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Did you hear the news?

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a paper that gives all of California’s “bazillion” electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

This is not a misprint. To the winner of the NATIONAL popular vote. Here is the LINK.

In other words, the votes of someone in Indiana will have as much effect on California’s electoral votes as mine, a taxpaying resident of the state of California.

Why did he do this?

Simple!

Liberals are afraid of a repeat of the Bush/Gore election where Al won the popular vote (by a hair) and George won the electoral vote (by a dimpled chad in Florida.)

Abolish the electoral college! (shouts everyone)

How silly! (shout I)

The older I get, the more I appreciate the wisdom of the founding fathers. 

On their better days, I believe they were truly inspired by God. And, like Martin Luther King, I don’t believe you can separate faith convictions from politics.

They founded the Electoral College for a reason.

A very good reason.

The envisioned each state sending its best and brightest (college presidents, business leaders, agriculturalists, journalists, clergy, intellectuals, historians, etc.) to a real meeting in Washington DC every four years. Kind of like the group that wrote the constitution in the first place….

They would choose one person to manage the country for four years. Keep it in the black. Keep it efficient.

Politicking was seen as bad form. The decision was NOT to be made ahead of time. The idea of a sitting president raising a billion (!) dollars for re-election would have resulted in deportation.

There was to be no popular vote for the president. The leaders of the country were to confer and choose one.

Why?

Because the founding fathers were afraid of two things:

1) America becoming a high-overhead imperial power (like England).

2) A spike in popular opinion putting a charismatic nut in the office of the presidency through a direct popular vote.

Thus the constitution was built with lotsa shock absorbers to cushion against instability, extremism, and hysteria.

Only the House of Representatives would fully mirror the current mood of the people. Every two years everyone is back up for election. New “movements” would get representation here (tea party, contract with America, new deal, reaganomics, great society, etc.) and a chance to gain a foothold. New ideas would be given a test drive.

The Senate was staggered so that only a third of the seats would come open at any given time. The terms were longer than the president’s; denoting higher status. They were to be chosen by state legislatures, to provide yet one more filter against extreme mood swings. The Senate was thus to be more conservative and less prone to sharp turns. They would be the ones approving foreign treaties (or basically just staying out of them).

The presidency was not an elected King/Queen. The president was to be an efficient, proven leader who could keep things on track. Not a charismatic survivor of a brutal campaign trail. Not the winner of endless debates.

George Washington was thus elected president (by a real electoral college) more or less against his will. He begged the country not to put is picture on the money and thus elevate the presidency. He insisted on “Mr. President” rather than “Your highness” or even “Your honor.” The president was to be like a city manager of a large country. Not in the news all the time.

Time to bring this great idea back. No more imperial presidency. No more sending our troops abroad without a declaration of war. No more elected emperors.

Have each state send its brightest and best; non-partisan if possible, and choose a good manager for the next four years. Peter Ueberroth would have been chosen in the 80’s after organizing the L.A. Olympics and making a profit.

Leave the electioneering to the House of Representatives, where it belongs. A popular house. Where fresh ideas are given a chance.

But the real power should be in the Senate. Longer terms than the president (six years). A compounding society of wisdom. Not susceptible to the whims of the season.

The electoral college.

A great idea.

About time we get it right.

And put the presidency in its place.

+++++++++++++++++

Please pass the link for this on to everyone else. Thanks!

Twitter: @RobinwoodChurch

What are your thoughts on the Gulf BP oil spill?

Blaming seems to be the national pastime.

Especially when we feel powerless.

Considering how physically leveraged an offshore rig is, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier.

And there is the crucial distinction between short term and long term solutions.

We need to do a better job of mobilizing our capacity to stop the leak. If we can put men on the moon….

We also need to make sure BP pays for this.

And, of course, we need to find a different way of getting and using energy. Oil will always be dirty and oil will always spill.

Spent some time on Wikipedia and elsewhere today.

Why? Listened to the State of the Union last night (it’s all the Republicans’ fault) and then listened to talk radio responses (mostly: Obama is an evil socialist who just might have really been born in Sweden, not Hawaii).

Wanted to find out for myself what’s really going on with the debt/deficit/spending thing.

Got surprised by a lot of things. The right/left divide has created an ideology-bound way of bending the truth about debt/deficit. Both left and right just see what they want to see. And they love to blame each other.

Facts suffer under this ideological pressure to prove one’s side as “correct.”

For instance:

Q: When (in the last 75 years) was the cumulative (real % of GNP) national debt the lowest?

A: During the Carter years. Lower than the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 80’s, 90’s or whatever we decide to call the last decade.

Q: When was federal spending the highest?

A: FDR’s reign. Nowhere in our history even comes close in federal spending as % of GNP. The Great Depression and WW2. Since then, it’s been less clear which side of the aisle is the biggest spender.

Also, the national deficit and the national debt are not the same thing.

For some of you this is 101, but apparently not for most Americans, a majority of whom are unable to distinguish correctly between the two.

The deficit is the annual gap between government income and spending; the “hole” in the annual budget, if you will.

The debt is the cumuilative total amount we owe (to whom is pretty unclear, no matter how much you look into it); the result of lots of deficits in a row.

I am a pro-family, free market, fiscal conservative (not that this matters, just want to be clear that there is no “liberal” agenda here) and was surprised to find out that the following presidents increased the total national debt, during their total time in office, by these percentage amounts:

Jimmy Carter: 45%

Ronald Reagan: 189%

Bush the Elder: 55%

Bill Clinton: 36%

Bush the Younger: 89% (not so bad over 8 years, considering the challenges he faced)

Obama: We don’t know yet, the first years for all of the above presidents were not indicative of the patterns to come for their terms.

Of course, Reagan, Clinton and “W” were 8-year presidents. The others were 4-year guys. Factor that in. Also, inflation is always a rich field for misinformation. It often gets left out or mentioned specifically in order to skew info. 1960 dollars are not the same as 2010 dollars, so sometimes “record” deficits are not really records. No president, in real GNP %, has spent as much as we did in WW2.

Same is true for population changes. America has about 300 million people (we’ll see how the 2010 nose count goes) which is almost twice as many as when I was born. Comparing the debt of a nation of 300 million to the debt of a nation with 150 million is apples vs. oranges.

It seems that, in real un-spun facts (which no one would dispute), the presidents who have most increased the National Debt of the US, in my lifetime, have been primarily–Republicans.

So how do the Democrats get the ‘tax and spend’ rep?

No matter how you cut it, no matter whose numbers you use, Bill Clinton was the most frugal of the presidents in our lifetime–and the prosperity during that era, in my opinion, may have resulted from that (my libertarian tendencies are showing). Not that I approve of him, his policies, or his views. But I like his deficit numbers. Who doesn’t?

The last recorded annual surplus (the opposite of an annual deficit) was during Clinton’s term. A Democrat.

My only explanation is that Republicans somehow don’t count defense spending as “real.”

In all fairness, Republicans aren’t ‘tax and spend,’ they just spend (and cut taxes). This opens up huge deficits.

Bush the Elder had the courage to call this “voodoo economics,” and he was right. He took it back so he could be Ronny’s VP, but it was true then and it’s true now.

Now granted, thank God that Ronald Reagan spent so much on defense–he bankrupted the Soviet Union without firing a shot; history will remember him for that. But he raised the stakes with money he didn’t have.

Glad he did it? Yes.

But it was real spending.

Granted, the social programs that the Democrats prefer are usually more or less useless in terms of real results (good intentions–lousy outcomes). But they cost way less than aircraft carriers.

And those who want to paint Democrats as socialists, ironically LOVE socialized military (obviously the most expensive form of socialism around). But somehow that doesn’t count.

Please hear me, I also, along with the Republicans, prefer a well-funded socialized military. A private military (pay the Hessians to protect us) would be a mess. And the corruption would be unbelievable. Interesting that no Republican would deny our men and women in uniform the right to socialized medicine…which they all have.

We fought a war (WW2) on two continents and destroyed massively evil regimes (Nazis, Fascists, etc.) in four years with socialized military. I am also very proud of our men and women today in the military–they are amazing.

Not that I have totally formulated how I feel about all this, but it’s important for social and market conservatives like myself to look at real numbers. We tend to want to idealize Republicans and demonize Democrats. Overspending is apparently an equal-opportunity employer!

The truth is important. In my adult lifetime, the big spenders have been the Republicans. The only difference is, they cut taxes at the same time–which piles up debt.

Military spending counts as real spending. And there is a real cost to being a warrior nation with extensive, long term, expensive deployment (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) in a hemisphere (Eastern) where our country isn’t (Western). Last I checked, with all of our valiant efforts, those four countries (where we have spent so much money and spilled so much blood) are still nut cases. Half of Korea is arguably the strangest place on planet earth.

If we are going to make real progress against big government, we have to look at real numbers. Including military spending.

How much of the world are we going to protect and how many failed states are we going to rescue from crazy dictators? Can we afford to straighten out the whole world? Where does it end?

Seems simpler to me. Agree on what % of our GNP we want to spend on the public sector (including military). Make real laws (Constitutional Amendment) against spending more that that. And then prioritizing, through democracy, how that fixed amount gets spent. Decide on how much of the globe we are going to police and stick to that. Let the Europeans worry about Kosovo, etc.

Living within our means.

My libertarian side says that our economy would flourish. And our military would focus on defending (which they do well) our homeland.

Just ideas. But since they’re my ideas, I think they’re right.

Unless you have better ones, which may well be true. Let me hear from you.

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