Minnesota Free Market Senior Policy Fellow Craig Westover provided commentary on the Democratic and Republican conventions for MinnPost.com.


McCain, Palin: rebels without a true cause

GOP Convention | 9/5/08

There is romanticism to this notion of the maverick, the outsider, the rebel who does things his or her own way. It’s a powerful theme in this nation founded by rebels. But the best mavericks inspire us to march to the beat of our own drummers; they do not ask us, much less demand of us, that we fall in behind them and march in their parades. Shouldn’t we question why a maverick wants to lead?

Progressive Republicans and Ron Paul

GOP Convention | 9/4/08

At first blush, Ron Paul’s libertarian-leaning brand of Republican conservatism seems to have little in common with progressive, left-leaning RINO (Republican in Name Only) Republicanism. Remarkably, however, beyond a shared aversion to what passes for “conservatism” in today’s Republican Party, Paul supporters and progressive Republicans share a common objective: expanding prosperity and opportunity to an ever increasing number of Americans. But don’t break out in a chorus of “Kumbaya” too fast; that common objective is not nearly enough to overcome the fundamental divide in the way the two camps view the world.

Paul’s supporters celebrate the message

GOP Convention | 9/3/08

Ron Paul didn’t have to give the “speech of his life” Tuesday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis. He didn’t have to strive for soaring rhetoric to inspire nor carefully parse his words to maintain political balance. His supporters weren’t there to listen to a speech; they were there to celebrate a message and a messenger. And celebrate they did.

From libertarian to ‘Ron Paul Republican’

GOP Convention | 9/2/08

“Ron Paul has energized a lot people and brought them into the Republican Party,” said Cunningham, “But it is the ground work laid by libertarians over the past 40 years that made the Ron Paul revolution possible. A year ago, a lot of the people here would have identified themselves as ‘libertarians.’ Today they say they are ‘Ron Paul Republicans.’ I say I’m a ‘Ron Paul Republican’ — but it’s always a Ron Paul Republican.”

Now, Republicans must tackle tricky ‘change’ issue

GOP Convention | 9/1/08

The challenge for the Republicans this week is crafting a message of change that goes beyond simply an ideologically driven conservative vision of the “world as it should be.” In the eyes of many rank-and-file Republicans, delegates in St. Paul are more challenged to address the fundamental conservative ideas on display across the river in Minneapolis at Ron Paul supporters’ Rally for the Republic than to craft a compromise echo to the Democratic mantra of change.

Obama’s misuse of the tax system

DEM Convention | 8/29/08

Of all the lines in all the speeches delivered during the Democratic National Convention, none is more indicative of what an Obama presidency portends than his loudly applauded promise to use the tax system to reward corporations that help pursue his agenda (and conversely punish those that do not).

What the Clinton-Obama rift tells us about the Democratic Party

DEM Convention | 8/28/08

But what makes interesting the Clinton supporters’ charges that Obama ran a sexist campaign and the hints of Clintonian racism coming from the Obama camp is that these invectives were flying among the anointed, the betters among us who jump on every wage differential as proof of sexism and every concern over social spending as an indication of racism. These are the people who have been lecturing America for decades about sexism and racism; the people who have used government power to “correct” the sexist and racist society that perpetrates such evil.

Convention speeches: ‘The world as it should be’

DEM Convention | 8/26/08

The first time she heard Barack speak, Michelle Obama recalled how he talked about the “world as it is” and the “world as it should be.” That theme recurred throughout her speech.

Obama and McCain: Running for an office not in the Constitution

DEM Convention | 8/25/08

So pervasive is the public conception of a superhero president that voters unwittingly weigh campaign rhetoric and policy proposals without the balance of constitutional context. They do so at their peril.