It’s Always Christmas If You’re a Politician

virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

What is it about an elected official that compels rich people to want to give him gifts? Do they look needy? Hungry? Depressed? Is there a secret gift registry of which I’m unaware? Could it be a mentoring program where plutocrats adopt a middle–class governor or attorney general and show them how capitalism has paid off? Sort of a rescue program except no Labradors are involved?

Any of those reasons are an improvement over the suspicions of my wife. She believes the gifts are given because the recipients hold high public office and it might come in handy for a rich person to have a governor or attorney general in their pocket. So she is disappointed in Ken Cuccinelli. Again. And that goes for me, too.

For those of you who don’t follow Virginia politics, Ken Cuccinelli is the Tea Party–backed Republican attorney general who filed the first court case against Obamacare. He also fought the EPA on job–killing regulations. And the AG filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the papers “global warming” guru Michael Mann used to get grants while he was at the University of Virginia.

I was first disappointed in Cuccinelli when he broke a promise to serve two terms as AG and not run for governor after his first. Details are here. Now Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell are enmeshed within a gift controversy brought on in large part by McDonnell’s failure to use his head and Cuccinelli’s failure to use his ballpoint.

The nexus of the scandal is Jonnie R. Williams, Sr. who runs Star Scientific, a former cigarette company that has progressed from selling cancer to marketing Anatabloc a nutritional supplement made from a substance found in tobacco. Anatabloc is used to fight inflammation and its also contained in facial cream where it may help to remove wrinkles caused by smoking.

Williams is a new BFF that both Cuccinelli and McDonnell have known for about five years. (Hmmm that’s just about the time they’ve been in office, but it must surely be a coincidence.) Williams gave $15,000 to McDonnell’s daughter so she could pay the ‘Let ‘em Eat Cake’ catering bill at her wedding. Williams has also given the family free use of his vacation home at Smith Mountain Lake and let the governor drive his Ferrari back to Richmond from that same vacation spread in Western Virginia. All told William’s publicly disclosed gifts to McDonnell and his political action committee come to over $120,000.

And it’s all perfectly legal. I just hope the wedding catering smelled better than the rest of the gifts. In fact, the catering started the scandal ball rolling, because McDonnell didn’t declare the gift, since it went to his daughter. I mean, what’s out of the ordinary about some BFF you’ve known since 2009 dropping 15 gees on your daughter’s wedding? It sure beats a blender.

Now FBI agents are investigating the relationship between the governor, his wife Maureen (who has promoted Anatabloc) and Williams to see if there was a quid pro quo.

Once the media started following the foie gras the trail led to Cuccinelli. He hasn’t had any weddings recently — although with a brood his size it’s only a matter of time — but he did invest in Star Scientific stock after meeting Williams. I’m sure he thought it was a great opportunity. Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds had such great success with dietary supplements, what could possibly go wrong?

Cuccinelli also stayed at the Smith Mountain vacation home twice, accepted $6,700 worth of Anatabloc, took a flight to New York, borrowed Williams’ boat, took a trip to Kentucky, stayed at Williams’ house near Richmond, ate a Williams’ provided turkey dinner and was surprised to discover he owned over $10,000 in Star Scientific stock.

Many of these gifts and the stock were not reported promptly on disclosure forms. It’s appears Cuccinelli is a lawyer, but he’s not good with details and paperwork.

The worst part of this mess is that none of it had to happen. Conservatives were convinced Cuccinelli was different. He wouldn’t fall prey to the pitfalls of influence and influencers. But he did. And because he did, Cuccinelli is dealing with a campaign issue that never should have happened and one that sullies his reputation for ethics and honesty.

Delusional Democrats are fantasizing that the controversy may force McDonnell to resign. This is very unlikely, not the least because the events don’t rise to the level of a major scandal. But if McDonnell did resign, it would restore a disenchanted Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s faith in Providence. At the stroke of a pen Bolling would get to be governor without running a primary campaign, and even better he would be governor before Ken Cuccinelli!

Meanwhile I have some practical gift receiving advice for Cuccinelli and other conservative politicians who — I hope — don’t want to lose touch with the Americans that elected them:

  1. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ you made after you left high school unless it comes with a receipt, preferably from Wal–Mart.
  2. Don’t buy stock in a ‘friend’s’ hot company if you didn’t know him in high school.
  3. Even if you knew him in high school, don’t take any gifts from a company with ‘science’ in the name that isn’t run by someone in a lab coat.
  4. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ who owns a company that the SEC, FEC, IRS, FDA or the PTA is investigating.
  5. Don’t hitch a ride on an airplane, yacht or submarine owned by a stranger you met after high school, unless you all chip in for gas.
  6. Don’t accept free vacation housing from a ‘friend’ you met after high school, unless it’s a tent.
  7. Don’t offer to valet park a ‘friend’s’ Ferrari if you have to drive it more than 200 yards.

Conservative Pacifists in the Culture War Part 2

The Obama Inauguration Committee features a new "Heretics Only" water fountain policy.

The Obama Inauguration Committee features a new “Heretics Only” water fountain policy.

Christ was no doubt on to something when He limited His public ministry to three years. Any longer and a mere human may forget what he said before or, even worse, lose enthusiasm for an earlier message as the culture changes.

Which is evidently what happened to the Rev. Louie Giglio. Until recently he was scheduled to give the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. Giglio — founder of the “Passion Conferences” that are marketed to college–age Christians — had lately been in the news for his work against human trafficking and had said grace, so to speak, over the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the White House.

But then an aggressively homosexual lobbying group dug up a sermon Giglio delivered in the mid–90’s and accused him of being an orthodox Christian that believes in the Bible. Well, that was that and Giglio lost no time beating a hasty retreat from the inauguration.

Giglio might have made a better decision if he’d listened to his own sermon before deciding to run up the white flag.

In it the reverend is addressing the homosexual onslaught that traditional culture was just beginning to experience. Giglio wisely pointed out, “We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but many in the homosexual community. Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive movement. That movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to the family.”

That was not only wise, it was prophetic. Then Giglio mentions what both the Old and New Testament have to say regarding homosexual practices and concludes, “…homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle…homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the world of God…That’s God’s voice. If you want to hear God’s voice, that is his voice to the issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear.”

Again, there is nothing that a plain reading of Scripture does not tell one. Giglio was not embellishing and he was certainly not personally condemning homosexuals. He just stated the obvious at it applies to the Bible and observant Christians.

Homosexual practices are not a lifestyle. The practice is a rebellion against God at the most fundamental level. God created woman for man and blessed the union. Any other arrangement is a perversion of God’s plan and God’s intent. And it remains a perversion in spite of the fact the only perversions elite culture recognizes today are smoking, obesity and magazines with a capacity larger than 10 rounds.

Giglio also said, “We must not sit quietly by and stick our heads in the sand and let whatever happens happen in our country. We’ve got to respond to the world we live in. That is the mandate that comes to us as people of God. And this issue is coming more and more to the forefront every day.”

Unfortunately, that is exactly what Giglio did not do. Instead he issued a weak statement that reads, “Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15 to 20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer that I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.

“Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past 15 years. Instead, my aim is meant to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.”

This reads like it was written by the same people covering up the massacre at our consulate in Libya. And “ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ” means exactly what?

Christ is significant with or without Giglio’s help. What He needs are teachers who will engage the culture. My fellow conservatives are off the mark when they view this incident as another instance of a politically correct culture that hostile to Christianity.

The culture has always been hostile to Christianity. Good grief, Herod murdered all the male children in Bethlehem aged two or under in an effort to end Christ’s ministry before it began. You can’t get much more hostile than that.

What Giglio has done is acquiesce in the disparagement of the truth of the Bible. What kind of message does this send to the young Christians that Giglio is supposed to be leading? Does Giglio hope the culture will be at least as accepting of him as it is of tobacco executives?

Does it mean Christianity has some vaguely disreputable beliefs that we only share privately with our friends, but the philosophy is not something we want to identify with in public?

How, exactly, does that differ from a meeting of the Klan?

We are losing the culture war because Christians are lead by pacifists, as I wrote about earlier. Giglio has “evolved” from confronting the culture to surfing cultural waves. His current cause is “human trafficking,” which has a number of advantages for a timid Christian. One, all the right organizations are against human trafficking. Two, you get to hobnob with celebrities. And three the chances of offending someone in the congregation are infinitesimal.

Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, asked the Washington Post: “Are all Orthodox clergy now to be banished from civic life if they openly affirm their faith’s teaching about marriage and sexual ethics?” “Are only clergy from declining liberal denominations now acceptable according to hyper–political correctness? Will the same standard also apply to Muslims and members of other faiths who don’t subscribe to the views of Western secular elites?”

Giglio evidently thinks refusing to confront the administration’s “Heretics Only” drinking fountain policy is being polite. But the message it sends the flock is one of weakness and vacillation when it comes to the plain language of the tougher parts of the New and Old Testament.

And it really compares poorly with the Catholic bishop who is preparing to go to jail rather than comply with the Obamacare abortion mandate.

Lou Giglio is building a ministry designed to attract the young in Atlanta. Up until now the name was “Passion City.” In light of his failure to affirm his own message, I suggest Giglio might want to consider changing the name to “Mildly Enthusiastic (But Not to the Point Where We Would Offend Anyone) City.”

Republicans Advocate Surrender After Defeat

Evidently Romney campaign consultants were paying way too much attention to Michelle Obama’s War on Cafeteria Lunch Ladies. Consequently, when her husband offered a campaign built around Bread & Circuses; they countered with healthy eating and free–range elephants.

A role reversal that proved fatal.

More than once I’ve heard discouraged conservatives complain that ignorant voters were responsible for re–electing Obama, but that’s simply not true. Misguided and short–sighted voters, yes, but certainly not ignorant.

Obama supporters voted for the candidate who gave them the most freebies. Union members voted for the Government Motors bailout and the prospect of “card check.”

Government employees voted for bigger government and its number one disciple. Hispanics voted for a freeze on deportation and amnesty for illegals. College students voted for low interest student loans and possible loan forgiveness.

Unmarried mothers voted for food stamps, welfare, free contraceptives and — for the sexually disorganized — federally–funded abortion. Homosexuals voted for homosexual marriage. And blacks voted for the black guy.

Now, proving there is no one more gullible than a panicked Republican, some of our “leaders” are considering amnesty for illegal aliens.

Amnesty for illegals will be called “immigration reform,” just as adulterers call fornication “marriage reform.” Passage will be equivalent to allowing a family who squatted on land inside a national park to keep the land as part of “ownership reform.” It wouldn’t be fair to evict them, don’t you know, because they built a house and their kids would have to change school districts.

Unfortunately for Republican leaders who put power before principle, amnesty is wrong for four reasons.

First it’s morally wrong. Rewarding lawbreakers, only encourages more lawbreaking, erodes respect for the rule of law and discriminates against potential legal immigrants who are waiting their turn. Amnesty also serves to take jobs from low income US citizens and depresses the wages of those that have jobs.

Secondly, it solves nothing. Democrats — who make short–term memory loss part of their governing philosophy — conveniently forget the US granted Hispanics a massive amnesty during the Reagan administration. That “never to be repeated” amnesty legalized over 4 million illegals. This final solution possessed such deterrent power that over 12 million illegals are demanding amnesty this time, a four–fold increase.

Third, amnesty will damage Republicans at the ballot box. Let’s assume 4 million of the approximately 12 million illegals are of voting age. These are not Republican votes in waiting, they are, as fellow columnist Mike Adams says, “undocumented Democrats.” All 4 million will be voting Democrat from now on.

It’s a fact the GOP never gets credit for anything involving civil rights. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed a larger percentage of Republicans supported the bill than Democrats, yet Democrats get all the credit. If I recall correctly Ronald Reagan was a Republican, yet even after the passage of amnesty during his administration, the GOP still has a problem with Hispanics.

Four, “socially conservative” Hispanics are like Iranian “moderate mullahs.” GOP “experts” claim Hispanic “family values” mean their natural home is the GOP. Yet on Sunday, November 4th, these “socially conservative” Hispanics sat in Catholic churches and heard homilies about the Obama administration forcing the church to violate basic Catholic beliefs. Then they rushed to the polls to vote for the most radical abortion–supporting president in history.

The only way for Republicans to profit from amnesty is to invest in companies producing the velvet Obama paintings that will soon be joining the velvet JFKs gracing the walls of many minority homes.

No wonder Democrats are so eager to cooperate with the GOP on this “bi–partisan reform” legislation.

Republicans simply cannot win a bidding war with Democrats and remain Republicans. It will take time for a values and civic virtues campaign to be successful, because changing public attitudes is a long-term project. So I suggest Republicans conduct asymmetrical electoral warfare.

Presidential election years have larger turnout that favors Democrats. Off–year elections have smaller turnout and give our base a larger impact. Nationally, during the education process, the GOP can concentrate on winning off–year elections and build up conservative margins in the US House, gain a Senate seat or two and defend the rest during Presidential years.

All the while concentrating our message on the benefits of individual liberty, personal responsibility and marketplace competition. Democrats and “progressives” are now using the ballot box to exploit the cultural pathologies their incompetent policies have created over the past 40 years. Over the short term it may prove to be an indestructible ideological loop.

But if conservatives aren’t in this fight over the long term, why are we in it at all?