Monday, November 26, 2007

Will the REAL conservative please stand up...

So the link on Drudge says Huckabee is the False Conservative. The link takes you to a Washington Post article by Robert Novak outlining that Mike Huckabee is actually a tax and spend liberal wolf in GOP clothing. He takes broad swipes at Huckabee's Evangalical credentials and then slams him as a petty, nasty liberal.

Frankly, the snippy tone of the article says it all... that Novak is miffed that this outsider is gaining traction. But the charges are worth a brief examination.

Others have made the same charge against Hucakbee since he was responsible for the raising of some taxes in Arkansas. But are tax hikes always anti-conservative? Don't conservatives support some government programs?

I think honest conservatives will agree that taxes themselves aren't the issue, the issue is what the taxes are for. And from what I see, Huckabee supported taxes primarily to fix a damaged, broken highway infrastructure and a damaged broken education system. He lowered other taxes.

But the real kicker to me is when Novak compares Huckabee to Reagan and finds Huckabee wanting as a conservative. I have to laugh at that, because I believe the numbers show that while Reagan talked an extremely vital conservative talk, in actuality government grew faster than in Carter's time.

As Drudge would say... developing :)


Monday, November 19, 2007

... Compassion from the Right

Here's the typical stereotype: The left is compassionate, the right is greedy and only cares about themselves.

I don't buy that. I believe that only the right is truly compassionate. I believe that the left may WANT to be compassionate, may seek compassion as a value first and foremost. But I believe that their methods produce more bondage, more greed and less real results for those in need.

There is no doubt that there are times people need just a "hand up". Reagan talked much of a safety net. And going back to the time of the Great Depression, we bought into a system that said that this was government's role.

My argument is that government is the LAST place this compassion should come from.

I believe government compassion will ALWAYS become twisted. While some may care about the people they are helping and serving, in reality, human nature says that greed will always become a factor.

I've worked in the dispensing side of a state's Human Services department. They had no interest in seeing people freed from poverty and government assistance. They wanted to see MORE if anything.

In addition, the idea of government assistance is confiscatory and unfair. There are winners and losers. It's government playing Robin Hood. But since it's government, it's faith neutral so there is no moral safeguard.

Why should government be allowed to take from me and give to someone else? Isn't that the kind of policy that drove the Colonists to rebel in the first place?

The foundation of governmental taxation has a purpose. All are levied to provide services all can take advantage of. Roads, fire, police, sewer, recreation facilities, these are things that enhance the community at large, provide more economic opportunities.

To be honest, there has been a lot of talk that the "Great Society" program actually DID have a civic purpose. In the mid-60s our cities were burning. The violence was astounding.

Stupid civic policy led to enclaves of poverty and racial inequity. These became enclaves of violence. Many students of the time have recorded conversations by both left and right that set up the social programs as a firebreak.

Once in place, these policies couldn't be moved for fear of igniting the violence again. The Great Society was more a tranquilizing drug than therapy for poverty.

Never mind many of the programs caused dramatically more ravaging of the social structure. Much has been made that forced integration killed both white AND black neighborhoods. That equal opportunity put a stigma on the black march to equity. That Aid to Families with Dependant Children has bred generational bastardy. Fathers had no reason to stay around.

The Great Society gutted American cities and urban black communities. The moral and ethical ground was nearly permanently poisoned and salted over. Not much can grow there.

Real compassion wouldn't have been a quick fix. It never is. We want quick fixes as a society. Conservatives have a tough sell with the truth that low taxation and requiring responsibility is a far better long-term solution.

But that is the solution. Work is the only way forward. Yes, logjams must be broken and only government can do that. But once those logjams are broken, government must get out of the way. He which governs least governs best.

Real compassion isn't a quick band-aid. It isn't feel good. It's facing the tough truths courageously. The vast middle of our country needs to hear this again and again. They've bought the pablum that only the left cares, that the right doesn't.

The right cares and the right knows that real change is slow, but effective. That the left's fast-change is a forever lock into poverty.

Oh yes, and a forever lock to the people watering at the trough of easy money. These people are miserable, but the little that they have they owe to the left. They become a powerful message and a powerful vote. And we evil right-wingers (who truly care and weep over the situation) are demonized effectively again and again.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Truth ... Left and Right ....

SO... if it's so important to bridge the gap and get out of this demonization politics, why do I stay on the right? Wouldn't it be better to move left to the center, or just outright GO to the left?

I don't believe that's the correct way to be. I do have to say upfront that there are emphases on the left that we desperately need on the right if we are to be truly Christian. The Gospels and the James' Epistle make it clear that real faith MUST show a radical social commitment to the poor, the down-trodden.

But I believe the left hits it wrong... Let me point out some places where I think the flaws are serious.

First, there's the issue I discussed a year or more ago ... Most of the true left believes that man can keep getting better and better. This means that things like poverty and racism can get better and better.

But looking at the Bible it's clear that Man is STUCK in a miry clay. That sin surrounds us, that the world system is set against Jesus, and only Jesus is truly good.

YES, sometimes the secular system DOES right itself. Many times the Church has started that process.

However it comes, there is a certain level of common grace where this world periodically shudders and grudgingly realigns itself and rids itself of some evil. If this weren't so, there would be no living.

God holds this world together and Revelation tells us it's the Holy Spirit restraining evil that makes it so.

But yet, this world is mired. If you solve Black/White racism for a time, another evil divide will take its place. My politics have to take that into account, and I believe that separates me from the left.

I believe the left on the whole believes they can exert will and effort and fix things PERMANENTLY. But the Law of Unintended Consequences leaves us with things like Political Correctness ... a locking of minds and a new harsh repression of thought and speech. Give freedom in one place, another place devolves into evil.

Too, if you look to the state to be the change agent, the state usually simply swaps victims. Many believe that it's ok to pull back the rights of some to advance the rights of the formerly oppressed.

Friends on the left have told me they think that's ok ... that it's balancing things...

But payback is payback ... and that's what happens ... we just move from group to group being in vogue and demanding rights. It turns out not to be equal rights at all... it's actually often oppression. The French Revolution (admittedly an extreme case) devastated the rich to "balance" the damage done to the poor.

The problem is lthat only Jesus' power working through His people makes permanent change. That requires kneeling before Him... in humility. Only HE can show us that each of us is prone to be selfish with Him. And without Him our "movements" will be ultimately selfish.

How often does selfishness look like positive change?

The Bible actually tells us what why God invested governments with authority. The Apostle Paul laid out what the role of government was designed to be... Think of that, GOD actually designed government as HIS agent!!!

Romans 13:1-7
(1) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
(2) Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
(3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
(4) For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
(5) Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake.
(6) For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.
(7) Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
So government's role is to keep civil order. It's a pretty restricted role. It's role is NOT taking care of people. That's NOT God's design. So when government steps in on that role, it is actually usurping the Church. It is NOT health care. Again, that is something given to the church.

Government fails at all the social help issues. There is SOME safety net, but the more government tries to provide, the less people are motivated to work...

OOOoops, this belongs in another post... and there it shall be!

Back to the main point... I DO come at things from a right point of view and I believe that it's an approach for government that works better because it follws the design laid out by God.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

... Right On Man!

In my pontifications of yesterday (understand that I AM infallible in my pontifications, just like the pontiff...) I discussed my nomination for chief problem of our time. I suggested that we MUST find a way to bridge the left-right divide. That we must quell this bickering and get on with things.

The problem with blogging is that I end up mulling over my own posts. I've been mulling this over. Here's my difficulty...

I believe the left is damaging. I believe that the political construct of the left moves us to less freedom and to more bondage.

SO I'm a hypocrite. I say I want to open dialog and work in a shared manner.

But I'll admit, the answers have to come out in a way that my political template can accept. If they don't, I can't accept them.

Does that mean the divide will live? That truly this can't be dealt with? That we are split and that's just that?

My problem is that looking at the left I see a template that generally seeks government to solve problems. I believe if solutions come down that way, the unintended consequence is a government that grows ever-bigger, more onerous and more dictatorial.

My left friends believe that if my laissez-faire approach is followed, that the poor will suffer and the rich and powerful will run roughshod.

As Drudge would say ... developing


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

... the most important thing ...

A long conversation today with a person I care for deeply convinces me all the more that there is a vital need in this country. The need is to bridge the gap between left and right.

Those of us on the right often feel marginalized. The common currency of conversation is far to the left of where we believe we need to be. The media now is beginning to admit that they ARE to the left (by some numbers 90% of reporters in major media outlets self-identify as left or far-left).

We feel the pressure to tell us our morality and our spiritual certainty are offensive. We are taken as unloving, mean, nasty.

To be honest, some of our number ARE all those things.

But mostly, our defensiveness shows.

But what must it be like to be left and look at our gospel of love? Acquaintances of mine who were involved in anti-abortion activities openly adopted military tactics and communications equipment. Gay couples get screamed at. Our churches come off as sanctuaries for the perfect.

So how can we EVER solve problems? A left-leaning friend asks, "How about some kind of nationalized health care?" My response is... "That's socialism, whaddya want, a fallen Soviet Union?"

I propose moving aid back to churches. Their response is, "Yeah, and then the non-believers will go hungry. You're heartless."

We've got a knee-jerk chasm. I honestly believe it's our number one issue.

How can we EVER fix Iraq, terrorism, health care, taxation, etc. etc. etc. if we can't talk? The talk further and further degenerates. Good ideas are swept away. WE alienate the middle who think we're all crazy... and they become prime pickings for silver throated despots.

We need the healing of leadership. Leadership that IS founded on a solid world view and political view.

We need someone who is solid in a particular view. A faux middle can fake this, but it will make things worse. Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton could cut welfare.

We need a leader of principle who understand this. And yes, I DO believe that Huckabee is the only one addressing this issue. Others talk about it, he's named the solution approach (vertical politics).

Left or right, check it out. SOMEBODY has GOT to get this done. We need decency and honor and we must demand it from both sides. And somebody needs to lead that charge.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Do we want a Christian President?

A link from a visitor kind enough to leave their URL (see comments in the preceding post) has started a blog. The point of the blog is to support Gov. Mike Huckabee (YEAH!) and to usher in a Christian President (?).

I put a ? next to that because I don't think I agree with that aim.

This is a tough one to explain.

I went to a Huckabee event on Saturday. More on that later. For now, consider the overheard words of a woman at my church. This woman was rehashing the event with my pastor. I don't know the lady, but she was obviously there at the event.

"I'm a social conservative, but I don't want the Church to try to usher in morality through politics. I think that's the wrong way to go about things. That's the Church's role and I don't want anyone or any party getting in the way of that."


I've valued Chuck Colson's writings on the Church and Politics. He points out how the Church can so easily become the servant of a party or a campaign.

The Church is the Bride of Christ. HE is our ONLY Master. In bowing before Him WE are changed, and that change may well rankle the party or the campaign. So be it. That is the nature of how Jesus changes the world.

I do not want a Christian President. I would love to have a man of passionate Christian faith in the Oval Office. I see those as different. I will not vote for a man just because he is the "Christian Candidate". Nor will I shy away from choosing a secular man over a Christian if I believe him to be the better leader or the better President.

All that being said, I want Huckabee for President. He's my candidate. But I don't want to limit support to the 25% of people or less in this country that claim "Evangelical Christian" as their affiliation. I'd love to see a "Jews for Huckabee" or "Atheists United for Mike" spring up.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wondering About Blogs ...

There's a whole lotta bloggin' goin' on. NABLOPOMO or whatever it's called is encouraging folks to blog every day. I'm not doing that program, but it HAS encouraged me to blog more often.

But that leaves me with a question. Personal blogs tend to be ... personal. There's something very therapeutic about the lives and struggles of others... but how much is too much? How much is just whining?

Will my blog have value on the serious political subjects if I also include those struggles that beset my life?

Food for thought. I suppose if I decide that the mhy blog should not be too personal, all these blogs will just


Disappear :)


Friday, November 09, 2007

... There's Gotta Be Chamberpots ...

And now, a word from our sponsor:

Romans 9:20-23
(20) But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"
(21) Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
(22) What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
(23) and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

I want to be a vessel of honor. I want to be a vessel of glory. I want to shine. I want to glow. I want to be special. I want ... I want ... I want ...

For 40 years now, I've begged God to tell me what I should do, and who I should be. I look at that now and think it's silly. I look at it now and realize what I was really asking Him was how I could find a road to greatness.

Not greatness before Him (though ask me, I'd tell you that was what I wanted, what I want).

Nope, the greatness I sought was the greatness of man's adulation. I tasted more than a little of this... I had a pretty great run in school. Lots of academic awards, lots of praise.

But it ended. I associated the awards and the praise with pleasing God. I associated it with being GREAT for God.

But I lay Romans 9 alongside The Discovery Channels hit show, "Dirty Jobs." and a message is born.

First, the silliness. "Lord, what do you want me to be?"

He already made me. He already gifted me. He already promised He'd never leave nor forsake me. He already has led me through every page of my life.

Sounds like He's already made me (and is further making me) into what is right for me.

So what's the hassle?

Maybe it's that I don't like it. Or THINK I won't like who and what He's made. My prayer really could be, "Lord, make me something different... PLEASE!"

Romans 9 says he makes vessels for work. Some utilitarian pots for cooking and serving, some beautiful decorative pots to show the wonders of His artistry, some chamber pots.

Man, there's gotta chamberpots. Don't know what one is? Wellll... before there were toilets, stuff still had to be ... collected and disposed of... and ... well... those pots were held in the bedchambers ... Yeah... you probably catch the drift.

The wonders of Dirty Jobs is seeing how incredibly vital poop removal, pee filtering, garbage hauling, etc, how vital it is. Imagine if there were no way to get the poo out of the house.

God has already made me, and is constantly shaping me. Stop already with the "what should I do?. Start with the Thanks be to God for giving me life and salvation. And then be ready for whatever use this vessel has in store. If it's poo collector, then I will do my best to thank God for giving me such a vital position.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Ford, not a Lincoln...

A decent man. A good man.

I have just finished an outstanding book, Write it When I'm Gone. It is the work of former Newsweek political correspondent Thomas DeFrank.

DeFrank was assigned to Gerald Ford when Ford was made Nixon's VP. The Newsweek editors rightly thought Nixon wasn't going to last long and they wanted a reporter who could become trusted with Ford.

DeFrank not only became trusted by Ford, but became a friend and later a confidant. Ford agreed to regular interviews in the years after his presidency with the caveat that the contents would not be divulged until after his death.

What a walk down memory lane. What a great reflection on a man who served his country in the toughest post... patching together a torn and battered land.

Thank you, Jerry Ford. Thank you for holding us together, for being the stable, calm helmsman for our battered ship of state.

A good reminder that we can't alwasy predict our path, but that character and courage shine best in darkness.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My choice ... Huckabee

My night at the New Hampshire Presidential Debates in Durham a few weeks back was different than I'd expected. I'd thought I'd be accompanied by my eldest (a politico in DC) and my good liberal Democrat friend.

Life intervened and my kiddo won her prized job in DC and my friend had a commitment she could not shake.

I pressed my 15 year old son and 16 year old daughter into being my companions.

They were not pleased. It seemed it was going to be the most boring event ever forced upon them. There was a virtual coup in the SUV on the way to Durham. If either had had a license, I have no doubt they would have forced me to the side of the road, dumped me in the back and headed to Hampton for fried dough.

But instead, we scarfed down pasta and tasty cakelets at the pre-dinner and made our way in to the debate. Slowly they were won over by the hoopla and the pageantry.

And then the real fun began! Their highlight of the night (and mine) was the heated exchange between Rep. Ron Paul and Gov. Mike Huckabee over our role in Iraq.

Yes, I pretty strongly lean to the libertarian side of things. I believe that we work best when we govern least. But I'm a realist and was glad to see Gov. Huckabee fire back at Paul. His cut and run would absolutely destroy our military.

Huckabee showed life, a grasp of the issues and an ability to articulate. Guiliani came off as a recording ("What I did in New York"), Romney seemed robotic and lifeless, McCain seemed like a tired, wise (and a little bit cranky) grampa. The others were almost absent from the stage, except for Paul ... whose libertarianism seemed more crazed than sage.

I'm an evangelical Christian. I believe (as my sporadic posts show) that faith MUST inform politics... that it does whether we admit it or not. I believe that it is our duty to serve in the temporal world as well as the spiritual one. And this service takes the place of being well-informed citizens.

But I am NOT a lock-step evangelical conservative. I am conservative and libertarian. That is an informed decision primarily from my faith. But I am deeply suspicious of most of the moves to get an evangelical power base.

So I come to my support of Gov. Huckabee NOT because he is an evangelical like myself. I come to my support because he makes sense. He seems to be a man of his word. He is a principled pragmatist.

AND I believe he is in touch with what I believe is the biggest issue our country faces, our deep divide. His "Vertical Politics" that seeks to reach the issues and deal with them and strip the left/right argument resonates with me.

So today I have signed up to work for and be a part of the Gov. Mike Huckabee for President campaign.