Thursday, March 27, 2008

What is Texas Grit?

Grit: stubborn courage; brave perseverance; pluck

When Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson receives a speaking invitation from a small group of young conservatives, he is known to accept it without hesitation despite his busy schedule. One young Texan was overheard saying, "He's always so easy to work with and so supportive of us. He thinks the stuff we do is important and he treats us with a great deal of respect." For that reason, and because he's known to stick to his guns on issues he's passionate about, regardless of the political winds, I say Land Commissioner Patterson has a great amount of true Texas grit.

When Attorney General Greg Abbott took time away from a fundraiser held in his honor to greet a brand new Texan and then help to shut down the Texas-based moving company who was scamming her and others, the gesture did not go unnoticed. As a result, many people now know about this hard-working Attorney General and true tales of perseverance by Abbott and his staff circulate through the community. We need "stubborn courage" in a Texas Attorney General. And we have it.

Now, this writer intends to keep her ear to the ground to listen for stories of political whistleblowers. Texas needs more of them. They are the grittiest of the grit, for many of them stand to lose everything. I speak in general terms...for now. It's time to clean house. It's time to set a high standard for those in public office, in whom the public places its trust. The time for scandals, hijinks and dirty deeds is done. The Republican Party has lost much ground; truthfully, they have not deserved to keep it. That could reverse, and I hope it does, but it will take extreme doses of Texas grit starting at the highest levels.

Here's to Conservative Pluck.

Friday, March 07, 2008

There's only one REAL candidate for president.

The presidential fields of both parties have narrowed, and the arguments about how we should move forward are now familiar. The American Conservative believes that only one candidate has put forth a diagnosis of America's current ills and has a vision to turn the country off its misguided course. That is Congressman Ron Paul, whom we endorse for the Republican nomination.

On the key issue of foreign policy, the differences between the other Republican contenders can be measured in microdots. All remain enthusiastic supporters of the invasion of Iraq and of maintaining a presence there for years to come. All speak as if it is America's right and duty to station its armed forces over much of the world. All have embraced neoconservative paranoia about the "threat" posed by Iran, setting the table for another war. All, that is, except Dr. Paul.

He is the one candidate who sees how the realities of world power have shifted since the 1990s, the one who recognizes that the time of unilateral American hegemony is over--and can't be maintained even if it was in our interest to do so. He alone understands that the ever expanding federal government is a far greater threat to American liberty than some tinpot dictator in the Caucasus. By speaking about the benefits of smaller government and limited executive power, he has introduced a generation of young Americans to a more traditional and true style of conservativism--to the movement and the country's benefit.

Ron Paul is a libertarian, and his stances are very much derived from that minor party tradition. To many, his ruminations about sound money seem academic--if oddly prescient. He was sounding the alarm about dollar devaluation long before the current panic and broke with libertarian orthodoxy to oppose injurious free-trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA. Conservatives also find common cause with his 30-year pro-life voting record and committment to ending birthright citizenship.

Paul came by his congressional nickname--"Dr. No"--honestly. Anyone combing through his lengthy record will find many lone stands and idealistic statements that ignore the maxim that politics is the art of the possible. We are under no illusion that he has much chance of winning the GOP nomination this election cycle.

Nevertheless we urge a vote for him. This campaign sends a signal to both parties that a significant number of Americans value their country's great Constitution, that many conservatives reject wiretaps, waterboarding, and senseless wars. There is far more realism in Paul's analysis than can be found in those Republicans who believe that Washington's policy of borrowing billions from China to pay for the occupation of a growing number of countries is desirable, much less sustainable.

Ron Paul has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise desultory Republican campaign. Long may he run.

While I wish I had originally penned this piece, it is straight out of the February 11, 2008 issue of The American Conservative. I merely typed it up for you. To subscribe, go to www.amconmag.com or call 1-800-579-6148. -KJ