That’s the problem with post-election punditry

I noted earlier that, until Obama does actual substantive things (as opposed to gaffes about Nancy Reagan or threats to reinstate drilling bans), I feel I have little to say.  Jay Nordlinger sums up perfectly the way I feel right now, living in post-election limbo-land:

My reaction to last week’s election is one of the least important things in the world. But some readers have asked for it, so I thought I’d scribble a lil’ column. I’m hesitant, though, for two reasons.

First, I wrote about the election for months and even years. I particularly wrote about the consequences — bad — of an Obama victory. What am I supposed to do now? Say, “Just kidding”? “It won’t be as bad as all that”? “Never mind”? I’m afraid I can’t be as blasé, or chipper, as some other conservatives. I have an anxious feeling, and long have.

That’s exactly right.  I have inchoate fears right now, based on almost two years of watching Obama at work, and being quite worried about him, his agenda, his cohorts and his followers.  But until something happens, that’s all those fears will be:  inchoate.

Right now, I’m doing something I haven’t done too much in the last few years:  I’m hunkering down in the real world, and trying to get a little emotional distance from the intellectual excitement of politics.  In the car, I listen to music, not Rush or Sean.  In the morning, I rush off to a client, and assiduously resist the temptation to check the news every twenty minutes.  In the evening, I go to martial arts, rather than sitting hunched over my computer (although today I have enough work to keep me hunched at my computer until the wee hours, so I’m taking a lovely little break with this post).

I’m not disinterested in politics, and I certainly don’t intend to stop blogging, but I’m taking advantage of this lame duck period to replenish myself.  With that same anxious feeling Nordlinger has, I suspect it’s going to be a long and intense two (four? six? eight?) years for conservative bloggers, so now is the time to take some my vitamins and rest my brain.

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  • http://helenl.wordpress.com/ Helen Losse

    Bookworm, What a great post. I think all of us feel a bit of let-down, no matter who we supported. It’s like coming down from an emotional high. And of course, nothing has changed; Obama can’t do anything as President Elect, so there’s no reason for praise or criticism. We aren’t different people than we were before the election (our core values haven’t changed), but we are all realizing that we have something in common (that is, if we want that realization): We were all too emotionally strung out. Thus, we were short with people who didn’t think like we did. I love politics, but too much of anything gets people off balance. So may the music begin. Good music: good music is any music that makes the individual relax and takes him/her to a place where the blood pressure can stabilize and he/she can feel the wind on the body. (Thanks for a great blog.)

  • Deana

    Helen –

    I agree with you.

    Elections are horrible, draining things (and yet, I think we all agree that they are better than dictatorships, huh?). But there is something sort of dangerous, perhaps even poisonous about them. They bring out people’s emotions which can be very dangerous things. And when passion rules, calm, rational, thought and discussion based on evidence are totally thrown out the window.

    I suspect, but do not know, that people nowadays are more susceptible to becoming obsessed with activities, behaviors, and interests. Politics is an excellent example. I love it as well but I find myself having to take a break at times. I make myself turn off the TV and the computer and turn on classical music or some of my CDs, take a nap, read something totally unrelated to politics, cook, talk to someone, play with my dog, and so forth. It’s life and it’s just as important as politics. If people don’t do this, then it is exactly as you said: they wind up off-balance.

    That being said, I strongly suspect that many of the concerns that conservatives voiced before and after the election will prove to be prescient. The feelings that many conservatives have right now is NOT similar to a letdown from an emotional high. Rather, it is a fear that we are getting ready to usher in collectivist thought, the primacy of the group over the individual, and the dismantling of America’s ability to defend itself against threats that exist and are of paramount danger to everything that you and I hold dear, Helen.

    Helen, I hope, dearly, truly hope, that I and all of my conservative friends are dead wrong. My heart would be 100 pounds lighter right now if I thought that in four years, all I had to do was admit that I was wrong about Obama and the Democrats.

    We will see. Time will tell. In the meantime, though, I do agree that we need to take a breather, enjoy the holidays that are coming up, enjoy each other, do good work, pray (if we are so inclined), cook, read, and play with family and friends (including the four-legged kind).

    Deana

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I am one of those lucky bloggers who really and truly likes her readers. When I was young, I always imagined a Madame de Staël type of salon, where people could come and discuss ideas in a stimulating, friendly environment. Who knew that the internet would make that childhood dream a reality?

  • Charles Martel

    What you said, Deana.

    The heaviness of my heart these days is that within my lifetime I could see the end to America as we’ve known it. The billions around the world who don’t hate us, but lack the means to sit at boulevard cafes (or at Book Depot in Mill Valley) harumphing about those evil Yanks, are watching the last best light go out.

    What bothers me the most is the uncomprehending stares I get when I remind people that nothing is free, that A leads to B leads to C leads to D — that there really IS a slippery slope, and they just elected a guy super-equipped with rope cutters, hob-nailed boots for stomping knuckles and extra-viscuous oil for accelerating the slide.

    =sigh= I’m going to go console myself with some pasta.

  • BrianE

    “Poor President-elect Obama, he is just beginning to get a taste of the devastation that awaits him. Joe Stiglitz is right: it will take him at least 18 months to fix the U.S. economy.”- Economics blogger

    If you remember, Stiglitz name came up in another thread and this statement is very telling of the school of economics he subscribes to.

    It was Bob Schieffer, IIRC, who used the term “reign” to describe the governance of the next president.

    Am I just being overly sensitive, or have our expectations taken a giant step toward the nanny state in the last few years?

    Since when do presidents fix an economy? This misuse of language, of the purpose of government, creating an assumption in people’s minds that indeed the president is responsible for fixing the economy, is part of the slippery slope to socialism.
    And, of course, the term socialism is meaningless today, something that is trite, whether factually true or not, since the average American only hears references to the government fixing this or that, or giving them this or that, or proposing a rebate so we get back a little more of our money– thank you very much for being so thoughtful.
    And conservatives rail, “Whose money is it anyway,” to anyone who will listen, but the American people aren’t listening. They’ve already bought the notion that it is the governement’s money, since so few of them actually give the government any money anyway and actually think they are justified in stealing other peoples money, that they are the ones in the right, they are the moral ones as they chant “fairness, community, empathy”.
    We have moved postmodern. The rules have changed. We are sheep.
    I’m going to go chop some wood.

  • http://helenl.wordpress.com/ Helen Losse

    Music on my blog: Totally apolitical: http://helenl.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/one-of-my-favorites-enjoy/

    Maybe others can also enjoy this.

  • Charles Martel

    C.S. Lewis’s wonderful parable, “The Great Divorce,” describes a visit to Heaven by a denizen of Hell one day. It turns out that You Know Who offers a tour of Heaven on a bus that comes every seven days for those citizens of the infernal places who may be having doubts.

    Lewis describes Hell as a gray, dreary, hopeless, run-down place — imagine a Detroit that stetches even to the stars. Whenever somebody begins describing socialism or Obamaism to me, I instantly think of “The Great Divorce.”

    The descriptions of the cityscape at the opening of “Atlas Shrugged” come to mind, too.

    Why is it that this country’s supposedly greatest minds want to reduce our existences to such bleakness? Is this the best that men without God can do?

  • BrianE

    War of the Worlds

    “Never before in the history of the world has such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together, this was no disparate march, it was a stampede without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind”.

  • jlibson

    My reaction has been very similar Book.

    I went from constantly checking the news (5+ times per day) to rarely if at all.

    It has been a huge boon to my work productivity. Our collective obsession with the election was unhealthy.

    The wrong guy won.

    Our party needs a major reformation.

    But…for now we can do what we should do as conservatives. Live, work, spend time with our families and remember that government (and by extension politics) is not *supposed* to be such a big part of our lives. :)

    Regards to all.

    Joe

  • suek

    This might give you something to consider in all your free hours…!

    http://astuteblogger.blogspot.com/2008/11/gop-must-win-over-urban-america-to.html

  • rockdalian

    Nominations for an Obama theme song.
    Beginning,
    http://tinyurl.com/675yhf
    Friday night funny.

  • expat

    Perhaps we could all agree that it should be a capital offence to announce one’s candidacy or begin a campaign more than one year before an election? Two-year campaigns are worse for us than all of Bloomberg’s transfats.

  • Mike Devx

    Helen (#1)

    >> We aren’t different people than we were before the election (our core values haven’t changed), but we are all realizing that we have something in common (that is, if we want that realization): We were all too emotionally strung out. Thus, we were short with people who didn’t think like we did. >>

    Helen’s comment was remarkably fair, I think.

    This is a good time for reflection, I think – at least for conservatives. I imagine most liberals are having a very mellow, content timeout. No need for thought for them.

    I have one very large concern, as we conservatives begin to figure out what direction we want conservatism to take. I’ve seen SO MANY conservative bloggers lay out what they think is the one, the only, direction that conservatism simply must take. For them, the path to their conclusion is as easy as A -> B -> C -> D -> (my version of conservatism).

    In other words, they always end up with a conclusion that precisely matches their own version of conservatism. A moderate, socially liberal conservative comes to the irrefutable conclusion that conservatism must become… ta da! … more socially liberal! A single-issue conservative, such as on abortion, comes to the conclusion that conservatism can expand its big tent on every other issue except… ta da! … abortion, which is the one and only single issue that must define conservatism.

    Over and over I see this. It has to be a mistake, when so many of them keep ending up, via “irrefutable logic”, ending up at their own favorite position.

    As for me, I’m still thinking, reading, pondering.

    I personally have developed such a hatred of “big government”, and the incestuous relationship between our politicians and the large industries and pressure interest groups that they sleep with. And that the more powerful big government becomes, the more devastating it is when either side wins, because one side will vastly benefit and the other be vastly harmed.

    So I find myself in the same position as all the others! If conservatism ends up adopting big government, I will leave. And that makes me uncomfortable, being in the same position as the bloggers I am criticizing.

    Book hasn’t presented her arguments yet for where she wants conservatism to go.
    I’m interested in what she has to say! But I’m willing to wait, whether Book’s pause is because she is not decided for certain, or whether she’s in the same boat as those of the rest of us who have ended up (via irrefutable logic) exactly where we started.

    I’ll close with one such example: Villianous Company (Cassandra). She is a social moderate attracted to the Republican party because of its big tent. Where does she think conservatism needs to go? Here’s the link and an extract. Her conclusion will be… no surprise at all.

    http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/archives/2008/11/redrawing_the_c.html

    In this election, the young left the Republican party in droves. Why? I am not enough of a political scientist to be sure, but recent conversations I have had with some Harvard undergrads have led me to a conjecture: It was largely noneconomic issues. These particular students told me they preferred the lower tax, more limited government, freer trade views of McCain, but they were voting for Obama on the basis of foreign policy and especially social issues like abortion. The choice of a social conservative like Palin as veep really turned them off McCain.

    So what does the Republican Party need to do to get the youth vote back? If these Harvard students are typical (and perhaps they are not, as Harvard students are hardly a random sample), the party needs to scale back its social conservatism. Put simply, it needs to become a party for moderate and mainstream libertarians. The actual Libertarian Party is far too extreme in its views to attract these students. And it is too much of a strange fringe group. These students are, after all, part of the establishment. But a reformed Republican Party could, I think, win them back.
    [...]
    As a moderate, though I both understand and support the strong convictions of social conservatives, I firmly believe the federal government ought to stay the hell out of the business of legislating personal and sexual morality. We need to start making the case that nearly all of these issues are ones which have traditionally been resolved at the state and local level. We need to frame this as a “freedom” issue: when the federal government imposes a one-size-fits-all moral code upon 50 very different states, we LOSE the freedom to decide and debate amongst ourselves how we want to live.

    So there you go, you abortion freaks: Just shut up! A million-plus abortions per year is simply a question of nothing more than “how we want to live”. Never mind the concepts of “the culture of death” vs “the culture of life”, which you simply cannot debate without confronting abortion. And so on. I personally do not have a complete investment in either side of the argument, but I recognize how crucial it is, and how it cannot be ignored. I strongly suspect that any conservative movement will have to remain very, very friendly and supportive of those who oppose abortion.

  • Mike Devx

    I said,
    >> I personally do not have a complete investment in either side of the argument, but I recognize how crucial it is, and how it cannot be ignored. I strongly suspect that any conservative movement will have to remain very, very friendly and supportive of those who oppose abortion. >>

    Ugh. I didn’t use “irrefutable logic”, I just made it a suspected axiom, and I ended up right at my own personal preference for conservatism. Again.

    I’m hurting my head. Time to go apolitical for awhile myself, in the spirit of:

    turn on classical music or some of my CDs, take a nap, read something totally unrelated to politics, cook, talk to someone, play with my dog, and so forth. (Deana #2)

    =sigh= I’m going to go console myself with some pasta. (Charles #4)

    I’m going to go chop some wood. (BrianE #5)

    Music on my blog: Totally apolitical (HelenL #6)

  • BrianE

    “In this election, the young left the Republican party in droves.”- Mike D
    Do we know that the young would ever have voted for John McCain over Barack Obama? We’re told it was because of Sarah Palin, but I’m skeptical that 22 year olds didn’t vote for a 72-year-old stove-up war hero because of Sarah Palin and instead were forced to vote for a charismatic, hip, metrosexual black man promoting what the young always prefer– change. I know. I voted for McGovern.
    Voting in a historical election doesn’t necessarily mean they have become committed to the process. They may assume that voting once is enough.
    As to abortion. Anti-abortion conservatives aren’t going anywhere. It is such a vile industry. Democrats have staked out a position as the party of abortion, and they may overreach with the Freedom of Choice Act.
    We support small government and low taxes, but did we make a convincing case why that benefits a 25 year old? We can tell them what the level of taxation will be in 25-30 years if we don’t reduce the size of government, but that is such a vague concept. They are just struggling to pay this month’s bills.
    They’ve been scared into believing life will end if we don’t limit the use of fossil fuels, but they can’t visualize life when we’ve failed to find a viable alternative energy source and driven fossil fuel prices to depression causing levels.
    This is a difficult narrative to reduce to sound bites. We tried “drill, baby, drill”, but that’s a slogan, not a message.
    I think the one criticism of the McCain camp I have was the lack of a coherent theme. Like good pitchmen, the democrats never wavered- hope and change. It seemed old and trite at times, but it worked. I’m not suggesting anything that empty, but McCain and company never found a message.
    I’m not sure that wasn’t as much circumstances, the hand they were dealt, as any failing of competence, but I could be wrong.
    And of course, Obama and company had the MSM. They have a vested interest in protecting him. So short of a secret letter where he professes allegience to bin Laden, we have to assume they will continue protecting him.

  • BrianE

    Mike D,
    If you’ve never seen it, check out the Jeff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds”, a multi-media rock opera, in #8.

  • rockdalian

    BrianE,

    As to abortion. Anti-abortion conservatives aren’t going anywhere.

    As I can only speak for me, I will never knowingly vote for a pro abortion candidate.
    Ever.
    I would simply not vote the presidential candidate and vote my local issues.

  • suek

    The abortion issue is a critical one for several reasons. First, if you assume that an embryo is a human, then you’re talking about murder. Just because you can’t see the human person in that small “clump of cells” doesn’t mean it isn’t human. It certainly isn’t anything else. I repeat my example of the protected Bald Eagle. It is a federal crime to destroy it’s egg. How can that be justified as a crime unless you recognize that the embryo that exists in that egg is a not yet completely formed, but nevertheless an entirely real, entirely protected Golden Eagle?

    Second, there’s a queston about the derivation of the “right” to abortion. There is no “right” so described in the Constitution. The “right” used was basically one of “if you’re my doctor, you and I don’t have to tell anyone that we aborted my baby. It’s our little secret” and therefore unprosecutable, and that makes it legal.

    Thirdly, this is an issue that should be decided by the _people_ in the legislature, in the States – not an issue to be decided by one judge ( or even 5 judges) in the federal court.

    So at the heart of the dissent, the issues are major ones and are issues that involve who we _are_ as a people, what the function of the judiciary should be, and what the relative positions of the State and Federal Government are.

    Those are all very critical issues, and just simply aren’t going to dissapear.

    The problem, of course, is the human will to do what it wants, and the change of our society from a home/family centered one to a self-centered one. We humans don’t like to be told “no”.

  • Mike Devx

    Suek (#18)
    >> The abortion issue is a critical one for several reasons. First, if you assume that an embryo is a human, then you’re talking about murder. Just because you can’t see the human person in that small “clump of cells” doesn’t mean it isn’t human. It certainly isn’t anything else. I repeat my example of the protected Bald Eagle. It is a federal crime to destroy it’s egg. How can that be justified as a crime unless you recognize that the embryo that exists in that egg is a not yet completely formed, but nevertheless an entirely real, entirely protected Golden Eagle? >>

    Wow, that is a great argument, concerning the Bald Eagle and the embryo in the egg! I can’t wait for my first chance to use it, to gauge the reaction. Awesome!

  • Mike Devx

    BrianE (#15)
    >> BrianE
    “In this election, the young left the Republican party in droves.”- Mike D >>

    Brian,
    Just making sure… that line about the young leaving the Republican party, was the first line of the Cassandra-VillainousCompany excerpt. I didn’t make it clear that all the italics were the excerpt…

  • BrianE

    Mike D,
    I understand. I had read the same piece and while it is troubling that the age group that should be most conservative if they have any hope of securing a future for themselves, are not.
    But why are they any different than many of the posters here that started out as liberals and through experience shifted their philosophy? Since conservative principles are not “exciting” and often are represented by the philosophy of “doing nothing”, young people will naturally gravitate toward a philosophy of “activism” and only through experience discover that the activism does more damage than good.
    What is more troubling is the hispanic vote. Socially, conservatives and hispanics share many family values, and illegal immigration hurts them fiscally more than many whites. I suspect they perceive that Republicans stand for ther wealthy and democrats stand for the “little person”.
    Which ties into my question about free trade. Free trade encourges economic development (I think US is the world’s largest exporter), but does it do that at the expense of wages? And in effect, do government programs subsidize these wages through food stamps, etc.
    I don’t see much evidence in Washington that hispanics don’t want to participate in capitalist principles, but then, class envy and its effects are probably seen more in urban areas.

  • Charles Martel

    Being a former leftist is like being somebody who once came down with malaria. It can be years later and you’ll get little tremors or pains that indicate the parasite still lies within you, dormant.

    That’s why I’m going to offer the leftist response to the Golden Eagle egg analogy because I still understand, years after my recovery, how leftists think:

    1. Golden Eagles are endangered. Humanity, with its selfish, greedy, uncaring attitude toward nature, is not. The natural economy itself says that any individual member of an overpopulated species has much less value or consequence than the member of an endangered species.

    2. The Golden Eagle mother is genetically wired to protect her egg, therefore has no choice in attempting to do harm to it — she simply can’t. Therefore, to harm her egg is to go against the (admittedly hard-wired) will of the eagle mom. This is a violation of the eagle’s (The Other) nature and integrity.

    3. Humans on the other hand are thinking creatures who can CHOOSE to stop a pregnancy. It is our nature to choose. Therefore, it is a violation of our nature and integrity to force us to choose one thing when we are free to choose another.

    4. It shows superb moral values and compassion to care about helpless creatures. Besides, if you’re a guy and can recite the above with a straight face, leftist women will be more inclined to get in the sack with you.

  • BrianE

    We need a coherent energy policy. Part of the problem with McCain’s policy is it’s near incoherence. President and VP don’t even agree on it?
    That’s not a good way to sell your policy to the American public.
    It’s counterproductive to argue whether the world is warming or not. But we can argue that man’s part is not significant (that natural forces override human intervention).
    Moving off of fossil fuels is inevitable (peak oil), but the transition will take 50 years and in the meantime reducing our dependence on foreign oil is vital. We are bankrupting our economy at the same time we are funding those that want to kill us.

    The AP reports that permits for as many as 100 proposed coal-fired power plants have been effectively put on hold until the Obama administration decides how it wants to proceed. An EPA appeals panel ruled that it unjustifiable not have imposed carbon dioxide limits on the proposed Bonanza power plant. It described carbon dioxide as “the leading pollutant linked to global warming.”

    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2008/11/14/get-out-that-tire-inflation-guage/#more-995

    We need to make common sense arguments and choose our battles carefully.

  • suek

    >>Golden Eagles are endangered. Humanity, with its selfish, greedy, uncaring attitude toward nature, is not. The natural economy itself says that any individual member of an overpopulated species has much less value or consequence than the member of an endangered species.>>

    So much for Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest.

    Of course, we believe him absolutely in all other aspects of his theories.

  • suek

    >>It shows superb moral values and compassion to care about helpless creatures.>>

    Unless they’re human or disabled. In either case, they’re a burden on society and we’ll be completely compassionate if we destroy them.

    Yup. Got it.

  • suek

    Yet another thought, Charles the liberal….

    You don’t consider the possibility that the protection is unwarranted because it’s “just a clump of cells”. In other words, the egg is entitled to protection because it is an incipient Bald Eagle. In fact, since it’s still just an egg, technically, you don’t even know if it is possibly not even a zygote. (Can you candle an eagle’s egg??)
    So, by your own argument, you assume that it is in fact a Bald Eagle.

    By derivation then, the human zygote or embryo is also a human being, and killing human beings is murder.

    What is the argument if I state that it isn’t endangered – we have _lots_ of eggs??

  • Charles Martel

    suek:

    You are indulging in the only thing that leftists will carry a cross to ward off: logic.

    Please stop it. You are making my head hurt.

  • Ymarsakar

    I am one of those lucky bloggers who really and truly likes her readers. When I was young, I always imagined a Madame de Staël type of salon, where people could come and discuss ideas in a stimulating, friendly environment. Who knew that the internet would make that childhood dream a reality?

    So long as there is life, there will be hope that things will get better, my dear Bookworm.

  • Ymarsakar

    Do we know that the young would ever have voted for John McCain over Barack Obama?

    Amongst my circle of college aged associates and friends, Brian, they would most definitely have voted for Sarah Palin. McCain’s stodgy, too old, not ruthless and ambitious enough for the younger generation, and just too much like Bush.

    My generation worries about jobs, worries about “leadership” meetings in such places like China, to get us ready to lead once we get out of college and all kinds of weird stuff like that. Those issues are never talked about on the campaign. The simple thing of tuition costs is more talked about here than it is in the debates.

    Any people still wonder why young people don’t give a damn enough to vote?

  • Charles Martel

    suek:

    The left knows it lost the “it’s just a clump of cells” argument long ago.

    So it has to shift the argument to other grounds:

    — We know there are too many humans destroying diversity THEREFORE we must save what’s left of diversity (eagles);

    — Destroying a human fetus is a PRIVATE choice but destroying an eagle embryo has public and environmental repurcussions;

    — We’re quite aware that the fetus is a human life, and, tut, tut, it’s a shame to dismember it, but that’s between us, our doctors and our god, so we can justify it;

    — Unlike the eagle, which is constrained by instinct and cannot plan, we can kill our current fetus in the confident hope that a.) we can conceive another or b.) find a Chinese kid to adopt

    I can throw this putrid line of reasoning at you all day. In the end, it comes down to a cognitive dissonance (“this life is inherently good; that life is good only if I say so”) and a supreme selfishness (“this kid is not what I want right now”).

    You can throw logic and Judeo-Christian morality at a pro-choice people forever. But their shields are permanently up and we have yet to develop the phasers that can penetrate them.

  • rockdalian

    suek,

    Thirdly, this is an issue that should be decided by the _people_ in the legislature, in the States – not an issue to be decided by one judge ( or even 5 judges) in the federal court.

    And therein lies the crux of the matter.
    Had this issue remained at the state level, this would not be divisive within the party on the national level.

  • suek

    >>Had this issue remained at the state level, this would not be divisive within the party on the national level.>>

    Agreed. There would have been dissension within states, but since it’s probable that some states would allow it and some would not, a certain amount of pressure with a means of venting the pressure.

  • suek

    >>The left knows it lost the “it’s just a clump of cells” argument long ago.>>

    Ok…though I hadn’t noticed that. It seems to me that it’s still alive and kicking. If it’s a lost argument, then we still get back to “it’s murder”. And of course, the “of course the death penalty is wrong – it’s just state sanctioned murder”. Talk about “my head hurts”!

    >>I can throw this putrid line of reasoning at you all day.>>

    That seems to be true of leftists generally!

    It’s a bit like arguing with a kid…”But _WHhhhyyyy_??”

  • rockdalian

    Jonah Goldberg,

    THE SOUL OF THE GOP
    IT CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE BASE

    That should serve as a warning to those, on the right and left, who’d like to see the GOP defenestrate millions of actual party members – e.g., social conservatives – in order to woo millions of largely nonexistent jackalopes. The GOP would simply cease to exist as a viable party without the support of social and religious conservatives. But not so the other way around.

    http://tinyurl.com/6d38jq

    Sigh, if only I could write this way….

  • Danny Lemieux

    I like your lines of reasoning, Charles Martel and SueK. However, if there was ever an epiphany for me in this election, it was to discover how easily so many people (family members included) to simply turn their brains off whenever confronted with cognitive dissonance (as you put it, CharlesM). They were feeling, not thinking.

    Basically, I have had to conclude and accept that many people have filters in their minds that start beeping, flashing red lights and going into shut-down mode when any information gets stuck that threatens to unravel their belief systems. Only a profound shock will disrupt those filters, I fear, and then, only temporarily. Look at how quickly those filters reasserted themselves after 9/11.

    Bookworm blog participants, of course, are the brilliant exceptions to this.

    For me, the epiphany came with the betrayal of the South Vietnamese and Cambodians by the Democrats in 1975. However, even then, it took years for all my filters to erode to the point where I could be comfortable in viewing the world through alternate belief systems. This will take time and I am not sure that we have time on our side.

  • rockdalian

    suek,

    It’s a bit like arguing with a kid…”But _WHhhhyyyy_??”

    Or wrestling with a pig in the mud. Pretty soon you realize the pig enjoys it.

  • suek

    I chose my political party in 1960. As I recall, you still had to be 21 to vote. My father was a Republican, my mother was a Democrat. I don’t remember any family discussions as to why, other than they both agreed they had to vote to cancel out the other’s vote.
    I was in college and the tv was usually turned to the nominating conventions. There was only one tv in the dorm…we didn’t have them in our rooms. In any case, watching the conventions which were still the smoke filled back room deals kind of conventions, with multiple votes and speeches that really might persuade someone that your candidate was better than theirs. The first vote was a throwaway, with each state’s delegation voting for their “favorite son”. After that, they got down to business. I have to tell you…the Democrat convention was _wild_! with people yelling at each other, people getting gavelled down, it was total chaos. The Republican convention, on the other hand, was orderly, people stood up and gave speeches, but they weren’t shouted down, and the votes were taken and tallied without fuss. There really wasn’t any question in my mind about which group I wanted to be associated with. I’ve never had a reason to change my mind – although in the last couple of elections….!!! There doesn’t seem to be anywhere else to go, though…I certainly could never be a Democrat. Could not.

  • Ellie2

    I am pro-choice. However, the reason I am pro-choice is that I was raised in a era when performing an abortion was a felony (thus forcing girls “in trouble” to the back alleys) and often a pregnancy was a social, family, disaster.

    All that has changed. Now unmarried females, gay females, formerly females (!) are proudly proclaiming the miracle of birth.

    So I need to rethink the whole thing.

  • Ymarsakar

    Over and over I see this. It has to be a mistake, when so many of them keep ending up, via “irrefutable logic”, ending up at their own favorite position.

    If these people believed their position had any flaws, they wouldn’t have come to those views in the first place, Mike.

    They aren’t politicians to worry about how many can be convinced to join their side. Nor are they closer observers of human nature as it applies to propaganda and psychological warfare, at least not most of them.

    So they translate what they personally believe to be true or correct unto the party they are working to help. This is why humans have a hierarchy, Mike. One leader directing many at lower positions. Not everybody can be correct. That’s what the leader has to decide: which person is correct in their views and then which path to take. HIstorically, whether the tribe, army, or national survived or won were based upon the decisions of those leaders.

    Now a days the decisions of leaders in America are so influenced by the people at the bottom that controlling people now has risen to the Number 1 priority for leaders. They would do better to leave the propaganda and psychological warfare issues to people like me and start focusing on how to pound their enemies into the sand instead. Leaders must have charisma but they aren’t there to look good and to sound good for our benefit. They are there to make the right decisions with the big picture in mind, something those of us at the bottom have trouble figuring out. It has gotten easier in this era of the internet, yes, but analysis is still limited by our sources and the President’s sources are only available to the President (and his administration or Congress).

  • suek

    >>So I need to rethink the whole thing.>>

    Include in your thoughts the fact that although what you say about every “Terry, Denise and Harriet” having babies, we hear very little about staying home to raise them. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? It takes nine seconds (or whatever!) to conceive a baby, nine months to make it, and 19+ years to raise it to maturity. There’s _no_ real effort required during the entire time between the thought and the birth. It takes tremendous effort for the next 19+ years. I cannot – for the life of me – understand how someone would go through pregnancy, labor and birth and then hand that precious infant over to a stranger to be cared for and raised.
    Raising children is a bit like watching paint dry, but with important points of note – the first smile, the first laugh, the first crawl, standing up, the first step…how sad to be told about them instead of experiencing them yourself. It’s no wonder young people become the problems they sometimes are, as their parents treat them like tyrannical roomates.

    So…why has it become fashionable to make babies, but it’s still old-fashioned and dowdy to stay home and raise children?

    I was raised in the same time period you were, Ellie, and there’s no doubt that the social restrictions and legal restrictions caused a lot of pain and suffering. I’m not sure that the lack of those same social and legal restrictions has truly lessened the pain and suffering. Maybe for those responsible, but for those who were _not_ responsible? In other words, in that time, the women who were irresponsible in their decisions paid the price. Today, all of society pays the price.