Thursday, June 10, 2010
I'll take this time for a brief moment of self-promotion, as well. I'll be co-hosting "Voice Of The Fan" on ESPN 1070 The Fan Indianapolis on Sunday. If you're a sports fan, I highly recommend you tune in. While I've preached tolerance, I tend to be a bit more loud, belligerent, and a bit asinine on sports talk radio. Remember, it's talk radio. Agreement and ambivalence doesn't reel in the listeners.
Clearly, that's a bit of a problem in our society. No one cares to hear from the middle ground. Substantive discourse is gone, partly thanks to cable news stations. The "shock jocks" once relegated to discussion of the Sox and Yanks now control the political cable news sphere. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't looking for information at 9 pm after a long work day. They're looking for entertainment. Bill-O, Olbermann, and Co, are just that.
I've got a theory on such shows, and it's likely misguided but I'll spill it anyway. I'm guessing 40% of O'Reilly/Olbermann's viewers truly agree, or believe they agree, with everything stated by the host. Since we don't watch things that are repulsive to us, generally, we'll state that 10% strongly disagree with everything stated by the host. That leaves 50% of the viewership left over. Why do they watch? For the same reasons you can't seem to pull your eyes from a fat man in a Speedo. It's a complete trainwreck, and it's ratings gold.
Here's my question to readers: How do we fix this problem? How do we return quality programming to cable news television? Even if it returns, will the public buy what we're selling? Personally, I'm sick of watching garbage television that only pushes Republicans and Democrats further apart. That's why I watch SportsCenter, and stick to, for the moment, sports talk radio.
I'm looking forward to your proposals.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
At the moment, I'm knee-deep in questions and e-mails, reading through them, and attempting to figure out exactly what I've gotten myself into. Tomorrow, I'll try to have another "Mailbag" segment up--and possibly shed some thinking on Dale Peterson, and share my priceless reaction upon viewing the best advertisement for anything I've ever set eyes upon.
Rather than humiliate myself with incoherent thought and poor grammar at this late hour, we shall call it a night.
God Bless, Friends.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Mailbag Disclaimer: I don't have all the answers. But, I'll attempt to make a humble from-the-heart attempt at explanation.
I'm glad you enjoyed the column, and welcome to the site. I hope to have valuable, reasonable discussion with you and others long into the future.
I'm aware of the failure of the Reagan administration to combat the increase in public debt, but the climate of the nation was much different than that we have today. I won't deny the GOP's failure to limit spending in past terms, but much of that has been defense spending, which is another topic for another day. However, I still believe in the four pillars of Reagonomics.
1. Reduce government spending.
2. Reduce income and capital gains marginal tax rates.
3. Reduce government regulation of the economy.
4. Control the money supply to reduce inflation.
My biggest fiscal sticking point comes with progressive tax policy. I was a strong supporter of Mike Huckabee's Fair Tax plan, and Reagan pursued change in the progressive tax plans of this nation. That's where I'm coming from.
To your second point, I have done extensive research on Marco, and I've been impressed. We're very much alike, and you and I will have to agree to disagree on his substantiveness.
Having said that, it's unlikely don't agree on every single item with any candidate. We are a nation of compromise, and our nation is much the same. PolitiFact has an interesting look at Marco's "change of heart" on the Arizona immigration laws. I'll place the link here. Statements like this I don't fully agree with, and require further examination and pondering.
That's why I claim to be "politically inclusive." I'm willing to question my own beliefs and hold valuable, respectful conversation to promote understanding in democracy for a healthier state. Just because I hold right-of-center beliefs doesn't make me unwilling to work with those on the other side of the aisle to reach the best conclusions for our nation. (Wow, that sounded like campaign material.)
"Who am I really," you ask? I am a person that holds certain viewpoints on how our nation should be run, but I realize that I'm not always right--and the right isn't always right. We can learn from others, work with others. This is a society of compromise. It's unrealistic that a single party can enact every single reform they'd like to see in society, but we can work with those from the "dark side" to achieve the best result for the largest majority of Americans.
My point to make in my discussion with Connie wasn't about policy--I'm a 19-year-old college kid, I don't have all the answers. I have opinions and ideas, not foolproof answers. There's no speechwriter behind me, no thinktank ready to provide me with talking points. It's all off-the-cuff and from the heart.
My sitting down with Connie was about returning unity, respect, and civil discussion to this great nation.
Thanks for your input, and I look forward to more conversation in the future.
This one comes from Brenda, a user on the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's website, voicing her opinion on the comment section following Connie's article. She writes:
"I enjoyed reading the article, then naturally started through the comments below and I am so disheartened. To me, it's less about left vs right as it is about the spirit of cooperation that is so badly needed in politics today and in the future. More young people (I'm in my early 30s) find themselves unable to identify with either political party... we may be staunch fiscal conservatives but passionately supportive of gay marriage, for instance. And we're at a loss as to how to reconcile our ideologies with the current political structure. Young people like Kyle are a beacon of hope that in the future, old barriers and stereotypes and "buckets" in politics can be broken apart, and a spirit of compromise and compassion will pervade everything we do as a country. I almost didn't comment because too often I see this as a platform for sniping, but felt so strongly abut the spirit of the article I needed to voice my support."
Thank you so much for your support. While we may not agree on every issue, it's so encouraging to see other young people that understand that this message isn't about right and wrong between the right and left. I'm not likely to change anyone's beliefs, nor do I attempt to. Many of us are out to bring responsible, civil discourse to our country that will hopefully bring about responsible, bipartisan compromise that truly respects representative government--in doing what is best for the majority of people in this nation. Always questioning one's own beliefs and having flexible, willing-to-compromise viewpoints shouldn't make anyone any less conservative or liberal, but will allow them to truly bring positive change to our nation and make steps to repair the growing schism in our country.
Thank you for your thoughts, and I hope you continue to allow your voice to be heard.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I'll say this much; never in my life did I ever expect to be considered a RINO, a "fake conservative" as penned by one on Cleveland.com's comment section.
While I heed the concerns of all, I'm not sure those criticisms are based in fact. Some have not truly gotten the chance to understand where I stand in the political realm. So, let's run down through some recent candidates I have supported/campaigned for/"endorsed", and then reflect on my political stances.
- Given I didn't live during the administration, I still regard Ronald Reagan as the gold standard of political policy of this nation.
- If I'm handpicking a presidential candidate in 2012, it's Marco Rubio. I'll be the first to admit I've got a small man-crush on the guy.
- Need a VP? Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. Indiana's fiscal sucess can translate to the rest of the nation.
- Indiana Senate Race? Try State Senator Marlin Stutzman, a true conservative loyal to Hoosiers. As little as one week ago, I looked at the head of the local Democratic party and admitted that I wasn't overly inclined to support Dan Coats--because of his lack of commitment to Hoosiers and a left-leaning voting record. I now realize, despite my disappointment, Coats still aligns with the majority of my views and feelings.
The Republican party doesn't need to abandon our true guidelines and morals, but we do likely need to expand our reach. Maybe I'm championing this idea, as I saw a great conservative, Carlos May, have absolutely no chance to win his congressional district due to the image of the party. May ran in the primary in Indiana's 7th--inner-city Indianapolis, where he was defeated by Marvin Scott (I still ponder how that happened). Perception is reality, and Republicans are perceived by many in these areas as uncaring and the "party of the rich." That must change. As I've called for, comprehensive private-sector health insurance for every American. Let's attempt to provide similar results our opponents provide through big government by providing these folks every opportunity to grap success and follow the American dream. Like said, I don't have those answers yet. When I do, I'll be running for office.
Some of my message was lost in translation. I'm focused on uniting this country with civil discourse and discussion. We're not all going to agree on every darned policy implemented in this country, but we can discuss the pros and cons of said arguments with fact and civility. I shouldn't be wary of entering the political sphere for fear that my children would be told at school, by others, that their father is a "bad man." My political opinions shouldn't affect the relationships of my children, or even myself. That's what I'm tired of seeing in this nation.
Good night, and God Bless.
As you many know, and I'm sure many of you are coming from that direction, Connie Schultz featured me in her morning column today. Job well done, Connie. I enjoyed our conversation immensely, and we'll keep it going into the future.
Now, before online dissenters tear me apart, let me elaborate on a few items. First, Connie and I still disagree on most issues. For those of you looking for clarification where I stand, I'm a fiscal conservative that truly believes in capitalism, but understands the flaws of the system that leaves some members of our society unassisted.
...and the grumblings commence.
"He's a Liberal Republican, a Moderate, Connie only likes him because he agrees with every item she states."
Label me whatever you'd like, just know I was in full support of Marlin Stutzman in the Indiana GOP Senate race. Look up most of his viewpoints, and then label me as a moderate or liberal. Seeing both sides of a situation and not blindly supporting every idea sent down from Michael Steele's mountain doesn't make me any less conservative, we need more of that in this country.
Let's discuss healthcare. The notion of it's passing made me cringe. Remember the now-famous executive order? Repulsive. Understand, I would have voted the bill down had I been in Congress at the time. However, now that it has been implemented, I fear members of the GOP running on "Repeal The Bill" campaigns. It may or may not work, but the hostile divide in this nation will only grow. If we are to take this thing down, we need to have a ready-to-go alternative in place.
I'm enjoying the current discussion on Connie's Facebook wall. Nice, civil, informed discussion, and I'm able to answer some questions and concerns from readers. This comment comes from Mark Stepowoy, by all indications a concerned conservative brought to alarm by my "60-year-old pizza guy" comment:
"There is nothing wrong with a 60 year old man delivering pizza even if that isn't what he wants to do, but realizes he has to do it.
There is EVERYTHING wrong with that same 60 year old guy refusing to deliver pizza in exchange for free money from the govt and oodles of pity.
I'm not sure there is a subject that riles me up more than this. I literally parked cars, dug ditches and picked up garbage for minimum wage. ...
There isn't anything wrong with honest work.
Have a great day. I'm stoked."
Mark- Awesome. I commend you, and I am the exact same way. I haven't made that clear. I wish every citizen in this country had your drive. I will never advocate expansion of our current gov't support systems, ideally we'd like to reach a prosperous, utopian point in the future where they can be eliminated and spending and taxation reduced.
... However, I advocate fixing problem A rather than problem B. Let's get to the root of the cause, rather than patching it up with government funds. Let's work our tails off through the private sector to expand the economy and create stable jobs, healthcare, and retirement plans for every person in this nation. Let's attempt to provide the same amenities the left can provide through the government via a more fiscally responsible alternative.
Now, I understand that's a pretty large goal and fairly idealistic, but we've made steps in the right direction in making counterproposals to the current healthcare plan. They aren't bulletproof, but we're stumbling down the correct path. I'm a college kid, and I don't have every answer. I don't work for a policy think tank or in Michael Steele's office. There are people getting paid to do such things, let's invest our time there, as that should be the number one issue on our plate as Republicans at the moment. Maybe 5+ years down the road, I'll be in a situation where I can devote more time to deriving informed alternatives, but I'm still a young guy.
Look forward to hearing from you, and many others, throughout the day and into the future. Feel free to post your concerns on this site, Facebook, wherever, and I'll attempt to promote some civil discourse.
Good day to all of you, and God Bless.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Well, I’ve saved back my thoughts and synopsis of the Indiana Senatorial race for this occasion. One week later, let’s retread now-trampled ground and the ongoings of this race once again. If you haven’t followed said race, Dan Coats won the nomination, Marlin Stutzman, my own choice, trailed in second, John Hostettler third.
Voting in my first election brought something to my eye. Take a look down at your May 4th ballot, and take a gander at the names never to roll across your television set, specifically your local elections. When I cast that vote for Bob Evans for County Commissioner, do I have any real basis of information to cast said vote? That’s other than the fact he just shook my hand and handed me a nail file that, unlike most, I did use.
A question must be raised about the media’s involvement in political elections. Is it a necessary public service to cover every candidate and every election? Clearly, this isn’t the most feasible proposal, but there must be some attempt at this. Unfortunately, and this is reflected more often during mid-term and local election years, voter education is low. In the past, many, including myself, have proposed a test one must pass to gain voting rights. However, this compromises true representative democracy and the principles our nation was founded upon. Our nation is in no position to be refusing any citizen the right to cast a ballot. We must be proactive, rather than reactive to the situation.
I think it is fair to estimate that the majority of the voting public doesn’t hold the political knowledge I do, and that is no reflection of my intellegence or anyone else’s, simply that I am an unemployed college kid with time to aimlessly browse the internet for hours on end. Having said that, they shouldn’t be required to, either. If our political realm existed inside a vacuum, it’d be nice, but it simply isn’t realistic. Still, voters shouldn’t have to have a map and compass to find information on every candidate in an election.
Let’s look at the senate race, for example. I believe, given the political conditions of the state, Stutzman would been a much tougher challenge for Democratic challenger Brad Ellsworth in the fall. Before you close this window, allow me to explain. Stutzman has close to zero name recognition, in comparison to Dan Coats. Nearly every voter at the poll recognizes the name from his previous terms. Stutzman is a state senator from Howe, Indiana, in the far northern reaches of the state. It’s no contest. However, by the time November rolled around, Marlin likely would have made up a signficant portion of the gap between he and Ellsworth, which is smaller to begin with. Unfortunately, the election is just another reflection of smaller-scale elections being won on nothing more than name recognition.
Being fair to Dan Coats, I think he’s a highly competent man that can once again be a solid representative for Hoosiers. His “lobbyist” past doesn’t raise the red flags it does for some with this guy, but the “Washington insider, Old-money Republican” image, quite frankly, scares the livin’ daylights out of me. The stereotypical, old guard Republican is a fairly repulsive notion to many across the country, but for Coats it may be an unfair criticism.
Many liberals will be quick to jump on Coats’ past, specifically his lobbying, connections to the Bush administration, and his move to North Carolina after retiring from the Senate in ‘98.
Be careful of what you wish for, friends.
Check out Dan’s voting record. It’s fairly moderate (Gasp! What a terrible word!), not as the old-school extremist many might portray. Clearly, Dems will still prefer the centre-left Ellsworth over the centre-right Coats, but this isn’t Reid vs. DeMint, here, either. The candidates are very different, but won’t be quite the polarizing candidates advertisements will indicate.
After long periods of thought and research, I still realize, despite my initial heartbreak, Dan Coats is still the candidate most in line with my values and beliefs. I urge every person in this nation to do the same. Not vote Coats, but to make an informed choice that is most congruent with the items close to your heart. Still, the research I, and many others, do to make an informed choice in an election shouldn’t be necessary. Facts (with citations, preferably), opinions, and discussions about every candidate should be rule the airwaves and headlines for weeks leading up to elections. If our democracy is to be effective, making an informed choice should not be a chore. As I’ve stated, real people with real jobs don’t have that sort of time.
The media undoubtedly holds unfathomable power in our nation. My request is simple; use the power to its fullest extent and educate the public on every candidate. Regardless of who takes the prize, we shouldn’t have another election winner based alone on name recognition.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A title is bad when you feel the need to explain it. I feel said need.
These are the Phoenix Suns.
They’re stepping onto a HOT issue.
Thus, walking on the sun. Yes, I am aware that is also the name of a poor Smashmouth song from the late-90’s.
Onto the issue at hand. As I said, The Suns are stepping into some hot waters, uncharted hot waters in professional sports. The team recently announced that they will wear their “Los Suns” jerseys on Cinco de Mayo in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals tommorrow evening. Unfortunately, the decision doesn’t have much to do with the holiday noting Mexican independence.
It’s a slap in the face to the Arizona legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer–a Republican, and her new brilliant piece of work to come out of the statehouse. Yes, the new Arizona immigration policies. To cut the legal mumbo jumbo out of the piece, it’s the bit of legislation that statese, “If you look un-American, prove it.”
To the Suns, Bravo. We don’t see that in sports. It’s nice to see a franchise. not afraid of the economic backlash (that won’t happen) and actually stand for something in society.
Back to the source of the controversy, however. Just to rehash old facts, I am a Republican. Take note of that statement as I proceed.
(Begin incoherent rant.)
Time for something I haven’t used for awhile, the McEnroe Moment of The Day. You really can’t be serious here, Jan. What idiot came up with this plan? Generally, I don’t throw out such terms and name in association with politics, but, here, it’s simply necessary. What political genius assumed that there would be little public backlash? How could one not understand that this nation doesn’t look favorably on racial profiling and stereotyping? Even George Wallace eventually understood that. Frankly, this is one I can’t get over, and I am well aware this post may be turning into an incoherent, angry ramble.
Jan, this is my party, too. Folks already label some on the right as “racists.” Congratulations, you just gave those folks quite the talking point. Remember what I said about alienating certain groups across the nation? You obviously weren’t listening. The bill seems like something straight out of a futuristic sci-fi novel about a far away land, not about America, the world’s biggest melting pot.
Here’s my challenge to any supporter of the bill. Reasonably justify it, without sounding like a complete jackass. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t. For Republicans, as myself, who clamor about the danger of further government regulation in our lives, imagine this situation. You have to carry documents that prove you are an American citizen. That’s much more un-American than any imported car or soccer match.
(Incoherent rant over.)
Bottom line, Immigration reform is needed. This intolerant piece of garbage that Arizona calls legislation, quite frankly, sucks. If organizations such as the Suns step to the plate, this thing can be reversed.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Welcome to Bedford, Indiana. Smack in the middle of southern Indiana,this “city” of 13,000-plus is where I was born and raised. When the state went blue for the first time since LBJ, the McCain camp pulled around 65 percent of the vote here. Calling it a conservative stronghold is quite the understatement, the county is blood red. It’s got problems. The automobile industry has nearly packed up and left town, jobs are currently few and far between, and teen pregnancy rates are too high. Having said all that, I love this place.
I had a fortunate upbringing in this middle-class town, we were financially secure. Money was never an issue. My father is a self-made man that still works twelve hour days at the office, making sure every facet of the corporation is running smoothly. The man grew up with three brothers and sisters and next to nothing except a strong sense of family. I got lucky, and many, including my own father and best friend, simply weren’t as fortunate. I don’t lose sight of that.
Between he and my mother, a perfectionist and class valedictorian that spent years in the healthcare field, I watched hard work evolve into reward through the capitalist system. I was brought up through a highly conservative church, some of my best friends from back home are NRA members, and, frankly, those proposed tax cuts by the current administration do affect my family.
Yes, I am a conservative. That doesn’t mean I take everything from Michael Steele as divine word.
I get it, I understand. I’m a conservative, with a conscience.
For quite some time, I struggled with the recent Healthcare legislation. I tried for weeks to convince myself of traditional conservative viewpoints on the issue. I have nightmares about increased government spending and larger government. A tax hike among the wealthy does affect my family. On the surface, it’s a bit repulsive.
I’m self-actualizing. I can’t argue against providing a child with no health insurance a trip to the doctor. I can’t argue against a mother of four, recently diagnosed with cancer, having assistance with her medical bills, no matter the price. Simply put, I am pro-life. Knowing that, how can I clamor in the following breath about healthcare not being a right?
Every American should have the right to healthcare. Not 99%. Every. Single. One. Rather than demand this legislation be repealed, as conservatives, why not work your tail off to find a way to achieve 100% coverage through the private sector. I have no idea how to accomplish this, I’m a college student, not a staffer. If it were my full-time job, like one Michael Steele, I’d be searching up and down across the nation for the answer.
Until I have that answer, I have no argument against the current legislation. You can’t proclaim to repeal a bill without a viable alternative. We have nothing at the moment, and, like it or not, the left has us in check-mate. Good luck winning a 51-percent majority on taking doctors away from underprivileged children. It’s possible, but it’s an excellent way to grow the social and political schism in the nation.
That schism merits its own discussion. There’s an editorial that ran in the Kansas City Star about 10 days ago that hits the nail on the head. Our nation is growing apart. Sample this from a post a few weeks back on the initial reaction to the Healthcare bill:
“The downfall of this nation will not be Obama-care (could it contribute fiscally, possibly), but the growing schism in the nation. Many on the right are concerned with the slippery-slope to socialism. (Is POTUS a socialist? I doubt it. Does he have policies that alter the capitalist economy? Yes. Until he proclaims himself a socialist in actions or words, I’ll believe he is not.) I point to the slippery-slope to civil war and violent unrest. Personally, Pelosi pulls on emotion too much, as does Rush and Coulter. Bottom line: Government is a business, and leave it at the office.”
Slippery-slope to civil war and violent unrest? Is that likely? Probably not. Possible? Very. I’m hopeful that it won’t take a worst-case scenario to enlighten the majority of the public that we’ve got a problem on our hands. Let’s take the hate out of politics and work across party lines to accomplish something. Let’s work together, in peace, to move forward, rather than impeding the progress of either party and simply remain in the mired muck that is our nation today.
Guys like Richard Behney don’t get it, and are the reason I’m repulsed by the Tea Party. We hold some congruent views, but statements as he made in a recent public appearance campaigning for the Indiana Senate seat, as Austin Rovenstine from the Wabash Conservative Union points out, make a mockery of your party on a national level.
“You know, there’s two facts about our country. One is, we are a nation of immigrants. That’s what makes us great. All different races, colors, cultures. We’re also a Republic of laws. And we live by the law. You know, if you come to my house, and the front light is on — the porch light’s on — you’re welcome. Come knock on the front door, open up, come on in. If I catch you climbing through the back window, in my house, I’m likely to, uh…we don’t need another YouTube moment but…you know, I don’t know what’s going on. You know, and while you’re in my house, I ask that you live by my house rules. And I would like that you speak English, thank you very much. I’m going to treat it like my house, folks. You know… you’re welcome to come in my front door anytime…but if I find you climbing in the back window, you’re likely to get shot. And if you hurt one of my kids, I am going to shoot you. And by the way, when you’re in my house, I expect you to obey the house rules and speak English.”
That comment amounts to a juicy steak for those on the left. It’s called leaving yourself open for criticism. You don’t want to be called a racist, a radical? Don’t talk like one, don’t act like one. Like I said before, good luck winning elections making statements as this. Our party needs a makeover, and not the one led by the current group.
The left has its’ youth movement, and our time has come to answer that call on the right. Washington isn’t listening. Why must we be the party of the rich? Why must we be the party of the silver spoon? Our fiscally and socially conservative values can and will exist, but we cannot continue to alienate the less fortunate, the socially conscious, the environmentalists. We must be a party of understanding, a group willing to work with our opponents from the opposite side to achieve the best outcome for our constituents? Why must those who vow the reach across the aisle be labeled as any “less conservative” by our own party? Stubborn and conservative should not be synonyms. Guys like Austin Rovenstine at the WCU get this. I get this. We can no longer turn our backs upon the less privileged members of our society. If you haven’t noticed, it isn’t working. We must work through the private sector to provide all the amenities the government can currently provide those who cannot support themselves.
Frankly, I don’t have the answers on how to accomplish those feats. You’ll hear from me the day I develop a plan for our nation. I’ll be announcing my candidacy for office and leading the new batch of conservatives to guide our nation into the future, a batch aren’t afraid to call one from across the aisle a great friend and work with them to move the greatest country on the planet forward.But, we’ll still be true conservatives.
Conservatives that have an understanding of both sides.
Conservatives that can unite a nation.
Conservatives that care.