Ronald Reagan

Balance the Budget: Now is the Time


ARRA News Service - Tina Korbe, Hot Air said: When “Cut, Cap and Balance” failed the Senate and both chambers of Congress regrouped around new plans, the first to go of the three crucial elements in the House’s original plan was a balanced budget amendment. Neither of the deficit reduction plans presently on the table provides for the passage of a BBA. It’s also the element of CCB most frequently decried as unrealistic. But political lights from Thomas Jefferson to Ronald Reagan have called for such an amendment, as this video from GOP Labs illustrates. Let President Obama say, “We don’t need more studies; we don’t need a balanced budget amendment.” If ever any unfolding drama proved the need for such an amendment, the drama of the past week has been it. Leave cuts to Congress and what do you get? CBO-certified gimmicks on both sides — even on the side of one sincerely trying to garner savings, one who says he also “wanted more.”


President Reagan Said in a Speech to the Nation on Federal Budget, 4/29/1982: As former President Ronald Reagan says in this video, “Most Americans understand the need for a balanced budget and most have seen how difficult it is for the Congress to withstand the pressures to spend more. … We tried the carrot and it failed. With the stick of a balanced budget amendment, we can stop government’s squandering and overtaxing ways and save our economy.”

Tags: balanced budget amendment, President, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, video, economic recovery, conservative, the Economy, taxes, bankrupt, Balance the Budget, Thomas Jefferson, American people

Huntsman – Don’t Get Excited About This One.

Another media/establishment instant darling. This guy bears watching… but not voting for. Yesterday, we watched as former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman attempted to take on the mantle of Ronald Reagan, announcing his candidacy from the same place… in front of the Statue of Liberty, where Reagan announced his 1980 presidential run. Ronaldus Magnus this guy is not. Not even close.

His speech was bland and milquetoast. It was accommodationist blather, full of cup-half-empty assertions of how this country has lost its greatness. He then went on to remind us of our manners, and how he at least would maintain the high ground throughout this campaign. He loves and respects our president, just as he knows Barack Hussein Obama just loves this li’l old country to death, doncha know?

Okay, Governor or not, RINO platitudes or not… this man is no Conservative. The Lame Stream statist press is holding him up as their darling. It’s the same routine all over again.

Republican history has shown us repeatedly that we win when we stick to Conservative principles, and we lose when we stray into the area of ‘moderate’ Republicans. Beware the chosen of the party establishment. These bozos are working as hard against Conservatism and the Constitution as they are the opposition… maybe harder.

Harsh, you say? I think not nearly harsh enough. These so-called party kingmakers are in for a heads-up confrontation with the Constitutional Conservatives. Remember the magic formula… 60+20+20. The Conservative movement is comprised of 60% Republicans, 20% Independents… and surprise, surprise, 20% Democrat. It’s a huge, very powerful coalition.

We need leadership that is not afraid to attack Barack Obama on a personal as well as a policy level. Black, white or ‘other’, he’s only a man… and not a very clever one at that.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

Stereotype Threat

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word “Republican?”   


If you can’t think of anything positive, you’ve identified the primary problem facing the GOP in the 2010s. Despite the GOP’s recapturing of the House of Representatives as well as numerous governorships and state legislatures, the party’s public image has yet to fully recover from the beating it took during the Bush era. The 2010 midterm results were brought about by economic malaise and frustration with President Obama, not by the public’s re-embrace of Republican ideology.    


It’s still quite possible for President Obama to be re-elected in 2012, and it’s not hard to envision the GOP losing the House in two years as well. For all the chatter about America supposedly being a “center-right” country, the reality is that the country will not truly be “center-right” until Republicans finally challenge the stereotypes that have existed about the party for years. 


There are communities all across America filled with people who react with horror and disgust when they hear the word “Republican.” Despite Scott Brown’s historic Senate victory a year ago this month, his party’s losses in the Massachusetts midterm elections demonstrate that the Bay State is one such community. As Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein noted on November 8, “To most Bay Staters (in fact, most New Englanders), ‘Republicans’ are anti-intellectual, vitriolic, reactionary, ‘Party of No,’ Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Southern ideologues. ‘FOX Republicans,’ if you will.”   


Republicans can spend all day denouncing these stereotype as false, or lambasting media, academic and entertainment entities that are viewed as perpetuating these stereotypes—but wouldn’t it make more sense to simply shatter these stereotypes?  


Republicans need to ask themselves the following questions:  


1. Would supply-side economics be held in contempt by large numbers of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities made a point of demonstrating that supply-side economics benefited the vast majority of Americans, not just the wealthy?  


2. Would the notion of Republican anti-intellectualism have such currency if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities did a better job of spotlighting the right’s intellectual class? The recent Fox News special The Right, All Along: The Rise, Fall & Future of Conservatism did a commendable job of reminding viewers of the right’s intellectual heritage, but the broadcast was the exception to the rule.  


3. Would the idea of Republicans being scornful of science even exist if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities had more prominent figures who regarded environmental science as something other than “the new refuge of socialist thinking,” as Rush Limbaugh called it in his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be?   


4. Would the concept of Republicans-as-theocrats be as strong as it is in the minds of millions of Americans if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities were more vocal in embracing a federalist approach to social issues, as Jonah Goldberg recommended in Reason Magazine last year?   


The Democratic Party can only prosper if Republicans fail to address the underlying, long-standing issues that still make so many Americans uncomfortable with the GOP: the idea that Republicans lack empathy, don’t give a damn about anyone who’s not already a billionaire, loathe gays and single mothers, secretly desire Christian Shari’a, believe mankind plays no significant role in climate change, are obsessed with spending trillions to democratize the Middle East, regard public education as a wasteland and are generally selfish, uncaring jerks.   


There’s nothing wrong with demonstrating empathy. “Compassionate conservatism” may have been an empty slogan, but if Republicans and conservative-leaning media entities don’t do a better job of showing that the GOP is not as hard-hearted as it’s often made out to be, the 2010 midterms will go down in history as a fluke.  


The last decade was an awful one for the Republican Party. Twenty years after Ronald Reagan’s ten-point victory over President Carter, George W. Bush—the man who was promoted in some conservative circles as Reagan’s true ideological heir—barely got past Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College and lost the popular vote. Four years later, Bush beat Senator John Kerry by three points, hardly a “center-right” blowout. Republicans lost control of the House and Senate in 2006 and surrendered the White House in 2008. Were it not for pro-GOP momentum generated by the Tea Party movement, as well as the aforementioned public frustration with Obama, the party would still be a sickly elephant ready to be put down.    


Too many Republicans still think of themselves as representing the country’s natural majority. This mentality leads to laziness, shortsightedness, arrogance and a failure to recognize and fix key problems. Republicans would be much better off thinking of themselves as a minority group, one that must confront and overcome stereotypes in order to obtain success and social acceptance. Before Republicans can change minds, they must first change their own. 


(Cross-posted at Notes from D.R.)

Dr Doom And The Other Cult Of Death.

It didn’t start with this president, or even the one before him, though George Bush did make a serious mistake by characterizing Islam as “a religion of peace”. That entirely false premise has hampered this country’s ability to clearly identify and define a proven and sworn mortal enemy of America, and the entire western world for that matter.

In some strange Pavlovian fashion, no doubt fostered by the ‘governing elites’ of both parties, and promulgated by the ever submissive and slavish lame stream media, whenever the words Muslim, Islam, Islamist or CAIR show up, everybody just clams up and gives it all a great big pass.

Anything Islamist, good. Anything American or patriotic, bad. The denial of the simple facts, that a short course in recent history reveal a systematic series of obfuscation, diversions and outright lies about attacks against us, going back a good 20 or 30 years. 31 years to be precise… with the internationally perceived weak pacifist and apologist Jimmy Carter.

In the murky, factional, pseudo-political, tribal-based, religious, squabbling world of the Middle East he was not only not to be feared, he was to be despised for his weakness. So despised, as a matter of fact, that they (the Islamo-fascists) felt confident enough to invade our embassy, sovereign American soil. An out-and-out declaration of war.

When faced with the strength and determination of a Ronald Reagan, they immediately rolled over. They knew, just as every true coward and bully does in his heart of hearts, that this was a man not to be trifled with.

Islam is not, and never has been, a religion of peace. It is, in fact, a death cult. Its writings promote death, torture, conquest, persecution, rapine and oppression. It is the only ‘so-called’ religion on Earth that canonizes conquest and the slaughter of innocents.

Our Dr Doom has a magnanimous view of Islam, probably as a result of his early exposure to all things Muslim. Later, as we know, his anti-American hatred would be honed at the crucible of avowed communist ex-officio Frank Marshall Davis.

That’s what has bothered me most about Dr Doom. After the first few times I heard the guy speak I thought, ‘This guy doesn’t like America. I can hear it in his voice’. It was true. For all his high-flown rhetoric he doesn’t sound like an American. He sounds like someone observing America, but not a part of it… a stranger in our midst.

America and the entire western world had better wrap their minds around the fact that we are up to our necks in an inter-generational, world-wide war that may last for a century… with people who do not compromise, who only respect power, and absolute power at that, who will stop at nothing to achieve their stated goal of worldwide conquest.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

New York State of Mindlessness

It's (Still) The Economy, Stupid!

By George Scoville | @stackiii

I have fought every impulse in my being to weigh in on the Cordoba House debate, and to pontificate, lecture, and moralize from atop my libertarian mountain. Now that I'm actually writing about it I find myself stricken nearly dumb by the irony of what I'm about to suggest on a blog entitled THE NEXT RIGHT. But it has become clear that The Current Right has completely forgotten about The Last Right, and this could prove to be the foil for The Next Right -- at least that's my worry. I do not intend to debate the morality or legality of the construction of Cordoba House in either this post or in the comments - so if you're looking for an ideological fight, you've come to the wrong place. The Right has a new messaging problem, and if anyone intends to supplant the Democratic Party in any meaningful, long-term way, it will require pretty swift action.

The Republican Party is polling considerably well among registered voters (Gallup) on a number of factors: party identification, 2010 vote preferences among independents, and 2010 candidate preferences. The Republican Party also seems to be riding a wave of enthusiasm (RCP) that spreads quicksand all over the Democratic Party's uphill battle as November draws near. Finally, the Republican Party has retaken the lead on the generic ballot (PPP). Whatever successes the Republican Party currently enjoys it owes in large part to both the Tea Party movement and the fact that President Obama and the Democrats over-estimated their "mandate." This cannot be overstated, especially in light of the fact that only a handful of Republicans are engaging their Democratic counterparts substantively (The Weekly Standard).

Now, set all that aside for a moment. Step back 26 years to 1984.

Ronald Reagan wasn't polling well, hitting a 35% approval rating in 1983 (Gallup). The economy was in recession. Unemployment was high, though it dropped from 10.8% in '82 to 7.4% by Election Day '84 (Salon). We were at war -- each day every American faced an existential threat. Federal spending was at 22.9% of GDP (EconLib), in large part because Reagan's defense budget crested far above projections he made on the campaign trail in '79 and '80. But Reagan handily won re-election in 1984 because he kept the message simple -- this worked:

Why, then, is former Speaker Newt Gingrich -- a sort of de facto leader of today's Republican Party, an icon of the 1994 Republican Revolution, and potential 2012 presidential hopeful -- foisting a divisive cultural narrative (WaPo) onto an election cycle already dominated by anti-Big Government and anti-spending narratives that, heretofore, have been working (Pew Research via NPR)?

Ezra Klein is pickin' up what I'm puttin' down:

One political question about the Ground Zero Islamic complex/mosque/theater-space/swimming pool: Why are Republicans trumpeting this? And why, a week or two ago, did they start talking about the 14th amendment? Republicans are going to win a lot of seats this year. And they're going to do it on the backs of the economy. Getting into social issues -- particularly social issues that might anger minorities -- is a dangerous play. It loses them long-term votes that they just don't need to lose. It paints their party as intolerant and opportunistic. And it's unnecessary: It's not like they're hurting for things to talk about.

The Cato Institute's Gene Healy blames the Professional Right:

All this posturing is getting tiresome. The "mosque" controversy isn't about property rights or religious freedom. It's a bogus issue seized by the GOP establishment to distract the rank-and-file from the party's reluctance to shrink government.

Will Wilkinson, also of the Cato Institute, blames the amateur Right:

This idiotic foofaraw could be a distraction only if the GOP rank-and-file actually cared more about the size of government than the cultural politics of American identity. But they don’t. It’s not even close. American conservatism is a movement consumed by protecting and asserting a certain fabricated conception of the traditional American way of life against imaginary enemies. Support for small government is no more than a bullet point on the Right’s “What We Believe” cheat sheet, mouthed at opportune moments. I approve of what Gene’s trying to do here rhetorically, but the fact is that complaining about Muslims and keeping holy the memory of 9/11 and Ground Zero — the legitimizing altar of aggressive American imperialism —  is a direct manifestation of contemporary conservatism’s essence.

Personally, I don't really care who is to blame for the propagation of this narrative -- whether Gingrich is demagoguing, or the conservative, evangelical base needs some pandering. The bottom line is that playing with this narrative is like playing with fire, and could be as dangerous to the Right long-term as a Gingrich marriage proposal. In many ways the conservative base is like the fuel in a gas can, fuel that powers the political machine that winds up carrying water in elections -- but for God's sake, don't hand the Left a big, fat box of strike-anywhere matches. 2010 and 2012 can -- and should -- be a slam dunk for right-of-center candidates. Let's not botch it.


Ben Smith (POLITICO) notes that Gingrich's caustic remarks echo those of Mussolini:


A regular correspondent wondered why Newt Gingrich's recent declaration on the planned downtown mosque sounded so familiar, and found this:




There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.




There will be a mosque in Rome, the Fascist ruler said, only when a Roman Catholic church is permitted in Mecca.


The quote is frequently attributed to Il Duce, though I'd be grateful to any Italian-speaking reader who has a primary source.


Sorry, folks - you can call me a wet blanket all you want - independent voters just won't trade one statist polemic (Obama) for another (Gingrich).

Cross-posted at Liberty Pundits.

Further reading:

Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine

Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway blog

Doug Mataconis redux, Outside the Beltway blog

David Harsanyi, Reason Magazine


Garrett Quinn,

The Government Needs a Spring Cleaning

The tax system has become another emblem of the government’s seemingly insatiable desire to make things complicated. In the culture of Washington never use one word when ten will do the trick, never hire one bureaucrat when five can do the same amount of work. It is little wonder then that the income tax code stretches to 3.4 million words, filling more than 7,500 letter size pages. A taxpayers nightmare and H&R Block’s dream. But as Tax Day approaches the whispers to simplify the bureaucratic behemoth turn into shouts. Hopefully the government will listen.

In the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith famously noted that complexity makes taxes “more burdensome to the people than they are beneficial to the sovereign.” To this end the government has traditionally done some Spring cleaning on the code every 15 years. The government initiated major tax reform efforts in 1954, 1969, 1976, and 1986. But in the intervening 24 years we have done nothing.

The result has been a steady build up of loopholes, deductions, alternate tax schemes, and ways to game the system. The ever-multiplying deductions will mean that 47% of Americans will not pay a dime in federal income tax this year. Congratulations if you’re in that half, terribly sorry if you’re part of the remaining 53% left holding the bill.

The tax code has grown unwieldy in other ways as well. As Ezra Klein writes in the Washington Post,

We’ve begun running more of our social policy through the tax code. Rather than creating programs, we create tax credits. “It’s easier politically,” says Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, “because it’s easier for a congressman to say that I cut your taxes rather than that I started a new program to spend your money.”

We’re left with an outdated mess that is costing taxpayers a fortune. A 2006 report by the Tax Foundation found that taxpayers spend an estimated $265.1 billion to comply with the tax code. That means for every one dollar paid in taxes, 22 cents goes toward compliance costs. Eliminate, or reduce, the complexity of the tax code and we could cut taxes and give the government the same amount of money. The definition of a win-win.

The problem is not unique to the tax code. It is merely a reflection of the larger federal government which has seen its ranks steadily grow to just over 2 million federal workers. Since 2008, while the private sector was contracting due to the recession, the government has hired an additional 25,000 employees. Turns out Ronald Reagan was correct when he said,

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs – once launched – never disappear. Actually a government bureaucrat is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this Earth.”

The problem is that the government rarely cleans house. Obviously it is much harder than the tax code. Fixing the code takes cutting out some words. Fixing the bureaucracy takes cutting out some cushy government jobs. People fight harder for their position than words. Nevertheless, our current path is simply unsustainable.

A recent editorial to the Chicago Tribune lamented the growth of the Illinois bureaucracy,

“Our governance infrastructure has become overgrown and overpriced. We have 7,000 often redundant governments, far more than any other state. We populate those governments with armies of employees, and give them duties — some essential, some make-work. Many politicians of both parties enlist these workers as their allies in a cozy paradigm: If you help us win re-election, we will reward you with adequate salaries today — and fabulous retirement benefits tomorrow.”

This is not merely Illinois’ problem, this is the United States’ problem. Our bureaucracy is swelling beyond the point of private citizens to pay for it. Public sector jobs do not create a profitable product and thus must be paid for on the backs of a private citizen. Any growth in the government’s ranks, especially during a time of a contracting private sector work force, requires a greater burden to be placed on fewer people.

We speak of tax code reform but we must also speak of federal bureaucracy reform. The same waste, fraud, and redundancy can be found in both. It is costing taxpayers a fortune. We should be working to identify and eliminate the overlaps. Simplify and streamline the remaining system. And pass the savings along to the taxpayers. With careful decisions the federal government could accomplish the same workload but using up far fewer tax dollars.

It’s time for some Spring cleaning but the tax code shouldn’t be the only place we scrub.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

Read more:

Winning a New Generation of Young Conservatives

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

The political paths of young adults are often guided by the environment they were raised in. The “Roaring Twenties,” with Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, created a conservative voting bloc that remained staunchly Republican. Franklin Roosevelt’s charisma and plan during the Great Depression created a group of lifelong Democrats. The Reagan Revolution built a nationalistic excitement based in unprecedented prosperity…and produced a new batch of Republicans along with it. The Bush years (the only president on the list whose era lacked a catchy nickname) left many young adults disenchanted with the perceived tone deafness of the executive branch and threatened to lose a generation of potential Republicans.

It is clear that the economic environment and the president’s response have a direct effect on the political ties of an entire generation. Obama should consider himself warned. A new Rasmussen poll shows that a vast majority of young adults aged 18-29 believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction. By a 68% to 23% margin young adults believe the United States is on the wrong track rather than the right direction – the highest margin of any age group polled.

During the campaign Barack Obama appeared as if he was going to capture the hearts of a generation. Hope and change resonated with young adults who were completely fed up a Washington removed from their cares and concerns. But President Obama is not the same as Campaign Obama and Republicans stand ready to reap the rewards.

Democrats failed to understand that they were elected to change Washington. Well young adults have now given up on changing government and simply want to minimize its role in their lives. A straw poll , taken at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference with 56% of respondents being 25 years of age or younger, confirmed this desire. When asked for the top two issues that matter to you personally reducing the size of the federal government and reducing government spending were far and away the top two choices.

Somewhat surprisingly young conservatives are willing to overlook things that will benefit them immediately – stimulating the economy and lowering taxes – because of a greater understanding of the long term threats of the deficit. President Obama, by focusing on big government initiatives such as health care and big ticket items like the stimulus, is losing the support of young adults.

Millennials have very few examples of government success in our lifetimes. Medicare is heading in to the red. We don’t believe we’re going to see a dime of Social Security benefits. The list goes on. Medicaid, the Post Office, the response to Katrina – simply put, we have been presented with little evidence that the government is equipped to handle our problems. The natural reaction to a federal government headed in the wrong direction? Make it smaller and have it spend less.

Listen up Republicans. Our generation is not lost to the pretty sounding words of a charismatic president. In fact, if new polls are any indication, we’re trending conservative. And we represent the next generation of the Republican party, the foundation of the conservative movement going forward.  The boots on the ground today, and the votes in the ballot box tomorrow. But you must understand what President Obama clearly doesn’t – we’re not willing to mortgage our future for a slight benefit today, we don’t believe the government is the answer to our problems, and we are legitimately scared by the ballooning debt. Do this right and Milllennials will become your biggest ally.\

- Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee.

Read more:


41st Senator…45th President?

By the end of the 2010s, we could be calling him President Scott Brown. 


The newly elected US Senator from Massachusetts ran an error-free campaign, strongly emphasizing economic and security issues and always taking the high road. His opponent, scandal-scarred Attorney General Martha Coakley, ran a vehemently negative campaign filled with disgusting lies—and she paid the price for it. 


Assuming that Brown is re-elected in 2012 (the winner of the January 19th election will complete the remaining three years of the late Ted Kennedy’s term), and also assuming that the Republican challenger to President Obama (whoever he or she may be) comes up short that year, Brown would have to be considered an odds-on favorite to become the GOP’s standard-bearer in 2016. Will he have liabilities? Of course—but his positives will outweigh those negatives by a factor of a thousand. 


Brown is a center-right figure for what conservatives often assert is a center-right nation. As a candidate for the US Senate, he tapped into the same spirit of optimism Ronald Reagan embodied on his way to winning Massachusetts in the 1980 Presidential election. He also tapped into the voters’ desire for competent leadership. 


Remember when doomed 1988 Presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis declared that his campaign was about competence, not ideology? In reality, that’s what most voters in this country are looking for. While Reagan and Barack Obama are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, they both achieved blowout Electoral College victories because they convinced voters that despite their policy positions, they would place effective leadership above ideological crusades.  


Brown traversed ideological barriers because of his promise to do the same. He was a true uniter on the campaign trail, attracting even committed progressives with his message of stewardship and honesty. He could do the same if he attempts to win the White House. 


Can he make it to the Oval Office? Why can’t he? The two biggest liabilities he will face involve his status as a “Northeastern Republican” and his moderately pro-choice stance on the abortion question. He should be able to overcome these obstacles. 


With regard to the “Northeastern Republican” image, it should be remembered that Brown is to the right of the last Republican to win a US Senate seat in Massachusetts, the profoundly progressive Edward Brooke. Brown may not march in lockstep with the broader Republican Party, but he certainly shares the party’s main vision with regard to economic reinvigoration and aggressive antiterrorism efforts. No one will ever confuse him with Dede Scozzafava. 


Conservative primary voters who reject Brown in 2016 because he’s from the Bay State would make a crucial mistake. Brown can explain conservative principles with vigor in his voice and hope in his heart. Few Republicans can do the same. Brown is a throwback to the days of optimistic conservatism—the only brand of conservatism that is proven to win national elections by significant margins. 


As for the abortion question, by the mid-2010s the GOP will have decided whether to accept moderately pro-choice Presidential candidates such as Brown, or to pressure them to shift their status on this issue, as George H. W. Bush did in 1980 after being selected as Reagan’s running mate. With aging Focus on the Family founder James Dobson shifting roles and few obvious successors to inherit his position as the most influential figure among social conservatives, it’s possible that the GOP could decide to effectively tell values voters that they have nowhere else to go, and that they can either get behind a moderately pro-choice Republican candidate such as Brown, or stay home on Election Day and allow a Democrat obedient to NARAL Pro-Choice America to succeed Obama and nominate federal judges who will effectively make Roe v. Wade impossible to reverse. If social conservatives choose the former path, Brown will at least give a fair and open hearing to their concerns.  


As the 2016 GOP nominee, Brown could unify the party, settling the grudges and grievances that have beset Republicans for far too long.  He could appeal to the David Limbaughs and David Frums of the party, reestablishing the conservative-centrist coalition Reagan first brought together. Brown could well become the first Republican since Reagan to win “blue” regions of the country—and make hardcore Democrats blue in the process.


If Brown makes it to the White House, we could bear witness to the true resurgence of conservatism that George W. Bush’s 2000 election promised, but was unable to deliver. If I were a devoted Democrat, this thought would surely make me quiver.

The Grudge

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what the American right is for. However, it’s always easy to tell what the American right is against. 


One of conservatism’s lingering problems—a problem that forestalls the expansion of the conservative philosophical franchise—is the right’s image as an entity excessively hostile to every social change that has taken place in this country since the 1950s. Too often, it seems to outsiders that the right is forever attempting to move the country back to a time before “activist” Supreme Courts, widespread racial and religious diversity and political outspokenness by younger Americans.


The left has often accused Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan of making appeals to a mythical past, but if you look closely at their speeches, both Nixon and Reagan embraced the past and the future. In their rhetoric, the 37th and 40th Presidents made clear that we should not reject every element of America’s past, but that the days ahead could be even better than the days before. The controversies of Vietnam and Watergate have allowed progressives to overlook the hopefulness of Nixon’s rhetoric in his 1968 and 1972 Presidential campaigns; in both battles, Nixon emphasized that he would both preserve what was great about our history and ensure as many Americans as possible enjoyed the country’s blessings going forward.


While Reagan clearly had a traditionalist take on cultural affairs, he was careful not to come across as a slouching-towards-Gomorrah culture-war curmudgeon; his speeches were profound in their patriotism and overt in their optimism, routinely communicating the point that America was born great and would only become greater over time. Reagan made Americans feel that they should never lose faith in their country, despite the tremendous cultural upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s; in his view, America had certainly changed, but it had never declined.


Now, decline seems to be the central theme of conservative rhetoric. It’s as though too many folks on the right have taken their cues from a figure connected to the Nixon and Reagan administrations: Pat Buchanan.


I’ve never understood Buchanan’s appeal: from the time I first started paying serious attention to politics, he always struck me as someone who wanted to be an Al Sharpton figure for working-class whites, as opposed to someone who wanted to be a champion of conservative philosophy. The adulation Buchanan used to receive from some segments of the right always seemed strange; in my view, he was too obnoxious to warrant anything other than fringe support.


The left has long claimed that Buchanan’s infamous “culture war” speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention doomed President George H. W. Bush’s chances for re-election. I profoundly disagree—because the speech was simply too boring to have any real effect on anybody. It was a compendium of gripes: all Buchanan did in the speech was whine and moan about liberal judges, feminists, gay activists, environmentalists and every other putative predator of conservative principles. There was virtually nothing in the speech about what President Bush would do to turn around the economy or, God forbid, actually limit the size, scope and power of the federal government. It was nothing more than the lamentation of a loser in the culture war. (The speech also featured this explicit lie: “George Bush is a defender of right-to-life, and lifelong champion of the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs upon which this nation was built.” Evidently, the Bush that was a pro-choice, rhetorically secular Rockefeller Republican never existed.)


The spirit of Buchanan-style grievance-based conservatism—the spirit of negativity, of pessimism, of resentment towards anything that can be construed as being borne of the “elites”—seems to have possessed a fair number of bodies on the right these days. Can you recall the last time a prominent figure on right-leaning radio or television expressed the view that America will remain great despite the current activities of President Obama and the Democratic Party? Can you recall the last time a Republican House or Senate member communicated the same optimism about this country’s future that Reagan and Nixon used to express? Do you remember the last time anyone affiliated with the right declared that America’s best days are yet to come?


There is a cult of grievance on the American right today. Members of this cult have a raging anger against legal, journalistic, academic and entertainment-based progressivism, coupled with a strong sense of pessimism that anything can be done about the left’s political and cultural gains. Somebody had better leave this cult and find some optimism somewhere—preferably, in ideas and proposals that represent a positive, conservative alternative to the Obama vision.  Those who don’t leave this cult of grievance will inevitably find themselves in a political Jonestown—right before the Flavor-Aid is passed around.

Obama – Tough… On What?

We used to have a saying around the playground as wise-guy adolescents. “He’s tough ok, around the mouth”. This was generally used to describe a guy who was all talk, who would back off and cower to any half-baked bully who happened to come along. Striking simile to the Benighted One and his Clown College where it comes to the very first tenant of a President of the United States of America.

This bunch are as inept as it gets. It is really tragi-comic to listen to this boob go in front of the cameras ‘and talk tough’. While he is pontifically pronouncing his willingness to take ‘COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY’ for security failures, one wonders how we would extend that to the numbers of dead Americans that are going to happen because of his imbecilic ineptitude. For deaths there WILL be.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter showed us and the world what a weak, pacifistic appeasement could do for a country. It gave us the fanatical Iranian regime and the world-wide jihad. The MAD MULLAHS only backed down when confronted by the reality of a no-nonsense American leader, who made it patently clear to them that the full strength and power of US arms was right over the horizon, had they continued the games with our embassy and our citizens that they had buffaloed the foolish, feckless Carter with. Bullies, third rate dictators, mad or just semi-mad Mullahs, jihadists, foreign or homemade, thought twice before they messed with Ronald Reagan. The notable exception to that being the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Lebanon in 1983, when Reagan had the Marines withdrawn in the aftermath.

Then with the advent of the FIRST “most ethical administration in history”, the bad guys figured out Billy Jeff in a hurry. In his best non-confrontational manner, Clinton quickly telegraphed his intention of handling obvious terrorist attacks against the country as a criminal issue, as opposed to an international terror network which had already adamantly telegraphed its declaration of war against the country, setting the stage for 9/11.

George W. Bush

George Bush kept the country relatively safe by keeping the terrorists pretty much pinned down in the middle-east and elsewhere. A number of would-be terrorist related attempts were thwarted during Bush’s tenure, mostly because they had been convinced that he WOULD FIGHT.

Now we have the SECOND “most ethical administration in US history”. (Please Lord, save us from a third). It’s Jimmy Carter and Billy Jeff rolled into one delightful fun package. Criminalizing CONFESSED terrorists into US courts just as though they were citizens with rights. Treating would-be mass murdering Jihadist bombers to ACLU attorneys, instead of a military commission and interrogation that may, just may, save more US CITIZENS’ LIVES! Yes BARRY, you and your goofball security apparatus do so inspire confidence. Gee…don’t we all feel so fuzzy warm and safe?

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010


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