Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Decision '08, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 7:50 am

John Hawkins of Right Wing News has conducted one of his famous blogger polls of the rightosphere, asking the top 240 conservatives their thoughts on the election.

Now, I have been blogging 4 years and John has been asking the top 240 conservatives their thoughts on everything from politics to culture during most of that time but somehow, my invitation to participate in his surveys has either been captured by my spam filter and devoured or was lost in the ether between John’s computer and mine.

Being the sensitive, modest, and retiring sort of fellow that I am, I have never said anything about it until now. Perhaps I am ranked 241 or 242, or, God help us, 243 in which case I should probably adjust my ego-o-meter and remove myself from the lofty perch upon which I have sat lo these many years, surveying the political landscape, all the time believing I was some kind of conservative sage - or some frothing at the mouth, fire breathing, rip snorting, bug-eyed, right wing nut.

Evidently not.

Now it could also be that John Hawkins doesn’t know me from Adam and could care less about my opinion. In that, he would be no different than the 99.8% of conservatives who surf the blogosphere. All bloggers have their groupies and since mine tend more toward the fat, middle aged, male and balding variety, I can’t say that I blame Hawkins for giving me a pass on his list of conservatives who are chosen to participate in his survey.

There is a third possibility, one that I am loathe to contemplate. In fact, the chasm that opens beneath my feet just thinking about the potentially life altering realization inherent in Mr. Hawkins’ failure to include me on his list of conservative bloggers is almost more than I can bear.

Perhaps there are some of you out there who don’t think of me as a “conservative.”

(Note: I’m sure Hawkins has his reasons for not including me and the following is in no way directed toward him)

And that got me to thinking. Since the right appears about ready to suffer a stinging defeat at the polls a week from today - an event that will result in civil war between various factions of conservatism - perhaps one way I can improve my position in the rightosphere would be by helping to define just what is a conservative? What do we believe? Should we give everyone a test and have them answer 20 questions on the nature of conservative thought? Or do we just let a bunch of ignoramuses who wouldn’t know Burke from Burger King inform us who is and who isn’t a person of the right based on their own narrow, illogical, and emotional criteria?

(How’s that for a “shot heard round the blogosphere” my knuckledragging friends?)

For it appears to me from my vantage point that we are entering a period where someone’s conservative bona fides will not depend on what he believes as an intellectual frame of reference that informs his stand on issues as much as how much he agrees with Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulter (I would include Michael Savage in that bunch but really now, doesn’t one have to be a human being to be a conservative?)

If it were just the titans of talk radio that most people who believe themselves to be conservative look to as a yardstick to measure one’s ideological purity, I could probably live with that. Hannity and Limbaugh are great entertainers and Coulter has a wickedly sharp pen that she employs against the left to great effect.

But beyond the marshmallow conservatism of Hannity and the more substantiative but graceless conservative pop served up by Limbaugh, there lies a whole slew of litmus tests where many of these conservabots will brook no opposition, no nuance, no independent thinking whatsoever.

A partial listing:

If you are pro-choice to one degree or another, you are not a conservative.

If you criticize the war or the military, you are not a conservative and unpatriotic to boot.

If you say anything nice about a liberal anytime, anywhere - if you agree with a liberal on anything or praise a liberal past, present, or future - you are not a conservative.

If you don’t agree that torturing the enemy is necessary and/or good, you are not a conservative.

If you say anything nice about any media besides conservative mags, talk radio and Fox News, you are not a conservative.

If you believe in evolution, you are not a conservative and are probably going to hell.

If you believe that there is a possibility of man made global warming based on scientific evidence collected so far, you are not a conservative and should probably be committed.

If you believe that Barack Obama is just a stupid liberal and not a clone of Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, and Osama Bin Laden all rolled into one, you are not a conservative.

If you believe that Democrats don’t have horns, a tail, and a pitchfork, you are not a conservative.

And most of all, unless you believe Sarah Palin is the second coming of Ronald Reagan, the bees knees, the cat’s meow, the apple of our eye, and the greatest thing to hit the conservative movement and the Republican party since Robert Taft first uttered the immortal words “US out of the UN” - you are not a conservative.

For my stands on any one of these litmus test issues, I have been branded a “liberal,” and a “moderate” and even worse “an elitist.”

So just what is it, as a conservative, that I believe?

I believe first and foremost in American exceptionalism - the idea that we are a different country and people from any other nation on earth.

I believe the free market economic system is the fairest, the most productive, and the greatest engine for human liberty ever conceived.

I believe that American defenses must be second to none - conventional and strategic.

I believe in a robust, forward thinking, “America first” foreign policy.

I believe in a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution and that a president should appoint judges to the federal courts who reflect that view.

I believe in the inviolable rights of private property as the guarantor of American liberty.

I believe in equality of opportunity for all Americans regardless of color, ethnic heritage, or national origin.

I believe America should strive to create the smallest government realistically possible, possessing the lightest touch imaginable on the individual citizen.

I believe in a just and moral society with a as clear a sense of right and wrong as is consistent with reality.

I believe that all of these things should be taught in American schools and that an appreciation of these values and qualities should be encouraged.

And I believe we should have the freedom to say what we think, write what we want, worship however the hell we please, do anything, go anywhere, and enjoy life according to our own lights - as long as we do no harm to anyone’s person or property.

I have written passionately in support of each and every one of these subjects over the last 4 years and have believed in them most of my adult life. And I refuse to be catalogued, pigeonholed, and denigrated as anything other than what I am - a strong, principled conservative who doesn’t care what the kewl kids are thinking and instead, bases his informed opinion on the specifics of an issue and how it fits (or doesn’t) into a logical, coherent set of moral and intellectual precepts.

The mindless barbarism of some conservatives (or more accurately, people who believe themselves to be “conservative”) who deign to sit in judgement on my core beliefs and determine, by the use of some completely arbitrary and idiotic litmus tests, whether they are “conservative enough” is symptomatic of a sickness of thought and reason that appears to me to be sweeping the right the closer we get to this election Armageddon. I don’t know whether it is simple hysteria that has clouded their judgement or whether they’ve come down with a permanent case of the intellectual runs. All I know is they are wrong - totally, completely, now and forever, 100%, fatally and tragically wrong.

So, I would say to my knuckledragging friends; you can take your litmus tests, your conservative measuring stick to determine the “purity” of my conservatism, your crazy conspiracy theories, your anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-elitist bullsh*t and stick it up your ass.

Don’t you know there’s a war on?


  1. Well, this is disturbing. I agree with every one of your “I believes” with the sole exception of strict constructionism, (depending on the definitions involved.)

    Plus I kind of like the Burker King Whopper. No tomatoes. Tomatoes are for socialists.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/28/2008 @ 8:12 am

  2. Looking at that manifesto, I’d say you are a classical liberal. Welcome to the club! Too bad the post-’68 lefties have run all the classical liberals way over to the rightwing nuthouse.

    Comment by Dan D — 10/28/2008 @ 9:01 am

  3. Here’s the rub, Rick. I also agree with all of your principles with the exception of the “strict constructionist” provision for judges. You and I can start with general agreement and, when we have to decide how to govern the community, end up with different policies.

    This is the essence of politics, yet electioneering nowadays pays very short shrift to the politics of governing- because it’s messy, complicated, and requires an adult capability to compromise. Instead, cynical people create straw men (aka “wedge issues”) to play to the basest part of the electorate.

    Another tactic of the cynical types is to promote the idea that people who don’t share your beliefs are at best stupid, and at worst, eeeevil. Again, it works because people like to be part of the smart, morally correct group as opposed to those morons on the other side.

    It’s particularly galling that a policy maker who really acts according to the idea that “people of good will can have spirited disagreements” is particularly susceptible to an attack mediated by cynical, manipulative people.

    Comment by Postagoras — 10/28/2008 @ 9:22 am

  4. Dang it. I agreed with all of your “I Believe” statements. Since you can piss me off more than just about any other blogger out there, this is worrisome. Perhaps I am a jerk, too!?

    I do believe, though, that you are not a conservative by today’s definition. Neither am I. I think I will start my own party. Call it the “Get Out Of My Face, Asshole” party. GOOMFA, for short.

    Comment by jjmurphy — 10/28/2008 @ 9:23 am

  5. Because you’ve turned comments back on I’m going to assume you have some interest in feedback to your site. I found this site only a few weeks ago because of my interest in the presidential election. I don’t normally read blogs, political or otherwise. I read a couple of your entries and was impressed. Your writing and arguments were well thought out and made me think. I bookmarked the site and continued to read.

    Unfortunately, the last couple of weeks has been a disappointment. Not because of what you have written about McCain, Palin or Noonan but because of your reaction to the criticism of those writings. The well thought-out arguments I was impressed by have been replaced by angry, defensive ranting. Example: “So, I would say to my knuckledragging friends; you can take your litmus tests, your conservative measuring stick to determine the “purity” of my conservatism, your crazy conspiracy theories, your anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-elitist bullsh*t and stick it up your ass.” You’re better than this puerile response.

    Or maybe you aren’t. Since I’m new here, perhaps when I first read your blog I caught you during one of your thoughtful periods and you’re in one of your ranting periods now.

    I’m just about full on political talk at the moment. I’ll check back sometime after the election to see if the thoughtful Rick has returned. In the meantime, here’s some tried and true internet advice to help you get through: Don’t feed the trolls.

    Comment by Lagnaut — 10/28/2008 @ 9:26 am

  6. Here’s a way to determine conservatism. If you vote for Barack Obama, for whatever reason, you are not conservative and have forfeited the right ever to claim to be so.

    I imagine you will be proven wrong about Obama’s ideological moorings, which sound in dimestore Marxism and collegiate socialism, but that is yet to be proved. So just say he is a very liberal senator, and a putative conservative votes for him as protest or whatever. That person is not a conservative. That’s a simple enough test, and one that is better than whether someone is pro-choice to some degree or another.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 10/28/2008 @ 9:41 am

  7. How fortunate I should make the fairly unusual stop at what I, upon only a few stops here, decided was a moderate, “moral equivalence” blog-spot, just in time to say “MODERATE!”

    Merely reading the list of so-called musts(hyperboles) for a *conservative* pretty much gives away the game, but the defensiveness in the “I Believe” section clinches it. When one must make a defense for *conservative* bona fides (as Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Steyn, Sobran, Sowell, Farah, Schlafly, Cal Thomas, David Limbaugh, among others, would not have to defend their *conservativism* label) they may claim some *conservative* common points, but that does not a *conservative* make. Topping it off would be the knocking of real “movementarians”. Reagan conservatism is *conservatism*, everything thing else is a compromise position.

    The reason I listed those conservative principles is because there are plenty of dolts like you who have no clue what “conservative” means. If Hannity or Rush doesn’t talk about it, it’s not conservative. Or worse, if they rail against it, it must be liberal or “moderate.”

    I frankly don’t care what any of my more ignorant readers think except in the grand scheme of things, I despise the rise of anti-intellectualism that people like you represent. I think it best to chastise you and either shame you in getting some kind of education about the true nature of conservatism or to simply shut you up and let the adults in the room talk business.


    Comment by J David — 10/28/2008 @ 10:17 am

  8. Rick says,
    >> So, I would say to my knuckledragging friends; you can take your litmus tests, your conservative measuring stick to determine the “purity” of my conservatism, your crazy conspiracy theories, your anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-elitist bullsh*t and stick it up your ass.>>

    Rick, how is this - which is interspersed throughout your blog post, by the way - ANY different from what they are doing to you? The pot calleth the kettle black, methinks.

    So when you say, “the war is on”, well, you’re a part of the circular firing squad, I think.

    Many of us who object to the “so-called conservatives” abandoning McCain because of the Palin pick do so because their defense of their decision NEVER contains an explanation that can be called conservative. It never does. Most of these switchers haven’t offered a genuine, passionate defense of conservative principles in years, as well. Why don’t I have the right to think that they’re simply looking out for their own self-interests, in maintaining a seat with what I call “the washington d.c. cocktail party”? (a metaphor to make a point!) Why can’t I criticize them for abandoning principle and abandoning us?

    Comment by Michael Devereaux — 10/28/2008 @ 10:50 am

  9. hy, Give something to help the hungry people in Africa or India,
    I added this blog about them:
    on http://tinyurl.com/6p6lb8

    Comment by cheritycall — 10/28/2008 @ 12:23 pm

  10. Hahahaha, that must be the pathetic whiniest pieces i’ve read outside Democratic Underground and Ron Paul forums.

    You really made my day there, friend. Just be sure to take your pills on time!

    Comment by Dr. Fabulous — 10/28/2008 @ 12:30 pm

  11. Rick,


    I think most of your tenets are nearly universal in their support. It is the application of those beliefs that defines a person. I will say that I STRONGLY disagree that American exceptionalism is an ideal to strive for. But that is a different discussion.

    The coming war for the soul of the Republican Party is near. Even in the very unlikely case of McCain winning on Tuesday, the party will be in complete disarray.

    This will, by neccesity, create a power struggle. Clearly Sarah Palin is looking to become a leader of one faction. And her minions are looking for true believers.

    I think that the Fred Thompson wing of the party is still in a state of confusion, as is the country club wing. They will likely not begin to gather their base for the fight until after the elections. Unlike the Palinites, they don’t have a standard bearer to look to right now. But they will find them.

    Comment by flyerhawk — 10/28/2008 @ 12:32 pm

  12. More important than labels are open and respectful (and informed) discussions. I also get pxxxxx off when people just throw around the club “now you are excluded” or you are not a “real conservative”. As Ron Paul has shown you can be against the war in Iraq and still be a conservative. Now I don’t want to discuss the merits of his positions in this post but just show that you can respectfully agree or disagree with certain positions without being labeled nuts, liberal, RINO etc. However, in a dynamic movement that I still hope conservatism is, knowledge of the roots and history is as important as not being afraid to question dogmas that might no longer be applicable. For example right now, how free should the markets be, how much regulation etc. I frankly don’t really know.
    The other problem that I see is this pathological hatred of anything liberal that often clouds any fruitful discussions. I mean I have liberal friends and I think they are great people (just not in politics) and I always have to smile when I hear Robert Byrd giving his pompous speeches (there you go old cracker). I mean that is a great show!

    Comment by funny man — 10/28/2008 @ 12:39 pm

  13. To let the fun start, how is this:


    Comment by funny man — 10/28/2008 @ 1:25 pm

  14. The term “strict constructionist” is probably liberal term invented in academia as a dysphemism to make proper interpretation of the Constitution seem like a bad thing.

    The Constitution says what it means and means what it says. It has an amendment process so we can add other things that we think it should say. Instead of just making up what we think it says, we should rule that it says what it says. The legislative branches all over the country have the right (and duty) to correct and amend it as needed.

    If that is “strict construction”, then sign me up. No need to splinter those who believe in liberty over a term invented to make sound judicial interpretation sound like a bad thing.

    Bravo! Well said.


    Comment by CGomez — 10/28/2008 @ 1:48 pm

  15. Rick,

    There are many people who are not interested in politics who suddenly become interested when an election rolls around. This might explain some of the nasty anti-intellectualism running rampant on the internet right now (but not all of it). People are angry and confused and choose to lash out at those who have opinions they do not understand.

    But part of this lack of knowledge about conservatism could come from a real leadership void in the conservative movement. I think leadership void needs to be addressed because liberalism does not have that problem. Liberalism has tons of leaders teaching new voters about liberalism everyday–it’s called college. If we want conservatism to survive, we need to come up with a more attractive vessel to educate the masses on conservative principles than the religious right or radio shows.

    Comment by Shelby — 10/28/2008 @ 2:13 pm

  16. Help me out, here. I’m just trying to get this straight:
    All who agree with your enlightened, erudite positions are Intellectual Conservatives.
    All who don’t are anti-intellectual, knuckledragging trolls.
    Do I have that right?

    No. But in your case I’ll make an exception.


    Comment by Keith Kunzler — 10/28/2008 @ 2:44 pm

  17. As someone who recently got pointed at this site and liked some of what I read I’d like to add a defense for those who abandoned McCain when he apointed Palin.

    If you have a partnership in a company that has a pretty good CEO, and he picks someone as his replacement whom you think is going to run the company into the ground, and who is not of the same mindset as the current CEO… are you a traitor if you sell your partnership and invest it into something that is more likely to keep making money?

    Comment by Pan_theFrog — 10/28/2008 @ 3:03 pm

  18. The GOP stands at a crossroads. Republicans can pretend that nothing has really changed, that this is still a “center-right” nation, and that only an ill-timed economic meltdown cost them the White House. This means leaving their party in the hands of the “movement conservatives” who have dominated the GOP for decades: the demagogues of reaction and resentment, the Christian rightists, the “values” voters, the anti-tax, anti-government zealots, the nativists, anti-rationalists and anti-secularists. The culmination of this approach would be to nominate Sarah Palin as their presidential candidate in 2016. Or they can move to the center, accept that progressive taxation is not just necessary to run a country but that it is a legitimate part of the social contract, accept that markets need some regulation, and try to reach out to all Americans, not just their base.

    Comment by Obama08' — 10/28/2008 @ 3:07 pm

  19. “Don’t you know there’s a war on?”

    I agree with your I Believes. I get that you don’t appreciate people’s unthoughtful answers, or mean spiritedness. There is no need in that, it is not courteous or constructive. I DO think you wave the red flag a bit in your posts. Just anticipating the reponses. Maybe you like the fight more than you realize? Because you are inviting it, even if unwittingly.

    I appreciate people like you. We need people like you. You are intellectual in your approach. Our pop driven culture is not. I want to urge you that though it is best to rule by our heads, we must not leave out the heart entirely. Meaning you have an opportunity to lead by example.

    If you are going to write these inciteful posts, go the extra mile and do it expecting the best reactions from people. When you get the worst, deal with them on an individual basis. Let’s not spread the table invite the guests, then throw water in their faces as they approach the table, in case they might critque your meal in a way which you don’t prefer.

    As a person who is very humble and needy in the smarts department, I appreciate and know that our culture in in need of intellectuals who are not snobs (sorry) and don’t over think so much (I really think that was the case with the Palin Moral Cowardice post). But, that DO offer us good clear thinking.

    All I am trying to say is, soemtimes I think intellectuals get a little full of themselves. Lots of times I think the rest of us take the easy way and get caught up in the catch phrases and sound bites, and that’s a shame and dangerous. But, we all bring the best out in each other when we are courteous and thoughtful in our discourse.

    Please don’t give up on us. We need people like you.

    Comment by freetofly — 10/28/2008 @ 3:10 pm

  20. Rick,

    Just started visiting this site a couple of weeks ago and definitely view you as a conservative. I look forward to reading your column every day, even if I disagree with some of what you say. Was surprised to see that you’re not pro-life, but one issue does not kick you off the team. While some of the litmus tests are funny (horns,tails and pitchforks and Marx, Hitler and BinLaden rolled into one on the dems)I think the real point is that true conservatives welcome debate on any matter and are confident in their point of view. The liberals dismiss the concept of debate and always paint the conservative as slow or dim-witted. Liberals loved John McCain until he was nominated. Kerry asked him to be his VP candidate four years ago. The NYTimes even endorsed him to be the GOP candidate. That’s because he was the least conservative of the candidates. Now, running a bit more to the right, they look at him as the one with the horns and pitchfork. And to suggest that Obama’s record should be examined more closely (at least as closely as Palin’s) does not mean that I think he is the equivalent of Hitler or Marx or Bin Laden.

    Comment by ajt — 10/28/2008 @ 4:00 pm

  21. Perhaps I am ranked 241 or 242, or, God help us, 243
    I’m sure you’re #241.
    I must be in the low 240s.

    Comment by Fausta — 10/28/2008 @ 5:20 pm

  22. I believe in a uniquely American culture that actively and fervently supports each of the tenets mentioned by Moran above. I use the word culture in its broadest, most encompassing sense.

    It is a culture that is both quietly and loudly patriotic in defense of Americanism at any given moment;

    and it shows this support when called upon to do the work of freedom and liberty where needed, even unto giving one’s life.

    Further, I believe in full assimilation of other cultures into this American culture, not preserving foreign cultures for their own sake, or for adopting their cultural ideas, except as a celebration of origins and ancestry.

    I believe that it is our common
    American Culture
    that most immediately guides us into the American way, while it is obviously underpinned amd reenforced by our founding documents, our body of law, our customs and traditions, and our institutions.

    Finally, I believe that the principle task of our government is the security and well-being of our poeple against all threats to our way of life, foreign and domestic.

    Comment by mannning — 10/28/2008 @ 5:29 pm

  23. A question about your definitions of what it means to be a conservative: what does “a robust, forward thinking, “America first” foreign policy” really mean? That sounds rather open ended to me! Otherwise, on a personal level I broadly agree with your beliefs, with the exception of the “Constitutional Judges”.

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 10/28/2008 @ 5:37 pm

  24. Wow! This guy is so desperate for “hits”, he’s starting as many “fires” as possible. “Eff you! And you and you and you and your little dog too!” he yells at a rapidly shrinking reader base, no matter how tame the responses are. Sad really

    Comment by JWS — 10/28/2008 @ 5:43 pm

  25. Man, take a couple of months away from the Nuthouse and look at all the drama I’ve missed!

    I’ve said before on this site, I think Mr. M has zeroed in on a fundamental disconnect in the Right — the distinction between Conservative and Republican. Perhaps the two words were interchangable in the past, but more and more the Repub identity has discarded (IMHO) the concept of “Conservative” for a litmus-test approach not too different from what Mr. M outlined above.
    A group numbering in the millions has to have some flexibiltiy in how it defines membership . . . there’s simply too much individuality among Americans to expect mass conformity to a checklist (and thank God for that). The more the party has demanded absolute conformity, the more it has forced itself to exclude intellectual bretheren.
    I know alot of Conservatives, and I know alot of Republicans. Over the last decade, those two groups have become distinct from one another, to the point that most of my Republican friends cannot explain why they believe the “talking points” except to call me a commie for questioning them, and most of my Conervative friends cannot explain why they feel a kinship with the Repuplican Part except out of a sense that they can’t be Democratic or Independent due to some legacy obligation.
    Conservatism will not die, but if the Republican Party cannot re-define itself it faces serious risks, and that’s bad for the Country — I don’t want an unchecked Dem gonvernment anymore than an unchecked Repub government. Here’s hoping some time in the wilderness leads to some productive soul-searching for the perty.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/28/2008 @ 5:51 pm

  26. We need a spirited discussion of how best to protect individual liberties and where we should take the movement after this election.

    We need to have that debate after the election.

    Part of the reason you have gotten some intemperate comments is because you seem to be doing everything to depress turnout amongst the base. Joining with the cacaphony of Obama inevitability.

    Perhaps you think your being realistic. To be sure the odds are against us.
    However, a realistic assessment of the odds would have led to surrender at the battles of Fort McHenry, Samar, Farnborough Head, The Lost Batallion in the Argonne Forest or for that matter the Election of 1948.

    Fortunately you were not a senior advisor in any of those events.

    This is not meant to be petty or mean but to remind you that politics is a team sport.

    There is a great need for the sort of thoughtful commentary that your site is known for in the conservative movement. The time for that is prior to the nomination and after the election. McCain Palin is a far from ideal ticket.

    However, both of these are infinitely preferable to Obama. If you can’t grasp that…there is a problem.

    This election may well be closer than you say and the odds are certainly against us. But I’m weary of those on our side giving up and cedeing the election already.

    If we loose I far prefer to go out like the fighters at the Alamo than the Goliad…the result was the same in either case but one group is rather better remembered.

    Obama may be as you say, just another silly liberal, but if he wins and the Congress is utterly democratic the say hello to the fairness doctrine, goodbye to talk radio and possibly even restrictions on internet politicizing. The Obama campaign has talked openly about revoking FCC liscences and is cutting off TV stations that ask them tough questions.
    The Dems will control the horizontal and the vertical and are determined to close the holes that allowed Republicans to take from them the power that lefties consider their birthright by virtue of the march of history.

    Add the complicity of the media…which seems to be banking on this as a way to regain market share through legislation.
    Add the prospect of ACORN type shenanigans…federally supported…and it becomes clear that if we loose this utterly, coming out of the electoral pit will be a climb up a very long greased rope…and may not be possible.

    That is why people are upset with you.

    This is a BIG election…too important to piss away on the sort on ‘nice to haves’ that you and I both largely agree on.
    Long and thoughtful discussion is needed after the election…but for now encouragement, determination, inspiration and basically anything but defeatism is what is needed.

    We do have a shot, abliet a slim one. Dispair and name calling directed at your teamates this late in the game is a sure path to defeat.

    Comment by Ken Talton — 10/28/2008 @ 7:21 pm

  27. Thank you for your definition of being a conservative. As I have lurked through many republican and far right blogs usually all I read is what is not a conservative. I don’t know how many times I have read “you’re nothing but a Rino” either in the blog posting itself or in comments. Any discussion seems to be over the instant a person fails one of the litmus tests. I have never automatically equated conservatism with being a Republican. There are conservative Democrats. Your definition of what a conservative is seems to come closer to James Killpatrick’s definition than any other that I have read. And since he is one of my Heroes, I guess I will have to keep on reading you.

    Comment by Gaia's Child — 10/28/2008 @ 7:55 pm

  28. All this because you didn’t get on a political survey distribution list? Sounds like Rick is forming up the GOP circular firing squad just in case the election turns out like it’s being predicted in the polls.

    Comment by Mark30339 — 10/28/2008 @ 8:29 pm

  29. Obama’08
    This site’s URL is rightwingnuthouse.com - not dailyKos.

    I ve always been AMAZED by people like you who talk all so knowingly about the “government hating” zealots and religious nuts…blah..blah. Have you met any of these people whom you think you know ? Have you ever debated with a conservative on such platitudes like ” we need regulation” ? Do you know that this country is one of the most regulated when it comes to the financial sector ?

    Its VERY VERY hard to debate with platitudinous liberals. No wonder you are backing Obama.

    Progressive taxation ?? Progressive according to who ? Who gets to decide what’s fair ? What “social contract” are you talking about ? Who exactly signed on to this “social contract” ?

    There’s NONE. The Constitution is meant to provide an individual’s maximum liberty - not maximum Government or a solution to your favorite gripes about society.

    If the Republicans did half of what you recommended, we dont need a two party system - we might as well have a dictatorship.

    Because of the great “social contracts” FDR and LBJ envisioned, the Government faces a fricking 53 trillion dollar deficit. And you are asking Republicans to be lambs that play ball. You might as well ask for one party rule with one set of ideas.

    It is telling how people like you are the main reason behind Obama’s standing in the polls. Empty mouthed and platitudinous people have got their candidate of “change”.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 10/28/2008 @ 8:37 pm

  30. Sorry, something got cut off.

    You protest too much. A conservative that can be pigeon holed is not a conservative. Conservatism is a frame of mind that thinks independently within a certain moral structure. You show your uncertainty by saying if you believe in evolution you are consigned to hell. That is a dig at evangelicals who seem to drive you nuts.
    There are certain standards that all ideologies must have to maintain any degree of stability. Within those standards there are always areas of disagreement.
    Disagreements that do not nullify basic foundational beliefs are acceptable and part of any discourse.
    A contented conservative is secure in his inner being and is not derailed by any other “conservatives” who differ or harangue. No matter how vigorous that difference or harangue may be.

    Comment by edward cropper — 10/28/2008 @ 8:48 pm

  31. “you can take your litmus tests, your conservative measuring stick to determine the “purity” of my conservatism, your crazy conspiracy theories, your anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-elitist bullsh*t and stick it up your ass.”

    Sounds like an all day job to me. Maybe I should get three bids.

    Comment by CZ — 10/28/2008 @ 9:05 pm

  32. Like others who’ve commented on this post, I too agree that I come here as an Obama supporter because you put forth thoughtful arguments that challenge my assumptions, which I welcome. But I heartily agree that you are no moderate.

    I think the difference lay in the strange and limited political spectrum that is tolerated in today’s America. The so-called Far Left (as purportedly evidenced by MSNBC) is not far left at all. It’s center-left if anything - they support American republicanism, American capitalism, and American Exceptionalism (if, at times, less aggressively than others would like).

    In contrast, the Far Right is well represented in the media. Neo-cons, Religious Rightists, and Libertarian Isolationists proliferate on the airwaves and on popular blogs, advocating everything from torture to downright oligarchic imperialism.

    But where exactly are the real Far Leftists in the MSM? The Commies, the Anarchists, the Troofers? They’re excluded. And perhaps rightfully so (though free speech advocates would disagree). Therefore, there’s an unnatural - or at least weighted - slant towards the right wing.

    Only in this type of scenario can you be seen as a Moderate. Sad for all involved, because it cheapens our democratic transparency.

    I would posit that a true open media would allow for the far left-wing, if only so that true moderation could be seen for what it is, instead of being labeled something that it is not. Then we would label you as the conservative that you are…

    Comment by mephjeff — 10/29/2008 @ 1:30 am

  33. #26

    “This is not meant to be petty or mean but to remind you that politics is a team sport.”

    I think this column did exactly that and is probably as good a time as any to remind people why the GOP is in this predicament. The “base” has been busy throwing everyone else off the boat. Because of his stance on the immigration bill he was practically excommunicated from the party 2 years ago. Perfect example of how a differing opinion makes a person “not worthy of being associated with the all knowing self-professed conservatives.”
    If McCain pulls off the miracle I am quite sure the ongoing theme will be how the conservatives “pulled McCain” over the finish line. BS tales of how Palin stood up to the boss over his administration to maintain conservative positions will be rampant as Dr. Frankenstein tries to revive the Reagan that never really existed in practice.
    Back to party myopia as usual - get away RINOs and let the adults take over mentality.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 5:10 am

  34. Rick,

    As an avid reader of yours, I think your critics here miss your point entirely. If I may, you are not saying the others are not conservative; you are claiming the right to define yourself as one. And if the others be twisted in knots by your views, to hell with them.

    I, too, am confused by frequent commenters, those who know your positions, taking you to task as a moderate. As a God-botherer, I disagree with some of your opinions. As a science-phile, I disagree with some others. And I think you have over-nuanced the degree of Obama’s swallowing of New Left political philosophy and Ailinsy methodology to overturn centuries of American ideals.

    But you are a thoughtful man of the right, unwilling to incorporate the positions of others without finding them worthwhile. Unfortunately we have lost the ability, which the Dems have so adroitly managed, to disagree on particulars while recognizing agreements in principle.

    Comment by Dale — 10/29/2008 @ 6:48 am

  35. Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter… well you exposed the rot of Conservatism. Here is a belief I’d like to see Conservatives adopt.

    “I believe that liberal bashing is not a political philosophy. I will offer well thought out sound solutions to the country’s problems rather than just denigrate the other sides ideas.”

    You can bash liberals from dawn to dusk and it will not get you one step closer to smaller government. You need to convince corporations, farmers, and a whole host of other groups that there is an alternative to the federal tit. Yes I know liberals have bonehead government heavy solutions to everything but the failure of conservatism was that it offered no alternatives, just whining about what liberals were doing.

    Comment by grognard — 10/29/2008 @ 10:02 am

  36. In comment 35 grognard said:
    “I believe that liberal bashing is not a political philosophy. I will offer well thought out sound solutions to the country’s problems rather than just denigrate the other sides ideas.”

    I thought they sounded real nice, and should be someone’s political rant somewhere… but after a bit of searching the net for things like: “thought out solutions to the country’s problems” and “liberal bashing is not a political philosophy”, I realized that no one has ever put those words together before.

    Please do continue to spout such words of wisdom. They might just be the basis for a realistic political party. Even if you had to get rid of the first line, you’d still have something better then what I am currently hearing from many people.

    Comment by Pan_theFrog — 10/29/2008 @ 1:44 pm

  37. Well, I don’t see any Patterico, Ace, Instapundit, Captain’s Quarters or Powerline on there, so I wouldn’t get too bent out of shape about not being invited.

    Oh, and the one singular thing you need to add to your list of believes:

    I believe that not everything done by the Republican Party in the name of conservativism is in fact conservative.

    Anyone that wants to know why the Republican party has gone into decline can find the answer in our failure to keep that belief in mind.

    Comment by headhunt23 — 10/29/2008 @ 2:29 pm

  38. Rick,
    I couldn’t agree with you more, and I’m glad you turned your comments back on so I can say so. There are many of us out here who still believe that Conservatism can and should be supported by powerful ideas and intellectual rigor, although we have been largely silenced by the self-defined “Conservatives” who rely on blind repetition and knee-jerk ignorance to spread their small-minded doctrine and silence their critics. Until many more well-informed conservative thinkers feel empowered to speak up, conservatism in America will continue to suffer from the ongoing loss of intelligent voices and voting majorities. The one good thing that may come from Tuesday’s defeat is that we will finally have an opportunity to rid ourselves of this noxious “ditto head” strain of right wing thought and re-invent what it means to be a thoughtful Conservative.

    Comment by Gurldoggie — 10/29/2008 @ 6:32 pm

  39. Rick, a gruesome gauntlet of ‘conservative’ correctness to navigate. Do not let them strangle in a bathtub what ‘conservative’ might entail. Apparently Big Tent and Republicans may be mutually exclusive.

    I’m not sure what the way forward is for intelligent Republicans. This kowtowing to the born-again know-nothings will not end…

    As for your wish list…

    “I believe in a just and moral society with a as clear a sense of right and wrong as is consistent with reality.”

    Well, Rick, in the shifting moral landscape then anything goes! And has.

    Offer up your source for right and wrong. Not reality I’m asking for, but sources. Reality comes later…

    Comment by bobwire — 10/29/2008 @ 11:50 pm

  40. [...] in Name Only) that ought to be kicked out of the party and ridiculed (Right Wing Nut House has a great post on this subject – despite the title of this blog by Rick Moran, who is the brother of Nightline anchor Terry [...]

    Pingback by The GOP’s Two Options: Build an Inclusive Majority or Become the Permanent Minority « FRANK THE TANK’S SLANT — 10/30/2008 @ 12:16 am

  41. Yeah, and you donna like Rush Limbaugh. Ur a liberal…just admit it.

    Comment by jerry thomas — 10/30/2008 @ 6:21 am


    Pingback by Right Wing Nut House » REMAKING THE RIGHTROOTS — 10/30/2008 @ 8:42 am

  43. I just started reading your blog. While I sometimes find it insightful, I frequently find it off-putting, particularly when you start blogging about other conservatives. Frankly, some of your posts sound an awful lot like guys like John Cole who (at least at one point) claimed to be “conservative” but who manifestly aren’t. I don’t think any fair reading of your other blog posts could be read to endorse anything other than conservatism, but the condescending and sometimes abusive tone you take toward other conservatives (and your readers) may be the reason some don’t consider you a true conservative, even if you are. This post is actually a perfect example of your problem.

    Comment by MRurka — 10/30/2008 @ 12:47 pm

  44. As far as I’m concerned, if your wardrobe contains less than three suits made from American flags and you’re not constantly replacing your keyboard for all the red meat driblets that soil it, then you aren’t a conservative and you can get the hell off my blogosphere. I’ll expect you to leave your Wordpress ID and gun (as you undoubtedly own only one) on my desk by tomorrow morning.

    In all seriousness, I disagree with you often and though I haven’t been reading you as much lately as I ought to be, I most definitely still value your opinion. Keep up the great work.

    Comment by Neocon News — 10/30/2008 @ 1:45 pm

  45. Bravo, Rick.

    Comment by Paul Block — 10/30/2008 @ 3:32 pm

  46. Truer words were never written, Rick. I posted it at the Darwin Central forums, where we all pretty much share the same views and concerns. Oh, and as a resident of Illinois, there is something you can do to halt the slide of conservatism and the Republican party into the anti-science and anti-intellectual morass: Draft Fortner. I don’t care if it’s as governor once you kick out Rod Blankacheck, or as Senator once Duhhrbin retires, but just do anything to put him on the national stage.

    Comment by RWA — 11/2/2008 @ 4:21 pm

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