November 26, 2007

The Most Important Thing of 2008

Hatched by Dave Ross

The central tenet of my life and the universe -- at least this week -- is that the most important thing in the world is to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

Although from the standpoint of my personal profit and reputation it would be a good thing if Hillary become president, since I am working on a 1984ish dystopian horror fiction knockoff about the beginning of her fourth term in office entitled (tentatively) "Nanny," I consider it hardly an exaggeration that a second Clinton presidency would be the beginning of the end for freedom and civil liberties as we know it... and probably also the American way of life.

Yes, it's that bad.

It's so bad that I would vote for virtually anyone else, Hugo Chavez and Alec Baldwin possibly excluded, to ensure her defeat. Oh yes, there is one other person that I wouldn't be able to vote for, and that's John McCain. If, by some twate of fist they are both the nominees next year, I would have to sit out the first presidential election of my adult life, or else vote for the libertarian.

I include Mr. McCain because both he and Hillary are grave enemies of the Bill of Rights -- specifically the First Amendment. Hillary, because anything that stands in her way, including pesky things like civil liberties and the constitution, is just a piece of paper; and the most convenient place for inconvenient pieces of paper is underfoot. McCain because he is probably the most authoritarian Republican of our generation. He really thinks that defeating "corruption in government" is more important than freedom of speech and press. I'm not bending his words in any way.

In April, while on the Don Imus radio show (ironically as it turned out), shortly before Imus committed ritual seppuku using a rusty blade of political correctness, McCain answered the charge, that his McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation attacks the First Amendment, by in essence saying, "So what?"

I work in Washington and I know that money corrupts. And I and a lot of other people were trying to stop that corruption. Obviously, from what we've been seeing lately, we didn't complete the job. But I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government.

Columnist George Will wondered how McCain would be able to hold that opinion and also carry out his oath to uphold the constitution if he is elected president.

Hillary Clinton's point of view about freedom of expression is, if anything, even more chilling than McCain's. Most defenders of the sanctity of the Internet recall this quote from her when the Drudge Report first reported Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky:

"We are all going to have to rethink how we deal with this, because there are all these competing values.... Without any kind of editing function or gatekeeping function, what does it mean to have the right to defend your reputation?"

But the average voter has no idea that Mrs. Clinton favors prior restraint, something that the U.S. Supreme Court has never authorized, even in the name of national security. Of course, the average voter doesn't support the Bill of Rights either, when the individual rights are put to him in the form of questions such as "Do you think people ought to be allowed to say anything they want, even if it makes the job of the president harder?" or "Don't you think the police ought to be able to enter the house of a suspect without a warrant if they have a good reason?" So, as the people of Venezuela seem prepared to exercise their rights to "one man, one vote, one time" and legitimize a dictatorship, the American people might under certain circumstances allow Hillary to create a "gatekeeper" to guard against abuses of the freedom of the Internet (or talk radio, for that matter).

I am becoming just a little bit optimistic about the inevitability of the Hillary coronation because cracks are starting to appear in what has up until now been an impenetrable wall: the absurd claim that Hillary is the "most qualified candidate."

A column by Maureen Dowd -- who will, once the nomination is secured for Hillary return to her slavish devotion to the Democratic party and attack whomever the GOP nominee is -- demonstrated that when she is at the top of her game, she has the sharpest claws in the pundit business: She applauded Barack Obama's witty observation that he couldn't recall that Mrs. Clinton had served as her husband's treasury secretary, after Mrs.Clinton turned her regal gaze on the upstart and tried to turn him to stone by ridiculing his inexperience.

That crack is the sort of thing that could become a canyon if enough the of the media reflect on the absurdity of the claim that Hillary makes, that she acquired all of her husband's abilities and experiences in sort of a political contact high. It's an "emperor has no clothes" moment. It brings up all sorts of interesting questions. If, as she implies, Mrs. Clinton was "co-president," then why doesn't the 22nd Amendment apply to her? Or, if it doesn't, can we at least ask that she or Bill produce some memos or documents that have her fingerprints on them, to demonstrate what policy decisions she was responsible for -- and to what degree?

As they have ever since they entered public life, the Clintons are trying to have it both ways. Mrs. Clinton wants to take credit for all of Bill's positives when he was president, but claim deniability when the party wingnuts squawk about NAFTA. Like Janus, Mrs. Clinton wants to look both ways at once. Oops! Did I just call Hillary "two-faced?" Oh dear, how sexist of me!

Hatched by Dave Ross on this day, November 26, 2007, at the time of 12:07 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I would vote for McCain if he got the nomination. It is not my job to tell Republicans who they can and can not nominate. The guy or gal who gets the most support will win.

As for the first amendment issue, I am sorry I think this is overstated. No one is locking anyone up for speaking their mind. Most people would be fine with it if all ads were banned from the TV. I got cable just so I would never have to listen to another campaign ad. I don't think McCain Feingold did what it was intended to do, but to say that McCain is against the First Amendment seems a tad extreme to me.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 5:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: PC14

The central tenet of my life and the universe -- at least this week -- is that the most important thing in the world is to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

Amen Brother...that's all.

The above hissed in response by: PC14 [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 6:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/27/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2007 8:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: Milhouse

Add Giuliani to the list of candidates not to vote for under any circumstances. If McCain has contempt for the First Amendment, Giuliani does for the entire Bill of Rights. Actually he seems simply not to get the whole concept of civil liberties. If McCain or Giuliani get the GOP nomination I will seriously consider voting for the Democrat even if it's the Wicked Witch of Westchester.

The above hissed in response by: Milhouse [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2007 9:54 AM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

"I work in Washington and I know that money corrupts. And I and a lot of other people were trying to stop that corruption."

The key to stopping corruption is not to control free speech, but to control the ability of congress to affect the lives of ordinary citizens.

Look, people pay hundreds of thousands to lobbyists, and perhaps additional hundreds of thousands to corrupt congress. Why? Because congress and even individual congressmen, have the power to make them rich. If congress did not have that power, then attempting to corrupt congress would make little sense.

So how do you change the cost/benefit calculation for corrupting congress? Shut down earmarking once and for all. Everything must be approved in full by each committee, and voted on without last minute amendments. Full transparency. Give the president the line item veto, enshrined in the constitution if you have to. Last of all remove congress' ability to monkey with the tax system. Set low rates with no deductions or exemptions. Abolish all corporate taxes.

Overnight the calculus would change - it would no longer make any sense to try and corrupt congress. You would run terrible risks with little chance of significant reward.

Oh, yeah, and of course this would spur and rationalize the economy to an enormous degree.

The thing is, everyhone knows this. Congress knows it. But they don't want to give up their power.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 27, 2007 11:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: georgfelis

If being First Lady was a qualification for the Presidency, then Laura Bush would be the most currently qualified person for the job right now, right Hillary?

The above hissed in response by: georgfelis [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 3, 2007 1:14 PM

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