Friday, May 16, 2008

Reality Check

I want all the True Conservatives(TM) who are still whinging about McCain's having won the primary, and get angry at every conservative leader who turns around and endorses McCain to understand the following:

You are complete hypocrites if you take any sort of amusement at the Democrats' current dilemma. Mostly because the only way to have kept McCain from winning the primaries would be for the GOP to have the same proportional representation and superdelegate primary system the Democrats have. Yes, the very same system that is currently causing the upcoming floor fight in Denver. Somebody is going to walk away from Denver mad, and with partisan identification numbers hovering in the 50-50 range, the Democrats can't afford that in the general election. Is this what you want for the GOP in the future?

Besides, I think it is much more fun to snicker at the Democrats from a position of the GOP having followed its own rules. So you might not be happy with the results? Given the list of candidates who actually ran, I doubt anybody would have made you happy, truly. If it wasn't McCain's amnesty bill, it would have been Rudy's gun-grabbing, Huckabee's, well, being Huckabee, Romney's past in MA, or Thompson's past. And Ron Paul? Fuggedaboutit!

Let's also forget about people who didn't run, or who dropped out before Florida. They either chose not to run for very good reasons, or dropped out due to this little complication called very poor poll numbers. You can't take nostalgia and sympathy to the bank and it produces no delegates come convention time. And if a candidate can't get delegates to the GOP primary, what makes you think they would win in the general election?

As for the True Conservative (TM) vote having been split, please add up the numbers for all those candidates, except Romney, who you could have lived with (Romney was a last-second decision and a marriage of convenience and you know it. If your favorite were doing better you wouldn't have given Romney the time of day). How many delegates would that mythical conglomeration of True Conservative(TM) have gotten at the convention? Oh, he still wouldn't have won, would he?

This is not due to some conspiracy by Rockefeller Republicans against the poor little True Conservatives(TM). Santorum? You have nobody to blame but yourselves, guys. Another major factor in the candidate list in 2008 was the deliberate targeting of electable conservatives by the Democrats and their Shadow Party. Shekar Narasimhan, the co-chair of the DNC's Indo-American Council? That was his son following George Allen around with a video camera, waiting to get his "macaca" moment. Also look at the relentless attacks on Jean Schmidt. And digging up the cats Bill Frist dissected in medical school? You gotta have a lot of money or a publicity machine bought on credit to find that stuff.

What's the way out of this situation? If Democrats start losing elections into which big donors put lots and lots of money and publicists put lots and lots of credit, eventually the money and credit will stop coming. If there is another Reagan out there, he or she can emerge from the safe Red State coccoon in which s/he is hiding, trying to protect what dignity s/he has from the Democrat attack machine. The Dems made their first mistake by making McCain inevitable as the GOP nominee. They have further screwed up by stabbing the Clintons in the back. Losing in 2008? That's strike three.

The only way forward is to deal with the situation with which you are presented, and move on from there. McCain is the nominee, and you will have to deal with it, or be no better than the "selected, not elected" fools after the 2000 election. If you want another Reagan, vote for McCain and get the attack machine out of his or her way, or you will have to settle for the moderate-but-scandal-proof slate of candidates for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is America Ready To Vote for...?

If liberalism is the cure for America's social ills, why would anyone vote against it? We are talking "free" money here, and sticking it to a bunch of top-hat-wearing opera-going snobs in the process. Who doesn't want that? Except....where does the "free" money come from? Does anybody even wear top hats anymore? Isn't some smug jerk at Whole Foods a bigger snob than your average opera lover?

It cannot enter liberals' consciousness that Wal-Mart has done more to alleviate poverty than LBJ's War on Poverty, that minorities are entering the middle class, or that women value motherhood about as much as they value achievement. So if "the people" vote against the party who most loudly bruits the name of "the people," how can this be, other than "the people" somehow being deceived into voting "against their interests?" If not deceived, then the darker natures of the American people must have been invoked. All that racism and sexism in every cross-eyed glance must have been rallied in those rednecks in order to get them to ignore the lure of liberalism's righteousness.

So if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination somehow, and then loses, it couldn't be because the Clintons somehow lost their magic, or that her campaign managed to alienate African-Americans, or that Hillary reminds white male voters of their ex-wives. It must be because America was not ready to elect a woman as President. By the same token, if Barak Obama gets the nomination and loses the general election, it couldn't be due to his inexperience, his offending of the Reagan Democrats and alienating the feminists. It must be because America is just not ready to elect a Black person as President.

Given the intramural bloodletting of the Democrat Party, and the flaws it has brought out in both Clinton and Obama, it is likely that both candidates may be too weakened to face McCain in November. So now is the time to get the narrative ready.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Unintended Consequences and the Pill Dispenser

Every action you take or fail to take has consequences, and most consequences, intended or not, are logically foreseeable. Nobody wants people to suffer, the land to get polluted, or people to remain poor. When conservatives raise objections to government action for its remedy, it is usually out of dislike for the unintended but logically foreseeable consequences.

Welfare was meant to get poor and unemployable people out of poverty. Nobody who originally proposed the idea of welfare was intending to crowd out charities, break up families, or lure poor people away from their jobs. However, this is exactly what ended up happening. So now we talk about government proposals to remedy the lack of charitable help, fatherlessness, and multigenerational economic immobility of those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder, which the government caused in the first place.

Worse yet, many of the intended government remedies get overwhelmed by their negative consequences and plain don't work. When I was younger, there were fewer handicapped spots, but they were mostly left alone by the able-bodied populace. Then someone got the idea that more handicapped parking at public places would help even more disabled citizens particiapate in society. Now you can have swaths of the closest parking spaces at any given place be marked with the little blue wheelchair, while the able-bodied can hardly find a place. So now there have been many more instances of people parking illegally in these spots, or using a hang-tag issued to an absent relative, making it just about as hard for honestly disabled people to find a place to park as it was before. So now there is an increased cost of enforcing restrictions on handicapped parking spots, more money spent on educating the public to save these spots, and my aunt with her bad knees still has to luck out to get a spot when she goes Christmas shopping.

Ideas and actions can also have unintended consequences nobody even dreamed of when the idea was first proposed. In the early to mid 90's, all the talk was about "redlining" of minorities. What ended up happening was the formation of the subprime mortgage market. What was logically foreseeable were a lot of defaults, as people often have bad credit for very good reasons. What was not foreseeable were the real estate speculators using the subprime market in order to obtain mortgages on houses in order to rapidly resell them. And now we are all talking about how the government is supposed to save us from the consequences of the government creating the subprime market. So when would we need a remedy from that remedy?

My grandparents took a lot of medications. How one gets from a reasonably healthy middle-aged person who might take a vitamin or two a day to living by the alarm clock and pill dispenser is quite easy. It starts with a prescription for something that starts to slip in old age, such as calcium, cholesterol, sciatica, etc. The side effects of the medication, say, cause insomnia. So now, along with the first prescription, you get a second for insomnia. But that insomnia medication increases your likelihood of getting migraines, so you get yet another prescription for migraines, which can cause ulcers, and in turn....well, you get the picture.

Many older Americans nowadays are starting to find a different approach, where they question the need for that first prescription, and try not to get caught in that cycle in the first place. The conservative approach to government action on social issues is very much the same thing---If we don't do x in the first place, we won't need to do y and z some time down the road to "correct" the effects of x.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Understanding the Wright/Obama backlash

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. That was 54 years ago this coming May. By the time any kids born after May 1954 were in kindergarten, Cooper v Aaron had established federal court enforcement of desegregation. So right now, anybody under the age of 53 never lived in a time when segregated schools were legal. We can tack on about four years to that number to account for kids between birth and kindergarten. So, anybody born after May 1950 never went to school when segregation was legal. At least by the mid 1960s, it became clear that those who intended to desegregate the schools meant business. In the meantime, rulings like Boynton v Virginia (1960) and Heart of Atlanta Motel v United States(1964) also outlawed segregation in public accommodations. Jim Crow in all of its forms was completely and utterly illegal by 1964.

So that makes it that people under the age of 44 have never lived under Jim Crow. Furthermore, if your memories of childhood only go back to about 3 years of age, people under the age of 47 would have no memory of Jim Crow in any form at all.

But let's give 44 as the oldest people who have ever lived under Jim Crow, even if in diapers. 44-year-olds are anything but inexperienced kids. They are middle and upper-middle management, and the guys likely to be making the hiring decisions in 2008. The kids born after Brown but not before Heart of Atlanta? They are upper management, planning their childrens' weddings, and welcoming their first grandchildren. Yes, people who never went to segregated public schools are now becoming grandparents. In about 15-18 years, there will be families with three generations of voters who never knew segregated schools, and Jim Crow will start to pass out of living memory.

Let's look at the attitudes of these44/50/55 and younger White voters who never availed themselves of a "Whites Only" accommodation, who themselves cringed a bit when Mom or Grandma may have used a rude term to refer to other races, and who themselves made efforts not to be racist. They, or should I say, "we," my being one of them, sat in the same schools with Black kids like Barak Obama (born 1961). We sat in the same classrooms with the same teachers that doubtless some Trinity churchgoer is now denouncing as denying him educational opportunities.

We also participated in the therapeutic culture of the 70s and onward. Part and parcel of that culture involved separating ones self and ones own needs from those of others, and feeling no guilt about saying "no" to excessive and abusive demands. Heck, we've even been saying "no" to quite reasonable demands.

So when we Post-Boomers hear the ravings of Jeremiah Wright, and see a few of our old classmates among those cheering when he said , "God Damn America," and denouncing America as a hopelessly racist society, this was a shot across our bows. What we heard was a declaration of, "I refuse to accept any attempt you might make to reconcile with me. I have declared you are hopeless." The last time someone whose approval we would like to have declared to us that we were completely hopeless, and that nothing we could do was good enough, divorce papers were served within the week. At our request. Evocation of guilt has diminishing returns with a generation programmed not to respond to it.

One of the biggest appeals of Barak Obama to post-Boomer voters up until now has been the hope of moving on to a discussion on race that did not involve impossible expectations and eternal grievance. We liked our Black classmates. We like our Black coworkers. We really like our Black friends and neighbors. We like our kids' Black friends. And for some of us, if we didn't love our Black spouses, we had no business marrying them. And if our relatives have Black spouses, that means we have Black relatives. And we love them too, or about as much as we love anybody our brother or sister marries. We would love to have some kind of reconciliation with our past, and a way to move into the future with these people we honestly care about.

Unfortunately, his association with Rev. Wright seems to show that Barak Obama is as tied to the old ways of evoking eternal guilt through endless and eternal grievance as any Boomer who actually lived under segregation. Good luck with that.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Picture Becomes Clearer

For all the moaning in certain quarters about moderates and independents supposedly nominating McCain instead of "real Republicans," nobody seems to have mentioned a big reason those moderates and independents might have crossed party lines.

Is there a single conservative in the primaries who does not find Hillary Clinton completely odious? Is there some secret affection between conservatives and the Clintons? Of course not. So how is this anything like moderates and Democrats voting for a candidate whose character and patriotism (if not some of his political decisions) is unquestionable, whom many regard as moderate and willing to reach across the aisle? Believe me, some candidate who was, as the drill sergeant in An Officer and A Gentleman put it, " an orgy...listening to Mick Jagger music and bad-mouthing your country..." during McCain's stay in the Hanoi Hilton isn't going to look all that good on stage at the first debate.

So why on Earth would these moderates and Democrats do this? As the infighting among Democrats intensifies, the picture becomes clear: Significant contingents of moderates, independents, and weak Democrats are not so happy with the Democrat Party's slate of candidates this year. Perhaps going to the polls for McCain was an indicator that many of these guys wanted to be sure the GOP candidate was not going to be someone they couldn't vote for should the Dems nominate someone they don't like? Get a look at the two leading Dems' negatives lately?

It's happened before. After all, we used to call these line-crossing moderates, independents, and weak Democrats the Reagan Democrats. Maybe 2008 won't be such a bad year for the GOP after all.

Friday, February 29, 2008

In Comoedia Veritas Est

I admit, I haven't watched much Saturday Night Live since the days of Wayne's World and the Church Lady. But the flap over the actor playing Obama illustrates one thing for me: The best comedy always contains an element of the truth.

As the article points out, this is not the first time they have gotten a white actor to play a black public figure. So why is there a flap now? Isn't Obama actually only half black, with the other half being white? Wasn't Fred Armisen cast mostly because of his mastery of Obama's mannerisms?

I think this tempest in a teapot is more about a rather nasty truth that Armisen's portrayal brings out:

If Barak Hussein Obama were a fully white guy named Barry Herbert Owens, given the same record otherwise-----would the Democrats have lifted him to this height? Or isn't it far more likely he would have gotten the same lecture one should give any first-term Senator thinking of a White House run who has never faced a serious opposing party's challenger not pre-weakened by scandal?

I think what troubles the Obama supporters is the answer to that question. It points also to why Rush Limbaugh often refers to Obama as "Barry." Would Barak voters vote for "Barry", or would they get a bit more fearful about Barry's liberal voting record (what there is of it), the fact it took a scandal to get him in the Senate in the first place (would a lack of scandal in the next election doom his chances?), and his never having been in the hot seat of being targeted by a GOP that cared to fight for the seat he wanted?

Seeing Obama portrayed without his blackness may remind voters of Barry, when the Obama campaign is counting on them voting for Barak.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

If the Democrats fracture....

Instead of scaring y'all, how about a little hope?

What if McCain wins, or more importantly, what if the Democrats lose?

Consider everything the Left has bet on this election, consider the fractures that are already appearing in their coalition, and think about what happens if they lose. Even if it means McCain wins.

When Fidel dies, or rather, when the Cuban government can't hide his death anymore---this is likely to either happen this year or the next. If at all possible, the Cuban government would like to hold off this reckoning until after the inauguration of a Democrat President----so what happens if the Democrat is not inaugurated? What happens if the Administration in 2009 is not loaded with people who need to cover theirs and their donors' butts with regard to Castro? What happens when the DGI files are released, and the Counterintelligence files on Americans who worked on behalf of the Castro regime can be declassified?

What happens in Latin America should DGI files and their corresponding counterintelligence files get declassified with regard to corrupted politicians and terrorist movements that have stymied progress in that area for so long? What happens to illegal immigration then, should the economic situation in Latin America improve?

What happens in Iraq if the same party as the guy who has been hammering on them for six years gets another four years at being the party of the the CINC? Can any solution the jihadis have come up with to tide them over until the election last another four years?

What happens in Iran if Ahmadiniejad doesn't get his invitation to Obama's Middle Eastern conference, and has another four years at the very least to have to match wits with someone determined to stop his nuke program? The same question I also ask about North Korea.

What happens to George Soros, after he has invested so much in buying a party, if that party doesn't win after eight years of very expensive hammering? What happens to the likes of Kos, Amanda Marcotte, and the like if it becomes patently obvious they can't pick their noses, much less a winner? Whither the Clintons?

I don't pretend to know these answers, but I certainly think finding them out is worth holding ones nose in the phone booth if necessary.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

In all likelihood, Hillary Clinton was originally planning her Presidential run in 2004. Prior to 9/11 it seemed George W Bush was destined to be a one-term President, and the Shadow Party was well in place to keep a steady drumbeat of attacks on Bush's competence, effectiveness, and even his mere existence. Then Hillary, after four years of pounding on Bush through proxies, was to ride in like a good memory of the Clinton years (after the short memories of the public had time to overwrite those inconvenient bad memories of the Clinton years).

However, 9/11 got in the way. And in 2004, the Clintons decided it was far too likely that the American people would be hesitant to "change horses" in the middle of a fight that was only about 2 years old at that point. Also, the strategy of relentless attack through proxies the Clintons were relying on in peacetime had a good chance of blowing up in the Clintons' faces in the middle of a war. So Hillary decided not to run in 2004, figuring she could control Kerry if he actually won, and that if Bush won (which he did), she'd have a better chance at an ultimate victory after another four years of pounding on the GOP some more through proxies. She gave up a possible victory now for a hoped-for victory in 2008.

Let's see how that's turning out:

A lot happened in those four years. Quite a bit happened with regard to the public perception of the Clintons, such as The Path to 9/11 and the Clintons' high-handed attempt to censor it. The Democrat win in 2006 didn't bring with it everything the Democrats promised, leading to a bit more jaded view of Democrat promises. More has come out about the bad part of the Clinton years as time has passed and loyalties have softened.

Hence, instead of ultimate victory, Hillary may be facing either defeat by some empty-suit nobody, or losing the Presidency due to divisions in her party she has played a large part in creating. She gave up a very possible victory in 2004 for an ultimate victory in 2008 that may not happen--which would mean she gave up 2004 for nothing.

I'm not asking anybody to be happy with the GOP's choice, or even its rather limited set of choices for the Presidential run this year. I am simply questioning what seems to be the Sooper Sekrit Plan for Ultimate TRUE CONSERVATIVE Victory Forever and Ever:

1. Stay home this year to punish the GOP and (maybe) make them Lose Big
2. Somebody Makes A Mistake Somewhere
3. TRUE CONSERVATISM (tm) after the GOP and the rest of the country comes back to Real Conservatives (tm) hat in hand and begging on their knees in 2012

The biggest thing these folks seem to be relying on are mistakes that would be made either by the McCain campaign or by Hillary/Obama when in office. Unless you are the direct cause of the mistake, don't count on some other guy's mistake causing your ultimate victory. Because if they decide not to screw up, or events intervene, you have simply given up a very possible victory now for absolutely nothing later.

Think about it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A "RINO" has to ask....

I want all you "true conservatives" to tell me something: Where did the idea come from that the 2008 GOP primary was supposed to be the Second Coming of Reagan? Did I miss some Bible verse or something? There are a lot of upset people on the Right right now because we ended up with what they would call a RINO as the GOP nominee. Umm, as opposed to whom?

The flip-flopper (Romney)?
The *GASP* gun-grabbing pro-choice guy who wasn't apologetic about it (Giuliani)?
The former abortion lobbyist (Thompson)?
The guy who alternates between being William Jennings Bryan and John Edwards (Huckabee)?...

Right. Okay. Whatever.

So, where was this Reagan supposed to come from? Was the GOP supposed to be complete morons, pluck some good-looking well-spoken unknown from Bugtussle, and throw him naked and screaming into the clutches of Hillary Clinton and her pet smear machine?

Oh, here we go---they were supposed to draft Newt Gingrich. After all, the public (and Newt) just can't get enough retellings of how he left his cancer-stricken wife at her bedside, can they?

And how about Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo? After all they got so many conservative votes in the primary....oh wait, no they didn't! But how they'd win, oh yessirree! So let's all hold our breath collectively, that is such a sure way of getting what you want, right?

Take some Beano guys, because it's not your mouths making all that noise.

I thought part of the fun of being right was amusement at watching Lefties' twists, turns and perversions of logic. Then I see half of Townhall berate Michael Reagan and try and tell him that he wouldn't know what his own father would have wanted. I think I found that following a link sandwiched between blog postings calling for a brokered GOP convention when one guy is within 200 delegates of securing the nomination just before Ohio and Texas vote.

I thought only idiot lefties paid more attention to a candidate's platitudes than his actual record. Then I saw Romney made out to be The Conservative Candidate (despite only having his Road to Damascus moment on the road to his run for the White House). I thought only lefties threw themselves at some pointless and ill-thought-out plan, and then I watch some kind of plan where you don't vote for someone, they win anyway and they are somehow supposed to still need your vote enough to pander to your every little whim.

1) Refuse to vote for the GOP candidate
2) ???
3) True Conservatism (tm)

I just don't get it. Our troops are out there while the voters who are supposed to support them are busy sounding like the Underpants Gnomes. Start making some sense, folks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let's Ruin Their Credit.

Have you ever looked at older homes, especially the ones built before home loans became widely available? Note how small they were and how few features they had. Then notice a home built a few years later after essentially buying a home on credit became the norm. Notice a huge difference in included features and size? The same goes for cars, computers, and ...publicity machines. You can buy on credit something much nicer than you can get by paying for it with what you have on hand.

Denizens of the Hollywood closet and other celebrities with something to hide have spent some of the millions they have been paid in order to hire publicists, lawyers, and handlers who have been meticulously trained to hide from the public things about a public person the public person doesn't want the public to know. If they could hide Jodie Foster's gay lover and make people believe Britney Spears was a virgin until about the time she released her second album.....they can hide the excessive monetary demands, alcoholism, and compulsive shopping of any Republican candidate's ex-wife, if her story's good enough and she wants to re-fight her divorce in the media. But these guys aren't cheap.

All the setting up of 527s, all the research, all the following candidates around with a video camera waiting for them to say "macaca," is not something people do out of the goodness of their hearts or belief in "the cause." It is so much more than your average political campaign can afford using their own coffers. Either there has been the largest convergence between otherwise hard-nosed businesspeople to throw the resources of their entire businesses towards some seriously anti-business candidates out of some 1960s nostalgia.... or the Democrats have bought their media machine on credit. How far would a promise of White House access go towards paying the publicists' bills?

This whole network, the whole Shadow Party was brought together under the Clintons in order to usher in a Clinton Restoration. The deals with investors and media were struck with the Clintons, not the Obamas. This is why I believe that barring a complete turnaround in the primaries, Hillary Clinton will end up being the nominee. The various elements of the media machine cannot trust Obama to hold to the same promises in 2009 that the Clintons might have given them in 2005, and the credit of the Democrat Party with its media wing could be at stake if Hillary Clinton is not the nominee.

The Achilles heel here is that all of those publicists, lawyers, researchers, and even investors like George Soros are going to want a return on this investment, i.e. access to the highest levels of government, and scoring the ultimate client at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So what happens if the GOP unites behind their candidate and wins? Those businesspeople would have spent a whole lot of resources for no return. The Democrat Party would finally become a bad credit risk, and would have to pay cash up front in order to do business with the same publicity and research firms in 2010 or 2012 that in 2008 are working on credit and a promise. This puts the fight between Republicans and Democrats on a much more even level, and allows good conservative candidates to stop hiding on the back bench in fear of a billion-dollar smear machine. So let's hold our noses this year and ruin the Democrats' credit, so they will actually have to pay for their good press and opponents' bad press like any other respectable politicians. Can we agree on that?

Friday, January 4, 2008

What's at Stake, Part 2

But even now there is hope left. I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be. But this I will say to you: your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true

------Galadriel in Lord of the Rings

Hundreds of years from now, what will people make of these times? Will this be seen as the beginning of an age of prosperity and peace, or when we threw that potential away? Can we see far enough ahead, and far enough away?

Right in front of our noses, right now, we see record prices for gasoline. Far away, can we see the sons and daughters of dirt farmers in Asia filling up their own new cars, bought with money from jobs earned by, not given to the Third World? Can you see them becoming a prosperous middle-class polity peeling away economic, and eventually political, power from their nations' power-and-ancient-pissing-contest-obsessed political elites?

Right in front of our noses, we see the slow passing of a fifty-year-old regime we do not see causing us that many headaches since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and only see some folks in southern Florida who care. Can you see reformers across Latin America, and even perhaps Africa, no longer having to fear foreigner-funded "peoples' movements" scaring away foreign investors and screwing up reforms? Latin America and Africa have not been as able to take advantage of the growth in the global economy. They were also the sphere of influence during the Cold War of Fidel Castro. This is not a coincidence.

Right in front of our noses, we see a war in the Middle East that seems to have no end, and seems to expand every day. Can we see the hopelessness of trusting the future of the Middle East to a moribund order that has even corrupted religion for its purposes, that has painted itself into a corner, having created the Frankenstein's Monster of terrorism and lost control of it? Can we see in the wake of this old order's fall the rise of average, bourgeois Middle Easterners more concerned with making money than making trouble? And on that day we finally find an acceptable substitute for the petroleum that had so far propped up the old order in the Middle East, would we rather see spasms of terrorism in its wake or a massive shrugging of shoulders across a Middle East with a more diversified economy?

What needs to happen in November is that we need people in charge in the United States prepared to take advantage of all this. Prepared to support the aspirations of regular people worldwide who long for freedom and prosperity, that there will be peace. Prepared to ensure the fall and discrediting of all those things that have held back freedom and prosperity. Prepared to hold the line in the Middle East. We cannot afford to fall to shortsighted populism and isolationism, or the false moral comfort of "noninterventionism."

At the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the final rocket of the Apollo program rots in the view of all. We decided foolishly that every dollar used on a lunar mission was better spent in foolish efforts to "cure" poverty that only perpetuated itself in the wake of government subsidy. Do we even remember how we used to believe we would be living on other planets in the early days of the twenty-first century? How quaint it all seems now.

Next to the rotting corpse of our aspirations to go into space, do we lay the dreams of reformers around the world we fail to directly or indirectly aid, our chances to actually make the world a better place, in view of equally shortsighted goals? If that is your choice, then you can make it without my assent.