Nelson Mandela and flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff

Nelson Mandela and flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff

There has been some grousing that President Obama has order the U.S. flag to fly at half-staff in honor of South African President Mandela’s passing.

“The president may order the flag to be flown at half-staff to mark the death of other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries. In addition to these occasions, the president may order half-staff display of the flag after other tragic events.”

— U.S. Flag Code, para 3.

Twice before has a president directed the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff for a foreign dignitary.

President George W. Bush ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the passing of Pope John Paul II in 2005, and President Lyndon Johnson bestowed the honor in recognition of the passing of Winston Churchill in 1965.

American flag at half mast

GOP, Intellectual Conservatism, and winning the hearts and minds of your own base

Earlier today I read several critiques of what really caused the GOP debacle in the budget wars with the Senate and President Obama: moderates, RINOs, and false conservatives.

Supposedly 50-60 of these spineless creatures were behind the inability of the GOP to do the impossible.

Rush Limbaugh was even heard to wail on his program that the GOP has becomeĀ “irrelevant” and responsible for “creating one of the greatest political disasters” he has ever seen. He also blamed the spineless creatures. Luckily for us all, Rush is just an entertainer and no one in the GOP listens to him anyway.

The real reason for GOP failure

Conservatives have abandoned almost any pretext of intellectualism and desire to compete in the marketplace of ideas. They have become what they rant against: they want outcomes. They do not want to have to work for them or to justify them.

BTW – Purging the GOP of spineless creatures even further is not going to help the party.

Do not trash talk “moderates” and “RINOs” as stabbing the GOP in the back … especially when many of those RINOs have 90%+ conservative American Conservative Union (ACU) ratings, or ratings in the high 80s … AND when these folks already vote with you 99% of the time. You need allies. You do not need to threaten your allies for violating rightwing political correctness when the next election rolls around.

Some of your allies should also include conservative Blue Dogs and moderate Democrats.

24 hours later, Tea Party Nation says that it is time to declare ‘open season‘ on RINOs: “The Tea Party is still here and conservatives are now declaring open season on RINOs. The Civil War in the Republican Party is on!”

About that Big Tent thing, could it be that there is an element of the Republican party that constantly wants to purge the spineless creatures and yet maybe a small bit of housecleaning is in order among the purgers? Just some housecleaning — am a big believer in ‘big tents’. Tea Partyers and traditional GOP liberals and moderates and main street conservatives should feel welcome within the party.

Tea Party Favorability

My advice as Bill4DogCatcher

#1 – Create actual budget/appropriations for each branch of government as required by the Constitution. The House GOP (chair of such committees) drafted/passed appropriations for only 4 out of 12 required budgets (appropriations). Put your wants and cards on the table. Man up! Negotiate.

#2 – Allow amendments. Debate them. Vote straight up as yes or no. Show your math (this needs to be done for both sides — BUT when you are chair of the appropriations committees then your math matters more because you control the eventual outcome.)

—- Avoid taking 43 ‘Repeal and Replace’ votes and showboating. If you don’t have the votes then you don’t have the votes.

—- If you need public support then take your case to the public. What happened to ‘Replace’? Replace with what? Not a single House vote was ever taken on any form of ‘Replace’. …. Yes, several dartboard ‘we could do’ plans emerged from time to time but not a single one made it out of committee (chaired by GOP members) and went to the floor for a vote.

—- You don’t overturn omnibus laws (Obamacare) with an all-or-nothing vote. It could happen … but it will happen when the Keebler elves actually show up with cookies. Instead of ‘overturn’, make your case and replace portions of the law. It is because of the GOP not wanting to play ball back in 2009 that Obamacare is the abomination that it is … or is in the minds of many of the GOP. Count your votes. If you can do it your way then go for it. If not then you need to get in the game and make whatever pops out as law the best law possible.

#3 – Go to Appropriations Conference reconciliation with the Senate in good faith. Do not claim that the Senate has failed to appoint a conference committee team when your own party blocked attempts to do so 19 times over the last 5 months since April 23rd.

And please stop trashing anyone that is to the left of the far right. Some of us once voted Republican. Regularly. Some of us once automatically pulled the Republican party lever in the pollbooth when we were not sure which candidate to vote for. Regularly. But not anymore. Dear GOP, you have become scary, unstable and erratic … at least at the national level … and in several of these United States.

Dear President Obama: Enough of stupid. Open federal parks and parklands.

Dear President Obama,

If you are smart you will direct that all federal parklands be opened as of Monday. Announce that “I have heard you.”

Closing the parks is stupid. You have probably spent more money on staff to monitor and to police park closings, and on a gazillion orange cones and rented fencing to block off the parks, than if you had just left the parks open.

Close facilities but leave monuments and actual parkland open. Since you are spending $$ money to print special signs then print signs that say “Use at own risk”.

Sure, someone will get hurt and sue. That is the American way. However, you don’t close off our parks to save money that you supposedly do not have and then spend even more money to make sure that the parks are closed.

Enough of stupid. We have lots of stupid. You are just playing into the hands of people that do not like you … and I’m none too happy either about parks and “stupid”.

Obamacare and the Great Shutdown of 2013

Obamacare and the Great Shutdown of 2013

In 2008 I voted for McCain for president. I was still a Republican.

Obamacare may be a poorly written law but it is something that was needed.

The GOP had a chance to make it a good or better law. During 2009 the GOP introduced 169 accepted amendments to the law while it was in committee. Yet when it came time to refine and to sell the law the GOP walked away without a single vote for it. Obamacare is a bad law courtesy of the GOP. Govern or get out.

In 2012 I voted Obama. Not out of love for Obama or the Democratic Party but because of the silliness constantly put forth by the GOP. Most of my other 2012 choices in 2012 were still Republican despite my vote for Obama.

2013 – Am completely soured on Republicans but will still vote for one or two in the upcoming Virginia election.

2014 – Am hoping that some sanity returns to the GOP … but if not I will be in good company pinching my nose and voting for that other party. And if craziness still seems to have the GOP in its grasp then I will just vote straight Democratic and hope that a GOP made up of thinking fiscal conservatives one day rises from the ashes.