Archive for the ‘GOP Schism’ Category

“I Suspect the Founding Fathers Would Approve”

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Glenn Harlan Reynolds talks about what he saw at the tea party in Nashville:

Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry—and they are—but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when ne w-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause.
Press attention focused on Sarah Palin’s speech, which was well-received by the crowd. But the attendees I met weren’t looking to her for direction. They were hoping she would move in theirs. Right now, the tea party isn’t looking for leaders so much as leaders are looking to align themselves with the tea party.
If 2009 was the year of taking it to the streets, 2010 is the year of taking it to the polls. With ordinary Americans setting out to reclaim the political process, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride for incumbents of both parties. I suspect the Founding Fathers would approve.

The movement is the polar opposite of the President’s natural environment.

Barack Obama stands at the absolute pinnacle of evolution of the consummate politician. He makes a mess, keeps his silence while the outrage builds, and waits for just the right moment to make His first comment. And then the comment is always the same: Everybody is sick of these “greedy fatcats” who “made this mess in the first place” with “the failed policies of the last eight years”; but Barack Obama, “make no mistake,” He is on our side! He’s going to represent us, which means, everybody. But the greedy fatcats? They aren’t part of “everybody.” They are “lobbyists” and “special interests.”

Deep down, everyone knows Obama is lying about His intentions to represent “everybody” — there is no way that can be true, with a “leader” who so casually seeks to re-define and diminish this simple concept of “everybody,” placing “greedy fats” outside of it so He can start fighting them while persisting in this claim of His that He represents “the people.”

But those who persist in apologia on His behalf, necessarily persist in this hope that they will continue to remain a part of this false “everybody.” Hey, ninety-five percent of us are getting a tax cut. That must mean if you spend even a split second worrying about the other five, you’re automatically stupid.

The politician continues to chase after every single parade, to be the vanguard of every piece of anger that can no longer be suppressed: “There go my people, I must follow them for I am their leader.” The politician always acts like it’s His idea. Obama has even presented Himself as a voter-resentment sibling of Scott Freakin’ Brown. “People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.

Well, there is a climate in which that works. And then there is the tea party movement. These are people who overall are newcomers to politics, but have figured out when Obama engages in this whittling-down exercise of the concept of “everybody,” that we all stand a good chance of being part of the shavings that end up on the ground. When the word “bonus” is used to incur populist wrath against property that we’ve rightfully earned, and then the populist wrath diminishes our sacred right to that property into a mere semi-constitutional inconvenience, this is an insult to and an attack on all Americans rich & poor.

These are people who are concerned about their children and grandchildrens’ miserable inheritance of our skyrocketing debt; that it is for the most part unnecessary; and they aren’t about to be mollified with some speech written three hours ago that hey, for this week, Obama has become a deficit hawk and is going to start streamlining the “budget.” Nor are they to be placated, after the speech, with some boilerplated remarks that everything’s alright because “everyone” thinks that speech was Obama’s Best One Evar.

They are, in the final analysis, appropriating the President’s favorite cliches, and putting real meaning behind them, meaning that the President Himself, perhaps, wouldn’t even be able to comprehend. Teachable Moment. Let Them Be Clear. For Far Too Long. Make No Mistake. Reject the False Choice. Hope…and Change.

Update: David Brooks has some less radical ideas for the Obama administration to try out.

…Obama could serve as a one-man model for bipartisan behavior. Right now, the Republicans have no political incentive to deal on anything. But the president could at least exemplify the kind of behavior voters want to see in their leaders. For example, he could take several of the Republican health care reform ideas — like malpractice reform and lifting the regulatory barriers on state-based experimentation — and proactively embrace them as part of a genuine compromise offer.

Sister Toldjah has a good laugh at Brooks’ expense:

Forgive me for laughing at what should be a serious piece. Brooks is suggesting a “return” to … honesty and bipartisanship, indicating that he seriously believes that President Obama was sincere as a candidate in promising a “return” to “transparency” and “honesty” and “reaching across the aisle.” Brooks needs to take his rose-tinted glasses off for once. Candidate Obama said what he needed to say and did what he needed to do in order to get elected POTUS. He told the American people what he thought they wanted to hear, made all the right moves, shook all the right hands, went on an overseas tour, and the MSM dutifully helped him the whole way by clearing his path of any inconvenient truths about his radical associations, his thin resume, and his flimsy list of “accomplishments” while serving as an elected official both in the Illinois state legislature and the US Congress as a Senator.

And now, after a year of watching Mr. HopeNChange morph back into the calculating partisan political operator he really is, many people – unlike David Brooks – are finally waking up and seeing beyond the empty rhetoric. So while Brooks’ O-friendly column is likely to earn him more sweetheart brownie points and more offers for “off-the-record” lunches with RahmboCo., his actual suggestions will fall on deaf ears…

Maybe if David Brooks weren’t so obsessed with keeping his approval ratings up with Beltway elites he’d be able to see that. Until then…

There has to be some way to make serious money off this dichotomy.

Brooks is not a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Everywhere you look there are people insisting that Obama needs more time to repeal the policies that led to the disaster that came before. Anyone who doesn’t give it to Him is a clueless Moron.

But the Brooks crowd, that’s the high-horsepower intellectual elite. They’re the smarties, they can figure things out. Well, we did everything their way, and now we’re being presided over — I’m sorry, ruled over — by their Special Guy. It’s not working out so hot, but if we show any skepticism about it at all we’re just further proving our thickheadedness.

Time comes for them to tell us what’s what and what-for, and we just get a rehash of the talking points we heard two years ago. That’s the “brains” talking.

It’s like receiving a condescending lecture from the guy who’s still waiting for Ed McMahon to bring a $100,000,000 check to his door.

Update: Blogger friend Phil links to his reason for loving Sarah Palin.

Suppose, I wonder…just suppose this. Pretend we could somehow round them all up, willingly or otherwise, all these Sarah Palin bashers. Not to get rid of them, just to collect them into one place, for some research. They aren’t hard to identify at all. They act as if the very next breath they take, the very next pulse from their heart, depends on convincing you of their deep, deep hatred and contempt for Palin. So identify them…then get them somewhere.

Self-important jerks…and harmless, otherwise-lovable co-dependent sycophants…who just don’t want to be the last one on the block to figure out [insert name here] is a stupid idiot, or doesn’t know what he’s doing. And never have been. Since elementary school.

Communists. In America, talking a good game about a “middle of the road” approach against “Wall Street greed”…but…with social constraints removed and left to their own desires, lacking in so much as a single moderate drop of blood in their red, red bodies. We’re not even socialists! We just want to take care of the earth! But having their druthers, they’d allow you to accumulate wealth only if they happen to like you. Hardcore commies.

Middle-aged women who are jealous of Sarah’s better looks.

I don’t see a whole lot of overlap among these three, or opportunity for overlap. Tying into the point I made up here, calling people stupid has a bonding effect. So the first group lives life that way, calling people stupid, acting like they’re handing down a conclusion reached from rational thought, but really engaging in it only for social reasons. The other two are doing the same thing, not to win friends, but to recruit supporters to some other cause. The commies want to promote communism. The middle-aged women want to lower the bar that represents the demands placed on them.

Communists, by definition, don’t care too much about making friends. Their economic model creates a survival dependency among individuals already, and in so doing damages the individual…which is a whole different post.

Frumpy old women don’t typically care too much one way or the other about communism, nor do condescending, insecure jerks.

And this is Palin’s weakness as a candidate. This natural emulsifying effect among mentally underpowered people, of “I think so-and-so is stupid.” It makes compatriots out of people who otherwise would not be.

It is also her strength. Very few people are going to say out loud “I used to think Palin was a dimbulb, but I’ve changed my mind”…and not too many more than that, are ever going to quietly do things that manifest such a change in thought. Palin’s only chance will be to shift the dialogue — and she can do this, she has the talent required to pull it off — on to policies. To make the 2012 election all about what the 2008 election was not.

You get Huckabee or Romney or Pawlenty in there, and we’re right back to arguing about who’s taller, has a prettier wife, is more likable. And the white guy, whoever that is, is still gonna get his ass kicked. Bank on it.

Watering Down the Purity Test

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

…because a fine delicacy of a dessert, mixed with sewage, is sewage. Therefore a “diluted” purity test is…?

From two months ago:

Republican leaders are circulating a resolution listing 10 positions Republican candidates should support to demonstrate that they “espouse conservative principles and public policies” that are in opposition to “Obama’s socialist agenda.” According to the resolution, any Republican candidate who broke with the party on three or more of these issues– in votes cast, public statements made or answering a questionnaire – would be penalized by being denied party funds or the party endorsement.

This could have been read as “excluding people” — a charge constantly leveled at those country-club Republicans (while democrats attend ALL the country clubs their dark little hearts desire to attend)…and against which, for some strange reason, the GOP is constantly on the defensive.

Well, when you’re too long on the defensive, eventually you have to make some concessions.

Enter said “diluted purity test.”

The Republican Party steered clear of passing a so-called “purity test” proposed by a handful of conservative members of the Republican National Committee and instead passed a toothless watered-down resolution that “urges” Republican Party leadership to consider a candidate’s record and statements and fidelity to the party platform before providing financial support or an endorsement.
The proposal, initially drafted by Indiana national committeeman James Bopp, was met with strong resistance by state party chairs concerned about such a one-size-fits-all approach. This week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele made clear that he, too, opposed the proposed resolution.
Republicans may have avoided a divisive purity test for their candidates today, but it clearly doesn’t mean that the differences among and between party loyalists have disappeared, no matter how good the political climate is for them right now.

Infighting, ultimatums, horn-locking, one guy telling the other to “shut up.”

This is the wrong direction, in my humble opinion. One of the reasons the democrats are doing so poorly right now, and are so ineffectual in spite of the fact that they run everything, is that they are anti-human and anti-definition. Their platform is to oppose ambition, effort and individual achievement, and they do this by making things vague. Terrorists aren’t terrorists, sovereign states are not sovereign states, Separation of Powers is not Separation of Powers, the ClimateGate Scandal never really happened, spending money is not spending money as long as you’re spending it on “health care”…

The GOP I would wish to support, opposes this by taking a pro-business, pro-definition standpoint. It isn’t afraid to define things. Opposing gay marriage, therefore, emerges from this general principle not out of a desire to tell people they cannot love each other (WTF????), so much as a desire to define what things are. “Marriage is between a man and a woman.” The opposite of this, has devolved into something quite absurd: Marriage can be between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Don’t you dare insinuate from this that we’re supporters of bestiality, or polygamy though, or we’ll accuse you of using a “straw man” attack. Really? Just those three configurations among two people, and you’ll stop there? I’m to assume this? This is the one progressive revolution that will achieve the increment it’s trying to achieve, and then — stop? Do tell. What is so magical about that number…two?

And every single issue we debate is like this. Have the balls to define something — or don’t. Waffle and equivocate and say “Let Me Be Clear” right before you say something grotesquely muddled.

But not all “Republicans” agree with this. On the issue of illegal immigration, for example — many among them are “pro-business,” but anti-defining-things. Which means they want to legitimize cheap, illegal labor by referring to the invaders as “undocumented workers.”

The democrat leadership now is absolutely dedicated to this tactic of not-defining-things. If any among the electorate see something noble about this practice of leaving-things-undefined, they can go support the folks who are “in charge.” But that isn’t what The American People want, or deserve, right now. They deserve to know what they’re getting when they choose to pull a lever or punch a ballot chad next to somebody’s name.

Steele is wrong about this. Or if he isn’t, it’s a good occasion on which one may re-evaluate one’s support of Republicans…which is the one response Steele is supposed to be trying to avoid. It’s his job to avoid that. Being a Republican ought to be all about defining what something is — and then making an informed decision about whether or not you want to support it.

Being a democrat, after all, has come to be about undefining things, and then asking for the support of simpletons while you dish out tired old catchphrases like “Make No Mistake,” in a really soothing voice that sounds kinda like Walter Cronkite’s. And then calling them racists if they don’t agree with you about everything.

In fact, let me borrow yet another “Obama Speech Bingo” snippet: “For Far Too Long.” For far too long, in this lasting melee between the pro-define-things and anti-define-things, we have assumed this unappealing desire of excluding people — from jobs, from benefits, from existence itself — is a core principle within those who are in favor of defining things. For far too long we have thought we can make a pleasing, pleasant society in which “everyone” can participate, by leaving things undefined, and therefore by opposing any desire to define anything. For far too long, we have failed to see this does not work.

And for far too long, we have also turned a blind eye while this acrid, exclusionary attitude has been promoted by those who are opposed to defining things. For far too long, we have failed to see it is they who are exclusionary. That’s the way it goes. You don’t want to define something, someone else does, you have to jump all over them like a starved jackal. Look, they just did it again. Someone came up with a list of core principles, and this was some kind of a huge problem that had to be attacked. Now, why was that? From whence arose the necessity?

We could ask the anti-define-people why that was so important. But I have a feeling they won’t answer. Or if they do, they won’t be very specific about it.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Best Sentence LXXIX

Friday, January 8th, 2010

The seventy-ninth award for Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) goes to Francis W. Porretto of Eternity Road, whether he wants it or not. (He has a grudge about my position on legalizing drugs.)

If preserving the perquisites of its fatcat kingmakers trumps all prospect of breaking Democrat hegemony and turning Washington back in a conservative direction, then the Republican Party truly has obsoleted itself.

This hits the nail right on the head. And this is the problem with third parties. Any formal organization, once it’s had time to calcify, will develop those concentric rings and ranking systems. “Kingmaker” is a perfect word and a perfect illustration of the problem. Everyone wants to be one.

Hat tip to Gerard.

America Loves a Fighter

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Now here‘s something to chew on, something to make you think and go hmmm.

Byron York put up a column earlier this week blaming Republicans for the excesses of the democrat party. Much of it filters through the lens of the fact that democrats currently enjoy a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. It’s a critique that the Republicans need to fight just a teensy bit harder. Had just 157 Minnesotans voted differently, Al Franken would not be in that august body and we would not have this albatross of a health care bill.

SusanAnne Hiller takes this one down. I am not entirely sure these two disagree with one another, when I read things like this…

The GOP’s white flag allowed the left to gain momentum, until it was unstoppable. So much so that the McCain campaign wouldn’t even touch Obama’s associations or Rev. Wright’s anti-American sermons. I think this was due to fear of what the left would do to them with their compliant and obedient MSM ready to report. The Obama campaign said repeatedly that their intentions were to transform America. The MSM never called them out on what that transformation was going to look like. And when McCain started to gain momentum, he would pull back and actually give kudos to Obama and his campaign. With such a non-strategic campaign, circling the wagons and shooting in, and the wrong presidential candidate, the GOP met its doom.

The democrat party wanted to choose, during the campaign, what subjects would be “on the table” for discussion. Each and every single minute of each and every single day. And the Republican party let them go ahead and do it. We don’t want to talk about Jeremiah Wright! Um, alright then…after all, this isn’t an argument about who associates with the most decent friends. Yeah, but we want it to be an argument about who’s most decent, and you John McCain are indecent! Um, alright, okay…we’ll talk about that then. And we won’t mention Jeremiah Wright because you don’t want us to.

Obama talked about McCain’s flawed policies. McCain talked some about Obama’s flawed policies…but made sure for every minute of that, there were two more minutes about Obama’s noble intentions. Intentions didn’t enter into it when it came time for Obama to criticize McCain. McCain was just Bush’s third term, the doddering old fool didn’t know how many houses he had, and that was the end of it.

Obama fought, McCain did not, and Americans love a winner.

But there is cause for optimism here. It is quite silly and absurd to insist the democrat party will enjoy a filibuster-proof majority in the 112th Senate. Nobody’s predicting that. In fact, it is reckless to suppose Republicans will gain seats in only one of the chambers, as opposed to both. It isn’t even a safe bet to predict the democrats will come through it retaining control of Congress.

The big question is this: Can we keep the grown-ups in charge for more than eight years? More than twelve? When the democrat party first got started, this country said “no” to it quite regularly. Lincoln to Arthur — that’s 24 years. Disregard Cleveland and the trend extends to Taft, 52 years. Disregard Wilson and it goes to Hoover, 72 years.

This is the one place on the globe that rejects the “trickle-up-poverty” of socialism. That really needs to be the platform. And if that means the platform is more about rejecting things than accepting things, then so be it. Smitty speaks wisdom when he takes on Dan Riehl:

But other than some scolding for what has long been known and already widely discussed, I’m not sure York’s item says much at all. Net net, the GOP has to find a way to bond with the base and the American people as a whole. They shouldn’t think they’re going to win any election prizes simply for not being Democrats.

I’m not sure, Dan. Didn’t BHO win by saying he would not be Bush? You know Progressivism is killing the country. The real danger would seem to be fragmentation, as voting for 20 different “not being Democrats” effectively elects the Democrat. So the principles should always trump the personality, in a thinking electorate. Oops.

There is going to have to be some revulsion here. Some anti-democrats are going to have to be made miserable by their tethering to some personality who is opposed to them on some secondary issue. They are going to have to be tortured with avoidance-avoidance-conflict, holding their nose while they punch the chad, muttering something about “well, if it’s an asshole/jerk/big ol’ dummy against Obama, I can’t vote for Obama.” One man’s fine dessert is another man’s sewage. Personally, I think the best scenario would be to hand the plate-of-poop over to the “conservative” Palin-bashers…the Rick Moran, David Frum types. That would be my ideal scenario, because if we embrace what they want — “let’s be intellectuals, and let’s define intellectualism according to the whims and dictates of whoever talks the loudest” — the democrats will be back in charge in a heartbeat. So let them be he ones tortured with avoidance-avoidance conflict. It makes sense.

First and foremost, the grown-ups have to fight their way back to the front of the bus, and the steering wheel. And it needs to be presented to the electorate not in terms of who’s going to do the driving, but in terms of who’s driving right now, and shouldn’t be. Because that’s what’s really important.


On climate change —

WRONG: “I cannot back the cap and trade legislation being proposed right now, although I do acknowledge it is a serious issue and we definitely should look into it.”

RIGHT: “This is an enormous, unprecedented, global scam being put on the American people and I’m not going to stand for it.”

On Al Qaeda —

WRONG: “My administration will not rest until these bad men are brought to justice. And they will be treated humanely and given every protection we offer to all the other accused persons in our great justice system.”

RIGHT: “Some say this enemy knows no nation and no uniform, and can therefore never be defeated. I’ll tell you how we defeat them. With steadfast loyalty to those who stand with us, and swift retribution against those who attack us. Under my administration, America will become the most valued ally the world has ever known, and the most frightening nightmare our enemies have ever seen or imagined.”

On offshore drilling —

WRONG: “My administration will not be responsible for importing one drop of crude oil from overseas than is absolutely necessary; we will work vigorously to bring the technology to the forefront that will make the best use of alternative fuels, and we will leave our arctic reserve the beautiful pristine wilderness that it is.”

RIGHT: “For too long, our antiquated laws have kept our own natural resources out of our reach. This is absurd. We will use whatever means is at our disposal to restore our nation’s energy independence, and all other goals are secondary.”

Stimulus spending —

WRONG: “Of course, it has to be about creating and saving jobs…”

RIGHT: “Keynesian economic theory has been shown repeatedly to be flawed, ineffective, unworkable and damaging. My administration will not tolerate this in any form. Give the money back to the people who made it in the first place, so they can spend it as they see fit. To those who say the tax rates need to be raised, I say you are free to send your own surplus taxes to the U.S. Treasury any time you want to.”

Airport screening —

WRONG: “My Transportation Security Administration is going to be the most non-denominational, non-discriminatory, non-profiling, non-judgmental Transportation Security Administration ever!”

RIGHT: “My Transportation Security Administration is going to make transportation secure. That will be its prime directive and that will be its only directive.”

Conflict in general —

WRONG: “We will do anything we have to, to avoid a bloodbath.”

RIGHT: “If there’s gotta be a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”

On political attacks —

WRONG: “My friends, I would like to assure you, I am not what my opponent said I am.”

RIGHT: “On this occasion, I invoke the Morgan Freeberg Rule Number One: ‘If I’m gonna be accused, I wanna be guilty.'”

A war against Muslims —

WRONG: “This is a war against terror, and a war against bad men. It is not a war against Islam! It’s not! It’s not! It’s not!”

RIGHT: “A fireball burning at 3,000 degrees Celcius knows nothing of race, creed or sexual preference. You want non-discrimination? Make a move against some of my fellow citizens. Harm them or threaten them, and I will bring you some non-discrimination.”

And then you go right on like that, all the way down the line, issue by issue. You see the pattern? You do things the wrong way, you set up some glimmering feature about yourself, and then you have to follow that up by proving it. You start with few goals and then task yourself with many goals to show off what a broad, complex, Picard-like thinker you are. You appeal toward those who become quivering, neurotic and frightened whenever anybody acts on something. This was given a fair try in ’08 and it didn’t work…which means it won’t. You do things the right way, you identify an enemy and offer some reasons why that enemy must be defeated, gelded…something about the consequences involved in leaving that enemy influential. And then, to prove that, all you have to do is recite some facts. You remain concentrated on few goals, and your promise is action. Action…not to build, or to destroy, for that is what the private sector does. To protect. Protect within a narrow field of constitutional jurisdiction.

Let the other guys assume the defensive position. Stay focused. Stay on target. Unidirectionalism. Clarity and transparency — through simplicity. Show yourself equal to the task of guiding a small government. It takes a big man to do that. Any ol’ fool can “rule over” an omnipresent, omnipowerful government. Show yourself equal to the task of…guarding something. Single-mindedly, simple-mindedly. More watch-dogging. Less dissembling, obfuscating, equivocating.

In other words, you fight. That’s the right way.

D’JEver Notice? XLV

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

We have left, and we have right. Each side is suffering from a conflict between the radicals who seek power and the “moderates” who have it. The fringe-kooks at the extreme edges, and the anointed suit-and-tie people who control the purse strings of the party. So three splits, one two either side, and a big one in the center; four factions. Fringe-kook left, White House, Republican beltway crowd, and tea party people.

The fringe-kook left has a message they’re trying to get across when they approach the “mainstream” left to do their bidding. You could call it a “Van Jones” platform. Something to do with destroying capitalism and pretending you’re trying to save the environment.

When the tea party people try to gather greater influence over what’s going on…with varying degrees of success…it’s that nutty, irresponsible, extreme position of anti-Eugenics.

I note that in all three of these splits, the position on the right is the one more respectful of human dignity, and the position on the left is the one more hostile to it.

Newt Gingrich, suit-and-tie beltway Republican, defends his endorsement and his words almost sound like the beginning of something reasonable:

Third-party candidates like conservative Doug Hoffman, Scozzafava’s challenger, often serve only to divide the GOP, says Gingrich. “Just look at what’s happening in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race,” he says, pointing to the campaign of independent candidate Chris Daggett, who has siphoned support from Republican candidate Chris Christie. “What’s happening in New York and in New Jersey should be a sober warning to every purist in this country.”

“If you seek to be a perfect minority, you’ll remain a minority,” says Gingrich.

But Allahpundit’s words make more sense, to me…

In other words, he’s treating this race as a litmus test to prove how big-tent the GOP can be. But … why? There’s no good reason to make this district, which should be a safe Republican seat, into a bellwether. Get a conservative elected and then find some socially liberal libertarians in purple districts to champion next year.

Yeah, sorry…this “tent embiggening” for its own sake, after awhile it looks precisely like the lunacy it’s supposed to be trying to avoid. You’re in favor of something so cherished and so fundamental to the American Experiment as human dignity…but you’re only a fair-weather friend to it, because you seek victory? Huh?

My counsel would be to just stick to principles. If they’re not “mainstream” you want to stay kooky. Seriously. Otherwise, what’s the point. There is none, besides just winning…and if you’re willing to become just whatever, in order to win, you’ve rounded a sharp bend in the road and what you’re doing no longer has anything to do with staying cool, moderate or reasonable. What you’ve done then, is try to avoid becoming a wild-eyed zealot, and then fail at it.

Seven Reasons Why You Can’t Build a Political Party Around Moderates

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Hawkins explores each one; but my favorites are #2 and #4.

2) Because moderates tend to be much less ideological, less knowledgeable about politics, and less informed than liberals and conservatives, it’s entirely possible that even if our candidate’s views are closer to their views, they won’t be capable of figuring it out (That’s exactly how it worked with McCain and Obama, for example).
4) Moderates may not know a lot about politics, but they do at least know that they can’t trust the press. So, how do they decide whom to vote for? I would suggest to you that many of them largely base their decisions on anecdotal evidence.

What do I mean by that? Let’s take the current election. What did a moderate voter hear from his liberal friends about Obama? “He’s the greatest hope for America! He’s wonderful! He’ll solve all our problems!” Now, what did that same moderate hear from his conservative friends about McCain? “He’d probably be a lousy President, but he’d still be better than Obama.”

In other words, if conservatives aren’t enthusiastic about their nominee, moderates are going to take cues from that and cast their votes accordingly. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so counter-productive to antagonize conservatives in an effort to draw in moderates.

As I pointed out lately, we suffer from a tragic loss of good judgment when we figure out how to use words like “centrist,” “moderate” and “extremist.” We don’t have a very good picture of what an “extremist conservative” is. Most of us, across all different kinds of ideological regions on the spectrum, think that has something to do with being mean. Lacking compassion. Unpleasant. Stingy. Reactionary. A bit of a dickhole. Exclusionary. You get the picture. A Grade-A1 USDA Prime piece of jackass.

Here’s how I see it:

Human history tells us something important about human nature, and what it tells us is altogether unflattering: The things that are most reliably demonstrated to be bad ideas, are the ones we try the most often. That’s just the way it is.

I mean, overall. Not across the board. Some things work quite well, and we do those things often too. Let’s make murder illegal. When people show they don’t care about breaking the law, let’s lock them up. On those, there really isn’t very much disagreement.

Let’s take money away from people who have it, and give it to those who don’t…

…that’s been tried so many times. It’s supposed to create some kind of wonderful society, one where no one is ever left wanting for anything. It’s had hundreds of years to work out that way. And it hasn’t yet. We’re still waiting on it. And our resolve to keep trying it again and again, has in recent generations become something of an obsession. We’re like the wolf licking at the razor blade, faster and faster as he gets more and more of a taste of blood.

Let’s show compassion to those who kill our wives and children, by letting them out of prison, and when they see our compassion they’ll stop killing. That’s another one.

You know, it really isn’t fair if you just come up with an idea, you get to copyright it and own it, as if you did some “real” work when all you did was think of an idea. Knowledge should belong to the world.

Stop asking her father for permission to marry her. Naive stupid young girls who just want a sexy appealing party-stud, and don’t care about a man’s financial stability, should have the final say in who’s going to knock ’em up.

Businesses lack compassion. Let’s force them to stop business-ing, and when we need the things those businesses make, let’s put the government in the business of doing that business-ing instead. Because anyone knows when it’s compassion you want you should make a bee-line straight to the nearest government bureaucrat who’s thirty seconds late for his lunch break, and there you’ll find all you can handle.

I could add to this list ALL day…don’t tempt me…

So here’s what an “extremist conservative” really is. An extremist conservative looks at all those bad ideas we’ve put into practice many times already, that have never worked out one single time, and does what common sense people do. He says “fuck it.” He dumps it all in an outhouse, then he moves the outhouse building so no one can ever find the dumbass idea he just dumped in, and pours cement in the hole so the dumbass idea can never be used again even if it’s somehow found. If he’s even more extreme than that, he decides to do it even sooner. And if he’s the most extreme conservative you’ll ever know and you’ll ever meet — he uses his intellectual gifts to figure out why this is a dumbass idea that’s never going to work.

What’s a liberal do? He says let’s give it another try.

A moderate liberal says let’s try just a little bit of it.

An extremist liberal says let’s never give up trying no matter what.

And the moderate conservative? Well, the sad, vicious truth of it is these people are just liars. Liars or dupes. History says “the dumbass idea never worked once” and the liberals say “don’t you dare believe that, it’s an ‘urban legend’.” And the moderate conservative says “Alright! You guys know best!”

Meanwhile, the dumbass idea never worked because it’s never gonna work.

And the guys who notice it hasn’t worked and can’t work…we call them “extremist conservatives” so we can give ourselves an excuse to keep trying it.

That’s the truth. Dress it up however you want, but that’s how it is.

Former First Lady Comments

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

…on her husband’s successor.

Linked and embedded without further comment:

Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband’s successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances.

She also criticized Washington’s sharp political divide during an interview covering a range of topics including her thoughts on first lady Michelle Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the situation in Afghanistan and Myanmar, and life after eight tumultuous years in the White House.

Bush sat down with CNN on Monday during a United Nations meeting in Paris, France, where she was promoting global literacy, a cause she trumpeted during her husband’s administration.

The typically reserved former first lady defended Obama’s decision to deliver a back-to-school speech to students, putting her at odds with many conservatives afraid that the president will use the opportunity to advance his political agenda.

“I think he is [doing a good job],” Bush said when asked to assess Obama’s job performance. “I think he has got a lot on his plate, and he has tackled a lot to start with, and that has probably made it more difficult.”

Michelle Obama is also “doing great,” she said, in part by turning the White House into a comfortable home for her family.

Referencing the uproar over Obama’s address to schoolchildren, which will be aired nationwide Tuesday, Laura Bush said it’s “really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States.”

Bush didn’t completely dismiss the concerns of some conservatives but noted that controversial Education Department plans recommending that students draft letters discussing what they can do to help Obama had been changed.

“I think there is a place for the president … to talk to schoolchildren and encourage” them, she said. Parents should follow his example and “encourage their own children to stay in school and to study hard and to try to achieve the dream that they have.”

Bush indicated that she didn’t think it was fair for Obama to be labeled a “socialist” by critics and expressed her disappointment with the intensely polarized nature of contemporary American politics.

Part of the reason for the polarization, she said, was the increase in the number of congressional districts dominated by either strongly conservative or liberal voters.

“We’ve seen that for the last eight years, certainly, and we’re still seeing it,” she said. “That’s just a fact of life.”

Bush conceded that after her husband was elected president, he was unable to replicate his success as governor of Texas in reaching across the aisle to Democrats.

“He was disappointed that that was not the way it worked out in Washington,” she said. “I’m sure President Obama didn’t expect it to be that way [either]. … All of us need to do what we can to come together on issues.”

A GOP Comeback Possible?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

It is oh so fashionable to remain pessimistic, and show optimism only in muted tones. But to show a surplus of optimism in favor of the iPresident, would be foolish I think.

For the first time since their 2006 election drubbing, top Republicans see signs — however faint — of a political resurgence over the next year.

At first blush, this sounds absurd. After all, polls show the GOP more unpopular than ever, and the John Ensign sex scandal serves as a vivid, real-time reminder of why many see the party as a collection of hypocrites.

But several trends suggest this optimism might not be as far-fetched as it seems.
How the Republicans Could Come Back

A red state

Polls show that Obama’s chief vulnerability is public concern over the soaring deficit. And as the sticker shock of a trillion-dollar-plus health care plan takes hold, these concerns are only likely to grow.

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — long used to hearing complaints about Bush — says his moderate constituents have finally found something else to gripe about. “Now the dominant thing I hear from them is: ‘What is all this government spending?'” said Kirk, who is mulling a Senate run next year.
Promises, promises

Obama promised his stimulus plan would keep unemployment below 10 percent, and some of his advisers said it would remain below 8 percent. But now the president himself says it will hit 10 percent this year.

The administration’s technique of incorporating “jobs saved” into its accounting is being met with increased skepticism — and is unlikely to resonate if unemployment lines run long.

“I think his biggest vulnerability right now is that unemployment is going to exceed 10 percent and be there for some time,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “The stimulus bill was meant to sustain and create new jobs. And it hasn’t done it.”

What’s coming up next is a “midterm” congressional election in 2010. Therefore, in my mind, it is meaningful to inspect what exactly is meant by the term “coming back.” You can’t honestly produce an answer to the question “Do Republicans have a chance?” without first performing this inspection.

First of all, there is the objective of roaring back into power with the full mandate Republicans had in 1994 after the electorate had what our news anchors told us was a “temper tantrum.”

Secondly, there is the decidedly different objective of stepping up to the podium of the loyal opposition, performing a simple day-to-day sanity check on The Holy Man’s expen$ive policies.

It is faulty thinking to conflate these two objectives into one, pronounce a lukewarm milquetoast verdict of “Eh, they got a shot but I wouldn’t count on it,” and walk away. You have to keep these separate. You HAVE to, because the first of those two options is a restoration of trust following a betrayal and those are never quick. It’s like the man-of-the-house moving back in after his wife has made the decision to take him back for the sake of the children. Even if it does happen, nobody’s going to be feeling entirely good about it. Especially if daddy was “taken back” after having sexual escapades with his secretary, moving in with her, doing some lines of coke, taking a European vacation with her and her parents, knocking her up, wallpapering her new nursery room, and sending the credit card bill for it all back home. Trust is violated in a heartbeat, and never fully restored even years later. Not really.

The second of those two — well good heavens. How on earth is it going to seem like a great idea to pass this up by the autumn of ’10? We’re still going to want to be a kinda-sorta-dictatorship in fifteen months because Obama is still so wonderful? Folks, it isn’t shaping up that way now. Of course all eyes are on President Obama; back when He was about to be inaugurated, all eyes were on Him back then too. But it’s different. Back then people were watching Him the way disciples want to watch the religious figure who leads them. Oh look at me, I actually touched His robe! I’ll never wash this hand again as long as I live!

Nowadays, people watch Him the way sailors watch a canon ball rolling around on the deck of their sloop. What the hell is He going to do next??

See, that’s a trust issue too. People are watching Him because He’s dangerous and they don’t know what He’s going to do. They don’t trust him. They’re starting to yearn for the checks-and-balances that are supposed to be in place right now, but aren’t really working.

It’s a funny thing about opposition congresses. People are never willing to admit, on a large scale, that they like this idea. But it is clearly what the Founding Fathers intended, and American history, even recent history, is chock full of occasions on which the electorate figured out this idea was necessary, and acted to put such a congress in place. Government marching in lockstep just oh-so-sure about what to do next — it seems like a great thing to the weak-minded. It isn’t so great when you’re living out your own real life under it. That’s when people wake up; that’s when they start to get it.

Best Sentence LXII

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The sixty-second Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award had to be split. Both awards go to FrankJ at IMAO. And both of the best-sentences have to do with former Joint Chiefs Chairman and Secretary of State Colin Powell, and this tear he’s been on lately…you know the one…conservative opinions bad, Powell opinions about conservative opinions good:

Powell can give advice to the GOP, but he should be humble enough to realize he’s basically a pedophile giving advice on child rearing.

What is Powell’s message? “The GOP needs moderates even squishier than McCain to succeed!”


My Two Questions About the Feud

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Or rather, to be precise about it, this story about the feud. And all the other stories about the feud.

In the latest round of the increasingly heated intra-GOP feud, former Secretary of State Colin Powell Sunday defended his Republican credentials and fired back at radio host Rush Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney, saying the party had to expand beyond its conservative base.

“Rush will not get his wish and Mr. Cheney was misinformed – I am still a Republican,” Powell said in a much-anticipated interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” two weeks after Cheney suggested on the same show that the retired general had left the party by endorsing Barack Obama last fall.
Powell suggested that there were a number of moderates in the party who shared his concerns but were hesitant to speak out “because if you are vocal you’re going to get your voice mail filled up and get lots of e-mails like I did.”

One such Republican did seem to take Powell’s side of the fight today, as Former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge also joined in the criticism of Limbaugh Sunday.

“I think Rush articulates his point of view in ways that offend very many,” Ridge said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

First question: How many times in this story, can you find, in which a reference is made to how many people find a thought appealing…how many people find a thought revolting…how many people are accepted…how many people are excluded.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going in for brain surgery and there is some feud taking place among the doctors about how to slice up my lobes — I do not want it subjected to a vote.

Second question: How many times in this story, or in any other similar story, do you see a reference to which ideas are & are not right.

It seems relevant when things like this are being discussed —

Ridge also split with Cheney on the vice president’s claim that Obama’s policies were making Americans less safe. “I do not” agree with that, Ridge plainly told CNN’s John King, adding, “Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney.”

Gee, Tom. You seem to think it’s an important consideration when an idea is offered, how many people it ticks off. You seem to be putting that ahead of whether the idea is correct or not, in terms of priority.

So what does it matter that you disagree with the idea Obama’s made the country less safe? What does your disagreement say about anything? I mean, it could very well be true, couldn’t it — and you’d be exactly the kind of guy to disagree with it, just to make the folks in power happy.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Karl Rove dismissed the dust-up between Cheney and Powell, since “neither one of those two are candidates,” and deemed the fight “a false debate that Washington loves.”

Asked if he agreed with Cheney’s contention that Limbaugh was better for the Republican Party than Powell, Rove said: “Yes, if I had to pick between the two.”

Mr. Rove is mostly correct here. On the false-debate-Washington-loves, I agree with him fifty percent. Washington really does the little puppet show, fer sure.

False debate? Not hardly. This is, I think, the Achilles’ Heel of those who took charge of Washington earlier this year. It’s the debate between what’s popular and what’s right. We saw, last fall, people will vituperatively oppose the eleventh-hour cosmetics — the thin veneer held aloft by those who know they are right, but can sense that what’s right has grown unpopular, and will try at the last minute to become “moderate.” It’s kind of like the high school nerd who tries to learn all about football and rock music halfway through his senior year. (Well nowadays I guess we’re talking rap, and who knows what else…what can I say, I’m an old guy.) It doesn’t work, of course. People understand you’re a nerd down to the marrow of your bones, trying to pretend to be something else, and for that you earn surplus, and well-deserved, scorn.

And you should. If it’s about right-and-wrong, you shouldn’t be moderating; this is widely understood, though not often discussed. “Extremism” is the attribute of those who see the issue linked to the well-being of people, and care about it. If we’re talking about whether it’s good to put sugar in a gas tank, we know you don’t have anyone’s welfare at heart when you’re advocating four ounces of sugar over the opposition’s quart-and-a-half. The sugar is bad, or else it isn’t. Period.

By Politico standards, this is just a horrible, horrible article. There are no specifics anywhere. I mean, about the offensive words spoken by those who ostensibly offend — or by their statements and deeds, ostensibly seek a tinier, more exclusive party. I mean, that is the story. That is the focus. That’s the point. And yet it is left up to me to fuzzily infer that they’re talking about Rush’s “I Hope He [President Obama] Fails” statement. It’s become famous and talked-about enough…but still. Why is the guesswork left in? The question is about whether the truth remains valuable if & when it offends people. Shouldn’t it be explicitly stated, then, exactly what caused the offense?

Leaving aside the other critique I have. That those who were offended, likewise, are similarly unmentioned. And that’s just as relevant, if not even more relevant. Who are these people who get ticked off, when it’s pointed out that harmful things are indeed harmful? What are their Republican credentials exactly? In fact, do these nameless-faceless-anonymous-stranger people even have hopes for the country’s long-term prosperity at heart?

What’s at stake here is nothing less than the intellectual ability of every man, woman and child in this supposedly free country to truly debate things. And the democrat party should be ashamed of itself that debate-about-debating has to take place entirely within the party of their opposition. It’s pretty damned simple: When half of us are afraid to face unpleasant truths, do the other half of us then labor under some kind of obligation to pretend true things are false, and false things are true, just to avoid honking off others? Some folks would say, yes we do. Okay then. Where’s it written that they should be allowed to call themselves Republicans?

As for General Powell, he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. It’s quite a legitimate opinion to have, that last year’s ticket was a bad one. Even a disaster. I disagree with that, but there are valid reasons to think so. And there are even some valid reasons to think the ticket was so bad, that a person of Powell’s stature could endorse the opposition and still retain his existing Republican credentials. But to marginalize the opinions of those who cross off his name when he endorsed Barack Obama, is nothing but putrid propaganda. I mean, seriously. A party’s tent can be just so big — but does it have to be so big, that one of the party’s positions is that the other guy should win the general election? If that’s one of the accepted platforms, what’s the point of having the party at all?

Powell isn’t arguing for a big-tent. He’s arguing for no-tent. That’s the long and the short of it.