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10/5/2009
INTELLECTUAL CONSERVATISM ISN’T DEAD: IT’S RESTING

No less than 5 recent articles (and a spirited debate between two very smart conservatives in David Frum and David Horowitz) have taken on the question regarding the demise of intellectual conservatism and the rise of movement or “populist” conservatives.

The intellectuals go under several names, depending on which side of the divide you sit. They are “reformers,” or RINO’s, or “Elders,” or “squishes.” And to varying degrees, they have either died off, disappeared, or been marginalized by the populists.

Or not.

With such a huge divide between the two camps in even trying to define conservatism, much less agree on what the public face of conservatism should look like, it is apparent that there will not be a meeting of the minds anytime soon. Nor will the two sides be pooling their intellectual capital to fight the liberals on the battlefield of ideas where it would do the most good, rather than in the arena of soundbites and bitter, exaggerated denunciations that only makes the right look like angry kooks or worse.

I will examine each of these articles and critique them, beginning from the premise that the intellectual right is not dead, but made quiescent by the surge of the populists and their ability to dominate the discussion through the sheer brutality of their critiques which drown out the far more reasonable, and reality based analyses of - what should they be called? I guess “reformists” is as good as any moniker although it doesn’t exactly speak to the critique of movement conservatives whose whole idea of reform seems to be kicking the reformists in the teeth.

Let’s start today with an excellent defense of Glenn Beck and the populists tactics by David Horowitz, who took part in an informal “Symposium” at FrontPage.com:

There are two issues here. One is a remarkable conservative outburst against the broadcaster Glenn Beck which includes you, Mark Levin and Pete Wehner among others, and which collectively wishes for his early self-destruction. The message from the three of you is that for the good of the conservative cause he should be silent — and the sooner the better. Wehner expresses the judgment I detect in all three of your blasts in this sentence: “The role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality.”

More than anything else, it is this is that I am reacting to. I think this attitude is wrongheaded, absurd, destructive to the conservative cause and a blatant contradiction of the “big tent” philosophy which you otherwise support.

[...]

Glenn Beck is daily providing a school for millions of Americans in the nature and agendas and networks of the left – something that your fine books do not do, and Mark Levin’s fine books do not do, and Pete Wehner’s volumes of blogs and speeches and position papers – all admirable in my estimation, also do not do. How are conservatives going to meet the challenge of the left if they don’t understand what it is, how it operates and what it intends? And who else is giving courses in this subject at the moment?

Now I have to confess my own vested interest in this. Because the fact is that I have been attempting to do this from a much smaller platform than Beck’s for many years. Five years ago I put an encyclopedia of the left on the web called Discover the Networks. It details the chief groups, individuals and funders of the left and maps their agendas and networks. Since I put it up five years ago, 20 million people have visited the site, many of whom have written articles and even books from its information. So far as I can tell, this site has never been mentioned by you or Wehner or Mark Levin or National Review or the Weekly Standard or the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. But it has been read by and profoundly influenced the producers and anchors at Fox News. Among these no one has used it so systematically and relentlessly and to such great effect as Glenn Beck.

Horowitz gives David Frum what has become the standard attack on moderates and intellectual conservatives:

It seems to me you are suffering from a kind of political Stockholm syndrome. You inhabit a mental universe shaped by media like Newsweek and the New York Review of Books, in which you are a hostage of the Left. As a result you’ve absorbed some of their attitudes, and look at Palin and other non-U conservatives through their eyes, instead of your own.

Spoken like a true believer. Of this argument, I will say this; Hogwash!

Horowitz presupposes that all news media is biased and that only he and his band of intellectual dilettantes can see it. That notion, by itself, is ignorant. It rejects the idea of professionalism of any kind in the media, while insulting the intelligence of the American people who, sheeplike, are led to feed at the liberal trough without a clue that they are being “indoctrinated.”

I prefer to take my biases one reporter/writer at a time, thank you. There are good, solid, objective (as possible) correspondents and then there are biased ones - both liberal and conservative. To lump them all into a liberal universe is ridiculous - as is the notion the only good source of news is Fox or some other conservative outlet. It seems to me that people who accuse me of being held “hostage” by a liberal media are themselves in thrall to a one note, equally biased media where they get most of their information from Fox News and ranting talk show hosts.

Come back and see me when you are able to discuss an issue from all angles, thus proving to me that you have taken the time to truly understand the subtleties and nuances - the clash of interests and ideology. It is my belief that unless you can argue both sides of an issue effectively, you don’t know it and should keep reading. Those who see only black and white, good or evil, suffer from one dimensional thinking - a disease far too prevalent among Horowitz and those he is defending.

I am not an intellectual - obviously. But I think it important to rigorously examine both your own biases and predilections as well as your opponents before coming to any conclusions. Any other approach is shallow sophistry, knee jerk emotionalism which has become the hallmark of the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, and Sean Hannity’s of the right.

David Frum says something important about this that Horowitz doesn’t address:

It is true that I have criticized some famous conservative talkers like Rush Limbaugh and now Glenn Beck, just as I have previously criticized right-wing opponents of the war on terror like Pat Buchanan and Lew Rockwell. But my “crusade” as David Horowitz calls is not a crusade to criticize. It is a crusade to repair and modernize a very troubled conservative movement.

I agree with David’s implied point that a thriving conservative movement needs a variety of talents: politicians and academics, thinkers and activists, intellectuals and popularizers.

Both have their appropriate roles. But it seems to me that latterly the conservative intellectuals have not properly fulfilled theirs.

And the result is that the conservative intellectual movement has become subservient to the political entertainment complex – with seriously negative consequences for conservative political success. It’s very sobering to compare how much conservatives got done in the 12 years before the creation of Fox News in 1996 with how little they have achieved in the 13 years since. And the problem has only intensified since the election of 2008, with the conservative entertainment complex helping to trap conservatives in a cycle of shrillness, rage, and paranoia that radically off-putting to the centrist voters who will choose the next president and Congress.

We are still a center-right country - but with the emphasis on “center.” People may be of a mind to reject Obamacare but are in no mood to embrace the extremely ideological conservatism that posits the left as minions of Satan and that anything Obama does is not only wrong, but inimical to freedom. It justifies opposing him and the left using the most outrageously exaggerated rhetoric that, if you really believe it, marks you as a paranoid, or more often, uninformed and illogical.

It’s not just a question of “manners,” although keeping debate within the boundaries of respect for others is necessary in a democracy. It is a question of detaching rank emotionalism from reason; it’s rejecting argument by demonization and substituting logic; it’s not employing paranoid exaggeration when realistic descriptions of what the president and the left are trying to do is easily done.

In each case, the former marks one as an unthinking, shrill, unbalanced ideologue who think Americans must be frightened into agreeing with them; the latter, someone who believes that Americans are persuadable without the histrionics employed by cotton candy conservatives on talk radio and elsewhere.

One face of conservatism is off putting to the majority; the other, indicative of a movement that takes itself seriously and doesn’t listen to clowns, and deliberate provocateurs who care more about ratings and ad money than whether conservative ideas triumph. If Rush Limbaugh actually believes that his hysterical view of liberals and Obama (as well as his shallow understanding of conservatism) contributes to conservatism’s popularity and the perception that our ideas should win out over those of the left, he is only kidding himself.

His audience, while huge by radio standards, is still relatively small compared to the number of voters at large. And considering his unpopularity outside of the right, he can’t possibly believe that his rants do anything except resonate with an audience that already agrees with him. The same holds true for the other pop conservatives who, while fulfilling a vital role of “popularizing” conservatism, nevertheless end up being a net minus for the right because of their antics and extraordinarily skewed version of reality.

I am not interested in purging the popularizers. I am interested in reducing their influence - as I am interested in reducing the influence on policy in the GOP by the religious right - and the perception that their methods and views reflect a majority of those of us on the right.

If so, it will be a long road to hoe for reformists who will continue to wander in the wilderness created by the scorched earth conservatives whose excessive ideology poisons the well of ideas from which so little has been drawn in recent years.

By: Rick Moran at 10:57 am
59 Responses to “INTELLECTUAL CONSERVATISM ISN’T DEAD: IT’S RESTING”
  1. 1
    steve Said:
    12:06 pm 

    Rick

    We must have a large tent..Yes, but we must also know when the Barbarians are at the gate. The rifle over the mantle is fine, but if your enemies know it will never be used it is useless.

    This is the moment for intellectuals to exploit the gaps in the enemy lines driven by the populists. work hand in hand and do not treat them like unwashed masses unworthy of inclusion.

    A good approach is to recognize their efforts where they are most effective.

    Treat intellectuals like PsyOps and Pouplists like frontline Centurions. Work together but don’t diss the Ranks of Bronze charging into the fray.

    Follow them with wine and water and remind them they don’t want to see those big armoured bulls charging around their beautiful china shop agian

  2. 2
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    12:39 pm 

    Rick Said:

    I am not interested in purging the popularizers. I am interested in reducing their influence - as I am interested in reducing the influence on policy in the GOP by the religious right - and the perception that their methods and views reflect a majority of those of us on the right.

    With every bit of sincerity I can muster, I wish you the very best of luck.

  3. 3
    jackson1234 Said:
    12:47 pm 

    At least you recognize you aren’t an intellectual. Frum is bereft of such introspection and has marginalized himself more than most populists have. When the self-proclaimed intellectuals offer up something that doesn’t echo DNC talking points, they will have something to bring to the table. Thus far they have not. So when you write that your intent is to reduce the influence of the populists rather than to purge them, you are in effect saying that you don’t want any influential voices on the Right–whether inadvertently or not, it doesn’t matter.

    These rank-and-file conservatives are not going away and represent roughly a third to 40 percent of the nation. I’d much rather have them in the tent saying crazy shit at times as opposed to, say, the ten or 12 pundits who don’t like them voicing Me-tooism banalities. When this tiny group can actually lay out positions, as the House GOP actually has done with health care, they can expect to be taken seriously.

    Otherwise they can be David Frum.

  4. 4
    Paul Kroenke Said:
    1:07 pm 

    Phenomenal comment by steve. What I have seen happening on the Right has been a travesty to me. For whatever reason, and Rick, you’re not excluded from this, very few have acknowledged the necessity of a more extreme view that is put forth by what you are now calling the popularizers: Beck, Rush, Hannity, etc. Charles Johnson, one of the most influential right bloggers, has gone so far as to remove all members of LGF whom he feels are even vaguely “extreme” from his site. He ludicrously refuses to acknowledge that Beck holds any value. He even more ludicrously attempts to brand the some of the right’s better thinkers and bloggers, like Ron Paul and RS McCain, respectively, as violent racist anti-semites, and not worth listening to on any topic.

    I think there is a general necessity for these people to, just as steve puts forth, blast open holes in the enemy lines. The front of the left is galvanized, but there are conservatives in waiting behind them. Many are libertarian conservatives and just don’t know it. If a libertarian conservative voice like Beck’s can reach penetrate that galvanized front line and pique that left-libertarian’s interest, he may begin to pay some heed to the conservative intellectual. The conservative intellectual must stroll in through that hole blasted by the infantry, and begin to educate that new conservative in what conservatism is.

    We cannot continue to deride the efforts of Beck or Rush or Hannity or Coulter or Levin or whoever comes next. They have their place. They serve a purpose. Intellectuals have to step in and fill in the gaps.

  5. 5
    JustIce Said:
    1:08 pm 

    Rick,

    You are missing the point of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck. They are simply the Conservative versions of the more Liberal mainstream media. Please don’t say that I am broad-brushing mainstream journalists, I understand that some of them are indeed objective. However, they are a small minority, in my opinion (I will admit I have no factual evidence to support my case other than political contribution surveys).

    Most major publications and broadcasts are decidedly slanted with a bias towards Liberal and Democrat ways rather than neutral and questioning. Since the majority of people still get their news from the Big Three networks and the newspaper (all of which are visibly anti-conservative) there is little chance that anything conservative will break through the Liberal blockade. Hence the extreme nature of the attacks. To get covered on the nightly news casts requires something extreme. The only way they cover Conservative issues is if they perceive them as being way out there.

    Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh oblige them. They know they are extreme, they intend to be extreme, it’s the only way, in their opinion (and mine) to catch the short attention span of today’s harried voter.

    It would ignoring the obvious if one were to think the average voter has or takes the time to examine the details of the current political rhetoric. For the most part, they only read the headlines and listen to the sound bites. As much as that may aggravate those who are political junkies (I include myself) it is an observable fact.

    To this audience the Rush Limbaughs and Glen Becks of the world direct their efforts. The Liberal media is the same way, except they have perfected the illusion of legitimacy, which came mainly through a 30 year monopoly of the news industry. If it hadn’t been for technological advancements in information flow, they would still maintain their domination.

    I must say, that I truly enjoy reading your thoughts on the issues of the day. I don’t always agreee, but I always find them well thought out. I guess that is why debating you is such fun.

  6. 6
    michael luna Said:
    1:48 pm 

    this is hilarious– conservatives debating ” conservative intellectuals ” man, i can hardly type that w/o falling down from uncontrollable laughter. in my 49 years on this earth, i have never heard anyone speak of conservative politics that i would consider to be any where near an intellectual. you people must have dumbed down your own definitions along with most of our troubled nation. you people espouse knee jerking over all other forms of expression and are way too self important to realize what you are doing to yourselves and this once great nation. if the whole thing wasn’t so tragic it would be hilarious as hell

    Heh - someone who can’t write, can’t spell, is incoherent, and ignorant of his own country’s history is criticizing conservatives for being stupid?

    Now THAT’s funny - and not tragic at all. One more liberal who proves himself an ignoramus is glorious.

    ed.

  7. 7
    Joe Said:
    1:48 pm 

    I’d like to correct a fallacy that I hear the diehard conservatives using all the time. They claim the only reason people voted for Obama and Democrats is that they were un-informed.Although this will be anecdotal evidence only, 95% of liberals I have known are total political junkies and read liberal and conservative websites. So lets ditch the “liberals don’t study the issues” crap, because its a myth of the rightwing. As a Democrat I come here every day, even after Rick said I was an ignoramus and knew nothing about politics! I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. I consider Rick one of the sane conservatives, Beck I consider a nut. This site lets both liberals and conservatives have their say, its why I keep coming back.

  8. 8
    Gayle Miller Said:
    2:19 pm 

    Surely you are aware, Rick, that calling any conservative a RINO is akin to waving a red flag at a bull with a bad attitude! RINO is a dismissive and perjorative term utilized to describe such so-called Republicans as Senators John McCain of Arizona and George Voinovich of Ohio.

    I too frequently view Beck as a nut. But even a broken clock can be correct twice daily! And Beck has been right enough that he doesn’t deserve to be pilloried and/or discounted quite so glibly! Limbaugh is inaccessible to me since I work in a busy law office and don’t have time to listen to his radio show.

    In addition, the Left is making much of the fact that we are criticizing Zero loud and long via the Town Hall meetings and the Tea Parties. Under no circumstances can they legitimately claim parity or some sort of moral relevance. They’ve been noisier and far more disruptive in the past and will, no doubt, be so again in the future. And another very specific comment: conservatives do not advocate the killing of the President, not even this president who is so anathema to us. The Left routinely carried signs advocating the murder of George W. Bush and his entire family. Nice stuff that, don’t you think?

    This is, as others have said, the most thin-skinned, crybaby administration we’ve had in my [very long] lifetime! Put on your big boy panties, Mr. President, and start taking some lessons in governing instead of subjecting this nation to your endless and empty-headed campaigning!

    I reserve the right to legitimately criticize this president because I believe that he is both dangerously incompetent and so filled with arrogance that he is potentially an horrendous failure for our nation. His antecedents are questionable, his true beliefs amorphous and with all that, I do not for one second want him to fail! As Obama fails, so fails the United States of America. And that, in the end, is unacceptable beyond anything else.

  9. 9
    Brad Said:
    2:22 pm 

    If I was a hard, play to win by any means leftist, Rick Moran would be just the kind of guy I could really get behind and encourage while my group seized control of every institution we could get our hands on. Self censuring, why can’t we all get along opposition is the flip side of the useful idiot coin.

  10. 10
    Transplanted Lawyer Said:
    2:27 pm 

    Intellectual conservatism isn’t “dead.” It’s “pining for the fjords.” “Shagged out after a particularly long squawk.” The only reason it looks dead is it PREFERS keeping on its back.

    What passes for leadership in the Republican party these days consists of short-term tactics and unthinking contrarianism. David Horowitz proclaiming the value of Glenn Beck “exposing the tactics of the left” and calling calls for moderation in the social agenda a political “Stockholm syndrome” are perfect examples of that. No one is more thoroughly financially wedded to catering to the red-meat-eaters out there than Horowitz; while he is personally an intellectually brilliant man, he understands better than most that the audience who funds his eponymous “Freedom Center” care nothing for the kind of introspective, erudite, and most of all self-critical analysis that producing and enacting a real political philosophy requires.

    Quite simply, it is insufficient to point to the opposition and say they’re bad people with bad ideas. We need to be good people with good ideas. But all too often, those who most loudly preach “family values” messages are found to be philanderers or worse; those who attack the policy proposals of the Democrats have nothing substantive to offer on their own; those who cry the loudest that the Obama Administration is ruining America were the ones who cheered the loudest when the Bush Administration was doing the exact same things. But that requires someone to articulate something that possesses intellectual credibility, and as a functional matter, nearly no one to the right of the President is doing this.

    Seriously, what was once “intellectual conservatism” has become the province of libertarians — which means that despite all his myriad flaws, we’re pretty much talking about Ron Paul as the only one actually coming up with ideas. For everyone else holding office or positions of political prominence, it’s pretty much only a question of tone.

  11. 11
    mannning Said:
    2:40 pm 

    I am not interested in purging the popularizers. I am interested in reducing their influence - as I am interested in reducing the influence on policy in the GOP by the religious right - and the perception that their methods and views reflect a majority of those of us on the right.

    There is the Right and there is the Religious Right, which would seem to be the “far Right”, and then there are Rightists that are also Religious.

    Quite the majority of Rightists, all that stand from the Center Rightward, are Religious, I believe. There are a few “Nones” in the ranks, but I believe they count for far less than ten percent of the Right. (Most “Nones” appear to be found somewhere on the Left.)

    It seems, then, that we have the Religious-Right and the Right-Religious that together make up about 90% to 95% of the conservative movement. This is the main force of conservatism and it is largely Right-of-Center, and not Center or narrowly Center-Right.

    I wonder what significant parts of their thinking, their conservative tenets, their religious thought, their morality, and their political thought need to be “suppressed” in order to reduce their (majority) influence on the movement?

    Is it mainly the influence of their religion from which they derive their objections to such things as abortion, same–sex marriage, and amnesty for illegal aliens, and from which they derive their moral code?

    Is it their perception that government should be minimalized insofar as possible and practicable, and that the Constitution be the law of the land once again?

    Is it their belief that the proper way to modify the Constitution is by the Amendment process?

    Is it that they object to legislating from the bench?

    Or, is it that they object to creating a national debt of tens of trillions of dollars on principle?

    Is it that they want lower and fairer taxes, and want all citizens to be stakeholders in the taxes to be paid? Is it that conservatives do not generally believe in progressive taxation?

    Or, perhaps, it is their identification of enemies of the state to be those that adhere to Islamic jihad?

    Which of these conservative tenets, and others not stated, should be “suppressed” so that their influence can be lessened, and exactly why?

    If, and I repeat, if the main thing to be suppressed are the religious tenets of the conservative Right that you object to, you will not succeed, simply because you are suggesting that it is politically expedient for them to suppress their closely-held religious belief system.

    I suggest also that you seriously underestimate the influence of Limbaugh, Beck and other media spokespersons on the conservative Right. By ranting against them, you are alienating quite a portion of the Right, and not adding much of anything at all to the numbers voting Right drawn from the Independents. You are adding to the Squabble-Factor without supplying any effective replacements for those you wound.

  12. 12
    Come One Come All To the Obama Health Care Show, But Remember To Wear Your White Coat! « Moonbat Patrol Pinged With:
    5:20 pm 

    [...] VOTINGFEMALESPEAKS! ed-morrissey-talks-taxes-at-defending-the-american-dream-summitED MORRISSEY intellectual-conservatism-isnt-dead-its-restingRIGHTWING NUTHOUSE drhelen.blogspot.com DR [...]

  13. 13
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    5:24 pm 

    “It seems to me you are suffering from a kind of political Stockholm syndrome. You inhabit a mental universe shaped by media like Newsweek and the New York Review of Books, in which you are a hostage of the Left. As a result you’ve absorbed some of their attitudes, and look at Palin and other non-U conservatives through their eyes, instead of your own.”

    I think Rick Moran needs to ponder this more and contemplate it. Methinks he didn’t *get it*.

    Horowitz has a point.

    What are your real goals? What are your real reference points? Are you sure you are not stuck in some kind of intellectual ‘kultur-smog’ and therefore defining ‘center’ based on the liberal intellectual reference points?

    The real repair to conservative intellectual movement is when it is self-confident enough to focus on its own agenda and not this ‘reaction-to-the-reaction’ game-playing.

  14. 14
    Raaaaacism… More Hate, All Delusional from Garofalo: “White Power Movement” Diatribe if You Don’t Support Obama… Lloyd Marcus & Katrina Pierson Wouldn’t Agree (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone Pinged With:
    5:25 pm 

    [...] Andrea Peyser, Big Hollywood: Celebutard of the Week: Janeane Garofalo Rightwing Nuthouse: INTELLECTUAL CONSERVATISM ISN’T DEAD: IT’S RESTING Hot Air: Is America a conservative nation? and Garofalo: No, seriously, tea partiers are racists [...]

  15. 15
    busboy33 Said:
    7:05 pm 

    I’ve finally hit on a system to filter the comments based on Beckian faith and Conservative philosophy.

    Got a copy of Scottish bagpipes playing Amazing Grace, slow and mournful at first but gradually swelling to chin-out pride.
    I use it as part of my “Hamburger Hill” playlist for videogaming. Often, me and my friends will play a “desperate holdout or suicidal charge against overwhelming odds” set, just for the emotional drama. Our platoon may be doomed, but by God we’re taking an honor guard to Hell with us. One for All, All for One! Damn the torpedoes . . . full speed ahead! Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn! WOLVERINEEEEEEES! the “HH” playlist gives an appropriately encouraging backdrop to the games. Amazing Grace, some excerpts of Olympic fanfare, The Ants go Marching, the final charge music from Braveheart . . . you get the idea.

    If Amazing Grace provides a suitable backdrop to your comment . . . you MIGHT be a Beckian.

  16. 16
    michael reynolds Said:
    7:24 pm 

    Steve:

    It’s not a war, genius, you’re looking for votes. You cannot encircle votes, or besiege votes, or cut votes off from their supply line. Your comment is the perfect example of why your side needs functional intellectuals: you don’t even know what the game is.

    Transplanted Lawyer:

    As usual the one rational voice in a wilderness of howling loons. For all the good it will do you.

  17. 17
    Todd Said:
    8:01 pm 

    Steve and Brad and some others’ comments are encouraging to me as one on “the other side” as I think it will keep the GOP out of power. I’m on the side of a just and prosperous America which actually innovates and progresses (intelligence and intellectual strength indeed helps tremendously). Steve and Brad–good luck with your strategy of…whatever that is. It’s kind of funny, actually, since your views and tactics are VERY similar to the Soviets’ in the first half of the last century: They squelched any kind of internal dissent and actively dumbed down the population to maintain control (many intellectuals ended up in gulags for the crime of having ideas and actually expressing them).

    Transplanted Lawyer, you’re a sign of hope that a day will come when the GOP contributes toward problem solving instead of shrieking with hyperbole. I heard an interesting interview yesterday in which it was described that GOPers who have ideas (I assume conservative ideas) and want to work with Dems to try and add conservative views toward a joint solution for the mammoth problems facing us are treated as “treasonous collaborators.” You see it clearly with Olympia Snow. I feel sorry for her.

    Horowitz is, in my opinion, a radical whose alliance is with neocon ideology, not with America’s progress. He jumped from one extreme ideology to the opposite. Alliance to an ideology on either side (R/L) is ALWAYS a recipe for failure, IMO, because ideologues (political, religious, etc.) view the world through a lens of how they think it should be rather than how it actually is.

  18. 18
    obamathered Said:
    8:26 pm 

    It has taken the Left a mere eight months to implode and you worry about disc jockeys. Jesus Christ. The day some left-wing loon is crazy enough to become concerned about Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow…well, they won’t. This has become a bizarre fixation on your part, especially since the ground has shifted so rapidly back in our direction.

    Steve nailed it. Frum, proving the Blind Pig analogy has some use, even came close when he acknowledged the need for a variety of talents and voices in any political movement. I note you hail from Bob Michel land. It must pain you to know the journey through the wilderness soon will prove a short one. Bob liked it there. Modern conservatives don’t.

  19. 19
    Travis Monitor Said:
    9:09 pm 

    “I’m on the side of a just and prosperous America which actually innovates and progresses (intelligence and intellectual strength indeed helps tremendously).”

    That’s a side which should have nothing to do with the intellectually bankrupt and corrupt Democratic party and the shape-shifting ideological left allies. They are advocates for programs that don’t work, costing money we don’t have to solve misdescribed/phony hobgoblin problems (like the bogus ‘problem’ of CO2), while ignoring real challenges (such as the challenge of economic supremacy/success for USA).

    “Transplanted Lawyer, you’re a sign of hope that a day will come when the GOP contributes toward problem solving instead of shrieking with hyperbole. I heard an interesting interview yesterday in which it was described that GOPers who have ideas (I assume conservative ideas) and want to work with Dems to try and add conservative views toward a joint solution for the mammoth problems facing us are treated as “treasonous collaborators.” You see it clearly with Olympia Snow.”

    Please name a single conservative idea Olympia Snowe has. I can’t. Nor can conservatives. The populist base has seen far too many cases of ‘conservative’ input to ‘bipartisan’ bills be used as nothing more than political PR for liberal Democrat bills. It’s not that there aren’t conservative ideas out there: men like Senator Coburn, Rep Paul Ryan, and folks in many state-level think tanks have great ideas. There are fantastic ideas in healthcare and in education and in economic growth. It’s that the liberal Democrats know instinctively to completely ignore *real* conservative ideals, and instead work with hollow vacuous non-conservative GOP politicians.

  20. 20
    Travis Monitor Said:
    9:22 pm 

    “I’ve finally hit on a system to filter the comments based on Beckian faith and Conservative philosophy.”

    I’ve got an even better one. Just go back to watching Cartoon Network … no, I mean, MSNBC … oh, same difference, just so long as its not …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLrrBs8JBQo&feature=player_embedded

    See also:
    http://travismonitor.blogspot.com/2009/07/needed-braveheart-spirit.html

  21. 21
    Travis Monitor Said:
    9:52 pm 

    “Quite simply, it is insufficient to point to the opposition and say they’re bad people with bad ideas.”

    Insufficient, sure, but when it’s the truth its a mighty good place to start.

    ” We need to be good people with good ideas.”
    Yup.

    ” But all too often, those who most loudly preach “family values” messages are found to be philanderers or worse;”
    Only nihilists argue that the existence of sin requires to abolition of morality. Power corrupts on a bipartisan basis. But point taken on the immoralities of Edwards, Kennedy, Clinton, Gov. Donald Siegelman, Rep. William Jefferson, Tony Rezko Charlie Rangel, former Detroit Mayor Kwame “Text Me” Kilpatrick … oh wait, wrong party.

    “those who attack the policy proposals of the Democrats have nothing substantive to offer on their own;”
    Those who make these claim haven’t done their homework. There are plenty of ideas and policy prescriptions on the conservative shelf, collecting dust at places like Heritage and Cato and AEI until the Pelosi/Reid/Obama era, that prevents them from being anything but pipedreams, is over.

    ” those who cry the loudest that the Obama Administration is ruining America were the ones who cheered the loudest when the Bush Administration was doing the exact same things.”

    There is always some amount of political hypocrisy on both sides - those who cheer the loudest that the Obama Administration is helping America were the ones who jeered the loudest when the Bush Administration was doing the exact same things - but seeing exact parallels is misguided. On foreign policy we see some parallels, but on domestic policy, many dramatic turns, not ‘exact same things’. Some conservatives had already gotten off the Bush bus on spending, on immigration, and most especially last year on TARP. Well, that concern has become blown up into a massive migraine now Obama is pouring it on massively like never before - $1 trillion boondoggle Govt bailout falsely called ’stimulus’; the $400 billion supplemental; $9 trillion in planned deficits and another $2 trillion if obamacare passes; plus the crazy corruption-inducing jobs-destroying cap and trade scheme.

    Barack Obama is the ‘more cowbell’ of American liberalism, taking its worst impulses to a new level: More taxes, spending, Government control, new legislation, etc. than ever before. There is a mad rush to do bad bills quickly and sign the Federal and state govts up for responsibilities we cannot afford. The 2 key numbers are these - 3 million jobs lost so far under Obama; $9 trillion in projected deficits. This goes far beyond what Bush has done, and the sheer fiscal recklessness of the Obama agenda should concern people across the political spectrum.

  22. 22
    JustIce Said:
    10:02 pm 

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You can spout all you want about this and that. The reality, as I said, earlier, is that MOST voters are not political junkies. They don’t read blogs (most don’t even know what they are), they don’t lsiten t talk radio, they don’t even read the New York Times. They are too busy going about their daily lives. They may occasionally tune into the nightky news, but even that is rare. They pay attention to what they hear at work, and what they are exposed to after hours with their friends.

    Rush, Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, Fox News, whatever source you want to put down is simply trying to compete for the short attention span of today’s American.

    Sp go ahaead and bitch about Conservative values, complain that Intellectual Conservatives are not being heard, put down those who don’t agree. Not a single person you want to convince is listening. They don’t have the time, they’re too busy trying to live through it.

  23. 23
    Travis Monitor Said:
    10:04 pm 

    #16 Todd: “Steve and Brad–good luck with your strategy of…whatever that is. It’s kind of funny, actually, since your views and tactics are VERY similar to the Soviets’ in the first half of the last century: They squelched any kind of internal dissent and actively dumbed down the population to maintain control (many intellectuals ended up in gulags for the crime of having ideas and actually expressing them).”

    Todd does the moral equivalent of what would call for a Godwin’s Law invocation.

    What Brad actually was lamenting was “Self censuring” … aka “flip side of the useful idiot coin.” so anyone against self-censoring is a Stalinist?

    Arrogant, deluded nonsense like this, which presupposes some superiority to the conservative heathen rabble, reminds me that the Right side is still the right side, because the left is just sooo out of it.

    Seriously. For all his faults, Glenn Beck > New York Times still holds. (He got 2 honest bigtime stories that made a difference and NYT lied to their own readers about it.) And yes, that *is* damning more than praising.

  24. 24
    Doug King Said:
    10:12 pm 

    Fascinating discussion.

    In the spirit of Rick’s stated “belief that unless you can argue both sides of an issue effectively, you don’t know it and should keep reading” I will say no more than ask a question of Manning — if he sees this.

    Manning (#11): You emphasized that those who are right of center tend to be fairly religious, to one degree or another. Are you implying that those who are left of center are not very religious? (If so, I find it hard to believe, but pardon the pun). What role, if any, do you think religion plays in the populist wing of the political left?

  25. 25
    Transplanted Lawyer Said:
    11:05 pm 

    Only nihilists argue that the existence of sin requires to abolition of morality.

    That wasn’t my point at all. “Family values” is a loser of a platform plank because it sets us up to look like hypocrites when our candidates are less than angelic. Which, let’s face it, is a description that applies to pretty much anyone in politics.

    There are plenty of ideas and policy prescriptions on the conservative shelf, collecting dust at places like Heritage and Cato and AEI until the Pelosi/Reid/Obama era, that prevents them from being anything but pipedreams, is over.

    That is where I depart from your point of view, Travis. If there are those good ideas, we shouldn’t be holding them back. We should be throwing out into the media, front and center, loudly and repeatedly proclaiming that there is an alternative to all this. We should be proud of our ideas, eager to market them, anxious to use them for the good of our nation, regardless of who is in the White House. The voters will remember who came up with these good ideas. (And frankly, they won’t as easily remember who came up with the bad ones; the blame for failed policies always falls on the incumbent President, whether rightly or wrongly.)

    Newt Gingrich put together a comprehensible and marketable policy platform in 1994 and used the power of good ideas to propel Republicans to take back outright control of Congress for the first time in two generations — while a Democrat was serving as President. Who is the contemporary equivalent of Gingrich, what are these policy ideas, and why are the floodgates being held back?

  26. 26
    Todd Said:
    6:39 am 

    Monitor, typical rightwing response: twisting words, skewing context, personal insults. First off, I didn’t say anyone was a Stalinist: I said that the squelching on internal dissent coupled with anti-intellectualism was indeed used by the USSR in the 30s-50s. It’s historically true and it’s definitely comparable to what the GOP is doing right now. Also, did I not decry ideologues? I think I did. You actually proved my point about GOPers who work toward bipartisanship as being treasonous collaborators. You also invoked Godwin’s law in an inapplicable context.

    “Conservative heathen rabble”–I don’t even know what that is and I didn’t use any term remotely like that.

    American economic supremacy? Are you serious? That’s long past–irrevocably so (even some conservatives admit that). The best we can hope for is to maintain economic viability. America is no longer the sole superpower in any respect except for our nukes. I think this is actually good news for our country and the world. A multi-polar world is rapidly developing and while I know that hardcore Righties don’t want to accept it, it may very well be what saves us and ushers us safely and prosperously into this new century.


    American economic supremacy? Are you serious? That’s long past

    Huh? Who? WTF? A $13 TRILLION dollar economy is “long past” being supreme? Are you nuts? Our economy is twice the size of the nearest competitor - Japan - and even bigger than the entire EU put together?

    Our productivity is the wonder of the modern world. We produce more, using fewer resources, than any nation in the history of human civilization. Even with our shrinking industrial production (about 18% of GDP) only China manufactures more stuff.

    Should I even mention agriculture? Or our conventional forces which are so far superior to any other nation’s that even fighting two wars, our navy and air force leave every other nation in the rear? (Our 29 squadrons of the most modern, the most deadly fighters in existence alone could destroy any air force in the world).

    I realize there are many who would celebrate America’s decline. But when the thugs of the world go to sleep at night, who do they worry might lob a cruise missile into their bedroom? France? Russia? North Korea? They worry about us - and goddamn well they should. They don’t believe in our “decline” like eager American lefties who think it good that we might be humiliated in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iran does not believe we live in a “multi-polar world” - except Obama has unilaterally declared it to be so, voluntarily subsuming American interests in favor of the interests of other nations - something he was not elected to do.

    Give me a break. Your statement is false in so many ways as to be laughable. Stop with the wishful thinking and get real. Russia’s conventional capability can barely be projected into Georgia. China would have enormous difficulties invading Taiwan across a spit of water. We can still get 100,000 troops - a medium size American city - and move it 5,000 miles in less than 60 days.

    Militarily, economically, cullturally, politically, diplomatically (even under Bush) we are still the only superpower. Every other country in the world knows it and acts accordingly. Why do American liberals reject the facts staring them in the face?

    I could go on but you get the picture.

    ed.

  27. 27
    Todd Said:
    7:12 am 

    Doug King, you bring up an interesting point about religion. Again, it is an ideology and not a reality. Moreover, at least in the case of “Christians,” you have public piety espoused by people who are often involved in very unseemly behavior. I’d say that spirituality, more than religion, plays a larger role in Lefties’ views–many people I know, anyway. For me, I’m a Jesus fan as he was one of the most liberal figures in all of history. He healed the sick (for free), fed and clothed the poor, decried wealth and materialism (camels don’t fit through eyes of needles usually), was completely against violence, was for the separation of church and state, counseled us all to love others as ourselves, taught that ALL humans are God’s children, etc. These “Christian” conservatives can call themselves whatever they like, but it doesn’t mean they follow the teachings of the Christ. Similarly, bin Laden is not a true follower of the Prophet Mohammad, etc. Prophets are teachers, and in the case of Western religion, there are a lot of failing students.

  28. 28
    Todd Said:
    7:18 am 

    “I could go on but you get the picture.”

    Yes, you could–and I’d disagree with you on pretty much each of the points you made.

    Btw, I’ve been to 49 different countries in all parts of the world (I live abroad now), and I can tell you firsthand that the world sees the US quite differently that you do.

    “Why do American liberals reject the facts staring them in the face?”

    Right back at ya…

  29. 29
    Todd Said:
    7:23 am 

    Justice (#21), good points. I’m a frequently relapsing political junkie (I’ll be blog-free for a few weeks, but I always end up back on the e-junk, like now)—wish I could kick the habit for good since the anger and hatred only bums me out.

  30. 30
    Gayle Miller Said:
    7:27 am 

    Shakespeare was right about lawyers!

  31. 31
    Todd Said:
    7:27 am 

    Does the “ed.” signature mean editor? Is it the editor of this blog?

  32. 32
    Todd Said:
    8:05 am 

    Looking through the comments, I can only conclude that it is indeed the editor of the blog since the only two comments more/less hacked with italicized aggressive responses were mine and one other more liberal commenter. That’s fine–it’s your blog. However, I’ll not be back. I mistakenly thought this was a forum which, although conservative, would also accept different views. You certainly don’t have to agree with me just as I don’t have to agree with you, but to so rudely attack a select few of your readers (and in this case one who often donates to blogs he likes) is quite uncool.

    I find it easier to simply add on to a comment so that I can address the specifics without having to go back and forth. You have insulted me plenty in some of your comments and I find it ironic that my “aggressive” response offended you so. Don’t want to be offended? Don’t give offense. Duh.

    What offended me about your comment that I responded to was its utter stupidity. Your only critique of the litany of evidence that I piled on was that you’ve talked with people in other countries and that makes me wrong? That too, is idiotic.

    Do you deny that America’s economy is $13 trillion? Do you deny it is (nearly) twice as big as any other economy in the world? Prove otherwise.

    Do you deny our cultural dominance? Prove otherwise.

    Do you deny our conventional military supremacy - even fighting two wars? Prove otherwise.

    Do you deny anything I wrote in response to your ridiculous, uninformed statement that America now resides in a “multi-polar” world? If we do, it is because we have a president who chooses to make it so, not because it is true in any relative sense. Prove otherwise.

    I see that challenging you angers you and causes you to scurry away. Fine. About what I’d expect from someone who spouts nonsense and can’t back it up.

    ed.

  33. 33
    michael reynolds Said:
    8:31 am 

    We remain the only superpower. The EU could contest but it’s not to their advantage to do so, far more profitable to leave the heavy lifting to us. The better question is whether superpower status is worth what we pay for it.

    I note your return with a mixture of joy and trepidation. I would add that “what we pay for it” will soon become too much. Half trillion dollar defense budgets are not sustainable nor necessary. Why we need 5,000 tanks in a world where no other nation has but a few dozen or hundred is beyond me. Our entire military is still geared to fight the Soviets on the plains of Mittel Europa. But defense spending has become a jobs program for giant corporations and has little to do with buying the hardware necessary to address our major security concerns.

    ed.

  34. 34
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    9:00 am 

    “If there are those good ideas, we shouldn’t be holding them back.”

    Who says we are holding anything back? You just have to get out of the lamestream liberal media Kultursmog and find them.

    We have this bizarre alice-in-wonderland inside-the-beltway culture that denies the existence of ideas on the right, then uses that false premise to argue that the right lacks intellectual heft or answers to pressing problems. If anything, the left is holding it back by pretending alternatives dont exist.

    It’s arrogant nonsense …

    http://www.newson6.com/Global/story.asp?S=10965028

    http://www.house.gov/ryan/PCA/PCAsummary2p.pdf

    http://www.texasinsider.org/?p=16545#more-16545

    http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=HealthCareReform.Home

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.1099:

    http://fixhealthcarepolicy.com/in-the-news/the-senate-health-bill-chock-full-of-bad-health-policy/

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm2448.cfm

    http://fixhealthcarepolicy.com/key-documents/back-to-basics/

    http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=0db98529-0230-3564-0e4b-fe84bdb1971b&Month=6&Year=2009&Type=PressRelease

    etc.

  35. 35
    michael luna Said:
    9:04 am 

    all i’m sayin is you people are way too self absorbed to the point that you don’t have a clue what’s going on with the electorate. and also, “ed” just like the great conservative orater o’reilly, i am a registered independent.i just know when someone is only looking out for their own selfish interests as you people are, i can see it.there’s no reason to try to hide behind psuedo-intellectual hoo-ha only your own kind are impressed.also, if you type in all caps we can hear your whining better.

  36. 36
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    9:05 am 

    “If there are those good ideas, we shouldn’t be holding them back.”

    Who says we are holding anything back? You just have to get out of the lamestream liberal media Kultursmog and find them.

    We have this bizarre alice-in-wonderland inside-the-beltway culture that denies the existence of ideas on the right, then uses that false premise to argue that the right lacks intellectual heft or answers to pressing problems. If anything, the left is holding it back by pretending alternatives dont exist.

    It’s arrogant nonsense …

    I started posting about 2 links to different ideas on healthcare on the right out there, but the spam filter wont let it get posted… start here:

    http://fixhealthcarepolicy.com/
    http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg2128.cfm
    and here:

    http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=0db98529-0230-3564-0e4b-fe84bdb1971b&Month=6&Year=2009&Type=PressRelease

  37. 37
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    9:07 am 

    Gack, meant to say I had “20 links” on different ideas from the right on healthcare reform. LOTS OF IDEAS exist. Few are even acknowledged in the lamestream media.

  38. 38
    Freedoms Truth Said:
    9:11 am 

    “Newt Gingrich put together a comprehensible and marketable policy platform in 1994 and used the power of good ideas to propel Republicans to take back outright control of Congress for the first time in two generations — while a Democrat was serving as President. Who is the contemporary equivalent of Gingrich, what are these policy ideas, and why are the floodgates being held back?”

    That’s a different question, and a good one! … and I think the answer again is NOT the lack of POLICY IDEAS. There are plenty, which the media studiously ignores … it’s the lack of leadership in the Republican circles to put that kind of agenda front-and-center and force the Obama/Democrats hand.

    That’s said, the GOP has the weakest hand possible given their minority. Perhaps by 2010 they will gel it into a focussed, marketable agenda and put some energy behind promoting that different positive vision.

    I for one want to see it happen as well.

  39. 39
    TMLutas Said:
    9:26 am 

    You do not build by subtraction. If you want a more intellectual conservatism you add voices, add intellectual rigor, add intellectual tools, add schools, build an intellectual framework, etc. The popularizers will shrink in influence because they will be the same crew as otherwise in a much larger conservative pie.

    The truth is that intellectuals are being picked off by the left in the schools and universities, their ranks being decimated by kangaroo courts at doctoral dissertations and at other points of the intellectual creation pipeline. There is your real enemy, the real problem facing intellectual conservatism.

    The left is cutting the intellectuals off at the knees. That’s a problem. Do you have a solution? Or do you just want to play procrustes and chop down the popularizers so nobody will notice how shrunken the intellectuals have become?

    As it happens, I do have a solution. Just like everything else, the business model of the modern university is vulnerable right now. Creating alternative educational avenues that will explode the corrupt departments with their conservative blacklists, starving them of students, tuition dollars, and influence is probably the greatest undertaking that those who want to enhance the conservative intellectual faction.

    Look at the open courseware movement and create a supplementary K-12 and university curriculum that conservative parents can insist their children go through so that their biased professors and teachers don’t create one-dimensional liberal drones out of the next generation. Do it well so that there’s a positive correlation in educational testing results and 1st year salaries and you’ll get the centrists to come on board.

    There’s a lot that can be done. I’m looking to do my own part. If we’d waste less time on trying to shrink other factions down to size, I might have some allies to help along.

    Well said. And I think you mistake my desire to “marginalize” populizers with purging them. The problem on the right is that it isn’t there aren’t enough intellectuals - it’s that they are ignored. Your idea to “grow” conservative academia sounds like you want to replace liberal orthodoxy for lock step conservatism. I want universities to get back to a place where the free exchange of ideas - right and left - is protected and encouraged. That’s the kind of university experience I had back in the early 1970’s. It can be regained not by overlaying another strata of educational infrastructure that would be just as rigid on the right as any leftist academic enclave, but by doing what they’re doing at Dartmouth; electing conservative trustees and pressuring boards to live up to the credo of intellectual freedom they purport to subscribe.

    ed.

  40. 40
    michael luna Said:
    9:36 am 

    “the left is cutting off the intellectuals at the knees” it’s only because the ‘conservative’ university students only care about getting a primary degree so they can go work for a parent or a frat brother and make as much money as they can. they don’t care about intellectual pursuit whatsoever (by and large)please don’t blame your own ideology’s shortcomings on liberals

  41. 41
    michael luna Said:
    10:05 am 

    “conservatives, by nature are a talentless,and humorless group of individuals who are only happy when they get EVERYTHING they want”

  42. 42
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:13 am 

    I trepidate as well. (Hell, I can make up words, I’m a writer.)

    The political process that’s led to our current ridiculous military posture is roughly as follows: Republicans say, “You Democrats are pussies.” Democrats says, “No we’re not, we’ll spend just as much as you.” With the result you point out: that we are absolutely ready at any time to fight the Battle of Kursk. And just as soon as Al Qaeda gets their tank army together we will totally kick their ass.

    This is the same political process we use for Medicare, Education and many other issues with the parties swapping roles as necessary. Each party essentially goads and dares the other party into a budgetary suicide pact.

    We then finalize the madness by insisting that not only must we have everything, we must pay for none of it.

    This is why I am so frustrated with the GOP’s ‘party of no’ strategy. I think we Democrats were actually prepared to use the crisis to look seriously at a range of issues. Speaking for myself, I’d like to see means-testing of Medicare. I’d like to see retirement ages raised. I’d like a serious re-evaluation of our military spending and posture. (We’re defending Germany why? And from whom?)

    And then I’d like a comprehensive look at taxation. Maybe a VAT. Maybe cut the corporate rate. I don’t know, but I know we can’t get anywhere if the question is instantly demagogued from both sides.

    I won’t make the argument that we opened our arms to Republicans, but we did extend a hand, and still extend a hand, and we got a slap across the face in return. We Democrats are in a position similar to the Israelis: neither of us has a partner for peace, a person with whom we can negotiate. As long as Limbaugh and Beck control the GOP agenda — and they do — and so long as GOP leadership is weak enough to be cowed by their extremes, there’s no one for us to talk to.

    We have paralysis. And no, divided government fans, that’s not a good thing. Because what we’ve frozen-in-place is untenable. We need some movement. We have some very serious problems. Big, grown-up problems. And a political dialog dominated by children.

  43. 43
    theblackcommenter Said:
    10:41 am 

    Something that seems to be missing to me from this conversation between the so-called conservative intellectuals, moderates, etc., and the populists is the fact that the so-called populists actually perform an intellectual function. I did not transition from a Democrat to a Republican because or erudite arguments voiced in the dulcet tones of academia, but because I happened one day to listen to Limbaugh whose program I stumbled across on while driving and decided on a lark to listen to what this “right wing loon” had to say. I had been more accustomed to NPR and some Limbaugh’s bombastic style was off putting, but… and this is critical… he was saying things that were true. He pointed out again and again obvious hypocrisies of the Democratic primary (this was during the election). His arguments, clothed in hyperbole, sarcasm and satire, were cogent and articulate. More than that, they made sense.

    Now I’m not really a fan of Limbaugh. My listening to his program was a fluke. But what I was exposed to: conservative thought, was infectious. At the time, I was hearing NOTHING from Republicans. And even now I hear nothing from them. It often seems that moderates have no ideas of their own other than critiquing the “extremist populists” and showing up on Sunday tv shows echoing the Democratic proposals, albeit at a slower pace. Certainly the last 2 Republican presidents have governed as moderates, though from the media one would think that G W Bush was a far extreme right conservative. No (or few) genuinely conservative measures passed during his tenure and here we are with Republicans in the minority having done nothing to solve Social Security or health care when we had the majority (and a moderate majority at that), but people are upset at Glenn Beck.

    The problem I have with soft voice moderates like Frum is that they advocate a moderate intellectual tone, but fail to engage conservative ideas except to attack them or the messengers. Case in point, folks got riled up about Palin’s death panel comments, and yet did nothing to address the substance of her critique or proposals. Her tone wasn’t hysterical and her ideas weren’t extreme, but one wouldn’t know that from reading moderates like Frum.

  44. 44
    michael luna Said:
    11:00 am 

    Excellent points, Michael. I still believe that a majority of our country’s problems is being caused by the right believing that it is their way or the highway and consequently they will not work with people in the process. I honestly believe it is because people with conservative views are less mentally/spiritually advanced for some reason unknown to mere mortals. They mosyly just seem to be full of ugly sentiment also. This is not a dig but an observation.

  45. 45
    michael luna Said:
    11:24 am 

    since when are living wills death panels? also, glorifying s.p. gets you nowhere your side would be much better off if she would go away

    Stop spamming my blog with your off topic, inane comments. You are about as shallow intellectually as the puddle made when my cat peed in the middle of the kitchen.

    ed.

  46. 46
    mannning Said:
    12:58 pm 

    #23 Doug King

    Manning (#11): You emphasized that those who are right of center tend to be fairly religious, to one degree or another. Are you implying that those who are left of center are not very religious? (If so, I find it hard to believe, but pardon the pun). What role, if any, do you think religion plays in the populist wing of the political left?

    Religion, to me, plays several important roles in the political arena, whether we are focusing on leftist or rightist politics: 1)the basis of social peace and social problem-solving is ethics and morality, and the most understood and taught moral scheme in the US by far is from the Christian religion; 2) as citizens of a republic, we are called upon to make judgements about people in the political sphere, and one consistent criteria many use is what religion the candidate for office professes, leading to a imperfect but perhaps the only available “independent” measure of the moral system of the candidate; 3)as moral conflicts arise between opposing platforms of political parties, many religious believers seek guidance from their religion to help make a decision as to which platform position is the right one for them. This strikes at the core of the opposing views when religion dictates very clearly one or the other position; 4) it is also true that as modern morality slides away from religious teachings, people tend to reject the religious position, simply because they cannot hold to the full faith and morality of their religion and also continue to perform against church teachings–i.e. the less than moral, nihilistic behavior they quite willfully indulge in today.

    Perhaps this falling away is on only a few issues, but but that is sufficient to make most people rather uncomfortable in church! 5) there has been a significant rise in the number of unaffiliated people, either because they have become atheistic, agnostic, or just not satisfied with organized religion ( “nones”). This may lead to greater hedonism and moral relativism, I don’t know, but that is a plausible idea. In any event, it is highly observable that our moral underpinnings have slipped badly in the last decades. 6) in coming up with a philosophy of life, I believe that people, either consciously or not, decide to follow either their teachings or their desires, with significant consequences for their religious outlook. This carries over into their voting preferences to a degree, I believe. Do they vote for more discipline and personal responsibility, or do they vote for a more laissez faire and indulgent platform?

    Then, too, we have had a spate of crooks being found out in government and the political arena. It is a pity that they failed to follow the teachings of their upbringing, but sin has no particular party preference.

  47. 47
    Brittancus Said:
    2:47 pm 

    By now most business are conscious of the federal program E-Verify? It distinguishes US citizens and legal residents from illegal labor. Although not seamless, it has a 99.6 success rate and obviously will overtime become even more constructive to business that believes in the “Rule of Law.” Opponents in both the business sector and even on Capitol Hill have released a torrent of abuse against the application. That includes its function is blind to counterfeit documentation and spurious ID and that even legal individuals can be rejected? SO–YOU GO TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE TO BE EXONERATED? ONLY ILLEGAL WORKERS WILL SHUN TURNING TO SSA FOR RESOLVING THIS ISSUE.

    The open border conspirators are losing, as they did in a federal Maryland court a week previous. As E-Verify are perfected it needs to become a permanent tool in the incomplete arsenal of immigration enforcement. It needs to reach out to every company, big and small, in our country and every individual who works there? E-Verify eventually will expel foreign national from the workplace, without financial appropriations on a large scale. These people will self-deport when they cannot be hired anymore. Businesses facing huge fines and prison will be the ultimate deterrent. In time it will save our ailing schools, health care, home mortgages and government welfare system. Look to NUMBERSUSA for honest an answer, that includes costs to taxpayers for the new blanket AMNESTY. Which Senators and Republicans are anti-US American Worker and their immigration grades?

    For an example Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has a miserable enforcement grade of “C-”. He was out to erase E-Verify, under fund the border fence from the beginning of the Democratic administration. Then JUDICIAL WATCH is a public watchdog group Promoting Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in Government, Politics and the Law. They uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities. Finally CAPSWEB informs the public about the coming nightmare of OVERPOPULATION that is already exhibiting itself in our deteriorating infrastructure. TELL YOUR POLITICIANS YOU HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE AT 202-224-3121

    SAY NO PRO –ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LIBERAL SOCIALIST–SANCTUARY CITY–MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA.

    Incidentally regarding the 2010 Census? Small states will miss out big time on federal dollars, while mass illegal immigrant states will gain more seats in Congress and too much power and influence? Of course ICE could check the immigration status of those who are counted, even though it’s supposedly against US law? Or is counting 20 million plus (?) non-legal residence against the US Constitution?

  48. 48
    mannning Said:
    3:22 pm 

    Oh dear, I was far too hasty. judgment/a space after 3)/an, not a/and an extra but. SAT!

  49. 49
    mannning Said:
    3:30 pm 

    I prefer to take my biases one reporter/writer at a time, thank you. There are good, solid, objective (as possible) correspondents and then there are biased ones - both liberal and conservative.

    A rational position, but one that is daily defeated by Editors that take the pristine output from fine reporters and turn it into something far less and more biased. Or, even worse, they refuse to print the report or air the video snip at all.

  50. 50
    pacatrue Said:
    7:34 pm 

    I don’t know if the “ed.” is Rick Moran or not, but the difference in “ed.s” comments versus the style of Rick’s essay is stark. The essay talks about not painting everything with a broad brush, but “ed.” takes a single thing a commenter says and concludes it’s the belief of every liberal leaning person in the world. “Why do American liberals reject the facts staring them in the face?” Then ed. goes off on personal insults against the commenter and then concludes by again insulting them by essentially calling them a coward with the “scurrying off” line.

    I don’t think I need to come here for a good conservative view point either.

  51. 51
    Todd Said:
    8:22 pm 

    Thank you pacatrue. Yes, “ed.” seems to be actively trying to DECREASE his readership (weird strategy at a time when there are a zillion blogs to choose from). I’ve come back for one reason only–to show how Obama’s election has helped us all. I still maintain that our “superpower” status is tenuous at best (if it remains at all–this giant economy “ed.” talks about is mostly on paper and we’re broke). However, I thought this was great: The GFK polling group has reported that we are indeed the most admired country again after being in 7th place last year. Here’s how the huge jump was explained:

    “What’s really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States in 2009,” explains Simon Anholt, NBI founder and an independent advisor to over a dozen national governments around the world. “Despite recent economic turmoil, the U.S. actually gained significant ground. The results suggest that the new U.S. administration has been well received abroad and the American electorate’s decision to vote in President Obama has given the United States the status of the world’s most admired country.”

    I don’t understand why conservatives want him/us to fail–this helps us ALL. This is good news for ALL Americans–liberal, conservative, or otherwise.

    For more info on this, go to: http://www.gfk.com/group/press_information/press_releases/004734/index.en.html

    Ok “ed.”–I think I’ll scurry off now to find a blog where the editor himself doesn’t freak out on the commenters with juvenile name-calling, etc. if his opinion differs. Michael luna, good luck to you if you’re gonna continue to subject yourself to such nastiness.

  52. 52
    Doug King Said:
    9:23 pm 

    Manning — Thanks for the thoughtful response. I thought you were attacking religion, but now I suppose you are describing your own feelings. Personally, I believe most people on both sides of the spectrum are religious even though most, perhaps most, atheists gravitate to the left. I also believe religion usually plays second fiddle to economics when voters decide who to select.

    You also mentioned a candidate’s religion serves as “an imperfect but … independent measure of the moral system of the candidate.” I agree that’s how many voters think, but I think a superior measure is how well a candidate adheres to his/her professed religion and morality. In other words, character/integrity. Identity politics helps too many candidates win office who later act out serious moral flaws. Identity politics — be it race, religion, or gender — is an untrustworthy measure.

  53. 53
    Mannning Said:
    9:55 pm 

    Doug King:

    The problem I see is that a candidate appears on the political scene and we have very little in the way of character or integrity information to go on, unless we have something to hang our hats on from his religion, his background work, schooling, written papers, or whatever else can be dredged up. A person that has been in the limelight for years, and has held elective office of a managerial kind provides a bit of substance and a file of reporting on his character and integrity.

    Even that much is woefully deficient for those politicians that have a sterling public persona, but a horrible private one that no one divulges before the election.

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  57. 57
    busboy33 Said:
    3:54 pm 

    Just noticed rick’s comment on mikereynolds @33.

    A honest but suprising declaration from from a Republican? I think its true, but isn’t that heresy?

    Common sense is never heresy.

    ed.

  58. 58
    busboy33 Said:
    8:42 pm 

    Tell Galileo that.

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