Pragmatism and Principles

I saw Dr. Ben Carson interviewed last night regarding his new book “One Nation”, which is a book I plan to read on vacation, and with this effort, he could gain traction as a serious candidate for POTUS. His credentials speak for themselves, and his positions on politics are common sense and practical. His recent column at Townhall is an excellent read, and his sentiments are spot on:

If conservatives are going to win in 2014 and 2016 and preserve the environment of freedom to which we have grown accustomed, it will be necessary to learn how to prioritize issues. I am not saying that social issues are not important, but if the executive branch remains in the hands of those with “secular progressive” ideas in 2016, and two or three more Supreme Court justices with similar leanings are appointed, conservative social ideas will become anathema to the prevailing powers, who will use every tool available to them to silence such opposition.

The extreme intolerance of the left for opinions that vary from their own has been amply demonstrated on university campuses, in the mainstream media and in the public square in recent years. Boycotting those with whom they disagree is insufficient for them, as demonstrated by their attempts to put their political adversaries out of business or assassinate their character.

His 2012 address to the National Prayer breakfast regarding Healthcare was an excellent example of how a conservative should outline conservative principles on national issues in a rational, intelligent and positive light. The best part of that speech was that Obama was front and center, and in fact the Dr. mentioned in the interview that a member of Obama’s administration called him after that speech and said that he owed Obama an apology. An apology of which was never delivered. Keep an eye on Dr. Carson.

30 thoughts on “Pragmatism and Principles

  1. Amazona May 21, 2014 / 6:29 pm

    I think Doctor Carson is an amazing man, and I have the greatest admiration for him. There is no doubt in my mind that right this minute he would be such a vast improvement over the president we have now, if given that choice it would not take me half a second to make it.

    But I think we do ourselves no favors when we act like a teenage fan club and start swooning over every exciting new person who comes on the scene and raving that this person “should be president”. Doctor Carson is brilliant, talented, honorable and perceptive, but these are not necessarily qualifications for the presidency. We have seen what happens when a man is put into the Oval Office because of identity.

    I think Doctor Carson would be a wonderful addition to the cabinet of a new President, as an adviser, even as a Representative or a Senator. But to tout someone with no political background or experience as a presidential candidate sounds more, to me, like giddy hero worship than it does serious analysis of who we should elect to the highest office in the land.

    Having said that, if somehow he were to be nominated, I would support him fully and with great enthusiasm, as he would be so far superior to anyone the Dems could possibly put up that it would be no contest. But right now, in this time and place, I can think of a dozen people I think are more qualified.

    • Cluster May 21, 2014 / 7:53 pm

      Did that come off as “giddy hero worship”? I hope not. I just said – “keep an eye on him”. I like his practicality.

      • Amazona May 22, 2014 / 9:35 am

        Cluster, no, you did not. But I saw this when Carson first came on the scene, including some who used to post here, giddily saying HE SHOULD BE PRESIDENT !!!. I agree with Spook, though I don’t think politics would corrupt him. I just think you need some solid experience, preferably at the executive level of government, before taking on a job like this.

    • canadianobserver11 May 22, 2014 / 5:50 am

      “But right now, in this time and place, I can think of a dozen people I think are more qualified.”…Amazona

      Could you name them for us, Amazona?

      • Amazona May 22, 2014 / 9:33 am

        Sure I can. And so can you. What is your point? To have me name people so you can reach back into your tighty whities and hurl your dingleberries at them?

        You do not come here to discuss. Like the other trolls, you come here to disrupt, to interfere with the discussions we want to have. You are a wannabe speed bump, trying to generate enough noise to drown out rational discourse.

        Which is, really, all you people CAN do, because you have nothing of merit to bring to the table.

  2. Retired Spook May 21, 2014 / 10:24 pm

    Dr. Carson is such a breath of fresh air, I kinda hate to see him corrupted by politics. Perhaps Conservatism would be better served to have him as an ambassador to the black community. Just a thought.

  3. Amazona May 22, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    As wonderful as Doctor Carson is, and I do think he’s an amazing guy, the fact is that there are many Americans who are also wonderful, who are just not famous.

    My favorite thing about Ben Carson is not that he is so great, but that he is one of millions who are great. This country is full of people who are brilliant, noble, strong, generous, perceptive, level headed, and so on. Yes, he is at the top of the list, but it’s a really long list and I’m sure there are plenty of people who would get the same admiration if something were to call them to our attention.

    This is what we need to remember about this country. We have millions of great people.

  4. Cluster May 22, 2014 / 8:21 pm

    One of the progressives who professes to know everything about the Dr, and has chosen to personally attack him on religious grounds, has misspelled his last name.

    You can’t make this up.

    • Amazona May 22, 2014 / 11:08 pm

      Of course he is attacked, and of course the attack has to include religion. It’s Leftist Tolerance writ large. On the Left, diversity means only people like them, and tolerance is only for ——people like them.

      And we all know the real reason anyone would attack Dr. Carson is because he is black.

      • Retired Spook May 23, 2014 / 9:30 am


        You obviously don’t understand the issue of race and “color” in 21st century America. The depth of one’s color is not determined by actual skin pigment; it’s determined by one’s ideology. Witness the fact that Bill Clinton was considered by many to be the first black President. Dr. Carson is clearly not black ENOUGH, therefore, it’s not “racist” for the Left to attack him.

      • Amazona May 23, 2014 / 1:23 pm

        Leftists certainly found no racism in calling Condi Rice or Clarence Thomas “house niggers” or in the vile and vicious cartoons about them drawn with the worst of hateful old black stereotypes such as showing Condi as an Aunt Jemimah with wildly enlarged lips.

        (And BTW I use that word only when quoting black people.)

  5. Amazona May 23, 2014 / 11:55 am

    I haven’t seen anything here about the VA mess. We did learn some very helpful information, though, about the President.

    We learned that he is very angry about this.
    We learned that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.
    We learned that no one cares more about this than he does
    We learned that this was kind of maybe his fault a little because after all the buck stops here but it was really somebody else’s fault because it had been going on for “decades”
    We learned that no one cares more about this than Shinseki
    We learned that there will be reports

    • Cluster May 23, 2014 / 11:58 am

      As Rachel Maddow described it – this isn’t a scandal – it’s a “problem in progress”

      Honestly though, there is so much crap coming from this administration that it’s hard to keep up on everything.

      • Retired Spook May 23, 2014 / 12:14 pm

        Honestly though, there is so much crap coming from this administration that it’s hard to keep up on everything.

        I don’t think that’s by accident. It would almost lead one to suspect that each succeeding scandal is nothing more than a feeble attempt to distract from the last one — almost. OTOH, it could just be as simple as massive incompetence with a little dishonesty thrown in for good measure.

        Quite frankly, I’m amazed that there hasn’t been a million veteran march on Washington. I’m also amazed that the Marine Corps. hasn’t figured out a way to rescue that Sargent languishing away for 53 days in a maximum security Mexican prison simply for taking a wrong turn out of a parking lot near the border. Where’s the A-Team when you need them?

      • Cluster May 23, 2014 / 7:31 pm


        Did you see this?

        However, because of the strong public interest we are now facing a dilemma as the public and the political community have become too much involved in the climate change debate influencing the actual science and this not necessarily in a positive way as it implies an arbitrary selection of priorities and preferential issues. Natural processes drive climate and practically all kinds of extreme weather have always been part of the climate and are practically unrelated to the modest warming we so far have had. The effect of increasing greenhouse gases is a slow but relentless process that will have to be dealt with but will require more time and better insight in key processes.Some events are seen as very dramatic as the reduced Arctic summer ice, others, even more puzzling, such as the surprising lack of warming in the tropical troposphere is hardly discussed.

      • Amazona May 23, 2014 / 12:33 pm

        Maybe Mexico is Muslim and therefore sacrosanct.

        But you would think if Ross Perot could mount a civilian initiative from Texas to free his people in Iran, someone here could do SOMETHING.

      • Amazona May 23, 2014 / 1:47 pm

        Of course it’s not a scandal.

        That word is reserved for really serious and material legally significant matters, such as the failure to preserve in their entirety 45-year-old pay records for a National Guard pilot. Or 18-year-old girls trying to get served in a bar. Or using horseback riding for physical therapy. Or being successful at business.

        THOSE are the types of scandals that cause Rachel to hyperventilate and freak out. But the utter failure of the Executive Branch of the United States, both in the presidency and the office of Secretary of State, to do their jobs and protect United States citizens—-followed by their repeated and growing litany of lies in trying to shift responsibility and then blame to others, and their meddling in the affairs of other nations, and their support of enemies of this one? Nah, nothing scandalous about that….

        ….which is, really, an admission that for these people, this is just business as usual.

    • Amazona May 23, 2014 / 12:31 pm

      We can also look at the prez’s response to Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS scandal, to name three:

      He is very angry about this.
      Whoever is responsible will be brought to justice
      No one cares more about this than he does
      There will be reports

      And, of course, F&F is just more of the Bush plan, Benghazi was always a mess, the IRS has always done this though they didn’t really do it, and………….

      It’s all in the past, and what difference does it make anyway?

      • Cluster May 23, 2014 / 1:40 pm

        Wow, good job. That is the trifecta of administration excuses and dismissives in one short post. Well done.

      • Amazona May 23, 2014 / 2:18 pm

        Thanks. I had been thinking this, and had discussed it with some people after the Benghazi excuse-a-thon, so when I heard clips of Obama’s speechifying on the VA thing it snapped right into focus. Then I ran across a column by Jim Geraghty, some of which I will reprint here. (I had completely forgotten the “I will not rest” mantra.) This list is outdated, BTW, with the latest quote from October of 2013. We now have an additional 7 months of outrage, no one being angrier than, and not being able to rest, in addition to more pledges to bring various miscreants to justice and commissioning more reports.

        Obama’s Fake Outrage, Fake Tirelessness, Fake Pay Cut . . .

        The Obama administration is dangerously depleting our nation’s reserves of speechwriting clichés.

        For example, when some terrible mess blows up on the president’s watch, what does he say? Come on. You know it.

        No one is madder than him.

        After White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough assured the public, “nobody is more outraged about this problem right now” than President Obama — an outrage that has yet to be expressed in anything more than pro forma public statements — Reid Epstein decided to look up how often the president assured all of us he was angry — or perhaps more angry than anyone else! — about failures of his administration or other setbacks.

        It’s quite a list:

        October 2013: “Nobody’s madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working as well as it should.”

        The IRS scandal, May 2013: “Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.”

        April 2012, the Secret Service prostitution scandal: “If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.”

        May 2010, the BP oil spill: “And I know that doesn’t lessen the enormous sense of anger and frustration felt by people on the Gulf and so many Americans. Every day I see this leak continue I am angry and frustrated as well.”

        March 2009, the AIG bonuses guaranteed in TARP: “I don’t want to quell anger,” he said. “I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry.”

        He forgot one, though, when Obama was “apoplectic”:

        President Barack Obama is “apoplectic” about lavish spending at the GSA, one of his top advisers said Sunday.

        “On the GSA issue, he was I think it’s fair to say apoplectic,” said David Axelrod, said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Because we made a big effort to cut waste, inefficiency, fraud against government, saved tens of billions of dollars doing it on just this very kind of thing. And so this was very enraging to him, and, of course, he acted quickly, the administration acted quickly and changed the management there.”

        At the time of the “apoplectic” comment, the president had not yet mentioned the GSA spending scandal in the preceding three weeks. Maybe it’s a really quiet anger.

        Then, of course, there’s the tired cliché suggesting that president Obama will never rest. Ever.

        APRIL 9, 2009: “And we will not rest until we reach a day when not one single veteran falls into homelessness.”

        MAY 11, 2009: “I will not rest until the dream of health-care reform is finally achieved in the United States of America.”

        SEPTEMBER 15, 2009: “I want you all to know, I will not rest until anybody who’s looking for a job can find one — and I’m not talking about just any job, but good jobs that give every American decent wages and decent benefits and a fair shot at the American Dream.”

        NOVEMBER 2, 2009: “We will not rest until we are succeeding in generating the jobs that this economy needs.”

        NOVEMBER 23, 2009: “I will not rest until business are investing again, and businesses are hiring again.”

        This was a particularly good one, considering the time and the place: Obama, speaking from Hawaii, where he and his family are vacationing, told Americans, “We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable.”

        JANUARY 28, 2010: “We will not rest until we build an economy that’s ready for America’s future.”

        MARCH 5, 2010: “I’m not gonna rest and my administration is not gonna rest in our efforts to help people who are looking to find a job.”

        MAY 26, 2010 : “We will not rest until this well is shut, the environment is repaired and the clean up is complete.”

        Okay, BP did eventually shut down the well.

        JULY 8, 2010: “My administration will not rest until every American who is able and ready and willing to work can find a job.”

        That nice list above missed one big one, although this one was from Hillary Clinton: “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans.”

        Yes, the “we will not rest” pledge is always an unrealistic promise. No, no preceding president gave up sleep after making a similar pledge. But there’s something about Obama’s promiscuous use of the pledge that makes everyone involved a little cheaper — his speechwriters for going back to that dry well again and again, the president for managing to deliver the line for the thousandth time and sounding like he means it, and everyone who applauds for acting like saying it means something.

        As Frank Drebin said, “Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he’s behind bars. Now, let’s grab a bite to eat.”

        Remember “all statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date”?
        Iowahawk summarizes it well: “I pledge to have my top men get to the bottom of these phony scandals that I’m madder than hell to have only learned about from the papers.”

      • Cluster May 23, 2014 / 3:24 pm

        This would be a lot funnier if it were not so real, and so pathetic. I had almost forgotten about the GSA scandal, but yet the irresponsible spending just keeps right going, with the VA bonus’s just another small example.

        By the way Amazona, you have quite an obsessive fan club if you haven’t noticed. You wield a lot of power over them. As Rush says – you live in their heads rent free.

      • Amazona May 23, 2014 / 7:23 pm

        I’ve been told there are some Libs whose heads explode at the mention of my name—if so, I’m doing something right. What I have noticed is that never, not once, has a Lib been able to outargue me. They always have to fall back on insults, or just repeating the same old same old till they get bumped off because of the repetition.

        This latest exchange with watson is a good example. He asked how one could tell if a law is constitutional. When I explained, and gave examples of the kind of background reading one would have to do to really be able to determine the intent and meaning of an aspect of the Constitution, he just fell apart. And then MER (from the French for you-know-what) and SAULT, (from a word meaning “attack”), had to rush in with lots of nonsense to try to distract from the rout suffered by his special little friend.

        When you read the words of the Founders and Framers, you find that they knew what they wanted this government to be, they knew what they were saying when they said it, and the fact that they said it in the vernacular of the time which doesn’t always make an easy transition to the way we speak now doesn’t change any of that.

        One thing that struck me was Jefferson’s effort to explain the rules of grammar. He said, more than once, that the construction of the General Welfare clause is really quite simple and obvious, if you follow the grammatical rules of English. He said “For in the phrase, ‘to lay taxes, to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare,’ it is a mere question of syntax, whether the two last infinitives are governed by the first or are distinct and coordinate powers; a question unequivocally decided by the exact definition of powers immediately following.”

        This flies right over the heads of the uneducated, who probably could not identify an infinitive if they were to trip over it. But what he says is, if you think about, is the two infinitives of “to pay” (the debts) and “to provide” (for the general welfare), ARE “governed by the first”, which is of course “to lay” ( taxes). And he goes on to say that once these three infinitives are stated, the meaning and intent are “unequivocally decided by the exact definition of powers immediately following.”


        According to the man who helped form this new government, and who consulted constantly with those doing the actual writing while he was representing this raw new country in France, the term “to provide for the general welfare” is UNEQUIVOCALLY DECIDED BY THE EXACT DEFINITION OF POWERS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING that phrase in the Constitution. So we have to look at what powers which immediately follow, and their exact definitions.

        He also said: “It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless.” That is, if the phrase “general welfare” were to mean the general welfare of anyone in the country, that would render useless the exact definitions of the powers which are delegated, as well as the specific restrictions imposed by the 10th Amendment. The only way to define the welfare clause the way Libs want to is to cut it out of the Constitution itself, and then isolate it from the writings and defenses and explanations of its creators, to stand alone without context. Then and only then can it be twisted to mean what they claim it means.

        This is not the kind of intellectual exercise that appeals to the feelers and the emoters and those seeking nothing but reasons to express hate and hostility. On the contrary, it gets in their way.

        So they scurry off to some corner which offers them no challenge, no rebuttal, and no mirror in which they might catch a glimpse of their shortcomings and laziness. And there they mutter to each other about how awful I am and pretend they are not isolated with their own kind because they simply cannot mount a coherent defense of their vague impressions of something that they just can’t define, much less defend, but which dominates their feelings.

      • Amazona May 24, 2014 / 12:50 pm

        Cluster, it’s a great article, pointing out the arrogance and hubris of the those who think of themselves as “intellectuals”—-academics, “journalists (who fit no prior definition of the word) and entertainment elites, for example.

        Four quotes stand out, in an article full of them:

        the creation of jobs took a back seat to boutique left-wing causes.
        The Affordable Care Act looked for advice to academics, not governors, and proposed the state takeover of an industrial complex responsible for one-sixth of the gross national product based not on what had been proved to work through experience, but on what some intellectuals had guessed might work. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, this camel was a 2,801-page non-bestseller filled with labyrinthine riddles that nobody seemed to know how to solve. To insure approximately 18 million out of 300-plus million Americans (they confessed the plan would still leave 20 million uninsured), they proposed to spend trillions on a reengineering of the entire system that would in time cause 80 to 100 million of the currently insured to lose and to seek new insurance.
        From the New Republic: “Liberalism has spent the better part of the past century attempting to prove that it could competently and responsibly extend the state into new reaches of American life. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the administration has badly injured that cause.”
        But that doesn’t mean that we cannot draw some conclusions about them and their class and their kind. One is that they were perhaps not as good as they thought they were, and perhaps deserved to be not that much listened to. Another is that the people who shine in the faculty lounge ought to stay in it, that novelists have not been good judges of political horseflesh, and that if you really believe you belong to an aristocracy of the intellect, you most likely do not. The intellectual salons include a whole lot of windbags, and would have excluded a number of very effective real-world practitioners, such as Truman and Reagan and Ike.

    • dbschmidt May 23, 2014 / 9:38 pm

      This administrations MO exactly–just add rinse & repeat once per crisis.

  6. Amazona May 23, 2014 / 12:38 pm

    From a Jonah Goldberg column:

    ” I think Irving Kristol offered some helpful advice when he argued that we should put aside the libertarian-vs.-conservative prism and instead look at the right through the lens of anti-state vs. anti-Left. What he meant by this is that some conservatives are comfortable using government for conservative purposes, they just hate the way the Left uses the government for leftist purposes. Other conservatives and nearly all libertarians, don’t care about using government for conservative ends. They are anti-state and want to limit the government’s role to its true core Constitutional functions and nothing more.”

  7. Retired Spook May 24, 2014 / 1:20 pm

    Anyone else find it more than a little ironic, in light of half of the members of the Senate demanding that the Washington Redskins’ owner change the name of the team, that the Washington sports team that no longer exists is the Washington Senators.

    • Cluster May 24, 2014 / 5:08 pm

      I call it Poetic Justice. Funny as hell too.

    • Cluster May 24, 2014 / 5:15 pm

      Even more interesting is this factoid in the article Redskin President Bruce Allen sent to Harry Reid:

      Our logo was designed by Native Americans:

      In 1971, while my father was head coach, our current logo was designed and approved by Native American leaders. One such leaders was Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, a former President of the National Congress of American Indians and Chairman of the Blackfeet Nation. Mr. Wetzel worked closely with President John F. Kennedy in the national movement for civil rights. Mr. Wetzel’s son Don wrote just two months ago: “It needs to be said that an Indian from the state of Montana created that (Redskins) Logo, and did it the right way. It represents the Red Nation and it’s something to be proud of.”


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