To sell their ideas, conservatives must first re-train Americans to recognize their humanity

Devil votes Republican

One of the striking paradoxes in Marin is that the same people who reliably vote for Democrat candidates actually have quite conservative values.  In my Marin world, people are educated, ambitious, hard-working, married, and family-oriented, and they happily live in almost entirely white communities.  As to that last, it’s not that they would object if a black family moved it.  It would simply have to be a black family that was “one of us,” meaning educated, ambitious, etc.  Despite their essentially conservative values, these hard-working people support endless welfare; these family-oriented, helicopter parents happily consign poor children to the tender mercies of the state; and these married parents, who have the luxury of a stay-at-home mom, support any policy that advances single motherhood.  The Marin dwellers I know are the living embodiment of Charles Murray’s wonderful observation that elite Democrats don’t preach what they practice.

Tiburon and Belvedere, in Marin County, California

Tiburon and Belvedere, in Marin County, California

On the rare occasions when I’m able to speak with my friends without using political labels, they invariably agree with me about the benefits of hard work and marriage, about the social and economic virtues of two-parent families, about the problem with the hypersexualization of young children, and about the fact that the best defense against bullies is projecting a strong attitude of self-defense.  Point out, though, that these values align them with Ted Cruz or Mitt Romney, who support profiting from ones own labor, being married as a predicate to children, encouraging (although not legislating) a more wholesome popular culture, and projecting American strength abroad, and they’ll back away from you as if you’ve suddenly sprouted horns.

How Democrats are trained to view conservatives and Republicans

How Democrats are trained to view conservatives/Republicans

It’s that last phrase that explains why these Democrats, even if their values are completely at odds with their own party, would never, never vote Republican.  In their minds, it’s not that Democrats Republicans have bad ideas; it’s that they’re eeeevvviiiilll.  Not just “evil,” but eeeevvviiiilll.  To them, Republicans haven’t merely sold their souls to the Devil, which implies that it’s possible to regain those lost souls.  Instead, it’s that Republicans have no souls.  To the Marin liberal, politics are controlled by a simple syllogism:

Republicans/conservatives are evil.
I am not evil.
Therefore I can never be a Republican/conservative.

But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, right?  For years, conservatives have wryly observed that, while conservative think liberals are misguided, liberals think conservatives are evil.  So why am I dragging this old issue to the table?  Because now is the time to change this paradigm.

We know from a Harvard study that the young generation is turning against Obama because he betrayed them.  Unfortunately, though, despite their disenchantment with Obama, these youngsters aren’t turning to Republicans.  Given the fact that Democrats lied and Republicans spoke the truth, these youth voters aren’t making a U-turn and heading for the Republican party.  Instead, they’ve opted for a “plague on both your houses” approach to politics.

Their refusal even to contemplate conservativism stems from their constant indoctrination:  Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll.  In any Hollywood film that touches upon politics (and even in those that don’t), Republicans are evil.  In any MSM news story, Republicans are evil.  In songs, at award shows, on Twitter, and Facebook, the cascade of obscene, profane, and scatalogical remarks from those on the Left are uniform:  Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll.

obama-pinocchioWith Obamacare cratering and Obama being revealed as both incompetent and dishonest, Republicans are trying to figure out how to position themselves as the obvious political alternative.  Sadly, the state of American political debate and thinking is not such that conservatives can gain voters by explaining that conservative ideas are better.  We take the world as we’re given, though, and that world demands that we suit our argument to our audience.  Before they listen to us, they need to like us — or at least they need to stop fearing us.  The answer is to run a personality campaign.

When I speak of a “personality campaign,” I refer to gauzy photographs of Republican politicians with their spouses and children.  Although that seems to play well to the base, it does nothing to convert the people who think we’re eeeevvviiiilll.  Democrats have been trained to view those photographs — when they come from conservatives — as the equivalent of photographs showing Nazi camp guards having tea parties in their homes.

What the RNC and other conservative groups should be producing, instead, are gazillions of one-minute-long commercials and YouTube videos, as well as easy-to-share posters for Facebook and Twitter, all of which focus on ordinary whites, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics engaging in good acts of the type that thoughtless, but disenchanted, Democrats can understand.  Each video or poster should end with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”

For example, you might have a video showing an Asian woman working at a homeless shelter, and have it end with her saying “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”  Or you have a poster of a black volunteer hard at work for Habitat for Humanity, over the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”  Another video might show someone getting out of a Prius and into a wheelchair, again with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.

Conservatives are ordinary people -- and that's a good thing

Conservatives are ordinary people — and that’s a good thing

The possibilities are endless, because Republicans are good people, and they actually do many things that make Democrats happy.  Posters and videos of beach clean-ups, animal shelter work, homeless shelter work, Big Brother/Big Sister work, tutoring kids at inner city schools, and raising money for African orphanages, would humanize a group of people who have been demonized simply because they believe in the worth of the individual and in maximum individual freedom.  When it comes to speaking out to Americans, we need to stop focusing on the politicians, whom the media finds it easy to ridicule and denigrate, and start looking into the Republican community, which is brimful of wonderful, caring, people, for whom being wonderful and ordinary is just a part of their lives.

We cannot convert people to our ideas unless we can convince them that their “conservatives are evil” syllogism is utterly false. The new syllogism should go like this:

Republicans/conservatives are good people.
I share most of their values.
Since the Democrat party has lied and broken its promises, and its ideas have failed, I should vote Republican.

[For those of you who find the ideas in here vaguely familiar, my dear friend Don Quixote made precisely this point many years ago. He was, as is often the case, a clear-sighted visionary.]

Obama goes to war. His motto: “We have met the enemy and it is you, the Republicans.”

The Wall Street Journal has penned what may be the most savage editorial opinion I’ve ever seen in those pages.  The sentiments aren’t new, but the blood-drawing is:

President Obama likes to invoke his predecessors in the Oval Office, as all Presidents do, but in one sense he is unlike the others: Presidents traditionally try to reach a rough domestic consensus if they are faced with going to war abroad. Mr. Obama wants to smooth everything over abroad so he can get back to his favorite pursuit of declaring war at home.

At least that’s how it’s gone the last week, as Mr. Obama all but wrapped up that ghastly business in Syria and turned his attention to the real enemy—Republicans. Backed by the good offices of Vladimir Putin and the assurances of Bashar Assad, United Nations inspectors will now remove Syria’s chemical weapons from the battlefield. Congress doesn’t even have to vote on it, and the American people can forget the recent unpleasantness. Peace in our time.

Which means it’s now safe for Mr. Obama to begin the war he really wants to fight. The President spoke Monday afternoon at the White House in remarks pegged to the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the financial panic of 2008. But the financial crisis was merely an excuse for Mr. Obama’s real purpose, which was to demand unconditional surrender from his domestic opposition.

Mr. Obama assailed Republicans for an “ideological agenda” that he called “the height of irresponsibility.” Among other crimes against humanity, he said the GOP refuses to abandon the budget restraint of the sequester spending cuts or to greet the Affordable Care Act with flowers and sweets.

“Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points? I hope not,” Mr. Obama said, transparently suggesting that they do want to hurt people. At least he didn’t accuse them of using chemical weapons, but when it comes to stopping atrocities like opposition to his domestic agenda, let him be clear: He doesn’t do pinpricks.

Read the rest here.

And while you’re at it, check out Keith Koffler’s “Conservatives, Your President Hates You”:

Obama was sold to us as a new kind of politician who was above politics and could build bridges and blah blah blah blah blah.

Excuse me, I’m not done.

Blah blah blah blah blah.

But he’s just another liberal POLITICIAN who harbors the standard, stereotypical, unintellectual view of conservatives as dumb morons motivated by ill will toward their fellow man, and certainly, fellow woman.

And so, even as the wounded and dead were being accounted for following a mass shooting Monday morning a couple of miles away, Obama couldn’t live the with prospect of having to delay sinking his teeth into his conservative opponents. He’d spent weeks being nice as he courted their support for his Syria bombing campaign. I mean, enough was enough.

Read the rest here.

Criticism, constructive and otherwise — or talk radio can serve us better

During the past week, whenever I found myself alone in the car during good drive-time talk radio (i.e., Rush), I did something unusual:  I didn’t listen.  Instead, I turned to mindless pop music.  I was thinking about this peculiar behavior on my part, because I truly love Rush.  I think he’s a radio genius, someone who understands perfectly the lines between entertainment, news, and analysis.  He’s also one of the sharpest political thinkers out there.  No wonder the Left hates him.

But still….  I didn’t want to listen.

Analyzing my bizarre retreat from Rush, I realized that my problem is that the things that used to energize me during Obama’s first term — conservatives reporting on the faults and foibles of the administration, even as the MSM ignored them — no longer stir me up.  I’ve had four years to learn that Obama is not the “hope” promised, unless your hope was for a jobless stock market recovery, endless welfare rolls, increased racial tension, a simmering Middle East that constantly threatens to explode, negative pressure on core Constitutional rights, and all the other practical and ideological changes Obama’s presidency has brought to America.  The problem is that, while you and I were riled by these stories, none of this data penetrated the minds of less engaged American voters, all of whom who listened to the media’s siren song and reelected Obama.

Having accomplished its job, the media is suddenly discovering that there are some problems with Obama’s first term, everything from violently antisemitic and anti-American “friends” in Egypt, to the coming economic and medical disaster that is ObamaCare, to the corruption that’s always swirled around his administration.  As I told my mother when she pointed to such stories, this isn’t just a case of too little, too late.  It’s nastier than that.  The media is doing these stories as cover:  when the second Obama term brings badness to America (although Obama may still escape unscathed), the media has provided itself with some plausible deniability.  It can point to these articles and say “We told you so” — the big con being that they only told the American people so after they’d ensured that Obama locked up a second term in office.

The fact is that four years of conservative media pointing out what Obama and the Dem Progressives are doing made no difference to the ultimate outcome in 2012.  To be sure, there was a ton of criticism from the Right, but it wasn’t constructive, because those who needed it (Obama and the Dem Progs) weren’t listening and wouldn’t have changed anyway.  It was criticism in a vacuum.  It made the minority party feel better, but ultimately had no effect.

I want marching orders, not whining mourners.  I want to hear ideas about how to change the body politic, not another story about what weasels Obama and his buddies are.  I already know that stuff — and the media, for reasons of its own, is finally doing a little heavy lifting and is starting to report on a few foibles in the Obama administration.  The fact is that Obama will not run again.  He’s already old news.  What conservatives need know is to disengage from the war with Obama and begin, instead to plot a strategy for 2014 and beyond, one that ignores this little man and, instead, focuses on shaping ideological issues in ways that excite the man on the street.  Talk radio, with its vast reach, should be a source of inspiration, rather than relentless, mis-focused anger.

The problem isn’t the candidates; it’s the voters

I’m still reading scattered posts castigating Mitt Romney for being a bad candidate or running a bad campaign.  I understand the need to analyze failures to identify remediable errors, but we’re making a huge mistake focusing on the end of the campaign, rather than the beginning.  One could say the beginning of the campaign is the Republican primary that resulted in a nice, bland, classic Republican technocrat.  It’s the voters’ fault Romney went head-to-head with Obama.  But that conclusion still doesn’t reach far enough into the past to explain Romney’s failure.

Romney failed because the American public has been trained to vote against Republicans.  This isn’t as random or obvious a thought as it seems (although I’ll concede that it is pretty obvious).  It has special meaning for me, because I’m getting together with some conservative gals who have ties to recent Republican candidates.  One of them is married to a man who, some time ago, tried to displace Lynn Woolsey in the House of Representatives.  Woolsey will be retiring this January, but she’s probably quite satisfied that she can look back at decades of far-Left Progressive politicking in Washington.  Two of the others with whom I’m lunching are gals I last saw at a lunch for Elizabeth Emken, who lost to Dianne Feinstein.

Wendell Willkie, another Republican candidate who looked as if he ought to have won.

Both Republican candidates were fabulous by any normal standard:  intelligent, attractive, principled, and honorable.  In the 1940s, they would have been central casting picks for the good guy’s perfect political candidate.  Both of them ran against incumbents who didn’t even bother to campaign.  I’m not guilty of hyperbole when I saw that.  Neither Woolsey nor Feinstein did anything beyond putting up a few signs.  Both women knew that the Republican candidates weren’t worth fighting.

Woolsey’s and Feinstein’s certainty — which proved to be correct — clearly wasn’t because the Republicans were lousy candidates.  Woolsey and Feinstein could afford to do nothing because they knew that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell that California and Marin voters would vote for a Republican.  The Democrat political takeover is so complete that even God himself, if he ran as a Republican, would lose.

The late, great Andrew Breitbart understood that the problem isn’t politics, it’s culture.  Politics is just the final step in a culture’s trajectory.  Roger Simon exhorts conservatives to focus on the culture and force a change as quickly as possible:

As the late — and increasingly lamented — Andrew Breitbart pointed out repeatedly, “Politics is downstream from culture.”

Just how downstream we saw in this year’s election. Virtually every accusation made by the left toward Republicans and conservatives (sexism, racism, greed, etc.) was prepared and nurtured in the realm of culture. That was the earth in which the lies grew and prospered. And those lies, more than any facts or policies, were responsible for a liberal victory in a year — with unemployment at 8 percent and a deficit at 16 trillion — that should have been a Republican rout.

Put simply, give up on the culture and you lose forever. (It’s hard enough with the media and the educational system rigged the way they are.)

So my point is quite simple. Quit bitching and start doing.

Roger’s right.  Run for the local school board or town council (neither of which require you to state party affiliation).  Get onto the community college board.  Stop going to popular movies that have anti-American themes.  You can live without seeing the latest action flick, but the movie producers cannot live without your money.

On Facebook and at parties, politely argue with vapid Progressive conclusions.  I did so the other day on Facebook, and got an arch liberal to agree that the UN is a despotic organization that should be done away with.  I don’t think he’d ever thought about that before.  And I did it all by politely questioning conclusions that the Progressives in the debate couldn’t support and by advancing facts that they couldn’t deny.

We keep thinking that, because our ideas are sound, they don’t need explanation or promotion.  In the meanwhile, the Progressive Left has long understood that, because it’s ideas do not work well in the real world, but only in the Petri dish of the Leftist mind, they can become ascendant only through relentless promotion.  What we never realized was that most people don’t think, they just “know” — or think they “know.”  But really, they’re just like a shopper buying one brand of peanut butter over the other because the brand she selects has a better jingle that has formed part of a permanent soundtrack in her mind.

We need to start jingling folks — every one of us, in every way we can.  We can’t all be Andrew Breitbart, but we can be soldiers in his cultural army.

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Getting outside of the bubble: taking liberal arguments seriously

Paul Scott challenged us to look at what Eric Garland, a Progressive blogger, has to say and to take it seriously as a way to win the White House.  Paul is right — we cannot make a convincing argument unless we know what our opponent in the argument believes.  Insulting Paul doesn’t make us stronger.  Rather than spin around in our own fish bowl, we have to look at what others are saying, correct their misconceptions, and either challenge or concede to their arguments head-on.

In that spirit, I’m taking a serious look at Eric Garland’s post.  I’m not giving anything away here when I say that, having weighed it carefully, I’ve found it wanting.

Eric might also want to look seriously at conservatives, since he seems to be have accepted several canards propounded by the media and other liberal sources.  In that regard, I would remind him that the Wheel of Political Fortune has tended to rotate in roughly eight year cycles:  Reagan’s conservativism got 12 years (counting Bush); Clinton’s Progressivism got 8 years; Bush’s compassionate conservativism got 8 years; and Obama is now getting his 8 years.

Whether Obama will also get his own addendum years, as Reagan did with Bush Sr., remains open to question.  Americans are a generous and forbearing people, but unless Obama significantly improves the economy, or significantly re-educates Americans so that they lower their economic and employment expectations, Obama’s next four years may be the Democrats’ last four for a while.

Let’s start with Eric’s contention that he is the kind of voter that Republicans seek:

  • My family lineage goes back to the MAYFLOWER, BOAT ONE!!! (Garland family of New England-> John Adams -> Howard Alden -> Plymouth colony ->KINGS OF MUTHAF***IN’ ENGLAND)
  • I am a heterosexual, married to the super Caucasian mother of my two beautiful children who are, inexplicably, EVEN WHITER THAN I AM.
  • I am college educated (Master’s degree!) and affluent.
  • I am a job creator and small businessman.
  • We pay a lot of taxes! Every year!
  • I grew up in a rural area and despise laziness!
  • Having started my own business, I have complained at length about the insanity of federal, state and local bureaucracy – and its deleterious impact on the innovative small businessman.
  • I currently live in the suburbs in a historically Red state.

I’m not sure Eric is the perfect specimen he thinks he is.  Or rather, he’s the perfect specimen only if you accept his rather ugly view of conservatives.

Family lineage:  As a first generation Jewish American conservative, I was unaware that the Republican party had admissions criteria based upon 1950s WASP country club rules.  To the contrary, the Republican party, unlike the Democratic party, does not classify people by race, religion, or country of national origin.  Instead, it seeks values voters.  As I use it, and as the the conservatives I know use it, the term “values voters” should be understood to encompass constitutional values such as individual liberty; market-based capitalism; small, affordable government; freedom of speech; freedom of worship; etc.  In other words, the oldies, but goodies.  These are values intrinsic too all Americans regardless of the divisive victim identities that the Democrats and Progressives have sought to impose on the American body politic since the 1960s.  We understand that people like Eric can’t help their boring lineage.  They are still welcome amongst conservatives.

Sexual orientation and race:  By boasting repeatedly about his, and his family’s, whiteness and heterosexuality, Eric sounds a little too much like a candidate for the KKK (which was, as his high education level surely informs him, a Democrat connected party).  Eric’s obsession with his race and sexuality highlights the Democrat/Progressive habit of parsing Americans into sexual and racial boxes.  Honestly, we conservatives really don’t care about those archaic, eugenicist classifications.  What we do care about are shared values, tied to the Constitution.  I know bunches of gays, whites, Jews, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics (and whatever other little boxes Progressives like to check) who believe in limited government.

What all conservatives have figured out is that, once government gets big enough (and ours certainly has gotten that big), it can start picking winners and losers.  That’s good for the winners.  Unfortunately, as Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Communists, and the mentally disabled discovered in Nazi Germany; as Kulaks discovered in Soviet Russia; and intellectuals and glasses-wearers discovered in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, if a Big Government identifies you as a loser, you’re pretty much dead.  The smaller the government, the less risk for minority groups.  Ideally, as the Founders perfectly understood, one wants a government that’s big enough to protect all of its citizens, but not one so big that it does what Eric does:  parses them into “in” groups and “out” groups, and then punish the “out” groups.

College educated and affluent:  It’s great that Eric and his family are college educated and affluent.  I’m sure his mother is very proud.  It may come as a surprise to Eric that many conservatives are educated too. And almost as many conservatives have spent many years trying to unlearn the Left wing pap that made up that education.

The real world doesn’t put the same premium on the Ivory Tower that the Ivory Tower puts upon itself.  Womyn’s Studies contribute little to intellectual attainment or economic betterment.  And if you’ve got an MBA predicated on Keynesian economics — well, you’re about to see that economic view take a hit in the real world, just as it did when Roosevelt put it into effect (with the Depression massively worsened under his aegis), or when Europe put it into effect with its now-collapsing soft-socialism, and as America will see play out as the Harvard-educated Obama continues to pick winners and losers in today’s economy.

The secret that hasn’t yet infiltrated the Ivory Tower is that governments are slow, inefficient, and corrupt.  They analyze data inefficiently, apply their analyses unfairly, and then pervert the market (using taxpayer money) to prop up their so-called “winner’s” failures.  Today’s education, which is directed at creating a Leftist man, rather than a broadly educated man, is nothing to boast about.

A job creator and small businessman.  Again, that’s great.  Conservatives believe that job creators and small business people should support conservative values, because lower taxes, fewer regulations, and less government control (not no government control, but less) enhance small businesses and create more jobs.  We find bewildering the number of small business owners who willingly vote for politicians who impose ever greater burdens upon them, stifling their building to thrive and grow.

Pays lots of taxes:  Eric sounds almost enthusiastic about those taxes.  One wonders if he’s ever asked himself if the government makes better decisions about spending that money than he does?  I’m sure Eric doesn’t quarrel — and neither do I — with government spending it on core government functions that all civilized nations support, such as national security, roads, public health, etc.  I wonder, though, if he’s thought seriously about the economics and morals of taking stimulus dollars and deciding which businesses, interests, and individuals should get special treatment using American tax dollars.  Likewise, I wonder if he’s ever considered the wisdom of tethering people more and more tightly to welfare by taking dollars out of the market and then having the government channel those same dollars to people rendered unemployed by the deleterious effect high taxes have on jobs.

Rural and not-lazy.  Again, good for Eric.  Republicans like rural, not-lazy people.  Republicans also like suburban or urban not-lazy people.  Basically, Republicans like people who are willing to put some energy into living their own lives, rather than sitting back complacently, waiting for a hand-out.

Complained about bureaucracy:  It’s rather peculiar that Eric hates bureaucracy, but still supports Obama and his Democrats.  This headline explains my bewilderment:  “Obama Administration Proposes 6,125 Regulations And Notifications In Last 90 Days.”  Why would someone who dislikes the burdens of a large bureaucracy vote for the candidate whose promise is to increase government interference in and control of every aspect of our lives?

Red Stater:  I bet Eric likes living in a Red State.  His taxes aren’t as high as they could be (try living in Blue California), and he’s not dealing with the failed economies that plague the Blue States (have I mentioned California?).  In other words, Eric is living well thanks to Red State, conservative values voters, who have supported lower taxes and more individual freedom.  It’s ironic and sad that his current goal is to reduce the entire United States to a wacky economic combination of Detroit (bankrupt), California (bankrupt), Illinois (bankrupt and corrupt), and other blue stated wonders, filled with “smart” people and big debt.  It’s not just the states that are bankrupt.  Bankrupt states produce bankrupt individuals.

(Thinking about this makes me kind of sad that I didn’t pursue my original law school goal of becoming a bankruptcy attorney.  It seemed like such a great idea during the recession that existed when I was started law school.  As the Reagan economy improved, through, I rethought things, and went for general business litigation.  Now would be a good time to be a bankruptcy attorney.  Take a firm like Wadhwani & Shanfeld, for example, which clearly started as a two attorney enterprise, and now has five offices scattered throughout meatless-Monday Southern California.  That’s the great thing about America — there’s always a silver lining for someone.  Also, I like that firm because it’s quite clear that the founders are from different cultural/racial backgrounds, but they came together to create a successful all-American enterprise.  Woo-hoo!)

But back to my main point….

Per Eric’s definition, the modern Republican party would desperately like to look like the old Democrat KKK, which utterly fails to explain why it celebrates extraordinary people and politicians such as Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Allen West, Herman Cain, Bobby Jindal, and other Americans who are concerned more with values than with little boxes on government survey forms.

Eric reveals his blinkered view of conservativism when he claims he is a prize of the type conservatives seek.  It’s nice that he pays taxes, creates jobs, is educated, works hard, and lives in a Red State, but he’s flattering himself a little too much.  It isn’t what he is taxes and education that matter, when it comes to elections, it’s what he believes — and honestly, his beliefs aren’t so hot.  What Eric believes leads down a single road:  higher taxes; fewer jobs; continued Leftist educational indoctrination; higher welfare and food stamp rolls; a population made up of disparate groups all vying to be crowned “biggest victim”; and Red States joining their Blue compatriots in bankruptcy and corruption.

Perhaps if Eric could see beyond his Jon Stewart, New York Times, MSNBC definition of conservatives, he might realize that the conservative ideology offers him and others a great deal more than he ever imagined, without interfering too greatly with what I assume are his core values.  Let’s take his critiques of conservatives one at a time:

Science - One of the reasons my family is affluent is that my wife and I have a collective fifteen years of university education between us. I have a Masters degree in Science and Technology Policy, and my wife is a physician who holds degrees in medicine as well as cell and molecular biology. We are really quite unimpressed with Congressional representatives such as Todd Akin and Paul Broun who actually serve on the House science committee and who believe, respectively, that rape does not cause pregnancy and that evolution and astrophysics are lies straight from Satan’s butt cheeks. These are, sadly, only two of innumerable assaults that the Republican Party has made against hard science – with nothing to say of logic in general. Please understand the unbearable tension this might create between us and your candidates.

As far as I can tell, in the last election, it is a sad truth that the Republican party managed to field a few idiots, such as Todd Akin, Tom Smith, and Roger Rivard, who are genuinely ignorant, in a very mean-spirited way, about rape.  Otherwise, though, Republicans are like other Americans, in that they understand that horrors of rape and the morally difficult consequences that result from rape.

Thus, conservatives recognize that rape is a terrible thing, one that becomes a permanent, damaging part of a woman’s psyche.  What some pro-Life conservatives say, though, is that this purely an evil act may nevertheless have resulted in something good:  an innocent life.  To them, it would compound the evil of rape if it was followed by the murder of an innocent.  They are not unsympathetic to the rape victim, they just believe that, in the balance, two wrongs don’t make a right.

I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with them, because the topic deserves a post on its own.  I’m simply saying that candidates such as Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock, Joe Walsh, and John Koster have set out a moral position that has nothing to do with science.  In the same way, there’s nothing science-related about Barack Obama’s repeated willingness to oppose a bill that would have required physicians to care for late-term babies that, rather than being aborted as planned, end up living.

The question of an innocent life within a full-realizedwomen is one of morals, not science, and it’s a profound cognitive error to conflate the two.   Also, I can’t resist adding that, when it comes to idiots, the Democrats have managed to field quite a few of their own cranks, crackpots, gaffe-meisters, and other mean-spirited, ignorant people.  The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that, while the Republican idiots didn’t get elected to office, the Democrat idiots did.

Climate - Within just the past 18 months the following events have come to our attention: a record-breaking drought that sent temperatures over 100 degrees for weeks, killing half the corn in the Midwest and half the TREES on our suburban property – AND – a hurricane that drowned not New Orleans or Tampa or North Carolina but my native state of VERMONT. As an encore, a second hurricane drowned lower Manhattan, New Jersey and Long Island. The shouted views of decrepit mental fossil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma that this is a fraud perpetrated on the American people by evil, conspiring climate scientists is belied by such events and is looking irresponsible to even the most skeptical.

I’m always amazed at the way supposedly educated people confuse correlation and causation.  The one does not imply the other.  That is, just because we’re seeing impressive climate events at the same time that most Americans drive cars doesn’t mean the two are related.

Most conservatives willingly acknowledge climate change.  Indeed, they’ll go further than just focusing on the changes that took place since Al Gore, in the early 1970s, was convinced that the earth would soon freeze over.  They’ll concede that the earth’s climate has been changing non-step since the earth first came into being.

Where conservatives differ with the self-identified scientifically brilliant climate change crowd is in believing (a) that human activity can change climate and (b) that warming is a bad thing.  (The picture below is of Greenland, which was once Green and sustained significant Viking colonies.)

With regard to human activity, conservatives admit that humans can affect the environment, most notably with pollution.  Most conservatives believe that they are the earth’s stewards and that this stewardship requires acting responsibly so that we do not make filthy the world around us, or carelessly destroy nature’s bounty.  We do not believe, though, that the climate change crowd has adduced sufficient evidence to show that today’s bad weather is human-kind’s fault.  News about Climategate, or the profound errors regarding Himalayan glaciers, indicates that we are right to be suspicious.  (Regarding glaciers, for example, we know that they’ve advanced and retreated relentlessly for most of the earth’s lifespan.)

And with regard to the apocalyptic view of warming, those of us reasonably conversant with history know that a global warming trend is good for humans.  It increases the growing season, releases more water (which is essential to all human existence), and makes available more land on which to grow food.  For example, the periods both before and after the mini-Ice Age were good ones for human development.

A few more things to throw into the mix:  We know that it’s only since Victorian times that people have been keeping accurate weather records, which means that we’re basing a lot of conclusions on only 150 years of data.  We know that the computer models on which much climate hysteria is based have frequently proven wrong.  And we know that many of the problems we’ve seen from hurricanes have happened, not because hurricane are worse (and after all, our records are only 150-200 years old), but because we have very dense coastal populations.  It’s like the difference between a fatal car crash involving one passenger and a crash involving seven:  it’s the same crash, but the mortality rate in the second instance is seven times greater.

Healthcare - My wife and I are quite familiar with America’s healthcare system due to our professions, and having lived abroad extensively, also very aware of comparable systems. Your party’s insistence on declaring the private U.S. healthcare system “the best in the world” fails nearly every factual measure available to any curious mind. We watch our country piss away 60% more expenditures than the next most expensive system (Switzerland) for health outcomes that rival former Soviet bloc nations. On a personal scale, my wife watches poor WORKING people show up in emergency rooms with fourth-stage cancer because they were unable to afford primary care visits. I have watched countless small businesses unable to attract talented workers because of the outrageous and climbing cost of private insurance. And I watch European and Asian businesses outpace American companies because they can attract that talent without asking people to risk bankruptcy and death. That you think this state of affairs is somehow preferable to “Obamacare,” which you compared ludicrously to Trotskyite Russian communism, is a sign of deficient minds unfit to guide health policy in America.

Eric’s analysis about the US healthcare system works only because he is relying on the WHO metric –that is, he’s looking at access, not quality.  I’m not going to beat this horse here, because I don’t have to.  Scott Atlas’ masterful The Worst Study Ever explains the difference between socialized and American medicine, as well as the flaws in the WHO study.  More than that, he does so concisely and in terms even the well-educated can understand.

There’s no doubt that the pre-ObamaCare American system was inefficient and needed improvement.  Turning it into England’s National Health Service, however, which serves the young and healthy sort of well, but is bad news for others, is not the way to reform American medical care.

War - Nations do have to go to war sometimes, but that Iraq thing was pretty bad, to put it mildly. Somebody should have been, I dunno – FIRED for bad performance. Aren’t you the party of good corporate managers or something? This topic could get 10,000 words on its own. Let’s just leave it at: You guys suck at running wars.

Eric might want to explain what happened in Libya, which was Obama’s war:  Why did we go in, how much did we spend, and what did we get for the money, aside from some murdered Americans, including the first U.S. Ambassador killed since 1979?  Eric might also want to look into the skyrocketing deaths on Obama’s watch in Afghanistan — deaths that are wasted, because we already know that they will be followed, not by victory, but by retreat.  Lastly, Eric might want to contemplate that, since 1900, most of the wars in which America got involved started on a Democrat’s watch:  WWI (Wilson), WWII (Roosevelt), the Korean War (Truman), the Vietnam War (Kennedy and Johnson), and the war in Libya (Obama).  Perhaps having a stronger hand at the helm might have avoided those wars in the first place.

Deficits and debt - Whenever the GOP is out of power, it immediately appeals to the imagination of voters who remember the Lyndon Baines Johnson (!) administration and claim that the Republican alternative is the party of “cutting spending” and “reducing the deficit.” The only problem with your claim is that Republican governments throughout my entire 38 year life (Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43) have failed to cut spending and deficit and debt EVEN ONCE. I hope you understand that your credibility suffers every time you promise one thing for three decades and do the EXACT OPPOSITE. Egads – if you actually were the party of fiscal responsibility – you might win our votes despite your 13th century view of science!

I’ve got to agree with Eric — the Republicans have been stinky at fiscal responsibility.  Really stinky.  The only ones who have been worse are the Democrats.  James Taranto nailed it in his column explaining that, right up until the Tea Party got serious about the deficit, the only thing that the Republicans did was to temper Democrat spending:

Deficit hawkishness was the main strain of postwar Republican conservatism until the Goldwater movement of 1964. When lefties long for the “mainstream” Republicans of yore, this is a large part of what they have in mind. A conservatism that cares only about balancing the books not only fails to challenge the encroachment of the welfare state but actively aids it by taking political pressure off the left.

Here’s how politics would work in a world in which deficit hawks dominated the Republican Party: The Democrats would propose a new entitlement. Some Republicans would oppose it, but once it was clear it was going to pass, they would drop their opposition and push for tax increases instead.

It’s a win-win for the Democratic left. They not only fulfill their ideological goal of ever-expanding government, but they get the political credit for doling out benefits and they shift the blame to Republicans (or at least share it with them) for the concomitant tax increases. Conservatives are reduced, to paraphrase Newt Gingrich, to acting as tax collectors for the welfare state. With Republican cooperation, Democrats can be the party of generous benefits and low taxes. Lyndon B. Johnson dramatically expanded the former while reducing the latter.

The current strain of conservativism, birthed by the Tea Party, is small government conservativism.  The Big Tent has room for social conservatives, but the real press here is what got Reagan into office on his second run for the presidency:  shrinking the federal government.  As Taranto explains in the article quoted above, talking about shrinking government is easier than actually shrinking government, but the focus is still on restraining growth, not just on figuring out a way to pay for it.

Eric’s attitude — which is that Republicans are wastrels, so I’ll vote for the party that’s even more irresponsible with taxpayer money — is a classic example of cutting of ones nose to spite ones face.  Eric should be demanding more small government conservativism, not retaliating against Republican profligacy by opening his checkbook even wider for infinitely worse Democrat profligacy.

The bottom line in the rational world, and one that Eric, as an educated man and businessman, should know well is simple:  over the long term, you cannot spend what you don’t have.  When your spending outruns your earning by too great an amount, you have very limited choices:  continue to spend yourself into bankruptcy, which is the Obama choice; cut your spending, which is the Tea Party choice; and earn more money, which is what Obama contends is his choice, one made by using the government’s taxation powers.  Where Obama errs is that it is impossible to close the gap by taxing the rich.  Instead, by killing the goose that lays the golden egg, Obama’s approach will merely accelerate the bankruptcy.

Gay marriage - As the child of Baby Boomers who got divorced (as was the fashion!) in the 80s and 90s, and for whom 50% of my friends had their homes broken by divorce in the critical years before age 18, I sure am unsympathetic to your caterwauling bullshit that “gays will destroy the sanctity of marriage.” Perhaps if everyone in your generation didn’t take the period of 1978 – 1995 to start surreptitiously banging their neighbors and coworkers, only to abandon their kids because “they just weren’t happy,” I would take your defense of marriage more seriously. The institution of Middle Class suburban marriage was broken by the generation of aging white Baby Boomers who populate what is left of the Republican Party, so your defense is wrongheaded and disingenuous. And moreover, as someone who got called “faggot” about 127 times a day from the years 1985 through 1991 – guess what – I grew up to be pretty good friends with actual homosexuals, whose sexual orientation is usually the least significant thing about them. The Republican perseveration on homosexuals as any sort of threat consigns them to history’s trough of intellectual pig dung.

Eric errs (again!) in assuming that, because conservatives haven’t embraced gay marriage, they hate gays.  Not so.  As with abortion, this is a complicated issue that sees a clash of differing liberties.  As I’ve written often, “marriage” has two distinct components:  religious and civil.  When church and state were one, that wasn’t a problem; when they parted ways, with the Constitution guaranteeing that the government would stay out of the religion business, the potential for conflicts arose.  As we’ve seen with the ObamaCare contraception/insurance mandate, when the government issue edicts that conflict with doctrine, the Constitution is directly implicated.  So too with “gay marriage.”  It’s extremely easy to posit a situation in which a church refuses to marry a gay couple, which then sues the church, claiming that it violated their civil rights.

My suggestion, and I think it’s a good one, is for the government to get out of the marriage business and into the civil union business.  It is then free to define civil unions however it wishes:  male/female, female/female, male/male, goat/cow, etc.  The state’s concern would be “What’s good for the state?”  Considerations would be population replacement or control, economics, stability, etc.  This would leave marriage as a purely religious union.

Frankly, if there wasn’t such a mad rush towards gay marriage, people would be able to step back for a moment and contemplate what their goals are and what the potential pitfalls are.  I don’t have a problem with ensuring that committed gay couples obtain the same civil benefits (and burdens) as other committed couples.  I do have a problem with a pell-mell rush into changing an ancient institution in such a way that it creates a certain clash with faiths, in such as way as to lead to a serious Constitutional crisis.  Am I anti-gay?  No.  I am pro-civil rights, pro-religion, and pro-Constitution.  But in all the rush, nobody is listening to people like me.

Meanness- Your party is really mean, mocking and demonizing everyone who does not follow you into the pits of hell. You constantly imply – as Mitt Romney did in his “47% speech” – that anybody who disagrees with you does so not by logic or moral conviction, but because they are shiftless, lazy parasites who want “free stuff” from “traditional Americans.” Wow, you guys managed to follow up a stunning electoral defeat with insulting the very people you wish to attract for a majority in the political system! Brilliant! You are losing elections because being angry and defensive and just-plain-mean is more important than being smart and winning elections – and thus you deserve everything happening to you.

First all all, mean is not an argument; it’s simply an ad hominem insult, and deserves little consideration.  In the spirit of finger pointing, here are few examples of mean from the other side of the aisle.  I’m too lazy to find links, but anyone wishing to do so can easily find examples:  Conservatives are lambasted as Nazis, racists, homophobes and misogynists.  It’s mean to call them those names.  Israel, the only true liberal democracy in the autocratic, totalitarian, antisemitic, anti-Christian, homophobic Middle East, is routinely castigated as a Nazi, apartheid state that deserves to be destroyed.  That’s mean too.  During the Bush presidency, Democrats characterized Bush as a Nazi, as Hitler, as a chimpanzee, as a murder, and as an idiot.  That’s not very nice.  Barack Obama spent his entire 2012 political campaign ginning up class resentment against rich people or, as I like to call them, employers.  That’s not nice.  Obama’s Occupy movement raped women, attacked people, defecated all over the place, brought barrels of human waste into buildings, rioted, destroyed public property, and harassed people in their own homes.  That’s mean too.

I hope that I have established to Eric’s, and everyone else’s, satisfaction, that calling people names is (a) a game that both sides can play and (b) completely pointless in terms of moving the ball from one side of the debate to the other.

Oh, and by the way, it’s really nasty to call your opponents in the argument “A-holes.”

If you want to know exactly where you failed in 2012, and will continue to fail, here it is. Look you assholes, I’m as traditional an American as it gets, and I do not “want free stuff.”  I am a taxpayer, and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. I got my first job – dragging bags of cow manure, horse feed and fertilizer around a farm store – when I was 12. I started my first company when I was 28. I have followed the vast majority of the rules set out for middle class white males (for good and for ill.) And if it weren’t bad enough that your policy positions are a complete clusterfuck for the reasons I lay out in great detail, you manage to follow up the whole exercise with insulting me, my wife, and my friends of every stripe who didn’t vote for your political party – all of whom are hard-working, taxpaying, job creating, law abiding, great AMERICANS of EVERY COLOR AND CREED.

In my experience, people revert to obscenities and crude insults only when they’re boors or when they have no ideas — or both.  Eric has a few good points (Republicans need to spend less), but mostly, he wallows in myths, canards, and insults.  In that last paragraph quoted, when he drops the pretense of facts and objectivity (all of which are easy to counter), he reveals his true self:  he is not a serious or a decent person.  He is, instead, a bully.

Having escaped my bubble and carefully examined Eric’s arguments, I understand both where he’s coming from and where he is going — and I can’t say I like either his point of origin (an ideological location I once shared) or his ultimate destination.  Eric argues from ignorance and heads to obsolescence.  Let us hope that, in the coming years, his world view does not prevail.

Bill Whittle’s appeal to those who intend to stand on principle and vote for a third party or not vote at all

Bill Whittle explains very clearly why it’s a mistake in this election for those who dislike Obama to a protest vote for a third party, or not vote at all, in order to protest the fact that Republicans are so far from perfect.  It’s a principled stand, certainly, but it is also one that denies the dangerous reality associated with a second Obama term:

If you are thinking of sitting out this election, or casting a protest vote for Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, please watch this video and think very seriously about whether this particular election is the one on which to take a stand.  And if you know someone who is thinking of sitting this one out, or throwing away a vote, please suggest that they watch this video.

Progressives rewrite history to suit their needs

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the fact that “the most brilliant president ever” doesn’t know the difference between an endorser and an endorsee.  As you may recall, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator showed up at Obama’s campaign event, leading Obama to say “‘My homeboy from Illinois,’ Obama said, ‘and an outstanding Republican endorsee.’”

I had a good laugh at the genius’s expense, but there was something else in the underlying news story that’s been niggling at me about that news story.  What bugged me finally popped into focus this morning, when I made my daily visit to Ace of Spades and saw the cartoon I reprint below.

It all starts with that original news story.  We learned there that the impersonator, Lance Mack, has been making a fine living attending Republican events.  Apparently, though, he doesn’t pay much attention at those events, because he’s a staunch Democrat.  Mack has no problem pretending to be Lincoln, though:

“Today’s Republicans either don’t know or won’t acknowledge if they do that the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln of 1860 was the progressive party and the Democratic Party was the conservative party,” Mack says. “Mr. Obama, of course, greatly admires President Lincoln. He’s quoted him in many speeches. He also used Lincoln’s Bible upon which to place his hand for his inaugural oath.”

Wow!  This is 1984-style revisionism with a vengeance.  As best as I can tell, Mack’s theory is that anything good that happened historically was “progressive,” and anything bad was “conservative,” so today’s Progressives ( who were, as little as ten years ago, still called Democrats) can claim the mantle of any political outcome that the approved history books like.

You can play this game forever, you know:  During the Revolutionary War, the Americans were the progressive party and the British were the conservative party, so today’s Progressives, everyone ranging from Obama to Pelosi to Axelrod, wears that revolutionary mantle.  And during the Jim Crow era, the anti-Jim Crow Republicans were the progressives and the pro-Jim Crow Democrats were the conservatives, which means that all of today’s Progressives and Democrats can wear the Civil Rights mantle.

I won’t belabor this point because, at Ace, I found the perfect cartoon from The People’s Cube.  I do believe that this cartoon proves, once again, that one good picture is worth a thousand (or maybe ten thousand) of my words:


I’d give a People’s Cube link for the above cartoon, but I can’t find one, and that’s despite scrolling through the archives with some vigor.  What I can tell you though, after having scrolled through those archives, is that you should visit the People’s Cube.  I’ve been aware of the site for a long time, but had never actually checked it out.  It’s really phenomenal.

I’m actually not surprised by the satiric brilliance on display there. The proprietor and creative genius is Oleg Atbashian, who grew up in the Soviet Union. The one thing that the Soviet overlords couldn’t take away from the people was satire. Those who refused to bow down to the cognitive dissonance created by a totalitarian state understood that, sometimes, their only refuge — and weapon — was humor.

Andrew Breitbart inspires another conservative to leave the political closet

I am very, very proud of an old friend of mine.  Like me, he’s a conservative in Marin.  Unlike me, he’s burst out of the political closet.  Tim Amyx will now be blogging on a weekly basis at the Mill Valley Patch, a local Marin online publication that comes out of one of Marin’s most liberal cities.  (That’s not as redundant as it sounds.  Novato and Belvedere, for example, are vaguely purplish compared to Marin’s pretty uniform blue.  Mill Valley . . . well, not so much.)

Tim’s premier post hones in on Mill Valley’s over-the-top allegiance to the Democrat party.  Jokingly calling himself the other 1% (although he concedes that he’s probably part of the 10 or 20%), Tim discusses life for a conservative in Liberal-ville:

I’m 53 years old now, and for about the past 10 years I have found myself in the huge minority in our community. Normally it’s not an issue being a conservative in a bastion of liberals. But it takes its toll, and one can remain silent and take body blows only so long. (“Bush is an idiot,  Republican’s are the party of no, the tea party is racist, conservatives only care about their pocket books, yadda, yadda…”)

This past week, Andrew Breitbart, my hero and a hero to the modern day right, passed away. It was a tragic loss for America and in particular to the young rebirth of conservatism. He was the right guy at the right time, who took on the media and institutions that have been so very successful in demonizing conservatives. Breitbart was an inspiration to many on the right who needed a voice to speak up and stand up to the bullies on the left.

With his inspiration, I bring to you the 1 percent (or really the 10-20 percent or more if more came out of the closet of conservatives in Mill Valley and throughout Marin) conservative point of view. I plan to chime in weekly with a perspective you will not likely read elsewhere in Marin, save for a token letter to the editor. These will be thoughts you won’t likely hear at the Community Center, Depot Plaza or Peet’s. I’ll focus on local, state, and national issues.

Read the rest here.  It’s all good.

Please make Tim a regular part of your weekly reading.  I know that he’s a great person, and you can see that he’s an equally great writer and thinker.  He’s also a brave man, who has outed himself in a very intolerant part of the world.  He should be supported, because the more he writes, the more people will learn — and in Marin, perhaps they’ll learn that conservatives aren’t evil stupid people but are, instead, the kind, accomplished, intelligent community members you’ve grown to like and respect over the years.

Breaking the Obama party hold on America’s political system

I’ve been corresponding with a group of conservatives who are very strongly divided between Romney and Gingrich.  I’m pleased to say that, while the debate is substantively heated, it also never veers away from common decency and civility.  My latest contribution to the email string, right after mention of a brokered convention, was as follows:

“Allen West!  Allen West!  Allen West!  A proven leader.”

(I can dream, can’t I?)

For all the doom and gloom predictions right now, with various factions in the conservative movement unable to envision themselves voting for the other guy come next November, I continue to believe that, as is usually the case once the fecal matter stops spraying off the fan, that conservatives will coalesce around the Republican candidate.  I’ve said from the beginning, sitting here in California where primaries are really over by the time they get to my state, that my candidate is the guy named ABO (Anybody But Obama).  It’ll be a tough call if the ABO candidate is Ron Paul, who is as awful in foreign policy as Obama, but I still think it’s important to break the Obama political infrastructure before it becomes an inextricable part of the American body politic.

We’ve got friends in high places

We all met Navy One when he was just one of us — a guy who wrote delightful, interesting comments on my blog.  When Navy One decided to try his hand at blogging, he took that same charm and . . . well, the rest is history, as The Mellow Jihadi, launched just this spring, is now one of John Hawkins’ top 40 conservative blogs.  (And keep in mind that Navy One, who is active duty, keeps his blog assiduously apolitical and non-partisan.  The conservativism comes about because he espouses ordinary values, decency and common sense, not because he actually writes about things political.)

Join me in offering Navy One a big huzzah!!!

(P.S.  Others of you are equally good writers.  I’m so glad you come here and comment but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that you might also want to try flapping your wings by setting up your own sites.  Cream does rise to the top.)

Liberals: not evil, not stupid…just 100% wrong!

For conservatives and libertarians, the movie icons might be High Noon or True Grit.  For Liberals, the defining anthem is John Lennon’s “Imagine“.

Why is there such a fundamental gulf between ourselves and Liberals, to the point where we find ourselves simply talking past each other? Can this gulf ever be bridged?

I came across this delightful essay at “1389 Counter-Jihad” that builds upon the thoughts of one of my favorite political and social commentators, Evan Sayet, to help define this gulf. It doesn’t necessarily say anything new, but it packages it so well.

http://1389blog.com/2010/11/17/why-modern-liberals-are-100-wrong-about-everything/

The central tenet of this posting is that, after years and years of indoctrination, Liberals see the world so fundamentally different than the rest of us that they can no longer recognize human fallibility and evil. If the core premise is correct, then I say there is no way to overcome this gulf and, perhaps, it would be best if we lived apart from one another. Why? Because I fear that the endgame of this Liberal world view can only be an epic global disaster. This Liberal view not only cannot survive (Darwin), but is the enabler of its/our own destruction.

Here’s a sterling outtake: “So the mindless foot soldier, which is what I call the non-elite, will support the elite’s blueprint for utopia, will side with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success, out of a sense of justice”

I know that we at Bookworm Room have explored this issue over and over. Does this help explain the divide? Can this gulf be overcome?