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5/19/2009
GOP MORE POPULAR THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE YESTERDAY

True to my newly minted oath to report only good news about the Republican party, I am pleased to tell you that the popularity of the GOP is the highest its been - since yesterday:

The decline in Republican Party affiliation among Americans in recent years is well documented, but a Gallup analysis now shows that this movement away from the GOP has occurred among nearly every major demographic subgroup. Since the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2001, the Republican Party has maintained its support only among frequent churchgoers, with conservatives and senior citizens showing minimal decline.

Hooray! We are now officially the old, white, male, southern, protestant party! Well, that might be a little optimistic.

Here’s a handy map of state party ID from a Gallup poll taken back in January:

1-1

Those three little red blotches look pretty lonely, don’t they? And my, my, will you just look at all that blue! Reminds me of spring and Robin’s eggs.

Of course, that map doesn’t tell the whole story. Like, how far the GOP has collapsed in party ID since 2001:

1-1

My question is where are all the conservatives hiding? I mean, according to the current logic being propounded by a lot of smart people, the key to a GOP comeback is to run candidates that the base finds acceptable. (If they can find any. Their ever narrowing definition of “conservative” and vastly expanded definition of “RINO” would make finding enough candidates to fulfill that mandate an exercise in futility.)

Then, people will come flocking back to the GOP like geese returning from their winter quarters in Tijuana. Those invisible northeastern Republicans will take off their magic cloaks and show up at the polls to vote for “true” conservatives. Those midwestern conservative farmers who buried themselves in the rich loam of the prairie will dig themselves out and rush to the polls in order to cast their ballot for “real” candidates from the right.

And all those college graduates and holders of secondary degrees will come out of their coma and realize what they’ve been missing in life; voting for a “genuine” conservative.

Of course, if all those candidates were, by some quirk of fate or turn of bad luck, lose their elections it would force “real” conservatives back to the drawing board where they no doubt will come up with the brilliant idea that the reason for the defeat was that those candidates just weren’t “conservative enough” which will require an even narrower definition of who can wear the non-union label of “true” conservative.

Eventually, there will be so many litmus tests for who can call themselves a conservative that the base will start eying even Rush Limbaugh with suspicion. Do real conservatives smoke cigars? And what about all those divorces? I don’t know any true conservatives who have ever been addicted to anything.

The point is simple, my friends. There aren’t enough “true blue” conservatives in the country who would vote for your idealized, highly (and rigidly) ideological conservative candidate to win many elections outside of the old south and the Goldwater west. Stacey McCain makes sense here but I don’t think even he grasps the difficulty of creating a coalition where membership is so exclusive that running candidates that appeal to only one segment of the group will lead to failure:

This is something that the Nutroots figured out in 2004: If the Democratic Party’s liberal base were going to sit around passively while the out-of-touch party elite and the “expert” consultant class kept “reaching across the aisle” (and predictably losing) then they were on the superhighway to political irrelevance.

Nothing succeeds like success, and nothing fails like failure. A political party that is disloyal and disrespectful toward its core constituents, as the GOP was during the Bush/Mehlman era, will not attract new adherents. Who wants to sign up to be treated like a doormat?

The Bush-era GOP believed that its base would be satisfied with superficial gestures (e.g., the Terri Schiavo drama) and ignore the party leadership’s pursuit of policies (e.g., McCain-Feingold, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D) which were directly at odds with the party’s fundamental principles.

I don’t recall national Democrats “reaching across the aisle” at any time in the last 25 years. And the liberal party picked up 50+ seats in the House and 10 senate seats in the last two elections not by running Ned Lamont type candidates but rather Heath Shuler kind of Democrats who are strong 2nd amendment advocates, oppose gay marriage, favor tight controls on spending, and are business friendly. While some of the base grumbled, the netroots largely got behind the effort to find attractive, more moderate candidates to defeat conservative Republicans.

If the national Democrats had listened to their base, they would still be in the minority. As it is, the lure of power convinced activists like Kos and others that they should swallow some of their opposition to the Blue Dogs and embrace Dean’s 50 state strategy.

Stacey knows all this which is why I am puzzled about why he is insisting that more pragmatic candidates are not “true” to GOP principles (which doesn’t include getting the federal government to intervene in the Schiavo matter) and should be, if not drummed out of the party, then shunned as candidates not worthy of support. (I exclude Crist from this criticism because of the dishonesty of the NRSCC and Crist’s own chameleon-like political nature.)

So the base should support small government conservatives? Absolutely yes.

But how small?

And low tax, low spending conservatives? Yes please.

But what level of spending is “low?” And can taxes be so low that they cause the deficit to soar and damage the economy?

Stacey believes this is more a fight between the “elites” (who are apparently mostly RINO’s) and conservatives in the hinterlands who, it seems to me, view anyone who isn’t 100% at war with Democrats with a jaundiced eye. They chalk up such cooperation and nice talk to the idea that the elites have liberal friends and don’t want to be unpopular at DC or New York cocktail parties. This presupposes that the “elites” have no principles whatsoever and are shameless self promoters who want nothing more than to exercise power.

No doubt there are some GOP leaders who fit that bill. But to use a recent example, how about Jon Huntsman in Utah? I made a stink yesterday that many who consider themselves true conservatives were tarring Huntsman as a RINO despite the fact that his approval ratings in the most conservative Republican state in the Union is in the 80’s and he proved himself every bit the tax cutting, spending hawk, government shrinking conservative that the base loves.

However, Huntsman committed the sin of pragmatism by not only taking money from the Stim bill but actually saying nice things about the president in the bargain. He has also mentioned that perhaps less emphasis should be placed on social issues - not that they should disappear which some numskull social cons believe he said (If abortion and gay marriage can’t be front and center as national GOP issues, there appears to be a large minority of the base who believe that this would be “abandoning” conservative principles). “Less emphasis” means exactly that and no more. And yet, the litmus testers take that as a sign of apostasy.

Building a winning coalition means allowing more than those ideologically attuned to the positions on issues advanced by the base. As it stands now - and the base talks a good game about being “inclusive” but when push comes to shove, they do both in order to make people who don’t think like they do disappear - the only acceptable candidates who would receive the “Good Conservative Seal of Approval” are just as ideological, just as rigid and uncompromising on everything (not just principles) as the base.

And that’s the reason the GOP is in such a bad odor. Not because the majority of Americans agree with GOP pragmatists on the issues. They do. But because conservatism is seen as too rigid, too ideological, too white, too southern, too Christian, and too old.

Change that perception and the party’s fortunes will rise.

By: Rick Moran at 10:06 am
51 Responses to “GOP MORE POPULAR THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE YESTERDAY”
  1. 1
    BD57 Said:
    11:52 am 

    Mr. Moran:

    Define “less emphasis” - -

    I suppose it’s in the eyes of the beholder, but I’d still like to hear your definition.

    Using your analysis, what I see is the Republican brand has lost significant ground since January 20, 2001. From where I sit, I think that had a lot more to do with (a) Republican Congresses spending money like drunken sailors & failing to police their own; (b) a Republican President’s failure to restrain (and often encouraging) the irresponsibility of Congressional spending; (c) Executive indifference to the national conversation on issues; and (d) botched “war management” - the Administration was too slow to change strategy & almost wholly indifferent to defending its efforts (”Chimpy McBusHitler” stuck because W was too content to leave his legacy to the verdict of history - he failed to realize, or at least appreciate, that defending the effort from its enemies, foreign and domestic, is part of winning the fight).

    The notion that social conservatives are “THE” problem is, quite frankly, nuts.

    I’d love to read a post laying out what you’re for - and please, not just the platitudes.

    What are you arguing for in terms of policy - not “I don’t want us to talk about this”, but an exposition of “this is what we should be talking about.” Bonus points if you don’t say anything snarky or critical about the social cons in the process.

    Because, all your protestations to the contrary, your writing indicates you are just as eager to exclude the social cons as you claim they are to exclude you.

  2. 2
    funny man Said:
    12:23 pm 

    I think this is just the normal reaction after a rushing defeat. It also is a good time to fight these things out. I predict your approach will eventually ‘win’. Success does more to convince folks than any ideological debate.
    As far as Washington goes, I think it is nice to see people like Ted Kennedy and Orin Hatch being on friendly terms with each other (with Ted’s brain tumor in particular). I mean what kind of world do we want to live in? That has nothing to do with elitism but with basic human decency. Huntsman is very popular precisely because he did not come across as this rigid cultural warrior. If people like him don’t pass the litmus test it will truly be years in the wilderness.

  3. 3
    mike farmer Said:
    12:26 pm 

    If both parties don’t find a way to build a home for the growing number of independents, they may each be hurting. The Obama cult will probably fade away after the grind and mishaps of two terms, if he’s elected to a second term, so his popularity won’t be passed along — and all the people who voted for him who wouldn’t normally vote Democrat will be free agents. 2016 could be an interesting year, politically — to quote Bob Dylan, “the times they are a’changin’”, and more quickly than the 60s. The Information Age will have changed everything and opened up more options.

  4. 4
    Nick Said:
    12:31 pm 

    Once again Rick proves that there are some republicans that actually have a brain…

  5. 5
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:48 pm 

    I think I see the problem here. It’s not just a question of moderation or even of pragmatism. It’s not just the dead weight of the theocons.

    Core Republican ideology is outdated in many ways.

    We are never going to have a libertarian utopia, and we’re not even going to have a really small government. As long as we have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the world’s dominant military we’re going to have a government far larger than the GOP wet dream.

    We’ll have that large government because that’s what people want, and that’s what is appropriate for a modern, urbanized society. It’s not the 19th century any more. This isn’t Thom Jefferson’s world anymore. We have no gentlemen farmers.

    We are also going to allow gay marriage and continue to allow abortion. We aren’t going to put prayer back in schools.

    The Democrats have already conceded on gun ownership and a strong defense. So you guys won those. Now that they’re won, you lost them as issues.

    The intellectual property you have left isn’t working. You need to recognize that. You’re selling Dictaphones in the age of the iPhone. That’s why it’s so hard for Republican pragmatists to come up with a policy agenda: because your core beliefs are only incrementally more relevant than the idiocies of the theocons.

  6. 6
    c3 Said:
    1:35 pm 

    The last election was more about “not Bush” than “we like Democrats”. When you combine that with the “liberating sensation of voting for the first black president” you had the beginning ingredients for a big win. The timely economic tsunammi of October didn’t hurt either. But that all was true for 2008; it won’t be true for 2010 or 2012.

    there are many key principles, dare I say “Republican” principles, that IMHO Americans resonate with:
    1) A concern for governmental “over reach”. (And the reinforcing experience of the annual tax bill.)
    2) Moral issues. Now you can argue as to what issues those are and how much the public wants them enforced/legislated but I don’t believe you can under-estimate the significance of the California Prop 8 vote and what it says about Americans
    3)A strong military. Now that’s a distinctly different issue from the was in Iraq or Afghanistan.
    4) Opportunities for success. The trick here is to make the connections between that “American Dream” and capitalism and open markets.

    Neither the SoCons nor the libertarians will be successful without each other (if by success I mean electoral success) Right now each has decide how important that is AND get over the notion of “I’ll let you in MY tent if you first give up your core principles” (or better put stop calling each other “religious fanatic” and “pointy headed amoral libertarian”

    Finally, how did Republican lose sight of the “tea parties” (and what they might say about future direction) and suddenly become obsessed with bringing down Nancy Pelosi? When Nancy’s gone then what. But the huge debt and bill for out kids and grandkids will remain.

  7. 7
    Alarm1201 Said:
    1:46 pm 

    I do not think the republican party needs to dump the social issues but we can use them to highlight the dems radicalism. For example take abortion. You are correct, most people do not want to outlaw abortion. But most people do not want there daughters going a Planned Parenthood and getting abortions w/o their consent, which is the democratic position. Likewise most people do not believe doctors should be allowed to collapse the skull of a full term partially newborn by sucking its brains out through a large needle hooked up to a vacuum.

    Take also gay marriage. Most people do not want to redefine marriage to include homosexuals, but most are not against some sort of civil unions. Did you forget that California, the most liberal state in the country, just voted to add an amendment to their constitution forbidding a redefinition of marriage?

    The social issues are important but they have been detrimental to the conservative/republican cause because we have allowed them to be an either/or issue: its either all abortions or outlaw abortions; its either no civil unions at all or redefine marriage.

    I am a theocon but I believe we will continue to loose if we do not change our tactic and use social issues to point out the unpopularity of the democratic radial positions. To do that we will have to change are approach to this issues but not abandon them.

  8. 8
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    2:14 pm 

    Michael Reynolds said:

    The Democrats have already conceded on gun ownership and a strong defense. So you guys won those. Now that they’re won, you lost them as issues.

    Well said. And not only is this better for the dems from their constituencies point of view, but it effectively ends debate about the issue. You’re right. They conceded. The other side won, in a sense.

    But, as you said, they lost them as issues. There is no more rallying point there. Guns aren’t going away. Military spending will never drop more than a tiny bit here or there. Now we’ve got abortion and gay marriage.

    Who the hell cares what the definition of marriage is, as long as gay couples receive the same rights and amenities as everyone else.

    And abortion? Please. It’s like prohibition. Legal or not, people will still demand abortions. The only difference is that if it’s illegal, more of the mothers will die horrible painful deaths in botched homebrew abortions. I dunno, maybe that’s Gods twisted way of punishing them.

    Anyhoo, I digress. My point was, good point.

  9. 9
    ravs12 Said:
    2:27 pm 

    The republican members of congress and the GOP need an economic lesson and a marketing lesson. We have lost sight of what worked during the the boom of 1980 to 2000. While lower taxes should be an emphasis they should not be the only emphasis. President Clinton was more of a conservative on economic issues than President Bush. While Pres. Bush did cut taxes the implementation was over a long period of time and he started his Presidency with tax rebates and did the same last summer. Very Carter, Nixon and Ford like. We need to promote the economic virtues that Jack Kemp and President Reagan promoted and not what the Bush family has promoted during their 12 years. There is more to economic policy than lower taxes. Stable money should be the staple. If it had been a greater focus by the Fed and the Bush administration, this downturn may not have been as painful and the dems would not have their scapegoat. Our tax code has become too progressive and is collapsing under its own weight. Personal responsibility, self preservation and pragmatism are not out of style. We need a new marketing program. Even the new democrats are beginning to have issues. If they are “blue dogs” where is the controlled spending and focus on moderation. The blue dogs have acted like lap dogs so far just like the lap dogs of the Republicans during the Bush years. Many of the problems that the Republicans have experienced over the last 2 election cycles are of their own making. It is not the fault of one sub-group within the party, but rather the entire party. We focused on short cuts and power bases and we lost. How much does this resemble the early 1970s? Maybe we should have had a different candidate in the 2004 election. The cracks were beginning back then but when there is no leadership at GOP HQ or from the party leaders, the heard disbands. It is time for the old guard in the Senate to move on instead of getting more from the good old boys’ network. Focus on basics and drive the message home. The GOP should be supporting the grass roots and identifying how we can provide common sense solutions to today’s issues.

  10. 10
    Veritas Said:
    2:34 pm 

    The GOP needs to become more squishy, more enticing to people who embrace the edge. Abortionists, drug users, people who love Christopher Street in the Village, people who run pyramid schemes, cutting edge types who are willing to ignore 6,000 years of experience and commonsense.

    We need to enlist Barney Frank, Pelosi and Reid and most of all Obama. And then we can can just resurrect the dead to insure the completeness of the BIG TENT. To insure diversity we can also enlist voters who are recently arrived like my friend Igor.

    Yup its good to be the party of young, clueless, druggies, whoremongers, secular, metrosexuals, lesbians, gays, and other mainstream types like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson.

    Where in God’s name did you come up with this rant? Jesus what an idiot. Nobody on planet earth has come close to advocating that the GOP go even 1/10 as far as you are intimating.

    Hence, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that you are an ignorant pustule who prefers trolling to rational thought. Bye bye.

    ed.

  11. 11
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    2:41 pm 

    “Here’s a handy map of state party ID from a Gallup poll taken back in January:”

    January data point in MAY is news?!?

    WHat about showing some NEW NEWS:

    http://flapsblog.com/2009/05/18/political-party-affiliation-now-tied-11-point-swing-towards-gop/
    “Political Party Affiliation Now Tied - 11 Point Swing Towards GOP”

  12. 12
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    2:43 pm 

    “We’ll have that large government because that’s what people want”

    WRONG. We have it because corrupt powers-that-be deny people what they want…

    http://conservative247.org/national-politics/561/battleground-poll-majority-consider-themselves-conservative.html

  13. 13
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    2:52 pm 

    PEOPLE WANT LESS GOVT THAN OBAMA IS GIVING THEM:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/15/fox-news-poll-americans-want-government-spending/

    In addition, 54 percent of voters think the Obama administration is proposing too much of an increase in government spending, while 6 percent say not enough. About a third — 35 percent — says the spending is “about right.”

    A majority of Democrats (61 percent) think the president’s proposed spending is about right, while majorities of Republicans (85 percent) and independents (61 percent) think there is too much of an increase.

    The flip side of government spending is budget cuts, and the poll finds 6 in 10 think President Obama is not cutting enough waste from government, including 84 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats.

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell recently made news by saying that Americans “want more government in their life.” Americans disagree. Most — 71 percent — say they want less government in their life. A much smaller number (17 percent) fall in the category described by Powell.

  14. 14
    EBJ Said:
    2:55 pm 

    The Dems are with the Republicans on guns and defense? Or did you mean to say that via their media enablers the Dems can fool the sheeple enough to convince them that their positions are the same?

    It’s the same dynamic that allows media lefties to beat up on Miss Cali for the same view that their hero, The One, holds. The sheeple don’t even recognize this as an issue. Andie Sullivan has only just realized this and who will be surprised if he turns on The One just as he did to Bush for the single issue that trumps all others?

  15. 15
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    2:55 pm 

    Why is conservative more popular than Republican?
    While liberal is much LESS popular than Democrat?
    Media bias?
    Or maybe the actions of Republicans who screw up the distinctions?

    http://conservative247.org/government/government-waste/924/california-budget-ballons-40-percent-in-four-years-still-running-out-of-cash.html

  16. 16
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    3:34 pm 

    “The Dems are with the Republicans on guns and defense? Or did you mean to say that via their media enablers the Dems can fool the sheeple enough to convince them that their positions are the same?”

    It must be the latter. See my linked poll on how conservative more popular than Republican, while liberal is much LESS popular than Democrat. If Democrats only got the votes of people who agree with the extremists who run the party they’d be a tiny minority.
    Media bias is what make the face of the GOP the extremists, but hides the Dem extremists like he crazy Aunt in the attic and airbrushes the blemishes.

  17. 17
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    3:35 pm 

    “President Clinton was more of a conservative on economic issues than President Bush.”

    Correction: President Clinton PLUS Newt Gingrich running Congress was more of a conservative combo on economic issues than President Bush PLUS Pelosi/Reid running Congress.

    We seem to forget that Clinton wanted a big-nanny-state healthcare program too, that got derailed by the liberal hubris of the 1993-1994 liberal Democrat Congress.

  18. 18
    funny man Said:
    3:45 pm 

    Freedoms Truth,
    what in the world are you trying to say? Just stick to our guns no need to change anything? BTW, some of your poll questions (Fox News) are meaningless but I guess you want to believe what you believe no matter what. You got a race coming up in Texas I believe and I would assume you support Perry. Do you also have poll numbers there? What if KBH wins? Luckily we have a choice in many places between your approach and a more pragmatic one. We’ll see.

  19. 19
    Mycoma Said:
    3:45 pm 

    Not to question the validity of the Gallup data…okay, I’m very much questioning the validity of the Gallup data. They identified my home state, Oklahoma, as “leaning Democratic.” Perhaps Gallup was not aware that in the 2008 Presidential election, all 77 counties voted for McCain, with McCain winning 65% of the vote.

    http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?f=0&fips=40&year=2008

    OK is represented nationally by an all-Republican contingent, except for OK-2 Rep. Dan Boren (obvious name-recognition there).

    The Republican party holds a 61 to 40 advantage in the state House and a 26 to 22 advantage in the state Senate.

    Does that really put OK in the “leaning Democratic” camp?

  20. 20
    ravs12 Said:
    3:48 pm 

    I forgot to include the GOP Congress. At least Clinton did sign it. So I was half right.

  21. 21
    ravs12 Said:
    4:05 pm 

    If Clinton had R congress what explains Bush’s failure during his first six years. He didn’t face off and veto any spending until Pelosi took over. If we are going to make a comeback let’s at least recognize where bad policies were initiated during the 2001 to 2005 period. No vetos during first term. First President since JQ Adams. No fiscal discipline there.

  22. 22
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:10 pm 

    “If Clinton had R congress what explains Bush’s failure during his first six years. ”

    Daschle ran the Senate for most of 2001-2002.
    And Hastert was a weak Speaker wrt spending.

  23. 23
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:14 pm 

    “If we are going to make a comeback let’s at least recognize where bad policies were initiated during the 2001 to 2005 period. No vetos during first term. First President since JQ Adams. No fiscal discipline there.”

    Yes, see here:
    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/05/howl-of-rinos-and-rebuilding-gop.html

  24. 24
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:17 pm 

    “Freedoms Truth,
    what in the world are you trying to say? Just stick to our guns no need to change anything?”

    Not at all. (what are ‘our guns’?) The answers are here:

    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/05/howl-of-rinos-and-rebuilding-gop.html

    “We should rebrand the GOP around the core fiscal conservative principles of limited Government and more liberty as the non-negotiable positions. If a Republican official can’t shake addictions to higher taxes and more spending, then they are no better than tax-and-spend Democrats and should be shown the door. We should not throw overboard or under the bus any conservative wings, including the valid family and faith social conservative wing, and also the national security and national sovereignty wing. In short, update the Reagan formula for the 21st century, don’t throw it out.”

    “Do you also have poll numbers there? ”
    Perry / KBH poll - Yes, see the blog. Perry has a slight lead.
    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com

  25. 25
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:26 pm 

    “what in the world are you trying to say? Just stick to our guns no need to change anything?”

    Nice strawman. No, if you want to know what needs to change IMHO, see my blog. It also has the Perry v KBH numbers (Perry leads).

  26. 26
    funny man Said:
    4:47 pm 

    Travis Monitor,
    you have stated many times what you want, only the purest by your book conservative platform. However, I bet you supported the Iraq war. Not a very conservative position. So can I call you CINO (conservative in name only) now?

  27. 27
    Mike Farmer Said:
    5:23 pm 

    Watch for the growth of independents. The country wanted a change from Bush and was infatuated with the image of Obama, but images last only so long — I believe people are becoming disgusted with both parties, and with politicians controlling the economy. The problem is that before independents can have an effect, it’s going to cost us in hidden taxes, stagnating production and loss of freedom. It won’t be long before the country is begging for economic growth –the religionists who worship the state think government can fuel the economy — their faith is misguided and unreasonable.

  28. 28
    Mike Said:
    6:14 pm 

    Rick I am curious. Do you think Burke or Kirk would be an advantageous model for the GOP to follow?

  29. 29
    kreiz Said:
    6:55 pm 

    Reynolds @5- dude, your logical is impeccable. You really need to write your own blog. You do? Oh.

  30. 30
    Mike Farmer Said:
    7:15 pm 

    “Reynolds @5- dude, your logical is impeccable. You really need to write your own blog. You do? Oh.”

    Things that make you go — hmmm…

  31. 31
    Mark Said:
    7:59 pm 

    BD 57’

    “I’d love to read a post laying out what you’re for - and please, not just the platitudes.”

    OK, here goes:

    Federal government
    1) Eliminate corporate income tax – People pay taxes, not corporations. Corporate income tax is bad policy that hides the true cost of government and makes our business less competitive in the world market by raising the cost of goods and services. In addition, corporations don’t rally pay this tax, they just collect it from their customers by adding to prices. A reasonable argument can be made that it is a regressive tax, because people with lower incomes spend more of their total earnings, as opposed to saving or investing. Considering that many countries subsidize manufacturers cost, this is simple, conservative measure to promote the growth of American companies. Where do the additional revenues come from to pay takes? The increase in employment by businesses, spending by the newly employed.
    2) Support a Constitutional Amendment declaring a fetus a person at 26 weeks – If somebody wants to come up with a better point in fetal development that indicates “personhood” fine. This one seems to work because there appears to be pretty solid agreement that a fetus can feel pain and perceive and react to outside stimuli at this point in development. Base the timeline on science, not faith. Abortion after this point should require a court order and be based on saving the life of the mother. Regulation of abortion, not prohibition, before that point should be left to the individual states.
    3) Create a migrant work permit plan – Allow non-citizens to enter the US for employment purposes on a two-year permit. Permit holders would be required to return to their home country at the conclusion of two years. Non-residents would pay employment taxes, including Social Security, but could not draw benefits or earn services credits towards future pensions. Contributions would be used to offset the looming deficit in Social Security and Medicare. Employers would be free to offer medical and other benefits to these workers at their option. Cap the total number of permits at some percentage of total employment (1.5 % of all employed US citizens?) Violators would be ineligible to apply for citizenship, work permits, and denied future entry to the US. Children born to permitted workers while in the US would not be granted citizenship based on place of birth. They or their parents would have to apply. Permit holders would be immediately exported for commission of a felony. One misdemeanor would place the person on probations status. Persons successfully completing the program with would be granted favored status in applying for citizenship
    4) Secure the border with Mexico. – Immigration reform will never matter until this happens.
    5) Limit congressional staff – Members of the House should be permitted no more than 4 staff, including clerical. Senators no more than 8 staff, including clerical.
    State government –
    1) Push for localizing government - Counties, cities, schools and special districts should be the primary agents of governance.
    2) Limited pay for state legislators – This shouldn’t be a full time job. Payment of a reasonable per diem makes sense. One of the reasons government has grown is that legislators are paid to do this fulltime. How can they avoid coming up with new, unnecessary laws.
    3) Reform of local bureaucracy – That government should be local doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be good. To be certain, it should probably do less, but let local communities determine what services they want. I digress. I am not talking about finger pointing and meaningless calls for “accountability”. One of the things Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on is that government staff should be well qualified and trained. The parties should jointly fund and establish centers for government excellence through selected universities. Provide training to key government employees and assist with program evaluation. This should focus on the mechanics of governance not the policy. All of the things that the private sector in large businesses already does better than government. Accounting, Payroll, Personnel Management (HR), Procurement, etc.

    “What are you arguing for in terms of policy - not ‘I don’t want us to talk about this’, but an exposition of ‘this is what we should be talking about.’ Bonus points if you don’t say anything snarky or critical about the social cons in the process.”

    This should be enough for now. Oh, and I would like my bonus points please.

    Thanks

  32. 32
    michael reynolds Said:
    8:16 pm 

    Kreiz:

    Heh. Yeah, well, I write it mostly by not writing it. I’m hoping it will learn to write itself.

  33. 33
    Mark Said:
    8:53 pm 

    And since I am on a rant anyway…

    What do I care who marries who? The world is depressing and screwed up enough on its own. If somebody has found a way to be happy without taking anything from me, I say good for them. If your marriage is hanging on by such a fine thread that a couple of guys or girls getting hitched hurts it, you were in trouble already.

    As we libertarian leaning conservatives are eminently practical, let me expound further on the rationality of this position. Have you seen some of these gay men? They are handsome as hell! Be glad they’re off the market and we straight men don’t have to compete with them. Really, a pretty man that likes to shop and thinks a getting a pedicure is a blast. Most of us wouldn’t stand a chance.

    As far as lesbians go, I’ve always seen them as proof that I’m right: Women are just hotter. I’ve never been able to see what one man sees in another man’s hairy ass, but it isn’t that tough to see why one girl would be attracted to another.

    Finally, and in no way the least important, an increase in the number of gay and lesbian couples out there has got to correlate to an increase in the incidence of oral sex. Deep in my heart I have to believe that contributes to the overall positive energy in the universe. Isn’t that a good thing?

    Most respectfully submitted for your berating and belittling.

  34. 34
    michael reynolds Said:
    9:16 pm 

    Mark:

    A good example of why I never really get mad at libertarians, although I think they’re naive. Your hearts are usually in the right place.

  35. 35
    Mark Said:
    9:51 pm 

    Michael,

    I am uncertain as to what part of my naivete you might be referring. Regardless, I do not pretend that others have achieved my degree of peaceful enlightenment. As Dr. King said ” I have a dream!”

    Respectfully submitted

  36. 36
    busboy33 Said:
    10:53 pm 

    @mark:

    “Corporate income tax is bad policy that hides the true cost of government”
    I don’t understand this — what does it mean?

    “Support a Constitutional Amendment declaring a fetus a person at 26 weeks”
    Why a Constitutional Amendment? Why not simply pass a law?

    “Children born to permitted workers while in the US would not be granted citizenship based on place of birth.”
    So someone flying from China to London via Dallas, that gives birth at the layover, has citizenship for their children, but someone that’s been in the country working for 18 months doesn’t? Does your plan also call for striking all citizenship-via-birth rules, or does this specifically apply to just immigrant labor? Assuming the later . . . why?

    “Secure the border with Mexico. – Immigration reform will never matter until this happens.”
    Groovy. How?

    “Limit congressional staff”
    Why? I’m hard pressed to believe that the salaries of the extra staffers are affecting the size of the deficit, so what’s the purpose of “gimping” congressmen?

  37. 37
    Mark Said:
    2:07 am 

    Busboy33,

    The tax you are paying is hidden in the cost of the goods and services you purchase. It raises the cost of those goods, making them less competitive than goods manufactured elsewhere. It also increases the motivation of corporations to attempt to influence public policy to achieve financial and market advantages.

    The courts would most likely strike down a law.

    Yes, I would eliminate all citizenship via birth policies. Their was a time for them once, but no longer.

    I don’t have any good answers for this yet, but I’m still thinking! I don’t believe that the great fence will be practical for the entire border. Part of my point was that we shouldn’t waste a lot of effort on immigration policy until this is resolved.

    The direct budget implications are not significant. The issue is that congressional staff have bloated over the years. There are almost 11,700 personal staff for members of Congress. The average congressman has 14 staff. The average senator has 34 staff. These numbers do not include staff for committees or leadership. The also have non-partisan staff that provides additional support, like the Congressional Budget Office. All of these pepole need to be doing something, so they spend time on issues of low importance, when they should be focusing on the key issues. In the last two days for instance, they have passed a resolution urging all Americans to visit national cemeteries on Memorial Day and congratulating Camp Dudley in New York on it’s 125 anniversary. Aren’t there some real issues to work on?

    Remember, I want government to get smaller. I believe with fewer staff our representatives would be able to keep fewer initiatives moving and would have to focus on the ones of most importance. Fewer laws are better.

    Respectfully and sleepily submitted

  38. 38
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    10:57 am 

    “you have stated many times what you want, only the purest by your book conservative platform.”
    I am with about 60% of Americans on most issues. I am with 60% of Cali voters and what they did yesterday. I guess we are all in one big happy purest boat together.

    “However, I bet you supported the Iraq war. Not a very conservative position.”
    No it’s not a conservative position, which makes it quite ironic for iberal Democrat critics to think Bush’s Iraq war, no less of a ‘war of choice’ than Clinton’s Kosovo adventure, somehow means something negative about conservative philosophy.

    ” So can I call you CINO (conservative in name only) now?”
    Do what you want. Name-calling is popular among Democrats and liberals; it’s their favorite substitute for thinking.

  39. 39
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    11:02 am 

    ““Children born to permitted workers while in the US would not be granted citizenship based on place of birth.”
    So someone flying from China to London via Dallas, that gives birth at the layover, has citizenship for their children, but someone that’s been in the country working for 18 months doesn’t? Does your plan also call for striking all citizenship-via-birth rules, or does this specifically apply to just immigrant labor? Assuming the later . . . why?”

    That’s a sophist’s response. It’s absolutely a good idea to rethink birthright citizenship, and one limitation would be to NOT have people here temporarily or on a tourist/visit visa, who have birth, to have those children be US citizens. There’s a booming business in some immigrant communities for pregnant women to come her on a tourist visa and have their children here. Instant dual citizenship. it would be a good idea to end this.

  40. 40
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    11:02 am 

    ““Children born to permitted workers while in the US would not be granted citizenship based on place of birth.”
    So someone flying from China to London via Dallas, that gives birth at the layover, has citizenship for their children, but someone that’s been in the country working for 18 months doesn’t? Does your plan also call for striking all citizenship-via-birth rules, or does this specifically apply to just immigrant labor? Assuming the later . . . why?”

    That’s a sophist’s response. It’s absolutely a good idea to rethink birthright citizenship, and one limitation would be to NOT have people here temporarily or on a tourist/visit visa, who have birth, to have those children be US citizens. There’s a booming business in some immigrant communities for pregnant women to come here on a tourist visa and have their children here. Instant dual citizenship. it would be a good idea to end this.

  41. 41
    busboy33 Said:
    1:11 pm 

    @Mark:
    re: corporate taxes — You’ve got two aspects to this (increasing cost of product and increasing motivation to influence policy), but I don’t see the connection to the “hidden cost of government”. Sure, increased expenses should increase the cost of the produced asset, but that’s not connected to the cost of government (and assumes buisness would drop the price rather than increase their profit margin). I suppose that the desire to influence government could be considered as “raising the cost” of government in the sense that while legislators are being lobbied they’re not working on other things (requireing more time later for other issues, which has a cost associated with it), but not only do I have a problem seeing this as anything more than a monor cost, I can’t make it a “hidden” cost — if this is the route, then everything adds to those “hidded” costs.
    Philosophically, I disagree with the position, but its a fair and rational position to hold. I disagree because it seems to assume that corporations would not lobby to increase their profits but for a desire to escape taxes. Personally, I don’t believe that — I think they would lobby for less regulation, a competitive advantage, or any other way of playing the “free market” to benefit them — that’s their entire reason for existence. As I said though, a fair opinion.

    Con Amendment — again, a rational idea. I’m loathe to amend the constitution, but it makes sense. Again I disagree with the position, but as I said to Gayle Miller a few posts ago this is (in my mind) the thorniest question around, so I can’t fault opposing views just because I came to a different answer.

    Citizenship-by-birth: Fair enough. You’re consistent. I’ve never considered the position of wiping all c-b-b rules. My gut feeling is that it would create a serious mess, but that’s just an off the cuff reaction. My default approach is to not tinker with systems whenever possible, and I don’t see the “problem” of illegals getting c-b-b for their kids as a big enough issue to merit getting under the hood with a blowtorch, but I’m gonna have to think on it more before its anything other than a knee-jerk visceral reaction.

    secure the border: Fair. I agree that panicking out plans without having a coherent overarching ideal is a waste of energy and resources. I also agree that the fence is a non-starter as far as solutions go. I’ve always been amazed that “small government” conservatives advocate for this when it would most likely create a huge government agency as a result (via staffing). BTW, Penn and Teller have a show called Bullsh!t on one of the pay-cable channels (I think Showtime) and they had an episode about how hard it is to get around the wall. If you’ve never seen it, its definitely worth a watch. They hired some day laborers (who ironically seemed to have worked on the “big” wall as well), had them build a section of the wall to spec, then timed them getting over, under, and through the wall. Its been a while since I saw it, but I think the longest it took the illegals to get past the wall was under 2 minutes. Definitely worth the cash.

    legislative staff: The idea is meritorious, but it assumes that the remaining staffers (and their employers) will become responsible once they can’t waste their time on frivilous stuff. Personally, I think so little of the people in washington that if they had no staffers they’d still, for the most part, waste their time on crap rather than do the tough work of governing. If they’re not willing to work hard, the number of staffers won’t change that. If they are willing to work hard, (again) the number of staffers won’t change that.

    Thanks for responding, and taking the time to explain your positions.

    @Freedom’s Truth:

    “That’s a sophist’s response.”

    Why, thank you — it has been awhile since somebody referred to me as a wise man. I’m assuming you meant in the classical sense and not in the “illogical argument fallacy” sense, since not only does it seem to be a logical question (both you and Mark managed to answer it) but starting your response with an insult immediately after commenting that “Name-calling is popular among Democrats and liberals; it’s their favorite substitute for thinking” would really make you appear to be quite the hypocrite.

  42. 42
    funny man Said:
    3:03 pm 

    Travis Monitor,
    ” So can I call you CINO (conservative in name only) now?”
    Do what you want. Name-calling is popular among Democrats and liberals; it’s their favorite substitute for thinking.

    Go to your website an look if you don’t call a number of people RINOs. I guess you are a Democrat now.

  43. 43
    c3 Said:
    6:30 pm 

    EBJ;
    Haven’t you heard, “sheeple” is SO 2004.

  44. 44
    Joe Said:
    6:36 pm 

    freedom’s truth….another neocon who has their head in the sand, as they declare there is nothing wrong with the gop. As long as Rush is the head of the movement, it is doomed.

  45. 45
    mike farmer Said:
    7:58 am 

    Rush resigned as head of the GOP.

  46. 46
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:21 pm 

    @busboy 42: “That’s a sophist’s response.”

    “Why, thank you — it has been awhile since somebody referred to me as a wise man. I’m assuming you meant in the classical sense”
    - Yes, I was - classical in the sense of the ankle-biters who were Socrates’ opponents. I was using it precisely to refer to your question, which unfairly assumed/inferred a hole in his proposal that wasnt there. It’s a debating trick of a ‘wise guy’ more than a wise man. ;-)

    “Name-calling is popular among Democrats and liberals; it’s their favorite substitute for thinking” … is just an obvious statement of observation, given your parting comment to me #41, #44, and #42 and many prior items here and elsewher. If you dont want it to be true, you have the power to change it.

  47. 47
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    4:25 pm 

    Joe @44: You have 3 mis-statements of facts in 2 sentences.
    e.g. “they declare there is nothing wrong with the gop” is contradicted by my previous statements.

  48. 48
    busboy33 Said:
    12:38 pm 

    @Freedoms Truth:

    You’re adorable.

    My question asked him to expound on his statement, which by virtue of being limited in scope inherently left details out. I asked a question to clarify what was not said (that notorious trick of the ankle-biters who were Socrates’ oponents, known as the Socratic Method), and he did. The only thing I implied or inferred from his original statement was that he believed exactly what he said . . . I am a trickster like that.
    Now, I could have asumed or inferred that his limited statement implied or inferred that he wanted to wipe out all c-b-b regulations and re-start all legislation and common law in this area of jurisprudence . . . that would have been inappropriate. I could have assumed that he only wanted to deny the Hispanics c-b-b protections, then I could jump up and down and call him a racist (which would be true, if he believed that). Also, that would be inappropriate. Since how I understood and reacted to his position depended on more detail, I asked him to clarify. I chose a question that put the issue squarely out in front so that we didn’t have to go back and forth multiple times. He clarified. He understood what I asked perfectly. So did you.
    If you’d like to see the debating tricks of the wise guy as opposed to the wise man, I’d suggest you look at insulting and belittling your “opponent”, which brings us to . . .

    ““Name-calling is popular among Democrats and liberals; it’s their favorite substitute for thinking” … is just an obvious statement of observation, given your parting comment to me #41, #44, and #42 and many prior items here and elsewher. If you dont want it to be true, you have the power to change it.”

    I assume you’ve already realized that I didn’t write comments #42 and 44, so we’ll just skip those.
    Your statement makes name calling the provence of “Democrats and liberals”, and even ascribes the rationale why “Democrats and liberals” do this — “its their favorite substitute for thinking”.
    Now, I’m sure you’ll object vigorously to this, but your statement implies that ONLY “Democrats and liberals” engage in name calling. Shocking, I know. You are insulting and rude, resorting to name calling in just about every post you make, so either you are a Democrat and liberal, or the name-calling tendency extends beyond D-a-l people. . . which makes your statement itself an exercise in “name-calling”.
    Absolutely, its in my power to not call people names and belittle them. As an example, I point to my exchange with Mark in this thread, or with Gayle Miller about abortion several threads back. I’ll let you in on a little secret: My being rude versus being polite is directly proportional to the curtousey I receive from others. Be polite, and I will be polite to you. Be rude and offensive, and I’m not going to waste the effort being polite. You started your response to me (#40) with an attempted insult. Let me repeat that: Your response to me began with you attempting to insult (and failing miserably), and only after you had fired your piss at me did you botrher to speak rationally. To then try and pin name-calling on D-a-l isn’t a rationale . . . its projection.

  49. 49
    funny man Said:
    1:32 pm 

    Busboy,
    I’m with you on this one. I’m conservative but I just hate it when people think they have the right to dish out but are unwilling to see respect for your opponent comes before any meaningful discussion. If I want to hear a constant flow of democrats this, liberals that and whining about the liberal media I can go to Hot Air. For me that is totally boring and unproductive.

  50. 50
    Sidana Said:
    10:07 pm 

    So, let’s say you have your way and no one is left to speak for those of us that are social conservatives and it is all OUR fault that the party has lost favor.. let’s say you win, and the party officially becomes Democrat light/leftist central for good.

    What do you think you have “won”?

  51. 51
    busboy33 Said:
    11:23 pm 

    Why does it have to be such an extreme alternative? Do you really see the only two options as leave the SoCons alone as powerful spokespeople that identify the brand . . . or Leftist? Do you really believe that there are Republicans that really want to be Democrats and just can’t bring themselves to simply become Democrats, so they feel compelled to change the Republican Party in to “Dem lite”? Is there no middle ground between SoCon supremacy and complete capitulation?

    I can only speak for myself as an Independent, but I consider myself more aligned with the Blues than the Reds precisely because of what appears to be extremist attitudes with the Red tent. Don’t believe in Global Warming? Then it is a complete, total, absolute fraud only supported by fools and criminals without any possible shread of evidence. Think that “Enhanced Interrogation” is legal? Then not only is it impossible that government agent could ever have done anything wrong . . . merely asking the question is disgusting and an affront to infants, baseball, and your Momma’s Apple Pie.

    What would be won?

    I assume the goal is votes, isn’t it? Let me ask you this: As a political party, would you rather the Republicans be 100% morally correct (hypothetically verified by Heavenly Writ) and hold no political influence, or 50% morally correct but have political influence? They’re a political party — ther only reason they exist as a party is political influence. They aren’t a church. They aren’t a baseball team. If nobody will vote for them and their representative candidates, then they are effectively dead.
    Why minimize the voice of the SoCons? Because the theory is that they scare away more votes than they bring in, and votes are what matters in this context. Period.

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