Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ward v. Roberts - Update

Since my last post, Ken Roberts has, in fact, made a visit to Shoshone County - he spoke at our Republican Central Committee Meeting last night. As such, I must retract the portion of my last post regarding his refusal to visit Shoshone County.

My assessment? If Roberts wins the Primary, I would have no problem supporting him in the general election. He seems like a competent legislator, and his policies seem both socially and fiscally responsible. I can, actually, understand why his fellow Idaho legislators support him. However, in Congress I would envision Roberts as more of a compentent backbencher. No controversy along the lines of Chenoweth or Sali, but not the outspoken advocate for his constituents like Otter or Craig, either. Basically, my impression is that, if he gets in, Roberts would serve a few terms, be on a few non-descript committees, retire, and be a guest speaker at the odd Lincoln Day or State Convention. I think you'd maybe only see his name in the paper a few times during his term, and that would just be to announce a vote or his candidacy for re-election. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think our district needs more, especially in what may be a liberal House, hostile to natural resource industry. In other words, Roberts seems like a good Idaho State Representative, but the Federal House of Representatives is a whole different ball game.

Vaughn Ward, on the other hand, has a more dominant personality, and has that "smooth" demeanour about him, which would work very well in D.C. He draws a perfect balance in his campaign style - he's not a "used car salesman," but he's not a lawyer/businessman-turned-cowboy either. Obama proved that personality can go a long way in politics and influence, while, unlike Obama, Ward has the credentials to back it up, and his policies are every bit as responsible as Roberts.

So, bottom line - Between the two, I am still behind Ward. But, if Roberts wins the Primary, he would still be 500% better than Minnick.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First District - Ward v. Roberts

I recently heard a rumour that Ken Roberts is considering dropping out of the First District race. While it would be nice to have an uncontested Republican primary, so that the GOP candidate can focus on defeating Minnick, rather than another Republican, I recently got an e-mail from the Roberts campaign commenting on the healthcare controversy (not sure how I got on his e-mail list, but be that as it may...), plus his website lists his various visits around the State. So, if he's thinking about throwing in the towel, he's keeping it pretty close to the vest for now.

However, I also heard that Roberts has no intentions whatsoever of making a visit to Shoshone County. I hope this is not true, but if it is, he gets a big THUMBS DOWN from me - in fact (again, if it's true), if he gets the nomination, I will seriously consider giving my vote to a third party candidate in November (Minnick's vote to keep giving my tax money to Planned Parenthood cost him my potential vote months ago).

So, until Roberts shows his face over in the Silver Valley, Vaughn Ward has my vote.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ted Kennedy has Died

Apparently, Ted Kennedy has passed away from brain cancer: Rightfully called the "least talented of the Kennedy brothers," ironically, it was Ted, the youngest, who would die of natural causes. In yet another irony, it was Ted Kennedy's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who was the last pro-life Democrat to be on a national ticket.

While I did not much care for the man and his morals, we can only hope that, in his final days, he was able to make his confession, recant his support of abortion, and make peace for his past indiscretions.

As such, Edward Moore Kennedy: Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Requiescat in pace.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Concerns with Obama's Healthcare Plan

As I continue to slog my way through the new Encyclical, I just thought I would share something I recently received in an e-mail from the Knights of Columbus.

While, being the "Shoshone Conservative," it may surprise many that I, actually, support healthcare reform, one thing which should be of grave concern to pro-life conservatives is this: If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to listen to the re-play of the webcast. Apparently, there is a possibility that Obama's healthcare plan may lead to taxpayer funded abortion - any fellow pro-life social conservatives who otherwise support alternatives to our current healthcare "system" must vehemently oppose any plan which would result in our paying for such an abonimable practice.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Caritas in Veritate - Introduction

In starting to go through the new encyclical, and reading the commentary on the Internet, one over-arching theme of the Pope's critics is that "the Pope shouldn't be getting involved in politics/economics." In anticipation of such criticism, Benedict XVI states in the final paragraph of the introduction:

"The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States." She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. Without truth, it is easy to fall into an empiricist and sceptical view of life, incapable of rising to the level of praxis because of a lack of interest in grasping the values — sometimes even the meanings — with which to judge and direct it. Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce. Her social doctrine is a particular dimension of this proclamation: it is a service to the truth which sets us free. Open to the truth, from whichever branch of knowledge it comes, the Church's social doctrine receives it, assembles into a unity the fragments in which it is often found, and mediates it within the constantly changing life-patterns of the society of peoples and nations."

As I go through and comment on the encyclical (and if you choose to read it yourself), please keep this paragraph in mind. I will have more to offer as my schedule allows...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Speaking of Edmund Burke...

While I go through the new Encyclical, here is some food for thought:

While it is (surprisingly) difficult to locate on the Internet, Burke's Speech to the Electors of Bristol in 1780 shows the true difference between a politician and a statesman. Could you imagine any modern politician giving a speech like this to his/her constituents?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Encyclical

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a new encyclical: "Caritas in Veritate" or "Charity in Truth." It is some heavy reading, to say the least, but I will post my commentary as I get a chance to go through it. There are some statements on global economic involvement and the UN, which are sure to stir up some controversy in the coming weeks. For a brief summary of the Encyclical, you may look here:

One thing that is particularly striking, is that Benedict XVI seems to have abandoned the use of the "Royal We," which he had used in his previous letters (i.e., he states "my pontificate," as opposed to the traditional "our pontificate," refers to "my predecessor," rather than "our predecessor," etc.). I wonder if this is a translation error, or if he has, in fact, changed his style of presentation?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Blog Layout

In case you didn't notice, I have added photos to the top "title bar" of the blog. Since I realize not everyone may recognize the photographs, they are: My local Catholic Church, Edmund Burke (father of anglo-American conservatism), and Pope Leo XIII (author of the Encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which forms the basis of Catholic Social Teaching).

An Absolute OUTRAGE!

"Rogue priest asks clergy to push Knights from parishes, exploit insurance policies"

This "Priest" ought to be defrocked!

(BTW, if you check out "Fr." Farrow's blog now, he has changed the entry in quetsion. See

First Congressional District - more updates

A few weeks ago, another challenger has emerged for Vaughn Ward in the First Congressional District Primary Race - Ken Roberts, a state legislator from Donnelly (a small town around the Cascade/McCall area).

At this point, Roberts' main disadvantage is that he is an unknown - I, personally, never heard of him until now. There's also talk that he is the man backed by the Ron Paul/libertarian wing of the Party, which is a mixed bag, depending on where you go and to whom you talk.

Looking at his vote-smart bio from his last campaign,, he seems pretty active in his local Baptist church, which is sure to help among social conservatives. However, otherwise, his voting record,, doesn't seem to shed much light on his positions on the "hot-button" issues voters are interested in, and his refusal to fill out the Vote Smart questionnaire is also somewhat troubling, Furthermore, he side-stepped some important issues in his reponses to the Gem State Voter Guide questionnaire as well: Basically, he answers the "safe" questions, laying out a run-of-the-mill Idaho conservative platform, but avoids answering those which could hurt his popularity with one wing or another of the party, which is also cause for concern. See also his answers to the 2000 Vote-Smart questionnaire on the link cited above (tax internet sales, but eliminate, not just reduce but eliminate welfare assistance?? Also note what he didn't answer then, as well).

In sum, Roberts may be a fine, conservative fellow, but the information available about him on the internet, where most voters do their research nowadays (that is, those few voters who do research their candidates) is sketchy, at best. Also, from what I've been able to find, he has not even bothered to set up a website.

Ward, on the other hand, has run a smart campaign, and has made a point of visiting North Idaho on several occasions which, again, is always a plus. His military credentials should also gain him support in this generally conservative district, but, first and foremost, he is a talented speaker and very approachable. He's not the gruff, outspoken ideologue that Sali was, but he is not a "back-slapping used car salesman" either. He's got that smooth, persuasive demeanour about him that has, so far, been lacking in First District Republicans in the past decade or so, and just may be the one who, if elected, could lend some credibility and influence to the Idaho delegation after he has been in office a few terms. Most importantly, I think he is the most likely out of the two to beat Minnick in the general election.

Who do I choose? I'm sure it's obvious from the rest of my post that I am currently leaning toward Ward. However, I will not have made up my mind completely until after the next couple of rounds of Lincoln Days, when I have had a chance to hear, and speak to, the different candidates. Hope everyone's had a happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I've had a chance to post on here. So much as happened, and June seems to have zoomed by. Since the last post, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays have died; the Governor of South Carolina has proved himself to be what seems to be yet another embarassment and disgrace to the Republican Party; Iran has erupted in protest over disputed election results, and, I'm sure, many other things I cannot think of at the moment.

Regaring the first item: Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

On the second - Sanford must go! Not only did he disgrace his office and his party, and cause further damage to a party already in disarray, he abandoned his post as Governor to take a trip to South America for 5 days, for his own sexual pleasure. This is unforgivable for a chief executive, and he must either resign or be subject to impeachment proceedings. If I were a South Carolina resident, I would immediately be contacting my State Legislator and Gov. Sanford's office expressing this sentiment.

On Iran, we are doing the right thing by not getting directly involved - we need to root quietly for the opposition, while not meddling in the affairs of a sovereign nation. Deal with Ahmenijidad (or however the heck you spell his name) if he poses a direct threat to the U.S., but, otherwise, it's none of our business how he governs Iran. Don't get me wrong, I feel for the Iranian people, but we need to stop being the world's policeman, and allow dissident groups in oppressive regimes to overthrow said regimes if they gain the strength to do so.

This, of course, is just my quick summary on my take of what's going on in the world at the moment. I will try to post some more in depth commentary as my time allows.

Have a happy Independence Day holiday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Update on Aftermath of Tiller Murder

As I predicted, Tiller is being called a "Martyr:"

The statements quoted in this article, quite frankly, border on sacriledge. It's one thing to be "personally opposed" but, for whatever reason, support legal abortion, or, a-la Clinton, want abortion to be "safe, legal, and rare," which is the standard, mainstream liberal line. But, for anyone, let alone clergy, to say or imply that abortion is a good thing, goes way beyond the pale.

It used to be, while liberals and conservatives differed on whether abortion should be legal, or whether Roe v. Wade was correctly decided, one thing we all could agree on was that we want to minimize the number of abortions. Liberals thought more social programs for single parents, and better adoption regulations, etc., were the way to do this; conservatives thought legislation limiting, regulating, or banning abortions was the best way to achieve this goal; while many others (Christian (small-d) democrats) thought a two-pronged approach incorporating both solutions would best reduce abortions. However, the goal was the same: reduce abortions. To lionize Tiller as a "Saint" and a "martyr" is just - incredible.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dr. George Tiller Killed

Just heard that Dr. George Tiller, the infamous Kansas Abortionist, was murdered this past Sunday morning: Barack Obama, apparently, is "shocked and outraged."

Certainly, as bad as Tiller's actions were, murder is murder - "do no evil that good may come." As tempting as it may be to envision him facing eternal fire for the many innocent lives he took, as Christians it is our duty to hope and pray that, in his last moments (unlikely as it may be), he repented and saw the wrong in what he was doing.

Regarding the effect on the pro-life movement as whole, this is a very troubling development. Dealing with an administration that views pro-lifers as suspect anyway, this could lead to greater restrictions on free speech and abortion protests, as well as giving the pro-abortion movement a martyr around whom to rally in order to advance their agenda (FOCA?). Fortunately, pro-life groups were quick to condemn the killing. However, I fear that will not be enough for the abortion lobby which holds sway over the current administration (including Tiller's ally, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day

Just a little something to think about for Memorial Day weekend:

They set a marble tomb above my shattered self, seeking to do me honor thus, to recompense the searing days, the crawling nights I died in. "He lies here deep," the graven letters say, "He lies here deep, unknown to all save God."
O, sweet it is, they say. O, sweet it is to die the battle death.
Yes. It is sweet.
As gall is sweet and wormwood, so is death.
I died.
I felt the bitter fire, the cleaving steel, the pain.
I am content.
Yet I am weary in my sentiments.
The sleep of death is not so very deep.
Lately, the spring has come and yesterday a tiny root of some green thing has split the stones apart wherein I lie.
Its tender, questing fingers seek my hand - as mine sought flowers on some yesterday forgot.
Above my head, the hushed clang of arms, the measured tread of sentinels that guard my bed, forbid me sleep.
My face is dim in Eternity now.
But, once, you knew me.
Perhaps you wept to hear that Sergeant Death had spoke my name.
Is it you that I hear through the dust, O, my brother?
Is it your little song that I hear, O, my mother?
I, in my tomb of marble? I, in my tomb of stone?
I am the Chief of them all.
I am the Chief of the Dead.
I died.
And, dying, became a mystery.
To every mother, her son.
To every brother, his brother.
To every soldier, his comrade.
I, the Chief of the Dead.
I was content to lie here, masked in uncertainty, having the homage of all of you here in my marble tomb.
I was content, I say.
Yet now spring comes again as I saw it once before that day I died.
Is it your hand that rests on the stone, O, my sister?
Is it your tear - that falls on the stone, O, my wife?
I hear the trumpets now.
The volleys sound.
The sabers flash against a sun I may not know.
I may not rise.
I have my duty. Here. Alone.
I, in my tomb of marble.
I, in my tomb of stone.
I am the Chief of them all.
I am the Chief of the Dead.

From "In the House Where I Was Born," by Wyllis Cooper.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Christian Democracy Movement Update

It appears that there is a new attempt to organize a Christian Democracy movement in the United States: This site shares many similarities to the old CDU page, the Web Archive of which I posted in an earlier post, which leads me to suspect that many of the same people are giving it another shot under a new name. [Edit - indeed, Chris Erickson, the man behind the CDU meetup and the first CDU website is the driving force behind the new Common Center site. Glad he hasn't given up. Keep up the good work!]

The website is still somewhat skeletal - most of the links just lead to pages with templates on them, but I encourage those (few, if any) who are reading this to support the effort. I will add the new site to my Links section, and occasionally post on their progress.

Story of a Party

Once upon a time, there was an established centre-right political party, which had survived many conflicts and turmoils in its 126+ year history, from lost elections, to leadership "coups," culminating in a couple of impressive victories under a charismatic leader in the 1980's. Later on, following the departure of a highly unpopular incumbent, the party attempted to move toward the "centre," choosing a leader who, while somewhat fiscally conservative, was pro-abortion, and anti-gun. The party insiders thought this leader could take the party to victory, and put the time under the unpopular leader behind them. Then came the election.

Rather than soaring to victory, the "centrist" leader alienated social conservatives in the West, while, in the East, serious campaign gaffes, and the albatros of carrying the previous leader's party label, drove voters to the centre-left party, which, thanks to the new "conservative" leader, was now not all that different policy wise anyway. The party went from holding one of the largest majorities in history, to collapsing to two seats - the largest defeat of an incumbent political party in the history of the democratic world.

That party was the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Now you know the rest of the story.,_1993

Something for Republicans who think moving to the "centre" is the solution to think about.

1st District Update

It's been an eventful weekend, so I will be making several posts today. The first is an update on the 1st District Congressional Race - apparently, Ron Crane has decided not to run, citing party infighting as his reason.

While I, myself, am supporting Vaughn Ward, and welcome the development of having less in what is likely to be a crowded Primary, if Mr. Crane is not able to handle political conflict, then, perhaps, Congress, especially a Democrat Congress, is not the place for him. He (seems) to be doing a fine job as State Treasurer - better to have a competent incumbent in a Statewide office, than creating yet another open race in a contentious chapter in the history of party politics.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Idaho First District Congressional Race

I heard recently that Idaho State Treasurer Ron Crane has thrown his hat in the ring for the 1st District Congressional race, which promises to be hotly contested in November. While Crane, no doubt, is qualified, Vaughn Ward has been spending quite a bit of time up in North Idaho lately, while Crane has not (I do not even recall seeing him in Moscow during his race for State Treasurer, though I could be mistaken). Even though Crane served for a number of years in the legislature, and has managed to get elected to Statewide office, State Treasurer is a rather obscure position which, absent scandal, does not lend itself to a lot of media attention. I would bet that, if you asked 100 people on the street who the State Treasurer is, maybe 10 would be able to identify Crane.

From meeting Ward this last weekend, my impression is that he is a skilled campaigner - he knows how to "sell" himself, but does not come across as a "used car salesman" either. He doesn't try to play the fun-loving cowboy (Butch Otter), or the "tell-it-like-it-is-regardless-of-what-others-think" conservative (Bill Sali), but strikes the perfect balance, giving the impression of confidence, competence, and sincerity. Don't get me wrong - I think we would be in good hands with Ron Crane in D.C., but Ward has the makings of a leader, and will be a stronger challenger to Minnick.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jack Kemp passes away.

Just recently heard some sad news:

While I didn't much care for his support for free trade, the GOP should be reaching out to moderates in the mold of Jack Kemp,, rather than Arlen Specter or, as I've heard them called, "The Ladies of Maine" (Snowe and Collins).

While I realize he was not Catholic, Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis ("Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him").

Jack Kemp, requiescat in pace.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Minnick shows his true colours

As many are aware, the homosexual hate crimes bill has passed the U.S. House: As tempting as it is to comment on this development in itself, so many others have done so, thus any further commentary on my part would simply be redundent.

What got my attention most about this news was the vote: If you look closely under the "Ayes," you will see, in the middle column, toward the bottom, "Minnick." While this does not surprise me in the least, Minnick's apparent fiscal conservativism most certainly does not cross over into social conservatism. While this is, probably, not a vote huge enough in itself to cause a sufficient social conservative backlash against Minnick, if he continues this pattern, he will have a diffcult re-election bid ahead of him in this socially conservative district.

Tomorrow evening I, and some other Shoshone Republicans, will be having supper with one of Minnick's potential challengers: Vaughn Ward While I do not know a lot about him, his conservative credentials seems solid enough, and he has been spending quite a bit of time here up North, which is always a plus. Will he be the man to unseat Minnick? Time will tell.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Christian Democracy

I have thought, for a long time, that we need an organized Christian Democratic movement in the United States (see links on Christian Democracy and the Rerum Novarum on the right-hand column of this page). While I do believe that fiscal conservatism, in general, "works" better than the various left-wing economic ideologies, some tend to forget that the dollar is a servant, not a master. Oftentimes, when the currents of the market take us off course, the state must act as the helmsman who steers us back on course. Pope Leo XIII and, to an extent, G.K. Chesterton ( struck the perfect balance, whereas Adam Smith and Karl Marx went too far off the edge on the Right and the Left respectively.

Various attempts have been made to promote a CD movement in the U.S. - one of the most recent being here: (the site is now down, so it now resides in Web Archive for posterity). While I do not agree 100% with everything the CDUSA had on their website, I believe they were much closer to the mark than the GOP. It's a pity they didn't make it far off the ground. One of their organizers set up a "meetup group" down in Texas:, but I am unsure how successful it has been. Even another blogger whom I sometimes follow,, has given up CD to join the Constitution Party, which he confirmed in his response to comment I left on his blog. See Is the possibility of even a non-partisan CD movement dead in the water? It may seem so, but it doesn't have to be.

Christian Democrats need to take a page from the Ron Paul playbook, and focus on grassroots organization in both parties: CD social policies can be emphasized in the GOP, whereas CD economic policies can be emphasized in the Democrat Party, under the guise of the heritage of William Jennings Bryan, Al Smith, and Sargent Shriver. A focus should be made on electing CD precinct committeemen, State Central Committee members, and convention delegates, and, as the Ron Paul movement has shown, Meetup Groups and internet organization can be very successful in this venture. If we are serious about making this happen, then it can happen. However, if we simply resign ourselves to the Culture of Death and Socialism on the one side, and marketeer libertarianism and vestiges of Social Darwinism on the other, then it cannot happen. If the libertarians can exercise influence within the GOP with these methods (at the State and local level, at least), then we can do it as well. A CD movement would be particularly successful in conservative, working class, "union" areas like Shoshone County (or Appalachia).

Something to think about, in any event...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Comments Enabled

As an aside, I have decided to enable comments, on a trial basis. However, I have elected to moderate all comments, and any offensive comments, personal attacks, or "spam" will be deleted without further notice.

Arlen Specter

For my first "substantive" post, I will comment on the Arlen Specter issue. Of course, by now, those who follow political news will be aware of Arlen Specter's decision to cross over to the Democrats: While the pundits will, no doubt, beat this issue to death over the next few days, one of his reasons for crossing is that the Republicans have shifted too far to the right.

This raises the curious question - was the Republican party really closer to the centre in the days of Joseph McCarthy, Robert Taft, William McKinley, and (early) Barry Goldwater (even "progressive" Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and William Borah would be pretty conservative by today's standards)? Or was the period in the 1970's where moderates like Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller led the Party more of an abberation? I have never read anything from a reputable historian which described Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, or Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. as "moderates" or "centrists," which leads me to think that the Ford/Rockefeller era was an attempt to broaden the GOP's electoral appeal in otherwise liberal States, which faded during the Reagan era and fizzled out with the Newt Gingrich "contract with America."

The fact is, the Republican Party has more or less always been the conservative party in the United States, which can be traced back to its Whig and Federalist predecessors (even opposition to slavery can be fairly classified as a socially conservative position, as the early Republicans rejected the "right" of the plantation owners to "choose" to own other human beings whom the Democrats denied were "persons." Compare Dred Scott v. Sandford with Roe v. Wade). Were many Republicans beginning to become fed-up with Specter? Sure. Would Specter have faced a tough primary challenge from Toomey? Quite possibly. Given Pennsylvania's support of Democrat candidates for President in the last few elections, would a Democrat have an easier chance of getting elected in that State? Very plausible. But, at least, be honest - don't tell us that the GOP has made an unprecedented shift to the Right, when, in fact, it has always been the party of the Right.

In sum, Specter's change will not matter much vote-wise, nor will it shift the balance of power in the Senate. Specter has simply realized that, being a liberal, in a conservative party, in a left-leaning State, is a tough row to hoe. From a political standpoint, it was a pragmatic decision, though, as a Republican, I cannot help but feel somewhat betrayed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Welcome to my new Blog, The Shoshone Conservative, where I will treat you to my commentary on politics, religion, and all things controversial (you will note that I have disabled comments), all from the perspective of a North Idaho, Catholic conservative in one of the last Democrat Counties in Idaho. Occasionally, I will comment on politics from other countries as well, mainly Canada (where I am originally from), Ireland, and the United Kingdom (where many of our country's roots lie).

I will update this blog as my schedule allows - which means, some months, it could be a while between posts, while, other times, there may be several new posts in a day. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!