May 28, 2008

California ♥s Gay Marriage, Apparently

The latest Field poll indicates that the constitutional amendment forbidding it will not pass. (HT: Volokh.)

It's up to the voters, as it should be. The major danger if the anti-gay-marriage amendment fail is not the outcome in se, but that electoral validation of the court decision would embolden the courts to even more expansive social "leadership".

Since society has an interest in stable relationships, I'm for civil unions but, out of some vague Burkean impulse, I favor retention of the traditional usage of 'marriage'. However, I suspect that 'leaders' on both sides are trying to polarize their supporters and keep the donations coming in; IMO the last thing they want is compromise and civil disagreement[1].

Even better, per a site whose link I didn't save, is to get the state out of marriage and treat the institution as a contractual matter.

Afterthought. Maybe a good source of insight about marriage is people who have succeeded at it. I wonder if marital status correlates with opinions about same-sex marriage. In particular, is there a relationship between quality of voters' marriage experience and their views? (The duration of a marriage is an obvious, but neither the sole nor an infallible, indicator of quality.)

[1] If the amendment fails, La Raza will find Anglo 'immorality' a convenient issue when they start making their moves.

May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Thanks to all who served. Deep gratitude to all who sacrificed.

There are times when someone who isn't a warrior has to do a warrior's job. A special tribute to draftees who died while doing their duty to the best of their ability.

May 25, 2008

America's Post-American President?

To the Huffington Post's satisfaction, Obama has been photographed holding "The Post-American World":
The book makes the point that as power, skill and capacity becomes more distributed around the globe, Washington would do better to encourage this trend and honor it as both a cooperative and motivating factor.
The author puts it as:
At a time when other commentators are warning that the U.S. is on the skids, Zakaria offers a refreshingly upbeat assessment.

``This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else,'' he writes.

Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, arrived in the U.S. as an 18-year-old student from India in 1982. For him, America remains a land of promise, a nation capable of leading the ``industries of the future,'' such as nanotechnology.
I'm all for improved living standards worldwide. That's tremendous news.

But if America is continuing to lead the world into the future, shouldn't our relative standard of living continue to outpace everybody else's even while the absolute standard rises globally?

Iirc Larry Kudlow made the we're-not-declining-everybody-else-is-improving argument some time ago, and I wasn't convinced then either.

I worry that our elites and special interests are spending the societal capital accumulated since 1776 instead of increasing it. I worry that some pundits on the left and right are, at best, in denial. My instincts are with the majority that believes the country is on the wrong track (which is not to say that any given change would be an improvement).

Addendum September 13, 2008. Our elites are running the country like the Sulzbergers run the New York Times.

May 19, 2008

Dear Leader Speaks

Dinocrat links the transcript:
We are also, though, going have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy, and pretty soon, if their carpet footprint even approaches ours, we're goners. That's part of the reason why we've got to make the investment; we've got to lead by example. If we lead by example -- if we lead by example, then we can actually export and license technology that have been invented here to help them deal with their growth pain. But keep in mind, you're right. We can't tell them, don't grow. We can't -- drive our SUVs and you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on you know, 72 degrees at all times, and whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra, and then just expect that every other country's going say OK.

You guys go ahead and keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy. Even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not -- that's not leadership. That's not going to happen. And that's, by the way, why, for example, I had this big argument with Senator Clinton and McCain about the gas tax, holiday. Which was an example. That's how Washington works. It's not thinking long term. It's thinking, how do we get through the next election?

And, you know, John McCain, for him to come to Oregon as an environmental president, but his big strategy is to do more drilling and to have a gas tax holiday for three months, that's a phony solution. You know, you can't -- John McCain has consistently been opposed to fuel efficiency standards, raising fuel efficiency standards on cars. How is he going to meet any of these targets? Maybe he's imagining it the way he did imaging getting out of the war in Iraq. You know? We -- we need somebody with a plan. And who is willing to talk to the American people about these difficulties and how we're going to get through these challenges together. All right? OK. All right. OK...
We can't tell them, don't grow, but we can and must reduce or stop our own growth.

In 1984 Mondale campaigned on a pledge to raise taxes, but afaic Obama is the first major presidential candidate to campaign on a pledge to reduce the American standard of living.

Higher taxes, lower living standards, more government intrusion into private lifestyles and the economy...that's change, all right. We can't eat as much as we want.

Has the country gotten so dumbed down that it will fall for this?

May 18, 2008

An Overlooked Fatal Mistake by Clinton

RealClearPolitics says the Clinton campaign should have dug up the Wright material early in the campaign, but they neglected the due diligence of opposition research because of "laziness brought on by overconfidence and arrogance."

Perhaps an even worse mistake was not to run in 2004. Considering how close an unlikable candidate like Kerry came to unseating Bush, Hillary would have had a very good shot IMO. I'm sure she knows that.

May 17, 2008

McCain's Vision Speech

The speech is here.

Is my patriotism suspect for noting that McCain's glorious vision doesn't include lower gas prices?

McCain may get my vote, but not my enthusiasm. IMO he doesn't bring enough to the table to persuade the electorate to overlook years of Republican misgovernment. I'm resigned to a Democratic landslide. It may not be good for the country, but the spit Republicans richly deserve it.
If I am elected President, I will work with anyone who sincerely wants to get this country moving again.

Sincerity as determined by Himself, of course.

I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to take questions, and address criticism, much the same as the Prime Minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons.


The Constitution requires Presidential reports on the state of the union, but I suspect that the Framers deliberately avoided an analogy with parliamentary practice.

Afterthought to my gripe about gas prices: Given the perks of office and their personal wealth, how many energy decision makers in top-level government would personally feel any difference between gas at twenty cents, two dollars, and twenty dollars? Maybe that's part of the problem.

If the run-up in prices had happened a few months earlier, somebody like Huckabee might have made it an issue and found receptive audiences. Americans are accustomed to affordable mobility; therein lies an opportunity for a politician willing to buck the establishment.

May 14, 2008

To Laugh or Cry?

Bush, to The Politico's Mike Allen:
Popularity is fleeting, Michael. Principles are forever.
Ah, yes. The principles that underlay the grand strategy for the war. The principles that collapsed the dollar. The principles that produced runaway deficits and a metastasizing government.

Afterthought. More Bush:
I talked to Hu Jintao and if he -- I told him if he needs aid he's got it. Thus -- we'd get him some money, but thus far, he feels like he's in pretty good shape.
In other words, Bush volunteered to borrow some money from the Chinese and give it back to them as aid. Tsk. Hu overlooked an arbitrage opportunity there (unless the aid would have consisted of goods purchased from companies with links to the Republican party).

May 10, 2008

Why Doesn't Clinton Drop Out?
Has She One More Card to Play?

Maybe she's got something on Obama.

It might be so noxious that the mere fact of releasing it would taint her too; accordingly, she might be reserving it for a last resort. On the other hand, if it's serious but not devastating, it would have to be released in conjunction with a strong primary showing and, perhaps, a Rezko guilty verdict.

The foregoing is all conjecture, of course. (Cf. Victor Davis Hanson.)

Afterthoughts. Also, cf. this.

Maybe the dirt on Obama will be revealed by the Chicago political establishment (probably not openly) in exchange for a Clinton promise to lift federal legal pressure. Obama has promised not to interfere with the primary federal prosecutor:
On another subject, Obama said he was impressed with the corruption-busting efforts of U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, whose office is prosecuting Obama friend and fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko on corruption charges. If elected president, Obama said, he would keep Fitzgerald on the job.
The reliability of such promises (either Clinton's and Obama's) is a separate matter...

Another afterthought. This (pro-Hillary?) site claims that Republicans have video of Michelle Obama ranting against 'whitey' at Wright's church.

Maybe, maybe not; notwithstanding the theme of this post, I'm unconvinced that this alleged smoking gun is real. Why do the Republicans have the tape while the Clintonites do not? Maybe they do have the tape and are sending a covert--in order to minimize the damage to the party--signal to Obama and the superdelegates.

Or maybe they're running a hollow desperate bluff.