Looking for the Happy Warrior *UPDATED*

Andrea Shea King has an interesting post today, castigating Mark Levin for his “petty” and “envious” attack on Glenn Beck.  Her post is very useful in highlighting the divisions in the conservative side of the political spectrum, divisions that are sometimes so deep, both as to style and substance, that they might foreshadow conservatives managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2012.

As for me, I neither watch nor read Beck, but occasionally find myself listening to Levin on the radio because my carpool driving falls during Levin’s show. I invariably turn Levin off after about 5 minutes. His substance is great, but his style is so angry, I can’t deal with it.  I’m with Andrea in finding off-putting the name-calling and chronic derision.

Thinking about Levin made me think of the idea of the whole notion of the Happy Warrior. Certainly Reagan had that quality. He saw and named America’s enemies, but he had a sunny optimism that instantly destroyed any attempts to call him paranoid.

Palin has that sunny quality, but 2008 and 2009 soured her a great deal, and she’s hewing towards a somewhat more paranoid, or I should say angry, style.  Lately, one has the feeling that her political views are shaped as much by personal anger as they are by common sense and love for America.  This development is unsurprising given the unprecedented personal attacks against her, but I don’t think it augurs well for her playing a huge leadership role in the near future.

Barack Obama is an interesting study in the Happy Warrior phenomenon because he lulled willing, credulous Americans into thinking that this man with a history of personal anger and angry associations was indeed a Happy Warrior. What a lie.  But you can’t just blame Obama or the even the media.  The American public was perfectly willing to be fooled by the Magic Negro Happy Warrior, so that the voters themselves could have for themselves that happy feeling of post-racialism.

Obama’s current flailing in the opinion polls reflects, not only his policy failures, but the fact that Americans are learning to dislike this whiny, angry, arrogant and dour man in the White House.  Pre-election promise aside, he has about as much charm, optimism and warmth as “Jimmah” Carter.  This is political death.  As politicians from Teddy Roosevelt, to Franklin Roosevelt, to Eisenhower, to Kennedy, to Reagan have shown, Americans want an optimistic leader, one who believes in them and their potential.

The immediately problem as I see it is that conservatives don’t have a viable Happy Warrior candidate on the 2012 horizon.  While I do see cheery, feisty up-and-comers, such as Rubio and Ryan, they’re too young and untried for 2012.

My question for you is:  Who am I forgetting?  What true happy conservative warriors are out there to uplift the American public in 2012?

UPDATE:  With the exception of Palin, most of the Happy Warriors named in the comments (and I agree with people’s assessment’s there) are in entertainment and punditry.  Only Palin is a politician.  Based on this post, Don Quixote and I got into a larger discussion about American optimism.  We wondered if 40 years of “progressive” education, which teaches children that all Americans are either bullies or victims, has created a generation incapable of the happy optimism and love of America that characterized both Reagan and Walt Disney. Even those of us who love our country are defensive about that love, rather than boundlessly and reflexively cheerful about America’s greatness.

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  • gpc31

    I don’t know who the happy warriors are today, but I too can’t listen to Levin in the car because when he starts to rev up, my 8 year old daughter invariably says, “Oh no, not the angry man again!”  I don’t want her to associate conservatism with that tone.

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  • Charles Martel

    I occasionally listen to Levin, too, and like others here can only take so much. He is a very capable thinker but a terrible listener. He jumps immediately to assumptions about what a caller is trying to say without seeing that many times the caller is on his side, but perhaps a bit confused or wanting some clarification. Levin instantly assumes ill intent and kicks a potential ally off the air.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I haven’t seen any indication of Palin’s views originating from personal anger. In fact, the opposite based upon objective check lists.
     
     
    What made you think this, Book?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “They reveal a small man threatened by the success of others, especially when they don’t fit his template.  His attitude is distasteful and leave me disinclined to tune him in anymore.”
     
    Levin’s stone in the encapsulated video quote is one of advice. Anyone that has listened to Levin knows his rant and counter-attack mode. This wasn’t it.
     
    In point of fact, Beck does divide us with clownish remarks. Not meant based upon political strategy, but because of either his own personal beliefs or style. Case in point, making it out that Scott Brown’s comments about his daughters were evidence of extreme and dangerous behavior that shouldn’t be allowed.
     
    If Andrea is worried about personal bias over the competition, don’t defend Beck’s use of his own personal biases because one disliked Levin’s style.
     

  • Judy K. Warner

    I’d call Rush Limbaugh a happy warrior. Those who call him mean and angry surely don’t listen to him. He always uplifts me with his optimism and his humor. But he’s not a politician and he doesn’t want to be one.

    I agree about Mark Levin’s style. He isn’t that way at all in real life, or when he’s speaking to a group. I guess it gets him an audience, but I’m like y’all — I have to turn him off after a few minutes.  But the worst one of all is Michael Savage. He’s unspeakable, but he too has a large audience.

    Incidentally, Mark Steyn calls his back-page National Review column “Happy Warrior.” He is, too, but he’s not a politician either.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “I guess it gets him an audience”
     
    It’s more like he can’t stand the Left. And won’t do so on his radio program when the agenda is his to set.

  • Judy K. Warner

    He could express his dislike just as well without snarling and shouting all the time. It’s a style he’s adopted.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I put Rush, Hewitt, Medved, Steyn, Hannity, Bennett, Reagan, Palin (I’ve never read or heard her be anything but positive, especially given the body slams she and her children get from the Left) and  Ingraham  in the “Happy Warrior” column (although Ingraham does get whiny, now and then). They make us conservatives look good by drawing on Reagan’s “morning in America” optimism. They also generally treat people who disagree with them with respect.
    A second group is characterized by Beck, Klavan, Rachel and Coulter – comedian entertainers with an edge and razor-sharp rhetorical skills. Liberals absolutely hate them because they get sliced and diced when they try to argue with them, which is fine by me.
    The third group, fortunately small, is made up of the angry “not liberals”, like Savage (no conservative) and Levin. They think it is cool to be p*-off all the time and love to savage those that don’t agree with them. They do us far more harm than good. Anger, p* and vinegar is the Liberal schtick…I think it is probably the #1 reason that Air America went Humpty Dumpty, with MSNBC soon to follow.

  • http://farenblog.blogspot.com LarryFaren

    We went to a local theater on 1/30 to see the live feed of Beck-O’Reilly’s “Bold-Fresh” event broadcast from Virginia. But we were told via an on-screen notice that “Due to the blizzard conditions beginning in the mid-Atlantic region tonight’s program will be a REPLAY of last night’s Tampa, FL event.” [M-o-a-n-s] Beck is a master with a live crowd, but should have omitted repeated references to Pelosi’s facial appearance. Just provides ammo for his critics. Considering the “repeat” we saw they should have refunded about half of the $25 ticket, too!

  • Oldflyer

    Agree with most comments. 

    I believe Mark Levin is a first rate conservative thinker, but he needs to take a closer look at his style.  No one is better than he when calmly discusses an issue.  He has said that his style  is in part  to entertain.   Sadly, we used to listen to at least an hour of his daily broadcast; but lately seldom even tune him in.

    Rush can be very, very good also.  At his best he is entertaining, and right on the issues.   Still, I seldom listen through an entire broadcast.  When he goes off on  the whole ” entitled Seasoned Citizen”  put down (hits too close to home*** maybe) , and starts preaching that everyone can be as successful as he, then I lose interest.  Rush likes to pretend that he is completely self-made; but in truth he comes from a pretty privileged background.  How much that helped him get started, I don’t know.

    One place Rush excels is putting together soundbites that illustrate the MSM mouthpieces uttering the same Dimo talking points one after another.  Very effective.  That leads into my thoughts on Sarah Palin.  She has been under unrelenting attack and remained pretty upbeat throught it all.  Now that she has started to fire back at so-called comedians and others for making her family the butt of their stupid jokes; or at others for their down-right contemptible attacks on her family, the mantra will be “the Angry Woman”.

    Don’t fall for it Book.  Too early to know whether she has been damaged by the events of the past 18 months; or whether she was firing a few shots across the bow of the talking jerks and will move on with her upbeat style.  I think she is an optimistic, upbeat person.  I hope that she has not been permanently damaged.  Looked back at the file copy of a letter I sent to her at the end of the campaign.  I told her then Iwould not blame her if she exited the national stage, but if she had the stomach for it, millions of us would be waiting.  I still feel that way.

    Too early to call Sarah Palin angry or bitter.  Guess I should not be surprised.  Once she lashed back at people who attack her through her family, she opened up another front.

    ***Amplifying the entitled senior citizen thread.  Rush does not seem to understand that most folks in their  70s had no choice about such programs as Social Security and Medicare.  The government took our money without asking.  Even career military people had no choice, but to cough up.  So, we do feel that we are entitled to get the promised benefit.   As it turns out, if there had been a 401K program throughout our working lives, we would probably be better off.  There wasn’t.   (For comparison, I was finally able to participat in a 401K for about 10 years, and I can draw more income from my investment than I get from SS–and the bulk of the capital will be passed to my kids.  Admittedly, they were good years, but $$$ cost averaging evens it out over the life of a career.)

  • Oldflyer

    Book, I cry out for an edit function.  I had a distraction while editing that last post and hit enter to create a mish-mash.  I guess I could be more deliberate, but it is a little late to change a life time of habit.

    I envy someone who can sit down and dash off a coherent document in one effort.  I simply have to see my work, and then edit, and edit and . . .

    Help.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    No worries, Oldflyer.  I thought you wrote a wonderful comment.  And I think we are all quite forgiving of each other’s typographical sins.  There is an obvious difference between an ignorant mind and ignorant typing fingers.

  • Oldflyer

    Thank you for your patience.  It is more than ignorant typing fingers, however.  Even when writing papers, I often just tore up my first effort and started over on a completely different tack.   As I say, fortunate is the one whose mind visualizes what they want to say, and transfer the thought to  paper with the first effort.  Mine doesn’t.  Has to visualize the thoughts in black and white, then work with them.
    I  respect, but do not worship,  Reagan.   I fear that Reagan worship will be a hindrance.   However, conditions are once again ripe for a Reaganesque figure to emerge.  Optimism and  and a narrow focus on essential issues are wanted.  I do not care whether that person is male, female, white, brown or pink;  just so long as we find and elect such a person.  Unfortunately, many of the opinion shapers will compare every candidate unfavorably to Reagan.  Many who do will be the same ones who shrugged Reagan off at the time.  There will never be another; we must choose from the best of those available.  And referring back to Sarah Palin, I might add from the best of those willing to enter the arena and take the abuse.

  • nathan

    We all want a happy warrior to be the Republican nominee, but I think the country will be ready for a grownup in the White House after nearly four years of Obamalaise.  That leads inevitably to Mitt Romney as the nominee.  Yes, Romney endorsed John McCain, upsetting conservatives like Rush Limbaugh.  It’s true that Romney’s religion is a liability, but not against a rival who seldom attends a church service.  I think prudence and experience will be the qualities that will appeal to voters after Obama’s much ado about nothing.  The stars may well align for Romney in 2012.  Is he enough of a happy warrior as well?

  • Mike Devx

    I like Glenn Beck. A lot.   Perhaps because I agree with him: I’m not convinced, not one bit, that the GOP has learned from 2006 and 2008.  They’re still alcoholics wedded to the bottle of big government until they PROVE otherwise.  Get back into power and then show true fiscal restraint and restrictions on the size of government.   I should be from the Show-Me state, because until they Show Me, I don’t trust them either.  They’re on parole.   I haven’t been to a Tea Party, but I’m probably a silent Tea Partier.  I belong to no Party.  Until Obama shocked us all, the Bush deficits were simply horrifying to me.  I hope to God we don’t start to think Bush-level deficits are acceptable, merely because they’re not as large as Obama’s.  An Iraq War run since 2003, and not a penny paid for by 2008.  Medicare Plan B, unpaid for.  No Child Left Behind – a noble goal, like all progressive goals – but levied with unpaid mandates onto the states to enforce, and what business is it of the national government to run State educational systems anyway?  Progressivism such as all of that among conservatives is no virtue, leading to its own massive growth in the national government.
    I don’t need conservatives to stay on the reservation, speaking only opinions that have been rubber-stamped and approved by a self-appointed panel of conservative power brokers.  We’re big enough and strong enough to hold diverse opinions.
     
    Perhaps I’m not as optimistic as I ought to be, and I complain too much to be a Happy Warrior.  I could use an attitude adjustment, in the words of the country song!  I look around the world, and there’s absolutely no other place I’d rather be.  No matter how bad Obama manages to make things.
     

  • Oldflyer

    Nathan, Romney was my 1st choice in 08, and I would certainly be comfortable with him in ’12.  I do believe he has a pretty sunny public disposition.  Oh, and proven competence.

    Isn’t it ironic that he is getting so much flack for endorsing the Presidential Candidate of the party for re-election to the Senate?  I wouldn’t mind seeing McCain retire; but I thnk Hayworth would be vulnerable in a general election.  I don’t know if the ethical whispers about him are valid; but we do know what the Dims and their media allies would make of them.

    Apparently quite a lot of people are bothered by the Mormon religion.  I am not sure who these people are; and sometimes wonder how many of them are figments of media imagination.   I know a little, but not a great deal, about Mormon history and beliefs.  I  believe that the Mormon Church of today has evolved quite a bit over the past century.  Anyway, I have known several Mormons personally, some quite well.  I cerainly never saw anything about any of  them that caused me any concern. 

    Maybe if he won, he would appoint Sarah as Secretary of the Interior or some comparable position, and we could start thinking about who would follow him.

  • Charles Martel

    While I find many Mormon beliefs to be a little over the top for me, a Roman Catholic (I’m sure some of mine are for Mormons), I have yet to meet a Mormon with whom I’ve become a friend or colleague that I did not consider to be among the most ethical and moral people I know. Like Oldflyer, Romney’s religion simply simply sounds no alarms with me—even more so now that an agnostic, self-worshipping crypto-Marxist is in the White House.  

  • Mike Devx

    Those among the branches of Catholicism and Protestantism disagree with each other over each others’ particulars, but they generally regard each other as being mainstream.  Mormonism isn’t there (yet?).
     
    The media would enjoy pinning down Mitt Romney on the particulars of his specific beliefs; they’d love nothing more than to spark a simmering feud among Mormon factions rigorously adhering to the writ of Mormonism and those leaning more mainstream.  The MSM would love stoking that one!  Split em, divide em.
     
    Contrast that with their approach to (as Charles Martel put it so enjoyably, our current “agnostic, self-worshipping crypto-Marxist in the White House”.   He says he’s a Christian, but how many times has he been to church since being elected in November 2009?  Has he even tried to choose a church?  (We know he didn’t succeed in choosing!)   Where is the MSM pinning *him* down?  Where is the MSM interviewing the many Democrats who go to church every Sunday, asking them, “How do you feel about a President in your party who seems so completely uninterested in worshiping the way you do?”  Stoke that controversy?!?   Well, dear ol’ MSM, how about it?

    <crickets chirping>

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  • gpc31

    As a fellow R.C., I agree with Charles on both counts re Mormons and their theological beliefs: strange creed, stellar people.  Doesn’t bother me.   In the public sphere all religious disputes boil down to “so’s your mother!”

  • SADIE

    We wondered if 40 years of “progressive” education, which teaches children ……
    It certainly has drawn the line in the sand and created more than a generational gap, which occurs under ‘normal’ circumstances (I was thinking of how a generation was aghast with the long hair of the Beatles).
    Future historical events, well beyond the control of the self-entitled generation, will either be their Achilles Heal or their Wake-Up Call.
     
     

  • suek

    Sure are a bunch of us fish eaters in this crowd…!
     
    Funny thing…I just heard on Fox News this AM that “discussion is beginning in the White House about the 2012 election” with the attendant discussion about “the numbers”.
     
    Heh.  So think about it from the viewpoint of a Democrat.   Obama’s numbers are tanking, he isn’t getting stuff they want done, and they sort of don’t have a choice about nominating him.  Do you think they could convince him not to run again?  With _his_ ego?  Bet they couldn’t.  Would they run Hillary against him, if he decided to run?  They might.  Loyalty isn’t exactly their middle name.  Is there anyone other than Hillary or O?
     
    Just might be popcorn time…

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Dessert Survivor said…
    A few years ago I gave the following writing assignment to college sophomores:
    “In recent years, many schools administrators and teachers have become very concerned that students have a positive self-image. If children have low self-esteem, they are less likely to study and more likely to drop into paths that are destructive, both for the individual and for those around him or her. As a result, teachers try to avoid negative re-enforcement (criticism and punishment) and to use only positive re-enforcement (praise and reward).

    In contrast, Socrates seems to have thought that it was his duty to tell people, including young people, that their positive self-images and high self-esteem were delusions and that they were not as smart or as good as they thought they were. As he says, “I question, examine and cross-examine him, and if I think he has no virtue, but only says he has, I reproach him….”

    If the self-esteem proponents are correct, Socrates may have been a corrupter of youth who deserved to be silenced. On the other hand, if Socrates was right, then many in today’s educational establishment have corrupted education.

    Take a position on Socrates and self-esteem and argue it ….”

    I expected most of them to defend Socrates and conclude that one could take self-esteem too far. I was wrong. Almost all of them decided that Socrates was guilty and deserved to die for his offenses against self-esteem.