Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Hawpester Retires

The Courier-Journal has confirmed what has been rumored for weeks: David Hawpe will retire. It is appropriate, given Hawpe's 40-year tenure with the C-J, that the paper let Hawpe retire rather than can him with its most recent batch of terminations. We wish him all the best in his retirement.

It's hard to imagine the Courier-Journal without David Hawpe -- sort of like Nightmare on Elm Street without Freddy Krueger. Hawpe personified a love for big government liberalism and a commensurate hatred of anything or anyone conservative or Republican. To his credit, however, he did it as a pundit rather than under the guise of any supposed objectivity. And he can write.

One weird piece of Hawpe trivia: when Bill Murray was in Kentucky to film Stripes, he stayed at Hawpe's former home in Anchorage.

Hawpe says that "he has no specific plans for retirement but is considering writing a book or two, teaching, doing volunteer work and involving himself in political campaigns that reflect his philosophy." (Emphasis added.)

John Yarmuth and Jack Conway, you have been forewarned.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twin Disasters: Cap & Trade and Healthcare Reform

Cap & Trade and Healthcare Reform (as currently proposed) are distinct issues, but they share in common the ability to destroy our economy and our future. They will set in motion a series of events which will be disastrous. Paying for these initiatives will require massive increases in taxes at every level of society. This taxation will literally suck trillions of dollars out of the private economy. These are dollars that will then not be available for consumption and investment. Since the demand for products and services will be severely diminished, the people who provide them will not be needed. This will result in business closures and job losses of unprecedented magnitude.

Don't let the politicians get away with the lie that businesses and "rich" people will pay for these efforts. It is the middle and lower classes that will pay the price in the form of lost jobs, diminished expectations and a bleak economic future.

Each issue has its own additional set of horrors beyond their macro-economic effects.

Cap and Trade is a thinly disguised tax on energy and production which will raise energy costs significantly for every individual and business in the country. Under such a plan, the government, not the free market, will determine which industries thrive and which ones suffer. The whole premise on which Cap and Trade is based, global warming and impending environmental doom, has been shown by many scientists to be a hoax at worst and questionable speculative theory at best. It is hardly a legitimate reason to consider an economy killing policy such as Cap and Trade. The fact that some of our major competitors, namely India and China, do not have such taxes will further erode our already difficult competitive position in the global market.

Healthcare Reform, as currently proposed, will replace an admittedly imperfect private insurance industry with a completely awful nationalized, single payer government bureaucracy. Healthcare decisions will be in the hands of government bureaucrats and their motivation will be to reduce costs, not to care for people. The supply of doctors will fall dramatically as our best and our brightest pursue more lucrative careers. This at a time when our aging population demands more doctors. Healthcare will be rationed and many people with serious conditions will experience deteriorating health and even death as they are forced to wait for, or are denied, care. And lastly, the much heralded number of 46 million uninsured that is used to justify the legislation is a lie. If you subtract from this number illegal aliens, those that are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid but aren't signed up and those, especially the young, that can afford to purchase insurance but choose not to, you have a number that is some fraction of 46 million. We are a compassionate country and there is a way that we can pay for healthcare for the truly needy, but it does not necessitate totally revamping the system to put everyone under government control.

Fortunately, for now Cap and Trade appears to be on the back burner a bit. It barely passed in the House after a lot of arm twisting (breaking?), but its chances in the Senate are reportedly slim for now. Healthcare Reform has probably been delayed until after the August recess and there is now hope that some of its more draconian mandates may be removed. Still, both these issues are very much alive and have a great deal of money and political clout behind them. They are not going away.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bunning's Out

Sen. Jim Bunning has announced that he will not seek reelection, according to WHAS 11. He says that he is not planning to endorse anyone -- hard to square with him telling Secretary of State Trey Grayson to form an exploratory committee.

Bunning also blames national Republicans for his inability to raise money. It's most unfortunate to see a man who has served Kentucky well resort to the role of victim:

“To win a general election, a candidate has to be able to raise millions of dollars to get the message out to voters,” Bunning said. “Over the past year, some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising. The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate. For this reason, I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010.” (From Politico.)

He took much too long to clear the way for Grayson. Bunning's stonewalling is the best campaign contribution that Attorney General Jack Conway could ever get. But Bunning has done the right thing. He would not have been reelected. He probably would not have won the Republican primary.

Bunning has been an outspoken proponent of conservative ideals. And now that he is a lame duck, we can look forward to Bunning unleashed!

Sen. Seum, Stay Put!

Joe Arnold is reporting that GOP state senator Dan Seum is considering running for Mayor of Louisville.

"I've been in the Kentucky State Senate for 26 years, and I am the Majority Caucus Chairman," Seum said to WHAS11's Chase Cain, "which means the other 21 Republicans have voted me to a leadership position. And I have some power, I guess you might say. I've worked hard to get there and I'd have to give all that up to do this.. and that's a tough decision for me."

Republicans don't have the luxury of kissing off any of our seats in the Senate. We need Seum where he is. There are plenty of other qualified Republicans who could run. (Calling Steve Pence.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thanks to the Greatest Generation

Thanks to the Greatest Generation. Take a moment to thank them now as their numbers dwindle faster each day. Thru their sacrifice during the dust bowl years, the great depression, and World War Two they cultivated values which would lead them into an adventure that would create the most powerful country in the world. Through their thoughtful prayer, conservative budgeting, hard work ethics and a propensity to save they have passed on to my generation, the Baby Boomers, the greatest country our world has ever experienced. The Greatest Generation did not apologize for being the strongest, most productive, most economically successful country in the world. They realized it was through hard work that our country was able to rid the world of evil, feed the world’s poor and economically support the world. I believe they actually took pride in their accomplishments achieved by their mass personal effort.

The Greatest Generation desired a legacy to pass on to their country and their offspring, my generation the Baby Boomers. We took it and we enjoyed the fruits of their sacrifice and labor. It is no accident that I remember and recognize the growth of our country as I grew up inheriting and benefiting from their sacrifice. The feelings of patriotism through our Country’s new position in the world order, the feelings of enjoying the mass economical growth we achieved during their reign and certainly we have all seen the effects, good and bad, of our stable diet. Generally speaking we have nothing to complain about. We became “fat and happy”.

What did my generation learn from the Greatest Generation? I am sorry to report not much. Because we cheerfully accepted their gift we did not learn that conserving, sacrificing and sometimes just doing with out does have merit. We now apologize for our world order while not recognizing all the good we still do for the world’s countries. We have the desire to get everything cheaper even if it means farming our good paying manufacturing jobs out to other countries so we can realize the benefit of their cheap labor and their hard work. We have spent every thing the Greatest Generation gave us. So much so that we can not pass on the Greatest Generation’s legacy to our children. But wait we are not done yet. We still have wants but are not willing to sacrifice by doing with out. The desire is so much so that we want to, and are even willing to, extend our elaborate life style into our children’s inheritance. We want them to pay for our health care, our country’s debt, all without having the benefit of living in a country considered to be the strongest, greatest country in the world.

We have elected leaders of our community and country that are willing to take us down this road seeking a more equal position in world order, apologizing for all the “evil” we did by hard work, willing to enact legislation that allows other countries to compete at our disadvantage, all at the expense of the next generation.

I wonder what we the Baby Boomers are teaching them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grandma Is Scared Now

Healthcare "reform" is being rammed through at breakneck speed with the (realistic) hope that no one will have time to actually read the many competing bills, numbering thousands of pages.

But Redstate and the Anchoress have caught on to a small section in one House bill that is a must-read for anyone is older than 55 -- or who loves anyone older than 55.

Go to sec. 1233 of House Bill 3200 and see how senior citizens are required to have a consultation with their physicians -- not their lawyers -- every five years on such topics as living wills and hospice, all in the name of dying with dignity.

Subsection 1233 (a) (E) provides that Medicare recipients will get Advance Care Planning Consultations,

an explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.

(The section does not copy and paste so I have retyped it; it appears at 425-6 of the legislation.)

This is what Democrats mean when they talk about making hard choices: a cost-benefit calculation in the name of "quality of life."

Anyone who actually reads the section will be struck by its complexity -- the interlocking statutory references to existing laws that the new legislation would repeal or modify make this a legislative labyrinth. For any member of Congress to actually read and digest this legislation would take way more than the two weeks the Administration has alloted.

The Anchoress calls this attempt to mandate "dying with dignity" what it is:

This mindset is evil, by the way. If you’re not sure, if you’re wondering about it, let’s be clear: assigning monetary value to life based on budgets and arbitrary assessments that disregard humanity’s (and life’s) “intangible assets” such as, you know…loving, being loved and oh yes, the basic human desire to continue living, is evil.

Deciding that some people have a greater effect on society than others, and therefore are more worthy of treatment than anothers? That’s evil, too.

Read it before your vote.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Louisville Mayoral Gossip

As has been rumored for weeks, Louisville Mayor for Life Jerry Abramson will run for Lieutenant Governor with Gov. Steve Beshear. Jerry's done a good job until recently, but his Teflon had developed some moth holes. He is smart to get out now.

His decision to try for a state-wide office unleashes all sorts of speculation about who will run for mayor. Former U.S. Senate candidate Greg Fischer has announced. He was underwhelming in the Democratic primary and to make things worse, in his most recent announcement, he uses "utilize" as a verb. (“I intend to utilize both my business and political experience in serving this city.") Maybe he can "grow the economy" while he's at it.

And what about poor Lieut. Gov. Dan Mongiardo? His quest for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate looks problematic in light of Attorney General Jack Conway's prolific fundraising and perfect hair. Soon Mongiardo won't even have a job as Lieut. Gov. to fall back on. Beshear, on the other hand, has traded up. Dr. Dan will be left to what -- practice medicine? Just in time for national health insurance.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Republican Response on Healthcare

Senate Republican Whip John Kyl gave this week's Republican address on the topic of healthcare reform. Here's the video.

Kyl emphasized that Republicans have proposed:

common-sense ideas, including rooting out Medicare and Medicaid fraud, reforming medical liability laws to discourage frivolous lawsuits, strengthening wellness and prevention programs that encourage healthy living, and allowing small businesses to band together and purchase health insurance like large corporations do.

These changes do not require government takeover of the healthcare system, or massive new spending, job-killing taxes, or rationing of care.

The Democrats, in contrast,

would increase spending by more than two trillion dollars when fully implemented, and would, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, add additional costs onto an already unsustainable system.

Note in particular what Democrats would do to Medicare. Why isn't the AARP and the like objecting to this? Their constituents are about to lose a benefit that can literally mean the difference between life and death. As Kyl put it,

The President and Congressional Democrats have even proposed cutting Medicare to pay for their plan.

How can we justify dipping into funds for seniors’ care to pay for a new government plan, especially since Medicare is already in financial trouble? This would ultimately lead to shortages, rationing, and the elimination of private-plan choices—something our seniors rightly fear.

And then there is the effect on small businesses, the backbone of our economy:

They propose to pay for this new Washington-run health care system by dramatically raising taxes on small business owners. Small businesses create jobs -- approximately two-thirds of new jobs in the last decade.

With a shaky economy and the need for new jobs, the last thing the President and the Congress should do is impose new taxes on America’s small businesses. New taxes on small business would cripple job creation, especially jobs for low-wage earners.

This is just too important to rush through before the August recess -- and before Americans have an opportunity to become informed on Democratic plans.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Senator Bunning's Fundraising Strikes Out

Senator Bunning's statistics for the season have now been reported and they do not look good. According to his Federal Election Commission filing yesterday, he raised only $300,000 in the second quarter for his re-election campaign. By contrast, Secretary of State Trey Grayson raised more than twice this amount for his Senate exploratory fund in just five weeks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fun With Bureaucrats

The Department of Motor Vehicles reminded me recently why I despise big government. I'm just glad these people don't (yet) decide who gets chemotherapy.

I tried for days to get an appointment for my son to take his road test. I hit the redial several dozen times before I got through to the D.M.V. at 10:30 a.m.

The bureaucrat who answered the phone informed me that they were not taking any more appointments for road tests that day. I explained that I did not need an appointment that day, and would take the first available on whatever day it fell. The bureaucrat simply repeated that they were done taking appointments for the day. She told me to call back the next day at 8:00 a.m.

When a bureaucrat gives you an instruction or piece of advice, it's important to follow it to the letter. So the next morning I began dialing D.M.V. at 8:00 a.m. I hit the redial over and over and over. At 10:30, I got through. I asked to make an appointment for my son's road test and was told they were not taking any more appointments for the rest of the day. Call back tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

The next day, I started dialing at 7:55. It made no difference. My son, meanwhile, began to panic that he would never get his driver's license.

I gave up trying to make an appointment over the phone. I drove to the D.M.V. At 7:45 a.m., there was a long line of sullen people outside the locked doors. It looked like a Soviet grocery store, complete with ugly, shoddy architecture.

But inside there were real, live bureaucrats with nameplates on their desks. Success! Unable to put me off in person, I was given an appointment -- for two weeks later.

When I went back with my son for the road test, we encountered a neighbor. This father had heard how difficult it is to make an appointment for the road test, so he not only showed up in person, he did so the day before his son was old enough to take the test so that he could take it without delay. Road tests in Kentucky, it seems, are like elite preschools in Manhattan: parents must sign up in advance to save a spot for their child.

Clever, misguided Dad. Come back tomorrow.

The irate father asked the bureaucrat whatever happened to the tax increase on our motor vehicle registration. Wasn't that increase supposed to fund improved services at D.M.V.? Next in line.

The D.M.V. may be doing more to recruit future Republicans than the party ever could.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Great Job, John David

Louisville attorney and writer John David Dyche just did a terrific job on the Sean Hannity show on Fox. Dyche discussed his biography of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the future of the party, as well as recent mistakes from which the party needs to learn.

Well done! Best of luck with the book, Republican Leader: A Political Biography of Senator Mitch McConnell (ISI Books).

What Michael Steele Really Said

It's much easier (and more fun!) for Demo-blogs to repeat the lie that RNC Chair Michael Steele said the party's new plan to attract blacks is to offer fried chicken and potato salad.

Listen to the video. As Realclearpolitics notes,

A young gay blogger (who Browning also describes as a person of color) asks Michael Steele about his future plans for the "inclusion of diverse populations in the Republican party."

Steele responds: "My plan is to say, Y'all come. Cause a lot of you are already here."

Steele's response generates some laughter, but off camera you can hear someone (though almost certainly the blogger who asked the question) say, "I'll bring the collard greens."

This generates more laughter among the group, as well as Steele's genial response: "There you go. I got the fried chicken and the potato salad, okay?

Put in it's proper context, Steele's remarks are a far cry from Browning's headline or his assertion that "to lure African-Americans into the GOP, Steele is offering "fried chicken and potato salad."

To be sure, Steele has said some dumb things as RNC Chair. But in this instance, he is being smeared.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Two Faces of Sonia

How to reconcile Judge Sonia Sotoymayor's opening statement today regarding judicial impartiality with her previous remarks to a group of women lawyers?

In her prepared statement for the Senate Judiciary, Sotomayor said "I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our justice system.” So far, so good.

But consider what Sotayor said on April 30, 1999 to the Women’s Bar Association Of The State Of New York:

[T]here is ‘no objective stance but only a series of perspectives… [N]o neutrality, no escape from choice’… in judging, I further accept that our experiences as women will in some way affect our decisions. In short ... ‘th[e] aspiration to impartiality … is just that an aspiration rather than a description because it may suppress the inevitable existence of a perspective…’”

That's moral relativist double-speak for the judge gets to do whatever she wants.

So much for impartiality and the rule of law.

John David Dyche To Appear On Hannity!

Louisville attorney and columnist John David Dyche will appear on the Sean Hannity show on Fox to discuss Dyche's biography of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Dyche will be interviewed regarding Republican Leader: A Political Biography of Senator Mitch McConnell (ISI Books) Tuesday, July 14 from 9-10:00 p.m.

Congratulations, John David!
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is Jim Bunning Parsing Words?

Sen. Jim Bunning told reporters in his weekly conference call that "I think I'm going to have more cash on hand than any other Republican in the race."

This brave but puzzling assertion came after Secretary of Trey Grayson reported that he had raised $602,000 last quarter -- double what Bunning raised first quarter.

Perhaps Bunning is distinguishing between candidates who have actually filed for the Republican primary and those who are just testing the waters. Grayson has not yet filed; he is fundraising through an "exploratory committee." For that matter, so is Rand Paul.

So if Bunning is being precise, Grayson and Paul are not "in the race." It depends on on what the meaning of the word "in" is.

Has Bunning been listening to Rodgers & Hammerstein, South Pacific? If so, I applaud his taste in music. "Cockeyed Optimist" can now be loaded as a cellphone ringtone:

I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we're done and we might as well be dead,
But I'm only a cockeyed optimist
And I can't get it into my head. . . .

I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart,
But I'm stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope
And I can't get it out of my heart!

Looks like we will just have to wait until Bunning files his report on July 15. The Tooth Fairy better get cracking.

Spelling Woes

Remember when the media went nuts over Vice President Dan Quayle misspelling "potatoes"? Let's see how much mainstream coverage this post from The Hill generates:

Someone might want to look into whether an impostor took President Obama's place during his trip to Russia.

In a release touting an agreement between Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev over how to craft a follow-up to the START arms reduction treaty, the White House claimed the document had been signed by one "Barak Obama." (Emphasis added.)


I actually feel sorry for whoever made that mistake. It was probably some 40-something who is too proud to wear bifocals, and I sympathize.
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And So It Begins

It is inevitable that the health care "reform" being kicked about in Congress will result in tax increases for many Americans. President Barack Obama's top political advisor David Axelrod "declined yesterday to rule out the possibility that the White House would agree to a tax hike on health insurance plans that would hit middle-income Americans," according to the Washington Post.

Of course, those Americans who still have enough money to buy anything or employ anyone will get socked worst -- at a time when the economy needs these people to spend, invest and hire. According to Bloomberg, "House Ways and Means Committee members are likely to propose a surtax on high-income Americans to help pay for an overhaul of the health-care system, according to people familiar with the plan."

Look for Democrats to seek a four percent surtax on anyone who makes more than $250,000.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sarah's Next Step

CBS News would do well to replace Katie Couric with Gov. Sarah Palin. The ratings could only go up and the justice would be poetic. Now, some media snobs might submit that Palin is not bright enough. They would be wrong, though intellect did not seem to be a job requirement when CBS hired Couric. In any event, it's much easier to ask questions than to answer them.

Think of the joy that seeing Palin's smiling face every night would bring to the likes of Maureen Dowd. Speaking of Mo Dowdy, I cannot improve on Andrew Breitbart's rebuttal to the yesterday's hit piece on Palin:

Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey - Mr. Obama’s Angels (featuring Joy Behar in the role of “Bosley”) - used a potent mix of mockery, snobbery and vitriol to undermine Mrs. Palin’s feminist bona fides. . . .

Primarily motivated by a desire to keep abortion "safe, legal and rare," female liberals in the media have carte blanche to do and say anything.

But since Mrs. Palin, a mother of five including a boy who was known to have Down syndrome before he was born, is a potent symbol of the pro-life movement, she is considered an enemy of the sisterhood. . . .

While Mrs. Palin is at ease with her gender, as well as her place in the workplace and at home, Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey convey a base insecurity in their feminine skin. Their rage is fueled by liberalism's false feminist dogma and they take it out on a woman who chose not to join their angry sorority.

The governor of Alaska's compelling narrative - athlete, beauty queen, wife, mother, hunter, successful politician - shows adherents of narrow leftist dogma that, perhaps, women really can have it all. Most importantly: freedom of thought.

In calling Alaska's governor "Caribou Barbie," Miss Dowd used beauty as a weapon to diminish Mrs. Palin's achievements. A man would be reprimanded for this, but Miss Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning pad thrower and is licensed for such vindictive pettiness.

"Caribou," of course, is a stab at Mrs. Palin's backwater, Red State ways, attacks on which an Upper Westside liberal snob can never get enough. Miss Dowd goes on to ridicule "Sarah's country-music melodramas." This is her barely veiled attempt to call Mrs. Palin "white trash." And this has been the loathsome subtext of all media criticism of the Palins. They even went after their children. Mercilessly.

And Mrs. Palin during the Letterman saga finally cried, "Enough!"

Exposed in the relentless Palin attacks is not just political bias, but unmitigated class bias. The American mainstream media in its current free-fall is begging for more comeuppance when it continues to berate the values and lifestyles of the folks in flyover country who in simpler times used to be considered valued customers.

Maureen Dowd is the reason that the New York Times has stock prices to rival that of Government Motors. It and CBS News are dying as institutions, and none too soon. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has a bright future. Perhaps not in politics. Maybe we'll get to watch Palin yank the anchor chair out from under Katie Couric.

Am I wrong or is the Commander in Chief

Watching the news on the Fourth of July I caught a segment of President Obama in his opening remarks to start the Washington DC celebration.

I thought it interesting after his short speech and announcing it was also Malia's birthday as well, he leans over to Malia and starts to offer explanations of what is going to happen. The band starts and he begins to tell her that the Marine Corps band will start playing the songs that represent the four branches of our military.

Let's count together, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and........ Oh yeah, the Coast Guard. I count five. Is our Commander in Chief wrong or is the Coast Guard part of the budget cuts.

I realize that the Joint Chief of Staff represents the "four major" branches of service but every concert I have attended where the representative branch songs are played includes our Coast Guard as well.

Maybe this should be up there with the 57 states!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ronald Reagan on July 4th

Recent events have made me miss President Ronald Reagan more than ever. So I extend my wishes for a Happy July 4th by quoting a speech that Reagan penned in his own hand (with thanks to . Note in particular the legend of the angelic Founder:

What July Fourth Means to Me, by Ronald Reagan (1981)

For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.

I remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as Christmas. This was helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.

No later than the third of July – sometimes earlier – Dad would bring home what he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We'd count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.

I'm afraid we didn't give too much thought to the meaning of the day. And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from careless handling of the fireworks. I'm sure we're better off today with fireworks largely handled by professionals. Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in seeing a tin can blown 30 feet in the air by a giant "cracker" – giant meaning it was about 4 inches long. But enough of nostalgia.

Somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.
There is a legend about the day of our nation's birth in the little hall in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words "treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe," and the issue remained in doubt.

The legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. He is described as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, "They may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever."

He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.

Well, that is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.

What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.

John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.

Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.

But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, 3 million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years, however, I've come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.

It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.

Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.

We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.

Happy Fourth of July. Ronald Reagan President of the United States

How blessed we are as a country, despite everything. Happy Independence Day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Trey's Pulling In The $

Secretary of State Trey Grayson told the Metropolitan Republican Women's Club last night that fundraising for his exploratory committee is going strong.

Although Grayson will not reveal the exact number of his second quarter contributions until Monday, Grayson did say that he has received donations from approximately 1,000 individuals, mostly Kentuckians, in the range of $5 to the the statutory maximum.

Sen. Jim Bunning, meanwhile, has done little in the way of fundraising and his second quarter filing will no doubt reflect that. Look for Bunning to announce that he will not seek reelection within the week.

Grayson took questions, most of which focused on health care reform. He demonstrated a real mastery of the subject -- particularly for someone who has not worked in the field -- and a hunger to learn all he can.

He argued that it is not enough for Republicans to oppose the Kennedy-Dodd monstrosity now flailing around Congress; we must propose creative solutions that will control cost and improve quality without rationing.

To that end, he pointed to the medical specialties of dental and eye care as two areas with the most competition (because consumers can and do shop around). In both specialties, quality has improved due to innovations like LASIK surgery and competition has driven the cost of these new procedures steadily downward. The same is true in the dental field for braces, sealants and implants. (Of course, the same argument applies with equal force to the field of cosmetic surgery, but Grayson was to much of a gentleman to go there. )

This is exactly the sort of creative thinking that Republicans need. We must identify success stories and figure out how to replicate them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Can Him

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has clarified that he is not only an adulterer, but a creep. How else to explain his latest confession that (1) his South American girl friend is his "soul mate" and (2) that the has "crossed the line" with other women, but never had sex with them?

It's too much information from someone who no longer has a future in the Republican Party. Save it for Oprah.

The best thing that has happened to Sanford lately is that Michael Jackson's mysterious and untimely death pushed Sanford off the pages. Yet rather than take that gift, Sanford's need for attention compelled him to disclose even more embarrassing details.

Dude, you are not the only guy who believes in low taxes and limited government. Go away.