I sit here drinking an Acme California Pale Ale and watching Casino while my son takes a nap, as I am wont to do, and I’ve been reading through the archives here on The Children Of The Revolution (I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, by the way, and I hope all of you did too). I published an article on Monday, A Republic Corrupted, that has drawn a bit of attention and scrutiny, not least from me. I prefaced the article by saying that I had hesitated to even publish it, which is very true, and as I look at the response it has drawn, I now regret having done so. I don’t regret it because it has drawn criticism (what the hell kind of conservative would I be if I cared about criticism?), but because the response has been entirely focused on how we continue as a movement, how we win the national debate, and how we rescue our republic from the slow, wretched death that I predicted in the article itself. I was wrong to have taken the low road and thrown up my hands in defeat. I was wrong to despair. And I was wrong to write an article that was essentially a bunch of whining. The article was a betrayal of the spirit in which this blog was created in the first place.

This is not to say that I retract everything I said in the article. I wouldn’t have written it in the first place if I didn’t feel that a large part of it was true, and it is. Our republic is in mortal peril, and it may well end up on a slab if we continue on our current trajectory. I am gravely concerned about it. There are undue limits to our freedom that have become institutions in our country, and I still believe these wrongs may never be righted. We may never return to the level of freedom that our Constitution is meant to safeguard. Nevertheless we have to stand up for what’s left of our republic, because if we allow it to slip away, we’ll find no such promise of freedom in any other corner of the world. We cannot and should not walk away from the fight that is required of us in order to prevent disaster. If we do that then we guarantee the loss of our country. That is unacceptable.

Some of you, including contributors to this very blog, were quick to counter my misery with words of encouragement and hope (I hate that that word has become so cheapened by political pageantry). This encouragement wasn’t a simple pat on the back, empty and unreassuring. Rather, it was reasoned and intelligent advice as to where we go from here, how we stem the tide of corruption that is eroding our collective freedom, and what is required of us as conservatives. I reveled in this response. I loved it. This is the heart and soul of our movement: cautious optimism, intelligent debate and dedication to the preservation of liberty. And I understood that, without this blog and other blogs (that is to say, the open discourse between us that these blogs make possible), I may well have turned into a
crass and bitter nihilist (with or without a marmot). As it is, my optimism is building. Why? Because if a conservative in San Francisco whom I’ve never met can keep hope alive, then we all owe it to each other to pick up the standard and march on.
And that's the point. Whatever the best way to advance the cause of freedom going forward, the one certainty is that we'll have to do it together. We must be unified, if not in absolute ideology (pro-life or pro-choice, religious or atheist) then in the ultimate goal of enabling Americans to make as many decisions for themselves as possible without undue interference from our government. To those of you out there who have a blog and are like-minded, if only in the pursuit of open, respectful debate, I encourage you to network aggressively, linking to those blogs that you feel have something of value to offer (check out COTR's "Blogs of Note" section). Let's keep the conversation going and include as many people as possible.




For some reason the economy has been on a lot of people's minds of late. This is perplexing to me, as a truly relevant discussion of economics, from developing appropriate incentives, understanding the semi-rational expectations of various actors, and qualifying the role that public policy and federal action can and should play in moderating financial markets, is exceptional only in its capacity to bore.

I suppose I understand how, on the micro level, it is especially relevant to your average person today. The irony is how this relevance has elicited passionate debate on the macro level. Don’t get me wrong, this is an important issue that everyone should become more familiar and vocal on, even if solely from an ideological standpoint (prior to today, the aforementioned exceptional boredom limited the debate to a small group of equally boring academic types). The rub, of course, is that it may in fact be too late for said macro level debate.

We have voted on our leaders (whose thoughts on said boring subjects were made fairly well known in the latter days of the campaign), and they will now appoint the decision makers of the next four years. Our ability to impact said appointments, and the subsequent decisions made, is limited. So where is our macro economy heading?

I read that a tiny gear is replete with anger
at the nature of our upcoming federal fiscal policy, and rightly so. As the little cog points out, our official economic policy amounts to little more than a bunch of handouts, which moreover are not providing any tangible benefit. This lack of results is quantified and analyzed in a very thoughtful piece in the WSJ by former undersecretary and current Stanford Professor John Taylor. Professor Taylor observes that the previous stimulus package had no correlative impact on consumer spending. In fact, spending declined following the 2008 economic stimulus package, and in spite of these facts, the upcoming administration plans on giving more money away.

I could diatribe for pages on the role government should really play in an economic recovery, and the fruitless (and even potentially harmful) consequences of unbridled hand-outs, but that is not the intention of this post. Rather, I want to encourage all who read this not to forget the micro level economics, your personal economy, as you become impassioned by the macro level issues now consuming our 24/7 media machine. Those macro decisions are out of your hands, but your fate is not out of your control. While personal responsibility seems to have slipped off the shelf of distinctly American virtues over the past decade, it is exactly your capacity to make such decisions that will help you weather the fast approaching storm, and potentially be among those that come out ahead of the game when the economy picks up in four to eight years.

Here are some of my thoughts on taking things into your own hands:

1. Rethink your healthcare. You may or may not have health insurance. The government is promising to bring your health care reform, which ultimately means whether or not you are insured, things are about to get a lot more expensive and a lot less efficient. What can you do? Reduce your dependence on the health care system completely. Change your habits, change your lifestyle. Focus the resources you allocate to your family’s healthcare on prevention and wellness, not just saving and waiting for reactionary treatment. It won’t matter how bad the government messes up our healthcare system if you can avoid needing to use it.

2. Pay down your debts. I made this argument to a select few a couple months ago. From a purely historically perspective, the market underperforms in years of increased government intervention and social experimentation. Don’t expect 6-10% returns in the stock market over the next four to eight years, or even returns that beat inflation. Want to make those kinds of returns? Pay down your debts. Every dollar of your credit card bill that you are no longer paying ridiculous interest on is a dollar earned.

3. Invest in yourself. Along the same lines as above. While there will certainly be investment opportunities in the market, the average person is not going to have the sophistication to find them. Your greatest long term returns will come from investing in yourself. Go to school if you can afford it (the new government may even end up subsidizing you) or learn a new skill on your own. As unemployment rises, the more you can do to distinguish yourself, the less you have to rely on the government welfare machine.

4. Raise holy hell. The media will continue to tell you everything is all right, and gingerly pat your hand as the house burns down around you. Don’t let charisma and rhetoric lull you into a false sense of security. FDR went down as one of the most popular presidents in our history, even though many contemporary economists consider his New Deal social experimentation as causative, not curative, of the Great Depression. As our government throws your money at its messes and tells you everything is working, continue holding them accountable.

I relish in ideological political debate, but let us not forget that at the end of the day, we need to watch out for ourselves as well. I openly welcome and actively seek discussion and advice on how to better myself, and I hope you will do the same. We may not like the way our country goes in the next eight years, but shame on us if we use it as an excuse for the direction we take ourselves.



In our current state of economic and political turmoil it is easy to lose heart. It would seem that, despite the best attempts of Reason, that fear and myopic selfishness have taken hold of the hearts of Americans. As we march towards political oblivion, let us not believe that it is in lock-step. While the nature of modern weaponry dictates that the days of hard-fought revolution with musket and cannon are well behind us, we may yet fight an asymmetric war for the hearts and minds of our countrymen. For decades we have been assaulted on all sides by the enemies of liberty who discovered much earlier the value of winning a war of the mind. Let there be no mistake that ours will be an uphill battle against apparently insurmountable odds, but such is the American spirit that we shall rise and overcome. Let us no longer believe that we are seeing the endgame in a battle we never got to fight. The day we believe such is the day our cause is truly lost. If we believe, however, that there have been but a few moves made in a grand opening gambit, then perhaps our position is merely weak, but not hopeless.

Our enemy is powerful and determined, they control a vast majority of the media, dictate the terms of all public debate, and are well-armed with the well-tested rhetoric of nationalist socialism. Not too long ago, however, they were in the very position we find ourselves now. Their success grew from three factors: sympathetic minds in academia, powerful grassroots support, and gross missteps by their opponents. We yet have all three of these necessary elements, if yet uncultivated.

Our first goal is to define clearly the terms of debate and the foundation of our movement. We must not be caught up in the petty squabbles of day-to-day issues, though we will discuss them gladly. We will hearken to the words of our founders, and will carry on their spirit in ours. We must do this both with formal debate and powerful appeals to the common spirit of America. We look to Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams for our guidance in this, men who spoke to the common American with simplicity and clarity, but without condescension or self-righteous airs. Our enemy cloaks their own propaganda as appeals to individual rights and opportunity, how much more well-received might our own appeals be if posed with sincerity and humility.

Our second goal must be to grow our network. There are many among us who believe as we believe – who are open to discourse and dialogue about the fundamental principles that founded our nation, and which must be its future if it is to endure. Reach out to the young, who are receptive to the message of liberty and opportunity, and who have been shown to bring overwhelming enthusiasm to any cause. Reach out to the established, who know well our toils and may provide an intellectual and financial base to our cause. Reach out to our opponents, not in the cutting rhetoric of the prior generation, but with an open call to dialogue on common terms. Give no quarter to rhetoric or hollow promises from yourselves or the opponent, and engage everyone you encounter with fierce pride in your beliefs, tempered with solemn patience.

Our final goal is to accept that this will not be a short fight, nor will we easily overcome the great leftward inertia that has captured our country. When prepared, we must be willing to speak in libraries and schools, to hold forums at universities and to participate in media, and also to knock on the doors of our very neighbors and engage them in their own homes. We must keep the discussion civil, and we must not be lured into vitriol or bitterness. Some who join our cause will be faces and speakers, other thinkers and writers. Some will not join, and some may even be hostile to us, indeed this seems a certainty. We must believe that, despite the small failings we will experience along the way, our duty is to continue sowing the seeds of our revolution in the firm belief that there is yet fertile soil in the hearts of our countrymen.




I hesitated to publish this article. I am not a pessimistic person by nature. I typically tend to expect the best from people, though I plan for the worst. As I look down the road, however, I am unable to see my way through to returning America to her “ideal” state, that is to say the state envisioned and outlined in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence (maybe I’ve been spending too much time listening to Hariolor…). This is troubling to me. I believe that a democratic republic (emphasis on the republic) is the best system of government devised by man thus far. While the virtues of the system are far too abundant to enumerate here, the one trait that radically sets it apart from its preceding systems of government is the concept of peaceful revolution. This is perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the republican model; the people, without force of arms or bloodshed, can expel their rulers with regularity and install new ideas and persons in government according to their wants.

But we have sadly reached a point in our republic where even the peaceful revolution has been watered down and neutered. Due to a lack of choice in our heavily entrenched two-party system, overthrowing those perpetuating the corruption of our republic is close to impossible. It isn’t that there’s no one left in our government who has the will to turn back the tide. It’s that they’ll never proliferate in numbers great enough to do it. What results is a compromise with the corruption itself and an attempt to contain the damage already done. This strategy exists in medicine as well, and is typically aimed merely at buying time, not cheating death. Eventually, the corruption of our republic will kill it, if it hasn’t already. I fear that we’re in our death throes.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.” Well, we're up to our eyeballs in new evils. But unfortunately Mr. Jefferson would have the devil of a time in our modern American republic. He’d probably be lambasted as a member of the kook fringe, relegated to the Libertarian Party or worse. Both Democrats and Republicans would mock him as an unrealistic novice and hopeless ideologue, if they bothered to pay him any mind at all. In all likelihood he would never be elected to public office, let alone given a platform outside of talk radio to express himself. And therein lies the problem. If the ideas of men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison would find no traction in the mainstream political debate, then we’ve wandered way off the reservation.

This is not to say that our republic should not adapt to dynamics that the Founders were unable to anticipate: nuclear weapons, hedge funds, the internet, etc. Indeed, one must wonder what Jefferson would have to say for himself in the nuclear era, considering his remarks after drastically downsizing the military as president and scrapping most of the navy, saying that citizen soldiers would arise to defend the nation were it attacked. Would he feel the same way when, in the modern era, the attack would result in the destruction of entire cities, including the seat of government? I doubt it. But because these new challenges to our republic exist, do they nullify the entire philosophy of government that men like Jefferson espoused? Of course not. They merely force us to address those challenges in responsible ways that do not unduly expand the powers of the federal government. This can be extremely difficult (hence the word challenges). The problem, however, is that the standard operating procedure for the federal government has been simplified to avoid the difficulty by adopting the notion that every issue is a national issue, and that no issue can remain untouched by the hand of government.

The moment this methodology was adopted by the federal government, the clock began to wind down to the death of our republic. We could have stopped the clock or turned it back at any time. But the Great Depression took us past the point of no return. When the federal government began doling out money to its citizens that they did not earn in the form of social security, the cancer on our republic turned terminal. These are the sorts of institutional changes that can never be rolled back. No one dares speak of social security reform; it is tantamount to political suicide. It opened the Pandora’s Box of bread and circus programs for which the premise is that economic redistribution is a legitimate role for federal government. And now the sand in the hour glass is running out. Sadly, even the slow, withering death of American freedom did not go unforseen by our Founders. John Adams cautioned, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

So what recourse is there? For now, we’ll limp along in our steady decline, voting for candidates who we feel will cause the least damage to our ailing republic. But eventually the pretense that we live in a free society will become laughable (for many it already is). By then, I suppose, it will be too late for us to take action, as the government will surely have taken away all the tools by which we may protect our liberty. Do I, the optimist, see any other endgame? Not unless the American public elects a Libertarian supermajority to power for the next few decades. And even then we may just be buying time.




I’m still spitting nails over the impending auto bailout (have no illusions, though it may be delayed it is inevitable). I think what upsets me the most about it is that we have so many examples of government mismanagement that the very idea of a government bailout should elicit either howls of laughter or angry protestations. Indeed, government is synonymous with inefficiency in our country, with phrases such as “close enough for government work” being part of our American lexicon (a “government mismanagement” Google search yields 2,050,000 results). But somehow this is all forgotten when the discussion is about bailouts. It seems that fear is the lever that moves the immovable in all of politics, and “emergencies” certainly don’t allow for time to stop and think. So I suppose John Adams was wrong when he opined that “Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.” We are, of late, ruled by a government wielding fear.

I suppose if we were to ignore the adrenaline-induced panic that quickens our collective pulse, we would consider government’s mismanagement and pilfering of social security (a program initiated during a period of great economic fear, by the way), which, now nearly bankrupt, has put severe strain upon the federal budget that is resulting and will continue to result in a heavier tax burden for all in order for government to meet its obligations. Or we might also ponder the state of Amtrak, the government-owned national passenger railroad service. It has faced financial trouble since the early 90s despite enjoying bountiful federal funding and may not be viable without further subsidies. For a more recent example, why not look to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which stand as a monument to the federal government’s malfeasance and incompetence. With a “business” model based upon an agenda of social change and justice, they became part of the chain of failures that has led us to the deluge of bailouts we’re drowning in today. The list goes on and on and on…

So what can we expect as a result of a government-run auto industry? Well I’m sure Congress will turn it into the same sort of social experiment that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became, mandating extreme emissions standards and other environmentally-friendly measures that ultimately don’t sell on an open market. They will limp along for another five years or so, until they need yet another cash infusion just to keep the lights on. I can’t help but laugh when I read, as I did today, that Congress is demanding the Big 3 auto manufacturers produce a winning business plan before the money is forked over (laughable, the money will be forked over anyway, with our without a sound plan), when it’s Congress that has yet to produce a business model that is profitable in the long term.

Only a fool gives the car keys to a repeat-offending drunk driver and hops in the passenger seat. But fools we must be. And I’m here to tell you, if we don’t start getting serious about accountability in government and firmly establishing its limits, we’re in for one hell of a ride, one that we may not survive.



As we watch our country relentlessly trudge towards the frail precipice above history's gaping maw, let us think of the future, and the natural progression of events through which we find ourselves inexorably drawn.

The emergence of national socialism:

As the steady homogenization of our federation of allied states has shown, nationalism is an enduring and undeniable after-effect of a successful revolution. To every challenge to the Republic there must be an answer, and that answer has been best delivered by the several states in union. Do not be fooled, however - the national pride that has been bestowed upon us by the sacrifices of our forefathers should never have trumped the independent nature of the states. Alas, it has. Rather than standing united against a dangerous world as a proud alliance of myriad views, Americans have been hoodwinked into believing that nationalism is at its best when the nation is mobilized for the support of our domestic welfare, rather than in response to external threats. This new brand of nationalism may owe some of its popularity to backlash against the recent Republican abuses of proper nationalism (vis-a-vis the national response to 9/11), but its roots can be traced to the very roots of socialism. No socialist regime has taken hold absent a strong nationalist sentiment. Well now we've already had our election, the die is cast. How we react when led across the Rubicon to slay (hopefully only figuratively) our countrymen will be a test of our national character far greater than any that Islamic fascism could hope to pose.

The collapse of private enterprise:

Already the media has shown us the door, and many have happily flocked through it. Emblazoned above the gateway reads the sign: Capitalism Is Dead. While the Commerce Clause has yet to be invoked successfully in a way that hammers the final nail in the coffin of private enterprise, be certain that there are those in the new administration who, for whatever perverse reason, are anticipating eagerly that this financial crisis will culminate in a new New Deal. The federal government will be granted constitutionally-protected powers under the Clause that will permit it to act as primary lender and overseer for every business large or small. Not only will taxes and wages be regulated, but every business will be required to submit its books for federal inspection and approval, and those businesses deemed unfit will either be closed by force, or placed under direct federal stewardship - usually those that can plead that their closure will have an undue impact on interstate commerce, the local economy, national security, et cetera. For those who doubt that free enterprise and real opportunity are on the wane, remember that the jackboot of nationalist socialism is ever ready to help you join the huddled masses beyond the point of no return.

The triumph of secular morality:

Already the international intellectual elite has inculcated our mass consciousness with the seeds of secular morality. In the foreseeable future it will be taken as accepted that the only morality of consequence is the morality of humanitarian equity. Perhaps more accurately described as the rape of justice, we can look forward to a new age of political correctness in which the policies of national socialism are accepted as the moral foundation of government, and shall be preserved as an unassailable standard of virtue. Already this is happening, but the manipulation (again) of the constitution will see epic infringements of first amendment protections to the extent that morality can only be discussed in terms of, or at least giving equal time to, the government-sanctioned secular morality of wealth redistribution and the enforcement of classist polity. Equal treatment under the law will no longer be the standard of justice. It will be replaced with the guarantee of equality by force of law – a far more sinister definition, but one already creeping into acceptance among the American people, whether they realize it or not.

I leave you with the following quote from some relevant source material:
"Socialism means: 'The common good before the individual good.'
Socialism means: 'Think not of yourself, but of the whole, of the people and the state.'
Socialism means: 'Not the same for everyone, but to each his own.'"
We have heard these phrases before, once in recent memory. The other time a bit longer ago. I would offer you some shred of hope, but in the words of Ben Franklin, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.”

And yes, for those who are watching, the title is a play on Latin, not a typo.




Here we are again, though much sooner than I had originally predicted, contemplating yet another government bailout of the private sector. This time it’s the auto industry standing in the streets (or rather at a Congressional hearing table) with their hands out. And, given time and some sanctimonious grandstanding in Congress, they’re going to get their “injection of capital.” The line of destitute, needy corporations will shuffle along, and the next beggar will hold out their hand and promise not to use the money to buy booze.

This is a new dynamic in our American system; bailouts are now a legitimate federal function. While some of us will never get used to it, for our children it will be a well-established fact of life. Phrases like “too big to fail” will be accepted economic doctrine taught in the classroom. I find this development just another in a long line of face lifts that have rendered my country less recognizable. European-style liberalism continues its victory march through American streets while citizens watch from their front windows, apathetic.

Apathy is what led us here. For many, the principles of our founding are just a distant memory from civics class (if they were even taught civics). America is what they buy and drive and where they go to work, rather than an idea. The fact that their freedom is dying by inches doesn’t concern them; they elected people smarter than them to legislate their problems away, so let the people interested in government do the governing. Unfortunately this way of thinking isn't going to cut it anymore. Our national politics have become so polarized that eventually something’s gotta give. Either we break left or break right. And right now it looks like we’re hanging a louie.

In the interest of fomenting unrest among the citizenry over the direction their country is headed, let me expound upon a point or two. Does it strike anyone else as odd that it is liberalism that has relentlessly pressed the cause of progressive taxation and “soaking the rich”, yet suddenly they’ve become the biggest advocates for throwing taxpayer dollars at some of the wealthiest corporations in the country? What has changed? They do it because the corporations that come before Congress on their knees are failures. They have demonstrated irresponsible judgment and overextended themselves. They have either been beaten by their competition or ruined themselves, and now they need a way out. And because they have failed, and their failure supposedly poses a threat to the foundations of the American economy, a beneficent federal government is going to toss a few billion dollars at their feet and buy a stake in their company.

This is welfare. This is corporate welfare. We’re told there will be oversight. We’re told that these auto giants will have to demonstrate a successful business model in order to get the “capital infusion” (that presupposes that Congress would know a successful business model from a hole in the ground). But what if they don’t? They’re “too big to fail.” So even if they can’t promise the government that they won’t use the money to buy booze or drugs, the government will still dole it out and hope for the best. We’ll be right back here in another ten years when these industries, under government control, fail yet again.

Meanwhile, successful private enterprises are paying confiscatory taxes (soon to become all the more confiscatory) in the name of fairness, when what they’re really getting is punishment for their business acumen and success. And we’re not just talking about big oil here, we’re talking about small businesses, some hoping but unable to make the transition to a larger scale. Liberals are unwilling to acknowledge the virtues of any of these businesses, which provide gainful employment and benefits to American citizens and an embarrassment of riches to federal coffers, nor are they willing to acknowledge the consequences the high taxes levied against them have on their employees. Not, that is, until these businesses go belly up and the employees and tax revenues are suddenly in jeopardy. But hey, nobody does welfare like liberals, and when they see an opportunity to make a segment of society dependent upon the federal government like so many sweating, twitching drug addicts, they waste no time.

So here we are, America, indisputably punishing success and rewarding failure. What has happened to us? Nobody is too big to fail. Not GM, not AIG, not even the President of the United States. Am I unhappy that vast numbers of Americans would be left unemployed? Of course I am. But the answer is not to have our government buy these businesses out and subsidize their continued failure. They should declare bankruptcy and face stark economic reality like everyone else and learn from it. Change their management, re-evaluate the costs associated with their current retirement incentives, wages, etc. Their failure is not anyone else’s fault or responsibility. We should ensure that the damage to our overall economy is minimized and offer help to the employees that suffer as a result, but for government to step over that line is going too far.




1. Don't neglect the economic and defense conservatives. One-legged stools have a pretty long history of being toppled.

2. Don't fall for demagoguery. Substance has a distinct style of its own

3. There are 50 American states and over 300 million Americans. Don't be self-selective. They're all "real." Successful and lasting political groups build the biggest tent.

4. Bush is hated for his opacity, partisanship, and hypocrisy. This hatred blinds many to any and all of his actions. Transparency, cooperation, and honesty never corrupt or obscure good policies and good decisions.

5. Be pragmatic. Pragmatists get further and make fewer enemies along the way. That being said, bad policies are far worse than having no policy at all.
6. Short-term greed is bad. Long-term greed is good.

7. Sticking your head in the sand may bring temporary relief, but sooner or later whatever it is catches up.
8. Corruption is a cancer that must be destroyed without hesitation and no matter the short-term cost.
9. A free-market doesn't mean an unfettered one, only one that is transparent and efficient. We should try it out sometime.
10. Don't ever listen to Karl Rove again. Ever. He had his chance.





So, you’ve acquired American Citizenship. Congratulations! Whether obtained by birth or naturalization, American citizenship brings with it innumerable benefits, but also immense responsibilities. As an American citizen, you have inherited a tradition of individual liberty that yields both personal and financial dividends well beyond that of any competing nation. You have it within your power to become fabulously wealthy and pursue whatever endeavors your heart desires. Of course, these rights and rewards would not exist at all without a few rules (those responsibilities we just talked about!). In order for you to be free to realize the American dream, you must ensure that you chase that dream without trampling the rights of others. If that sounds a lot like the Golden Rule, well I suppose it is, after a fashion. If you break the rules, you are subject to the judgment of your fellow citizens, who will hear arguments both on your behalf and against you and render a decision as to whether you are guilty or not (we will discuss this in more detail in the chapter entitled “Your American Justice System”).

Who makes the rules, you may ask? Well, you do. That is to say, the government (local, state and federal) you elect makes the rules. It’s important to think of them as a sort of Board of Directors for an extremely inclusive club (we’ll discuss the precise structure in “Your American Government”). Their role is minimal and you should only meet them when you request upgrades to your membership (any sort of licensing, such as driver’s, marriage, etc; see chapter entitled “Your American Privileges”), when you pay your club dues, or when you break the club’s rules. Beyond that, the Board must stay out of your way so that you can go about your business without undue interference. You are entitled to your privacy and any activities on your part that do not fall under the Board’s discretion are not the Board’s business. In case you are worried that the Board may redefine its responsibilities or your rights, the “Club Charter” (the
United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence) outlines the limits of their power clearly and includes a Bill of Rights for the members that are inviolable and unchangeable. And remember, Board members serve at your discretion; you can vote to kick sitting members off should they take the club in a direction you feel inappropriate or in contravention of the “charter.”

As you can see, American citizenship grants you a great deal of leeway. Your opportunities are limitless because citizenship means equality under the law. Under the American system, you are no better or worse than any of your fellow citizens, even those in government, who are subject to the same rules as everyone else. Of course no system is perfect, and if you feel that you are being singled out for discrimination or harassed by your government, or that your government is generally in violation of the Constitution, you have recourse (see chapters “The American Revolution,” “The American Civil War” and “Your American Justice System”). As equals, all American citizens are entitled to the same basic rights as everyone else, and you can feel secure that, whatever enterprise you undertake as a citizen, the fruits of said enterprise are yours to keep and utilize as you see fit.

I’m sure you are excited to start using your American citizenship. It is indeed wonderful and precious. Before doing so, however, please be sure to read the warning below. Enjoy your citizenship and welcome to the American Republic!

WARNING: While citizenship allows for individual freedom and the accrual of wealth, it also allows for failure in the pursuit of both. If you should find that, by your own agency, you should fail in either, be aware that you must bear the consequences of whatever actions led to said failure. Citizenship protects equality of opportunity and NOT equality of results. While many citizens do succeed, your experience may vary.




Liam Julian had an interesting article in The National Review today discussing the Obama administration-to-be’s “startled” reaction to the orgasmic euphoria that has swept over much of the nation in the wake of his electoral victory. The thrust of Julian’s article is that Obama is rightly trying to manage irrational expectations on the part of his supporters before they find themselves crestfallen. And well he should. Can you imagine 50 million Peggy Josephs marching on Washington, brandishing mortgage and gas bills or signs asking why President Obama hasn’t withdrawn from Iraq yet? I’m sure he can, which is why he’s making the effort to disillusion them now rather than later. Nevertheless, he will inevitably bitterly disappoint many who see him as Barack the Savior rather than Barack the Politician. He will sell out one liberal interest group or another and go back on promises, real or imagined. He cannot live up to the persona that he himself has created and encouraged us all to believe in. Such is the fate of all demagogues and political grandstanders, and such is the fate of all the half-wits who put their full faith and trust in a politician.

I’ve often railed against the bizarre cult following that Barack Obama amassed during his campaign. But he isn’t the only golden calf that’s been hoisted up by the unwashed masses, just the most recent. Both Democrats and Republicans have practiced their fair share of idolatry. Before Obama, there was JFK and, the granddaddy of all Democrats, FDR. The Republicans, monotheists that they are, kneel at the altar of only one god: Ronald Reagan. Yet for all the grandiose acclamations both parties heap upon these American Idols, it is undeniable that all of them had their faults, both personal and political. John Kennedy had the bungled Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, the inception of what would become the Vietnam War, and of course his personal peccadilloes. FDR’s failings are too numerous to cite here, but include the internment of Japanese Americans, an attempt to pack the Supreme Court with political sympathizers, and economic policies that are now known to have prolonged the Great Depression. Even my beloved Reagan fell short, with his ill-conceived insertion of American troops into Lebanon and subsequent weak response to the bombing of the Marine barracks, and of course the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens and set the stage for the illegal immigration mess we find ourselves in today. While I love Reagan and what he represented, I can and must admit these things. There are many political partisans, however, who would rather drink the Kool Aid and gloss over the unpleasantness.

As we forge a new future for conservatism, it is easy for us to let our thirst for leadership turn into the same sort of fawning, sycophantic "Sanjaya Girl" fanatacism that characterizes a large, soon to be dejected segment of Obama’s supporters. We’re better than that. Our way forward has to be about ideology rather than any one individual. “But Ben,” you may protest (or perhaps I only arrogantly assume you care what I have to say at all), “haven’t you been writing recently that our success going forward depends upon who leads the party?” Why yes, I have, and thanks for following my writing closely enough to have noticed! But that matters only insofar as the leadership accurately reflects our ideology and demonstrates sound judgment. Conservatism should not be a reflection of any one person, as it became under George W Bush, but rather that person should reflect our good conservatism. He or she will not be perfect; they will not represent our views in their entire. But so long as they remain devoted to the core principles that define us (small government, checks and balances, low taxes, a strong national defense, and a merciless protection of personal liberty and free enterprise), and not just one or two, they should enjoy our conditional support. Yes, I used that word conditional, didn’t I? We conservatives must reserve the right to voice our dissent when these leaders of ours deviate and start supporting government intervention into the private sector (Bailout), massive spending increases or infringements on our privacy. If we do not, we’ll enable our supposed leaders to engage in the same sort of bankrupt behavior that the Republicans showcased from 2001 to 2006.

So please, no retro-iconographic posters of Sarah Palin with the word “MAVERICK” emblazoned across them. No Gingrich signs with the G transformed into some sort of clever emblem. And let’s certainly retain a healthy bit of skepticism and distrust of the future leaders of conservatism. Because for God’s sake, they’re still politicians.




The dust from last week’s election is still settling, the debate over how the Republicans lost still rages while precious bits of empirical evidence supporting both arguments are beginning to slowly bubble to the surface. The Republicans, it is said, will now enter into a bitter civil war over the future of the Party, with battles on ideology, policy and leadership looming. David Brooks discusses the impending struggle in this New York Times piece, recognizing two camps: the “Traditional” conservatives, who seek to return to the ideals of the Reagan and Republican Revolutions of the 80s and 90s, and the “Reformer” conservatives, who believe that the rhetoric of the past is a losing strategy and that inequality, global warming and other issues unconventional to conservatism should take center stage. Brooks concludes that Traditionalists will win out in the short term, much to the detriment of the Party. I find this argument and the debate in general amusing, truth be told. It all presupposes that Traditionalists, by definition, espouse a message that cannot be contemporized and cannot resound with younger voters and other demographics with which Democrats made gains this year. It also assumes that, in order to be taken seriously on issues such as inequality, global warming, etc, you have to sacrifice conservative principles and accept the premises of liberalism, the current owners of said issues. Finally, it takes for granted that it was conservatism that cost the Republicans the election this year, while evidence increasingly shows the opposite.

I will explain once again. President-Elect Obama’s victory over John McCain was the result of a well-run campaign by an extremely talented and well-spoken face of change arguing for middle class tax cuts in the midst of an economic crisis under an unpopular Republican administration. Got all that? I’ve already beaten to death the fact that Obama ran on a centrist platform based upon the conservative principle of tax cuts, deceptive though it may have been. Furthermore, it cannot be overstated that Obama’s articulate dialogue with the American people was a key to his success. His cool-headed demeanor and comfort with both oratory and debate were absolutely essential to the cultivation of his persona of gravitas and confidence. And let’s be honest, the historicity of his candidacy helped him a great deal. I wouldn’t credit luck entirely with his victory, but good timing certainly had a lot to do with it.

So what does this change for conservatism? Well, not a whole lot, apart from a few things. The message of Brook’s “Traditional” conservatives is not dead or irrelevant, it has simply been poorly related to the average voter and, most importantly, younger voters. Young voters tend to be more idealistic, distrustful of government and, now more than ever, greatly concerned about their education and viability in the job market. These are not ideas antithetical to conservatism; they are part and parcel of it. Part of the problem is that the Republican Party has been characterized as the party of old, rich white men. Obama’s candidacy made this contrast all the more stark, when one considers John McCain. Sarah Palin helped to challenge this image, to be sure, and there are many others in the Party (such as those recognized in The Children Of The Revolution article
The Bizarrobamas) that don’t fit the traditional Republican mold. They are dynamic and capable leaders and strong “Traditional” conservatives or libertarians, but due to entrenched, Old Guard leadership they have not yet ascended to national prominence. That all has to change.

Reviving conservatism means repackaging, not reforming, its message. A big part of that, as Obama demonstrates, is who is delivering that message. Sarah Palin energized the Republican Party far more than John McCain, but her prominence was limited and her image reshaped to conform to the message of his campaign. Over the course of the next several months, Governor Palin will articulate what her particular message is, and I promise you that it will deviate somewhat from the talking points she was confined to as a vice-presidential candidate. This is good. It is also good that conservatives like Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele, and South Carolina
Senator Jim DeMint are on the ascent and demanding changes to the Republican leadership. Any one of these people is capable of carrying the torch for the conservatism of the future and relating to voters.

But how do conservatives relate their message to voters, particularly young voters, you may ask? Well, talking about the Constitution and the principles of our nation’s founding a lot more would help. There seems to be a sense out there that liberals have a monopoly on idealism. It isn’t so. Conservatives are just as idealistic, but in a more practical sense, as we have the words of our nation’s founders to back up our message. I guarantee, the next candidate that quotes the Founding Fathers frequently, talks about them and the Constitution throughout his candidacy, will win as long as his core message of conservatism is sound. Rather than making “government cool again,” as Barack Obama said, how about making George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson cool again? How about using their words to frame the debate about our modern day issues? There is no more appropriate way to position oneself on the moral high ground.

Some are convinced that the religious element of the conservative movement has become a drag. I’ve yet to be persuaded. However, if this is indeed the case, it does not harm us in the slightest. Conservatives have generally cherished a candidate’s character as highly as their ideals. Let the individual candidate reflect whatever moral messages we want conservatism to convey, but if the overt discussion of religion and its bearing on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage is in fact detrimental to success, then turn the volume down on that rhetoric and amp up the discussion on government, taxes and national defense. Will the religious right be disenfranchised? That is up to them. If they stay home on election day often enough, they’ll have to live with candidates whose views on social issues are so diametrically opposed to their own that they will soon find it intolerable and, worse still, irreversible. So no, I do not think that a minimization of the overt discussion of moral issues will alienate the religious elements of conservatism.

In sum, we should not tear ourselves to pieces out of rabid panic that we are shrinking into irrelevance. We need not move further left, or reform our platform to reflect the issues in liberal terms. What would that serve? Only to limit the voters’ choices and betray our ideals. If the Republican Party can bring itself to foster a leadership revolution that sees a younger generation take the reins and frame its principles with eloquence and empathy, then all that remains is the interminable wait until 2010.




To all those who speculated on a moderate Obama administration that rules with an even, centrist hand, I have only four words for you: I told you so. Obama’s Chief-of-Staff to be, Rahm Emmanuel, has promised that the administration will push a comprehensive “Big Bang” program that will cover health care, the middle-class tax cut (AKA: “the job killer”), an economic stimulus and an auto industry bailout as their first order of business upon taking office (see here). They will not, as many pundits speculated, pick their battles and sacrifice initiatives in order to give due deference to the economy. Obama will, as I have feared, push for his radical reforms as quickly as possible in an attempt to make full use of the overwhelming Democrat majority in Congress and the media cover he will have during the post-inauguration “honeymoon.” This policy blitz confirms that Obama will not govern in his promised “post-partisan” manner, but rather intends to ram as much as possible as quickly as possible down the country’s throat while he can get away with it.

Some of you may still be skeptical that Obama will pursue this hard-left strategy. I understand the need to hope for the best. However, if the above doesn’t convince you, I offer you the following for consideration. Obama has also promised, upon taking office, to issue a whirlwind rescinding of President Bush’s executive orders on offshore drilling, stem cell research, and other presidential mandates (see

It is perfectly clear that his plan of attack is one common for the Democrats: enacting as much as possible behind closed doors and in the dark of night. His enemy is time itself, as he knows that the longer these initiatives are delayed in Congressional debate, the more national attention will be focused on the details. When Americans see what’s actually being pushed on them, there will be a backlash like we saw during the amnesty bill debacle. I urge you to watch his administration and Congress very closely as these reforms are pushed; the slightest bit of obfuscation and spin on the administration’s part will confirm our worst fears. Obama will have to break his promise of transparency in order to enact his agenda.

We cannot afford to pin our hopes on a benevolent Obama governing from the center. The fact is he doesn’t have to, and he won’t. He’ll make token gestures by selecting a Republican for his cabinet and holding high-profile meetings with opposition leaders at the White House. But at the end of the day this will all be a dog and pony show to offer him the cover he needs to pursue all of the liberal policies he wants. This is only a bad thing in the short term, however, as it also signals his overconfidence that he has received a blank-check mandate from the electorate. He, like Clinton, is poised to overreach and face Republican gains in 2010 and 2012 if he makes good on the promises he’s made so far.




I confess, I find myself less devastated by Obama’s victory than I had expected. Perhaps it is in part due to my own secret desire for a new face, any face, in the White House born out of the innate short American attention span that lives in all of us. Or it may have been the realization, upon seeing the reaction of Obama’s African American supporters watching him with tearful eyes at Grant Park, of what his election meant to them. It may also be my perverse yearning, to date never acted upon in the voting booth, to see the Republicans dragged from power and scolded for their abandonment of the crucial conservative and libertarian principles of small government and a balanced budget, if only to force them to sit in time out and reform their ways. In any case, today I am still capable of smiling, whistling, getting out of bed, and generally seeing the bright side of life, despite the election of what is without doubt the most liberal president in American history and the imminent assault upon the sacred principles of our republic. My above thoughtful speculation aside, I do indeed know the real reasons why I haven’t stepped into oncoming traffic.

1. Obama ran on either conservative (tax cuts for the middle class) or populist (health care reform) principles rather than overtly declaring his radically left-wing ideology; indeed, he went to great lengths to keep it hidden.
2. John McCain’s campaign was incoherent and, sadly, ill-conceived (we’ve known this all along, but we put on a happy face for the sake of party unity), rallying conservative support not based upon his candidacy, but upon opposition to Obama’s radicalism.
3. Obama is a great communicator, as Reagan was. John McCain is not. While it grates me personally that talking pretty is valued by our society more highly than what someone is actually saying, I understand that the “Communificator In Chief” George W Bush has left the country increasingly more nostalgic for the flowery rhetoric of a Reagan or Clinton.
4. Right or wrong, the American public is tired of the polarizing image of George W Bush, fostered by the media
5. A bad economy always hurts the sitting president and his party. Always.

All of these things add up to the truth behind Obama’s big win: conservatism didn’t lose in this election, John McCain did. Obama had to move to the center in order to attract the support that he did. He greatly moderated his tone on health care reform, criticizing the notion of universal health care advocated by Hillary Clinton. His central message was a tax break for the middle class, a message that he managed to steal from the Republicans and own throughout the campaign. How did this happen? Unfortunately it was allowed to happen by the fumbling McCain campaign. It’s not my intention to be the armchair quarterback here or pile on McCain for his loss, but facts are facts. They couldn’t get their message straight and were never as masterful as their Democrat opponents in finding their voice. It wasn’t until Joe the Plumber came along and articulated their thesis for them that they finally seemed to get it right. But by then it was too late. McCain’s inarticulate conversation with the American people was all the more ineffectual in contrast with Obama’s superlative oratory skill, which cannot be understated. The economy tanked at the peak of the campaign season. Throw in the exhaustion Americans felt as a result of constant battery and demonizing of George W Bush by the Democrats and the media, and you have a playing field tipped greatly in Obama’s favor. And despite all this, he still didn’t win the landslide the Democrats were hoping for.

What this means for conservatism is that we need to pick our next candidate wisely. The conventional wisdom that led to McCain’s primary victory was that we needed someone who couldn’t be tied too closely to Bush’s policies. Well, look how that turned out. Our candidate’s message was off the mark; he repeatedly ceded rhetorical ground to his opponents. For instance, the premise was adopted by our own party that Bush was entirely to blame for the economy, when, if anything, the blame lay clearly with the Democrats. McCain let Obama be the candidate of the middle class, when this is traditionally conservative territory. The Republican candidate in 2012 needs to be, of course, a conservative rather than a moderate. They must also have the ability to communicate clearly and comfortably on their own terms, rather than on the terms of the opposition. They must be able to relate the conservative message to ordinary, middle class Americans (note: this may take some reimagining, though not at the expense of the principles themselves). They must be a superior debater and mentally nimble. They must be a new face in the Republican Party rather than a member of its tired establishment. And they must surround themselves with an experienced and clever campaign staff that understands the lessons of 2008.

Fortunately for the Republican Party, and more importantly conservatives, the Democrats are running the show exclusively for at least the next two years, and unless I miss my guess they will be easy targets. If the Democrat Congress’ performance and approval ratings since 2006 are any indication, there will be plenty of material to work with in 2012. Though I’m sure the Democrats will be running against George W Bush for at least the next four to six years, that message will become increasingly irrelevant as they pursue and enact radical reforms. They will overplay their hand and cause fracturing within the delicate coalition they managed to cobble together in 2008. If Republicans can shore up their conservative base while chipping off one of those critical factions, such as Hispanics or young voters, they can retake at least one branch of government.

So be of good cheer! Things have to get worse before they get better, and hard times always bring out the best in Americans.




Senator Obama is now President-Elect Obama. Democrats have picked up significant seats in both the House and the Senate. Come January, we will live under the unified rule of a liberal Democrat government. For most of us, this is just about as bad as it gets. In the next four years, this new government will do some pretty terrible things. It will appoint liberal, activist justices to the Supreme Court. It will pass the Fairness Doctrine. It will expand the size of the federal government and increase spending. And worst of all, it will sabotage the progress in Iraq by forcing an early withdrawal. Conservatives have known all of this from the outset, but it appears the American electorate is more upset with Republicans than it is afraid of Democrats. So be it, that’s fair enough. Conservatives have to live with that fact. So, while the next four years look bleak for America, I’d like to take a moment to focus on some positives that may come out of liberal, one-party rule.

The Democrats have made a profitable business out of the blame game and they’ve had plenty of ammunition since 2001. The Republicans ran the government for six years and made an easy target. We’re seeing the benefits of the Democrat strategy with their expansive gains. They’ve hung the economy around the Republicans’ necks and sunk them with it. But now they’re in charge, and they likely will be for at least four years. They can’t blame Republicans anymore (though I’m sure they’ll try). If they can’t fix the economy, and I promise you they can’t, they’ll take the heat. If their precipitous withdrawal from Iraq results in sectarian massacres in Iraq and a failure of that democracy, they’ll be in the crosshairs. If, as Vice President-Elect Biden promises, we are attacked or challenged by our enemies under President Obama and bungle the response, they’ll get the scorn. This election season has been one of courtship between Obama and the nation. Come January, that courtship will bud into a marriage, which will begin with a short honeymoon. Obama will be able to do no wrong. But eventually, the honeymoon will come to an end. Americans will see that as much as Obama promised to reconcile us with the world, there’s just no pleasing some people. Even though he’s a breath of fresh air, he still represents an America that is intolerable to certain regions of the world, and he’ll be hated just as much as George Bush and burned in effigy in the streets of Damascus. His tax policy will screw up the economy and send us into a tailspin. I must say, it’s liberating in a perverse sort of way to no longer be “responsible” for all of America’s crippling problems. We’ll sit in the cheap seats and watch the Democrats destroy themselves before 2012. And I promise you they’ll lose big.

While the Republicans are on this retreat from power, a great deal of soul-searching is in order. It is the defining characteristic of conservatives that when we lose, we don’t cast the blame on our opponents but rather we look at ourselves to see what we did wrong. I’ve always loved that about us. And we have plenty to answer for. Under “conservative” governance, the federal government ballooned in size while it binged on an enormous budget. Under “conservative” governance, government intervention in the economy culminated in the passage of the odious $700 billion Bailout. This is why the Republicans lost. They forgot who they were and what they stood for and they became fat cat sell-outs. There is a great deal of talk in the mainstream media that in fact conservatism is to blame for the Republicans’ thrashing. The suggestion is that, in order to remain competitive and relevant, the GOP will have to shift more toward the center on many issues. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. It is the ascendant liberal movement attempting to frighten a panicking Republican Party into fracturing itself even further in its moment of weakness. True conservatism wins elections; it loses when it is compromised or polluted with the antithetical ideas of big government and socialist economic principles. But even if the Republican Party does buy the hype and dump conservatives, this isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Conservatives can find common cause by banding together as a new and powerful voting bloc, or throw their support to Libertarians if worse come to worst. These periods of introspection are good for us, and they inevitably lead to a clarity of vision for movements that have been ousted from power. Just look at the Carter Democrats, left-wing liberal populists. After thirty years of wandering in the wilderness, they’ve just retaken the government. And they did it with a platform that is fundamentally unchanged from those many years ago.

Things are going to be hard folks, don’t get me wrong. But you must always look for the silver lining, and if there is one it is that the Democrats will interpret this election as a mandate for liberalism and show Americans who they really are. When the voters don’t like what they see, they’ll send the con men packing. In the meantime, let’s focus on getting our message and our mission honed and polished so that we can remind Americans of what truly makes this country great: not buzz words like “change” or “hope,” but individual freedom and limited government. And this time, let’s back up our words with our deeds.



A common theme for liberals, upon losing an election or fearing it lost, is to bandy about accusations of voter intimidation and voter fraud. I imagined that this year might, despite all odds, see a collective silence on this issue from the liberals, as ACORN’s embarrassing victory in the “Best Scheme To Defraud The American Electorate” category could make it seem slightly disingenuous. However, I find myself reminded of how slavishly devoted they are to their talking points as they reliably trot out the usual accusations of electoral tampering, though they stealthily waited for November 3rd in order to minimize the discussion. As the ACORN debacle has demonstrated, voter fraud, be it by registration or otherwise, is indeed a serious and despicable crime that has sadly become a conventional tactic for both parties, though it has been a more visible boon for Democrats. It famously elected Kennedy over Nixon, and it may well elect Obama over McCain. What is less serious to me, and borders on incomprehensible, is this much-wielded concept of voter intimidation.

Real voter intimidation is what occurred in the American politics of the 19th century, when political bosses such as New York City’s William "Boss" Tweed would threaten voters with physical harm if they didn’t fall in line, and often made good on those threats. It occurs today in Third World countries, most recently in Zimbabwe, when Robert Mugabe’s political rivals were murdered, intimidated and jailed after winning a national election that Mugabe declared illegitimate days later. That is voter intimidation. What voter intimidation is
not is a phone call from a charlatan telling you that the federal government has decided to have an election day for Republicans on November 4th and for Democrats on November 5th. It is not getting a flyer that says you’ll be arrested at the polls if you have prior criminal offenses. It is not being told by someone claiming to be a campaign volunteer to cast your ballot over the phone. It is not being asked to provide an ID or other form of documentation that you are in fact you. These are not physical limitations on your ability to vote or credible threats to your security if you do. Moreover, laws exists that would be readily enforced and happily reported by the media if they were. The bottom line is that your right to vote is so well protected, even if you’re not legally permitted to, that voter intimidation has become a myth in this country.

The best example of how loose the definition of voter intimidation has become is the requirement to show photo ID in many states, such as Ohio, in order to vote. To most Americans, this is common sense. However, the ACLU and other “voter’s rights” organizations claim this is a form of intimidation, when what they really mean is that it is a threat to the politically profitable black market trade in voter fraud. The Supreme Court has rightly ruled in favor of such laws despite the suspicious protests, and anyone who is familiar with the Ohio law knows that “a current utility bill (including cell phone bill), bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and current address (including from a public college or university)” is acceptable (see
here). So everyone is pretty much covered, even if, as the ACLU argues, they’re a senior citizen who isn’t able to obtain a driver’s license (or some such rot).

Your right to vote is sacred, and Americans should rightly and jealously view it as such. We live in a country where party brownshirts don’t hang about outside the polling place with billy clubs. We live in a country with a secret ballot, where how you vote is nobody’s business. We live in a country where the government bends over backwards to ensure your right to vote is not infringed upon, from both real and imaginary threats. If you’ve legally registered to vote (and if you have, you'll know it) and your right to vote is really infringed upon by, say, a guy with a gun or knife or even a police officer who refuses to let you in the polling place, you have all the legal recourse in the world to make whoever it is that stood in your way pay dearly. Furthermore, all you’d have to do is whisper the words “voter fraud” and a reporter from CNN will be shoving a microphone in your face. But there’s more: the sacredness of the right to vote means that anyone who does so illegally or conspires to aid another in doing so should face the steepest penalty allowed by law, be they Republican or Democrat.