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With One Week to Go

Some very consequential elections here in Kansas and from coast to coast are now a mere fleeting week away, but you wouldn’t know it from the front page headlines or any of the cable news networks’ top-of-the-our stories. Instead of any in-depth analysis of the very complicated economic and social issues to be decided next Tuesday, it’s all about the mad bomber who was sending improvised explosive devices to Democratic politicians and activists through the mail, and the hateful loser who slaughtered 11 Jews and injured several others as they worshipped God in a Pittsburgh synagogue, and those few thousand Central American migrants who are walking and hitch-hiking to the thousand-mile-away American border, and of course all the arguments about whose overheated rhetoric is to blame.
Those “enemies of the people” at the “fake news” Washington Post reported on Monday that someone had fired at least four bullets into the Volutsia County Republican Party headquarters in south Florida, and even without confirmation from Fox News and conservative talk radio we’ll assume the report is entirely true. We’ll concede that perhaps the Post’s daily reporting about Republican outrages had something to do with it, but the Post’s editorialists also make a convincing case that the rhetoric of President Donald Trump’s Republican party has something to do with the rest of the bad news, so for now there’s too much craziness afoot on all sides to calmly consider all the complicated economic and social issues that are on that ballot in just a week.
We’re doing our best to keep all those complicated economic and social issues in mind as we consider our electoral options, and to judge them according to our longstanding conservative economic and social principles, but one must also take account of the rest of the latest headlines into account. This election is being contested at a time when the economy is so healthy that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates and therefore tanking the stock markets, and according to longterm trends the business cycle might well be up against its inevitable downturn, and for now we don’t trust either party to properly deal with it. We don’t much like the way both parties are pointing a damning finger at the un-American bastards on the the side, too, but we have to admit that our side is looking pretty damned stupid these days.
Here in Kansas there’s a close gubernatorial race between Democratic nominee and longtime state Sen. Laura Kelly and two-term Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and the big issue is tax policy. Twice-elected Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback proposed a program of radical and tax and budget cuts, and with the accord of a Republican legislative majority he helped get elected it was passed, but although we personally know Brownback to be a good guy his time-tested economic theories it didn’t pan out this time around and the state state wound up in a budget hole that required further budget cuts, some of which proved quite painful to the state’s roads and public schools and prisons and other essential services. The establishment Republicans that Brownback had primary-ed out to get his tax plan passed wound up primary-ing out the anti-establihments insurgents two years later, and with help from those damned Democrats they wound up largely repealing Brownback’s tax plan, and although the state ain’t exactly booming the state budget is closer to being balanced and the schools are still open five days a week, which is more than we can say for some school districts just to the south of us in even blood-red Republican Oklahoma.
Along with every living Kansas Republican ex-governor except our old pal Brownback, we’ve reluctantly decided to vote for the damned Democrat for governor this time around. She’s not proposing any further tax hikes but is promising to at least keep the roads paved and the schools open five days a week, which seems realistic enough. Kobach is promising that none of those few migrants still a thousand miles away from the southern border will ever vote in a Kansas election, and he once took the lead in trying to prove that millions of illegal voters robbed Trump of a rightful win in the last popular vote for the presidency, and he’s got Trump’s ringing endorsement, but for now that makes us all the more inclined to vote for the damned Democrat.
There are a few more down-ticket damn Democrats that we’re also thinking about voting for, as well. Here in our very fashionable and homosexual and damnably Democratic Riverside neighborhood of cosmopolitan Wichita our state representative is a crazed far-left guy we happened to grow up with back in suburban Bel-Aire, and although he’s a crazed lefty we also know him to be an honest and likable sort, and since we haven’t heard a thing from his Republican opponent, if there even is one, we might even give him a vote. So far we don’t know who the Republican candidate for Sectary of State is, and can’t find much fault with the Google maps creator who’s running on the Democratic ticket. Our part of Sedgwick County currently has such a rock-ribbedly small government Republican conservative County Commissioner that he routinely votes against locally beneficial programs the state an federal government are willing to pay for, and by now all the local business interests and other mainstream Republicans around here are fed up with him, and given that his opponent is such an attractive and amiable female folk songstress w’re inclined to vote for her despite the credible socialist leanings her opponent alleges in his mailings.
As much as we want to keep Kansas’ taxes low and its roads paved and its schools open five days a week, and as keen as we are to see that Sedgwick County keeps doing mutuably beneficial business with the private sector, all the rest of the headlines and the 24-hour news cycle figure in as well. All the rest of it is quite distracting, and quite divisive, but at least around here those damned Democrats suddenly seem reasonable.

— Bud Norman

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The Problem That Cannot Be Named

There is much going on the world that we are expected to believe has nothing to do with Islam. Just over the past weekend a symposium on free speech in Copenhagen was attacked by a gunman who murdered a cartoonist who dared portray Mohammad in a satirical manner, and later that same day in that city there was another murder outside of a synagogue where a young woman was having her Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Meanwhile the terrorist army calling itself Islamic State continues its bloody spree across a large swathe of the Middle East with mass executions by the most the barbaric methods proscribed in Koranic scripture, extending its influence into new countries and to within a few miles of the last American troops remaining in Iraq, with similar problems occurring in nations from Yemen to Libya and beyond.
No less a progressive personage than the President of the United States has declared that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” and described the Parisian kosher deli where other Jews were recently murdered as a “random” target, and assured the public that the Islamic State is a “jayvee team” of terrorism and “the tide of war is receding,” and insists on the tautology that known of this can possibly have anything to do with Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. He has issued the obligatory statement condemning the murder of the Danish cartoonist, without any mention of what might have motivated it, although he was too busy with golf and fund-raisers to comment on the attack at the Danish synagogue. If if all he knows about that attack is what he read in The New York Times he won’t even know that it was at a synagogue, and he’ll probably attribute that coverage to the same “if it bleeds it leads” journalism that prompts coverage of car wrecks and local crime, but he will no doubt be troubled to learn from that paper’s reports that “anti-Muslim sentiment is one the rise on in Europe.”
Despite his boasts of having pulled all but a relative handful of troops of Iraq, mostly those “advisers” who know find themselves within shelling distance of the Islamic State, and despite his many years of criticizing the congressional action that sent troops to Iraq in the first place, the president has dispatched troops to Kuwait and asked Congress to pass an authorization for the use of military force against whatever is causing this recent trouble. The authorization would only grant three years of military force and prohibits “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” which is facing opposition from both Republican hawks who find it too passive and Democratic doves who find it too bellicose, but at least it represents an acknowledgement that something is causing a problem.
Naming the source of that problem might be a good start toward solving it, but that step apparently must wait at least another two years. In the meantime, we’ll be too polite to admit that it is what the perpetrators insist it is.

— Bud Norman