The Hillary factor

Bill-Clinton-and-Hillary--001Roger Simon has warned conservatives that they’re taking their eye off the ball — and the ball is Hillary Clinton.  While we conservatives are fighting our internecine Rove versus Cruz arguments, Hillary is continuing to amass power.  It’s not just that the New York Times is whitewashing Benghazi on her behalf, says Simon.  Instead, it’s that she, unlike Obama, actually has the political chops (including the political husband) to consolidate socialist gains in American government:

The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats. (We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.)

With that in mind, how does one explain the fact that Richard Cohen, an ardent Progressive, has penned a column telling everyone that Hillary may have been harmed by Obamacare?  He argues that, if people don’t like Obamacare, they won’t like her.  That argument is a red herring.  The facts on the ground are that Hillary kept away from Obamacare.  Her own dreams of socialized medicine notwithstanding, she had the smarts and political savvy to recognize early on that Obamacare, an unholy marriage of government and insurance companies, would be DOA and start to smell very quickly.  My take on Cohen’s overacted hand wringing it is that he thinks the best thing to happen now is for conservatives to leave Hillary alone, so that she can continue to aggregate political power.  “Move along!  Nothing to see here.  Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.”

So yeah, I think that Cohen’s article, to the extent it tries to distract attention from Hillary, proves that Simon is correct.  The Left wants Hillary to be left alone so that she can get ready for her spectacular, pre-paved emergence on the political scene.

I think, though, that Simon errs in one thing, which is his belief that the internecine war in the Republican party doesn’t matter.  Instead, it matters a great deal.  Conservatives aren’t stupid.  They know that, if another Democrat — any Democrat — gets the White House, we’ll be irrevocably on the pathway to becoming Greece.  There will be no turning back.  Knowing that, conservatives are taking a stand as to how to block that possibility:  with Tea Party, constitutional firebrands or with establishment, appeasing RINOs.  That the latter might do nothing at all to block the possibility is not something their supporters are considering.  Instead, their analysis is that the MSM has so terribly damaged the Tea Party brand that it cannot possibly win, so it’s better to back RINOs who are imperfect but might win.

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.]

In the long term, what will the shutdown theater’s effect be on the political scene?

The shutdown is over — the Republicans caved because no one was willing to face the risk that Obama would jettison the Constitution and allow the United States government to default. I think it’s a bit more nuanced then a total collapse, though, and I think it may still effect future change.

Those who have hung around the Bookworm Room for a long time know that I believe that it was to George Bush’s advantage that the media portrayed him as a loose cannon cowboy.  I don’t think this was a true characterization, but it certainly kept the world’s bad actors nervous.

It’s a little different with Obama.  He’s repeatedly proven that he has nothing but disdain for the Constitution and the free market.  Because we’re trying to predict his future conduct based upon his past actions, people weren’t being unreasonable in fearing that he would cheerfully invite in world-wide economic disaster.

The Left is now celebrating:  Obama won.  The Tea Party was shown to be the party of stupid killjoy spoilsports who tried to undo the law (never mind, please, that what they did was entirely Constitutional).  It’s over.  Close the book.

But I don’t think so….

Here’s what I think (or maybe just what I hope).  In about two weeks, Americans will have completely forgotten the shutdown, as they’ve forgotten almost all of the past shutdowns, except maybe for the clash between Clinton and Gingrich.  That had some high drama and good television, so it resonated a bit.  The other shutdowns, though, are down the memory hole.

There are a few things people will remember, though.  They’ll remember that the president went after the military and spitefully denied Americans access to their own outdoor treasures.  They’ll remember that the Obamacare exchanges had a disastrous debut, with stone-age technology and staggeringly high socialist wealth redistribution.  And they’ll remember that the Republicans tried everything they could to derail or delay Obamacare.  When it comes to the fight against Obamacare, the Republicans now have a record to run on.

What Republicans can and should say in 2014 and again in 2016 is “We tried, but it was an impossible task.  The only thing that can work is if we take the Senate in 2014, and then get the White House in 2016 while still holding onto Congress.  We are your last chance.”

And if that “last chance” shtick doesn’t work, it still makes for funny Fawlty TV:

The Obama sadist and the Republican masochists

House Republicans went to Obama and offered him everything he wants for a six-week period.  That offer allows Congress to continue a debate about government spending, while ending a shutdown that, while illusory (83% of the government is working and federal workers will get all their back pay) is nevertheless inconvenient, especially for Americans who want to visit their national parks.  It’s actually a win for Democrats too, because it gives them an excuse to back off the disaster that is the Obamacare rollout.  Obama, however, said “No.”

And I suddenly realized what all of this reminded me of.  It’s the real life version of the sadist and the masochist joke:

The masochist and the sadist are in a room together.  The masochist is on his knees before the sadist, begging.

“Please, Mr. Sadist, please beat me!  I want to be beaten.  Oh, and yes, when you’re done beating me, get out the whip.  I love the whip.  Please whip me.  Or maybe you’d like to walk on my prone body with spike heels.  Yes, yes!  That’s what I want.”

The sadist stares contemplatively at the groveling, begging masochist, and gives his answer:

“No!”

Welcome to Obama’s America.

A few short observations regarding the shutdown *UPDATED*

Unlike past shutdowns, which were indeed quibbles about this or that, the current shutdown is a big deal.  The question posed is a fundamental one about the very nature of this nation:  Is the federal government the servant or the master of the American people.  Our Constitution says the former; sixty-years of federal expansion says the latter.

The WWII Memorial showdown in Washington makes concrete this abstract battle.  It forces us to ask whether a government separate from and dominant over citizens owns that open air memorial, or whether a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has gotten too big for its britches and needs to be knocked down a peg.

There can be no doubt that what the House is doing is constitutional.  Having said that, they are doing a terrible job of selling it, and that’s separate from the fact that the drive-by media is doing its best to tar and feather them.  It’s a reminder of something I’ve learned in the 12 years since I crossed the Rubicon and changed political affiliations:  Republicans are the party of smart ideologies and poor strategies.  Democrats/Progressives, while their ideas may be disastrous, as is proven by every time and place in which they been put into effect, are master strategists.  (And in that regard, Saul Alinsky is definitely their Sun Tzu.)

This problem is, in part, built into the system.  To the extent there are still conservatives in the Republican party, their individualism makes them as easy to herd as angry cats.  Democrats, on the other hand, find meaning in collective action.  Even when their ideas are bad, their monolithic front gives them power.

UPDATE:  James Taranto notes that, in this go-round, the usually tactically disciplined Democrat party  has been unusually maladroit.  Hubris or something else?

UPDATE 2:  David Stockman sees also sees what’s happening as a determinative moment, but for different reasons.

Michael Walsh predicts a “Republican Spring”

In 2011, we had the Arab Spring.  Michael Walsh is now predicting a “Republican Spring” which we all hope will end more successfully than the unfolding disaster in the Middle East:

In the aftermath of Senator Ted Cruz’s epic performance on the Senate floor, a few observations:

After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.

There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.

The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side. The country has been spoiling for a real fight since the election of 2008, and now it has one.

Conservatives have finally realized that, as it’s currently constituted, they have no home in the Republican party, which is the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters, the designated losers who nevertheless are rewarded handsomely for their sham opposition.

To that end, conservatives understand that rather than form a third party, their only hope is to seize control of the corrupt, rotting hulk of the GOP, which they now can do with the help of a reinvigorated Tea Party — especially with Lois Lerner’s IRS off its back.

The Cruz faction in the Senate, and its allies in the House (whose leadership is now up for grabs) must now press their advantage. The louder the Democrats squawk, the more they are wounded; the one thing they’ve long feared is a direct assault on their core beliefs as translated into actions, and the deleterious effects of Obamacare, just now being felt by the population, are the most vivid proof of the failure of Progressivism that conservatives could wish for.

Please the rest here.  Every word is interesting.

I’m actually quite optimistic because a Republican Spring will be predicted on individual freedom, unlike the Arab Spring, which was predicated on subordination to a tyrannical theocracy.  The only risk is that a party predicated on freedom tends to organize badly and have all the coherence and stability of a room full of soap bubbles.

ADDENDUM:  Things are happening quickly and in unpredictable ways.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that since our trip to St. Petersburg this summer.  As you know, Obama and the rest of the progressives keep talking about being on the “right side of history.”  This isn’tt history that’s happened yet, of course.  It’s what they assume historians in the future will say as they look back upon our present.  In other words, progressives think that they can see the future.

When I was growing up, though, no one saw the Soviet Union’s future, something made staggeringly clear to me when we spent two days in St. Petersburg this summer.  The kids, who were born long after the wall fell, could not comprehend the fact that my husband and I were still stunned by the rampant capitalism there.  Right up until the wall fell, no one could have predicted that the heart and soul of communism would have streets lined with advertisements for Prada.  Perhaps it was more predictable that it would become corrupt but, throughout the 1990s, I didn’t see that coming either.  Now, though, everyone to whom we spoke told us that life in Putin’s Russia is hopelessly corrupt, and that they’re enjoying their window of freedom while they can, since they fear it will end soon.

And on that subject, Clifford D. May looks at a possible Third Act to follow upon Russia’s twisty-turny recent past and tumultuous present.

Ted Cruz understands how to spin a possible government shut down

I have to admit that, with all the ferocity that an anonymous armchair warrior can muster, I like the idea of a House budget defunding ObamaCare while keeping everything else in the government funded.  The Senate, of course, won’t go along with that, and then there’ll be a stalemate.  The easy money is that the House Republicans will blink before the Democrat Senators do.  But if House Republicans don’t blink, then Obama has promised to veto any spending bill defunding ObamaCare, effectively “shutting down” the government.  (It won’t really be shut down, of course.  Essential things will continue to operate, but inessential things will stop.)

Conservatives who oppose the defunding tactic have two concerns:  (a) that the economy will collapse; and (b) that the Republicans will take the blame.

Regarding (a), that was the same concerned voiced about the sequester.  For the most part, Americans didn’t even notice — although I am desperately sorry that the Blue Angels no longer fly and that Fleet Week has been canceled.  For many years, thanks to the Navy League, an organization I cannot recommend highly enough, Fleet Week has been my favorite time of the year.  I know that our military got screwed when it came to pay raises, and I’m also very sorry about that, but at least a “shut down” this time around won’t shut down the military.  It’s also entirely possible that, if the government shuts down, Americans may discover that those who have been saying that we don’t need bloated government were right all along.  (Or of course, we may find that we were wrong all along!)

As for (b), yes, the media will spin any shut down so that Republicans take all the blame if it goes badly.  That’s why Republicans need to strike preemptively.  Ted Cruz, smart lawyer that he is, figured out that Republican spin has to start early and go out often.  I like this:

What do you think?  Is the Tea Party crowd riding for a disastrous fall if it pushes the House to defund ObamaCare?  Or is this the kind of action that Republicans need to take if they actually want to distinguish themselves from Progressives?

One could argue that, now that ObamaCare has Supreme Court clearance, the law is the law, and the House must fund it.  But the constitutionally granted power of the purse is always going to trump everything else.  In addition, while the law may be the law, ObamaCare was passed using chicanery of the worst kind, meaning that it was corrupted from the beginning.  Add to that the fact that the majority of Americans have consistently opposed it, and the House’s refusal to fund it really can be see as vox populi.

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.

Elbert Guillory starts a PAC to fund black conservatives

I liked Elbert Guillory from the first time he crossed my radar, when he was still a Democrat.  I continue to like him, as you can see in his video introducing the Free at Last PAC, aimed at introducing blacks to conservative principles.

He’s remarkably good at explaining free market principles and explaining why they should matter to American blacks.  I also love the way he attacks Republicans for allowing themselves to be cowed by Democrats, especially when it comes to blacks.

Please consider contributing to the PAC.

Elbert Guillory explains why he is a Republican — and they are words that EVERY American should hear

I’ve already admitted to my crush on Elbert Guillory, a crush that formed when he was still a Democrat, although he must already have been planning to leave that party.  My political crush has just deepened into a full-blown, out-and-out case of political passion.  If you haven’t yet watched this short video Guillory made to explain why he switched parties, you must.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s one of the most important videos I’ve ever seen.  The only thing that saddens me about it is that it won’t be run on MSNBC, or ABC, or CBS, or NBC, or NPR, or on any other major media outlet.  I think everyone should see this video, no matter their race, creed, country of national origin, or gender identity.  It’s that good:

I don’t know about you, but I’m still cheering.

Thursday morning open thread

I just don’t have a lot to say right now.  Here are some posts I enjoyed today, though:

The Republican House’s passive-aggressive approach to Obama.

Core issues of evil regarding bombings, abortion, and the media.

And a question for you:  Have you noticed that Obama and fellow Dems have been “shaming” people with the gun debate?  Here are links to a bunch of speeches and hollers Dems use shaming as a form of bullying.  I haven’t quite decided what to make of this, but I’d certainly be introduced in your thoughts and theories.

Obama’s says yesterday’s Senate gun control vote is “shameful”.

Obama says “shame on us” if Newtown tragedy doesn’t result in gun control vote.

Feinstein telling colleagues to “show some guts.”

Gabby Giffords says “shame” on the Senate.

Mother shouts “Shame on you” to Congress after gun control fails.

I could find more examples, but it seems to me that Progressives have been trying for decades to deconstruct away shame.  Suddenly, though, when its an issue that impacts their “morals”, shame makes a big comeback.  In that regard, this Victor Davis Hanson post about post-modern prudes seems very appropriate.

Lastly, of course, my thoughts and prayers are with the people in West, Texas, a town that, long ago, I drove through more times than I can count.