Skip to comments.The Party’s Problem
Posted on 11/14/2012 5:48:30 PM PST by neverdem
The first thing conservatives should understand about the electoral catastrophe that just befell us — and it was a catastrophe — is that any explanation of it that centers on Mitt Romney is mistaken.
Much of the discussion of the race among conservatives has made the opposite assumption. “Romney proved to be the kind of electoral drag many of us suspected he would always be,” wrote one conservative the morning after the election. “It was a flawed candidacy from the start,” wrote two others. “Romney’s caution and ever-shifting policy positions made him seem fearful, which is to say weak. His biography hurt him. . . . And because of his own history in Massachusetts, he could never effectively go after President Obama on Obamacare, the president’s biggest political weakness.” Another called Romney “the worst candidate to win his party’s nomination since WWII.” Still another wrote, “There will be a lot of blame to go around, but, if Republicans are honest, they’ll have to concede that the Romney campaign ran a bad campaign.”
All of these writers are intelligent people (some of them friends of mine). None of them makes the mistake of assuming that this election should have been easy to win given the weak economy, the public’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the unpopularity of Obamacare. They know that the economy has been improving, that the Democratic base in presidential races has been expanding for decades, and that the public still blames George W. Bush and his party for an economic crisis that began during his second term. Nor are they entirely wrong in their diagnoses of Romney’s distinctive weaknesses and errors. They err mainly in attributing too much importance to them.
Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him. Aaron Blake pointed out in the Washington Post that Romney ran ahead of most of the Republican Senate candidates: He did better than Connie Mack in Florida, George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Denny Rehberg in Montana, Jeff Flake in Arizona, Pete Hoekstra in Michigan, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Rick Berg in North Dakota, Josh Mandel in Ohio, and of course Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. In some cases Romney did a lot better. (He also did slightly better than Ted Cruz in Texas, a race Blake for some reason ignored.)
None of those candidates were as rich as Romney, and almost all of them had more consistently conservative records than he did. It didn’t help them win more votes. The only Republican Senate candidates who ran significantly ahead of Romney were people running well to his left in blue states, and they lost too.
Akin and Mourdock have received a lot of attention because they fit into the story of the Senate elections of 2010. Most observers believe that Republican-primary voters threw away three Senate seats that year by choosing unelectable extremists over candidates who could have won. This year, Akin and Mourdock each made comments about abortion and rape that doomed them. If not for these five mistakes in candidate selection, Republicans would have 50 seats. So goes the story.
It’s an accurate one as far as it goes. But it is not the story of the 2012 Senate races. Berg, Allen, Thompson, and Rehberg all lost, but they were not unelectable extremists: All of them had won statewide races before. We could try to explain these defeats in terms of each candidate’s particular weaknesses. Blake, the Post reporter, hints at such an explanation: “It’s pretty clear that lackluster candidates cost Republicans multiple Senate seats on Election Day.” No. That’s the 2010 story. The 2012 Senate races were more like the ones in 2006 and 2008: wipeouts for Republicans of every description — veterans and newcomers, conservative purists and relative moderates alike.
All these candidates lost not because of the idiosyncrasies of this or that candidate or the flaws of this or that faction of the Republican party. They lost not because of the particular vices of the Tea Party, or of social conservatives, or of the party establishment. The most logical explanation for the pattern is that something common to all Republicans brought them down, and the simplest explanation is that their party is weak — and has been for a long time. Consider the evidence: Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Since the Senate reached its current size, Democrats have had more than 55 seats 13 times; Republicans, never.
Before settling on this story of party weakness, we need to examine three apparent pieces of evidence of strength. The first is that Republicans retained control of the House even as they lost the presidential and Senate races. Republicans are likely to have their second-largest House majority in 60 years. They appear, however, to have narrowly lost the popular vote for the House. One reason they won so many seats anyway is that 2010 was an unusually good Republican year, and Republicans were therefore able to draw the lines of congressional districts following that year’s census. What the House success demonstrates, in part, is that Republicans can do well when they choose the voters rather than vice versa. Another reason for the House success, as Michael Barone has observed, is that the geographic distribution of Republican voters within states tends to favor them. That’s not much help, though, in amassing a national majority from statewide races.
The second piece of evidence for Republican political strength is that they hold 30 of the 50 governorships. That strength, too, is misleading. Each of those Republican governors was elected either in a state Romney carried or in the unusually Republican years of 2009 and 2010 — or, in most cases, both.
Third is that as recently as eight years ago Republicans won the White House as well as respectable majorities in the House and Senate. Even at that height, though, they had nothing like the dominance in Congress that Democrats had in the late 1970s, or 1993–94, or 2009–10. The Republican success of 2004 partly reflects the fact that it was the first presidential election following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Even in that good Republican year, though, Republicans went down one Senate seat, net, outside the South (while gaining five in the South).
Republican weakness emerges even more clearly when we look at a longer timescale. From 1896 through 1930, Republicans were the dominant party, holding the White House and Congress most of the time and losing the presidency only when they split, as in 1912 and 1916. The Great Depression made the Democrats into the dominant party until 1968. Only one Republican won the presidency during that period, and under highly unusual circumstances: He had won World War II, the Democrats had held the presidency for five consecutive terms, and the country was beset by inflation, corruption, and an unpopular war in Korea.
The Democrats lost majority status in 1968 — they would lose five of six presidential elections from that year through 1988, and win one by a hair — but Republicans did not gain it. They never held the House and rarely held the Senate during that streak of presidential wins. Why didn’t Republicans become the dominant party then? It wasn’t because of foreign policy: That boosted them during the second half of the Cold War, when the Democrats became the relatively dovish party. That’s a big reason Republicans did better at the presidential than at the congressional level. It wasn’t because of social issues: The hippies and McGovernites helped make Republicans the party of middle-class values.
What they did not do is make the Republicans the party of middle-class economic interests. Most Americans associated the party with big business and the country club, and did not agree with its impulses on the minimum wage, entitlement programs, and other forms of government activism designed to protect ordinary people from cold markets. Americans came to be skeptical of government activism mainly when they thought it was undermining middle-class values (as they thought welfare undermined the work ethic). And even when voters thought Republicans were better managers of the economy in general, they thought the GOP looked out for the rich rather than the common man.
This pattern of voter preferences — favoring the GOP on values and foreign policy, the Democrats on middle-class economics — persisted for a long time. There were always exceptions. On some social issues — for example, stem cells during the George W. Bush presidency — the public sided with the Democrats. On some economic issues, such as taxes during the Reagan presidency, the public sided with Republicans.
The generalization nonetheless holds. Clinton won the White House because of the recession of the early 1990s, of course, but also because the end of the Cold War took foreign policy off the table, badly weakening Republicans, and because he systematically addressed Democratic liabilities on welfare, crime, and other values-laden issues. During the presidential debates of 2004, Bush did well on social-issue questions while being defensive on economic issues. In 2006, when Democrats took Congress, they racked up their biggest margin against a Senate incumbent in Pennsylvania, where they ran a candidate who opposed abortion and same-sex marriage.
For the last 50 years, voters have been alarmed by rapid expansions of government (which goes a long way toward explaining the good Republican years of 1966, 1978, 1980, 1994, and 2010) but also by the prospect of major cuts to government (which goes some way toward explaining 1996 and 2012). In other years, they have held vaguely government-skeptical sentiments while approving most proposals for gradual increases in government assistance (for families paying for college, seniors trying to get prescription drugs, and so on).
After the 2006 and 2008 Democratic blowouts, liberals started to view their victory as the new normal in American politics, the result of inexorable demographic forces. After the 2010 Republican victories, some conservatives began to think that was the new normal. Republicans, they thought, had lost in ’06 and ’08 because of the Iraq War, the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Bush’s big spending, and congressional scandals. Given a straight-up choice between conservatism and liberalism, though, the people would choose the former. The 2012 results give credibility to the liberal interpretation and subtract it from the conservative one. It’s the 2010 election, not the 2008 one, that is starting to look aberrant.
The Iraq War, the financial crisis, and other issues specific to the late Bush years obviously did play a huge role in the 2006 and 2008 defeats. But it’s also true that Republicans weren’t even arguing that they had a domestic agenda that would yield any direct benefits for most voters, and that has to have hurt them. Taxes had been the most powerful economic issue for Republicans for a generation, but Republicans misunderstood why. In the ’80s and ’90s, Republicans ran five presidential campaigns promising to make or keep middle-class taxes lower than they would be under Democrats, and won four of them. In 2008 they made no such promise but did say they would lower the corporate tax rate.
In the exit polls in 2008, 60 percent of voters said that McCain was not “in touch with people like them.” McCain lost 79 percent of the voters who said that. To get a majority of the popular vote, he would have had to win 96 percent of the 39 percent of voters who were willing to say he passed the threshold test of understanding their concerns. It’s amazing he came as close as he did. (Fifty-seven percent of voters said Obama was in touch, and he had to win only 81 percent of them; he got 86 percent.)
In 2012, the exit pollsters asked a different version of the question: “Who is more in touch with people like you?” Obama beat Romney by ten points, even while losing the “better handle the economy” question by one. Romney, unlike McCain, did offer middle-class voters a tax cut, although it’s not clear that this fact made its way through the din of the campaign to register with the voters. His campaign made efforts — sporadic rather than sustained — to make the case that his agenda would deliver stronger growth and higher wages. He rarely suggested it would make health care more affordable.
On only one issue did the campaign consistently make the case that Romney would take specific actions that would yield tangible benefits for most Americans: He would allow energy exploration, which would reduce the cost of living for everyone. He devoted time to that theme in his convention speech, which did not touch on affordable health care, higher wages, or the middle class. The energy argument was sufficiently effective that Obama had to steal some of its rhetoric.
The absence of a middle-class message was the biggest failure of the Romney campaign, and it was not its failure alone. Down-ticket Republican candidates weren’t offering anything more — not the established Republicans, not the tea-partiers, not the social conservatives. Conservative activists weren’t demanding that Romney or any of these other Republicans do anything more. Some of them were complaining that Romney wasn’t “taking the fight to Obama”; few of them were urging him to outline a health-care plan that would reassure voters that replacing Obamacare wouldn’t mean taking health insurance away from millions of people.
Romney’s infamous “47 percent” gaffe — by which he characterized voters who do not pay income taxes as freeloaders and sure Democratic voters, which they aren’t — made for a week of bad media coverage and some devastatingly effective Democratic ads. It was not, however, a line of thinking unique to Romney. It was an exaggerated version of a claim that had become party orthodoxy.
A different Republican presidential nominee might not have made exactly that gaffe, or had a financial-industry background that lent itself to attacks on outsourcing. He would almost certainly have had a similar weakness on economic policy, however, and might have had additional weaknesses too. (Romney at least won independent voters, which it’s hard to imagine Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum having done.) To put it differently: The problem isn’t so much that Romney was vulnerable to a set of attacks that appear to have discouraged working-class whites from voting; it’s that he didn’t have anything positive with which to counter those attacks.
The Republican story about how societies prosper — not just the Romney story — dwelt on the heroic entrepreneur stifled by taxes and regulations: an important story with which most people do not identify. The ordinary person does not see himself as a great innovator. He, or she, is trying to make a living and support or maybe start a family. A conservative reform of our health-care system and tax code, among other institutions, might help with these goals. About this person, however, Republicans have had little to say.
In the days since the election, Republicans have received (and given one another) a lot of advice: Step up the ground game. Soften on immigration and abortion. Embrace same-sex marriage. Appeal more to single women, Hispanics, and young people. Run the younger, more charismatic candidates Republicans have waiting in the wings. Some of this advice is good, and some of it bad. But the weakness of the Republican party predates the emergence of same-sex marriage as an issue, the development of Democratic micro-targeting strategies, and the growth of the Hispanic vote. And wasn’t Josh Mandel, the losing Ohio Senate candidate, supposed to be one of those great young conservative hopes? However much charisma and brains the next crop of Republicans brings to their campaigns, they need a stronger party.
The perception that the Republican party serves the interests only of the rich underlies all the demographic weaknesses that get discussed in narrower terms. Hispanics do not vote for the Democrats solely because of immigration. Many of them are poor and lack health insurance, and they hear nothing from the Republicans but a lot from the Democrats about bettering their situation. Young people, too, are economically insecure, especially these days. If Republicans found a way to apply conservative principles in ways that offered tangible benefits to most voters and then talked about this agenda in those terms, they would improve their standing among all of these groups while also increasing their appeal to white working-class voters. For that matter, higher-income voters would prefer candidates who seem practical and solution-oriented. Better “communications skills,” that perennial item on the wish list of losing parties, will achieve little if the party does not have an appealing agenda to communicate.
Despair has led many Republicans to question their earlier confidence that America is a “center-right country.” It is certainly a country that has strong conservative impulses: skepticism of government, respect for religion, concern for the family. What the country does not have is a center-right party that explains how to act on these impulses to improve the national condition. Until it does, it won’t have a center-right political majority either.
— Ramesh Ponnuru is senior editor of National Review.
Is this an argument in support of the RINO position or am I misreading it?
Here’s my opinion of the Republican Party’s problem from back in February when Karl Rove was spending a quarter of a billion slandering Newt and Rick Santorum.
The GOP is Serving Mammon (a false object of worship & devotion)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2852545/posts | Scott Ryan
Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:35:09 AM by publius321
In his speech the night of the Michigan primary, Romney went out of his way to give extra- thanks to John McCain. His linking to John McCain is quite telling because if nominated, the ultimate result will be the same as when McCain was given the nomination due to the conservative vote being amortized over multiple candidates.
I will give credit to Romney. He made a great speech. The problem is that it was rhetoric and does not reflect his core beliefs. His core beliefs are reflected in his record as the Governor of Massachusetts. Conservatives do not CREATE programs that give away free cars, free car repairs, free car insurance and free AAA as a WELFARE BENEFIT. This was not something he just approved, this is something he CREATED. This was his brain child.
Conservatives do not CREATE socialist healthcare programs. Conservatives do not force Christian organizations to violate the fundamental tenets of the popular religion of this nation and the faith of our forefathers.
Conservatives do not undermine our second amendment rights.
Mitt Romney will be totally discredited before the race begins if he wins the Republican nomination because he will be shown by the media and Barack Obama to be a pretender while Barack Obama coasts into a second term without any public scrutiny with exception for Fox News, which the majority of gullible Americans do not watch.
Speaking of the Mitt Romney SUPERPAC Fox News, they stooped to a new low of disrespect for one of the two conservative candidates, Rick Santorum on this election night. I was listening to Senator Santorums speech from Michigan with great interest. I found what he was saying to be moving and right near the middle of Santorums speech, Fox News actually INTERUPTED his speech to call the race for Mitt Romney.
That was another appalling slap in the face to conservative voters by Fox as they violated the good faith with which conservatives perhaps foolishly entrusted them as it never entered our minds that they would do.
I actually had to turn on MSNBC at that moment just to hear the speech uninterrupted. MSNBC had also declared Romney the winner but did so with a lower third graphic underneath the Senator rather than tossing to some news anchor.
I think that a basic respect for the viewers and the candidate demand that after we worked so diligently to nearly defeat Romney in his own home state we earned the right to view his concession speech unmitigated.
It is clear that the majority of Michigan citizens rejected Mitt Romney and the two conservatives earned more votes than Romney. It is like living the film Ground Hog Day as we watch -once again- our party being hijacked by the candidate most of us do not want to win our Republican nomination.
It is really a sad day for conservatives and ultimately a sad day for America that we have two conservatives in this race, therefore cannot nominate a viable candidate to represent the party platform that is routinely desecrated every presidential primary.
A faction of any political party is susceptible to the gullibility concomitant to emotional intoxication. We cannot bring them out of their enchantment no matter what we say and no matter how often we demonstrate the absurdity of expecting a leftist who campaigned and governed as a leftist his entire career in politics.
They will not let the indisputable facts of what this man did despite having once been a businessman. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and George Soros have been more successful at business than Romney ever came close to being.
But as three of the wealthiest men in the world and -Mitt Romney himself- after retiring from Bain in his life as a politician demonstrates - business acumen is clearly not a corollary to how a businessman will behave in government.
But no matter HOW much we point out Romneys ignominious track record and the basic logic that explains it people enchanted by their pre-determined outcome are “all-in” like the residents of Jones Town and we will not break their trance.
Hence, we have indeed met the enemy and he is us. We have the votes as a whole but we are talking about a few points needed to win those delegates. We dont have the willingness to get behind one of the two conservative candidates. Therefore we will nominate Mitt Romney and we will lose.
America may very well be destroyed by Barack Hussein Obama. You might as well start making your plans accordingly. The question left will be which states will secede from the Union when Obamacare and effrontery against the constitution like you never imagined possible is implemented at a pace far greater than what we have seen or fathomed. You may want to consider South Carolina as a new residence.
The Republican Party has abandoned its platform and the values upon which it was founded by adopting the old Clinton mantra its the economy stupid. The party has gone on record stating that moral issues are not as important to us as our own back pockets. Like Israel, the Apple of Gods eye as God called them did after the death of King Solomon, we are going into apostasy. God prospered Israel up to that point because they obeyed God. Seeking the prosperity was not what made them prosperous and victorious even when overwhelmed by their enemy.
Prosperity was a byproduct of virtue and obedience. After King Solomon died Israel and its Kings turned their back on God and disobeyed God. They adopted the false gods of those they defeated and built alters on the high places in direct disobedience to the one true God.
God was patient and he warned them. They did not listen and they were sacked by their enemies and handed over to slavery for centuries because they kindled His anger against them. It was not that God suddenly favored their evil enemies and was on the side of the nations to which he handed over Israel into captivity. It was His righteous discipline.
God does not work on mans timeline and through the prophets he told His people the Jews that he would deliver them when they repented. But generations of people and their posterity lived in slavery while God still kept his covenant with His people, that nation, Israel.
America was founded upon those Judeo-Christian principles. Though we are much larger geographically speaking, we were once like a little-Israel by adoption. It was those same principles and an extension of that same promise I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you that made us.America, especially under Barack Obama is not only getting closer to the day when we curse Israel and betray her, we have adopted the idols of this world.
We are a nation addicted to entertainment, pornography and all kinds of sexual immorality (possibly our leading export and among the few things we currently manufacture). In the past few years we have seen state after state going on record and giving legal approbation to homosexual marriage. Thats not just our President but also our courts, state government after state government and legislatures.
Our President has violated our military by not only allowing homosexual activity within but encouraging it. The federal government and state governments are indoctrinating children- with homosexual propaganda. Major corporations like Home Depot, the NFL and a great many others are flagrantly funding and encouraging such sexual immorality.
The basic sense of morality is almost gone from all aspects of life and it is leading to anarchy, the vacuum from which will always be despotism as our founders consistently warned. Balance sheets, income statements, housing appraisals even audited financials of the highest blue chip companies can no longer be trusted because a rapidly augmenting percentage of the people of this nation and this world have no sense of morality or honor.
Courts repeatedly issue verdicts of injustice because the efficacy of oaths has been destroyed and perjury runs rampant throughout the nation as lying has lost any stigma.
In this culture glorifying violence and debauchery, children going to school and murdering other children in our public school system has become so common that the story of it barely makes the headlines through an entire day unless it is for the purpose of blaming the freedoms expatiated in our constitution.
Our President and Attorney General give assault weapons to drug lords resulting in murders of American citizens then commit treason against the people of the United States. They not just knowingly cover it up but rather they exploit it for the purpose of blaming it on our constitution and exploit the tragedies they caused by using it as pseudo-justification to restrict more of our rights.
Then we find ourselves giving them undue deference and ask whether such people should be impeached at a time where historical precedence and our founding documents should demand they rightfully face trial for treason. We have now murdered over 50 million babies in the woumb since Roe v. Wade.
Anyone who examines the current moral state our nation and does not conclude that we are a society that is not on the verge of becoming a footnote in history and should instead focus on the economy has lost all sense of reality.
The final question is whether we will elect the leader who used to turn around companies or the leader whose rightful conclusion is that this once Christian nation needs to do what Israel eventually did under a righteous king who feared the Lord, tore down the alters in high places and declared a national day of repentance and mourning.
As Job said He makes the nations great, then destroys them. America, unlike Israel does not- have an eternal covenant with God. His children who follow him do; but his children can also be found all over the world being persecuted even onto death. What should make us so special as to warrant exception?
What I am seeing in the GOP among the liberal faction is acrimony toward the conservatives who are doing everything they can to save this party. Santorum has been ridiculed, libeled and slandered for being too religious. This is not a good portent for America, especially when it is from within the Republican Party.
One thing that is for certain is that Barack Obama is an evil man with treacherous plans for America. But Americans including some Republicans are incredibly arrogant to think that just because we are America, that we can violate Gods commands without compunction and go on record stating as a people that our mammon is more important than standing for the godly principles upon which we were blessed to be founded without thinking we will be held accountable.
As Isaiah said, the pride of men will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased.
Freedom is the natural state of man. Tyranny is the result of sin. Prosperity will naturally occur in a righteous nation. I believe we were already handed over to our enemy in 2008 and if we do not repent and turn from the wickedness to which we are enslaved, it is going to be over.
There is something spiritual going on in America that is far beyond anything we can see. It was palpable 2008 when we witnessed the masses in a state of unprecedented public euphoria, hand over our nation to a charismatic socialist. I was as though their eyes had been blindfolded and no matter how hard we tried to show them the clear evidence, they could not see the obvious.
Those blindfolds are now on the GOP and just like with Obama followers, the more they are shown the truth, the more obstinate they become. It cannot be mere irony that after years of being under this affliction of Obama, we in the Republican Party are faced with the prospect of nomination another- charming figure of our own - who has a track record that opposes most of the fundamental values of our platform.
Out of 300 million Americans from which to select a nominee, we are getting closer to nominating a charming man who causes the blind-folds to cover the eyes and seduce our own. After being handed over to the enemy for the past three plus years, out of the 300 million Americans, we are close to nominating one who follows one of Americas greatest false prophets, Joseph Smith.
The God of Israel and the God upon which this nation was founded made it clear who He is. He said I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End. He made it clear that there is only ONE God. At a time when we need to turn back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are about to follow a different route and choose as our presidential nominee, a man who believes not only that there are infinite gods but that He too can become god.
There is no irony at this cross-road. It is easy to go through the motions day by day and not think about the significance of what we are doing and the choices we make.
To borrow a phrase from the American “Great Awakening” theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the physical universe is only the skeleton of reality. Taking a circumspect view of the choices with which we are faced,
I conclude that there is no way- that the monumental decision we are making is not a spiritual moment in our history that will determine whether we are on the side of the One who blesses this nation for the past centuries.
Maybe the best course for the republicans is to stand back and let the democrats have their way. You want 80% tax rates? Ok. We think it’ll be a disaster but let’s try it your way. You want to mandate safety and mileage standards on cars so the price/car goes up $20,000/car? Ok. Maybe you’re right. We think it’ll be a disaster but fine, let’s try it your way.
So in two years with unemployment at 40% and GDP in free fall we can look the voters in the eye and say, are you willing to face facts? Or do you want complete chaos.
It is inexcusable, though, for a Republican Senate candidate in North Dakota to lose his race in a state where Barack Obama only got 39% of the popular vote. This tells me that the GOP was completely tone-deaf on local issues that drove the Senate races in many of these states.
This is a long article that can be summarized thusly:
1.The gop sucks.
2.The gop has sucked for many years.
3.The gop will most likely continue to suck.
Nice expansion and specific application of the content of Psalm 2. Thanks for posting it.
Basically what he is saying is that Democrats will always win because they have a solution for everything—bigger government—and promise free stuff.
You are welcome Psalm 144. It is sad it turned out this way.
What is needed now we have that diagnosis, is a solution.
I propose this:
We build and buy American!
Go ahead, start your company.
So yes, let’s buy American and support a union system that is not sustainable.
Let’s build American and price things beyond what the consumer can afford.
Let’s do it all under stifling enviro regulations, stifling labor regulations, stifling tort threats, and government pushing you around at every move.
And let’s punish any entrepreneur who dares to be successful.
Let me know how that will work. If we roll liberalism back from our shores, businesses would stop going off shore to survive.
"If Republicans found a way to apply conservative principles in ways that offered tangible benefits to most voters and then talked about this agenda in those terms, they would improve their standing among all of these groups while also increasing their appeal to white working-class voters."
I don't think so.
I said nothing about unions.
That gives me faint memories...something about “compassionate Conservatism” or something. Can’t quite put my finger on it...
Thanks for the essay & link.
I know you didn’t. You never do. That’s your problem when discussing this issue.
You don’t seem to realize that you cannot have a meaningful discussion of the outsourcing of jobs in certain sectors in our economy without mentioning unions.
You never mention the EPA, the IRS, OSHA, the state EEOC’s, or anything else that is really causing the problem you are so worried about. You just want businessmen to suck it up and stay in business here and consumers to suck it up and buy here anyway.
Go ahead, lead the way. Start something. Build something. Use american labor and deal with Amerian bureaucrats. Let me know how it works out.
I’m doing my part.
The thing is, we have passed the balance point now.
We have been outsourcing and sending our jobs everywhere but here in America.
Each company outsourced, resulted in more and more underemployed Americans. Every day another company moved overseas, every day more democrats.
Well now that ended.
Democrats won last election. With a lousy candidate. Granted he was an incumbent, and granted he was running against Mitt Romney, but he won.
This shows. No this PROVES, that we have run out of outsourcing opportunity.
We need to reverse right now, and bring back jobs to America.
No big deal, nobody gave us equity overseas, so no loss. Just stop importing, and bring the jobs to America.
While we still have money.
If we don't neutralize the Academic/Hollywood/Media complex, it hardly matters what we do.
Benghazi? Don't mention it. Fast and furious? Don't mention it. Cronyism on a scale never done before. Don't mention it. Corruption on a scale never seen before. Don't mention it.
Romney's statements. All gaffes, don't say how, but they're gaffes. Romney's inability to communicate or connect with the average Joe? Make it up, and keep repeating it until it's true.
Who is going to bring them back? Which business people are you going to order to go out of business just to ‘bring the jobs’ back. Which consumers are you going to order to jeopardize their budgets to buy American.
You have a childish misunderstanding of how a free market system works, and how it works in conjuction with human nature. You have a liberal utopian notion that an economy can be manged against human nature simply for the concept of “bringing jobs home” - which is an amorphos concept at best.
I would love more jobs to be here in America, but I know it will never happen and will never be helpful if it is done running afoul of human nature.
We need to emphasize America in deed, in law and in business.
We have run the internationalize gambit.
It is long overdue time for buying America.
Now is the time. Don’t waste this opportunity.
How'd that turn out? You got a new job yet?
And you want more of that?
If you're not talking about govt investing in American businesses, then I don't know what the hell you're talking about.
Who said government?
While government has a place, its place has gotten out of hand.
Granted it is overgrown now, with our private sector running away.
But bring the private sector back in a big way, and we can shrink the government big time.
Shrink government. Pay for things.
How about it.
You speak in meaningless childish platitudes that have no meaning. An economy works, or fails, for a reason. That reason is rooted in human nature. You don’t want to deal with that. YOu just want it the way you want it when you want it.
So you say now is the time. No, it isn’t. You say this is an opportunity. No, it isn’t. If we suddenly got serious about devleoping our own energy, that would be an opportunity I am all for, and it would impact everything. In fact, I consult for an American Energy PAC. So I am all for American jobs.
But only within realisitc parameters...which means we must shrink government regs and must shrink union power and must reduce inbedded costs like energy. If not , it is in no body’s interest to open a company here, and in case you haven’t figured it out, people only open companies when it is in their best interst to do so.
Well we disagree then.
Of course we disagree, one of us, me, writes widely on business and economic issues and has done so for years - and has done so for some major national figures. One of us, me, has owned part of 20 some odd businesses and dealt with tens of thousands of potential employees.
In other words, one of us, knows what they are talking about. One of us does not. Of course we disagree. We have to.
I am an employee. I work every day.
You are a writer and an idea man.
Not necessarily at odds. Not necessarily even disagreeing.
Except right at the moment.
This will pass.
I am a businessman first and foremost. It’s that experience, yes, that real world experience, the experience of getting screwed by governmetn bureaucats and threatened by unions and ripped off by the IRS and the EEOC on a routine basis - that gives me the abject confidence to flat out tell folks who have never owned a business that they don’t know what the hell they are talking about.
It is this experience, much good, much not so much, that animates and informs my writng. And yes, I could tell you were an employee. I can instantly tell who is, and who is not, an owner or manager.
Well all that said, we have gone about as far as possible in the anti-American direction about businesses.
Now is time to reverse course.
It will be informative to see how Obama approaches this idea.
Both parties have opportunities during the next 2 and 4 years playing pro-American positions.
Are you really that naive about Obama’s attitude on business? He holds a jobs summit and invites unions and academics, and no business people. He keeps the gulf moratorium in place. He cancelled Keystone. He sued Boeing. He is raising taxes on small businesses.
What do you think he will possibly do to help? Seriously, what the hell wil lhe to do help?
I’m not suggesting joining forces with Obama.
I’m saying outdo Obama with a pro-American message and a pro-American agenda of growth and jobs.
STOP sending jobs overseas.
That is my point. More still, bring jobs BACK.
Without Obama’s input.
Let me help you out here - pro American does NOT mean putting up with anti liberty anti business anti American ideals simply to locate on American soil.
America is much more of an idea than it is a piece of real estate. You probably are scratching your head wondering what the hell I just said. Add that to the mountanous list of things you don’t understand.
I act in accordance with American ideals. You suggest acting against American ideals in favor of American real estate. I submit I am more pro American than you are.
We seem to be getting along well, let’s not tempt fate.
Nice talking with you.
You seem to lack a basic understanding of economics my friend.
That’s another way of saying you disagree.
I can take it.
I’m glad. I meant no offense.
I don’t think so either. Republican strategists seem to think that logical arguments will sway voters and win elections. This is their fatal flaw.
Reagan did a good job of articulating populist fiscal conservatism which also included jobs, business, and entrepreneurship. Reagan was not above using tariffs to save iconic American businesses either and trumpeting loudly that he would not allow them to fail. Not on his watch at any rate.
That kind of thing wins people over. When they know you are on their side, they tend to vote for you.
When you spend all your time and political capital protecting uber-wealthy liberals, people start to wonder whose side you are on and they vote accordingly.
It isn't that difficult to figure out. It is even less difficult to get on the campaign trail and talk about, unless you're an uber-wealthy liberal yourself.
If we don't neutralize the Academic/Hollywood/Media complex, it hardly matters what we do.
That is undeniable IMHO. I have studied the issue pretty deeply, I dare say, over the decades since the Carter era when I belatedly understood the fact of bias in the media and - relatively quickly - became bored with people sawing sawdust with example after breathless example proving what I already knew was true. But of course, we want to keep - and enhance - respect for our First Amendment rights. And my first conclusion was therefore that although media fiction such as Hollywood definitely promotes socialism, there is no principled way to oppose the rights of people to create leftist fiction specifically.
But that still leaves nonfiction. And IMHO even there, people can write nonfiction books and still be wrong, without our having any principled argument against their right to do so. But it was the strawberries, thats where I had them </Cain Mutiny> LoL!
As I was saying, but it is in the field of federally licensed broadcast nonfiction - broadcast journalism - that there is the strongest case that leftist activism should be actionable. And I wrote a vanity about that
But there are two other points to make on the topic of journalism. First, that journalisms character changed in the Nineteenth Century. Whereas in the Founding Era, journalism consisted of mostly weekly publications whose central feature was the opinion of the printer, and the printers opinions were all over the political map, by the start of the 20th Century newspapers were a lot more like what we are used to now. After an absurdly long time the answer came to me - it want so much high speed printing presses that changed things, it was the telegraph. The telegraph and the Associated Press. The AP in particular, but any wire service would and does tend to homogenize reporting and claim that the homogeneity is a proof of objectivity. A wire service has to do that in order to justify printing information that came from a reporter that the editor of your newspaper doesnt even know, hasnt even met.
The other point is about objectivity itself. IMHO the dictionary definition is unsatisfactory. My preferred definition of objectivity is, the opposite of subjectivity. And what is subjectivity? It is nothing but the natural tendency of a person to believe that what is convenient for himself is true. Thus, it is laudable and even necessary to attempt to be objective, but is not possible for a person to know that he is objective. The attempt at objectivity must involve an openness to discuss the known motives of the person making the attempt. Of course, declaring ones interest has the ironic superficial effect of making it seem like the person is subjective. Equally, claiming to be objective is the exact opposite of actually trying to be objective.
And joining an organization which claims objectivity for its members is no different than directly claiming objectivity for yourself. Thus, we know that the members of the Associated Press arent even trying to be objective. All window dressing and fact checking and both sides of the story telling notwithstanding, if you dont understand an opposing viewpoint, you cannot give it an objective airing. If you arent taking the difficulty of objectivity seriously, you dont actually believe that there actually are two sides to the story.
You are welcome neverdem. Likewise.
Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him. Aaron Blake pointed out in the Washington Post that Romney ran ahead of most of the Republican Senate candidates: He did better than Connie Mack in Florida, George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Denny Rehberg in Montana, Jeff Flake in Arizona, Pete Hoekstra in Michigan, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Rick Berg in North Dakota, Josh Mandel in Ohio, and of course Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. In some cases Romney did a lot better. (He also did slightly better than Ted Cruz in Texas, a race Blake for some reason ignored.)The one and only success of Newt Gingrich was in his flipping the House in 1994's "Contract with America" campaign. It spelled out what the agenda was and gave a time frame. Then of course he did a Pontius Pilate job on all of us by allowing his fellow politicians to "vote their consciences". If they had consciences, they wouldn't go into politics in the first place.
None of those candidates were as rich as Romney, and almost all of them had more consistently conservative records than he did. It didnât help them win more votes. The only Republican Senate candidates who ran significantly ahead of Romney were people running well to his left in blue states, and they lost too...
The 2012 Senate races were more like the ones in 2006 and 2008: wipeouts for Republicans of every description -- veterans and newcomers, conservative purists and relative moderates alike... their party is weak -- and has been for a long time. Consider the evidence: Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Since the Senate reached its current size, Democrats have had more than 55 seats 13 times; Republicans, never.
Brilliant commentary on the press. You need to keep telling this story.
IMHO; this is the most important sentence in your essay. Would a National Day of Repentance be a step in the right direction? Where? Led by whom? I would suggest the heart of the nation...we would need a turnout in the millions...I might go so far as to say tens of millions. Perhaps a 'human chain' of participants across the country...I'm just throwing ideas at the wall, but we NEED to repent...there is NO question about it.
Muchos Gracias.You need to keep telling this story.
How long?You are correct, of course - I need to tell that story. Its just that it just seems that, even on FR, few will engage in a discussion of the points I make about wire service journalism.
Sometimes I feel like Cassandra warning of the Trojan Horse. It just seems so ironic, when by all rights I should be "preaching to the choir here. I am saying that not only do we have a legitimate right to the opinions we are drawn to FR because of, our primary opposition is provably sailing under false colors and proposing how they might be brought to book.
Everyone seems to just take for granted that its impossible to bell the cat. Just maybe, there is an outside chance it could be pulled off. I saw a credible-seeming web posting to the effect that the AP was found in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act way back in 1945. Case out of Chicago. Back then, of course, the mission of the AP - to economically propagate news around the country instantaneously - made it seem too big to fail. Six decades and an Internet later, the cost of nationwide communication is de minims - and the mission of the AP is now insignificant. We dont have to economize on bandwidth any more. Any and all reporters can report to any and all Americans. Just like Drudge does.
If you think about it, FR is all about debunking the gatekeepers of information about what the politicians and the government are doing. Why do people speak of the media when wire service journalism is the exact target? Why blunt your attack that way??? And why limit your attack to one more example - among thousands and probably millions - of bias in wire journalism, and never attack the principle that the wire service journalists deserve no respect for having superior wisdom?
No facts, no logic, no ancient writings of wisdom which command our respect - nothing indicates that wire service journalists are anything more than shills. And yet we-the-people accord them pride of place, and cry in outrage when they violate the sacred principle of objectivity again. As if they ever did anything else!
It was the strawberries, I tell you!! Augh!!!
Well, if measured in “trust” the MSM is failing. People don’t trust them. Problem is psyops and false flag operations undermine conservatives, but we have beaten them on gun control, global warming, and petroleum - for now.
When we lose it is because our message is garbled and doesn’t appeal to middle-class voters, particularly white women. As Obamacare fails we must point out that it is central planning that is failing, again. But, if we don’t have simple, clear and effective alternatives in place people won’t care.
How do you reform a system that doesn’t let you price by service usage and risk? You have to rapidly lower prices and increase access, that is a direct assault on the existing power structure. They’ll work to undermine that change.
It would be simple enough to 1. force published rates and 2. allow interstate competition between medical professionals and insurance companies. Of the two, published rates solves the problem the fastest, but flies in the face of “free marketers”, yet is a reform on a completely unfree market. Would conservatives support it to get from here to liberty?
The Big Lie technique is a funny thing. We have the testimony of Germans who, when told Big Lies about the Jews did not believe them, rejected them out of hand. And yet they went on, over time, to act as if those lies were the truth.
Let the lies be unanswered and, fatuous as those lies seem to you and me, otherwise intelligent people will vote as the lies direct them to.
Democracy, or a democratic republic, is based on the theory that the people are independent and cherish independence and freedom. What we have in wire service journalism - what we have in the Associated Press - is a propaganda institution every bit as dedicated to the Democrat party as Goebels propaganda ministry was to Hitler and the Nazi party.And it manages to be quite seductive to those who are feeling insecure.
And if there is anything that you know journalism feeds on, it is insecurity. It is their food and drink.
Interesting article; thread; and great posts! Thanks for the pings.
The Seductive Lure of Socialism
Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.
This is the seductive lure of socialism. And I repeat again: These two uses of the law are in direct contradiction to each other. We must choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free.
The Law and Morals
You say: “Here are persons who are lacking in morality or religion,” and you turn to the law. But law is force. And need I point out what a violent and futile effort it is to use force in the matters of morality and religion?
It would seem that socialists, however self-complacent, could not avoid seeing this monstrous legal plunder that results from such systems and such efforts. But what do the socialists do? They cleverly disguise this legal plunder from others and even from themselves under the seductive names of fraternity, unity, organization, and association. Because we ask so little from the law only justice the socialists thereby assume that we reject fraternity, unity, organization, and association. The socialists brand us with the name individualist.
But we assure the socialists that we repudiate only forced organization, not natural organization. We repudiate the forms of association that are forced upon us, not free association. We repudiate forced fraternity, not true fraternity. We repudiate the artificial unity that does nothing more than deprive persons of individual responsibility. We do not repudiate the natural unity of mankind under Providence.
A Confusion of Terms
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
The Influence of Socialist Writers
How did politicians ever come to believe this weird idea that the law could be made to produce what it does not contain the wealth, science, and religion that, in a positive sense, constitute prosperity? Is it due to the influence of our modern writers on public affairs?
Present-day writers especially those of the socialist school of thought base their various theories upon one common hypothesis: They divide mankind into two parts. People in general with the exception of the writer himself form the first group. The writer, all alone, forms the second and most important group. Surely this is the weirdest and most conceited notion that ever entered a human brain!
In fact, these writers on public affairs begin by supposing that people have within themselves no means of discernment; no motivation to action. The writers assume that people are inert matter, passive particles, motionless atoms, at best a kind of vegetation indifferent to its own manner of existence. They assume that people are susceptible to being shaped by the will and hand of another person into an infinite variety of forms, more or less symmetrical, artistic, and perfected. Moreover, not one of these writers on governmental affairs hesitates to imagine that he himself under the title of organizer, discoverer, legislator, or founder is this will and hand, this universal motivating force, this creative power whose sublime mission is to mold these scattered materials persons into a society.
These socialist writers look upon people in the same manner that the gardener views his trees. Just as the gardener capriciously shapes the trees into pyramids, parasols, cubes, vases, fans, and other forms, just so does the socialist writer whimsically shape human beings into groups, series, centers, sub-centers, honeycombs, labor-corps, and other variations. And just as the gardener needs axes, pruning hooks, saws, and shears to shape his trees, just so does the socialist writer need the force that he can find only in law to shape human beings. For this purpose, he devises tariff laws, tax laws, relief laws, and school laws.
The Socialists Wish to Play God
Socialists look upon people as raw material to be formed into social combinations. This is so true that, if by chance, the socialists have any doubts about the success of these combinations, they will demand that a small portion of mankind be set aside to experiment upon. The popular idea of trying all systems is well known. And one socialist leader has been known seriously to demand that the Constituent Assembly give him a small district with all its inhabitants, to try his experiments upon.
In the same manner, an inventor makes a model before he constructs the full-sized machine; the chemist wastes some chemicals the farmer wastes some seeds and land to try out an idea.
But what a difference there is between the gardener and his trees, between the inventor and his machine, between the chemist and his elements, between the farmer and his seeds! And in all sincerity, the socialist thinks that there is the same difference between him and mankind!
It is no wonder that the writers of the nineteenth century look upon society as an artificial creation of the legislator’s genius. This idea the fruit of classical education has taken possession of all the intellectuals and famous writers of our country. To these intellectuals and writers, the relationship between persons and the legislator appears to be the same as the relationship between the clay and the potter.
Moreover, even where they have consented to recognize a principle of action in the heart of man and a principle of discernment in man’s intellect they have considered these gifts from God to be fatal gifts. They have thought that persons, under the impulse of these two gifts, would fatally tend to ruin themselves. They assume that if the legislators left persons free to follow their own inclinations, they would arrive at atheism instead of religion, ignorance instead of knowledge, poverty instead of production and exchange.
The Socialists Despise Mankind
According to these writers, it is indeed fortunate that Heaven has bestowed upon certain men governors and legislators the exact opposite inclinations, not only for their own sake but also for the sake of the rest of the world! While mankind tends toward evil, the legislators yearn for good; while mankind advances toward darkness, the legislators aspire for enlightenment; while mankind is drawn toward vice, the legislators are attracted toward virtue. Since they have decided that this is the true state of affairs, they then demand the use of force in order to substitute their own inclinations for those of the human race.
Open at random any book on philosophy, politics, or history, and you will probably see how deeply rooted in our country is this idea the child of classical studies, the mother of socialism. In all of them, you will probably find this idea that mankind is merely inert matter, receiving life, organization, morality, and prosperity from the power of the state. And even worse, it will be stated that mankind tends toward degeneration, and is stopped from this downward course only by the mysterious hand of the legislator. Conventional classical thought everywhere says that behind passive society there is a concealed power called law or legislator (or called by some other terminology that designates some unnamed person or persons of undisputed influence and authority) which moves, controls, benefits, and improves mankind.
Bastiat(1801-1850)- “The Law”
What is Romesh Ponnuru’s body of work? What collective pays him to write? What is their agenda? Has the writer articulated a defense of freedom or individual liberties against an oppressive state, or is the writer locked in the current paradigm? Has the writer earned a wage in any other endeavor? So many questions...
Very good post. Good suggestions.
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