Sunday, November 30, 2008

One year blog anniversary!

Ok, so it's not like there's been a whole lot of blogging--spurts mostly.

However, I went back and looked to see how I did on my ability to predict things, and guess what--out of four real predictions, I got every one wrong! And here's the thing--they were all reasonable at the time I made them--Hillary was going to be the Democratic nominee, Iowa would be close with Edwards winning (hah!) and some other stuff.

It's my birthday tomorrow, which is the real anniversary of the blog. But I'll be pretty busy tomorrow with work and stuff, so I figured I'd get this post in today. I'd be looking forward to my birthday more if it weren't on a Monday. I don't care about getting older much anymore. Who cares about a few more ear hairs?

But it's a good time to make some vague plans for the next year. I'm going to try to get my yard in shape, get some stuff done around the house that I've been putting off. My wife wants to get going on putting in some flooring in our bedroom that will be my Christmas break. I'm going to spend more time brewing beer--I bottled a batch yesterday and am looking forward to drinking it in about two weeks.

There won't be as much political stuff to blog about this year, seeing as there isn't a Presidential election. And I'm really going to focus on making progress with the book manuscript. I've actually been doing some stuff on it--it's never far from my mind. But a little more focus might make a big difference.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Both of you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Social conservatives

Say you're a social conservative. For 28 years now, you've supported candidates who articulated socially conservative positions, and in many cases helped them win. You've had substantial periods of time where you've controlled the Presidency and Congress, your candidates have had the opportunity to appoint 5 of 9 justices on the Supreme court, and lots and lots of other federal judges. Great political success, to be sure.

And what do you have to show for it? Abortion is still legal, there's no prayer in public school, nor are there any voucher programs, you don't even talk about things like in vitro fertilization, pornography and blatant sexuality are more mainstream than they've ever been, and the kind of social ills like teen pregnancy and drug abuse once associated with urbanization are now common in the rural heartland, your last redoubt. And if Nate Silverman is right, you're going to lose on the gay issue as well.

Why would you continue to participate in politics? Is the growth of home schooling a sign of a retreat from politics and mainstream culture? You've got no viable political leadership right now (Rick Warren isn't a culture warrior in the mold of Falwell or Robertson, not even Dobson, whose focus on the family is having financial troubles).

Monday, November 17, 2008

I spend time in airports

So I went to Boston this weekend, and to get there, I spent time in airports. Lots of times, in part for reasons having to do with planes not being fixed in time to fly me where I want to go, but in part because of how I planned my trip and my paranoia about missing a flight.

So, what is there to say about airports? Or, specifically, Logan in Boston, DFW, and Little Rock Regional? Well, Little Rock has a nice little brew pub type bar, but I wasn't there long enough to enjoy it. DFW is like a mall, and gates are far apart, I presume to make room for all the stores. Of A, B, and D, A terminal has the fewest places to eat, but it does have these chairs that allow you to put your feet up. D terminal has all kinds of crap, and B has a few places to get a beer, but nothing really exciting.

Logan, however, had sushi. So I ate airport sushi. How was it? Expensive. But OK. I mean, I'm not sick or anything. I am not the kind of person who talks to strangers much, but I try to be friendly if someone initiates a conversation. But only one guy wanted to talk during my airport hours. And none of my seat companions had anything to say.

So this might be the most boring blog post ever.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why no celebratory post?

You'd think I didn't care we just elected Barack Obama. But I do care. I've been so happy about where our country may go. I just don't have the words to express how I feel right now, other people are doing that far better than I can.

And, I think in the spirit of being wrong, I'm just going to keep posting stuff that no one else seems to be saying.

And one more thing

I don't think it's my place to tell Republicans what they should do on the issue front, but consider going back to calling for a balanced budget.

Some unsolicited advice for the Republican Party

I believe a one party state is a very bad thing. Democracy needs at least two viable parties to function properly. With that said, here is a list of things I hope the Republicans consider going forward.

1. Please, please, please, stop using the phrase "Republican Brand". It sounds horrible. Are you a political party, or a soft drink?

2. Stop blaming the liberal media every time public opinion does not go your way. You managed to win lots of times with pretty much the same media environment--in fact, now, things are even more diverse with talk radio, the internet and so forth. And if the media were so liberal, why would you be worried about the fairness doctrine?

3. Recognize why you lost. It's not Palin, it's not that McCain was a bad candidate, or anything else. You lost because Bush is unpopular, and the economy is in the crapper.

4. Loyalty is a virtue, but it should not be automatic. It was clear early on in the Bush administration that he was making a hash of certain things. The uncritical support he received from most Republicans did not help his Presidency, or the well being of the nation. Likewise, don't get caught up in arguments about the strength of the economy when it is clear that things are starting to head south. I think Reagan's eleventh commandment is doing your party some harm.

5. Think about doing away with the electoral college. I think it will be in your interest to do so--for instance, in the next 10 years, Texas may be a swing state, and when that happens, well, it's hard to see how the Republicans will even be competitive. Doing so will also encourage both parties to appeal to a national electorate, making country first a reality rather than a campaign slogan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election of 2008

A few things happened last night that may not be noted much elsewhere.

The Reagan Youth (people in their 40s now) have in substantial numbers left the Republican party at least for the time being. This generation was never as conservative as pundits made out, though it probably was the most apathetic generation in some time. Also, I think while there are still Reagan Democrats out there, they're old.

Southern Evangelical conservatives are changing, but still Republican. It appears that the McCain campaign had some success rallying these voters with the selection of Sarah Palin, but that also alienated others. It may be that the inability of these voters to compromise will lead to their marginalization, much like the far cultural left remains marginalized.

On the other hand, there is likely to be some renewed strength in the Republican party for what they like to call small government conservatives. In my opinion, the way you can tell that movement is reinvigorated is when they start applying the libertarian label to themselves.

There will probably be some nonsense concerning this still being a center right country. Most people do not think that systematically or ideologically about the role of government. I don't think we are likely to see a new new deal or anything of the sort. We may see some adjustment of the tax code, and we'll probably get the SCHIPS bill that would have passed last year if not for President Bush's veto.

As someone who more or less believes in free markets, my main fear is that Obama will engage in protectionism, which would be the worst thing for the economy right now--far worse that a small tax increase or anything else he's proposed.