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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Herman Cain for President

Alright, it's early, and I don't know as much about him as I like, but and this blog formally back Herman Cain for President.

I'm sure he's thrilled.

What drives this decision?

A) Herman Cain is adamantly prolife and intends to defund Planned Parenthood.

B) The MSM are so scared of Herman Cain that they are doing to him exactly what they did to Alan Keyes - trying to freeze him out of all presidential references and races, even though he announced for the presidency in January, and won the recent Republican presidential nominee debate.

C) Herman Cain is a black man. Emphasis on MAN. Newt Gingrich is a lizard, Mitch Daniels is a Bush-ite, and the rest of them are knobbly-kneed politicians who sway with the slightest breeze.

The only other real men in the Republican line up are Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, and neither one has "like" ratings high enough to win the election.

E) He warns against sharia law and promises to have no Muslims in his cabinet.

Anyone the MSM is this scared of just HAS to be good.

Herman Cain!
He CAIN't be beat!


Andrew said...

If you are looking for someone who is:

1. Pro-life
2. Actually believes in the Constitution
3. Is consistent in his beliefs and doesn't tie himself in knots shifting with the political winds
4. Scares the mainstream media and political establishment so much they mock and demonize him at every turn.

You should check out Ron Paul.

A major way they press tries to scare people off of him is with his stance on drugs. "RON PAUL IS PRO-HEROIN!!!". No. He's not. Actually, he's against the Federal government doing things it has no business doing. Even if Federal drug laws were gone tomorrow, heroin and lots of other drugs would still be illegal almost everywhere in the US because of STATE laws against them.

I'm not as familiar with Cain as I am with Paul. I watched the 1st GOP debate the other night. Cain says a lot of the right things. He did support Romney in 2008 which raises a lot of question in my mind given Romney's positions on several issues. Also, I read up some more on Cain after the debate and discovered he worked for the Federal Reserve. You can contrast that with Paul's position that the Fed IS the main problem with the economy and needs to be gone.

Flambeaux said...

Ron Paul, bless his heart, has less than no chance of winning. And he'd be an unmitigated disaster as an executive.

I love him as a gadfly but he won't govern.

Much of his platform cannot be enacted by a POTUS who is willing to restrict himself to Constitutionally enumerated powers.

So either he's willing to ignore his Constitutional commitments to "get the job done" (unlikely given his established character) or we'll have to accept ahead of time that he'll render himself powerless the moment he takes the Oath of Office (assuming he'd get elected, which he won't).

I do wish I could believe in a Paul Presidency, as the admirable Thomas Woods so clearly does. But I'm not getting my hopes up.

Anytime you start talking about "saving" a republic, and looking for saviors among the political class, you've passed the point of no return.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

I have to agree with Flambeaux. Ron Paul has always been someone I didn't entirely trust, and I still don't. Cain has more charisma.

Besides which, Cain has said he has no objection to an audit of the Fed. I suspect Ron Paul can get a lot more done as a Congressman under a Cain presidency than he could as President himself.

Andrew said...

Oh certainly, Paul is not a Savior. The only Savior is Christ.

At the same time, I'm not sure what course of action you are advocating Flambeaux regarding politics- retreat to our homes and ignore it completely? While we shouldn't look for a political savior, I think we should look for those who would do the best job as political leaders. Especially when the status quo of our political system is waist deep in so much evil (i.e. abortion) I think a Catholic has a moral obligation to try and improve the political situation, even the the odds of success appear low. As my grandfather says- God doesn't ask us to win the war. He only asks us to fight the battle.

As to whether or not America has passed the point of no return, I'm not sure. We may have, which is incredibly scary, but again we have the examples of many Saints before us who lived under despotic, corrupt governments to show us the way.

I would take issue with casually branding Paul "no chance" though. In '08 he raised a lot of money and got a lot of votes. If I'm not mistaken he finished 2nd to McCain throughout the GOP primaries.

Going back to the 2nd GW Bush term, I've come to conclusion that the GOP establishment and the Democratic party really aren't that much different. The policies of Bush or McCain would set us on the same road as the policies of Obama, they just get us to the destination a little more slowly.

If we aren't past the point of no return for saving our Republic we are certainly getting close. We don't need a minor course correction we need a radical return to our founding principals. Most machine Republicans say "founding principals" and mean the 1st Bush or Reagan! :) When Paul says it, he means- Adams, Jefferson, Madison.

As far as a Paul Presidency not being able to do what he says, I'd disagree. Mostly he says what he WOULDN'T do. As the head of the executive branch he could basically stop enforcing unconstitutional laws. This would likely lead to an impeachment fight with our current congress, but if Paul was President perhaps our congress would be quite a bit different as well.

Andrew said...

One example of what I mean by "machine Republicans" and why they are taking us to the same place as Democrats....

Rick Santorum. The social conservative of social conservatives. Pro-life. Defender of marriage. What a guy.

Then what happens. He endorses and actively campaigns for Arlen Specter. Specter who everyone, including Santorum, knew as pro-abortion and against just about everything else Santorum said he was for.


Because Santorum had an (R) next to his name and at the time so did Specter. For Santorum and the GOP it wasn't about advancing the pro-life cause or advancing a conservative agenda. If it was they wouldn't have backed a liberal pro-abortionist. It was about their own political power.

Andrew said...

One more quick thought- if Paul's agenda can't be implemented by a President who follows the Constitution, I'd challenge you show me another candidate who's agenda CAN.

Or are we simply going to ignore that the Constitution exists, and support violations of it as long as they are ones we happen to agree with? If we support a candidate we know will ignore the Constitution for 4 years after swearing an oath uphold and defend it, we are essentially conspiring to commit perjury with the President.

Ignorance is bliss. Alas, we are not all so blessed.


Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, I wouldn't vote for Santorum. His support of Specter shows he has no real moral base.

If you like Ron Paul's desire to audit/abolish the Fed and his gold standard, Cain is fine with auditing the Fed and has expressed support for a gold standard.

I just think Cain is a lot more charismatic than Paul is. Ron Paul has always struck me as someone I can't trust. I don't get the same vibe from Cain.

Brendan said...

Ron Paul's supposed pro-life stance is a myth.

Andrew said...

How so?

Brendan said...

"The last thing we need is a Federal abortion police." - Ron Paul, in a debate from the 2008 GOP presidential primary

Ron Paul fans hear what they want to hear, and don't what they don't. If you do not believe, and affirm strongly, that the government at every level is bound to protect all innocent human life at every stage, you are not Pro-Life. Paul dismisses abortion, along with illicit drugs and prostitution, as a matter for the States. That is not Pro-Life.

I like Flambeaux's commentary. It proves Paul's reading of the Constitution cannot hold water. He is truly a nut job.

Andrew said...

It helps if you post the rest of Ron Paul's answer to that debate question:

Q: If abortion becomes illegal and a woman obtains an abortion anyway, what should she be charged with? What about the doctor who performs the abortion?

A: The first thing we have to do is get the federal government out of it. We don’t need a federal abortion police. That’s the last thing that we need. There has to be a criminal penalty for the person that’s committing that crime. And I think that is the abortionist. As for the punishment, I don’t think that should be up to the president to decide.

So when you look at his ENTIRE answer, you see that (A) he think abortion should be a crime and (B) he correctly understands that the Executive branch does not determine the penalty imposed when someone commits a crime. It would be the legislature who writes the statute and the judiciary who imposes the penalty.

Paul has always taken criticism from libertarians for not being a "real libertarian" himself precisely because most libertarians are pro-abortion and he is not.

Since you brought up illicit drugs, I'll point out- having a Federal drug police has not eliminated illicit drugs. Far from it. Illicit drugs are easy to obtain and commonly used. Just as someone can be against illegal drugs AND think we should abolish the DEA, they can be pro-life and not think we need a Federal Abortion Agency.

Should abortion be illegal? Absolutely. But that's not the end goal. The goal is to end abortion. Those are two different things. I think Paul understands that and sees outlawing it community by community, state by state, as being more effective then issuing a decree from the Federal government. Given the fact that there is sin in the world, I don't think we will ever eliminate abortion entirely, just as we haven't eliminated murder, rape, lying, stealing, etc. Changing the laws is important, but changing hearts and minds is even more so.

Here's Dr. Paul in his own words:

Andrew said...

It's also worth noting, that if abortion was a matter for state governments to decide, abortion would be illegal in much of the United States TODAY. As it stands, abortion is legal in all 50 states as we wait for the Federal government to reverse Roe.

The idea of a momentous Supreme Court decision or a bold new Constitutional amendment is appealing, and I'd be thrilled if either happened. In the meantime, babies are dying. If states could decide, a lot less babies would be dying and it would be easier to change things in the remaining states then it is to change things at the national level.

Brendan said...

As is typical, you as a Paul supporter make Paul's case far better than he does.

Notice the link you provide has Paul doing nothing more than critiquing the Pro Life movement for valuing protection of human life over federalism.

People are attracted to his reverence for the Constitution, which is laudable. Would that they all would cite it half as often.

However I cannot abide his constantly cloaking himself in the Constitution, implying that anyone who disagrees with him on anything is at odds with the Constitution.

His interpretation is one man's opinion, and there are plenty of others that are far better, more scholarly, more historical, and more realistic. I even like my own better, despite my reading it less often. Imagine that.

The fact is the Constitution did not come from Heaven, or from a vacuum. The proper role of government has an inherent definition. The Declaration of Independence makes that clear, before the Constitution was written. Yet Paul cannot think in a pre-Constitution context. That is why he is willing to make the ridiculous case that federalism is a higher value than the protection of human life.

He waves the Constitution around precisely because he has nothing else to say. He cannot make his case for his ideas any other way.

Um, I have never easily acquired illicit drugs. The Feds have successfully prevented it.

The State legislatures around the country are passing anti-abortion legislation. The notion that they are sitting around waiting for Roe is a few years out of date.

The States are less successful at defending marriage, and Paul opposes the Federal government taking any role in it. He is dead wrong about this and a number of important issues.

Andrew said...

I don't think Paul has ever said Federalism is more important than human life. Certainly not in the article I linked to.

What he has said is that Federalism is an important means OF protecting human life. The history of centralized governments bears this out. Even when power is concentrated at the top with the best of intentions, it often goes wrong before too much time passes.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."

The constitution is not holy scripture. But that doesn't mean we should ignore it. American society hasn't gotten where it is by following the Constitution.

Have you gone looking for illegal drugs? If not, then the Feds didn't stop you from getting them. You stopped yourself. I can't speak to your particular circumstances, but as someone who encounters drug addicts regularly in my professional life, I can tell you that they are indeed not very hard to come by.

St. Thomas Aquinas spoke on the role of the Law (of man) and morality. We don't need laws compelling us to practice every virtue, and we don't need laws banning every vice. Legality does not equal morality.

We've already seen our society slide down the slippery slope of death-

Government's nature is to grow it's power at the expense of the governed. If you have no problem with the Fed's banning marijuana, what about tobacco? Or transfat?

Someone SHOULD keep your kids from watching TV and eating junk food all day. Does that mean we need a Federal Parenting Police? No, it means we need parents.

As I said initially, Herman Cain does say a lot of the right things. Right now, he'd be my second choice behind Paul, but I need to find out more about him. I'd have a VERY hard time supporting any of the other GOP contenders at this point. In life, especially in politics, all is often not what it first appears. I've followed Paul since early in the 2008 campaign. At first I thought he WAS crazy, but as I looked at what he actually said and not what others said about him, I found him to be remarkably consistent and right about an awful lot of things. He also gives the same answers regardless of who he is speaking to.

Who do you like better? As they say all the dogs have fleas, but some have much worse ones than others.

Brendan said...

Like I say, you will read what you want in his words, and ignore what you don't. He says that "constitutional principles" are the foundation for the right to life, but the reverse is true. The affirmation of human rights are what give the US government and its Constitution legitimacy.

One could argue that his vision of federalism is somehow a better way to protect the right to life, but he does not do that. He conflates our system of government with basic human rights because it's All Constitution All the Time with him.

Terms like "easy" are relative. I do not find it easy to find illicit drugs. Those who get them are willing to brave more obstacles than I have been, or have encountered more opportunity than I have. Lack of Federal enforcement would make them more opportune, not less or equally.

Anyway my point about drugs was that Paul equates them with abortion, and whether you believe in Federal drug enforcement or not, abortion cannot fall under the same "principle" as illicit drugs.

Who do I like better is a losing question. At least Obama had Bin Laden shot, which Paul would never do. Obama kept Gitmo open, saw the completion of the operation in Iraq, sent more troops to Afghanistan. For all his apologies, Obama never suggested that the 9/11 attacks were justified by US foreign policy.

It sickens me to have to write the above paragraph, but Paul is bad, as a Presidential prospect anyway.

I'll give him credit for his limited-government influence in Congress, to the extent it has worked. I have no problem with him there.

Andrew said...

So you don't like Ron Paul. I get it.

That I asked who you like better and the name that comes to mind is OBAMA?????

I think that loses you pretty much all credibility on a discussion of the Constitution or the sanctity of life.

(By the way, it's again not true that Paul was against getting Bin Laden. Does he think there was a better way to go about it? Yes. That's not the same as saying he didn't want him caught or killed.)

You didn't answer my question-have you tried to get illegal drugs? Unemployed, uneducated people without a great deal of money, knowledge, or skill who don't even own a car- get them all the time with no problem. It's hard to imagine that ending Federal Drug enforcement could make them any more available then they already are.

Paul doesn't say drugs and abortion are the same thing. He says they are both state issues. What we have for dinner and deciding to buy a house are both family issues for my wife and I. That doesn't mean they are equivalent in nature, importance or anything else.

If believe marriage is between one man and one woman. But if we need a federal law against gay marriage, why don't we need one against adultery? If we ban marijuana, why not alcohol- a much more widely abused drug? Oh wait we tried that.

I was expecting you'd say Herman Cain. Or perhaps Romney or Palin or heck even Trump. But OBAMA! Seriously.

Oh yeah, when exactly did our operation in Iraq end?

For anyone else reading this thread, that should be all the incentive you need to learn more about him and see if you find him worth supporting- the guy who came on here slamming him as pro-abort thinks instead we should support......Obama! Ha.

Kevin said...

Herman Cain right now has no prayer of winning, so its not worth bothering on.

But at the same time, he's impressed me. I really wish he would've gone for being governor, senator, something with substance first.

I might disagree with Andrew's very charitable interpretation of Paul's views on drugs, prostittuion, etc.

The empirical facts however are that Paul accepted money from Klansmen and truthers, knowing full well their agenda.

He's an attention grubbing whore. (back to opinion mode.) Yet being realistic, political parties need a platform for attention grubbing whores. That is why he is Congressman Paul. They can try to garner all the attention they want, say the stupidest things in the world, but also say some smart things. Yet in the end, it doesn't really matter.

Nobody is actually afraid of Ron Paul. How can one be afraid of someone who can't even get past 10% of the vote in primaries?

Brendan said...

Right. I'm uneducated, poor, ignorant, and susceptible to drug use if I weren't too stoopid to find them, and I'm not credible.

Still, the Right to Life is not a State issue. No level of government has the authority to deny protection to innocent life, nor to redefine marriage.

Iraq is way off-topic, so filling you in on the events of the operation there over the past few years would not be appropriate. You can do your own research.

I did not say Paul is "pro-abort," nor did I say we should support Obama.

You're suddenly flailing wildly at me ad hominem after I pointed out Paul's weaknesses compared to our nation's worst President. You may want to reexamine how emotionally invested you are in him.

Kevin is right that no-one fears Ron Paul. The media loves to give him attention just as he is to make conservatives look crazy.

This thread is supposed to be about Herman Cain. I heard him on Dennis Miller, and I liked his presentation, but I doubt he can get enough traction and recognition in time. I guess we'll see. Most of us don't even know most of the current candidates very well at all.

Andrew said...

You've stated repeatedly that Paul fails in trying to end abortion and protect the unborn. I'm of the opinion that abortion is pretty much a with us or against us issue. If you're not pro-life, you're pro-abort.

I asked you who you liked better than Paul as a presidential candidate and the only name you could think of was- OBAMA. No you didn't say you'd vote for him, but you praised him quite a bit. You didn't say one positive thing about any other candidate.

You Obama praise is very interesting given more of the criticism you've leveled at Paul regarding 9/11 and donations from objectionable sources.

"America's chickens are coming home to roost!"
Sound familiar? I wonder if Obama was sitting the pew that day.

Speaking of Paul, Cain, or anybody else as "obviously unelectable" at this point is foolish. Obama was "unelectable" at this point last go around. Everybody knew it was going to be Clinton vs. Guilianni in the general election and the primaries were just a formality. We all saw how that worked out.

There are no perfect candidates. Everyone has flaws. As I've read more on Cain I found he was/is in favor of the TARP bailouts. If Paul is bad, who is good? Is there anyone other than Obama you are impressed by?

Andrew said...

Oh yeah, there are currently over 40,000 US troops in Iraq. I guess they must all be there on vacation since Obama ended our operations there.

Andrew said...

I know I should just leave this alone, but I have a hard time letting false statements go uncorrected....

Nobody is afraid of Ron Paul?

Please explain Fox News doctoring news coverage of Paul's victory in the CPAC straw poll.

More seriously, please explain "intelligence" memo's circulated by the Dept. of Homeland Security and other state and federal agencies cautioning law enforcement to be on the lookout for anyone having the audacity to display a Ron Paul bumper sticker as a potential domestic terrorist.


Kevin said...

On various things:

First, the CPAC straw poll. CPAC is utterly irrelevant as far as who actually has the pulse of the party, or the conservative movement in general. It's an activist gathering. Give Paul one thing, he has some very passionate fanbois.

Yet in the real world, we have something called the primary system. it forces you to do more than appeal to an internet base.

As far as Obama, everyone knew he would be a serious candidate, just not as soon as he was. For all his myriad faults, he blew the roof off the DNC speech in 2004, and a Democratic electorate was secretly disgusted with the House of Clinton. the moderates despised their "moral flexibility", and the liberals despised triangulation. All it took was someone to tap that.

Ron Paul has always been a gadfly and his primary numbers in 08 were those of a perennial joke.

The simple fact is that whatever the faults of the neocons, isolationism is a loser. (And don't throw Washington's speech, unless you are going to quote the man who actually wrote the speech for Washingon). As is viewing shooting up heroin and turning tricks as expressions of liberty. Paul is like a talk radio host. He can't just take controversial positions. he needs to take them in the loudest way possible. Paul, being a libertarian, is a perfect example of the inherent contradictions of libertarianism.

I'm impressed with 2 out of the 3 main candidates in this field. Romney am not the largest fan of (think he got a bad rap from a bigoted Hucksterbee in 06), but I can at least view him a serious candidate, even if I won't vote for him.

Andrew said...


A few things:

The comment "Ron Paul can't get above 10% in the primaries" is not true.

Paul got 10% or more of the vote in 13 states throughout the 2008 GOP Primaries.

Secondly, I never said CPAC was or wasn't important. Winning CPAC combined with $1 will get you a soda out of the vending machine. That wasn't my point. The point is that Fox News doctored their coverage of the 2010 CPAC straw poll to make it look like the delegates were booing when Paul was announced as the winner, when in fact they were cheering. Why? I don't have any deep sources inside Fox, but the most likely answer appears to be that Fox doesn't like Paul.

3rd, there is a difference between isolationism and non-interviontionism. If opposition to a perpetual state of undeclared war is a "loser" of a position, even among conservatives then we are in deep, deep trouble.

Think about it- when Bin Laden was killed everyone was quick to say "this is great, but the war is far from over". Ok, but when WILL the war be over? How will we know? Islamic terrorism has been around for over a 1000 years. It's not going away anytime soon. So we have an undeclared war that is never going to end. I guess that means all of the "emergency" measures like the Patriot act and getting groped at the airport if you want to fly on a plane aren't going anywhere soon either.

Giving money to both sides of pretty much every conflict around the world- Israelis and Arabs, Pakistanis and Indians, etc makes a lot of sense too. Especially when we are already broke.

Yes broke. We can't afford our current levels of spending, and neither the Democrats or the establishment Republicans plan on keeping spending anywhere near the current levels. It's going UP, UP, UP.

If we want to save our country from things getting really bad we need to make serious changes. The only person even talking about doing so is Paul.

So under our current system, which the "mainstream" GOP candidates would do nothing to change:

-We pay into a social security fund that I know I'll never see a dime of.
-My family no longer flies on airplanes, because I refuse to have myself, my wife, or my children either molested or viewed naked by strangers when they've done nothing even suspicious.
-We get "pro-life" Presidents like GW Bush who start giving Federal funding to stem cell research and pull names like Harriet Myers out of their hat for the Supreme Court.

I'm curious who do you see as the 3 main candidates in the GOP field?

Romney has a lot of money. Who else? Gingrich is going to have a very hard time especially given this past week. He's essentially the Republican Clinton- all about himself. If Palin gets in I'd put here up there just on name recognition- not that I'd support her.

I'm not a fan of Huckabee but I don't remember what was bigoted about how he treated Romney. Is concern about a candidate's religion a valid thing for a Catholic voter to have? I think so. In the original blog post Cain was praised for promising not to have Muslims on his cabinet. Well Mormons are farther from Christians then Muslims. It's a polytheistic religion in which men believe they can become gods. Yes, when a man believes that he can become a god that concerns me.

Andrew said...

The main argument coming against Paul appears to be "he can't win".

But I've asked for who is better and gotten praise for Obama and chirping crickets in return.

Should the goal be to find the best candidates and then work to help them win- not find who you think the favorites are and support one of them, even if none of them are morally acceptable?

I'm open to Cain, but apparently he is predestined to lose as well.

So who is better then Paul and Cain?

I was looking at the book of Kings last night. The Israelites wanted a King. God told them a King would bring them perpetual war, take their children away to serve the state, and take their wealth and property to enrich himself and his bureaucracy. The Israelites wouldn't listen, so God gave them a King. And they got all the things God said they would.

It looks a lot like what we have now. Except the Israelites thought a 10% tax rate was bad. "Big government conservatives" need to wake up and realize that giving more and more power to the state is not the way to go. Even if done with the best of intentions, that power will eventually be used for evil. Spiritual renewal not bigger government is what we need to save our country.

Brendan said...

Just to clarify a couple of things, since they seem to be misunderstood.

Andrew has it backwards on Iraq.

Paul's "strategy," (the wrong one) would be surrender and pull out, resulting in 0 US troops in Iraq, for a short time anyway. (Then disaster.)

Seeing an operation to completion results in victory, and then a sustained presence to maintain relative peace. This is the good outcome we see now.

I cannot truly say I like Obama better than Paul, but I thought it was important to highlight how his Carter-esque, incompetent foreign policy still does not sink to the abysmal level Ron Paul's would be, because at least in the face of the reality Obama generally lets the military do its job of fighting the enemy.

This (especially considering Paul's other bizarre views) carries the implication that there actually is a legitimate debate as to whether Obama or Paul would be more destructive to the country. There is something so absurd and revolting about that conversation, it should hopefully startle Paul fans into reconsidering. But that's wishful thinking I suppose. Seems that emotion instead got blasted at me.

By corollary, virtually anyone on the Republican side is a better choice than Paul, in my view, including Gingrich, whom I otherwise would call the worst.

All of them have some version of a plan to address the spending problem. As I say, we still need to get to now them better.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, I don't mind the conversation. I've never been a Ron Paul fan.
The discussion is worth having.
Here is as good a place as any.

Andrew said...

I’m happy to discuss as well. We’re covering a lot of ground, I’ll try not to miss any points here. If I do, or don’t word something clearly enough, I’m happy to clarify.

1. Iraq. Brendan you said that Obama “saw the completion of the operation in Iraq”. Saw is past tense. That means the operation is complete. Now you say that there is going to be a sustained presence to maintain peace. That doesn’t sound complete; it sounds ongoing. It’s certainly not complete to the more than 40,000 US troops still there and their families. If we leave there will be “disaster” you say. So are we going to stay forever? Is it just possible that people who live in other countries might be able to make decisions about their own future and resolve their own problems without us? Just maybe?

2. Paul blames America for 9/11. Not true. Trying to understand your enemies motivations is not the same thing as justifying his actions. Part of what motivated the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor was the US oil embargo against Japan. That doesn’t justify the attack or any of the atrocities the Japanese committed. It’s simply a historical fact. Part of what motivates Islamist attacks against America is our presence in the middle east and our support for brutal dictatorships there. Does that make me or Paul sympathetic to Al Qaeda? No. If anything understanding your enemy helps you to defeat him. Blasting someone who tries to look at the enemy’s motivations as “blame America firsters” is jingoism.

Andrew said...

3. Foreign Aid. Kevin you are correct, foreign aid is a relatively small portion of our budget. I didn’t mean to imply it was the main thing driving us into debt. It’s the cherry on top of our deficit sundae. The ice cream is entitlements. Any “spending reform plan” that doesn’t address entitlements isn’t a serious plan. I think we agree here. That said, if you’re broke, you’re broke. The mortgage and utilities might be the big items taking all your money, that still doesn’t mean it’s smart to take the family to the movies, even though it’s a comparatively minor expense. You agreed that much of foreign aid is pointless. Why spend money on something that’s pointless?

4. The budget. Again, we agree Kevin. TALK IS CHEAP. Past actions are a much better indicator of future ones then talk during a campaign season. Right now the Ryan Budget plan is just that- talk. It’s not going to pass the Senate and Obama won’t sign it if it did. Everyone in Washington knows that. So it becomes quite easy for GOP members of the House to support it- it sounds great to the base and it won’t be enacted. So instead of their talk lets look at the GOP’s past performance. In this last election they campaigned on a promise of $100 billion in budget cuts. After being elected they decided to go with $38 billion. This illustrates two important points. First, they lack either the integrity to keep their word or the political will to fight to achieve it. The end result is the same. Secondly, even if they did cut the promised $100 billion that amount is tiny in the grand scheme of things and wouldn’t do much of anything towards correcting the nation’s finances. Either they don’t understand the depth of the problem, or they do understand and aren’t serious about fixing it. Again, either way, the result is the same. But the Democrats control the Senate you say? Oh well, lets look back a few years when we had a GOP house, GOP senate, and GOP President. How much spending was cut then? None. The budget grew. We actually got a new entitlement with the medicare drug benefit. GOP leadership during the Bush years also got us: Federal funding for stem cell research, restrictions on free speech with McCain Feingold, warrant less searches with the Patriot Act, and the bank bailouts. Oh yeah and they almost rammed through amnesty for illegals and Harriet Myers. When Republicans talk about spending cuts, they really mean cuts IN THE RATE OF GROWTH. Which really aren’t cuts at all. They’re growth. So why oh why, should I or anyone else believe the GOP has seen the light and is now serious about spending. Now they want to raise the debt ceiling. I’m reminded of Charlie Brown and a football..

Andrew said...

5. Ron Paul doesn’t have a better plan. Actually he does. It’s called follow the Constitution. No where in that document will you find authorization for the Federal government to run a pyramid scheme, nor to have anything to do with health care. We don’t need to reform the entitlement programs that are pushing us over the financial cliff. We need to end them. Give people the option- don’t pay into Social Security and you won’t get anything out. Young people who know they aren’t getting anything anyway would take that in a heartbeat. A big part of our unemployment problem is that for a whole lot of people getting a job would be a pay cut. Did you know you can collect a disability check for the rest of your life simply by saying you are illiterate? For another analogy- our budget is a patient in need of open heart surgery. The GOP is demanding a band-aid, but is willing to settle for an ice pack in negotiations.

6. Don’t push the social issues- focus on the economy. That’s what “elect able” Republicans like Pawlenty and Daniels think. Daniels wants a “truce” on social issues. Social issues, particularly abortion, are intimately connected with financial issues. Social security is in deeper and deeper trouble because we have more people at the end of life getting payouts and less young people paying in. Could this dynamic possibly be related to 1 in 3 American babies being killed by abortion? I strongly recommend you view “The Cost of Abortion” by Michael Voris:

Andrew said...

7. Moving the goal post. Kevin you said Paul couldn’t get 10% in a primary. So I showed you that he got that or more 13 times. Then you responded that those votes don’t really count anyway because they were protest votes. If you want to argue that Paul’s past performance makes you think he can’t appeal to a wide enough group go ahead. Make the argument, but your initial claim is false. Brendan you accuse Paul supporters of hearing what they want to hear, but you are playing fast and loose with your own words one second it’s “Ron Paul’s supposed pro-life stance is a myth” the next it’s “I did not say Ron Paul is pro-abort”. Well which is it? You also still haven’t answered my question- have you gone looking for illegal drugs. It’s not a central matter in our discussion but I’ve asked you several times and you continue to avoid answering. Since you are claiming the Federal government has successfully prevented you from acquiring them, it’s a legitimate question. It’s like me saying the new passport rules make it impossible to get to Canada, even though I’ve never tried to go to Canada.

8. The police state. I brought up the undeclared nature of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I also brought the undefined nature of the “War on Terror”- who is the enemy? How do we win? I also brought up the TSA groping at the airport and the fact that law abiding citizens were deemed potential terrorists by our government simply because they have bumper stickers of certain candidates on their cars. Oh yeah, other people the Dept of Homeland Security have their eyes on- the guys coming home from fighting those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I bring this all up again because nobody responded to any of those issues. Does anyone here care? Does being concerned about following the law and protecting civil liberties make me a lefty weenie? These policies are supported by the establishment of both parties- including those you’ve deemed “electable” Republican candidates.

Kevin said...

The only reason I suggested the move elsewhere is comment fields can get pretty long with the responses. But if everyone is cool with it, fair enough. :)

I will try to keep my comments brief but with some substance.

1.) Paul on Iraq and Al-Qaeada, etc. Paul doesn't really try to "understand" their motives, so much as superimpose what he thinks their motives are, based on his worldview.

His view on suicide bombing is a classic one. Since the largest group of suicide bombers in Sri Lanka aren't religious fanatics, ergo Al Qaeda's suicide bombing isn't really influenced by Islamism. He tends to think it is because "we are over there." Yet that's historically naieve.

The leading founders of the Muslim Brotherhood were viciously anti-American...... back in the 1940's. They weren't waging terror campagigns agaisnt Egypt because of America. They were waging those campaigns because they viewed them apostates who had to be deposed so they could form their caliphate.

The fact that such a view is insane and unrealistic really doesn't matter. Bin laden had anti-American views before they stepped foot on Saudi soil.

It's not that Paul is a liar. It's just that he sincerely believes things that just aren't real.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Yep, have to agree with that.
Anyone who thinks the Islamists are upset with America because we have troops in the Middle East or because we support Israel just hasn't any historical sense.

America fought not one but TWO wars with the Muslims shortly after the Republic was founded. Catholics have been fighting Muslims since 632 AD, and in 1400 years, its always been defensive war.

Once is bad luck, twice is coincidence, but 1400 years straight? Please.

Kevin said...

On Foreign Aid:

I have no problem slashing some foreign aid. yet I also think we are wasting our resources if we spend anything beyond 5 seconds talking about it.

Which foreign aid are we talking about? Are we talking about the money we give to Colombia to help liberalize their economy and end the narco-wars, providing a bulwark of stability and pro-American influence in a region dominated by Hugo Chavez, who is doing everything in his power to topple that government and install another anti-american puppet?

Even Pakistan is not as easy a question as it seems. Okay, we end all aid to that country, a country which, even with its duplicity, has lost thousands of troops battling our enemies in regions like Waziristan. And good luck getting access to those leaders inside Pakistan. (We got Bin Laden based in part on those we captured with joint work with the Pakistanis.) They are a fickle ally, and we need to take that into account. Yet while it might make people feel good by revoking all aid, it really won't solve any of our problems, and it might just add to a few.

You want to call a review of all foreign aide and establish better criterion for when it is given out, I'm all for that. Yet if you want to do real deficit reduction, its better to look elsewhere to actually make a difference.

Kevin said...

4.) On the budget.

Andrew, you seem to be saying "The food sucks, and it comes in such small portions!"

As far as the budget cuts, Republicans got about 70% of what they originally called for in their Pledge. The problem was people don't understand how budgets work, and Republicans were too busy hyping up the crowd to bother explaining the difference between outlays, inputs, budget baselines, etc.

As far as "He has a plan, it is called the Constitution", this is what I meant when i said we need to be grownups. And what does "the Constitution" mean in solving this problem realistically?

Do we gut the entire social safety net? Libertarians Milton Friedman (and though not American Hayek) would have been apalled at the idea. Do we just start enacting austerity programs like we see in Europe? Not unless we want a European style economy.

Paul is no different than Newt Gingrich on this one. He is all talk, with no substance. At least his son had the common sense to release a budget proposal of his own. (I think its unrealistic in the end, but the goals are laudable, and a lot of the plan deserves praise.)

Paul Ryan (amongst others) have stepped forward with a credible plan that honors previous contractual committments, but also redefines the relationship between the individual and government, maintaining the social safety net for those who truly need it, and providing better opportunity for those who need it, while ending it for those who don't.

Predictably, Ron Paul voted no. He doesn't put forth positive plans, he just sits on his perch and talks. Not sure if you are aware, but the current stars of the GOP are doers. From Bob McDonnell, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty, they get things done. I'll take that over a talker any day.

Kevin said...

On Social Issues:

To say Pawlenty placed social issues on the back burner shows you aren't really paying attention. The man's pro-life credentials are solid, and he has attacked Daniels over the "truce."

Now the truce is a horrible idea. It won't accomplish what Daniels thinks it will. Yet at the same time, one can't say Daniels has "ignored" social issues. He did defund planned Parenthood, launched bold education reform, etc.

If Daniels runs, I think he will either move away from that talk, or do what is smart. Point out his credentials, and say that our economic policy is not just about numbers, but is a moral policy that talks about who we are as moral persons. (If you haven't read the dialogue between Paul Ryan and Archbishop Dolan, it's quite fascinating, as Ryan makes precisely these points.)

Yet if we are going to talk social issues, Paul's push for hard drug legalization, his stance on prostitution, these are certainly fair game. Far from pushing a truce, he is on the wrong side of the issues. He isn't simply making a federalist argument. If he had his way, even a lot of those state laws would be gone.

Kevin said...

Finally, we aren't a freaking police state. leave the rhetorical flourishes at home. Syria is a police state. We may have some undesirable policies, but we aren't a police state. And such talk only proves the unserious nature here.

As far as the War on Terror, the enemy is Al Qaeda and those who would wish to launch terrorist attacks. that has always been the case, even with Iraq. Is it as clean-cut a war as times past? Of course not.

Yet America fought a war against the Ottoman Empire (through its clients the so called Barbary States) where the enemy was not very well defined. The Western World's previous declaration of piracy as a crime against civilization was likewise ill-defined according to your standards. Should we have never attempted those? The Paulites simply lack any real understanding of history.

As far as the TSA, of course their suggestions are absurd. Yet go ask Ron Paul if we should adopt things such as profiling at airports, and move towards a more Israeli-style system, where those who are dangerous receive tons more scrutiny than those who aren't. Let's take a wild guess on what side he would wind up.

Your concern is noted, but you don't actually have any real solutions, and nor do those you back. It just confirms what I've said about Paul. He's not serious.

Sometimes blunt talk is refreshing. Other times it is an indication that the person is just interested in talking, and not actually getting anything done.

Brendan said...

Andrew, I am under no obligation to publicly answer your personal questions about my life, so stop it with the audacious insistence I do. I have answered your drugs question to the extent I will, and beyond what is relevant.

I explained already what it means to be Pro-Life. To affirm Ron Paul is Pro-Life while his real position is hands off at the Federal level is misleading. You want to set a broad either-or definition that he can fit in. That's wrong, sorry. What do you want me to say? He's not Pro-Life. No he's not! No he's not! No he's not infinity! Your momma!

Ron Paul's rhetoric in the 2008 debates regarding 9/11 was not about keenly understanding the enemy to defeat them. It was about how imperialistic the US has been. That is not just grossly mistaken, it is very offensive.

I am saddened that my use of minimal military terminology and concepts and allusion to recent history in Iraq seem to fall into a vacuous absence of recognition. I am sorry that I am not able to educate you on them, especially not here. If you are truly interested you will need to do your own research. By that I mean something with more substance than Internet searches and blogs.

If you can, please consider the situation in Iraq a few short years ago, just prior to the so-called "Surge." It was so bad, we all thought it could spiral in to a quagmire, a civil war, or some other hopeless horrifying scene. The US sent many additional troops, secured the dangerous areas, and now it can generally be called a success, and the US presence has been steadily drawn down.

That US operation prevented the spiraling of what was to become a disaster. What we were seeing then was a hint at what could have happened, projected out in magnitude and duration, had the US pulled out then.

Secondly, if you can, consider what did happen in Vietnam after the US surrendered and pulled out. The resulting massacre was truly horrifying.

I mention these two real examples because the consequences of surrender are not theory but massive, real horror and death. The consequences of emboldening enemies who taste such victory, discouraging allies, and influencing those on the fence might be harder for you to imagine, but they also significantly impact US security.

You might doubt that sort of disaster would result. But since we really cannot predict the future, let's for a moment just pretend. Suppose the US withdrew from Iraq too early, and the new Iraqi government collapsed. People who had helped the Americans are tortured, beheaded, and otherwise slaughtered. Then Iran moves in and takes over, and turns its sights on Kuwait. (That's a lot of oil, boys and girls, and you know what that means.) Then continues and escalates its threats to annihilate Israel.

If that happened under President Paul, would he care? Not his fault, huh? He would wash his hands and blame someone else for not following the Constitution to his liking.

Or maybe he would act differently. And then everything he said is the nonsense it is.

Kevin said...

If such a scenario happened under President Paul, I guess he would do what President Jefferson did: take everything he said before becoming President and do the precise opposite, and hire lackeys to slander in the media anyone who called him on it.

Kevin said...

The mere fact they talk lovingly about the post-Declaration jefferson should automatically prove their lack of real conservative credentials.

Andrew said...

At the most basic level our disagreements boil down to what has become a growing trend among conservatives- belief in the nanny state. Oh it won't be an oppresive liberal nanny state; it will be a benevolent conservative nanny state. I don't want one of any kind.

Let me illustrate: Kevin, you say we need to maintain the social safety net for those who truly need it. What you are talking about is a GOVERNMENT safety net. Nobody truly needs a government safety net. In fact, our country got along without one for much of our history. The function of taking care of the unfortunate fell upon: family, churches, charities. And guess what? By and large those entities did the job. That the debate has shifted so far that even conservative accept the premise that there is a need for government wealth redistrubition is an symptom of how big our problems are. So when you ask if we should eliminate social welfare programs entirely- my answer is yes. We should do exactly that, regardless of what Milton Friedman might think.

Do not appeal to my sense of Chrisitan charity on the matter, because someone says "give me money or you go to jail" which is what the government does, that is not charity. On the contrary, government welfare programs have gone a long way towards destroying genuine charity in this country. People can rightly say, hey I already paid my taxes, why should I give more on top of that. So with regards to social security- I would not bring any new people into the system. Those who have already paid in would have the option of staying in and seeing what happens (there is no guarantee now either) or walking away. Those that walk away would lose what they've paid it, but would not pay anything else in or get anything out. As I said earlier, I would take that deal in a second and I know lots of others who would as well.

Andrew said...

The republican party not too long ago talked about abolishing the Department of Eduaction, because they saw correctly that the Federal government had no place in education. Now under the GOP we get MORE government envolvement with "No Child Left Behind".

You term, the TSA "enhanced patdowns" as "absurd" and "undesirable". When the government proclaims they have a right to grab my wife's or my daughter's breasts and to feel the inside of their vagina, simply because the woman wants to fly on an airplane, I would use slightly stronger language. "Outrage" comes to mind. "Rape" would also fit. Oh yes, we can avoid all the unpleasant touching, we only have to have naked pictures of us taken. Nothing to offend an honorable Catholic man or woman about that.

No we are not a police state on the level with many others around the world. Yet, we are headed that directions. I would rather do something about it NOW then wait for it to turn into something akin to Syria and then work to undo things.

Andrew said...

Ron Paul is not pro-heroin, pro-prostitution or pro-sodomy. He is pro-following the Consitution and pro-self governance. Bredan asserted that the Federal government has prevented him from getting illegal drugs. He refuses to say if he's ever even attempted to acquire them though.

The point is this- do you not engage in prostitution because it is illegal or because it is wrong? Do you you refrain from drinking to excess even though it is legal? Do you sleep around on your wife? If not, why not? You would't go to jail when you get caught. Sure if marijuana was legal some people would use it. Guess what- quite a few people use it right now while it's illegal. You can buy some at pretty much any high school in our country. In the meantime we have search warrants executed on the wrong houses, our courts and jails backlogged with inmates and cases, and a lot of money and lives wasted. I'm not sure what would happen with legalization occured, but I don't see how it could get worse than what we've been trying.

Paul trusts people in local communities, state governments, and families to have some responsiblity for their own choices and their consequences. Again, for too many the "conservative" position has become that Federal government must babysit us all or society would collapse.

Kevin said...

I find it funny that you believe that Fredrick Hayek and Milton Friedman believed in a "nanny state."

I belive in subsidarity. Those local institutions which can best handle a situation should if possible. (From the self, to the family, to church organizations, charitable causes, etc.) Yet there are sometimes when government action is neccessary. So when it is done as a last resort, it should be targeted and with the intention of empowering the individual to rise out of it as soon as possible.

I also believe pretty firmly in honoring our obligations. Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of our welfare policies, people paid into them in good faith. Now we may have to go the European route and tell them to pound sand. Yet if we can solve the problem without that, all the better. Austerity as a fiscal program like we see in Europe is just as reckless as out of control spending, and they are two sides of the same coin.

That's why the Ryan plan exempts those over a certain age to start for the next 10 years after it passes. Why? Because they put into the system most, and made plans on what they put in.

Yet moving forward, we need to redefine how it occurs.

I'll ignore the rest of what you say simply because it is a rhetorical flourish. I've already said I oppose those things and think they should be overturned, and even proposed an alternative.

And that alternative is actually pretty much the mainstream Republican position. Everyone from Charles Krauthammer to Pat Buchannan have proposed something like it.

Andrew said...

Just as many big government conservatives no longer trust individuals, states, and local governments to make their own choices, they don't trust people in other countries to manage their own affairs.

Brendan offers up a scenario of Iranian domination of the Persian gulf following a US withdrawal from Iraq. I have a few questions- what is Turkey doing? How about Saudi Arabia? Or Israel? Or the opposition within Iran? Isn't possible someone other than the US government could exercise some responsiblity?

Perhaps if the French, after helping America gain her independence, had maintained a peacekeeping force here for the next half century, they might have prevented the American Civil War. But, guess what- Americans didn't want to be occupied by a foreign power, even an ally. In fact it never even came up, because we wanted to be free to make our own way.

Brendan labels accusations that American has behaved in a imperial manners as "offensive" right after he explains that we need to indefinitley occupy the fertile cresent in order to maintain stability. But don't worry, the operation has already been completed.

Kevin said...

Yes, I'm all for local communities.

Yet Prostitution is normally something also known as sex trafficking, where it occurs across state lines, and women are held in practical slavery.

That's something the federal government has to be involved in.

And yes, some things are so destructive to society, that the federal government should weigh in on them, butressing what local communities have said. That's part and parcel of federalism.

Andrew said...

No Osama Bin Laden could not have been appeased. Islamist want to rule the world. I am not historical ignorant nor naive.

That does not change the fact that some of our actions do provide handy recruiting tools to Al Qaeda. We frame the struggle as one of democracy vs despotism, and at the same time we support an Islamic theocracy in Saudia Arabia that oppresses it's own people (and bans the Holy Mass by the way.)

Andrew said...

Kevin, I understand your point regarding honoring our obligations. If you read what I wrote under my plan people already in social security could stay in.

However, UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM, there is no obligation for the government to pay me a dime. A moral one perhaps but not a legal one. The other aspect of the problem is that based on simple demographics the system is unstainable. Our welfare system is going to end one way or the other, its just a question of how, and how much damage does it do before then.

Kevin said...

We will accept you've basically conceded the point about Paul not having a clue about middle eastern history.

As far as your analogy about France, it doesn't hold up. France agreed to an alliance to help us obtain our independence, not occupy us.

With Iraq, we had a negotiated treaty that our troops remained there til a certain time. No such treaty ever existed with the French. Yet we accomplished the mission in Iraq, the forces are leaving, and it looks to be the one place of sanity in the Middle east right now.

As far as Iran, we have our own strategic interests right now in that region. So those interests trump, at least for America, whatever intersts Turkey, Israel, the Saudis have, etc.

you keep saying you are a non-interventionist, not an isolationist. Yet we have alliances with many in the region. Do we just say "build up your own military, you are on your own?"

We aren't intervening in that region for their intersts. We happen to be acting there because it is in our interests.

Ron Paul disagrees, primarily because he can't ever seem to justify one spot outside our borders where we have an interest that requires our presence or involvement. Sounds a lot like isolationism to me.

Andrew said...

For the sex trafficking scenario you lay out, you don't need a law against prostitution to stop it.

There are laws against kidnapping and rape in every state in the union.

Kevin said...


With all due respect, since we both acknowledge the entitlement system needs to be changed, and fundamentally so, what you said is sort of irrelevant.

Here is the question: is the belief that in some limited instances, there should be a social safety netby the government anathema to conservative orthodoxy? If so, you are writing out quite a large segment of conservative thought, even those who provided a lot of the intellectual firepower for the thoughts of Ron Paul in the past.

Kevin said...

Yes Andrew but many of these incidents happen across state borders. So mere state law is not enough. Only the federal government can provide teeth to enforcement in such a scenario.

Andrew said...

I don't remember agreeing that Ron Paul doesn't have a clue about the Middle East, it was kind of you to presume agreement on that though.

You seem to equate "presence and involvement" around the world with military force. While I agree force is a needed component of national policy, it's not the be all and end all of diplomatic relations.

Andrew said...

Actually if a crime is happening across state lines, you have at least two states who could take action against the criminals involved.

Kevin said...

Personally, I believe in the "Kirkpatrick Doctrine", which was Reagan's fundamental philosophy in foreign affairs. Do what one can to promote the cause of liberty, yet to do so in an orderly fashion.

Simple reality means you will have to deal with dictators and despots. You do what you can to promote the free market, civic freedoms, etc. Sometimes slowly, sometimes accelerated.

It was the system that allowed us to push for rapid liberalization in Poland, yet gradual liberalization in places like Chile and Clomobia.

More often than not it was a success as it led to greater prosperity for the people, greater stability (Chavez hasn't had a prayer at gaining power and influence in those two countries), and ultimately a pro-american society and government.

I do believe in American exceptionalism. not in a sense of a divine mandate, but in the sense that there is something special about our position in the world, and we shouldn't be ashamed of it. America has been a force of immeasurable good for the world in the 20th century and beyond.

Kevin said...

If we've learned anything since the Obama Presidency, it is that soft power needs to be backed up credibly with hard power for diplomacy to work.

And my view is that you responded to everything else but Paul's naive view about Al Qaeda's loathing of us. It simply doesn't fit the historical facts. As the Romans say, qui tacet consentire videtur.

Andrew said...

Disregarding the Constitution when it is inconvenient is anathema to conservative thought, or at least it should be.

The Catholic Church has also always taught that communism compelled by force is intriscally evil. Where is the line between socialism and communism? Actually, it shouldn't matter because in the Church has also denounced socialism as intrinsically evil (but we don't like to talk about that). Tragically, the Church in Europe and North America has been co-opted to such a large degree and sent out so many mixed messages that many in the laiety justify voting for someone who is pro-abortion because they are pro-government health insurance, and well that's all part of being pro-life isn't it?

Got to got. Enjoying the conversation. Pax.

Andrew said...

Got to go, I mean.

Kevin said...

The Catholic Church as well as even libertarian thinkers like Hayek and Friedman have long distinguished between a social safety net for targeted instances, and a social assistance state. If you can't make that distinction, you really shouldn't be having this discussion.

As far as your other mention in regards to state versus federal. In your example, what if one state decides there isn't enough evidence to move forward, while the other knows there is? What if one state lacks the resources?

That is why in these instances, you have a federal response, either leading or in co-operation with local authorities. Yet a federal response to sex trafficking requires that sex trafficking be a federal crime. Which it is.

Brendan said...

Andrew is beating up a lot of straw men here. It could get really tedious to keep repeating, "I did not say that, I said this," when all one really has to do is re-read what was posted above.

AFAIK, no prominent Republican is actively endorsing the social programs implemented by Bush.

Seems Andrew is saying a lot of "ONLY Ron Paul," when it isn't true. Hard to imagine, e.g., any sane conservative continuing the TSA pat-downs, which, incidentally, Andrew exaggerates rather pornographically.

I am disappointed at the indifference to the consequences of surrender, as long as there is someone to blame.

But this is why Ron Paul fanatics are just that. That is why they will run around declaring that Fox News accidentally running a video from a prior year that had more booing than the right one, and immediately apologizing, is a grand scheme to stop him out of their fear of his awesomeness. Like anyone besides Ron Paul fans cares.

A debate over mainstream conservatism versus libertarianism could conceivably be interesting, but what you find is that Ron Paul fans are better at it than Ron Paul. What kind of leader cannot carry his own water?

Ron Paul cannot win a Republican nomination because most of us are not libertarians or isolationists, and we are not going to accept that. Certainly not in the form of a loon like Ron Paul.

He cannot win a general election for the same reason, and because the American voters are not going to respond positively to having their country chastised and blamed and called an empire. That's what we don't like about Obama.

Thanks be to God that a Ron Paul candidacy is not serious.

Libertarians have a choice. Sure, he shares their views, and they have a right to vote for the one who represents their ideas. But the rest of us are not going to buy it. Getting so emotionally invested, following the Ron Paul blogs, posting about him everywhere other candidates are mentioned, is a ridiculous waste of time. It would be better to direct that energy in getting to know, and getting behind, a real candidate.

Andrew said...

Kevin, if you commit crimes in two states and only one state has enough evidence to make an arrest, you get arrested in one state. It's not rocket science. Virginia doesn't need Maryland's permission to arrest someone for crimes commited in Virginia. And if the person leaves Virginia, they can get a warrant and extradite them from any other state.

Brendan, if I've mischaracterized your statements, tell me which ones and in what way instead of hand waving and generalizing.

My description of the TSA screening measures are not exagerations, but I would agree that what is going on could be termed pornographic. My comments are all based on the actual complaints of passengers who were screened.

Finally, "no prominent republican is endorsing the social programs implemented by Bush". ??? Again, I'll agree with Kevin- talk is cheap. They endorsed the programs when they campaigned for them and voted for them. I don't hear any of your "prominent" Republicans talking about repealing the prescription drug benefit, No child left behind, Mcain-Feingold, the Patirot Act or anything else Bush signed into law. Most of them supported the bank bailouts. Verbally distancing yourself from Bush is far from actually doing something to undo what was done under his watch.

Andrew said...

"what kind of leader cannot carry their own water" also makes me laugh when the guy saying is defending the GOP congress. But considering the source is a pro-life conservative who happens to like Obama...

Brendan said...

Andrew, I cannot compete with your talent for suckering people into chasing their tail in endless re-hashings of what was already said. The first time, I really thought I needed to clarify myself, but now with the third time, I realize this is just silly. I don't know if you are playing a game with me, or if you are sincere in your lack of understanding, but in any case, it's obvious you have a lot of practice at this flaming stuff. I guess it goes with the territory.

These comment boxes can get very lengthy stating things just once, and my opinion is only worth so much.

I seriously do not expect you to research what I suggested, nor to read my words more carefully. I initially interpreted your engaging me as respect for my opinion, but I realize now you have no respect, you just reflexively respond to everything because you do this all the time.

Andrew said...


If you think I have asked you to rehash things over and over, it's because I thought your statements were inconsistent or simply incorrect, and you refused to address some questions so I reasked them.

I did become skeptical of your sincerity in the debate, when I asked who you like better then Paul and the first name you thought of was Obama. I pressed you out of incredulity and you responded that most of us didn't know the candidates well enough. Finally, you responded any GOP candidate other than Paul was better than Paul. That series of comments led me to believe you were either an Obama-backer playing with others having a debate or someone who doesn't really care at all about politics and was just having a fun time. If I was mistaken in that assesment I apologize.

As I said earlier, when I first heard of Paul, I thought he was a nut! I'd encourage you to read one of his books. The Revolution: A Manifesto is a good overall presentation of his ideas.


Kevin said...

And Andrew,

It isn't rocket science.

let's say you do a crime in Virginia and maryland. Maryland is known for not having strong resources on catching those criminals. (Pure theorycrafting here.) virginia is known for being a lot tougher.

So you go to Maryland. Heck, you might even still run a trafficking ring in Virginia, just without you physically there. Since this isn't rocket science, that's why you have such a thing as a federal crime. Shall we abolish the FBI as well?

Brendan is right. In the end, libertarians just aren't serious.

McCain Feingold is essentially dead on arrival, the Supreme Court having ruled the majority of its provisions unconstitutional. Nobody is talking about it, because it is no longer important, the court having struck down any of the enforceable provisions.

The thing with the Patriot Act, whatever one's thoughts about it, libertarians can't find one verifiable act of abuse yet. As such, the Patriot Act still remains popular with the majority of Americans, and it is why you won't see it repealed. That's speaking from a pure realist perspective. (not counting or discounting the wisdom of the law.)

As far as the patdown regime, to say it was "voted" upon, can you provide the voting records of those currently running for President and show where they endorsed groping someone?

Considering that the majority of the people running are governors, and hence would not have voted on said legislation, you might have a hard time bringing up such a list.

Once again, you are guilty of rhetorical overreach Andrew. I think that should be a new policy, althoug it would also disqualify anyone from defending Paul, since they cannot do it save through rhetorical overreach.

Andrew said...


I apologize for some ambiguity in my comments. When I wrote about voting for the Bush era proposals, I was referring to the GOP members of congress. I know they are not running for President, but as we've been covering a lot of ground: the budget, entitlements, the larger direction of our country- they are relevant to the conversation.

You're correct. Nobody voted for TSA patdowns. However most of the GOP did vote for the creation of the TSA. They also have not STOPPED what is happening by exercising control of the purse strings or crafting a new law.

Ron Paul has introduced The American Passenger Dignity Act HR6416 to address the issue.

What would I do regarding airport security? Get the government out of it.

What makes the screening unconstitutional is that it is being done by Federal employees. If the private employee of an airline strip searched people who agreed to the search as a condition of their flight, that would legally fine. Passengers could decide if it was morally fine and vote with their money.

Under the 4th ammendment Americans are protected from unreasonble search and seizures. A law enforcement agent needs reasonable suspicion or consent to search you. Getting on airplane is not suspicious and isn't consent to search. At the most basic level, even running everyone's luggage through an x-ray machine is unconsitutional, if it's a government employee running the machine.

If Paul and his supporters seem overly excited about things, it probably appears that way because we see the establishment of the GOP as either oblivious to the depth of the problems we face or complicit in their creation. Paul does not have much of a track record as an executive and he does talk a lot. The GOP establishment has a long record of talk and action. Unfortunately the two don't match up very well.

Will you agree, that what popularity Paul and his ideas do have is in very large part due to the GOP severly eroding its own credibilty by repeatedly saying one thing and doing another? In effect, we view you the same way you view us....not serious.

Andrew said...

A new GOP administration may or may not eliminate the patdowns. I haven't heard any of the candidates other than Paul comment on it. Do you know if they have?

I'd still be concerned that elimination of the patdowns would simply mean everyone has to go through the body scanners, which are just as problomatic as the patdowns. In fact there are some who think the TSA is deliberately being offensive with the patdowns in order to drive people to the scanners, and once everyone accepts the scanners the patdowns will be removed.

Kevin said...

"Will you agree, that what popularity Paul and his ideas do have is in very large part due to the GOP severly eroding its own credibilty by repeatedly saying one thing and doing another? In effect, we view you the same way you view us....not serious.

That might be part of it. Of course, being that I'm just as likely to oppose the "establishment" as support them, I'm not too worried.

Part of it is also no doubt the rise of the internet and the culture it gives.

Yet there have always been fringe movements in politics. Even what we know as the conservative movement today started as a fringe movement back in the 1940's. Yet in order to move beyond fringe status, you gotta cull the wackos and get serious.

If the Paulites dropped their obsession over drug legalization, unequivocally denounced those like truthers/birthers refusing to take their money and actually put forth a credible voice with real executive experience, maybe people would take them seriously.

When it comes to Presidents, you don't nominate talkers. You nominate doers. Look what happened this past election when we nominated a talker. Even outside of his nanny state liberalism, he has managed in 3 short years to ruin our relationship with just about every ally we have, and have gaffe after gaffe in actually ruling.

There is someone libertarian leaning in the likes of Rick Perry, who may one day be an attractive candidate (don't think he will run in 2012.) Yet he wouldn't pastt the "purity" test many libertarians have, and it is why they are derided as "losertarians".

Paul isn't a leader, and he certainly isn't Presidential material, his strengths lie elsewhere. Though it really has been 30-35 years since libertarians really exerted any influence on the political debate in America. Time will tell if grownups step up to the plate.

Kevin said...

As far as patdowns, I find such invasive treatment absurd when done so indiscriminately, whether or not it is done privately or publicly.

On matters of true security, I think airport security is the one area where privatizing isn't a good idea. (Though with things such as air traffic controllers I fully support it.)

First we have to end the idea that the 90 year old granny is the equivalent of the 23 year old from Karachi with no paper trail who pays a one way ticket with cash.

That breaks a lot of taboos, but is no less neccessary.

Andrew said...

Zogby poll taken April 29-May 2 this year, AFTER the While House released their scan of the long form birth certificate says that 16% of likely voters and 30% of Republicans do not believe Obama has proven he was born in the United States.

Somehow I don't see the GOP (or the Democrats for that matter) refusing donations from all those people.

Kevin said...

If you know the person is a birther, yes, you should refuse their money if you are a political candidate.

The conservative movement never took off in America until the John Birch Society was dealt with.

The birther movement was based on the most uncharitable of readings of the facts, and required imbibing in he biggest of the conspiracy theory kool-aid.

I for one believe the actual number of birthers is less than that, but even still, a message should be sent that their type of viewpoint is not allowed in the tent.

Andrew said...

It's very interesting that you would exclude so many people from the electoral process (at least the fund raising side of it) over these two particular issues- 9/11 and Obama's birth.

What about those who are pro-abortion? Surely, the actual killing of millions of people has been more damaging to our Republic then either "theory". Should anyone who does not believe human life begins as conception and abortion should be illegal be driven out of the Republican party?

As far as Obama's birth goes, I think what you call the most uncharitable reading of the facts, comes about for a couple of reasons. First, there haven't been many facts presented. Simply, "Trust us, the DNC looked into it" was the line for a very long time. Shockingly, this didn't satisfy some people. Secondly, it all comes down to credibility. If someone has lied to you over and over, you begin to doubt their sincerity, even though sometimes they may be telling the truth. It's the old boy who cried wolf story. Obama has demonstrably lied about a variety of topics on a large number of occasions. He has a credibility problem that is of his own making. And when someone has a problem like that, posting a computer generated image on the internet and saying "SEE, this PROVES I'm telling the truth!" really doesn't convince too many people who weren't already.

Kevin said...

And this is what I'm talking about when I say libertarians aren't adults.

If you believe that a president masterminded the massacre of 3,000 citizens all so he could increase his own power, enrich his own oil buddies, and maybe beat a few muslim kids with a stick while he is at it, you've won yourself the right to be excluded from any sane discussion.

People with a pro-abortion mindset can generally be changed. Their problem is a flawed view of understanding morality, or simply of the empirical facts.

People like the conspiracy theorist, their problem is more psychological than anything else.

Ironically, Ron Paul's son did what his father was unwilling to do. When Trumps birther nonsense was sweeping the nation, he said it was silly. When the long form was released, confirming what every sane and rational person already knew, Rand Paul piled on, giving what was one of the funniest speeches I've heard in some time, but also one filled with a lot of substance.

The problem with the birther movement is it required an intentional distorting of facts, and the people simply lacked the stones to be honest. They weren't simply "questioning", they either believed it, or they didn't care, provided it caused Obama damage. (Just as when Howard Dean said it was "interesting" the thoeries that Bush knew about and let 9-11 happen)

I'm a lot more partial to Ron Paul's son Rand. Oh I still disagree with him on several things, especially in regards to foreign policy. Yet I also think he is a serious adult so far. He is different in a lot of ways from his old man, and most of them bode well for his future. I'd be interested in seeing him run for governor in his home state eventually. See how the libterarian impulse handles governing a state.

Not to mention, as far as I'm aware, he hasn't taken out tons of stump speeches for the liberty of people to shoot themselves full of smack.

If the libertarian movement has more people like Rand and less like Ron, you guys might go somewhere. Heck, even the Weekly Standard gave him a pretty fawning bio in this weeks edition:

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Kevin, there's a difference between birthers and truthers.

Truthers believe that Bush and Cheney were behind 9/11.

Birthers believe that the "natural born citizen" clause of the US constition requires both a birth and a blood component.

Being born in the US makes one a US citizen, but you're not a natural born citizen unless you are BOTH born in the US *AND* your parents were US citizens at the time of your birth.

Given the laws extant at the time the Constitution was drawn up, there is legal precedent for thinking this is the case, and the case law on this is not entirely settled. Obama, as a "constitutional law professor" would know this, and thus work hard to obfuscate the point.

Kevin said...


Both theories require stretching evidence to the maximum, and constantly shifting rationales and goalposts.

The presentation of evidence is not enough to silence any doubt. The very presentation of evidence is proof of a fabrication, and all the more proof of the conspiracy!

The law hasn't considered it because there really was no consideration that people would question that one parent being a citizen was not enough to make one a citizen.

Even bastard children or children whose paternity was near impossible to tell were natural citizens. Mater semper certa est

Cosri and friends know this, which is why they have to invent a thousand theories as to why the sky really isn't blue.

One of the main reasons why there is a ton of cross-pollination between the truthers and the birthers.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Could you point to the "constantly shifting evidence" in the birthers' belief set?

Speaking for myself, I would just like a clear SCOTUS ruling on what a "natural-born citizen" is.

The Constitution only mentions it once, the appellate court decisions that touch on the definition could be interpreted either way depending on which case you like, US statutory law doesn't address it, and there has been no definitive definition outside of "The Law of Nations", which is not technically part of US case law.

Now, that book is believed to be a reference document for the Founders, but we don't KNOW that it was for a fact. So there's a legitimate question there that is completely independent of the birth certificate.

If you can cite case law that definitively proves your statement, "Even bastard children or children whose paternity was near impossible to tell were natural citizens", please do. To date, I haven't seen such a case cited by either side.

Andrew said...

Kevin’s comments on so-called “birthers” are very revealing. Let’s look at what those with similar views in the GOP say:

Welcome! Welcome! Come on down to the BIG Tent! Sure we’ve got our differences but everyone is welcome, it’s urgent we win to save the country!

What’s that? You’re pro-abortion? That’s ok. We’re a big tent. Abortion might be killing millions of children, but we’ve got to focus on the economy right now. We can work with you.

What’s that? You believe in using race in hiring and admissions? That’s ok. We’re supposed to believe in treating people as individuals, but that’s ok. We can work with you.

What’s that? You’re a 3rd world dictator? Hmmm, so you persecute Christians and ethnic minorities and you harbor enemies of our nation….hmmmm. Well, when you think about it the cost of NOT engaging you would probably be much worse the working with you. So come on in. We’re a big tent.

What’s that? You like big government? Well come right in! Yeah, sometimes we still bill ourselves as the party of smaller government, but yeah right who are we kidding!

What’s that? You’re skeptical about Obama’s birth certificate! Hold it right there buddy! Say what? You agree with our entire platform. So what? That’s doesn’t matter. Take a hike. We may be a big tent, but not THAT big. Get lost and don’t come back.

So everyone is tolerated inside the big tent, even if they are actively working at odds with what the party’s platform says its trying to accomplish, except for those that commit the unforgivable sin. They cause EMBARRASSMENT. Sure abortion kills people, but being “pro-choice” isn’t going to ruffle any feathers on the golf course, in the board room, or at the cocktail party. It’s the same reason most GOP politicians will talk about “traditional values” and even an unidentified “God”, but very rarely mention the name Jesus Christ. It’s simply too embarrassing if you’re going to hang out in certain social circles. Kevin was willing to compromise on just about everything for the greater good of winning elections, but when it comes people believing in something that causes no damage, but is embarrassing, well then in that case 30% of the party should go jump in a lake. We can negotiate with the Taliban, we can put up Scozzafava, Specter, and Schwarzenegger, but talk to BIRTHERS!?. Never.

How else to explain that someone who disagrees with every plank of the platform is welcomed (not just as a voter or donor but as a candidate!), but someone with the audacity to question the integrity of a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT President is to be exiled from the Republican party.

Andrew said...

This is why so many are disgusted with the GOP. Sure they might try to get some thing done. But they won’t try too hard or be too politically incorrect because they don’t want to rock the boat in Washington or offend their friends across the party aisle and in the media. As long as those hayseed Christians/Birthers/Pro-lifers/homeschoolers/tea partiers/etc keep voting for them that’s all they need out of them. Throw those kooks a bone once in awhile to keep them from going off the reservation, keep getting re-elected and when the time is right leave elected office for a lobbying job.

The other very revealing thing about Kevin’s comments is that they show a disregard for what the actual facts are and what the Constitution actually says. We don’t need concrete answers. So what if Obama wasn't born in the United States? His mother was an American, that's probably good enough. We just need this to go away. This goes back to what I’ve been saying throughout the thread. I’ve condemned everything from social security to TSA airport screenings to the Patriot Act to No Child Left Behind to undeclared war as unconstitutional. The response has not been to defend these things as constitutional. Rather its been to say “So what? It’s not politically practical or realistic to change things”. When so many violations of the Constitution are simply accepted as facts of life, when you want to make a Constitutional argument it becomes very difficult to have any credibility.

Earlier on in this discussion, I was condemned as totally ignorant of history. If you look at history you will see pretenders and usurpers down through the ages. Heck, people lie on their resume to get a job at the gas station. So why isn’t it POSSIBLE that someone might lie to get one of the most powerful jobs in the world? Well, because things like that simply don’t happen here, that’s why.

For a long time the election sales pitch to a good portion of the Republican base has been:

You HAVE to vote for us. Look how horrible the Democrats are. You may not like us, but you have no alternative. So quit your whining, hold your nose, and pull that lever.

And it’s worked to a large degree. But you can only pitch yourself as the lesser of two evils for so long. Look who we put up last time: a liberal John McCain who talked openly of selecting a pro-abortion democrat/independent as his running mate- the same guy Al Gore picked. The problem is that when you pick the lesser of two evils you still get an evil. It’s hard to see how a McCain administration would have been much different from the Obama one, except they wouldn’t have gone so far so fast. Same direction, just a slower pace of change.

A lot of us are sick of going that direction- bigger government, less freedom. That’s why we’re supporting candidates like Paul who want to change directions and go towards smaller government, more freedom. That's a lot more appealing sales pitch then "vote for me, I'm not quite as bad as the other guy."

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Andrew has a hell of a point.

The Republicans are willing to tolerate anything but being pointed at and made fun of by the "intellectuals" in the Democrat Party.

The Democrats have consistently stolen elections and lied in order to get their way, with the help of a complicit media.

Given the state of the case law, I see no reason to think the birther issue is not a legitimate issue.

Kevin, I'm still waiting for a legal cite from you to back up your point... case law that decisively and clearly distinguishes "native-born" from "natural born."

Good luck with that, btw. If hundreds of thousands of people haven't found it by now, I somehow tend to doubt it's going to be pulled out of a hat. Case law is a lot harder to manufacture than a birth certificate.

Brendan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

No we weren't talking about people working within the party bureaucracy. Kevin's stance was that any GOP candidate should reject any funding from anyone who has questions about Obama's eligibility based upon his birth and/or citizenship ("Birthers"). He further related that they had no place in the party and should be condemned openly. Presumably this would mean rejecting and endorsements they would give or making campaign appearances in front of or with them. The only thing they would be allowed to do is vote for GOP candidates and that's only because of the secrecy of the ballot box.

So Kevin's exclusion covered all there areas you mentioned- party officeholders, party voters, and party structure.

Andrew said...

What exactly is the "thing" that parties do if they aren't to have any say regarding policy or candidates? Do they simply exist as a fund raising operation? If so, aren't they supposed to be fundraising for particular candidates in order to advance a particular agenda?

Kevin said...

Yes Andrew, my comments are indeed revealing, but only in that it smokes you out as one who likes to beat up straw men.

As far as abortion, yes, the GOP has allowed some pro-choicers to be within our ranks. yet that hasn't changed the fact that the GOP has been officially pro-life. If one thinks there is no difference between the GOP and the democrats on the question of life, I ask: How is Obamacare working out for ya?

I nowhere mentioned affirmative action, and I am unaware of any candidates for president actually supporting it. Yet overall, it's best handled as a local matter (what those who are actually doing away with it say works best, Ward Connelly doesn't want a national amendment/law on this), and yes, there are more pressing issues.

My problem with the birthers and the truthers is they take out positions that are loony. The latter are actually evil, the former just wacky.

Here we are facing a real crisis of our entitlement spending, all the problems in the Middle East, etc etc, and they are focusing on a birth certificate. First that it would prove he was not born in America, then that it was faulty through digital imaging (people who made this claim had no technicaly knowledge) and then as a fail-safe, talk about what "natural born citizen" means. Sorry Steve, but on this one, one can't really present a case that the Founding Fathers intended to limit birth citizenship to either just the father's nationality, or that both parents had to be nationalized citizens.

Maybe they should take a look at it nowadays. Maybe they shouldn't. yet the relevance of that question in regards to Obama is non-existent.

Kevin said...

As far as Andrew's idea they don't want to be politically correct or rock the boat:

Have you read Ryan's "Path for Prosperity?" The current GOP House leadership not only cut spending (albeit some wanted more), they are taking on the debt ceiling in a real and substantial way (yes, we have to do it, but not until you give some serious reforms.)

The current crop of governors from Scott Walker to Chris Christie to Bobby Jindal, pretty much solid conservative credentials, and they are getting stuff actually done. Ron Paul hasn't gotten anything done in decades.

Obama was born in the United States. It was always plainly obvious he was born in the United States. When the "short-form" (which was sufficient as a legal document in such matters) was released showing his birth, they came up with all these ideas why the "long-form" wasn't there. Now that the long-form is released, they claim (without any technicaly knowledge) that the document was altered.

Faced with clear evidence they were wrong, Corsi and Farah simply moved the goalposts back, that since his father wasn't a US citizen, then neither was Obama (despite acknowleding the Constitution doesn't say that, they can't cite law from our traditions which point to it, etc.)

The issue isn't whether it was possible someone might lie to become a president with a birth certificate. The issue was the facts clearly told a different story, and you refuse to acknowledge the facts.

And yes, Andrew is right. I believe we should unequivocally speak against the black helicopter crowd and refuse to associate with them. I don't oppose them out of a desire to get along with elite democrats. I oppose them because they are crazy.

Btw Steve, can you show me where the courts have even hinted that someone born in America to at least one parent who was an American citizen is not an American citizen?

Since you are making the challenge here, onus falls on you.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


You're simply wrong on the claims of the birthers.

1) The argument about the differences between "naturalized" vs. "native-born" vs. "natural-born" have been around for just about as long as the question of the birth certificate has been around.

Indeed, many birthers (including myself), have felt the birth certificate was not nearly as important an issue as the tri-partite question.

2) Birthers do NOT claim that since Barack was born of a non-US father that he is therefore not a citizen.

In fact, I don't know ANYONE who holds that position.

The position is that while Barack may be a "native-born" American citizen (and a full-fledged American citizen in that regard), he is NOT a "natural-born" American citizen.

3) You essentially said this was settled in case law. I asked you to cite the case.


Please do.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Elk v. Wilkins, 83 U.S. 36 (1872): The Court denied Elk, a Native American, the right to vote as a U.S. citizen even though he was born on U.S. soil, because he was born on an Indian Reservation. Elk was not born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, because he "owed immediate allegiance to" his tribe, a vassal or quasi-nation, and not to the United States. The Court held Elk was not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States at birth.
The evident meaning of these last words is, not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction, and owing them direct and immediate allegiance.

Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1872): The Court discussed the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment:
the phrase 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' was intended to exclude from its operation children of ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign states, born within the United States.

Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874): In this case decided after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court stated (pp. 167–68):
The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.

There are more, but this is a start. The issue is not settled in the Constitution - as the court itself testified - and has not been settled in case law.

there are lots of rulings on whether birth alone makes you a US citizen - that is uncontested. The question is, does birth alone make you a NATURAL-BORN citizen.

The treatise on international law by Emerich de Vattel entitled The Law of Nations: "The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens." Some SCOTUS decisions quote Vattel in their findings.

Lower courts have ruled both ways. None of the SCOTUS rulings are definitive on this issue.

SCOTUS needs to rule.

Kevin said...


The first case you cite, indian territories are viewed as their own territory.

The second case deals with those not American citizens..... AT ALL. Since the mother was clearly an American citizen, the case doesn't apply.

So I go back to the question, which you dodged by a bit of clever spin:

Can you name one case where the Supreme Court has said a child born to a US citizen was not a natural born US citizen?

Meanwhile, our entitlement system is going broke, we are over in Libya where we have no business being, we have to figure out how we can raise the debt ceiling without writing a blank check for it, and you guys are focused on a birth certificate and trying to use constitutional arguments nobody ever really dreamed up.

You say SCOTUS needs to rule. Yet let us say SCOTUS ruled against the birthers 9-0, and Scalia in his trademark biting fashion wrote the majority mocking what a dumb opinion it is. Would that settle the issue for you and others?

I highly doubt it.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Kevin, since SCOTUS has never ruled on what constitutes a natural born citizen, it isn't possible to produce such a case.

That's my point - SCOTUS hasn't ruled.

Why are you asking me to produce the very evidence that I have already stipulated doesn't exist?

You're the one who says this is settled case law.

So, produce a case that demonstrates this is settled.

Kevin said...

Can you find me any lower courts which have said that both parents must be American citizens (natural or otherwise) for their child to be an American citizen when born on American soil?

I'm not one who is putting forth the idea that its an open issue unless SCOTUS has ruled so narrowly on it.

One might as well say it is an open issue juridically if unicorns exist, and then ask for a reference from SCOTUS that the denial of the existence of unicorns is "settled law."

There's absolutely no evidence that the founders or the courts ever intended to deny citizenship to a child because only one of his parents was a US citizen and gave birth to him on US soil.

We could never know the identity of Barrack Obama Sr. and we would still have certainty that Barrack Obama Jr. was an American citizen. Why? Because his mother was an American citizen.

If the man's name was Barry Wilson (which he actually was called by during parts of his childhood) nobody would be questioning this.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


a) You're simply wrong. Vattel's "Law of Nations" is evidence. Early case law rulings on cases which are similar to this count as evidence.

b) You have no case law to back up your earlier assertion, which is why you are blustering now.

Brendan said...

It is reasonable to understand the term natural born citizen as one who is a citizen at birth.

To the charge on earlier posts on this blog that the authors of the 14th Amendment understood that former slaves would not be natural born citizens eligible to be President, it is reasonable to understand that this is because they were legally property at birth, and became recognized as citizens at the adoption of the Amendment. It cannot presume to alter the legal past.

Steve, you cite some Supreme Court cases dealing with whether some individuals are citizens, because in those cases there were doubts. At this point, there is not a reasonable doubt, according to all current conventions, that Obama is a citizen. To charge that his election was invalid on the basis of his citizenship status is to invalidate all recent elections because our current standard for who can vote would be invalid. And we know that the basis for his US citizenship is in fact his place of birth.

So you are left with the case that the term natural born citizen is an arcane technical term to describe a different type of citizen, whose definition requires careful research and analysis. It is generally not reasonable to expect to find exotic language in the US Constitution that requires deciphering. While that may be a remote possibility, the idea that the Supreme Court must rule on it necessarily would require a great deal more substantial evidence to even open such a case.

To a reasonable observer, it looks absurd. It cannot really be taken seriously.

I deleted my previous comment because Kevin's later illumination showed I had misunderstood the point, so my response was off. Suffice it to say that nobody will gain ground for themselves or against Obama by pushing that point. Individuals might believe it or even vote based on it, but they will not be taken seriously when discussing it.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

"Reasonable" does not equal "legal".

Just to pick one recent example, it is unreasonable to charge someone $90,000 in fines for selling 200 rabbits over 10 years - but it's legal.

SCOTUS hasn't ruled on exactly what the phrase "natural-born citizen" means.

Does it mean just parents?
Does it mean just location?
Does it mean both?

I honestly don't know.
But a reasonable person cannot hold that the courts have defined it when the courts haven't done any such thing.

Brendan said...

Right, the courts have not defined it, and they are not going to. The phrase is generally understood at face value, and there is no reason not to.

I think you will find that the interpretation I have given, that a natural born citizen is a citizen at birth, is consistent with the text of the Law of Nations.

Stating the criteria for such citizenship is not a semantic definition of the term, but laying down the rules for when it applies; that is, what conditions grant a child citizenship at birth. The use of the phrase natural born citizen is merely the way of expressing this conferring of citizenship.

The conditions under which we grant citizenship at birth have obviously changed. That does not create a different type of citizen. We only have one class of citizens in the US.

I think your example uses a different sense of the term unreasonable. In the more literal (and legal) sense I meant it is reasonable for a fine to be imposed on someone who breaks the law. The more literally precise word I might use to express the idea you mean is excessive.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Your entire position is absurd.
1) Lawyers make their living by NOT taking legal language at face value, so there's TONS of reasons to go into this more deeply.

2) Your interpretation does NOT accord with the definition from the Law of Nations: "the natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights."

LoN has two clauses, not the one you suppose. Obama's father wasn't a citizen, so he couldn't succeed to any of his father's rights.

3) Subsequent US law has defined the rights of citizens, but not of natural-born citizens.

4) There ARE two classes of citizens - Arnold cannot be President, even though he is a US citizen, but I can be.

Your interpretation doe snot accord with the facts.

Brendan said...

You answered your own question in #1. Lawyers endeavor to bend the meanings of legal language when they have an incentive. I would add that the Constitution tends to be far more carefully and clearly worded than most legislation.

Of course in archaic documents you would find mention of following the rights of fathers, without respect to mothers. Do you really think that sort of language has any bearing on current US law and custom? Right or wrong, that concept has long since been obsoleted.

By "my" interpretation I really mean just the way it is generally understood, I am just spelling it out. It is consistent with the Law of Nations because you find there an explanation of when citizenship is granted at birth and why, but you do not find any mention of citizens at birth who are not natural born citizens. In fact, you do not find such a concept anywhere at all.

Arnold is the same class of citizen as you. He simply has not been a member since birth.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


If you are spelling out a common understanding, then quote case law where your common understanding is represented as settled law.

If you can't, it isn't settled law.
That means it's just your opinion.

If it's just your opinion, one of two cases hold:
1) You may be right.
2) You may not be right.
I don't know.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, and if Arnold and I are in the same class of citizen, then we share all the same rights.

Which means Arnold can be President.
Except he can't.
So we aren't in the same class of citizenship.

Brendan said...

One also does not have the "right" to be President if he is not yet age 35. By your logic, people under age 35 are yet another class of citizen.

You realize of course that the process of becoming a citizen after immigration is called naturalization. Natural is derived from Latin which means birth. Being born of a country is the basis for the concept of citizenship. To be naturalized is to change the country to which you belong.

So to be born a citizen has to mean to be a natural born citizen. Otherwise, what are you? A born citizen who is not natural to the country? It is a contradiction in terms.

The courts will not rule on this because it nothing more than word play.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Look Brendan, you have lovely opinions on how the law should work and all, but that's all they are: opinions.

Your opinions are not the law.

All I've done is state the facts in the case:

1) "natural born citizen" is in the Constitution as a necessary qualification for president,

2) The only document used by the Founding Fathers that defines the term does so in a way inimical to Obama's presidency,

3) There exists no definitive case law which settled (or settles) the question that Obama's presidency poses by either changing or redefining the phrase. Indeed, you mostly can't find case law that even addresses the question.

(1) and (2) cannot be argued.
If you have (3), produce it.

If not, then speaking in terms of strict logic, you cannot do anything but agree with (3).

Since I don't have any other points to make, that agreement would mean you must agree with my position, however distasteful you may find it.

Unless, of course, you choose not to adhere to the rules of logic and argument.

To repeat - I am not interested in your opinion. I am interested in any fact of law which controverts point (3). Produce it or move on.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, and to answer your question, the law DOES see minors as being a different class of citizen - they can't vote, drink, nor do they share the same free speech rights (see most school rulings, for instance). They have different passport requirements.

So, thus under 35 would, indeed, be a different class of citizen than those over 35 for the purposes of holding that elective office, yes.

Andrew said...

A few things:

The Obama administration (along with many others before it) has shown that is THEIR position not to take the Constitution at face value. For example, a reasonable person might think that for something to be regulated as "interstate commerce" it would have to be:
A: Interstate


B: Commerce

Yet, the Obama DOJ currently argues that it doesn't have to be A OR B.

Second thought- I never heard that "natural born" citizen meant citizen at birth. The traditional definition(quite possibly different than the legal one) I'm familiar with is someone who was a citizen at birth AND born in the country. It's interesting that while Congress doesn't want to touch Obama's eligibilty with a 10 ft pole, the Senate (including Senator Obama!) deliberated on McCain's eligibility and passed a resolution saying he was eligible.

Finally, the US is rather unique in that birth here makes you a citizen. For example, the fact that you were born in Germany does not make you a German citizen.

Brendan said...

I do not find your position distasteful. I find it not credible. Your entire point (including the bit about classes of citizens) is a game of semantics. This "birther" position pulls an idea out of thin air, tries to pretend there is actually some legal controversy needing to be decided, and then expects the rest of the world to prove it wrong.

All I am saying is, nobody is going to do it. Nobody cares. The words are assumed to mean what they look like they mean.

People relate it to the "truther" stuff because the above description is equally applicable to it. They could insist we need a court trial with a conviction to prove who is guilty of the 9/11 attacks, else the War on Terror is illegitimate.

They also use the word "facts" to describe their fiction.

If that is the conceptual world in which you think about it, everything I have said above sounds absurd and contrary to logic and argument.

Step outside that box, and it appears the other way.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ok, well, you haven't demonstrated that it isn't credible.

You've just demonstrated that you don't like it.

You don't have any facts to back you up, just your opinions. I'm not obligated to pay much attention to those.

Brendan said...

I saw a sign that defines 35 as the speed limit.

Therefore, 35 means speed limit.

Cite me case law that proves that 35 does not mean speed limit. Otherwise, it's just your opinion.

Furthermore, Obama is ineligible to be President because he is not over the speed limit.

Is there anything wrong with my reasoning? That just means you don't like it.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


1) No, you didn't see a sign that said "35 as the speed limit."

You saw a sign that said "Speed Limit 35 MPH." That MPH indicates a standard (miles per hour, not kilometers per hour). That standard has been upheld in court in hundreds of thousands of cases.

If "natural born citizen" were as clear-cut as you believe, (1) the Congress wouldn't have bothered to investigate whether John McCain were eligible, (2) we wouldn't have legal scholars still questioning McCain's eligibility.

The question was, did McCain fail to fulfill the soil requirement?

The question with Obama is, does Obama fail to fulfill the blood requirement?

And, btw, remember the typeface analysis that destroyed Dan Rather's allegations against George W. Bush?

Well, yesterday, an expert in typeface analysis said the Obama birth certificate demonstrated the same problem the Bush "letters" had - the typeface doesn't match.

Now, Barack may well have been born in Hawaii. I don't dispute that. I am just pointing out that the document he produced to prove it suffers the same inconsistencies that caused other similar documents to be thrown out as forgeries.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, and for your analogy to map, you would have to ask me not

"Cite me case law that proves that 35 does not mean speed limit."


"Cite me case law that proves that 35 does mean speed limit."

My point is that "natural-born citizen" means - according to the only definition we have, the Law of Nations - both soil and blood requirements, and the blood requirements appear to be for BOTH parents.

You claim Law of Nations no longer holds.

So, show me law that defines the phrase "natural born citizen" in some other way.

You earlier said that you had such law. I'm still waiting to see it.

Brendan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brendan said...

I didn't say that I had any law. I said you are misinterpreting the text of the Law of Nations as a definition of a term, rather than a rule for when the self-explanatory term applies.

I misinterpreted the sign, obviously. 35 means 35. However by citing a distinction between MPH and KPH you have not proven that 35 means 35, as opposed to speed limit.

I am not sure what you are getting at by trying to turn that analogy around backwards. I am making a strange claim about the meaning of 35, and asking you to disprove it.

As I understand the dispute about McCain, it is about which statute grants him citizenship because it was in Panama Canal. 8 USC 1403 grants citizenship to people born in the Panama Canal zone after 1904. Because it passed after McCain was born, it does not make him a natural born citizen.

However, he was a citizen at birth because of his parents, regardless of this statute, so invoking it does not take away his status as a natural born citizen.

That was the finding of Congress anyway. As far as I know, the disagreements likewise deal with the timing of citizenship legislation relative to his birth.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Well, as I said, I don't find your arguments compelling.

Jordanes551 said...

Well, yesterday, an expert in typeface analysis said the Obama birth certificate demonstrated the same problem the Bush "letters" had - the typeface doesn't match.

No, that's not the problem the obviously fake Bush letter had. The problem wasn't that the typeface didn't match, but that the typeface DID match: it matched a modern computer word processor, and therefore could not have been typed on a typewriter from the time the fake letters purportedly were typed.

The president's birth certificate displays no such problem. Here the Birthers are arguing that it was an elaborate and subtly executed hoax that made use of real typeface from the general time when Barack Obama was born in Honolulu. That's why the typeface matches, and so the "expert" is reduced to desperately looking for any apparent difference to try to trick people into thinking that the president's birth certificate is fake. I'm unimpressed. It's all too complicated and too convenient to be plausible -- Birthers seem to be willing to say and believe anything but the simplest and neatest explanations, so long as they never have to admit they were wrong. Debunking their claims is like a game of Whack-a-Mole.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


You clearly didn't look at the difference in typeface.

You also don't understand the problem that kerning represents.

Rathergate did NOT happen because the typeface was "modern," but because the typeface was kerned.

The Rathergate typeface, Times New Roman, is NOT modern. Times New Roman is a serif typeface commissioned by the British newspaper The Times in 1931, created by Victor Lardent at the English branch of Monotype.

It was a well-known type but it required full-blown typesetting equipment to use because it is not monotype. Each letter does not take up the same amount of space, rather, in a proportionally spaced font such as TNR, letters can overlap each other's "space." This is called "kerning."

The problem is, typewriters aren't capable of kerning, so no one could use that typeface on a typewriter: you need word-processor software to use that typeface.

Typewriters HAVE to do monospace fonts.

Obama's BC shows typewriter letters, but the letters are kerned, not monospaced. A kerned typerwriter font is a contradiction in terms. You can't have both at the same time.

Look, I have to do 600 and 1200 dpi blowups of images all the time to publish the material I do. This document has artifacts that I have a tough time explaining. The kerning artifact would certainly be one of them.

Jordanes551 said...

Yes, I did look at the typeface. There's nothing there -- no kerning, but a lot of artificial features produced by computer reproduction of the original documents: digital artifacts, and carelessly or deliberately misplaced red lines trying to show differences where there are no differences or no meaningful differences. It's kind of sad, really, how desperate are these latest attempts to hoodwink the Birthers. It's just another "expert" (like the self-proclaimed "experts" who assured everyone that Obama's birth certificate released in 2008 was a photoshopped fake -- whoops, never mind!) trying feverishly to keep a mindbogglingly foolish movement chugging along . . . chugging along to . . . where, exactly? Definitely not to the defeat of Obama and the Senate Dems in 2012. If, God forbid, Obama is reelected, among those whose names will appear in the closing credits of that movie will be Jerome Corsi and Orly Taitz.

Jordanes551 said...

Typewriters HAVE to do monospace fonts.

It's probably been a while since you've used a typewriter. Sometimes when really flying on a typewriter, I've gone so fast that at times some letters are closer to each other than they are supposed to be -- thus producing the illusion of "kerning." No evidence of kerning has been found in Obama's birth registration, because for all we know it's just a fluke resulting from a really talented typist with fingers flying.

Jordanes551 said...

Rathergate did NOT happen because the typeface was "modern," but because the typeface was kerned.

I didn't say anything about modern "typeface," but modern word processors. The reason the typeface was kerned is because it was typed using a computer word processor, not a typewriter.

But Obama's birth registration shows no such problems. It isn't uniformly kerned throughout, and barely shows anything that even looks like kerning. You can't overlay a Microsoft Word version of the birth registration over the released image of the birth registration and get a perfect match-up, the way it could be done with Dan Rather's fake Bush letters.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ok, well, we'll have to disagree on the typography, because I see differences in the letters.

Each typewriter's font is unique to that typewriter. Even if two typewriters are using the same font, unique differences in the form of each letter on the respective typewriters allow each machine to be distinguished from every other machine.

This fact was commonly known and exploited by the police during criminal investigations up through the 1980's.

The typefaces in BHO's BC show variations that are consistent with multiple typewriters.

This does not match what you would expect from a single typist/typewriter, but does match what you would expect from a manufactured document.

If this were a manufactured document, the artist would need a combination of letters that were almost certainly not on whatever original template was being used.

So, s/he would scan images of multiple birth documents, cut and paste the individual letters required onto the image being created, and accidentally "kern" a few of the letters as the individual letters were being placed.

I've created dozens of mosaic images using the same techniques. It can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks to create the effect you want, and you spend a lot of time zoomed in at 1200%.

Precisely because there are so many fine details to take care of, it is easy - almost inevitable - to miss consistency in some of them.

Andrew said...

Speeding Case Law fills up volumes.

At least where I live the signs say "SPEED LIMIT 35 MPH". Not simply "35" which is what Brendan seemed to be saying if I followed his comments correctly. If there was a sign that said "35" without designating it as a speed limit in writing, citations based on that sign would probably get tossed, which is why the signs don't say that.

A big part of the problem with Obama's birth certificate is that he still hasn't released the actual document. He's released what he claims to be a scan of the document. For everything from getting a driver's license to getting married, you and I need to present ORIGINAL documents or actual certified copies of those original documents.

This goes to the other key point. Despite what he says, Obama does not want to settle this issue. He has kept the controversy alive deliberately. If not, why wait so long to release the long form, and then only do so electronically instead of inviting experts to look at the actual document?

Why has Obama kept this thing going? Perhaps he has something to hide- anything from his parents weren't married at birth to him not being eligible for President. Or perhaps he's made a political calcuation that keeping this in the news helps him by making his opponents look nuts.

Andrew said...

Another interesting point, why shortly before the Long Form was released (electronically) did the Governor of Hawaii have such a hard time finding the birth certificate? Where did they find it?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

And why did he intentionally time the birth certificate release so that it would be swamped just hours later by the death of Osama bin Laden and his well-publicized refusal to release THOSE photographs?

He sets up an interesting clash between those contesting his claims and the controversy over Osama's death.

It's almost as if he was TRYING to create a controversy about whether or not Osama was really dead.

Now, why would anyone do that?