Just a Thought
Monday, October 8, 2012
Full text of Mitt Romney's amazing foreign policy speech given today at Virginia Military Institute
I particularly appreciate the introduction from my good friend and tireless campaign companion, Gov. Bob McDonnell. He is showing what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy. Thank you also Congressman Goodlatte for joining us today. And particular thanks to Gen. Peay. I appreciate your invitation to be with you today at the Virginia Military Institute. It is a great privilege to be here at an Institution that has done so much for our nation, both in war and in peace.
For more than 170 years, VMI has done more than educate students. It has guided their transformation into citizens, and warriors, and leaders. VMI graduates have served with honor in our nation’s defense, just as many are doing today in Afghanistan and other lands. Since the September 11th attacks, many of VMI’s sons and daughters have defended America, and I mourn with you the 15 brave souls who have been lost. I join you in praying for the many VMI graduates and all Americans who are now serving in harm’s way. May God bless all who serve, and all who have served.
Of all the VMI graduates, none is more distinguished than George Marshall—the Chief of Staff of the Army who became Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, who helped to vanquish fascism and then planned Europe’s rescue from despair. His commitment to peace was born of his direct knowledge of the awful costs and consequences of war.
General Marshall once said, “The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.” Those words were true in his time—and they still echo in ours.
Last month, our nation was attacked again. A U.S. Ambassador and three of our fellow Americans are dead—murdered in Benghazi, Libya. Among the dead were three veterans. All of them were fine men, on a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that dearly longs for both. President Obama has said that Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues represented the best of America. And he is right. We all mourn their loss.
The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident. They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting “Death to America.” These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
As the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown so much worse, and what this calls on America to do. These are the right questions. And I have come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events—and to share with you, and all Americans, my vision for a freer, more prosperous, and more peaceful world.
The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East—a region that is now in the midst of the most profound upheaval in a century. And the fault lines of this struggle can be seen clearly in Benghazi itself.
The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 was likely the work of forces affiliated with those that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001. This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long. No, as the Administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology on others, especially women and girls; who are fighting to control much of the Middle East today; and who seek to wage perpetual war on the West.
We saw all of this in Benghazi last month—but we also saw something else, something hopeful. After the attack on our Consulate, tens of thousands of Libyans, most of them young people, held a massive protest in Benghazi against the very extremists who murdered our people. They waved signs that read, “The Ambassador was Libya’s friend” and “Libya is sorry.” They chanted “No to militias.” They marched, unarmed, to the terrorist compound. Then they burned it to the ground. As one Libyan woman said, “We are not going to go from darkness to darkness.”
This is the struggle that is now shaking the entire Middle East to its foundation. It is the struggle of millions and millions of people—men and women, young and old, Muslims, Christians and non-believers—all of whom have had enough of the darkness. It is a struggle for the dignity that comes with freedom, and opportunity, and the right to live under laws of our own making. It is a struggle that has unfolded under green banners in the streets of Iran, in the public squares of Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen, and in the fights for liberty in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Libya, and now Syria. In short, it is a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.
We have seen this struggle before. It would be familiar to George Marshall. In his time, in the ashes of world war, another critical part of the world was torn between democracy and despotism. Fortunately, we had leaders of courage and vision, both Republicans and Democrats, who knew that America had to support friends who shared our values, and prevent today’s crises from becoming tomorrow’s conflicts.
Statesmen like Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities as the leader of the free world. We helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets. We defended our friends, and ourselves, from our common enemies. We led. And though the path was long and uncertain, the thought of war in Europe is as inconceivable today as it seemed inevitable in the last century.
This is what makes America exceptional: It is not just the character of our country—it is the record of our accomplishments. America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership—a history that has been written by patriots of both parties. That is America at its best. And it is the standard by which we measure every President, as well as anyone who wishes to be President. Unfortunately, this President’s policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership. And nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East.
I want to be very clear: The blame for the murder of our people in Libya, and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries, lies solely with those who carried them out—no one else. But it is the responsibility of our President to use America’s great power to shape history—not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events. Unfortunately, that is exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East under President Obama.
The relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest ally in the region, has suffered great strains. The President explicitly stated that his goal was to put “daylight” between the United States and Israel. And he has succeeded. This is a dangerous situation that has set back the hope of peace in the Middle East and emboldened our mutual adversaries, especially Iran.
Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability. It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and to us. And it has never acted less deterred by America, as was made clear last year when Iranian agents plotted to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in our nation’s capital. And yet, when millions of Iranians took to the streets in June of 2009, when they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world, when they cried out, “Are you with us, or are you with them?”—the American President was silent.
Across the greater Middle East, as the joy born from the downfall of dictators has given way to the painstaking work of building capable security forces, and growing economies, and developing democratic institutions, the President has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want and need.
In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran. And yet, America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The President tried—and failed—to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.
The President has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months. Violent extremists are flowing into the fight. Our ally Turkey has been attacked. And the conflict threatens stability in the region.
America can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. These are real achievements won at a high cost. But Al-Qaeda remains a strong force in Yemen and Somalia, in Libya and other parts of North Africa, in Iraq, and now in Syria. And other extremists have gained ground across the region. Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East.
The President is fond of saying that “The tide of war is receding.” And I want to believe him as much as anyone. But when we look at the Middle East today—with Iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability, with the conflict in Syria threating to destabilize the region, with violent extremists on the march, and with an American Ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of Al-Qaeda affiliates— it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the President took office.
I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy. We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity.
The greater tragedy of it all is that we are missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East—friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists, and evil tyrants, and angry mobs who seek to harm us. Unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our President is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity. As one Syrian woman put it, “We will not forget that you forgot about us.”
It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.
I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region—and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.
I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security—the world must never see any daylight between our two nations.
I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.
And I will roll back President Obama’s deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military. I will make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure. The decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect America tomorrow. The first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war.
The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin. And I will call on our NATO allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2 percent of their GDP to security spending. Today, only 3 of the 28 NATO nations meet this benchmark.
I will make further reforms to our foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, free enterprise, and greater trade, in the Middle East and beyond. I will organize all assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and produce results. I will rally our friends and allies to match our generosity with theirs. And I will make it clear to the recipients of our aid that, in return for our material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government—to respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities… to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary… and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and our property.
I will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world. The President has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years. I will reverse that failure. I will work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships and establishing new ones.
I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.
In Libya, I will support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.
In Egypt, I will use our influence—including clear conditions on our aid—to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.
In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
And in Afghanistan, I will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.
There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region. It is broadly felt by America’s friends and allies in other parts of the world as well— in Europe, where Putin’s Russia casts a long shadow over young democracies, and where our oldest allies have been told we are “pivoting” away from them … in Asia and across the Pacific, where China’s recent assertiveness is sending chills through the region … and here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade, energy, and security. But in all of these places, just as in the Middle East, the question is asked: “Where does America stand?”
I know many Americans are asking a different question: “Why us?” I know many Americans are asking whether our country today—with our ailing economy, and our massive debt, and after 11 years at war—is still capable of leading.
I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and our values—and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us. America’s security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. I am running for President because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens, and to our friends everywhere, to use America’s great influence—wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively—to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better—not perfect, but better.
Our friends and allies across the globe do not want less American leadership. They want more—more of our moral support, more of our security cooperation, more of our trade, and more of our assistance in building free societies and thriving economies. So many people across the world still look to America as the best hope of humankind. So many people still have faith in America. We must show them that we still have faith in ourselves—that we have the will and the wisdom to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power, and to lead the course of human events.
Sir Winston Churchill once said of George Marshall: “He … always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement, and disillusion.” That is the role our friends want America to play again. And it is the role we must play.
The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
The torch America carries is one of decency and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Marco Rubio Endorses Karen HarringtonBy Javier Manjarres
Shortly after U.S. Senator Marco Rubio addressed reporters following his tour of a safe house for victims of Human Trafficking, the Senator asked me, El Sharko, if I would videotape his endorsement of Karen Harrington in her congressional race against Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Rubio’s endorsement effectively puts to bed any questions about whether he would invest his political capital in an increasingly contested race by not only endorsing Harrington, but by going a step further and asking constituents to donate to her campaign. (Harrington campaign)
Rubio, whose endorsement come days after former Governor Jeb Bush expressed his support for Harrington, also acknowledged the present status of the race- one would only assume that he read the Shark Tank’s report on the Gravis Marketing poll which had Harrington within five percentage points of Wasserman Schultz. (Poll Results- Harrington Within 5% points of Wasserman Schultz)
Watch and listen to Marco's endorsement of KAREN here:
Obama picks Salam al-Marayati, Islamic supremacist defender of Hamas and Hizballah, to represent US at human rights conference
From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer
What does Salam al-Marayati, who blamed Israel for 9/11 and defends the jihad terrorists Hamas and Hizballah, and is one of the most arrogant of Islamic supremacists in a field crowded with contenders, know about human rights?
"Criticism Mounts Over State Envoy," from the Washington Free Beacon, October 5 (thanks to Alger):
"Criticism Mounts Over State Envoy," from the Washington Free Beacon, October 5 (thanks to Alger):
Jewish leaders expressed outrage Friday over the State Department’s praise for, and defense of, a controversial Muslim leader who has defended terrorist groups and suggested that Israel may have been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was picked to represent the United States government at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).
Al-Marayati’s well-known anti-Israel bona fides prompted Jewish leaders and others to express outrage over the Obama administration’s selection.
“It is regrettable that someone with such distorted, conspiratorial views—even with a lackluster apology—is delegated by our government to represent our country abroad,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to the Free Beacon.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, argued that the State Department is showing inconsistency by touting an individual who has defended the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations.
“One would assume that individuals selected to represent the United States at an international human rights conclave would share our government’s longstanding policy that Hamas and Hezbollah are dangerous terrorist organizations,” Cooper told the Free Beacon. “But Mr. Salam al-Marayati and his organization are long-time advocates that these deadly terror groups be removed from the U.S. terrorist list.”
“With terrorism continuing to roil the Middle East,” Cooper added, “the question is why the U.S. State Department would say he is ‘highly credible’?”
Josh Block, a former Clinton administration official who now serves as CEO of The Israel Project, said the State Department’s defense of al-Marayati lacks credibility.
“That statement, defending a person who is clearly a terrorist sympathizer and deeply hostile to Israel, calls into question the credibility of the person who gave it, and it raises a very serious question: What exactly is the U.S. government saying here?” Block asked.
“It is inexplicable and deeply concerning that a person who has suggested Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and advocated for terrorist organizations including Hamas and Hezbollah, which has killed more Americans than any terrorist group except al Qaeda, would be described as ‘valued’ and ‘highly credible’ by our government,” Block said.
The State Department, however, defended al-Marayati’s participation, calling him “valued and highly credible.”
“Mr. al-Marayati has been involved in U.S. government initiatives for almost 10 years and has been a valued and highly credible interlocutor on issues affecting Muslim communities,” a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the OSCE told the Free Beacon Thursday in a statement.
“He was invited to participate in this year’s HDIM as a reflection of the wide diversity of backgrounds of the American people.”
Al-Marayati was criticized by pro-Israel leaders when he recommended that the U.S. “put the state of Israel on the [9/11] suspect list,” according to the New York Times.
“If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies,” al-Marayati told a radio host, according to the Times.
The U.S. Embassies in Poland and Brussels had commended al-Marayati’s participation in the human rights forum, according to statements on their respective websites.
MPAC, the organization al-Marayati helped create, has been condemned by Jewish groups for promoting false articles claiming that Israel harvests Palestinian organs, the latest iteration of a centuries-old anti-Semitic blood libel.
Food Stamps - The Black Hole You Enter and Never Exit
By: Bruce Bialosky / Townhall Daily/ Columnist
Even the most basic details about the program seem surreal. Why in the world is this welfare program administered through the Agriculture Department? We have been arguing about agriculture subsidies since the beginning of time, yet a program that really has nothing to do with farming or ranching now swallows up most of the budget. Just the idea that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is running a $75 billion welfare program gives you a perspective of how screwed up this situation has become.
I contacted the House Agriculture Committee spokesperson, Tamara Hinton, to get some answers. What is the amount of attrition for the program, I asked. Given that the program has grown by 18.4 million participants in the past three years, is there anyone who has stopped receiving benefits? She stated that the USDA claims that the average duration of benefits is 9 months. I pointed out that if that were true, then about 160 million people have been on the program in the last three years.
It turns out that Katherine Bradley of the Heritage Foundation describes a much more plausible scenario. She claims that people participating in the program – now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – stay on it for an average of eight full years. When I challenged Ms. Hinton on the accuracy of the Heritage study, she informed me that the program is administered through the states, who only report the net change in the number of recipients, and not how many people have entered or left the program.
So nobody knows how many people – if any - are leaving the program. President Obama’s campaign incessantly reminds us that he has created 4.5 million new jobs in his term – a truly dubious claim that is credible only if you don’t count the 4.3 million jobs lost in the first 13 months of his term. But let’s pretend that he’s correct and that there are indeed 4.5 million new jobs. Then how come there are 18.4 million new people receiving SNAP benefits, and why has the yearly cost risen by an additional $37 billion? If people are finding jobs, then participation should be going down, and so it is only rational to come to the conclusion that this program has become a black hole where people keep signing up, but no one is signing off.
This occurs because the states, who administer SNAP, have every reason to maximize the number of people enrolled in their program. In simple terms, it brings more money into the state at no cost. There used to be a relatively stringent enrollment procedure to obtain SNAP benefits, but this was superseded by a provision in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act called “categorical eligibility.” The idea was to cut down on administrative costs by eliminating duplicate financial tests in order to receive benefits from related programs. The problem is that the Clinton Administration left Bush another ticking time bomb (like the redo of the banking law and the infusion of $1 trillion in the home mortgage market with lower standards) when he changed the regulations in 2000 to make it easier for people to get SNAP without providing financial info. Today, it seems that to qualify for the programs, all you need to provide is a note from your mother.
Ms. Hinton told me about one consequence of this policy that is almost criminal. Apparently, if you qualify for benefits under the Low Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (LIHEAP), you automatically become eligible for SNAP. Because payments made to LIHEAP recipients can be of any amount – no matter how small – states have figured out that they can attract billions of dollars in federal SNAP funding at a cost of thousands of dollars in LIHEAP stipends. Sure enough, there are 16 states and the District of Columbia who pay people less than $5 under LIHEAP just to qualify them for SNAP. You could say no one is watching the store; but, in fact, someone is watching – and stealing the Federal government blind.
It gets even more stunning. You would think that the federal government would encourage the states to cleanse its rolls. You know those three favorite words of politicians – waste, fraud and abuse. Instead the Obama Administration has set up a bounty program. They have a $50 million bonus program to motivate states to get more people on SNAP. The funds the winners get are not restricted to be used on the state’s SNAP, but can be used for any purpose deemed appropriate by state officials. Otherwise, get more residents signed up on SNAP and get money to fix up facilities at the state park or redo offices of the members of the state legislature
As part of the new Agriculture bill, the House has approved a partial restructuring of the SNAP program. The problem is that the Obama Administration, along with the Democratic Senate, wants to make it even easier for people to get SNAP benefits under the categorical eligibility exemption. While the House and Senate bills will have to be reconciled during the lame duck session, the bigger picture is that the entire program desperately needs a wholesale restructuring.
What makes the situation even worse is that there are active attempts by left-wing bureaucrats to stimulate participation in the program. The information sheet from the USDA is headed Food Stamps Make America Stronger. Further down, there’s a section entitled The Food Stamp Program is an investment in our future. And for those Americans who are a little light on their reading skills, USDA radio ads encourage listeners to sign up for the SNAP program so that “you will eat healthier.”
It may sound quaint, but, when I was growing up, Americans thought that you used food stamps only if you were really, really poor. We wouldn’t even shop at stores that took them as payments. Now you can just swipe a card indistinguishable from any other debit card and – voila! – you’re just like any other shopper. Upscale stores accept SNAP payments without even blinking. With almost 45 million people receiving food stamps, a retailer would have to be crazy to pass up the income stream.
It’s no wonder that there’s such a deep divide in this election as to the future of this country and whether the current administration is heading us in the right direction. Yes, folks, we have a big decision in front of us. Do you want to become a food stamp nation?
How Mitt Romney Won My Vote
By: Mike Adams / Townhall Daily
Back in May of 1999, I made a decision to leave the Democratic Party. It was an easy decision. I had been a Democrat for 11 years. I voted for Dukakis when I was a committed leftist. But, later, when I became a pro-life conservative, there was no room for me in the party. So I became a Republican and also joined the NRA. I've been a straight shooter ever since. Excuse me if that last line sounded heterosexist. I’m a work in regress.
As a committed conservative - one who many people think should be committed - I place ideology above party loyalty. It is true that I will not vote for any Democrat under any circumstances, not even if they seek my vote for local dog catcher. The image of Florida Democrats interpreting "chads" is burned in my memory forever. Mike Adams clings to a grudge longer than Al Sharpton clings to a discredited rape victim. But that doesn't mean I will always vote Republican. Each candidate has to work to earn my vote. That is especially true if I view him as a member of the establishment, rather than a product of a grass roots movement.
Mitt Romney is not nearly as conservative as I would like him to be. So I did not feel comfortable supporting him going into the Denver presidential debate. I'm sorry to talk about my feelings. I know I'm a member of the NRA but I still have feelings. Just ask Ingrid Newkirk of PETA. I send her Christmas cards every year - although I know she does not appreciate that they are home-made and feature pictures of the deer I kill during the holiday season.
Sorry to digress. Now, let’s get back to my feelings.
Some people will say that the Denver debate changed their vote from Obama to Romney. But I am not among them. My vote was changed from going-to-sit-this-one-out to Romney. But it did not take a 90-minute debate to do it. It only took one line. He didn't have me at "hello." He got me when he scolded a boyish eye-contact-avoiding president for over-spending. Specifically, he got me when he looked right at Obama and characterized the current spending problem as “immoral.”
It was a home run. And it cut right to the heart of the nature of our spending problem. It is more than just a spending problem. It is a moral problem. To fail to grasp the depth of the moral deficit that makes possible our fiscal deficit is to misjudge the American political landscape altogether. It is to misapprehend the nature of the American constitutional experiment altogether.
Our nation is rooted in a deep tradition of respect for property rights. It is a tradition that was well understood until the Greatest Generation gave birth to the Gratest Generation (mis-spelling intentional) - a generation that now controls our nation's purse strings. That generation has turned its back on core principles expressed by our Founders. In the process, it has jeopardized the existence of the republic.
Our Founders knew that our rights had a necessary moral component - a necessary moral dimension. In saying they were given by our Creator, they implied as much. But they implied much more than that. The most obvious implication is that God-given rights may not be taken from us by man.
But that idea is lost on the current political class. And they need to rediscover it.
Our Founders would have been shocked to see a budget devised by promise-breakers who knowingly lie to future generations in order to attain the power necessary to fund their deception. The promise-breakers know the collapse is inevitable. But they expect to be gone before it actually happens. Much has been said about a generation that has killed millions of its own offspring. More must be said about the millions it has robbed in order to ensure perpetual comfort and to avoid financial sacrifice.
In Denver, Romney spoke harshly to the current leader of that generation. His words echoed over the mountain tops and traveled through the valley in the shadow of debt. They reminded some of us that the shadow proves the sunshine. And that means there is some good left in this world and that it is still worth fighting for.