Turning points for a conservative

“…at a state dinner to mark Deng’s first visit to the United States the grizzled Chinese statesman was placed at the same table as Shirley Maclaine. The actress gushed that she had visited China during the Cultural Revolution and that everything had been wonderful. She was particularly struck by a professor who told her how grateful he was that the party had decided to send him and his fellow academics to the countryside. Deng looked at her scornfully and said that ‘he was lying’.”

The book is not out yet, but I have pre-ordered "Strange Rebels".

!979 was the year that I changed my mind too. I didn't know it at that time, but looking back 1979 is the year I stopped being a liberal. I found a book in the library called "Two Cheers for Capitalism." It made a lot of sense. I voted for Ronald Reagan the next year.

I am not very politically active. Most of my political activity consists of writing for the few dozen readers of this blog. But I realize that my life is constructed around conservative principles.

As a manager, I empower my staff. I assume that they know their jobs better than I do, so I try to set general goals and create conditions where they can prosper. My colleagues rarely give me exactly what I would have planned; they almost always do better.

As an investor, I believe in market forces. It goes much like the "manager" part above. The best thing to do is for government to set general goals and create conditions where people can prosper. Investing with market principles has helped make me prosperous.

As an individual, I am honest and I do my duty as best I can see it. I don't try to solve the world's problems, but I do what I can do best in the faith that is most people do this things will work out okay.

As an intellectual, I value experience. I figure people of the past were generally as smart as people today and their decisions made sense in their contexts. I don't want to make revolutionary changes to long established systems, better to change things incrementally and in small ways.

As an environmentalist, I believe in conserving resources, which means using them wisely in ways that create greater prosperity, rather than fencing them off. We can often do better than nature alone would provide.

As a citizen, I believe in voting and serving my country as required, but I don't expect my vote to directly benefit me. In fact, I think nobody should vote based on what they will get as individual. As the conservative icon Marcus Tullius Cicero (and later John Kennedy) said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

A lot of conservatism is just good sense. An American conservative is pragmatic and effective. The "problem" for is is that most of us are not very political. That is a part of being conservative: do your job, don't complain very much. This is one reason why conservatives often make good leaders and managers but poor politicians. We are better at doing things than about promising what we are going to do.

I don't have a solution. We conservatives must participate in politics or else liberals will mess things up. But they are better politicians in part because they believe government can give people stuff and can promise more. Even when they fail, they shift the blame.

You see that with Shirley Maclaine in that anecdote up top. We saw it with Jane Fonda and more recently with Beyonce & Jay-Z in Cuba. Think of this horrible and murderous regime. Why does someone like Fidel still get respect? Because he talks left.

Posted by Christine & John at April 14, 2013 7:25 AM
Comments
Comment #364150
1979 is the year I stopped being a liberal

Are you sure? Everything you’ve written here is pretty much liberal ideology. If you were conservative, you’d be emphasizing reactionary ideas such as preserving traditional cultural institutions and protecting incumbents’ wealth and status.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 14, 2013 2:44 PM
Comment #364151

I have to wonder why Conservatives think people like me are so concerned about what the political views of eccentric celebrities are, or what they do.

Truth of the matter is, I became a Democrat because I felt conservatism was a false term for what Gingrich’s revolution brought. I felt that real conservatism requires balance between management and freedom, not simply a reckless disregard for authority.

From my perspective, the case has been made, and remade for constraining big business. How is an open question. But the effect needs to be one of making sure folks operate in good faith with the society that surrounds them, not squandering the money of depositors, not building up huge piles of false assets and overinflated valuations whose collapse empties the economy of wealth.

We can idealize how folks behave, or we can respond to how they really behave. The market both encourages and discourages bad behavior. But it’s, at best, a patching, incomplete, and fairly compromisable watch dog, and many people are too tired, to preoccupied to organize fellow market participants to respond to each problem.

I value elegance. A cumbersome system so complex and bloated that it’s next to humanly impossible to comply with is not much better than no system at all. Laws and rules alone do not govern. But without laws and rules, failures occur that will demonstrate obvious signs of preventability. When that happens, what do people do? They crack down! If you want to limit the extent to which government becomes authoritarian and cumbersome, then government must be sufficient, competent. I believe in elegant systems, designed to deal with the complexities of the given system. I believe in making the rules humanly followable. I’m no fan of Kafka-style bureaucratic nightmares.

I think it’s time Republicans like you start actually talking with Democrats, rather than simply talking about them, because thirty years of doing that has made the Republicans very naïve about our real positions, and worse, for your sake, very unwilling to take compromises that would be in everybody’s interests.

Political parties have to separate the fantasy of what they want politically from the reality of it, because if they don’t, they will not merely overpromise and underdeliver, they will test the bounds of their political philosophy’s adherence to reality, the results that are actually possible from the given policies.

Or, put another way, the way Democratic policies failed in the late sixties and seventies, and the way Republican policies failed in the nineties and the oughts. Hell, the way they’re malfunctioning now.

If we can’t take our emotional investment in our politics out of it, and rationally figure out plans that can work, then we will see the important ideas our philosophies represent travestied by the consequences of our policies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 14, 2013 2:53 PM
Comment #364156

Warren

If I emphasized those things I would be the liberal caricature of a conservative.

Stephen

“I have to wonder why Conservatives think people like me are so concerned about what the political views of eccentric celebrities are, or what they do.” Because you empower them to push your goals.

RE “I think it’s time Republicans like you start actually talking with Democrats, rather than simply talking about them …” I talk to Democrats every day. Often when I talk to you all you give me a hard time.

RE policies - we had too much polarization. The liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s led to big troubles. It took us thirty years to recover from the underclass poverty and crime it created.

Conservatives reacted too strongly and condemned all government in too many cases. What we need is government limited in it place.

Posted by: C&J at April 14, 2013 8:59 PM
Comment #364165

C&J-
Talking to Democrats. About what? So many of your assumptions about what we want are false, so you must not have really gotten in depth with these people on that matter, or you weren’t really paying attention.

Like this celebrity thing. I don’t know if you notice this, but politics in the Democratic Party is not centered on Hollywood. Over on Daily Kos, the vast majority of the discussion is about what we think about an issue, not Nick Nolte or Kim Kardashian. It’s a sideshow to the main circus of the claim of a biased liberal media.

We push our own goals. We don’t need the elite to tell us what to think.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 15, 2013 7:50 AM
Comment #364166

Stephen

Most of the people I work with are liberals. Most often these days we are working on education. I am a big supporter of President Obama’s community college initiatives and I am trying very hard to boost his 100,000 strong plan.

I have also worked in the directions of the Clinton Global Initiative. I think Clinton is the best ex-president since Herbert Hoover, maybe since Thomas Jefferson.

I don’t write about these things because there is broad agreement. It would just be a kind of information article and others do a better job of explaining.

Most of the Democrats I know are not like you or the people who write here, BTW, or like the Daily Kos, which is the left equivalent of Rush Limbaugh, just as I suppose most of the Republicans you know are not like those you disparage in your posts.

BTW (2) - re above, you guys give me a hard time about the media I consume and you are always wrong. I spend most of my media time on NPR. The only general magazine I subscribe is the Economist. I read the WSJ and Washington Post and I read a couple of books every week, some are about politics, but most are history or science. I watch the Sunday morning news programs when I am in town, including Fox News Sunday. My staff prepares a daily press briefing, but generally have little contact with what you could call “right wing media.”

You, however, are a self confessed Daily Kos fan. That explains some of the difference between us.

As Americans and as humans, I bet we agree about 95% of the issues. We don’t think about them. It is the last >5% that worries us.

Posted by: C&J at April 15, 2013 9:04 AM
Comment #364168
A lot of conservatism is just good sense. An American conservative is pragmatic and effective.
For starters- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/14/the-week-in-wingnuts.html

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/9852

The “problem” for is is that most of us are not very political. That is a part of being conservative: do your job, don’t complain very much.

And the world is flat as well C&J…
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Conservative_political_organizations_%28U.S.%29


This is one reason why conservatives often make good leaders and managers but poor politicians. We are better at doing things than about promising what we are going to do.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/sheldon-adelson-donations_n_1910094.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/sheldon-adelson-trial_n_3061236.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Posted by: j2t2 at April 15, 2013 1:21 PM
Comment #364169

j2t2


I don’t have the time or inclination to follow links w/o explanation. Please tell me in your own words why YOU think what I wrote doesn’t make sense to you and then link if you want for backup reference.

Think for yourself and then express that.

Posted by: C&J at April 15, 2013 3:23 PM
Comment #364170

Daugherty writes; “I believe in elegant systems, designed to deal with the complexities of the given system. I believe in making the rules humanly followable. I’m no fan of Kafka-style bureaucratic nightmares.”

Have you ever tried to wade through the legislation authorizing obamacare? This is a perfect example of what happens when government attempts a one-size fits all solution run by bureaucrats with no skin in the game and with no regard for the harm it is causing.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 15, 2013 6:28 PM
Comment #364172

“1979 is the year I stopped being a liberal”

C&J,

The end of the Carter administration. As Warren briefly touched upon, I also wonder why? Carter’s personal behavior and policies would appear to have been very consistent with a moderate center conservative. He was a strong advocate of disciplined federal fiscal policy. He was a strong advocate of personal financial and social responsibility. He was a strong advocate of free markets and is primarily responsible for initiating the deregulation of key industries, i.e., airline, oil and gas, etc. Indeed, many of the deregulatory actions attributed to the Reagan administration were actually put into place by Carter. Reagan may accelerated some of those actions, but Carter is responsible for the initiative.


Posted by: Rich at April 15, 2013 7:18 PM
Comment #364176

“Have you ever tried to wade through the legislation authorizing obamacare?”

On this, I would agree with you, Royal. The elegant approach would have been to simply expand Medicare to cover everyone. Significant reductions of transactional costs. Increased international competitiveness of businesses relieved of a substantial amount of their current group health insurance costs (many US automaker production facilities are located in Canada for that simple reason). Retention of a private health care delivery system.

If you don’t like the federal government running the entire system, then adopt Medicare Canada where the provinces run their own health systems under some general federal guidelines and with block grant funding to the provinces supplemented by provincial fees and taxes.

At some point, we will all wake up and actually look at the numbers. We are spending twice as much per capita as any other nation. If we are going to spend so much of annual GDP on health care, lets do it rationally and elegantly.

Posted by: Rich at April 15, 2013 7:44 PM
Comment #364177

We have to look at WHY we are spending twice as much per capita as any other nation if we are going to fix it, letting the government get even more involved than they have been for generations doesn’t make sense to me, especially considering what we get with defense and the US spending so much more per capita as any other nation. It doesn’t seem to me like the government making laws is going to change anything.

As we’ve talked about before, catastrophic insurance coupled with tax free health savings accounts, putting the decision of spending that money on healthcare will go far more towards lowering costs than further taking the decision (and result of that decision) out of the individual’s hand and putting it into a governmental agency (run by unelected officials).

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 15, 2013 7:58 PM
Comment #364178
Have you ever tried to wade through the legislation authorizing obamacare

Don’t forget, the law is continuing to be written… The 800 page law was just a shell giving power to the HHS agency, which has since written around 600 pages of regulations and continuing to do so…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 15, 2013 8:00 PM
Comment #364181

Rhinehold,

Agree on the catastrophic health insurance coupled with tax free HSAs. I would only add the wrinkle that the catastrophic insurance be a universal single payer system or some reasonable variant. In my opinion, that would be an excellent compromise. Some individual skin in the game, some incentives to save for future out of pocket expenses, some resulting market pressure on the health care industry but an individual or family would be “involuntarily” covered in the event of major illnesses or accidents.

Posted by: Rich at April 15, 2013 8:54 PM
Comment #364183
I don’t have the time or inclination to follow links w/o explanation.

Proof your comments are gibberish is what these links are C&J, kinda self explanatory.

Please tell me in your own words why YOU think what I wrote doesn’t make sense to you and then link if you want for backup reference.

Once again, it is obvious I was responding with backup to specific comments C&J, whats so hard to comprehend ?


Posted by: j2t2 at April 15, 2013 9:19 PM
Comment #364187

j2t2, I actually went out to the links and still am confused on how they counter what C&J said…

The first link are 5 people who made idiotic comments. Are you condemning the millions of people who are conservative because a few of their representatives say something stupid/offensive? Do you support Biden, think all progressives should be tarred with his views?

The second link, well I can just say that I’m glad that these guys can determine who are psycopaths from an online survey from individuals recruited from online advertising… It will make identifying and isolating those people from society much easier to do, right? (in case you missed it, that means that their methods are ‘questionable’ to any actual scientist)

The third link is a list, put together by a far-left organization that ‘lists the conservative pacs and think tanks’. The fact that they have a hard on for Koch should tell you all you want to know about their ‘beliefs’.

The fourth and fifth links are about Sheldon Adelson giving a bunch of money to Republicans in 2012, specifically to beat ‘Obama’. The fact that Obama still won should put to bed all of the people who think that money buys elections, but I’m sure it won’t. In any regard, I still have no idea what this link is meant to prove, other than a rich guy decided to give his money to someone else for political reasons.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 15, 2013 10:27 PM
Comment #364245
The first link are 5 people who made idiotic comments. Are you condemning the millions of people who are conservative because a few of their representatives say something stupid/offensive?

It is a very small sample in a small time frame of many such idiotic comments Rhinehold. To think that “A lot of conservatism is just good sense. An American conservative is pragmatic and effective” defies logic when you look at who they elect to office. The second link shows us a what some people think is pragmatic and effective can be “personality traits of machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy”.

The third link is a list, put together by a far-left organization…..

Yet it makes laughable the comment “The “problem” for is is that most of us are not very political. That is a part of being conservative: do your job, don’t complain very much” seem ridiculous on its face. I work with several conservatives Rhinehold, to tell me they don’t complain much, while implying the opposition does, is just wrong based upon my observations.

The fourth and fifth links are about Sheldon Adelson giving a bunch of money to Republicans in 2012…

It is but one example of many that dispels the notion “This is one reason why conservatives often make good leaders and managers but poor politicians. We are better at doing things than about promising what we are going to do.” Adelson is also a conservative who runs a business, hence a manager that doesn’t live up to the hype of C&J’s comment.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 16, 2013 8:01 AM
Comment #364250
It is a very small sample in a small time frame of many such idiotic comments Rhinehold. To think that “A lot of conservatism is just good sense. An American conservative is pragmatic and effective” defies logic when you look at who they elect to office.

And I can find equally idiotic comments from people the left has elected, j2t2, but if I do that you would HOWL. This is a normal operation on your part, to do to others exactly what you complain about them doing to you. It doesn’t invalidate the millions of other’s views and beliefs, it just makes you feel superior by painting with broad strokes.

And let’s be honest, that’s what you are really after, making yourself feel better.

The second link shows us a what some people think is pragmatic and effective can be “personality traits of machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy”.

Yep, based on a study by a group of people who admit that they are trying to prove what they ended up proving. The used flawed scientific methods based on a questionnaire that they created and presented to a couple hundred people who answered an online ad.

If I used those same ‘methods’ I could show the exact same thing on the left. It comes down to the predisposition of the survey writers, especially when they admit that that was exactly what they were looking to prove.

But again, it probably makes you feel good about yourself, right?

Yet it makes laughable the comment

Actually, not it doesn’t. The number of pacs and think tanks has nothing to do with how politically active the vast majority of people in a political ideology are. It’s a collection of a small group of people. It’s like saying that because there are 50 or so environmental pacs/think tanks then all Democrats are politically environmental terrorists, etc.

Adelson is also a conservative who runs a business, hence a manager that doesn’t live up to the hype of C&J’s comment.

Adelson isn’t a politician, so your ‘logic’ falls very flat on this one…

You look at people with conservative views as if they are different people than you. Their brain is just ‘wired differently’. But it isn’t, they just believe in a way that you don’t choose to believe.

It reminds me very much of the bigot who sees those he ‘hates’ as something ‘less human’ or ‘different’ than themselves, and that’s the very essence of it. It’s the dehumanization of those we disagree with that too many people are willing to do. They have just changed their inward self-hatred that used to be focused on obvious physical differences (race, sex, etc) into hating people who believe in different political ideologies.

But it makes those people feel better…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 16, 2013 11:16 AM
Comment #364283

But Stephen just told us in the blue column that the democratic party is the party which is uniting all Americans, while the conservatives are dividing…hmmm.

Posted by: DSP2195 at April 16, 2013 5:39 PM
Comment #364284

NEWS FLASH…Obama is introducing a Bill to Reid to outlaw all PRESSURE COOKERS…that is all.

Posted by: George at April 16, 2013 5:43 PM
Comment #364299

Rich

It was not Carter per se. His policies were mostly okay, but he was such a weak leader that we needed to replaced.

It was in 1979 that I read the book “Two Cheers for Capitalism” and subsequently read a lot more by people like Milton Freidman and Fredrick Hayek. I saw that the problem of government was not that it was run by incompetents, although I think Carter was, but that it was the structure of any government if it tried to extend too far into decision making at more dispersed levels. I also came to understand that government itself was suffering from the bloat. It had become much less trusted and popular as it grew larger and more intrusive.

J2t2

Rhinhold did the work and looked at the links. I subsequently checked out the one on psych. Anybody who believes that you can get good results from research like that understands nothing about science. I would be ashamed to link to something like that.

Re “This is one reason why conservatives often make good leaders and managers but poor politicians. We are better at doing things than about promising what we are going to do.” Adelson is also a conservative who runs a business, hence a manager that doesn’t live up to the hype of C&J’s comment.

This seems to confirm what I say. He runs a profitable business and evidently does an adequate job, but as you seem to be trying to point out, he is bad at politics.

Posted by: C&J at April 16, 2013 9:52 PM
Comment #364314
And I can find equally idiotic comments from people the left has elected, j2t2, but if I do that you would HOWL.

The difference Rhinehold is I haven’t claimed that liberals, or any body else to be ” “A lot of conservatism is just good sense. An American conservative is pragmatic and effective”. I am simply disagreeing with the blanket statements C&J made. I am also showing why I disagree. It seems to me it is C&J painting with broad strokes and you Howling and attempting to make your self feel good.

Rhinehold you are also painting with a broad brush here. Lets remember it was C&J comments I responded to with examples of why I thought they were misguided propaganda. They could have said that all Americans liberal, libertarian and conservative are pragmatic and effective but they didn’t. They chose to glorify conservatives only as if these particular traits are typical of conservatives and not others in general. You falsely claim I look at conservatives differently because I chose to disagree with the way they boast of conservatives. You claim I am a bigot for demonstrating the onesidedness of C&J comments, well perhaps you see yourself as it doesn’t describe me at all..

Adelson is a manager and conservative BTW. It also seems you agree with C&J’s comment that all these PAC’s are supported by a few conservatives and most don’t listen to talk radio, FAUX and such, I disagree. That doesn’t mean I am dehumanizing conservatives or makes me a bigot, I am disagreeing with the nonsensical attempt to portray conservatives as some they aren’t IMHO. But thanks for diverting the issue to me and attacking me instead of allowing someone to disagree with C&J’s view of conservatives.

I know, I know its all methodology right but the same lack of rigorous scientific effort in the annual C&J post claiming conservatives contribute so much more to charity doesn’t seem to bother you in the least.

This seems to confirm what I say. He runs a profitable business and evidently does an adequate job, but as you seem to be trying to point out, he is bad at politics.

C&J, As Rhinehold pointed out he isn’t a politician, He just spends money to buy them. However I am pointing out how such a good conservative manager, as you say, would….well actually read the link this time..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/sheldon-adelson-trial_n_3061236.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

It was not Carter per se. His policies were mostly okay, but he was such a weak leader that we needed to replaced.

Those that admire Reagan’s “leadership” always seem to forget the corruption that ran rampant under his leadership. Perhaps a real difference between conservatives and liberals is the value conservatives place on corruption as a means of leadership causing them to think others are weak when they lead in a manner different to those they deify.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_administration_scandals

http://www.pensitoreview.com/2012/04/27/wrong-again-issa-bush-and-reagan-administrations-were-most-corrupt-and-tarp-was-bushs-bill-not-obama/

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2013 7:02 AM
Comment #364368

j2t2

I say and believe that many conservative ideas are just good sense. I listed those I consider good sense. That fact that some conservatives do not exhibit good sense is a different argument.

It is an invalid argument to attack an idea by giving particular examples of people who do not follow that idea.

Beyond that, I specifically mentioned that conservatives may make better leaders and managers than they do politicians. You give me examples of what you consider are conservatives failing in politics.

Re scandals - you can find what people call scandals in any administration. We certainly have our share under Clinton and Obama. It is the nature of politics to produce such things. Google Obama scandal or Clinton scandal and you will find many.

You generally have more accusations than convictions. You recall Fitzmas? I have often cautioned you all that accusations are easy to make and harder to sustain.

Congress, when controlled by the other party, is often eager to criminalize political differences and investigate when it gets the chance.

That is why we should use politics only sparingly. But that is a conservative idea.

Posted by: C&J at April 17, 2013 5:50 PM
Comment #364382

“That fact that some conservatives do not exhibit good sense is a different argument.”

Got to give you that one, C&J. However, I must say that conservatives do seem to have a lock on the most loony outliers.

“Beyond that, I specifically mentioned that conservatives may make better leaders and managers than they do politicians.”

A bit of stretch here. So, what’s the reason for their failure in politics? Do they simply decline to participate? Do these “leaders” and “mangers” lack a sense of altruism?

Posted by: Rich at April 17, 2013 9:07 PM
Comment #364407

Rich

There are plenty of left loons. But lefties get away with a little more because they talk the talk. I remember when communism fell and some people said that we should not forget the values it espoused. They meant it as a good thing.

Re politics - don’t mistake politics for altruism. Conservatives give more to charity and volunteer more. But politics is a different matter and so is government.

We have a little political situation in our HOA. Chrissy was president a few years back. We kept fees low and did lots of stuff ourselves. I made the kids clean up the streets. I painted the gazebo. We did very little collectively. We are conservative. A new president came in raised the fees. Wants to spend $35,000 on a new sign and - worst of all - wants to cut down several dozen established trees in order to spend $85,000 on landscaping. She is a liberal.

For us, doing less is often better. For them doing more is better. IMO, most of what the new president is proposing is worse than a waste of money. It will make things worse. But it is hard to argue the “do nothing” side, even when it is better.

I gave some examples of my management style. I have been very successful for more than 25 years. I think it is more than just good luck. Yet I am often described a low-key, lucky etc. because I concentrate on a few priorities and don’t mess with the rest. I have come to believe that my success comes not in spite of doing less but because of it.

I used to be fooled by the active people. They told me how busy they were and how hard life was. I rarely found that to be true. A lot of people work more frenetically than I do, but when the counting is done, I am usually ahead. If I can produce better results with less activity, I think that is a good thing.

But politicians cannot do this. The results of their work need to be apparent immediately. So they are more into show than it sustainable results. They have to be or they don’t get reelected. That is why we should take as many decisions as possible out of the political process and let people alone to get things done.

Posted by: C&J at April 17, 2013 11:11 PM
Comment #364408

Talk about left wing loonies, how about this http://www.salon.com/2013/04/16/lets_hope_the_boston_marathon_bomber_is_a_white_american

Many lefties really believe in these sorts of concepts.

Posted by: C&J at April 17, 2013 11:18 PM
Comment #364415
I say and believe that many conservative ideas are just good sense.

But I was commenting on your claims that conservatives as a group are pragmatic and effective as if others weren’t, good leaders where others weren’t. I disagree and pointed this out. You ignored these links showing examples of conservatives doing what they do best, screwing government and the country. SO here we are, Adelson is like Reagan corrupt yet you still try to sell him as not being political. He spent millions buying politicians and yet is still in court with his “management skills” on display. One example of many. Is it pragmatic or is he a true leader? Not in my humble opinion. You talk of Reagan yet when we compare the corruption of his administration to Clinton or Obama he does lead by far but not in any good way. That’s not leadership we need although it is a good example of conservative ideas of leadership and management abilities. I just don’t get how you guys deify such corruption.

Congress, when controlled by the other party, is often eager to criminalize political differences and investigate when it gets the chance.That is why we should use politics only sparingly. But that is a conservative idea.

Perhaps a Conservative idea but definitely not a conservative practice judging by the conservative attacks on Clinton and Obama. Even today you have the Breitbarts and his cronies that fudge videos and such to create false scandals.
Clinton had scandals but they were all contrived through a witch hunt by a special prosecutor. Compare Reagan and Clinton and perhaps it will become obvious to you that your definition of leadership is suspect at best.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Clinton_administration_controversies

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2013 8:12 AM
Comment #364433

J2t2

“You ignored these links showing examples of conservatives doing what they do best, screwing government and the country.” This is needlessly provocative and I give it the attention it deserves.

Re the links - I read a lot. I don’t need to do your homework for you. As I instructed, you should make your arguments, perhaps using the links as support. But just linking is just lazy. As I used to tell others, THINK don’t Link.

Re Adelson - He is one man. We have leftist examples like George Soros and even the Democratic president literally selling access for half a million dollars. This is institutionalizing corruption.

Re scandals being contrived. I thought it was bad to go after Clinton and Reagan. Any person with any authority does things that can be interpreted as scandalous.

I think it is scandalous the way Obama’s pick for labor secretary manipulated court cases to preserve the dishonest concept of disparate impact. I think it is scandalous the way ObamaCare was sold and is now being implements. You probably interpret these things as good politics that are serving good ends. I respect that people can have different interpretations, another reason I am not liberal.

As I mentioned in an early post, I am reading a book called the “Angry Years”. You should read it. The things Roosevelt did were very interesting. We would probably both agree that he had the proper goal and it worked out well, but much of it was clearly illegal and unethical.

Posted by: C&J at April 18, 2013 2:23 PM
Comment #364468

C&J, The conservative track record since the turn of this century is terrible. Putting the country deeply in debt and crashing the economy is due to conservative ideas being made into law. Conservatives need to face up to this fact. Repeating the same mistakes over and over is just wrong. Using the same tired old “he’s just not a good leader” doesn’t work. It is time for conservatives to stop beating their chests like Tarzan proclaiming how good they are and how superior their ideas are and actually come up with something that works for the times we live in.
Most Conservatives in this country are so far to the right politically they actually do damage to the country. They want to be the police of the world on the backs of the American taxpayer. They want to dismantle the social safety net while allowing unfettered capitalism to bring wages down to third world levels. They want to impose their religion on others.

Conservatives led the charge to go to war in Iraq. On a credit card. While lowering taxes, during wartime. Conservatives increased the costs of medicare without funding the increase just before the boomers retired. While not allowing the government to negotiate drug prices.
So when I say the screwed the government and the country it wasn’t to be provocative it was to be factual.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2013 6:10 PM
Comment #364470
Re Adelson - He is one man. We have leftist examples like George Soros and even the Democratic president literally selling access for half a million dollars. This is institutionalizing corruption.

He may be one man but using the conservative idea that giving money to congress is free speech not bribery, it is easy to see why we are in such sad shape C&J.
Thats what happens when you allow presidents like Reagan to become deified instead of being thrown out of office for his corrupt administration. The corruption of his administration was rewarded, Clinton’s administration “corruption”was conservative make believe for the most part. Then GWB became the Reagan of his time and legitimized corruption. Even today we have Issa leading the corruption in Congress from his perch on the oversight committee.

http://www.pensitoreview.com/2012/04/27/wrong-again-issa-bush-and-reagan-administrations-were-most-corrupt-and-tarp-was-bushs-bill-not-obama/

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2013 6:21 PM
Comment #364474

“They [conservatives]want to be the police of the world on the backs of the American taxpayer.”

This issue should give thinking conservatives pause. When did conservatives become militarists?

Posted by: Rich at April 18, 2013 7:36 PM
Comment #364477

Yes it should Rich. On the one hand they want to increase the size of our military whilst on the other hand they arm themselves because the government because it is growing. All the time using both hands, beating their chests telling us how superior their “principles” are.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2013 7:59 PM
Comment #364479

It is a striking parardox, j2t2. One that seems to be entirely lost on conservatives. We need to arm ourselves because we don’t trust the government but we also want the government to have the most powerful military in the world. Huh!

Posted by: Rich at April 18, 2013 9:21 PM
Comment #364483

j2t2

Few serious people think anymore that “conservative policies” crashed the economy. There was a perfect storm of risky investements that practical and academic theories thought were less correlated than they were. There is a good article about this in this months Harvard Business Review by Nobel Prize winner Robert Merton. You might also look into the book “Signal and Noise” by Nate Silver (a big Obama guy, BTW).

If you think conservative policies caused the crash, could you enlighten us about what specifics you are talking about? Which were passed by conservative presidents etc.

RE wars - it is easy to see after the fact. You recall that a Democratically controlled Senate endorsed the use of force against Iraq and President Clinton made regime change in Iraq a U.S. policy in 1998.

Re drugs - the prescription drug benefit is one of the few government programs that is coming in UNDER cost estimates. This will not be true of ObamaCare. It is already not true.

Rich and J2t2

We Americans have enjoyed an unusually long time on the top. There are currently no existential threats to our country. This was not always the case.

We need to strike a balance with the military. I think it is too big and not well targeted. However, there are lots of other considerations. We Americans give lots of free stuff to the world. Thinks like patrolling of the seas, keeping little countries from making big wars, being the 911 when there is a natural disaster, producing much of the worlds R&D. Maybe we should stop. But we also derive benefits while doing these good things in the world.

If you look at the broader brush of history, you see how it is dangerous when a dominant country becomes less so. We Americans could hide behind the Royal Navy until the 20th century. We had a disastrous few decades after that.

You are correct that the Democrats had been the war party for most of the 20th Century and conservatives feared that the regimentation of war would create a bloated state.

You may recall that throughout the 1920s and 1930s most Americans, led by conservatives, thought WWI was a big mistake and wanted to avoid future conflicts. That is one reason we were so unprepared for WWII.

Too much weakness provokes war more surely than too much strength.

We do have a chance now. New oil and gas techniques will soon make it possible for us to tell many of those oil despot to go screw themselves. The Middle East may soon become China’s problem. We will see if that works out better for them than it did for us.

Posted by: C&J at April 18, 2013 10:07 PM
Comment #364485

Speaking of striking paradox’s Rich how about this one- Universal background checks won’t deter gun violence but voter ID laws will deter voter fraud.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2013 10:32 PM
Comment #364486
the conservative idea that giving money to congress is free speech

Interesting, I wasn’t aware that the ACLU was conservative. This will surprise many Republicans…

Of course, it’s not giving money to congress, it is buying advertising or making documentaries or buying books that is the free speech that Citizens United sought to make illegal, but hey, when you have what you think is a good rhetoric, why dilly about with things like facts and logic?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 18, 2013 10:39 PM
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