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The following is the first in a series of blog posts on “What Ails Conservatism.” It is inspired by George Packer’s brilliant New Yorker essay where he traced “The Fall of Conservatism” from its initial electoral successes under Nixon to what most observers believe is its collapse under George Bush.

This first part is a critique of Packer’s essay by other conservatives as well as some of my own thoughts regarding one of Packer’s major themes – namely, that conservatism’s electoral success has been built on the politics of resentment and polarization.


Believing that we can roll back the size of government and make it “small” is a pipe dream and, along with the idea that we can demand government do a million things and not raise the taxes to pay for them as well as ask government to protect us from impersonal corporations who seek to destroy competition, exploit workers, endanger our environment, foist their dangerous products on us, and generally wreak havoc on our lives and families without someone looking over their shoulder is absurd.

The idea that the market will fix dangerous working conditions for miners or force companies to end exploitive work rules and policies in service industries is just not tenable in a 21st century industrialized democracy. Neither will the market clean up toxic waste, sensibly protect the environment, establish minimum standards for drinking water and breathable air, or ensure that some of the remaining green places left in the United States can be enjoyed by our grandchildren.

These are not luxuries that we can afford to privatize or do without. They are as vital to our survival as the new Air Force fighter being developed. The question that should occupy conservatives is not whether we should have strict standards for drinking water but rather how do we reconcile conservative principles with the needs of the people in a modern society?
(Rick Moran, 10/23/07)

According to Buchanan, who was the White House communications director in Reagan’s second term, the President once told his barber, Milton Pitts, “You know, Milt, I came here to do five things, and four out of five ain’t bad.” He had succeeded in lowering taxes, raising morale, increasing defense spending, and facing down the Soviet Union; but he had failed to limit the size of government, which, besides anti-Communism, was the abiding passion of Reagan’s political career and of the conservative movement. He didn’t come close to achieving it and didn’t try very hard, recognizing early that the public would be happy to have its taxes cut as long as its programs weren’t touched. And Reagan was a poor steward of the unglamorous but necessary operations of the state. Wilentz notes that he presided over a period of corruption and favoritism, encouraging hostility toward government agencies and “a general disregard for oversight safeguards as among the evils of ‘big government.’ ” In this, and in a notorious attempt to expand executive power outside the Constitution—the Iran-Contra affair—Reagan’s Presidency presaged that of George W. Bush.

After Reagan and the end of the Cold War, conservatism lost the ties that had bound together its disparate factions—libertarians, evangelicals, neoconservatives, Wall Street, working-class traditionalists. Without the Gipper and the Evil Empire, what was the organizing principle? In 1994, the conservative journalist David Frum surveyed the landscape and published a book called “Dead Right.” Reagan, he wrote, had offered his “Morning in America” vision, and the public had rewarded him enormously, but in failing to reduce government he had allowed the welfare state to continue infantilizing the public, weakening its moral fibre. That November, Republicans swept to power in Congress and imagined that they had been deputized by the voters to distill conservatism into its purest essence. Newt Gingrich declared, “On those things which are at the core of our philosophy and on those things where we believe we represent the vast majority of Americans, there will be no compromise.” Instead of just limiting government, the Gingrich revolutionaries set out to disable it. Although the legislative reins were in their hands, these Republicans could find no governmental projects to organize their energy around. David Brooks said, “The only thing that held the coalition together was hostility to government.”
(George Packer, 5/20/08)

The election of 1948 was turning into a nightmare for Democrats. Their convention saw a Southern walkout against a liberal civil rights plank pushed through by the young, energetic mayor of Minneapolis Hubert Humphrey (“[T]he time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadows of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”)

Meanwhile, on his left flank, President Truman had to deal with one of the more prickly personalities of 20th century politics in Henry Wallace. The former Vice President under FDR was an unreconstructed socialist who was unhappy with Truman’s lack of committment to the more liberal domestic ideas being pushed by Wallace’s enthusiastic followers and decided to run for president himself on the Progressive Party ticket.

Faced with a three way split of his own party, Truman decided to not only make the Republican Congress (a majority achieved in 1946) the issue but also build resentment against the “barons of privilege” represented, he said, by his opponent New York Governor Thomas Dewey.

It was not the first time the Democrats used class warfare as a wedge issue to divide the electorate and appeal to a coalition first constructed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. It was “us” (ordinary Americans) versus “them” (the GOP “establishment”) and despite the divisions in the party, the old coalition held and Truman was elected by a comfortable margin. Using highly personal attacks on Dewey and the Republicans, Truman earned the nickname “Give ‘em hell, Harry.” The president gave the Republicans “hell” and then some, tying their “do nothing” Congress to the idea that they were out of touch with what ordinary Americans needed, that they were elitist, rich snobs, born to privilege and lacking in compassion.

I use this example from 1948 to try and illustrate some facts that Mr. Packer left out of his critique of conservatism’s electoral success. In fact, Packer writes his brilliant essay as if the entire modern history of conservatism and the GOP took place in a vacuum; that much of the strategy and many of the ideas that resulted in conservative victories at the polls were not a reaction to what the Democrats had been doing to the GOP in electoral politics for the previous 40 years encompassing their most successful period in history.

I suppose in a piece dedicated to chronicling the fall of conservatism that such details regarding the way both parties use voters’ resentments to win elections are unnecessary since Packer was looking exclusively at conservatism. But the explanation he seems to be offering as to why the GOP “Southern Strategy” and “Positive Polarization” became buzzwords posits the notion that these are concepts that have “helped the Republicans win one election after another—and insured that American politics would be an ugly, unredeemed business for decades to come.”

I’ve got news for Mr. Packer; American politics has always been an “ugly, unredeemed business.” To actually believe that the politics of fear, of division, or deliberately appealing to racial differences and divisions is something invented by Nixon and the Republicans is absurd.

In fact, I could argue that politics today is cleaner, more uplifting, less personal than the battle royales of elections past. Examine some of the post Civil War elections during the Gilded Age and you will find not only outright lies being circulated in newspapers owned by both parties but rank appeals to racism, a nauseating, virulent strain of populism that threatened violence against the middle class, and a frank discussion of the inferiorities found in various immigrant groups. And always, lurking in the background of the anti-immigrant message was the eternal Jew and his “control” of banks and money lending.

In the end, Packer’s omissions about the origins of today’s politics skew his entire narrative toward a view I found shockingly common among left wing analyses of his essay; that these tactics are unique to the right and that because they are employed by conservatives that they represent a strain on the right that will do “anything” to elect their candidates. Or what one armchair psychologist referred to as “an essentially nihilist politics of vicious opportunism, where the entire goal is power for its own sake.” Considering how much conservatism has altered the landscape in America, “for its own sake” rings hollow indeed. The road to power is always run with a mixed bag of good intentions and self-aggrandizement. It’s what gives politics its charm and attracts not only the wide eyed reformers but the gimlet eyed operators.

Conservatives plead guilty to doing anything necessary to win – as should those who deliberately tell seniors that Republicans want to take away their social security checks or run commercials in African American communities hinting that the GOP wants to reimpose Jim Crow. Doing “anything” to win is what elections are all about – have always been about in America.

Should there be a better way? Of course. But no one – not even the New Messiah – has ever run a campaign that doesn’t try and raise the temperature of the voter by bringing their resentments and fears to the surface so they can be flogged until the voter is sufficiently motivated to vote against one candidate and not for another.

But this is really just a symptom of what ails conservatism according to Packer. He’s dead right. And so much of what the author identifies as signposts on the way down for the right is so true that one can make no argument about his diagnoses: that modern conservatism is basically a negative ideology in that through its hostility to government – all government – its draconian social strictures (most notably against abortion and gay marriage), its hyper partisanship, and its encouraging the belief that liberals are immoral, unpatriotic, anti-Americans, conservatism’s claim to governance has run its course and the American people are ready for a change.

Packer is not saying anything new in his essay. Indeed, he quotes from several recent books (Packer did not quote from Without a Conscience, John Dean’s lengthy tome purporting to show the right is in love with authoritarianism and dictatorship perhaps because serious problems have been found with the methodology used by the authors of the study on which the book is based.) written by serious historians who themselves aggregate many of the concepts about the fall of the right gleaned from other sources. Packer’s brilliance – as with all great writers – lies in the way he organizes the material and intersperses personal anecdotes taken from interviews done with both old and new conservatives.

Conservative reaction to Packer’s piece has been off the mark and generally feeble. James Joyner is the only one on the right I’ve seen who has made an effort to analyze Packer’s piece in depth. Most have sniped at Packer by tearing a small piece away from the whole and calling him out for one sin or another while missing the overall.

Michael Goldfarb:

Pronouncing the death of political movements is a facile thing, especially when one appears as down in the mouth as conservatism appears at this moment. But in truth, it’s not conservatism that’s down in the mouth, but the politicians and the party that conservatives entrusted to carry out conservative principles that are in peril.

Much of Packer’s article focuses on political tactics and strategy, particularly the uniquely craven ones devised and implemented by Richard Nixon and a young Pat Buchanan. What Packer never completely acknowledges is that politics is supposed to be only the means, not the ends. One of the reasons so many nostalgic conservatives tiresomely invoke Ronald Reagan is that Reagan often seems like the last successful Republican politician to fully personify that standard. Not only did Reagan come to office with a full set of conservative principles to guide him, he only sought office because his passion for those principles compelled him to do so.

I think Goldfarb is making Packer’s point perfectly while not seeing the nose in front of his face. Yes it is conservative ideology that has fallen – and for exactly the reason Goldfarb inadvertently gives; its ideas were fresh 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan ran for president but stale as 3 week old bread today.


The fact that the least conservative, least divisive Republican in the 2008 race is the last one standing—despite being despised by significant voices on the right—shows how little life is left in the movement that Goldwater began, Nixon brought into power, Ronald Reagan gave mass appeal, Newt Gingrich radicalized, Tom DeLay criminalized, and Bush allowed to break into pieces. “The fact that there was no conventional, establishment, old-style conservative candidate was not an accident,” Brooks said. “Mitt Romney pretended to be one for a while, but he wasn’t. Rudy Giuliani sort of pretended, but he wasn’t. McCain is certainly not. It’s not only a lack of political talent—there’s just no driving force, and it will soften up normal Republicans for change.”

On May 6th, Newt Gingrich posted a message, “My Plea to Republicans: It’s Time for Real Change to Avoid Real Disaster,” on the Web site of the conservative magazine Human Events. The former House Speaker warned, “The Republican brand has been so badly damaged that if Republicans try to run an anti-Obama, anti-Reverend Wright, or (if Senator Clinton wins) anti-Clinton campaign, they are simply going to fail.” Gingrich offered nine suggestions for restoring the Republican “brand”—among them “Overhaul the census and cut its budget radically” and “Implement a space-based, G.P.S.-style air-traffic control system”—which read like a wonkish parody of the Contract with America. By the next morning, the post had received almost three hundred comments, almost all predicting a long Republican winter.

Yuval Levin, a former Bush White House official, who is now a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, agrees with Gingrich’s diagnosis. There’s an intellectual fatigue, even if it hasn’t yet been made clear by defeat at the polls,” he said. “The conservative idea factory is not producing as it did. You hear it from everybody, but nobody agrees what to do about it.”

Pat Buchanan was less polite, paraphrasing the social critic Eric Hoffer: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

And in this piece I did for PJ Media on ridding the conservative movement of Reagan’s ghost, I make the argument that the only way for the right to move forward is to move on:
The Democrats faced a similar dilemma back in the 1960’s and 70’s with the haunting presence of Franklin Roosevelt hanging over the party. The perceived commitment of FDR to the less fortunate among us allowed the Democrats to invoke his name while opening the floodgates of government spending on social programs. The debate back then was not whether a program for the poor should be passed, but rather how much we should be spending to fund it. And the party continued that kind of suicidal rhetoric well into the 1980’s until the Reagan revolution squelched it for good.

Might the Republicans be in similar danger with their reliance on the Reagan legacy to win elections and run the government? The Reagan leadership personae has moved from fond memory into the realms of myth and legend. This makes us forget certain inconvenient truths about those years such as huge deficits and the leadership failures brought to light in the Iran-Contra imbroglio. There is much good to take away from that time. But how much of the good can be transported to the present and grafted on to the current Republican party and the ideological movement that is conservatism?

Reagan stands a silent sentinel over the modern GOP, still evoking powerful emotions and loyalty among conservatives. Perhaps it is time to carefully place his legacy and memory in our national treasure chest, taking them out on occasion to examine them for the lessons we can learn rather than pushing that legacy front and center in a futile attempt to recapture the power and the glory of days long gone and a time that will never come again.

Indeed, it may be that all of us – Packer included – are confusing the GOP with conservatism. Michelle Malkin and others make that point. Packer responds in a follow up article by saying:
Here are a few conservative replies to my article “The Fall of Conservatism,” by Yuval Levin, Michelle Malkin, the editors of the New York Sun, and Andrew Sullivan. The first three defend conservatism from the charge of being “brain dead” by pointing, basically, at themselves or people like them, and adding that liberalism isn’t exactly throbbing with vitality these days. Readers can decide whether Malkin, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh,, and Senator Lieberman are indicators of a movement on the rise. All three responses have the air of protesting too much; they remind me of the mocking self-satisfaction of liberals when the water was rising around them in the late nineteen-seventies and early eighties.

And the New York Sun responds to Packer by basically saying conservatives don’t need new ideas, the old ones are just fine thanks:
What the New Yorker calls a lack of “fresh thinking” may be a surfeit of abiding principles and enduring ideas. The Bible is thousands of years old. The capitalism of Adam Smith is hundreds of years old. Freedom is as universal and God-given a right today as it was when it was set forth in the Declaration of Independence. What matters is less whether the ideas are “fresh” than whether they are correct. And the latest panic of beltway Republicans or New Yorker writers notwithstanding, the view from these columns is that the death of conservatism has been greatly exaggerated.

I will say this to all my friends on the right; the point is not whether conservative principles are in need of overhauling. Capitalism, freedom, belief in a just God, even American exceptionalism don’t need to be tossed out or given a scrub and repackaged with some kind of snappy jingle to accompany them. These principles are timeless, have born the test of time and cannot be abridged or destroyed because of some temporary electoral setbacks.

It is not Packer who is confused. It is all those who talk about the conservative movement and confuse it with the philosophy of conservatism who are in need of being straightened out. Sean Hannity is not conservatism. Ann Coulter is certainly not conservatism. They use conservatism as a slot machine – put in a few raggedy ideas, pump the handle, and out pours a book or two that sells well, gets the author notoriety, and creates legions of worshipful fans who salivate at the opportunity to buy the next book.

In fact, a big part of the problem is that the Coulters dominate the movement while the principles espoused by people like Buckley, Kirk, and Kristol end up being ignored. I put it thusly a few months ago:

The disconnect I speak of above arises from the cage that Republican candidates have been placed in by the various factions of conservatism that makes them slaves to an agenda that is out of date, out of touch, and after 2008, there’s a good chance that it will lead to Republicans being out of luck.

Breaking out of that cage will be difficult unless the party continues to lose at the polls. And part of that breaking free will be making the Reagan legacy a part of history and not a part of contemporary Republican orthodoxy. The world that Reagan helped remake is radically different than the one we inhabit today and yet, GOP candidates insist on invoking his name as if it is a talisman to be stroked and fondled, hoping that the magic will rub off on them. Reagan is gone and so is the world where his ideas resonated so strongly with the voters.

But Reagan’s principles remain with us. Free markets, free nations, and free men is just as powerful a tocsin today as it was a quarter century ago. The challenge is to remake a party and the conservative movement into a vessel by which new ideas about governing a 21st century industrialized democracy can be debated, adopted, and enacted. Without abandoning our core beliefs while redefining or perhaps re-imagining what those beliefs represent as a practical matter, conservatism could recharge itself and define a new relationship between the governed and the government.

But before reform comes the fall. And even if, as Yglesias believes is possible, the party and the movement are able to limp along for a few years with a cobbled together coalition, eventually the piper must be paid and the wages earned. It won’t be a quick or easy process. But it will happen nonetheless. And out of the bitterness and recriminations will emerge a different Republican party, animated by conservative principles and true to a legacy that has as its foundation a belief in individual liberty and personal responsibility.

Packer’s analysis of what ails conservatism is generally correct. And it is troubling to see so many front line conservatives either dismiss what he has to say or ignore it altogether.

To my mind, we are at exactly the point that the left was in 1980 – one reason this election is beginning to stink like a landslide for the Democrats all around. We are mostly running on the past without a clue about how to address the concerns of voters today. Where liberals were still evoking FDR in the 1980 election we are still praying for a Reagan to save us. Where liberals still believed they could propose massive new government spending programs back in 1980 (much less than the modest $800 billion over 5 years asked by Obama) conservatives today believe that we can continue to get by without addressing health insurance, wage inequality, inequitable trade agreements, and yes, climate change.

We are the dinosaur watching the comet streak toward the surface of the earth without a clue as to what is about to hit us. How we deal with the coming cataclysm will determine how long we spend wandering in a blighted wilderness.

Next on 5/31: Russ Kirk and I go to war.

By: Rick Moran at 4:36 pm
  1. 1
    retire05 Said:
    7:48 pm 

    Rick, you are wrong on so many points that I don’t know where to start. Conservatism, as a base for which average Americans live their lives and subscribe to their beliefs on how their government should operate, is alive and well. If you wanted to be correct you would have said that conservatism among the GOP body politic, is dead. Not with American citizens.

    But then you go on to point out that as conservatives, we must address certain issues, such as health insurance, wage inequality, inequitable trade agreements and yes, climate change (the new catch phrase for global warming). In other words, as the Democrats move farther left, we must move with them?

    Wage inequality has taken a hit as we see more and more illegals come into our nation (they are just here to work as proven by the recent death of a Houston cop) and we have seen, especially in my state, how a man who was once a carpenter or sheet rocker could make a living that he could support his family on is now out of work due to the influx of illegals who are willing to work for $12.00 an hour instead of the normal $20 the now unemployed carpenter once made. Wage inequality is market driven. The more people you have who are seeking any one particular job, the lower the wages go. When there is an influx of labor, wages plummet. When the reverse is true, wages increase as employers bid for laborers. I don’t believe that manipulating the wage market is the position of the federal government or listed in the Constitution under the enumerated powers given to the federal government.

    Health insurance: the study done that shows there were 40 million uninsured also included those who were without insurance for at least ONE day, illegal immigrants who worked under the table (and paid no taxes, by the way), those who were poor but perferred to spend 80 bucks a month on cable instead of the $50 (in my state, at least) that it costs to sign up all your kids under the CHIPS program. But that is not my arguement with universal health care. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you are entitled to health insurace and if I remember correctly, the Constitution is very specific as to the “persuit” of happiness, not the guarantee of happiness. It is not my, as a conservative, responsibility to give everyone health care insurance through my force contributions called “taxes” when the beneficiary of that program holds no responsibility to lead a healthy life style. If you are poor, but chose to smoke, it is not my responsibility to provide you with health care when your health goes to hell because of smoking.

    Inequitable trade agreements: Who benefits the most from cheap goods from China? Certainly not the rich who tend to buy American and spend their money on more expensive items. It is the low wage earner that has made Wal-Mart the biggest retailer in the nation, not Michael Dell or Bill Gates. Low wage earners benefit from low cost goods from off shore companies by allowing them greater purchasing power and to have things they could not normally afford. Just one factor to take into consideration when saying that perhaps we should impliment a “dollar out, dollar in” policy.

    Climate change: I am of the opinion that one day we will see the whole global warming issue as one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on mankind designed for one purpose, the reduction of the power and influence of the United States. But as is standard with the left, the best offense to their issues is to shout down the opposition. Demand the argument be “settled” while global warming is far from settled and more and more scientists are beginning to think that we are, in fact, on the age edge of another mini-ice age.

    Yes, voters are concerned with jobs leaving for foreign nations. They are concerned with rising gasoline prices which inturn, along with ethanol subsidies, have driven up the cost of food. But it is not that “conservatism” itself does not have an answer for these problems, it is that there is no conservative leadership. The values are still alive and well. The leadership is non-existant.

    I don’t think Americans want social services to suffer. But it is not really the federal government that provides fire and police departments. It is state and local governments that do that. I do think Americans are tired of bridges to nowhere and pork projects that would have provide a million dollars to the Woodstock Museum. It is not government that I object to, it is unnecessary government that I, and most conservatives I know, object to. It is not paying taxes I object to, it is making me responsible for paying taxes that gives someone else my money but none of the responsibly for how they spend my money. I don’t mind using light bulbs I cannot touch with my bare fingers. I object to being told I have to use those light bulbs.
    Other than what is specified in the Constitution, the federal government should butt out.

    We lost big in 2006 and we will lose big in 2008 because Republicans no longer act like conservatives who believe that the fat can be trimed from the meat without losing it’s flavor. The recent farm bill was a clear example of how the right had a prime opportunity to take a stand, but the lure of taking home the bacon was just too great. If Republicans are going to act like Democrats, why not just vote for the real thing?

    I see the problem not as the death of conservatism, but the lack of conservative leadership who are willing to take the heat when the left starts shouting them down and shout right back at them. Wrapping yourself in an alligator skin will not stop the alligator from trying to bite you.

  2. 2
    retire05 Said:
    7:54 pm 

    One other thing, Rick; the cheap shot taken at Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity was beneath you. Are they to be chasitized because they earn money from what they do? Do you yourself not have a radio show that you are paid to do (I don’t know because I have never heard it) or do you not take advertising dollars from ATT or have a “PayPal – Donate” link on your site to support your tip jar?

    To say that Coulter and Hannity are not conservatism is like saying that Simon Peter, who was prone to violence, was not Christianity.

  3. 3
    still liberal Said:
    9:08 pm 

    Excellent post. For me, one sentence jumps out:

    “. . .that modern conservatism is basically a negative ideology in that through its hostility to government – all government – its draconian social strictures (most notably against abortion and gay marriage), its hyper partisanship, and its encouraging the belief that liberals are immoral, unpatriotic, anti-Americans, conservatism’s claim to governance has run its course and the American people are ready for a change.”

    This is the absolute bread and butter for conservative talk radio, a major force in today’s conservatism. Will it be possible to right the conservative ship with this 10 ton millstone around the right’s neck or perhaps talk radio go the way of buggy whips with a major reconfiguration of conservatism?

  4. 4
    still liberal Said:
    11:11 pm 

    To retire05:

    I suspect I will not have much luck trying to talk with you, but you often have very good points here, so here goes. While it is certain that illegal immigration depresses wages in certain sectors of the economy, skilled middle class workers are being squeezed by many other factors including devaluation of the dollar, oil futures speculation, government policies that favor corporate profits at the expense of workers, lost benefits such as a guaranteed retirement and affordable health care, just to name a few.

    Health insurance. If you have company provided health care, it is not because your company is just real nice. Government policy placed health insurance responsibilities onto companies a long time ago and use tax breaks and the threat of punishment to keep them providing it. And this may be a suprise, but the insurance premiums you and your company pay do not just cover you. The whole idea of insurance is a form of socialism, in which all benefit by pooling risks and costs. It is but a small step to have the government force universal coverage, as all coverage except self-insurance is forced now anyway. Universal health care would require all of the people to have insurance insead of letting them choose cable over insurance, so this would be a solution to your complaint.

    Global warming. My suggestion here is to follow some of Rick’s science links and read for yourself. It is not a hoax and the science that supports that notion is irrefutable. Solutions are very political, but its existence is not subject to opinion. (I tried not to yell, just encourage you to read.)

    I certainly agree with you that unnecessary government should be eliminated. The question is, who decides what is not necessary? We live in a very complicated world and government must play a larger role that did the founding fathers ever imagined necessary. The farmer and merchant society of a handful of people they lived in has been replaced by a vast and complex information society that must be regulated by government. The Chinese government places profitability above product safety and tainted medicines, pet food, lead painted toys, etc. are the results. Damned ironic for a communist government, right?

    Lastly, I would hope you reread Rick’s column and realize he is not advocating for leftist solutions to anything. Your response is unfortunately the very response that both Packer and Moran are warning about as unhealthy for conservatism, that is a dependence on old solutions and philosophies that no longer work. You are an thoughtful commenter and I hope you see these comments as the constructive dialogue they are intended to be.

  5. 5
    retire05 Said:
    11:25 pm 

    Amazing. A person who calls themselves “still liberal” agrees whole heartedly with this. And even mentions the belief that abortion and “gay” marriage is somehow “draconian”. Then, in his effort to rid the nation of the members of such a “draconian” party, he wants to eliminate talk radio not having been satisfied with having the media in the pocket of the liberals for forty years. I am sure “still liberal” is an ardent fan of the Fairness Doctrine, at which point this very blog will have to provide an alternate view, no matter the side it takes.
    Wow! Think of it. Keith Oberman will have to provide his audience with giving a conservative equal time.

    Are liberals immoral? No, they are amoral. Are liberals unpatriotic? No, they are just selective to what cause they give their patriotism; Code Pinkos standing outside the doors of Walter Reed Hospital, patriotic; honoring our military, not patriotic. Anti-American? No, they just have a socialistic view of what America, their America, should look like.

    But don’t worry, still liberal, after your beloved Democrats get done with this nation, considering such stellar actions of the Democraticly held Congress like suing OPEC, they won’t be able to get elected dog cather.

  6. 6
    open directory Said:
    4:06 am 

    Yes, voters are concerned with jobs leaving for foreign nations. They are concerned with rising gasoline prices which inturn, along with ethanol subsidies, have driven up the cost of food. But it is not that “conservatism” itself does not have an answer for these problems, it is that there is no conservative leadership. The values are still alive and well. The leadership is non-existant.

    I would peg that as one of the top three things wrong with conservatism today. And you’re right. Next Saturday,I will take up the timelessness of conservative “principles” and the problem that there is a disconnect between those principles and ideas due to a myopia on the part of the movement.


  7. 7
    still liberal Said:
    7:11 am 

    still liberal Said:
    11:11 pm

    To retire05:
    “I suspect I will not have much luck trying to talk with you. . .”
    Well, got that one right. First, the draconian discussion was Rick’s, not mine. Did you not see the quotation marks? Secondly, I could give a shit less whether talk radio survives or not. They have the right to say whatever they want, my point was about its impact on conservatism as it changes, not its existence. I don’t support the Fairness Doctrine, free speech and all that silliness is very important to me. Thirdly, I am not a Democrat. Lastly, your litany of suppositions and stereotypic reactions are a major part of the problems with today’s conservatism according to the original article under discussion. At least try to keep up before shifting into insult mode.

  8. 8
    retire05 Said:
    11:12 am 

    still liberal, your post, #4, was not up when I hit “submit comment” for my post #5. But don’t let that stop you from getting your Hanes in a wad. Funny how us conservatives are never supposed to be insulted by the “liberals” but you “liberals” seem to take offense if a conservative mentions the sun coming up.

    Health insurance: perhaps you would like to explain how the federal government forced companies to provide health insurance for their employees other than Workman’s Compensation. Many employee insurance plans were designed in two ways: first through union negotiations and secondly, by benefit packages companies offered to be able to draw quality employees. Now, let me tell you what is going to happen to those company provide health care plans when the government gets involved. POOF. ATT is one example. The CWA’s contracts with ATT ends in August (the old BellSouth contract and SBC’s ends before that.) Health care benefits are a major concern for union negotiators as they feel that ATT is going to want to withdraw many of the previously negotiated plans due to the government providing insurance to all Americans, no matter their income. Getting the government involved in benefits that have been negotiated, over the years, by unions, will only benefit the corporation, not the employee. And once ATT can use the excuse that employees now have another option to gaining health care and they no longer need to provide “cheap” health care, who benefits? Not the employee I can assure you. The CWA is in the pocket of the Democrats and are backing a universal health care plan and union member’s, whose contracts will soon be expiring, are say “WTF? They will just quit giving us our health insurance as a benefit.”
    Perhaps that is why CWA membership is dropping in right to work states.

    Global warming: although you may be buying into the world’s greatest hoax, I don’t. I think that the science behind “global warming”, now called “climate change” for political expendiency, is NOT settled science. As a matter of fact, some climatologist now think we might be going into a cooling trend (mini-ice age) which would give us temperatures and weather much like when Washington crossed the Delaware (near the end of the last mini-ice age). But the global warming alarmist have basically shouted down any dissent. That is what they do.
    Perhaps you should research Maurice Strong and his part in this “humans are ruining the world” senario.

    Government spending responsibility: some things are just too obvious to mention. Millions for shrimp rehabilitation? Woodstock Museum? Bridge to Nowhere? Do you support the Enumerated Powers Act? Do you believe that any money spent by Congress should be based in the limited powers granted to the federal government?

    Because Rick and Packer warned that there would be dissent to their opinions, doen’t make them right. I can say the same thing. It is called CYA. Making sure that you have already said that anyone disagreeing with you is wrong therefore you, once again, shout down the opposition. Say they are wrong before they say anything and your opinion is then not up for dissent.

    Now to correct you on one small poing: conservative values have not changed. What has changed is those who think they are in a position to speak for conservatives. It is like saying “yeah, that is what the Bible says, but that is not how I intrepret it.”

  9. 9
    Belad Said:
    12:34 pm 


    I have one and only one comment to say about your posts.


  10. 10
    DrKrbyLuv Said:
    1:29 pm 


    Not, as you stated – WHAT AILS CONSERVATISM?

    You miss the whole point by lumping conservatism with the current batch of Republicans. Conservatism is robust and relevant in America but has been shunned and abandoned by too many politicians running and serving under the auspices of the Republican Party.

    I, like most conservatives, would remind you that we are conservatives first and Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, et al; second.

    What ails the Republican Party? One word – neo-conservatism.

    The term neo-conservatism is misleading in that it implies that it is some off-shoot or variation of conservatism. Neo-conservatism is no more similar or akin to conservatism than liberalism or fascism. Neo-conservatives see the role of the US as a superpower that must establish and maintain their prescribed global order by military force, interventionism, pre-emptive war, nation building and more foreign aid.

    Neo-conservatives; through President Bush, hi-jacked the Republican Party and took America on a dangerous foreign policy adventure that has left our economy reeling and on the verge of collapse. Sound fiscal management was thrown out the door. Huge deficits were run and the fed printed enormous amounts of money in order to sustain the dominant neo-conservative policies.

    You are not the only one to lump conservatives to the state of the Republican Party. This is a neo-conservative tactic. They have been successfully working to slip neo-conservatism into the Republican platform by calling it conservatism. If they lose this cover, they will be naked and forced to explain their goals to the American people.

    Rupert Murdoch; the neo-con supreme, has been hugely successful in subtly blending neo-conservatism with conservatism. Murdoch’s “fair and balanced” Fox news has effectively branded itself as the outlet for “Republicans and conservatives.” They constantly inject neo-conservative ideology as being in some way, either Republican or conservative. It is not.

    What are core conservative values? (IMHO)

    Conservative core values include small government, greater individual liberties, fiscal responsibility, strong national security and sovereignty, fair trade, reduced taxes and the rule of law prescribed in our Constitution.

    You are free to suggest a new course for the Republican Party but you should not mislead your readers by implying the Republican Party, neo-conservatism and conservatism are one in the same.

  11. 11
    still liberal Said:
    1:55 pm 

    retire o5

    Thank you for your second response. I would agree with you that government did not “force” companies to provide health insurance. Companies did indeed use health insurance to compete for workers during WWII when workers were in short supply, then the government “encouraged” company provided health insurance through tax incentives, eventually institutionalizing the idea. I was wrong to use “force” and appreciate the correction. Be sure that I will read regarding Maurice Strong on your recommendation.

    We agree on unions-will probably lose my liberal card, but the good unions once did in ending many terrible workplace conditions is now outweighed by their contribution to workplace erosion and sending jobs overseas.

    The horrible earmark spending on stupid stuff is a matter we also agree on. It is a trait shared by the right and the left and I don’t know how to make elected officials stop buying votes with our money. Some of this material, we will just agree to disagree, but I respect your opinion even when we don’t agree. Maybe Rick Moran can teach us all something if we give him a chance to further explain the difference between conservative philosophy and movement politics.

  12. 12
    Michael B. Said:
    3:00 pm 

    retire05: Thank you- well put.
    Rick: Don’t know if you are aware, but your response to post #6 was to a quote from retire05 in post #1. “Open Directory” simply posted retire05’s quote.

  13. 13
    retire05 Said:
    4:18 pm 

    DrKrbyLov, while I agree with your argument that conservatism is not related to neo-conservatism, I would also point out that only those who subscribe to doom and gloom (Democrats?) believe that our economy is on the verge of collapse. We, as a nation, have seen worse economies and have survived only to rally back stronger than ever.

    The Republicans lost control in 2006 for one reason; they stopped acting like conservatives and moved farther to the left. It is this very reason that we will continue to lose seats in the House and Senate. Until we convince those who are acting more like Democrats than Republicans that they are going to continue to join the unemployment lines, we will not win elections.

    But to say conservatism, as a political belief, is dead is dead wrong.

  14. 14
    Surabaya Stew Said:
    10:20 pm 

    Hello Rick,

    An interesting read so far, nice work! However, I do have a few questions…

    To what extent are Republicanism and Conservatism bound together? Must they always be linked in matrimony? It is my impression that for many years, “Liberal” Republicans and “Conservative” Democrats were more than an oxymoron; for example there was the Northeast branch of the GOP and the Dixiecrats who had policies and social views considerably out of the party mainstream. Is a bi-partisan Conservative revival a possibility? How about a third party?

    Ok, I’ll shut up now; keep up the good fight!

    Several people have made the point that Republican and conservatism are two different things. I agree to an extent. To me, conservatism is more than a philosophy it is a theory of governing. As such, the GOP is the vessel in which conservatism pours its ideas, its passions, its people.

    Obviously, that vessel is cracked. And conservatism itself is moribund – despite what some of the Pollyannas here say. It has lost its ability to fashion a way of governing that the majority of people agree with much less understand and identify with. Saying you want “smaller government” is like saying “I want it to rain tomorrow.” It is irrelevant. And lower taxes, higher defense spending, less regulation, etc. is not a philosophy – those are political talking points.

    Stay tuned for how I think the philosophy of conservatism – in which there isn’t much wrong at all – can be refocused to address the real needs of people. That’s what Packer was pointing out and that’s the future of conservatism as far as I’m, concerned.


  15. 15
    Our Paul Said:
    11:52 pm 

    Mr. Moran:

    You really ought to change the name of your blog. The power of your pen is such that it deserves wider distribution. How about slipping in a little phrase in front of your current avatar:

    Voice of Reason in a Right Wing Nut House?

  16. 16
    mannning Said:
    12:17 am 

    Retire05: Excellent posts! Your points are right on target.

  17. 17
    may Said:
    12:38 am 

    I had this discussion with my father who is lifelong Reagan conservative.

    He said “what’s wrong with us?” meaning Republicans.

    I told him “You are not able to hear the answer. Beacuse the answer is so hard to hear, you have decided to live in another world. In your bubble world, the fact that we found no WMDs is an old issue, the fact that 4000 US are dead and 50 thousand injured is just too bad because we are at war and they volunteered. The incredible debt we are under is hardly ever addressed and no one in the administration seems able to apologize for any mistake at all.”

    Republicans are unable to look in the mirror and see where we are and take any responsibility for it at all. Every bad thing is Bill Clinton’s fault and every good thing is a spin on something else that’s really not going very well. Bad news is covered up and spun and good news has to be manufactured. ( For example “Good news Americans only 40 US soldiers died last month in Itaq and only 300 were wounded…a great improvement over a year ago…”) You think that would be good news. But for most of us it’s just something you started that sucks that now sucks slightly less. And you want to be patted on the back for this negligibly improved but still quite bloody blunder.

    But 9/11 happened on your watch. Katrina is a Republican mess. Iraq is a Republican war and it is a disaster guys. I mean it’s a blooody expensive disaster. $4.00 gas, a President who has to go crawling to the loathesome Saudis to ask for a little help, I mean this is Republicanism in all all its glory. Torture, incompetence, cover ups, staunchly anti-gay voting but secretly Gay congressmen, attacking opponents personally, Ann Coulter and Rush Limlbaugh and Mona Cahron insulting personal attacks.

    You have Republican representatives who want the 10 commandments in every courtroom but can’t recite more than three themselves. You have Right wing radio talk show hosts comparing Democrats to Neville Chamberlain but can’t giveone iota of factual context.

    It’s hard to say what ails Conservatism. I wouldn’t call this group conservatives. I would call them extremists. I think in some ways Retire05 is your problem. He is a reactionary who fills the comment threads with passionate fact-free retorts filled with condescending slings and arrows.

    But he not only cannot see anything Bush has ever done wrong, every point of view he disagrees with is a “defeatist” or a “coward” or some other perjorative.

    Not exactly an intellectual, but that doesn’t stop him from being by far the most vocal of the group here, and in a way it he is a perfect microcosm of your problem.

  18. 18
    Maggie's Farm Trackbacked With:
    8:14 am 

    Dead, or just resting?...

    From the already-famous Packer piece, The Fall of Conservatism, in The New Yorker:Political tactics have a way of outliving their ability to respond to the felt needs and aspirations of the electorate: Democrats continued to accuse Republicans of bein…

  19. 19
    Headhunt23 Said:
    9:49 am 

    Do you know what ails conservatism? The idea that there has to be “grand ideas” and “intellectual fire” around it.

    Uh, no there doesn’t. In fact, if those things ARE present, then you may rest assured that what follows WON’T be “conservative” in nature. The main problem with conservatism has been the stuff done by Republicans in the name of conservatives. Nixon wasn’t a conservative. Bush hasn’t been conservative (I think by any classical measure GHWB was a more conservative president). But, because the brand of conservative hasn’t been tarnished to the extent that the liberal brand has been, Republicans keep doing stupid, non-conservative crap in its name.

    In actuality, True conservatism must have somewhat of a tiltling at windmills fate attached to it, because at the core, true conservatism really means, as William Buckley said, standing atop history and yelling “Stop!” because quite often, change is counterproductive.

    As a whole, those of us who are conservative must resign ourselves to the knowledge that we are fighting a losing battle – the battle against progress and change, but we are playing a necessary role in that fight, making sure the proposed changes are challenged before implementation, that the posibility the solutions they purport are infact better than the results will be. It is yeoman’s work, but it is work that must be performed, although it is work that must ultimately fail.

    Someone must fight to ensure that the society our forefathers built isn’t changed without good cause. Someone must defend our societal structures and remind everyone how they came to be. Those someones are conservatives.

    We have to think of “change” as a boulder on top of a mountain, our society as a town at the base, and us trying to stop the boulder. Eventually, that boulder is coming to the bottom of the hill. Our job is to slow it down, direct it, and influence it to where it will ultimately do enough good, lest it just rolls down unmolested and destroys the town below.

    What you describe has certainly been the role of conservatism as it relates to modern government. My question is can it be something more than “obstructionist” or a “brake” on social democratic initiatives. That remains to be seen.


  20. 20
    jambrowski Said:
    10:24 am 

    wonderful post, timing perfect, though you could have posted it anytime in the past 4 years and still have been dead on.
    i am wondering if we are seeing the evolution of a new paradigm, things have changed as have society. case in point, i am a self-proclaimed conservative and as to your response to big ideas i agree, just saying that is what you agree with doesn’t do it. we are really seeing it in the schisms within the GOP, but what next. the real problem lies in the basic two party system in the US. a two party system is not a democracy, and i would almost say that we have two theocracy’s where if you don’t agree with the party (vote the party line(like in big daddy delay’s case)) you ain’t going to get any campaign monies. rick,
    my question to you is, will we see a break to more parties like in other civilized nations? i mean to say you are independent does not lend you technically to a party nor does it give you tremendous voting power (unless all states have open primaries). oh, and DrKrbyLuv i throughly agree with your statement above, the problem isn’t conservatives the problem is in the GOP and the destruction and bullying caused by delay and hasterd.

    No chance of 3rd parties catching on. Inevitably, the major parties address the concerns of the threatening 3rd party and simply absorb them into the two party system.

    Something cataclysmic would have to happen for that to change.


  21. 21
    Gayle Miller Said:
    11:01 am 

    “He said “what’s wrong with us?” meaning Republicans.

    I told him “You are not able to hear the answer. Because the answer is so hard to hear, you have decided to live in another world. In your bubble world, the fact that we found no WMDs is an old issue, the fact that 4000 US are dead and 50 thousand injured is just too bad because we are at war and they volunteered. The incredible debt we are under is hardly ever addressed and no one in the administration seems able to apologize for any mistake at all.””

    Mae – clearly you’ve not been listening very well either. WMDs WERE found in Iraq and proof has likewise been found that an enormous quantity of the WMDs that weren’t found were shipped to Syria. Your precious William Jefferson Clinton said they were there, as did Madeleine Albright. But of course, reality would definitely put a crimp in your BDS wouldn’t it?

    Let’s talk about the DEMOCRATS in Louisiana who never gave much thought to the fact that a city built UNDER sea level might flood, should there ever be a decent-sized hurricane and who, when warned for several full days before Katrina hit them, STILL failed to use their own disaster management plan!

    The gas prices have begun to rise precipitously on the watch of a DEMOCRATIC congress and the economy which is not and never has been in recession during this administration (slowed growth is not recession and if you think it is Mae, then you are an idiot)has actually slowed SINCE the Democrats took the majority in Congress.

    Iraq is not a disaster and if you looked somewhere other than the mainstream media, you’d know that. We are actually DEFEATING Al Qaeda in Iraq – but that would interfere with your terminal case of BDS too, wouldn’t it.

    When have the mainstream media ever apologized? When has a Democrat ever apologized? When that incredible numbskull Murtha DEFAMED American Marines by claiming they had committed atrocities in Haditha, the mainstream media was all over it like flies on a pile of excrement. When ALL the Marines were cleared of wrongdoing – all of them – did Rep. Murtha utter one word of apology? Hell no!

    The EXECUTIVE doesn’t authorize the money expenditures – CONGRESS does that. Learn how your damned government operates before you start mouthing ignorant commentary. I do blame President Bush for not restraining a runaway legislative branch but he didn’t attach the endless reams of PORK to various spending bills, did he? And now that he has started vetoing the most egregious of them, the Dems in Congress are squealing like stuck pigs!

    So Mae, before you start spouting sanctimonious falsehoods, get actual facts. Do a little research, open up your brain and let the fresh breeze of reality blow through.

  22. 22
    Headhunt23 Said:
    11:46 am 

    Rick…in response to your note on my earlier post.

    If your question is whether or not “conservativism can be more than a brake”, then I submit you are asking the wrong question, because the answer to that one is “no”.

    It can not, but it also should not. Conservatives, by definition, are to preserve the status quo. If you want to change the status quo – that’s fine, and even admirable at times, but it isn’t “conservative”, and I really wish people would quit dressing up their change initiatives in conservative garb.

    NCLB wasn’t “conservative” because it introduced more accountability – it was liberal because it changed the status quo AND increased the state control over education, a province of state and local government. The prescription drug legislation wasn’t conservative. Illegal immigrant amnesty isn’t conservative. Bush’s overall spending record hasn’t been conservative. In fact, I scratch my head and strain to figure out WHAT initiatives exactly did Bush accomplish or even push for that are conservative.

    But, conservatives get straddled with all of those monstrasities because the were perpetrated by a Republican. It’s past time we quit allowing allegedly “conservative” policitians to quit bastardizing our brand – especially since the only thing those politicians are interested in conserving is their own office.

  23. 23
    bb Said:
    4:54 pm 

    I agree with Mae.

    Hate to, but I do.

    I mean Puh-leeeease don’t start that crap about how we found WMDs in Iraq.

    We did not find any. It was very embarrassing.

    And rising gas prices are Bill Clinton’s fault?????!

    I was in Atlanta the Day GWB took office and I filled my tank up at $1.73 a gallon.

    I do think we are going to have to apologize for what we’ve done…or rather…for what has transpired on our watch.

    Also, was it the Democrats who built New Orleans under water or was it the Spanish and later the French and finally the British? No…it was the Democrats. As Mae said, and as Republican I hate to admit it, but we MUST take some responsibility for this.

  24. 24
    betty Said:
    5:03 pm 

    Truer words never spoken

    “If you want to take back the lead again, you have to face what you have done, be able to say “this war was a mistake,” just like Scott McClellan. You have to admit it, say it’s wrong and apologize before anyone will ever trust you again.”

  25. 25
    may Said:
    5:04 pm 

    Now stop erasing this

    There we go again.
    Right on cue.

    More spin. More “it’s Clinton’s Fault”...More….”No it’s all great in Iraq…we’re defeating al quaeda.”

    Last I read Al Quaeda was stronger than ever and recruiting by the thousands. I guess in FoxNews world we really are defeating them.

    What liberal outlet said that? Oh…The National Intelligence Estimate said that “Al Quaeda is resurgent and stronger than ever.” It is a matter of public record. So did Richard Clarke who served under Reagan, Bush 41 and for a while GWB. So does Michael Scheuer, the guy who discovered Al Quaeda.

    Sorry my friend but three hand picked teams of weapons experts, one led by David Kaye, one by Hans Blix and one by a physicist who heads the IAEA could not find one sustainable piece of evidence that Saddam had an assembly line of any kind going on WMDs. No heavy nuclear particle emissions…no chemical precursors…nothing. De nada. Zip.

    No evidence for the reason why we went to war.

    The weapons they found were a few negligible shells filled with old inert Sarin and VX gas that WE SOLD THEM to fire at the Kurds.

    Were those shells the reason we marched into Iraq?

    We did not find WMDs.

    Gas price did not start rising 8 years ago. They went from $1.50 a gallon to $3.00 in one year.

    My two sons are in Iraq. One is there for his third time. And he says it’s worse and worse and worse. Not better. His buddies say it’s a lost cause they’re Marines.

    You are going to sit here and lecture me that one can just put his hands in his pocket and walk down any street in Baghdad? Our own senators couldn’t do it without a contingent of mercenaries. There are still about 3 hours a day of electricity in Al Anbar province. Journalists cannot leave the Green Zoner without guard.

    That’s all good?

    More Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion than Saddam killed and you’re defending this.

    You’re also an example of the problem. The repsonse to Katrina was not a Democratic problem. Republicans had the WH, the Senate and Congress and couldn’t save a single perrson and despite all Bush’s promises about helping katrina, it’s all been a big unfulfilled promise.

    If you want to take back the lead again, you have to face what you have done, be able to say “this war was a mistake,” just like Scott McClellan. You have to admit it, say it’s wrong and apologize before anyone will ever trust you again.

    The economy, the war, the horrid health care Americans get, the poor education, that’s conservatism.

  26. 26
    rethuglican Said:
    6:51 pm 

    “During the “political propaganda campaign to sell the war to the American people,” Bush and his team tried to make the “WMD threat and the Iraqi connection to terrorism appear just a little more certain, a little less questionable than they were.” Something else was downplayed as well, McClellan says: any discussion of “the possible unpleasant consequences of war _ casualties, economic effects, geopolitical risks, diplomatic repercussions.”

    -Scott McClellan

    Maybe this is what ails conservatism.

  27. 27
    holistic Said:
    6:52 pm 

    I hate to disagree with one my own but as I recall we actually found no WMDs.

  28. 28
    DrKrbyLuv Said:
    7:01 pm 

    In response to retire05, 4:18 pm, Post #13

    retire05 said: “But to say conservatism, as a political belief, is dead is dead wrong.”

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear in post, I consider myself to be a conservative. In my post I mentioned that “Conservatism is robust and relevant in America” – accept my clarification; Conservatism is not dead!

    BTW: Enjoyed your posts!


    In response to jambrowski, 10:24 am, Post #20

    jambrowski said: “the real problem lies in the basic two party system in the US. a two party system is not a democracy, and i would almost say that we have two theocracy’s”

    Great post, I totally agree, the current two party system is no longer serving the needs and wants of the American people as evidenced by a recent (May 21, 2008) Reuters/Zogby poll, Index: Mood of Americans Turns Dour. The survey showed:

    23%, Job approval rating for President Bush (an all-time low)
    11%, Job approval rating for Congress (ties the previous all time low)
    73%, Likely voters believe the nation is on the wrong track

    The Democrats and Republicans earned these dismal ratings through their arrogant disregard for the people’s preferences, sound fiscal policies and countless violations of the rule of law and our Constitution. Instead, they serve special interest groups, party loyalty, lobbyists and dangerous global neo-conservatives.

    If the two parties don’t reform and put our country’s interest first and foremost, then I think we will see one or more new political parties emerging.

  29. 29
    wanda Said:
    10:09 pm 

    Now Gayle

    come on

    We are defeating Al Quaeda? what about the national Intelligence Estimate that says “Al Quaeda is is resurgent and stronger than ever?”

  30. 30
    retire05 Said:
    11:58 pm 

    May, I could go into bloody detail about how wrong you are on so many issues, but since I had first hand experience with Katrina (going there to volunteer after the storm) I would like to address that:

    The state of Louisiana, like all other states, has to file their Emergency Preparedness Plan with the feds. And so they did. Not one thing, NOT ONE DAMN THING, was followed in that plan by the Democrats who were running Louisiana at the time.
    The SuperDome was never listed on their EPP as a shelter. The governor, Kathleen Blanco, was so rude to the Red Cross when she refused to allow them to take supplies to the SuperDome the RC even posted an apology for her ineptness on their website (the apology was to all the people they could NOT help due to Kathleen Blanco). If Katrina proved anything, it was how people, when given cradle to grave entitlements, lose the will to take care of themselves.
    Also, in the EPP every state has, it clearly agrees that the local/state first reponders will be responsible for up to 72 hours. The New Orleans Fire Department did an awsome job. The New Orleans Police Department bailed. They left town. They left their posts and left the city to anarchy.

    So let me see if I understand you; you think that even if a municipality agrees that it’s own first responders will be responsible for up to 72 hours, knowing that they have agreed to that, they should not be held to that agreement? I see. Then explain to me why Rita did not have the same affect on Texas or Katrina did not have the same affect in lower Mississippi? But I guess if you house catches on fire, you will sit on your roof waiting for the feds to come and get you. Good luck with that policy.

    When Katrina was imminent, Texas Governor Rick Perry stationed Texas National Guard at the state line with Louisiana. He notified Kathleen Blanco that the troops were there and were ready to enter Louisiana to help immediately upon landfall. SHE REFUSED THEM and did not take help from the Texas Guard for two days.

    Louisiana was not a failure of the Bush administration as it was of the pathetic leadership of Lousiana and the citizens of Louisiana themselves for thinking that the government is responsible for their safety. Someone needs to explain to them, and you, what first responder means and FEMA is, and never was, designed to be first responders.

    It is just such people as yourself that makes me wonder where this nation will be in 50 years.

  31. 31
    Thomas Jackson Said:
    2:41 am 

    Packer’s braying is so old hat. But your contentions that ideas are stale don’t pass the laugh test. Do you believe the principles espoused by the Declareation of Independence are stale? Perhaps the arguments found in the Federalist Papers are just old hat too?

    We need CHANGE! Fresh Ideas like:

    And more idiots to tell us whats wrong with Kansas.

    And I though Snobama was the only one who could see the dead.

  32. 32
    libarbarian Said:
    11:47 am 

    Packer did not quote from Without a Conscience, John Dean’s lengthy tome purporting to show the right is in love with authoritarianism and dictatorship perhaps because serious problems have been found with the methodology used by the authors of the study on which the book is based.


  33. 33
    libarbarian Said:
    12:07 pm 

    Climate change: I am of the opinion that one day we will see the whole global warming issue as one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on mankind designed for one purpose, the reduction of the power and influence of the United States..

    Climate Change may not be as bad as some think, but the idea that its a deliberate hoax intended to undermine America is paranoid stupidity.

    That paranoia-induced denial is exactly why the only solutions being offered come from the far-left. So long as we stay out of the park, they will be the only ones in the game. The public will think their solutions are the only solutions.

    Its not a hoax. I dont care if you believe it because you will likely live long enough to see your error firsthand.

  34. 34
    libarbarian Said:
    12:07 pm 


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