Center-Right Country, My Right Gluteus Maximus

Conservative pundits have been trying to comfort themselves and us with the claim that, despite the election results, America is still a conservative leaning country. The preferred adjective is “center-right.” Even Newsweek made the claim in a cover story before the Obama victory http://www.newsweek.com/id/164656, and Rush Limbaugh has opined that conservatism didn’t lose on November 4th, because “it wasn’t even on the ballot.”

climate change

Yet it is dangerously Pollyannaish for conservatives to think that the majority of voters did not know they were voting for a big-government nanny state when they cast their ballot for Obama.

Rush is right that McCain's attempt to wear the mantle of conservatism never really worked, because his lifelong reputation as a "moderate" more intent on reaching compromise than on leading a movement aimed at advancing key principles could not ultimately be overcome. Along the same lines, Sean Hannity's prescription is that the Republican Party has to identify strong candidates who will articulate strong conservative principles, and they will carry the day. Sean is right, but only half right.

Running articulate, conservative candidates is essential, but not adequate in and of itself. Conservatives have to face the fact that we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of a critical mass of the American people. And we have to rebuild the movement by re-emphasizing persuasion and education, concerning the fundamental principles that serve as the foundation of conservatism and the founding of the United States.

It is not enough to say, "we believe in limited government, personal liberty, private property, and the principles of the Founding Fathers, so vote for us." I am convinced that most people don't even understand these principles or know why they are important. For conservatives to succeed significantly in national elections, we are going to have to continually teach these principles, explain them thoroughly, and make it clear why straying from them can ultimately be so dangerous. This was the genius of Reagan, and no Republican president since him has had it. Reagan never stopped selling conservative principles. He understood them because he internalized them by reading widely, thinking deeply, and communicating (in speech and in writing) about these principles, and he never let up. In politics, just when you think you have won, that's the time to push even harder.

Democrats have always seemed to understand this basic tenet of the effective acquisition of political power: Never stop campaigning. Bill Clinton's entire presidency was a campaign; Barack Obama's re-election campaign will begin on January 21, 2009 (maybe it has already started). Pick a major issue important to the waning Republican administration, however, and look at the horrible failures to teach, explain, and sell their position in a relentless way. Partial privatization of social security should have been a winning issue, but the administration caved at the first sign of a fight. And the Democrats successfully convinced a majority of Americans that Bush was trying to "take away" their social security.

The war in Iraq began with popular support, yet Bush failed to keep selling it, allowing the Democrats to make it into a liability for the GOP that brought the Dems back to power in 2006. If you step back and try to look at them with a little historical perspective, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been resounding successes overall, though not without serious but expected setbacks along the way. The American military, led by President Bush, overthrew two violent, bloody, terribly repressive regimes, liberated more than 50 million people, and killed tens of thousands of terrorists, all with breathtakingly low casualty rates. I am convinced that this administration's historic unpopularity--before the economic crisis--had more to do with its inexplicable negligence in failing to keep selling the war (yes, a little propaganda--as long as it was true--would have been a good idea) and the Democrats relentless attacks than it had to do with Bush's alleged incompetence.

My thesis here is not intended to give comfort to liberals or to depress conservatives. Nor am I lining up with so-called moderate conservatives--like David Brooks of the New York Times--who believe that conservatism needs to be reformed or modernized to become competitive again. That's another way of saying Republicans need to create a new kind of conservatism, essentially liberalism lite, in order to be competitive. My argument could not be further from that. I am saying that the conservative movement needs to realize that we have to re-fight the old battles. No longer is it safe to assume that the principles of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty are widely embraced.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, many of us thought that would be the death knell of the planned economy. Sadly, we were premature. While Russia is looking more and more like the Soviet Union of old, and dictator Hugo Chavez, the darling of the "world community" and of the American left, is nationalizing significant aspects of the Venezuelan economy, the United States has just elected a leftist President and Congress, on the promise of government guaranteed health care, education, prosperity, etc. Then there's the bail-out, supported by a Republican president and both his would-be successors, not to mention both parties in Congress. Thus we find ourselves in the United States with an "economy czar" who has near-dictatorial authority to spend upwards of a trillion dollars, in the person of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his eventual successor.

In future posts, I hope to examine some of the specific reasons for my conclusion in more detail. But if we do not admit that the conservative movement has a challenge before it more serious than the mere packaging of slicker and more attractive candidates, we will be doomed to more failure. And we could be witnessing the dawning of a new era of big-government liberalism that will change America as drastically, or more so, than the New Deal.

Posted by Jack Romano at November 22, 2008 11:36 AM
Comments
Comment #270777

The Big Government Nanny State is what we have experienced these last 8 years under Republican rule.

Now we are poised to have a big which solves more problems than it creates, unlike the last one.

Conservative, if the term means anything, means prudent action to prevent problems. To conserve one’s resources, for example, is to prevent unnecessary or premature shortages in the future.

I think we will have a more conservative government under Obama than we EVER had under GW Bush, et. al. And the era of borrowing from future tax payers who don’t have the right to vote, in order to make the wealthy even wealthier, is over, thank Buddha.

And if Obama is successful in fighting off the far left of his Party, our country is positioned to improve its circumstances very noticeably over the next 4 to 8 years.

Republicans, I hope, will be in the minority party for as long as I live. That is what they are good at. Opining conservative values from the peanut gallery. Buddha knows, if they are actually given power, their excesses outpace even Democrats, in electing criminals to office, promoting criminals as agents of their party, spending like there is no tomorrow, and cutting taxes incessantly on the wealthiest, as if they have to get it while the gettin’ is good. And deficits and debt? Republicans know no bounds when it comes to deficits and debt.

Serious conservatives need to find another party as Bob Barr has done. The GOP is no home for real conservatives. It is a home for the religious anti-secular education, anti-intellectual who would replace the Constitution with the Bible, with all the contradictions and inconsistencies the Bible engenders.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2008 11:48 AM
Comment #270789


And when Obama proves that he can successfully ignore the campaign promises he made, conservatives will find reasons to cheer his revolutionary approach to governmen

Today, George Bush is urging other countries not to resort to protectionism to try and solve their economic problems. You know, like bailing out corporations who abhor free market losses.

Like it or not, the nanny state for both the poor and the wealthy is here to stay until it collapses, which it will eventually. So let’s just live for today and let the future take care of itself.

With the exception of losing the election, I can’t see why conservatives are all that upset with the Bush Administration and the Republican party.

Nearly a decade of lower taxes is a good thing isn’t it?

For most of the time, the stock market did well didn’t it?

Bush might have botched the Iraq War in a way that helped the democrats but, he has insured that it will last for at least 2 years after he is out of office and there is a good possibility that Clinton/Obama will negotiate a treaty leaving enough troops there to protect the oil and challenge Iran till the oil is gone.

As to the Nanny State, it has taken on a life of it’s own, so much so that even the corporations no a good thing when they see it, especially when they can buy into it with a miniscule amount to politicians of both parties.

Perhaps the prescription drug bill was a little over the top but, I find it hard to believe that conservatives think the republicans could have challenged the Nanny State in any serious manner and stayed in power.

As for deficit spending, I seriously doubt that we will see the end of that and it could ignite a conservative come back in the future.

Posted by: jlw at November 22, 2008 1:58 PM
Comment #270796

jlw prejudicially said: “And when Obama proves that he can successfully ignore the campaign promises he made, “

There is no evidence or reason whatsoever to make that projection. All you have to support such conjecture is your wishes that he and the nation fail.

That is just about as small and insignificant as an American comment can get. To wish the nation’s president fails and the nation along with it, just because you don’t like the election results, is like a bigot wishing for the return of slavery to satisfy their own prejudice.

I am astounded by this statement of yours and what it reveals by logical deduction, jlw.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #270798

jlw, of course you won’t see the end of deficit spending in Obama’s first term. Just as you would not see an end to deficit spending the day after Katrina, or 9/11, or the invasion of Iraq. The Bush and Republican catastrophes and the opportunity cost of their having doubled the national debt in 8 years, have left our nation weakened, decaying, and struggling to stay afloat. It will take borrowing to set the last 8 years right enough to get to the point that we can work to zero deficits.

Obama however, will return something of value for his deficit spending, to the people, in the way of infrastructure repairs and enhancement, job growth for it, and keeping homeowners in their homes instead of foreclosing on them and kicking them into the streets, and food stamps to feed hungry children, and improved educational infrastructure and teaching, and forcing foreign traders to come up to our standards of living instead of dropping our middle class’s standards to meet foreign standards.

You can get behind it, JLW, or you can continute to type prejudicial comments and wishes for failure. But if it fails, those wishing and working for it will be as much at fault or more than Obama. He at least has set high expectations and will work diligently for those. That is after all, his ticket to reelection. He is a very smart person, and knows this better than you.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2008 3:29 PM
Comment #270801

You had me going there for a few minutes when I read your first paragraph, but then I realized what you really meant, and I think you’re only half-right there. (I mean no comment on your politics by that. ;-) )

Conservatism was on the ballot. It lost. The reason that it lost wasn’t because it was sold incorrectly, but because people were no longer willing to buy the product, however pure it was made. You aren’t losing the battle, you’ve already lost it.

The irony is, if Republicans had acknowledged the defeats both real and political leading up to it, the big defeat wouldn’t have come.

This was the genius of Reagan, and no Republican president since him has had it. Reagan never stopped selling conservative principles. He understood them because he internalized them by reading widely, thinking deeply, and communicating (in speech and in writing) about these principles, and he never let up. In politics, just when you think you have won, that’s the time to push even harder.

Reagan sold them well, no doubt, but he knew when to stop selling, stop pushing the agenda, and when to start governing. Republican like to point to his tax cuts, but not the taxes he raised when it became apparent that revenues were too low. But those show a critical part of Reagan’s politics. He knew the difference between rhetoric and policy.

Democrats have always seemed to understand this basic tenet of the effective acquisition of political power: Never stop campaigning. Bill Clinton’s entire presidency was a campaign; Barack Obama’s re-election campaign will begin on January 21, 2009 (maybe it has already started).

Clinton, for his perpetual campaigning, governed well for the most part. But politicizing the office too much can lead to disaster. At the end of the day, the President’s job is to lead the country, to carry out the law. Political self-perpetuation must take backseat to that.

Partial privatization of social security should have been a winning issue, but the administration caved at the first sign of a fight.

Winning, why? First, we were not too many years off of the terrible debacle on Wall Street which started with Enron. Second, taking stuff out of one’s social security is a difficult sell in the best of times. Social Security is an insurance policy. How do you sell people on making it riskier, more uncertain?

The war in Iraq began with popular support, yet Bush failed to keep selling it, allowing the Democrats to make it into a liability for the GOP that brought the Dems back to power in 2006.

If you use bad information to convince people to take a course of action, and they find out its bad, expect to lose some folk’s trust and support. If you fail to run the operation wisely or well, expect to lose some folk’s trust and support.

If you keep on selling the war and it keeps on getting worse, expect to turn public support against that war as you convince even supporters that you’re full of it.

The problem wasn’t that Bush stopped selling the war. The problem is, he never settled down to actually win it. It’s like trying to sell a car that you’ve failed to maintain; your own negligence works against the sale.

If you look at both wars, we’ve had our successes, but in each case, the situations have become much worse than they were at the beginning. There’s not much reasonable you can do as a Republican to blame this on us. Your people had essential control of both Legislature and executive. You wrote the checks for these wars and cashed them as well. You wrote the policies for these walls, and carried them out.

Stop blaming the media, stop blaming your political rivals. Accept responsibility, and that will be a good start.

Something has to be considered here, above and beyond politics. Politics can become a dream world, and bind us in the false snares of ideology.

Such as believing you are indispensible for maintaining the capitalist system. Democrats long dominated the government of this country not because we supported central planning, but because we supported a more humane, fairer version of capitalism which combined the best features of market and government, rather than the worst.

There’s a common feature to the places where Americans have asked for government intervention: Private enterprise, deregulated to the hilt, failing so miserably to do things right that people either are unwilling or unable to depend on straight capitalism to reform the system. This sort of thing could have been prevented with some strategically place, effective regulation, but unfortunately, some people thought running a free market and running a system of anarchy were equivalent things. so things were allowed to come to a head.

Personally, I wouldn’t have minded more moderate reform, sooner. But unfortunately, moderation wasn’t on the menu for the longest time, so moderate measures aren’t as feasible as they once were. This is the tension and strain of years of Republican resistance to reasonable policy reforms being unleashed.

Republicans need to become practical again, shed their ideological burden and just think of ways to make things go right for Americans again. Be useful again. Americans want effective leaders more than they want effective politicians.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #270808

Jack,
Virtually no one believes Ronald Reagan “read widely” or “thought deeply.” He was remarkable for his ignorance, not his erudition. He was notorious for NOT reading, and he made little effort during his life to pursue higher education. He was a mouthpiece, an ‘B’ actor, a salesman with rouge on his cheeks.

The fullt-time political campaign during a presidency did not begin with Clinton. It began with Rove. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember Ailes and Atwater, or the Bush #41 or Clinton presidencies, but in no way, shape, or form did they resemble the miserable failure of Bush and Rove.

Your version of the Iraq War, and the reason it failed, is frankly offensive. Over one million Iraqis died in the violence of the invasion and occupation. The ‘terrorists’ were mostly Iraqis resisting US occupation, while others engaged in a sectional and religiously motivated campaign of ethnic cleansing. It was a war based upon lies foisted by the Bush administration upon the American people.

Failure to sell, my ass.

“Liberation.” Uh huh. Yesterday a protesting Shia mob in Baghdad burned Bush’s effigy at the site of the famous statue of Saddam Hussein that was pulled down. There were thousands. Every poll taken shows the vast majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country.

Sell that.

Bush: Worst. President. Ever.

And by the way, conservative philosophy has failed in virtually every aspect during the past eight years. Time to try something else. May I suggest looking into the Libertarians? They have some decent principles, and no record of lying to the American people in order to convince them to go to war. They have no record of supporting the military industrial complex in the ludicrous waste of money we currently inflicted upon the world by ‘conservatives.’

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2008 7:40 PM
Comment #270817

I predict “Conservative” will become (if not already) a worse slur than “Liberal”.
Thank Bush for THAT!

Reagan and Bush, what a team and the conservatives love to bow to both.

Palin will fit right in.

Posted by: Russ at November 22, 2008 10:20 PM
Comment #270821

It is not enough to say, “we believe in limited government, personal liberty, private property, and the principles of the Founding Fathers, so vote for us.”

Mr. Romano you are correct.It is not and was not enough to just talk it. Many American people grew tired of a movement that said one thing but meant and did another. It has been my observation that conservatives confuse the meaning of the principles they claim are theirs alone.

Under conservative rule we had “limited government” but it was limited only to what government your lobbyist could buy. Government grew in size and became more restrictive for most individual American citizens during conservative rule.
Under conservative leadership “personal liberty” has come to mean “interference with personal liberty” if it doesn’t serve the movement as Frist and the Schavio case indicates. That is not personal liberty Jack that is conservative liberty. No thanks.
During the conservative error er.. era I mean, “private property” became “privatized property”. Seems the NAFTA highway as well as roads that have become privatized by global corporations are what the corporate masters wanted from your conservative movement leaders. The continued erosion of national sovereignty by the conservatives at the bidding of the global corporations would no doubt distress the founding fathers.
And of course “the principles of the founding fathers”. That is special coming from a conservative. Do you recall Gonzales and habeus corpus. Conservatives overwhelmingly support political bribery as free speech. The unitary executive principle of which founding father was W using while in office?
Myself I find it hard anymore to use the 2 words together, conservative and principle that is. Seems to me from the days of Reagan onwards the correct term should have been “conservative principals” as that is how they governed, for the moneyed elite at the expense of the American people.
Not much good has come from the conservative movement Jack. Perhaps it is time to rethink the movement and its leaders that have misled you and instead of worrying about size so much work for a government of the people by the people and for the people.


Posted by: j2t2 at November 22, 2008 10:33 PM
Comment #270822

Jack,
You write: “Partial privatization of social security should have been a winning issue…”

What a shameful thing to write. Conservatives pushed the privatization of social security. They sold it as hard as they could, and Bush spent nearly a year after the election touting the dismantling of Social Security Insurance. Imagine if the conservatives had actually succeeded, and put American’s retirement funds in the hand of the Wall Street firms which just went bankrupt. Omigosh, how can you even suggest privatization of social security was a good idea? The public rejected it then, and the idea of turning over retirement funds to firms such as Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns is simply frightening now. If any conservative is foolish enough to bring it up now they would be tarred, feathered, and rode out of town on a rail, and deservedly so.

The conservative philosophy has been an abysmal failure in action. It fails when it is enacted. That is a proven fact. In real life, conservatism is an EPIC FAIL. We’re living it, today, right now, and it is a highly unpleasant thing to live with.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2008 11:55 PM
Comment #270830

Jack,

The problem is not that the Republicans have failed to sell conservatism. The problem is the type of conservatism the Right has chosen to sell over the last two decades. The kind you espouse, small government, individual rights and such, has been at best given lip service and at worst ignored completely. The kind that has been sold, and sold to the hilt, is religious conservatism, a philosophy that, ironically enough, promotes government interference in individual rights. During good economic times, people pay attention to issues like abortion and gay marriage and such. But during lean times, or in our case the threat of lean times, people start voting with their pocketbooks. That, even more than dislike of Dubya, is what put Obama in the White House and increased Democratic control of Congress.

The only hope that the religious conservatives have is that the economy will spin further out of control over the next 2 to 4 years, enough to be able to blame it on the Democrats. For political conservatives such as yourself, the work ahead is far more than just selling a message. It will take weaning the Republican party off the teat of the Religious Right, a work that will take years, sorry to tell ya.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at November 23, 2008 10:31 AM
Comment #270831

Your Drill drill drill went belly up many factors why one was gas went from $ 4.00 to $2.39 a gallon by election day in the meantime wall street was caving in and so was the rest of America and so was the world ,you wouldn’t let go of that bone and reshape your strategy, Reagan was not the most intelligent president ever but he had A lot of common sense and some wisdom and knew when to back off and reshape policy, your ideological chains have Left you Bound. you need to moderate your positions and use the most brilliant of your party, You Kicked out the Middle and the managers and some of the most brilliant, come up with Good smart thought out Ideas Instead of bucking the democrats they will always beat you with that Mindset.Your wounds were self inflicted.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 23, 2008 11:39 AM
Comment #270840

By the way, ‘selling’ does not mean convincing people to believe a lie is true, or persuading them to do something contrary to their best interest. ‘Selling’ is finding out what a person needs, and providing it.

Leatherankh,
The inherent contradictions of conservatism make the corporatist ‘fascist’ side of conservatism comfortable with the ‘social’ religious fundamentalists. The fascist, or corporatists, are all about money. For them, government is not a solution. It is the problem. This is especially the case when there is a government of ‘We the People.’ Such a government prevents the exploitation of the people in the US, and the exploitation of the labor and natural resources abroad. As a result, the fascists/corporatists engage in a relentless drive to privatize and deregulate, and demonize opposition as communists, socialist, or whatever is the boogey man de jour. The corporatists/fascists are comfortable with the social conservatives, because the fascists/corporatists are wealthy enough to ingore the social conservatives, and evade any restrictions the social conservatives might ever enact. In the meantime, the social conservatives provide the votes for the relatively small number of corporatists.

The social conservatives, on the other hand, need corporatist money to back their drive for power, because they will always represent a minority. They are perplexed by the failure of conservatism to provide them any economic advantage, but that is amerliorated by lip service to their cherished causes. In addition, the social conservatives are easily manipulated. They are inherently reverential of all authority, and willingly accept proclamations from on high, no matter how unlikely. Global Warming? Hoax! Evolution? Only a ‘theory’! Drill, baby, drill! Terry Schiavo would get up and do a song and dance, if only liberals would give her a chance! Katrina? Darn those black people! And so on.

The days of Jack Romano’s conservatism have come and gone. The corporatists will glom onto Democrats, and others will seek refuge in Libertarianism. The future of conservatism and the GOP is with the social conservatives.

In the future, the social conservatives will have little patience with the economic policies of privatization and deregulation. They will be populists at home, as they always should have been, with a peculiar tinge of religous nationalism and xenophobia.

Want to see the future of conservatism? Look at Mike Huckabee.

Posted by: phx8 at November 23, 2008 2:52 PM
Comment #270851

Oh my goodness, these are the kinds of things I love to hear:

Jack: Rush is right…

Jack: Sean is right…

Jack: we have to rebuild the movement by re-emphasizing persuasion and education…

Jack: I am convinced that most people don’t even understand these principles or know why they are
Jack: important.

Jack: Never stop campaigning.

Jack: Partial privatization of social security should have been a winning issue…

Jack: …yet Bush failed to keep selling it…

Jack: …the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been resounding successes overall…

Jack: …Republicans need to create a new kind of conservatism…

Jack: No longer is it safe to assume that the principles of limited government, free markets,
Jack: and individual liberty are widely embraced.

It warms the cockles of my heart to think that if the rest of the right/con “mainstream” is as far out in the right field parking lot as this, it will indeed be a long, long, long time before the right wing scourge will again infest and infect the bowels of government, maybe even long enough for the appalling damage of the past nearly 8 years to be corrected.

I eagerly await the preceding points to be expanded and expounded upon. In the cockeyed words of the right wings current leader and idol “Bring ‘em on!”

Posted by: EJN at November 23, 2008 9:34 PM
Comment #270852

Hmmm?!?!

All Republicans need is to become better salesmen?

All this time I thought what they really needed to do was to become better citizens.

If I’d known we needed to be ‘sold’ more failed policy, I’d have moved to Grenada, or Panama, or Iraq, or someplace else safe from Republican intervention. Luckily, I’ve remained blissfully ignorant, and thus resistant to corrupt selling.

Yep, what this country needs is more SPAM.

Posted by: Nincompoop at November 24, 2008 1:41 AM
Comment #270854

Jack
Welcome. You would do better to turn off Rush and Hannity and pay more attention to Buckley and Brooks. Liberal light is not accurate or helpful. More like a return to the realism of Eisenhower. Remember Goldwater was pro-choice and Ike invested in the interstate highway system. a massive government stynmulus program.
Seems BHO is not going to raise taxes on the upper brackets right away but rater wait the provenly ill advised and irresponsible Bush tax cuts to expire. This is a wise move durring a ressesion. One reason its going to be a long hrd recession is because the deficit is so high. What this does is remove a huge amount of potential capital from the worlds economy. This deficit can be laid directly at the feet of what you all allowed to be called conservatives with their foolish Laffer Curve/Anne Rand BS. Kick them out. We need you.

Posted by: bills at November 24, 2008 5:57 AM
Comment #270871

Where to begin? First, with the potshots against Reagan. No, phx8, I am not surprised that “virtually no one” that you know believes Ronald Reagan read widely or thought deeply. If you have studied Reagan’s life as much as I have or have surrounded yourself with anybody other than those who share your dismissive view of RR, you might actually open your mind about him. But I shan’t hold my breath. You liberlas, I keep forgetting, are the very embodiment of tolerance and restraint from prejudice.

Given the tenor of the comments on this blog, in response to my post and to others, it is obvious that a certain strain of liberalism is so virulently anti-religion that its proponents cannot help interjecting the subject everywhere. I don’t think I mentioned religion, Christianity, spirituality, or any other reference to a deity, yet many of the comments raise the bogey man of the Christian Right and/or social conservatives.

The left canot comprehend that one can be an intellectual and a believer. It is simply impossible, in their world view. Therefore, because Reagan had a pretty straightforward Christian faith and believed in certain fundamental principles about why America was founded and what it should stand for, he couldn’t possibly have been intelligent. At best, he was an idealist, ignorant of the ways of the world.

I’m sorry to destroy your illusion, but Reagan was a very smart man. I know that is not going to change whether you agreed with him or liked him. But he was not the dolt that your side liked to portray him as.

Intellectual elites today pride themselves on being moral relativists, on seeing the complexity in every issue. Thus Obama is a first-rate intellectual in this paradigm. (Don’t you all feel better already? Our next president went to Harvard Law School. Hooray!)

Because Reagan believed in certain absolutes, including his personal faith in Christianity, he had to have been an idiot. Nobody that reads or that can write cogently can possibly believe any of that crap, right?

Reagan’s career in the private sector and in politics, along with the voluminous amount of material he wrote in his own hand, reveals a man of remarkable consistency, who had a very well grounded philosphy of governance, who thought deeply about the value of fundamental principles and how they can best be applied in the realm of public policy.

I realize it is a silly argument (was Reagan smart or an idiot?) and not terribly relevant today, but it is emblematic of the deeper problem we have talking to each other accross the ideological divide today. When one side claims to have a monopoly on brains and claims to be too smart for “ideology” (while being as ideologically strident in its own way as its opponents), it has no patience for engaging in discourse with silly and unenlightened fools who believe in principles or realities greater than their own pleasure.

Posted by: Jack Romano at November 24, 2008 12:46 PM
Comment #270872

Wow!! You certainly have misread most of what was posted, and taken it quite personally.

Too bad, because your post was good, and generated some good dialog.


Posted by: womanmarine at November 24, 2008 1:03 PM
Comment #270875

jack

“The left canot comprehend that one can be an intellectual and a believer. It is simply impossible, in their world view.”

you need to see ben steins’ movie expelled no intelligence allowed. it’s quite an eye opener. entertaining too.

Posted by: dbs at November 24, 2008 1:49 PM
Comment #270876

JR,

“The left canot comprehend that one can be an intellectual and a believer.”

I would think that being defined as “intellectual” includes being curious, and basing ones beliefs around “faith” pretty much rules out that curiosity.

“I’m sorry to destroy your illusion, but Reagan was a very smart man.”

Whether or not Reagan was a very smart man might be up for debate, but for what ever faults he might have had, IMHO he was a brilliant manager of people.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 24, 2008 2:01 PM
Comment #270877

Jack,
Did you know Ronald Reagan increased his personal wealth in office more than any other president in history? His ‘friends’ in California real estate ‘helped.’ Spin that one and let me know how it works out for you!

Did you know he favored shooting anti-war protestors? After the Kent State shootings, he said ‘if there is to be a bloodbath, then let’s get it over with.’ You up for that, Jack? Your hero, Reagan, favored shooting American protestors. Is that where you come down? Killing Americans who disagree? Because Reagan sure did.

Iran Contra. Would you like quotes? He lied through his teeth about it, at length, repeatedly. Do you know just how bad it was?

You know how Reagan met his second wife? She needed to get off the Hollywood blacklist. Ronnie was the man to see about that. What a guy. What a class act. Nice hero you got there.

Reagan freely talked about the “End Times.” Sorry, but that’s not rational. In fact, it’s crazy talk. Stupidity and gullibility do not get a pass in the name of ‘faith’ and never will. Deal with it.

He was a mouthpiece. He was a notoriously lazy man. The people surrounding him made the decisions, and he fronted the mouthpiece. Lying and cheating came as naturally to him as breathing the air pollution produced by trees.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2008 2:39 PM
Comment #270882


Considering the sad state of affairs that our country is in, intellectualism, both the liberal and conservative persuasions, is grossly overrated.

Posted by: jlw at November 24, 2008 4:17 PM
Comment #270885

dbs-
Impossible? I believe in God, and am a practicing Catholic. At the same time, I believe scientists have it right on evolution.

As for Ben Stein’s Expelled, let me put this plainly: as I would not require scientific evidence for the teaching of supernatural doctrine, I do not believe it is proper to insert supernatural causes into an enterprise whose whole purpose is to establish credible natural explanations for the character of the natural world.

Anytime you put “and here God did something”, you commit two mistakes: one is presuming to know what God is really doing. But the second, and most scientifically relevant is that you’re making a bet that there won’t be a natural explanation for whatever phenomena you’re suggesting is supernatural.

That’s a bet which has been lost before. What happens when you lose that bet? Neither basic outcome is good: either you go into denial, ignore the evidence (not very scientific), or you’re forced by scientific discipline to discard a faith-based theory, which is not a religiously pleasant thing to have to do.

I believe God has had his influences, but I don’t presume to know which and where. God has his secrets and mysteries from me, and as a mortal, it’s probably wiser to investigate the world around me from the perspective of what I can really know, and regard the rest as a matter of personal faith.

There was an intelligent designer, in my mind, but his concept and complexity of design have no equal in human design, and thus we are unworthy to distinguish its nature. We have our hands full just understanding the natural world. Only God’s grace gives us any insight beyond that, and we are not at the level where we can reach testable conclusions about the world beyond the natural one.

I believe it would be the height of arrogant presumption to teach this as science, as knowledge and understanding within human grasp.

Jack Romano-
I don’t think you have liberals nailed anymore than some of the commentators had Reagan nailed. I don’t think you have Reagan nailed either. He was flexible in his conservatism in a way that many of his followers today aren’t. He knew he could take the country only so far without risking a backlash, and he wasn’t so committed to the ideology that he was prepared to forgo opportunties like making peace with the Soviets.

The problem with the right today is that it’s gotten so anti-intellectual, so quick to hammer down any nail that sticks up. Obama’s elite education becomes a minus in his column in this wierd parallel universe. Y’all seem so afraid of having somebody lord their intelligence over you, that you’re willing to settle for a second rate intellect as president. Yay, I can have a beer with Bush! Pity I can’t have decent leadership to go with that.

People are not looking for more marketing, more selling. People are very savvy to the empty rhetoric of marketing, and if you don’t deliver as promised, you can find your market evaporating. Stop thinking of new ways to sell policy nobody likes. Meet America halfway and come up with some novel policy solutions to the problem we’re facing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 24, 2008 5:16 PM
Comment #270886

jlw,
Ignorance is not a virtue.

The Economist, a well known magazine which advocates fiscal conservatism, just published an article on the conservative movement, and it touches upon some of the concerns raised by Jack.

“There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party’s defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.”
http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12599247

Remember, this is a moderate conservative voice, one of the best.

“Republicanism’s anti-intellectual turn is devastating for its future… Why is this happening? One reason is that conservative brawn has lost patience with brains of all kinds, conservative or liberal. Many conservatives—particularly lower-income ones—are consumed with elemental fury about everything from immigration to liberal do-gooders. They take their opinions from talk-radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and the deeply unsubtle Sean Hannity. And they regard Mrs Palin’s apparent ignorance not as a problem but as a badge of honour.”

“The movement has little to say about today’s pressing problems, such as global warming and the debacle in Iraq, and expends too much of its energy on xenophobia, homophobia and opposing stem-cell research.”

No need to listen to my liberal intellectualism. Conservatives say it better than I could.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2008 5:26 PM
Comment #270887

You are totally right. McCain was by no means a conservative, and Palin, although more conservative, was only Vice President. All of the the more conservative issues(like Prop. 8 in Cal.) passed(except for the assisted suicide measure in Washington) but like Rush Limbaugh said, So Washington voters approve an assisted suicide initiative, but it’s not that big a loss because half the country voted for assisted suicide yesterday anyway. “

Posted by: Josh at November 24, 2008 6:04 PM
Comment #270890

Josh,
McCain won the GOP primaries running away. Where was the ‘conservative’ vote? Only Huckabee and Romney mounted feeble challenges that lasted past the first primaries, and not that many conservatives voted for them. Six other conservative candidates crashed and burned in the primaries without getting out of the gate.

Conservative ideas crashed and burned too. It turns out reality really does have a liberal bias, after all. Conservative ideas have failed, and failed badly, on virtually every issue where they’ve been implemented. Taking solace from the failure of Prop 8 is a recipe for more failures.

If it makes you feel better, the domestic economy is shaping up to be a disaster for a long time to come. Conservatives might help out by coming up with some new ideas, because we’re going to need them.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2008 6:47 PM
Comment #270892

Good to see you have found your strength and voice phx8!
It’s kind of lonely in here….

Posted by: janedoe at November 24, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #270893

Thanks, janedoe. The news is so relentlessly awful with the economy and all, it’s hard to even look at it anymore. I just hope everything somehow works out all right for everyone.

Posted by: phx8 at November 24, 2008 7:48 PM
Comment #270903

For months Rushie, Seanie, Billie and their ilk have been warning that once in power the Democrats will bring back the ‘Fairness Doctrine’. Politicians like Newtie have jumped on the band-wagon by saying it will be on Obama’s agenda in the first one hundred days.

It’s all hog-wash, of course. Obama has even stated that he’s against a fairness doctrine, and was voiceless about it during his partial term as Senator. In fact, Democrats have not even mentioned it during their time in the majority.

So, without a clue from high office, right-wingers have sunk to asking individual Democrats what they think about such a bill, and when one says he thinks it might be a good idea, they fall all over themselves crying foul, and wearing their hair shirts as badges of mourning over the fall of democracy as we know it. (I’m thinking some democrats use this as a sport…saying yes just to hear the bellowing:)

While there is no chance that a fairness doctrine will be introduced, or go anywhere even if it is, it will not end the right wing paranoia…because that paranoia is the reason for talk radio’s existence. Without fear, what would that crowd feed off of?

I think the right wing is beginning to feel dispossessed. Their country is slowly disappearing…it is being taken away by (guess who), the right wing…they just urge each other into ever higher spirals of paranoia, until they are completely bereft of reality.

If you tried to design the epitome of right wing fear, you could do no better than to present an Obama. His race, his age, his intelligence, his history…even his name, gives a paranoiac a sense that America is being stolen from right under their noses.

Rush and the bunch will have more fodder than even they can dream of in the near future, and you can bet they’ll use it to gain even more influence over the masses of wing-nuts who hang on their every word.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 24, 2008 10:25 PM
Comment #270904

So, it begins…..

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081125/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_pardons_10

Posted by: janedoe at November 24, 2008 10:25 PM
Comment #270907

Thanks, janedoe, that sure improves MY morale…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 24, 2008 10:58 PM
Comment #270908

phx8,

What is the point of:

You know how Reagan met his second wife? She needed to get off the Hollywood blacklist. Ronnie was the man to see about that. What a guy. What a class act. Nice hero you got there.

Reagan was President of the Screen Actor’s Guild, and Nancy Davis was listed somewhere as being on the Hollywood Blacklist. She, the future Mrs. Reagan, went to see him about this, because it was another Nancy Davis, and she was afraid of her career being ruined if the mistake wasn’t cleared up. So he helped her out. I would think you would be against blacklists of that sort (communists), so getting somebody removed from one—especially when she really wasn’t a communist sympathizer—should be a good thing. I don’t see the big deal.

As to the alleged quote about wanting to have a “bloodbath” against student demonstrators, this was said before the Kent State shootings in response to what was going on in California while he was governor. The next day, he expressed regret for saying it, as he meant it as a figure of speech. Either way, it was a stupid thing to say, and he shouldn’t have said it. In a public career spanning decades, you’re going to make a few ill-advised comments. I’ll give you that one. But that hardly negates his entire career.

Stephen Daugherty,

I have read your comments before and appreciate your intelligent analyses, even where I disagree. Thank you for a number of challenging points. I find very little to disagree with in your discussion of faith, creation, evolution, etc. And as a practicing Catholic myself, I certainly find God’s ways as inscrutable as the next mortal. My problem with evolution is not the possibility of its being true, nor do I find it incompatible with a belief in a divine prime mover. My problem is with evolutionists who treat evolution as a religious dogma, rejecting legitimate scientific challenges to it as some kind of heresy. There are enough holes in the theory (missing links, etc.) to at the very least admit of some debate on the whole construct.

As to Reagan, I must take issue with your statement that “he wasn’t so committed to the ideology that he was prepared to forgo opportunties like making peace with the Soviets.” It is the premise of the statement that is flawed. You assume that somehow Reagan’s ideology was incompatible with making peace with the Soviets. This is the same tired old caricature of Reagan as wanting to destroy every pinko commie in the world. Of course, he wanted peace with the Soviets. He wanted their system to become more free and more open, and he wanted friendship between their people and ours. He was very hopeful about Gorbachev, as you may recall. And he made great progress in arms control and opening up dialogue. Brilliantly, in hindsight, he wouldn’t cave on SDI, and that is one of the factors that brought about the collapse of the Soviet system. His ideology certainly did not have any tolerance for communism, which he believed was destined for the “ash heap of history;” but he didn’t want to destory communists, he just wanted to set them free.

Many commentators have taken shots at my use of the rhetoric of “selling” when it comes to political discourse. I concede that my choice of words may have weakened my argument. For many people, selling seems to imply persuading someone to accept something they don’t want. I think selling is perfectly noble, if you have a good product that will benefit people and you make an an honest presentation.

What I meant was not just glitzy packaging and marketing (my goodness, who wouldn’t say, supporter and detractor alike, that the Obama campaign perfected this art?), but the important function of developing political ideas and persuading others of their merit. Surely that’s the point of a participatory citizenry in a reprsentative republic. Otherwise, why do we blog?

I do think the conservative movement needs to re-establish its intellectual underpinnings. The basic philosphy we aspire has a pretty good pedigree (the founding fathers, Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, etc.) In the last century, for example, there were figures like the late great William F. Buckley, who helped shape the intellectual basis for the modern conservative movement. Are there his like today? No offense, but it ain’t David Brooks.

Posted by: Jack Romano at November 24, 2008 11:48 PM
Comment #270909

Jack Romano-
It’s a problem of integrity vs. corruption.

Intelligent design is meant to be an assault on Science’s material naturalism. You might not agree with it, but the problem is, this is what makes science verifiable where the curriculum of any intelligent design course is unprovable.

Science progresses because it doesn’t allow itself shortcuts, or areas of the map where somebody simply writes “Here be dragons” Scientists instead are accountable for how they come to their conclusions, and other scientists, in their competitive spirit, play devil’s advocate with the different claims. These theories deal with principles that don’t work in simple isolation, but integrated with an incredibly complex universe.

If you are right, or wrong, the material world enables you to test it. And being tested, we can refine away the worst of the poor research, observation and speculation.

But dump religion into the mix, and you got something two people can argue about until they are blue in the face, and yet nevery have substantive grounds for real agreement. That defeats the purpose of science, which is to use testable claims to come to substantive consensuses.

Case in point, one of the methods by which they claim to distinguish intervention and design is by examination of probabilities. Now here’s a question: what threshold differentiates accident from design? One could conceive of this degenerating all into a question of how many angels could dance on the hed of a pin.

Well, good night.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2008 1:05 AM
Comment #270912

Jack,

Outstanding look at the problem, and quite true.

Obfuscations of the middle and left aside there was no conservative in any of the last three presidential elections. More important, though, was that there was no communicator, either. Even Bush, who arguably COULD have been portrayed as a philosophical disciple of Theodore Roosevelt, failed apallingly at what Roosevelt did better than any other president- the use of the “bully pulpit” to communicate goals and aspirations.

Instead, Bush became his own Taft, waffling away potential strengths in policy and programming to a wallflower reluctance to fight for the public’s mind.

In a world where ignorance prevails Democrats will win every time. Merely by failing to constantly stump for his own ideas, fight and fight hard, Bush became the number one advocate for Democrat victory.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 25, 2008 8:30 AM
Comment #270914

Lee,

I think Democrats won because Republicans failed in three ways:

1. Allowed the party to be shanghaied by fundamentalists and bark shooters.

2. Failure to maintain their conservative platforms.

3. Becoming insular and dishonest in that failure.

Both/either party can lead us through successful administrations…America has always been pretty resilient, no matter whether led by Whigs, Bullmoose, Dems or Reps, but we fail miserably as a nation when led by dishonest and dishonorable, corrupt politicos.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2008 8:55 AM
Comment #270915

Attach to 270914:

And we as a people have been sold (Jack’s salesmanship?) so well on the benefits of the Machiavellian Free Market that we think our politicians must subscribe to the same concepts or they are too weak to lead.

My considerable hope is that Obama will break that mold. Our leaders must maintain an honest aspect, and demand honesty of our citizenry, or we parish as a nation…and we should…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2008 9:02 AM
Comment #270917

Lee Jamison-
I hear this repeated time and again: conservatism wasn’t defeated because it never showed up. The follow-up is also repeated: we need more conservatives who are more conservative.

Convenient isn’t it? No need to change with the times, just double down and kick out… well, kick out the same people you’ve been kicking out of the party for decades: the moderates.

And then, what are you going to do? Are you going to approach this along the lines that what Republicans need better communicators? Republicans had some of the best! They had focus-grouped catchphrases that even now are embedded in the political dialogue. They ran a masterful, if ethically questionable media operation to get us into a war. Bush was a marble-mouthed moron when it came to speaking, but he was constantly on message, constantly willing to argue for what he believed in.

What your implication seems to boil down to is that the Republican message, like Bush’s vision of Democracy, triumphs whereever it goes, and only fails when it leaves the field open to the enemy.

There can be no doubt, entertaining this line of logic, that the Republicans think highly of their ideas and their politics. The problem that’s hindered them in the last two election is that increasingly, the rest of America doesn’t rate them as highly as they rate themselves. That was Bush’s problem in the end.

Americans have weighed what they see as conservative policies, and found them wanting. You might argue it was profligacy with the budget that provoked the reaction, but I think that was merely the icing on the cake of “these jokers can’t do anything right, can they?”

The Republicans main problem is that on the economy and on military and foreign affairs, places where Republicans once had significant advantages and the ideological lead, Americans have been good reason to weigh the Republican’s position, and find it wanting.

It’s no use, at this moment, trying to claim that Republicans and Conservatives are two separate groups now. You folks pushed the notion that they were one and the same, and that this was what made Republicans better. You folks made them synonymous in public discourse.

You may one day be able to say there was a fork in the road, and the party took it, but for the time being, the conservatives and Republicans are mutual millstones around each other’s neck, and their refusal to acknowledge and submit themselves to the public’s judgment will keep the Republicans from doing what it takes to revive the Party or the movement’s fortunes.

The Republicans need a new paradigm, not new spokescritters, not a new program of political hornswaggling. They need to get with the program and firmly root themselves in the real world, circa 2008.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2008 10:12 AM
Comment #270918

Stephen,

Americans have weighed what they see as conservative policies
You’ve got it right, there, and that is my point. People who believe in theoretical conservatism need to fight for and teach the ideals that ideology. Of course, people on the left say the same things when they say such nonsense as “Socialism has never really been tried”. In the past you and I have sparred over what amounts to shades of intellectual purity.

In fact the solution to the ills of the world is probably not in intellectual purity at all, but in finding a way to get the public engaged and keep them that way so they will protect their self-interest rather than despair of participation and let the scoundrels have their way. I think conservatism, well taught, does that best. Others disagree, but it is public engagement in the fight over these ideas that will ensure the people are not ultimately enslaved by the scavengers who love to appear so benign in the middle.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at November 25, 2008 10:27 AM
Comment #270921

Stephen, the right is right in may ways, i.e., conservatives never did show up, and it cost plenty. What they are wrong about is the reason it didn’t show up. It didn’t show because the party was high-jacked on the way to the forum. Et tu, fundamentalists? Et tu, bark shooters? The party was stabbed in the back while embracing its enemy…no mean feat.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2008 10:42 AM
Comment #270923

stephen

there may be many things that can be proved with science, but the origin of life is not one of them. while i understand the point you are trying to make, the truth is we don’t know where or how life started on this planet. the fact is that intelligent design is not incompatible with science. we can try and follow the evolution of life on this planet with what evidence we can find, and try to piece the puzzle together, but we cannot prove where that initial spark came from.

Posted by: dbs at November 25, 2008 10:53 AM
Comment #270925

It may have taken a while, but it was inevitable: the United States has finally turned the corner and there are now more people who would rather have govt “freebies” instead of individual freedoms.
The days where Americans would rather die free than live as slaves are over.
Conservatives will adapt though. They will become “center-left” and our elections will be just like the 2008 election, biding wars where the one who promises the “best” or most “freebies,” will be elected.

The majority of the United States have progressed past the founding principles of their country, Conservatives will too.

Posted by: kctim at November 25, 2008 10:59 AM
Comment #270927

http://www.thesavvyboomer.com/the_savvy_boomer/2008/10/boomers-blamed-for-bust.html

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 25, 2008 11:50 AM
Comment #270929

WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE DID THE YOUNG FOLKS GET?
But what Baby Boomers of all persuasions have done, without dispute and to an unprecedented degree, is spend money instead of saving it. During the 1990s, Baby Boomers accounted for about half of all consumer spending in the U.S., according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute study.

Corbis/Newscom
Baby Boomers are rounding into the final laps of their careers largely untested and unprepared for what could be the worst economic crisis in their lifetimes.

Affluent Boomers had more to spend than most of their Depression-baby parents could have dreamed. Their appetites buoyed sales of everything from Bavarian sedans to Sumatran coffee to Swedish furniture. Boomers could make or break a brand. Boomers embraced Toyota, and helped make it the world’s dominant car maker. They shunned Oldsmobile, and it died. Boomers have driven the explosive growth of the computer and consumer electronics industries, accounting for half the money spent on techno-gadgets, big-screen televisions, laptops and the like, according to McKinsey.

When Boomers ran out of cash, they financed their dreams. The U.S. household saving rate plunged to 2% of income in the 2000-2005 period, when Boomers were hitting their earning peak, from 10% during the early 1980s. Imposing McMansions sheltered occupants with five-figure credit-card balances, exotic balloon mortgages and V-8 powered sport-utility vehicles financed over five and six years, all adjuncts to a lifestyle that depended on cheap credit and cheap oil.

Now, millions of Boomers are realizing that “hope I die before I get old” was just a sarcastic line in a rock and roll song, not a life plan.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 25, 2008 12:02 PM
Comment #270932

Lee Jamison-
I can assure you, I’ve never said “socialism has never really been tried” I’ve said “Liberal policies have been tried and worked in many places.”

I’m not really a socialist at heart, or an ideological purist. I want a government that works, not one I have to pretend works, for political purposes.

dbs-
It is utterly incompatible. Science depends on bootstrapping one natural explanation from another. It would be like building a ladder with a rung missing. With natural explanations, you can examine what’s at work, whether it’s a reducible phenomena you can experiment with in a lab, or one that requires observation in the field. There’s no place where you have to take a piece of the puzzle on faith.

Intelligent design, as these people present it is meant to counter what some see as socially and religiously dangerous findings. They want accepted science to back them up on moral findings.

Science, though, is not about that. Science is not about catering to the explanation and theory we would like to be right, which we would believe to be right. It’s about showing us where our imagination, our prejudices, are getting the better of us.

We may never know how exactly life came about, but it’s a fallacy of logic to assume that this means we can argue anything we want there. It’s a textbook appeal to ignorance.

Let’s not assume anything about God’s methods, about the necessity for a spark. Let’s reserve such questions for a matter of natural philosophy, and acknowledge that they can never be scientifically proven.

kctim-
I think you do people injustice. People don’t want freebies any more than they ever have (geez, you don’t sometimes accept things gratis?) But virtually everybody in this country is willing to work for a living. Unfortunately, the economic good fortunes of the last few decades have been built more and more on the disadvantage of the average person.

And people like you, who call themselves conservatives, dismantled the rules that kept companies from generating their own free money. You said it was for the benefit of the economy, but that would largely be true only if you consider the market in economically elitist terms.

I think Americans still adhere fiercely to the tenets of our founding fathers. Just not in the way you’d like. Fortunately, the Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, created a system that let people like you blow off that steam, even if people like me think you’re dead wrong.

You know, for a start, you could have a little more respect for the judgment of the average American. Americans kicked us out when we got too full of ourselves. They did the same with the Republicans, and then gave them an extra push with their foot when they didn’t get the message the first time.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2008 12:19 PM
Comment #270936

Marysdude, you keep coming back to bashing of the fundamentalists. Isn’t that straw man getting worn out by now? What public policies does the Christian Right advocate that actually would curtail anyone else’s freedom?

The only one I can see is in the area of abortion, where, yes, restrictions would make it more difficult for women to exercise the freedom to end the lives of their unborn children, or fetuses if you prefer. But if one believes that an unborn child is a living human being (a tenet firmly supported by science, Stephen, for whatever that’s worth), then for those who believe that human rights adhere intrinsically to human beings, it should follow that abortion should be illegal, as are other forms of homicide.

There are many “freedoms” that the law proscribes, because the exercise of those freedoms violate the freedoms of others.

I am not trying to revisit the abortion debate here, but only to point out one area where I concede that the “Christian Right” would advocate the restriction on a certain kind of freedom.

Then there’s gay marriage, where I suppose you could say the Christian right would oppose the freedom of gay couples to have a state-sanctioned marriage. But the fact that this question has now become the dominant gay-rights issue shows just how far the gay agenda has advanced. Nobody, even Christians, argues seriously that gay people do not have the same rights to privacy, property, and liberty that everybody else has. Gays are protected from economic and other types of discrimination. Laws against consentual sexual conduct between adults have been, rightly, overturned. Gays are free to enter into contracts, buy houess together, have private blessing ceremonies or religious “weddings” if they find a church that will do it. The only thing most Americans are saying is quite simple and quite logical: Marriage is the state-sanctionied union of one man and one woman. Therefore, something that is not marriage cannot be redefined as marriage.

Ultimately, gays have and should have the freedom to live a gay lifestyle. But others have and should have the freedom, if they so choose, to disapprove, provided they don’t interfere.

I supppose one could argue that the Christian right would prefer more enforcement of obsencity laws, but with the internet that issue is so hoplelessly lost that all we can hope for is to help young people to develop the strength to resist the temptations that are so easily gratfied today. Surely no one would posit that our culture suffers from an under-saturation of sexual content and imagery.

If the Christian Right is the albastross on the GOP elephant’s neck that you and the left claim it is, why was the only conservative issue to prevail on election day the gay marriage ban in, of all places, California?

The Christian right is certainly an attractive and convenient whipping boy for the left, but I think what you don’t like about them has more to do with the way they live and worship than with any purported aim of theirs to take away your freedom to have a good time. If you look at most of the public policy objectives of mainstream conservative Christianity, you will find a lot of talk about personal freedom and the responsibility that should go along with it.

Posted by: Jack Romano at November 25, 2008 1:02 PM
Comment #270938

Stephen
The “average person” has disadvantaged themself more than any evil corporation could ever do. Buy buy buy, instead of save save save. Why? Because they have been conditioned to believe that govt should provide for them.

“Americans still adhere fiercely to the tenets of our founding fathers” that they agree with Stephen. It has nothing to do with what I like or dislike. Remember, it is you, not me, who believes it is ok to trample individual rights and freedoms as long as it is for something you believe in.

And yes, the founders did create a system to allow people like me to blow off steam even if you think I am dead wrong. But what good does it do when the other parts of that system are ignored for your “progress?”

Why should I respect the “judgment of the average American” when they do not respect mine?
I’m not full of myself, I just want to be myself.

Look, I agree with you, its over for people such as myself. I must conform to your views and live as you say or be an outcast.
Conservatism is dead.

Posted by: kctim at November 25, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #270965

Jack Romano-
The tension between the worldly and the holy has long been a problem for devout believers, but I don’t think either the culture war or the Religious Right helped tip the balance towards the holy. They just created a new set of worldly temptations and moral hazards, and tried to impose a religious interpretation on many who did not share it.

Note the use of the word “worldly” I think to see things merely as the holy vs. the secular is to misunderstand something critical. Secularity, as far as I can see, is the admission that America is a constitutional Republic which does not permit the dominance of any one Religious faction over all, even if it’s a majority.

Religions can be very much of the world, if they’re not careful. Listen to the way some religious folks have picked up on conservative politics and treated it as doctrine.

But it isn’t, and they are blind to those who might hold religious views of their own that have merit in their holiness.

The Religious Right is seen to dominate the Republican Party, to the point where it’s inseparable. And unfortunately, the most vocal factions have been a retrograde force in public education and scientific development. On their account, other religious conservatives and the Republican Party as a whole are seen as sharing that backwardness.

Americans see a challenge to the tradition of intellectual excellence, and to the necessity of scientific advancement. The Frat Boy President, who Republicans gave their all to elect and keep elected has cemented this backwater reputation, and holding a woman who is prayed over by a Witch Hunter as your de facto political star for 2012 is not a good start for taking the party out of that doldrum of ideology.

kctim-

The “average person” has disadvantaged themself more than any evil corporation could ever do. Buy buy buy, instead of save save save. Why? Because they have been conditioned to believe that govt should provide for them.

What does government have to do with anything here? Why not skip the ideological horse hockey and identify what it is that made people think they could spend so freely: cheap and easy credit.

It used to be that you had to be pretty rich to get a line of credit. Then deregulation in the 80’s and beyond spawned a generation where the credit card and other forms of debt, rather than savings, became the primary instruments of attaining things- cars, houses, consumer goods.

It fed on itself. As Republicans deregulated more and more, Credit Card companies and other debt financers not only spread it further, but engaged in more aggressive predatory practices. People were actually sought for new credit when they proved unable to successfully pay off their debts. Things may have changed now, but it used to be that the quickest way to get credit card offers in the mail was to declare bankruptcy.

This of course was a deluded way of doing business, which relied on perpetual passing along of bad debts, while they enjoyed the marked up profits of consumers in over their head.

The recent collapse of the credit markets has come about because the process became too reliant on killing the geese who were laying the golden eggs, and just sending for more when they were dead. Ultimately, they lost their source of additional geese, and now have to deal with a debt ridden society which they deliberately made worse credit risks for their short term gain earlier. It’d be richly poetich justice, if so many people’s finances weren’t ruined in the process.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2008 7:38 PM
Comment #270979

Stephen,

As you said earlier, scientific advancement has the advantage of proving its own merit. If science doesn’t work, everybody knows it. The fact that all of our lives have been made so much easier because of science gives science a great deal of authority, and understandably so.

Yet I would submit that for every anti-intellectual Christian fundamentialist you might identify, I can find an atheist whose God is science. The cult of the expert is no less dangerous than a religious cult.

When experts make a claim, the populace is relegated to the sidelines. Who are we to question their conclusions and reccomendations, when we don’t know as much about the matter as they do? This allows for scientific charlatans to use their claim of expertise to demand more funding or call for massive changes in people’s behavior that may have more to do with advancing a pet ideology or personally remunerative benefit for the charlatan than with some objective value for society at large.

This is where I find the global warming hysteria so troubling. When there are qualified scientists who disagree that global warming is a real problem and who believe that, if it is real, it is not man-made, we shouldn’t rush into requiring major and inconvenient changes in people’s behavior. the global warming movement has become like a religion in its ridiculing of heresy and demanding conformity with the dogma. It seems to me that the global worming agenda makes a lot of stretches that strain credulity, yet if one dares question it one is derided as anti-science.

Posted by: Jack Romano at November 25, 2008 10:59 PM
Comment #270980

Jack R,

Because once they got their foot in the door, the hate, discontent and intolerance began to be spewed. With fundamentalists it has never been about a better America…it has never been about solving problems…it has always been about obstruction and vilification of others who have a belief/lifestyle/(color?) etc., that is different than their narrow, judgmental minds can wrap around.

I don’t believe that anyone should think of abortion as a way to end a personal problem, but many do. I don’t think that someone should rely of a fairy-godmother of a supreme being to guide their lives, but many do. You see…unlike those fundamentalists who wish to infiltrate the political sphere, I’m willing to accept that others may not believe as I do, and that that is okay…we are all Americans.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2008 11:09 PM
Comment #270981

> It seems to me that the global worming agenda makes a lot of stretches that strain credulity, yet if one dares question it one is derided as anti-science.
Posted by: Jack Romano at November 25, 2008 10:59 PM

Jack R,

The concepts of global warming are being challenged every day, in every way. As far as I know no one who has a scientific reason for that challenge is derided or caused to discomfort. It is called science, and challenge in science is inherent. That’s what science does. Right now the brightest minds have accepted global warming as a serious threat to our earth and our lives. Some do not agree, but the preponderance of evidence points to those proofs as presented. When that preponderance points the other way, we can back off, but don’t you think we should take those evidences to heart enough to protect ourselves and the earth until such time as the tide of evidence turns?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 25, 2008 11:21 PM
Comment #270988

marysdude, you make a valid point regarding the preponderance of evidence and exercising caution until we know for sure. I am not sure the “preponderance” of the evidence tips the scale in favor of global warming, however. Yet I am all in favor of reasonable steps to conserve energy, avoid waste, and minimize pollution. Those are things I practice in everyday living.

It seems bizzare to me, though, that carbon dioxide has come to be viewed as poison, when it is, after all, plant food.

Posted by: Jack Romano at November 26, 2008 6:41 AM
Comment #270989

marysdude—

Your comment is striking to me:

You see…unlike those fundamentalists who wish to infiltrate the political sphere, I’m willing to accept that others may not believe as I do, and that that is okay…we are all Americans.

Look at the premise of your statement. When fundamentalists seek to engage in political discourse, this is something sinister. They are deemed to be attempting to “infiltrate the political sphere,” like some kind of undercover operative. When you and I debate in this blog, are we “infiltrating” the public square or simply debating and discussing and attempting to persuade others?

When you say you are willing to accept that others do not believe as you do, does that mean you are not actively involved in the political process with the aim of advancing your political values through persuasion and the ballot box? Obviously you are, or you wouldn’t be blogging.

Further, what draws you to the conclusion that “fundamentalists” aren’t willing to accept that others do not believe as they do? Because they exercise with some vigor their freedom of speech and right to pettion the government for redress of grievances? I don’t see any evidence that Christians are kidnapping unsuspecting heathens and submitting them to brainwashing and coercion until they accept Jesus Christ and join Focus on the Family.

Perhaps you were referencing Islamic fundamentalists of the terrorist persuasion. Now you’re talking refusal “to accept that others may not believe as” they do. But it seems that American political commentators of a liberal bent are more outraged by their exagerated and caricatured view of Christian “fundamentalists” than they are of Islamic fundamentalists who behead people that disagree with them.

Posted by: Jack Romano at November 26, 2008 6:56 AM
Comment #270991

Jack Romano-
Maybe you can find an atheist whose God is science, but this conflation of cults and sciences is just rhetorical bull hockey.

If you’re going to make a claim that a scientist is lying, back it up. Otherwise it might seem like you’re trying to panic people yourself, provoke an emotional response to the prospect of deception by this “cult of experts.”

Once you get past your emotional appeal, this notion that the process of science has to be infinitely open minded is bunk. Science must consider and reconsider claims as it goes along.

Take the claim that climate changes in long, graceful cycles. That’s what people once thought. That was before they got a good look at the climate record. What was revealed was a much more unstable and violent.

Take the claim that small variables can’t play a big part in climate change. In reality, the climate has turned out to be much more sensitive to small differences in average temperature.

Take the claim that the sun was warming up the atmosphere by an increase in its radiance. Yet during its time, we found the stratosphere cooling, even as the troposphere washoree. This reflected a dynamic more typical of CO2’s greenhouse scattering effect with infrared. We also found that during one critical period of warming, solar radiation was actually going down.

Which is to say this: science is as much about eliminating possibilities as it is thinking them up. Scientists are going to be stubborn about those people who second guess their research without demonstrating some level of understanding. And why shouldn’t they? They could be wrong, they know, but there is a method, a dedicated means for that kind of argument, and all too often, the folks taking the contrary position to Global Warming aren’t even bothering to avail themselves of it. Now they claim that they are being deprived of a forum, but in science nobody has to give you a forum for your ideas, you have to earn it. This is even true of scientists.

What is anti-scientific is to go out there and insist that your theory doesn’t need to prove itself on all the levels that global warming has, before it stands up there as a scientific equal.

What scientists find troubling is that good science is being dismissed for political reasons, by those who put personal agenda and personal beliefs over a system which is put together to force people to demonstrate the soundness and validity of their theory up front before it becomes accepted conventional wisdom.

In short, it’s not a matter of heresy v. dogma, but rather pretension vs. professionalism. Climate scientists have done the work to demonstrate that Global climate change is real, and attributeable to humans. All the contrarians seem to be doing for the most part is expecting people to buy their theories sight unseen of serious, demonstrable evidence, or by their unscientific and frankly defamatory charges that politics and greed has determined the conclusions of the science.

Scientists and the scientifically literate see much of this “controversy” as artificially generated by those with an financial interest in continued use of fossil fuels, and by those with a political and cultural interest in denying the science.

I believe there are calmer and more respectful ways to question Global warming, and more valid ways from a scientfic perspective. Unfortunately, it seems like a good number of the opponents neither have the respect for the science nor the patience for a calm, reasoned approach. They’re trying to force the consensus, sell the doubt, rather than demonstrate it. For those who earned the good regard of their data and methods through hard work, this is an affront to them. They played by the rules. Why can’t your people do the same?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 26, 2008 8:02 AM
Comment #271006

Jack,

Whether “fundamentalists” accept that others believe differently isn’t really the point. They have their “God said it, I believe it” ideology, and aren’t interested in being persuaded otherwise.
Why be curious about the world around you when you life is centered on a book you believe was written with “divine guidance”?
Why worry about things you refuse to understand when that same “divine entity” is going to save you from it all in the end anyway?

The reality that I live in doesn’t require faith in a omnipotent being that colors the way I think, or make decisions.
Yes, carbon dioxide is plant food, but so is manure, and both can be poisonous to human life.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 26, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #271016

Right Rock, It’s a mixed bag of tricks Increased Amounts of co2 and cfcs and methane and many other green house gases, and other factors ,
Reflection

Dispersion

Atmosphere

Absorption

Cloud

Direct rays to the earth surface

Surface of the earth

Reflection at the earth surface

Radiation in a long wavelength range (infrared rays)

Directly to the outside of the atmosphere

Absorption by atmosphere

Atmosphere

Radiation to the surface of the earth..,,,,,,,,,
But hey It’s just plant food,

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 26, 2008 2:28 PM
Comment #271020

Jack,

Just a ‘fer-instance’…what is the chemical emission of the smoke from burning the rain forest in South America (Mostly Brazil)? Okay, now since trees absorb CO2, and we are reducing the number of trees in the world, does that extrapolate to more CO2 because there are less trees and the burning adds CO2?

You see, Jack, I am no scientist, yet I can correlate these two factors. Plankton in the oceans also use CO2, and emit O, but recent studies say that plankton (like coral) is in reduction.

These are some of the best reasons in the world for my wishing to err on the side of caution.

We may not know for sure if this warming is man-made, but we do know that warming is occurring, and that man is burning the rain forest, man is using fossil fuels at a horrendous rate, and man is contributing in other ways…somehow it just seems plausible that if we reduce our part of it, the earth might be able to handle her part.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 26, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #271021

>Look at the premise of your statement. When fundamentalists seek to engage in political discourse, this is something sinister. They are deemed to be attempting to “infiltrate the political sphere,” like some kind of undercover operative.
Posted by: Jack Romano at November 25, 2008 01:02 PM

Jack R,

And your point??? That is exactly how I feel.

Look, Jack, I am an atheist, but you have never read a single sentence wherein I advocated atheism as the only lifestyle we should live in the United States. On the other hand, your average fundamentalist wants to either recruit me into their belief system, or cause me to live under their belief system. There is no recognizable reason for the infiltration than to change America into a religious state, and by doing so, will cause America to be no better to the world than Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Religious states suck…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 26, 2008 3:27 PM
Comment #271043

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted by: Marysdude at November 27, 2008 5:35 AM
Comment #271248

I was taking a few days away from the computer to spend time with family around Thanksgiving.

Marysdude, I hope you had a happy thanksgiving too.

But, again, I wonder what the upshot of your disdain for Christian fundamentalists is. Would you ban them from engaging in political debates, voting, or attempting to persuade others to adopt their view?

Yes, some Christians do try to get other people to believe in Jesus, too, ususally through personal witness, discussion, etc. Some use heavy handed tactics, no doubt. That is a freedom they have as Americans, just as you have the freedom to avoid such people, ignore them, or tell them to go to hell (if atheists believe there is a hell).

I disagree with you that most Christian fundamentalists want to force you to live under their belief system. Hardly anyone is advocating a state religion of Christianity in the U.S. Those that are have one major obstacle, the Constitution, which forbids that.

I, like you, am glad we have a Constitution that prevents the establishment of religion. That same provision, however, protects the “fee exercise” of religion too. Does that part bother you?

I don’t like having Jehova’s witnesses or Mormons knock on my door to convince me to believe their way; nor do I like Hare Krishna’s approaching me in public. Heck, I don’t even like it when “environmental” (to my mind left wing anti-capitalist) “volunteers” come knocking on my door to get me to sign a petition for clean water (I usually tell them I like my water dirty). But my not liking something is insufficient grounds to say that it should be banned.

That’s the wonderful thing about America (and I hope it isn’t changing). People have the right to talk to each other and say things that they might not always want to hear.

Taking your argument to its extreme, I could say that the people that voted for Obama now “cause me to live under their belief system.”

Well, that’s my problem, because you guys won an election by convincing more people to vote for what Obama represented (whatever that might be) than for what McCain represented (whatever that might be).

If someday, a Christian preacher runs for office on a platform of repealing the first amendment and making protestant evangelical Christanity the official religion of the United States, he will have every right to run and every right to advocate such a policy.

And you and I and 95% of the rest of America will have and exercise the right to vote against him.

Posted by: Jack Romano at December 1, 2008 12:56 PM
Comment #271264

Stephen
Sorry about that, was given the rest of day off for the holiday.

“What does government have to do with anything here? Why not skip the ideological horse hockey and identify what it is that made people think they could spend so freely: cheap and easy credit.”

That is part of the problem but the majority of the problem is that people no longer believe they must save in order to secure their future. SS has gone from being an insurance for those needing help to being a retirement plan. Why save for my future when govt is doing it for me, I’ll buy this new 3rd TV instead.
The only “ideological horse hockey” here is in excusing such childish and irresponsible behavior and blaming everything and everybody else.

As the election showed, a majority of Americans now want govt to provide for them, we are now a leftist nation. Conservatism might as well be dead.

Posted by: kctim at December 1, 2008 2:36 PM
Comment #271306

Lee,

Somehow the discussion elevated from fundamentalism to Christianity…you are right, most Christians don’t ask me to live under a Christian government. But, frankly, fundamentalists, to me are neither Christian nor reasonable. Attempting to change our Constitution, or failing that, our form of government, is not a stretch.

Fundamental Christianity…the absolute belief that they have the answers to heaven’s gate, and that only they may approach it with grace.

Fundamentalists have grouped together, in a voting bloc, and have attempted in more than one election cycle to…first elect as many lower echelon politicians as possible…second to use that base to launch an assault on America. The goal? The only goal I can imagine is to turn our country into a their version of a Christian nation. If their belief is absolute, and they believe everyone who is not of them is non-christian, what else can it mean?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2008 8:26 PM
Comment #271307

Excuse me…Jack…I’m so used to Lee, I suffered from the dread disease, Identanesia. Mea Culpa!

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2008 8:28 PM
Comment #271308

PS:

Along with Identanesia, and Destinesia, I also have High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes and Arthritis. It may have something to do with age…but, I forget…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 1, 2008 8:33 PM
Comment #271328

Marysdude,

1) LOL

2) No problem calling me Lee. I take it as a compliment. Lee might not appreciate it, however …

3) Yes, many Christians believe that the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. While they might use very strongly persuasive tactics to get others to believe in Jesus, in order to “save their souls,” the great majority stop short of coercion or using the force of government to compel belief. A, it is wrong. B, a statement of faith delivered under threat of coercion is not real faith anyway.

4) Therefore, I still think we all have a lot more to fear from the Islamic fundamentalists than those of the Christian persuasion, even—I dare say especially—you atheists, lovable as you may be, in your case at least.

Posted by: Jack Romano at December 2, 2008 9:30 AM
Comment #271331

kctim,

You make a good point. In response to Stephen, government was one of the causes of “cheap and easy credit.” Trying to dismiss it as ideological horse hockey doesn’t gloss over the fact that the twin forces of political corectness and good old fashioned vote-buying came together and overwhelmed sound business practices in the area of lending money, particularly mortgage lending. Politicians, particularly the Democrats because this is one of their key constituencies, wanted to be seen as increasing minority and low-income home ownership, so they compelled banks to give mortgages to a lot of folks who simply would not have qualified under a more typical and strict approval process. When a lot of these bad mortgages defaulted and the real estate market tanked, the mortgages became worth much less becuase the real estate backing them became worth much less, and we all know the downward spiral that this has uncorked.

So, yes, ideology had something to do with it: The ideology that government should ensure that people who cannot afford to own a home should be allowed to anyway, even on someone else’s dime. Throw in the political movtivation for Democrats to be able to tout to their voting bloc (minorities and the poor) that it was they, the Democrats, that helped them “buy into the American dream.” Be ready to play the race card when needed as defense (“Mr. Banker, the only reason you won’t lend money to this nice minority couple is because they are black”), and you have a perfect storm of temptation to any Democrat liberal politician worth voting for.

kctim, while I share your dim hopes for conservatism (thus the reason for my post), I don’t go so far as to say “conservatism is dead.” But it is certainly on life support.

My point, clumsily argued as it was, is that it may die if all we think we have to do is find better spokespersons to present our ideas, when we have to recognize that our ideas aren’t going to be bought by a critical mass of people unless we address them at fundamental level.

Posted by: Jack Romano at December 2, 2008 10:04 AM
Comment #271379

Jack,

Do you deny that there has been a concerted movement of fundamentalists to take over the government?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 3, 2008 10:50 AM
Comment #271414

Marysdude,

Yes.

Posted by: Jack Romano at December 3, 2008 11:12 PM
Comment #271420

Jack R,

You’re either part of the movement, or blind as a bat…just look at political (red/blue) maps of the last forty years…where has the greatest concentrations of red been?..most call it the ‘Bible Belt. Prior to that red was a broad spectrum party…covered most of the country evenly. A concentrated effort by fundamentalists cause the shift…hence an attempt at take-over.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 4, 2008 2:02 AM
Comment #271432

Jack Romano claims “so they compelled banks to give mortgages to a lot of folks who simply would not have qualified under a more typical and strict approval process”

Jack do you have any facts regarding the government compelling banks to give mortgages to unqualified people? This statement seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. It is always easy for conservatives to blame government but was it the government who compelled the banks to offer interest only loans or to lower approval standards? How exactly did the government compell Countrywide to destroy itself?
If the loan industry was able to put the new bankruptacy laws into effect why would they not be able to alter other laws in their search for increased profits? To blame the government for lack of proper oversight is like blaming the cop not the thief that robbed the bank. To blame the government for deregulating , when it was a conservative lead movement of deregulation that was supposed to lead to prosperity only seems to point the finger at conservative philosophy not the government hijacked by the conservative movement and the corporations that control the movement as we have seen this past 30 years.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 4, 2008 11:24 AM
Comment #271433

I’ve said before, and I’ll say again…bad loans did NOT bring down our economy…selling bundles of bad loans without presenting a valid value on the bundle and insuring that sale without having the necessary reserve to cover losses brought down our economy. Those bad loans still had value, even if it was reduced value, it was still value that could be measured. Once it advanced to the bundle, it lost all measurements of value. No damned wonder we melted down. Please quit blaming poor folks for overextending and the government for encouraging banks to make questionable loans. Those loans on their own would have been easily accounted for and taken care of. It was the lack of VALUE on them after they left the banking community and entered the rarefied atmosphere of Gramm’s world that the meltdown triggered.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 4, 2008 11:59 AM
Comment #271437

Dude
One could also look at those maps and see that a “concentrated effort” by socialists, caused the shift.

Jack
Selling your ideas to a “critical mass of people by addressing them at a fundamental level” will not work if the majority of Americans now choose to be dependent, instead of free.

Posted by: kctim at December 4, 2008 12:19 PM
Comment #271443

>One could also look at those maps and see that a “concentrated effort” by socialists, caused the shift.
Posted by: kctim at December 4, 2008 12:19 PM

kctim,

You could say that if the blue had shifted the way the red did, but the blue has remained fairly stable after it lost the Bible Belt…the only REAL change in political scenery has been the take over of the ultra-right by fundamentalists…the Democratic party has pretty much remained the same, with little fluctuation to the left or to the center…minor adjustments happened for expediency, of course.

There is not much difference between the political philosophies of FDR, JFK, LBJ, WJC or ‘O’…Carter being the exception, and he was as close to a fundamentalist as a Democrat can get.

Now try to compare Hoover, Eisenhower, and Nixon to Reagan, Bushy & Bushy.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 4, 2008 1:16 PM
Comment #271457

Dude
I know way too many former Democrats, myself included, who have watched the Democrat party be hi-jacked by the ultra-left liberals, so I of course disagree with you.

I have never dwelled into individual political philosophies, but my two-cents says the liberals of today have created such a divided country by being way too aggressive in forcing their agenda onto the entire country. Real Democrats know you can’t force MO to be like CA without backlash.

That is why I believe it is more of a rejection of socialist policy than it is a religious take-over.
Not all “righties” or religious people are fundies you know.

Posted by: kctim at December 4, 2008 2:53 PM
Comment #271459

>Not all “righties” or religious people are fundies you know.
Posted by: kctim at December 4, 2008 02:53 PM

kctim,

Of course, I know that. But, I believe it to be the fundamentalists who set the right’s agenda, and prod Republicans into doing and saying things they later do or will regret.

You switched from Democrat to the right, and now hold Democrats in disdain for being too far left. I, on the other hand, switched from being a Republican to the left, because I thought my party was falling too far right. Now I write with disdain about a party I no longer respect…who knew???

Posted by: Marysdude at December 4, 2008 3:07 PM
Comment #271527

dude,

I am not blind as a bat nor a part of the fundie movement. I answered your question literally. I don’t considering political organizing and running candidates that represent your beliefs as an attempt to “take over” the country. Do I think Christians, some of them evangelicals and fundies, attempt to organize, influence policy, and win elections? Yes. Do I call that trying to “take over?” No. Not in the sense of an armed coup, which seems to be the way you mean it. I don’t think it is illegitimate for them to try to influence policy and win elections just because their political values spring from religious beliefs; anymore than it is illegitimate for citizens to do the same when their political values spring from secular humanism, moral relativism, pantheism, nature worship, atheism, pragmatism, you name it. That’s my point and nothing more.

Posted by: Jack Romano at December 5, 2008 4:20 PM
Comment #271545

The base used to run the political operations necessary to get as many offices filled, as many lobbyists in place, as many laws changed, requires almost unlimited funds. The people we are speaking of have the advantage of having monies they don’t have to account for nor pay taxes on. They have large numbers of gullible people available, who, like sheep, provide those almost unlimited funds and do much of the leg work, without even knowing what its about or what the end result might be.

Jack, I don’t think corporations should be treated like or have the privileges of citizens, and I think allowing that has caused irreparable damage to our country…the only thing I can think of that might hurt us more is allowing religious fundamentalists to continue to act as though they are a religious organization, but operate like a political party, and not naming them for what they really are…a movement to take over the United States of America and turn it into a Christian nation.

Luckily, I’ll be dead by the time it comes to pass, and I won’t have to say, ‘I told you so’.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 5, 2008 11:07 PM
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