How Washington Politics Is Like Pinochle

The Sides
I think many of the Washington politico’s would make great card players. While Americans chalk up anything that happens in D.C. as politics, I call it pinochle.

For those that have never played the game, pinochle is a four player game (two teams of two) that consists both of luck and skill. You have to rely on your partner even though you don’t quite know what cards your partner has.

In D.C. the two opposing teams are: the Democrats (led by Obama) with the liberal constituents versus the Republicans (led by _____?) and their disillusioned conservative partner.

The Play
I was a bit surprised when I read that homosexual activists were frustrated that Obama not championing or advocating more of their “rights”. This is a prime example of how one “partner” (homosexuals) are not relying on the other (Obama). Such frustration is a bit short-sighted on the part of the rainbow army. True, Obama has not repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Agreed, he has not fully championed the homosexual movement.

Given his liberal track record, this may let conservatives breathe a sign of relief.

However, Obama’s steps have been measured. With the Democrats in control of the House, Senate and Oval Office, there isn’t much that Obama can’t do (taking over the auto industry, the media, etc). He has not quite pandered to his homosexual supporters as much as they would like. Yet.

The Tricks
In pinochle, one team must take as many “tricks” as possible. Strategically, it is often in a player’s best interest to not lay down his strongest hand immediately; doing so would lead to losing tricks later in the hand.

Obama realizes this; the homosexuals don’t.

Obama has the strength and political clout to bring out much “change” in America. I’m talking more than higher taxes on businesses. Increased abortions. Activist judges. Homosexual “rights”. Equality. Change.

When the hand ends, count up your points and keep playing the game. Republicans won a few hands in the mid-2000s. Democrats won before and after that.

My point is that I am not any more at ease knowing that homosexuals are frustrated at Obama. I think that Obama is biding his time.

My Prediction: In late 2010 – mid 2012 Obama will push through aggressive legislation pandering to the votes of his liberal constituents.

Acting now is premature; people are forgetful and may not remember what Obama did in his first six months. Plus, there is still some bumbling around with the economy. No, not yet – but Obama will start laying down trump closer to election time.

I just hope that by that time Republicans figure out what cards the conservatives are holding.

Defending the Pro-Life Cause

I ran across this article the other week on the Nation’s website.

This Nation writer, a writer who represents an entire industry devoted to killing living human children, is trying to distort truth and reality to associate a movement dedicated to the preservation of life–even unwanted life–with the callous murder of abortionist George Tiller.

Take a look at some of the author’s assertions:

While the murderous rage of Tiller’s assassin is not representative of the broader anti-choice movement, I believe that the anti-choice community operates with a totalitarian impulse that generates a culture of terror rather than a culture of life.

The first part of this sentence is spot on, but the latter part is so boneheaded to hardly warrant response. No one in the pro-life movement condoned the murder of George Tiller. Far and wide, the response to this vile act was to condemn it, except for one or two isolated statements (the speakers of which, while choosing not to condemn the murderer’s act, did correctly point out that more viable unborn children will live to see birth in a world without Tiller).

The Editors of National Review Online best presented the reaction of the entire pro-life movement in their editorial shortly after the murder:

[The pro-life movement ]seeks to abolish a private right to kill, not to license one. It aims to return the law to its moral foundations, not to abandon the rule of law altogether…Our only weapons should be persuasion, law, and prayer.

The author of the Nation piece continues:

There are few experiences more lonely and isolating than facing an unintended pregnancy or facing the need to terminate a desired pregnancy in order to protect maternal health. The anti-choice discourse labels the women and families who chose abortion “baby killers.” It is a strategy that dehumanizes these women and the doctors who care for them.

The author’s assertions here are misguided. The pro-life movement, taken as a whole, places the vast majority of blame for the abortion problem on the abortionists who abort and the society that tolerates such a brutal industry. In fact, the best place for women facing crisis pregnancies to receive care, counseling, and adoption aid are run by the Church or the pro-life movement. As pro-abortion advocates like to point out, it would be inconsistent for the pro-life movement or the Church to fight for the pro-life cause, while ignoring unwanted children, poverty, or other issues. Which is precisely why the Church doesn’t ignore the sick, poor, and hungry, the abandoned, or the exploited.

Our Nation author goes on to state, “Many [women who have received abortions] understandably prefer not to be publicly associated with the stigma and potential violence that comes with standing up for choice.”

While there may be some truth to a stigma attaching, the greater response from the pro-life community is love and forgiveness. As Kathryn Jean Lopez said this week, “We must oppose abortion not out of hate, but out of love, as so many do.”

Indeed, the pro-life movement is really the only place where there is a recognition that abortion changes you.

George Tiller will face his Maker and reap the consequences of the unborn children he snuffed out. George Tiller’s murderer will also face his Maker and answer for his unconscionable act. But there is no equating their actions with those of a movement that seeks to preserve the most vulnerable and precious among us–and offer forgiveness and love to those who are fooled into thinking that any child is expendable.

Stop Voting “Present” On Democracy

So says Jonah Goldberg in his column today on NRO, as he takes President Obama to task for his lack of leadership on the current events in Iran.

He asks the president, “maybe you could lift a finger for democracy?,” while Obama speaks of being “troubled” by a fascist regime sending masked stormtroopers into crowds of peaceful protesters. Similarly, Senator McCain called Obama out for his lack of decisiveness on the issue.

The Iranian government has been a thorn in America’s side since the 1979 Islamic revolution. While a new government may not be better than the current one, the current leadership is frenetically–and recklessly–pursuing nuclear weapons and vows to wipe Israel off the map. Can it get any worse than that?

We, as the world’s oldest democracy and strongest defender of human rights across the globe owe our moral support to the Iranian people. It’s time for President Obama to take a stand and declare that a free Iran has the wholehearted support of the United States of America.

Goldberg finishes his column:

So far, “hope and change” has meant spending trillions we do not have on expanded government we do not need. Meanwhile, the huddled masses of Iranians yearning to breathe free think hope and change means something more. But the new American colossus stands all but silent, her beacon dimmed, her luster tarnished.

Please, Mr. President, prove me wrong. Stop voting “present” on democracy.

The New Civil Rights Struggle (Hint, It Isn’t “Homosexual Rights”)

As Assistant Editor Brendan Miniter points out in the Wall Street Journal, a growing number in the black community are recognizing that the debate over school choice is the new front in the civil rights battle.

Even some notoriously polarizing figures like Al Sharpton are starting to call out “Professor Jim Crow.”

While Ford’s billdied on the vine” this session, his defection from the ranks of the anti-choicers represents a key shift, and is one of many incremental gains that have edged South Carolina closer to real school choice options.

(More info on school choice in South Carolina here, and nationally at the Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.)

Texas Continues to Enact Free Market Policies

Texas continues to enact free market economic policies, which undoubtedly will continue to improve the state’s position vis a vis the other 49 states. This session, the state legislature passed, and Governor Perry signed, a small business tax cut.

In an interview with the AP (courtesy of Forbes), Governor Perry said, “Texas small businesses are the essential gears of our economic engine. They employ millions of Texans. This bill represents leadership paying attention.”

The tax cut bill, called a “small business stimulus package” by the director of the Texas office of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in the AP story, extends a tax exemption to small businesses making less than $1 million in annual revenue.

Said the Texas Public Policy Foundation,

During the last several years, Texas has led the nation in job creation, exports, and business climate. Recent analyses indicate that Texas was one of the last states in the country to enter the national recession and will be one of the first states to emerge from it.

With no state income tax and competitive small business taxes, expect Texas to outpace the other 49 for years to come.

$1,600,000,000,000 Over 10 Years to Kick 23 Million Americans Off Private Insurance

…and that price doesn’t include the so-called “Public Option” either. So says the Director of the Congressional Budget Office on his Director’s Blog.

In case that’s too many zeroes for you to count up in the headline, it’s one TRILLION dollars, with a “T,” which will result in an estimated 23 million Americans losing private health insurance. An estimated 39 million Americans will sign-on to the new plan, leaving us with a net of roughly 16 million new insurees. At that price, it’s the equivalent of buying $62,500 worth of coverage for each of the 16 million new insurees. It’s a bit perplexing, even by the woefully inefficient standards of government, until you realize that the ultimate point is to eliminate private insurance entirely.

And of course, the Director’s estimate doesn’t even touch on the myriad of other problems with all the various plans floating about (more info from Keith Hennessey about the Senate bill (Kennedy-Dodd) here, here and here, and about the House bill here – more info about the debate in general from The Heritage Foundation here.

Update: Headline fixed. AP is now reporting that Senate sources say the actual cost is closer to 1.6 TRILLION.

Even Businesses Vote With Their Feet

According to this Wall Street Journal article, the steady stream of businesses moving from business-unfriendly states in the Rustbelt and Northeast to business-friendly states in the Southeast has been increasing recently. Said the Journal:

Major companies have been relocating to the Southeast for decades — lured by tax breaks, nonunion work forces, and, increasingly, ports, railroads and highway systems. But now Southern states are attempting to leverage the downturn to promote the region as more attractive during hard times — especially compared to the Rust Belt and other regions where the economy is suffering most.

The preexisting attractiveness of many Southern states, coupled with looming tax increases on individuals and businesses given most states’ inability to budget responsibly, provides an opportunity for to create sustainable industries in new areas. It’s basic economics and it’d be nice if South Carolina would make some necessary changes and join the list of states in articles like this.

Stop Calling Them “Elections”

It does a disservice to Westernized democracies (and gives ammunition to Iranian apologists) to call what happened in Iran yesterday “elections.” Behind what was obviously a sham count (possibly concocted in advance of the election) is a naked and desperate grab for power by the aging Iranian regime.

Even if it had gone off without a hitch, what Iran conducted was not anything a fair-minded person would consider an “election.” For one thing, no candidate even gets on the ballot without approval of the Islamic Guardian Council. You can almost forget being elected to office if you are a non-Muslim, and non-Muslims cannot be elected President. All in all, about what you’d expect from a nation whose constitution is intertwined with the Koran.

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Iranians are taking to the streets in what could be fledgling steps toward reforming a rigid and ancient theocracy. Blood is running in the streets as the mullahs desperately try to stay in power. Germany’s Angela Merkle has managed to stand up and condemn this disgrace, where is the President of the United States, the leader of the Free World?

The Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner has it right: “The Obama administration’s response to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s fraudulent election victory is cowardly, lily-livered and wrong.”

Update: President Obama finally speaks. As Allahpundit over at HotAir notes, health care is a “ticking time bomb” and George Tiller’s murder left him “shocked and outraged,” but mass beatings and brutal murders of civilians leave him “troubled.” Disgusting.

Update II: Signs of hope? This is not an annulment of the election, but the mullahs apparently feel threatened enough to at least fake a recount, even as they crack down on Western media outlets. Why, you ask? Perhaps because the backbone of their support, the Revolutionary Guards, they of terrorist watch list fame, may be showing some signs of strain.