Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Economist Puts the Chill on the Democratic Party

An article in the Economist (Subscription required.) magazine says that despite the fact that Bush seems to have lost the golden touch from his first term and everything he has touched lately seems to turn to dust, the Democrats ought not count their proverbial chickens.

The Democrats are quietly jubilant. They are seizing every chance they can get--and there are plenty of them--to brand the Republicans as the party of "corruption and cronyism". They seem to be recruiting good candidates for next year's elections. Some even wonder whether 2006 may be their equivalent of 1994--when the Republicans won 52 seats in the House and nine in the Senate, ending 40 years of Democratic rule.

They should hold the champagne. Parties don't win elections just because their rivals hit a rough patch. They win them because they win the battle of ideas, because they think ahead and cook up cogent policies, because they offer a positive vision of the future. Bill Clinton did this brilliantly in 1992. Tony Blair did it even more brilliantly in 1997. But, so far, not the Democrats.

Can anyone name a single exciting Democratic idea for dealing with poverty? Or crime? Or reforming the public sector? Or winning the KULTURKAMPF with Islamic extremism? In fact, can anyone name a single exciting Democratic idea, full stop? The Democrats have squandered their years in opposition railing against the Republicans rather than recharging their intellectual batteries. They may be winning a few political battles of late--largely because of Republican incompetence. But they are losing the vision wars.

The reason for this is as simple as it is potentially lethal: the Democrats are split down the middle on everything from Iraq to gay marriage. Centrists believe in working with business, protecting family values and fighting terrorism. "We believe that the September 11th attacks changed America for ever," says the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), "and defeating terrorism is the supreme military and moral mission of our time." Liberal activists believe the opposite: that corporations are bad, family values are hogwash, and the war on terror a delusion.

To my way of thinking, they are exactly right. Americans like to vote for candidates with big ideas and plans for the future. They almost always want someone who presents some idea of how to solve the problems the country is facing. That is what they are continuing to miss. They've railed against Roberts and they've railed against Katrina and they've railed against Iraq. But not one of them has come up with a realistic proposal or idea of how these should be handled better. Most of the public supported the Roberts' nomination. He came across as impecably qualified, even if you don't agree with his positions. (Even Rob agrees with this.) They don't have any solid ideas for how to make the response to a major hurricane better. They just complain about Bush's appointee or against some idea of how long a government response should be (although, the response was within the government's standard timeline). They ignore the fact that officials at the state and local levels--democrats--failed in their responsibilities as well. And, of course, the general philosophy on terrorism and Iraq tends to be to beat a hasty retreat and let them have Iraq--I mean, it's just one country? It worked with Austria didn't it?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Middle America Military Recruiting

The New York Times is examining recruiting in San Antonio, which came closest to meeting its recruiting goal for the year out of all areas. Having been from San Antonio, it's easy to see why. I grew up in a family that honored military service. My grandfather had been in the Air Force (and Army Air Corps) and my grandmother constantly told me it was a great way to live. I chose not to join the military, but several people from my high school did. Judson High School, which is detailed extensively in the Times article, was the school nearest to my own (about 4 or 5 miles I would guess). Since my parents moved, it's now the school I would have gone to. As it is, it was our biggest rivalry and my senior year, both schools won state football championships in their respective divisions. My school was much smaller, but outside of Texas H.S. football, there was a strong military tradition. Our ROTC program was highly decorated. They often won championships both locally, statewide, and nationally. Their accomplishments were detailed during morning announcements and one day each week they wore their uniforms. Their decision to join ROTC was uniformly respected, even by those who could fairly be called hoodlums.

My high school was highly diverse--I believe the most diverse in my district. Its attendance area encompassed both a fairly upper middle-class area and large lower middle-class to lower class areas. The ROTC program was joined by people from all areas. Furthermore, two of my classmates who went on to college chose to enlist after graduating from college. They did not do so for the reason that many on the left might claim--free college degrees--they had already earned theirs. Furthermore, they did so not out of despair--they were both from comfortable families with one having two parents with PhDs one of whom was a college professor. One, who was in the Marines, has been to Iraq. The other, in the Air Force, has been stationed stateside. In addition to those, many more took appointments to the various military academies--including some of our top graduates.

The sense of patriotism and pride in America felt by those students was palpable. I think it's true of most of the middle of the country. The area many on the coasts disdain as "flyover country." For those of us who have lived there or grown up there, we know it is the heart of America. I can't speak for Judson, but I know the students at my high school voted to say the pledge. It wasn't forced on us, and certainly, our parents didn't go to federal court to have it ruled unconstitutional. (Hattip: Instapundit.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

PC Police Run Amuck

Is this really necessary? I think it's proof that political correctness has just gone too far. I mean, how offensive could piglet be?


Not only is she a ground-breaker for Women's rights in the legal workplace and a former president of the Texas bar, she's got her own blog.

Chief Ramsey takes a page from the Bush playbook.

If Bush can claim we'd be even worse off without his tax cuts, why shouldn't Chief Ramsey claim this? (hat tip: Hit and Run)

Torts Case Appears in Miers Battle

A case from our Torts class (Fisher v. Carroussel Motor Hotel, 414 S.W.2d 774 (Tex. Civ. App. 1967)) has appeared in the debate over the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. It seems Justice-designate Miers wrote a law review note on the subject.