Have Conservatives Lost in 2008?

On the presidential level, perhaps conservatives were never really in the race. There are those who believe John McCain is a conservative and those, like me, who don’t. We are entitled to differences of opinions. But to paraphrase a great line, reports of the conservative demise are greatly exaggerated.

A few days agothis post appeared at National Journal's The Corner offering all kinds of excuses why the conservatives are not going to be truly represented in this election, with McCain generally ceded the nomination upon Romney's departure. James Antle talks more about the candidates and the general dearth of real, conservative, viable candidates. And of course, talk radio is up in arms about McCain and the lack of a conservative candidate.

But the question for conservatives now is whether to support McCain or let a Democrat win by default because the Republicans won't turn out in numbers enough to vote against the Democrat. Of course, at times like this it would be easy to say, well we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good and conservatives should support McCain because the alternative may be unthinkable.

Well, to a certain extent I will fall into that camp as will a number of conservatives, if for no other reason that I believe if you didn't vote in the election you have no right to complain about the results. In addition, at least McCain is conservative on more issues that Clinton or Obama. But by the same token, conservatives can still send a message even if they are out of power in the White House by making sure conservatives are elected in Congress and in the states. Sure, the conservative movement has suffered a set back. But we suffered one in 1960-1964 and for nearly two decades we were a backwoods movement that survived to come on strong in the 1980's and beyond. We came back once before and we can come back again, here is how.

1. We simply cannot cede the battle ground. On every issue, on every piece of legislation, on every policy, conservatives must stake out their position, based on conservative principals and keep talking about it, to everyone who will listen and even to those who don't. I have seen the result of failing to expound on our principals first hand so as to offer a real choice--witness Maryland.

2. We must start to recruit conservatives now for the next 10 elections. Let's face it, we don't have a deep bench of conservatives at the top of the pyramid and it may take a little longer to get some there. But politics is a long term game and if we believe our message to be the right one, and historically it is, then we can't forget to build the ranks of leaders at all levels. It is not just our "bench" of top leaders like Governors or Senators, but also the "minor leagues" of local government, state houses and state senates where future Governors and Senators are forged. We also must not forget business and education as a means of developing talent.

3. Keep the idea machine going. If you want to accomplish task number one above and help the future leaders in task number two, you need to have ideas being churned out regularly. Unlike 1964 when think tanks like the Heritage Foundation or Hoover Institution did not exist or were in their infancy, today we still have idea factories like these think tanks working. What Stanley Kurtz argued is correct, we need to do more to get these conservative thinkers in the faculties of large scale universities and the only way to do that is to allow academics to use think tanks as a stepping off point to tenure track professorships. Conservatism is as much more than leaders and elected officials, it is about ideas. Keeping the ideas coming keeps the next generation of leaders moving forward with a message.

4. Do not get discouraged. In every long term human endeavor, there are dark periods. This is a dark period for conservatives. That doesn't mean we are defeated, but this is a time to take a breath, take stock and make a plan.

This is not to say we should just give upon McCain, but really if conservatives want a choice in 2012, we need to have an operation running now.

Posted by Matt Johnston at February 11, 2008 1:31 PM
Comment #245059

Battleground? The election is a battleground? I thought the battlegound was in Iraq and in Afghanistan…

What we need is CONCERN…real concern for our own citizens and our own people…WE are the government and it is WE who band together to form the government to do our bidding, not the bidding of corporations or demagogues.

Posted by: Rachel at February 11, 2008 1:54 PM
Comment #245062

You write: “… Reports of the conservative demise are greatly exaggerated.”

Not at all. In the primaries, 15 million Democrats cast ballots v 11 million Republicans.

It gets worse. Based on trends, Obama is highly likely to the Democratic candidate, superdelegates or no. Worse yet- by any poll you care to cite, Dems are likely to unite behind their candidate, and do it with enthusiasm. So! A highly charismatic, polished orator with a liberal record will go against a rather dull, recycled version of Bob Dole.

Perhaps McCain can win on the issues?

Obviously not.

And worst of all- “conservatives” seem bent upon keeping immigration on the front burner. The GOP is already punting upon an entire generation of young voters because of Iraq, and with immigration, they will also punt on Hispanics. Throw in the appeal to women because of people like Hillary Clinton, and an appeal to blacks because of people like Obama, and it all adds up to an absolute catastrophe for Republicans and conservatives.

I’m not even sure what you mean by “conservative.” Social? NeoCon? Corporatist? Libertarian? The four I just mentioned contain mutually exclusive characteristics. The Neocons and Corporatists have ruled the roost for quite some time. It’s been a fantastically profitable time, thank you very much.

If there’s any hope, you need to forget the Neocons and Corporatists (aka moderates/centrists), and concentrate on the social conversatives and libertarians. Like Huckabee. That represents the hope for the GOP future.

Posted by: phx8 at February 11, 2008 2:39 PM
Comment #245063

Uummm… why was Romney ever the ‘conservative’ candidate? Did anyone ever actually take a look at his record as Governor of Mass?

phx8… libertarians have just as many ‘liberal’ characteristics as they do ‘conservative’ ones. Not sure why y’all continue to include them in the conservative-only camp. Huckabee is hardly libertarian.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at February 11, 2008 3:01 PM
Comment #245065


I think many libertarian, fiscal conservatives, and small government types feel like there is no battle ground of ideas. The few progressive based ideas that have been put forth over the past 13-14 years have been put forth by Republicans: Bush’s expansion of Medicare, and Arnold and Mitt proposing Universal Health care in their respective States. If McCain is elected than probably what you will have is more of this “reaching across the isle.” What good does that do conservatism?

Frankly I rather see the progressive ideas back on the table than to sit back and watch what little influence conservatism had on the Republican party completely dissolve. It’s time to let the Democrats lead with their chin on universal health care, tax increases (without budget restraints), new programs, and all of the other wonderful promises. The only downside would be foreign policy, and a Hillary Clinton administration bent on proving she is tough wouldn’t be much different than what we have. That’s why I’d vote for her over McCain.

Posted by: George in SC at February 11, 2008 3:46 PM
Comment #245066

Matt, depends on what you mean by demise of the conservatives. If you mean disappear or transform from, then I agree, greatly exaggerated. But, if you mean left without power to do more harm, then I would say their demise is greatly understated, at least for the next 4 to 8 years.

The next generation of voters are entering the arena and extremism on the left or right, is not their indoctrination. Their indoctrination is one of a bleaker future than their parents at the hands of the tug-o-war between far left and right in the areas of economics, religiosity and morality, and ethics, fairness and justice. The future belongs to the pragmatists, the idealists had their chance and blew it on both sides of the left and right spectrum, by checkmating government into paralysis. The rise of the Independent voters so disregarded in previous years, is out to take control of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, marginalizing the purist liberals and conservatives to minorities who may be heard, then promptly disregarded as their tell-tale rhetoric reveals their bent.

I believe we can look forward to a declining incumbency rate in the Congress in future elections as this new generation flexes their electorate muscle and finds their pragmatic leaders bent on solving more problems than ideologies would create.

I say, it is long, long, long overdue. But, of course, mine has been a voice in the wilderness of extremists for years. Perhaps in the future my voice will be just an aging one in the middle of the choir. Nothing would please me more.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 11, 2008 3:57 PM
Comment #245068

phx8, I hope you are disappointed to learn that Pres. Obama is not the liberal you now think he is, but, the pragmatist seeking the best solutions regardless of what side of the aisle they hail from. If you listen as carefully as Obama phrases his speeches, you will hear this pragmatism pregnant in each of his themes and policy proposals, such as non-mandated health care insurance, which is not, as some righties here claim, universal health care coverage.

He intends to use the market forces to expand the widest possible health insurance coverage possible, without crossing into liberal lala land of throwing people into jail or fining the poverty stricken for not having complied with mandated universal health care sign-up, as Clinton’s proposal implies.

This is but one example. Listen closely and carefully, as closely and carefully as he writes his speeches, and you will hear his deliberate pragmatic intent in his foreign policy, economics, social and constitutional views, as well. Whether it is a ploy, or a sophisticated subliminal message implanted to appeal to Independents, or whether it is the real deal, can only be known if he is elected. The mere possibility that it is the real deal, has drawn me to this candidate over all others.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 11, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #245073

Obama is not my first choice, although I prefer him to Hillary, and definitely over Republican alternatives. Universal Health Care will mean bypassing insurance companies and capping Big Pharma profits. Good luck with that!

I would like to see military spending reduced by, oh, say fifty percent. Until that happens, the situation for the US won’t change that much. We’ll still be primarily responsible for our exports arming the world, and we’ll still spend as much on “defense” as the rest of the world combined.

There are areas where liberals and libertarians share common interests and stands on issues. The fundamental difference involves the role of government. Libertarians want to minimize it, an argument which has its merits, especially when it comes to civil liberties. Liberals want to use government as a tool to promote the commone good in the public commons, which also has its merits.

Posted by: phx8 at February 11, 2008 4:54 PM
Comment #245084

phx8… all good points. Being Libertarian-leaning myself, I would say I care more about socially liberal views than I do fiscally conservative ones. I would argue that exactly where we can “use government as a tool to promote the common good in the public commons” is probably a little more on the conservative side than most, which often gets me accused of being an anarchist and authoritarian, but hey… it’s all good.

Just as within in the dems we have both Joe Lieberman and Dennis Kucinich… and within the reps we have both John McCain and Pat Robertson, within libertarianism there are a myriad of assorted ideals and opinions ranging from extreme social liberalism to extreme fiscal conservatism… the meetings are always… well… colorful.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at February 11, 2008 7:00 PM
Comment #245088

Whoever is president, we shouldn’t saddle that president with the same corrupt, FOR-SALE, partisan, incumbent politicians in the two-party duopoly in the Do-Nothing Congress that enjoys a cu$hy 96.5% seat-retention rate since year 1980.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 11, 2008 7:47 PM
Comment #245092

1) The Republicans all want to be conservative, all claim to be conservative. Trouble is, not only have the Conservatives developed distinct, sometimes contradictory visions of what conservatism is, they’ve also done their damnedest intensify their devotion to those visions.

All movements develop factions. Moderates serve to mix the palate, to provide a pragmatic, compromising foundation for consensus beyond the party Republicans got rid of their moderates to strengthen their party ideologically, but as a result, they created a party with Multiple Personality disorder

2) The Republicans had the great misfortune to elect, and then come to fanatically support an incompetent president who cheerfully pushed the GOP agenda even when the ideological tenets weren’t performing as advertise. Result? Both the real and apparent discrediting for the American public of much of Republican thinking.

3) The Republicans took such an aggressive tack in their politics that people came to both fear and loathe the Republican majority and the Bush Administration. Things like “loyalty oaths” and the unitary executive theory of governance, along with a stubborn resistance to oversight have brought people to the point where they are concerned for the health of our Democracy if the Republicans maintain power.

Overall, the Republicans have burned a lot of their political capital and good will among the American people. To think if you just return to basics, things will be alright, is to ignore just how fundamentally conservatism has been rejected as the right direction for the country. There are almost no issues on which the conservative position is viewed favorable.

The Republicans have earned a long time in the wilderness. It’s going to take a long time to realize that not only have they failed to permanently move Americans their way, they’ve actually knocked America the other way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 11, 2008 9:16 PM
Comment #245106
What Stanley Kurtz argued is correct, we need to do more to get these conservative thinkers in the faculties of large scale universities and the only way to do that is to allow academics to use think tanks as a stepping off point to tenure track professorships.

I read the Kurtz essay. It seemed to me his main point was that conservatives should lobby the government to use the power of the state to make universities more politically conservative.

Of course this would never really work. If the politicians pressured the universities to include more conservative content (whatever that means) in class they would scream bloody murder about academic freedom. And rightly so.

If there is a need to reform the universities (and I am not convinced that there is), then it has to come from within. That would mean more conservatives getting in the trenches and paying their dues in academia, not taking potshots from outside.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 12, 2008 6:00 AM
Comment #245108

The other night, I heard a Republican pundit say that McCain is convinced that he has the nomination wrapped up and that he is also convinced that he can beat Obama in the fall. As a result, McCain people are, behind the scene, urging McCain followers in Texas to crossover and vote for Obama, insuring his nomination. The McCain people are willing to sacrifice Texas to Huckabee to get the results they desire.

Posted by: jlw at February 12, 2008 7:43 AM
Comment #245115

Another thing that occurs to me is that this exhortation to get out conservative ideas has a problem: They’re already out there. Even if the public liked them, they don’t have quite the chance to be so dynamic as other schools of thought.

What makes things worse, though, is that they weren’t practical enough to make things work, or acknowledged when they didn’t. In many ways, their policies were politically untenable, so they went with the parts they could sell, even if they had to be part of a greater whole to work in principle; The priorities regarding political supremacy clashed with those regarding workable policy, and the Republicans consistently chose to cover their political keisters rather than admit one victory willingly to the Democrats.

As much as they’ve talked about efficiency and fighting waste, they let the Pentagon become so undisciplined in their spending, in their perpetual quest to gain new weapons systems to fight the now-dead cold war, that even with a budget that far outspends any country in the world, we’re at a lost to maintain troops and necessary equipment in the field.

Corruption became a problem in no small part due to a cult of authority and personality in the party, mixed with politically untenable policy. Since they couldn’t pull many of their reforms off, the door was left open to a persistent culture of denial regarding misbehavior, of scapegoating the opposition for their lack of progress, and finally a dissolute approach to governance in general. If you can’t really get everything you want done, what’s the point of being idealistic in your practices?

Republicans have no problem with commitment within the core of the different factions. The trouble is, they’ve defined their leadership by radicalism, so stronger commitment opens the divide between the party core and those around wider, but also that between that core and the rest of America. McCain both succeeds and fails because he appeals outside of the conservative base. He is reviled because he is not a “good” conservative, and appreciated by many because he’s not such a doctrinaire over his career.

His dilemma is the dilemma of the wider party: be moderate to gain the support outside the party, and you lose the party base. Move to satisfy the base, and you alienate a public tired of conservative dominance on many issues.

The Republicans can no longer take for granted that they have the paradigm of modern American politics on their side. Whether they like it or not, they’ve drained that well dry.

they have to strike out now to figure out what it is they want, or even if they want it together anymore. A great number of the divisions they counted on to fuel their ascent have healed. A generation has been born that only knows the civil rights struggle from videos on TV. The tax cuts have so reduced the rates that fewer people seriously believe that taxes are the worst problem for the economy. It’s deficits that worry people, and even that went away, only to come back under a Republican administration. The Gun issue is no longer such a divisive issue, and the general population accepts abortion, though in a more limited form. And Sexuality? Even the Army’s beginning to accept gays, and abstinence-only education is getting laughed out of the park; even those who purport to remaining virgins have been found to be engaging in other forms of sexual behavior than good old-fashioned intercourse. The Clinton exception is alive and well.

The Paradigm shifted, but not in the desired direction.

I think the Republican could recover if they became a more moderate party, if they became limiters of excess instead of its practitioners. When Americans can look at that party, see its ideas and action and not feel threatenen, the Republicans will return, and not a second sooner.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2008 9:52 AM
Comment #245118


This is but one example. Listen closely and carefully, as closely and carefully as he writes his speeches, and you will hear his deliberate pragmatic intent in his foreign policy, economics, social and constitutional views, as well. Whether it is a ploy, or a sophisticated subliminal message implanted to appeal to Independents, or whether it is the real deal, can only be known if he is elected. The mere possibility that it is the real deal, has drawn me to this candidate over all others.

I have recognized this trait for a long time now. If one drops the political labels and looks at the person it is easy to feel that he is the real deal. I think we have entered a time that demands we look beyond party politics in order that our government can once again be functional. I feel Obama recognizes the practicality of approaching government as an entity of the people. Not just that of one party or the other. We can label ones traits to no end, but what this country really needs is a a president that is able to look beyond and effectively govern in spite of those labels.

Posted by: RickIL at February 12, 2008 10:18 AM
Comment #245121


Govern or Rule? What do you see as the difference?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 12, 2008 11:36 AM
Comment #245127

To govern is to moderate, to keep things from spinning out of control, to the extent it is possible. To Rule is to simply have control. Hence, the Republican majority may have ruled, but it did not govern well. It let things spin out of control, took things in a direction unacceptably radical in their departure from what people wanted.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2008 1:16 PM
Comment #245130

RickIl, I will wait and see. The promise of Obama is that he will succeed in coalition building to solve problems, and those problems which Congress balks at solving, begs whether Obama has the insight to effectively relate to the public that it is the Congress impeding the people’s progress and thus turn up the electorate anti-incumbent threat amongst the people against both parties if need be, to force the people’s problems to solution.

But, this office of President is unlike any he has ever held before. That is true of EVERY newly inaugurated president. I remain both hopeful and skeptical. Time will tell if he is elected.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 12, 2008 1:26 PM
Comment #245139


I too remain skeptical of his abilities to overcome the hatred between parties. I am not so foolish as to believe that he is a savior capable of sudden change. As I see it he seems to be the only candidate who genuinely believes in that cause. It is the fact that he does not promise us sudden and complete accomplishment that lends reality to his desires. He obviously is a very intelligent man and hopefully would be capable of surrounding himself with capable people of integrity. Unlike our present CIC.

Posted by: RickIL at February 12, 2008 4:12 PM
Comment #245140


To govern and manage, and as a ruler to oversee our military and rally on the important legislation necessary to return our government to a functional entity.

Posted by: RickIL at February 12, 2008 4:23 PM
Comment #245151

I laugh and laugh at the posts in this thread.

I’ll pick on David, because I like him. But RickIL and phx8 are all guilty of the same.

David, you are a great analyst and have routinely made points with which I have had difficulty defeating, but this is just hilarious.

With Huckabee, (my guy - always has been) everyone trots out his RECORD and (thank you d.a.n.) proclaims the man he is, NOT on his eloquence and likability (of which there is a lot) but on his RECORD.

Now turn the tables.

Obama comes along, and also commands well the high speech, and has a message of hope - but we get from David and many others

“If you listen really carefully as Obama phrases his speeches, you will hear this pragmatism pregnant in each of his themes and policy proposals, such as non-mandated health care insurance, which is not, as some righties here claim, universal health care coverage.

Compare his RECORD to any other Senator (this has been done - do a Google Search) and his record is as far left as the scale can go. There is virtually no distinction in voting record between him and Senator Ted Kennedy.

What I observe in this appalling double standard is that you and obviously millions of other people want - is someone who you like personally - not someone who has demonstrated themselves to be as politically ingenious and moderate as you have to “carefully listen” to discern senator Obama to be.

Donate to a Worthy Cause

Posted by: Yukon Jake at February 12, 2008 8:31 PM
Comment #245153

In order for McCain to beat Obama he will have to focus on specific legislation he will push for once he becomes President. In order to win, the proposed legislation will have to be favored by the conservative base. If McCain runs a campaign that paints Obama as liberal and inexperienced, he will lose.

Posted by: Joe Godfrey at February 12, 2008 9:35 PM
Comment #245164

Yukon Jake, I have not trotted out his record, other Republicans have. I have trotted out the illogical and ill consequences of his proposed agenda and policy initiatives like altering the Constitution to reflect the Bible and the national sales tax which demonstrates how true Huckabee’s words are when he says he majored in miracles, not math.

Nearly all the references to his record in the national media have come from his own Republican adversaries, so your statement is patently false to address liberals as having trotted out his record.

Obama’s record is liberal as you say. But, then, he was elected by liberal minded voters of his state to represent the interests of his state. That is an entirely different situation from his running for president in which he proposes solutions based on pragmatism rather than ideology and he proposes to represent ALL Americans, not just the liberals who vote for him.

If you want to refer to his past, fine. In the past he was good to his word. Which would indicate as president he would be good to his campaign words, as well.

Except for family and close friends, few voters in this country know the man personally. Therefore, their decision about him must be made on his history, his present words and assurances, and the credibility voters assign to him compared to other candidates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 13, 2008 7:26 AM
Comment #245166

RickIl, all the information I have indicates agreement with your assessment of Obama’s prospects. He is the only candidate running on one America, not a divided America. And that no doubt accounts for much of his incredible competitive accomplishments against the DNC and Clinton machines which months ago held her to be the defacto nominee to come.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 13, 2008 7:30 AM
Comment #245167

Conservatives lose in 2008? Well, they certainly lost in 2000 and 2004, also….record trade deficits, budget deficit, war funding not included in the budget, and a much larger government than before…

Where are the conservative “principles” in all that???

Posted by: Rachel at February 13, 2008 8:03 AM
Comment #245169


Save a strong foreign policy there are none.

Bush’s poll numbers didn’t go down because people on the left increased their hatred of him. They went down because people on the right got fed up with much of what you point out.

Which leads to one big point in politics: you can not have an effective conservative political party (or libertarian for that matter) because there really are no conservative politicians. Fred Thompson epitomizes this somewhat; he was probably the most conservative candidate, has always been at best a part time politician, and obviously didn’t have the fire to be a constant impediment in Washington. If you are against big government than how can you be a part of it?

McCain’s Resume says he’s been a Senator for 22 years, and Bush’s last name speaks for itself; that’s enough evidence to determine that they are not conservatives.

Posted by: George in SC at February 13, 2008 9:47 AM
Comment #245175


What “strong foreign policy”??? Invading sovereign countries on manufactured evidence?? Letting the oily Arabic nations dictate to us?? Making all-but-enemies of our longtime allies?

Posted by: Rachel at February 13, 2008 10:59 AM
Comment #245181


Yes, I would say our foreign policy has been “strong”, “hawkish”, “forceful”. This is the main area of support that Bush has had from conservatives and the only reason for his second term.

Obviously you disagree with that type of policy.

Posted by: George in SC at February 13, 2008 11:23 AM
Comment #245182

Writing to a liberal friend earlier today I said the following-

“While I will be voting in the Republican primary in March I’m pulling for Obama in the Democratic Party. He has some agreements with conservative principles based in his constituencies. Blacks are hurt most by the Bush Administration’s blatant importation of impoverished semi-slave labor, so he has shown a remarkable sensitivity to the issue of border security and illegal immigration. As a black man with a serious chance to be president he can break the grip of whites on the civil-rights agenda so that the focus of that agenda is no longer the perpetuation of white Democrats. He can redirect leadership in that fight to the black community where it can focus on real empowerment, lifting up a community to build itself up from its own foundations instead of looking to others to hoist it up from above. Finally, on health issues, while I don’t like the idea of government control of the medical establishment, the current system, defined as it is by third-party payers who can deny coverage to the people who need it most on the one side and government meddling on the other side, is frankly broken. I had to give up insuring myself and the kids because I could not afford $1400 per month for insurance costs. (My wife) alone costs almost $600. That’s beyond the pale.”

The point for conservatives is to support conservative issues, not to worship at the idol of party loyalty.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 13, 2008 11:26 AM
Comment #245189

The last politician who ran on a platform of bringing America together, of uniting the people, was Bush.

When we talk about electing an agent of change, What we are really talking about is someone who will manipulate the statis quo a little to the right or a little to the left, But will, in no significant way, effect the power structure that controls this country. Nothing short of revolution will do that.

Posted by: jlw at February 13, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #245191

jlw, or the threat of revolution - Democrats may win the White House but they are now in the sites of the anti-incumbent movements and Independent voters. They know this, all too well. That may be sufficient to motivate the Congress toward following Obama type changes to the status quo, in part, to diminish both the growing independent voter registrations and anti-incumbent arguments. Provided of course, they pick up sufficiently more seats in the Congress to nullify Republican efforts to sabotage every positive action of the Democrats, in order to bolster GOP political gains in the 2010 elections.

Such is the chess of partisan politics. It has to change if America is to have a future with even a modicum peace, prosperity, and liberty.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 13, 2008 12:59 PM
Comment #245194

Lee said: “The point for conservatives is to support conservative issues, not to worship at the idol of party loyalty.”

I would change that to read, The point for conservatives is to support conservation agendas that will insure the future prosperity, peace, and liberty for young Americans while preserving the dignity of the individual American (thereby winning the future’s support). Which of course, means the Conservatives must divorce themselves from corporatocracy and corporate campaign favors IN ORDER to embrace a conservative agenda.

How likely is this? 1/10th of one percent. Divorcing the GOP and populist conservatives from the flawed Milton Friedman economic models is a virtual impossibility. Paving the way of the future political environment for pragmatists like Obama, who acknowledge both the strengths and liabilities of Friedman/Keynesian economic models and attendant ideologies, seeking the best of both while leaving the worst dead and buried in the 20th century.

Obama accepts the value of corporate private enterprise to our economy at the same time he appreciates the viability of the consumer to that same economy. He thus understands the virtues and liabilities of both supply and demand side economics, domestic and international economics, and his rhetoric seeks to balance them as I listen closely to his words. He seeks this balance by reducing corporate domination of government, while preserving their competitiveness, and growing the size and mean income of the Middle Class while encouraging individual responsibility and choice.

If I hear him correctly, his approach is one whose time has arrived and none too soon, I might add.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 13, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #245223


A foreign policy that relies solely on military strength (which is all but gone at this point)will always be a failure…

Posted by: Rachel at February 13, 2008 4:40 PM
Comment #245247


Look at the fight in the Republican Party. It is a fight over the conservative’s (as personified in Hannity, Ingraham, and, to a slightly lesser degree, Limbaugh) insistence on a set of principles which we find to be confounded by corporate interests, inside deals, and international influence. Your complaints are our complaints. The Republican powers-that-be tell us to shut up and get in line for the annointed one because he is “the only one who can win”.

Why? If he’s just another big-shot corporatist who will sell out the country for a few years worth of oil and cheap Mexican trucking, if he would sell out our most basic civil right, the chance to publicly discuss issues in an election at the time people are paying attention, who the hell wants him to win?!?

As to the “flaws” in Friedman- they wear $1100 suits and hire physisists to devise securities founded in vapor and mathematical sleight-of-hand, or they devise ways to loan people money in huge quantities on housing speculations less sound than a day’s frolic in Las Vegas. (A friend of mine who recently wrote an authorized history of the Fed described to me last night how banks doing just this sort of thing in the stock markets in 1928 precipitated the stock collapse and subsequent bank panics of 1929.)

Wiring around the stuff that makes the economy work is the cause of our economic troubles. It goes by the name “dishonesty”. A short circuit in the economy does the same thing as a short circuit in an electrical device. It makes heat and a flash, does no work, and damages the machinery.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 13, 2008 5:50 PM
Comment #245264

Your comments are an unbelievable slap in the face to our troops. What planet are you living on when you say our military strength is all but gone at this point?

God bless the men and women fighting the good fight over there, to keep sharia law from being welcomed over here, like it apparently now is in Britain.

Your posts are filled with bitter vitrial against the war and the troops fighting it. It reminds me of what’s happening in Berkely, where Code Pink actually had the gall (like many socilaist people and groups do) of telling the Marines they were not welcome in Berkely, but that (hilariously) they support the troops. As though troops hearing of socialist Americans passing “you are not welcome” memorandums sends anything but negative hate-mongering to our troops.

It is a laughable notion in a pathetic and dissappointing way, as are your comments about our troops and their strength.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at February 13, 2008 8:15 PM
Comment #245279

Yukon Jake-
The Joint Chiefs themselves are concerned about our military strength, actually. What’s pathetic and disappointing to me is the complete lack of attention, the denial that the right-wing hawks employ with regards to the practical underpinnings of the war.

I’m a writer of science fiction and fantasy (so far, not really published), and as I’ve constructed my own fictional worlds, I’ve come to the conclusion that Human beings are nowhere near as thorough as reality is in creating stories. Whenever we lie or spin, or put together a story, we’re always at a disadvantage in terms of the complexity, consistency, and symmetry (that is self-similar appearance from different sides.

When you try and spin something as big and complex as a war, it helps if you know what you’re talking about, and what you’re talking about is actually working somewhat well. There’s just too much reality that can leak around the edges for anybody to really contain problematic information from a war for the long term.

I’d say, if you want to win a war, and public approval at the same time, you get the war working, and the reality of what’s working will take care of much of your other issues.

The Bush Administration, unfortunately, never took care of these issues.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2008 10:50 PM
Comment #245280

Yukon Jake:

Your comments are an unbelievable slap in the face to our troops. What planet are you living on when you say our military strength is all but gone at this point?

Have you read the reports on how thinly spread our military is…that there aren’t enough soldiers nor enough equipment to even protect the US from foreign attack? Have you read the recruiting shortages and dipping into uneducated and felons for recruits?

Posted by: Rachel at February 13, 2008 10:54 PM
Comment #245284

There can never be enough soldiers or equipment for percieved attacks. Anyone can just increase the numbers for “need” at will. Educated people obviously pursue careers pertaining to their training and therefore the military would have a dominate “uneducated” population. I was an oilfield boss years ago and the uneducated were the sharpest hands to have. The only recorded injury I had in ten years was from a college grad who had no common sense.
You think the pentagon would naturally say they have thin resources to get increased funding as all government programs do?

Posted by: Kruser at February 13, 2008 11:22 PM
Comment #245286

Class envy and blaming others for our own problems is easy. Therefore liberalism is an easy thing to articulate. It takes the least amount of knowledge and effort to explain since it is emotion based rather than fact and reason based. You get people to see third parties as the problem and they don’t have to face their own shortcomings and make hard decisions. This pattern fits most of their ideals.
This is why I believe candidates that claim to be conservative tend to give in to liberalism. It is an easy way to get votes from the misinformed.

I like to give guys a break. McCain was disappointed by losing the nomination to Bush so naturally anyone in that position would go their own way. The liberal leanings he has are due to the above reasons.

Posted by: Kruser at February 13, 2008 11:41 PM
Comment #245309

“You think the pentagon would naturally say they have thin resources to get increased funding as all government programs do?” Yeah Kruser the Joint Chiefs of Staff do this all the time. The question is why do the conservatives continue to fall for this line and increase the budget for them?

“This is why I believe candidates that claim to be conservative tend to give in to liberalism. It is an easy way to get votes from the misinformed.”

Or maybe its easier to get these uniformed votes by spewing typical conservative propaganda prior to getting elected to begin with. Afterall the typical talk radio conservative will listen to and fall for just about any line of crap out there.They certaingly prove that on a daily basis dont they.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 14, 2008 11:18 AM
Comment #245311

Lee, we are in perfect agreement. Except where you refer to the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity as conservatives. They aren’t. They don’t seek to preserve the principles within our founding documents, they seek to subvert them with them as paid spokespersons for the corporatocracy and rule of the minority over the majority whose purpose is to serve the minority in power. This is not conservative thought. And Hannity and Limbaugh are not conservative thinkers, they are fascist spokespersons pedaling the fascist cause to the great uneducated minority who will buy it and support without question, without education, and without critical analysis.

There is no more truly conservative treatise in America than the combination of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Combined they set out a prescription for balance which can potentially sustain the preservation and welfare of our nation and population. Nowhere in those documents does it proscribe private industry either underwriting elections nor controlling the reins of government, which is everywhere evident today. In fact, the checks and balances principles in our founding documents imply such an excess and concentration of power in the hands of such small minority interests is to be avoided, checked, and reviled as a threat to both democratic principles and the sustainability of the republic which is charged with the welfare of the whole nation, meaning all its inhabitants, as well as future generations in its deliberations and executive, legislative, and judicial decisions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 14, 2008 11:41 AM
Comment #245312

“Class envy and blaming others for our own problems is easy.” Well for talk radio conservatives anyway in fact its their stock in trade. Disagree with me Kruser? Read through these red column posts and you will see the tr cons consistently blaming the liberals for all that is wrong with the repub party and conservatism in general. Go figure huh. Maybe for once you ought to try this out- The next time you feel the urge to point the finger at the liberals for your problems look at your hand and see how many fingers are pointing back at you. Its called accepting responsibility, the talk radio conservatives should try it some time.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 14, 2008 11:42 AM
Comment #245318

David, well said. You have captured the essence of the talk radio conservatives quite well.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 14, 2008 12:07 PM
Comment #245342


There can never be enough soldiers or equipment for percieved attacks. Anyone can just increase the numbers for “need” at will.

It’s not academic sophistry to say we have a manpower problem. A person with just common sense could derive that fact from events on the ground in Iraq. You don’t call the National Guard or reserves in when you have adequate forces at hand. You don’t extend tours of duty, repeat them, call up folks who were on their way out, or reduce dwell time if you’ve got enough soldiers. These are stopgap measures. An army with healthy logistics doesn’t need them; it would just cycle the soldiers in and out.

This is not a new problem we got here. If I remember correctly, the Reserves started going in four years ago. Troop numbers was a 2004 campaign issue.

Why do you feel it necessary to explain it away as just some political ploy?

On the subject of education, I would say that experience is a major factor. Even a PhD can fumble around if they don’t know the way the systems works, or how it reacts in the real world.

As for Liberalism?

It’s fairly easy to throw that rhetoric out. Liberalism is about social justice. It’s about having a government that works, and works for the people.

As for McCain? The guy’s a politician, just like anybody else. When the atmosphere was Clintonian, he went more moderate. When it was Bush’s turn, he turned more conservative. He’s doing what it takes to get you guys to get people to elect him president.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2008 5:51 PM
Comment #245352

Have the conservatives lost in 2008?

I suppose that many would consider this trick question.
Personally I believe the “conservatives” have just lost it, and unless they change their attitude, they may not be getting it back any time soon.

The conservatives in this country refuse to play well with the other children. This could be the main reason they won’t see political gains this election cycle.
The “my way or the highway” attitude, and the recent sour grapes whining about John McCain not being “conservative enough” has gotten old.

Grow up.

If you guys had put forth a candidate that your whole party could support I might empathize with your plight. But you didn’t, and now you have what you have.

Better luck next time.

Posted by: Rocky at February 14, 2008 7:22 PM
Comment #245381


Your party took advantage of the trust of its constituency to further a self serving agenda. It used you and in the process dealt out a great deal of damage to this country in terms of function, integrity and credibility. Your parties lack of accountability suggests it is still in denial of its pitfalls. Conservatives lost a few years ago when the realities of a corrupt lockstep conservative legislature and executive came to the forefront of this nations news. Your party preyed on the gullibilities of various groups to further an an agenda of deception not in keeping with good governance. Scandal after scandal and revelation after revelation revealed the true nature of what your party stands for. It is not time for a new plan. It is time for a reexamination of just what the true values of your party are. It is time to realize that you will never have it entirely your way. It is time to reexamine the word compromise and realize its value in negotiation. Your parties ideals are not always right and appropriate for all situations. The same applies to the dems. Somewhere along the line your party became so full of itself that it lost sense of practicality and reality. What your party needs more than anything is a slice of humble pie and a willingness to accept the fact that theirs is not the only way. You can not expect trust or respect when you preach one thing and practice another. Your party deceived you but its constituency is equally at fault for naively supporting them through thick and thin. It will be a long road rebuilding trust. Once lost it generally takes a generation or two to overcome that stigma.

Posted by: RickIL at February 15, 2008 8:45 AM
Comment #245388

Your talk radio-phobia is showing. Liberalism doesn’t stand up in civil discussion therefore they cannot succeed in the talk arena. I formed my opinions as a youth in a liberal school well before there was talk radio. The area I was raised in was the highest welfare in the nation at that time. The failure of socialism is a personal observation.

I never considered Bush much of a conservative. He responded to popular outrage by invading Iraq. We are all responsible and should stay behind the effort. McCain has little difference in values.

Many conservatives gave in to nonsense simply for the rescue of human lives- aka the pro life stand. I have a couple of sons and taught Sunday School for kids many years. Equating killing babies and their wonderful potential with some kind of right is incomprehensible to me.

Government and work don’t fit in the same sentence. I believe in rewarding good work with compensation instead of confiscation. I could tell stories about the numerous dependents in our area and many others in the US.

Any time you have a increase in demand there is a need to increase the workforce in that area. It isn’t a crisis but a demand that should be addressed. I heard the same whining about military shortages during the Clinton era.
Playing well to a liberal only means to agree with their destructive policies. Why didn’t they champion Leiberman for cooperating with conservatives?

Posted by: Kruser at February 15, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #245393

Whether McCain is Conservative enough or not - I personally think that having Bush’s endorsement is the worse thing that can happen to him.

Since there appear to be very few people, even on the Conservative side, that like Bush, I see this endorsement as major set-back for McCain.

Personally, having Bush back McCain is almost enough to push many, including myself over the line to the Democrats. Bush has damaged the reputation of the conservative ideals simply by being Bush.

I haven’t, don’t and doubt I’ll ever trust George W. Bush - for anything. If he were to tell me it was snowing, I’d go check for myself.

Posted by: Linda H. at February 15, 2008 12:32 PM
Comment #245397

Civility? As in going after a twelve year old accident victim, question his veracity? As in talking about Africans as being inherently violent, talking about machetes in heads? As in making fun of a Parkinson’s patient, accusing him of exaggerating his symptoms for the camera? As in calling all soldiers who come home and oppose the war “phony soldiers”? Or maybe making fun of a recently deceased actor who died of an accidental overdose. Yeah, real civil.

Your top pundits regularly stick their feet in their mouth. Ann Coulter is a regular member of that freak show, but leave it to people like Sean Hannity to equate liberalism with terrorism and fascism on his book covers. Or maybe let Jonah Goldberg tell you how Mussolini was called a fascist because supported WWI (never mind that he earned that designation by founding the Fascist party).

Liberalism can stand up in civil discussion. It stands up just fine. So can conservatism, if folks choose, and if they stop defining conservatism by it being opposition to a stereotypical liberal position.

As for the Military shortages? They are the result of poor planning and policy, compounded by an administration that values winning political fights over winning real ones.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 15, 2008 1:19 PM
Comment #245399


There can never be enough soldiers or equipment for percieved attacks.

So you don’t respect the military enough to believe them when they are currently telling us they couldn’t defend the U.S. against an attack nor do they have the equipment they need…because the “war” in Iraq has borrowed so much equipment from the National Guard that their equipment is depleted???

Posted by: Rachel at February 15, 2008 1:22 PM
Comment #245400

Kruser, your personal observations are anecdotes. Prove nothing. The historical fact that liberal policy was dominant policy throughout the greatest growth spurt and broadening of the Middle Class in the latter half of the last century is undeniable.

You are rattling at things that no longer exist. Welfare was reformed. People have to be willing to work to acquire welfare assistance. Bankruptcy was reformed, people have to pay their creditors even after bankruptcy now, though it is restructured. Deregulation hailed by the GOP as salvation if they could ever get elected in the majority has become a reality over the last 14 years, and the sub-prime mortgage meltdown is a direct result.

Years after these reforms, our economy is declining, not for lack of supply, but, for lack of demand by consumers who can no longer afford to bail out the recessionary period as they did in 2002 and 3 by going shopping with their credit cards as Bush instructed them to do. Wall Street says invest in international companies, not domestic American companies. Consumer demand is overseas, not here. A direct result of the failure to protect the purchasing power of Middle Class wages, and inflation of necessities like housing, food, energy, medical care, and education.

This bi-polar approach of the two Parties, one for sticking it corporations to buoy up consumer wealth, and the other for sticking it to consumers to buoy corporate power and profit margins, is killing America. The fact is our future demands a strong consuming middle class and a profitable but, regulated and overseen private sector.

It is up to voters to reject these Congress persons who maintain their bi-polar end of the ideological war between Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives. Our nation’s government was designed to be checked and balanced against extreme ideologies as exist today. It is up to voters to reject incumbents UNTIL that check and balance is restored in the minds and priorities of the challengers they vote in to replace the outgoing incumbents. The incoming will read the lesson of the outgoing very quickly and accurately and take the voters anti-incumbent action to heart.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 15, 2008 1:41 PM
Comment #245404

American innovation is what brought about the increases. Government produces nothing and therefore cannot be responsible for middle class increases.
The welfare state is alive and well in Michigan and I had to move away from my family for work. When dependants can outvote producers you create the bind that Michigan is in.
This is the problem with regulation. It is vendetta and envy based and those who have the loudest voice (lobbiests)infringe on the rights of good business owners. Enforce laws that punish wrongdoing and leave everyone else alone. Many companies are big because they do a good job at what they do. Punishing everyone for what a few corrupt people do is what destroys free markets.
If you want to take money out of politics, the influence of government must be reduced.

Posted by: Kruser at February 15, 2008 2:18 PM
Comment #245405

“If you want to take money out of politics, the influence of government must be reduced”

Not if the end goal is for everything to be govt owned and operated.

Posted by: kctim at February 15, 2008 2:27 PM
Comment #245406

I read the transcripts of the statements you are distorting. Rush pointed out that the twelve year old wasn’t in the class of people he claimed to represent. He pointed out the exaggerated actions of mike fox when he normally didn’t act that way with medication. Liberals shamelessly use people as shields to insulate themselves from discourse.
There was a specific soldier that he was referencing. I even listened to the tape. This guy was a phoney and it was yet another example of manufacturing victims to stop discourse on an issue.
Ann has become incoherent to me as of late, but she used to be my girlfriend.
Libs cannot debate these on radio since they depend on misrepresentation as is obvious with your post.

Posted by: Kruser at February 15, 2008 2:39 PM
Comment #245407

Rush should have just called that guy a murderer instead of a phoney, would have then been a non-issue to the left.

Posted by: kctim at February 15, 2008 3:02 PM
Comment #245408

“Government produces nothing and therefore cannot be responsible for middle class increases.” Then why would we want to change the policies that did nothing yet were in place during the golden age of the middle class in this country? Once those policies were changed we entered into the south americanization process we see today. Yet productivity is higher than it was in the past.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 15, 2008 3:18 PM
Comment #245412
Have Conservatives Lost in 2008?
What convservatives? Where?

Has anyone seen any conservatives in a long time?
The $9.2 Trillion National Debt and the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security (www.socialsecurity.org/reformandyou/faqs.html#2) is proof enough of that.

Nation-wide debt is $48 Trillion (mwhodges.home.att.net/nat-debt/debt-nat.htm)

The U.S. Dollar is falling against all major internatonal currencies (one-simple-idea.com/USD_Falling.gif) for over 7 years, a 1950 Dollar is now worth less than 11 cents, and nobody can say where the INTEREST on the $48 Trillion of nation-wide debt will come from, much less the money to pay down the PRINCIPAL $48 Trillion of debt. The monetary system is a joke (one-simple-idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm), the deficits are a joke, state and local governments have $6 Trillion of debt, and M3 Money Supply increased from $135 Billion in year 1950 to $10.15 Trillion in year 2005, and over a third of the $9.2 Trillion national debt is held by foreign nations.

Regardless of who the next president is, what can the next president accomplish if saddled again with the same, irresponsible, corrupt, incompetent, do-nothing Congress that not only allows, but perpetuates these abuses of the past 30+ years?

Yet, most voters are complicit by repeatedly rewarding corrupt politicians with 96.5% re-election rates (the two-party duopoly’s average seat-retention rate since year 1980).

How do voters reconcile those cu$hy 96.5% re-election rates with the dismal 11% approval ratings (www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1844140220070919) for Do-Nothing Congress?

11% ? That would seem to imply that most voters believe most of their Congress persons are crooks, irresponsible, and/or incompetent?

Yet, most voters then do a strange thing: they repeatedly reward those Congress persons with 93%-to-99% re-election rates.

What do they say about repeatedly doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result?

The voters will have the government that they deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2008 3:45 PM
Comment #245423

Conservatives don’t have a viable candidate in the running - McCain’s no more a conservative than Bush. Anybody who, like McCain, has no problem with us being in Iraq for the next hundred years is no conservative. Anyone who, like McCain, supports tax cuts without matching spending cuts is no conservative. Anyone who, like McCain, defends an imperial presidency is no conservative.

Ron Paul is a conservative, but he’s got no chance because “conservatives” and Republicans won’t support someone like him.

So yeah, as far as the presidency, conservatives are already eliminated from the possibility of winning.

Posted by: spongeworthy at February 15, 2008 5:12 PM
Comment #245426

Kruser said: “American innovation is what brought about the increases.”

What a moronic statement. It’s like saying a turn signal makes a car.

The growth of the great middle class was a result of minimum wage standards, anti-monopolistic regulation, vastly increased public education and quality, and the great untapped labor resources of ethnic minorities and women breaking out of their wage and job discrimination shackles through liberal civil rights legislation, not to mention the heyday of unionization in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. As well as a host of other factors. It is an incredibly ignorant statement to claim any one of those factors was responsible for a highly complex economic boom cycle.

Innovation alone is nothing if their aren’t buyers and users of it. I don’t own a flat panel digital TV. Great innovation, but, I like 100 million other Americans have a budget to live within and other priorities take precedence. Innovation is nothing without consumer demand. And that means a consuming Middle Class must precede or be coincident with innovation if the economy is to grow.

China’s powerhouse growth is not a result of innovation, it is a result of a vast untapped labor resource and their finding consumer demand in overseas markets, like ours. Innovation does not make an economy grow without consumer demand. And consumer demand does not grow without growing discretionary income.

Nice try though at conservative spin, Kruser.

Fact is, innovation in America is largely reducing consumer demand and lowering wages by increasing production through automation rather than labor hours. Thereby having a recessionary effect on our economy save for exports to other consumer markets.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 15, 2008 5:17 PM
Comment #245434

Minimum wage jobs are for students or temp help and not the middle class therefore it has nothing to do with increasing their income. The unions saved Michigan.
You need to differentiate between social benevolence and pooling resources for structural support.
As I said, punish wrongdoing. That means monopolistic violations and civil rights also. This has little to do with leaving the market free.
Innovations such as the assembly line, steel, transportation etc, had all to do with the increase in living standards. Our society changed from a farm based to industry based. This is happpening in other countries today. We are much better off now than we were even in the seventies. Crisis mongering is alive and well. What can a government that only deals in promises produce?
We as a people responded to the glut in available labor by forming unions. This wasn’t a government action. They did react to restore order when both sides got out of line. You belittle strong people who made a stand in areas such as civil rights by attributing it to government programs.

Posted by: Kruser at February 15, 2008 6:15 PM
Comment #245437

Kruser…what do you think of the fully prepared military now?

Soldiers dying for lack of proper equipment

Posted by: Rachel at February 15, 2008 7:15 PM
Comment #245440

Sounds like a disgruntled officer’s report. There are numerous factors mentioned as to why they didn’t immediatly mass produce the trucks mentioned. There is testing with some failures, speed adjustments to the type of warfare and speculation as to how long the particular threat would last. Just another reason to criticize our military. So, do you blame Bush for this?
Even in business, decisions and adjustments are made that we regret weren’t done sooner. I helped my dad install and spray asbestos in mass quantities. We weren’t murderers. After conclusive tests it was determined hazardous. How you allocated equipment would be something you might regret later and adjust for it. This is true even in urban warfare.

Posted by: Kruser at February 15, 2008 8:14 PM
Comment #245450

Try getting a patent or a copyright without government assistance. Try setting up a corporation. Try getting information about your investment without their help. Try keeping lead and other interesting things out of your children’s toys. Try picking up a radio station or even satellite TV when people can broadcast at whatever frequency they want. Try figuring out what a dollar’s worth. Try getting your deposit ensured. Try ensuring that your wages don’t fall beneath a certain amount, or that your boss pays you overtime. Try keeping people from plagiarizing your book, marketing your invention, or using your company logo.

Try keeping big companies from gobbling all the little ones. Try building a freeway for yourself and your friends.

Government isn’t everything about productivity, but it is something.

As for what Rush said? Well, here’s part of the transcript:

CALLER 2: No, it’s not, and what’s really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they’re willing to sacrifice for their country.

Obviously, they’re talking about more than one, plural soldiers. The words define a class of individuals they say the media pulls out, and then Rush, of his own accord calls them phony and then comments that real soldiers would only think a certain way.

He wasn’t talking about the man in isolation. He was trying to allege that every soldier who comes forward and goes negative on the war is just a fake brought out by the liberal media. That’s what he got slammed for. Before you go buying Rush Limbaugh’s self-serving rhetoric, read through this guy’s blog. I’m not going to tell you, like some Republicans might, that the source I present you represent all the soldiers opinions. They’re grown men with their own opinions. But I think he represents what a lot of soldiers come home thinking.

Look, I started my research on this subject long ago. I’ve been following the historical record, not merely from liberal source, but in no small part from neutral and even conservative sources. I read through Bob Woodward’s Bush at War trilogy, as he went from adulation to stunned disbelief at the way Bush went about his job.

They went in light on purpose. They counted on so many things going right, on everything in that war being done the easy way. They expected to have Iraqi prisoners to do the labor of reconstruction. They expected their decapitation to be followed by a recapitation featuring their darling boy Chalabi, who the Iraqi public was supposed to embrace. They expected oil profits to pay for reconstruction. They expected Saddam’s governmental apparatus to remain in place after he fell from power. They expected the Shia, who we screwed over in the Gulf War after settling with Saddam, to rise up without hesitation. They expected to control a country the size of California with a few tens of thousands of soldiers.

They had more great expectations than Dickens, for crying out loud. The worst thing about it, was how jealously they ensured that there would be no backup plans, no alternatives waiting in the wings prepared to pick up the slack if things shockingly went against expectations.

The Iraq war wasn’t merely some chance screw-up. It was the result of the Bush Administration’s culture of mismanagement, the way they went about things.

It’s time to realize that the press is bad because the situation is bad, not the other way around.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 16, 2008 1:15 AM
Comment #245455
Your posts are filled with bitter vitrial against the war and the troops fighting it.

YK, that blogger’s vile animosity is not towards our troops or the war for that matter; it’s towards only one person: GWB! There are other bloggers that share similar contempt, we’ve seen this time and time again for years. They actually believe they are “dissenting” when they are really “hating” our own President. It’s a classic Bush Derrangement Syndrome (BDS) and they cannot snap out of it; no matter what anyone says. That’s why you see comments that (almost) cheer on the thinning of our troops; the body counts; the fact that the troops are getting big signing bonuses; or the stats that show how bad (they think) it is in Iraq. It’s BDS, brother; and nothing more eloquent than that!

And, as for the topic of this post, Have Conservatives Lost in 2008?, remember this: Conservatives are debating over idelogoy; the Dems are fighting over race. Big difference.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 16, 2008 1:29 AM
Comment #245460

I didn’t see benevolence in there as a social success. Laws to improve rules in the field have been naturally updated with the times. Drivers pooling resources for roads is an example. I don’t deny that infrastructure is too big a task for individuals since it crosses state lines. It certainly doesn’t take away from free markets, it gives access to them.
Government ownership, taxation and unnecessary regulations for companies does hamstring them. That is the reason we have corporate lobbyists, to keep that to a minimum. Take government influence away and the money doesn’t need to be spent. We would also have much cheaper elections.
Do you think if Al Gore was in office, he would have planned it better? No one wants lives lost and the difficulties we have dealt with. Should we have cursed the voted in prime minister and their efforts at self government? Whoever was and will be in office will respond to keep casualties to a minimum and insure success for the voted in government.
As for Limbaugh, the specific point was obviously in reference to a recent particular soldier. Debating grammar doesn’t prove that your point wasn’t based in a lie. Everyone at times will use the plural sense in that context. I heard the original show where he referenced the name but read the transcript for the quote you are showing. Those who listen know the context. It isn’t hard to see. He has more loyalty in his little finger to our soldiers than any liberal democrat. My family (we have some over there) and in laws would turn him off immediately if otherwise. He has a large following in the military. You are a discerning fella and perpetuating lies isn’t a trait I give you. There must be a lack of info on your part concerning this matter. Look further than liberal blogs.

Posted by: Kruser at February 16, 2008 2:37 AM
Comment #245462

Stephen, this may help:
September 24, Brian Ross ABC news “phony heroes…scam artists…posing as the war heroes they never were, claiming credit for acts of courage in Iraq and Afghanistan.”(Voiceover) But authorities say the most disturbing case involves this man, 23-year-old Jesse Macbeth. In a YouTube video seen around the world, Macbeth became a rallying point for anti-war groups, as he talked of the Purple Heart he received in Iraq and described how he and other US Army rangers killed innocent civilians at a Baghdad mosque.

September 26, Rush Limbaugh makes the same point (in your quote)and how liberals use these people as shields to discourse even when they know they are phonies.

Two minutes later he names Macbeth as a good example of what he is talking about.

The outrage is congress wasting time to castigate a private citizen with a resolution for an obviously manufactured offence.

Posted by: Kruser at February 16, 2008 3:13 AM
Comment #245509


CALLER 2: No, it’s not, and what’s really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they’re willing to sacrifice for their country.

This is many minutes before Macbeth even comes up as a subject. As this Media Matters post illustrates. You’d have to be reading Rush’s mind to have Macbeth as a point of reference.

The use of plural number is both consistent and repetitive. Clearly, Rush and his caller say together, those who are real soldiers want to be in Iraq, and want America to remain there too. Clearly, they refer to the soldiers who show in the media against the war as phonies.

Rush gives the term, the caller echoes it, and Rush affirms the caller’s point of view that the real soldiers want to be in Iraq, and what America to stay there.

It’s not even semantic hairsplitting to claim that Rush was referring to just one phony. With the man as yet unintroduced to the conversation and the words clearly speaking of two different categories of soldiers, one real, one phony, it is blatantly false on the facts of what was said to claim that Macbeth was the sole subject.

But such is damage control and ass-covering. Rush likes to make out like he’s some bold prophet of conservatism, but instead of sticking with the controversial point and braving out the criticism for it, he backpedals, and gives all the rationalizations you use.

He’s a glib pundit who is willing to say just about anything to keep his ratings high, and just about anything to do damage control on the things he said when it threatens to lose him an audience.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 16, 2008 3:32 PM
Comment #245512

It was in reference as a commentary to the news report I stated. It was plural in the context of what he was stating. That is that Democrats have a history of not only shielding themselves from serious discussion with so called victims, they also don’t check their background. Anti war pretend people(Plural) in the discussion with Macbeth as a prime example. He comments on what is popular in the news and the report I showed was the background. If you can’t see it, there has to be a bigotry stop in your mind.

Since liberals like to broaden terms and therefore muddy free thought we need to define a couple things. A republic is responsible to regulate commerce, creating a safe environment for free markets. This includes monopoly laws, anti trust, includes currency and highways. These are not socialist issues, but adjustments needed for an industrialized nation to run smoothly. How much regulation is needed is constantly a debate. It isn’t a social vs. conservative thing but a matter of what is better for our businesses to succeed and preserving an environment both in nature and in the world markets for the next generation.
Socialism or liberalism is classifying people due to race or income. They then create victims by claiming the “rich” “right” or “whites” are oppressing them. The only solution to them is to confiscate from the successful and give to the “poor”. In the end they only want power and control over others. True conservatives only want to be left alone to improve themselves and help others do the same. They don’t want a government moron defining “middle class” and telling them when they have arrived there, then confiscating hard earned income when a politician determines they are “rich”. We hate the race and income games liberals play. Conservatives lean toward justice, strong laws, military and infrastructure. They are against pointing out race, income and education then using them to manipulate feelings of hatred toward others.

Posted by: Kruser at February 16, 2008 4:33 PM
Comment #245515

Kruser…you do seem to have an excuse for everything…even for Bush not to take responsibility for anything even though he’s the commander in chief (the buck stops here…of course, it moves on to Halliburton, et al eventually)…and the Decider…for exactly what does Bush take responsibility????

Posted by: Rachel at February 16, 2008 5:51 PM
Comment #245528

I observed the same rhetoric toward Carter, Reagan ,Bush 41, and yes Clinton. Except I was on the crisis mongering side toward him…
The conclusion is that we wrongly ascribe diabolical motives and conspiracies to people who have strong convictions to help our country. The desire to improve our nation is what drives them, it is how they put up with the constant barrage from civic life verses a simple high paying job. I would have to reluctantly include Bill Clinton in this class. I mentioned what I am for and against as a conservative. Throwing darts at personalities doesn’t accomplish anything or change minds.

Posted by: Kruser at February 16, 2008 11:36 PM
Comment #245559

Kruser, that same attribution of motive can be applied to Hitler wanting a better Germany, Mussolini wanting a better Italy, and Hirohito wanting a stronger more economically viable Japan.

Much evil can be accomplished in the name of trying to do what is best for one’s nation, like the Iraq War. Tucking tail and running was George Washington’s strategy during the beginning of the Revolutionary War, something we court martial our soldiers for doing when confronting the enemy. But, Washington was a hero, because his strategy preserved the Army and kept it viable until the French could show up with ships and the British were forced to weigh the costs of continuing the war indefinitely and deciding the cost wasn’t worth it.

Nothing defines success like success. Nothing justifies war like victory and the peace that is supposed to follow it. The Bush administration has been an abject failure in addressing most of America’s needs present and future. Let’s move on and give peace and success a chance with someone very much UNLIKE GW Bush, shall we? Someone who stayed awake in History class. Someone who doesn’t claim to have to all the answers but, is intelligent and educated enough to recognize the right answers when they are proposed and to recognize really bad answers as well.

The objectives of conservative philosophy are peace, security, prosperity, and protection of liberty and national integrity. So, why doesn’t the GOP put forth a candidate with the education, experience, and talent to translate those objectives into policies that will acquire gains toward those objectives?

The answer is as plain as the nose on my face. The GOP has a higher priority. Power at any cost to those objectives or the American people. This was demonstrated in its promoting a weak uninspiring Gov. from Texas whose only virtue was name recognition to win the presidential race. I suspect this explains why so many conservatives have left the Republican Party to become Independent voters and others to quietly resolve to vote for Barack Obama in November.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 17, 2008 1:15 PM
Comment #245575

Distortions: Hitler and all the above were after power and dominance for themselves and their race. Your usual broadening of terms. This time, “the good of the people”.

We have a reverse in America. Since they hold temporary office, the motive is the actual good of the people such as in living in peace etc. They could have other high paying jobs and are certainly not motivated to be dictators. Of course it is a given you be in power to accomplish anything.

“Success” depends on who you are criticizing. We haven’t had any major attacks since 9-11. Forming an effective government has taken longer than expected in Iraq. We did have a successful invasion of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our economy is growing . I have seen a lot of hysteria but little substance behind it. The “terrible” things going on like so called torture, unlawful surveillance and the economy when studied out are about splitting hairs, gaining political points and expecting people to be fortune tellers.
I like Bush, but people today want someone more “rock star” like. His strategy was to ignore critics and make a speech later like an adult, thus showing how child like they were being. This approach doesn’t work anymore, it makes him appear elitist. It is time to articulate ideals , defend positions and get people behind them. He doesn’t seem to be doing well at it. Maybe he is leaving room for the next candidate.

Posted by: Kruser at February 17, 2008 5:32 PM
Comment #245584

“‘Success” depends on who you are criticizing. We haven’t had any major attacks since 9-11.”
Kruser you obviously mean here in the homeland I take it. Seems that when you consider we have now lost about as many Americans in Iraq as we did on 9/11 the shine comes off the apple doesnt it. Then when you add in a few billion dollars a day in debt to accomplish this amazing feat of no terrorist attacks in the homeland it just makes you wonder how low the conservatives set the success bar doesnt it?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2008 1:20 AM
Comment #245596

As I said the invasion was a success. The Iraqis ability to form a government and secure their own country has been hindered due to a few factors we can discuss. One factor that caused a lack of cooperation against terrorist factions would be the fear that we will leave them hanging and allow terrorists to take over. This is fed by past experience with Bush 41. Another thing that has instilled this fear is comments by people like you and the Democrat party. The surge not only cleaned a few places up but also showed them that we have resolve to finish the job dispite liberal anti-success, cut and run rhetoric. Most people who could help over there wisely stood back and waited to see who would keep control before choosing sides.

Posted by: Kruser at February 18, 2008 8:43 AM
Comment #245621

Spoken like a conservative Kruser, Its the Itaqi’s fault that they didnt march to our tune quicker, Its Daddy’s fault for not getting involved the first time we had the chance although that wasnt our goal. Its the liberals and the dems fault for daring to say anything that contradicts the conservative movement, Its the liberals and the dems again because we made the Iraqi’s nervous by wanting our troops out of their civil war. Remember Kruser who brought the AQI into Iraq, they werent there to begin with.
Well once just once why not hold those actually responsible for the debacle responsible. Yes the leaders of the conservative movement and their followers that allowed themselves to be fooled by the neocons, as well as the neocons themselves.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2008 2:00 PM
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