Beyond the Cusp

November 1, 2013

What the Coming Republican Wars Doth Wrought

For those confused about this title, let’s first describe the coming conflict which could split the Republican Party wide open and possibly cause a disaster at the midterm elections. What some people refer to as the Old Guard or the Establishment Leadership Republicans are blaming the Party’s election woes on what they refer to as the Tea Party extremists and Constitutional purists. Meanwhile the more conservative Republicans and independents are accusing many of the longstanding Republicans such as Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and others as having slowly drifted away from their original conservative principles more towards the mainstream progressive big government middle which they claim they will no longer support demanding that their concerns be addressed and candidates more willing to back small Constitutional government be offered. Both sides claim that the only path to gain majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as any chance to win the White House in 2016 goes through the center of their constituencies. Obviously both cannot be correct and only one side will ultimately prove victorious in getting those they back onto the ballots where the elections will prove or disprove their contention to have the best chance to win in the election booths. The initial battle will come during the primary elections and the final determination of which extreme of the Republican Party is better able to get their people elected. In a perfect world there would be an equal number of Republicans of both stripe on the ballots so that a definitive result will be produced after the elections and to the victors should go the future of the Republican Party.

 

Needless to say, but should the Tea Party, conservatives, and Constitutionalists succeed in gaining a fair number of candidates after the primaries and they prove to be far more successful than the reputed establishment candidates the Old Guard will not yield and will likely claim that these candidates were only able to win in the reddest of red states and have no possibility of being elected in battleground states which are necessary in Presidential elections. This will be their argument which they will defend their right to retain control over the mechanisms and various committees within the Republican Party and attempt to minimize the numbers of Tea Party and fellow travelers from gaining much of a foothold. The people who are part of the establishment always resist change as change is the greatest threat to their hold onto power and control over who their party places on ballots and supports with funding and other forms of assistance. This is one area where the truism of, “Old habits die hard,” proves to be very true. The fight over the heart of the Republican Party will prove to be very interesting as it is our opinion that one side has all the mechanisms of power, financing and established structure including established mailing lists while the other has the excitement of new leadership, a waking support base, and a bigger and better message that will gain strength even beyond just the Republican Party and be attractive to many independents, libertarians, classical liberals and even some of the older established Democrats who are finding that the new Democrat Party has left them and no longer supports the same issues and views they did when they joined the party.

 

Going forward there is a possibility of a third party becoming established provided the Tea Party can enlist those others who also support their core issues which include but are not limited to smaller government, Constitutional government, more power and control at the State and local governments, government out of our lives, more liberty and a return to the principles on which the United States was originally founded. In many ways these people are purists who have one problem in that they are unable to compromise and tend to be rigid idealists. For those who agree with their general views and positions will see no problem in their intransigence but that also creates other problems. The one failing which strident conservatives are often guilty of is that they demand complete compliance with their every position before they will support any candidate. An example would be a fiscal conservative who is pro second amendment but will allow for stem cell biological experimentation and research using the existing supply of stem cells will run afoul of the most strident anti-abortion wing and they will never be able to garner the votes from that wing and that can cost them the election. This in turn creates an interesting dilemma where an establishment Republican candidate would be unable to win an election without garnering the Tea Party, conservative and Constitutionalist voters while Tea Party and related conservative voters face the problem of splintering their base voters as they all fall in separate camps around their core issues and principles which include such issues as gun rights, abortion, medical research practices, fiscal prudence, individual liberties, limited government, and societal morality. I guess the moral of the story is that no matter which political stripe a candidate identifies with there are a million reasons that people will find to pick them apart and any one of these would be reason enough to withhold their support. The candidate’s challenge is to find the message that offends the least number of voters and then sticking to the principles which they ran with when elected. Honesty in politics is more often rewarded than punished and that may be because in many ways it is so rare.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 28, 2013

Of Likud and Republican; A Problem Shared

They say that misery loves company and should that be true then members of America’s Republican Party and Israel’s Likud Party have plenty of company. Both of these political parties have had a split from in their membership and both sides blame the other for any election misgivings and shortfalls. What makes things even closer between the two is in both cases the split pits political purists who hold tightly to high political standard that might be best described as the pure essence of their party in theory while the other faction claims to be practical realists who hold that high political morality is great in theory but practice demands that the party must be more open to a wider group and that compromise is paramount. In both parties the purists claim that they have been ignored and that they have not had a candidate who holds fast to their strict definitions of belief while the realists blame the purists for forcing the party too far from the center and costing them the so-called swing voters which are necessary in national elections.

In the United States the Republican Party has had a group from which has been defined as the Tea Party Republicans but might be best defined as Constitutionalists and Libertarians. These Constitutional purists hold strongly to individual freedoms as defined by the Founding Fathers in their letters, writings and the founding documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Their claim is that there are a multitude of voters who believe the same way as they do and that many of these voters are even more stridently defined and are willing to stay home on Election Day rather than vote for a candidate they feel is too compromised on their issues. The realists claim that the dogmatic purity is too restrictive and denies the party the support of middle of the political spectrum voters. The realists claim that the Republican Party needs to position their candidates just slightly more conservative than the Democrat’s candidate as this will position their candidate to pick up the centrist voters as well as the strident conservatives of all stripes as who else would such people vote for, the Democrat or some third party candidate? They claim to run a stridently conservative candidate would leave the party with high political morals but no vote totals and they doubt that third party candidates actually take that many votes away due to their reference to put forward a compromise candidate. The biggest disagreement between these two groups in the Republican camp is where their recent candidates for the Presidency stood on the issues, especially in the last two elections where they lost to the Democrat Party candidate, Barrack Obama. In both cases the purists claimed that both John McCain and Mitt Romney were members of the realist camp while the realists claimed that due to catering to the purists these two candidates appeared too far to the conservative and libertarian end of the political spectrum. Both sides claim that the candidates were chosen and ran as if they were the epitome of the other side’s idea of the perfect candidate. Obviously both sides cannot be correct.

In Israel, the Likud Party has had an even rougher time despite currently being the party in power. All one has to do to see the convulsions which have wrought through the Likud body politic is to review some of the up and coming and established Likud Party leaders over the last decade or so. It was from the Likud Party that Kadima was born when the realists’ extremes of the party felt they could no longer accomplish their desired policies and remain within the Likud Party. It was a Likud elected Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who divided the Likud Party by taking a fair number of the leadership and merging them with other opportunists from Labor and other parties to form a new party they named Kadima. Those who split and joined Likud claimed that their moderate views were not welcomed in Likud and that they really had little choice. Some of those who left Likud with Ariel Sharon, among others, were Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Shaul Mofaz, Meir Sheetrit, Gideon Ezra, Avraham Hirschson, Ruhama Avraham, Majalli Wahabi, Roni Bar-On and Omri Sharon. The main reasons for the divide was over whether Israel should carry out the disengagement plan and simply remove all Israeli presence from the Gaza Strip and turn the entire area over to the Palestinian Authority as a test case to give the Palestinians an opportunity to govern and prove their capabilities. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carried out the disengagement and a short while later Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip in a violent coup which led directly to the rain of rockets and other terrorist attacks emanating from the areas Israel had vacated.

Despite the obvious failure of the disengagement as far as Israel is concerned and, oddly enough, as far as the Palestinian Authority was concerned, there is still a strong worldwide push to force another disengagement from Judea and Samaria turning the entire area over to the Palestinian Authority assuming that this time will work out better. What makes the push for finding a peace in which much if not almost all of the areas of Judea and Samaria, also known to the Arabs as the West Bank, is turned over to the Palestinian Authority is once again the issue that is splitting Likud onto two camps, one is the Zionist Camp which purports that Israel should simply annex the entirety of Judea and Samaria and set a method by which the Palestinians could apply and qualify as citizens in Israel while the other camp are the so-called realists who hold that the Palestinians cannot be granted citizenship in Israel for any number of reasons among which include the “demographic bomb which states that in thirty to fifty years the Palestinians will outnumber the Jews in Israel simply through natural reproductive growth, or the idea that Israel will find themselves in even a worse position where the rest of the world will impose a solution on Israel where they will lose everything and therefore a compromise must be found. Currently, the Likud led coalition is headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu who is working towards finding a path to making a treaty with the Palestinians where, according to rumors, Israel would retain the major Jewish settlement blocks which amounts to around fifteen percent of the lands of Judea and Samaria and the Palestinians would be allowed to form their state in the remaining eighty-five percent. This would entail the Israelis absorbing between sixty and eighty thousand Jewish Settlement refugees from the towns and farms that would be ceded to the Palestinians. As the lands of Judea and Samaria are a large portion of the traditional ancient Jewish-Israelite-Hebrews historic and biblical homeland, there are many who feel that relenting on these areas to be sinful and sacrilegious, tantamount to treason against the true faith of Judaism. One should be able to see that giving up lands whose name is Judea might be a serious compromise for a people and religion denoted by the name of Judaism.

So, what does the future likely hold for these two parties and their respective nations? First off, in the Likud the future is relatively clear in that the younger members of the party such as Danny Danon and Moshe Feiglin who are strident Zionists and favor Israel retaining all of Judea and Samaria and offering the Palestinians who wish to remain and become Israeli citizens a methodology and plan to do so and for those Palestinians who would prefer to leave and live in the Arab world be given fair compensation for all of their properties and an additional payment to facilitate making their transition easier. This shifting towards a stronger nationalistic outlook also matches one of the trends within the Israeli population along with trending towards the populations as a whole becoming more religious. There is a real, visceral, tangible revitalization of Judaism taking place within Israel that is growing healthily in accord with nationalism. The window that we hear being bandied about as a limited time remaining in which forming a Palestinian state being possible is very probably an accurate assessment but for reason different than those stated. The problem is not that the two sides are growing more strident in their positions and thus reaching a compromise will soon become impossible as it is that a growing number of Israelis are beginning to realize that the Palestinians will never live peaceably even should they be granted their own state but will continue to use terror and pleadings to the world, especially Europe, to return all of the lands to them and remove Israel from the map. It really should not be a huge surprise as this has been the message shouted loud and clear from Palestinian society and the Arab World at large since before Israel was founded and it has never changed. The Israelis hear it constantly on Palestinian radio and television broadcasts, read it in Palestinian newspapers, journals, magazines, and their children’s textbooks, and it is evident on their maps which show all of the land as Palestine with no mention of Israel whatsoever. Likud will eventually become an almost purely Zionist Party as will other Israeli political parties and that will not be a contended position in elections. Likud also supports capitalism, free trade with other nations, smaller government, privatization of government run services and companies, and less regulations and restriction on business in general. Their main competitors in the political realm are all socialists of different stripes.

The Republican Party’s future is not quite as easily determined as there is not the generational split anywhere near as obvious as it is for Israel’s Likud Party. The Tea Party segments of the Republican Party are a growing sector which is still flushing out its organizational structure and thus will gain some more voice and strength in the immediate future. The challenge for the Tea Party members will be maintaining their higher than average level of involvement which is often found when a movement is in its early stages and still growing. There have been signs in some elections where the Tea Party has surprised the establishment and pollsters by winning what were termed upsets such as Bridenstine against Sullivan in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Ted Cruz in Texas, among others. The problem with predicting the future of political parties in the United States over doing so in Israel is an obvious one, size matters and the United States has size over Israel in every manner you care to measure with the exception as both nations have a similar number of Jewish citizens, for now. When one speaks of the Republican Party, there is a huge difference as you look at different locations. An example which makes this point is that if one compares a Democrat elected to the United States House of Representatives from Texas or Wyoming to a Republican elected to the same august body from Maryland or Massachusetts, one would likely find that the Democrat would be considered the more conservative of the two. That is why it is impossible to form an exact definitive description for a member of any political party in the United States and especially for the two main parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. Politics in the United States is a lot like real estate, what matters a lot is location, location, location. Still, the Republican Party will likely face a reformation of sorts over the next decade or two and a good prediction would safely contend that Republican candidates will become more aligned with the founding declarations of individualism, freedom, and less reliance on government. They will push for reforms that lessen the reach and purview of the federal government and push for empowerment of the individual states and even to local city and county governments. Any contributions from the Federal Government will be in the form of block grants and there will be less stringent restrictions on their use. Whether this resonates with the public remains to be seen but there is a high likelihood that should some of the over-bloated Federal Government programs, even some of the newest among them, become financially untenable that rather than allow for Federal taxes to rise close to if not over fifty percent, the people of both parties will demand somebody take a carving knife to the Federal budget and the programs it supports. This will be the result more of necessity than anything else but it is surprising how frugal people can become when their ability to survive is on the line. But, as we have said before, time will tell.

Beyond the Cusp

June 13, 2013

President Obama and the United States Constitution

President Obama has made his disdain for the United States Constitution well known. He complained before his first term as United States President in an interview on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ FM in 2001 that the United States “Constitution is a charter of negative liberties” and not of positive liberties. He further explained that the Constitution “says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” Keep in mind that this interpretation comes from a man who as a Professor taught courses in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, so he presumably knew what he was talking about and understood the reasons the Constitution was crafted in the manner of limiting government. Apparently Professor Obama, and we can assume President Obama, vehemently disagree with the founding fathers and their vision of limited government allowing for maximum freedoms and liberties for the people. So, perhaps we should look into the consequences of President Obama’s view of positive liberties against the founder’s ideals of negative liberties, or more accurately compare President Obama’s view of empowering government against the founder’s ideas of empowering the people.

First we will summarize the philosophies behind the founding fathers Constitutional limitations on government and how that impacts the people. The founders were strong believers in the ability of man’s capability for self-rule without having to rely on having to be ruled by their supposed betters. They were also mostly strongly religious and this enhanced their view as mankind as a noble being different from the animals and having a divine spark, a divine spirit. They believed that the Creator gave man life and with life certain rights which could not be denied by government or other men if society was to be free and have maximum liberty. As such they placed mankind above government and judged government as being a necessary evil which was best when kept as powerless as possible. Government was to only be permitted to wield those powers requested and permitted by the people. Even then, the layers of government were to have limited power by making each layer removed from the people dependent on the next closer level for its powers. Thus the people requested and allowed a set of powers to be transferred to government at the most local level which then assumed these powers and would also be tasked with adjudicating differences between contesting individuals. This local level of government would in turn permit some of these powers which were beyond their capabilities to be granted to the next level of government along with the adjudication of differences between any competing local governments. This level of the government then passed along those powers beyond their scope to the next level which also adjudicated any contentions of the lower governments. This continued until the least amount of power would be vested in the Federal Government which also adjudicated between the State Governments. Any adjudication could potentially have a judgment appealed to the next higher authority until reaching the final level of adjudications, the Supreme Court. The founders believed that all power comes from the Creator and the most powerful entity was the individual. This also implied that the individual along with the most freedoms and liberties also carried the most responsibilities. Thus, the higher up the government tree one climbs, the lesser powers relegated to each governmental level until reaching the Federal Government which would have the least power and the greatest restrictions on its powers and responsibilities of adjudication. Thus, under the United States Constitution the people are to be vested with maximum powers being permitted all responsibilities, abilities, powers and decisions with the minimal exception as listed within the Constitution. The best description was probably framed within the Bill of Rights, more specifically the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment reads:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

President Obama does not believe that the government should be limited in its powers but instead believes that the government should dole out limited powers, responsibilities and options to the people while retaining maximum control at the highest levels. President Obama believes that the Constitution should empower government and dictate what it is that the government is required to perform for the people. This results in the government deciding what rights it is willing to remit to the people and what privileges it will grant to the people. As a result, the people only receive the privileges which the government determines they may be allowed and any power thus vested with the people may also be taken back by the government at their slightest whim. In President Obama’s world, the people are only granted the rights and responsibilities which the government determines or believes they are capable of while the remainder of power is retained by the government. Furthermore, the Federal Government also determines what responsibilities and powers the States are permitted who in turn decide the same for local government with the final determination of what the people are allowed granted at the local level. Since government passes down the powers, rights, responsibilities and all functions in life with strict limitations retaining the bulk of available oversights and control with itself at every level, the people are basically power starved.

The difference between the United States Constitution and President Obama’s ideas of governance are stark and somewhat counter-intuitive. When President Obama speaks about his disdain for the limitations of the constitution, he speaks that he believes that people would have more power if instead of limiting government the constitution should insist that government perform expressed function for the people. Despite intuition might have one believing that if government is commanded to provide enumerated functions for the people that the people will have more privileges and rights, the United States Constitution actually grants the people far greater flexibility, rights, powers, liberties, and responsibilities. Where President Obama’s idea of government permitting certain services to the people as demanded does allow for the people not to have to assume many, if any, responsibilities as that remains with the government as they are granting items while retaining the real control. With the Constitution written by the founding fathers begins by leaving all responsibilities with the people and as such also gives all powers, freedoms, liberties, and abilities also with the people and the people decide that which they will permit the government to possess. So, if you desire to be responsible for your own actions and taking care of your own needs and expressing yourself however you please while standing by your words, then the United States Constitution was designed for such as you. But if you wish to have all decisions and consequences taken care of by a greater power that gives you that which it decides is in your best interest and requires minimal responsibilities or efforts from you, then you would love President Obama’s world of unlimited government granting you, the people, what is best for you, well, actually granting you what is best for government.

Beyond the Cusp

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