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(Vanity) The One-Way Ratchet
grey_whiskers ^ | 5-20-2007 | grey_whiskers

Posted on 05/20/2007 6:00:42 AM PDT by grey_whiskers

It is interesting to consider the platitudes of politicians and the chattering classes when considering controversial topics. There seem to be two main threads. One of them is the old chestnut, “I’m personally opposed to X, BUT the will of the people is…”. The other one is “I know that some (probably misguided) polls show that the public wants X, but I must be guided by higher standards than mob rule.” Let us see how this works on three of the common hot-button issues of the day: abortion, illegal immigration, and global warming.

For abortion, let us pick on both a Democrat and a Republican. For the Democratic point of view, let us pick on one of the standard bearers, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Remember his comments during the run-up to the Robert Bork confirmation hearings? ”Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions”(*) And yet he claims to be a Roman Catholic, whose position on abortion is pretty clear. So quite clearly he is making sure his votes are not informed (nor dictated) by his personal religious convictions. And for that matter, he made quite clear that he did not want Supreme Court justices such as Alito to make reference to their personal opinions at all – witness the article from the Washington Post of January 7, 2006. Chalk up one for ignoring one’s personal point of view.

A similar situation can be demonstrated by one of the leading Republican RINO candidates for President, Rudy Giuliani. He has been quoted as saying abortion is "morally wrong" but stood by his position that women should have ‘the right to make that choice.’ So again, a politician overrules what are (or ought to be) his personal beliefs when creating public policy.

With all of the furor over illegal immigration and immigration reform, it is perhaps worth a look to see what the personal and public positions of some of the leaders in this area are. Let us look at President Bush for the Republicans, and Senator Feinstein for the Democrats (no fair, we already picked on Ted Kennedy on abortion.) Obviously, the American public is strongly against an Amnesty. But President Bush is just as obviously committed to opening our borders as much as possible, regardless of what it costs the Republican Party long-term – either by importing new Democrat voters or by alienating the Republican base. So in this case, we put it in the column of “personal bias above public feeling.” Senator Feinstein is more problematic—her home page mainly refers to illegal immigration as it touches on the AgJobs Bill, which is rolled into the latest Amnesty bill (Senator Feinstein was one of three negotiators in the secret bipartisan meetings leading up to the bill.) The inclusion of AgJobs will make sure that the agricultural industry—strong in California, and dependent on Mexicans to “do the jobs Americans won’t” has plenty of cheap labor. So call her on the fence. She is listening to somebody (lobbyists), but not yet to the voice of voters. (Yes, you’re right, Virgina, on this matter, the views of Mexicans don’t matter. They are not voters—at least, I hope they aren’t. But I’m not *that* naïve.)

Now let us consider global warming. The prototype here is Al “Inconvenient Chad” Gore. He has instituted a program of trading in carbon credits, in order that he can get credit for having his pollution and controlling it too. But at the same time, his personal life shows a complete and reckless disregard for environmental side effects. Think of the energy usage on his private home -- $1200 a month – is about twenty times the electricity usage of the average American home. Even in mid-summer in Scottsdale, where outdoor air temperatures can reach 110 degrees with regularity, electric bills seem to top out at about ¼ of that. And *that* is for survival, not just comfort (my own thermostat in Phoenix is set at 84 during the day and 78 at night, except on weekends, when it is a constant 78). So the Irreverent Al is definitely in the “imposing personal beliefs on others” crowd. And since Arizona was just mentioned, how about Republican Presidential candidate John McCain? I’m not sure, since he has been so involved with Amnesty, but it appears he has the makings of a flip-flopper. Back in 2004 he was quite involved in pressing for immediate action on global warming, and as recently as last month he was calling for concerted action to reduce global warming. On the other hand, McCain has picked a noted global-warming skeptic (James Schlesinger) to be his point man on energy issues. So the impression I get is that McCain has wet his finger and put it up in the air to test the political winds, but that he is hedging his bets. No true convictions here.

Why is this so important? I am not trying to jump on the bandwagon of “all politicians are liars” or “liberals are hypocrites.” After all, I picked on George Bush and on Rudy Giuliani. No, the more important question is this. It appears from the above examples that politicians do not always have strong opinions on the matters of the day: and it appears that they are sometimes willing to set aside their own preferences, sometimes to impose their own personal wishes on others. Why then, if there is no consistency for or against listening to the crowd, why is the set of values to be ignored always the conservative one? Why is there a one-way ratchet in favor of liberalism?

(*) Which brings up the following Kennedy joke:

Reporter: “Senator, could you tell us your feeling on the abortion bill?”
Kennedy: (hesitatingly) “Well, I guess I’ll just have to pay it.”

Incidentally, another forgotten-on-purpose portion of Kennedy’s Bork quote is that “rogue police could knock down citizens’ doors in midnight raids.” Supreme Court (in Hudson vs. Michigan) did address no-knock raids, weakening the exclusionary rule by a 5-4 vote. Given that two of the justices siding with the majority in this decision were Roberts and Alito, it is odd that Kennedy did not raise this possibility at all during his oh-so-principled opposition to their confirmation.

TOPICS: Conspiracy; History; Religion; Society
KEYWORDS: greywhiskers; politicians; vanity; whiskersvanity; willofthepeople
It is clear that the Washington crowd view their own positions (followed by lifelong pensions larger than the average American household salary, and free healthcare for life, as well as getting to keep for personal use any leftover campaign contributions) as an entitlement.

NO cheers, unfortunately.

1 posted on 05/20/2007 6:00:44 AM PDT by grey_whiskers
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To: grey_whiskers
long articles, vanities...not for me.

The joke was funny, in a gallows-humor sort of way, however.

2 posted on 05/20/2007 6:21:23 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Thank you St. Jude.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
"I am personally opposed to long vanities but I will still read them."

Thanks for taking the time to slog through it, then !

Have you considered running for higher office? ;-)


3 posted on 05/20/2007 6:24:42 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers
The real heart of the problem is not that these guys have no principles. They seem to think that the options available from which they choose one are really just meaningless. They don’t have to consider that the options aren’t equivalent. The questions they face actually are simpler than they pretend. It isn’t just a matter of sending X amount of money (our money!) and this versus that. The problem is that the consequences of their actions will be disatrous. It is like saying “we have the option of building our new brick home using cement or sand for mortar.” The different outcomes have radically different consequences. The Congressclowns apparently haven’t the “cognitive horsepower” to realize this. If it weren’t so scary it would be really amusing.
4 posted on 05/20/2007 6:30:21 AM PDT by wastoute
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To: grey_whiskers
I think you just made the case that most of our politicians are scum. They say you get the government you deserve & I say that today we are seeing the result of "holding your nose" when you vote. I am through with voting for the one "who can win" - this is where it gets us!

I am now putting principles over politics - instead of politics over principles. Imagine how much better things would be if we all would do the same.

5 posted on 05/20/2007 6:32:57 AM PDT by alicewonders (Duncan Hunter. Seriously.)
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