Monday, April 25, 2011

Where's the baptismal certificate?

I'm not sure what to make about the controversy over President Obama's birth certificate. The issue continues to dominate because there is something "alien" about the president: his values are not mine or yours. Yesterday, he did something -- that is to say, he omitted to do something -- that once more brings out his alienation from American ways. It seems he did not issue the usual presidential proclamation regarding Easter, even though he never neglects other such prominent holidays (especially Muslim ones).

At a press conference today, his press secretary laughed off the absence of a proclamation, saying the president had gone to church with his family, "in a very high-profile way," thereby showing Americans that he is a "devoted Christian." Interesting that "very high-profile way."

I have my doubt about his devotion. I don't care about his birth certificate. I want to see his baptismal certificate. Has President Obama ever been baptized?

Photo credit: Christians for Sarah Palin

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Let's run a boring white guy"

"A boring white guy" is basically the advice of pundit Charles Krauthammer. In the National Review he has written that, in order to win in 2012, Republicans need to run an "ideological" race based on the issues that "shellacked" Democrats in 2010: "the size and reach of government, spending and debts, and ... the nature of the American social contract." Very fine words. And who is supposed to carry this message to the American people?

Someone without "baggage" or "flash." Americans, he asserts, have been burned by charisma and are no longer looking for "a thrill up the leg." What we want, he claims, is someone "solid, stable, sober, and, above all, not scary." Who could he be talking about? Gerald Ford, maybe? Excepting maybe Mitch Daniels, that description doesn't really match any of the "major candidates" he lists: Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Barbour (well, maybe it does fit him). I was surprised he actually considered Michelle Bachman a "long shot" for the nomination. She certainly scares a lot of people.

It's interesting how major pundits like Krauthammer do not want to consider Sarah Palin seriously. In his opinion, she is not running, knowing, he says, that she has "little chance at the nomination and none in the general election."

I remember hearing Krauthammer speak in early 2002. It was when George W. Bush was making preparations for what would be the invasion of Iraq. Krauthammer predicted that Iraq, having a large secular population, would have a democratic society in no time. Unfortunately, people like Krauthammer carry a lot of influence. It was opinions like his on Iraq that supported the invasion. Other pundits and opinion makers listen to him and repeat what he says, in the present case concerning Sarah Palin. An indication of the animus he has toward her came out in an interview with Hugh Hewett a couple of years ago, when he described her as the "pulchritudinous" Sarah Palin.

What guys like Krauthammer don't get is that a boring white guy is not likely to beat Obama. As I said in my original post on this site, the ideological issues of government size and spending are not going to drive people to the polls, short of a major economic depression. To win back America, we have to appeal to the hearts of Americans. And, besides Herman Cain (certainly not a boring white guy), Sarah Palin is the only one who can do that. Go, Sarah!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Political Art

In front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are lots of vendors selling "art" and various art-related souvenirs. Recently I started talking with a guy who was making 5 x 7" prints based on the Obama "Hope" visual. There were some of Sarah Palin with the word "Nope" below. I asked him if he would make me one that said "2012." He nicely complied, for only $10.00. When I picked it up today, I told him he should make more of them. I'm sure there would be out-of-town buyers, if not New Yorkers. Probably he is afraid of being attacked by liberals.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"I ♥ Sarah Palin"

Not long ago the feeling among conservatives was palpable: Barack Obama could be beat in 2012. In Congress, the Republicans seemed to be getting tough, a heartening phenomenon. Presidential candidates were being evaluated by the great minds among conservative pundits. Anyone who watched the speeches of the "majors" at CPAC could not help but marvel at how impressive they were. Donald Trump was in great form. Lots of red meat there.

The recent fight over the government shutdown, however, reminds us that one should be cautious about attributing any conservative ascendency to the popularity of conservative ideas. Honestly, who wants to be reminded to be fiscally prudent? Some conservative politicians have been urging fiscal prudence for ages. For instance, that perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul. Mitch Daniels even wrote a campaign biography about our national profligacy.

The truth of the matter is that the current financial train wreck has scared Americans to death. If they voted for Republicans in November, it was because they hoped Republicans would restore the gravy train.

Strip away the "now," however, and no matter how articulate the rhetoric (think Chris Christie), what the Republicans are urging is more of the same heartlessness with which Democrats have battered them for decades. The Democrats are experts at working the heart strings: conservatives want to kill grandma and starve children. In fact, they are so expert at it that they have brought the nation to the brink of fiscal insolvency. Barack Obama, with otherwise no credentials, was swept into office by the votes of otherwise sensible people ignoring what their mind and reason should have informed them was the case. They went with their hearts.

Yesterday Obama poured on more of the same old Democratic rhetoric, "poisoning the well," as Paul Ryan said.

If Republicans intend to win the present battles but also win back the country, they have to touch hearts as well as minds. They have to reach the huge swath of the American citizenry that is detached from politics as well as that section of citizenry whose personal profligacy -- out of wedlock births, welfare dependency, educational underachievement -- is supported by the national fiscal profligacy. None of them is going to embrace Republicans because they've been converted to fiscal responsibility.

We have to engage our fellow Americans by appeals to their better selves. We have to convince them to believe in America again. That path leads through their hearts, not their minds.

The only potential Republican candidate currently addressing hearts is Sarah Palin. Even the title of her most recent book, America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, telegraphs what will win back the disengaged and detached. Family, faith, and flag are not cheap emotional appeals. They are the real thing. They once made America great -- and solvent. Our hearts should beat a little faster at the singing of the national anthem.

For some time I have been puzzled by the hostility of the conservative elite to Sarah Palin. I am convinced that it is because the likes of George Will and Charles Krauthammer, articulate men both, hate the way she talks. They are embarrassed that she mangles grammar. Ann Coulter went on MSNBC to tell Laurence O'Donnell that Republicans need an "articulate" candidate, if they want to win, and that Chris Christie was the one. Or is that "the new One"?

No doubt we all have memories of our embarrassment that George W. Bush seemed inarticulate. His word salads were the delight of liberal bloggers and telepundits. It's not surprising, in light of the current conservative ascendency, that an "articulate" Republican might do the trick, beat the "articulate" Obama.

Strip away the articulate rhetoric of the current crop of hopefuls, however, and one has to concede that they are only echoing what Sarah Palin has been saying since the meteor-like arrival of the Tea Party. She is only saying it differently.

Conservative pundits and opinion-makers should stop harping on what they perceive as Palin's faults. Sarah Palin not only has a huge following that loves her, but she also has the potential to touch hearts in a way that no other Republican can. And if she gets the nomination, they should get behind her.

I mean, really, can one imagine "I ♥ Christie"? Not to mention Donald, Mitt, Tim, or Rudy?