Another correlations quiz

Here’s another one for the precognitive-minded. Next week’s column conflates the work of a Russian novelist and a contrarian form of technical analysis. No one managed to score last week – a few hapless post-column assertions notwithstanding – so I’m curious to see if anyone can do better this week.

Someone skipped logic class

Kyle Williams writes on WND:

Yet, for some conservatives, choosing a candidate isn’t limited to George W. Bush and John Kerry. Because President Bush has betrayed conservatives on various social and fiscal issues, the conservative base is divided and hasn’t rallied around Bush like it did four years ago. This leaves some conservatives wondering whether or not they should jump ship for a third-party candidate like Constitution Party nominee Michael Peroutka or even the Libertarian, Michael Badnarik. Meanwhile, the rest of the conservative/Republican camp is griping that a vote for a third-party candidate will do nothing but help John Kerry.

In reality, they’re right. A vote for a third-party candidate may be a stand for ideals, and it may send a message to the GOP, but it won’t do much good. There aren’t enough conservatives who will vote third party to scare GOP officials, but there are just enough third-party voters that it may help John Kerry. Yes, a vote for Michael Peroutka is a wasted vote. It’s hard to say whether a third-party candidate will ever be viable, but it’s obvious that no third-party nominee has a shot at the presidency in this election cycle.

Therefore, conservatives need to look at the priorities. What’s important? If we truly care about appointing conservative judges, then we can’t have John Kerry in office. If we truly care about the economy, then we can’t have Kerry in office. If we care about the War on Terrorism, then we can’t have Kerry in office. If we truly care about cutting taxes, then we can’t have Kerry in office.

The only viable alternative is President Bush. He’s not a conservative, true. He has betrayed conservative principles and has taken actions that would make a liberal proud, but he’s the man when it comes to the economy, taxes, war on terrorism and, most importantly, the judicial branch.

This column could be cited as a persuasive argument against homeschool, if only the public schools still taught logic. But in an case, let’s follow young Mr. William’s advice to look at the priorities:

1) “If we truly care about appointing conservative judges….” George Bush hasn’t managed to get any conservative judges through a Republican House and Senate. Perhaps if conservatives are satisfied with mere appointments, one could construct a case on this basis for Bush. But, as conservatives are more likely concerned with seating conservative judges, not merely seeing them appointed and rejected, Bush’s first term should suffice to demonstrate that this is not an adequate reason to vote for him. Whether he truly wishes to seat such judges or not is unimportant, the fact of the matter is that he hasn’t and he won’t. Still, the president’s work to retain Arlen Spectre as the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee suggests that he does not truly wish to see conservative judges on the bench.

2) “If we truly care about the economy….” George Bush has engaged in unrestrained Keynesian expansion, using tax cuts and increased government spending in combination with massively easy monetary policy in order to postpone the inevitable post-boom bust. This never works long and only exacerbates the eventual bust, the next (third) wave of which has already begun. It’s no secret that George Bush is an economic illiterate, but so are his economic advisors, who are using outdated economic models repeatedly proven to be disastrous failures.

3) “If we care about the War on Terrorism….” Right, undeclared and extra-Constitutional war on method and a Commander-in-chief who’s afraid to name the enemy or attack his strongholds. No thanks.

4) “If we truly care about cutting taxes….” This is the one viable point. If you’re a one-issue voter, by all means, vote for George Bush on this basis. But it may be wise to keep in mind, he’s not doing it on principle, he’s doing it because he’s desperately trying to increase liquidity and get you spending in order to bring up the C component of GDP… and his concomitant inflationary fiscal policy in collaboration with Greenspan’s inflationary monetary policy has the net result of lowering your discretionary buying power even as more money goes into your pocket. 2 percent more money doesn’t buy 18 percent more gold, or 40 percent more gasoline.

And then, there’s the open admission that George Bush is no conservative. So, why should conservatives support a non-conservative? Right, because he’s the lesser of two evils. I should point out that as a Christian libertarian, I believe in free will, so I fully expect people to decide to support evil on a regular basis, using a wide variety of rationalizations. All I ask is that conservatives remember that this is indeed a choice they are making, that no one is forcing them to knowingly support that which they believe to be wrong.

Mailvox: in defense of tribunals

Bill defends the President:

Vox, the military tribunal thing was and is tricky. The people we’re holding are not prisoners of war (no uniform, no command structure, and they target civilians) so according to the Geneva convention (which they didn’t sign) we could just shoot them after a proper military trial. However, Bush and co. realized that this would be a PR nightmare.

And after the Lynn Stewart incident (the mother of the Patriot Act), we realize we couldn’t give them a regular trial either. So they came up with the military tribunal thing. What other option did Bush have, turn them over to the Syrians for a trial? This is pretty far outside regular jurisprudence. Clintoons infamous Executive Orders were obviously self-serving, it wasn’t like he was simply trying to solve a problem and protect America’s interests.

This defense is illustrative. Bill suggests that the administration had two legal choices. Shoot them or turn them over to someone else. First, handing them over to a third party can’t be equated to releasing them, as implied here. Neither the Northern Alliance nor the Iraqi allies are reported to be squeamish about rough justice for their enemies.

Second, even this defense demonsrates that the president is more concerned about PR than he is about the law. So, his advisors cook up a stupid and legally questionable scheme, then try to defend it as if their motives are not tawdry politics, but a matter of national defense. Of course, if it was that serious, they’d have been executed in accordance with the Geneva Convention already; the real problem is that it’s difficult to take prisoners once no quarter has been declared. And, it threatens to turn into a PR disaster anyhow. You would think that some day, the Republicans will learn that since the press is not on their side anyhow, they might as well do the right thing and get roasted for it instead of doing the wrong and more dangeous thing and getting roasted for that.

Although others may have done so, I have never stated that Bush is worse than Clinton in his repeated attempts to abuse the legal system, only that his actions are opening the door for the next Clinton to be worse. Bill sounds like a typical leftist here, arguing that it is the intentions behind the attempted abuse that are relevant, whereas it is truly only the precedents being set that matter. The ignoble nature of the present administration was clear in its use of Guantanamo Bay, which, like Echelon, is a shining example of how the Federal government always attempts to circumvent the laws designed expressly to hobble the exercise of its power.

Republican defenders of the president will no doubt continue to excuse his every action, however indefensible, under the guise of “we are at war”. This is nothing new, it has been done on behalf of every wartime administration of either party. But I will have little sympathy when those same Republicans shriek in outrage when the next Democratic president abuses these new techniques for circumventing the limits on executive branch power, conveniently forgetting their own role in creating the monster.