Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Topic That Will Resonate in Any Election - Alternative Sentencing

Great campaigns have been formed when bright ideas, rarely at the forefront of the public mind but which resonate with vigorous strength when introduced, are presented. I can think of no better issue that could accomplish this in this day and age than alternative sentencing. The issue, if presented correctly, has the power to change the focus of the election.

The reasoning is simple. Most people believe that in today's day and age, when a variety of options exist to deal with and deter crime, no one who isn't a threat to society should ever be locked up. Indeed, it is cruel to incarcerate someone who poses no threat to society.

But one may ask, what of the crime epidemic? Well, study after study has shown that menial labor is a far greater deterrent to criminals reoffending than prison. In fact, prison makes career criminals out of non-violent offenders for the simple reason that when someone is locked up, bored to death with only criminals surrounding them, the likelihood that they'll simply "join the club" is immense.

Just ask anyone which of the two is a greater deterrent to society, which of the following sends a clearer, more visible impression to potential criminals? Locking up a criminal so that no one sees them or sending a bus to pick them up every morning in full view of their neighbors, taking them away until late at night for back breaking work and then dropping them off tired and disheveled? Imagine that happening day in and day out! Which of the two punishments truly accomplishes what prison was supposed to do?

Add to that the fact that a greater percentage of Americans are incarcerated than in any other country and the fact that juries have shown a tendency to convict based on suspicion alone and the case for alternative sentencing becomes clear. Then add to the mix the fact that alternative sentencing would force criminals to pay for their own upkeep instead of society doing it for them with our tax dollars and at the expense of other needed programs.

The Corrections Industry would benefit from such a program too as prison guards would become work duty supervisors or organizers. Owners of private prisons stand to benefit by administering these labor contracts, sending non-violent offenders to work for companies that need hard, menial labor, the type of labor that few others will do.

Now ask the American people if it really makes sense to punish families by sending parents away from young children for years at a time when they pose no threat to society and often due to accidental crimes when there's a far better and far more effective way? Ask the American people which system truly deters and truly provides corrective punishment.

Add to that another simple fact. If you take a sixteen year old kid who was involved in minor crime and sentence him to 6 months in prison you'll have a career criminal on your hands in no time. Take the same kid, wake him up early every day and send him out to shovel ditches for half that time or less and he'll never offend again.

In short, any party that wants to win this election and remind the American voters which party is the party of ideas should be promoting this issue in full force. Let's get this election back to issues that voters care about. This one will resonate.

Note: The President's foreign policy, which may be unpopular now but which will be seen as having been necessary and an example of foresight in the future, is already a legacy builder as are the tax cuts that stimulated the economic success that is recognized by all who follow the markets, but to cement his legacy as a truly "Compassionate Conservative," one who did what was right and changed society for the better, in the most effective and memorable way, there's no better issue to accomplish this than to cite the facts laid out above in a clear and concise manner, followed by memorable action.

If President Bush gets up and makes the case for alternative sentencing and then boldly offers a Presidential commutation to all non-violent and non-willful offenders from prison to a daily labor program he'll not only have cemented his reputation as a man who changed society and taught a lesson in true justice that will last and will resonate. Even his sharpest critics would be forced to say "this man gets it." This issue, more than any other, can shock people into realization, with an "Of course - Why didn't I think of that?" It certainly has the ability to shift the topic of conversation, memorably so.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Despicable Democrat and Media Tactics and Ineffective Republican Communication

This is insane. The GOP leadership doesn't know how to deal with the Foley scandal or the ridiculously false portrayal they've received in the media as a result, when all they need to do is to simply state the truth. One thing is clear. No GOP leaders or anyone other than Foley and possibly ABC News knew anything about the IMs until the story broke nationally. The leadership's sole knowledge of the case boiled down to bland emails that news organizations and the page's own parents had seen months ago found possibly disturbing, but agreed that they had crossed no line.

So why are the Washington Times and Roy Blunt not saying exactly that? Furthermore, neither Boehner nor Hastert himself are defending themselves when all they'd need to do would be to state the obvious. They're allowing Democrats to lie and skew the situation as if this were something Hastert should have known about. They give the public the impression that Hastert was in on a pedophilia cover up and did nothing to stop it.

It's really unbelievable. Bloggers spend much time defending the White House and Republican policies by stating the obvious. But when put to the task the GOP Leadership somehow can't to do it for themselves.

This isn't the first time we've seen this situation. When it comes to the Iraq War all the White House needs to do is to remind the people of the UN weapons reports documenting every weapon Saddam had in 1991 and the paltry few he destroyed. Hiding them is not the same as not having access to them and on that information alone it would have been an impeachable offense not to have acted. In fact, anyone who's When it came to Katrina all the White House had to do was again tell the truth, Gov. Blanco (D-LA) had asked for a 48 hour delay, Brown was demanding that proper resources be used from the beginning and even after all that it was still the fastest response the Federal Government ever deployed to a disaster area. Brown may have messed up in media interviews because he was focused on doing the job in the here and now but it was clear that he was achieving, even while rioters and looters were shooting at rescue helicopters. But instead of rightly accusing Democrats of politicizing a tragic disaster, they apologize.

Maybe Roy Blunt thinks the baseless targeting of the GOP leadership will go away if they just acquiesce to the media's ramblings a few more days and agree to have committed some impropriety when they knew nothing that could have been acted on. If not then it's he, not Hastert, who needs to resign his leadership post for being an ineffective communicator. The Democrats' attack on Hastert for not being Miss Cleo or having a crystal ball and the attempts by their media cohorts to confuse the issue by refusing to differentiate between bland emails and the Instant Messages speaks volumes about the lengths the Democrats go to confuse, manipulate, defame and destroy anyone who doesn't share their world views. Why is no one calling them on it? Why is the GOP, which have been so effective at governing in many areas, so ineffective at conveying their position when all they need to do so is to simply point out the truth?