Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

The Electoral College – Why Keep It?

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 10, 2016


Love the Electoral College; it kept us from a President Al Gore and now a President Hillary Clinton. Hate the Electoral College; it gave us President George W. Bush and now President Donald J. Trump.

The reason for the Electoral College is much more fundamental to our election system than any one election. Our fore fathers (yes, I know they were mostly old white men some of whom had slaves) wrote a most extraordinary document. It established a republic, not a democracy. “A republic if you can keep it.” said Benjamin Franklin. The Constitution, that has served us well for over 200 years, reflects a populist distrust of an all-powerful central government. To protect us from such a government, it incorporated several checks and balances that devolved government to the states. (Amendment X) That is why the U.S. Senate is composed of two senators from each state regardless of population and the House of Representative’s membership is based on population. (Article I, Sections 2 and 3) It also explains why a presidential candidate must receive a majority vote in the Electoral College to win. If not, the election of the president goes to the House of Representatives where each state gets one vote with each state’s delegation voting to determine that state’s vote. The Electoral College and the process to follow if no one wins the Electoral College is one more protection from too much power for the federal government. (Article II, Section 1.3) These constitutional provisions also protect us from tyranny of the majority.

We eliminate the Electoral College at our peril. Beware the unintended consequences.


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Why Vote for Trump?

Posted by Warren Peterson on July 28, 2016

I haven’t posted to my blog in a long time but this election is so beyond belief it is impossible to stay silent. To leave no doubt where I come from, put me in the “Never Hillary” camp. I plan to write in John Kasich in November unless (in the unlikely event) Washington State is in play. If it is, I will hold my nose and with a shaking hand mark my ballot for Trump. In a choice between two extremely flawed candidates there are two reasons that tip the race to Trump.

First, is the appointment of two to three Supreme Courts justices. Trump has provided a list of eleven conservative sitting judges any one of which is qualified to serve. Hillary would almost certainly select court candidates from well left of center. The new base of the Democrat party is socialist and they would demand justices in the mode of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The long range damage a leftist court could do to the country out weights any potential harm from a Trump administration.

Second, Republicans will most likely retain the majority in the House of Representatives. While the House largely failed to check Obama’s policies, they would get Democrat support to mitigate any Trump excesses. Hopefully we would not have to endure another impeachment drama but should the House impeach Hillary, senate Democrats would lock up against conviction but if Trump was in the docket, Democrats and Republicans could very well join to remove him from office even if it meant Democrats would have to accept a conservative Mike Pence as president.

It is absolutely amazing that in a nation of 320 plus million people we can’t find two better qualified presidential candidates. But the nation is divided. The political process carries some of the blame but the politicians from both parties hold the lion’s share. They did not recognize the undercurrent of dissatisfaction, mistrust and failure to forthrightly address the issues that spawned groups like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street and ultimately Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

We will have to play the hand we have and hope the change it brings is not worse than what we have undergone in the last eight years. Pray.

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Same Sex Marriage and Christianity

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 1, 2015

Mainline churches are dividing over the question of same sex marriage. The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA), the largest of the Presbyterian denominations, recently revised its definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to “…a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman…” Each congregation, however, retains the right to hold to the one man, one woman traditional view of marriage. This change, along with other issues, has caused an increasing number of PCUSA churches to leave and join other Presbyterian denominations.

George Hinman, Senior Pastor of the University Presbyterian Church in Seattle set aside his planned Palm Sunday sermon and instead spoke forthrightly on how we should respond to challenges we face in the light of this recent PCUSA action. It is a message not just for Presbyterians but for all Christians regardless of where one comes down on the issue of same sex marriage.

The You Tube 29 minute video lays out the core of Christianity – Jesus Christ and grace.

Same Sex Marriage and Christianity

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Is Racist Speech Free?

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 13, 2015

As Rush and others have pointed out, rappers can use racist language as bad or worse than the idiot frat boys at U of O and get rich doing it. The 1st Amendment guarantees free speech with very few limits (can’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire). Painful as it is, racist speech is protected speech as is speech and protests opposing such speech. We have the 1st Amendment not just to allow people to speak their mind but to keep the government or any other entity from impinging on that right.

When I posted the above on Facebook, I received the following comment: ” Anyone can ‘speak their mind’ but must be willing to ‘bear the consequences.’ Legality has nothing to do with morality or kindness or empathy.” I agree but if the “consequences” in and of themselves go beyond counter speech into legal repercussions, care must be taken to not to violate the 1st Amendment. See:…/

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Republican Senator’s Treason?

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 13, 2015

47 Republican Senators commit treason! Oh please, get serious. If their open letter to Iran is treason then so is Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria that undermined U.S. policy to isolate Assad. As is “Baghdad“ Jim McDermott’s travels to Iraq just when the U.S. was pressuring Saddam to allow unrestricted inspections for WMDs. Then there were numerous Democrat members of Congress falling all over themselves going to Nicaragua supporting the, dare I use the word, Communist government over the U.S. favored rebels. Teddy Kennedy, Harry Reid, John Kerry and others of their ilk never shied away from publicly criticizing Republican president’s foreign policy, and yes, it is not unheard of to have Republicans return the favor when a Democrat holds the White House. It’s politics folks so object all you want but tone down the rhetoric.

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Friends, Democrats and Free Speech

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 17, 2015

I have several friends on Facebook and e-mail that live in the fantasy world of liberal politics. Usually I don’t respond to their comments except for some of their more egregious ones. They are fond of highlighting Republican nut cases but never mention the ones on the Left. They disparage all Republicans as evil at worst or stupid at best. They rant against Fox News but quote the Daily Kos, the snarky Rachel Maddow and the rest of MSNBC’s hosts as gospel truth. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are saints while Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell and the rest of the Republicans want to push old ladies in a wheel chair off a cliff (in an actual ad from the 2012 campaign), take away Social Security (offer private options), limit women’s health care (read abortion, even partial birth abortion) , raise taxes on the poor (any GOP tax reform proposal), make students pay (including student loans), destroy the environment (consider economic impacts), support endless war (leave a security force in Iraq), demean illegal  immigrants (secure the boarders first), to be controlled by the rich (there are no rich Democrats?) etc. Summarized in, “It’s all Bush’s fault.” If Republicans are so stupid and brazen, it is a wonder they swept the 2014 elections; with a Republican U.S. Senate and House, control of a large majority of state legislative bodies (59 of 98) and 31 of 50 governorship’s.

The Democrat party with its allies among the far left interest groups and the media are conducting a coordinated and continuous campaign of vilification and personal destruction against Republicans and conservative media. It shows in the talking points of Democrat leaders and reporting on left leaning media. If a Republican candidate emerges as a potential nominee for high office or a Republican office holder proposes legislation, watch for the immediate personal attack and the repeated Democrat mantras about those evil Republicans.

Does it work? There are signs it does not.  In the 2014 elections in the Blue State of Washington, a very wealthy California liberal poured millions of dollars into several state senate races in an effort to keep Republicans from achieving control of the Washington State Senate and stymieing the leftist proposals of the Democrat governor. The one conservative Democrat and several Republican targets all won and the state senate is now in Republican hands. Nevertheless, a lie repeated constantly sometimes morphs into perceived fact. The story that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction is a case in point.

I don’t expect these words to change my lefty friend’s minds but I do demand the 1st Amendment right to express an opinion without being called an uneducated bigot just because I don’t agree with their world view.

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2014 Elections Wave

Posted by Warren Peterson on November 7, 2014

SUE-NAM-EE! – Also known as one big mother of a wave. In politics it looks like this:

U.S. Senate – Republicans held 45 seats in the Senate on November 3, 2014. The next day, Election Day, they added 7 members taking control of the Senate with a 52 – 48 majority. That number will likely grow to 54 once the Louisiana runoff election on December 6 is over and the Alaska vote is finally tallied November 19th.

U.S. House of Representatives – Already in the majority, the GOP added at least 13 more in a historic sweep. Results in over a dozen races are yet to be finalized but Republicans are expected to win several of them. Democrats managed to win only one Republican held seat.

Governors – Republicans lost just one incumbent (Pennsylvania) but picked up 4 including Blue states of Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland. Two races are undecided. Vermont will remain in the Democrat column. In Alaska, the incumbent Republican governor currently trails a Republican turned Independent challenger who was endorsed by Sarah Palin. The net gain of 3 gives Republicans 31 (32 counting Alaska) out or 50 governors.

State Legislatures – Republican victories in Senate, House and governor elections showed how wide the wave was but the state legislative races demonstrated the depth. As reported in the International Business Times

“In this week’s election Democrats lost their majorities in legislative chambers in Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and West Virginia. In all, NCSL reports that there are 67 legislative chambers controlled by Republicans and just 29 controlled by Democrats. Republicans gained seats in every region, adding up to 375 seats to their column. That gives the GOP more than 4,100 of the country’s 7,383 legislative seats.”

Now the way Tsunamis work is the first wave is followed by a second one.

Bring on 2016.

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Obama Owns It

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 10, 2014

Colin Powell was right when he said, “If you break it you own it.” We could have an endless discussion on whether or not we should have broken Saddam’s Iraq. (I think it was the right decision with poor planning on controlling the result.) However, when our current Commander-in-Chief took office in 2009, he inherited from President Bush a relatively stable Iraq. It still needed a residual coalition force (Yes, Bush went to Congress and the UN asking for support to remove Saddam plus he put together a coalition of nations to do the job.) to protect and further stabilize Iraq. Unfortunately, President Obama fulfilled one campaign promise and pulled out of Iraq lock, stock and barrel. We are seeing the result of his decision now and Obama owns it.

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It’s Obama’s Fault This Time

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 16, 2014

George W. Bush was rightly faulted for not anticipating the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam. He invaded Iraq with enough military force to overwhelm the Iraqi army but not enough to maintain order until a new government could be established. The result was a bloody campaign to regain the upper hand. It concluded with a gutsy decision by Bush to insert more troops (the Surge) which successfully turned the tide in our favor. With the presidential election in 2008, he turned over to Obama a country that still had a chance to seed democracy in the Middle East but it needed support and yes, pressure on the Iraq government and leadership from the United States.

Obama, probably the most inexperienced presidential candidate ever elected, took office in 2009 based on public frustration with Bush, soaring rhetoric (…”this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”), and a litany of promises that mostly turned out to be empty of truth. One of the promises he did keep was ending American involvement in Iraq. The last American troops left Iraq in mid December 2011. Iraq was on its own; no US air power, no US ground forces, no residual US military period. Obama failed to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement, assuming he ever seriously wanted one, to allow some level of US military to remain in Iraq as a stabilizing force and deterrent to exactly what is happening now. He’s repeating his mistake in Afghanistan by telling the Taliban when we are departing and leaving an inadequate force in country insufficient to stabilize or deter. The Taliban cannot help but notice how quickly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria insurgents took advantage of the power vacuum resulting from the end of US involvement in Iraq. One cannot say a continued military presence in Iraq would solve all issues but it could have checked the current crisis.

Obama’s leftist ideology and inexperience will snatch defeat from victory and possibly lead to a regional war. Shiite Iran is making noises about helping fellow Shiites in Iraq defeat the ISIS. Imagine, the potential nuclear armed enemy of the United States pulling our bacon so to speak out of the fire. Could anyone mishandle this crisis more than Obama? Maybe he will break out some of his famous “red lines” or have Michelle start a hashtag campaign, #Iraq for Iraqis – more “leading from behind.” 

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Paglia and Prager Find Common Ground

Posted by Warren Peterson on May 31, 2014

The name Camille Paglia or Dennis Prager may well cause a visceral reaction depending on where one sits on the Left/Right political spectrum. Prager, a Jewish conservative (both religious and political) and nationally syndicated talk show host conducted a fascinating interview with Paglia, a Yale PhD, college professor, lesbian, feminist politically far to Prager’s left. No shouting, interruptions or ad hominen attacks, just a straight forward exchange on various political and cultural views. Listen and see if you hear some common ground (about 23 minutes).


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