Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Wonderful Friday

I should know by now that when Jan starts a sentence with the words, “You know we have a wonderful opportunity to…..” that I am as committed to something I know nothing about as I am to the vows of marriage. It sounded like a good idea at the time and I readily agreed to go to Springfield, MO and attend an appearance at a rally which featured Sarah Palin as the lead speaker.

To gain the best opportunity to see Mrs. Palin, we left the house at a little after 7:00am to arrive in Springfield at about 8:30am. The event was re-scheduled from a local college venue to the parking lot at Bass Pro Shops which had far better parking and tons of space. We parked and joined a line which was about 250 yards long and snaked from the entrance, down the building, and around in back. T-shirts, caps, buttons and signs were abundant with identical messages—vote for McCain/Palin. As we stood there, more information came my way.

I found that the gates didn’t open until 9 and that we would be frisked for dangerous items and contraband with TSA personal who would normally be at the airport messing up travel plans for travelers. This necessitated either a trip back to the car with my Cherokee pocket knife, nail clippers, Leatherman Tool, green mender, and a timer (I don’t know either, you’ll have to ask Jan) or else toss them into a disposal bucket at the check point. When I returned, we continued to stand in the line and shuffled forward at glacial speed.

The day was raw when we left the house and then the wind picked up with the temperature hovering around 40º. As we stood with the like minded fans of Palin we made the not-surprising discovery that they were some of the very nicest people who had ever been randomly thrown together without any prior acquaintance. They conversed without any degree of coarseness which often typifies political discussion. Their consideration of others was exemplary. In total disregard of the discomfort caused by the weather and the boring wait, they maintained a cheerful outlook and good cheer in anticipation of actually seeing the candidate. The bond of our common goal promoted a sense of camaraderie which is rarely witnessed outside a house of worship. It was a profound display of fellowship.

With the consent of those around us, I had encouraged Jan to return to the shelter of the car at about 9:30. We continued to visit and gradually move about thirty yards over the next hour. I then went to check on her and found all to be well and my bride asleep. Once satisfied, I returned to the line and found it had moved at three or four times the rate it had previously. About fifty yards from the check point, I called Jan on the cell phone and told her to get over quickly. It was a good call because she barely rejoined the party as we moved into the security area. Apparently they had secured additional personnel and we found them frantically checking and admitting the crowd from the line which, behind us, had grown to 5 times its original content. We entered the area before the stage at about 11:00 am..

We were then entertained by a marvelous quartet with an instrumental background and remarks from various state office seekers. After the aspiring gubernatorial candidate, attorney general, more music and Naomi Judd, we heard Roy Blunt, who is I believe the minority whip of the House. Shortly after noon, the great moment arrived.

Sarah Palin took the stage to roars of adoration from the assembly and immediately started launching “high, hard, fast balls” to the delight of the crowd. She dealt with issue after issue in a capable and reassuring manner and delighted all with her usual common speech with no taint of superiority or arrogance. I’ll leave the actual text to you. It has no doubt been printed by now and most of it will come as no news to you. She exuded confidence, demonstrated familiarity with the issues, and offered plainly stated solutions to the problems facing America today. The multitude wanted assurances for their opinion of her and she delivered.

After a fast paced forty-five minutes she came down from the stage and worked the rope line to be as close to the people as she could. I have rarely witnessed such a sustained positive reaction between a politician and the voters. Her performance was electrifying and her audience was entranced. They loved her!

She is beautiful! In ugly weather, on a wind-swept stage, with a noisy crowd she managed to maintain an appearance of one who has just left a makeup trailer. Unlike other celebrities, she appears completely unaware of her appearance and continually speaks directly to each individual as though in a personal conversation. She frequently dropped family quotes and complimented the facility (Bass Pro Shops) which was superb.

I have a tendency to treat all politicos with a measure of disdain—not Sarah Palin. She proved to be a “uniter” as well as an accomplished candidate. If she comes to your town, don’t miss her. She proved to be well worth the agony of the entrance procedure. I am convinced she enabled every person in attendance to leave with a renewed sense of purpose and energy to stay the course and contribute their efforts to elect the slate.

We left about 1:30, stopped at a favorite “steak and eggs” joint and finally got home about 4pm. It has been a long campaign but Jan and I both felt rejuvenated in our meager efforts to preserve that which we feel is best for the union.

In closing, I must say on this Friday evening, I am exceptionally proud of my neighbors. They possess all the characteristics which we have come to love in the Ozarks. They were kind, courteous, caring, sharing, and demonstrated all of those traits which have made America the greatest country in the world. They had patience with authority, respect for speakers and the protesters (Code Pink) alike, and obviously not ashamed to admit that they “cling to their guns and their Bibles." I do really love these people.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Fat Lady Ain't Sung!

Many in the Obama campaign and the media (sorry to be repetitious) have declared that this race is over and the “chosen” one has every thing accomplished but the swearing in ceremony. They point with glee at the polls and see no possibility but a landslide victory for their messiah. Or so they say.

American elections can be capricious. If you have great grandchildren, you will remember the headline on the Chicago Tribune front page announcing “DEWEY WINS.” Never mind that Harry Truman was the guy they swore in during the inauguration of January 1949. A famous snob from New York City observed after the election of Richard Nixon that “nobody I knew voted for him, no one!” In that election, Nixon got all but 17 of the electoral college votes. The worst ever defeat was FDR over Landon with the loser garnering only eight electoral votes.

The simple truth is that our citizens resent the intrusion on their privacy by anyone who seeks to find out what their intention is at the ballot box. As a pollster, you face persons who may or not be registered, wags, intentional deceivers, and a vast army who tell you to go mind your own business. With the advent of “caller ID,” many folks check the screen for 1-800 calls and just plain don’t answer. I have no idea whether that is more common with Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. In that it is bound to skew the polling data, doesn’t really matter.

We are assured that cell-phone polling is as prevalent as land line calls but my personal experience says otherwise. I have difficulty remembering the last 1-800 call I saw on my cell phone screen. I have a hard and fast rule on the telephone; I don’t talk to machines. Roy Blunt called me some months ago and invited me to participate in a conference call type forum with an opportunity to ask questions and I happily went along with that. I didn’t exercise my privilege to ask any but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the others that did.

An NR reader recalled a paragraph from Robert Hienlein which I found arresting. It went as follows:

“The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a "warm body" democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction.... Once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader — the barbarians enter Rome.”

As I considered Hienlein’s writing I had no difficulty seeing the projected parallel. Currently, my greatest concern is the presence of Mickey Mouse, the starting lineup for the Cowboys, and Ben Dover joining the legitimate electorate. The greatest outrage is the fact that federal monies have been funneled in to the organization which is perpetrating this fraud—ACORN. I trust this has not gone unnoticed by the voters and will be reflected in their final decision. I do believe that the average American does have a sense of fairness and righteous moral action and will respond appropriately. In fact, I’m counting on it. If I’m wrong, Hienlein’s gloomy prediction may be closer than we think.

With this all in mind, I am not nearly as discouraged as some folks I know. Part of the problem is that some people don’t recognize the adversary. They fail to properly identify and separate the mistaken from the evil. They also submit to the notion that someone who apparently endorses programs which will work to their specific self-interest are doing what is best for the country. Although there may be nominal merging of that self-interest, it would obviously be impossible to coincide with each voter’s particular desires. Hence the constant parade of generalities and platitudes. A major challenge to the successful candidate will be to make the most difficult decisions palatable to the most people.

Being president is a horrible job. Would you want it? There is a reason that even the sedentary make an effort to maintain their physical self by biking, running, working out, or for our current president, clearing brush and chopping wood; maintaining the physical/mental equilibrium results in enhancing both. With all the “leadership” talk put aside, it is a unique job and no man can claim to be fully prepared to deal with the huge variety of challenges which are faced on a daily basis. The strongest component in preparation would seem to be the character issue.

My first formal job out of school was working for a remarkable man, J. Edgar Hoover, at FBI headquarters at 9th and Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C. All manufactured anecdotes aside, he knew what was going on in every room in the building and in the many field offices. Revisionist historians have painted a far different picture of him than that which pervaded the Justice Department when I labored there. He ran a tight ship. I handled literally thousands of documents while I was there and nearly every one had a cryptic comment in his own hand with the familiar “J.E.H.” signature. It occurred to me one day that I should consider the ones I hadn’t seen and then began to appreciate to work load he assumed. When I entered the military, I did appreciate the rigorous work ethic and developed loyalty to the nation and its citizens. I also came away with a clearer impression of the communist (socialist) threat to the country. That attitude has not changed in the intervening 55 years.

In the later years of his 48 year history as the nations “top cop,” Hoover was slimed by his foes with spurious stories, innuendo, and outright lies. This process is all too familiar to those who are paying attention to devious moves so obvious in today’s campaigns. This mania has approached a near template quality which has placed the politics of personal destruction over the national interest.

I would remind the readers not to bet the farm on what is projected as the “obvious” outcome of the upcoming election. I have, as I am sure you have also, prayed to God to work His wonders on the parties involved and to protect this republic which we all hold dear. I remind myself daily that he is fain to destroy that in which he has an investment.

More simply stated, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

IQ or BS?

After following a series of links, I wound up at the Volkh Conspiracy and an article by Todd Zywicki with the title “Glibness vs. Intelligence.” If you do not visit the site frequently let me share that Volkh is a law professor, with other legal eagles as contributors, read by many with connections to the law, and commenters also largely drawn from that profession.

Personally, I was very sympathetic to Zywicki’s observations and thought his presentation entirely reasonable. But then, I do not have the nuanced sensibilities of the elitist coastal inhabitants. I also think that Palin is a breath of fresh air in the current political debacle. In consideration of my mid-western upbringing I feel led to remember the oft heard advice of my youth: “listen to your mom.” Palin has unassailable credentials in that department.

By the time I got to it, the comments on the article had reached 533. As I scrolled down through them at random, I came away with a sense that most of the readers did not really fully understand what Zywicki was writing. For many, their backgrounds, educations, and life experiences had not prepared them to be willing to accept any aspect of Palin’s qualifications as appropriate to the job she was seeking. They were also flummoxed by her unwillingness to fire off some offhand, made-up palaver to fill the empty space in the air and plead she needed more research or information on the subject. This concept is not one frequently observed by the “know it all” elites either in the academy or the halls of congress.

One commenter suggested that when a certain senator from Illinois starts an answer to a difficult question with the word “actually” one needs to be especially wary of whatever follows. Try it and you will find his observation quite telling. There are other signs as well; er, um, uh, and other impediments to flowing speech when deprived of a fully functioning teleprompter. While addressing the “unwashed” (that would be you and I) he is careful to drop the “g” from nearly ever gerund in an everyman approach to his lifetime devotion to bowlin’, eatin’, smokin’, preachin’, organizin’ and shootin’ hoops. I happen to find this affectation especially condescending and offensive. It presumes a lack of intelligence and laziness on the part of his audience.

When actively engaged in management of a sales force years ago, we often pointed out to the guys who “worked” the floor the importance of subtlety in achieving their goals. To illustrate the point, we pointed out that the only difference between rape and rapture was salesmanship. It is a crude example but absolutely true. Those who failed to understand the needs of their prospect were doomed to be seen as aggressive, clumsy, and rude.

My chief disappointment was the attitudes revealed by those who routinely read the ramblings of a law professor and his colleagues. Although not an exact sampling it does indicate a definite leaning from lawyers in their antipathy to Palin. Since many are guided by self-interest why are so many inclined this way? I have apparently missed something in the general appeal of the Obama/Biden ticket. Could it be that both are lawyers? My only suggestion would be to beware because it is a well known fact that some species eat their own.

Speaking of that, I have failed to continue my string of “not exactlys.” I apologize and offer the following to try to make up:

"Because I lived in Indonesia, I have more foreign experience—Not exactly, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn’t speak the language. What did you learn except how to study the Koran and watch cartoons?

I am stronger on foreign affairs—Not exactly, except for Africa (surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise) you have never been anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our closest allies.

I blame my early drug use on ethnic confusion—Not exactly; you were quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya and no mention of struggle to identify. You classmates said you were just fine.

An Ebony article moved me to run for office—Not exactly, Ebony has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn’t and never did, exist.

A Life magazine article changed my outlook on life—Not exactly, Life has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn’t and never did, exist.

I won’t run on a national ticket in ’08—Not exactly, here you are despite saying live on TV that you would not have enough experience by then, and, you are all about having experience first.

Voting 'present' is common in Illinois Senate—Not exactly, they are common for YOU but not many others have 130 'present' votes.

Oops, I misvoted—Not exactly, only when caught by church groups and Democrats did you beg to change your 'misvoted.'”

One of the biggest problems with geezers is they are continuously carping about how it used to be. When we had a free and un-obligated press, they would diligently report every false response, regardless of candidate or party, and actually seek the truth. Lying from a candidate is “business as usual.” I’ll admit that I am having difficulty adjusting to the new posture of the media in abetting the liars. Thank God for the internet and talk radio or we would never even get a hint of the truth.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 60

If you have to search the day’s news for something to bring your blood to a boil you are clueless, callous or brain dead. Demagoguery has reached an apex which exceeds anything I could have ever imagined since I first pulled the handle for Dwight Eisenhower. One of the most serious scurrilous attacks I witnessed at that time was a front page photo of Adlai Stevenson with his feet on a desk exposing a hole in the sole of his shoe. I never was entirely certain what that was supposed to represent: poverty, carelessness, personal sloth or just a man who had walked too many miles with no chance to visit a shoemaker. Nevertheless, it made all the papers.

Today, any trace of civility has swirled down the drain and been replaced by innuendo, personal attack, and mindless criticism for its own sake. All of this is taking place when serious questions about vital issues are being ignored in favor of ridiculing candidates for office on a personal level. Rather than explanation and defense of policies, the lowest denominator is sought and then exploited to the maximum. It is childish, demeaning to the process and just plain bad citizenship. It is also an admission of the ignorance of the electorate—or at least the campaign’s evaluation of them—if they are swayed by these vile attacks.

By the time the election takes place, whichever candidate wins, hundreds of millions will have been spent to convince half of the voters that the guy who won is an immoral idiot. There is an answer to this problem which you will never see implemented. The Zion Beckons solution would be to have a new set of election laws which advocate the following:

No candidate may file any announcement of intention—including incumbents—more than five months in advance of the general election.

Three months prior to the general election, on the second Tuesday of August, every state shall have a primary with a “winner take all” banning “super delegates” with no caucuses.

A set equal amount of allowable expenditure be assigned separately for each candidate in each state in proportion to the previous general election’s actual vote count.

Persons in absentia would be required to obtain absentee ballots in advance of each election from their local offices prior to their departure.

Governmental employees out of the country would apply for absentee ballots through their chain of command whether civilian or military.

Each voter would be required to show proof of citizenship and photo ID to obtain a certified registration card. That card must be presented in order to vote and be marked by the election officials after its validity is established.

Persons running for any office as part of their filing should have to submit a candidacy application for vetting to the FBI and be confirmed as eligible—i.e., verifiable American citizens.

Persons not eligible to vote should not be eligible to run—convicted felons!

These points would provide equity of time, money and eligibility for both the candidates and the voters. There is nothing in the Constitution which states that voting is a right. In addition to the savings above, I believe it would not encourage frivolous use of valuable resources to the deprivation of purposeful presentations of each candidate’s reasons to seek the offices.

I further believe that violation of the points listed above should be punishable by incarceration and banishment from seeking office or voting for the life of the perpetrator.

Our people really need a reminder that whether seeking office of making a choice is serious business and these tenets would reinforce their attitudes.

Don’t worry; none of this will ever become law. It’s just the ruminations of an old man. If it ever did, you can at least say you saw it here first.

Speaking of Trivial criticism

I lifted this from the Corner on National Revue. How can these folks claim to be “of the people?”

“The Obama Diet — Not Just Arugula' [Lisa Schiffren]

The 'people's ticket ordered a little snack from room service at the Waldorf, as the N.Y. Post's page Six reports:
While he was at a meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Michelle Obama called room service and ordered lobster hors d'oeuvres, two whole steamed lobsters, Iranian caviar and champagne, a tipster told Page Six.

I'd guess the bill for that snack came in at around $350. Iranian caviar ain't cheap — even if you negotiate for it yourself. What the hell . . . Your campaign contributions (soon to be your tax dollars) at work.

Does anyone else remember Gerald Ford toasting his own English Muffins in the family quarters of the White House? Michelle's style is a little more Leona Helmsley, who's ad campaign featured a picture of herself in one of her hotels, with the slogan, 'a hotel fit for a Queen.' Can you do that at the White House?”

Former Fetus Barack Obama

This little jewel was written by Ed Whelan. For those of us who would protect the unborn and for that matter, the newly born with disabilities you may find some food for thought:

“Nearly 48 years ago, a young woman, not yet 18, became pregnant in her freshman year of college. Living in a time and place in which abortion was generally illegal, she proceeded to marry the father of her child and gave birth to a son. Perhaps she would have done so irrespective of the abortion laws at the time, even if, say, she lived in a legal culture that celebrated abortion as a fundamental right. Very possibly not. (I haven’t found any statistics on the percentage of pregnant college freshmen who abort their pregnancies, but indirect indications suggest that it’s very high.)

Barack Obama may actually believe, as he stated yesterday, that Roe v. Wade “was rightly decided.” But it may be very lucky for him, as the son born of that woman, that it hadn’t been decided a dozen or so years earlier.

That Obama may owe his very life to a pre-Roe legal regime that banned abortion is, to be sure, not necessarily a reason that he should favor that regime (though I can’t help noting that Justice Thomas’s critics recklessly accuse him of hypocrisy for opposing racial-preference plans that they say he benefited from). But it ought to lead Obama and others to think more carefully about the valuable role that protective abortion laws play.”

That’s enough for this Monday. I’m still enjoying the glow of fellowship from yesterday and the beautiful Fall drive to Oklahoma. We do live in a beautiful land and I thank God for it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon