Sex Movement Demands Tolerance But Won't Show Any

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Economics Quiz

See what economic school your views fall into with this quiz.

Are You an Austrian?

2009 Election Preview

While the jockeying has already begun for the 2010 election, we should not forget that Michigan will see several elections in 2009. This is a preview of elections in Michigan and Kalamazoo County. Elections held before November are found below.

2009 Election Schedule

November 3

This is the day for local city elections. There will also be some school boards and ballot propositions. There will be a state senate special election in the 19th district. Kalamazoo will see a millage to fund the Metro Transit bus system. There has been talk of a proposal to fund an arena in downtown Kalamazoo, but this has been postponed. Elections for the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Board of Trustees have been moved here from May.

19th District State Senate Special Election

There will be a special election to fill the 19th district state senate seat vacated by democrat Mark Schauer to become a congressman. The district is swing territory that could be won by either party. It encompasses Calhoun and most of Jackson County. State Representative Mike Nofs from Calhoun County is the Republican nominee. On the democrat side, State Representative Martin Griffin is the nominee. Nofs, a fairly moderate republican, is believed to have the advantage in this swing district.

Kalamazoo Discrimination Ordinance

Kalamazoo will face a referendum on the ordinance passed by the city commission earlier this year that would punish citizens who oppose homosexuality or crossdressing. The ordinance would assess penalties of up to 500 dollars per day.
Discrimination News
"Anti-discrimination" Means Anti-Freedom
Speechless
The Effects of 'Sexual Orientation' and 'Gender Identity' Nondiscrimination Ordinances
Kalamazoo to Persecute Christians

Kalamazoo City Commission

All seven seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission will be up for election. The seven commissioners are Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney, Don Cooney, David Anderson, Sean McCann, Barb Miller, and Stephanie Moore. All but McCann are running for reelection. McCann is running for state representative in the 60th district, where current state rep. Robert Jones isn't running for reelection. Moore has been convicted of interfering with a police officer since being elected in 2007. There are a total of seventeen candidates running for the City Commission, with Kai Phillips the most conservative. Kalamazoo City Commission elections often attract colorful challengers, and this one is no exception. See the following analysis for more information.
Analysis of Kalamazoo City Commission Races
Gazette Election Guide
Kai Phillips for Kalamazoo City Commission

Portage City Council

The mayor of Portage, Peter Strazdas, is unopposed for reelection. Three of the six seats on the commission will also be up for election. Those seats are held by Ed Sackley, Terry Urban, and Claudette Reid. Cory Bailes is also running for one of these seats. There will also be an election for the remainder of the term vacated by Larry DeShazor to become a state representative. Former councilman Ted Vliek, who was appointed to fill the vacancy, will not run for election. There are four candidates for this seat. See the analysis below for more information.
Analysis of Portage City Council Races

February 24

This is one of four yearly election days in Michigan. Scattered localities had millages, but many jurisdictions didn't have anything on the ballot. Detroit saw a special election for its mayor. The election followed the conviction of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Current mayor Ken Cockrell and businessman Dave Bing advanced to a May 5 runoff, which was won by Bing.

May 5

This was the date for school board elections. There were also local millages. A ballot proposal to fund the Car-a-van service in Kalamazoo County was passed, along with a library millage renewal. There were also library board races. See this post for more information: Taxes on the Ballot

August 4

This was another election day without much scheduled. There were some scattered local propositions.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Conservative of the Year

Sarah Palin, says Human Events

This blog agrees.

Email to Ron Weiser

This email from a Republican precinct delegate was forwarded to me.

-----------------

Mr. Weiser, I received and read your letter referencing your experiences that you believe qualify you for state party chair. I find your experiences specifically disqualify you, in my opinion. Please drop me from your mailing list.

If you are interested, the specific disqualifications include:
- National co-chair for the McCain campaign which was not well executed. One of the fatal errors was announcing the elimination of Michigan from the campaign, which you should have fought and revised. If you are such a good leader, you should have made this happen. Surely fiscally prudent alternatives were available.
- National co-chair for McCain and the campaign "handling" of Sarah Palin. She was the shining star and you folks botched the opportunity her selection as VP offered.
- Bush Ambassador to the press – Bush was a great president, but he lost the PR war. If you were a member of the PR Team, you failed.

A good leader accepts accountability for his failures. By running for State Chair with these as credentials, you show just how out of touch you are with reality. Again, please remove me from your mailing list.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Analysis: President

As everyone knows by now, Senator Barack Obama defeated Senator John McCain to become America's forty-forth President. The popular vote was 53% to 46%, and the electoral college vote was 365 to 173.

Why were the results what they were?

Certainly there was plenty going against Republicans. The approval ratings of President Bush and congressional Republicans are terrible. The economy is in a recession. There is an unpopular war in Iraq. Only once since World War II has one party held the White House more than eight years in a row.

Yet despite all this, John McCain was tied with or even leading Barack Obama for part of the campaign. Plenty of voters weren't sold on Obama.

The most important factor in the election results was the Barack Obama ran a strong campaign, while John McCain ran a terrible campaign. Indeed, McCain was a terrible candidate.

McCain's campaign had no consistent message. Does anyone remember what it was about? McCain talked about being a war hero. That didn't get Bob Dole or John Kerry elected.

McCain had no consistent message on the economy. He offered no rebuttal to the line of Obama that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation (what deregulation?). He was clearly out of his depth on economic issues. He railed against earmarks, not exactly a major issue with voters, and then proposed a hundred-billion dollar mortgage bailout.

Speaking of bailouts, McCain's vote for the Wall Street bailout doomed his campaign. Not only was it bad policy, but it was terrible politics. The bailout was wildly unpopular with voters. McCain could have rallied support by voting against it, particularly with Obama voting for it. It would have been a great way to refute the "McCain is four more years of Bush" line. McCain could have branded Obama the candidate of Wall Street, what with the many millions of campaign contributions that he got from there. But McCain threw that opportunity away.

McCain was AWOL on the issues that motivate the Republican base. Such issues as official English, drivers licences for illegals, no amnesty, gun rights, partial birth abortion, protecting marriage, and racial preferences were hardly mentioned. Of course, McCain was on the wrong side of some issues (immigration) and inconsistent on others (gun rights). Letting your opponents and the media pick the issues of the campaign isn't a good way to win.

McCain's attacks on Obama were disjointed and ineffective. He refused to bring up Jeremiah Wright. He waited too long to mention Bill Ayers. Many incidents that could have taken the shine off of Obama such as having his opponents kicked off the ballot in Chicago and helping Tony Rezko take control of a hospital construction board went unmentioned.

There is a reason for this. McCain refused to run any ads that could be perceived as involving race, however tangentially. He was more willing to lose the election than be called a racist. In the end, he got both. Maybe the media's praise for his concession speech made it all worthwhile.

McCain's staffers didn't do him any favors. When it appeared increasingly likely that he would lose, his staffers began anonymously leaking made-up stories attacking Sarah Palin to the media to blame her for his impending loss.

There were other problems with McCain. Nominating a senator was a terrible idea. Senators have long voting records and no executive experience. They never win, unless they're running against another senator, like Obama was.

McCain's age hurt him. He may not have been too old to be president, but his age definitely hurt his ability as a candidate.

Nominating a moderate was also a mistake. Moderates don't appeal well to the base and they lack the ideological consistency to explain issues clearly. They also have records of supporting bad policies that hurt their ability to use issues effectively. McCain supported a highly unpopular amnesty bill and did a switcheroo on offshore drilling.

Probably McCain's best decision of the whole campaign was picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. Liberals and the media are trying to damage her future electoral prospects by claiming that she caused McCain to lose. But the truth is that "of the 60 percent of voters who told exit pollsters that McCain's choice of Palin was a "factor" in their final decision, the Arizona senator won 56 percent to 43 percent". It would have been better, though, if Palin had been given more time to prepare before being thrown into the national spotlight.

How about Obama? There is no question that he ran a strong campaign. He raised record amounts of money, inspired legions of followers, and effectively harnessed new technologies. In many ways, Obama ran a rhetorically conservative campaign. He promised to cut taxes for most Americans, cut wasteful government spending, protect the Second Amendment, oppose "gay marriage", and fight the war in Afghanistan more effectively. Many voters who only heard his words believed him. Of course, it didn't help that McCain didn't effectively refute what Obama said. It says a lot about Obama's inherent weaknesses that the election was as close as it was.

The 2008 election had a lot going against Republicans. But a strong candidate and campaign could still have won. McCain blew it. Republicans need to make sure to pick candidates for future campaigns who won't repeat his mistakes.

POLITICAL UPDATE--Immigration

This update focuses on immigration. America's immigration problems continue. Agents Ramos and Compean are still unjustly in jail.

Dana Rohrabacher: Mr. President, Free the Border Agents
Joe Guzzardi: “Legal Immigration” Too Often Means Fraud—And Fraud Is Illegal
Brenda Walker: Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also… Witchcraft, Imported By Immigration. (And, Yes, From Obama’s Kenya Too)
Brenda Walker: Mexico Meltdown Approaches Warp Speed
Craig Nelsen: Vilifying E-Verify—The ACLU's Campaign To Break The Only Unbroken Part Of Our Broken Immigration System

For more on immigration, see VDARE.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Future Tax Hikes?

After the landslide defeat of the 2008 transportation tax hike proposal, the Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority (KCTA) is regrouping.

Transit authority delays transfer

KALAMAZOO -- The Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority voted Monday to delay the transfer of the public transit system from city to county control.

The move, which was expected, comes after Kalamazoo County voters in November rejected a tax to pay for the operation.

The transportation authority is now developing a plan to have separate city and county tax requests placed before voters at different times in 2009.

Kalamazoo City Manager Kenneth Collard and Kalamazoo County Administrator Peter Battani have recommended to the transit authority that it design a "two-tiered millage'' including a countywide vote on demand services, such as Care-A-Van, and a city vote on the Metro Transit bus system.

A city transit tax likely would be placed on the November ballot, and a county tax likely would go before voters in either May or August.

The transfer of control of the system will be delayed until there is stabilized local funding. Authority officials say they intend to begin an aggressive public education campaign on the importance of public transit.

Linda Teeter, the authority's chairwoman, said they have "been on a mission since 2006 to transfer the system.'' She stressed the importance of public transit for economic and community development.

Teeter said the education campaign would include forums, conversations with local media, detailed information about the authority's Web site and community meetings.
It seems their big plans weren't so inevitable after all.

After the people who don't have any bus stops within miles of their houses decided they didn't want to pay for a bus system, the KCTA will be forced to go back to the people who actually can use it.

Whether or not government transportation is "important", the trouble with socialism is that there is no good way to determine how much of it is necessary.

It remains to be seen whether either of the forthcoming tax proposals will be a tax increase.

Con-Con Threat

It seems that there may be a revived threat of a constitutional convention.

See these articles on the recent attempt in Ohio to call for a constitutional convention.
Phyllis Schlafly: Con Con Is a Terrible Idea
Chuck Baldwin: Will Threat Of New Constitutional Convention Provoke New Thirteen Colonies To Declare Independence?

See these previous articles:
Constitutional Convention?
Constitutional Convention? No!

Local News

News from around Kalamazoo.

Portage plans for wind energy

Bystanders aid former WMU president

Kalamazoo commissioners adopt ethics code

Transit authority delays transfer

K-College, WMU watch endowments grow smaller

Opening with prayer
Area municipalities vary in their decisions about invocations


Transit system switch delayed

Petitions target new ordinance

Billboard confrontation
Three Bible-verse advertisements are strategically located


KVCC board may move election date

Bolger leads region in campaign spending

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Haenicke Hospitalized

Former WMU President Diether Haencike was hospitalized following a heart attack.

------------------

Bystanders aid former WMU president

KALAMAZOO -- Former Western Michigan University President Diether Haenicke continued his recovery late Monday at Bronson Methodist Hospital, thankful, his wife said, for the quick reactions of the people who came to his rescue when he collapsed as he spoke at a retirement dinner on campus Friday night.

Haenicke, 73, who has a history of heart problems, fell to the floor at the Fetzer Center on campus where he was speaking following a retirement dinner for three members of the mathematics faculty, said Cheryl Roland, WMU's executive director of university relations.

Scott C. McLaughlin, a WMU junior from St. Clair Shores and a bartender/server at the Fetzer Center, said he was in the hallway when "somebody came out of the door and told me someone had collapsed.''

The exercise-science major and trained Red Cross instructor said he ran to the front desk and told the receptionist to call 911, then grabbed an automated external defibrillator next to the front desk and returned to the dining area, where he found two people performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Haenicke.

McLaughlin said he hooked Haenicke up to the AED, which administered a shock to restart his heart, and then the other two -- identified by Haenicke's wife, Carol, as Paul Eenigenburg, one of the retirees being honored, and Carol Channell, a nurse and wife of a faculty member -- continued CPR.

"After we shocked him and they went through a few more (CPR) cycles, he started breathing again,'' said McLaughlin, who said he had never used an AED in an emergency situation before. "By the time he was breathing again, the paramedics arrived so they took over from there.

"It was definitely a team effort,'' he said. "A lot of people came ... to his rescue.''

Carol Haenicke said her husband experienced cardiac arrest, or sudden stoppage of the heart, often the result of arrhythmia.

He also hit his head on the floor and suffered a laceration when he fell, but his wife said that injury was not serious.

Haenicke, who writes a weekly column for the Kalamazoo Gazette, was president of WMU from 1985 to 1998 and interim president in 2006-07.

His history of heart problems dates back to bypass surgery in 1982 when he was provost at The Ohio State University.

He suffered minor heart attacks in 1995 and 1999 and underwent an angioplasty, a balloon-dilation procedure, in 1998 to clear restricted heart valves.

Carol Haenicke said although her husband is "doing fine,'' he asks that people refrain from visiting him while he continues his recuperation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Analysis: National

Two years ago, following the 2006 election, this blog published an essay entitled "Why Republicans Lost". Much of what was said there applies to the results of the 2008 election as well.

Obviously, this election was a disaster for Republicans. This report by Tim Carney for the Evans-Novak Political Report surveys the damage.

So what factors contributed to the Republican defeat?

The Economy. Obviously, a financial meltdown happening weeks before the election is terrible for the party in power. That particularly means the party that controls the White House. Of course, nobody chooses when these things happen. Republicans policies weren't directly responsible for the recession, but unfortunately they went along with some bad policies that contributed to it. These include pushing more minority lending and Federal Reserve inflation through lower interest rates.

Still, the impact of the recession on the Republicans need not have been as bad as it was. Their response was terrible. The democrats had a message and stuck to it: the financial crisis was caused by deregulation which allowed the free market to go wild with 'predatory lending', causing the collapse. Now, this story is totally false. But Republicans never effectively challenged it. Which regulations specifically would have stopped the collapse? Nor did they offer an alternative: the government pushed the banks to make the very loans that the democrats later decried. Republican incoherence on the most important issue of the election gave it do the democrats.

The Bailout. When the financial crisis threatened several Wall Street firms, the Bush administration responded by proposing a 700 billion-or-so bailout. This was terrible policy, rewarding failure and encouraging more failure and bankruptcy. It was also terrible politically. The bailout sparked a wave of public outrage intense enough to derail it in the House, though Wall Street and the White House redoubled their efforts and passed an even worse version of the bill. It also alienated fiscal conservatives, who had precious little reason to vote for a party that would blow a trillion dollars in corporate welfare for Wall Street. Republican talking points that democrats were socialists rang hollow in light of the bailout.

It didn't help that Republican leaders in Congress supported the measure. Although more democrats voted for the bill than Republicans, the pubic identified it with Republicans since it was proposed by the Bush administration. A Club for Growth survey found that when asked which party was "The party that supports taxpayer bailouts for big corporations", voters 43.4% identified Republicans, 15.9% said Democrats, and 25.8% said both.

Iraq. The Iraq War wasn't as prominent an issue as in 2006, but it was still a factor. While the war may not have cost Republicans more voters than it did in 2006, the voters who were lost in 2006 did not return. Voters did not endorse immediate withdrawal, but they did vote no confidence in the handling of the war and the intelligence failures that preceded it.

Corruption. Republicans did a somewhat better job than in 2006 at pressuring members threatened by scandal into retirement (Renzi, Doolittle). However, the seats where they failed cost them. Case in point is Ted Stevens' Alaska Senate seat, where a seat that should have been safely Republican was handed to the democrats for six years. Of course, democrats had plenty of scandals of their own, but the media didn't harp on them nearly as much.

Spending. Even aside from the bailout, Republican big spending has alienated fiscal conservatives without doing much to attract votes from the targets of all that spending. Fiscal prudence is a better electoral strategy than profligacy.

Trade. Rightly or wrongly, many voters have become convinced that Republican trade policies are responsible for outsourcing and job losses. The truth is certainly more complicated, and government regulation and taxation has a lot to do with job losses. But it should be clear by now that 'free trade' is a political loser. One way or another, Republicans will have to deal with this.

The 2006 election was a defeat for Republicans, not conservatism. The same is true for the 2008 results. Voters rejected Republicans based on anti-conservative positions on the bailout, spending, ideologically complicated issues like Iraq and trade, and factors only very indirectly related to political ideology like the economy and corruption.

Conservatism at least held its own in the ballot initiatives. Voters defined marriage in three states, overcoming a huge gay-rights campaign in liberal California, beating the 60% threshold in Florida, and reversing the previous rejection of a marriage initiative in Arizona. Nebraska banned racial preferences, Arkansas banned gay adoption, Missouri overwhelmingly made English its official language, and Arizona rejected a pro-illegal immigrant measure.

Surveys of voters showed that their political beliefs had not changed. One survey showed that more voters identified as conservative than liberal, and only one percent more called themselves liberal than in 2006.

While voter turnout was up a bit, it was hardly the stampede that some pundits were predicting. Basically, democrats turned out a little more, and Republicans turned out a little less. It's no wonder, as the party gave Republican voters little to turn out for.

You wouldn't think that it would be rocket science for political candidates to emphasize the issues that the public agrees with you on. But this often seems like a foreign concept to Republicans, who surrendered or ignored their best issues. Issues like official English, drivers licences for illegals, no amnesty, gun rights, partial birth abortion, protecting marriage, and racial preferences were hardly mentioned, particularly at the presidential level.

If Republicans are going to get back into power, they are going to have to get on the right side of the issues. That means getting back to conservative principles.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

POLITICAL UPDATE--Conservatism

This update focuses on conservatism. The 2008 election has provoked many thoughts on the future of the conservative movement.

Phyllis Schlafly: Where Do We Go From Here?
Phyllis Schlafly: Time to Follow Reagan's Example
Don Devine: Conservative Counter Attack
Phyllis Schlafly: Where Did the Reagan Votes Go in the 2008 Election?
Steve Sailer: We’ve Got Karl Rove to Kick Around Some More!
Mac Johnson: GOP, Avoid A 2008 Repeat
David Keene: Obama Will Overreach and We Will Bounce Back
Steve Sailer: GOP Can Play By "McCain Rules" And Lose, Or "Sailer Rules" And Win
Tom Piatak: Pat Buchanan At 70: “He Told You So, You F****ing Fools!”
Warren Mass and William Jasper: McCain: Maverick?

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

The Effects of 'Sexual Orientation' and 'Gender Identity' Nondiscrimination Ordinances

Note: This paper by the American Family Association of Michigan deals with a 'nondiscrimination' ordinance passed in Hamtramck, but it is highly relevant to Kalamazoo. The ordinance was repealed by voters in November.

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POSITION PAPER

Hamtramck’s “sexual orientation” ordinance is a threat to religious freedom, free speech, and women’s privacy rights

In the 2004 election, 55 percent of Hamtramck voters voted in favor of a Marriage Protection Amendment to our state constitution, helping preserve one-man, one-woman marriage for future generations of children.

But in June 2008, by a 6-to-1 vote of its politically correct city council, Hamtramck is now among the handful of cities in Michigan whose local ordinances – in conflict with federal and state law – treat homosexual behavior and cross-dressing as the moral, social, and legal equivalents of immutable characteristics such as race, color, and sex.

Obviously, many Hamtramck residents reject that comparison -- based on religious, medical, and philosophical concerns.

For example, a compassionate society that rationally discourages smoking because of the clearly identified health consequences should not irrationally enact laws giving special protection to homosexual behavior that has been scientifically associated with a dramatically higher incidence of domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, life-threatening disease -- AIDS, cancer, and hepatitis -- and premature death by up to 20 years.

The Vatican expressed similar concerns in a 1992 letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church – authored by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI – regarding legislation to “make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal,” which according to Ratzinger, “may in fact have a negative impact on the family and society.”

“Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved,” Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. “’Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc., in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder and evokes moral concern.”

“Including ‘homosexual orientation’ among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate,” Ratzinger wrote, “can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights…(and)…to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality."

The American Family Association of Michigan strongly agrees. However, the practical effects of such legislation extend beyond medical or religious concerns.

Proving to have exactly the opposite effect of their supposed intent, so-called “sexual orientation” ordinances have a track record of being used to discriminate against individuals and organizations who don’t support homosexual activists’ political agenda.

Detective Richard Stern, a fifteen-year veteran and president of the Ann Arbor police officers union, was fired after the chairman of the city's “rights commission” formally accused him of violating that city’s “sexual orientation” ordinance. Stern’s offense? On behalf of his union, in a public forum for police chief candidates, he “was accused of saying that one of the candidates had a gay-rights agenda,” according to Between the Lines, a Detroit homosexual advocacy newsmagazine.

“Stern’s comments were clearly in violation of a human rights ordinance that includes sexual orientation,” the newsmagazine commented, making clear that homosexual activists believe so-called “sexual orientation” ordinances outweigh our Constitutionally-guaranteed free speech rights. Stern’s union disagreed, charging in a lawsuit that he was "illegally and discriminatorily" discharged by the city.

Also in Ann Arbor, the city council – once again specifically citing its discriminatory “sexual orientation” ordinance -- banned donations to the United Way through city employees’ payroll deduction plan. Why? Because the United Way financially supported local Boy Scout troops, which appropriately refuse to allow adult males who engage in homosexual behavior to take 13-year old boys on overnight camping trips.

"A council majority believes its own anti-discrimination ordinance prohibits it from supporting Boy Scouts in any fashion, including using staff time and city computers for payroll deductions that go through the United Way to the Boy Scouts," the Ann Arbor News reported.

In an Ann Arbor News commentary supporting the city council’s action, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said the Boy Scouts’ stand made them comparable to “white supremacist groups.”

Similarly, the homosexual activist group Triangle Foundation threatened to sue the city of Detroit, demanding that city officials cut all funding of local Boy Scout troops, deny the Scouts access to public parks and facilities, and prohibit sponsorship of Scout activities by the police and fire departments, the Detroit News reported. The Scouts’ refusal to allow openly homosexual Scoutmasters, Triangle charged, “is in direct violation of the City Charter and Human Rights Ordinance…(that) expressly forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

In Philadelphia, under authority of its “sexual orientation” ordinance, the city is currently evicting the local Boy Scout council from offices it has occupied in a city park for nearly 80 years.

In Chicago, Cook County officials refused to hire the Salvation Army to deliver services to low-income residents, saying “the county's ordinance banning employment discrimination against gays and lesbians bars it from contracting with the Salvation Army,” a traditional Christian denomination whose religious doctrine teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Under Massachusetts’ “sexual orientation” law, Catholic Charities was given an ultimatum: either agree to process adoptions of children to homosexual couples in violation of the church’s moral opposition to such adoptions, or abandon its century-old adoption referral service altogether. To its credit, Catholic Charities chose the latter.

The “sexual orientation” language now included in the Hamtramck ordinance is disturbing even beyond its proven discriminatory effects in other cities.

The Oakland Press reported in March 2005: “Bill Scharffe, director of bylaw and policy services for the Michigan Association of School Boards, advises local districts not to include the term ‘sexual orientation’ in their anti-harassment policies. ‘Schools need to be very careful with that,’ he said, noting that neither federal nor state civil rights laws consider people of a particular sexual orientation a protected class. He added that literal interpretation of ‘sexual orientation’ could include people who gravitate toward any sort of sexual activity, including that with animals, children and corpses.”

Not content with adding the discriminatory “sexual orientation” language to city law, homosexual activists and their political allies succeeded in adding the words “gender identity” as well.

Simply put, “gender identity” refers to delusional men who claim to believe they’re really females stuck in a man’s body and insist on wearing a dress and high heels to work.

This "gender identity" language is so radical in its potential effects that even openly homosexual Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., refuses to include it in his federal "gay rights" legislation.

Rep. Frank said: "There are workplace situations -- communal showers, for example -- when the demands of the transgender community fly in the face of conventional norms and therefore would not pass in any Congress. I've talked with transgender activists and what they want -- and what we will be forced to defend -- is for people with penises who identify as women to be able to shower with other women."

Don’t take Barney’s word for it? Consider the case of “Naomi Snyder,” a Lansing man who applied through the mail – using a female name – for membership at a women’s health club. His membership approved, he showed up in person, and being obviously a man, was refused entry to the women’s locker room and shower. According to Between the Lines, the Michigan ACLU threatened to sue for “discrimination,” but Lansing voters in a 1996 ballot vote had wisely rejected adding “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to their local civil rights ordinance; thus, there was no legal basis for the threatened suit. But in Hamtramck, now, there would be.

Thankfully, Hamtramck residents who want to protect the privacy of women and girls and prevent discrimination against people of faith and community groups such as the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and the United Way can by law conduct a petition drive to force this issue onto the ballot for a vote of the people.

We urge all residents to VOTE NO on the gay-rights ballot issue Nov. 4

Distributed by Hamtramck Citizens Voting No to `Special Rights' Discrimination
2730 Caniff, Hamtramck, MI 48281

Friday, December 12, 2008

Big Three Bailout?

The US House of Representatives recently passed a bailout for the "big three" automakers. However, passage of the plan is in doubt in the US Senate.

This is obviously a major issue in Michigan. All the Republican members of the Michigan congressional delegation voted for the bailout except for Tim Walberg, who did not vote. This was one-fourth of the total number of Republican supporters of the plan in the House.

The bailout plan is presented as necessary to save the big three, save millions of jobs, and the American economy. But is this true?

Certainly the government can keep the big three in existence indefinitely, provided that it can continue to borrow or steal enough money indefinitely. But propping up businesses that can't compete indefinitely is the road to stagnation and poverty. It's better to let such businesses fail.

Instead, the advocates of the bailout present it as a one-time thing. But is it? To answer this, we need to know what happened to the big three in the first place.

Doubtless there have been some bad management decisions along the way. But the major reality facing the big three is that labor costs them much more than it costs their Japanese competitors that make cars in America. The available statistics show that the big three spends $73 per hour for labor, including all the benefits, which Japanese companies spend $48 per hour. Further, the big three have huge "legacy" costs of pensions and health care of their retirees. A bailout wouldn't do anything to change this. Hence there isn't much reason to think that a bailout would be one-time-only.

So should we just let them fail? No. There are steps that the government can take to help the big three. More particularly, it can undo the harm it is causing them.

For one thing, it should immediately repeal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, or at least repeal the increase in recently passed. These standards not only kill thousands of motorists, but they also hurt the big three relative to the Japanese automakers. This is because for some time the big three's advantage has been in larger vehicles, especially trucks, SUVs, and vans. But these are exactly the vehicles that are penalized by CAFE standards, which help the smaller cars that are the forte of Japanese automakers.

The government has also empowered the labor unions that are bleeding the big three dry. They extorted unrealistic wages and retirement benefit guarantees. They could get away with it during the good times, but now the bills are coming due. Congress should repeal the law that prohibits competition amongst unions.

The bill being discussed in Congress would make the situation even worse. It would create a 'car czar' to dictate to the big three. More government mandates aren't going to create better cars. The bill would also push more 'green cars'. These are fantasies that only work in the minds of congressmen.

Bailouts only lead to more bailouts. Subsidizing failure only leads to more of it. The big three should be helped, but the plan Congress is discussing won't help in the long run. If undoing the harm the government causes isn't enough, then the big three need to reorganize.

Previous: Stop The Bailout!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Leadership

The WMU College Republicans have new leadership.

Chairman Megan Buwalda, who has led the group for a year and a half, has resigned due to her pending graduation.

She will be replaced as chairman by David Bell, who has been Elections Vice-Chairman for the past semester.

The current Chief of Operations, Kelly MacDonald, is also graduating. She will be replaced by her sister Katie, who is currently Public Relations Vice-Chairman.

The vacancies at Public Relations and Elections will be filled by two new board members.

Best wishes to the new board in the upcoming semester.

Corruption News

A few thoughts on some major news items.

Corrupt democrat congressman William Jefferson was finally defeated. He lost to Republican Joseph Cao in a heavily democrat district. Jefferson lost due to the indictment, the fact that several of his democrat rivals either supported Cao or didn't help him, and the fact that the general election was delayed by a hurricane. Turnout was down significantly from November.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been indicted for trying to sell Barack Obama's recently vacated Senate seat. He has been under investigation for some time.

Also, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., or someone representing him, apparently tried to buy the seat.

Obama hasn't been implicated in any criminal wrongdoing, but he and his advisers have given conflicting statements about what he knew and when. Blagojevich is another Obama political ally to be revealed as a criminal. Tony Rezko, a major political fixer in Chicago who engaged in a suspicious housing deal with Obama, was recently sent to prison for corruption.

Perhaps Obama should have been vetted more before being elected President.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Right Agenda: Buy Guns

Many of the items in this series are particular to Republican officials, or at least political activists. But there is at least one thing that all ordinary citizens can do: buy guns.

Judging by numerous media reports, this agenda item is already being put into effect, as gun sales have spiked dramatically since the election.

So why buy guns?

One significant reason is the increasing danger of greater gun control, or even gun confiscation, being put into effect during Barack Obama's presidency. Despite Obama's glib assurances on the campaign trail, he is the most anti-gun candidate ever elected President. Obama admitted years ago to economist John Lott that he doesn’t believe that people should be allowed to own guns. He filled out survey as a state senate candidate saying that handguns should be banned. He later claimed that an aide had filled it out without his knowledge, but his own handwriting was on the survey. Obama also stated that be believes that concealed carry should be banned.

Obama’s actions since taking office have not given any comfort to gun owners. He has endorsed several gun control bills on his transition website. He has included a question on his survey for applicants for White House jobs asking whether they or their family own guns and demanding “ownership and registration information”. He has also nominated Eric Holder to be Attorney General. Holder has a long record supporting gun control and has stated that the Second Amendment is not an individual right.

Why buy a gun that might be banned? For one thing, any ban would probably have a “grandfather clause”, allowing currently owned guns. The alternative to this would be massive disobedience and possibly significant violence if the government actually tried to confiscate guns. Thus buying a gun now would allow you to have it later, after the ban. Also, if there was a ban, legally owned grandfathered guns would significantly increase in value.

Another reason to buy guns is the increasing possibility of civil unrest. The current economic troubles are likely to get worse. They will certainly get worse if Obama and the democrats impose higher taxes, government spending, and regulation on America. Bad economic times usually lead to an increase in crime. It is possible that some of the people at the margins of society who feel entitled to government largess and now face foreclosure will turn to crime. The increasing possibility of massive inflation to fund an endless string of bailouts also portends civil unrest.

It’s unknown whether Obama and company will implement the “soft on crime” policies of an earlier generation of liberals, but his policies are unlikely to be as effective against crime as those Republicans.

An individual is responsible for his own defense. Armed citizens are the biggest force in preventing and deterring crime. Police investigate crimes and apprehend criminals after the fact, but they rarely disrupt crimes in progress. As one pro-gun slogan says, “when seconds count, police are only minutes away”.

How likely are gun control, gun confiscation, and civil unrest? It remains to be seen whether Obama will make a major push for gun control. Despite their rhetoric, Obama and the democrats still hate private gun ownership. The political environment is the best for democrats that it has been in a while. On the other hand, gun owners remain a potent political force. Obama may decide that pushing gun control is too difficult and pursue other parts of his agenda instead.

Gun confiscation could never happen in America, right? But it already has. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, police broke into people’s houses and took away their guns. This was totally illegal. The NRA and other groups sued New Orleans, and after many delays have succeeded in getting people’s guns returned. Almost the same thing happened in Greensburg Kansas after a tornado flattened most of the town. The sheriff’s department went around confiscating guns. Both these incidents happened during the “pro-gun” Bush administration.

We really don’t know how likely civil unrest is, but for the reasons given above, it is more likely now than it has been.

With the dollar losing value, guns may actually be a good investment. With proper maintenance, they last practically forever and can be a good store of value.

Many of the recommendations in this series are limited to political activists and party insiders. But buying guns is something that everyone can do. Buying a gun is a vote against gun control and a vote for freedom. Conservatives and all people of good will should strongly consider stocking up.

See these articles for more information:
Arming Yourself for the Future
Buying Your First Handgun

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kalamazoo Discriminates Against Christians

The Kalamazoo City Commission passed the 'anti-discrimination' ordinance they discussed earlier.

City expands protections for sexual preference

This ordinance will discriminate against people based on how they exercise their freedom of association.

It will probably be used to punish dissenters. A homosexual activist recently successfully sued EHarmony.com for not offering homosexual dating.

Previous: Kalamazoo to Persecute Christians

MRP Chairman Race

The race for Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party is down to three candidates. They are State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, former Ambassador Ron Weiser, and Ingham County Chairman Norm Shinkle.

This blog is following the race: http://michiganrepublicanpartywatch.blogspot.com/. You can see who is endorsing whom there.

Previous: Jack Hoogendyk for Michigan Republican Chairman