More Bill Buckley, less Bill O'Reilly

Steven Hayward's "Is Conservatism Brain-Dead" has been much-discussed in the last few days, prompting some valuable introspection within the Right. I'll excerpt some of the more important points.

The conservative political movement, for all its infighting, has always drawn deeply from the conservative intellectual movement, and this mix of populism and elitism troubled neither side.  Today, however, the conservative movement has been thrown off balance, with the populists dominating and the intellectuals retreating and struggling to come up with new ideas. The leading conservative figures of our time are now drawn from mass media, from talk radio and cable news. We've traded in Buckley for Beck, Kristol for Coulter, and conservatism has been reduced to sound bites.

President Obama has done conservatives a great favor, delivering CPR to the movement with his program of government gigantism, but this resuscitation should not be confused with a return to political or intellectual health. [...] When the ideas are absent, the movement has nothing to offer -- except opposition. That doesn't work for long in American politics. [...]

[S]ome on the right think talk radio, especially, has dumbed down the movement, that there is plenty of sloganeering but not much thought, that the blend of entertainment and politics is too outre. John Derbyshire, author of a forthcoming book about conservatism's future, "We are Doomed," calls our present condition "Happy Meal Conservatism, cheap, childish and familiar."

The key to fixing this problem is leadership - among elected officials, traditional movement leaders, grassroots...and, hopefully, new movement leaders. The question is whether those people will pick up this opportunity to lead...or make excuses, point fingers and retrench.  I'll repeat what I wrote in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 election.

The rebuilding and renewal of the Right will start soon.  This will be very important.   The Right and the Republican Party are at an inflection point, and there are many directions things can go.   The destiny of the Right and the Republican Party will be determined in large part by the decisions you make in the days, weeks and months ahead.

  • Some of you will say "we have learned our lesson", and then try to pass off cosmetic changes as Reform.  You are the problem.

  • Some of you will say "Republicans need to fight/hold Democrats accountable", as if it is sufficient to be against Democrats.  The pendulum may eventually swing back to you, but you won't know what to do with it.

  • Some of you will say "Republicans need to carry our message to the American people", as if the problem is that Republicans haven't been saying "tax cuts and limited government" loudly enough.  The problem is not the inability to communicate; the problem is that you have no idea how to actually deliver on those ideas.

  • Others will say "Republicans need to be more principled", as if the problem is a mere lack of personal courage and principle by Republicans.  Even the best people can't limit government if there is not an effective strategy for implementation - for getting "from here to there".  You don't need better people.  You need a better strategy.

The problem is not Republican politicians, although many Republicans politicians are a problem.  The problem is not with the basic ideals of limited government and personal freedom, either.  The problem is a movement that plays small-ball and cedes responsibility for infrastructure to business interests, leadership that rewards those who make friends rather than waves, an entrenched Party and Movement support system that mostly supports itself, an echo chamber that has rotted our intellect, a grassroots that is ill-equipped to shape the Republican Party, and a Republican Party that has replaced strategy with tactics, substance with marketing.

 

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Comments

This screed is getting old...

Setting aside the continuing confusion of movement structure with strategy, Henke's yet to tell us what in the last three election cycles allows him to conclude that 1) conservatives need some sort of fixed leadership in the first place and 2) why he believes popular conservative voices crowd out emerging ones.

Come on, man.  This isn't 1980.  Conservatives aren't begging for airtime in mediums that have a lock on an overwhelming majority of the electorate and are overwhelmingly managed by the political left.  Today there are dozens of political outlets on the national networks and the affiliates.  There are hundreds on cable and radio.  We can't even count what's available on the Internet.  It's no longer a question of how to get a conservative message on the air, it's how to make sure enough people are available to take advantage of an uncountable field of pulpits; a good, growing number of which are in conservative-friendly hands.

Unless Henke's terminally allegeric to populism and the 24-hour news cycle, there's nothing stopping him from getting on O'Reilly or Limbaugh or Beck to talk about whatever it is he wants to talk about (except for maybe the fact that confusing movement infrastructure with strategy is not only wrongheaded, but boring).  Weekly Standard and National Review (Derb aside) have no problem booking on Hannity, Special Report, or even Dennis Miller, so what the hell are we whining about?  Instead of taking pot shots at the people who actually know how to keep a movement engaged, maybe it's time our party's process mavens started taking advantage of the media megaphone we've spent three decades carving out for ourselves.

re:

I don't think I've argued (1) or (2).

You didn't Jon

...but that doesn't stop them from saying you did... it's their version of the old retail game of bait and switch.

It's hard to see how you haven't...

...especially when you embrace both in one sentence.

"The key to fixing this problem is leadership - among elected officials, traditional movement leaders, grassroots...and, hopefully, new movement leaders."

This problem, which you pick out of Hayward, is a grassroot movement deprived of ideas.  Let's set aside whether or not that judgement is absurd on its face.  Assuming the GOP does have an idea deficit, you explicitly state it as symptomatic of (a lack of) leadership.  You go on to offer "new movement leader[ship]" as the prescription, the underlying argument holding that the Right's present prominent voices are either crowding out emerging voices or poisoning the well. 

I really shouldn't have to parse your post  like this.  The title--"More Buckley, less Bill O'Reilly"--pretty much sums up where you're coming form.  My question stands, why can't or won't your Buckley-types make better use of the Bill O'Reillys out there?

Populism without ideas

I agree with most of the points Jon made; specifically, that messages like "low taxes and limited government" are silly platitudes, unless there is a specific idea in place as to what it all is supposed to mean.

For instance, what does "limited government" mean to conservatives? Do we reject the Patriot Act as an encroachment of government power on liberty? Do we reject TARP? The prescription drug benefit? Do we want less foreign intervention? Do conservatives have a problem with ACORN's criminality, but not Halliburton's?

Populism without underlying ideas and a coherent worldview is what we have now. The biggest criticism of the conservative movement is not an attack on its basic ideas, but the hypocrisy of it in action- that the ones chanting "limited government" also defend every enlargement of it., that the defenders of "open free markets" defend collusion, monopoly, and no-bid government contracts.

No wonder Jon Stewart has such a target-rich environment.

Maggie Thatcher once said, "First you win the argument, then you win the election."

Good advice, still.

today's conservatism

I agree with most of the points Jon made; specifically, that messages like "low taxes and limited government" are silly platitudes, unless there is a specific idea in place as to what it all is supposed to mean.

Well, I agree in part and disagree in part.  "Hope and Change" is a silly platitude as well but it seemed to work rather effectively for the other side.  I think we need to distinguish between the inpsirational slogans ("hope and change", "less taxes and limited government") and the nuts-and-bolts of specific policy proposals.  We need both the inspirational slogans and the specific policy proposals.  But the bottom line is that we aren't one homogeneous group.  We have lots of different competing ideas.  "Limited government" is a philosophy, not a detailed policy position.

And, by the way, "limited government" is not equivalent to "no government" or "absolutely minimal government".

The biggest criticism of the conservative movement is not an attack on its basic ideas, but the hypocrisy of it in action- that the ones chanting "limited government" also defend every enlargement of it., that the defenders of "open free markets" defend collusion, monopoly, and no-bid government contracts.

This is just not true.  You are buying into the leftist critique of conservatism.  George W. Bush was not a small-government guy and don't believe for a moment that the same guy who brought us Medicare Part D and created entirely new government bureaucracies (plural!) was some sort of laissez-faire Ayn Rand devotee.  He wasn't.  A great many of us conservatives were quite unhappy with No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the giant new Department of Homeland Security, and "comprehensive immigration reform".  And when the Republican Party nominated another guy who was about as moderate as George Bush on these scores, we registered our protest and stayed home on election day.  I think what we are currently seeing on the right is a rejection of the big-government conservatism of the past, not a defense of it.  That is truly the essence of the "limited government" protesting that you see from the Tea Partiers.  George W. Bush and John McCain may have defended every enlargement of big government, but we don't.

Oh, and by the way, Jon Stewart has ammunition because what he labels as "hypocrisy" on the right, he labels as "nuance" on the left.

Disavowing Bush

I agree that Bush wasn't a conservative; but you never get a pure idealogue- the idea that the conservative movement can simply shrug off Bush, and pretend they were innocent bystanders is silly. The conservatives may have whispered criticisms of the wild spending, into their sleeves, when no one was looking; but did any free spending GOP Congressmen or Senators pay a price? Were there furious protests of 70,000 conservatives demanding an end to the deficits? Notice how Palin and Stevens were exposed as splurging on federal pork, yet were embraced by conservatives. Even today, I am reading an article where Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Coryn are begging for federal stimulus dollars for Texas' NASA facilities. Again, those who rail against the brothel of government spending, show up at the back door after sundown and beg for it.

So even if a "True Conservative" were in power, what "limited government" would consist of is not clear; is there a serious attempt being made to balance the budget? Not that I know of. I think it is telling that the slogans Jon references- "low taxes" is NOT paired with "Low spending". The GOP, the conservative movement, talk loosely about reducing spending, but are reluctant to make a serious stab at it. Not one- not ONE GOP congressman or Senator is actively campaining on a platform of balanced budgets.

I notice how the Tea Party protests promiscuously use libertarian language and imagery; and bloggers rail breathlessly about the dreaded FEMA camps; yet the Right (for the most part) embraces the radical power of warrantless wiretapping and detention without trial, even of American citizens.

So the I am left wondering if we really just mean any of it, or if we really just want to spend tax dollars on OUR pork, not theirs; if we love unlimited government power, but only when WE get to wield it.

compromising and conservatism

The conservatives may have whispered criticisms of the wild spending, into their sleeves, when no one was looking; but did any free spending GOP Congressmen or Senators pay a price?

Yes.  They were thrown out of Congress in 2006.

You confuse elected GOP politicians with the actual conservative grassroots.  We were told by the GOP beltway elites, in essence, that we had to accept Bush and his big-government ways because (1) he was right on the War on Terror, and (2) the Democrats would be far, far worse.  And for the most part we accepted that Faustian bargain, but only up to a point.  Now that Bush is gone and Republicans hold almost no power, there is no reason for us to compromise on this score.  We aren't going to settle for some big-government guy like Bush or McCain anymore.  And we are fully aware that large numbers of GOP politicians still don't get it.  The fact that Cornyn and Hutchison are lobbying for NASA pork for Texas doesn't represent the views of the Tea Party protestors that I observed.  So your "we" statements are overly broad.

I urge you to actually read real conservative blogs, and especially the comments therein.  Places like Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Ace of Spades, Power Line, Gateway Pundit, etc.  You will see what real conservatives are thinking, not what GOP politicians are saying.  I can tell you that from my observations, most of the conservatives want to throw all of the Democrats out and about three-quarters of the Republicans too.

So the I am left wondering if we really just mean any of it, or if we really just want to spend tax dollars on OUR pork, not theirs; if we love unlimited government power, but only when WE get to wield it.

The short answer to your question is:  For us conservatives, the answer is no.  For GOP politicians, the answer is less clear.

Oh and by the way I did not say that Bush wasn't a conservative.  He was definitely a conservative when it came to muscular national defense.  What I said was that he wasn't a small-government conservative.

Some agreement

I can agree that GOP politicians are not truely conservative, but opportunistic; But I would disagree strongly with the notion that the bloggers and punditry are consistently conservative. Specifically:

1. Ace of Spades/ Malkin/ Powerline/ Red State consistently embrace the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, and any other government power done in the name of GWOT.

If government is unlimited in its power to protect us, it is unlimited in its power to oppress us as well.

2. The above commentators  consistently embrace activist, nation-building foreign policy, and have never seen a war they did not immediately champion. War always enlarges and centralizes government. If we accept the notion that America will be fighting 3 wars (Iraq, A-Stan, Iran) and will be occupying these countries building friendly governments for about a decade apiece, there will never be a truly limited government.

Anti-interventionists like Daniel Larison at American Conservative Magazine are shunned and dismissed, while the gung-ho "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" voices are given center stage.

The twin pillars of conservatism- limited government spending and fiscal prudence- are destroyed by constant warfare and its need for security over liberty.

conservative strawmen

1. Ace of Spades/ Malkin/ Powerline/ Red State consistently embrace the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, and any other government power done in the name of GWOT.

2. The above commentators  consistently embrace activist, nation-building foreign policy, and have never seen a war they did not immediately champion.

Umm, no.  These are complete strawmen.  I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you are merely misinformed in your description of modern conservatism.  Instead of clinging to your conservative strawmen, why not listen to what one real conservative has to say about these subjects?

1. I favor generally a muscular national defense, whether it be fighting the GWOT, the Cold War, or the Second World War.  In times of war, the legitimacy of military commanders to intercept communications to enemy agents is undisputed, warrants or no warrants.  Why would the same rules not apply to the GWOT?  Now, you can take the complete libertarian position and say the government should not have the power to monitor any communication.  Fine.  Then why the selective outrage?  Where is your disgust at Clinton's Carnivore program which started the whole warrantless wiretapping regime?  Where is your outrage against all of the other government intrusions into our lives that are supported on a bipartisan basis?  Instead, with the whole furor over "warrantless wiretapping", we didn't see any of that.  All we saw were insane claims from the left that Bush was "shredding the Constitution".  What this suggested to me was that their complaints weren't principled, but partisan.  And when you try to use civil liberties as a partisan wedge against a guy you hate, then you are bound to get me really upset.  But none of the aforementioned bloggers favor "unlimited powers" in the name of the GWOT.

2. I don't support war for war's sake.  That is a completely insane position.  I don't generally favor nation-building as an enterprise that the US government should be routinely engaged in.  My initial opinion of the Iraq War was that it was a fool's errand.  But when we do engage in a war, I believe strongly that (a) our cause is just and (b) we fight to win, period.  I completely understand why someone would oppose the war.  But when I see many Democrats rooting for us to lose, rooting for the Iraq insurgency (e.g. Michael Moore calling the Al Qaeda Iraq terrorists their "Minutemen"), then it thoroughly disgusts me.  In my mind their criticism of the war goes overboard when they wish for our defeat, and, by extension, greater American casualties.

Oh, and by the way.  Conservatives are not a homogeneous bunch.  There are those who believe we should not get involved in any foreign entanglements whatsoever, guided by our historical isolationist position, and then there are those who believe the only way that we can truly be safe is if we get involved on the world stage and defend our interests, with force if necessary but only if absolutely positively necessary.  I think there are valid conservative arguments for both views.  I tend to favor more the isolationism myself but I recognize the diversity of opinion on the right side of the aisle.  So I am immediately dismissive of those who claim that those who aren't absolutely positively 100% isolationis aren't "true conservatives", or vice-versa.

Straw Men?

You had asked me to look at conservative bloggers and pundits for an example of true conservatism; I did, and they all take very un-conservative positions. Unless you want to point out which one of them can be called a pure, true faithful conservative.

Without getting into a long off topic debate about the merits of the Patriot Act itself, lets look at your own positon- that the government should be allowed to greatly enlarge its power and scope in order to defend us.

If the Defense budget is never going to be reduced, but constantly enlarged; if the government has the power to imprison American citizens without charges or trial (such as the Jose Padilla case). Then I would ask- what part of government do conservatives actually want to limit? The National Park Service?

That is the classic contradiction of modern conservatism that I am talking about- that you want limited government that has nearly unlimited power.

Yes, strawmen.

Yes, you present strawmen.  I don't know where you get these ideas about what modern conservatism is about, because they aren't from any conservative I have ever encountered or read.  Perhaps you could post which one that you read believes the government should have unlimited, or even "nearly unlimited", power to protect its citizens.  That's certainly not my position and I think I'm about as authentic of a conservative as they come.  Conservatives are the first to decry the nanny-state!  Who are the ones complaining about government mandates with light bulbs or fast food menus?  Is it the left?  No.  I never said the Defense Department budget should never be reduced, but I do oppose the partisan attempt by Democrats, whenever they start talking about "cutting government waste", to only find "waste" in one single department of the federal government and never in any other.  I never said that, outside of wartime, that American citizens should be imprisoned without charges or trial.  We can talk about the merits or demerits of the Jose Padilla case; but it is only an issue because he was accused of acts of terrorism in the middle of a GWOT.  If he had been accused of anything else, then the answer is clear: liberals and conservatives agree, he should get due process in a court of law post haste.

Perhaps you should point out what you think "true conservatism" is, because you certainly have a warped view of what modern conservatism is, and I'd like to be able to correct the record.

Bush and the right

I agree that Bush wasn't a conservative; but you never get a pure idealogue- the idea that the conservative movement can simply shrug off Bush, and pretend they were innocent bystanders is silly.

Not as silly a the notion that "Bush wasn't a conservative." The truth about Bush and the right is written in stone; the polling data along is overwhelming. The conservatives were almost insane in their fanatical devotion to the man. Bush enjoyed overwhelming support on the right until almost the very end--only when he became a political liability in the approaching election were there big defections away from him. Even as late as December, though, after the Republicans had been decimated in the elections (and, to counter another canard, well after there was any reason to support him over Democrats), self-identified conservative Republicans were still giving Bush a 72% approval rating. Bush was probably more popular among the conservatives throughout his entire administration than was Reagan. Their devotion to him was fanatical to the point of being creepy. They built a cult-of-personality around him, and practically worshipped the ground he walked on--massive approval ratings all the way. The conservatives certainly weren't "innocent bystanders." They were his Amen corner. And if he "wasn't a conservative," it was news to them.

Evolving positions

You make the point more strongly than I do, that the Right supported Bush until the bitter end; As to whether he was a conservative, I should clarify my point about pure idealogues; Bush came in as a new style "compassionate conservative" scornful of nation-building, then drifted into hard Chirstian Right social positions, then turned after 9/11 into a nation-building neo-con, finally a Big Government Republican with the drug benefit and TARP. So one can pretty much define him in a myriad of ways, conservative being one.

But to be fair, all politicians change and adapt and compromise; to say that Bush wasn't a conservative is like plucking out compromises Reagan made and arguing that he too, was not a true conservative. By that definition, no such animal exists, or can exist.

Which reinforces the point made in various blogs, that the conservative movement- not just craven politicians- has accepted and embraced a lot of very un-conservative things. Until they can present a coherent narrative about what society and government should look like, they will be left only with shouting heads on TV.

Bush and the right, again

But to be fair, all politicians change and adapt and compromise; to say that Bush wasn't a conservative is like plucking out compromises Reagan made and arguing that he too, was not a true conservative. By that definition, no such animal exists, or can exist.

Bingo. Adaptation, compromise, pragmatism make up a large part of the substance of American politics. That's just the nature of the beast. The "Bush wasn't a conservative" thing is nothing more than a basic "no true Scotsman."

Which reinforces the point made in various blogs, that the conservative movement- not just craven politicians- has accepted and embraced a lot of very un-conservative things.

And to be clear, I certainly recognize the problems inherent in identifying a movement too closely with the politicians it elects. It's just that most of those problems don't really come into play with Bush, whose aproval ratings with the general public hovered perilously close to single digits when he left office, while the absolutely fanatical support for him by his own base had barely even been dented. They loved him, and no sin he may have committed against ideological purity could phase him.

A lot of projection from another far Left troll...

Their devotion to him was fanatical to the point of being creepy. They built a cult-of-personality around him, and practically worshipped the ground he walked on--massive approval ratings all the way. The conservatives certainly weren't "innocent bystanders." They were his Amen corner. -ClassicLiberal2

 

 

 

Got milk? Got Projection?

A lot of idiotic cartoons from a reactionary idiot.

What a surprise.

I think it nailed your silliness and far Left zealotry, CLD2

The unconvincing words and actions you tried to ascribe to conservatives who supported Bush were off-the-mark by a mile, CLD2.  If fact, many conservatives couldn't understand why Bush was so loyal to so many staffers who didn't advance the cause, didn't come from the movement, weren't steeped in the rhetoric & policies of the Right.  It was exactly the opposite of what you wrote. 

In fact, your words sounded more like something Malkin or Coulter could write about the near-worshipful adoration you have for Obama... remember the greek god-like structure the true believers built for him at Invesco Field?  You thought it was appropriate.

We can all appreciate your reaction.  You don't like a mirror-like, truth-moment presented in your face.  Your warrantless projection demanded no less an answer.

And, let's face it, if people here don't hit you with a hammer when you're pronouncing another silly proposition, you just keep on repeating it, comment after bloody comment, thread after thread.  Like a left-leaning robot from the Daily Kos.

Nawh, you got nailed for that silliness.  You deserved no less.

JALSOS

remember the greek god-like structure the true believers built for him at Invesco Field?  You thought it was appropriate.

For anyone who may be confused by this lying POS, I've never written a word about any such structure anywhere at any time. I maintain a blog that has been relentlessly critical of Obama since before he was even inaugurated, and I've fought with this lying POS over my criticisms of Obama on many occasions.

I think you missed the point, classic Liar 2

JMountain nailed you here --

We can all appreciate your reaction.  You don't like a mirror-like, truth-moment presented in your face.  Your warrantless projection demanded no less an answer.

And, let's face it, if people here don't hit you with a hammer when you're pronouncing another silly proposition, you just keep on repeating it, comment after bloody comment, thread after thread.  Like a left-leaning robot from the Daily Kos.

Nawh, you got nailed for that silliness.  You deserved no less.

I have no idea whether or not you thought the Obama Temple was a good thing; I wouldn't be surprised if you did.

But JM nailed you solidly, squarely.  You keep spinning the far Left lies and it hits you squarely in the face.

 

Conservatives didn't call W the Great Messiah

and former President Bush didn't speak of himself in the third person, like he was royalty, but President Obama does and often in his radio addresses.  Our current president can't help himself --he is our first Celebrity in Chief.  Those are Democratic Party supporters and ACORN and SEIU and Code Pink and MoveOn.org and gays and labor union members who idolize Obama. It is unique to their brand of hero-worship.  You are fundamentally wrong in saying that conservatives treated W that way.  From the shared popcorn with Senator Kennedy at a White House movie, to No Child Left Behind, to Harriet Myers, to Immigration Amnesty, to handling Iraq, to federal spending, to cabinet picks -conservatives were not lockstep in love with W.  I think they say they supported him because he was tough on terrorists and pro-military and strong on social value issues.  But it didn't come close to the worship that the far Left, regular Democrats, the media and others have for Barack Obama.

 Not worshipping as you say.

 Not worshipping as you say. But it is ideology. Republicans live by ideology. That is neoconism, corporate fascism, militarism, laissez-faire-tax cuts and nothing else, religionism and stay the course. That is republlcanism in recent years. And the right wing media (Limbaugh and Hannity) said nothing and in fact cheered deficits as they were "only a small part of GDP. And even Cheney had said "deficits don't matter."

Democrats are no better with welfare policies. So where do we go from here?

Sure it's worship.

Did you see the Temple to Obama they built for him in Denver (does Obama require a capital "H" on him now?)

Do you remember the silliness of the whole "Office Elect of the President of the United States" symbols on everything Barrie touched for 90 days?

Have you been watching the uber slick french-cuffed shirts, the $8,000 hand made suits, the $3,000 loafers?

Did you notice that Barrie gets to take Michele on a date and they HAVE to go to New York, use Air Force One and spend the taxpayer's money like it was water?

They've become the Royal Family, not the First Family.

It's pure adoring worship by a fanatical base.

 

 And republicans worship

 And republicans worship ideology.

I think you've been over this ground; spread your manure...

elsewhere, In between.

You're wrong, Republicans don't worship ideology, my trolling for reactions friend.  You can't worship ideology with a full fledged war going on inside the Party over the future and direction of the Party... ideology isn't important when the end game is a return to a moderate or progressive GOP of the 1960s, a further tilt toward the reactionary Right where all suspect RINOs are torched out of the Party, pragmatic politics versus principled, litmus test politics, etc.  In this current war, nearly all GOPers think small govt, fiscal prudence, federalism, a strong military, a vigorous natl defense, lower taxes, fair trade and self-reliance are more important than your fake ideologies of "religionism" or "corporatism" or, God forbid, "globalism".

How can you be a reader and frequent commenter on this blog and not have noticed that, if anything else is true, Republicans are fighting over the course of the Party.

I can see how someone not well versed in Party politics might think that... especially a troll like you who sees religion as an evil, calls people of Faith "religionists" and probably is riled when he is forced --like all Democrats, it takes force-- to recite the Pledge.  But worship of Obama by the Left now and during the election is nothing akin to anything we've ever had since Kennedy got "Program Camelot" launched into action.

Some Republicans use to sort-of-worship Reagan --and I think in the 2008, 2004 and 2000 races the need to identify with those Reaganauts still in the Party was so severe that many candidates felt obligated to reference Reagan as something approaching dutiful obsequiousness.  But it was more like Kennedy and all the Democrat Party contenders going to visit Mrs Roosevelt for tea after her cheatin' hubbie kicked the bucket... it's part of history to pay respects to the past grand images and icons of either Party.

So, you're wrong.  Again.  It seems to be your practice.

You put, as well as others, a

You put, as well as others, a lot of importance in small government, fiscal prudence, federalism, a strong military, etc. And that is fine. And there are people who want more religion in government, after all you get your votes from the evangelicals. but there is more and I will paste this in here to understand what we are up against. A lot of things you say you are right. And especially lower taxes and self-reliance, but the federal government has a part in this. You will not agree, but this is what I have said on another thread.

 

 Okay, we are not connecting. Many small towns rely on factories. We are not diversified. In fact there is not enough different jobs to go around. At least jobs that will employ 500 or 2000 people in one place. Let me start with Wall Street. They said, that this is going to be an information society and they did not care about our jobs. In Washington, they have talked of free trade. Actually it makes no difference. It is the fact that we have globalization. We (cities and states) are not in a position to compete with 1 billion Chinese and 1 billion Indians. This is where Washington has to step in. We are at war with the world on globalization. We accomplish nothing if you are going to say it is the cities and states fault. We have a world to compete with. One industry towns are all over the country. You certainly not going to have (Google) build in my home town. We are a factory town. We are not high tech and we are not a tourist town. 

It has nothing to do with reliance on the federal government. It has everything to do with the rest of the world. it is impossible to diversify. But there again if you want to diversify, then you need to invest in your country, in your people, and in the future. And all these resources will have to be from the federal government. 

I would say it is ignorance and laissez-faire that is not accepting globalization and the fight we have. We are at war. It is cheap labor. Now we have seen this for 30 years. It was the Japanese that took our textiles, our electronics, our steel, and our autos. Yes, I understand competition and I am not asking for protectionism. But what I am saying with some 3 billion people out there that want our jobs, we will have to diminish the middle class. And we have seen it and lived it. It is cheap labor at first, then market share, then bankruptcies. And we already know that after Japan, and China and India will take the rest. 

Now I know you are not liking this, but the end result of ignorance and laissez-faire is that your tax money is going to bail everyone out and it happening today. 

1. Now the answer is invest in the country: That is energy independence to create jobs and for security issues. Perhaps high speed rail. A new air traffic control system (35 billion dollars) and this will make aircraft fly more direct and the airlines will make a profit on using less fuel. (We have some of the oldest fleets in the world.)

2. Invest in the people: if we have globalization and it is cheap labor that will win, then you will need mandatory vocational training. I know you don't want to hear this either, but it will be the only way to compete in the world. You need a trained workforce. Economics and globalization is forcing this. It is either that or you can pay for welfare.

Hudson Institute > Promoting U.S. Worker Competitiveness in a Globalized Economy

3. Invest in the future: That is no more religious games with embryonic stem cell research as we lost scientists to Singapore. You (the federal government) backs up innovation and science. We subsidize innovation and work with companies and universities. The first country that becomes energy independent will own the world in technology. China is working on it, also South Korea and other countries. We are behind in battery technology. And the list goes on. 

We used to do great things and today we accomplish nothing. We built the Hoover Dam, the interstate, and put a man on the moon. We did not get mired down with ideology. But now we are reduced for cash for clunkers, extension of unemployment benefits, bailouts, and casinos for every state. And this is where we are today. As I see it, we have borrowed for tax cuts, sent our jobs overseas, and sent our money to Iraq. And no country can survive doing this nonsense.

And this is the answer to a better future. Add to that the usual in cutting spending and whatever has to be done. So I am American, and I am for a better America. Now we can play games with ideology or religion or whatever else republicans want to dream of, but so far I have seen nothing in the way of managing this country from the right.

 

 

 

Hey

Doesn't change the fact that a lot of conservatives such as myself disliked Bush for being big government. And you do know people like Mccain/Romnery would be the same thing Bush was or even worse. We need to get rid of neocons. They are just liberals who like war.

"What a surprise"?

The only surprise is how badly you keep getting put-away on this blog.  I wonder if you know how stupid your statements sound, Classic Liberal 2?  Projection is what you were doing and Jake took you to task for it.

Chemjeff...

"Hope and Change" is a silly platitude as well but it seemed to work rather effectively for the other side. 

I agree with this, and think something that vague worked for Obama because a majority of voters were desperate for 'hope' and 'change' after the Bush years.  Would it have worked for George Bush or Al Gore, coming off the Clinton years?  I don't think so.  But Obama also had specific policy proposals in his platform to flesh that out: health care reform, winding down Iraq, focusing more on Afghanistan, closing Gitmo, etc.  Agree with them or not, argue about whether he's actually made much progress on them to date ... but you can't say there weren't specific policy ideas accompanying the "Hope and Change" message.  I think this is what Reason60 is getting at with suggesting concrete policy ideas are needed to flesh out a message of "limited government, lower taxes" especially in light of the Bush years. 

We need both the inspirational slogans and the specific policy proposals. 

Absolutely!  Just for discussion's sake, if you were given a magic wand and the power to set the Republican platform for 2010 or 2012, what specific policy proposals would you include?  A few areas I'd be interested in commenters chiming in on:

  • What agencies, programs or functions would you cut from the federal government?
  • What would be your position on warrantless wiretapping and other civil liberties issues?
  • Would you support the Bush doctrine?  If not, what would your foreign policy statement be?  Your guidelines on military engagement? 
  • How would you control entitlement spending? 
  • How would you control military spending?
  • If no significant healthcare reform is enacted by then, and healthcare costs continue to escalate and impact individuals/businesses as expected, what would you do reform the health care system and control costs?

That's enough for now.  I can only speak for myself but I can say I won't be buying 'limited government and low taxes' rhetoric without specific policy ideas, any more than I'll be buying 'hope and change' or similar platitudes from the Dems.  I'll assume that each party will revert to past behavior in the absence of specific policy ideas.

A great many of us conservatives were quite unhappy with No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the giant new Department of Homeland Security, and "comprehensive immigration reform". 

Except for immigration reform, I don't remember hearing any substantial pushback on those Bush initiatives, but Reason60 responded to this point much more eloquently than I could.

acinphx...

First, I'm not a politician.  So I'm not going to give you detailed policy positions.  I will, instead, tell you what is in my heart.  In my heart I genuinely, strongly, unequivocally believe that human beings should be treated as individuals, with all of the rights, privileges, and dignity pertaining thereto.  Therefore I just cringe whenever I hear phrases like "reforming the health care system", because what I hear is some government bureaucrat attempting to intrude on my personal decisions about my health, no matter what form that "reform" may take.  I simply don't trust government to be a good steward of my interests because I don't believe government has the capacity to regard me as an individual - only as a faceless nameless cog in "the system", whether it be the health care system, the economic system, the social system, or any system you care to mention.  I sincerely wish to be left alone to pursue my dreams, unfettered by government mandates and directives.  Is that too naive?  Now I'm not an anarchist so I recognize that I must accept some level of government interference.  But does it have to intrude into every facet of my life?  There was a recent discussion on The Corner about violation of 'safe zones" - about the intrusion of politics into otherwise apolitical situations.  Such as political jokes at funerals, or in sports colums, or on tour buses.  Is that really necessary?  Can't I have a space where I am free from political judgment?

I'm not a politician either.

So fair enough ... I also didn't give my thoughts on those topics.  I was interested in hearing from others, to try to inform myself about where current conservative thinking is. Attaching proposed policy to concepts like 'limited government' and 'personal freedom' is really where the rubber meets the road, though.  Otherwise, those terms are no more meaningful than 'hope' and 'change'. 

If a politician of any party were to identify a list of current federal functions proposed for elimination (let's say, HHS, Education, agricultural subsidies, as examples), at least that gives a voter some idea how that pol would actually achieve limits to government.  I have a feeling, though, that that will never happen until some backs are to the wall.  (And perhaps our economic problems are fast constructing that wall.)

You said in a response to someone else that Dems only want to cut defense spending.  I think that's a bit of hyperbole, as (pathetic) cuts were proposed earlier this year by Dems and they weren't limited to defense.  But, let's take your perception at face value and say it's true -- Dems propose to cut spending only by cutting the defense budget.  In its way, that is in fact 'limiting government' .  Dems would be saying that ther priority is to retain other functions at the expense of X amount of military spending, or that they would reduce spending by cutting the military budget by X amount.  Like it or not (and I have a feeling you wouldn't) at least they are telling you what their priorities are and where they would cut spending.  I hear a lot of noise but no specifics from Republicans, though, on where they would make spending cuts.  McCain lost me in 2008 when he said at one of the debates that he would exempt military spending, Medicare and Social Security from any review of spending or potential cuts.  I knew immediately that no matter what platitudes he was spouting about limited government, he wasn't serious about reducing government or spending because you can't take those off the table and make any meaningful changes. 

There was a recent discussion on The Corner about violation of 'safe zones" - about the intrusion of politics into otherwise apolitical situations.  Such as political jokes at funerals, or in sports colums, or on tour buses.  Is that really necessary? 

Interesting concept, but here I do think that you may be naive.  Tasteless and unneccesarry -- yes. Can it be avoided - no.  People are people and all of us sometimes do stupid things.   

 I want to define

 I want to define "laissez-faire" but maybe I will not do a good job of it. It is true he was not laissez-faire on some things, but in governing the country when it was most needed is what was neglected. Somehow the right of passage was to give tax cuts and that would solve all problems. Certainly the infrastructure was neglected and we saw our middle class jobs go overseas. Now there was a token educational program put in place for those that loss jobs. But the globalization issue is not going away and with plants closing and our cities and states failing, we see the results of not doing anything. We saw 3 years of not doing anything with a quagmire in Iraq. We saw the neglect of Afghanistan for some 5 years or more for the war in Iraq.

All I can say is that Bush was all over the place. He was a social conservative that believed in ideology and stayed the course and deficits did not matter. His outlook came from a social conservative view. Hence, the need for"no child left behind, Medicare part D at any cost, and a privatized social security plan that would have cost some 2 trillion dollars. From his stand point, the money was not an issue-if it was HIS issue. The outlook on his tax cuts, I believe, was that it would drive the economy and nothing had to be done for our infrastructure and the loss of middle class jobs. Hence, "laissez-faire." It pains me to see factory after factory closing and small business going down also. It pains me that people sit in Washington and they think they have all the answers in which they have no answers. I sit here and watch. What would you call it? Laissez-faire? Ignorance? Good or bad economic policy? Where do we sit today? And where we sit with the world 5 years and 10 years from now? 

It is too early for me to size up Obama. I wish we had a stronger president that tells it the way it is, but the John Wayne's are hard to come by.  I want someone to stand up and tell us that we will be number one again, in which we are losing in so many areas, like the importance of the dollar and energy independence and not ideology of green jobs. 

We want good government and not big government. 

inbetween, when does your rant end so we can get back to...

reality?

Honestly, I haven't heard this much nonsense from a labor-loving Left goon since the last time I was in an ACORN office asking them to stop all the vote fraud for Obama and the Democrats in Detroit.

What you want is: a) big govt ruled by the far Left; b) Democrats without accountability; c) free health care, d) free transportation, e) free food, f) a 20 hr work week but get paid for 40 hrs, g) a govt paid vacation and h) free housing.  And you want productive taxpayers to pay for your laziness.

You claim it's too early to size up Obama?  Crap.  He's had his 15 minutes of fame... we need to get busy defeating him now and all the way up to Nov 2012.

No prisoners. No relenting. Hard edged opposition.  Capitalizing on every misstep, mistake or loss.  We need to brand the Democrats as policy failures in the eyes of Independent voters and as perpetual campaigners in everyone else's eyes.  That's why OReilly, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, Malkin and others are useful and on target with reality.

You keep wanting to return to complaining about Bush and bashing Bush.  His time is gone.  This is Obama's Recession.  These are Obama's deficits.  This is Obama's trade imbalance.  This is Obama's foreign policy strategy in chaos.  Our enemies love Obama more than the US but it didn't land us the Olympics.  Our allies hate Obama more than they fear terrorists and it's hurt us with their support in Afghanistan or Iran or NKorea or against worldwide terrorism.

You can look back and play the BashBush card all you want.  At the end of the day, the answers to fixing America and restoring the proper world order and priorities lay looking forward... not back at BashingBush.  This isn't an Underground Democrat blog.  We don't need a public option.  We don't need a "cut and run" strategy in Afghanistan.  We don't need more corruption and failed policies like the Cash4Junkers program.  We don't need green jobs to replace real manufacturing jobs or a green jobs czar who hates white America.  We don't need a School Safety czar that thinks man-boy gay abuse is a worthy goal.

We need to end Obama's political control over the American agenda as quickly, as efficiently and as effectively as the TownHall meetings captured America's true frustration with Washington-as-usual politics and greed.

 You got Obama because Bush

 You got Obama because Bush was so bad. Yes we are reduced for cash for clunkers, reduced to bailouts, reduced to extension of unemployment benefits, and reduced to casinos in every state. Now aren't you proud of that? After all we had 8 years of tax cuts. That is 8 years of borrowed money creating a false economy. And it did not create prosperity, it was for the here and now and spent, and it did not prevent a recession. 

So after years of tax cuts on borrowed money, our money going to Iraq, and our jobs going overseas, we are reduced to the above. Congratulations. After all you believe in ideology. Ideology of neoconism, corporate fascism, laissez-faire, stay the course, and religionism. You should be proud of it. And the Limbaughs and Hannitys just keep bringing it on.

Now if you want to fix the country and it will take 20 years to do it, then invest in the country, in the people, and in the future. 

Bush did a "guns and butter" no different than LBj. And it took 20 years to clean up the inflation/stagflation mess of LBJ. So I say again, let's fix the country, but it will take 20 years. There is no easy way out of this mess.

And you talk of "cut and run in Afghanistan. Are you really serious? Just what in the world did Bush do for some 5 years. Yes, he cut and run and went to Iraq. And people are fed up. They are growing weary over a war that should have been won, and not getting Osama Bin Laden.

And then you say this is Obama's recession. Yes I have heard this from Hannity. It was Clinton's recession before and now Obama's recession now. Bush, gets away with deficits and debt and no recession. What a joke. You guys can't even pretend to be honest. It is just a party of failed ideology. And a party of no answers.

 

"You got Obama because of Bush"? What r u smoking?

We "got" Obama because his people were more motivated to win.  He had few downsides because he was largely without a track record or voting record to alienate voters.  He out hustled, out manuevered and out-promised Republicans.  He had the full support of an adoring media elite and a passionate, stuck-in-the-woods base who smelled the chum in the water.

We didn't "get Obama because of Bush".  I haven't read a more shallow, more unrealistic explanation of the 08 race since Al Gore explained what it all meant.  Obama won because social conservatives stayed home.  Obama won because fiscal conservatives stayed home.  Obama won because the individual GOP state parties allow cross-over voters in their primaries and they picked a candidate who, they thought, deserved the nomination for being a maverick, non-GOP, semi-independent politican.  Obama won because ACORN and labor groups were allowed to fraudulently register voters and bring chaos to the election process.

A few short threads ago, In Between, you were trying to sound like someone sympathetic to the plight of Republicans.  Now we get the true color of your politics and it's green with envy, hot with anger and loaded with Democrat far Left labor goon rhetoric.

I'm glad you could come out in the light of day, dropped the fake-empathy for GOPers you hoped you could pass-off on this blog and are now free to admit you are:

1) far Left politically

2) a strong Democrat supporter

3) pro-union, pro-labor and anti-business

4) against organized religion

5) a tool of the Left.

Now, can we have some apologies for you trying to hide your true Democrat nature under a sheep's clothing of Republicanism?  Atonement is a good thing, In Between.

I think Mich-GOP that Inbetween said he was either a

hard core Democrat Party troll or a garden variety liberal and he hoped he was inbetween.

Just a correction.

 You are right. Obama won

 You are right. Obama won because his people were more motivated to win and he had few downsides. But remember that the pull numbers on bush was around 28%, we were going into a recession, we were mired in war. Historically, no party in office during a downturn gets the office again. And what were republicans going to run on? McCain was more of the same. We saw Palin-a good speaker that didn't know more than anyone else. And there was no one else that could come up against the ideological failure of the past 8 years.

But the Midwest was ignored as plants closed down and cities and states were going broke. Our infrastructure was ignored. So we lost more of the middle class. Yes, we see where republicans stand. They just don't care. And you have the audacity to talk about anti business. We saw the 8 years of just tax cuts, send our jobs overseas, and our money to Iraq. Well, no country can survive on this ideology. We don't want hand outs, but we expect decent management of the country for all people. 

And "against organized religion" you are laughable. You have religion, it is the best it can be. You have churches and freedom to worship. Now on the other hand if you want state run religion, maybe we can use Saudi Arabia as an example. 

Does the thickness of your skull impede signals from Mars?

Because from what you write, it's clear that aliens are doing your thinking for you.  There's simply no other excuse for that much "bat-shit-crazy" in one person.  I know it's tough to get you spell correctly... but can we at least get you to start reading for minimum comprehension --that'd be a whole lot better than you do now.

Give me a break...

What about "low taxes and limited government" do you not understand?  I'm pretty sure the average American plying through a 1040 just to fork over a third of his pay has a good idea what it means.

 I agree with the Hayward

 I agree with the Hayward article and with the basic points of Jon Henke's posting, and with a lot of the subsequent comments that have been posted.  But, what has not been addressed is how the characterization of Conservatism changed in the post-Reagan era.  What had been a movement built around and defined by the core principles of individual free choice and limitations on government became one defined more by religion and cultural attitude and the willingness to involve government in those realms. That is, the very definition of Conservatism and the Republican Party---and its apparent agenda---appeared to change significantly over the last fifteen years.  Why and how this occurred warrants further examination.  Labels and lexicon do count for something.  Why most genuine conservatives remained silent while the movement and the GOP were being "redefined" in a different way remains a mystery to me.

O'Reilly

In the same sentence with "Bill Buckley"?

I'm embarrassed for you.

re:

Didn't you just put O'Reilly in the same comment with Bill Buckley? 

You're lame

Enough said.

DaveSix plays a cheap snark card... complains when returned

Dave6, I get that you don't like conservatives, don't like Republicans, think Obama is the best thing to come along for the Democrats, no for the US, no for the entire world, no for the Earth and all her dominions, no for the galaxy of Sol, no for the universe and all mankind --past, present and future --mmmmm mmm mm All Hail Obama.

But when you toss out a cheap snark-filled comment in response to a thoughtful, insightful, on-point commentary by Jon... and you get it return, then complain!

It's a truism: the trolls around here want to be able to play the RaceCard (rbottoms), the VictimHoodCard (ClassicLiar2), the DailyKosEndlessDebateCard (Mead50) and when the troll gets a touch of what he's dishing, it's complaint time from the highest hilltop.

Fake outrage.  Fake complaint.

kristol & buckley

Kristol and Buckley are more reserved than Beck and Limbaugh, but they aren't really different.  Pro torture, global warming deniers all. 

"Bush wasn't conservative" might be true in some abstract sense, but not in the sense that matters.  None of the Republicans likely to run for President in 2012 is better than Bush -- more competent, more ethical, more reality based.  They're all nuts, just like Bush. 

If you think the Republican party is not the party of nuts, say who the sane ones are.  Which of them is trying to limit carbon emissions or "bend the curve" on health care spending to make America competitive again?

igm, who exactly is pro-torture in that lot?

Or is this your regular gig --to toss out meaningless buzzwords fresh from the Nancy Pelosi mullet factory?  I've not met a single responsible leader who is pro-torture.  I've met people who are dedicated to saving American lives in the War on Terror and endorse the use of limited enhanced interrogation practices in dire situations.

But pro-torture?  No.  Kind of like my asking you, "So, why do you hate America and Americans so much you'll appease terrorists who want us all dead?"  Why are you coddling mass murdering Islamo-fascists?  Weakness and a lack of resolve in confronting evil in ther world may be tolerable in the comfort of a Sunday pew, but it's a failed approach when you step into the real world.  Just ask former President Carter.

So, why do you hate America and Americans so much that you'll appease the terrorists who want us all dead?

The whole Republican leadship and noise machine

They're all "pro torture" in that the US did the right thing when we tortured prisoners after 9/11.  Do you know a conservative who is not pro torture in this sense -- aside from Andrew Sullivan?  Then most of the noisy ones think we should have tortured more with fewer rules.  Hannity says Guantanamo is like a vacation resort and that we were too nice to prisoners there. 

so, because you think so, all conservatives support torture?

What a blithering asshat you've become igm.

I asked you to name a single conservative who supports the use of torture.  You said "they all do" and failed to name any except for the non-conservative Andrew Sullivan... which tells me a lot if you think a bug-chasing, homosexual, amoral scumbag who openly cheats on his partner is conservative.

Camp Delta is a detention center that assiduously meets all the federal and military prison standards and more --frankly, they do coddle the terrorists there given who they imprison.  International human rights groups have repeatedly visited and, when not passing secret information between the terrorists and their peers still free, those groups have found the conditions at the camp to be of the highest standard, guards impeccably professional, the best health care immediately available.  It ain't no Abu Ghraib.

What?  Being a tool for the far Left wasn't rewarding enough for you?  You've moved-on to being an advocate for the terrorists now?

I take issue with romney

What a blithering asshat you've become igm.

I take issue with the word "become".  It suggests incorrectly that igm wasn't an asshat before and his comments clearly show he was and is.

 

Who annoited fiscal prudence

Who annoited fiscal prudence and limited government as the "twin pillars of conservatism?"