Thursday, March 08, 2007

Truth Be Told

In 2005, as chairman of the Catholic University College Republicans, some students and faculty agitated against one of my planned speaking engagements. The event was a speech on leadership presented by Newt Gingrich, and the protesters' complained that Newt's sorted personal life violated the school's prohibition against speakers not in communion with church doctrine. Illogical theological absurdities aside (never discuss religion in polite company, I always say), yours truly argued in an NPR radio interview that Newt's personal life did not compromise his stock as a great speaker for the event. After all, it seemed obvious to me that failing to conduct oneself morally and the open advocacy of immorality were easily distinguishable actions.

Now, as then, the libs among us proved overwhelmingly unable to appreciate philosophical nuance. On Thursday the media went and worked itself into an excited frenzy over the revelation that Fmr. Speaker Gingrich has admitted to having an affair during the Clinton Impeachment. Ever capable of defending himself, Newt eloquently explained why the media's charges of hypocrisy continue to ring hallow:

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," the former Georgia congressman said of Clinton's 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not
rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

We all fall down, and certain beloved friends and family among us do so with greater frequency and force than others. Nevertheless, there remains a demonstrable difference between failing to do good on the one hand, and attempting to rationalize and even idealize bad behavior on the other. Individuals need something to "shoot for," so societies safeguard moral norms to encourage just and communally as well as personally beneficial behavior. Newt's affairs retain their disgracefulness, but his sin remains his own to reconcile with the women he disrespected and hurt. Who can Fmr. President Clinton apologize to for making "bj's" and numerous "definitions of is" part of the vocabulary of every elementary school student?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Candidate Profile: Rudy Giuliani

Name: Rudolph William Louis Giuliani III

Age: 63

Marital Status: Married (Judith Nathan)
Twice Divorced

Party: GOP

Position: Fmr. Mayor of NYC, Fmr. Federal Prosecutor, Security Consultant and Businessman

Famous for: NYC Mayor during 9/11

Nickname: "Rudy", "America's Mayor"

Would be: First Italian American President
First NYC Mayor to be President
Second Catholic President
First North East President since JFK
First NY President since FDR

Political Ideology: Right of Center

Fiscally: Conservative

Socially: Moderate

Foreign Policy: Hawk

Campaign Fundraising Prowess: Very High

Current Field Ranking: #1 in GOP Primary
#1 Overall (Beats Hillary, Obama, and all known
contenders solidly in current TIME and NJ Q

Strengths: Rudy has cultivated for himself the perception of strong leadership due to a strong resume as prosecutor and mayor. He is popular with Americans across the political spectrum. Conservatives largely view the former mayor as a tough on crime and terrorism. Liberals and Moderates see a personally affable Republican who has distance from Bush and a socially moderate platform. Giuliani can also command large sums of donation cash as well as loyalty from numerous politicians for which he has campaigned since 2001.

Weaknesses: Rudy may encounter ire over his dicey personal life (having married and divorced a second cousin before cheating on his second wife). The later sorted personal saga had damaged his approval ratings, only to be resurrected by his 9/11 leadership. Social Conservative Republican Primary voters may also take issue with his liberal positions on civil unions and abortion.

Analysis: Rudy is the clear frontrunner, and his Washington CPAC speech today was warmly (if cautiously) received. As Rush Limbaugh skillfully noted, McCain is suffering for insisting on running for president of the US before the contest for president of the GOP is decided. Giuliani has not made that mistake, as illustrated by his willingness to address CPAC and McCain's suspect refusal.

Nevertheless, Rudy has three major strikes against him for national electability. 1) He's an Italian Catholic from the North East 2) Women may find his personal life too much to take 3) If millions of social conservatives sat home in 2000 because of uber-socially conservative George Bush's 20-year old DUI, will these churches actually show up for socially moderate and thrice divorced Rudy?

Stay Tuned....

Republic Square POWER RANKINGS, Week of February 26th

*Once a week we will estimate the chances for each candidate to win their respective party nomination for president. The top five from each party are then ranked accordingly.... sorry Bidens of the world, we only have enough time for those having national prospects.

1. Giuliani- As of now, Giuliani is running the best campaign. Nevertheless, we are still a long way out and the first debate isn't until April. Giuliani should begin talking about his relationship with Reagan-era judicial minds like Alito and Roberts in order to slake the fears of social conservatives.
2. McCain- Shit or get off the pot, my Grandmother used to say. Senator McCain may have simply burned too many Conservative bridges, and his snub to CPAC reminds conservatives of why they think the Arizona Senator cannot be trusted. McCain needs to find an inner energy and start running for the nomination, or face defeat at the hands of a more aggressive challenger.
3. Gingrich- If Newt really wants in, he could make a real go of it, polishing up fond memories of the glory day that magic November 1994. Then, the less-glorious days of 1999 will remind pundits why he won't be on the ticket.
4. Romney- Sink or swim, pal. Romney needs to prove he's something more than a pretty face with a questionable abortion track record FAST.
5. Brownback- A real potential VP... needs to increase exposure, hope for/work towards a Romney collapse to open up potential caches of conservatives disaffected by the big 3 (McCain, Giuliani and Romney)

1. Clinton- It's hard to see Bill Clinton not getting what he wants in the Democratic Party... in this case, it's a house in NY to himself. Clinton has been running a campaign as flat as John McCain, but Hillary has much more room to slouch. The institutional advantages inherent in being a "Clinton" may just be too enormous.
2. Obama- Barrack is the only candidate with a serious shot at the former First Lady. He represents a different, fresh face at a time when Americans seem to desire experimentation with something new.
3. Gore- Fresh off of an Oscar win for his home movie discussing melting ice cubes, the former Vice President could have Nixon-mojo if he decided to run.... but it's unlikely that he would want to risk losing his new-found niche as the Left's premier spokesman on all that is cooky.
4. Edwards- Polls suggest he is leading in Iowa, but the newer and dare I say smoother Obama may have sucked any available air from Edwards sphere. Altitude sickness, John? Drink water.
5. Richardson- If this were the VP power rankings, the order would be inverted (removing Gore, of course). Richardson could help make the American SW blue and attract more Hispanics, but his conservative leanings on many issues sadly exclude him from a serious chance at the top Dem post.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


In one of those moments that can't really be scripted, I was flipping through a recent issue of Newsweek Magazine with the news on in the background covering the start of the new Congress when I came across an article entitled Decline and Fall. It was an article that told the all too familiar story of how the Republicans of 1994 were betrayed by the institution of Congress and forced to capitulate on principles.

The reason I say it was a profound moment is because the story centered abound former Congressman Steve Largent of Oklahoma, a man who according to the story recognized what was happening to the GOP Congress. Largent lost in a bid for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002, one of very few losses suffered by the GOP in that year. Largent's defeat was in large measure due to an independent former Republican who pulled in nearly 15% of the vote.

So what does this all mean? It means that Largent was a true conservative who would now have four years of executive experience under his belt, a great family, a winning smile, and a compelling story and message (he is the only Seattle Seahawk in the Football Hall of Fame). In a time when so many Republicans I speak to are not thrilled about any potential nominee for the White House and are looking at Barak Obama (more next week here at TRS) and Hillary Clinton with more interest than suspicion, a leader like Largent might have been the answer so many are looking for.

I'm not saying...I'm just saying.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Media Plays Fast and Loose with Ford Legacy

When President Gerald Ford stood for election in 1976, the Press mercilessly assaulted the 38th president for his pardon of Richard Nixon. One of the most decent men ever to rule in the Oval Office, after decades of service in the military and government, Gerald Ford was painted as a co-conspirator in Tricky Dick's crimes against the democratic process. Ford never second guessed his decision to spare the nation the spectacle of a presidential criminal trial. A cynical and blood-thirsty America Left were equally unwavering during a calculated character assassination, resulting in the disaster that was the administration of Jimmy Carter.

Today, when the network news programs and newspaper retrospectives recall Ford's decency and all-around goodness in the face of the great trials of the 1970s, it is important to remember the agents responsible for depriving the nation of Ford's leadership in an hour of national darkness.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Senators Sort-of for Free Speech

The foundational tenant of modern American politics is that free speech, defined as the ability to have an opinion without fear of persecution or violence, applies only to those championing Liberal viewpoints.

If you stubbornly refuse to accept the reality presented above as fact, friends, enjoy this juicy news nugget from across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom. A British Lord has called for the resignations of United States Senators Rockafeller and Snowe, after the duo demanded that ExxonMobil cease funding scientists disagreeing with "mainstream" global warming hysteria. Has our political situation deteriorated to a point when European lords are left to rebuke United States congressmen for undemocratic acts? Apparently so, and everyone should interpret the Rockafeller/Snowe manifesto as the genuine threat to liberty it represents and the unbelievable embarrassment their letter creates for the United States.

The same elected officials that loudly protest denying Muslim terrorists a night of shut-eye at Gitmo would just as soon fine or jail an American for disagreeing with Al Gore on climate change. And voters harbor little respect for federal servants? I don't believe it...

Of course, if you are an uber-environmentalist friend of all living things ugly and beautiful, you are not required to agree with me. That's your right, at least until the 110th Congress is seated.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bush Heeds the Battle Call?

President Bush may be on the verge of sending more troops to Iraq, representing what may be one of the most controversial moves of his tenure in office at a time when his approval rating remains mired in the mid thirties.

Although prospective presidential front runner John McCain and the incoming Democratic Intelligence Chair both recommend an infusion of troops, the reality of what must be done to win in Iraq will not sit well with many talking heads and weary Americans. Eli Lake of the NY Sun has even suggested that Bush's move could be a "parting shot" at his old rival McCain, whose presidential chances may wither if the troop reinforcement strategy fails. Respectfully, I do not think that Bush has proven himself to exercise such an extreme level of pettiness. Like Lincoln in late 1862, coming off electoral defeats and military thrashings, President Bush may have finally realized the necessity of hard war and be ready to engage the enemy aggressively in Iraq. Time is the only measure that counts in this respect.

Certainly, as Charles Krauthammer has observed, the complete failure of the Iraq Study Group Report to inspire anything but depression among those alert to this issue has given the president a unique opportunity to right the ship in the 11th hour of his power to do so. Insert cynicism here, but any honestly-American witness to our contemporary struggles in the Middle East owes his or her country some optimism and an earnest hope for the best out of Bush in the next couple weeks.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Energy Reform is Answer to Iraq

Sometimes, as the popular idiom goes, it is difficult to see the woods for the trees. I was having dinner with a group of Republican friends on Tuesday, and when Iraq was brought up, I could not help but launch into my patented tirade regarding the extent to which general reluctance to fight a hard war had doomed the effort. Staying on message should be worth something, even if it gives all of my friends indigestion. Nevertheless, on the way back to the apartment, your favorite Colorado blogger and mine Frank Morroni once again hit the nail square on the head. In his unnervingly casual style, Frank reminded me of the only real and permanent way to win a war against fundamentalist Islam: pass comprehensive common sense energy reform.

Lest this answer's beautiful simplicity disturb your cynical sensibilities, consider the following
5 Step Rooney Rationale to reengage a serious discussion of energy policy:

1. We Can't End 1,500 Years of Muslim Infighting: Islamic history is very complex, but here is a basic summary. Since the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 A.D., Muslims have been fighting over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet's legacy. Is it or isn't it Ali? It no longer matter, as Sunnis, Shias, Wahhabists, Sufis and a greater devolution of various schools and minor sects harbor ill-feelings that will not soon dissipate. This kind of hate, hardened in the hearts of men by centuries of institutionalized brainwashing and bad theology, will not easily find its resolution in the arrival of western generals.

2. We Can't Always Clean-up Europe's Messes: As with most international debacles, including two world wars, the Balkans, Africa, Vietnam and the Middle East, the fingerprints of European imperialist mischief can be easily discerned at every step. Iraq is but the most recent of a long-line of poor sociopolitical arrangements facilitated by European colonial ambitions. Perhaps Iraq should never have been one country, but now it must be to counterbalance Iran's insanity. That does not make Iraq any less dysfunctional, comprised of multiple cross-cutting ethnicities and religions not cleanly divided by region. And I have yet to hear a practical plan of resettlement.

3. Half-Hearted Wars are Immoral: Although I remain convinced that a general like MacArthur or Sherman, allowed the proper strategic liberties, would have been able to clean house in Iraq, such a situation failed to materialize. Now, with the war spiraling out of control, western countries have lost the will to fight on. If we are not going to fight to win, as Rush Limbaugh recently asked, "Why wait to cut-and-run? Get the troops home for Christmas." Amen.

4. Damn Right This is a War for Oil: Whenever the professional protesters of America invoke the mantra "War for Oil," how can I help but scream back "Damn right!" America is too fat to ride bicycles, and I do not see anyone in congress walking to work or working by candlelight. If we did not need regional fuel reserves to power our economy, the Middle East would be little more than a distant backwater that geography buffs alone could properly identify on a map.

5. Energy Reform Makes the Middle East Irrelevant: An America with an adequate number of refineries, extensive nuclear power supplies, the license to drill ample oil reserves and actively making strides toward cars that run on hydrogen cells is an America safer than any administration could achieve with a million man army. President Bush has made some form or another of this argument, but Congress killed energy reform with the same recklessness exercised when spending your federal tax dollars on state rodeos and bridges to nowhere. If the wacko environmentalists love wildlife as much as they profess to, let them dodge bullets in the desert. The rest of us would prefer to make use of the bounty God gave us in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaskan Wildlife Preserve, and other, more hospitable, domestic locales.

I hate to acknowledge truth in anything Frank says. We are college roommates, and I can not take the resulting ribbing between quarters of Madden 2006. However on this issue, Frank clearly sees the woods; both Frank and I have come to realize that this country is indeed dangerously distracted by a tactical argument that seems to ignore the larger strategic elements relevant to our war against Muslim extremists. Ironically, it is only appropriate that solid legislation is the superior remedy to bombs, boots and ballistics for the world's greatest democracy's most dire policy dilemma. Why kill your enemy when you can bankrupt and starve them into irrelevance? Damn the trees! Full speed ahead to American energy self-sufficiency.