Monday, January 2, 2012

Gingrich Pledges to Violate Constitution as President

    “It is time to insist on judges who understand the history and meaning of America as a country endowed by God.”  --Newt Gingrich, Winning the Future, p. 45
This statement goes far to exemplify a critical aspect of Newt Gingrich that makes him unfit to be an American leader.

On its face and without being isolated for focus, this statement is easy to gloss over and neglect the radical nature of his idea, which is to violate a core principle of our original and existing U.S. Constitution.  Consider:
    “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”  U.S. Constitution, Article VI
If you read the whole sentence from the Constitution, it includes the charge that a President Gingrich would have to swear an oath to support the Constitution.

Does Newt Gingrich support the Constitution or not?  His own words impeach him and invalidate his candidacy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gingrich is Not Alone in His Errors

While I rail against Newt Gingrich as the symbolically anointed leading intellectual of conservatives’ failure to present an actual alternative public policy, such a fault in conservatives is not limited to the U.S.

Paul McKeever, leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario, makes the following observation local to his politics:
The essential problem is: conservativism. [The conservative] Hudak is a good exemplar of it, but replacing Hudak with another conservative would not change the fact that conservativism is not the answer…that the conservatives offer little of substance to take the place of what [the Liberal] McGuinty [government] is offering – is founded on the fact that both the liberals and the conservatives are essentially poll-driven pragmatists who, when nobody is complaining, find new things to control; more ways to reduce your discretion.
As I did yesterday, McKeever identifies that Pragmatism is the common ground and the common error shared by conservatives and liberals. Further, McKeever identifies that the proper role of government is being evaded by conservatives in their opposition to the liberals:
Notice – as an almost perfect example – that, in the little and vague bit that Hudak does offer as a “good start”, we see the words: “We need a new direction — one that reduces the cost of the public sector and fosters growth in the private sector”. I respond:

(a) no, the “cost” of the public sector is not the essential issue. The essential issue is: of *what* ought the public sector to be comprised. The answer should *not* include: “tax funded health care” or “tax funded education”, the two elements that account for about 75% of all tax revenues in the province. The “new direction” is not to reduce the cost of those services, but to stop funding them with taxes altogether…

(b) no, the problem is not that McGuinty’s governance fails to “foster the private sector”. If anything, failing to foster the private sector is a *virtue*. The simple fact is that the government ought not to be *fostering* anything except respect for the life, liberty, and property of others. It ought *not* to be a player in the economy; a lender of last resort; a business “partner”; or any of the other things that today’s corporativists (whether liberal or conservative) want it to be.
Both conservatives (like Gingrich and Hudak) and the liberals (like Pelosi and McGuinty) identify problems, but their proposed solutions fail because they do not integrate objective principles and facts from reality in the context of the limited proper role for government.

Paul McKeever
Leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gingrich v. Government Health Care?

In a Washington Post Op-Ed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (11/6/2009), Newt Gingrich focused upon what he must consider to be his best case against the Pelosi-care bill. His is a very pragmatic argument against expanding federal regulation of health care: if it has not worked then try something else, but do not stop and examine the failed premise at the heart of the problem. In his effort at opposition, Gingrich demonstrates that he is not in fact opposing the fundamental error, but instead accepts and embraces it.

According to Gingrich, the Democrats’ plan violates the proper relationship between the federal and state governments by imposing an unfunded mandate upon the states and ignoring state efforts seeking waivers to federal regulations that would enable state innovation in health care reform.

As evidence for his advocacy of multiple disjointed concurrent state-centric reform efforts, he cites 1) the positive impacts from Texas’ tort reform that resulted in the availability of more doctors, and reduced costs for liability insurance and lawsuit settlements, 2) the unpermitted promise offered by Texas’ Medicaid reform proposals to facilitate the indigents’ acquisition of private insurance and reduce emergency room expenses, 3) the poor quality of care under Medicaid caused by federally imposed price controls, and 4) the high costs of improper payments within Medicaid.

Essentially, his argument is that federal direction of health care policy has not worked and should not be expanded; instead he argues that this failed regulatory system should be reformed by devolving policy decisions to state governments. While this particular position pragmatically contradicts Gingrich’s advocating elsewhere that federal regulation of interstate commerce nullify state mandates upon private insurance contracts, inconsistency within his own positions is not his primary error.

Gingrich, Pelosi, and the Democrat sponsored health care proposals share an invalid view of the proper role of government. All agree that through democracy our representatives can dictate via statute any health care policy that is ephemerally supported in a public opinion poll by 50% + 1 of the electorate, and that such policy can be changed to the opposite tomorrow when the poll results shift. Their elevation of popular whim evades the fact that such democratically based legislative commands on health care policy violate individual Americans’ fundamental right to association and contract.

Currently, public health care policy is based upon the premise that government should force someone other than the patient to pay for the patient’s medical bills, a compelled risk sharing scheme. Consequently, public health care plans (Medicare and Medicaid) are going bankrupt; meanwhile, government subsidized employer-based health care plans erode jobs and wages by diverting capital from productive investments. In response to this government sponsored failure, our two political factions argue about how an intrusive government can solve the problems created by intrusive government policy.

Instead of focusing upon what novel pragmatic actions could be taken by government to maintain the premise that each of us must be forced by government to pay for someone else’s health care, a new perspective is needed to focus upon individual rights, an individual’s freedom to act without compulsion while respecting others’ freedom to act independently upon their own judgment. Concretely, this focus upon individual rights in health care policy would result in protecting individual contract rights from state mandates, civil suit reform to facilitate the timely and just resolution of private disputes, ending the expansion of government’s policy domain through legislative abuse of the tax code, and winding redistributionist public welfare programs down to their complete elimination.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Picturing the Book

I have been talking to an artist about doing a draft concept for a book cover. Unfortunately, my jargoned brief summary was full of terms that did not effectively communicate what the book was about.

Rousseau this…General Will that…Dewey the other…and it starts to sound like “blah, blah, blah.”

Here is a break down of the idea behind the book:
  • Obama sucks. Gingrich will be the brain and megaphone for Republican ideas; he will become the new change.
  • Because Bush sucked, people choose Obama and they are starting to learn that Obama sucks too.
  • Our politics change from suck to different suck to another different suck.
  • Recently, each President is worse than the one before. The last time that downward pattern continued there was a civil war.
  • The environment for the release of the book is that people will by then know that Obama sucks and so Gingrich's ideas will look better. The book is to broadcast that Gingrichism (through his 21st Century Contract with America platform) does not really represent a fundamental change from Obama.
  • The book is to explain what a real alternative would be to the unthinking blind pragmatism (do and try anything that feels right without reference to principles based in reality) shared by the Dems and Reps. It will do this by defining the follow terms, explaining how they relate hierarchically (think step pyramid), and demonstrating how they relate to current political reform: Reason, Justice, Freedom, Production, and Achievement.
As an example of a visual concept to give a flavor of the criticism within the book:
  • Gingrich sits in the posture of Rodin’s “The Thinker,” except his features and body are not concentration embodied; instead Gingrich is slack, slouched, and puffy.
  • His eyes are out of focus and crazy to represent his disconnect from reality.
  • He has the manner of a dirty savage Neanderthal in a soiled American flag loin cloth. On his bicep is an “I Heart God” tattoo, or something upon that theme.
  • He is larger than life and sitting upon the House wing of the Capitol (south wing), as a representation of his demagoguery (panderer to popular opinion; Gingrich is an admitted and proud poll follower).
  • Beneath his bare and muddy feet is a parchment of the U.S. Constitution with the Bill of Rights prominent and particularly soiled by Gingrich.
  • Several groups of small bipedal elephants in suits are on the hill below. They would be doing, as a symbolic representation, what Republicans at their worst do: crucifying somebody, burning books, abusing a pregnant woman, beating a gay couple, wastefully burning piles of money, marching school children in regimented obedient conforming order, holding a gun to someone’s head to make them pray, breaking scientific equipment, etc.
I think that picture illustrates the working title of the book, Conceding the Future: Gingrich Republicans and the Evasion of Individual Rights.

Rodin’s The Thinker

Image Source: WikiMedia Commons, copyright 2006 David Monniaux

U.S. Capitol, West Front view (House wing to the right side of image)

Image Source
The Architect of the Capitol

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Conceding the Future: The Introduction

I have been writing a refutation of Newt Gingrich’s book Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America.

My preliminary title is Conceding the Future: Gingrich Republicans and the Evasion of Individual Rights. Below is a draft introduction:

    As the proclaimed Age of Obama begins, why write or read a book refuting Newt Gingrich’s agenda for America?

    To borrow Gingrich’s title, my book is concerned with winning the future and the ideas that will make that happen. The current intellectual vacuum on political issues has resulted in the ephemeral cult of personality enjoyed by Obama. As we enter into yet another weak Democratic presidency to be dominated by Congress, an affirmative agenda needs to be advanced to replace the unprincipled pragmatic flailing and failing that dominates our current debate.

    Following Obama’s election and Democratic advances on the Hill, I often heard the historical precedent of Gingrich’s Contract with America hopefully asserted as a paradigm for checking the Democratic ambition to dictate the terms of American life. During the election season, Gingrich’s organization, American Solutions, provided one of the few jolts to Senator McCain’s campaign, when Republicans became animated with the chant of ‘Drill Here! Drill Now!’

    Gingrich’s track record of success in setting the political agenda establishes him in a leading position to define the alternative to the Democrats‘ program. In the House, he led the building of a majority, ending 40 years of Democratic dominance. Upon becoming Speaker, he set the policy agenda and effectively leashed President Clinton’s policy ambitions. In the 2008 election, he demonstrated the ability to advance a single issue to dominate the agenda and compel the Democratic Congress to end a long standing ban on offshore oil drilling. Further, unrestrained by congressional ethics rules, Gingrich has established and is growing an influential grassroots organization dedicated to developing and implementing new government policies.

    In contrast to that demonstration of ability, Gingrich’s history is also filled with failures to actually implement lasting change. The Republican congressional majorities are gone, as Democratic out-of-control spending and scandals were followed by Republican out-of-control spending and scandals. The opportunities to restructure federal liabilities offered by the short term revenue windfall from the capital gains tax cut were squandered. Despite the legislative promise, welfare-as-we-knew-it remains. His policy successes lack a lasting positive legacy in reality.

    Why does Gingrich suffer a disconnect between rhetoric and results? Simply, it is his ideas; his reputed strength is actually his weakness. Should his agenda, the so called “21st Century Contract with America,” become America’s agenda, then his ideas will also become America’s weakness.

    Following tradition in political writing, this book is written and organized as an examination and refutation of Gingrich’s. My purpose is to identify Gingrich’s principles, where any can be found, and then identify the correct principles to be applied, based upon the concept that the purpose of a proper government is the protection of individual rights. I will integrate and organize these correct ideas using a paradigm, which I call Francisco’s Hierarchy.

    I invite you to share this journey with me as we grapple with Gingrich’s ideas, squeezing from them the unspoken premises that identify his errors so that we will avoid being handicapped by them. This is our opportunity to break the cycle of failure defining our politics and return America to the advancement of Reason, Justice, Freedom, Production, and Achievement.