Libertarians are Cool on Kavanaugh

Constitutional Republic
In a constitutional republic, why would you not want a constitutionalist justice?

Progressives not surprisingly, hate President Trump’s pick of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He won’t create rights not enumerated in the Constitution, nor will he legislate from the bench.   Conservatives like him, as he was vetted and approved by the Federalist Society for consideration.  They love him for the same reason the Left hates him. Libertarians have given the choice a cooler reception, citing concerns about privacy rights, especially when it comes to Fourth Amendment protections.  Judge Andrew Napolitano, a libertarian-leaning judge had this to say about the pick:

Now he has given us a nominee to the highest court in the land who typifies the culture he railed against when he claimed he’d drain the swamp. This man and this culture accept cutting holes in the Fourth Amendment because they don’t believe that it should protect privacy. This man and this culture accept unlimited spying on innocent Americans by the National Security Agency because they don’t believe that the NSA is subject to the Constitution.  — Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Napolitano’s concerns have been echoed by others on the libertarian side:

Kavanaugh is not another Gorsuch—not even close. Disappointing pick, particularly with respect to his record. Future decisions on the constitutionality of government surveillance of Americans will be huge. We can’t afford a rubber stamp for the executive branch.  –Rep Justin Amash, (R) MI

Restore the 4th

Senator Rand Paul, arguably the most notable libertarian on Capitol Hill was also cool on Kavanaugh, reserving his judgment for now…  “I’m not going to make any comment until we’ve had a chance to look through and really go through a discovery process, meet the nominee,” — Sen Rand Paul, (R) KY

Liberals don’t like Kavanaugh, they are deathly afraid of him overturning Roe v. Wade, and would prefer a justice who believes in a “living Constitution”.  Conservatives like him because they think he won’t legislate from the bench.  Libertarians are concerned that he will opt for an interpretation of the Constitution that favors the government over individual rights.  Will Senator Rand Paul, who might well be the deciding vote in the Senate, be able to overlook past rulings on the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance?  Will he decide that perfect is the enemy of good-enough, or will he find he has irreconcilable differences with Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy when it comes to privacy versus security?


Should other Republicans emulate Trump’s pivot to the black community?

Election 2016“…I love France so well I will not part with a village of it.” – Shakespeare, Henry V 5.2

Republicans should take note of this famous line from the Shakespeare play.  Republicans love America at least as much Shakespeare’s Henry V loved France, so why do they every four years, simply cede roughly 13% of the population to the Democrats?  That is exactly what they do when they fail to court in any meaningful way the black vote.  Why do they, as King Henry put it, “part with a single village of it”?  Donald Trump does not seem to want to part of a single village (read precinct).  He does not seem prepared to let the Democrats have the inner cities without a fight.  Given the Democrat’s dismal record of running cities, especially those with large African-American populations, this should be considered low hanging fruit by any Republican with the guts enough to try and grab it.  There are reasons, one’s that should be revisited, but there are reasons:  First, the electoral map puts a premium on winning entire states.  Democrats have done such a good job of demonizing Republicans in the eyes of the African American community that it takes courage for a Republican to go into the inner city.  Lastly, some conservative solutions are less obvious to the voter than Democratic ones. Republicans need to revisit their reasons for not actively courting the black or any other minority vote.  Trump had made the determination to do just this, other Republicans would do well to take note.

In the electoral college, the Democrats already have a big head start on the race to 270.  This is almost entirely because of demographics.  States with large urban areas populated with large numbers of minority voters have something else, huge electoral vote counts.  Cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and NYC can sway their entire state to go blue on election night. If Republicans ever want to get those states back they’ll have to start winning precincts in those cities, or at least doing competitively in them.  The experts will point out that even if you do well in a state, but lose it by a single vote, all your campaigning there was for naught. It’s better then to campaign in those states you have a reasonable chance to win.  The problem for Republicans is, demographics favor less and less states if you don’t do well with minorities.  Republicans have to either push to admit more states into the union with favorable demographics, or do better with the minority vote in the current fifty.  The good news is that many GOP candidates for Governor have figured it out.  New Jersey is a deep blue state with every one of its citizens living in an urban county. Currently it has a Republican Governor.  Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, even California have, or have recently had Republicans in the state house. You don’t win any of those states without at least some minority support.

Democrats with the aid of a sympathetic left-leaning mainstream media have successfully crafted a totally bogus, cartoonish image of Republicans and conservatives as being racist, sexist, homo-phobic, and now Islamo-phobic.  So thoroughly have liberals perpetuated this fraud, that cable news anchors and pundits regularly and with a straight face compare conservatives with fascists, Nazi’s and the KKK.  It’s a ridiculous notion, one that Trump until very recently, has unfortunately contributed to.  Now, if you’re an African American in the inner city, and never actually met or had a Republican hold a speech in your neighborhood, that fallacious image of the white-hooded, jackbooted, fascist is all you have to go by.  If you asked the average black person living in Baltimore just how many Republican candidates have actually come to address their church congregation or civic organization, they answer would probably be “none”.  Rand Paul during his presidential run did to his great credit, actually attempt to redress this situation. He challenged his fellow Republicans to do the same.  Sadly, hardly any did.  Several GOP candidates did reach out to the Hispanic community during the primary season, so at least that is a start.

It is not always them messenger that has to break through to the minority voter, sometimes it is the message. The Democrats have a simple to understand message that they offer to each and every minority constituency:  Give us your vote and we’ll send your community money.  Conservative policies tend to be a little less straight forward:  Keep your money, don’t give it to the government in the first place, that’s better than us giving it back to you with strings attached, or worse yet, to someone else with no stings.  It’s so much easier for the voter to understand how putting money directly into their pockets benefits them than it for a conservative to explain to them that the more money their employer gets to keep, the more money they have to pay you with, or use to grow their business so that they can hire you.  On this front, simpler is better. Republicans then must be able to cite examples that the voter can relate to where their policy has worked in the past, or cite examples of where liberalism has failed them.  Trump, say what you will, is a master at putting things into terms that anyone can understand, like recently in Michigan:

“Tonight, I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen in this country who wants a better future. The inner cities of our country have been run by the Democratic Party for 50 years. Their policies have produced only poverty, joblessness, failing schools, and broken homes.”

No getting into the policy weeds for Trump here, just a straight-out request for support from African-Americans.   Do Democrats have better policies for the inner-city?  No, in fact liberal policies keep many citizens in these urban areas from advancing economically.  They have created what Dinesh D’Souza in his new movie Hillary’s America refers to as the ‘new plantation’.  Whereas the old Democrat plantations exploited blacks for their labor to produce crops, this new plantation– the inner city, produces something else for their Democratic masters:  Votes. What if a Republican, or many Republicans came to the inner city, pointed this out and offered a solution?  What if blacks and other minorities could be convinced that decades of top-to-bottom Democrat rule has produced the conditions they now find themselves in? They might try another direction, or as Trump put it in his own special way: “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?”

Trump had determined not to cede the urban areas of this country to the Democrats this time without at least a fight. He may or may not succeed in this, but make no mistake, Republicans need to find a way aggressively go after the black and Hispanic vote.  The changing demographics of this country demand that Republicans start to change how they deliver the conservative message to the inner city, but before they do that, they have to move out of their comfort zones and expand their campaigns there.

Originally posted in Political Storm:  Should other Republicans emulate Trump’s pivot to the black community?

Second GOP Debate part 2

GOP DebatesThe early debate wrapped up without an earth-shaking performance, or tragic gaffe on the part of any of the participants.   As night fell on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the stage was occupied again with this time the top eleven GOP hopefuls.  The prime time debate was designed to be a TV show with Donald Trump its star, but it was Carly Fiorina who ended up stealing the show.  Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio also played prominent roles in this drama.

The format was designed to produce conflict between the candidates and it did, but sometimes in ways host network CNN barely imagined. Trump eagerly obliged by providing some reality show style conflict launching a surprise, preemptive attack against Senator Rand Paul, suggesting that Paul should have been voted of the island after the last debate.

Paul, for his part, suggested that Trump was a sophomoric individual who resorted to junior high style teasing.  He questioned whether Trump was even a true conservative. He was not prepared to say his opponent was fit to go anywhere near the nuclear “button” when asked.

After the ice was broken with Trump’s attack on Paul, the rest lined up to take swipes at the billionaire real estate mogul.  The notable exception was Dr. Ben Carson, who engage with Trump only when forced.

Jeb Bush on the other hand, needed little encouragement to engage with the Donald.  He took exception to statements by Trump suggesting that having a Mexican-born wife might be clouding his judgment when it came to the matter of immigration.  Indignant, Bush offered him an opportunity to apologize to his wife who was sitting in the audience. None was forthcoming.

Not all the drama centered around Mr. Trump, Chris Christie and Rand Paul continued their dispute over civil liberties from the first debate.  Christie earlier in the week suggested that if he were president, the party would be over in states like Colorado and Washington that decriminalized the use of marijuana for recreational use.  Christie argued the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, while Paul invoked the Tenth Amendment, guaranteeing state’s rights. Carly Fiorina jumped in before a winner could be decided.  She made heartfelt statement that drug users should be treated, not imprisoned, mentioning how she lost her daughter to drug addiction.

On a couple of occasions, the candidates actually found the time to attack the Democrats.  Everyone opposed the Iran nuke deal, the only question was how long it would be before they tore the documents to shreds. Every aspect to the Obama administration foreign policy was challenged, from our relationship with Russia to the current refugee crisis in Europe caused by the civil war in Syria.

When the topic of one of the questions was Russia’s involvement in Syria, Trump have his usual line that he would hire the best military minds to advise him.  He suggested that we should leave Assad and ISIS, both enemies of the U.S., fight it out and come in at the end to pick up the pieces. A sensible policy maybe, but Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina gave much more well thought out and detailed answers that showed a greater degree of understanding and preparation.

The climactic moment came when Fiorina was asked to respond to a comment Trump made to Rolling Stone Magazine about her appearance where he said in part:  “Look at that face! Would any one vote for that?” He claimed later that he simply meant her persona.

Her answer, one that would echo in the news cycle for days to come was, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”  Trump was taken aback, and complimented her on her looks, saying she was a beautiful woman.  On the split screen, you could see Carly give a look of pure disdain as his belated compliment fell very flat.  Game, set, and match to Fiorina.

At the end of the night those in the second tier debate no doubt have some hard choices to make.  If they stay in they’ll continue to hope and seek that one moment that could earn them more air-time.  They’ll get to know three states really well, and try as Senator Santorum did last time around to string together some early primary wins, places, or shows.  All of this while hoping no one else in the race runs away with it.

Trump didn’t win the debate, but as the front-runner he didn’t need to.  The only numbers that matter to him are poll numbers, so for the time-being his primary concern is not to lose his ultra-loyal base of support.

Much the same can be said for Bush as he has plenty of money at his disposal.  His only worry is if another true contender emerges.  Fiorina looks like she’s ready to assume that title.  (A new, post-debate CNN/ORC poll has her at 14% among Republican and Republican leaning voters.)

Rubio, Cruz, and Christie, who also had a good night, run little risk of talking themselves out of the race, only spending themselves out.

For Carly Fiorina—to the victor go the spoils, the spoils in her case being the inevitable surge of campaign cash that follows a great debate performance. In a little over a month, Republican voters have gone from not knowing her, to knowing her, to liking her.

The rest of the candidates will need that ‘Hail Mary’ pass, that one moment in the spotlight where they exceed all expectations.  There is still plenty of time, but the ‘plenty’ part is running out.

Rand Paul Was Right

GOP DebatesThe now famous dust-up between Rand Paul and Chris Christie during Thursday’s Republican debate over our fourth amendment rights versus national security was a microcosm of the one held nationally in the months leading up to the PATRIOT Act’s renewal in June. Christie maintained that its renewal, minus the controversial section 215 would be insufficient to keep our country safe. Paul argued that the mass collection of phone data by the NSA was a violation of the fourth amendment. Christie’s seemed to suggest that you needed everyone’s data to figure out who the bad guys were. He won the argument on stage by most accounts, but winning an argument is not the same as proving you are right.

Christie was suggesting that the nation needs a dragnet in which all citizens’ phone records are caught up. That is the very definition of a general warrant, the kind that the framers of the Constitution expressly sought to forbid by enacting the fourth amendment. Moreover, the trade of liberty for security he advocates is just not worth it. To put it into business terms, the return on investment, in this case, how much liberty we give up in exchange for security does not balance out. At best, mass data collection, (which still exists) so far has only proven itself as a supplement to good intelligence and police-work, not a good source intelligence on its own. First, there is just too much data. We can’t look at it all, it’s impossible. Even if we know of someone with terrorist ties, someone presumably that the NSA or FBI could easily obtain a warrant for, even that is not always enough to prevent terrorist attacks. Such was the case with the Boston bombers, an act of terror done by individuals known to have overseas terror ties. We certainly did not get our lost liberties worth of security on that day.Restore the 4th

Some suspicion of an impending act, or someone being radicalized has to come first, then you can start searching for evidence to support your suspicions using lawful methods. The Founders were quite clear they did not want it to be the other way around. The suspicion must precede the search, period. Trolling trough the phone records of millions of innocent people in hopes of stumbling upon someone doing something wrong isn’t just bad for liberty, it’s a waste of resources. If on the other hand, law enforcement or intelligence picks up an inkling that someone is up to no good, the records are still available. Our God-given rights, including our right to privacy is one of the very things are fighting this war on terror for in the first place, let’s not forget that.