David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Friday, August 24, 2012
Scattered Thoughts

Ten paragraphs, ten different topics. Clue-finding trips, Paul Ryan, your dubious constitutional right to shoot out my windows, things that set my head to Akin', and more.

They say Congressman Paul Ryan is controversial, a lightning rod, and a risky choice for Mitt Romney's running mate. Highly-qualified leaders who are serious about what needs to happen in the United States cannot possibly be uncontroversial this year. Thanks, Mitt, for showing us what leadership looks like, by choosing a serious, dynamic, articulate leader for the second slot on your ticket. In so many positive ways, he's the anti-Biden. I'm looking forward to having adults in the White House who can do the math, understand and explain what it means, and act responsibly on the results.

Nocturnal, drunken skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee by members of Congress on a "fact-finding" trip? Really? Maybe every "fact-finding trip" should be preceded by a mandatory, rigorous clue-finding trip.

To insist that the Second Amendment gives you the right to go target shooting in the hills, when the wildfire danger is high and people's homes, health, lives, and livelihoods are at risk, makes no more sense than insisting that you have a constitutional right to shoot out the windows of  my house. More to the point, fellow Utahns, if you're completely indifferent to my rights, don't expect me to nod in agreement when you assert yours.

President Obama, with his totalitarian (look it up) vision, claims credit on behalf of the government for every successful business. "You didn't build that," is the mantra -- because you didn't build the physical, intellectual, or economic infrastructure on which every business depends to some degree. The real problem with this -- beyond even Obama's fixation on government power, and beyond the fact that most people with access to the infrastructure don't build successful businesses -- is that you did build the infrastructure. You built it. I built it. We the people built it. Anything "the government" built, we authorized and funded. In a sense, we should all be pointing at the First Ego and telling him, "Your government didn't build that."

The Utah Democratic Party is upset because it asked for a truckload of official government documents about redistricting -- which the state government is required to provide -- but doesn't think it should have to pay the thousands of dollars it costs the state to fill such a large request. The Party admits that it has plenty of money; it just doesn't want to pay. Translation: It thinks the taxpayers should pay. In a delightful turn of events, the Utah Republican Party has offered to pay the costs.

I'm glad Sarah Palin isn't on the Republican ticket in 2012. Both 2012 Republican candidates are far superior to their 2008 counterparts. However, this does not change the fact that in 2008 Governor Palin had more executive experience in government than John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden combined. She wasn't wonderfully qualified, but the rest of them weren't even barely qualified.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (according to their radio ads) doesn't like the idea of the federal government ceding land to the State of Utah. No doubt they prefer to keep the land in the custody of the jurisdiction which is most likely to lock it down and minimize its use, but they claim a fiscal concern: If it's state land, we'll have to use state money to fight the fires! We're not supposed to notice that, if the state takes over the land, there will be additional revenue from the land, not just additional costs. And with different management, come to think of it, there might even be fewer major fires.

There may be a useful opportunity in the Todd Akin "legitimate rape" absurdity, an opportunity for Mitt Romney and some others to be seen conspicuously acting like adults. But Akin's sanctimonious stupidity is only the second mistake in this picture. As to the first, we needed the Republicans of Missouri to choose from among the available, viable candidates for US Senate, and come up with someone other than the guy the Democratic incumbent funded because she thought he would be the most beatable. I really don't care if he was the most conservative option, if he's not up to the job of winning an election. This is a lot like Nevada Republicans' gross error a couple of years ago, thanks to which Harry Reid is still a US Senator. In any case, we now need Congressman Akin and all the other Republican candidates to act like their voters chose wisely, even if they didn't. No one knows exactly where the line is, but we have to assume there's a limit to how many self-inflicted wounds Republicans can endure and still take over the Senate and White House. We need our candidates to think before they talk -- not just about the purity of their ideals and the oh-so-admirable strength of their convictions, but about how what they're about to say will sound to a lot of people who aren't even remotely convinced yet, and to a goodly number of people who actively want to destroy them. I wish this weren't too much to ask.

Chief Justice John Roberts' reputation among conservatives will be much rehabilitated if we manage to repeal ObamaCare. Most don't seem to appreciate his probably-historic defense of the Commerce Clause in the ObamaCare case, his rejection of federal extortion in connection with a massive unfunded Medicaid expansion, his calling a tax a tax, and his judicial restraint in leaving the general matter to the people and their representatives. If we can repeal ObamaCare -- thus saving our economy and the future of our medical care -- maybe conservatives will eventually learn to see a huge conservative victory in Roberts' opinion for the court.

A final thought: On one hand, I'm sitting here thinking, "Not blogging isn't addictive. I can quit anytime I want." On the other hand, if that were true, I wouldn't have just gone two months without blogging.

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