Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging, Decision '08, Ethics, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 8:56 am

It may indeed, be a “different reality” that the base inhabits than the rest of us. But it is a reality that will probably spell the salvation of the Republican party.

That’s what I’m getting from the results of this fascinating series of focus groups carried out by Democracy Corps, James Carville’s think tank-polling outfit.

I suppose I should once again point out (if I don’t include this, my righty critics would be disappointed) that not everything that comes from the left is a partisan lie. Only those who see the world through the prism of excessive ideology believe that. I will say that anything one reads from the right or left should be evaluated on its merits, accepting or rejecting information based on its relative truth and honesty. Any other approach to processing information is useless, or worse - deliberately self-deluding.

Now that I have the usual disclaimer out of the way, just what does Democracy Corps mean when they talk about a “different reality” inhabited by the conservative base?

The Republican base voters are not part of the continuum leading to the center of the electorate: they truly stand apart. For additional perspective, Democracy Corps conducted a parallel set of groups in suburban Cleveland. These groups, comprised of older, white, non-college independents and weak partisans, represent some of the most conservative swing voters in the electorate,[1] and they demonstrated a wholly different worldview from Republican base voters by dismissing the fear of “socialism” and evaluating Obama in very different terms. Most importantly, regardless of their personal feelings toward Obama or how they voted in 2008, they very much want to see him succeed because they believe the country desperately needs the change he promised in his campaign. Though we kept discussion points constant between the two sets of groups, on virtually every point of discussion around President Obama and the major issues facing our country, these two audiences simply saw the world in fundamentally different ways – underscoring the extreme disconnect of the conservative Republican base voters.

Just to show that I am not a complete moron, I think Carville et. al are overstating the enthusiasm that independents have for Obama’s agenda. But that doesn’t make their entire analysis untrue. Polls reflect a desire by a substantial majority that Obama “succeed.” They may be opposed to Obamacare, but still wish to see reform. They may oppose cap and trade, but wish to see a coherent energy policy.

The base doesn’t want to see anything done by Obama that would give him a success. Their worldview is so twisted by partisanship and ideology that the real disconnect occurs in viewing what the president is trying to do:

First and foremost, these conservative Republican voters believe Obama is deliberately and ruthlessly advancing a ‘secret agenda’ to bankrupt our country and dramatically expand government control over all aspects of our daily lives. They view this effort in sweeping terms, and cast a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of the United States as it was conceived by our founders and developed over the past 200 years.

This concern combines with a profound sense of collective identity. In our conversations, it was striking how these voters constantly characterized themselves as part of a group of individuals who share a set of beliefs, a unique knowledge, and a commitment of opposition to Obama that sets them apart from the majority of the country. They readily identify themselves as a minority in this country – a minority whose values are mocked and attacked by a liberal media and class of elites. They also believe they possess a level of knowledge and understanding when it comes to politics and current events, one gained from a rejection of the mainstream media and an embrace of conservative media and pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, which sets them apart even more. Further, they believe this position leaves them with a responsibility to spread the word, to educate those who do not share their insights, and to take back the country that they love. Their faith in this country and its ideals leave them confident that their numbers will grow, and that they will ultimately defeat Barack Obama and the shadowy forces driving his hidden agenda.

Anyone who is familiar at all with commenters on the internet and especially, the words and thoughts expressed by Beck and Limbaugh knows that this is 100% true. The thing is, some of what they believe is correct; the mocking of their beliefs and values by elites and liberals is not imagined. Of course, part of the problem is that these beliefs and values are squeezed through a paranoid worldview which is so far beyond reality that it becomes easy to slight them.

But what do conservative, less ideological independents believe?

Looking at the current political debate, it was evident in our focus group discussions that the divide between conservative Republicans and even the most conservative-leaning independents remains very, very wide. Independents like those in our suburban Cleveland groups harbor doubts about Obama’s health care reform but are desperate to see some version of health care reform pass this year; the conservative Republicans view any health care reform as a victory for Obama and are militantly opposed. Asked about the issues of greatest importance to them in choosing a candidate for Congress, health care ranked sixth among the Republicans, below issues such as tax cuts, immigration, and a candidate’s personal values and faith; but for the independents, health care was number one.

The language they use further reflects this divide. Conservative Republicans fully embrace the ‘socialism’ attacks on Obama and believe it is the best, most accurate way to describe him and his agenda. Independents largely dismiss these attacks as partisan rhetoric detracting from a legitimate debate about what many of them do see as excessive government control and spending.

There simply is no way to connect the conservative base with those who see the world in much less partisan, and real terms. Readers of this site know that I have tried to point this out - usually in none-too-gentle terms. But the base dismisses my criticism out of hand. They believe their poisonous worldview will not harm the GOP at the polls and that anyone who doesn’t think in such paranoid terms is not a conservative anyway.

One surprise for my lefty friends; race has little or nothing to do with the hard right’s opposition to Obama:

In the wake of Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during the president’s joint session health care address and other strident personal and political attacks against President Obama, many in the media and Democratic circles advanced an explanation that this virulent opposition is rooted in racism and reactions to President Obama as an African American president. With this possibility in mind, we allowed for extended open-ended discussion on Obama (including visuals of him speaking) among voters – older, non-college, white, and conservative – who were most race conscious and score highest on scales measuring racial prejudice. Race was barely raised, certainly not what was bothering them about President Obama.

In fact, some of these voters talked about feeling some pride at his election.

They were conscious of the charge that opposition to Obama is racially motivated and that bothered conservative Republicans and independents alike. They basically could not let it go and returned to this issue again and again throughout our conversations across myriad topics

What then, to make of this disconnect between hard core Obama-hating conservatives and less ideological independent conservatives?

It is heartening that the independent righties are open to valid, substantive critiques of Obama’s agenda. They would almost certainly be open to a candidate who eschewed far right rhetoric about Obama’s agenda and concentrated on promoting positive ideas to address their concerns. As we’ve seen in recent polls, indies are abandoning Obama in large numbers - at least for now. They are upset with his radical spending, and the specifics of health care reform as well as other issues being advanced by the White House.

Of course, the right may give these independents nowhere to go in 2010 and 2012 unless the GOP can show that they are capable of governing rather than simply obstructing. I think independents are sophisticated enough to understand why the GOP cannot go along with Obamacare in its proposed form. But Republicans must present alternatives that are realistic and achievable if they hope to make the kinds of gains necessary to challenge for leadership.

Peggy Noonan has a brilliant column in today’s Wall Street Journal that speaks to the reality the rest of the country lives in:

In the days of the New Deal, in the 1930s, government growth was virgin territory. It was like pushing west through a continent that seemed new and empty. There was plenty of room to move. The federal government was still small and relatively lean, the income tax was still new. America pushed on, creating what it created: federal programs, departments and initiatives, Social Security. In the mid-1960s, with the Great Society, more or less the same thing. Government hadn’t claimed new territory in a generation, and it pushed on—creating Medicare, Medicaid, new domestic programs of all kinds, the expansion of welfare and the safety net.

Now the national terrain is thick with federal programs, and with state, county, city and town entities and programs, from coast to coast. It’s not virgin territory anymore, it’s crowded. We are a nation fully settled by government. We are well into the age of the welfare state, the age of government. We know its weight, heft and demands, know its costs both in terms of money and autonomy, even as we know it has made many of our lives more secure, and helped many to feel encouragement.

But we know the price now. This is the historical context. The White House often seems disappointed that the big center, the voters in the middle of the spectrum, aren’t all that excited about following them on their bold new journey. But it’s a world America has been to. It isn’t new to us. And we don’t have too many illusions about it.

I don’t make this clear enough in my critiques of the base; I sympathize with their desire to vastly shrink the size of government. I think, as they do, that there should be a greater emphasis on federalism, that conservative leadership is needed to get the federal budget under control and that some kind of cost-benefit analysis of federal programs should be undertaken in earnest.

But I don’t think their vision of what government should be is realistic or even desirable. Noonan has articulated a reality that is simply denied by many on the right. A “terrain” that is “thick with federal programs” and includes state and local governmental entities cannot be dismantled without huge dislocations, pain, and catastrophic results.

If one returns to the “original intent” of the Constitution - a document written when the US was a coastal nation of 7 million people - in order to create a “small” government, the result would be devastation. It is better that “original principles” be applied to our current structure in order to rationally address the idea of “smaller” government. Adherence to such principles would logically lead to more federalism, less intrusive government, and a salutary effect on values like self-reliance and membership in a truly “voluntary community.”

I am aware of what Hayek believed that any accommodation with the state was simply delaying the inevitable as far as citizens becoming “serfs.” And I am cognizant of the political argument that sees embracing the welfare state created by the New Deal and the Great Society as merely aping the Democrats and not offering the voter a choice at all.

There may be something to both of those criticisms. But there has to be something better than the skewed reality that most of the base inhabits - many of whom having no trouble with taking a great leap backward and supporting some kind of idealized Jeffersonian government with yeoman farmers and heroic entrepreneurs thriving in a near “state of nature” government. This is what happens when you see government as the enemy. Beyond national defense and a few favored programs, there wouldn’t be any government to speak of at all.

The obvious spin put on some of the conclusions from the Democracy Corps focus groups doesn’t affect their obvious conclusion; there is a great divide in how many in the conservative base see the world and how the rest of us view it. It may mean that it will drag the GOP back toward espousing conservative principles. That might mean the salvation of the party.

But it if also means espousing the paranoid fantasies and bitter partisanship advanced by the hard right, it will spell eventual disaster for the party and make conservatism itself irrelevant in the national conversation.


  1. One surprise for my lefty friends; race has little or nothing to do with the hard right’s opposition to Obama

    No surprise at all.

    We are talking about both/and, not either/or.

    The watermelon jokes, gorilla & chimpanzee comments, and the witch doctor posters == both.

    The X-Files black helicopter conspiracy junk == and. (Only this time the Cigarette Smoking Man is Obama.)

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 10/17/2009 @ 11:06 am

  2. [...] Nuthouse illustrates the difficulty in describing The Different Reality Inhabited by the Conservative Base. It is a trope trying to balance the civil discord on the idea that reality is a matter of [...]

    Pingback by The broad brush (moral relativism) syndrom « Whispers — 10/17/2009 @ 11:51 am

  3. Let’s remember, dear reader, that way we lost the last election so badly, both to the conservative base and the supposed middle, who either sat on their hands in their disatisfaction, or crossed the road to vote for Obama, was that the GOP decided to compromise on their principles. I don’t care WHO you are, or what you think. You don’t sway people in the long run if you’re willing to compromise your principles. The GOP leadership has spent far too long doing just that, which is exactly why they’re in minority status today in the halls of government.

    And in that mnority status is where they richly deserve to stay, if they don’t start dealing with the base as what it is… the heart of the Republican party and it’s values.

    Comment by Eric Florack — 10/17/2009 @ 11:57 am

  4. … the mocking of their beliefs and values by elites and liberals is not imagined.

    I think this is true. I also think these are folks who have mocked and smeared the other side for decades, accusing them of being “sick”, “counter culture” and lots of other words that Newt Gingrich even compiled into a list of handy words to use.

    That’s the way it goes. If you dish it out maybe your should be ready to take it, too.

    Comment by Pug — 10/17/2009 @ 12:12 pm

  5. Very interesting concepts here. Does that mean that we “right wing nuts” imagined the ACORN debacle or that it was made up by us “terrorists” on the right? Or maybe you believe that the corruption that is now rampant in Congress really is not there with all those really reality-based liberals giving us all a chance to read those reality-based health and stimulus bills as the President promised.

    I live in China and even here I heard tsk, tsk coming from the business people when the Obama Administration began to bail out Wall Street and the automobile companies. They obvious know socialism when they see it from personal experience. I do not hope that Obama will fail. When one tries to mate a chicken with a cow, it WILL ALWAYS FAIL. Socialism simply goes against the human creative nature. Obama’s programs will fail. Because I state the obvious does not mean I hope he fails. What I seem to hear from our liberal brethren is that historical socialism never worked because it was never tried by such brilliant elite liberals we have been blessed with.

    Not based on reality? I beg to differ. It is those who believe that Obama is something other than what he has proven with his lies, deceptions and empty platitudes. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Fox is a legitimate news agency - as legitimate as the left leaning MSM. Only an ideologue would say otherwise.

    Your reality is obviously different than mine. Want to bet my reality, looking across the Pacific, is a lot closer to the truth? Time will tell.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/17/2009 @ 12:33 pm

  6. @EricF:

    “Let’s remember, dear reader, that way we lost the last election so badly, both to the conservative base and the supposed middle, who either sat on their hands in their disatisfaction, or crossed the road to vote for Obama, was that the GOP decided to compromise on their principles.”

    To some extent, yes. But I think part of what Rick is saying is that this didn’t happen last year. Espousing family values and fiscal discipline while fu@king everything that walks and running up the debt does drive away voters . . . but Republicans (NOT Conservatives . . . Republicans) have been doing that for decades at least.

    Waving Curious George dolls at rallies, screaming Socialist and meaning it, “I don’t trust him . . . he’s an Arab”, how dare a sitting President speak to schoolchildren, I want Obama to fail . . . that’s new, and that’s NOT part of Conservative principles, and it shouldn’t be part of Republican principles either.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/17/2009 @ 1:05 pm

  7. In my opinion the United States economic strength is also (in part) linked to technical and scientific advances. It is not possible to remain competitive without fruitful collaboration between government and the private sector (and of course that includes education). It is in this arena that conservatives can greatly contribute by suggesting CREATIVE proposals. For example, Michelle Rhee is doing a terrific job in CD’s public school systems by trying new approaches such as merit based teacher salary (among many other things). The NIH grant system could also be revamped because it often is an inflexible behemoth nor necessarily funding the most innovative research. Why? Because funding is intimately linked to politics and that is clearly not good (something both parties are guilty of). Anyway, I could go on and bore everyone. However, the point clearly has to be that we can’t propose models made for ‘a coastal nation of 7 million’. Nobody with a clear mind can want that. So our proposals have to be contemporary and not born out dogmatic purity. In addition, I would always say country first not politics. Last example, health care reform. I’m pretty sure they will get it through. So who had a greater impact on what will ultimately be passed, Sarah Palin or Olympia Snowe? Just a thought. So is picking the right candidate for 2012!!! really the most pressing issue for us at this point?

    Comment by funny man — 10/17/2009 @ 1:22 pm

  8. Ooops, it DC of cour5se

    Comment by funny man — 10/17/2009 @ 1:23 pm

  9. … the mocking of their beliefs and values by elites and liberals is not imagined.

    Which values are those. Core values used to mean women should earn less than men. Liberals fought and won that fight along with the one on minimum wage and Title IX that elevated women’s sports to funding levels that were no longer a joke.

    That married couples shouldn’t have access to birth control drugs and devices?

    In 1961 Estelle Griswold, the wife of an Episcopal minister, and Dr. Lee Buxton, a licensed physician and a professor at Yale Medical School, were arrested, tried and convicted as accessories in crime. Their offense? Providing information, instruction and medical advice on contraception to married couples.

    There are conservatives to this day fighting not only abortion but access to drugs to prevent pregnancy in the first place.

    Maybe it’s value that people in love should be able to get married regardless of gender? This is a fight that probably would have been settled years ago except that conservatives fight not only gay marriage but domestic partnerships as well.

    Freedom of religion? With over a half million churches in this country Christianity is hardly an endangered belief. But Muslims, Jews, and even non-believers want their values respected too. One way to do that is to keep your religion out of the schools and where it belongs, at your house of worship or at home. Conservatives want the state to teach religion.

    Conservatives both claim to fear the state and at the same time demand the state enforce their morality over all others.

    You fought the culture wars and lost. Hence the freak out over Obama, the evidence of your failure to make this country into a theocracy made in the image of Jerry Falwell and Randall Terry. It was poor Teri Schiavo that started the realization of the all important 2% that something was seriously wrong with the GOP.

    Despite the reality of her brain being basically mush you have senator diagnosing her condition and ready to run roughshod over the poor husband. That woke a lot of people up to what we already knew.

    Then there’s the problem of the champions of your values, Rush Limbaugh drug addict, Bill Bennett gambling addict, Senator Vitter sex addict, and Larry Craig closet case. Up against a man still on his first wife with two amazing children, morality’s champions don’t look so hot.

    Good luck retooling and finding fresh talent to espouse your values.

    You’ll certainly need it.

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 10/17/2009 @ 1:33 pm

  10. I had read the Democracy Corps report on these focus groups before and found it interesting but not particularly surprising or instructive. After all, if you put together a group of people who identify themselves as died-in-the-wool conservative Republicans, you’re certain to find they have views that are staunchly right wing. And another group of GOP-leaning independents will be both more moderate or centrist, less predictable, less strongly partisan and more likely to reflect differences among themselves. Anyone want to guess what a focus group of Nation subsribers or Think Progress readers would say?

    The important thing — which Moran and most people miss is this: what makes the rightie group the GOP “base” — and the Koz-reading lefties the Democratic base?

    Using rough figures and acknowledging that these things change over time and differ a biy from poll to poll, the political complexion of reliable US voters is something like this:

    – 15 percent are both strong ideological conservatives and staunch GOP voters.

    – Another 20 percent are staunch GOP voters whose views are generally conservative but less ideological and more flexible.

    – 5 to 10 percent are weak Republicans or GOP-leaning independents. They aren’t ideological at all but still inclined to tempermental conservatism on many issues but rarely all.

    On the othe end of the spectrum, there are 40 percent who can be counted on to vote Democratic virtually always (with similar divisions among them) and perhas another 5 percent Democrat-leaning independents who are the low-hanging fruit for the Dems in most elections.

    That leaves between 10 and 20 percent of the electorate who are the true “gettable” swing voters (which is why most elections are decided well within a 10 point spread and a 60-40 split is the outer limit of a national landslide.

    These basic facts about the electorate are obscured whenever anyone talks about a “base.” In what sense is the most conservative 15 percent of the 40-45percent likely to support the GOP any more the GOP “base” tha any other part of it? The same should be asked about the 15 percent hardcore liberals as the Dem “base.”

    The GOP “base” is actually the 40-45 percent, not the 15 percent. Most GOPers have no problem supporting GOP candidates who reach out to the center to win.

    Excellent analysis. I might quibble with your percentages but you have accurately identified a rough idea of the breakdown.

    The question is will the tactics and worldview of the base hurt the GOP? I think it will which is why I write about it so much.


    Comment by John Burke — 10/17/2009 @ 5:12 pm

  11. Ideological conservatives life in a fairy tale world built on self-delusion. They flatter themselves that they are those yeoman farmers of old, strong and independent. But they live in states that take more than they give in federal taxes. They collect Social Security and Medicare and farm subsidies. And those at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder pay far, far less in taxes than they collect in benefits.

    It’s not the angry teabaggers who carry this country on their backs economically, it’s the despised “elites.” It’s the college-educated, the professionals, the Yuppies and Buppies, the bankers, lawyers, doctors, accountants, businessmen and creatives. It’s New York and Los Angeles and Chicago and Seattle where our great industries thrive, where our high value exports come from.

    The real problem is not that they are victimized or taken advantage of, it’s that they are economically marginalized, not even asked to contribute significantly to the government they endlessly whine about.

    The truth is far sadder than their fantasies: people with limited IQ and limited talents — most of the human race — are needed and thus valued less and less each passing year. Big slices of the middle class are sinking toward a lower status. They want someone to blame for this and so some blame immigrants and some blame blacks and most blame the government. But none of that’s relevant: in cold, calculating capitalist terms, most people are worth less than they used to be.

    These people are scared and they should be. Because the free market they’ve been taught to trust is writing them off, deciding they aren’t of much use.

    What is contemptible is the conservative elites who exploit these people’s fear and redirect it in ways that actively harm the base, and do so for their own profit. Middle class people sliding toward the lower class are told to blame the government and to help protect the fortunes of the fortunate. That’s the real genius of conservatism: the ability to convince people to vote and act in ways that hasten their own destruction. Every year the rich get richer, the lower class gets poorer, and the victims on the right applaud.

    Thus we have the spectacle of rage-fueled, spittle-flecked lower middle class people on the verge of losing their jobs and health insurance angrily demanding that they be left high and dry and bankrupt.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/17/2009 @ 6:11 pm

  12. Michael,
    I think you go over the top with some of your points but I do believe more and more people feel alienated from the larger society. That is not necessarily linked to your financial well being. For example, my parents raised me and my siblings in the sixties and seventies in Germany with little money for today’s standard. However, they felt like a lot of their peers that they could contribute and shape their society. A global economy and rather obscure decision making processes in corporate boardrooms have many people feel like their voices don’t count, are not heard. Notice please this is not linked to any ideology and I would argue there are elements within conservatives, within libertarians, within Naderites within progressives that would be in agreement to curb this global behemoth and give people more input and decision making power at the local level. So actually we do have common goals but this is more often than not lost in the daily Palin this, Pelosi that.

    Comment by funny man — 10/17/2009 @ 7:10 pm

  13. Rick,

    I would appreciate you reviewing the race for NY-23. I have read your arguments that conservatism needs to change and that it needs to embrace a Burkeian Welfare State. I assume this means those in the Republican base should embrace those with different views and try to ameliorate, perhaps, the rate of change desired by the Democrats.
    As I understand it, NY-23 is a conservative district, relatively. Scozzafina is endorsed by Gingrich, the RNC, and the RNCC. She supported the stimulus, and supports abortion, gay marriage rights, and card-check. I get the impression from your arguments that I should support her because it will broaden the base and she’s a Republican.
    I would appreciate your views on this race and your opinion as to why these people would support a candidate who seems to be at odds with everything about the Republican Party. This is if you have the time and interest, of course.
    As to being a member of the Republican base and cut off from the majority of the country who are arranged in some type of continuum, well, maybe we should just start our meetings with “Stranger in a Strange Land”.

    Comment by Harry O — 10/17/2009 @ 7:20 pm

  14. I love it when people begin to call conservatives like me “uneducated” and/or unsophisticated country bumpkins. Doubt very many of Michael’s elites can match my educational qualifications and worldwide experiences. Who was it on TV that kept saying NO BRAG JUST FACT. Believe I could prove him wrong about the big corporations with factual data and show that the real growth in economic performance lies with the small business owners just as it does here in China. Take them away and the big corporations would not have anyone to sell their products to. The Chinese working class and entrepreneurs are the one’s who are fueling the economic miracle that is China. The big corporations are simply supplying these “country bumpkins” what they want or need. Should I do my research or just leave Michael and other elites in the dark about the buying power of us backward and uneducated Americans who feel marginalized.

    BTW, I do not feel at all marginalized but believe I will stay in China a few more years and watch the liberals slowly but surely destroy a once economic power house with policies that have never worked. Oh, did I say I wanted them to fail? Nope, just find it amusing that these elites they can successfully mate a chicken with a cow.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/17/2009 @ 7:34 pm

  15. Michael Reynolds said:

    That’s the real genius of conservatism: the ability to convince people to vote and act in ways that hasten their own destruction. Every year the rich get richer, the lower class gets poorer, and the victims on the right applaud.

    This is something that’s always baffled me about conservatism. But, for those at the top, it is pure capitalist genius. I have a morbid fascination at watching the applause. It’s almost like watching a very very slow train wreck where the passengers have plenty of time to get off, they just choose not to. Respek to the Republicans at the top for being able to pull that off.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 10/17/2009 @ 9:09 pm

  16. With all due respect, Noonan as some kind of barometer, the canaries would be long past dead in this scenario,
    She’s been enthralled with Obama for the better part of the last year,coming
    up with all sorts of his excuses for the failure of his economic program
    ‘making a virtue of recession’ was one
    column at the outset. Taking Obama seriously, means looking at the roots of community organization, from Alinsky
    through ACORN, and they do not have a noble purpose

    Comment by narciso — 10/17/2009 @ 10:38 pm

  17. Narcisco,
    Noonan has been with our cause longer than most. You don’t have to agree with everything she says but it is definitely more insightful than this Alinsky ACORN tirade. Oh Alinsky Oh Oh. Tired of this crap. Who the hell cares about Alinsky? Why not bring up Sharpton for good measure? Nobody cares about these people. But Peggy Noonan? Why don’t you give credit where credit is due?

    Comment by funny man — 10/18/2009 @ 12:08 am

  18. “Why don’t you give credit where credit is due?”

    I agree with you about Noonan. The bitter hard partisans on the left and right just can’t tolerate dissent in any form unless it is in lockstep with their dissent.
    Noonan, George Will, Rick and others who have some very good insights are labeled Rino, Cino, and irrelevant. This is too bad and indicates their critics are probably reading the headline/op-ed title and little more.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see Rick mention Hayek. More people should read his book. Liberals are not evil, the problem is that liberal ideas eventually need people in power to impose their view on a society. Hayek lays out a nice case without painting liberals as traitors or worse.

    Comment by Brad — 10/18/2009 @ 6:10 am

  19. This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 10/18/2009, at The Unreligious Right

    Comment by UNRR — 10/18/2009 @ 8:13 am

  20. One could not possibly take an objective look at Obama and what he stands for, where he comes from, and have given him the pass that Noonan
    and many others did. Alinsky is his
    touchstone, he didn’t have a record
    you could go by, how he won his first
    election, how he dealt with Ayers on
    the CAC, and the wonderful work at
    Altgeld Gardens. Then again, she originally worked for Rather, so she just reverted to the fold

    Comment by narciso — 10/18/2009 @ 9:48 am

  21. Cecil:

    You are, by your definition, one of the elite. Although later you call yourself “uneducated.” Which is it?

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/18/2009 @ 10:18 am

  22. Funny Man:

    One of the things Europeans do better than Americans is broaden the definition of human worth beyond wealth. We are the most wealth-obsessed, wealth-worshipping developed nation. We go so far as to conflate wealth with moral virtue and of course poverty with vice and weakness.

    Americans insist on believing that hard work and right thinking are the keys to success. But of course it’s nonsense. Yes, hard work is helpful, but personal virtue is irrelevant to wealth. In some cases virtue obstructs wealth creation.

    And Americans bridle at a more nuanced view that points to genetic inheritance including not just intelligence but personality, family wealth, and sheer dumb luck as major contributors to success.

    So you have all these people who sense that the American economy and society at large have passed them by. And they’ve been raised to worship the market economy, the very engine that has discounted them, and the result is inchoate anger and resentment. Which clever conservatives turn against various scapegoats: immigrants, blacks, liberals, gays.

    What these people might do instead is rethink their ideology. They might think “Wait a minute, maybe I’m not a genius, maybe my skill set isn’t the greatest, but I’m still a human being, still an American citizen, I should still be able to get medical care and still be able to live a life of dignity with a livable wage.”

    That’s what they should logically conclude. But that would lead them to socialized medicine and a minimum livable wage, and that is anathema to the richer conservatives and their pet propagandists.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/18/2009 @ 10:37 am

  23. Mostly I agree with Michael Reynolds, the book “Whats the matter with Kansas?” ponders why conservatives would vote against their economic self interests.IMHO its because the social issues pushed by conservative politicians are aligned with theirs and the economic issues a distant second. As a moderate Democrat all I’m saying is we don’t have a secret Marxist agenda, were patriots and we have moral values. The hard right pundits preach a daily dose of liberals and Democrats being unpatriotic,immoral, lacking any common sense, and always looking for a free handout. Its like the cultural wars of the 60’s have reared their ugly head again. Rick is a very sensible conservative and doesn’t drink the Limbaugh koolaid. And for this he sometimes gets ripped for not being a “true believer”. For giving “aid to the enemy”. I have no problem with Republicans per se, I have a problem with the Beck’s and Limbaughs polluting civil discourse.

    Comment by Joe — 10/18/2009 @ 10:54 am

  24. Narcisco,
    politics is like chess, you try to make the right move and win the game. There is nothing sinister to it. If you sit in the ‘war room’ of any politician seeking office you go through strength and weaknesses of your opponent and develop a strategy. Big Deal! Obama will do the same and as you saw he is pretty good at it. I just think this Alinsky fellow is way overblown and just something certain people get exited about (without any basis). Things like that just make our side look stupid. I’d rather go with a rational approach.

    Comment by funny man — 10/18/2009 @ 11:14 am

  25. Michael,

    How exactly have I defined myself as “one of the elites?” I am not an opinion leader. I have no leadership role in any political organization. I have never run for public office. I am just a guy you agrees with what you call the Republican base. I believe that hard work and right thinking are keys to success. I have seen with my own eyes what the opposite brings - hardship and death. Socialism does not work. It goes against human nature. Ask the Chinese who were lingering at the bottom of the barrel until they embraced hard work and right thinking (also known as capitalism where individual own the means of production).

    Seems that you believe anyone who does not agree with your political philosophy MUST be uneducated because an educated person would see what a utopian state we could become by following your brilliantly laid out path. Nope I am no elite by anyone’s definition but I am a guy you has lived long enough in different economic and political systems to see what works and what does not work.

    You admire the Europeans for their attempts at social engineering. Minorities in Europe are now causing havoc because these minorities are not interested in becoming part of this social engineering. I, like them, want nothing to do with your attempts at forcing me to meet what you think a perfect society should be like. Leave me alone to live the life that I, not you, choose for myself

    Comment by Cecil — 10/18/2009 @ 5:09 pm

  26. As a general rule it’s not that the conservatives are voting against their economic self-interests (’Kansas’ book). I live in California and have watched the people claiming to be ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’, but who are in fact neither enact absurd policies that eventually must lead to ruin. Europe is not an example to follow, but something to avoid.

    The large Federal government (and States too) should be reduced. Government has intruded into many aspects of our lives and yes reducing it is a big challenge. Just because it is a big challenge is no reason to throw up our hands and go with the nonsense on the Left or the political extremes of both the Left and Right, or the mushy middle ground. As a general rule the government cannot perform better than the market in allocating resources, and represents a danger to political freedom and a sure pathway to economic stagnation (i.e. lower standards of living) for everyone.

    Comment by Otiose — 10/18/2009 @ 5:21 pm

  27. Just because the conservative base is in the minority, doesn’t mean that they aren’t right. What if they are?

    Dismiss them as loons if you please. It is just as likely that you are the one that is wrong.

    Every religion thinks they have the one true path to eternal life. So it is in politics… the only difference is that religions all go back to faith, whereas politics can be debated with facts, figures and comparisons and analogies with historical events.

    I have never seen a good debate, between two knowledgeable parties, where the conservative, “paranoid” point of view has been destroyed. I’ve seen plenty where the naive liberal has been destroyed by the educated conservative. Facts beat feelings every time in a debate.

    The momentum of the current political climate bears this out. Perhaps this current minority is becoming more mainstream. Or maybe it already is, but is still silent. Time will tell… perhaps in 2010?

    Comment by lionheart — 10/18/2009 @ 7:05 pm

  28. I have never seen a good debate, between two knowledgeable parties, where the conservative, “paranoid” point of view has been destroyed.

    So Obama is not only a Kenyan Manchurian Candidate who had his biography written by Willam Ayers, he is really the Anti-Christ who conceived the Swine Flu hoax to force Americans to receive the mark of the beast ahead of the Rapture.


    Comment by Richard bottoms — 10/18/2009 @ 8:38 pm

  29. Cecil:

    To quote Inigo Montoya, you keep using that world elites. I do not think it means what you think it means. Or I suppose more accurately you and I don’t agree on what it means. I was using it in reference to economic elites — the educated, the professional, the well-off, the intelligentsia. It seemed to me that you were identifying yourself as highly educated, thus a member of the economic elite.

    I don’t think anyone who disagrees with me is uneducated: I think that 90% of people pay very, very little attention to politics or philosophy and don’t quite know what they believe or why.

    I think that’s normal and probably a good thing in most cases. But a lot of people on the right and the left who know dick-all about politics or philosophy nevertheless have strong opinions based on absolutely nothing but lefty or righty propaganda.

    Have you been to Europe? Because I’ve been fairly often, and I have to tell you: they’re doing pretty well, over all. So if “socialism” doesn’t work, why are all the world’s richest nations economically to the left of the USA?

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/18/2009 @ 8:44 pm

  30. The Great Disconnect

    From a series of six well-constructed polls in 2007 covering the entire American population there has emerged a series of startlingly cohesive opinions that our citizens hold on current political, social, military, economic, religious and scientific issues regardless of their political persuasion.

    In fact, these positive opinions garnered majorities of between 70 and 90 percent or more of those polled. When you look at the platforms of the parties, and at the on-going legislative items in congress, you find that there are entrenched opponents to the issues in each party that almost completely stifle legislation that the public strongly desires.

    Thus, it can be asserted that the congress, the judiciary and the administration are not reflecting the will of the majority of Americans in their legislation and operation of the government. This is the great disconnect, and it is at the root of serious public discontent with the direction we are being forced to follow.

    What are these opinions? Here are a few of the highlights paraphrased from the polls conducted under the auspices of American Solutions, AEI, and the Gallop organization, and documented by Newt Gingrich in his book: Real Change, Regnery Press, 2009. (www.americansolutions.com)

    1. By a majority of 85%, the public wants to defend ourselves and our allies.
    2. By 75% they want to defeat our enemies where found.
    3. By 93% the public believes that Al Qaeda poses a serious threat.
    4. Over 85% believe that Iran poses a serious threat.
    5. 79% of our citizens want convicted terrorists to receive the death penalty.
    6. 83% want a law that makes it a crime to advocate the overthrow of the nation or to advocate killing citizens.
    7. 77% want terrorist web sites to be closed down by cyber attack.
    8. Over 89% believe that religion and morality are very important to them and their families.
    9. 79% believe that religion and morality are important to the country.
    10. 87% approve of the reference to the Creator in the Declaration of Independence.
    11. 88% approve of the reference to “one nation, under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
    12. By 78% citizens approve of displays of the Ten Commandments in public places.
    13. Some 81% oppose removing crosses and other such monuments from public places.
    14. 94% approve of a moment of silence in schools to allow students to pray.
    15. By 90% they approve of placing Christmas Trees in public places.
    16. 93% believe it is important to acknowledge that our rights come from the Creator, not man.
    17. By 86% citizens choose a candidate that respects the lessons of the founding fathers over a secular candidate.
    18. 81% want to protect religious symbols from removal from public places.
    19. Over 83% of Americans support an effective visa program for workers.
    20. By 89% citizens want a tamperproof ID system for foreign workers.
    21. By 93% they want foreign workers to take an oath to obey US laws, and to be deported if they commit a crime.
    22. By 88% they want foreign workers that commit a felony to be deported.
    23. By 72% citizens believe that current immigration laws are not being enforced.
    24. Over 78% support heavy fines for employers that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
    25. Some 66% want all illegal immigrants to be deported.
    26. Over 87% want English to be the official language of the nation.
    27. 77% of Americans believe we should build more oil refineries.

    I have no reason to question the methodology or analyses of these poll results, but I would want to repeat the exercise with perhaps a wider support from all political groups, and with a number of additional questions, in order to confirm and expand our knowledge.

    The added questions would verify the opinions of our citizens on abortion, same-sex marriage, teen sex problems, and unwed mothers. From earlier referendums in about 11 states, these moral social issues received highly negative votes, on the order of 70% or more opposing them and wanting some kind of corrective action. Again, a huge disconnect emerges between the populace and the government, and for that matter, the populace and their political parties, especially the so-called elites.

    While our representative republic is partly designed to cool off the tempers of the public with deliberation and decision when passions are running very high on some immediate issue or another, this set of opinions is not immediate: each one is enduring and deeply held. Many are ultimately founded on the religious and moral beliefs of the citizens, which, to them, are immutable, although the Left daily scorns their positions.

    Why does this great disconnect exist, and what must we do about it?

    Comment by mannning — 10/18/2009 @ 8:54 pm

  31. Lionheart:

    You’ve been destroyed every time you open your mouth. But delusional people don’t know they’re delusional.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/18/2009 @ 8:59 pm

  32. Otiose,
    while I agree that the US should go it’s own way I’d still like to point out that Europe as a region is at present richer than the US.

    Comment by funny man — 10/18/2009 @ 9:51 pm

  33. Cecil,
    what in the world are you talking about? The Chinese still ruled by the communist party are the model for capitalism? At the same time you are against social engineering as in Europe as opposed to? China (I guess really not happening there??!!)? Europeans want their immigrants to learn their respective language as Americans want Mexican immigrants to learn English. Do you have a problem with that?

    Comment by funny man — 10/18/2009 @ 9:59 pm

  34. There is no need to make any sort of accommodation with the welfare state to improve and adjust conservatism to current conditions. The vast majority of the people, including significant portions of the hardcore left will gladly admit that there are portions of our government taxing and spending in counterproductive and unjust ways.

    Proposing an ethic of rating the government, hammering out a consensus of what’s on bottom and committing to cutting the bottom 5% every year would be a new way of approaching the Washington, DC beast. Programs would have to be well run and improve or they would be cut out. Replacement legislation to solve the same problem in a different way would be welcome but with a new crew, a new approach, a new mandate to solve the problem that the Congress had just reaffirmed really needed solving.

    It would create a trend towards smaller government that would be moderate, measured, and survive both Democrat and Republican administrations. Ideological small government types would be convinced that the entire modern welfare state would hit the 5% shredder. Pragmatists wouldn’t be so sure but would be largely ok with a ’survival of the fittest’ ethic in government. Liberals, especially public employee unions would be upset but would be hard pressed to publicly admit that they didn’t believe in ridding the government of incompetence, corruption, poorly performing programs, and special interest perks.

    Eventually, like all political currents, this too is likely to exhaust itself. It is likely to take a few generations before we get to the point where our government is so efficient, so effective, that this methodology wouldn’t win large majorities to its banner.

    Comment by TMLutas — 10/18/2009 @ 10:34 pm

  35. Funny Man,

    I must repeat the question you asked to me - what are YOU talking about? Did I say that I backed social engineering via the Chinese model. Because I live in China, does not make me Chinese.

    The point I was making, which you obviously did not grasp, was that the Chinese economy barely existed above the subsistence level until they changed from a socialist/centrally planned (government owns the means of production) to a capitalist/market economy (individual owns the means of production}. Come visit me and see how many privately owned businesses are prospering thanks not to socialism but to capitalism. I firmly believe in the laws of economics and they apply to good guys and well as not so good guys.

    The Chinese call it Socialist (with Chinese characteristics) Market Economy. One could also call it a Capitalist ((with Chinese characteristics) Market Economy. The state still owns major industries and tries to compete (unsuccessfully for the most part) in this market economy. The Chinese have found that the less interference with these market-driven businesses the more these businesses thrive and grow the economy.

    Social engineering in China has been a disaster as can easily be seen from their one-child policy. Although it applies to less than 40% of the population, the results are just now being felt across the social and economic makeup of the entire country. It was a huge mistake by any calculation one can possibly come up with. The government even acknowledges the disaster that is now in China’s immediate future. The laws of nature apply to both the good guys and the not so good guys.

    Once again, I am neither a citizen of China nor a permanent resident. I simply have a work visa that allows me to work in the university system in China. I still remain a citizen of the United States living in a country with an authoritarian government. You obviously have no clue what that means nor what it is like.

    What I have a problem with is liberals trying to force their beliefs and values on me? I do not force you to think like I do and I certainly do not accuse you of being uneducated just because we happen to disagree. It is none of my business what you do in your bedroom. I will not call you a racist just because you are outspoken in your political ideology. The current resident of the WH is forcing everyone to accept his values without question and without dissent.

    Whenever liberals accuse us conservatives of wanting to force our ideology on them, it can be explained as projection. You want me to accept your values or lack of values so you attack me with this argument. I simply do not care what your values are or are not. Most conservatives feel the same way. We speak out against the murder of innocent children. The FACT that these are both children and innocent makes no difference to you. No liberal that I have met can even acknowledge the fact that the child is human so the projection begins to cover up the inability to acknowledge a human life.

    You and others of your persuasion cannot seem to figure out how an educated person can be anything but liberal in his or her outlook on life? Liberals make up no more than 40% of the population according to most surveys and only about have of that are leftwing radicals who are working hard to destroy the capitalist system we have had since our inception as a country. This always surprises liberals who read only liberal publications, watch only liberal TV and usually have only liberal friends because these people truly believe they are the vast majority of Americans.

    I mean, after all, liberalism offers humans so many great and wonderful opportunities in material and spiritual gifts. Gifts such as the ability to deny the humanity of innocent babies, deny a supreme creator, call those who oppose them racists, force taxes on everyone in order to build their political war chests to continue to spread the good works of liberalism and, of course, ask us who are not so blessed - WHAT are you talking about?

    Comment by Cecil — 10/19/2009 @ 2:05 am

  36. @TMLutas:

    “Proposing an ethic of rating the government, hammering out a consensus of what’s on bottom and committing to cutting the bottom 5% every year would be a new way of approaching the Washington, DC beast. Programs would have to be well run and improve or they would be cut out.”

    a) “preposing an ethic” — can you define that?

    b) cutting the “bottom” 5% — again, define bottom. Ecconomically efficient? Then I’m guessing you’re proposing slashing most of the military, since they can’t seem to breathe without “wasting” money. Is “bottom” being defined as “results”? You’re walking into a huge definitional minefield. The Afgan War could be defined as a “failure” in that we haven’t achieved our goals after 8 years and billions of dollars, but it could also be defined as a “success” by using the popular “well, it would have been worse if we didn’t” argument. Since we don’t know what whould have happened in an alternate relaity, we’ll never be able to answer objectively if it was a “success” or “failure”.

    Example: the “War on Drugs”. Huge sums of money and effort are spent on it year after year — and we still have drugs. Sounds like a “failure”. Or, without the war on drugs everybody in America would be addicted to heroin . . . so its a “success” and nobody can prove otherwise.

    Your ideas are admirable . . . but impractical. Why not advocate for the government to do “good” things? Or “what’s right”? Nobody (and I mean nobody) is advocating wasting money, or ineffeciency, or advancing programs that “don’t work”. The trouble is, we all don’t agree with what is a waste, or a failure.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/19/2009 @ 5:54 am

  37. @Cecil:

    You and others of your persuasion cannot seem to figure out how an educated person can be anything but liberal conservative in his or her outlook on life? Liberals Conservatives make up no more than 40% of the population according to most surveys and only about have[sic] of that are leftwing rightwing radicals who are working hard to destroy the capitalist democratic system we have had since our inception as a country. This always surprises liberals conservatives who read only liberals conservatives publications, watch only liberals conservatives TV and usually have only liberals conservatives friends because these people truly believe they are the vast majority of Americans.

    Reads the same both ways, is it not so?

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 10/19/2009 @ 7:19 am

  38. Speaking of deluded - you just blindly accept something coming from JAMES CARVILLE? What is wrong with you, son? James Carville created one of the most bitterly divisive public conversations prior to and all during the Clinton years and hasn’t abated his hate-speech one whit since. And he did that study in CLEVELAND. Rick, I grew up in Cleveland and the entire town is cheek-by-jowl Democratic leaning, leftward ho and the like. So in this case, context is very important and you ignored it!

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 10/19/2009 @ 8:51 am

  39. But Surabaya Stew!

    I am not the one who is convinced that I somehow live in “The Different Reality Inhabited by the Conservative Base.” I also did not define what core values of conservatives are or are not. I am not the one who makes fun of people because they are religious (per Palin and others) and then tries to tell everyone they are tolerant. I am not the one who called Bush a chimp and then cried racist when the current president was called the same exact thing. I also do not pretend to be better than my fellow Americans. I do not believe that I know what is good for my fellow Americans and thus will not allow them to read the bills that will burden the economy with trillions of tax dollars.

    Immoral and criminal behavior is the same whether liberals carry them out or if conservatives. The difference to the brilliant liberal mind is that if one stands for family values and is caught that somehow this behavior is a greater evil than when done by a liberal. Kind of like a bank robber who says he is a bank robber and robs a bank is less evil than a bank robber who says he is not a bank robber. Lying and corruption is lying and corruption. Does not matter who does it or what they say - it is the same.

    You substitution is silly and just shows your inability to carry on a reasoned discussion. Look at what the extreme right wingers are after. It is not the destruction of the capitalist system. Anarchist are not conservatives. Communist/socialist who want to change both the politics and the economy of the US are indeed liberals.

    No conservative in American will be surprised to find that liberals run the government and thus must have had some sort of majority in order to win. Not so liberals. All surveys that I have seen indicate that the majority of Americans tended to be centrist to the right and not the other way around. Your substitution is thus meaningless unless you can come up with some valid and reliable survey that proves otherwise.

    Imagine going through this series of comments and making the substitutions that you did. You are pretending that both political parties are exactly the same and I disagree totally with this rather simplistic conclusion.

    It is not the conservatives who has forced Political Correctness on all of us or the hate crimes bills that seem to criminalize perceived intentions rather than the act itself. Murder is murder for whatever reason.

    It simply does not read the same unless, of course, you are trying to NOT discuss the issues I brought up which appears to be your purpose.

    Conservatives are a lot more tolerant of other people beliefs than liberals. Liberals are a lot more hate-filled than conservatives. It just seems that liberals have shorter memories. Now go look yourself in the mirror and tell me that you are tolerant of my political philosophy. I am certainly tolerant of yours.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/19/2009 @ 8:52 am

  40. Michael,

    delusional people don’t know they’re delusional

    Good quote, but sadly for you, it applies to you as much as to everybody else.

    I personally don’t think you’re deluded, just wrong. I’ve never really debated an issue with you, or anybody else on this blog. I’ve certainly posted my opinion on some things, but never in a debate forum. As far as debating you (or being “destroyed everytime I open my mouth), I believe I can best the recitation of the daily democratic talking points, which is about the best I’ve seen you do- your original thoughts are neither insightful nor profound.

    Didn’t you go away? Did you get over your temper tantrum?

    I can’t believe I just wasted 2 minutes responding to you.

    Comment by lionheart — 10/19/2009 @ 10:10 am

  41. Cecil,
    I’m neither liberal nor do I not know China. I have been there extensively. I just found it curious that you appeared to be making the case for the Chinese model but didn’t like the European model when everything you don’t like about Europe is definitely not better in China. Of course I know what you mean but living there you probably noticed a one party system has a peculiar habit of making decisions.

    Comment by funny man — 10/19/2009 @ 3:49 pm

  42. Funny Man

    “Of course I know what you mean but living there you probably noticed a one party system has a peculiar habit of making decisions.”

    Kind of like the president and his majority Congress of today, right? Who lives in a different reality now for those who think that Rick’s writing was accurate.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/19/2009 @ 4:51 pm

  43. It is not the conservatives who has forced Political Correctness on all of us or the hate crimes bills that seem to criminalize perceived intentions rather than the act itself.

    Oh, please DO get over yourself.

    Both parties have their own version of “Political Correctness” and if you can’t see the one put forward by conservatives then it just means you aren’t seriously looking.

    Murder is murder for whatever reason.

    So whats the difference between a criminal and a terrorist then? Whats the difference between a guy who kills for profit and one who kills for ideology?

    Comment by angullimala — 10/19/2009 @ 5:18 pm

  44. angullimala,

    I live with myself. I must try to get over people who tell me to get over myself as you have done. Both parties have their own version:

    Hmmm, did I miss the version provided by the conservatives and, of course, you obviously have decided NOT to provide me. Help me out. I get this argument all the time from liberal Americans and the world. If I do not agree with their beliefs and concepts it is because I haven’t looked hard enough pr dug deep enough for the truth. Am I lazy or are they being intellectually dishonest? A liberal being wrong is beyond their imagination. I suggest it is intellectual dishonesty as you could simply have provided a URL to set me straight or listed the politically correctness that originated on the conservative side of the house. Wonder why you failed to do such a simple task. It is easy to write what you did, I read and hear it all the time? I research a subject and come back with a conclusion different from a liberal. The liberal, refusing to provide evidence, simply states that I need to do more research.

    Do I need to provide you with the definition of a terrorist and then one of a criminal? Do a venn diagram. Inside the criminal venn one will find all terrorists but notice that all criminals are not terrorists.

    You must define what you mean by kill as opposed to murder. There is a difference and, if asked, I will provide you with ample evidence of the difference.

    You sound, oh so, liberal with your silly “get over yourself” as if you are over yourself already. Not much good in a reasoned discussion me thinks.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/19/2009 @ 10:35 pm

  45. Cecil,
    haven’t noticed regular elections in China yet, so the similarities not that glaring to me. Perhaps you can enlighten me. Please also without liberal this conservatives that, doesn’t really add anything to the discussion IMHO.

    Comment by funny man — 10/20/2009 @ 12:15 am

  46. There is no difference when unelected governments pass laws contrary to their citizens desires and well-being and elected governments do the same. “Tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive (C. Lewis).” Does it really matter who is elected or who is not elected if the results are the same?

    You requested I do not bring up liberal this or conservative that but suggest you read the title and the contents of the original post. IT was about liberal this and conservative that. Sorry but the fact that you are a liberal or a conservative says a great deal about your view of the world, Obama and the United States. It shapes the discussion whether we mention the words or not. Since the issue is the “alleged” right-wing of the Republican party, I fail to see how not mentioning the political philosophies adds to the discussion.

    BTW, there are regular elections at the provincial and district levels all the time in China. Just because the candidates are approved members of the CCP does not lessen the fact that there are elections. Liberals, IMHO, would love to have such a setup with only liberals running and winning. Knock out the fox so one does not have to deal with its evil influence.

    Therein, lies the reason why I can never embrace such an unAmerican philosophy. Contested elections and reasoned but heated discussions are fantastic for the country even if it means having to “get over oneself.” Now explain to me how the current crop of Chicago liberals in Washington eagerly embrace reasoned or any discussions. The fox is evil and therefore we will not allow him to come around.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/20/2009 @ 1:07 am

  47. Some further thoughts on The Great Disconnect (Post #30):

    1. These opinions, in sum, reflect much more of a conventional rightist mindset than a leftist one. How did a leftist congress and president get elected then? The key factor is White Guilt, which is now being dissipated rather rapidly. The second factor, spending by the Bush administration, has been overwhelmingly transferred to Obama. The third factor, GWOT, is also being booted by Obama now. The devil should get his due: Obama did run an effective campaign and McCain did not.

    2. That America leans to the right in general seems to be confirmed. Yet, we are living with the leftist crowd that conservatives do not want have in positions of power. The more the left show their real objectives, the less the electorate will approve. We hope this disapproval is acted upon in time to unravel the damage.

    3. The very large percentage of citizens that favor the Christian religion and morality, and the protection of Christian religious statements, signs and symbols in public places, argues also that a substantial majority most likely will hold faith-based positions on moral social issues as well– including abortion and same-sex marriage. The percentage of people that profess a religious belief in this poll is in general accord with the last census results. Those people that moan about the hard line conservatives have taken on abortion and same-sex marriage, and the use of these issues as litmus tests, will be surprised in the next election cycles if these results bear up. Most moaners are not religious at all, it would seem, but are in that 10% of nones; a scarce few of them actually follow the Right.

    Christians are taught tolerance of other religions, and the nation itself is built on the principle of freedom of religion. But, if a religion and its leaders advocate the (eventual) overthrow of this nation and the subjugation or killing of non-believers, then we see the strong advocacy in our public for the death penalty and the passing of laws that would seriously inhibit such actions.

    4. Amnesty for illegal immigrants appears to be highly objectionable to a great majority of our citizens. This leftist government will probably try to pass an amnesty bill, which will give the right another significant boost at the next election.

    5. Defense and prosecution of the GWOT against Islamic Jihadists stands very high on the agenda for most Americans. The new administration is backing out of Iraq as fast as possible, and will most likely find a way to get out of Afghanistan also, despite the earlier solemn declarations of Obama. They are not facing the Iranians down on their development of nuclear weapons with any success either. The Middle East is very much the same cauldron it has been for 60 or more years, with the added danger of possibly having nuclear weapons passed into terrorist hands. Obama is playing a dangerous game here with the Israelis, and showing far greater preference to the Palestinians—and Muslims in general.

    6. A large citizen majority is focused on ensuring that the Constitution is respected and upheld. Violations and bending of the provisions of the Constitution are standard practice on the left, especially for the five leftist justices on the Supreme Court. It is a “living document” or guideline to them.

    7. This set of opinions argues that conservative candidates for office must hold true to their conservative principles. They will then find substantial, winning support across a spectrum of voters. That they will possibly shed some centrists and pseudo-intellectuals in the process is understandable. We hear every day that conservatives must relax their principles and standards or else be consigned to second place forever. Real Conservatives, and, as shown in these opinions, a majority of the people, know otherwise.

    8. There is little in this set of opinions that would spark the Far Right into frenetic action; rather, it has a sufficient conservative cast to it that they would in all probability be content to support it in the elections, as far as it goes. We are told that the Far Right will poison the electorate against the conservative Right with their antics and stupid remarks. One could point out that the Far Right has been there just about forever, and they have made their opinions known every year very loudly indeed, so their song is not new. After all, they are firmly on the margin.

    It is much, much more likely that a sound brigade of conservative candidates in 2010 and 2012 will bring the Far Right into the big tent at election time without a lot of yelling and screaming.

    Comment by mannning — 10/20/2009 @ 3:36 pm

  48. Funny Man

    It depends on how you define ‘rich’

    Comment by Otiose — 10/20/2009 @ 9:11 pm

  49. Otiose,
    higher per capita GDP

    Comment by funny man — 10/20/2009 @ 9:20 pm

  50. Cecil,
    there is a big difference whether an elected or an unelected government passes unpopular measures. The first can loose the next election. After the communists brutally put down the Tienanmen square protests they knew they had to give the educated middle class something to put their energy into; making money. As you know they were pretty successful but you should also know the one thing the Chinese government is really scared about is uncontrollable unrest. There is plenty of small unrest because people their loose land, loose jobs loose freedom without much recourse because there is one show that runs the country. That is not so in the US so I really don’t see your connection between China and the Democratic Party. Sure they want to stay in power, kind of the natural state. I mean they want more of a collectivist society and we a more individualistic; and so it goes back and forth. They are just my political opponent but apart from that they are no better or worse than anybody else.

    Comment by funny man — 10/20/2009 @ 9:36 pm

  51. Funny Man,

    This “big difference” appears to explain why you think I am a right-wing wacko or worse. Could it be that you may not be correct in what reality really is? You see a big difference in events in China and the US where I see no difference especially in the results? Maybe it is those of you who believe there is a big difference in governments even though they have the same results that are in different realities.

    With Acorn and other criminal organizations active, corruption throughout the states, free flowing tax dollars to constituents and the WH Personally involved in trying to muzzle opposition, should I and others question your belief that there is still a big difference in governments? Both you and Rick contend that those of us who raise the issue of socialism in America are only doing so to spread fear. Maybe it is people like you who have their head in the sand and believe that no such thing could happen in the US even though the results we see are the same as we see in authoritarian governments.

    As to your belief that reforms in China somehow started in 1989 with the Tiananmen protest as a means to quell possible unrest simply shows your lack of understanding of China. Tiananmen occurred ten years after Deng instituted the first reforms. The unrest we saw at Tiananmen were a direct result of ten years of economic reform (liberalization) without the expected political reforms. “Protestors at the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident included workers who felt that reforms had gone too far and threatened their livelihoods (Wikipedia).”

    Misconceptions about modern China abound in the US. Collective state verses a individual state, you say? I certainly do not see that in my college students and they certainly do express such a notion. Mao is not an exalted figure and most have parents who were brutalized by the Cultural Revolution. The students I have are the same as any student in the world, where college is an exercise in pursuing truth. The text books are nearly identical as those in the US and some are even better since they do not have the stupid political correctness crap so common in the US education system.

    So to summarize my position or “different reality”:

    1. The Chinese government successfully controls the message coming from the mainstream media.
    2. The US government is trying to control the message coming from the mainstream media.
    3. The Chinese government keeps a watch on those whom they deem to be problems politically and will go to great measures to demonize and even jail them.
    4. The Us government keeps a watch on those whom they deem to be political terrorists (conservative activists), demonizing them with lies and smears and no doubt, would love to throw most of us in jail.
    5. The Chinese government has a huge problem with corruption inside its organizational structure.
    6. The US government has a huge problem with corruption inside its organizational structure. Seems this has risen to new heights under Obama.
    7. The Chinese government passes rules and laws without consultation or regard to its citizens’ needs or even wants. These laws usually are passed to add more money to the corrupt coffers or insure power continues and are passed with the idea that the elites know best.
    8. The US government appears to be trying to pass rules and laws without consultation with its citizens. Control of major industries (banking, housing and auto) has been established to insure the coffers of the ruling party continues to swell, payback for those who kiss the ring so the party remains in power. Of course, these ruling elites know what is best.

    Do I need to continue with the list or do you have just a little bit of an idea why members of the “uneducated right-wing mob” may not really be living in a different reality as you so firmly believe. We just may not be the uneducated folks you believe us to be.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/21/2009 @ 3:31 am


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  53. Cecil,
    I was already around when Deng and the ‘Gang of Four’ fought for control of the country and I know Deng initiated economic reforms. However, you always say we think this or that about you when in fact it is you who seems to think I have no idea about China. We are just discussing politics you have your opinion I have mine. BTW, isn’t this what democracy is all about? Gotta go, keeping my day job (smile)

    Comment by funny man — 10/21/2009 @ 11:37 am

  54. [...] Submitted By: The Glittering Eye – Right Wing Nut House - THE DIFFERENT REALITY INHABITED BY THE CONSERVATIVE BASE [...]

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  55. Twas but a friendly discussion and very reasoned IMHO. You made statements that, in themselves, showed a lack of knowledge about the reforms in China. The Tiananmen Incident was a result of ten years of reform and not the start of the current reform as you stated. I went back to make sure this is what you stated and it was:

    “After the communists brutally put down the Tienanmen square protests they knew they had to give the educated middle class something to put their energy into; making money.”

    This simply did not happen as the reforms have continued on the path set out ten years earlier by Deng.

    I can only “know” what you write. Did you not make the statement that the reform started after Tiananmen or am I mistaken?

    I do not pretend to know what you think or not think. I am not a liberal so I do not even try to fathom the intentions of my fellow humans. I may sometimes speak in general terms when I make statements about liberal philosophy or at least those liberals with whom I have a close friendship but that is normal.

    I will admit I am wrong with the correct evidence. I do not believe I am wrong about my perception of China and the Chinese. Thus, why should I not question people who think I somehow live in something other than reality. We who believe as I do are not stupid and certainly not uneducated. The Obama administration is governing outside the direction that is America. He is trying to put into place policies that will fail, have failed in the past and go against human nature. He is destroying the very core of what made us Americans - who we are and that means different than Europeans and other Western folks.

    You have the right to think this is ok but because some of us say loudly that he will fail has nothing to do with whether we want him to fail or not.

    Chickens simply cannot be bred to cows as I said earlier and that is the reality in which I live.

    Been a trip, thanks.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/22/2009 @ 2:47 am

  56. [...] Submitted By: The Glittering Eye – Right Wing Nut House - THE DIFFERENT REALITY INHABITED BY THE CONSERVATIVE BASE [...]

    Pingback by Bookworm Room » Read along with me — 10/22/2009 @ 8:53 pm

  57. [...] Second place with 2/3 points – (T*) – Right Wing Nut House - THE DIFFERENT REALITY INHABITED BY THE CONSERVATIVE BASE [...]

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  58. Cecil,
    the reforms started before Tienanmen but were then followed with intense vigor because the CP correctly believed a lot of the then developing middle class would want a bigger piece of the political pie. They would not give it to them so they gave them economic opportunities instead. I’m pretty sure I’m not totally wrong on that.
    I’m a conservative and I just don’t understand why you keep telling me how liberals think. I mean (most) men want woman etc etc, come on they are just normal folks with a different worldview then ours.

    Comment by funny man — 10/24/2009 @ 6:07 pm

  59. Funny Man,

    “They have a different worldview than our” seems to me you, in fact, do understand why I keep saying how liberals think. I am just repeating their worldview which I find not to be based on reality. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t you just admit that you also are telling me how liberals think?

    Do you not know how liberals think? We both obviously have friends who are liberals. I could probably list some “ways liberals think” and you would find that I am right on in my assessments. I do not find most of them to be what you describe as “normal folk.”

    Difference of opinion, no doubt.

    Comment by Cecil — 10/25/2009 @ 7:36 am

  60. Defining who is rich and who is not rich is an ephemeral exercise. I consider myself mega-rich and yet, I have very little actual money. What I do have is good health, good friends, a good job and a dependable income and a great big crabby cat who for some odd reason seems to love me a lot (or as much as a cat can love someone). So I would say that context is an important component of any quality of life discussion.

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 10/28/2009 @ 2:28 pm

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