Principles or Politics in 2012? A Voting Guide for Conservatives

By: Amy Lutz

On the cusp of the Iowa Caucus, the debate as to whether winnability should factor into voter decision making rages on. Should I sacrifice principles and values for a candidate’s greater probability at electoral success? Or should I vote for the candidate with whom my values most closely align, regardless of their poll numbers? More often than not it seems that the answer to the former question is “yes.” A candidate’s capability for success is attractive to the voter whose only goal is to see Barack Obama reenter private society in 2013. However, the strong desire to remove our current Commander in Chief from power overshadows the adherence to values that is necessary for electoral participation. We give candidates our votes not so they can sit in a cozy office in Washington D.C. and retire with a comfortable pension plan. We vote for certain candidates because we believe that they will do the best job in protecting our Constitutional Republic. Yet, that idea has slowly slipped by the wayside as Americans are more desperate to see radical change in Washington. However, that desperation does not always have to result in the election of a wishy-washy professional politician. Choosing a candidate to receive your valued vote is a process that requires a great deal of time and education, but the effort is rewarding in the end and the process does not have to be difficult. In fact, here’s a simple equation that will assist you in determining which box to check or which lever to pull when your state’s primary rolls around.

(1)   Why are you voting in the first place? If you are simply voting because you think it’s your “civic duty,” stop there. With this duty comes a great responsibility for education and deliberation; voting is not merely something to be checked off a “To Do” list. Entering the voting booth without an informed opinion is like going to a NASCAR race without earplugs; naïve and stupid. With an informed opinion, you can then determine why you’re voting at all. Maybe you’re voting because you love this country and want to see it succeed. Or maybe you’re voting because you’re invested in a certain cause and want to make sure that cause is successful at the ballot box. Regardless of what your reasoning is, make sure it’s a good one. We certainly don’t want to have a large section of the electorate uninformed and voting just because they can. Unfortunately, perhaps we already do.

(2)   After you’ve hopefully developed your own informed opinion, it’s time to figure out what’s most important to you. What issues do you hold closest to your heart? If you live on the Arizona-Mexico border, illegal immigration might be something you care about deeply. If you are a doctor fearing the impending dangers of Obamacare, then health care is probably something you are greatly focused on. Figure out the causes you most support and hold on to them, you’ll need your adherence to those stances when Election Day rolls around.

(3)   Now it’s time to turn to the candidates. Think about the issues you care for most. Which candidates will do the most to make sure those issues are dealt with in a way that aligns with your principles? If your pro-life stance is one that you value above all else, then veer away from candidates like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, for they both have shaky stances on the issue (though Romney’s has evolved). Look, instead, at social conservatives like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry. However, if auditing of the Fed if your most important goal, then perhaps you’ll want to look more closely at Ron Paul. If you believe that global warming is manmade and you will do anything to stop it, then perhaps you should look at candidates like John Huntsman, who has a more “open-minded” view of the subject. Others, like Rick Perry, who greatly doubt the authenticity of the theory, would certainly not be among your top contenders. No matter what your causes are, make sure you find a candidate who espouses similar stances on your more important issues.

(4)   Finally, what are you able to compromise on? Although it’s important to put your values first when voting, there is no perfect candidate and we simply can’t agree on everything. People who tend to be more socially moderate might flock to candidates like Romney, Gingrich, Paul, and Huntsman; putting issues like abortion and gay marriage on the back burner. Conversely, staunch social conservatives and Tea Party members might want to take a closer look at Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry while compromising on other economic or political issues. Compromise may be necessary, but choose your concessions carefully.

Now, hopefully, you’ve got a bit of a roadmap to follow when it comes to casting your vote in the upcoming primaries. Notice that the first two steps did not even mention the candidates who are running. That’s simply because you must know yourself and what you value before you entrust a politician to protect those values. Principles first, politics second. A sole focus on winnability implies a compromise on all values, even your most important ones. You might want to make winnability a factor in your decision making, but I urge you to make sure it’s not at the expense of your core values. If, for some reason after reviewing the formula you find that a candidate’s capability of success is the number one consideration in your decision making, then go ahead and vote on politics. However, be wary. Remember that the election is merely the beginning of a politician’s stint in office. Once they are elected, it’s time for the real work to begin. It is much more comforting to have a principled president than a proven politician when it comes to making the touch decisions.


The Politics of Respect
By: Amy Lutz
A recent editorial in the Los Vegas Sun- entitled “Respect Missing in GOP Campaign”- elaborated upon the increasing “disrespect” that Obama supporters feel is directed at the President by the GOP candidates. This commentary echoed sentiment expressed in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on September 1st of this year.  The article points out how the President is fighting for respect from not just his opponents but also from his constituents. The left is quick to point out the “disrespect” they see inherent in criticism directed at the President, but they rarely investigate why this lack of respect is so pervasive.  In reality, respect is not something given when unmerited.  Unfortunately, for President Obama and his followers, he has done little to earn respect the office deserves.

The widespread lack of regard in which President Obama is held, may be due in part to his own attitude toward Americans at home.  Last year, the President claimed that votes are driven by “fear and frustration” because “we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared.”  Is it any surprise that Americans are afraid; our foundational principles are under assault and the Constitution based upon them, is in danger of being neutralized. Yet, the implication that we’re not “thinking clearly” is insulting.  Most people want to be treated like rational, capable human beings.  Obama’s condescension is palpable. Evidently he perceives that the problem is with us, not with him.

Please read the rest of the post at What Would the Founders Think? 

Yes, America, There is a Santa Claus
By: Amy Lutz

In 1897, a young girl named Virginia wrote a letter to The New York Sun, asking if Santa Claus did in fact exist. Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church responded with a now-famous editorial entitled “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.” Virginia worried, since she had neither seen Santa Claus nor did she possess tangible proof of his existence, that the jolly man was not real. Francis Church reminded Virginia, and all of us, that seeing is not believing. We must first have faith and believe in the existence of Santa Claus’ spirit of generosity and love before we witness it in action. One hundred and fourteen years after the letter was printed, many of us find ourselves empathizing with little Virginia. How can things like love and generosity exist when the world seems so dark?Millions of people find themselves out of work, trying to make ends meet. Political bickering halts any hope at forward progress. Even talk of Christmas has been largely eradicated from public discourse. How could a figure as loving and generous as Santa Claus exist in such a seemingly hopeless world? Perhaps, like Virginia, we all need to be reminded once again of his existence. 
Please read more at The College Conservative
Tim Tebow: Leadership Incarnate
By: Amy Lutz

To some, he’s a hero, a champion, a savior; whereas to others he’s an enigma, a fluke, or just simply lucky. He’s Tim Tebow and regardless of your stance, there’s no denying that Tebow fever has swept the nation. After the Denver Broncos starting quarterback Kyle Orton packed up his bags and took up the quarterback slot for the struggling Kansas City Chiefs, Tebow took the reins. Since then, the Broncos have gone 7-1 with Tebow at the helm, turning a 1-4 embarrassment into an 8-5 record. The Denver quarterback has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the fourth quarter multiple times over his victorious run. Tebow, with his lack of experience and disappointing first half performances, is perhaps the most unlikely of champions. Yet that certainly makes him all the more lovable.

Tim Tebow’s endearing nature transfers into life off the field as well. He doesn’t criticize his teammates; he encourages them when they make mistakes. Lost games (or, rather, game) and play failures are taken in stride. Additionally, the young quarterback is perhaps the most unabashed, passionate Christian in the public sphere today. When the Broncos appear to be on the edge of defeat, Tebow calmly sings hymns to fuel his spirit. At post-game press conferences, he always remembers to thank “Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior” and takes a knee and prays after touchdowns and before games in a practice that’s now mockingly known as “Tebowing.”

For some, Tim Tebow has become a symbol of inspiration; yet, for others, he’s no more than a target of mockery.  Various football players, like Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch, have started “Tebowing,” not as a sign of worship, but as an insult. After Tulloch sacked Tebow in Denver’s only loss since the boy wonder has taken charge, the linebacker knelt down and “Tebowed,” “thanking God” that he had knocked his adversary to the ground. Many people outside the football world have taken part in the Tebow-bashing as well. The often-insufferable and former CNN host Bill Press claimed that Tebow is a “disgrace” and “embarrassment” and proclaimed that he should STFU about Jesus (for those of you who don’t know, I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what that stands for). Tebow is perpetually at odds with the nasty, below-the-belt criticism of his unwavering faith and unshakable spirit. However, this has yet to faze him. On the field, the Denver quarterback continues to rack up the wins. Off the field, he takes the verbal assaults in stride with courage and humility. Tebow is not one to lash out or complain. He has yet to provoke his aggressors with counter-insults or backtalk even though he would perhaps have every right to do so. He remains positive, even in the face of the nastiest verbal abuse. He doesn’t have to silence his critics in the arena of public discourse. He silences them on the football field. If Tebow continues to not only win games, but remain (at least on the surface) unaffected by crtical jabs, he’s be Tebowing all the way to the bank.

However, it is not Tebow’s throwing arm that wins games, it’s his unbreakable spirit and unquenchable passion for the football, God, and honestly, life. It is not only his faith in God that should be admired, but also his ability to stand in the face of brutal criticism and not only survive, but thrive. It is excruciatingly difficult to stand up to one bully or critic, but thousands? Seemingly impossible. Yet, Tim Tebow has made the impossible possible and provided a clear example of true heroism. True heroes are not determined by athletic prowess or electoral success. Rather, true heroism is propelled by rock solid convictions and unshakable character. Our real heroes are the ones who overcome, rise above, and persevere. This doesn’t always transfer into an external indicator of success like a winning record (although for Tebow, so far it has), but is evident in the internal made external personification of an unbreakable spirit. For Tim Tebow, this is ability to “turn the other cheek” to his critics and refuse to fight back with rhetorical jabs. His heroic leadership is the basis for Denver’s recent success. Organizations (in this case, the Denver Broncos) cannot succeed without a leader’s unshakable convictions and unbreakable spirits, for these are the foundation for progression. Without them, everything descends into chaos. Harry Truman perhaps spoke this most clearly when he said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” We have seen countless times of “no leadership” has characterized those in power or authority (cough Obama cough), but Tim Tebow is a stark example of the opposite template. If we had more leaders like Tim Tebow in Washington, perhaps they’d actually get something done.
Charlie Brown to Conservatives: Look Past Society’s Aluminum Christmas Trees
By: Amy Lutz

In the classic film, A Charlie Brown Christmas, the story opens with Charlie Brown questioning his own feelings of depression over the Yuletide season. The season is meant to bring joy, but all Charlie feels is emptiness. Therefore, he embarks upon a quest to find the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown soon finds out that the reason for the season does not come from sparkly baubles or aluminum Christmas trees, but rather in something much deeper and more meaningful. After his blanket-toting best friend Linus recounts the story of Christ’s birth in Luke 2:8-14, Charlie Brown discovers (in the words of another well-known Christmas figure) that “Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”  Charlie and his friends had gotten caught up in the commercialization and secularization of the holiday and; therefore, temporarily disregarded the story of the Nativity of our Lord. Don’t get me wrong, I love Santa Claus and Rudolf just as much as the next person, but I too find myself getting a bit caught up in the materialism of the season. 
Please read more at The College Conservative
I Was Conservative Before it was Cool
By: Amy Lutz

A recent NPR blog titled “The Hipsterification of America” detailed the growing dominance of the “hipster” movement in modern America. Hipster culture, a movement contingent upon anti-trends and passive nonchalance, has always intrinsically been described as a “counter-culture,” and a liberal one at that. Anti-mainstream thought and behavior is inherent in the subculture and can be described as the heart of the movement. However, no matter how aggressively modern-day hipsters deny it, their movement no longer exists on the fringes of society. Hipster attire and media have become popular, which is ironically the opposite of the movement’s claimed status of a “counter-culture.” Hipsters are anti-establishment, anti-mainstream by nature, but their influence can now be seen everywhere, from popular television shows like New Girl to fashion trends such as thick glasses and skinny jeans. Hipsters are especially dominant on college campuses where liberal professors and left-leaning students alike embrace the subculture’s aims, attitudes, and attire. The increasing influence of hipster culture in academia and university life; however, begs the question: Who’s the counter-culture?  Now that the politically liberal attitudes of the hipster movement have become engrained into college life, who is left in the minority? Well, that’s easy: we are. Conservative college students have now been relegated to “counter-culture” status as the liberal aspects of hipster culture rise to the majority. 
Read more at The College Conservative
Pizza, Bagels and Occupy Wall Street: How Liberal Activism is Self-Discrediting 
By: Amy Lutz

As my eyes absentmindedly glanced through the stories on The Huffington Post (don’t worry, I wasn’t actually searching for hard-hitting news stories), the word “pizza” diverted my gaze. Hoping to get a laugh from a possible Herman Cain joke, I clicked on the story. What I found was much different than a brief piece of comic relief. The article[1] “NYPD Allegedly Steals Pizza from ‘Robin Hoods,’ Housing Works Demands Restitution,” told the tale of how NYPD officers had “sadistically” eaten two pizzas sent to 8 protesters posing as “Robin Hoods” during a “die-in” sponsored by Occupy Wall Street, Vocal-NY and World AIDS day organizers in New York City. During the protest, activists dressed up in Robin Hood-esque attire are went so far as speaking in British accents to get their message across. The ‘Robin Hoods’ harnessed the “take from the rich and give to the poor” mantra of the famous character to demand a Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street and a millionaire’s tax in New York to fund the fight against AIDS. Several protesters were eventually arrested for blocking traffic. That night, at Manhattan’s 7th precinct, police officers allegedly did not provide a meal for the arrested protestors and even ate two pizzas sent to the Robin Hoods by Housing Works, a left leaning activist organization that seeks to end homelessness and AIDS. The next day, a press release issued Housing Works initiated the allegations that the officers “sadistically” consumed pizza in front of the imprisoned protesters. How one can “sadistically” eat pizza, I’m not sure, but that was only the beginning of the barrage of negative attacks against the NYPD. A New York Times blog even accused the officers of “brutality[2]” Although it has not been proven that this event actually occurred, it’s the giving season, so I’ll give the protesters the benefit of the doubt. Sure, the decision to consume the two pizzas might have been in bad taste (pun intended), but as usual, the media focused on only a small portion of the actual story and neglected to look at the situation in a rational way. I mean, really, if the media is ignoring the behavior of the protesters themselves an instead calling something as small as eating pizza “police brutality,” we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands. Either the mainstream media believes that Americans are by nature stupid or they’ve completely detached themselves from reality. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Can I just look at this rationally for a second? Over the last two months, the Occupy Wall Street movement has done just about everything to discredit itself.  The ridiculous Robin Hood costumes and other strange attire are perhaps the most innocent part of the movement (the same “Robin Hood” activists actually dressed up as bagels[2] last year. Yes, bagels). Rape, disease, and crime are pervasive in the camps that have popped up in cities all around the country. Useful idiots with little civic education make up the majority of the protestors. They march around the dirty encampments, usually blocking traffic, preaching phrases like “fair share” and “the evil 1%” without really knowing what they are talking about. The type of activism that makes up the Occupy movement is filled with ignorance, crime, and ridiculousness. And we’re worried about a couple pizzas? I think perhaps we need to be more worried about a society that puts up with this kind of behavior, let alone takes it seriously. I mean, these people are walking around dressed up as BAGELS and we give them the time of day? No thank you. Please come back when you actually have something important to say; or even better, when you have something valuable to contribute to society. Give me a well thought out, researched argument for your position and then we’ll talk. The mainstream media might warp the message in order to portray Occupiers as rational, heroic individuals but even propaganda (and exaggerated claims of police brutality) can’t hide the ridiculousness of the movement. Until Occupy Wall Street fizzles out, I plan on merely sitting back and watching the protesters, and by extension their supportive media allies, discredit themselves.



Barney Frank's Greatest Hits
By: Amy Lutz

Dr. Seuss once said, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." In regards to Barney Frank's soon-to-be-over career, I wish I could reverse that statement. I'd certainly be more apt to celebrating his departure and mourning the existence of his congressional tenure. However, every cloud has a silver lining, right? Even the dark cumulonimbus that is Mr. Frank's career can't cover up a few rays of light. He certainly gave us a few things to laugh about along the way. In memorial of Barney Frank's dissapating political career, let us look fondly upon his greatest hits. Or we can at least breathe a sigh of relief that Frank's opportunites to be in the media spotlight are increasingly growing scarce.

1.) "It is, of course, further indication that a fundamentalist right has really taken over much of the Republican Party, People might cite George Bush as proof that you can be totally impervious to the effects of Harvard and Yale education."

What effects might those be, Mr. Frank? Are you perhaps claiming that President Bush was impervious to the liberal indoctrination inherent in higher education? If so, score 1 for our 43rd president. 

2.) "The left and the right live in parallel universes. The right listens to talk radio, the left's on the Internet and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality. I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet."

Problem Solved. Enough said. 

3.) "They appear to have become so attached to their outrage that they are even more outraged that they won't be able to be outraged anymore."

He's talking about Occupy Wall Street, right? Oh wait, he was referring to Republicans. Darn, I thought Barney and I actually agreed on something. 

4.) "This bill is the legislative equivalent of crack. It yields a short-term high but does long-term damage to the system and it's expensive to boot." (in reference to a 1986 anti-drug legislation vote)

Again, had Barney Frank made this statement about...oh I don't know...TARP, the Stimulus Package, Obama's Jobs Bill, I'd probably have a Frank bumper sticker on my car (ok, maybe I woudn't go that far). Alas, he did not make that statement as such. Oh well, a girl can dream.

5.) "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" (to a critic at a town hall event)

Since when does political disagreement imply alien origin? Thomas Jefferson claimed that we should "question with boldness;" thus, I cannot agree that criticizing a politician is somehow inhumane. I don't know what planet Barney Frank is from, but it sure isn't Earth. 

6.) "I don't begrudge Ronald Reagan an occasional nap. We must understand it's not the dozing off of Ronald Reagan that causes us problems. It's what he does on those moments when he's awake."

Funny, I was going to say the same thing about Barney Frank. 

7.) "Asking the White House to support more government intervention was "like asking me to judge the Miss America contest -- if your heart's not in it, you don't do a very good job."

Wait...the Obama Administration and excessive government intervention are not compatible? Now I'm really sure Barney Frank's from another planet. 

8.) You wanna talk about character?

Not many people can boast having a brothel in their basement. 

9.) Frank claimed that Republicans should be embarassed for their record on Fannie and Freddie.

This coming from a guy who received $40,000 in campaign donations from Fannie Mae, the 5th largest recipient in the house. I've finally located Barney Frank's planetary origin: Planet HYPOCRISY. 

10.) Finally, how could we forget this "wind-breaking" moment from the soon-to-be-retired Congressmen?

And with that, I bid thee farewell Congressmen Frank.