Monday, August 27, 2007

Conservatives

It was while watching the CNN report about Sen. Larry Craig, (R) Idaho, that I heard the description, “Senator Craig has been a life-long conservative. He has actively supported mining interests, timber interests…” and I missed the end of it because my brain was screaming, “What is so conservative about that!!!”

“Conservative” as used in the U.S. political scene these days is a misnomer. Back in the days of Barry Goldwater we knew what the term meant but it has become a framing device, a word that conjures up fiscal responsibility beautifully and ties to the concept of conservation at it’s very root. Nowadays the use is more often a deceit.

Isn’t it amazing that Democrats are now known for balanced budgets and Republicans for spending their grandchildren’s money, that conservatives are found to have dalliances with congressional pages of the same sex and seek the comfort of strangers in bathrooms. Amazing that the leading Republican candidate has had more mistresses than wives and lies about spending time at Ground Zero while sittin’ at a ball game.

But back to Senator Craig – I also heard that he was part of the group that lynched Bill Clinton over his indiscretions. Newt Gingrich, we may recall, was in the midst of an affair of his own while he participated in that same affrontation. I think the new connotation of “conservative” is “hypocrite.”

Yes, I know that all this conduct of the senator is alleged, not proven, and frankly I don't care what he does as long as he is decent enough to speak the truth. It is when our elected legislators support laws against their own behavior that I begin to believe they shouldn't be in public office, they should be in a sanitarium. It will be interesting to see if the people of Idaho choose to re-elect him this coming year.

America, you are truly beautiful.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Tim said...

CD: I see you've said I was welcomed back if I could say I "have no connection to the medical/insurance industry whatsoever".

Sadly, I can't say any such thing: As I mentioned before, my girlfriend is a Physical Therapist. Also (unmentioned previously) my mother is an Occupational Therapist. So I have quite a few connections to the medical industry. If I were a judge, and this were a trial, I'd have to recuse myself.

Friends assured me that's not what you meant and that I should respond anyway.

But I decided to let it go, at least for a while, because (a) also you implied you were only interested in talking with people who agreed with your views and policies (not an exchange of ideas) and (b) I had to leave town.

But I'd like to respond to your comments here about how awful conservatives are. If this is not to your liking, please delete this comment or otherwise indicate so, and I'll not trouble you again.

Best to you regardless.

9/10/2007 8:02 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Welcome back, Tim.

9/11/2007 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Concerning this charge of Craig being a hypocrite: could you explain further?

Let me use myself, and my own sins as an example. I believe it's wrong to look at a woman who isn't my wife (which would be all women, at this point in time) lustfully. Yet I admit I have done so with tremendous frequency.

Am I a hypocrite?

If so, should I drop my moral stance on that issue?

To use another example, say a compulsive gambler has fled NV to live in another region, and fights to keep gambling out of his new state, because he knows the harm firsthand. Yet at some future point he falls off the wagon and does something the opposite of his values: he's caught in a relapse.

Should he never have fought gaming in his state? Can we dismiss his former stance because he's revealed to be a "hypocrite"?

How can we, as flawed human beings, ever advocate high standards, if we all sin, and if this mode of thinking prevails?

And why don't you apply it also to people like Al Gore?


NB: As best I can recall, Newt attacked Clinton for his *perjury*, not his sexual indiscretions.

9/11/2007 8:31 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

I'll start with Al Gore and add John Edwards to the list of guys that made more money than they needed and spend it frivolously. Such are the joys of success, but does anyone really need 30,000+ square feet of house and, especially in Al's case, energy bills of $4K/mo that he buys carbon credits to offset? That's a rhetorical question but yes, I'll agree that Al sure sounds like a hypocrite in his energy consumption and for me the carbon credits are just a dodge.

My point of Sen. Craig being a hypocrite can be based upon my computer's definition of hypocrite: "somebody who gives a false appearance of having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings." It is one thing to engage in the behavior that the senator has been accused of and admit it to be so, yet another to speak against it, deny what he obviously sees as a personal flaw, all while continuing the behavior.

I know, he isn't proven guilty yet, but I've made up my mind that the guy is in the closet and not coming out. So much for public perception (mine) and the court of law.

We all sin, yes, but your example of lust which the Book of Concord specifies as part of original sin is one we can control. An example from the other night at my men's Bible study is a woman nicely coming in from a larger meeting and bringing us cookies and stuff. As she leans over her blouse falls low and all of her, well a very nice part anyway, is definitely on view. What can a guy with lust as part of his being do but realize it's time to avert the eyes from the exposure, with some effort concentrate on looking her in the eyes, and thank her kindly?

Sin is a part of our lives but it is denying that we sin where we become hypocrites. Your example of the gambler is simply one who fell and admits it. He's not a hypocrite, just a guy with a problem.

Each of us can advocate for higher moral standards, but only for ourselves and those we speak to on a personal level. Legislating standards of behavior is akin to bringing God's law back but this time in the name of man. Even with the power of God behind it, man couldn't or didn't want to live up to the law. What makes anyone think mans' law will have any better success than God's?

A person who tries to create laws to help control their own behavior is sadly mistaken on their ability to follow any law, be it that of God or that of man.

9/12/2007 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

My point of Sen. Craig being a hypocrite can be based upon my computer's definition of hypocrite: "somebody who gives a false appearance of having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings."

But that's precisely my point, CD.

First, Craig apparently has no history of the sort of behavior of which he's been accused. The media have pored over his history and background and all his associates and come up with nothing.

Second, even if we presume, for argument's sake, he's guilty, this still doesn't meet your own definition. You can be in favor of marriage and think divorce is bad, and still find yourself getting divorced. You can be against lusting after women, but still find yourself doing it.

Hypocrisy is, as you just stated, when you pretend to hold some belief which you don't actually hold -- not when you fail to live up to a the high moral standards you believe (and even publicly advocate) to be good.

If you violated them everyday, sure, you've got a stronger (but not airtight) case then that you don't actually believe them. (I sin everyday, sadly.) But, even then, Craig shows no evidence whatsoever of being such a case.


Sin is a part of our lives but it is denying that we sin where we become hypocrites. Your example of the gambler is simply one who fell and admits it. He's not a hypocrite, just a guy with a problem.

Again, your own accusations, offered in the article above, don't conform to your own rule, here. Where did Craig state he never sinned?

And even if he experiences homosexual temptations, and gave in once (or even several times), how would that make him a hypocrite? I'm tempted to sleep around (and haven't always lived up to my ideals in this area), but that doesn't mean I'm a hypocrite if I advocate the one-man, one-woman standard for sexual union.

Perhaps you'd say he's a hypocrite because of the Clinton thing?

Let's say somebody asks me if a guy who violated the speed limit by 25 mph should be subject to a fine. I say "yes." Does that mean I've never sped or am making such a claim? That seems to be what you're saying.

That's simply not true.

And I'm not sure what's supposed to be hypocritical here, anyway, since Craig actually stepped down where Clinton didn't. If he was advocating removal from office for sexual offenses, he can hardly be accused of not being willing take his own medicine.

CD, your own arguments for when it's appropriate to accuse people of hypocrisy don't seem match the manner in which you've done it above.


Each of us can advocate for higher moral standards, but only for ourselves and those we speak to on a personal level.

So I take it you've never supported legislation because you thought it was "moral", or accused other people of being "immoral" for opposing legislation you favor?

Take sexual harassment. Are you opposed to laws making it illegal? How about race-based discrimination? And aren't all environmental regulations about imposing a certain moral behaviors on people by using the threat of force?

So let's be honest here, CD: unless you can say "no" to all that and more, your statement above would seem to be false. And if it's false, you simply don't want some moral standards imposed (or behaviors restricted) by law, and are fine with others.

There's nothing wrong with that, but let's at least start by being honest about where we stand.

And, even so, I'm not sure what sexual behavior Larry Craig is being alleged to have tried to make illegal. You have any evidence for this accusation you bring, other than "guilty by being in the wrong party"?


A person who tries to create laws to help control their own behavior is sadly mistaken on their ability to follow any law...

Well, then, we should get rid of laws, then, shouldn't we?

So I take it you'll be joining the Libertarian party soon, and renouncing your stance as a Democrat? After all, Libertarians are the only ones who say we can't or shouldn't attempt to control most behaviors through laws.

9/13/2007 10:01 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Actually, Sen. Craig was implicated in previous congressional page scandals, I've heard on the news, and the whole way he plead guilty six weeks after the fact and then only when it became public did he attempt to deny it really leads me to my conclusion, so yes, in my mind he's a hypocrite. My sense is he's lying and totally in denial.

What I DO simply want is legislators that stand up for who they are and what they believe in, tell the truth and a willing to admit a mistake when they make one.

9/13/2007 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Actually, Sen. Craig was implicated in previous congressional page scandals...

Well, then -- if that's true then I now completely understand and agree with your charge of hypocrisy. (I can only plead that that must have hit the news while I was off the net -- seems to be the case.)

So, just to be utterly clear: Your charge is justified. I agree completely, and rescind any implication to the contrary. My view was apparently in error, yours, on this particular point, was not.

What I DO simply want is legislators that stand up for who they are and what they believe in, tell the truth and a willing to admit a mistake when they make one.

Once again, I agree with you entirely.


Well, wasn't that nice? Someone across the political aisle sincerely and honestly said you were right when he formerly disagreed. You changed his mind completely by providing more evidence.

And I thank you for it.

Kudos, and best to you. More later, God willing...

9/13/2007 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Sigh. When will I learn? All these years, and I'm still too stupidly trusting. At least at first.

I apologize: I must rescind my previous stance. I thought you were implying that there was some credible evidence that Craig had been sexually involved with some pages.

I've reviewed the best evidence I could find -- being the Idaho Stateman's report of its investigations into Larry Craig. You can read it yourself. Concerning the page scandal in 1982:

"... a top Craig staffer, Karmen Larson, said reporters from CBS and The New York Post said they were going to name Craig, prompting his denial. The CBS reporter on the story, John Ferrugia, declined comment to the Statesman."

And the results of the investigation? Craig passed a polygraph regarding his sexual orientation and innocence. Yet further investigations ensued...

"Four weeks later, page Williams recanted, saying he'd made up the whole thing. A second page who had appeared on CBS, Jeffrey Opp, said he'd exaggerated or misunderstood what he took to be sexual advances from congressmen.

A six-month probe into sex charges was launched by the House ethics committee. [Controlled by Democrats that year.] In December 1982, they exonerated those accused by Williams and Opp.

The committee chastised CBS's Ferrugia for planting 'lurid tales of sexual misconduct and homosexual prostitution in the Congress' in Opp's mind."

In short you've got a reporter who calls a Congressman (whose politics differ from his) and says he's going to be named as a child molester. Eyewitnesses report this. The reporter then won't even answer questions as to whether he did it or not. Then the charges are revealed -- by the pages themselves -- to be baseless.

The tactics these people use continually shock me.

And this amounts to sufficient evidence of guilt, for you? I'm stunned.

I would understand it better if you had given credence to the anonymous source now accusing him. I don't typically give much weight to anonymous accusations, but that makes far more sense than treating a man as guilty for something that even his accusers (the pages) admitted didn't actually happen.

"ChristianDemocrat", I'm grateful you're not my judge. If someone merely accused me of something, I'd apparently be condemned as guilty. Even if they'd recanted and admitted they made it up.

9/13/2007 11:01 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Tim -

What you are is too trusting in is what gets published. Examining the time-line of the Senators actions in regards to the Minneapolis fiasco, and the actions he took, what does your heart tell you?

Do you mean to discredit the officer in the case by dismissing his firmly held belief that the Senator was in that stall for more than the typical reason? Truly we are both rushing to judgment on this and should be rebuked for doing so, but again, it's in our heart of hearts that the law is written and, while that really only applies to our own actions, it can be a pretty good indicator when assessing another person's character. And yes, we should consider other people's character carefully in many instances, especially that of our elected officials.

I'm not the Senator's judge, I'm just a guy writing a blog that is fed up with so-called conservative Christians that don't seem to realize that they too are flawed, that are willing to speak as if they themselves live a perfect life and condemn those that don't, even legislate against such behavior when it affects them not one whit, and then deny that they have any flaws in their own even to the point of making of fool of themselves in a public bathroom and denying that when cornered, or lying to take a nation to war for profit, or living on boats and buying antiques with corporate connections. There's more, and again I'll say the Dems are guilty, too, but perhaps not to the well perfected machine tooled degree that the GOP has taken it to.

My sense is that if the case is re-opened as it looks like it might be, the Senator will get off due to lack of evidence and a preponderance of pressure. I would hope that it would go to jury to alleviate that pressure to some degree, but wouldn't want the public to waste their time on the matter.

And the outcome of that trial, if it occurs, won't change my opinion one bit. The guy pled guilty to the charge, hoped it would go away quietly. Only when it didn't go away did he try to change his story. By his own admission he didn't speak to any attorney or seek any other counsel regarding the matter during the six weeks between arrest and plead. If he wasn't guilty, my sense is that he would have fought it tooth and nail, as he should have. I have to wonder if he even mentioned it to his wife.

Those are the facts that I will base my personal opinion on.

I tend to look at peoples' actions more than their words when I am trying to get a sense of their character.

9/14/2007 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

What you are is too trusting in is what gets published.

I try to hard to read from and listen to both sides. But in absence of evidence, I don't feel I'm allowed to just make things up or assume invisible evidence in order to suit my feelings or preferences.


Examining the time-line of the Senators actions in regards to the Minneapolis fiasco, and the actions he took, what does your heart tell you?

A huge part of the Christian walk is learning to stop trusting our heart (which is hopelessly deceptive, according Jeremiah) and put our emotions under control of our head.

There's nothing wrong with using intuition at times, but it's no replacement for the biblical criteria (listed Deuteronomy 19:15 and the New Testament) of needing strong evidence before making specific public charges against someone.

This isn't some partisan rule I randomly invoke, it's just how I see things. I initially wanted to give Clinton a similar benefit of the doubt (who needs another scandal? it hurt us all), but DNA evidence, a long credible and well-documented history of non-anonymous women eyewitnesses (many of whom were his political allies) left no room.


Do you mean to discredit the officer in the case...

If you read what I wrote above, I am shocked that you apparently considered the *page scandal* to be meaningful proof of Craig's guilt.

I don't have any verdict on the current situation. I have a mental category where I simply shelve things which lack sufficient evidence for the time being.

The officer might have been a partisan who recognized Craig and used the opportunity. The officer might have been earnestly confused. The office might have played up the evidence rather than admit he was just harassing perceived gays on little real evidence.

Conversely, Craig might have been cruising for first time, or might have been yielding to a temptation he'd occasionally fallen to at select points. Craig might also have been an incredibly successfully covert active bisexual.

All of the above are possible.


Truly we are both rushing to judgment...

Where have I wrongly "rushed" to judgment here? I was specific with you: be kind enough to be specific with me. I cannot correct an error only vaguely alluded-to. Nor defend myself if not in error.


I'm not the Senator's judge...

Not in a court of law, but you've certainly leveled public accusations against him.


I'm just a guy writing a blog that is fed up with so-called conservative Christians that don't seem to realize that they too are flawed, that are willing to speak as if they themselves live a perfect life and condemn those that don't...

I agree with your criteria: its a serious problem to claim one leads a perfect life. But I'm not seeing the specifics here: Where did Larry Craig (your chosen example) claim or speak as if he led a perfect life?

If "condemning others" for sins or flaws is the proof of self-righteousness, I find that odd, given the number of condemnations I'm seeing here.

I don't think that logic works, but it seems to be what you're saying here. Correct me if I'm misunderstanding.


... even legislate against such behavior when it affects them not one whit...

First, as I've asked before: don't you also favor legislating against behavior which doesn't directly affect you?

Sexual harassment, for example. Been sexually harassed in the workplace? If not, do you oppose such laws?

Slavery and sexual slavery exists in African and Asia. Wouldn't you outlaw it if you could? Yet have you been a sexual slave? Do you have a reason to think you reasonably might be in the future?

So I think your statement here is not very well thought through here.

As I suggested above, I think liberals and conservative both support outlawing or legally constraining certain behaviors which don't affect them directly. We just differ on which ones.

So let's be honest: is this charge somewhat bogus, are you really a confused libertarian of some sort?

Secondly, where did Larry Craig "legislate against behavior", as you charge? I'm not trying to be dense, but you don't seem to have given any specifics yet.


... lying to take a nation to war for profit...

I don't want to sidetrack into the whole unproductive "Bush Lied" thing, but I've never seen a credible argument that Bush knew (for example) that Saddam had no WMD.

Indeed, we believed that in the 1990s, a Democratic Congress made Iraqi "Regime Change" our official national policy in the late 90s based on such, Clinton's own CIA appointee (George "Slamdunk" Tenent) apparently believed that, we had high-ranking Iraqi generals on Saddam's cabinet who told our CIA employees that, and numerous foreign intel agencies were also of the same persuasion.

I'm not sure how the then-governor of Texas would have orchestrated all that. And bipartisan committee seems to have agreed the intel supporting such wasn't manipulated by our politicians.


... living on boats and buying antiques with corporate connections.

I'm sorry: what's inherently hypocritical about living on boats or buying antiques, or having corporate connections? You're losing me here.


My sense is that if the case is re-opened as it looks like it might be, the Senator will get off due to lack of evidence and a preponderance of pressure...

So you apparently admit, with me, there isn't much evidence either way here -- not enough to convict. I agree this doesn't prove the ultimate truth either way, but I'm not sure it's my job to know that anyway -- and I'm not willing to make public accusations on that slim basis.


And the outcome of that trial, if it occurs, won't change my opinion one bit. The guy pled guilty to the charge, hoped it would go away quietly. Only when it didn't go away did he try to change his story. By his own admission he didn't speak to any attorney or seek any other counsel regarding the matter during the six weeks between arrest and plead. If he wasn't guilty, my sense is that he would have fought it tooth and nail...

You and I have very different perceptions of our legal system. Ask any minority, or examine the Duke rape case for evidence of the power of "the plea", and the power of the police and prosecutors.

I have a friend who was accused by an apparently angry ex-lover. (A lawyer I hired confirmed there was almost zero evidence to support her claim. Spiteful ex-girlfriends apparently have a tremendous amount of legal power these days.)

My friend was promised that if he just pled, his life would be back to normal in six months. Instead, he served five years, was almost put away for life in a mental institution (he is quite sane) and is now permanently on a list of sexual predators, and can't get work. His life was devastated by that one bad decision to plead.

Of course it's wrong to plead falsely -- even against yourself. And I'd love to confidently assert I'd do better in his shoes. But given the way they spell out the choices, I'm not sure I'd be that strong either.

Watch this Frontline Documentary for a wake-up call.

9/14/2007 12:10 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

I'm agreeing to disagree and moving on.

9/14/2007 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

No answer as to where the person in question claimed to be without sin. No answer to what behavior he was supposed to have legislated to stop. No answer to whether you also legislate to morality. In short, no substance at all to your public charges of hypocrisy, and certainly no simple, direct answers to these simple, direct questions.

What was that you said?

I find it interesting that in answering my question... he "answered" without answering.... I've decide to cut tim off. Any further posts from him will be deleted.... That is one of the great faults of our politicians. We need straight and honest answers from our elected officials.

Read the above and see if it doesn't fit the criteria you demanded of your opponent. Doesn't it show your own sidestepping to be less than "straight and honest", by your criteria?

(BTW, regarding the charge above: you hadn't even *asked* if I was a lobbyist (you simply remarked that I wrote like one) yet even then I addressed your allegation in a way I assumed made it clear I wasn't -- and would have gladly answered even more bluntly had you not banned me.)

I agree hypocrisy is a problem, but it seems to me you've built a nice public example of it just now:

You say it's wrong to condemn other people. Yet I see people condemned constantly here. You say it's wrong to legislate morality or behavior, yet you seem to support attempts to do exactly that, and a party which certainly does quite a bit of it. You say it's wrong to evade questions, yet you repeatedly sidestep the simplest, most direct questions asked above in response to your attacks on people. And you also falsely publicly pigeonholed me as a person who was unwilling to confront or deal honestly with contrary evidence, or be open enough to change my mind -- as if that criteria were actually important to you.


I'm assume you're a nice guy, a wonderful husband and father, a good and loyal friend, and a wonderful person in many other ways. But just stop and take a look and ask yourself:

Why can't I even answer a direct question about my own writings?

And if you *don't* have any substance to your charges above, what's so wrong about simply admitting a mistake, and learning?

What, are we all supposed start out perfect? I even started here by admitting some of my worst sins, so that you know I'm not going to pretend to be "better" than you, or jump all over you for admitting a very simple error, should you come to that conclusion and be man enough to do so.

Oh well. I think you've effectively answered the questions I came here to understand anyway. I find that answer depressing, though.

I don't hate you or wish you ill, should you assume that. Indeed, I continued here (despite your numerous false accusations against me) out of concern for you.

But if we can't have a conversation, where simple questions can be asked and answered, there's really no reason for me to remain.

Maybe in a few years, or maybe God will use another person or circumstance.

Best to you until then.

9/16/2007 7:35 AM  

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