February 15, 2008

To McCain Critics: It’s 2008, and Reagan’s Gone

by Donald G. Mashburn

Some conservative voices are overdoing the cry and cringe bit about John McCain not being conservative enough. Ann Coulter threatens to campaign for Hillary Clinton. James Dobson claims he won’t vote for McCain. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity continue the tedious drumbeat that McCain is no conservative.

These fulminations only help liberals trying to put a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama in the White House, and any self-appointed arbiter of conservative thought should see that.

I hate to be the one to break the sad news to them that this is 2008, and the perfect conservative isn’t in the race for president, and hasn’t been for many elections.

But a reasonably solid one is. It doesn’t take a basketful of brains to figure out that John McCain towers above the Democrats’ best in national security, the economy, keeping government spending in check, and even in controlling immigration.

A new president will have to deal with ever-present “tax reform” legislation – read higher taxes – probably from another Democratic Congress. Democrats have already said they want to eliminate the Bush tax cuts, while McCain has said they should be made permanent.

None of the candidates match McCain’s record of trying to slow the drain of our tax dollars into the bottomless pit of federal spending. McCain’s efforts to stop the arrogant and greedy practice of Congressional earmarks would make him a huge improvement over George W. Bush, who couldn’t find his veto pen for six years.

McCain’s record on federal spending stands on its own, and would be a welcome change in a president.

Additionally, McCain wants to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), originally passed as a tax on the “wealthy,” but which will affect millions of middle-income taxpayers if it’s kept in place.

McCain has the courage to say that entitlements must be brought under control, while both Democratic candidates plan even greater spending loads on Medicare and Medicaid, and tout overly ambitious dreams of socialized health care.

To let either Clinton or Obama win by default is to favor letting future do-nothing Congresses misapply the money Social Security brings in, issue more IOUs, and increase the debt to be paid by future generations.

On the war in Iraq, McCain’s record speaks for itself. His is the only common-sense position of all the candidates. On immigration, he did go astray in trying to accommodate the need for an immigrant labor force, and support President Bush’s worker permit idea. But McCain now agrees we must first secure the border, and that should soothe even the bellyachers.

So what’s the problem? Would Coulter really work for Hillary? Previously, Coulter has seemed to be a sharp lady, and supporting an extreme liberal like Hillary would be foolish for someone claiming to be a conservative.

Would Dobson stay home, in effect supporting Clinton or Obama? Maybe. But it would be a strange position for a supposed conservative Christian to aid a fervent supporter of abortion right, restrictions on First Amendment rights on religion, the homosexual agenda, and socialistic policies in government.

Hannity and Limbaugh, and other supposed conservatives who are ripping McCain, should knock off the “happy horse hooey” and do some real thinking about the damage their whiny grumbling can do to both the Republican Party and the country.
If they think a Clinton – or two Clintons – or an Obama would make the country better, they should say so and come out openly for them.

It’s recognized that the election of Hillary or Obama would be a goldmine for Hannity, Limbaugh and other conservative talk show hosts. The Clinton baggage, or the Obama “apprenticeship” learning to run the country and be commander-in-chief of all our military forces are endless “ore veins” talk show hosts could mine daily.

But the futures of our children and generations to follow are more important than material for a talk show, or the egos of those who see themselves as spokesmen for “true conservatism.”

True conservatism is not a single fabric of one color or texture. It’s a strong, multi-textured fabric, the warp and weft of which are our God-given Constitutional freedoms, and our faith that God has indeed shed His grace on America. And we shouldn’t screw it up.

John McCain is not perfect. And his critics are not perfect, in either their conservative orthodoxy or their personal beliefs.

It’s 2008, and there’s no perfect conservative we can vote for. Ronald Reagan is unavailable, and I’m not running.

PERSPECTIVE

Some State Governments Playing Jesse James

by Donald G. Mashburn

All nations of any size seem to have produced bank robbers, if they had banks. And bank robberies still occur, particularly in the United States. Few of the moderns, though, have little success. They don’t last long enough to build reputations like Jesse James, Cole Younger or the Wild Bunch.

By the turn of the 20th century, most of the famous train robbers had disappeared, having been captured, killed or forced to leave the country. Some of their modern counterparts, recognizing those job risks, but having the same attitude toward other people’s money, got themselves elected to state government where they can steal or confiscate citizens’ assets legally.

How it’s done was reported in a February 4 article in the Wall Street Journal.

The article describes how states are “scooping up assets from millions of Americans,” with total worth running into the billions. They do it by taking advantage of state unclaimed-property laws, which allow them to seize dormant, or “unclaimed,” assets, which can include bank accounts, stocks and bonds, checks not cashed, or virtually any asset the state deems “unclaimed” or “abandoned.”

The laws, often fairly obscure, have become big money makers in some states. And as with too may combinations of state bureaucracy and money, the laws can be abused much to the detriment of the citizens affected.

One of the sorrier examples is that of California requiring that 52,224 shares of Intel Corporation stock be handed over to the state as “unclaimed property.” The stock, valued at the time at approximately $3.8 million, belonged to Chris Lusby Taylor, who formerly worked for Intel. The State seized Mr. Taylor’s property because Taylor had not cashed his dividend checks or voted proxies sent to him for three years!

The state sold the 52,224 shares of Intel stock, which came to the attention of Mr. Taylor. Taylor filed a claim, and the State of California offered him the pittance of $200,000, or about five percent of the stock’s value.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, a federal appeals court ruled that Taylor was entitled to receive the value of the stock.

Not all outcomes have gone as well.

However, California and a few states have moved to limit seizures, or increase efforts to actually return property to owners. Colorado and Oregon have even refused to toss the seized assets of citizens into the states’ general fund, but use only the interest, while holding the principal untouched or unsold.

However, too many states see “dormant” or “inactive” money as money waiting to be taken. Sort of like hiring Willie Sutton as a cashier at a bank. Sutton, you recall, when asked why he robbed banks, said, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Sutton would’ve been a natural in a state unclaimed property office. Yes, it would have been a job in state government, but he might have enjoyed it more than his 35 years in prison.

McCain Best Fit for a Nation at War and In Debt

John Galbraith was quoted as saying, “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”

To hear some of the self-anointed experts on “true” conservatism, John McCain isn’t conservative enough for them to support as president. Few, even among the more shrill ones, are irrational enough to claim a McCain presidency would be disastrous, but for some, it no doubt would be unpalatable.

But the major question rational people should be asking is: Would a McCain presidency be more unpalatable than an administration headed by either of the extreme-left Democrats, each of whom is promising to be more liberal and a bigger spender than the other?

Choosing between McCain and Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama may not be an exact fit for Galbraith’s definition of politics, but it’s a good “half fit.” As president, McCain would be a solid guardian of our tax dollars, and no doubt could find his veto pen much more readily than George W. Bush. He would also be strong on national defense and the war on terror.

The Democrats, on the other hand, offer two candidates with huge potential for being “disastrous” as presidents. Neither Hillary nor Obama has ever run anything, or commanded anything that even resembled a military unit. But both have extensive backgrounds in running for jobs on the public payroll and the chance to wield political influence.

McCain might be unpalatable to narrow-issue critics on a few things, but he would be a gift to the nation on Supreme Court nominations, the economy, and national security.

But in these three areas of extreme importance, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama could be disastrous!