Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rem ipsam dic, mitte male loqui.

Translation:
Speak out the whole truth boldly, but use no bad language. -- John Adams, 1775

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Ancient History

|Political Prudence

Why Mark Sanford Is the Right Choice for #SC1

All right. Let’s just jump straight to the main—seemingly only—argument against electing Mark Sanford: his affair. I’m not going to rehash all the details or make excuses for him. I was devastated. But the statehouse press conference where he stepped up to the plate and poured his heart out and out and out planted a kernel of forgiveness in my heart, because unlike other politicians that give a made-for-camera bite-the-lip-and-give-a-sniffle apology, I knew Mark Sanford was completely sincere and extremely humbled. No one could possibly have given that presser and been acting. It wasn’t typical politician.

I was willing to wait and see if his words of sincerity would translate into action—and what I saw was Sanford try to ease out of the limelight as much as possible, letting everyone take potshots at him unanswered, letting everyone vent their venom, anger and disappointment, as he went about what was important to him: trying to repair and resolve the relationships in his life out of public view. When he would emerge into the spotlight, however briefly, he would be asked the inevitable question about the affair, how could he have done it, and every time, he would answer anew with deep reflection, sincerity and humility—never lashing out at others or trying to make excuses, never acting like “c’mon, I’ve already answered this.” Time and again, his actions matched his words. Over time, I fully forgave him.

Here is a man that has had a very public fall from grace, such a spectacular fall and with such circumstances that I believe it was a once-in-a-lifetime screw-up. I actually trust that he has worked to put his life back together in a way that assures me it won’t happen again. He is ready to move on, and so am I along with a multitude of #SC1 voters.

While he has been a big enough man to bear all the slings and arrows hurled at him, he hasn’t been too big to still humble himself before us and ask for a second chance, in an extremely personal way. Mark Sanford needs us. He needs us to give him the chance to fully redeem himself, and I think that makes him even more beholden to us in a deep, almost spiritual way. I believe he has something to prove to us now, to make things as right as he can possibly make them in this lifetime. We could be vindictive and withhold redemption from him, make it so that no amount of effort to regain our trust would ever be good enough, but I don’t think his sin comes anywhere close to deserving that punishment. I’m willing to give him the chance to go the next step and make amends to us, because South Carolina’s 1st district needs him. America needs him.

Now let me tell you why.

The Sanford Record

Mark Sanford is the fiscal conservative’s fiscal conservative. He was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. Outside of his fall from grace, Sanford had a stellar record of public service.

When he was in Congress from 1995 to 2001, he actually returned a quarter of a million dollars to the US Treasury every year, which he had personally slashed out of his Congressional office’s operating budget. This was money allocated to him, approved by voters to spend, but he took it upon himself to protect the voters further, pinching every penny and looking after voter wallets.

This attitude was also reflected in his Congressional voting record, making him ranked as the most fiscally conservative member of Congress by both Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers Union.

Then, as a two-term Governor of South Carolina, when Obama came to office and was shoveling our money out of the doors of the White House, Sanford was the first governor to reject the stimulus money–$700 million of it. This is important not only because he was standing on his fiscal conservatism principles (and withstanding the onslaught of leftist and media howling), but by his very act of stepping forward and having the courage to lead on it, other governors around the country were emboldened to follow his lead, to compete to see who could be declared the most fiscally conservative of the fiscal conservatives.

Wouldn’t it be a great thing to have that repeated over and again in Washington–contests to see who can spend less instead of the quest, even by Republicans, to spend more? It takes bold leadership, someone that can withstand the pressure to cave, to do this. It’s something Bostic has no record of doing, and no record of even claiming to be interested in doing it. (His campaign mantra has become “Sometimes you just have to say yes” as they jeeringly call Sanford “Mr. No.” When it comes to the insatiable appetite that Congress has for spending our grandchildren’s tax dollars and Chinese loans, I want Mr. No casting my vote any day.)

And Sanford is not afraid to take on his own party. While Boehner and the House leadership keep telling us that they’ll get us a better deal next time every time they cave, Sanford is one that won’t cave. The Republican-dominated South Carolina legislature and he had some mighty famous battles, with Sanford constantly vetoing their spending bills and forcing them to override them to pry the money out of the SC coffers. (Understand that and you’ll understand the background of the trumped-up “ethics charges” his opponents love to tout.)

He made the GOP majority squeal with indignation when he brought two little piglets, Pork and Barrel, into the statehouse to bring attention to their spending spree. We NEED more politicians with the guts to stop the spending in opposition to their party’s good old boy backscratching system.

Due to Sanford’s storybook record of reigning in state spending, the CATO Institute ranked him as the most fiscally conservative governor in America. (Can Bostic come anywhere close to these prestigious accolades? No.)

And the Tea Party needs Sanford in their ranks. Not only because he would be a solid vote with them, if not a leader. They have had difficulty in getting leadership to go their way, mainly because so many are freshmen and sophomore backbenchers. Sanford, however, by virtue of his previous three terms in the US House of Representatives will immediately reenter Congress with seniority over nearly 60% of his colleagues. He will be hard to ignore, and in a position to press the Tea Party perspective.

The Bostic Record

Personal injury lawyer Bostic presents himself as a Christian family man. I believe him. Most of Bostic’s support is coming from the extreme-wing of the religious right, whose sole focus is on Sanford’s divorce with much less concern about spending reductions and liberty issues. In fact, their tactics have been cause for alarm by some, including the leader of a local Tea Party group. (As noted in today’s Morning Jolt from Jim Geraghty at National Review, Bostic describes himself as a creationist, but declines to elaborate on how he defines that. If some GOP are worried about Sanford being promoted to the general election because of the national media jokes about the Appalachian Trail, just wait till they sink their teeth in on creationism.)

As you can tell from the above, I’ll leave people’s faiths to themselves. My focus is on our country’s debt and spending, and it is in those areas that things give me pause with Bostic.

First, while Bostic served on Charleston County Council from 2000 to 2008, its spending increased 25%–significantly outpacing inflation and population increase. Bostic argues that Charleston County voters themselves voted for the increase. I reply, yes, but he went along with it and voted for every single big-spending budget. He championed no cost-cutting measures, and some complain that he even added in projects such as the long-running I-526 extension boondoggle without subjecting it to voter comment or diverted tax revenues to his own pet projects, such as the Greenbelt Plan.

Taking the spending thing further, Bostic refused to sign a pledge to reduce federal spending—even though most of the other candidates in the primary signed it. It was just him, the Democrat general election candidate Elizabeth Colbert-Busch and two other small percentage voter getters that spurned the pledge. Bostic and Sanford both signed Grover Norquist’s ATR pledge to not raise taxes, and that’s a good thing, but we are drowning in debt. We must reduce spending if we are to save America. Our spending is unsustainable, and it should have been an easy thing to pledge to do.

Bostic has also refused to timely file his FEC disclosure form indicating the amount and sources of his income. He has filed for an extension that will put this knowledge out of reach for the runoff Republican voters but will be laid bare for general election purposes. How do voters know what’s in it, especially since he deems it too complicated for his CPAs and law firm to be able to figure out? What kinds of nasty surprises await us? Both Sanford and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert-Busch managed to get their forms in on time.

Finally, the most disturbing thing is that Bostic has repeatedly canceled or refused to appear in debates and forums before conservative, libertarian and Tea Party groups. It’s quite troubling that Bostic had to be dragged to have a one-on-one conversation with Sanford on the issues facing South Carolina’s 1st District and America.

During his eight years on Charleston County Council, Bostic also missed an average of 20% of its twice-monthly meetings. The Bostic campaign took great offense to Sanford’s noting this during their first one-on-one debate, with Bostic saying that his wife suffered from cancer twice during his tenure, implying he had to miss county business in order to tend to her needs. Quite understandable, of course.

However, the SC Patch looked into a sampling of Bostic’s attendance records and found:

Patch reviewed the minutes from 11 of the meetings during Bostic’s time on council. Those minutes are attached to this article. On nine occasions he was either was out of state, out of the country or out of town. On two occasions his absence was unexplained.

His attendance ranges from 67 percent in 2005 to 93 percent in 2001. Most years on council it ranged around 80 percent.

When another media outlet asked the Bostic campaign to confirm the absences were directly related to Mrs. Bostic’s illness, they declined to respond. The Huffington Post also notes that the indignant tweets that his son, actor Daniel Bostic, tweeted after the debate (and served as fodder for various right-wing blog attacks on Sanford) have since been deleted.

North Charleston Patch added that his son, Daniel Bostic, tweeted: “Not gonna lie – I’m still infuriated over Sanford attacking my dad for missing council when my mom was dying.” As of Friday afternoon, the tweet was no longer on Daniel Bostic’s account.

The broad picture here is that Bostic has left the #SC1 voters with many questions: on his finances, on the issues, his beliefs and principles, on whether he can withstand the withering attacks that would come his way should he advance to the general election. He’s asking us to just blindly trust him. Bostic’s record is full of secrets. With Sanford, we know all his secrets.

On top of that, Bostic has a history of not showing up, and when he has shown up, he has voted for bigger budgets and said he would support background check gun legislation and a Constitutional amendment to make traditional marriage the law of the land (does he really believe that, with some states already approving gay marriage, an amendment could ever get ratified? or does he just think it sounds pretty to low-info voters?). Worst of all, he’s said he wants to be non-partisan and work across the aisle.

If he’s been so fearful to let the voters see how his positions contrast with Sanford’s, how will he stand up to politicians in Washington that are going to want him to just shut up, sit down and vote the way they tell him to?

We know Sanford will have the fortitude to stand up for us, against both Democrats and Republicans. He’s been there in the heat and glitz of Washington; he knows the games played and how not to get played. This is no time to be sending a rookie in during the middle of the game. We need someone that can be a strong voice, have some seniority and lead others to vote the right way.

The Closing Argument

There’s an old story about the 1884 presidential race between anti-corruption fiscal-conservative New York Governor Grover Cleveland and the Republican Senator from Maine, James G. Blaine. Blaine made his status as a devoted family man a centerpiece in his campaign, and his campaign had the dirt on Cleveland and an illegitimate child Grover had fathered out-of-wedlock years before but had supported financially.

The Blaine campaign taunted him with the slogan “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa? Gone to the White House. Ha, ha, ha.” The scandal was embarrassing indeed.

Yet, when it came to soberly assessing the race with logic instead of emotion, one observer noted (as related in Irving Copi’s classic text Introduction to Logic):

Since Cleveland has a terrific public record but a blemished private life, and Blaine has a storybook private life but a checkered public record, why not put them both where they perform best—return Blaine to private life and keep Cleveland in public life.

I couldn’t say it better myself. Put Sanford where we know he’ll do a stellar job. Return Sanford to Congress.

 

|Campaign 2012 | Political Prudence

Joe Kennedy III Says a Drone Killed Bin Laden and Other Notes on the Sean Bielat Race

In the race to fill the Massachusetts 4th Congressional seat being vacated by Barney Frank (D-MA), trust fund Democrat Joe Kennedy III is pitting his name, inexperience and ignorance against Marine and small businessman Sean Bielat.

So far, Kennedy has had problems in knowing that Jerusalem (not Tel Aviv, as he proclaimed) is the capital of Israel. Nor could he name a current military program that he wishes to cut, despite that being a primary area he’d like to slash in the federal budget. (The two programs he did name are either nonexistent or already cut.)

But his utter lack of fundamental knowledge in all things foreign policy and military defense became crystal clear in a recent debate at Wellesley College. A man in the audience asks Kennedy whether he supports the drone program. His jaw-dropping response is, “I am a supporter of the President’s drone initiatives. I am a supporter of certainly the strike that the President launched to, that ended up in the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

[The clip cuts off quickly, but Kennedy doesn't attempt to correct his reply. For those thinking it is impossible that he simply misspoke, the entire question and Kennedy response is at the end of this clip, and Bielat's response to the question is at the beginning of this clip.]

It’s no wonder that Kennedy wants to dodge the issues when he’s just running on his name. Catch the clip from the Today show here where they follow Kennedy to knock on voters’ doors. The woman can’t get out her entire question before he interrupts her to inform her his grandfather was Robert Kennedy:

Bielat makes an excellent point, in that the trust fund kid is utterly unqualified for a Congressional seat.

In a conference call, Bielat and his senior media consultant Sarah Rumpf said the campaign’s internal polling has been showing Kennedy’s numbers as steadily declining, noting that even among those that support Kennedy, one-half of them say they are not sure about him.

Rumpf offered other anecdotal evidence that Kennedy’s leading, but diminishing, support is soft by noting that Scott Brown for Senate signs tend to have a Sean for Congress sign next to it, but the Elizabeth Warren for Senate signs often stand alone.

The campaign has also found that when they approach supposedly committed Kennedy voters and provide them with information on Bielat’s positions, the voters are frequently willing to switch their position.

The campaign is feeling very optimistic about their chances, if they can just reach enough voters in time. “Not only is it winnable,” said Bielat, “but we will win this race.”

But the thing that will help Bielat the most is a campaign contribution. He’d like to raise $500,000 more to pound the airwaves in Boston this week. (He is already on air in the Providence media market.) His internal polling indicates that they have significantly closed the gap, and a blast of ads could push him to victory.

Go here to view the Final Surge video (with great tidbits such as Joe Kennedy the Third has only worked 27 months in his entire life, and up until 10 months ago, he was still living with his mother). That’s where you can contribute to the campaign as well, or visit SeanForCongress.com for more information on keeping this House seat Kennedy-free.

For a bit of fun, Bielat’s campaign has put together a clever website KardashianOrKennedy.com illustrating the banality of the Kennedy campaign through a “Kardashian or Kennedy: Guess Who Sent the Tweet” quiz.

But don’t forget to donate. RealClearPolitics has Massachusetts’ 6th District as leaning Democratic, with the Republican 6 points ahead, and now there’s talk that Patrick Kennedy’s old Rhode Island seat could go Republican this year. Let’s get them talking about the Mass 4th District too.

 

|Greetings | Prudence Potpourri

The Week in Political Cartoons

The Debt Ceiling Debate:

(via Dana Summers at Townhall)

The RNC Chairman Campaign and Debate to Challenge Michael Steele for the Position:

(via SooperMexican.com)

The PC-ification of Huckleberry Finn:

(via Nate Beeler at Townhall)

The Media’s Finger-Pointing and Blame-Laying in the Aftermath of the Arizona Shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:

(via Lisa Benson at Townhall)

Isn’t it something how quickly our attention can turn?

|Prudence Potpourri | Tea Party | Updated

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

(For more Lisa Benson cartoons, see her section in Townhall‘s political cartoons.)

Republican leadership of Congress, take heed of the desires and expectations of the voters that put you on top the Hill where you now stand—those that toppled the former regime for you.

We hired you not to slow the train down as it runs over the cliff. We hired to stop the train, immediately, with all your might, and to throw it into reverse.

It’s a new beginning. Please don’t behave in the same old manner.

Congratulations. Let’s roll.

UPDATE: Another toppling of Nancy Pelosi occurred on Twitter. Behold the downfall of Speaker Pelosi:

|Greetings

Congress Realizes It Is a Joke...And Decides to Make It Official

Today, Steven Colbert will appear to perform a comedy routine for a House Judiciary subcommittee.

The Hill reports:

The hearing, titled “Protecting America’s Harvest,” will also feature United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez, who has appeared on Colbert’s show to plug the UFW’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign, which invites Americans critical of illegal immigration to work as laborers in agricultural fields.

Colbert accepted Rodriguez’s offer, and worked for 10 hours on a farm in rural New York last month, picking vegetables.

Not to be outdone, the House Financial Services committee has scheduled Gallagher to perform next Tuesday.

Gallagher Smashes the National Debt for the House Financial Services Committee

Maxine Waters, being on both the Judiciary and Financial Services committees, will be in attendance for both acts/hearings. But she has a warning for Gallagher: “He better bring an extra large tarp, because if any watermelon bits get in my ‘do, he’ll be facing some contempt of Congress charges.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is attempting to please its members by inviting the San Diego Chicken to testify about whether he is indeed a free-range chicken or, as has been alleged by his trainer, he achieved his freakish growth through steroid usage. The Chicken is refusing to appear, noting the perjury charges now facing Roger Clemens after his testimony before the same committee. The committee is therefore issuing a subpoena to compel him to appear (and to bring t-shirts to shoot out of a cannon).

The San Diego Chicken Hopes for Softballs From Congress

UPDATE:

Byron York of the Washington Examiner issued the declaration that the Colbert appearance had embarrassed the congressmen. As if that’s anything new. Oh, wait, it is. Usually it’s the congressmen embarrassing themselves.

Michelle Malkin bailed out early on the “testimony,” writing, “Can’t watch this fiasco anymore,” and therefore missing out on the carnival show of elected representatives asking serious questions to a smarmy fictional character. (See her posting for a good background on the topic the committee hearing was supposed to be addressing.)

Update II: The Daily Caller provides an excellent summary of Colbert’s mockimony.