Friday, May 21, 2010


Forty six years ago I observed a most peculiar candidate for President; Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Senator Goldwater was the first truly ideological conservative to attain a Presidential nomination and his ideological purity destroyed any chance of his running a competitive campaign, losing 44 of 50 states, and garnering only 38.5% of the vote compared to Lyndon Johnson's 61.1%.

Most Americans had no idea what an ideological conservative candidate even was, but when they learned about its main tenant: opposition to the New Deal programs which helped alleviate the Great Depression and helped create the longest period of prosperity in our history, they turned away in droves. They also learned it meant such limited government that there was no room to allow federal intervention to allow people of color to purchase from a private motel, a room.

Goldwater himself identified exactly who he was, and in the process doomed his campaign from the get-go, with these famous two sentences in his Presidential nomination acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Convention

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

Tuesday, we saw the emergence of Rand Paul, the Tea Party favorite who upset the establishment candidate for Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Kentucky. Baby Paul (his father Ron is the libertarian conservative Congressman from Texas), like Goldwater, has basically marginalized his candidacy by presumably channeling Barry Goldwater's opposition to federal legislation preventing discrimination by private businesses. Watching him spend twenty minutes Wednesday, trying to avoid answering the blunt question: "Would you allow private businesses to discriminate on the basis or race, gender or sexual orientation?", was painful to watch, even for one who is repelled by Paul's belief system.

But up in Libertarian Heaven, the original extremist Barry Goldwater, is smiling that one of his illegitimate heirs is carrying on the battle to legitimize extremism and denigrate moderation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


It was disappointing to see a video op involving Congressman Peter Roskam (Rep. IL) and Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem, Israel ( Without context one would think Roskam was an Israeli TV personality conducting a puff piece on the thriving Jerusalem building program in which Jews, Christians and Muslims are all living in peace and prosperity. Least the viewer confuse the Congressman's loyalties, he ended by saying Israel is America's great ally, not a "project".

Nothing could be further from the truth. Much of the unrest in the Middle East for the past 62 years involves the efforts of the Palestinians to have a homeland; a country of their own which includes an historic Palestinian section of Jerusalem. Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are not just second class citizens, they are no class citizens, deprived of land, political power, the basic rights of citizenship, and means to economic and medical survival that should be a given to all in a supposedly democratic nation.

The word Palestinian was not mentioned in Roskam's three minute video and the single mention of "Muslim" was when Mayor Barkat proclaimed how wonderful Jerusalem governance was for them.

Uncle Sam cannot function as a neutral mediator in resolving probably the most difficult political, religious and cultural conflict in the world when powerful Congressmen are shilling for one side without an iota of fairness toward the other. Congressman Roskam is Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus. He should balance the scales of his unforturnate foray in foreign affairs by spending an equal amout of time as Co-Chair of the House Republican Palestine Caucus. Oh, I forgot. There isn't one because Palestinians are barely considered human in an American political climate which has marginalized them nearly out of existance. Maybe Congressman Roskam can rectify that shortcoming by forming the House Republican Palestine Caucus himself. Then he can move up from Co-Chair to Chair.