Patterico's Pontifications


Joseph Curl on What to Do Now

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:03 am

Joseph Curl:

The Republican Party — which, by the way lost women to President Obama by 12 points — needs to run away from its archaic stance. Yes, object to abortion. Yes, work to make it rare. But move on: Abortion is here to stay. (And while you’re at it, GOP, it might just be time also to abandon that vaunted “abstinence-only” policy that has been such a dismal failure.)

Second, gay marriage. On this, simply — who cares? America 2012 has enormous problems. Is this really an issue that matters to — anyone? Christians, two men getting married doesn’t affect your marriage in any way. Get over it. The Republicans are on the wrong side of history on this issue, and Mr. Obama swept in millions of young voters by his tolerance. It’s time to walk away.

On both issues, the GOP can make a clean break: As the party of individual freedom, the GOP can simply say it now sees that Americans — especially women — do have the right to choose their own path. In fact, the party espouses the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, always has, so the turnabout won’t even raise an eyebrow.

Such a recalibration would allow the millions of Americans who believe in the core Republican tenets to give the party a real evaluation at election time.

I don’t think so.

As I said in the last post, my talents do not lie in electoral politics. However, it is increasingly obvious that Romney lost at least in part because he failed to turn out his voters. And many people feel very strongly about these issues. So while Curl’s prescription might go over well with independents, it’s not clear to me that it is the right strategy.

I am more comfortable discussing what I believe in than I am discussing how to win elections.

On state recognition of same-sex marriage, I support it, but I understand those who oppose it on moral and/or religious grounds. I don’t much care what a candidate says on this issue, personally. But to suggest that you give away nothing by abandoning it, as a political matter, seems glib.

I feel more strongly that we cannot abandon voters with strong opinions about abortion. Regardless of how you feel about whether life begins at conception, or whether abortions should be allowed in the first trimester, I think most people are uncomfortable with several planks in the pro-choice lobby’s platform. Partial-birth abortion is repugnant and barbaric. We allow the state to insert itself between parents and their daughters far too easily, passing laws that hide young girls’ pregnancies from their parents and make it easy for girls to get abortions without parental consent. Abortion is allowed way too late in this country for reasons that are far too flimsy. Women can literally abort a fetus at any moment before birth if they can find a doctor to say it’s psychologically necessary.

Yet we put up candidates who allow themselves to be maneuvered into ignoring these winning issues. Instead, they allow the debate to center around their suggestions that abortion not be allowed in cases of rape.


In my opinion, the biggest problem we have is this looming debt bubble that WILL burst, and I think we have to keep talking about it, over and over and over and over and over. That’s our solution: that, getting better judges in office, and persuading people that individual freedom and responsibility — not reliance on the government to protect us — are the principles that made this country great. I don’t think throwing social issues overboard and letting babies get stabbed in the head with scissors for political convenience is the proper path.

But maybe that’s just me.

What Does It Mean to “Return to First Principles” And How Is It Going to Happen?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:27 am

When people talk about the Constitution and returning to the principles of our Founders, what do they mean? And how can we try to do that?

We have strayed from our Founders’ principles in several areas, but I think the primary problem is our oversized government. Our Founders believed in a limited government of enumerated powers. Supreme Court rulings expanding the Commerce Clause have paved the way for an explosion of the state, putting us on a path towards European-style socialism, where citizens depend on the government to bandage every wound and keep every ill at bay. There is no way to reconcile this philosophy with the attitude that made America great: individualism and freedom.

What can we do about it?

On the electoral front, I don’t know. I’m not a politico; I don’t know what makes for good electoral politics, and when I try to opine on that subject people should slap me. As a blogger it’s tempting to try to diagnose what would advance your point of view, but I think it’s best merely to stick to explaining what issues are important to me and why. For me, it’s the burgeoning government debt bubble, and it’s judges.

I feel comfortable opining on what we need on the judicial front — and that front is very, very important. The key is to nominate justices and lower court judges in the mold of Clarence Thomas. We need judges who are willing to adhere to the Constitution when precedents handed down by liberal judges are in conflict with the Constitution. Justice Thomas would bring the understanding of the Commerce Clause closer in line with what the Founders intended. (For all his weakness on the ObamaCare case, so would Justice Roberts, by the way.)

We need judges like Thomas on other issues as well. For example, in the Kelo case, we needed justices who were willing to require a taking to be a public “use” as the Constitution requires, and not a public “benefit.” We had four such justices, but we needed five. In the ObamaCare case, we needed judges who were willing to strike down the legislation as incompatible with the Constitution’s limits on the federal government. We had four such justices, but we needed five.

We don’t lose every battle like this. The left tried to gut the Second Amendment and they failed. They had four justices willing to do it, but they needed five.

Justice Alito is relatively young. Justice Roberts (whom we all revile for the ObamaCare decision but who is still basically a good justice for us) is young. Justice Thomas is still relatively young.

Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy are each 76. Hopefully they can hang on for four more years and we’ll have a different President. This one may get to replace Justice Ginsburg, which is a shame. But it won’t tip the balance.

Right now we have a weak coalition at the Court. Sometimes we find five votes, but too often we have only four.

Once we have no chance of getting five votes, you can hang it up. We’re done.

We’re not at that point yet. But we’re very close.

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