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When Opportunity is Turned into Entitlement

Sheldon G. Adelson writes in the Wall Street Journal,  I Didn’t Leave the Democrats. They Left Me There is an anti-Israel movement among the rank and file, and the party no longer appears to value self-reliance, charity and accountability. 11/4/12

Excerpts:

My critics nowadays like to claim it’s because I got wealthy or because I didn’t want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing.

One obvious example is the party’s new attitude toward Israel. A sobering Gallup poll from last March asked: “Are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” Barely 53% of Democrats chose Israel, the sole liberal democracy in the region. By contrast, an overwhelming 78% of Republicans sympathized with Israel.

Nowhere was this change in Democratic sympathies more evident than in the chilling reaction on the floor of the Democratic convention in September when the question of Israel’s capital came up for a vote. Anyone who witnessed the delegates’ angry screaming and fist-shaking could see that far more is going on in the Democratic Party than mere opposition to citing Jerusalem in their platform. There is now a visceral anti-Israel movement among rank-and-file Democrats, a disturbing development that my parents’ generation would not have ignored.

Another troubling change is that Democrats seem to have moved away from the immigrant values of my old neighborhood—in particular, individual charity and neighborliness. After studying tax data from the IRS, the nonpartisan Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that states that vote Republican are now far more generous to charities than those voting Democratic. In 2008, the seven least-generous states all voted for President Obama. My father, who kept a charity box for the poor in our house, would have frowned on this fact about modern Democrats.

As a person who has been able to rise from poverty to affluence, and who has created jobs and work benefits for tens of thousands of families, I feel obligated to speak up and support the American ideals I grew up with—charity, self-reliance, accountability. These are the age-old virtues that help make our communities prosperous. Yet, sadly, the Democratic Party no longer seems to value them as it once did. That’s why I switched parties, and why I’m now giving amply to Republicans.

HKO

The Jacksonian Democratic ideal of “opportunity for all, special privileges for none”  has been turned on its head.  Opportunities have been turned into rights and entitlements, and special privileges are profligate as long as they have a green or otherwise politically correct tint.  The Solyndras turned campaign gifts into billion dollar loans and Al Gore is now worth $100 million as his companies get numerous federal grants and loans.  Nancy Pelosi dispensed exemptions from Obamacare to the Democratic cronies. Equal application of the law is not even uttered.

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Rebelyid on the Cordoba House Mosque

The zoning of the Mosque is an issue for the city.  We may have an opinion, but it is a local zoning issue.

We either have religious tolerance or we do not.  We either believe in freedom of religion or we do not. We cannot be just a little bit pregnant here. If that site was used to build a church or a synagogue would we have heard a peep? If the answer is no then we are being clearly discriminatory.

Either we hold all Muslims accountable for the action of the few on 9/11 or we do not.  If we do not hold all Muslims accountable then the Mosque should present no dilemma.  If the 9/11 terrorists were all Christian would we hold all Christians accountable?  I hesitate to ask the same question if the terrorists were Jews, because I fear many would hold all Jews accountable.

Much of the language surrounding the Mosque controversy has crossed the bounds of prejudice.  Many of us only hear of Muslims when the news involves terrorist attacks or acts of violence.  Too many seem unaware that moderate Muslims even exist. Examples are Fareed Zakaria and Irshad Manji.  We have allowed the news to feed our prejudices.

Irshad Manji

Newt Gingrich’s analogy is shameful. To compare building a Mosque in New York to Nazis building a memorial at Auschwitz is both morally and intellectually fraudulent.  To suggest that we will allow the Mosque when the Saudis allow churches and synagogues is pure demagoguery. Are we to set our standards by the most repressive examples?  Are we to lead by principle or follow by spite?

Newt Gingrich

A far better analogy was when the Carmelite nuns wanted to build a monastery near Auschwitz and the Jews were offended that another religion would try to usurp what they now considered holy ground. The Pope deferred to the sensitivity of the Jews and pressured the nuns to relocate which they did. The difference is that no single religion is claiming ground zero to be theirs.  Ground Zero is American.

Nuns at Auschwitz

George Bush chose to lead. When 9/11 hit he quickly cautioned America not to hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a few. Republican New Jersey governor Chris Christie understands this.  But clearly many other Republicans do not.

If this building goes forth the next act should be to clear the way for the rebuilding of the St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church that was destroyed on 9/11 across the street from the site.

St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church before it was destroyed on 9/11

Muslims have a PR problem and many would consider it deserved.  Yes it would be wise to understand the funding sources for this undertaking, but once again we would never ask such from another religious group.  The Muslim religion has a problem that only they can solve.  We can either choose to be open and support the moderate elements or side against the entire religion.

While we are certainly sensitive to the feelings of the victims and their families,  should this have priority over basic principles and local law?

Perhaps this situation should be defused by relocating, but the damage done by the extreme rhetoric on this issue will continue.  It is amazing how many Muslims scholars I have found on Twitter with  the #tcot (top conservative on Twitter) hash tag.  I have learned that Muslims build churches where they have conquered.  Haven’t all churches done this? I have yet to find a bible that could not be used to sanction violence or intolerance in a mind already so predisposed.

Muslims have a real problem confronting and delegitimizing their radical elements.  We do not help them by trying to delegitimize their entire religion.

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Zombie Politicians

How would have the Republican establishment have reacted if the tea party candidates had remained in the race or become the sore losers like Charlie Crisp and Lisa Murkowski?  That question led me to the idea of Rebublican Chemotherapy which was published in today’s American Thinker.

A response from one of the readers: (read the comments after the article)

When an employee is fired, and continues to arrive at work, they are arrested as trespassers.If a couple breaks up, and one continues to call and visit the other, a restraining order is obtained. What do we do with these zombie politicians that keep arising from the dead?

I like it when the commenter makes the point better than the article.

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The Pivotal Fight of NY 23

The Race in NY District 23 has become a pivotal fight for the soul of the Republican Party.

Dede Scozzafava was run by the Republican machine but has been so thoroughly rejected by the Republican grass roots that she has effectively resigned from the race rather than face the disgrace of coming in third.  Republican Doug Hoffman has run under the Conservative party label in an effort to give the voters a truer conservative choice, given Scozzafava’s very liberal voting record.  Hoffman now faces Democrat Bill Owens.

Sides were selected and the Republicans split their support. Dick Army, Fred Thomson, and Sarah Palin have stumped for Hoffman while Newt Gingrich supported the official republican candidate.

This episode mirrors the campaign Joe Lieberman waged to retain his Democrat seat in Connecticut.  The liberal leg of the Democrats took his nomination for his support of Bush and the war in Iraq, but he ran as an independent and won.

Most impressive in this race is the impact of Erick Erickson, an A-list conservative blogger at Red State (and other sites) and a city councilman in our own Macon, GA. If you stop and think of the impact that a young conservative city councilman in Macon can now have in a NY district race you must appreciate the way the political landscape is changing.

Many conservatives were caught off guard by the effective use of the internet and social media by the Obama Campaign. They wished for that power but most did not really understand how to use it. Erick Erickson understands how to use it. It was probably an alarming lesson for the Republican Party elite.  The lesson is that that the era of top down party leadership is over.

The media will probably play that the Republican Party has now been hijacked by the ‘wingnuts’ and populist demagogues. While that may seem a risk it is not a certainty. More likely it will force the party apparatus to listen to those who feel they are without a political home.

Like all new sources of power this may come with a learning curve, but that is price of real change.

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The Lost Party?

The Republican Party is most assuredly going through an identity struggle, and the pundits obfuscate the issues by speaking in only the most general terms. The controversy within the party is whether it should become more conservative, faulting moderation for its losses, or whether to become more “centrist”, adapting its message for the new demographics and polls.

It is fine to call for free markets, but that does not mean unregulated markets, and their message must contain a realistic measure of freedom and oversight. Financial institutions central to our well being should no more be totally unrestricted than our civil institutions. Even our most precious freedoms do have limits. Every town has courts and jails.

The party could start with an honest discussion of foreign policy- what has worked and what has not. Realism is a good word to bring to bear. We must address the relationship between a profligate economy and our place in the world. It is time for Johnny to cut up his credit cards and live within his means.

It is time to realize that promised benefits must be paid for. Sacrifice is sellable if it is shared.

It is time to realize that America’s strength is in its ideas, not wealth nor military power. It is not coincidence that America has originated so many inventions that have been a source of wealth and power. But our ideas did not originate here because of the soil and water content. We struggle to provide better and better safety nets without destroying the human power that has created our nation.

But the Republican Party’s message of freedom must be consistent. We can not ask our soldiers to die for the freedoms of others and then refuse to sell them liquor on Sundays.

It will be harder to justify some choice but not others. Individual freedom means allowing others to make choices that you may not approve of. The tent must be widened to include pro choice and pro life candidates, acknowledging the legitimate concerns of each. Republicans suffer from disparate groups who each have a litmus test.

Democrats have their divisions but they generally disappear for a few weeks in early November.

The perfect is the enemy of the good and suicide is a poor growth strategy.

Yet …..

All who wander are not lost.