Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Obama Derangement Syndrome is just as unattractive as Bush Derangement Syndrome or Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which I like to think I am recovering from.
If we as a society place a public premium on "saving" the automobile industry from its default reorganization under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy -- which has been good enough for the steel and airline industries, among others -- then a better manner in which to express that premium might be to establish special tax consideration for those who are willing to take on the risk. One way of doing that is to provide an exemption from capital-gains taxation on all debt or equity instruments used in the next six months to invest in the troubled auto makers.And a line that I love:
By waiving the future capital-gains tax on all investments in the automobile industry, we enhance the projected return models and therefore the likely occurrence of a privately funded "bailout." There are turnaround firms and funds, and they are experts at what needs to be done. Tax exemption for gains would certainly get their attention. It also wouldn't cost taxpayers anything because it only forgoes future government revenues that wouldn't exist absent this incentive.
At the very least, my constituents in Colorado won't find themselves as limited partners in a private equity fund run by Congress making speculative investmentsToo bad Jared doesn't start until next year, and likely will be too late to vote on this bailout mess.
in flagging automobile manufacturers and who knows what else with their taxpayer money.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
While I strongly disapprove of the Keynsian-redux we are seeing as response to an exaggerated economic crisis, the impulse to use fiscal policy to affect the overall economy (a strategy fruitless at best and disastrous at worst) is not limited to those politicians with a D after thier names. In these times of "Change we can believe in (but not really)" I welcome centrist economic advisers because I feared something more radical. This crew could have just as likely served in the administration of a moderate Republican--like McCain. Geithner provides continuity with Paulson (the advantage here is, of course, negligible except that markets like continuity); Summers is an ardent free-trade advocate and consistent free marketeer; and Romer has written extensively about the negative effect of tax increases on investment. At least Paul Krugman isn't in the picture--yet.
Perhaps, like the Dems for the past eitght years I can hope only to grasp at straws, but unlike the Dems for the past eight years I am actually looking for straws to grasp.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
1) Regardless of his policies, it is refreshing that America can final elect a black man to be its president. Is racism out the window? No, but this is still a tremendous step forward.
2) DOMA and DADT will finally have a chance of being thrown to the dustbin of history. If so, I will rejoice that. If not, it will just prove that Democrats don't really care about gays; they just want to take our votes.
3) The Republicans got a beating they needed to whip them back to principles. They have spit on the principles of the party in the naked pursuit of power. It's time to find those principles again, AND someone who can communicate them. Being merely "Not Democrat" is not a promising strategy.
4) Hillary Clinton looks to be out of the White House game. In 2012 she would be running against an incumbent from her own party and in 2016 she'll be 69 years old. Sure she'll stay relevent, but it looks like she's lost her chance for the Oval Office.
5) When things go wrong (and they would no matter last night's results), the Democrats won't have a Republican to blame. They'll try of course, but it will sound as hollow as when Republicans try to blame Clinton for problems that arose after 2001.
6) We'll get to see just what the Democrats believe. Now that they have a Supermajority there will be no need to feign moderation anymore. If they truly are moderate, then wonderful. If they are as far left as I worry, I have confidence that the American public will not embrace them for long. This was a rejection of the kind of Republicans we have seen lately, not an acceptance of the kind of Democrats we are about to see.
7) In eight years (maybe even four) the Democrats will likely have squandered their power either from infighting or corruption much the way the GOP did. If so, it may benefit a young moderate (gay) Republican running for his first state office.
There. Oh, I just remembered that I need refill my Xanax prescription.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Back in the closet, I thought I was doomed to a loveless but conventional heterosexual marriage, where I became a worka/alcoholic and my wife became ever more bitter and depressed (and perhaps addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol in her own right). Perhaps if I could marry someone I consider a very close friend, it would mitigate the problem, but after 10-20 years of limited physical intimacy and personal repression, who knows what kind of powder keg I'd be.
Then when I came out, admittedly harboring the stereotype that gay relationships are built almost entirely on sex and little else, I was not encouraged. I still wanted picket fences, two children, and a dog.
Then I had a pseudo-boyfriend in my last year school. I was still nervous about being gay and never really opened emotionally, something that has always been difficult for me. Plus the automatic expiration date on our relationship made wonder what the point was.
Then I graduated law school, moved to a new city, and started studying for the bar. I reconnected with someone from last summer. For a while, it was a relationship based on sex, but then it was obvious that he had fallen in love with me well before I had with him (I don't know why but people seem to love me easily, even though I can be cranky, obnoxious and smug. I must be very good in bed.) I was nervous about his feelings, until one night I had realized that inexplicably and without warning my heart opened up and I was in love with him.
If we want to over-analyze, perhaps since I knew that he was already in love with me, I didn't have to risk rejection by opening up emotionally--whatever the reason, I did, and I am so very happy I did.
This boy is always in my mind during the day when we are at work (he has a career, not just a job, of his own--luckily it is well outside of my field so no petty professional jealousies are at risk). He's significantly older than I am, but apparently I have a personal maturity that seems to bridge that gap.
He knows I am a Republican, and respects that; he is a Democrat and I respect that.
I don't mind saying that we are an attractive couple (I rate about an 8.5 and he a 9.5 on a scale of 10) who are poised to become a local gay power couple (he is at the top of his field, and I am starting in a rather lucrative and high profile one).
He practically lives with me. Nothing official, but we spend every night together, and we have to stay at my house because I am the one with the dog. Whenever I am in his arms I feel warmth and comfort throughout my body. Being in love was always such a mysterious abstract thought, now I feel my love for this boy all over. I easily envision our long future together.
Most traumatizing perhaps is, a short time ago, I realized that being with him was the most important thing in the world to me--beyond my goals of wealth building or dreams of public office. I finally, and to my amazement, found someone I care more about than I do myself.
This is a brave new world for The Pink Elephant, and no financial crisis or Obama Presidency is going to be enough to ruin it for me. For the first time ever, I think I would describe myself as truly and deeply happy.
Now don't ask if I have introduced him to anyone in my family....
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The bar exam is over. I can now purge useless legal concepts like the Rule Against Perpetuities and the elements to Common Law burglary from my memory forever.
Much has happened over the summer. For instance I now have a definite individual right to own a firearm. Clinton is not running for president anymore. All sorts of good stuff, but sadly I had to spend much of the summer among fellow bar students. The Obamania was almost oppressive. The common attitude seemed to be, with apologies to John Von Neumann, “You say you will campaign for Obama tomorrow, but I say why not today. You say you will begin campaigning today at five o’clock; I say why not one o’clock.”* Nonetheless, I tended to be fairly respectful and quickly found my single confederate. (On a personal note, I am now seeing someone rather seriously, but my parents still think that its a girl).
I have a stock answer (i.e. my sexual orientation has nothing to do with my views on national security, tax policy, abortions or the environment; the party will only change with pressure from the inside). But that answers only why I am a gay Republican, not why I am a Republican in the first place.
I could go on about the same old stuff—tax & spend, national security, gun rights, abortion—but I won’t. We can talk about those things later. Rather, I am still a Republican because the Party needs me. I’ll go further, YOU need me to be a Republican. You need Mary Cheney to be a Republican. You need Bobby Jindal to be a Republican, and Hector Barreto, and anyone else who is even a little diverse.
Right now there are a few (well more than a few, actually) of us willing to take the bitter with the sweet. But by showing our fellow Republicans that diverse is not bad, and that we don’t have to agree on everything to still share the same broad values, we can slowly but effectively change the face of the party. I find Republicans (especially younger ones) more willing to accept me as gay once they know I still share most of their values (whereas few gays accepts me as Republican). That’s how we change people, by reaching out, not abandoning. I truly believe that in a decade, definitely within two decades, the GOP will embrace this diversity. When that does happen, be thankful that in hard times, some of us didn’t leave the party to the kooks, bigots, and ignorant.
So what about the meantime? Does that mean I give my votes and cash and time to support the totally unsavory to curry favor so I can have a chance to change tomorrow? Not exactly. It does mean I retain credibility within the party by emphasizing what I do agree with and picking my battles. Understand, I have no intention of voting for or otherwise supporting the likes of Sally Kern (which is easy since I don’t live in her district). Yet, if I replace Republicans like her with Democrats, I win on gay issues, but lose on many others just as important to me. No, I want to replace them with better Republicans. Since I don’t have a giant political machine at my disposal I have to support the best of the lot and try to make the next lot even better. So I am content, for now, with Republicans who get maybe a C-/D+ on gay issues instead of a D-/F. I support These are steps, albeit a very small one, in the right direction.
*John von Neumann, one of the 20th Century’s greatest mathematicians, a principal member of the Manhattan Project, and part inspiration for Dr. Strangelove, was, however, talking about preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union and not anything as frivolous as a political campaign.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
See you in August.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I know I can still find a partner, move to an upper middle class suburb, adopt a couple kids and have an enjoyable and satisfying life. Perhaps it's an internalized prejudice, but secretly it feels like a consolation prize. Maybe that's why I am not gung ho about my current relationship (I'm going to break it off, though I may pin the blame on graduation and "going in different directions" blah blah blah).
Occasionally I'll see a woman I think would make a "good wife." She's lovely (but not model beautiful), Southern (not redneck) in dress and manners, with an upbeat personality and a wry, sometimes sarcastic sense of humor. Indeed, I had just the girl picked out in undergrad. She was all those things plus my best friend. Add a cock and she'd have been perfect.
I wonder if these hang-ups come from being closeted to my family. Perhaps when I'm out to them, I'll be more comfortable. Even so, life would be a lot easier if I were straight.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I am only a short way from graduation, and at school I have gone from being deeply in the closet to being out at school. Indeed, straight people now ask me questions as though I some kind of ambassador from the gays (I know, I wouldn't have chosen me to be the gay ambassador either!). Somehow when people find out you are gay, you become everyone's shopping consultant--though honestly I am hard pressed to think of anything less consequential to my life than women's fashion. Nonetheless I do my best to help my friends. Don't worry, boys, I am not sharing any real secrets with breeders; that thing we do with rabbit fur and coke bottles will stay within the community.
I am still not out to anyone in my family. My mom has very obviously given me opportunities to come out, but I am not going to come out to her out of exasperation over the phone. Further, graduation doesn't seem like an appropriate time, basically because the whole family will be here and I see no reason to come out to my grandparents at all. So for the near future, that is probably not going to change.
I am still dating someone, although I feel like I am merely going through the motions (enjoyable as those motions may be). I'm not terribly emotionally invested. Whether it's because I am still uncomfortable with being gay and dating a boy, or I actually am just not that in to him, I leave to only God to know for sure.
Within a month I will be moving to a brand new city--an actual city!!!--to study for the bar and eventually begin my career. It's strange, I still feel too young for this. People's dads are lawyers, not people my age. Naturally I'm nervous, but I'm also excited.
I've been drinking less. I found that I was a bored drinker, and that just seems dangerous. I'm not going completely abstinent, but I am just being careful to be a more moderate consumer of alcohol.
So that's just a little of going on with me that doesn't involve words like "entitlement" or "energy policy" or people I don't know personally but still have strong opinions about.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
This year, I had a federal refund, but state liability (a result of living and working in different states). After I finished my state forms, I found an article on CNN that described how tax day has particular ramifications for same-sex couples.
Take two couples where one partner has a taxable income of $20,000 and the other makes $40,000. If they can file their federal taxes jointly, the tax bill would be $8,217.50. Filing separately, the combined bill would be $9,032.50 -- more than $800 higher.
Another disparity comes with the federal government's treatment of employer-provided health insurance, which also affects unmarried heterosexual couples. . . [Someone who gets health insurance through the employee benefits of a same-sex partner] is required to count the company's cost of his partner's benefits as additional income for tax purposes.
It's not just the higher bills that can be frustrating for same-sex taxpayers; it's also the process of filing taxes, particularly in states that offer some joint benefits to gay couples
. . .
In New Jersey and the other states where same-sex unions are formally recognized, couples can file their state taxes jointly, but they must file their federal tax returns as individuals.
That means doing income calculations twice. Many tax programs such as Intuit's TurboTax are set up to deal with that extra math.
Even so, there are more problems:
[C]ouples with children must decide which partner gets to claim them as dependents for tax purposes on federal returns and returns in states that don't recognize same-sex unions. Similarly, couples who own homes together have to sort out how much of the mortgage interest payments each partner gets to use as a deduction, said Lara Schwartz, the Human Rights Campaign legal director.
I've said it before: Gay marriage is not my issue, but I strenuously support the recognition of same-sex partners as "spouses" by the Department of the Treasury (and frankly any other executive department, but the Treasury and the SSA are by far the biggies). Give us that, and you can call it an Icky-Sex-Pervert Union for all I care.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
For someone who had fairly little enthusiasm about the primaries, I am unusually titillated about the Republican VP spot. Anyway, despite reports that Condi Rice was angling for the number 2 position, McCain has said that he was oblivious to any such angling, and Condi said she has no interest in elected office whatsoever. She wants to return to Stanford.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Condi. Even if you hate her politically, there is much to admire about her. Growing up in the Jim Crow South, she graduated from high school at 16 and went to the University of Denver (not Harvard, but don’t be a hater). She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at age 19. She then worked at the State Department during the Carter Administration. After getting her PhD in international studies, she became a prominent academic and the Provost of Stanford University. Outside of the ivory tower, she is an accomplished pianist and is a huge NFL fan. She is usually considered the most intelligent and poised (if gap toothed) member of the Administration. Plus she can crush your head.
Still I don’t want to see her on a ticket.
She would add little and subtract much. She adds little because she’s a foreign policy/national security specialist. Mac considers that his strong suit. Choosing a foreign policy oriented running mate would send the signal that the McCain administration would care little about the domestic issues that seem to be very important to voters this election. Not a winning strategy. Similarly, she’s not especially conservative socially, another weakness (this time in the eyes of his own party rather than the general electorate) of McCain himself. Finally, some might think a black woman on the ticket would diffuse or even overtake the diversity vote that either Democrat can expect. An attempt to usurp the diversity vote is likely to backfire for Republicans who criticize affirmative actions by claiming to put forth candidates on the basis of qualifications rather than minority status.
What does she subtract? Mostly one thing, but it’s a big one thing: she is VERY closely identified with the Bush Administration. Support for the war notwithstanding, Mac has (wisely) made attempts to distance himself from the current Republican Administration.
So whom should Mac choose? Well, I’m only 25, so it'll probably have to be someone else :) He or she (whom am I kidding? He) should have domestic issue gravitas, most importantly economic expertise, as that is McCain’s admitted weak point. Another asset in a race between a bunch of senators is executive experience—so I’d choose a governor. Finally, I’d choose someone who will placate the right wing screamers who only begrudgingly support McCain. This last criterion is a dangerous one, though. McCain has to find someone closer to the wingnuts than he is, but not so close as to lose the moderates and independents that McCain can draw better than any other Republican.
Sounds like Mitt. At least it doesn’t sound like the Huckster. Barely.
Monday, March 31, 2008
It was supposed to be a "I'm not bitter, I'm empowered because I have an independent personality" kind of thing, but the more I looked it over the more I thought it didn't quite work. It may have implied things inconsistent with some of what I have said before. I think I was really writing about my dissatisfaction with my current relationship, and it was a way of venting. I wrote it, posted it, and then I was all vented. At that point, no need to keep it up.
Anyway, deal with it.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Does this mean the tide is turning? Not really. It just reminds me that it is still far too early to call the race. I need to think positively--I've been reading too much of the morose Andrew Sullivan
New book: I bought Grover Norquist's Book Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives. He describes gay Republicans thusly:
Gay Americans who simply want to be left alone recognize that the modern center-right movement has no agenda to outlaw homosexuality or use the power of the state to tax or attack gays. Gay Americans who are also homeowners, businessmen, shareholders, gun owners or men and women of faith will find the modern left ready, willing and able to tax, regulate and attack them--not as gays--but as income earners, property owners, gun owners, etc.
That nicely complements my view: why does being gay have to change my views on unrelated issues like guns, taxes, national security, or abortion. Why does gay marriage, to which I am personally indifferent, (or even civil unions, which I support but much of the gay othrodoxy decries as insufficent) have to become my top priority litmus test issue?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Back in 2002 when Republicans regained the senate and suddenly controlled both chambers as well as the White House a Republican Professor (There about about as many of those as there are Republican gays--eleven) said to me "I voted for all Republicans, but I am a little worried that they actually won everything. I don't want to live in a one party state--I don't want to be in Argentina." He was exaggerating for sure, and at the time I laughed him off. I have since decided, however, that one of the reasons Republicans lost their way on limited government is that they had no opposition. Human nature is to exercise power once you have it, and without any checks Republicans become the same big government wastrels we accuse Democrats of being.
But with both the legislature and the executive branches controlled by the party that doesn't even pay lip service to limited government, I'm bracing for disaster. I'm getting ready for mandatory health care I don't want paid for by my higher taxes. As a professional, I'll be one of the "wicked rich," despite the fact that my graduate school loan payments will eat up every extra dollar I make over that of others my age. Even with all this "fiscal discipline" (which to Democrats means higher taxes) the looming social security catastrophe will continue to be ignored. Corporations will be squeezed by even higher corporate taxes and more regulation, making it harder for them to employ me and other middle class folks, let alone less skilled employees. Then again, the less skilled employees will be all right because they have unions who will see renewed power to keep the wages of their members high by creating barriers to entry (and thus unemployment). There will be a withdrawal from Iraq (whether we should have gone in the first place is no longer the debate--at this point, the U.S., unlike a Catholic teenager, should not just pull out) and a weakening of our national defenses. Oh, and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that they will make no real progress on gay issues either.
Well, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Certainly one reason is that she is more beatable than B. Hussein Obama, but frankly I am starting to get pessimistic at any Republican winning the White House. The economy is likely to be the primary issue of the election, but McCain's focus is on foreign policy. McCain's economic policies (free trade, tax cuts coupled with spending limits, deregulation) are all great, but they aren't sexy. They won't quickly fix anything. We (by which I mean Americans--I am using the nontraditional meaning of "we" that doesn't include me) want our government to meddle right now, to give us money we haven't earned by taking it from rich people we don't like anyway. Never mind that we bought houses we couldn't afford (or conversely made unnecessarily risky loans--both sides of the transaction want bailouts, and neither deserve them).
So why am I pulling for Clinton over Obama--didn't I just say here that there is little difference between the two? A few Reasons:
First, she's beatable...if not in 2008, then in 2012.
Second, she's highly criticizable until then.
Third, her policies are, unexpectedly, like 10% less socialist than Obama. Right now, I'll take whatever crumbs I can get.
Don't get me wrong. I'll campaign and vote for McCain, and I have already given him money. I'm just afraid I'll need a lot of wine over the next four and a half years.
Maybe I can borrow a little vino from those of you who felt the same way for the last 8.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
It is especially tragic that Buckley died at time when so-called conservatives have abandoned many of his core principles.
I'll miss him.
Friday, February 8, 2008
First, part of me is excited about his “maverick” reputation. It’s almost admirable that he is not afraid to buck party orthodoxy when he believes in it. It shows a commitment to principle, which I consider a good thing (let’s save for a moment a discussion of what those principles he’s committed to actually are). I am (yes, still) a gay Republican. I like the idea of a nominee who, while still Republican, doesn’t quite fit the cookie cutter.
Now , there’s a lot that John McCain stands for that I can get behind. He’s pro-life (hardly a litmus test for me, but still I’m more comfortable protecting a fetus). He’s in favor of the death penalty (please don’t make me get into a discussion of reconciling those views. I can do it, but that’s not the point here). He’s hawkish on foreign policy (though he’s staunchly against torture). He’s on the conservative side of universal healthcare. And most importantly for me, he’s pretty much a fiscal conservative.
“BUT WAIT,” the conservative McCain haters shout, “He voted against the Bush tax cuts, not once but TWICE!”
True, but he was worried about tax cuts without corresponding spending limits. That is a very tenable position for a fiscal conservative. Now he did vote for the tax cuts, the third time around, but hey, it’s hard to fault someone for becoming more conservative in voting (where it matters, instead of mere campaign speeches, Mssrs. Huckabee and Romney).
So, he’s looking pretty darn conservative. The only problem is that maverick streak I mentioned is on the wrong issues. Campaign finance reform under McCain-Feingold has been a disaster. The immigration thing was wrongheaded. The other problem is that there are my maverick issues: on most gay rights he’s just like the majority of GOP members.
So what I have here I a Republican I can agree with on, say, 65% of issues (and several of my priority issues are among those) versus a Democrat (either one, they believe pretty much the same things) whom I agree with on, say, 15% of issues. The choice for me is clear: 65% > 15%. I can live with president McCain more easily than I can live with President Clinbama.
Pass me a McCain button, it’s time to look towards November.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Ezra Levant is a Canadian publisher. In February 2006 Levant's Western Standard magazine (a conservative and libertarian leaning Canadian magazine) reprinted the Danish cartoons that caused the riots after most editors of the Canadian media decided not publish them. A member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada complained about the publication to the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. The Commission called Mr. Levant in for a hearing this month. What follows is Mr. Levant's opening statement at the hearing.