You can call me a common-sense conservative. My approach to the issues facing my country and the world, issues that we’ll discuss today, are rooted in this common-sense conservatism… Common sense conservatism deals with the reality of the world as it is. Complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful, we believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.
We don’t believe that human nature is perfectible; we’re suspicious of government efforts to fix problems because often what it’s trying to fix is human nature, and that is impossible. It is what it is. But that doesn’t mean that we’re resigned to, well, any negative destiny. Not at all. I believe in striving for the ideal, but in realistic confines of human nature…
The opposite of a common-sense conservative is a liberalism that holds that there is no human problem that government can’t fix if only the right people are put in charge. Unfortunately, history and common sense are not on its side. We don’t trust utopian promises; we deal with human nature as it is.
On what caused the financial crisis:
While we might be in the wilderness, conservatives need to defend the free market system and explain what really caused last year’s collapse. According to one version of the story, America’s economic woes were caused by a lack of government intervention and regulation and therefore the only way to fix the problem, because, of course, every problem can be fixed by a politician, is for more bureaucracy to impose itself further, deeper, forcing itself deeper into the private sector.
I think that’s simply wrong. We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place. The mortgage crisis that led to the collapse of the financial market, it was rooted in a good-natured, but wrongheaded, desire to increase home ownership among those who couldn’t yet afford to own a home. In so many cases, politicians on the right and the left, they wanted to take credit for an increase in home ownership among those with lower incomes. But the rules of the marketplace are not adaptable to the mere whims of politicians.
Lack of government wasn’t the problem. Government policies were the problem. The marketplace didn’t fail. It became exactly as common sense would expect it to. The government ordered the loosening of lending standards. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates low. The government forced lending institutions to give loans to people who, as I say, couldn’t afford them. Speculators spotted new investment vehicles, jumped on board and rating agencies underestimated risks.
On greenhouse gas legislation:
It seems like some are looking to ever more ways that will actually destroy economic opportunities today. Take for example, Washington’s cap-and-trade scheme. I call it the “cap-and-tax” scheme. Right now we have the highest unemployment rate in 25 years, and it’s still rising. And yet some in D.C. are pushing a cap-and-tax bill that could cripple our energy industry or energy market and dramatically increase the rates of the unemployed, and that’s not just in the energy sector.
American jobs in every industry will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under this cap-and-tax plan. The cost of farming will certainly increase. That’s going to drive up the cost of groceries and drive down farm incomes. The cost of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also rise. We are all going to feel the effects. The Americans hardest hit will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet today, much less with this new tax every month…
I am not indifferent to environmental concerns. Far from it. As governor, I created a sub-cabinet to study the impacts of climate change in my state. And I was the first governor to do so. It took us in a new direction…
I’m a supporter of nuclear power and renewables. We can develop these resources without destroying our economy. And we can help the environment and our economy through energy independence.
On health care:
I seem to have acquired notoriety in national debate. And all because of two words: death panels. And it is a serious term. It was intended to sound a warning about the rationing that is sure to follow if big government tries to simultaneously increase health care coverage while also claiming to decrease costs. Government has just got to be honest with the people about this….
As I said, it’s just common sense to realize that government’s attempts to solve large problems like the health-care challenges that we have, more often create new ones, and a top down one size fits all plan will not improve the workings of a nationwide health-care system that accounts for some one-fifth of our economy.
Common sense also tells us that passing a trillion dollar new retirement program, that’s not the way to reduce health-care spending. Real health-care reform is market oriented, patient centered and result driven. It would give all individuals the same tax benefit, that an ideal plan that I would have in mind, same tax benefits as those who get coverage through their employers. And give Medicare recipients vouchers so that they can buy their own coverage. And reform tort laws and change regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top down government plan, we should give Americans themselves control over their own health care with market friendly responsible ideas.
On relations with China:
We engage with a hope that Beijing becomes a responsible stakeholder, but we must take steps in the event that it goes in a different direction. See, we all hope to see a China that is stable and peaceful and prosperous. Optimism that yes, it will be.
Asia is at its best when it is not dominated by a single power. In seeking Asia’s continued peace and prosperity, we should seek, as we did in Europe, an Asia whole and free. Free from domination by any one power…
On China’s relations with Taiwan, and other controversial issues:
We simply cannot turn a blind eye to Chinese policies and actions that could undermine international peace and security. Here, China has some one thousand missiles aimed at Taiwan and no serious observer though believes that it poses a serious threat to Beijing. Those same Chinese forces make our friends in Japan and Australia kind of nervous.
China provides support for some of the most questionable regimes, from Sudan to Burma to Zimbabwe. China’s military buildup, it raises concern from Delhi to Tokyo because it’s taking place in the absence of really any discernable threat to it. China, along with Russia, has repeatedly undermined efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its defiance of the international community in pursuing its nuclear program. And the Chinese food and safety, uh food and product safety record, of course it’s raised alarms from East Asia and Europe to the U.S. and domestic instance of unrest. From the protest of Uighurs and Tibetans to Chinese workers throughout the country rightfully makes a lot of people nervous.
On human rights and democracy in China:
The more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnic group will be able to settle disputes in court rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we’ll be concerned about its military buildup and its intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is that they will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests. And I’m not talking about a U.S.-led democracy crusade. [We’re] not going to impose our values on other countries. We don’t seek to do that. But the ideas of freedom and liberty and respect for human rights, it’s not just a U.S. idea. They’re very much more than that. They’re enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international covenants and treaties.
On China-U.S. economic relations:
Our economic interdependence drives our relationship with China. I see a future of more trade with China and more American high tech goods in China. But in order for that to happen, we need China to improve its rule of law, and protect our intellectual property. We need to avoid protectionism and China’s flirtation with state assisted national champions. On our part we should be more open to Chinese investment where our national security interests are not threatened. In the end though, our economic relationship will truly thrive when Chinese citizens and foreign corporations can hold the Chinese government accountable when their actions are unjust.
Read more at Texas for Palin.
All the above just makes common sense. Contrast the above with the apologetic nonsense the Obamassiah had to say to the UN yesterday.
In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War.
Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people, and - in the past - America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment, it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self evident - and the United States of America will never waiver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.