Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | February 8, 2012

Buck up, GOP voters!

We are where we are.  As things look today, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman will not be the GOP candidate for president.  Neither will Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Allen West, or Sarah Palin.

Who is to be congratulated for the elimination of Cain, Perry, Bachmann, and Huntsman?  The voters.  That’s right.  Sure, the candidates made some mistakes.  The media did everything possible to prejudice voters against them, and that was a crying shame.  But voters didn’t have to let the media or the contrived, somewhat artificial debate process make their decisions for them.

There is good news in all this.  First, the voters really are making the decision.  Second, the voters are starting to think for themselves.  It would have been nice for that to happen earlier, but there’s no time like the present.

Third, with the voters thinking for themselves, candidates who are focused on liberty issues are still on the ballot, and the party dialogue on those issues continues.  I know a lot of people don’t see it this way, but they’re wrong:  the most important thing the GOP can possibly do in 2012 is decide what it is and what it wants.  Self-identified “conservative” voters may be in a national majority according to the surveys, but it has been more than 20 years since we were all pulling together.

The bottom line is that the GOP is not agreed on what the problem is. We’re fighting that out right now – and it’s healthy, if annoying.  One faction says the problem is Obama; the other faction says it’s the way we now govern ourselves, which – no matter who is in charge – cannot avoid oppressing the people with regulation, debt, and crony-enrichment schemes at the people’s expense.  The latter faction is divided between those who see enough prospect for change with one of the candidates still in the race, and those who don’t.  Those who see even Gingrich and Santorum as too reflexively “big government” in their thinking are a growing voice.

The good news is that we are having the debate in a way that matters.  That is very good news.  Never underestimate the power of ideas.  They stick with people, even when it seems they haven’t, and they are the only thing that can motivate people to unite and make positive changes.

The mainstream media don’t depict it that way, of course.  They labor to depict the GOP primary season as a turkey shoot run by Keystone Kops.  But Americans have a choice as to whether they let the mainstream media distribute their opinions to them, like thematic gift baskets, and more and more Americans are choosing to just say no.

I wrote last year about Rick Perry as a candidate of the “old consensus” – my term for the modus vivendi adopted over the last 60 years by Democrats, who were increasingly taken over by progressive statists, and Republicans, who fought a rear-guard action to keep statism from getting too big and expensive.  Under the old consensus, Republicans were largely focused on the monetary and economic expense of statism, and the tacit agreement was that the right would accept as much statism as we could “afford.”  As long as we were growing economically – so this consensus went – we could afford a fairly heavy burden of statism.  Perry, I thought (and still do think), was on the Reagan end of the consensus rather than the Rockefeller end.

But what I see happening in the Republican primaries is an awakening of conservative voters to the disasters invited by the old consensus.  The loss of fiscal integrity and loss of liberty for America are products of the old consensus, and they have proceeded in lockstep: we are losing as much of the latter as we are of the former.  I believe 2012 is the year in which a critical mass of GOP voters has awoken to the reality that the old consensus is a destructive path and is in any case unsustainable.  Voting to continue down it on any basis is voting to remain on course for destruction.

I urge GOP voters not to be discouraged about this.  Ideas outlast everything else.  The idea of individual liberty and limited government cannot be killed.  America has not had a fundamental dispute over basic ideas for a very long time; we have become conditioned to the foggy stasis of bumper-sticker slogans and complacent, rarely-visited idea-sets.  It feels unsettled and strange to truly be debating the relationship of man and the state: to be breaking up those idea-sets and repudiating things supposedly bought into decades ago.  But a movement of ideas is a force of remarkable power, and one that no state power arrangement has ever ultimately withstood.  America’s burgeoning movement of ideas will not expire ignominiously.

The future of liberty on earth depends on what happens in America in the next decade.  If there is any nation on earth that can navigate peacefully back from the brink of statist implosion and loss of liberty, it is the United States. In 2012, GOP voters can rejoice in having alternatives, imperfect as they are, to a big-government statist candidate.  Voters can choose to affect the political process – and possibly the outcome in November – by casting their votes on principle.

Some words to live by as we go forward.  The president doesn’t make us, we make him.  The integrity and character of the people are paramount.  The only sure way to lose a battle is to stop fighting.  America has beaten the odds every time.  We will beat them again.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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Responses

  1. Obama is all the good news that GOP voters need in 2012. Next will be a Humpty-Dumpty presidency, assuming that counterfeit money and identity theft holds it together long enough to get to November. Now, if I’m going to tear my ballot up or write in a candidate that’s actually conservative, I’m not going to be a GOP voter, am I?

    • Good on you Bruce. You keep on flogging the dead “birther” horse. As “ideas” come, the “birther” conspiracy is just about as good as any other “big idea” being pushed by the fringe right.

  2. I’m not sure I feel quite so sanguine about the outcome of this “debate.” While many voters are or will be engaged in the battle of ideas, a very large number are willing to grasp only one idea: the gummint is my shepherd and I shall not want. With Obama intensifying his role as Candy Man through November, I see the potential for another Democratic victory if enough voters will have become lotus eaters.

    Still, I’m hopeful this won’t happen for two reasons: (1) I think there’s enough “America” left out there to not be fooled again, and (2) there’s the leavening effect of the Electoral College. Were it not for that institution, we would have succumbed to Big City Machine rule long ago.

    (BTW, I’m delighted to see Santorum doing as well as he is. I favor him over the other two candidates. [Sorry, I don’t count those wearing tinfoil hats.])

  3. ALL THOSE STUPID DEBATES KEPT THE FOCUS OFF OBAMA
    A REPUBLICAN GIFT TO THE RIVAL DEMOCRAT MEDIA

  4. My Dad was a combat soldier and airman. He understood first hand the game of “chicken” when he and his pilot were flying a strike mission over some target in North Vietnam… A SAM break is a high speed dive, oblique to the ascending SA-2 and as the missile drops over into its acceleration run, to pull up from that power dive, the missile would attempt to follow, but over G, and either depart from guided flight, or disintegrate.

    I won’t belabor the rest of the story, it was interesting, and I suppose somewhere the stories of an Army Major flying as a WSO in an F-4 Phantom would be cool if he were still alive to record.

    But He knew “chicken”

    “If you want to win, you have to KNOW that you are never going to turn.” He understood that at some times in your life you are going to be faced with the spectre of the “Win or Die” choice.

    At least we aren’t talking about short term life and death. But this nomination fight requires of it people who are willing to “win” at Romney Chicken, or lose forever.

    Romney is not a Republican. He’s basically a Liberal Democrat in political temperament, instinct, and actual policy. Pundits and Pols who think otherwise are just surrendering to their inner barnyard fowl. Romney is tremendously wealthy, and has invested heavily in various campaigns at many levels.

    It is obvious that he is proceeding along the track that he set out in 2008 when McCain won to his right, not his left. McCain won over the servicemen, the national defense conservatives… As I look at that painful election year, I am more sure of that conclusion. It is an Establishment myth, carefully cultivated, because of the supposed Conservative rags supporting Romney that McCain was to Romney’s left. Huck was the Conservative Candidate. McCain was the moderate National Defense candidate, and Romney was the stealth liberal.

    He’s spent 4 years cultivating the lie. He’s dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions, on PACs and direct campaign support. He will destroy any challenger, on the good old assumption of “who else are THEY going to vote for?”. He is playing on the tendency of the right to break away at the last second… to veer off into the safety of surrender.

    It is time to play real chicken, and steel ourselves to the reality that we cannot turn away this time.

    Romney and Romneys sleazy Establishment Peeps need to understand to the core of their beings, the toe curling reality that WE aren’t going to turn this time. It is time to win.

    The Pledge:

    Willard Milton Romney is a Limousine Liberal Democrat, and I WILL NOT vote for him, ever, under any circumstances.

    R/The Mighty Fahvaag

    • Not vote for him, ever, under any circumstances? Even if the choice is between a Limousine Lib and a Committed Marxist? I sincerely hope that’s not the choice we’ll face, but if it is, I’ll pick a lousy President over a disastrous one. Not voting is actually a vote for the greater evil.

      • OOOOO, you’re so weak. It’s only people like me and MF’s dad that kept the South Vietnamese free and happy and able to enjoy their colonial heritage

        I want you to buck up and join the MF gratetfully dead and in hell before voting for any Republican who wouldn’t stitch up some family’s water buffalo

        • Aha! I knew it. An Obama supporter. Got your number.

          • I wasn’t last time around…..but what does the GOP have on offer here?

            a frackin lunatic like Ron Paul or Bachmann?

            a sleazeball like Gingrich?

            this whole thing is because the GOP hasn’t a reasonable alternative other than Romney and Romney is barely an alternative.

            this should have been an winnable election for the GOP and they’re bereft.

            what they have is some bunghole in the House crying about contraception and not an idea or a person offering any.

      • The “lesser of two evils” thing is always tempting, but like all temptations ends up being no difference.

        1. Obama doesn’t run things. He’s a figurehead. He is a willing figurehead, thoroughly dredged in the blood and bone of Marxism, but he’s a figurehead. He does what he is told for now. (There is always a danger in puppets, though, sometimes they figure out that they actually have power, and are still dangerously stupid to go with all of that power.) The people who run him, run the Establishment.

        2. Romney is not a choice, he’s an echo. He is a Liberal no different from Obama, except that he is less of a puppet and more of a “Player”. His record in Massachusetts is of a doctrinaire Liberal Democrat. Romneycare, liberal judges, tax/fee increases, (There are more than a few lists out there so I won’t push the catalog.) There is absolutely nothing in his record or his demeanor that remotely supports his assertions of some sort of late life conversion to conservatism.

        (The following is my personal opinion, to be attributed to me, not JE what that to be plain since Romney fights dirty and I don’t want potential blowback pointed at her.)

        Willard Milton Romney is a metrosexual, self-serving, valueless, unprincipled liar.

        So, in a contest between Obama and Romney there is actually no choice; a puppet of the Establishment, or a Player in the Establishment.

        Romney’s campaign strategy is to; buy what he can, destroy what he can’t buy, and win a plurality nomination. It has been the Establishment’s most fevered dream to marginalize or cripple the Conservative Movement. Romney is their anti-Reagan. What the Establishment and Romney are counting on is that the serfs will return to plow for their masters. The helots will put up with the bloodshed and abuse to serve their gods.

        You cannot chose between devils. They are all ultimately the same thing. And the assumption that Romney is “electable” is a huge spoonful of Establishment patent medicine. He is so compromised on the major issues that Romney is the one candidate that Obummer can beat in a head to head. Romney’s failed governorship looks much like The One’s first administration, right down to the money-pit coercive socialized medicine scheme.

        Gingrich or Santorum have a shot at making the Election about Obambi and his disaster.

        This is the year to throw out the old rule book. It doesn’t work. It never has, and I had hoped that it had been tossed into the rubbish pile when Reagan proved that it was piffle.

        So… I WILL NOT vote for the Liberal Democrat Romney, EVER.

        r/TMF

        PS – Fuster… tell that to the more than 1.6 million Boat People, and take special attention to whisper your self-righteousness to the quarter of a million who disappeared into the South China Sea. Putz.

  5. that thing about the voters thinking for themselves?

    first thing I noticed, after getting over the shock of Santorum winning Minnesota, was just how very FEW people showed up.

    3,000,000 registered voters and about 01.6% voted……..

    I’m thinking that they’re thinking that there’s nothing worthwhile going on.

    • If asked why they didn’t show up, 97% probably would have said, “What’s a caucus?”

  6. I thought you had finally developed some insight (as the social workers say) when you conceded that it was the voters who had eliminated Cain, Perry, Bachmann and Huntsman. Then you went and spoiled it all by reverting to whining victim mode and blaming the NYT for stopping these poor people from thinking straight. Don’t these Republican grassroots voters realize that they aren’t obliged to believe everything they read in NYT op-ed? Come to think of it, if these people aren’t capable of thinking for themselves should they be allowed vote at all? Should they even be allowed out of the house without their mothers holding their hands?
    I’ve said it before: Instead of letting the NYT do their thinking for them, shouldn’t they be more comfortable taking their orders from Fox and the rest of the Murdock Empire; the vast rightwing blogosphere, or even the Washington Times? I mean, they aren’t stuck for choice. Just look at today’s WT where they will find no less than 11 rabidly right-wing anti-Obama op-ed pieces to tickle their fancy.
    Which brings us to an interesting point. How come the Dems are able to vote in accordance with their preferences and principles in spite of the torrent of anti-Obama drek spewing out from Fox, the rest of the Murdock Empire, etc. etc……..?

    Come November, the electorate will indeed vote in accordance with its principles. It’s just that its principles are very different from those of the fringe-right. They will vote in accordance with their principles for a thoroughly centrist Democrat, or, if they are given the option, for a moderate Republican.

    Oh yes, American democracy is a bitter fruit for fringe ideologues of both wings (Thank heavens)

    • Nobody in real America reads or pays any attention to the NYT. Once upon a time the Sunday edition was required reading, not for its faux Bolshevik politics but for its wedding announcements, nice photos of the lovely bride and manly groom, descriptions of their immediate families, tales of how they met and their plans for the future. This triviality is no longer worth the expense of a subscription or the inconvenience of a journey to the nearest vending machine, however, as the financial decline of the once proud bastion of liberal orthodoxy seems to indicate. Fool’s errands like a futile campaign to integrate women into the field of the Master’s Golf Tournament have made the NYT increasingly irrelevant and more and more likely to join the long list of New York newspapers that have become curiosities of history. Employing political shills like Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman and Stanley Fish hasn’t helped their cause.

      Sadly, the electronic media, in particular television, has become the informational drug of choice for the masses. As you may have noticed, campaign donations have passed the GDP of land-locked countries. This money is not spent to any significant degree on bumper stickers or lawn signs but rather on political consulting, polls and television advertising. Elections in the US have become spending contests and television and its adjuncts are the recipients. It’s not just paid advertising. Favorable face time on television confers automatic legitimacy on a political candidate. Satirical or dismissive coverage is the kiss of death. Thus intellectual fruit flies like Katie Couric and the soon-to-be-forgotten Tina Fey can use their stage to belittle a candidate that is in every way their superior, except as a social climber in the warped world of info-entertainment.

      In the take-no-prisoners world of leftist politics no tactic is too far-fetched if it has the slightest likelihood of damaging an opposition candidate. It was used on Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork, neither of whom left a young woman to drown in an Atlantic estuary. That’s how BHO got his seat in the Illinois legislature and the US Congress. Pointing out the hypocritical evil of the left and their media auxiliaries is hardly victimhood. It’s political anthropology.

      • Gee, I didn’t know that Obama got his seat by leaving a young woman to drown in an Atlantic estuary! Was this before or after he was born in Saudi Arabia?

        (You should really tell someone in the WT about this scandal from Obama’s past. They really love stuff like this for their news columns)

        • Never heard of Alice Palmer or Jack Ryan?

          • Wasn’t Jack Ryan the CIA guy played by that fellow, Ford, in those movies? Did he leave someone to drown in an estuary too? The plot thickens.

  7. So, MF, if the fringe-right sticks with its game of “chicken”, do you seriously believe that it will suddenly transform a small fringe minority into a vote-winning majority?

    God help your logical processes. (But, what the hell, please don’t let logic interfere with you and your buddies determination to “go for glory”)

    p.s. My old man (sadly departed from this world these many uears) flew in Liberator bombers in an earlier war. They were always admonished before departing on missions – no stunts or unnecessary heroics, and to bring back their expensively trained asses and their expensive machines in one piece. I had always understood up to reading MF’s amazing revelations that the Kamakazis were the bad guys on the other side.

    • I will indulge you since I have nothing better to do… trimming toenails, scooping poop from the yard… more important stuff like that…

      1. A SAM Break is not a freaking stunt. It’s a combat air maneuver done at high speed to avoid a surface to air guided missile from shooting down the airplane. It is a game of chicken because it requires absolute concentration on the task, finding the missile visually, and then maintaining the dive until the missile turns and locks on to your airplane, so that it follows you into a high G (risky in and of itself) pull out. You either succeed and the missile over G’s or he was at best a “guest” at the Hanoi Hilton.

      2. Your father was a good American, and a cherished member of the Greatest Generation. His service helped to save the world. I will therefore refrain from commenting further on their child rearing prowess. There were many of the greatest generation who fought in and above the jungles of Vietnam. My aunt’s father paid the price of losing that game of chicken over a rail yard in Hanoi. It took 20 years to return his remains his sacrifice wasted by cowards.

      -tmf

      • Shovelling poop? What a co-incidence. That’s what Fox does too.

        • By the way, thanks for the tutorial on air-combat tactics. I will try the same manoeuvre next time my spouse throws something at me when the lawnmower roams off-course into her flowerbed.

          Yeah, Win or get zonked by a flowerpot. Living dangerously in your retirement. I like it.

          • p.s. This manoeuvre is called “duck” rather than “chicken” (apologies for the fowl humour)

  8. It’s an interesting feature of the left that they’re willing to embrace the amoral degenerates that make up of the filthy rich Kennedy criminal dynasty, who cynically distribute the country’s borrowed money to buy the votes of those who can be most favorably considered naive but more realistically stupid or avaricious.

  9. Don’t be silly, OC. Of course Paul Ryan can and very well might be the candidate. The benefits of such a candidacy of course, would be precisely the sharp, focused and illuminating debate about the wages of the violent, radical, oppressive and ultimately destructive statism that you suggest we need to have.

    At this point it is, unfortunately, quite clear that Mitt Romney, for all his fine qualities has neither the inclination nor the capacity to discuss the significance of the statism which, fairly problematic even under recent Republican presidents has, exploded exponentially in the last 3 years (the parties are very different – people complaining about Bush have a point but neither he, nor Romney are anywhere near the same sport, much less in the same league, as Obama).

    I don’t know that the R can win this election – more on this later – but is absolutely crucial to draw the distinction, for the purpose of identifying the position of the party, but, even more important, informing the nation as a whole. Clearly, of the candidates remaining, Rick Santorum is the one best able to make that debate. Certainly less flamboyant and somewhat less eloquent than Gingrich, he is actually much more coherent, much more disciplined, more than sufficiently articulate and lacking the sundry personal defects and attendant distractions of the latter.

    Nevertheless, while Romeny is intensely evitable, there is almost no path for Santorum to attain a majority of delegates going into the convention and that being the case the chances of a brokered convention, and the possibility of an alternative candidate, including, obviously, Paul Ryan are not at all non-existent or even completely de minimus, though, to be sure, by no means overwhelming.

    In any event, the longer the process goes on and the more it takes the form of the debate you seek so much greater the opportunity of demonstrating to a majority of voters the utter futility of continuing on our current course and so much the greater the chances of an anti-states candidate gaining the nomination and prevailing in the fall.

    To what extent the vapid and disingenuous attacks of Mitt Romney on his rivals are conducive to the quality of the debate, of course, one can easily judge.

  10. JED: Powerful stuff, including a paragraph-and-a-half, at least, worth committing to memory. But on the level of practical politics, I’d like to leaven your characterization of Santorum as a “big government” guy with a lesson in politics as the art of the possible.

    Take the”evidence” commonly cited: Santorum’s role in Medicare Part D. Prescription drug coverage was going to happen. Democrats had worked the idea so long and successfully as to build an overwhelming advantage in polling on the issue. [Your earlier point about the character of the nation is apt here.] No less an eminence than George Will wrote that it was “inevitable” and, in the context of the existing Medicare program, even desirable.

    But as the GOP’s manager for the bill, Santorum managed to exact two fundamental concessions in return for Part D:
    (1) Introduction of market forces into the way this part of Medicare would be managed – a change so successful that Part D became the only part of Medicare to not only avoid cost overruns, but actually beat cost estimates. That success also provided part of the model for Ryan’s later Medicare overhaul proposal.
    (2) Health Savings Accounts, to begin to restore market forces to non-Medicare spending.

    It’s a small/large example of the art of the possible: channeling the forces of the moment to move the nation in a better direction. He did the same as floor manager for welfare reform. [Paul Ryan now seeks to to the same with a long-range budget that Democrats attack as “heartless” and putative “conservatives” attack as “right wing social engineering” or a failure for not balancing the budget in five years.] A principled push in the right direction must count for at least as much as principled recalcitrance that cedes the ball to the opposition..

    • Strong stuff?

      So is Ducolax.

  11. Welcome, dumb0x — and apologies for the delay in your comment posting. You’re an “approved” commenter now, so your future comments will post automatically.

    You make a good point about Santorum, which gets at something important about rolling back big government. Ideally, we will do it in an orderly manner, by putting things on the schedule and phasing them in or out, to allow people to prepare for getting their freedom back. It takes politics as “the art of the possible” to do that.

    I think the main question I’d have about Santorum is not whether he would be comfortable with smaller government — I believe he would — but how hard he would push for it. I may be wrong, but I see Santorum as the kind of legislator a serious-rollback president would want to have in the Senate. I’m not so sure Santorum is the guy to push from the White House. But I may be wrong.

    cavalier — no idea why your comment went to the spam queue. It seems to happen quite at random sometimes. I’m not convinced Ryan is a possibility this year (or that we even want him to be, excellent as he is.) I do think a brokered convention is a real possibility. We’ll see what things look like after Super Tuesday.

    • Santorum /was/ that kind of legislator, of course. Though loyal to Bush the younger – especially to the (halfhearted) initiatives to partially privatize entitlement programs – his departures from the party line were all in the direction of smaller or more constitutional government.

      For example, would a President Santorum react to the damage done by a federal Education Department by trying to reform it or by treating it as fundamentally beyond redemption? No candidate ever had more dollars per vote thrown against him by the teachers’ unions as Santorum in 2006, so there is no love lost. But before that was the conviction demonstrated by living his values.
      There is little doubt that Santorum is the kind of policy wonk who could make a successful case to eliminate the Education Department, and the kind of leader who would do so. But he is also the kind of pragmatist – familiar with cognitive and emotional dissonance – who knows you don’t pick that fight in the middle of a campaign. The art of the possible requires that kind of pragmatism.

  12. Good and philosophical analysis, OC.

    Ideas do matter, particularly in the long run. Unfortunately, the current candidates, while ok, are not strong enough to really take a leadership role in implementing those ideas. And so the terrible, harmful, cynical Obama, as the incumbent, will probably prevail.

    With luck, the Rs will retain the House and perhaps gain a majority in the Senate. I think the voters will see Obama for what he is and ensure that he is handcuffed from repeating the legislative horrors of his first two years, when the Ds controlled both houses. Who knows, perhaps he’ll be the first, and only, President who will never pass a budget in his 8 years in office.

    Think on the bright side: if Obama loses, he’ll be back running again in 2016, after the economy (crippled by his first four years) and the media savage the RINO Romney. So let Obama and his new running mate, Hillary, run and win. 2013 will be a second recession, what with new taxes, etc. And so, it will come to pass, in 2016 that some combination of Ryan/Rubio/Christie/unknown will come into office with a mandate: to return us to liberty.

    Sic semper tyrannis, Barry.

  13. The Republican Party “elites” are trying to wrest back their party from the small, vocal, and highly motivated minority that would much prefer ideological purity than electoral success.The so-called “elites” don’t subscribe to the proposition that 100% of nothing is better than 0% of everything. They want to win the presidency. However, the damage done to the GoP by the Tea Party incubus may be irreversable in the short term, and winning in November may no longer be a realistic option.

    Most of potential presidential candidates on the “reasonable” wing of the Republican Party have said “no thanks” to the opportunity to run in November. Perhaps, they didn’t believe that Obama was beatable this year. More likely they saw how intemperate their own activists had become and came to the conclusion that their only chance of winning the primaries would be to adopt extreme positions in which they had no belief (and which would anyhow render them unelectable in a general election). As a consequence, the Republican Party is now left with candidates who have no principles whatsoever, or whose policies and personalities make them repugnant to a majority of the electorate. It is becoming obvious that while Romney is probably incapable of beating Obama unless the economy really tanks again (which is becoming less and less likely), the present alternatives, Gingrich and Santorum, are unelectable in almost any circumstances.

    I have no doubt that many in the Republican Party are hoping for the mathematical improbability of a brokered convention. Unfortunately, the “elites” and the “crazies” have diametrically opposing views on the desired outcome. The latter have dreams of Bachmann or even Palin emerging from the melee – even if it means absolute certain electoral gotterdammerung awaiting in November. The “elites” would hope that one of the party aristocrats would emerge to accept the mantle and take the party on into November on a moderate platform.

    It will be interesting, after a likely defeat in November, and the ensuing recriminations, whether the Republican party will be hijacked by the “Bolscheviks” and lurch further into unelectability, or whether the “Mensheviks” will rediscover their nerve and drag their party back towards the center.

  14. I take exception to the term “RINO”. To suggest a candidate must check every block correctly on some nebulous list in order to be a “true” Republican is preposterous.

    Being Republican should be about individual liberty. Suggesting a true Republican must tow a specific party line in every instance goes directly against individual liberty. I want my government representatives first and foremost to protect individual liberty; that block must be checked. But I can’t realistically expect a candidate to agree with me, completely, on every issue. Tragically, many Republicans expect exactly this and, thus, Democrats win elections.

    As for Santorum, there is absolutely, positively no possible way he can be elected president. His extreme pro-life positions will rally the most viscerile, hateful, venom-spewing activists who will attack him at every level and from every angle. People who care for nothing else but this one issue are large in number and extreme to the tenth power. They will chant, “Supreme Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court!” as their rally cry and activate an army of wealthy and famous supporters. Nominating Santorum is a guaranteed win for Obama.Tthe GOP knows this and therefore won’t nominate Santorum no matter how many primaries he wins.

  15. As a matter of interest, can any of you answer the following question:

    It seems (unless you subscribe to the insulting proposition that Republican caucus voters are voting otherwise than in accordance with their principles) that the opinions of JED, MF etc. are representative of a minority faction within the Republican Party. It is then safe to assume that their views are even less representative of the electorate as a whole. This reality is underlined by the record negative polling figures being registered for the present Tea-Party dominated House.

    The US is a democracy. By definition, the majority (subject to the necessity of maintaining the consensus which is the real point of limited government) gets to make the laws. I for one cannot see what you believe you can accomplish by trying to drive the Republican Party away from the center and even further into a minority position. I mean, ideological purity seems a fruitless objective if it assures electoral defeat. Or, do you believe you have a right to political power – even if you are a small minority of American opinion – just because you are convinced that you are ‘right’ and everyone else is ‘wrong’?

    • By your logic, if such a word can be used to describe the convolutions of what passes for thought in your case, any thinking that deviates from what you determine to be the “electorate as a whole” is too radical to be subjected to the election process. Objecting to a bloated, arbitrary, oppressive tyranny is “radical” while demanding that citizens bear the cost of abortion and contraception under the alias of “health care”, gay marriage as a civil rights issue and government confiscation of private property without due process are examples of mainstream thinking. Maybe if the main stream is the Charles River. The obvious course in the United States of Paulite t is to simply accept, no embrace, (and pay for) whatever cockamamie political, social and economic theories the self-appointed elites broadcast from their ivory towers and, in addition, nominate for election only those candidates pledged to continuing the growth of the social welfare state, for fear that ideological heretics may not prevail at the ballot box. Basically a one party system with two divisions having the same platform, a path we’re slogging down right now. Anyone with a different concept of the US social contract is a radical, kind of like Thomas Paine, Nathan Hale, Thomas Jefferson, and a few other 18th century political deviants.

    • I should regret the next few minutes wasted on idiocy, but …

      “the opinions of JED, MF etc. are representative of a minority … within the Republican Party … [and] even less representative of the electorate as a whole. This reality is underlined by the record negative polling figures being registered for the present Tea-Party dominated House.”

      What utter, mendacious illogic. Even setting aside the basic question whether one’s divination of “the electorate as a whole” constitutes an appropriate metric of political thought,
      (a) What are “negative polling figures”? How are they achieved? Or do you simply mean “low”?
      (b) The usual phrasing of that polling question is whether ‘you approve of the job being done by Congress’ – implying that Congress is some kind of public agency with a defined task like, oh, trash pickup, rather than 545 individuals of varying philosophical perspectives, organized mostly by two philosophically competitive parties, in two chambers designed to resolve those differences as carefully and inefficiently as possible. Asking or answering such a ridiculous question – or reporting on the “results” – is evidence of mental defect.
      (c) To the extent that “the electorate” pay attention to machinations of Congress, they are usually disgusted by unmet Constitutional obligations – like, for example, the obligation to produce a budget. Those who do pay attention are aware that this chronic nonfeasance belongs to the chamber run by Democrats – hardly “Tea-Party dominated”.

      Yes, there are con men in the presidency and elsewhere who engage in the same cynical conflations you just proffered, hoping a majority of the electorate will not notice the flimflam. Will they succeed? We will know in nine months – a propitious gestation period for electoral ideas about the primacy of culture: specifically, that economic health follows moral health, as our founders understood. I believe we still understand that and, as OC says, will be better for this discussion. If we are wrong to believe that the truth will prevail in the character of this nation, congratulations – but you will find it a pyrrhic victory.
      .

    • http://epautos.com/2012/02/10/the-master-culture/

  16. The US is NOT a “democracy.” The Founders never intended us to be — they regarded democracy as dangerous and inherently corrupt — and instead framed for us a representative republic with a limited, constitutional government. The Constitution was designed precisely to prevent what the Founders called “transient majorities” from producing an incessant stream of new laws.

    The Founders had a very definite view of the kinds of laws that should never be made by the federal government — hence, the importance they placed on federalism.

    They were more sanguine about states running amok with law-mongering, and left the states largely to their own devices. But the base posture of the federal government was to be effectiveness in a handful of narrowly defined roles, and to not step outside of those roles, regardless of the sentiments of “majorities” for expanding the federal purview.

    The Founders were well aware that insistent POLITICAL “majorities,” when they are applied to enlarging the scope of the law, are usually a hype-based presentation, and not a relfection of a baseline reality. Their intention was precisely to stymie these “majorities.” They intentionally designed the Constitution to require genuine supermajorities, over time, as the basis for making significant changes to the law.

    The Founders were most worried about this restraint being subverted by Congress. What they didn’t necessarily anticipate was the subversion of limited goverrnment that could be achieved by activist executives in combination with an activist judiciary. Their concern was reining in the legilsature while making it a counterweight to the executive — in other words, correcting the law-and-regulation machine that the British parliament had become.

    The Founders would have seen America’s current condition as demonstrating the evils of a mounting pile of laws made by transient majorities. In their view, government CAN inappropriately overburden the people, no matter who made the decision to do so. Political “majorities” are quite as likely to as oppress the people as any other form of rulership. A majority vote in a legislature does not make a government action “right.” And to avoid the dangerous and destructive consquences of throwing question after question about right and wrong into the political fray, the Founders’ choice was … LIMITED government.

    That’s the answer. Doesn’t matter whether anyone “likes” it or not. Read the Federalist Papers. Read the correspondence of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Read the minutes of the Constitutional Convention. The Founders knew that the majoritarian political impulse expressed by Paulite would always be with us. Their intention was to defend us from it.

    • —–” Doesn’t matter whether anyone “likes” it or not.”

      except that it sorta does matter whether people like it or not.

      even in a republic.

      that the majority of Americans no longer accept those ideas and want an expanded federal government and reduced roles for the state governments, and have wanted such for most of the history of the nation, places the desire in a realm other than “transient”.

    • We owe you a debt of gratitude for revealing your obvious contempt for democracy. For the first time you have given us an insight into what you are about.

      You haven’t the slightest understanding of our Constitution. In fact, the Founding Fathers and their successors specifically provided for the making of laws by contemporary transient majorities elected by the people – as distinct from non-transient embedded agents like monarchies or oligarchies. They also provided for limited government by enshrining in our Constitution the principle of the separation of government powers and a federalist state. The reason why our system of government has survived and prospered is because the Founding Fathers in their wisdom provided in our transient legislature a system that has been able to adapt to changing times and needs. As a result, a political structure that was originally devised as a system of representative government for a small cohesive agrarian society of white landowners has been able to adapt itself amazingly well to the prerequisites of governance and regulation under law of a vast, largely industrial, hetrogeneous nation of some 300 million souls.

      If I can sum up your weird thesis: If the legislature elected by the people in accordance with the Constitution, make laws which are not found unconstitutional by the Courts instituted by the Constitution, that you and your ilk don’t like, then the legislature is acting unconstitutionally because you and your ilk (who have set yourself up as the true interpreters of what the Founders supposed vision) say so.

      There is one nation I know that is run exactly in this way: Iran, where the Ayatollahs have arrogated to themselves similar exclusivity to determine what Mohammad would have wished as those you claim for yourself and your ilk with respect to our Founding Fathers.

      • Paul, the distrust of pure democracy IS plainly in evidence in the writings of the members of the CON CON and the opticon is correct to cite it as such

  17. […] in which the conservative, small-government side gave up virtually everything – as the “old consensus.”  I see it losing, bit by bit, in this primary season.  People are no longer obediently making […]

  18. […] in which the conservative, small-government side gave up virtually everything – as the “old consensus.”  I see it losing, bit by bit, in this primary season.  People are no longer obediently making […]


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