Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another bad feeling about this

After the field goal kicker finds his mojo, the quarterback loses it . . . and we start turning the ball over and piling up penalties again on the road.

Oh, Irish, you're killing me.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Policy preferences

I'm disappointed that Obama won last night, not least because I think if Mr. Hope'n'change has any vision at all for this country besides promoting vacuous feel-goodism, it's probably a severely leftist vision with which I'll almost entirely disagree. Obama spent a lot of his Illinois and U.S. Senate career studiously avoiding taking a position on issues by voting "present" or not voting, which was convenient for his later political career as it meant there was less of a record hindering him. Yet when he did stake out positions through his votes - and since then occasionally in his speeches, or inadvertently - it often revealed an ideological-left orientation.

For one thing, Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate the country has ever elected to high office. (Kerry would have been, but of course he stayed in the Senate in 2004.) Where even the most hardened pro-choicers in the U.S. Senate voted for the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, Obama went out of his way to vote against an identical act in the Illinois Senate. That means he voted against legal protections - basic attempts at medical care - for babies who happen to be born alive following botched abortions. He heard testimony from nurses who had personally witnessed live babies being left alone to die - and still voted against an act that would guarantee at least an attempt to save the lives of such innocents. He's promised Planned Parenthood that his first act in office would be to push to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, eliminating every existing federal and state limitation on abortion that states and Congress itself have managed to pass since Roe - including, for instance, parental notification laws, waiting periods, and bans on partial birth abortion. This would also almost certainly reinstate federal funding for abortions, and Obama would also allow federal funding of abortions abroad, meaning our tax dollars will directly support unfettered rights to abortion on demand. I believe no pro-life person can fail to be horrified at the possibility of such sweeping support for abortion becoming even more entrenched in the law than it already is - even the Supreme Court, which started the whole problem, has allowed many small but meaningful restrictions to stand. Obama's stated policy preference is, simply, abortion on demand. I think 45 million plus is enough already.

For another area I disagree with Obama on, I think his comment to Joe the Plumber about how he really doesn't want to punish success, he just wants to spread the wealth around, was quite telling. That vaunted "top 1%" of taxpayers that everyone thinks it's fine to target for more taxes? They already pay FORTY PERCENT of all income taxes in the country. The top 5% pay 60% of the taxes. The top 50% pay 97% of all taxes in the country. In other words: the top earners in the country pay way more than their fair share of all taxes in the country already. How can Obama give a tax "cut" to 95% of Americans if at least 45% don't pay any taxes at all? (I'll tell you - it's not a cut, it's free money, just like the "rebate" earlier this year that sent checks to millions of people who hadn't paid any taxes at all in the first place, and gave no rebate at all to anyone in the top 10% that had actually paid out those taxes.) Moreover, how it is not punishment of success to further tax the top earners that are already funding most of the federal government? Throughout the campaign, Obama and Biden progressively (heh) shrank the number at which they consider people to be "rich" and thus due for tax increases. $250,000 - $200,000 - $100,000 - well, eventually the "rich" will include everyone who's paying any taxes at all already, and we'll all be due for significant increases. I don't mind paying taxes to fund the military, the roads, and other valid governmental programs. I do believe I'm entitled to keep the bulk of what I earn, though, and that I am a better steward of my own money than the government. I believe small businesses should not be disincentivized to grow and succeed by knowing they will face progressively higher taxes and regulatory costs the better they do. Beyond extremely prescribed limitations, I don't believe that the government should be taking my money and, essentially, cutting checks to people who pay no taxes at all. How is that not the definition of socialism? "Spread the wealth" - the government is fat and bloated already. If liberals want to give more money to the government, they're free to send extra money to the government. I'd rather direct my funds elsewhere, such as to Catholic charities, for instance, or maybe just my own savings account for my rainy day fund or retirement. I think that's my right.

Those are just two major principles. Ultimately, what I see as an observer of Obama is that I think he's a pretty standard-issue liberal law professor, of the sort with which I am all too familiar. He thinks it's perfectly reasonable to use the courts to advance liberal policy preferences (usually the kind of radical but oh-so-earnestly-reasoned hogwash that wouldn't ever succeed outside the pages of law reviews, but for sympathetic judges). He wants judges to be "empathetic" towards the so-called little guys - never mind if judges have to go outside the actual law to achieve desired results. He voted against Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito despite their impeccable legal credentials, because he thought they wouldn't support Roe, which was an outcome-based deal-breaker, apparently. Diversity and affirmative action are core American values, fine by him. Guided by the likes of the New York Times and David Brooks's Bethesda "bobos," he also cares too much about "world opinion" - by which we may quite well assume he means liberal Western European opinion and not, say, Russia's - which I fear may put him in conflict with what is best for American interests. French newspapers and The (London) Times may sneer at American attachment to fossil-fuel-based energy production - would Obama be partly swayed by their approval to impose punitive taxes on our energy industries here? He's already said he doesn't mind if his policies bankrupt the U.S. coal industry. (I don't think the New York Times minds either, of course.) Of course Western Europe has frequently been critical of the War on Terror and Obama seems more in line with their views (and admittedly also, with those of his base) on the war than with this country's - he opposed the surge, which has proven to be a necessary step and strong success in Iraq.

I do recognize the symbolic achievement of Obama's election. In the spirit of the Vatican's telegram to him today, I will wish him well and hope for the best - (hope'n'change!). But for me, the "best" in this case would be that Obama actually decides to govern from the pragmatic center, and not the ideological left he seems to be at home with.