Can Ryan or Trump Provide the GOP With a New Stool?

What the heck does conservative mean in America in 2016? Do we ask Paul Ryan for an answer? Subscribe to the National Review? Wait breathlessly outside the offices of the Weekly Standard for Hayes or Kristol to show up and ask for an autograph? Or if Kristol is on a cruise in Alaska or Europe, do we then send a message to his son-in-law Matthew Continetti’s iPhone?

And await a measured, educated, pedantic response?

One can argue that America and it's constitution changed everything some 220 years ago. Including the meaning of the term conservative. Even as America was nurtured by it's British roots; the very roots it rebelled against. Until the American revolution, conservative was not revolutionary in the least bit. But once America severed it's ties to the British monarchy and centuries of European tradition, they had a brand new experiment. One they had to conserve, against internal and external threats.

And to conserve the idea of America - from which its reality flows almost directly - conservatives have had to revolt every now and then. Against their own tradition. But tradition in America is fluid and pragmatic - in part due to its British legacy. But also in a way that Europe, being Europe, can never be.

And so 2016's revolt within the GOP is indeed a conservative revolt. One that might carry uncomfortable overtones of the Reconstruction if you poke and pry enough. But really one that, more than anything else, responds to immediate, pragmatic concerns of voters who would never self-identify as liberals. By default, they are conservatives, but what kind of conservative?

It took 16 long years from Reagan's famous speech of 1964 for him to actually win the nomination and build his three-legged stool. The question is what remains of Reagan's three-legged stool in 2016? The issue that seems to kick the stool out from under anyone claiming to be the inheritor of conservatism is, of course, immigration. Whether securing the southern border, or tightening if not cutting off the flow of Syrian refugees; the issue of immigration cuts through all three legs.

If economic conservatives means those who support free trade, then immigration undercuts their stance as one more trend that is undermining working families. If you're a Trump conservative that is. It reflects the other side of jobs being shipped overseas: people coming from abroad to presumably compete with native Americans for the remaining jobs.

If religious conservatives mean evangelical Christians, then immigration pits religious charities whose mission is to help refugees resettle against those pastors who tend more to their own flocks, if you will. While this may be changing, Trump has received surprising levels of support from evangelicals. Up to now that is.

And finally, if national security conservatives - the now notorious neo-cons - means still stubbornly supporting the 2003 Iraq invasion in 2016, one has to point out a fundamental difference between the Cold War in 1981 and the Middle East in the 2000's. The ability to negotiate with Gorbachev's Soviet Union was far, far greater than any futile attempt to rebuild corrupt islamic tyrannies in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan - the latter being its own special class of impossible. And the desperate flood of refugees in Europe is a reflection of the disaster that the Middle East has become as a result of neo-con beliefs and their influence on American foreign policy.

If Reagan were alive and well in 2016, would he admit that Republicans need a new stool? That's the question that Paul Ryan and Donald Trump - as leaders right now of the two main branches of conservatism in America - have to answer.

Posted by Keeley at April 14, 2016 3:47 PM
Comment #404177

The Republican party needs to reckon itself with the legacy of George W. Bush before it can figure out how conservatism will continue to influence the twenty-first century. Without a doubt, GWB was the most incompetent man to occupy the White House since James Buchanan. Until conservatism figure out what went wrong during those years, the movement will continue to burst at its seams.

For the past 7.5 years, the band-aid for keeping the conservative coalition together was opposition to Barack Obama. It seemed like a good decision at the time, back in 2009, to oppose the ARRA nearly unanimously despite the massive capitulation to conservative economic policy including substantive tax cuts to hundreds of millions of working Americans. Republicans got a chance to plaster over the Bush era malaise by wrapping the recessionary millstone around Obama’s neck. The decision even won Republicans power in Congress. However, these victories were all Pyrrhic as no solution was found for those troubled years under GWB.

Ultimately, conservatism needs to ask itself: Is this an ideology of political principles or is it just a coalition built upon the identity politics of an overwhelming white and male status quo? I do hope that it is the former, in which case conservatives can drop the petty canards about transgendered bathroom users and illegal Mexican immigrants and get back to the challenging task of making America greater than it ever was before.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 14, 2016 5:25 PM
Comment #404178

Evangelicals have provided ‘face’ for the GOP since the civil war era. The GOP has pandered to their base bigtime over the last 40 or so years and this year Trump provided the evangelicals with a way to ‘counterpunch’.

It does matter to some folks who is authorized to come into public restrooms where their young daughters might be and so ono - -

Corporations could give a rats ass about such noise. They are more interested in ensuring that rail transport rates around the world are the same. and so on - - -

The two parties have worked, since 1832, to put in place a rules system whereby leaders and select insiders can hold big sway over who is allowed to come to their party, run for office and so on - - -

At this point in time the only way to fight this insidious power/influence is to fight fire with fire. That is, we need a 3rd party that can leverage power/influence against the two major parties and gain some reforrm on issues such as campaign finance, immigration and so on - - -

We all know that Trump or Bernie can only be a bully pullpit president with no chance of reform on any issue.

What about the arrogance of those GOP’ers in Colorado. Seeing no need to hold an election, they just decided among themselves who their nominee will be.

But, IMO, we don’t need just another 3rd party that can easily be coopted by corpocracy. We need a new 3rd party founded in a few rules to prevent cooption and ensure that gov’t is of, by and for the people, and so on - - -

Warren, give us your best shot as to an open borders policy at a time when there are few jobs to be had, terrorism, drugs, people smuggling and so on - - -

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at April 14, 2016 8:31 PM
Comment #404182

Good analysis. It is hard to even say what constitutes conservatism anymore. The Neocon policy of George W Bush has been blown out of the water. Most of the attempts by candidates to push the Neocon agenda went nowhere. Cruz favored “carpet bombing” of ISIS, and Trump favored waterboarding, so both have advocated war crimes. There is a general opposition to Islam, with Trump having favored blocking all Muslims from entering the country, and Cruz promoting the idea of patrolling and securing Muslim neighborhoods. There is a general feeling that Israel is our only ally that matters, and everyone else can be tossed by the wayside.

It really isn’t a foreign policy at all.

The economic agenda is not much better. Conservative policies implemented during the Bush administration, mainly deregulation and tax cuts, resulted in an economic catastrophe. Current economic proposals revolve around conspiracy theories about economic statistics. There are general complaints about the need to increase wages, but conservatives seem unable to connect the dots and advocate the obvious ways to do that, such as increasing the minimum wage, supporting unions, and redistributing revenues through the tax code.

So there really isn’t a domestic economic policy either.

The establishment positions intended to make the rich even richer now fall on deaf ears. The social fundamentalist causes are embarrassing retrograde appeals.

What is left is the Southern Strategy. The philosophical chaff has burned out, and what is left is ugly. It was carried out by Reagan when he opened his campaign in Philadelphia, MS in order to appeal to all those Wallace voters, because Wallace was not running for the first time in a long time. Why Philadelphia, MS? Reagan was appealing to the bigots who lynched those three people. Reagan wanted the racists to know they had a home in the new conservatism. It was carried out by George W Bush, who so infamously started his campaign at Bob Jones University, and who then promoted flying the Star and Bars over the SC capitol. Everyone understood it. Racism had a home in GOP conservatism.

The election of Obama completely unhinged them. With no foreign policy or domestic economic philosophy, and with social fundamentalism laughably unpopular and toxic among most Americans, who should arise but Donald Trump?

He appeals to that bedrock hatred at the heart of conservatism- the racism, the bigotry, the hatred of illegal immigrants, as well as Muslims and other foreigners. As for the rest- the Neocon foreign policy, tax cuts, deregulation… who cares?

At some point the GOP and conservatives will need to come to terms, and reform themselves into something worthy of an opponent in a two-party system. Right now they seem incapable. The thought of a Cruz or Trump winning the White House is unthinkable.

Posted by: phx8 at April 14, 2016 11:41 PM
Comment #404183

It seems to me that the main problem, politically speaking, that we have in our country is not that we disagree with each other when it comes to fundamental differences of opinions on political decisions, that has always existed and has thrived in the adversarial nature that our two party system has evolved into. The problem now seems to me to be, we have lost our understanding of any value in our political adversaries. Liberal/Progressive/Democrats have seen the last two administrations they supported vilified and denigrated to the point of impeachment with President Clinton and to the point of disrespect with President Obama (you lie?). Conservatives have witnessed their past two administrations ridiculed and disrespected for their ideas, methods and outcomes. Each contention in those instance could be considered completely warranted by an individual.

Conservatives no longer see any use to include any Liberal/Progressive/Democrat policy possibilities as anything they can even consider as something of value. Liberals are unable to accept the moral/social values that seem to form the basis of Republican policies. If neither of our current two political parties are able to see any value in each other, the way forward seems very difficult and contentious.

Now I wouldn’t expect us to somehow come to a Kumbaya moment and suddenly forget all of our long held beliefs in what we see as the best way to politically join hand in hand and move forward as a country, the aforementioned political adversity doesn’t even require that. But what we as a country need to understand is that we cannot completely devalue each other and expect one another to see any benefit by compromise. You can only compromise with someone if there is value in the act of compromise. We have lost that capability and will be unable to reach the goals we may aspire to without first recognizing the value of our adversaries. I am uncertain if that is even possible in today’s political climate.

Garnering the wherewithal to institute a third party in this climate seems just as inconceivable as expecting the current two party system to function at this point also.

Posted by: Speak4all at April 15, 2016 9:49 AM
Comment #404184

phx8, why did Carter kick off his re-election campaign in Tuscumbia, Alabama? I guess he was trying to shore up the KKK vote that had propelled him to a double digit victory in 1976…

As for Bush promoting our “stars and bars” flying over the SC capital, that’s interesting since the Confederate Battle Flag was the one on top of the capital and not the S&B. It came down in July of 2000. I think GWB’s position on it was to “let the State decide.” That’s exactly what happened.

Posted by: George in SC at April 15, 2016 10:23 AM
Comment #404185

As for the article, if Reagan had to run on his record as President in today’s world he would be run out of town. His 11th commandment has been replaced with “RINO”. He cut deals with Democrats and you can ask Cantor what that will get you.

Of course if Bill were running instead of Hillary he would have the same problems on that side: NAFTA, DOMA, PRWORA, Crime Bill, GLBA…

Posted by: George in SC at April 15, 2016 11:50 AM
Comment #404186

Part of what bankrupted conservatism as a political philosophy was the reflexive opposition to Obama. Perhaps the best example was Obamacare, a conservative idea that conservative Republicans voted to repeal dozens of times- without ever offering an alternative.

Another part is the corollary, the endless promotion of conspiracy theories and fake scandals- Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, Benghazi, Hillary’s e-mails, not to mention all the fake scandals from Bill Clinton’s administration. It polarized the electorate and left the conservative Republican side without anything to offer other than false accusations, and as each accusation fell apart, a new one replaced it. This became opposition for its own sake, the demonization of the opposition without offering an alternative.

Posted by: phx8 at April 15, 2016 2:41 PM
Comment #404187
The Republican party needs to reckon itself with the legacy of George W. Bush before it can figure out how conservatism will continue to influence the twenty-first century.

Warren Porter, the Democratic Party needs to admit it is no better and also complicit in the legacy of George W. Bush.

How can you still believe Democratics are as clean as the wind driven snow? How do you continue to delude yourselves into thinking your party can do no wrong?

For the past 7.5 years, the band-aid for keeping the conservative coalition together was opposition to Barack Obama.

Says you, Warren Porter. That’s all that’s needed to cast doubt and inflame those that believe it’s someone else at fault!

Why doesn’t Progressivism need to ask itself something, Warren Porter? Why is the Democratic Party always as clean as the wind driven snow?

Ultimately, conservatism needs to ask itself:

No, Sir! You need to look into the mirror. You, Warren Porter, may think your party is free of fault, but it isn’t.

Democratics voted for the war in Iraq and Democratics spoke out against it. As did Republicans! Yet, all the blame lays at the Republican’s feet. Why, Warren Porter?

Just to see how futile this discussion is, let’s entertain another one of your faux outrages, generated by your side and attributed to mine, transgender bathrooms?


How about the government consider putting a lock on every door that leads to a toilet? Is that too much to ask?

Do we really need to define, by law, who uses a public toilet?

C’mon, get real! How much of this stuff would be rendered useless if it wasn’t in the MSM?

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 15, 2016 6:30 PM
Comment #404188

Huh? Since when do Democrats share equal blame for the mistakes of the Bush administration. Please, it’s not like Bush was acting under duress or anything like that.

Not that Democrats don’t have their own blemishes, but I’d advise Republicans to worry about the logs in their own eyes before worrying about the specks in Democrats’ eyes.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 15, 2016 6:39 PM
Comment #404196

Warped, and Democrats blame Bush for Obama’s mistakes. You guys are a real HOOT!!! LOL

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at April 16, 2016 12:35 PM
Comment #404197

They have snowflakes in their eyes. And, they need the government to tell them what bathroom to use.

Democratics create their non-issues and use Republicans as a whipping boy. They manufacture crisis after crisis and blame them on Republicans. The debt ceiling is a prime example of that.

I wish I was as ignorant as a Democratic so I wouldn’t have to see this obvious manipulation.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 16, 2016 4:51 PM
Comment #404198

I don’t know what you are even talking about. Republicans, not Democrats, are the ones using the government’s cudgel to tell people which toilet they can and cannot use. Republicans are the ones elevating non-issues such as this fantasy that transgendered people are actually a bunch a perverted peeping toms. Get real WW, Republicans have failed the nation and everyone knows it. Either Trump or Cruz will lose terribly in November; hopefully it will give the Right an opportunity to take a minute to figure out how to adapt conservatism for the 21st century.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 16, 2016 7:37 PM
Comment #404206

IMHO we have touched upon symptoms, so far in this thread not the disease itself, so Weary you are right …. well almost right. The dems are responsible for conservatism in that they didn’t fight the fight to stop the disease in the same respect a doctor is responsible for not stopping a cancer from spreading because insurance doesn’t cover the treatment. So enough of the “well they did it to” please.

The problem though isn’t conservatism it is conservatives. Conservatives think it was conservatives that revolted against Britain. It was the American people from all walks of life, differing political and religious beliefs that revolted way back then. Yet conservatives think they own liberty and freedom despite their constant attacks on liberty and freedom for all of us.

Conservatives would tell us small government and large corporations is the path to liberty. Yet they promote a police state and a militarized assault on the people of this country. The “free market” approach to government has resulted in a large prison population and number of police related shootings tell a different story.

Conservatives would tell us they are for lower taxes, which is fine heck who isn’t in favor of lower taxes. But when conservatives are in power they go to war and expect their grandkids to pay for it. Instead of raising taxes to cover the costs of going to war they lower taxes! Why? Well they, conservative representatives of the people, signed pledges to not raise taxes period. They are so rigid in their thinking they run up huge debts and then blame anybody but themselves for doing so.

Religious liberty! The current battle cry of the extremist conservatives who use it to force their beliefs upon others. Barry, the other Barry, warned conservatives about this years ago yet here we are today with the religious PC police wanting to restrict people with differing religious beliefs.

The modern conservative has taken to the extreme under the impression it isn’t a vice. But they have made it a vice none the less. It isn’t conservatism but conservatives continued march to fascism that is the problem. Time to throw thew stool away and get back to sanity IMHO.


Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2016 11:18 AM
Comment #404207

A good example of modern conservative twisted logic and lack of historical knowledge.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2016 11:24 AM
Comment #404208

j2t2, there’s a lot of issues out there that we can agree on, in as far as issues I consider vital. Others I couldn’t care less about.

What really gets my goat is the way Democratics constantly claiming they’re timid little wallflowers getting trampled by those evil mean Republicans. Even Warren Porter considers them pristine saints with just a speck of fault. (a smidgen). Neither side is even willing to admit it’s part of the problem. Both sides are of the same coin.

If you want to put a head on the problem it’s the people in Washington, D.C., and the way they think. They’re not connected to the rest of the country. They’re thought process is clouded by self-importance, that everything must flow through them before it’s “legal” to do so.

That’s why you’re getting these political court decisions, these knee-jerk laws, and a constant state of crisis management.

I just read a story about the need for tax reform. Both parties had a chance to address it but didn’t. I could go on and on about all the programs that are in crisis mode and have been for decades. Both parties had control and both parties did nothing. That pretty much sounds like it’s both party’s fault things are the way they are.

Let’s do away with the slug-bug mentality. Let’s start placing blame where it belongs. I’ve been saying for many years our system is a 2 party system. However, the names of those parties should be The Government, and The People.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 17, 2016 12:38 PM
Comment #404209

Another contributor to the collapse of conservatism (and the imminent collapse of the Republican Party at this July’s convention) has been the influence of talk radio- or as some call them, the hatertainers. Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Levin and others encouraged more and more extreme positions. Attacks on liberals and Democrats were relentless. In every case liberals and Democrats were wrong. As a result, the far right always opposed whatever Democrats and liberals favored, regardless of the merits. Their side could never be wrong. The other side must never be right. When something went obviously wrong, it was impossible to concede a point. The inevitable construction was that ‘both sides do it,’ and so false equivalences prevented conservatism from every correcting its course.

The result was an insistence that compromise was wrong. Demands for ideological purity pushed Republicans and conservatives farther and farther to the extreme right wing edge of the political spectrum. While Democrats and liberals concentrated on governing, inclusion, and looking for ways to expand the rights of all Americans, The Overton Window moved for the right wing. Attacking government taxation, regulation, and even going so far as to shut down the federal government and threaten to default on the debt ceiling and the national debt all became features- not bugs.

The result is Trump, who bears little ideological resemblance to the collapsed conservative philosophy, but shares the anger of the hatertainers. The result is also Cruz, the most extreme and divisive possible presidential nominee most of us have seen in our lifetimes. (Some could argue Goldwater and McGovern were more so, but personally I would give the nod to Cruz).

Regardless of whether Trump or Cruz or someone else ultimately wins the nomination, the collapse of the GOP and conservatism seems virtually certain. Either Trump wins the nomination and loses in a landslide, or Cruz steals it and loses in a landslide, with Trump possibly running as a third party candidate and actually coming in second, or a white knight is pushed upon the primary voters, once again resulting in a run by Trump.

Posted by: phx8 at April 17, 2016 1:19 PM
Comment #404210


Just because you repeat the “both sides of the same coin” mantra over and over does not make it true. Democrats are guilty merely for assenting to Republican ideas. That is the speck in their eyes. Republicans, on the other hand, are responsible for wholesale abrogation of governing norms that have kept our country functioning for centuries. That is the log in Republicans’ eyes.

If Democrats had sole control of the levers of government over the last 20 years we would not have had any of the following:

—A GDP-to-debt ratio exceeding 100% (Because Democrats would never have cut taxes on their own)
—A virulent wannabe Islamic Caliphate occupying much of Syria and Iraq (Because Saddam Hussein would still be around to kick DAESH’s ass)
—Several thousand fewer American fatalities in the War on Terrorism (Because there’d never have been an ill-fated invasion of Iraq)
—The Banking Crisis in 2008 would have been far less severe (Democrats would not have let Lehman Brothers collapse)
The list goes on and on, need I say more?

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 17, 2016 4:09 PM
Comment #404211

Democratics did let Lehman Brothers collapse, Warren Porter! They also aided the invasion of Iraq prior to the fact, and a myriad of countless other issues that contribute to the fiasco called Washington, D.C.

If Democratics wanted to stop Republicans they would stop Republicans. They simply didn’t want to. The real crime here is your party’s faithful blindly following along with the wool pulled OVER their eyes.

Assent. Doesn’t that mean agree? Their only guilt lies in their agreement?

Democrats are guilty merely for assenting to Republican ideas.

Democratics are as clean as the wind driven snow except for agreeing with Republicans?

What kind of convoluted logic is that?

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 17, 2016 6:16 PM
Comment #404212
If Democratics wanted to stop Republicans they would stop Republicans.

Sorry, that’s not the way things are supposed to work. Elections have consequences. Minority parties have a responsibility to assent to the party in control. You cannot fault Democrats because they refused to be obstructionists.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 17, 2016 9:17 PM
Comment #404213

Warren Porter, the Democratic party didn’t start 20 years ago. The Democratic party has been in existence for almost 200 years. Do you really believe they stuck around that long by just agreeing and then pointing out the mistakes of the opposition party? Is that what you think the Democratic party has been doing for 200 years?

I have quite a few years on you. I’ve seen Democratics stop majority legislation dead in its tracks more times than I can count. It’s easy when they have a lapdog media on their side. How do you think Bill Clinton got elected? The Democratics stabbing G.H.W. Bush in the back. They screwed Reagan on immigration and a border wall with lies and reneging on the deal. They aided the enemy by getting up in front of the cameras and proclaiming the war in Iraq is lost. I could go on and on about how the Democratic party can make itself remain relevant using lies and slander and character assassination. I’ve heard Democratics say their party is exempt from being held to the same moral standards because they don’t claim to have any.

I don’t expect you to guys to throw away your donkey emblem embroidered hat and polo shirt and suddenly become die-hard Republicans. I just expect and wish you would use a little objectivity when you decide you need to lay blame.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 17, 2016 10:39 PM
Comment #404214

I’m not so sure conservatism is collapsing phx8. The basic principles of conservatism for the most part are principles we all respect. Liberty and property as well as personal morality and restraint upon power are some that I suspicion we all respect. Prescription, prudence and variety are principles we may not see eye to eye with conservatives but can understand if not respect.

What we see today is conservatives not respecting these principles they claim for their own. They tell us they want permanence yet realize change is necessary but they have become fearful and angry at the challenges we face today. They have lost their way, the individual has taken a back seat to the corporation,the collective.Greed,anger and fear has taken its toll on the conservative base causing their authoritarian streak to come out. They want restraint of power while militarizing the police as an example. They want liberty by restricting the liberty of others.

I think come election time the voters that tend to vote conservative will still do so. Corruption has become the norm for conservatives as the constant drumbeat of far right propaganda has conditioned them to pull the red lever no matter who the vote is for. Those running for office have become extremist and are being exposed as you have so aptly described.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 17, 2016 11:46 PM
Comment #404215

I’m sorry, I forgot about the time Democrats refused to pass any of Reagan’s immigration bills, could you please tell me when this happened?

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 18, 2016 8:10 AM
Comment #404217
What really gets my goat is the way Democratics constantly claiming they’re timid little wallflowers getting trampled by those evil mean Republicans.

Well perhaps it is because the bar of lower standards has been continually reset lower and lower by our elected reps in Congress Weary. The latest example is the conservatives refusal to consider an Obama pick for SCOTUS. The dems should be IMHO protesting in the streets by the millions. Not a day should go by that we aren’t blasted by the lack of progress by the Senate on this issue. Instead we get milktoast primary election coverage by the Centrist CNN and the moderate MSNBC. We expect drivel from Fox to misdirect attention and it is what we get.

Other examples include the jerk teabagger who yelled “you lie” during a SOTU address. He should have been thrashed by the closest dem. But despite his outrageous conduct he was essentially given a free pass while lowering the standards of the country.

More examples? Traitor Tom Cotton and the letter to Iran. By rights he and his accomplices should be in jail without bond pending trial. At the least the dems should have censured them. But we get nothing from the dems.

Yet more examples? How about Lying Ted shutting down the government then blaming others. Obama should have went to the Senate and literally kicked his a**. But instead he passed on it and allowed the standards bar to be reset lower than ever.

So I kinda have to agree the dems as a group are way to lax when confronted with conservatives anger at not getting their way. Conservatives in general are much more willing to lower the bar with any means necessary to win. They seem to be more motivated with the zeal and idolatry of extremist ideology. The dems not so much. More laid, willing to compromise. Maybe the corruption money doesn’t matter as much to the dems or they feel bad about it and it is reflected in their actions.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2016 11:39 AM
Comment #404218
you want to put a head on the problem it’s the people in Washington, D.C., and the way they think. They’re not connected to the rest of the country. They’re thought process is clouded by self-importance, that everything must flow through them before it’s “legal” to do so.

Well that is kinda their job isn’t it? Otherwise we would have rule by mob. Yes they may be out of touch. I sure would be if I were in the echo chamber of DC. But to think they are the problem is wrong IMHO. They are a symptom of the problem Weary. They represent us, we are caught up in an echo chamber as well aren’t we? We think our issues are the most important others be damned, right? Are we connected to DC anymore than they are disconnected from us? Is it our fault or theirs?

I would suggest we are seeing and describing the effects of corruption. The kind of corruption we had legislated out but the conservative SCOTUS has allowed under the guise of liberty. Started with Reagan and his “government is the problem” tune IMHO. Corruption of the government is the problem IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2016 11:48 AM
Comment #404219
That’s why you’re getting these political court decisions, these knee-jerk laws, and a constant state of crisis management.

I would think this is because our politicians have a two fold problem. Radical extremist holding the process up refusing to compromise on issues.Secondly, receiving so much money(or free speech as they say) from so few they cannot do what is right for fear of losing their campaign funding.

I just read a story about the need for tax reform. Both parties had a chance to address it but didn’t. I could go on and on about all the programs that are in crisis mode and have been for decades.

What else can we expect when one party is forced by their base to sign pledges that tell them they are not allowed for any reason to raise taxes? When it is cheaper to influence our elected representatives with campaign donations, gifts and bribes then we get this type of failure Weary. It is corruption that has made government small.

Both parties had control and both parties did nothing. That pretty much sounds like it’s both party’s fault things are the way they are.

Well since the 80’s when repubs took corporate money at new levels to influence the outcome of elections we have got what we paid for haven’t we the people? The Dems started on the corporate handout system in the 90’s and now we see that neither party is in control they are controlled by campaign donations or free speech as conservatives tell us.

So the fault is with the American people IMHO in general the oligarchy in specific. We have allowed ourselves to believe bribery is free speech, we have lost our way as we have decided our beliefs, our rights, our liberties are more important than others. We have been arguing god guns and gays while we have been looted.

That being said it is to a certain degree both parties that have been caught up in the corruption and both parties that will need to be held accountable, but in a two party system owned by a handful of companies and people, I would focus my anger on the handful.

I would also caution against using the equally accountable argument as it doesn’t work when trying to blame both parties. Only one party wanted the government small. You can have equal justice or you can have corruption. Both? I don’t think so. You can have liberty for all but liberty for some based upon financial net worth doesn’t work IMHO. Take away the protection of the weak from the government equation and you have a corrupt system doncha?

Here is an interesting rant for you Weary.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 18, 2016 12:16 PM
Comment #404220

It is the problem with moral risk. The Democrats do have a responsibility to hold Republicans and conservatives accountable when they break the law and do terrible things. Unfortunately, the Democrats choose to do what they believe is in the best interests of the country, and to sweep such actions under the rug. There are several examples: the Democrats chose not to impeach Reagan for Iran Contra. It was near the end of Reagan’s administration, he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and impeachment would have been incredibly traumatic. Contrast this behavior with conservative Republicans during the Clinton administration. They perceived impeachment as a way of detracting from a successful presidency, and did not hesitate to put the country through an unnecessary trauma. Another example is with Obama and the war crimes of the Bush administration. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others were unquestionably guilty of torture. Yet Democrats chose not to prosecute them. It would have consumed the first years of the Obama presidency in an incredibly traumatic prosecution.

But that’s why moral risk is such a problem. I totally understand why Democrats chose not to prosecute Republicans for Iran Contra and the Bush era war crimes. Yet putting them behind us leaves the door open to future transgressions. Even now, we see Trump advocating carpet bombing and Trump pushing for torture. This is what happens when you give the bad guys a pass. Worse guys show up in the future, and they have every intention of behaving like Cruz or Trump, and shutting down the government, or calling for Muslim neighborhoods to be patrolled and secured, or banning all Muslims from entering the US.

These people need to be held accountable. The attempt at false equivalencies- ‘both sides do it!’ or ‘you’re just trying to blame Bush!- ultimately gives these bad actors a pass.

Posted by: phx8 at April 18, 2016 3:58 PM
Comment #404221

I agree with you j2t2 it’s all the Repub’s fault. They said they wanted small government but instead have given us the largest government in the world. They said they were for balanced budgets and instead gave us huge deficits. They suck.

Posted by: George in SC at April 18, 2016 3:59 PM
Comment #404222

Correction- that was Cruz who advocated carpet bombing.

Posted by: phx8 at April 18, 2016 4:00 PM
Comment #404223

There is yet one more aspect to the collapse of conservatism and the imminent failure of the Republican Party. It is interesting that when there were originally 17 GOP presidential contenders, they had just one issue in common: every single one of them advocated tax cuts for corporations. That is the one thing they all agreed on, even Trump. Trump had the foresight to turn against the corporatist control of the GOP and call for reigning in corporations on matters of trade.

The rest of the conservative GOP claimed to stand for many things, but they failed to make good on their platform. They made promises for things they could never deliver, either because they lacked control of the Senate and White House, or because their ideas were unconstitutional. Other items they did make good on were phenomenally bad ideas, especially in the arena of foreign affairs.

The one place they inevitably made good on their promises were tax cuts and increases in defense spending. The combination was a disaster, resulting in deficits and debt as far as the eye can see, combined with self-inflicted debacles overseas.

The conservative Republican establishment- the Not Trump movement- has begun pushing Cruz, and they are doing everything in their power to keep control and install one of their own at the head of the ticket. Trump is right. There is a lot of dirty play going on with the selection of delegates, and the aim is to stop him. I still think Trump will reach the 1237 delegate majority, but it will be really interesting to see if conservative Republicans can undermine him enough to prevent his nomination.

Posted by: phx8 at April 18, 2016 11:21 PM
Comment #404224

Thanks for the input, Gentlemen. However, your comments only prove my point. You basically reiterated that the only fault Democratics have is their willingness to let Republicans destroy the country. Your party let them do it, but it is still as clean and pure as the wind driven snow.

I don’t buy that for a second.

First though, Warren Porter. The ‘86 immigration bill that gave 3 million illegals amnesty, written by Democratics, was a purchase of 3 million citizens for a promise to stop illegal immigration. The Democratics got their 3 million votes, but they obviously didn’t stop the illegal immigration, did they?

They never intended to stop illegal immigration. If they did we wouldn’t be talking about it.

You guys are being too short-hind-sighted. You don’t see past the last 20 years, which by no coincidence is seen as being a Republican dominated era. You guys really need to go back toward the Kennedy assassination, and go back further to before and after the 2nd world war.

Do you guys remember those Star Trek episodes where there’s a blink, and then everything is the same, but different? In the aftermath of WW2 the U.S. was the only intact economy. It was still the industrial giant it was before the war only bigger. Every other country’s economy was in ruin. We had no other place to go but up, and we took advantage of it.

We grew our industrial might, we grew our social programs, we grew our federal government. It was full steam ahead, we’re on the top of the world! But, there was no forward thinking.

Our government promised us a life of leisure, free from need, social security. Our government got hooked on these promises. Instead of thinking ahead they degraded the currency, then they borrowed to support their addiction.

Ladies, all this happened before the Gingrich pulled his Post Office Check Kiting Stunt! All this happened when Republicans were lucky to have an occasional president in the White House. The House and often the entire government was controlled by Democratics since the depression! Can you honestly sit there and tell me the Democratic Party did all that by holding their elbows and chins? Are you willing to say we would have utopia if Republicans were absent the last 100 years?

An answer to that would require some kind of commitment to what you want that utopia to be, but you all have refused to answer that question.

What really compels you to so vehemently protect the Democratic party? I agree with most of what you said, but I can’t take you seriously when you refuse to consider both parties are working together.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 19, 2016 1:54 AM
Comment #404226
Your party let them do it, but it is still as clean and pure as the wind driven snow.

Politics is a contact sport. Obviously, the Democrats have done their fair share of tricks to undermine conservatives. However, it was always within the established system of norms that guided our government for most of the 20th century. Only in the last 15 years have we seen that all of that precedent thrown out the window in favor of Constitutional Hardball. This is why leading political scientists conclude that the dysfunction in Washington is entirely a result of GOP intransigence.

You guys are being too short-hind-sighted. You don’t see past the last 20 years, which by no coincidence is seen as being a Republican dominated era. You guys really need to go back toward the Kennedy assassination, and go back further to before and after the 2nd world war.
We focus on the recent past because it is only recently that the government has been bursting at the seams. Back in the ’60s and ’70s nobody played chicken with the debt ceiling, it was always promptly raised whenever it was necessary. Nobody in the ’60s and ’70s financed tax cuts with deficit spending. Back then conservatives recognized that a balanced budget meant raising taxes sometime.

When people started to fear “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”, it put us the road to today’s dysfunction. You cannot run a government properly if you fundamentally believe that government cannot be run properly.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 19, 2016 8:28 AM
Comment #404227
We grew our industrial might, we grew our social programs, we grew our federal government.

Yes we were able to increase our output to meet the demands of a war torn world. We also helped other countries with the Marshall Plan. We also grew the scope of what our federal government did Weary. Lets not forget the godless commies were threatening us with nuclear war. Fear of a communist takeover and a strong business sector paved the way for the military industrial complex. Or was you thinking more along the lines of the GI Bill and other “entitlements”? After all the GI Bill was responsible for educating many vets returning home from the war. Compare this time frame to the end of WWI Weary.

It was full steam ahead, we’re on the top of the world! But, there was no forward thinking.

I would suggest there was plenty of forward thinking after WWII in wasn’t until the 70’s when we lost our way. Which coincidentally was shortly after the reemergence of the conservatives from the hole they crawled into during the depression. I wonder if there is any correlation there?

Our government promised us a life of leisure, free from need, social security.

Our government! Are you sure it wasn’t our corporations? The SSA has been around since before the war but when did they ever promise a “life of leisure”? Can you provide any examples of the government making these promises as I recall many TV ads, The Jetsons etc, but not any public services announcements with these types of promises.

The fact is taxes were at a high as was debt fdrom WWII(thats how they use to do it before conservative ideology interfered in government.) But I know that may be tough to accept for some so-

Our government got hooked on these promises. Instead of thinking ahead they degraded the currency, then they borrowed to support their addiction.

It wasn’t the government Weary it was us. Most Americans liked Social Security Medicare the GI Bill, and other programs. It was wealthy conservatives that didn’t like these programs as they didn’t need them. Many think Kennedy was killed because he was going to stay out of Viet Nam to the dismay of the commie fighters and the MIC.

Hell we thought ahead on many issues. many we didn’t. Hell who would have thought we would have built up the military all those years and continued fighting almost continuously, whether overt or covert as we did in South America.

We didn’t think out globalization or OPEC IMHO. That is where our politicians let us down. They were to busy starving the beast, moving jobs overseas, and getting bought off by Global Corporations. Of course it was the 80’s then and we had a revolution as I recall. But that was then Weary the question is why do we continue not only doing the same dumb things but doubling down on those we have seen to be ineffective. Yet we did and still do.

Ladies, all this happened before the Gingrich pulled his Post Office Check Kiting Stunt

Funny you should bring up Gingrich Weary. Have you dug deep on him to understand what his version of the future was during his heyday in DC? Corporate states in lieu of government. Look it up.

The House and often the entire government was controlled by Democratics since the depression!

During the depression yes the dems did have control of the Congress and presidency., After WWII things changed, Remember HUAC in ‘47? Both houses controlled by Repubs. Remember McCarthy and the red scare in ‘53-‘54? Both houses controlled by repubs.

Can you honestly sit there and tell me the Democratic Party did all that by holding their elbows and chins?

No but then no one claimed that Weary. The fact is the repubs had control of Congress and the Presidency at different times during the 50’s 60’s and 70’s. The difference between then and now is moderation IMHO. Many repubs were more moderate then. Less ideological and had the interests of the country at heart. Not controlled by an Oligarchy as we are today.

Are you willing to say we would have utopia if Republicans were absent the last 100 years?

Oh come on Weary who ever said such a thing? One party control is a dictatorship isn’t it? Certainly not a Utopia. Which is why things are scarier today what with most state legislatures and Governors as well as the Congress under the grip of the extremist of the repub party.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 19, 2016 1:08 PM
Comment #404228

From 1931 to 1992 Republicans had control of both houses for a total of 4 years. During the same time Republicans had control of just the senate for 10 years. Yet in your eyes every problem this country is experiencing is caused by Republicans. That defies logic.

it was always promptly raised whenever it was necessary

Why don’t you see anything wrong with that?

And this..

Their thought process is clouded by self-importance, that everything must flow through them before it’s “legal” to do so.

Well that is kinda their job isn’t it? Otherwise we would have rule by mob.

That tired old “if we don’t have one extreme (the Democratic’s way) we’ll end up with apocalyptic scenarios (the Republican’s way). That’s getting old.

I can’t let you guys get away with avoiding the real issue with an “It’s all the Republican’s fault…” cop out. Ignoring the real problem will get us no where toward solving it. Not taking responsibility for the Democratic party’s mistakes only begets more mistakes.

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 19, 2016 7:26 PM
Comment #404229


The proof is in the pudding. Only one of the two major parties is bursting at the seams. The other is going through a pretty standard nomination process. I might be unhappy with the two candidates, but I’m sure most Democrats disagree.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 20, 2016 1:29 AM
Comment #404230
From 1931 to 1992 Republicans had control of both houses for a total of 4 years

Well people were smarter back then Weary. Remember the reason repubs were outed in the 30’s was because they collapsed the economy and put the country into the great depression when they controlled the Congress and the administration. So the dems, specifically FDR (who told us ” government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob”) got us through the depression, the dust bowl and then WWII. Then they helped the rest of the world recover from WWII. Yet you complain they didn’t think far enough into the future!

You like to say we only look at the last 20 years but I think you need to realize the Reagan was elected 36 years ago. It was Regan’s administration , the most corrupt administration in modern history, that told us government was the problem then set out to prove himself right.
Anyhow corruption was made the norm. SO we went from the Marshall plan and helping the rest of the world recover to telling the people ketchup was a vegetable for school lunch programs!

So Weary we as a country went from FDR to Reagan. From getting the country through an economical collapse, a 5 year 8 state ecological and environmental disaster and a world war to a corrupt administration that sold arms to Iran to support an illegal army in South America. To a corrupt administration that wanted to “make government small” or specifically to end social security and medicare and any other new deal program. To a corrupt administration and movement that gave us supply side economics and a mountain of debt. To a corrupt administration that ushered in the “organized money”
to run government. Whose fault is that?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 20, 2016 1:50 AM
Comment #404232


Excellent comment. Definitely, we should compare polling data on testing Americans’ faith in their government in the mid-twentieth century with today. I think the result speaks for itself. Of course, Democrats have made some mistakes along the way including the ill-thought war in Vietnam, but the most calamitous incidents were the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, both of which were executed entirely by Republicans.

Posted by: Warren Porter at April 20, 2016 8:02 AM
Comment #404233

Thanks Warren. Have you noticed how Weary seems to be the only conservative here on WB willing to discuss the 3 legged stool of conservatism?

Leg 1= the economic conservatives cause fiscal conservatives is an oxymoron. Supply side economics, or a wish and a prayer then poof a miracle occurs or not. Can Ryan or Trump get conservatives past the trickle down effect that isn’t. Can they come up with something to replace their tired old BS of if we cut taxes we get more jobs and such? I doubt it. These Conservatives are living a lie.

Leg 2= the evangelical conservatives. The culture war conservatives that want to dictate by government fiat what others morality should be. You 2 other legs were warned about these guys but here we are 20 years later still listening to these hate mongers.

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
― Barry M. Goldwater

Leg3= The national security conservatives, or chicken hawks as has been the case for many years. We have seen the damage they have done, we have seen the extremism they encourage and we have seen the fear mongering and …well… everything but WMD’s. I thought conservative principles were isolationist in general, what happened?

Yet conservatives have taken over many state legislatures and the Congress. They have nothing new to offer, hell the best they can do on healthcare is vouchers to replace medicare. For the social safety net they want to privatize social security. Perhaps it is time to fess up conservatives and quit starving the beast as it hasn’t worked out. Time to stop making government small. Lets try a three legged stool that says lets make government work again. Novel concept ,I know but hey perhaps it is time to realize why conservatives were thrown off the bus back in the early ‘30’s and realize nothing has changes about the ideology or the conservatives themselves.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 20, 2016 12:02 PM
Comment #404234

A conservative in today’s USA means being in deep, deep denial. It means being a victim. It means not understanding personal responsibility. It means not understanding your fellow citizens. It means not understanding the importance of good government. It means not understanding religion. It means not understanding moral equivalence. It means not understanding the importance of how you present yourself and what that means to others. It means always being right even when you have to blame the people who tried to explain to you what was and is wrong.

My only hope is that this might be a temporary condition but all indications would suggest otherwise.

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Comment #415380

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