When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who the hell is Truth-Pain?

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

Allow me a brief post to introduce myself. As the founder and main writer for “Truth-Pain Emporium” (http://www.truthpain.blogspot.com/) I’ve been recklessly (some say) rendering opinions and editorial blasts on many topics since 2006. Most of my posting have been on political themes but I do wander off and post on the virtues of watching lizards lick their eyeballs from time to time. One cannot ever confuse my style or content with those Bloggers having serious penmanship or depth of knowledge. Social Sense or Benning's Writing Pad, I am not. I don't even dare call myself a writer, but a social commentator who happens to express it via the written word as my abilities best allow me. When my friends Robert, Jenn and Sam invited me to bring my arsenal of landmines to their garden, it required a brief (yikes…) biography so that the gathered conservative masses could know a little of what makes my Twinkies really frost. So here we go …

I am an Independent voter, with conservative / libertarian leanings, who at times thinks that anarchy mixed with a benevolent Dictatorship is not such a bad idea. I am not a person who buys into any party platform line in absolute alliance. I believe in making the case the case that one can parse ideology to fit your moral or philosophy compass. In my yute, er youth, I was a Democrat because my family mostly was that. Then I turned Republican because I had a severe aversion to communism and thought the only way to defeat the USSR-driven ideology was through the iron-fisted foreign policy of Ronald Reagan. Then I went off the reservation completely and converted to Libertarian thought. Yes I was even baptized and took first Communion in the social-liberal/fiscal conservative dogma. If that description has you confused, it gets better.

I would pile-on to all of you the history of Messier Truth-Pain's life since he was a guppy swimming in his father's pants, but do you really want to know about my childhood in New York, New Jersey and (gasp!) Puerto Rico? Well neither do I, so I will spare you the pity-party I was just going to throw myself. Let’s just itemize those “Jesus moments” of how I became who I am, … deal?

  • 1969: My nine-year old goober butt sits perplexed at the grainy black and white image of Neil Armstrong hopping down from the ladder of the landing craft onto the Moon’s surface. The first memory I have of my mind having a semblance of critical thinking. ["hmmm, Americans are cool and groovy people!"...]

  • 1973: I’m 13 years old sitting in my mom’s Miami home, and instead of playing with my rock em’ sock em’ robots, I was glued to the Watergate hearings [“who is this John Dean guy anyway? and boy, Plumbing sounds like a great career choice...”]

  • 1975: The images of blind-folded American hostages taken by militant students in Iran do not make me more understanding of the world, but it does open my curiosity of Religion, and its cause-effect of events throughout history. At this time, my Pentecostal upbringing is beginning to suffer some serious foundation damage. [..."so Dad, how does God allow this crap to happen again?] Yes, my Christian boat has serious leaks.

  • 1978: While applying on-masse to a federal college grant (true story, I swear), my (Puerto Rican) public-finance High-School Counselor, tells 400+ kids to put “0”, or zero as our parents income so that we could get the top amount in the available BEOG (later Pell Grant) funding. […“hmmm, somebody has to be paying for this, why is my counselor asking me to lie about my parent’s income? Are we Puerto Ricans THAT special?”]

  • 1980: Ronald Reagan was the first truly inspirational public figure that I can remember. Nobody else could have awoken me from the late 70’s “malaise”. His theme of “Morning in America” was my call to serve. For the first time in my lifetime, I was proud to be an American (sorry Michelle Obama, I used the line first). I then joined the US Navy and for the next 4 years ate, drank and crapped GOP evangelism. The Elephant could do no wrong.

  • 1985: I attended a Libertarian seminar in San Francisco by a guy from the CATO Institute. I was never the same. He whipped my melon to ideas and views I had never considered. Talk about a singular moment of clarity. It did not dispel the notions of my Republican blood, but the meaning of Liberties and Freedoms were expanded to the point that I began to question some of the GOP’s platform (It hasn't stopped…)

  • 1992: The first year I began to listen to talk radio. Limbaugh was the only guy on the right, but I had a myriad of left-leaning talkers in the San Francisco market. The truth, I felt, was always in the middle of the war’s fog. I registered independent that year and (so shoot me) I may have helped Bush 41 lose the election by voting for H. Ross Perot [well, at least HE did not look at his watch during the debates…]. Had Perot not run, I dare say, the majority of the 19% who voted for him may have either stayed home, or voted for H.W. Bush. The Clintons would have been a zit in the Ass-heap of history.

  • 2001: September 11th. I remember rocking my 4-month old daughter to sleep in her mechanical rocker, while watching CNN replay the tumbling down of the twin towers and being scared, truly scared, for the first time in my adult life. The world to me has not been the same since. I remember spending the next month online sucking up everything about Islam. Before that, the last time I seriously thought about it was when Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

  • 2005: The year the GOP party lost me completely. Not conservatism, just the party. I could not understand how a party that shoved “No child left behind” and expanded Drug benefits worth tens of billions down our throat could have won re-election. Was Bush a conservative? Angry and hell-bent confused I searched the web for Forums where I could discover other like-minded persons such as myself and I blundered into “bloggers” […”what kind of idiots are these people who think they can editorialize about news and actually expect people to stop by and comment? The hubris!”]

  • 2006: I turn into an above-stated idiot and launch my own blog, not expecting one comment to come my way. Surely nobody would think the rantings of and ex-Democrat, ex-Republican, ex-Military and living in the People's Republic of Kalifornia were serious enough to consider thought-provoking, right? Boy was I surprised…

I tend to mask my anger and dysfunctional logic with irreverent humor and satirical camouflage. My writings are so grammar and syntax-dyslexic that I am surprised some of my fellow bloggers have not awarded me the prize for “Person most likely to make the English language obsolete all by himself”.

At the end of the day, I am –like most of you-, a native-born American who loves his country, wants to change what is good slowly, and what is bad a bit more rapidly; and who may prefer different roads in the pursuit of my happiness. I try, repeat, try to look at things pragmatically and through the prism of others before I park my cannons on their front lawn and lay waste to their ideology-orchids. I was last in line when God was handing out politically-correct genes,… and then he kicked me out of heaven altogether for beginning to doubt him in the first place.

Having said all that, I am humbled at anyone who graces my opinions with their time and banter. I hope my musings can add to the mission of this blog, not detract from it.

Onward …

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A New Generation

A guest post, by Mustang

Kathleen Parker’s recent article in
Jewish World Review does a good job assessing the average American’s understanding of civics, and she was equally credible tying this lack of understanding in to our recent presidential elections. She does overlook one or two things, however. The first is that American education today is precisely where socialist educators wanted it to be from the beginning of their efforts ninety years ago. We cannot expect the American people to choose wisely (from a conservative point of view), when liberal educators have been busily dumbing down our children for more than three generations. I agree American voters did not choose wisely in the past election, but they do have a right under our Constitution to throw off the manacles of freedom in exchange “free” government programs. Our forefathers didn’t trust popular wisdom, and this explains why they created a republic, rather than a democracy.

Last week Victor Hanson wrote a typically exceptional essay, during which he reminded us, “Failure is not an option.” I had to laugh. Failure is most certainly an option. It has always been an option . . . just not one that we older Americans selected for our Nation, our families, or future generations. Failure is always possible, and perhaps even likely in the most difficult endeavors. But we should note the difference between the failure of men who tried to do well, but fell short, and those who failed because they were lazy, inept, or corrupt. Republicans failed when they promised us smaller government, when they reneged on their contract with America. One cannot achieve smaller government while maintaining massive spending, and I think spending less is the key to conservative, smaller government.

The other day, I watched a YouTube
video with Mary Katherine Ham participating in a Heritage Foundation forum. The entire focus of the discussion surrounded the question of how to attract younger voters to the conservative camp. They discussed video presentations and ‘chic’ gadgets, and massive text messaging ala Barack Obama. I suppose that’s our direction these days. But I wonder how much substance one can possibly put in 140 characters of text messaging? Not much; but then, how much substance can younger people retain for more than thirty seconds? As I listened carefully to the discussion, it suddenly dawned on me these people were discussing almost everyone in the United States below my age bracket. The “new generation” consists of people content to know, rather than to understand . . . they would rather amuse themselves with video games than read a book.

The new conservative leaders are people like Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindel, and Mark Sanford . . . and while they may recall Ronald Reagan for his contributions, they speak of Reaganism as something that occurred in the “olden days,” somewhere around time when Davy Crockett “kilt his self a bar when he was only three.” I cannot help but wonder if Ham’s post-election discussion would have pursued a different track had John McCain not demonstrated how irrelevant or “out of touch” older people are.

I wish the new generation luck, of course. The new conservative leaders will be dealing directly with people who are the product of liberal education, who do not know the fundamentals of American government, and true to form, don’t really care. Liberals, of course, understand it is easy to lead the ignorant . . . and this is why I believe so much effort has gone into dumbing down the American people. Conspiracy theories always raise eyebrows, but I can find no other explanation why extraordinarily expensive school systems are only able to produce woefully uninformed people who lack the capacity of critical thinking. Well, it did seem to work well enough for socialists in Europe; we Americans just happen to be the last great society to trade government oppression for human dignity and liberty.

After the new generation of conservative political leader finds out how to send text messages, wrap themselves in attractive packaging, and learn how to speak to vast crowds in small sound bites, I hope someone will do something important for the American education system, if it isn’t too late. Since only thirty-four percent of the American electorate is conservative, the failure of our new political leaders to woo moderates toward traditional ideology can only mean one thing: the end of conservatism.

Social Sense

Friday, November 28, 2008

Crime and President Obama's Agenda: A Talking Paper


On President-elect Obama’s website there is a list of items on the agenda for his administration. As I perused these items, I noticed that there was no listing for addressing the issue of crime and the impact on society. I think as President, Obama has an historic opportunity to address a few specific social issues that no President has been able to address in the past.

The issue of crime is on that impacts all of us. Have you ever planned a trip around certain areas of town? Not shopped in a particular location after a certain time? Have you ever looked at the person behind you in line and thought they were reading your credit card number? While perhaps you have not been a direct victim of crime, you are an indirect victim because it influences your lifestyle or life habits.

As a black American and with the support in the election of the national black community, Obama can speak to the causes and solutions of crime. He could speak honestly about the breakdown of the family, the inner city mentality that can become self-perpetuating, the lack of priority on education not from the system but from the individual, and the problem of street gangs. Both the left and the right are off track when it comes to issues of crime. The right believes in retributive justice where punishment is the goal. The left believes in restorative justice and interventions. The solutions, like most other things in life, can be found somewhere in the middle and through a combination of approaches.


A relatively recent, yet not new focus in criminal justice is Community Oriented Policing, or COPS. If the new administration would take advantage of their unique ability to address issues honestly this approach could be encouraged at the national level and as a national priority.

Sir Robert Peel, known as the father of modern policing, believed in a set of nine principles for law enforcement. These principles led to the Metropolitan Police Act of London that established the first full time, professional police agency in 1829. One of his principles held that the community is the police and the police are the community. Peel meant that the police are part of the community, as they live and socialize in a place with the people who expect their service. They are also citizens, who have concerns about their neighborhoods and schools and businesses. The fact that London was to have a full time police service did not excuse the other members of the community from participating in the public interest and of assisting the police.

Community Oriented Policing (COPS) is not a program, but a philosophy. The philosophy takes Peel's principle and applies it to the entire community, and in places that have effectively implemented COPS, to the larger system of government and civilian agencies and services. COPS seeks a partnership between the community, the police, and other stakeholders (social service agencies, municipality departments such as Human Resources or sanitation, medical and psychological services) to find solutions to the problems in the community. This can include community corrections and social service programs such as the much maligned "Midnight basketball" programs. COPS programs seek to improve the quality of life for the entire community on many fronts, not just in arrests and enforcement. Law enforcement, in the perfect theoretical model of COPS, intervenes in problems before they become criminal problems.

In many places, COPS is a symbolic solution. COPS cannot be effective if a police department initiates a "Community policing officer" or a COPS Bureau. COPS must change the very focus of policing from traditional policing where officers ride around their district waiting for a call, to a very interactive style of policing that returns police officers to foot patrols and meeting business owners and other citizens.

In 2005, I had occasion to interact with the Metropolitan Police of London. It was after the terrorist attacks on the London Transit System, and the Metropolitan Police had begun to institute a COPS bureau that placed officers within each of 647 neighborhoods in Metro London. Those officers were responsible for the activities in the neighborhoods, and interacted daily with the people of the community. It has received significant support from Londoners, and had already returned good intelligence on criminal activity. It will take a couple of years to see if the advances in crime prevention are statistically supported, but the initial results proved very positive. While not the intention of the action, it also provides a good source of information for counter-terrorism purposes.

COPS can be many things, depending on the level of commitment on the part of those who implement programs under an overall umbrella of the police culture change. If a department is only making feel-good efforts to latch on to the fad, there will be little result. If a department actually attempts to change its management style, positive results can be achieved. An example of this is in New York City, where William Bratton was the head of the Transit Police. He instituted a "Fixing Broken Windows" style that sought to clean up the subways and increase enforcement of petty crimes. The graffiti was removed, turnstile jumpers were prosecuted, officers increased their presence in the system, and petty crimes were not tolerated. Through the efforts of the department that went outside the realm of traditional policing, the NYC subway system has become among the safest in the world.

Fixing Broken Windows

The noted criminologists George Kelling and John Q. Wilson published "Fixing Broken Windows", which was an approach to crime that suggested that the police can have success by enforcing petty crimes, and therefore setting standards that everyone understands. This theory was brought about by an experiment conducted by a sociologist in two locations, Palo Alto, California and New York City. In NYC, a car with a broken window was placed in a curb. Within hours the vehicle had bene vandalized, and within a week children were playing in it and it had been stripped of everything meaningful. The car In Palo Alt was placed with all windows intact and it was ignored. For days the vehicle was observed and no notice was taken of it sitting on the roadside. It was only after the sociologist broke the window that the car attracted the same attention as in NYC.

The theory is that if the small things are prevented from happening, and not tolerated, the larger things will not follow. In other words, when small crimes are tolerated, it creates an atmosphere that larger crimes are also tolerated.

COPS programs are intended to do more than just gain information. It can be a wide effort to improve the community through the presence of law enforcement working with citizens to improve the quality of life. COPS brings in resources before it is necessary to arrest an incarcerate someone. It is an attempt to work with people to improve life, as opposed to working with people to simply arrest criminals and solve crimes. The sociological theory posits that if the police and other agencies interact with the community to prevent problems, and then the police quickly deal with the problems that arise, then crime will decrease because of an environment of productivity and positive approaches. People will receive services and assistance before their needs become a case number in the criminal justice system.


1) President Obama should use his unique opportunity to honestly discuss the problems of crime and social issues in the inner city. Michelle Obama could use this as her focus during the next four years, and be a strong voice for progress.

2) President Obama should direct the Department of Justice to expand the current training programs for local law enforcement agencies. A COPS coordinator could be appointed to serve in each large city to oversee the implementation of COPS. The current structure of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) located at each U.S. Attorney’s Office already presents a relationship between federal and state/local agencies.

3) There should be bottom up review that evaluates all social service organizations at the federal and state level. These organizations should be structured to work with law enforcement and the other agencies in a COPS approach.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Comment Of The Week

One of our objectives here at CC is to rally conservative bloggers so that we are not individual voices crying out for attention, but a loud voice consisting of many. Another goal is for us to have an interactive site so that everyone can claim some ownership in what we are doing, so we have a new feature that we hope will meet those goals!

Every week, collectively, we will pick one comment that best represents our goals of defining, explaining, educating, and discussing conservatism. There have been some interesting and insightful comments, and many are worth noting! Once selected, the person who has the spotlighted comment will then be the guest writer of the week, if he so desires. The guest post will be published on the following Saturday. Contrary opinions are encouraged, and sometimes the guest writer may be someone who isn't conservative, but challenges our thoughts and principles. There won't really be a process, it will be completely arbitrary and subjective....At the moment, the person who sends me the best leftovers from Thanksgiving will probably win....lol

If you have questions, email one of us or catch us online in the chatbox.

Keep reading below this post....Don't ever stop at the top comment, as there may be more!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Day Humor..........

Thanksgiving Divorce

Eddie in Dallas calls his son in New York just before Thanksgiving and tells him, 'I am sorry to tell you but your mother and I are going to divorcing. I just cannot take any more of her moaning. We can't stand the sight of each other any more.' I am telling first, Eddie, because you are the eldest, please tell your sister.

When Eddie calls his sister Julie, she says: 'No way are they getting divorced, I will go over and see them for Thanksgiving.'

Julie phones here parents and tells them both 'You must NOT get divorced. Promise you won't do anything until I get over there. I'm calling Eddie, and we'll both be there with you tomorrow. Until then, don't take any action, please listen to me', and hangs up.

The father puts down the phone and turns to his wife and says. 'Good news' he says, 'Eddie and Julie are coming for Thanksgiving and they are both paying their own way.'

The man who forgot to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and the butcher is just locking up when a man begins pounding on the front door.

'Please let me in, 'says the man desperately. 'I forgot to buy a turkey, and my wife will kill me if I don't come home with one.'

'Okay, 'says the butcher.' Let me see what I have left.' He goes into the freezer and discovers that there's one last scrawny turkey left. He brings it out to show the man.

'That's one is too skinny. What else you got?' says the man.

The butcher takes the bird back into the freezer and waits a few minutes and brings the same turkey back out to the man.

'Oh, no, 'says the man, 'That one doesn't look any better. You better give me both of them!'


All of us here at Conservative Convictions would like to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. As we fill ourselves up with turkey, ham, stuffing, corn, biscuits (okay, I am getting seriously hungry here) lets take time to remember those that aren't as fortunate as we are. As we gather with friends and family, lets remember those that are far away protecting our country and are unable to hug their loved ones in person. Let us remember all those things that we are blessed with but so often take for granted. Our blessings are all different and I encourage you all to share what you are most thankful for today.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them....... John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Fight To Win

Thank you to Greywolfe for this outstanding video!

Please don't forget to read Robert's post on Illegal Immigration found below!

Illegal Immigration: A Talking Paper


One of the most pressing, yet relatively untouched issues of our time is the challenge of coming to terms with the illegal immigration problem. Over the past several decades illegal immigrants, primarily from Mexico and Central/South American countries have swarmed across the borders. Some current estimates place the number of illegal aliens in our country to be between 20-40 million. The median number of 30 million represents 10% of the entire U.S. population.

1. The principle of law and order are being largely ignored and laws pertaining to immigration are unenforced.

2. The United States, for the past two decades, has experienced a geometric increase in illegal immigration. This immigration is largely due to illegal border crossings from the southern border, but is not limited to Mexico.

3. The United States is undergoing a significant challenge in protecting our economy and preventing a depression. Revenues to the fed are becoming smaller. The effect of illegal immigrant labor suppresses the wage paid to lower income earners.

4. The 9/11 attacks brought the spotlight to bear on areas of weakness concerning national security. The U.S. spends tens of millions each year in vetting international airline passengers and maintaining numerous terrorist watch lists, but the borders remain porous.


1. The principles of national security and the social controls of controlling detrimental activities to the nation are cast aside and no real solutions have been proposed, much less implemented. The long term ramifications of continuing to allow open borders can be seen in the following numbers:

  • 1. In 1996 it was estimated that illegal immigration accounted for a job displacement of 730,000 Americans as a cost of 4.3 billion dollars. The numbers have tripled since that time.

  • 2. The annual cost of providing services to illegal aliens is more that 45 billion dollars.
    3. In 2003, only 186,151 illegal immigrants were deported from our borders.
    4. It is estimated that 30% of federal prison inmates are illegals.

2. The national security implications are significant, and each year the potential for a terrorist attack conducted by illegal aliens crossing the border increases. In 2000, a U.S. Customs officer interdicted a vehicle crossing into the U.S. from Canada. Inside the vehicle were explosives that were to be used to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport.

My Opinion

1. The primary function of government is to protect the rights of the citizenry within the responsibilities delineated by the authors of the Constitution. Those rights include insuring the common defense that is part of the concern in the issue of illegal immigration.

2. We should demand that the U.S. government secure our borders. While debating bailouts and tax increases, one of the most depressing factors to our economy is growing each day. It is estimated that in California, only two percent of illegals work in agriculture, while 29 percent are on welfare rolls.

3. The Department of Homeland Security should place an emphasis on allocating resources for securing the border.

4. We should work with Mexico and other Central American nations to assist with building their economies to provide a higher quality of life for their citizens to reduce the need for them to migrate to the U.S.


1. The United States should stand strong an pressure the governments of other nations to reduce their immigrating citizens.

2. All possible action by the various government agencies should be pursued. DHS should utilize B.I.C.E., CBP, and the DOJ should all work to forcefully investigate and deport illegal aliens. Extremely punitive measures should be taken against U.S. companies whi employ illegal immigrants.

3. The National Guard in Border States should be tasked with patrolling the border and interdicting illegal immigrants. In Juarez, the border city of El Paso, the Mexican government sent 1,000 Army personnel to combat the 17,000 gang members that are fighting over smuggling routes in the U.S. There have been 1,000 murders in Juarez this year alone. The State Department has advised that the violence in Juarez is the equivalent of small unit combat engagements using machine guns and grenades. The President should declare illegal immigration a clear and present danger to the security of the U.S., and military and intelligence assets used to secure the borders.

4. Socials services, except for emergency medical care and provision for infants, should be denied to illegal immigrants.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Homeland Security: A Talking Paper


1. The U.S. Constitution defines the role of the government in the preamble to the document, which gives insight into the founder’s intent in establishing our system of government. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

2. The United States has long been oblivious to the terrorist activity that has targeted Europe and the middle east, largely due to the Palestine problem. A resurgence of radical Islam beginning in 1979 has become the main source of threats against the U.S.

3. Recent events that culminated in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States resulted in the creation of a new cabinet level department, The Department of Homeland Security. The department is tasked with “common defence” issues that are not military in nature.


1. At the time of the Constitutional Convention, the founders could have envisioned neither the threat of terrorism as it exists today, nor the technologies that we rely upon on a daily basis. As the nation works diligently to protect her citizens against the ever more devious plots to destroy her, care must be taken to assure that the rights guaranteed under the Constitution are protected.

2. There were three events that transpired to spark the resurgence of radical Islamic intentions for a modern caliphate:

  • A. The increase in radical Islamic thought, primarily in Iran, that resulted in the American hostage crisis which ended in 1980.

  • B. Following the 1979 invasion and 10 year war, the 1988 defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan cultivated a sense of empowerment among Islamic militants. The United States erred by leaving the country and not maintaining a strong influence.

  • C. The fall of the Berlin Wall. This left a vacuum of power in the region that was filled with Islamic fundamentalist ideologies, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

3. We should realize that new technologies and the rapidly expanding access to weaponry such as nuclear and biological weapons demand new approaches to our security, yet we must be alert to measures that encroach upon those liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

4. The nation should view the fight against terrorism as a multi-faceted strategy; law enforcement, military actions, and other government agencies such as the Department of State all play a role in defeating a terrorist ideology.

The need for a department to engage in the collection of intelligence, evaluate intelligence, and work to mitigate threats that are not military in nature has shown to be essential. There is an area of concern between a law enforcement action and a military action that was the weak link in the common defense.

5. Considering the non-conventional methodologies of our opponents, pre-emptive actions should be taken to eliminate threats. The situation is such that we can ill afford to again wait for an attack to take action.

My Opinion

1. The primary function of government is to protect the rights of the citizenry within the responsibilities delineated by the authors of the Constitution. Those rights include insuring domestic tranquility, which as we have seen is not the condition following a terrorist attack.

2. The government should be allowed all measures in the mission to protect our liberties and our democracy, provided that these measures do not violate basic principles of civil rights. We must not repeat the mistakes made following the 1988 defeat of the Soviet Union. The Patriot Act and other provisions of law, such as the FISA courts, should be solidified, with any sunset provision removed.

3. The Department of Homeland Security should continue to be empowered to engage in intelligence dissemination and emergency response coordination. It should be continuously involved in task forces with local agencies, chaired and directed by the federal authorities.

4. We should pursue the interests of America, regardless of the support and approval of other nations and organizations such as the United Nations. America’s sovereignty should be asserted in all affairs, particularly those that place the nation at odds with state sponsored terrorism and non-conventional forces.

The United States should actively engage in intelligence gathering and covert activities overseas, maintaining an influence and infiltration; human intelligence (HUMINT) is essential in the fight against non-conventional forces.


1. The United States should continue to assert the “Bush Doctrine”, which places the U.S. in an aggressive posture against forces with the intent to attack the homeland or our interests overseas.

2. All possible action by the various government agencies should be pursued. The Department of Justice, DHS, and Department of State should be regularly coordinated so that the method used can quickly move from law enforcement to military action with little delay.

The C.I.A. must undergo a thorough assessment and organizational review. Following such review, resources should be provided to enable the agency to maintain both quantitative and qualitative HUMINT.

3. The U.S. should constantly evaluate infrastructure and make improvements in security postures to secure critical facilities and operations. While overall security responsibilities fall on the federal government, the individual states should be given the responsibility to provide assessments and arrange security provisions for the infrastructure items within their borders. For transportation related operations, the federal government should maintain the responsibility.

4. The Congress should act immediately to resolve the problem of dealing with terrorist detainees. The release of detainees into the general public, and the creation of rights for detainees is adding to the threat faced by the nation. The government must establish a solid precedent for processing these individuals.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things Coming Together Here

To all of those who have become regulars in our cyber-coffeehouse, a sincere thank you from all of us here at CC. We know that you can click around and find thousands of places to read, and we appreciate the time you spend here reading and discussing.

We are trying to build something unique, and many seem to think that we are making great progress to that end. As we go forward, we hope to offer qualitative content for all. As you read further down, you will notice the "talking paper" format. An idea proposed by Sam, it is an interesting way to organize posts, and involve everyone who visits. Please give the template a test drive and let someone here know how you like it.

We are attempting to create "Conservatism 101" here, and following a substantial series of posts and thoughts we will author an "Ideological Charter" that will become editorial policy so to speak for the site. That doesn't mean that everyone will always be in lockstep, but if we are to reach our goal of demanding a return to conservative values then by default we must know what those values are before we can expect action on them. At that point we will have an organizational outlook of conservatism, and we can then use that guideline when discussing the future issues of the day and the activities of the incoming administration.

This is why it is extremely important that everyone participate. If we just wanted to talk among ourselves, then we could simply exchange emails. We are wanting your input and your discussion! Read daily, subscribe to feeds, leave lengthy comments, take us to task for the things we miss or get wrong....take some ownership here and help propel this ship forward! The posts have items for discussion as well as the authors opinion. Let us know what you think.

A Guest Post From: Always On Watch

Always On Watch -

Now that the intitial weeping and gnashing of teeth following the election has diminished a bit, the conservative blogosphere has a task ahead, that of contrarian dissent. In my view, that dissent shouldn't descend into the lowest of the tactics shown by many of the lefties in the blogosphere and the media. On the other hand, being too refined and too dignified won't likely yield results, with either the electorate or the rebuilding of the Republican Party. Certainly, remaining quiet and sulking will have no outcome.

On January 20, Barack Hussein Obama will take the oath of office and become President of the United States. Like it or not, he will become our President. Certainly, based on what we know about him and his political philosophy, he may lead our nation in a leftist direction, as he attempts to keep even some of his pie-in-the-sky campaign promises. And he will have the partnership of a leftist Congress to help him accomplish his goals. Still, we should also remember that often Presidents govern in a more centrist manner than in the manner in which they campaigned. We'll be finding out soon enough in precisely what direction our new President will lead our nation.

Today's electorate apparently responds to and needs a leader who offers "shock and awe." These same voters also seem to respond more to contrarian dissent and derangement syndrome than to the analysis of political philosophies. Say what you will about the importance of political ideology and integrity, the Democratic Party's campaign was successful. Voters may well suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder and respond to sound bites around which to rally!

In my view, the Right needs to begin anew by offering contrarian dissent — patriotic dissent with just a tinge of Leftist Derangement Syndrome. Appeal to the people may be a logic fallacy, but we've just seen that such an appeal is indeed effective, much like the teachable moment in the classroom. The Right needs to learn and to employ some of the same tactics which the Left used to win the election.

Consider the following video, not only from the perspective of observing the apparent idiocy of those interviewed but also from the perspective of how such an electorate can be moved in a different direction:

Perhaps we truly have entered a new era of voters, ones who need a different kind of appeal from the Right. Based on the above video, we may not have the option of or the time for educating the electorate.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Federalism: A Talking Paper


1. Our founding fathers determined that sharing government power was also the way to limit power. It was thus that at the federal level, each branch of government is equal — meaning that one can trump the other. The president can refuse to sign a bill into law, the Supreme Court can overturn a law, and the legislature can refuse to fund a presidential program.

2. Our founding fathers also sought to limit the power of the federal government by acknowledging every state as sovereign, and that every power not specifically delineated in the Constitution to the federal government shall be reserved to the states, and to the people.


1. Since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, a period following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and a period during which the United States experienced an ecological disaster of epic proportions, the federal government has progressively encroached on the rights of states (and the people) in delivering “human services.” We might today argue that some of these programs were (and continue to be) unconstitutional, or that legislators back then did not consider the long-term implications of the laws they passed with all good intentions. We must also acknowledge that people have benefitted from some programs, and that the likelihood of overturning “social security” (as an example) is highly unlikely.

2. If we do not wish to see the United States moving ever-steadily toward a socialist state, then we must at least begin to dialogue about the right of the federal government to impose “human services,” paid for by the American taxpayer, and which effectively deny states their constitutional authority to govern themselves. What right, for example, does the federal government have to impose “educational standards” on any state educational system? Aren’t state educational standards a matter for the citizens of states to decide for themselves? Similarly, what right does the federal government have to impose “national health care,” a relevant question even if we erroneously concluded that the federal government is better able to manage it than independent states?

3. The only rights we have under federal rules were those accorded to us by the Bill of Rights, and even then, only once our state of domicile incorporated them. This relationship must be a two-way street. If a federal program violates the Tenth Amendment, our states must vociferously object to it, thus protecting “the people” from unwarranted (and unconstitutional) intrusion by the federal government. Over many years, our states have allowed the federal government to intrude on states’ rights; examples of this include state acceptance of federal money for education and highway construction.

4. We now face a Democratic Congress who, rather than exhibiting any discipline in spending, believe their recent “mandate” allows them to impose even more taxes to support a plethora of federalist programs. In my view, we must resist . . . the only way to do that is to insist our state governors and legislatures demand adherence to the Tenth Amendment.

My Opinion

1. Politicians at the federal level only address “the people” when they are seeking election. Most of the time, they could care less about what we think, and few of them ever ask for our opinions before they vote on pending legislation. This is in fact how representative democracy works; we are like the proverbial mushroom: they feed us crap and keep us in the dark.

2. For far too long, most citizens have forgotten they are first and foremost, citizens of states. It has become convenient to buy into federal programs legislation, especially if we mistakenly believe that we will benefit from them personally. In fact, this may be one of the greatest lies ever told. Considering the abject failure of the American educational system, which demands hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year, no one can effectively argue the results justify the costs.

3. If citizens of Indiana agree that they must be entitled to universal health care, it is up to the state of Indiana (and its citizens) to pay for such a program. The people of Indiana are not entitled to monetary resources from the hard-working people of any of the remaining 49 states.

4. If we believe that the Constitution is our “protector” from intrusive federal government, then we must begin to assert our constitutional rights — and our attachment to our state of domicile. Until that happens, there will be no change in the behavior of the federal or state governments.


1. Citizens must correspond with state legislatures and governors to demand they in turn challenge every federal program that interferes with the rights of states to govern themselves, on behalf of the citizens of those states.

2. Citizens must encourage state government to reject federal money whenever those expenditures require state obedience to federal mandates. Note: the NCLB law is a case in point.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rules of Engagement ....

... Or better yet, -Knuckle-draggers Beware-

I know the title and body of my posting may inflict some fury on the gathered few here. So be it. Call this a moment of calibration before we head along a beaten path (yet again...). I promise to keep it short (not.....)

So a couple of Bloggers get together and tell themselves, "You know, we just got our butts pasted in the elections, the GOP has ______________ (fill in the blank of your favorite cliche), conservatives don't know who the hell they are anymore, and we just elected a guy who has never run anything close to a Dairy Queen. Let's try and break it down and see what happened to us, shall we?" That is the essence of why this came to be. We're not rocket scientists, we're not party apparatchiks, we're not learned folks or scholars. We are four regular Americans, of wide age-range and backgrounds, ... strong individuals who in spite of having varying views and ideas about where the conservative movement should go, all agree that we love the word: Conservative. It unites us in far greater levels than the individual policies to which we differ.

So here we are, a week and days into it, with some great postings from the main contributors (Robert and Jenn) to warm up the kind audience, a terrific level of comment traffic, and a measure of excitement from the four of us that has re-kindled our desires to do something grander than we imagined capable.

All good,... well, almost.

Ladies and gentlemen. This is a plea from me as a person and individual who loves my country more than I love my party, my ideology and myself. The posting "the more things change, the more they stay the same", and the comments that followed made me think that the biggest problem the movement (if we can even call it THAT anymore....) has, is ourselves. Some bullets for you:

* Keep calling people names, go ahead. It is amazing to me that after all this time, all the hard lessons, all the negativity we know that comes with pejoratives, ... that some of us still lob the occasional name-calling bomb for effect. Look, I've done it myself in my own Blog. I'm not on a soap box. What I am saying is that using sophomoric names to make a grander point -while getting a chuckle from a knuckle-dragger here and there-, does little to further your point of view. Holster that crap. Make a point about some body's policy or opinion but elevate your integrity and opinion-reputation by divorcing the policy from the person on your sights.

* I have a little saying on my blog, "nothing is an absolute, ... absolutely nothing" (you DO get the contradiction in terms, .... right?) A fine fellow blogger commented that I sounded arrogant in a comment a few clicks before he pipped-in. Maybe. But what I was trying to say was that we have to stop nuancing everything to death. That some things, -some things- are as black and white as the shine on my dome. Especially when it comes to the basic tenets of what conservative philosophies entail. And yet, my nuance comment was interpreted by another Blogger as some obscure and bland form of conservatism to which she was not subscribing (I am paraphrasing, by the way). This blog is about discovering ourselves, educating others to things that are no longer apparent. Sure there is room for interpretation, but splicing a hair to its infinite molecular level just to show others the cleverness of your debating skills -while cute-, really detracts from the efforts herewith. Simplify.

* Don't just take a s**t, be kind enough to leave one! .... , Meaning, don't be content with just doing a low-level fly-by, dropping a few nukes and getting the hell out of dodge to miss the mushroom cloud,... stay awhile. You had the stones (or ovaries) to blast away at something you thought stupid? Cool, love it! Now shift from your left butt-cheek to the right one, and tell me something I don't know. Tell me a story. Tell me what you would do to correct that which you deemed so stupid to make your nose-hairs curl up. Believe me, I love a good ideology brawl,... but don't land a punch and jump over the ropes,.... where's the honor in that?....

Fella's.... the demographics are changing. My mom has a saying, "If by 20 you're not a liberal, you don't have a heart. If by 40 you're not a conservative, you don't have a brain" (she definitely did not plagiarized that from Biden ...). While that may have been true in her day, ... we're not in Kansas anymore. Younger electorates will veer towards that which is easier, that which promises more, that which espouses more permissiveness of behavior, that which is more "global" in view, that which professes to spread the wealth around, and that which is certainly cooler in perception. None of those things I said describe a conservative ethos of life. We can't afford to alienate people by the messengers. Its easy for Limbaugh to bellow about how "if conservatives ran as conservatives they'd win!"... really? He should get out of his southern command more often Mr. Snerdly. We have a ton of baby-boomers coming into retirement who are scared crap-less that their 401k is worth dog-meat and you want to preach the virtues of "rugged individualism"? Conservatism does not have to be wrapped in the same tart candy wrapper any more. Let's get with the times people.

Reality bites,... and the reality is that we as conservatives have to re-package our ideology in a whole new way, in a whole new tenor, in a whole new angle. The conservative CPU is still on windows 98, sort-of-speak. Stop the name calling, stop the "we are good, they are evil" lingo, stop the "we are free market purists and they are Marxists pigs"...(while true, at least get creative with it....). Let's wrap ourselves in new tunics, get a better bull-horn, and start winning hearts and minds... one beloved American at a goddamn time (I give Rev. Wright credit for that morsel of writing elegance)

Look, we did not start this blog to be another Los Alamos nuke testing ground. Sure we will get the occasional lunk-head or Coulter wanna-be whose opinion-horizon is all lipstick and no pork-chop. Let them spew. The rest of us, should march to a different kind of drummer. 'Cause the beat I've been hearing in some of the comments already sound like an orchestra from the ice age.

Ok.... back to our regularly scheduled programming. My IQ just dropped 30 points ...

Passions Ignited, But Minds Doused

It would seem that several of my comments have inflamed the passions of some, yet have doused the ability to apply critical thinking to the problems at hand. The comment threads have taken on a life of their own, and could not have missed the entire point by a further distance.

Originally, the comments began on two other blogs where I visited yesterday. To summarize, the comments dealt with how stupid conservatives were who sat home and "gave" Obama a victory. I thought "there were many conservatives who sat out the election, so let me see where this goes." Unfortunately, the critical thinking stopped there.

To take the reasoning to the next level, we must ask ourselves WHY conservatives sat home. Apathy? Laziness? Ignorance? I posit that it is none of the above. REAL conservatives worked their tails off to give Reagan a 49 state victory in 1984. So I was hoping to hear some explanation of WHY conservatives sat out this election, but it never happened.

I voted for McCain. I don't know how much more clearly I can state that. I would never sit out a major election. I don't think that anyone else should either. Regardless of the candidates, one is a better choice for the nation. I am not sure where anyone found that I said differently. I made a couple of posts inquiring down the next line of thought, and I understand why conservatives weren't motivated to vote. There was NOT a conservative candidate in the race. There was a less liberal candidate, but there was no conservative candidate.

In the comment threads here, there is little said about what conservative credentials McCain possessed, nor what he has done in the Senate to carry the conservative torch. "He is a war hero!" Of course he is. As a combat vet from a line of combat vets, few men enjoy my respect as much as John McCain. However, what the hell does that have to do with championing and leading a three quarter of a trillion dollar bailout for poorly managed companies? Do you find that a conservative approach? How about health care? "Senator Obama has a plan? Well, look at OUR plan." You find government control of healthcare to be a conservative position?

There are neither pro-Obama nor pro-liberal comments in my postings. I have no idea where anyone gets that perspective. A few points:

1) Obama wasn't defeated despite the attempt to undermine his credibility with William Ayers, his preacher, and other associations. NEWS FLASH: It didn't work. The country is turning to the left because there is no real right. This "liberal monster" didn't work in the campaign, and it won't work running up to 2010 and 1012. People really did vote for a change, they just didn't have a choice of changes to make.
2) McCain lost the election because it was poorly managed.
3) There is not a single bit of data that implies that conservatism is alive and well. For goodness sakes, SOUTHERN states turned blue, such as North Carolina. Virginia? The home of Thomas Jefferson? BLUE STATE IN 2008!
4) New voters picked Obama 80-20. Voters under 30 picked Obama 73-27.
5) Obama won the popular vote by 6.7 percentage points. Do you really believe that 9 MILLION conservatives sat out this race?
5) Not a single one of you can give me five core beliefs that McCain possesses.

When are you going to stop and ask why? It is because the GOP is not conservative and has not been for quite some time. What I see in the passion ignited here is that we at CC are not passionate because we are not all pissy about Obama. Guess what? You are right. I don't look forward to the next four years. I see disasterous things on the horizon. But we aren't going to win in 2012 by continuously pointing out that conservatives didn't vote. We are going to win if we can demand that we have true conservatism in the party. This blog will not be like every other blog out there and spend the next four years sounding like a bunch of whiney-asses because of the last election outcome. You can blog your hearts out for the next four years but guess what? Without changes to the GOP the same thing will happen again. Obama acted like a liberal. Is that a big surprise? It isn't to me. You expect the dems to roll over and play dead because we trot out a war hero? Not going to happen....Dems could care less about that, and few respect it. The demographics that the dems target don't even know what decade Vietnam occurred.

Our purpose here is to make long term changes to the GOP and to the hearts and minds of America. It is place for all the conservative voices to get their points across to each other...and to the party, so that we aren't presented with mediocre candidates any longer. The next step to defining conservatism, for the party and for America, and to determine a new paradigm is to take the thinking past "who" stayed at home and discover "why" they stayed at home.

I am not, nor have I suggested that Obama is going to do good things. What I know is that we need to prepare for the future, not languish in the past. People MUST open their minds to move forward....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Passionate About Conservatism

"Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion." George Wilhelm

We've defined what conservatism is. We've discussed what things we need to do to bring conservatism back into the GOP. We've come together on ideas such as small government and personal responsibility and differed on where Reagan fits into the scheme of things. There has been some great discussions and debates and we've exchanged many different ideas. In all this banter though, I've felt one thing that has been decidedly missing and that is passion!

"My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today; I knew it then as purpose." Bette Davis

I once heard that passion has no place in conservatism and I heartily disagree. A person without passion has no more value than a heart without love, or a candle without a flame. Passion is a burning desire to a commitment and a cause. It has brought us Picasso, Beethoven, William Shakespeare, Walt Disney and Mother Theresa, who would have been nothing without the passion that they all shared. Every great endeavor has been fueled by passion in some way, shape, or form. Passion is power, an unstoppable force that nothing can hold back. Passion can be magical, it can turn virtually nothing into something glorious. It can change the ordinary into the extraordinary. It can change something boring into something fun and exciting. Passion is severely lacking in conservatism today and we need to change it. With our words and with our actions.

I sometimes joke that I don't always have the right words, but what I have in abundance, is passion. Passion for this mission and the goals we have set and in my vision for the future of America. Without it words don't mean a thing. Without passion where is your drive, your ambition, your hunger for a better tomorrow? This is an uphill battle and without passion, the battle has been defeated before it ever got started.

"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things." Denis Diderot

Think about the last thing that you have been truly passionate about and remember that feeling that you had. Where there were no limits, no goals too high, no endeavor too small. Channel that into our goals and mission here at Conservative Convictions and nothing will stop us. The passion we feel will motivate us every day in our fight for conservatism. I want a better America for my kids. That is the most important thing that drives me. It may be different in all of us, but we need to look within ourselves and find the passion that lives there and use it to accomplish whatever we set out to do.

Something that I think we all realize, is how imperative it is to reach the young'uns! ( I tried some of that southern slang, but I have no idea if that is even a word) Anyway, it is vitally important in our mission. One way to reach them is through the truth and through our passion. The combination of them is the key in getting their interest and keeping it.

"The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to it's fulfillment." Earl NIghtingale

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

I would like to point out a story on Foxnews.com that was published today, and it is the perfect example of the subjects we have been talking about for the past few days.

In the past few weeks as it became more clear that Obama was going to walk into the White House, the Republican Party has become extremely disoriented as it seeks to define the problems within the party and how to set the ship on the proper course. "Change" was the term that Obama used to ride to the Presidency, but the GOP apparently still does not understand the dire straights that the party is in, as change is not happening within the Republican establishment.

Here is the story that details how the GOP is going to be fighting against a stimulus package proposed by democrats. There are two things about this story that contradict the topics discussed in the last post which detailed six items that should be included in the strategic approach of the GOP as it moves forward.

The first is the return to politics as usual. The outright hypocrisy of the Republican Party is shameful. The Democrats are presenting a stimulus package that would distribute checks to the American taxpayer, and the GOP is going to oppose this package. The past three years have seen numerous stimulus packages from the Congress.The past two years we have seen a rebate, and this year here were two bailout packages totalling almost a trillion dollars given to select industries. Yet immediately after being dismembered in an election the Republicans all of a sudden oppose returning money to the public?

Which brings me to the second point about the story that has me is astounded disbelief!

"First of all, where does the money come from?" Sen. Jon Kyle asked on
Sunday. "Washington doesn't grow money on trees. It gets it from the
American people. And when you take it from families, when you take it from
small businesses, you're taking money right out of the area that we need --
where we need production, that creates jobs."

I don't recall them having a problem with dispensing this money the past few years, not when they were bailing out select industries that failed partially due to lack of government oversight during a time when the GOP controlled all three branches of government! At a time when democrats are preparing to raise taxes, and we know there will be massive changes to the tax codes next year, Republicans are fighting over money that shouldn't have been taken from taxpayers in the beginning. Senator Kyle is basically saying, in my read of his comments, that government can't afford to send this money to anyone because they need to keep it for their own priorities.

I think the Congress should spend far more time writing new rules and oversight for the financial sector, and less time worrying abut the money in MY pocket. Perhaps Sen. Kyle should spend more time trying to deliver the spending cuts that were promised more than 20 years ago, but never delivered. Perhaps conservative should mount an assault on the spending in Congress. Perhaps then there wouldn't be a need for tax rebates.

Article of Interest: George Will

Friday, November 14, 2008

Trying A New Concept

After a lengthy, hand wringing staff meeting, we have decided to try a new concept in editorializing, and the first post of that nature is below this one. Let me try and bulletpoint the idea:

-Post will be written in a "talking paper" format. Don't want to bore you with details, but it will basically be a post, as normal, with a few choices for recommendations at the end.
-We would like to get comments on the recommendations. Pick the best one, argue with them, agree with them, modify them, whatever is appropriate for the post and best suits your opinion of the subject matter
-Each post will have a "closing date" or a deadline for comments. You can comment after that date without a problem, but for the next step there has to be a deadline. It will make sense.
-The original author then updates the post with a conclusion. This is the hardest part to explain. The comments will be taken and a summary will be written. It will do something that I have never seen in the blogosphere before, and provide a conclusion to each post.

It may not sound like it makes sense, but I think you will like the outcome. This gives you an actual voice in the final outcome of the post, and that is what we want to happen. We want everyone as owners to some degree in our place.

Give the concept a test drive, let us work some of the kinks out of the process, and then give us some feedback as to how you like it. In the meantime, guest posts are accepted and just email Jenn or me with your interest.

There will be times when there is info that is not in this format. We like to also stay on top of developing issues, and it may require a "normal' type post. We are trying to provide a variety of content,as well as keep all of our content of substantial quality and interest.

As always, subscribe, link, email, or put a bumper sticker on your car advertising us...the rally point grows each day!

Part II - Approaches To The New Administration

“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read "President Can't Swim”

-President Lyndon B. Johnson

This statement was directed at the press, but is also illustrates quite well the level of political discourse in this nation as it has existed for the past few decades. Since well before the election was held on November 4 there has been some consternation as to where the Republican Party is going, and what should it do to once again become relevant. That debate largely fueled the publication of this blog and will be a significant focus of our work.

Following the first two years of the President Clinton’s first term, conservatives were the dominant force in the Republican Party. Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Tom Delay of Texas crafted a masterful strategy that enabled republicans to control congress for the first time since the elections of 1952. Conservatism was strong and the voters wanted a substantive change in government. The new congress proposed the Contract with America (CWA)and there was new life and new winds in Washington.

There are a few other significant events that occurred during this election. Republicans overturned 20 state legislatures and 12 governor’s chairs. For the first time in 50 years the Republican Party controlled a majority of the states as well as the federal government.
It is imperative to understand why the conservative movement was abandoned in the intervening years, and why the election of 2008 was a foregone conclusion immediately after the Democrat Party’s convention. The expedition in Iraq that has become lengthy and tiresome, coupled with an economic meltdown during the course of the campaign contributed, but I posit that the GOP itself is the main culprit in its own downfall. In 1995 Republicans moved quickly on the provisions of the CWA with some success, but ultimately had to compromise with the Democrats due to the inability to gain consensus in the Congress regarding the specifics of the legislation.

In the time period since the CWA was introduced, Republicans have offered little in the way of distinction between the party and the Democrat Party. The Bush administration made no progress, and indeed exacerbated the problem of government spending, for example. There was no priority placed on reigning in the size and scope of the federal government. Without the drive to accomplish something the party was left dangling in the wind and directionless.

The party became exactly what it had fought against in 1994. In pork-barrel spending, the Republicans surpassed the levels of earmarks that the Democrats had passed in Congress. The party mitigated its stand on values and morals, allowing the issues of the to day fall by the wayside. As the adage says, “If you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing’” and that became the condition of the Republican Party. The Party establishment made selections for candidates who were not conservatives, and in fact have steadily “moderatized” the party candidates. Following Ronald Reagan’s second term, the candidates were George H.W. Bush, Senator Bob Dole, and Senator John McCain. All of these men are personally admirable and worthy of respect, but their politics was not conservative as desired by the American voter. In 1994 American voters told the nation that they wanted true conservative values and limited government, yet the party did not heed the call.

During this time frame, the relationship between the parties was little more than the trench warfare mentality of World War I. The War in Europe was fought between trench lines, with little effort to advance and capture territory. Instead, each side sat in their own bunkers and fired small arms and artillery into the other side’s trenches, taking and giving casualties yet the battle lines remained stagnant.

All is not lost. During the Obama administration conservatives have a prime opportunity to recreate the party into a conservative movement. Democrats control both the Congress and the White House, so the onus of decision making and responsibility for outcomes is on our opponents. Historically, the off year elections, such as the one that will take place in 2010 favor the minority party as the public juxtaposes the election day expectations with the reality if policy and legislation. Conservatives are in a position to reawaken the stagnant conservative voters who exist in massive numbers. It is the approach of the party that will determine success and failure.

A revolution of the kind exhibited in 1994 is what is needed not just to take political control in Washington and across the land, but necessary to revitalize conservatism among the minds and hearts of a nation.

Recommendations For Action

1) The GOP should find the common threads that can bind the various wings of the party and make those threads the tenets of the new conservative movement. Despite the diversity of the party and the presence of several factions, there are commonalities of beliefs that should be the strength of the party, and not let single issue politics divide a united front.

2) The GOP should engage the base. The establishment of the party has lost touch with the run of the mill conservative, the “Joe the Plumbers” of the nation. The party leadership should listen to talk radio, read blogs, and seek the counsel of those they are sworn to serve.

3) The GOP should reinstate statesmanship as opposed to continuing as politicians. George Washington did not want to be President of the new United States. He wanted nothing more than to retire to his plantation in Virginia, yet the nation called and he responded. We should seek leaders that approach leadership as an obligation, not a new suit that will be displayed to friends.

4) The GOP should educate the citizenry as we oppose policy and legislation. There should be no opposition based upon party affiliation, but opposition when it strikes at our conservative beliefs. Conservatives should learn from the Obama campaign by repackaging conservatism, such as abandoning the call for personal responsibility, and present the same concepts as “personal empowerment” and explain how the concept can benefit the individual as well as the nation.

5) The GOP must present a solid, consistent vision of America supported by specifics such as occurred with the CWA. We must communicate this vision in all corners of the land, and not concede territory such as California simply because it is historically liberal.

6) The GOP should make inroads into the traditional Democrat minority strongholds. After all, it was the Democrat Party in control during Jim Crowe. The Democrats allowed Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537, 16 S. Ct. 1138; 41 L. Ed. 256; 1896 U.S. LEXIS 3390) to remain in place for 60 years. I am heartened to see that Michael Steele, the primary contender for head of the Republican National Committee, as having this approach.

As we oppose that which is not in the best interest of the nation, the party must construct arguments that are communicated across the land as positive disagreement, not partisan trench warfare.

The comments posted on this topic by readers appear to agree that there must be significant change in the Republican Party and that conservatives are most appropriate to do so. Because Republicans have typically been successful when they do present a conservative approach, a return to those principles is what is desired.
There are areas where the party in general can improve and educate. The party should present a unified, mature front and educate the public on conservative principles and show Americans where they can personally benefit from conservative government. The term I used in the post was "personal empowerment" and not personal responsibility, but in many ways the outcome is the same with different packaging.
In presenting the case for conservative government, it was pointed out that the GOP has not taken advantage of alternative methods of communication as well as the Democrats. Blogs, podcasts, and other high tech alternative should be pursued in the effort to get out the conservative message.
Finally, the general theme of many comments was best summed up by TAO, who suggested that instead of concentrating on the individual candidate, the GOP would be better served by a focus on the merits of our own positions, not so much on the downfalls of our opponents. I think this is a distinctly excellent suggestion, as over time the GOP has been relatively indistinguishable from the Democrat Party.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Construction Underway ...

How is it that the word "Conservative" has become a four letter word, instead of a 12 letter ideology? When did conservative thought become "old"?... when did the GOP become synonymous with mostly Caucasian white males living in fly-over country, who are flag-wavers and cling to guns for moral support? How did the political movement of Goldwater and popularized by Ronald Reagan, suffer such a devastating shot to the solar plexus? When did being a conservative stop being "cool" and began being old, square, religious and dinosaur-ish? I don't know. I think I know, I have ideas on how this morphing took place, but I can't put it in a nice synopsis for you to digest. I just don't know.

Tonight, as I had an online chat with the esteemed members of this Blog, it hit us that we have to begin a process of re-education in terms of what it is to be a conservative. The conservative brand name is now the Edsel of political-think. So if you are going to peel off the skin of something that has suffered the erosion of its public relations luster, you have to re-invent the wheel. Seriously. You have to destroy the matrix, kill the blueprint, vaporize any semblance of its imagery and perception and retool the assembly line. This is not to imply that the engine does not work, or that in the hands of a good driver it won't pull the horsepower we all know and love, it simply means that the public is not buying it. It is sitting in a bloated car-lot, with its 6th coat of turtle wax, with the stupid colored triangular flags adorning its antenna,... while passers-by go straight across the street to try the liberal brand of chariot. So be it.

This is our call to arms to all of you, no matter which "wing" of conservatism appeals to you. Blogging alone is not gonna' do it. Spewing off in somebody else's blog? Cathartic? yes,... long term gain? Negligible. The tried method of attracting voters by attacking other forms of ideology does nothing but make people defensive and makes us look mean. Dumb. Calling people who follow opposing political doctrine all sorts of names and labeling them as communists or socialists -while probably fun-, does not allow us the higher ground and we come across as a bunch of louts and sophomores. Bomb-throwing may be great, but not when you don't have the luxury of public trust and poor imagery. We don't need it.

In the coming days, weeks and months, we here are Conservative Convictions are going to dedicate ourselves to doing something quite extraordinary in both scope and ambition. I am tempted to spew the beans and give you and insight into what is coming, but as a sign of respect to the kind persons who have invited me to be part of this metamorphosis, I will not disclose squat. Let me just say this: If we get to do half, HALF of what we briefly discussed casually over a few hours of banter, this Blog is going to develop into a serious player in the re-definition of the conservative movement in America. Bold statement? You bet your ass.

To our contributors and like-minded friends, tell us what you think. Give us your ideas, your fears, the events you feel betrayed your faith in conservatism and the items in the platform of your party that you think helps or hinders the cause. Tell us the events of the past that reflect conservatism at its finest, and those political figures that damaged the philosophy. Tell us what you need. Tell us what we can do to fill the voids of knowledge in your gray matter. Tell us, how to help you. Give us a wish list, a list of things that you feel conservatism should stand for. Talk to us, become part of the process, become one with the inertia of things to come.

In our hearts we believe that if you put conservatism side-by-side against any other ideology, no matter what the agenda is, conservatism will trump the other just on the merits of its own logic, history and available data. We don't have to yell it or blow our horns. Just lay it side-by-side, connect the dots for those unable to fully understand, and let the facts jump at the masses. We don't have to expose the virtues of conservatism by putting any other ideology down, we don't have to. Conservatism can stand on its own wheels. Just make those wheels look good enough for the passers-by to admire them...

To those of you who do not agree with conservative values and stop by just to raise some hell? Go ahead. As the rules of engagement state so clearly, we welcome all opinions as long as they are cordial and free of the sort of language Truth-Pain uses in his own back yard. But if you are here to Bush-bash? Save it. I can do that better that you can ever imagine. If you are here to pick a fight and tell us we are this or that? That's to your peril. We should not allow any emotional button-pushing to take our eyes of the greater goal. We should be here in this medium of communication to try and save a cause and philosophy of citizenry greater than any one individual. You want to help us? (seriously) Tell us why you think conservatism sucks. Why is your philosophy better? ... Tell us what parts of conservatism you disagree with and why. Go ahead, lay the lumber and lay it hard. Break our the mirror of perception and show us, ... show us what we look like.

There are thousands of Blogs born every day but very few of them make any significant ripples in the waters of the American mind. We are hoping this one makes a serious dent to the existing Edsel model of Conservatism. But we cannot do it alone. I pledge to you that I will wander to your individual Blogs and assist as I can to expand your own networks of influence, while at the same time working my tail off to make this place our "coffee-house" of information. Let's get to work. I am going to do some serious house-cleaning at my own blog, while working concurrently with all who participate in this one. It is and should be a symbiotic movement where we take individual actions in our own blogs to refine and make them laboratories of though, while bringing the best ideas here for dissection and argument. I think its going to be fun to do this, I really do.

Bring it on ... (Sorry, couldn't help myself)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Welcome To A New Team Member!

As we make our way around the blogosphere we are communicating the message that we want to create a place for conservatives to rally and become a strong voice in taking back the party that has all but cast us aside. While Jenn and I will continue to take the lead here at CC, we have invited a couple of people to join the team and help us keep this a mission oriented site. We are excited about the response to date. We are at the 72 hours mark and already growing. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the near future, such as a weekly Live Blog Chat. I tested the feature last night, and it was well received and I think there will be an outstanding level of participation, once we overcome all of the operator errors...

Today, we welcome Truth-Pain to the Conservative Convictions realm! T-P hails from the left coast, but he really doesn't belong there. He is a man of relatively few words, but when he does speak it is worthy of a read and comment. I chide him for his self-imposed sabbaticals, as he will blog for days on end and then disappear for a month, only to return revitalized and enthused. He has been a blog friend of both Jenn and me for a couple of years now, and we have become friends off-post as well.

T-P brings a slightly different perspective to the table than Jenn and I, perhaps a little closer ideologically to Sam, but it will add a degree of interest to what we do here. T-P will be our "Contributing Policy Commentator" which is really code for "I won't be posting on a weekly basis..." He will be commenting on upcoming policies as they are proposed and/or implemented. I am sure we will hear from him often during the first few months of the new year, and rest assured, he will be an active and valuable member here.

T-P maintains his own place at www.truthpain.blogspot.com. Please drop in and read his site so you can become familiar with him. He and Sam have also been invited to post an introduction as Jenn and I did, but that is their decision. Please feel free to email any of us directly, or either castigate us in public on the site!

Jenn has posted a sidebar item about guest postings. If you are interested, please contact Jenn or me. To be a productive site for everyone to rally, we have to hear many voices!

Estne Alea Iacta........A Guess Post From Mustang!

Estne Alea Iacta?

Given our present political situation, let us consider these words from long ago; opposing voices from the same era:

"Humanity is universally imbued with a desire for liberty, and a hatred for servitude."
— Gaius Julius Caesar

— And

"Only a few prefer liberty—the majority seek nothing more than a fair master."
— Gaius Sallustius Crispus

Upon his return from the Gallic Wars, Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon with his legions. It was a decision that effectively ended the Roman Republic; a period during which, contrary to the romantic notions of undereducated scholars, citizens may have boasted about the values of free speech, private property, and rights before the law but, in truth, only Roman slaves enjoyed equality. After seven-hundred years, the Roman citizen grew tired of antique values, much preferring the comfort of easy slavery and "peace" to a never-ending series of wars. It was more desirable to receive free bread, attend magnificent circuses, and let political masters worry about affairs of state. Accepting bribes from politicians was less stressful than listening to hours' long rhetoric on this or that from a rostrum in the forum.

There are those who criticize my propensity to compare/contrast the Roman Republic/Empire with our contemporary United States. I will allow Dr. Sir Ronald Syme to answer, "Prudent men are won't to say — and this not rashly or without good ground — that he who would foresee what has to be should reflect on what has been, for everything that happens in the world at any time has a genuine resemblance to what happened in ancient times."

We are at that time and place when Americans — like the citizens of Rome more than two-thousand years ago — approach an important crossroad. Our direction henceforth will be important because once the journey has begun, there can be no return sans significant social unrest and the likely destruction of important, long valued institutions. Rome's Republic collapsed, Syme tells us, because "The Roman constitution was a screen and a sham." So too has our Constitution become irrelevant to people whom no longer value it, to politicians who ignore it, and a judiciary who reach to feel its pulse. Like Rome, America will cease to exist when our Constitution no longer serves as the guiding principle of our government; it is our Constitution that protects us from government excesses — without it, there is no protection for the American people.

The beginning of our end started with Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal.” The Supreme Court overturned several of these programs as "unconstitutional," but let stand others; the high court determined that since the federal government could not force states to provide unemployment insurance, it was within the general power of Congress to levy taxes to support federal programs that would. And like the days of free bread and bribes in Rome, American politicians realized that social programs, properly packaged as liberalism and progressivism, could enslave all manner of men to the good graces of a beneficent government. What they handed to us, however, is simply Marxism, not so cleverly disguised as human services.

The fallacies associated with Roosevelt's "New Deal," and Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" filled volumes written by those who recognize Marxist ideology when they see it. Few bother to read these works, fewer still are even listening to whispers of dire consequences to progressive-socialist policy. In October 1964, speaking on behalf of presidential hopeful Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan told his audience:

"In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The Cold War will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us," what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." We haven't applied this term to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" — this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know that when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy."

So even forty-four years ago, honest statesmen warned the American people to exercise care in making political choices, as they carry with them dire consequences. The voices of reason were plain enough, and loud enough, but people didn't listen then; they aren't listening now, either. We have not fully recovered from the psychological and economic maladies of the Roosevelt Era, nor even from the so-called Great Society. We continue to have individuals who demand something in return for nothing. People who have allowed their innate sloth to interfere with good common sense rallied to the Marxist pap of "hope and change," and are frankly too stupid to realize the attendant consequences to our economy and the moral fiber of our people.

Whispering voices continue to speak plainly; mine is one of them. There are hundreds more, each of whom understands the dangerous path ahead, but we cannot speak in hushed tones if we expect anyone to hear — if we expect anyone to pay attention to what we say. "Beware of big brother, for like Marcus Brutus; he does not come to praise us — but to bury us."

It is already late in the day for loud voices; we needed to become alarmed in 2004, but our laziness and an administration inept on too many fronts brought us a Democratic Congress in 2006. Typical of democrats, like the miserable cancer of Marxism, they are spreading out their tentacles and grabbing hold. The fault is clearly ours; our voices were mute or too soft. We have failed to make our case understood to American voters. Republicans have even lost their identity and have joined the socialists — more programs to satisfy the masses.

Our Constitution, our protector, is slipping from our grasp. The administration of Barack Obama fully intends to strip away our right to hard-earned wages, and give it as supplementary income to those who do not pay taxes. The government fully intends to ignore the Constitution as it forces its will upon the American people, much as it has done to supplant state sovereignty and free-market accountability. Government does not have the right to spend our money on corporate bailouts, to offer grants to subversive organizations, or to force Americans to invest in national healthcare.

The question, then, is whether we are going to preserve and protect the Constitution, or accept that the "dye is cast." If we are dedicated to the former, we could begin by copying this essay and sending it to members of the Congress — even Democrats. We must strengthen our conservative effort, and if necessary, support conservative organization financially. If we are not willing to do this, then like Rome's Republic . . . this once-great nation will transform itself into something else; something dangerous to our individual liberty and a place where only the slaves (to government programs) achieve full equality.

© Social Sense