Monthly archives "January 2015"

Goldwater’s Golden

In November 2014 Barry Goldwater, Jr. and his siblings, Michael and Peggy, hosted a dinner in Washington, D.C. to celebrate their father’s legacy.  It was then 50 years since Senator Goldwater was defeated by Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 Presidential Election.   The tributes were not in celebration of that defeat but rather the modern conservative movement that he helped found.   George Will has written that Goldwater did not really lose that election;  it simply took 16 years to count the votes when Ronald Reagan swept into power in 1980.

Indeed, “A Time For Choosing” an address that has come to be known as “The Speech” that Ronald Reagan gave on behalf of Sen. Goldwater on October 27, 1964 helped launch Reagan’s political career.   I watched that address with my paternal grandmother who said after,  “There is the man they should run.”  In 1980 the GOP did exactly that and the result was a landslide win over Jimmy Carter.  Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley always championed the individual over the state.

Lee Edwards analyzes conservative political thought at the Heritage Foundation and was part of the host committee that arranged the 50th anniversary celebration.   He dubbed Goldwater the “most consequential loser in American politics” as he launched the modern conservative movement and all modern history of that movement runs through this prism.

In October 1984 I was in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings for the United Methodist Church.   During a break one afternoon I walked to the Capitol.   As I waited to enter the Senate Gallery, Senator Goldwater walked by with Senator Paul Laxalt of NV.   I was able to shake hands with both these men and had extra time with Senator Laxalt as he seemed most pleased that someone knew who he was alongside the Conservative Icon Goldwater.   Both Senators were very gracious.

One would think that with the disasters of Lyndon Johnson (Historian Eric Goldman who worked for LBJ has a book titled The Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson), Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama would lead one to conclude that the argument is over.   In the words of a great Goldwater slogan of 1964:  “In your heart, you know he’s right.”   We still know this but there are always statists like Barack Obama lurking in the shadows who, unfortunately, emerge to give us dire days like these.  These are little men who have never run anything but their mouths but they believe they are always right which makes them comically incompetent and radically dangerous all at the same time.

The proceeds from the dinner honoring the Senator will go to installing an 8-foot bronze statue of Barry Goldwater in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in February 14 which is AZ Statehood Day.  The letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner of OH requesting approval of this statue calls Senator Goldwater, “a man of great personal integrity and unblemished honor who put his country and our founding ideals before himself.”   Indeed he was.   So are those inspired by the man and his message.   Heaven help us to find his like again.

Eutychus

There Arose A New King

In approximately 2000 B.C. or 4000 years ago, God called forth Abraham to enter a Promised Land with his wife, Sarah.  They were to be the father and mother of a new people, God’s People, the Hebrews.  Their son, Isaac, was born around 1900 B.C.   He and his wife Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.   The younger twin, Jacob, was the one favored to carry on God’s plan for His people.   Jacob (who was given the new name, Israel, by the angel of God) and his wives and concubines would have 12 sons who became the 12 Tribes of Israel.   Jacob’s favorite wife was Rachel who gave birth to his favorite son, Joseph, in 1750 B.C.

Of Joseph, along with Daniel who prophesied from 605-536 B.C., the Bible speaks almost no ill.   Billy Graham has said that Joseph, though a fallen human, anticipated the perfect life of Christ.   Joseph’s older brothers knew their father favored the younger brother.   Their jealousy led them to sell him into slavery in Egypt.   Joseph’s story takes on real drama as he is first in the house Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.   This was an honored place to be but Potiphar’s wife was drawn to this handsome Hebrew who had found favor with her husband.   Joseph refused her advances saying he would not dishonor his master or God.   The scorned wife then lied about the young Hebrew, saying he had attacked her, and Joseph was thrown into prison.   But throughout the account of Joseph’s life as recorded in Genesis 37, 39-50 there is a recurring theme, “But the Lord was with Joseph.”

In prison Joseph rightly interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s butler and baker who are imprisoned as they have displeased the King.  He tells the butler he will be restored but the baker will be hanged.  The butler is asked to remember this to Pharaoh that Joseph be freed.   But the butler fails to act and Joseph is in prison two more years.   He has not harmed his brothers and he is sold into slavery.   He is faithful to Potiphar but is thrown into prison.   By the power of God he rightly interprets dreams but languishes there two more years.

But then Pharaoh himself has a troubling dream.  Seven fat cows come out of the river followed by seven gaunt cows who devour the fat ones.   Pharaoh brings in his wise men his prophets, his PhD’s, but none of them can explain the dream. The king is angry and disturbed.   Then the butler remembers and tells Pharaoh of the young Hebrew who rightly interpreted his dream and that of the hanged baker.  Pharaoh calls for Joseph.

It is not without significance that Joseph, long in prison, takes time to shave, clean up and prepare himself to enter the presence of the royal house.   The King of Egypt then said to the Hebrew, “I have heard you can interpret dreams.”   Joseph honors God with his answer:  “It is not in me, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”  (Genesis 41: 15-16)  When Pharaoh describes the seven fat cows being devoured by the seven lean, Joseph says there will seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.   Instantly the King of Egypt knows this is true.   He said, “Who better to prepare the nation for this than this man in whom is the Spirit of God.”   Joseph is made Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself in power and prestige.  (Genesis 41: 37-41)

So Joseph goes from slavery authored by his brothers to Potiphar to prison to palace to Prime Minister and through it all “God was with Joseph.”   Hollywood has no drama greater than this one for power and intrigue.   Joseph prepares the nation by storing extra food for the famine which is widespread and beyond Egypt.   Other nations come to Egypt to buy grain which has been stored for the emergency.  The famine reaches Joseph’s father, Jacob, and his brothers and their families.   Jacob, who thinks Joseph is dead, sends 10 of the brothers to Egypt to buy grain.   He does not send Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, whose mother is also Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel, lest some calamity befall him. (Genesis 42:3-5)

In an amazing and emotional part of the story, Joseph, who is not at first recognized by the brothers who sold him into slavery, are reconciled and the entire extended family of Hebrews, including Jacob, move to Egypt.  There they thrive in the Land of Goshen under the protection of Egypt.   (Genesis 42-50)  That this was part of God’s Plan is revealed at Jacob’s death with the brothers fearing that Joseph would now enslave them for their sins against him.   Instead Joseph says, “Do not fear.   Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  (Genesis 50:19-20)

But in the human story there is always evil lurking and we find it recorded for the Hebrews in Exodus 1:8:  “There arose a new King in Egypt who did not know Joseph.”   The Hebrews have thrived in Goshen and become a large nation in the 400 years since Joseph and Jacob entered Egypt.  The new Pharaoh fears their numbers as they are a People who clearly have the favor of God.  He orders the death of each new born male son of the Hebrews.  (Exodus 1:22)  It is approximately 1500 B.C. and among these male children is a baby who will be called Moses.   He is hidden by his mother to save his life and is eventually placed in a reed ark to float down the Nile.  Like Joseph, God has a great plan for Moses.  It is no accident that he is rescued from the Nile by a servant of Pharaoh’s daughter, and he becomes the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.   She calls him Moses, meaning,  “I drew him out of the water.”  (Exodus 2:10)  And like Noah and his family Moses found refuge in an ark and was delivered from it.

Moses becomes the great deliverer of the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt under the Hand of the Greater Deliverer, God Himself.   This again is great drama and was rather accurately portrayed in the The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston as Moses in the 1956 film.

I believe we are a second Chosen People.   I do not know how else one can explain the remarkable advances of the American People in just over 200 years without seeing the Hand of God Almighty also upon us as He was with the Hebrews of 4000 years ago.   And, like Egypt 3500 years ago, there has risen a new leader who seems not to know our past or to appreciate the men God has raised up to lead us–George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.  He seems not to recognize he is playing with fire in honoring Iran more than Israel;  in dissing the Prime Minister of Israel in favor of the Ayatollahs of the Land of Persia.

I think God has not given up on us yet, however, as the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has invited Israeli Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress in March.   Even Democrats like Senator Robert Menendez of N.J. have called out our President for being soft on Iran.   He has said current Administration plans for dealing with the Iranian plot for a nuclear bomb could have come out of this evil regime itself.   Strong language coming from a Democrat and Prime Minister Netanyahu says the Iranians now have missiles which can deliver a bomb to the U.S. as well as Israel.

Barack Obama is a very dangerous man.   I have observed him from the time he was in the State House of IL, as an absentee U.S. Senator and now as a President who is harder on Congress and Republicans than he is on the true enemies of our nation like Iran and our traditional foe, the Russians, as they take parts of the Ukraine.   He has called ISIS the Junior Varsity.

There arose a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph.   There has arisen a new President who does not know nor does he honor our past.   As a corollary to this, he is a President of whom we know very little in terms of his past which is shrouded in much mystery.

Forgetting Joseph meant also forgetting God.  By disregarding God’s People, Pharaoh set his mind and heart against Jehovah.   Forgetting and disregarding our history and our giants like Washington, Lincoln and Reagan means again today forgetting God.  Refusal to remember and honor the past results in present rebellion.   It is an evil day for any man, President or pauper, to set his face against God.

If you are not in the habit of praying, I urge you to pray now.   If you are not in the habit of praying for our nation, pray now for like Judges 2:11 and 3:7  these are days of evil.   But God is still our Deliverer and in Him we can overcome.   Dear God for the sake of our little ones may it be so.   Praise be to God.

Eutychus

The GOP Presidential Field

William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, has an interesting editorial in January 5/January 12 2015 issue.  It deals with the large number of Republicans who may seek the GOP nomination for President in 2016.  He has photos of 20 possible candidates, also names Paul Ryan, and invites Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani to join the fray.  I think it unlikely any of the latter three will throw their hat in the ring.

He does not mention a man who gives every sign of running, Sen. Rand Paul of KY.  It is only an educated guess but I think Dr. Kristol finds Paul to be weak on the foreign policy assertion of American power in general (very much like his father, former Congressman Ron Paul) and in stopping a nuclear Iran in particular.   This is a Libertarian philosophy which carries non-intervention too far.

Of those he mentions some are almost certain to run and have a credible chance of winning the nomination:  Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry.  All but Cruz are former or current Governors.  For everyone of those named, Kristol makes the point that they are more ready and better suited for the role of President than is Hillary Clinton.  Amen!  Even Eleanor Clift admitted on The McLaughlin Group’s year end wrap up on 1/2/15 that 2014 was not a good year for Hillary.  She had a botched book roll out and said she and Bill were so broke when they left the White House in 2001 that they could barely afford their house(s).  Most of us have only one.   And the crowning misstep was announcing that businesses do not create jobs.   Then who does?   The Government?   If so, who pays for that?

The Kristol editorial is followed by an article by Jay Cost, staff writer for The Weekly Standard, on political dynasties.  If Jeb Bush were to run and win the White House it would be the third President Bush in 25 years.  We have had other dynasties:   The Adams father and son Presidents, the Harrison grandfather and grandson Regimes, the Roosevelt cousins, the Kennedy family.  But this would be unprecedented.

There does seem to be some softening to the idea of a Jeb Bush run.   The Bush name is not so reviled now as Barack Obama has been such a failure and George Bush such a gentleman since he left Washington for his home in TX.   And Jeb is considered to have been a good governor of FL and an astute politician.   He is married to an Hispanic woman and is fluent in Spanish as is his brother, George.

On the downside he seems committed to Common Core in education which is another power grab by Washington, D.C., today a place of much failure and little success.   Jeb is also seen as soft on securing the border with Mexico.   These are not small matters to Conservatives and many other Americans as well.

Kristol and Cost close their respective pieces the same way:   More candidates mean a better debate and a better nominee;  so the more the merrier.   I am not so sure.   There were a large number of candidates in 2012 and that did not work out so well.   On the other hand, this field would appear to be stronger than that of 12.   The Republicans have a very strong bench.   The Democrats have none, particularly if Hillary decides not to run.

In any case, there will doubtless be real interest in the 2016 race as things have gone so badly under the untested, inexperienced and radical Community Organizer from Chicago.   In the 2014 midterms the Electorate slapped their hand on the kitchen table and said, “We’ve got to try something different.”   Bill Kristol thinks they will do the same in 2016 and NOT elect Hillary Clinton as she is too tied to the Obama failure as President.  I hope so.

One further word on more candidates leading to a better debate.   In reality what we call debate columnist George Will calls a toss salad of brevity.   Candidates are asked to sum up complex issues in at most 90 seconds and sometimes as few as 30.  The 60 second political commercial has given way to the 30 second.   Someone has said the political imperative in our wired nation is “survival of the briefest.”   And in live debate (especially with a large number of candidates without much follow-up) the sessions tend to become parallel news conferences.

We are told that a debate tests a candidates ability to think on their feet.   This is a test that Governor Rick Perry of TX admits he failed in 2012 when he could not think of the third government agency he intended to abolish.   But perhaps Perry and the others can take comfort from something else noted by George Will:  “Who wants a President thinking on his feet?”  The Presidency is not a solo act.  Successful Presidents like Ronald Reagan surround themselves with specialized talents and act in concert with them.   Failed Presidents like Carter and Obama go it alone, ignore their advisers–military and otherwise–and think they are always right and smarter than anyone else.   They tend to be prickly people that most of us avoided way back in high school.

At any rate, let the games–er debates begin whether there be many candidates or few.  And in the end may the best (not necessarily the briefest) man or woman be left standing.   After Barack we certainly need it.

Eutychus

 

 

 

 

 

The New Congress

The new Congress will be sworn in on January 6, 2015.   There will be 54 Republicans in the Senate to 46 Democrats or Independents leaning Democrat.   In the House there will be 247 Republicans to 188 Democrats.   This is the largest GOP majority in the House of Representatives since 1929 and Herbert Hoover.   Ken Buck will be our Congressman from the Colorado’s 4th District.   He was formerly the District Attorney of Weld County and was present  as his replacement, Michael Rourke, assumed that role on Friday, January 2, 2015.

Mr. Buck has been elected president of the incoming Freshman class of Congressmen and Congresswomen.   He is a personal friend and has said, “I cannot wait to get started.”  The question is will the new Congress have a President ready to work with them.   The answer is probably not.

President Obama seldom leads and does not like to negotiate.   After the November elections Obama invited incoming Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell to the White House for private talks.   Then, without much warning, the White House “normalized relations” with Cuba.

Mitch McConnell reminded the President that, “Reagan never had the House in his eight years and Clinton didn’t have the House or Senate for six of his eight years.  But  I can think of at least four significant things that got done:  Social Security and tax reform under Reagan and welfare reform and three balanced budgets under Clinton.”

But Obama is no Bill Clinton and certainly no Ronald Reagan.   Fred Barnes writes in The Weekly Standard 12/29/14 issue that the President has a way of endorsing bipartisan compromises and then wiggling out of them.   He called for “fast track” authority on trade which Harry Reid failed to push in the Senate.    Any doubt Obama pulled Reid’s strings on this?  In 2011 the President agreed to $4 trillion in tax hikes and spending cuts and then asked for $400 billion more in taxes.   Speaker John Boehner said “this moved the goalposts” and backed out.   Peter Roskam, Republican Congressman from IL served with Obama in the IL State House.   He says that if the Republicans agree to an Obama proposal the President feels he gave up too much and did not push hard enough.

McConnell is ready to take up four issues immediately that the President has said he wants to take up:   trade agreements and fast track, infrastructure, tax reform, and entitlements.   But Obama wants to take $ 1 trillion from tax reform for infrastructure which he will not get.   And liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA and her far- left allies want to increase benefits rather than reform entitlements.

Roskam says Obama, “Has not absorbed any of the lessons of the election, and instead invites Republicans to dinners and rounds of golf for optics.  But he is never in earnest.”  Again the Congressman knows Obama from their days together in the IL State House.

President Obama has sought to downplay the electoral results of November 2014 and still tries to blame Republicans for his failures.   This does not work anymore.   The first test of Obama’s willingness to seek bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems came after the Republicans won the House in 2010.  He failed to do so.  Now, with Republicans in control of the entire Congress, has another opportunity to prove he can bargain honestly and seriously with the GOP.  It is doubtful he will.

But there is one Ace in the Hole for the Republicans.   We already see Democrats like Chuck Schumer of New York distance himself from Obama.   Retiring IA Senator Tom Harkin also took a parting rhetorical shot at the President.  Senate Democrats facing tough elections in 2016 owe nothing to this President who said, “My policies, every one of them are on the ballot in 2014.”  A number of them may be ready to work with the GOP in the Senate and House is firmly in Republican hands.

Fred Barnes titled his piece, “He Never Learns.”  That is exactly right.  But Obama may be forced to learn some hard lessons now that there is no Harry Reid protecting him from Senate action.  He may also learn that Democrats feel no loyalty to such a self-serving, self-centered President.  Obama, in the end, is a very small, but still dangerous man.   The people have spoken.  If the President will not listen perhaps his Party will also vote to override him.   Let’s hope.

Eutychus