Would the Conservatives be so Bold about the Shutdown before the Digital Age?

Newt Gingrich

It looks as if the conservative side of the Republican party may be able to hold their ethical duties intact as we progress towards a government shutdown. It isn’t that today’s conservatives are necessarily more aggressive. It’s that they have the ability to rally the troops thanks to the digital technologies that are within our grasp according to this article by the New York Times.

Ask conservatives what went wrong for them the last time the government shut down, and many of them will bring up the cover of The Daily News of New York from Nov. 16, 1995.

Under the block-lettered headline “Cry Baby,” it showed a cartoon of Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the Republican-led House, in tears, clutching a bottle and wearing nothing but a cloth diaper.

Read More: The New York Times

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Is Obama Trying to Distance America from Israel with Appointment of Hagel?

Obama and Hagel

Chuck Hagel is a republican, but he went against his party over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He is friends with liberals, but has been known to disparage the homosexual community, including saying that Bill Clinton’s appointment of ambassador to Luxembourg, James C. Hormel, was “openly, aggressively gay.” If and when his appointment is announced on Monday, he has only one thing really going for him in the Barack Obama’s eyes. He has been open with his criticism of Israel.

According to Politico:

Neoconservative Republicans have rallied against Hagel. More damaging in the Democratic-controlled Senate, pro-Israel groups and gay-rights groups have marshaled opposition.

This appointment will send a message to the world that we the US will not be beholden to Israel when it comes to defense. As Secretary of Defense, he will accelerate the removal of troops from the Middle East and continue the administrations subtle but clear distancing between the US and Israel. Is that the President’s intention? One would think that having such a battle on his hands coming from both sides of the aisle would be detrimental to the President’s other goals, that he could make a bigger and faster impact domestically and abroad if he picked someone that his own party could rally behind and that the republicans would be less likely to oppose.

This is meaningful to Obama for some reason. Is that reason Israel? There doesn’t seem to be another explanation.

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The Only Way to Save the Country is to Eliminate the Ability to Run for Re-Election

Vote

There is a huge problem in the way the American political system works. It isn’t the politicians necessarily that are the problem, at least not at the root level. The problem lies within the system type itself, around the differences between popularity and legacy, and with the way that Americans have been programmed over the last few decades.

The tough choices are the ones that won’t get made. Why? Because tough choices that will benefit the country in the long run are unpopular today. The most obvious example of this is the unbelievable level of spending that has taken over Washington as well as states like California. Everyone on both sides of the political fence realize that spending must be cut in order for the country to survive for more than a two or three decades. This is a fact that has been established by multiple financial projection models. Some models say the country is due for a complete fiscal implosion by 2020. Other push it as far off as 2045. ALL of them point to an implosion at some point in the near future.

Unfortunately, cuts in spending are unpopular. They require sacrifices to be made. Americans have no problem with sacrifices as long as it’s not them making the sacrifices, so the trend has been to find the smallest groups that will be affected by cuts and target them first. Today, we’re in a situation where many of the easy cuts have already been made. It’s the big cuts that need to be made to make the country’s future fiscally conceivable.

Big cuts lead to lost elections. In a world where politicians live and die by their own re-election potential as well as the potential of their party’s continued victories, neither side is willing to make the cuts. Republicans who would make the cuts don’t win. Democrats who would make the cuts keep their opinions to themselves.

For there to be any chance of a future, America must reform the entire election system. This means establishing election laws that remove the potential for re-election. It means that governors could not run for Congress when they’re time is done. It means Congressmen could not run for Senate after their term.

The biggest roadblock to such a system would be the President. They have to come from somewhere. There are a couple of ways to go about this, but the one that makes the most sense is to have candidates that have taken a “time out” from politics. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be involved in some way. Just not in an elected way. If a governor wants to run for President, they cannot do so until they have left office for a minimum time period.

This would do a couple of things. First, it would make the runs sincere. Jumping back into the political ring after a four-year hiatus to play in the real world after a term in the Senate means that they have time to truly study the world of politics, understand the things that are making the country and the world tick, get out there and touch the people, and rest their minds for a chance to take over the most important job in the world.

It would also prevent problems with current positions. Had the Republicans won the election, Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan would have had to have been replaced.

Finally and most importantly, it would allow current politicians to focus on their jobs. It’s not fair to America that for a year, we technically do not have a focused President. From mid-2011 through November, 2012, President Obama had one important thing on his mind – getting re-elected. The problems that faced the country and the world were not a focus other than how they affected his election chances. The same could be said of 2003-2004 George W. Bush, 1995-1996 Bill Clinton, and 1991-1992 George H. W. Bush. In the last two decades, we’ve had an unfocused President for 1/5th of the time.

This concept is far from perfect. It’s also much better overall than the current system. We are sinking. The unpopular but necessary cuts that must be made in spending will not be made as long as there’s politics running the politicians. We need leadership. We need politicians judged on their legacy, not on their campaign abilities. In a world where campaign promises often determine the results of elections, it’s unfortunate that so few can be kept with re-election still on the table.

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Bill Clinton is the Best Thing that Happened to the Gingrich Campaign

Bill Clinton

Two decades ago, Newt Gingrich would be unelectable. He has already been involved in scandals while in Washington and he’s demonstrated multiple challenges with his personal life that would have precluded him from being a viable candidate, let alone someone who is well-positioned to be the Republican nominee for President in 2012.

His ability to run, to stay at the top and to be considered the best hope against Obama in November is a direct result of one man: Bill Clinton.

Leadership vs Morals

President Clinton is arguably the only man since Ronald Reagan to have a successful time in the oval office. Republicans would argue that Bush was successful while Democrats would point to his many flaws. Democrats would argue that Obama has been successful while Republicans would say, “look around.”

Few on either side would say that Clinton’s presidency was a failure. The country prospered under his watch. Many of his actions are still being felt today, and while Republicans might point to major differences in policy choices, they have to acknowledge that he did many good things for the country.

Few on either side would say that Clinton was a moral beacon. He was caught cheating on his wife while in the White House and he was caught lying about it while staring directly into the eyes of a watching nation. The words “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” will follow him throughout the history books for all time, followed very closely by the quote, “I didn’t inhale.”

High morals? No. Strong leadership? Absolutely.

Bill Clinton’s record indirectly helps Newt Gingrich. For a President to be effective while not being a pillar of morality is the best hope for Republicans. Lust is a powerful thing and in today’s world it’s can be forgiven more easily than shady dealings surrounding greed. While Mitt Romney may be able to take the moral high-road regarding his marriage, the questions surrounding his activities with Bain, his alleged use of the Cayman Islands as a tax haven, and his unwillingness to release his tax returns before being selected as the GOP nominee are more damaging.

We know Gingrich is a cheater, but it’s better than being a Plutocrat in the eyes of American voters, particularly in today’s economic atmosphere.

Commentary

Gingrich’s first surge prior to Iowa came at the worst possible time. He became a target too early and Santorum was able to capitalize. South Carolina is a different story. Following two strong performances during the two debates that preceded the SC primary, Gingrich is positioned to win a race that was completely owned by Romney a week ago.

Republicans might be starting to see Gingrich as their best hope against Obama, but Democrats are seeing Gingrich as an easier foe than Romney.

The prospects of putting Obama and his record over the last 4 years up against Gingrich’s “wild card” mentality has them salivating. It’s Bob Dole all over again in their eyes. Bill Clinton was extremely well-liked by the people as a person while Dole was perceived negatively. Dole’s political record was strong. His personality was not.

It’s a little different in an Obama/Gingrich race. Obama exudes much of the same charisma and likability that Clinton had, but Gingrich is disliked for different reasons than Dole.

Romney has strong head-to-head numbers against Obama, but his baggage will be attacked and he has shown that he cannot handle it very well. Gingrich has demonstrated the ability to turn negatives into positives. It doesn’t matter. Democrats would still rather face him than Romney.

If that wish is granted, it could prove to be a mistake.

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Sal McCloskeySal brings a moderate voice to Conservative Haven. He is a tech blogger in the heart of Silicon Valley but doesn’t get to go to too many parties anymore.