Lindsey Graham: Everybody F***ing Hates Me

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Poor Lindsey Graham.

He’s the senior senator from the great state of South Carolina; a Republican who has held his office since 2003.  And yet very few people in his own home state can stand the sight of him.

Democrats hate him because he is a Republican.  Republicans hate him because he is a Democrat with an R behind his name.  He votes against his fellow Republicans 69% of the time.

One might ask, “How the hell does somebody like Lindsey Graham get elected in South Carolina?”  Well, it’s complicated.

You see, the last primary election in South Carolina featured six contenders for his Senate seat who filed as Republicans.  Five of them actually were conservative Republicans.  The sixth was Lindsey Graham.  Now, the Democrats knew they had no chance of winning the Senate seat in a conservative stronghold like South Carolina.  Fortunately for them, South Carolina has “open primaries”, where anybody from any party can vote in whatever primary they wish.  And the Democrats wished to elect Graham, knowing he will vote their way in the Senate most of the time.  They got him through the primary, and the general election went predictably easy for the guy in the “R” column.

At a time when Americans are dancing in the streets over the Trump-induced death of the liberal left, Lindsey doesn’t even pretend to be conservative.  He’s for big bailouts.  He busts his butt to preserve the corrupt corporate-crony Import/Export Bank program.  He leads the fight for amnesty.  After President Obama encouraged illegal immigrants to get out and vote, Lindsey excoriated President-elect Trump for even suggesting that vote fraud is possible.

Graham routinely supported even the most liberal nominees.  He scoffed at the Tea Party.  To everyone’s astonishment, he ran for President, but never advanced from the kids’ table in the debates, dropping out before spending any of his campaign funds.

There was a time when the Senator had one thing in common with Republicans – his support for a strong military and a generally hawkish outlook on foreign affairs.  But even that is no longer completely in step with recent conservative sentiments.  Strong military, yes.  Protracted and expensive engagement in foreign entanglements without an end game or any obvious American interests served, not so much.

Washington, DC can be a lonely place sometimes.  And Lindsey Graham may be the most hated man in town.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

In a trap, trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie,
She f***ing hates me

She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd

Words Mean Things. But Things Change.

TalkI don’t know who was the first to say, “Words mean things.”  Rush Limbaugh invoked this truism frequently during his early broadcasting years when analyzing politicians and their rhetoric. People should be held accountable for what they say, according to Limbaugh, and not parse words to escape judgment – like the Bill Clinton gem: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

It’s not all that simple.  Words may mean things, but things change.  And two words we use with great frequency these days seem to have changed a lot.

From Webster’s Dictionary and WordNet

Conservative (con`serv´a`tive) – noun

  • “One who desires to maintain existing institutions and customs.”
  • “One who, or that which, preserves from ruin, injury, innovation, or radical change; a preserver; a conserver.”
  • “One who holds moderate opinions in politics – opposed to revolutionary or radical.”
  • “One who avoids excess; synonym: cautious.”

Liberal (lib´er`al) – noun

  • “One who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.”
  • “One who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets.”
  • “One who is tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.”
  • “One who favors greater freedom in political or religious matters; an opponent of the established systems; a reformer.”
  • “One who is free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious.”

Wow. My eyes glaze over seeing all the contradictions above, based on what we know of conservatives and liberals today.

Some of the traditional definitions still hold up.  Real conservatives on the modern political battleground are desperately trying to “preserve [the nation] from ruin” and “cautiously avoid excess [spending and regulation].”  Liberals definitely are “free to excess, regardless of law or moral restraint”, and if you watch TV, witness a foul-mouthed group of protesters, or (God forbid) take your kids to a parade which includes the LGBT crowd, you would define them as “licentious.”

Many of the other definitions no longer hold up.  Were liberals really once the champions of “civil liberties” and the “economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets?”  What the hell happened there?  I’m sure a conservative group that applied for 501(c)3 status from the IRS, or a bakery that doesn’t want to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, or a landowner who tries to defend his property rights from the EPA would not agree with that definition.  And parents who would like to hear their kids sing “Silent Night” at a real school Christmas program would probably not define liberals as “favoring greater freedom in political or religious matters”.

I love the definition that says liberals are “not bound by authoritarianism.”  Has there ever been a more authoritarian administration than Obama’s?  And any mention of “tolerance” in the same sentence as “liberal” is pure oxymoron.

My common-sense wife likes this definition of conserve: “To use or manage wisely; preserve; save.”  She asks, “Why do we throw so much perfectly good stuff away?  Why do charity programs for kids Christmas toys require only brand-new items?  Wouldn’t every needy kid rather have ten slightly-used toys than one new one?”  My grandson’s favorite toy at our house is a big metal Tonka truck, so huge he can ride it down the driveway.  They cost about $100 new, but his was a buck at a garage sale, and he thinks it’s great.

Words mean things, but things change.  Democrats are almost universally liberal – at least until election time.   Democrat Senator John Tester from Montana followed the party line in lockstep on every issue, until he voted against the omnibus spending bill last week, saying, “We just can’t keep spending like this.”  In contrast, Montana’s Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke voted for the spending bill, showing no concern over the approaching $20 trillion national debt.

I guess the lesson here is that you can’t trust a politician based on his or her words (especially Hillary!)  Better to hold our political leaders accountable based on their actions.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideI can’t seem to talk about
The things that bother me
Seems to be what everybody has
Against me! (ooh! ooh! ooh! yeah!)

Talk, Talk – the Music Machine

 

 

I LOVE sixties music, and here’s a short clip by a fantastic one-hit-wonder sixties band, the Music Machine, to make my case.  It’s all there – the hair, the tambourine, the teen-age angst, the “fuzz bass”.  Well written rocker – take two minutes and enjoy!

 

South Carolina Grassroots Conservatives – Something Old, Something New

TedCruz_at_2015SCTPCThe South Carolina Tea Party Coalition gathered last weekend in Myrtle Beach, and there was never a dull moment.  All the leading right-wing organizations were there, including the Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works, the Heritage Foundation, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, and Americans for Prosperity.  Contenders for the 2016 presidential race made stump speeches.  Senators and congressmen tossed red meat to the hungry throngs.

The event sold out, skewering the notion that the Tea Party is in decline.   Conservative celebrities lined up to participate.  I have been attending events like this for a long time, and let me tell you – these people are more fired up than ever.

Some things haven’t changed.  Barack Obama remains the target of the Tea Party’s ire, and the conservative faithful are more baffled than ever that so many Americans are still oblivious to the damage he continues to inflict on our nation.  And the Tea Party is still an army of mostly gray-haired, fair-skinned grandmas and grandpas.

Yet the Tea Party and the conservative movement continues to evolve.

Lately the grassroots conservatives are as angry at Republicans as they are at arch-rival liberal Democrats.  They stood and cheered as speaker after speaker exhorted them to “hold the Republicans in DC accountable.”  Congressmen Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine and Jeff Duncan got standing O’s specifically to thank them for their anti-Boehner votes.  Still, Rep. Mick Mulvaney came out guns blazing in defense of his vote for the Speaker, and scored some points.

Minorities continue to gain in numbers and in comfort level in Tea Party circles.  While they have always been warmly welcomed by the Tea Party, African American and Hispanic conservatives no longer feel conspicuous and are taking a significant leadership role.

A fairly large contingent of young conservatives also attended.  One of the most compelling presentations came from Lauren Cooley of Turning Point USA.   Cooley, a striking and very hip young lady, is winning high school and college students over to the conservative side at a wholesale clip.  She single-handedly shut down the gender-studies department and its series of obscene programs at Furman University, and handed attendees to a Jesse Jackson event a list of unflattering direct quotes by him, standing her ground in a confrontation with the embarrassed sponsors.  Her charges carry the pithy message, “Big Government Sucks”, and in growing numbers they understand and articulate the abuses heaped on young Americans by their government in recent years.

But the biggest change in the conservative movement is more subtle, and significantly more important.  Grassroots conservatives have learned that they must work within the system to accomplish real reform.  The days of loud complaints but little action are history, as conservative activists now work to reorganize precincts, run for local offices, and learn policy issues in detail, making them formidable citizen leaders and constituents.  And the top conservative organizations all have focused goals with serious action plans in place to accomplish them.

Two larger-than-life issues in South Carolina took center stage at the convention.  A determined group of conservatives led by Greenville activist Diane Hardy contends that primary registration by party would prevent election perversions such as moderate Republican Lyndsey Graham’s narrow win over several conservative primary candidates.  Graham’s name, by the way, was roundly booed whenever uttered at the event.

Another policy issue that caught a lot of attention is the failure of the state to honestly implement its new law that struck down the Common Core standards.  A panel was assigned to write new state standards, but instead they merely copied the Common Core standards and gave it a new name.  An aggressive campaign is underway by Shari Few and her group, South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, to rewrite the standards.

South Carolina is an early primary state, a fact not lost on presidential hopefuls.  Dr. Ben Carson was soft-spoken, but his conservative convictions were rock-hard.  He admitted a lack of experience and expertise in both foreign and domestic affairs, promising to surround himself with smart people.  Senator Ted Cruz made a rock-star entrance and then machine-gunned his well-rehearsed talking points with precision and authority, if not much inspiration.  Cruz knows exactly what buttons to push.  Rick Santorum was sincere, but didn’t show much fire in the belly.  Donald Trump was . . . well, you know.  Arrogant and embarrassingly shallow.  But he was warmly received.

In conversation and informal straw polls, most of the attendees seemed to favor Scott Walker and Dr. Carson for president.

Nobody went home from this event feeling cheated.  I’m sure this group from South Carolina provides a good cross-section of the Tea Party nationwide.  And while the grassroots conservative movement has been consistent over the years in its values and aims, one can’t help but sense the changes underway.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideSha la la la la la,
Live for today!
And don’t worry, ’bout tomorrow, hey
Live for today!

Live for Today – the Grass Roots

 

Where Are the Conservatives in Congress? I Don’t Know!

photo courtesy of wallsave.comI don’t know about you, but I am kind of confused right now.

I was furious that the conservatives in Congress did not stand up to remove John Boehner as Speaker of the House.  Boehner had just given the lame-duck Democrats control of federal spending through September 2015 in exchange for withheld funding for DHS. Paraphrased:  “Duh, okay guys, even though the Democrats lost the election, let’s give them control of the budget for 10 more months, and then they can beat us up in the press for slacking on national security.”

It was just the latest in a long list of conservative policy blunders by Speaker Boehner.  I could not understand it at all.  My congressman, Mick Mulvaney, justified his vote for Boehner, saying, This coup today was bound to fail.  And in fact, it failed worse than I expected, falling 11 votes short of deposing the Speaker.”  

Then he said, “and I was joined today by the likes of Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, Trey Gowdy, Mark Sanford, Trent Franks, Tom McClintock, Matt Salmon, Tom Price, Sam Johnson, and Jeb Hensarling.  If I ‘sold out’ then I did so joined by some of the most tried and tested conservative voices in Washington.”

Hmmm.   They were 11 votes short.  And Mulvaney was joined by 10 conservatives who were also afraid to vote against Boehner.  Seems to me if those ten guys and my guy had voted against Boehner, we would have a new conservative leadership.

I guess maybe these guys learned math via Common Core.  But I don’t know.

Anyway, Boehner was confirmed as Speaker.  And he immediately started making conservative noises.   Then my guy, Mulvaney, made an impassioned speech to Congress in support of his amendment to defund Obama’s executive amnesty – a genuinely conservative act.

I don’t know.

Did Boehner cut a deal behind closed doors to rein in the conservatives?  Will he do an abrupt “about face” and start acting like an adult Republican?  Have the newly elected Republican congressmen caved in already, or do they have a conservative game plan that they are not telling us about?

I just don’t know.

I’m going to the South Carolina Tea Party convention this week to hear a number of leading conservative thinkers and candidates, and the top right-wing organizations – the Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, Freedomworks, Heritage Action, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and others – including my guy, Rep. Mick Mulvaney.

Maybe I will get a clearer sense of direction.  Until then, I just don’t know!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I don’t know.  I don’t know!
I don’t know where I’m a gonna go
When the volcano blows!

Volcano – Jimmy Buffett

Okay, all you Parrot Heads!  Let’s do a little early spring break with Jimmy Buffett!

Conservative Immigrants – Don’t Turn Around!

Turn-Around-Sign-300x196I’m trying to get a better understanding of the immigration reform and amnesty issues, and while traveling recently I have had some enlightening conversations with immigrants.

Rafael is from the Dominican Republic.  He has been working in New York City as a driver for about ten years, and is saving money to rejoin his wife and daughter back in Santo Domingo permanently.  Meanwhile, he watches for airfare bargains and makes several brief trips home each year.  Rafael believes in the “American Dream” – anyone who is willing to work hard can succeed here.  But he is skeptical of the US government.  He bought some land in the Dominican Republic and plans to build a house on it.  “Nobody can take your land away from you there,” he said.  “Once you pay for your land, it’s yours forever.  Here in the US, if you don’t pay your taxes, or if the government wants your land for some reason, they can just take it away from you.”  Hard work, personal responsibility, and property rights – Rafael is a conservative immigrant.

Jonathan immigrated to New York City from Hong Kong with his parents ten years ago.  He started a couple of small businesses in Chinatown, but both failed.  Undaunted, he is still bullish on the US economy and while working a couple of service jobs he is an ardent investor in stocks.  I asked him about the dicey situation in Hong Kong, where the communist Chinese government is now stripping away many of the freedoms citizens enjoyed when it was a British protectorate and then a quasi-independent state.  “The government has become so corrupt,” Jonathan lamented.  “You can’t do anything without having to pay off somebody in the government.”  I suggested that our government has become corrupt, too.  “But there’s a difference,” he said.  “In China, everybody knows about the corruption and just deals with it.  Here, it’s supposed to be a secret.”  Opportunity, free markets, and freedom from big, corrupt, oppressive government – Jonathan is a conservative immigrant.

Javier is from Puerto Rico.  “I’m a US citizen,” he boasts.  Still, as a Hispanic he is considered a minority and somewhat outside the mainstream.   He works long hours, and loves it.  The more he works, the more he earns.  And he has no patience for those who expect to be cared for without working, whether they are traditional American citizens or immigrants.  “They make me sick, these guys who do nothing all day.  Why should I pay taxes for them to be lazy?” he rails.  Hard work and the desire to keep what he earns.  Yes, Javier is a conservative immigrant, too.

I did not ask these gentlemen whether or how they vote.  The Democrats believe all minorities are their chattel property.  And because Democrats have so vilified Republicans and conservatives in the mainstream media, minorities do pretty much vote in lock-step for liberals.

Why?  Every immigrant I talk to is a conservative.  It is conservative values that drives most immigrants to our shores.

Donna, a native of Guyana of Chinese descent, is a conservative activist.  She told me the compelling story about her path to America.  “I was in Guyana, minding my own business.  I turned around, and suddenly I was surrounded by socialists.  So I moved to Venezuela.  I was minding my own business, and when I turned around, again there were the socialists.  So then I came to the United States.”

“The moral of the story,” she says, “is don’t turn around!”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Don’t turn around, uh-oh
Der Kommissar’s in town, uh-oh!
You’re in his eye and you’ll know why
The more you live, the faster you will die

Der Kommisar – After the Fire

 

 

 

Conservatives – We Got To Keep On Truckin’

Keep-On-Trucking-LogoI talk politics with friends, acquaintances, family, and even strangers, all the time.  You probably do too.  Many of these people have a growing sense that something is wrong, but they have not been engaged in politics or receiving real news and honest information about what’s going on.

They find their financial security under stress due to stagnant or declining wages and hours, difficulty finding suitable jobs or promotions, more work for less pay, relentless price inflation for most consumer items, and no place to invest their savings (if they have any) that offers reasonable safety and any kind of return.

On top of that, the people I talk to don’t understand why their biggest concerns are not aggressively confronted by our government, while much attention is given to relatively small-scale issues, like gay marriage, or who should pay for birth control pills.

These ordinary folks are concerned about national security, education, health care, deteriorating race relations, privacy, property and water rights, and a host of other things, and they don’t find comfort in the words and actions of anybody in Washington, DC – Democrat or Republican.  Trust level is at an all-time low, but the guy on the street doesn’t quite know what to do because he is not getting enough facts.

After I gave an interested but under-informed friend a mini-seminar on the many threats posed to us and our children by our over-reaching government’s accelerating failure rate, he asked, “Where do you get all this information?”

Conservatives, this is our challenge.  We can’t let up.  Not now.  People know something is wrong, and they are beginning to seek the truth.   It’s up to us to keep putting that truth out there.

I lamented to Bill Whittle, renowned conservative blogger and writer, that it seems we conservatives mostly “preach to the choir” and seldom actually win a convert to the “right” side.  Bill’s reply: “There’s nothing wrong with preaching to the choir.  When the troops are in the trenches, worn out and outnumbered, somebody has to walk down the line, hand out some more clips of ammunition, and tell them to keep their heads down.”

Keep your heads down, my friends.  Keep on Truckin’.  And keep Rockin’ On the Right Side!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back . . .  nothin’!
I’ll keep right on, right on truckin’.
Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back . . .  nothin’!
I’ll keep right on, right on truckin’.

Keep On Truckin’ – David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks

 

Meet Virginia! Eric Cantor Points the Way for Weak Republicans

eric-cantorRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated Tuesday by a little-known economics professor in Virginia’s Republican primary, a stunning upset and major victory for the tea party.

Virginia voters showed their INTELLIGENCE tonight as they rejected incumbent house majority leader Eric Cantor’s re-election bid.

Cantor epitomized the Republican incumbent inside-the-beltway-I-got-mine-now-I-am-going-to-hold-on-to-my-perks fraternity.  The Republican leadership (Boehner-Cantor-McConnell) have insisted on capitulating to the alpha-male Democrats on Capitol Hill, in abject defiance of their grass-roots conservative base.  They have repeatedly “assumed the position”, thinking it would protect their cocktail-party invitations with the DC elites and the flow of funds to their executive PACs.

Wrong.  Fail.

This is nothing less than a stunning repudiation of amnesty – deficit spending – and capitulation to an overreaching imperial Obama administration.

Congrats to the “political novice with little money” Dave Brat.

So do ya still think the Tea Party is DEAD?!!  Meet Virginia!

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideShe never compromises, loves babies and surprises
Wears high heels when she exercises
Ain’t that beautiful
Meet Virginia