Politics: October 2006 Archives

The latest advertiser on BatesLine is a website (gopsenators.com) run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and they appear to have video of every TV commercial being run by a Republican candidate for senator in the 18 states (of 33 with races) that the NRSC is targeting. (Florida, New York, and Massachusetts aren't among them.)

It's interesting to see the different approaches being used across the country.

In Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, the RINO that the RNC and NRSC propped up against a conservative primary challenger, is running on a platform of opposition to the war in Iraq, pork barrel for Rhode Island, and embryonic stem cell research. (Polls show he's losing, by the way. The voters of Providence Plantation evidently prefer a real liberal Democrat to one with an R after his name.)

In Maryland, Michael Steele is running as an agent of change: "Ready for change? Ready for Steele." In this long-form video he sets out his proposals for lobbying reform (no gifts at all, four-year wait before a congressman or staffer can become a lobbyist), and we hear excerpts from several speeches as he talks about his background and his stands on various issues, and comments from supporters. As you'd expect in a blue state, the word "Republican" never comes up, and he says he wants to be a bridge between the parties. Blocky metallic lettering and the sound of lug nuts being driven help the viewer to remember the name Steele.

Here's a negative Steele ad against Democrat Ben Cardin, in which Cardin's statements that he stood up to various interest groups are split by text showing how much campaign money he took from each. The message: Cardin won't change Washington; he'll fit right in. And here's Steele's reply to attacks from Cardin, delivered with a light touch, using garbage cans as a prop to remind voters that Cardin staffers pled guilty to hacking into Steele's financial records.

This NRSC ad, from Tennessee, is just video of Congressman Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic nominee, crashing a press conference by the Republican nominee, Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker. And here's a clever one, featuring "man-on-the-street" (all right, "actor-on-the-street") comments about Ford's upbringing in Washington DC as a congressman's son, his lack of connection with Tennessee, and his lack of experience outside of politics.

For students of campaigns and elections, this is pretty interesting stuff. Please click on the ad to your right, and check it out for yourself.

UPDATE: Here's the Tennessee Senate ad that everyone has been talking about; it's an RNC ad, not from the NRSC or Corker's campaign. It's a funny use of man-on-the-street (funnier than the one above) to contrast Ford's congressional record with the views of Tennessee voters. Not that I'm obliged to provide equal time, but here's a Ford ad attacking Corker for being wealthy.

On Evangelical Outpost, Joe Carter looks at seven votes in the U. S. House of special concern to social conservatives, then compares the voting records of the current Republican House committee chairmen with those who would replace them if the Democrats win a majority of seats in November. While not all the Republican chairmen have stellar records on this set of votes, all but two are over 50% (Jim Leach of Iowa and Howard Coble of N. C. only voted the right way on 3 of 7), and 8 of the 13 chairmen voted the right way on at least six of the seven votes. Meanwhile, most of their Democratic counterparts scored a big fat zero. (Three exceptions: One chairman voted the right way once, another voted the right way twice, and Ike Skelton of Missouri, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, who scored a 71.)

I've heard politically-active evangelicals around here say that "the lesser of two evils is still evil." Carter leads off with a quote from Thomas à Kempis book The Imitation of Christ: "Of two evils, the less is always to be chosen." To choose otherwise is to let the greater evil prevail. Refusing to choose, waiting instead for some ideal to fall from the heavens, is to make a choice for the greater evil.

Overall, under Republican leadership in the House, the desired result for social conservatives was attained in five of these seven measures. (A sixth, regarding embryonic stem cell research, was stopped by President Bush's veto.) Looking at the scores of these current and potential committee chairmen, I have no doubt that under Democratic leadership, legislation that protects the sanctity of human life and the traditional definition of marriage would never make it out of committee.

We've seen exactly that situation here in Oklahoma, where, despite a professed pro-life majority in both houses, a Democratic Senate committee chairman, supported by the Democratic Senate majority leadership, blocked pro-life bills from being debated on the Senate floor. The lead story October 2006 issue of the Oklahomans for Life newsletter (PDF) tells how this year's landmark pro-life legislation nearly didn't make it to the Governor's desk:

Senate Democrats were determined to prevent any pro-life legislation from being enacted this year. Senate Democrats facilitated the killing of seven (7) prolife bills that had passed the House this session. The bills were killed by a Democrat committee chairman, serving at the pleasure of the Democrat Senate Leader, who, in turn, serves at the pleasure of the Senate’s Democrat members.

When the Republican House of Representatives reinserted five of those bills in another piece of legislation which had already passed the Senate (and, therefore, did not have to go through committee in the Senate again), the Senate Democrats resisted as forcefully and as long as they possibly could. They were fully prepared to ignore the rules of the Senate by refusing to allow the Republican author of SB 1742 to present the bill for a Senate vote.

The Democrat Leader of the Senate told the bill’s author as late as May 17, the day before the bill ultimately passed, that the bill would not be granted a vote on the Senate floor. It was only when Republicans made it clear that they would attempt to force the issue through a procedural
motion (which would have been voted on in public) that the Democrats relented and agreed to let the vote occur.

With great reluctance, the Democrat Leadership of the Senate allowed the bill to be voted on when the political pressure had built to such an extent that they could no longer contain it.

Once the bill was allowed to come to a vote, SB 1742 passed the Oklahoma Senate 38-8.

At the state level and at the federal level, which party will have control of the chamber is as important as which individual will represent your district.

Here's the conclusion Joe Carter draws:

Social conservatives have reason to be disappointed in the Republicans in Congress. As these scores indicate, though, we will be even more disappointed should the Democrats gain majority control. The GOP doesn't deserve to win; but if the Democrats regain power, it will be society that loses.

RELATED: Paul Weyrich points to the Bush Administration's solid record on judicial appointments and says you can expect strict-constructionist nominees like Samuel Alito never to get a hearing in a Democrat-controlled Senate. "I understand, and am sympathetic to, the reasons not to retain the current crowd in office. But there are two very big reasons why they should be re-elected. If they do not improve their performance in the 110th Congress, recruit primary candidates and replace them."

AND THIS: Are social conservative voters budding theocrats? Bill Rusher hits the nail on the head:

What has happened is that, in the past thirty years, a large number of Americans whose deepest beliefs and concerns are not political but religious have concluded that they have no choice but to gird themselves for participation in the nation's political wars. There are quite enough such people to influence the election returns, and they have been doing so.

But -- and this distinction is crucial -- their posture is essentially defensive. They are not seeking to turn America into a theocracy. They are simply trying to preserve, and where necessary restore, the politico-religious balance that has been traditional in this country. It is the intellectuals, with the critical support of the courts, and above all the Supreme Court, that have successfully eroded that balance, seeking to marginalize religion and convert the entire civic framework of the nation into a purely secular arena, on the pretense that this is required by the First Amendment's supposed erection of a high "wall" between church and state.

Those who imagine that it is religion's defenders who are the aggressors here are simply not paying attention to the increasingly sharp attacks on religious faith that can be found today in such influential places as The New York Times.

In the Examiner, Robert Cox points to the recent banning of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin at YouTube for "objectionable content" as an example of something he's been warning about for some time -- left-wing dominance of major Web 2.0 sites may push conservative ideas out of the 21st century equivalent of the public square:

Last week [Malkin] received notice from YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing service, that her video had been deemed “offensive.” The result? Her account was terminated and her videos deleted.

YouTube refused to say why her videos were “offensive” and there was no avenue available to challenge the decision. Today, her videos are gone and her voice is suppressed on the most important video “node” on the Internet.

So? She can just show her videos somewhere else, can't she?

Of course she can, but that would fail to understand the powerful forces of “network externalities” at play online. There is no Avis to eBay’s Hertz for good reason: Once an online network is fully catalyzed, there is no reason to join an alternative network. If you want to get the most money for your Beanie Baby collection, you are going to want access to the most potential bidders — and that means eBay.

YouTube is poised to become the eBay of video file sharing. If you want the biggest audience for your video, you want access to the most potential viewers — and that means YouTube.

I'm less worried about YouTube, because you could still find Malkin's material on the web if it were being hosted by another site. But I am worried about the infrastructure that helps us find our way around the web. We are very dependent on Google, Technorati, del.icio.us, and those companies' willingness to be evenhanded in their treatment of web content. There's reason to be concerned: We already know that Google will alter search results to avoid giving offense in authoritarian and totalitarian countries.

What if these sites began to shun conservative content? While it would be possible to set up an alternative set of web search, blog search, and social bookmarking websites, we'd only be creating a conversation that is disconnected from the broader discussion about the issues. How would Google users, for example, realize that they aren't getting the best or most complete search results, and that they really should be using multiple search tools? Conservatives would wind up talking to each other -- to the rest of the world it would look like no one holds to conservative ideas anymore.

I don't know what the solution is, but as Robert Cox says, it's time to pay attention to the problem.

This ad about foreign policy, featuring Madeline Albright and Kim Jong-Il impersonators, was written and directed by David Zucker of Airplane!, Kentucky Fried Movie, and Naked Gun fame. It is funny, and it makes its point brilliantly. Some bozo at YouTube flagged it as possibly objectionable, which it isn't, except for a brief glimpse of the Albright impersonator's knickers.

I suppose veterans of the Clinton administration might object to it:


Allen at Acorns from an Okie explains why you can't deal effectively with the greedy b*stards in the corporate world by making the Government more powerful:

Greedy Bastards are Greedy Bastards. Being greedy, they will gravitate to where the power is. They will be draw, like patchouli stenched peaceniks to a Chomsky book signing, to the seats of power and position. And being bastards, they will start back-stabbing and finagling their way into those positions of power.

And then those greedy bastards will be running the whole show, not just their company.

Read the whole thing.

At the heart of conservative philosophy is the insistence on seeing human nature as the stubborn thing it is, and designing government to harness its qualities for good, rather than trying foolishly to transform human nature.

What she said

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In the comments to a post about yet another Republican congressman in hot water:

And yet you continue to blindly support this party, regardless of the number of times that items like this surface.

Borderline brainwashed. Facts don't matter anymore...
Posted by: New York Hotlist at October 5, 2006 03:47 PM

Ok, I'll go slow for you: I'M A CONSERVATIVE. The Republican party best represents my interests. There is NO WAY that the Democrats can represent me better. NONE.

What part do you need me to explain again? And, seriously, I'd cut the brainwashed crap out right now. Previous idiots who made similar comments were made to feel very, very small.
Posted by: Karol at October 5, 2006 03:52 PM

Am I proud that Mark Foley and Don Sherwood are Republicans? No. Do I have questions about the way the House leadership handled the Foley case? Yes. But in the battle for control of the Congress (and the State Legislature here in Oklahoma), it matters which party wins, which party controls the committee chairmanships.

Although we have Republican majorities in both houses of Congress and in the Oklahoma State House, we don't have a conservative majority in any of those bodies yet. That means that some conservative ideas don't get as far as they ought to. But if the Ds are in charge, conservative ideas won't even get a hearing. (Neither will conservative judicial nominees.)

Although passage of Sen. Tom Coburn's anti-pork Federal Spending Database bill had bipartisan support, it wouldn't have gotten off the ground if it weren't for the fact that Coburn holds a subcommittee chairmanship. Even in the Senate (much more in the House), a freshman member in the minority party isn't going to wield much influence. Keeping the Republicans in control gives solid conservatives a chance at making a difference on our behalf.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from October 2006.

Politics: September 2006 is the previous archive.

Politics: November 2006 is the next archive.

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