Thursday, January 26, 2012

Should All Nominees Be Supported?

Should a political party’s nominee always be supported? Generally, the answer is yes. A political party is a collection of people whose views overlap enough to give them a common interest in getting each other elected. To that end, they form a party with the implicit agreement that they will compete with each other to represent the party and then will support the nominee regardless of the outcome of the competition. Thus, the nominee should be supported. But there is an exception.

This exception arises when (1) the nominee’s views are well outside the range of common interests which hold the party together, and (2) there is a legitimate belief that supporting this nominee will harm the long term goals of the party.

On the first point, Reagan famously said that he could support anyone with whom he agreed on 80% of the issues. Reagan was making the point that it is foolish and counterproductive to require 100% agreement with a nominee before you can support them. Indeed, 100% agreement is probably impossible. Hence, this is the reason moderates should support conservatives and conservatives should support moderates and libertarians should support social conservatives and vice versa.

But Reagan’s point also contains the implicit understanding that at some point (possibly below 80% using Reagan’s formula) there is no obligation to support the nominee. Why would this be? For that, we need to look at the question of harm.

Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to ensure their products remain consistent. They want to make sure you find the exact same amount in each cereal box, that every batch of Mac and Cheese tastes the same, that every sock has the same number of stitches, and that every Acura uses only Acura parts. Why? Because having a consistent level of quality affects how people perceive their brands. People want to know exactly what they are getting when they make a purchase and branding achieves that -- whereas failing to maintain that consistency damages the brand because people will no longer know what to expect from their purchase.

Whether we like the idea or not, a political party is nothing more than a company, and its product or brand is an ideological range. Choosing a nominee from outside that range blurs the identity of the party and damages its brand.

How? For one thing, this will alienate supporters. Supporters expect nominees to be within the ideological range. When they aren’t, the party has violated the contract under which it claims a right to the individual’s support. It is the equivalent of McDonalds selling you a Big Mac container but including a ham sandwich rather than a burger. This is a violation of trust.

Moreover, this confuses voters. When a person represents a party or ideology, their views become associated with that party or ideology and their successes/failures taint the ideology. In other words, the nominee redefines how the public views conservatism or liberalism, and their meanings change. Hence, conservatism and Republicanism came to be associated with Nixon’s views in 1968, Reagan’s views in 1980, and Bush Jr.’s views in 2000 -- I exclude Bush Sr. because he claimed to be a moderate. Liberalism, by comparison, came to be associated with FDR, LBJ, Carter, and now Obama. Clinton called himself a moderate.

Prior to LBJ, the majority political view of the nation was FDR-liberalism. This could have continued indefinitely, except LBJ disgraced liberalism. His errors in Vietnam and his monstrous Great Society wiped out the Democratic party in the South and set the stage for a conservative resurgence. Jimmy Carter finished liberalism off by proving that Democrats are reckless spenders, incompetent managers of the economy, and militarily inept and cowardly. This set the stage for Reagan.

Reagan’s success revived conservatism while also redefining it back to its roots -- away from the big-government conservatism of the Nixon years. By the time Reagan left office, conservatism had become the natural ideology of the country and 60% of the public believed it.

This could have lasted for generations, except along came George Bush Jr. He wrapped himself in the conservative label and set about running a big government, civil-liberties-crushing, crony-capitalism, foreign-adventuring administration which so thoroughly discredited conservatism that in 2008, the voters were more radically liberal and more willing to accept liberalism than they had been at any time since LBJ. The ONLY THING THAT SAVED CONSERVATISM was the election of Barack Obama. If Obama hadn’t proven to be such a disaster, conservatism would be dead today. But Obama was a disaster and he caused a massive backlash which took the form of the Tea Party.

The lesson here is simple.

Ideologies get defined by their leaders and they get punished for the sins of their leaders. If a nominee calls himself conservative but acts like a liberal, the public doesn’t blame liberalism for his crimes and failures, it blames conservatism even if that person never once acted like a true conservative. Thus, Bush and Nixon, neither of whom could be called conservatives, discredited conservatism. LBJ/Carter/Obama, each of who were progressives and not liberals, discredited liberalism. And in each case, the only thing to save conservatism/liberalism was pure luck that someone worse came along to discredit the other side. If Moderate Joe Democrat had come along after George Bush Jr., we could well be looking at an America that views liberalism as the natural order of things and sees conservatism as meaning reckless spending, bad economic management, and cronyism.

Moreover, the nominee need not even be as disastrous as a Bush/Obama to harm the ideology. The goal of politics is to effect long term change in the country. That is simply not possible when the person representing your ideology holds views that are inconsistent with the ideology. This muddies the ideological waters and confuses the differences between the parties. In other words, when the Republicans and the Democrats both push the same solutions to the same issues, voters will come to believe there is no difference, and they will either stop voting or they will pick the party that promises them the most loot -- advantage Democrats.

This is what happens when you pick someone who is far outside the acceptable ideological range for the party or who happens to be insane. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if Newt or Santorum or Romney or Paul are so far outside the bounds that you should not support them, but ask yourself: “how bad would it be for the party, for my beliefs, and for the country if conservatism came to be defined in the way ____ sees it?”

Winning elections is important, but you don’t want to sacrifice the future to win a single election.


By the way, there's an interesting poll out which shows that 33% of Republicans want a new candidate to jump into the race. This is down from 68% only two months ago. I think the field is set.

99 comments:

tryanmax said...

I don't know whether I am an advocate of third parties or not, but your article could almost be taken as an argument for.

I suppose I could be swayed if the Republican brand keeps damaging itself (i.e. coming off less conservative). Even then, I don't go in for the idea of a party starting at the presidency. I have yet to see a real grassroots third party in my lifetime.

StanH said...

What you say is absolutely true Andrew, however with a major caveat. If you get a Big-Mac box with a ham sandwich inside, you can simply cross the street and go to Burger King, Wendy’s, or a myriad of other choices, you name it. Sadly, in American politics there is only two viable choices Republican, democrat, with one outlier, Libertarian (I consider myself a small (l) libertarian). In my opinion we must work to change the Republican party from within, there is, and there will never be a perfect candidate. In my mind the way to effect conservative change, will take a decade of elections, forcing establishment Washington back to the “Founding” principles. The worst thing that could happen is “conservative apathy” to seep back into our lives leavings politics to the politicians, that would be disastrous. So though we have nothing but flawed candidates remaining, we must coalesce behind whomever the nominee is, and surround the future president with conservatives from dogcatcher and up, forcing their politics to the right. This is a long game, that we have just joined in 2010, and to overcome this assault on our freedoms will require unified resolve, because you can bet Team Parasite aka democrat party will be unified, we must remember they’re voting for their meals. It’s getting time to fix the mistake of ’08!

Tennessee Jed said...

The premise of your analysis is that leaders define the brand when it comes to terms like liberalism, progressivism, conservatism. For the most part, I don't disagree with that premise, but feel that, (probably for sake of space) the article necessarily tends to over simplify. And, maybe that isn't really a fair characterization either.

What I have observed is that liberalism or progressivism and conservatism seem to have begun to replace the party labels of Republican and Democrat. Since there are only two major political parties, they by necessity must be represent a fairly broad coalition. Furthermore, definition of what is liberal, moderate, or conservative varies greatly depending upon the individual. To a liberal, George W. Bush looks like a raging conservative, but I seriously doubt that you or I or any of the readership here sees him as a true conservative.

The other observation is that we tend to be reasonably intelligent followers of politics. Much of the electorate is far less sophisticated in terms of studying the issues. Recently, I saw a posting floating around facebook of a little factoid showing how Obama has increased the national debt by only 13% compared to huge amounts by Reagan and W. Democrat "commenters" were ecstatic and throwing high fives until some simple accounting showed what a distortion of facts was involved.

A huge chunk of the electorate tends to not think about themselves in terms of a deeply ingrained political philosophy. They group together a few hot button issues, determine how it will effect them, and go from there.

What is clear to me is we are at a crossroads. We have to, as a country, get a handle on cutting our
spending which means trimming entitlements through things like means testing. Getting rid of Obamacare is critical because it is yet one more spending time bomb, and we can see first hand how difficult it is for Washington to take away goodies that have been given to the people by suck up politicians. I cannot, in good conscience, sit this one out. I really don't like Newt, but Mitt just doesn't seem to be a strong campaigner. I just don't see Santorum sliding in. So it should come down to those two, and I'll support either one against Barrack, and hope we continue to add conservative strength in Congress.

CrisD said...

Dear old dad used to tell me "Vote for the R even if he's the devil himself!"

Now I know he was referring to local pols and corruption and he was repeating what he's heard to be funny but...the Democrats, whatever else you want to say about them, sure know how to stick together. Every couple of years it's "The Conservative Crack-up" on our side.

We will not will by dividing our team into rancorous camps. Santorum bugs me the most because he is not big leagues and he is up there on stage doing nothing because he's not going to win. At least Paul speaks when spoken to.

As to Newt, Tyrell has a great article on this very flawed man.

Generally choices are a process of elimination and that leaves Romney.

As far as someone else getting into the race, that is not reality. Remember when fast Eddie Rendell said it had to be Hilary b/c D's in his state wouldn't vote for a black man (half black, Ed)? See people get caught up in their own craziness. Its Romney, get ready to defend Bain and sister wives and get a sense of humour, folks!

T-Rav said...

Unfortunately, I could see all four of our jokers as a mortal threat to conservatism.

Romney--Second coming of Gerald Ford and big-government conservatism in general.
Gingrich--Utterly chaotic.
Santorum--Appeals to 10-15% of the electorate, and no more.
Paul--Enough said.

That said, I will vote for either Romney or Gingrich in the general (the other two aren't going to be nominated). Not backing them is not, to me, an acceptable position.

Tennessee Jed said...

Cris - I don't that the Dems always stay together. In a country where 46% don't pay any income tax, they have a built in large base for government largesse. Americans prefer, however, to keep their social entitlement spending well under 20%, whereas the hard left wants it well up over 25% (uber-Europa.)

Rav - you and I are in the same place, I just didn't even bother with Ron Paul ;)

T-Rav said...

Jed--LOL.

Paul is the only one for whom I could see a serious case made to not vote for, and that's only because of his foreign policy "ideas." Those would be so threatening to the country at large, I don't know if I could in good conscience vote for him. If it was just a matter of some of his kookier domestic ideas, like drug legalization--well, I don't like those either, but I could bite that bullet. The risk to national security is the bridge-too-far for me.

Otherwise, after being reminded of what a horrible cluster@#$% Obama is Tuesday night, I'll vote for anyone with an R next to their names.

CrisD said...

Jed-
As far as the Dems sticking together--I mean that they don't seem fazed by say, Bill or Hilary's crapolla. The libs I know say calling Obama a socialist is right wing nonsense or a left wing professor I know says "hell, I am a communist, myself". They may lose elections but I've never heard liberal or left-wing arguments break down into camps. Have you?

LawHawkRFD said...

Since I cut my teeth on politics in the late 50s (I was very young, thank you), I've been hearing that the country isn't really divided into Democrat and Republican, but rather liberal and conservative. There's considerable truth to that, and the party that wins is the party that catches which mood the country is in. But I think that it's a little more than that. I think America is largely a moderate country with liberal and conservative wings that wag the dog. The country moves from moderate-liberal to moderate-conservative and then back again.

The 60s had a devastating effect on that historical formula, both at the time, and in the long-term effect on the formerly moderate-liberal Democrats. The radicals from the antiwar and pro-communist left got a stranglehold on academia, and eventually the machinery of the Democratic Party. Though I think most Americans are still moderate (and moderate-conservative leaning at the moment), the national choice today seems to be the moderates (moderate-conservative presently) in the Republican Party versus the radicals in the Democratic Party. The latter pose as moderate-liberal, but are in fact far left of mainstream America.

At the state and local level, the formula can be quite different. But on a national level, a full-blown socialist or a full-blown reactionary cannot win election except by subterfuge, personal charisma, and some sort of national crisis that blinds the public (temporarily) to the candidate's true intentions. Thus it was with Obama.

Make no mistake. I am a deeply-committed conservative (with some pesky libertarian tendencies), so I'm not rooting for moderation. But a candidate who held 100% of my views and stated them publicly would probably horrify 33% of the population and turn off another 33%.

All of that is to say that there is no genuine conservative, let alone a charismatic one, in the current Republican presidential field. So I have to choose the one that comes closest (80%, maybe, if we're lucky?). I will vote for the Republican nominee, regardless of which one it is. The thought of four more years of Obama socialism and dismantling of everything that made America great is just too great to allow me to do otherwise.

I think a conservative groundswell in the Congressional elections would move a Republican President to the right of center. Maybe not as far right as I would like, but far better than the crypto-communist currently sitting in the White House. Only two of the current field might not be influenced by a strong moderate-conservative to conservative Congress, and go off on a lark of their own. They are Paul and Gingrich. Perhaps I'm wrong, but those are the only two who actually scare me. And I would still vote for them if they won the nomination simply because of the deadly alternative.

DUQ said...

Interesting take. I wonder though if the caveat has a caveat which is that the other guy is so evil he needs to be stopped? Hint: Obama?

ScyFyterry said...

I think you've put your finger on something besides the main question here. I think the establishment has intentionally mixed up the two sides because it gets it way either way and that's why they try to convince you that the other side is so extreme. But except for at the edges, the two parties are the same.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It probably could be taken for a third party argument EXCEPT our system prevents third parties from having any chance. Hence the truism that a third party vote is a wasted vote.

If that weren't the case then this would be easy. People would just shift away from Republican to Conservative and Liberal to Progressive as they saw fit. But we don't have that kind of system, so instead you need to discipline the one party to which you can belong.

And that requires forcing them to maintain their ideology better.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I don't think I agree with that. Forcing the party to become conservative/stay conservative also means rejecting the party when it misbehaves.

Consider a more obvious situation. If the powers that be decided to run Hillary because she's more popular than Obama would we really be doing anything except destroying any claim to conservatism that the party has and giving the party the go-ahead to assume that we will always support their nominee whoever it is?

The only way to change someone's behavior is to reward them for good behavior and punish them for bad. You can't change a political party if you tell them "we want you to change, but no matter what you do, we will support you in the end."

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, A couple points. You said this:

"Much of the electorate is far less sophisticated in terms of studying the issues."

And THAT is the key. Of course, you and I will always understand what conservatism is and what liberalism is. We are interested in the topic, we read, we observe, we think, we understand. The vast majority of the public doesn't. The vast majority of the public only pays attention to soundbites.

But they are the deciding factor. You and I aren't.

In other words, when it comes time to vote, you and I will always support the conservative and we will recognize the pretenders. BUT the part of the public which actually decides elections -- the big squishy middle with fickle tastes and a soundbite understanding of the world -- they only know politics in broad strokes.

When they heard "George W. Bush is an evil conservative" from the left and Bush himself was claiming he's a genuine conservative and the right supporting him through two elections, they accepted him as a conservative and they assumed that he represents conservatism. (Ditto on the others.)

They didn’t like what he (i.e. conservatism) stood for and they gave us Obama as an antidote. In fact, if that hadn't been the case, they would not have tossed out Republicans from the House in response to his policies, nor would they have rejected McCain who was promising a different version of conservatism. It is pure guilt by association and it is the reality.

So my point is this. Where it matters, the meaning of conservatism will be defined by the nominee. And if we pick someone who does not represent conservatism in any meaningful way and yet claims they are a conservative then we are doing severe long term damage to the meaning and cause of conservatism.

Also, keep in mind, I'm not taking about someone who is mostly conservative except on some issue where conservatives disagree. I'm talking about candidates who are WAY out there -- people who are to the left of Obama on many/most issues.

(continued)

AndrewPrice said...

(continued)

And on that point, you talk about America being at a crossroads. Let me make three points to that. First, that's been the case in every election I can remember in my life. The two sides have always been very good at making whatever election it is sound like the end.

Secondly, with a Republican Congress, Obama's power is dramatically reduced. We no long face the threat of any further grand policies from him. That may not be as comforting as being able to undo them, but it means he is no longer the threat he was.

And third, is replacing Obama with someone who is promising to build moon bases, grant amnesty, spend on every single project you can name, censor the internet, fight global warming, and create TARP II as needed really going to set us right? Or are we just asking to share the blame for Obama's policies and blur the line further about what our side believes?

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, I think the field is closed. There won't be a brokered convention and there won't be a white knight to jump in. I think this is the group. And in that group, I do think Romney wins by process of elimination -- though I am also getting much more comfortable with him.

But the point to my article isn't about winning. Winning isn't really the problem. It's what happens after winning is the problem.

I am very concerned that 1-3 of the guys on stage would be a complete disaster for conservatives. I fear that they would entirely discredit the conservative brand with the public and wipe out the Republicans in Congress.

I'm not saying Obama is good for the country -- far to the contrary, but in the long term, I suspect we would be worse off letting some of these guys win the election. I think they would make it impossible to ever fix what Obama had done because they would just keep going from where he left off, pushing through many of the things he has been unable to get, and they would effectively destroy the Republican party by splitting it into two parts and any desire on the part of the public to ever vote conservative again in their lifetimes.

And this is something I don't think I've said about another Republican candidate for President in my lifetime.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I know we disagree on whether or not to support a nominee no matter what, but I do think that for the long term good of conservatism and the country, some nominees simply can't be supported.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The Democrats have built a client base. They have created a huge chunk of the electorate which will vote to keep the benefits flowing no matter what.

But it's also not hard for them because no Democrat ever seriously suggests cutting benefits. It's just not something they accept.

In that regard, the Democrats are a much narrower ideological party and much better at ensuring that their people fit into the ideology.

Compare that with the Republicans where you get people from center-left to far right.

In terms of the choice, by the way, it seems to come down to Newt v. Romney. I don't think supporting Santorum or Paul is a question anyone will need to face. And I have to say that Newt is raising a lot of concerns in a lot of people.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Paul raises a lot of foreign policy concerns, but doesn't concern me much domestically because he won't get whatever his agenda is. I would be concerned that he would lead to massive budget fights/ budget crises throughout his term as well.

On the plus side, you don't have to worry that he's suddenly going to try to invent 10 new entitlements... which is possible with the other guys.

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, The Democrats are very good at excusing all personal failings so long as they get the policies they want.

And in that regard, they are a remarkably uniform party and that has made them very effective. They simply don't tolerate anyone who wants to cut even a penny from the government and they have very successfully record at making sure all their nominees (at all levels) subscribe to this. That has helped them keep making the government bigger at every turn.

The Republicans on the other hand are in disarray as always because we have a much broader range of acceptable candidates.

I would also suggest part of the problem is that Republicans are too willing to accept people outside their ideological range, as we are again looking at this time. In effect, the Dems keep methodically moving the government left and the conservatives move it left in fits and starts with only a rare Republican moving it right.

CrispyRice said...

Well, if the country is going to go to hell, I'd rather the other party took the blame for it for sure.

My debate is - will any of our candidates actually prevent the country from going to hell, or will they just slowly acquiesce along the way? I think at least one of ours isn't going to be any better and will harm the conservative movement. I haven't decided if I'll vote for him or not. After McCain, I swore I'd never vote for someone I didn't really believe in again. And that goes double for someone that the Republicans put up because it's "his turn" now! Ugh.

But every time I get thinking down that path, the Dear Leader does something particularly egregious and I puke and go back to voting for anyone against him.

Ugh ugh ugh.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, The one that I think would be the most dangerous to conservatism is Newt. I can all but guarantee you that Newt will destroy the Republican Congress in 2016 and will work hard to push through the parts of the Obama agenda that Obama couldn't get -- amnesty, cap and trade, etc. And will likely muck up ObamaCare by turning it into ObamaCare under Republican management.

I suspect we would be better off with a contrast between a Republican Congress defending the country from Obama than the spectacle of Newt running with the Obama agenda and tacking the name "conservative" on it, while attacking Republicans for "not being conservative."

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, In some ways it should. But keep this in mind.

For one this, there hasn't been an election in my lifetime where the point hasn't been made "the Democrats is a danger to the country and needs to be stopped! American must be saved in THIS election!"

For another, with a Republican Congress, Obama's agenda is DOA. There are bad things he can do with regulations and executive order.

But you need to weigh that against the future. If the nominee adopts his agenda and simply puts it under the Republican brand, you not only haven't saved the country, but you've destroyed conservatism in the process.

rlaWTX said...

I think the theory is great, but I think how much of a % of agreement we require lowers in proportion to how bad the opponent is. That's where DUQ's caveat squared and T-Rav's ABO (anyone but Obama) vote comes into play.

I also agree that this is a "long war" for the country's health and future. One election success won't win the war, but one election loss could lose it or significantly redefine winning (move the best case description leftward) - just because we'll be so taken far down the garden path we can't get back HERE again, let alone where we WANT to be.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, There is much truth in what you say. So much of our political system is "the Matrix." It's designed to make you think there are two parties fighting it out over the soul of America and it's designed to make people think they are facing a stark choice.

But the reality is that the two parties to 95% of the same things. And both sides are being taken in by this.

Both parties are big spending, entitlement creating, crony-capitalists. And while the Republicans talk about favoring smaller government, they don't do anything about it except at the edges. Similarly, while the Democrats talk about hating the rich or Wall Street, they are in Wall Street's pocket just as the Republicans are.

The whole thing is like very bad theater.

That's why Cain was so great -- he was a genuine threat to the established order of things because he actually believed the conservative ideas he promised and he would have implemented them. That's why the "conservative establishment" didn't defend him... because he wasn't part of the plan to keep things going as they have always been going.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: You may be right, and it's a truly scary thought. Gingrich is so captivated by process and his own ego that he doesn't consider the opinions and beliefs of others to be very important. Still, I'm extremely hesitant about the idea of Obama's re-election.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I feel your pain. When you're staring at a group of people you know will do nothing to really change anything it's very hard to want to support any of them. Add in the Republican penchant for picking people based on seniority rather than ideology/suitability and it gets really frustrating.

And I think you put your finger right on the key point here -- if the nominee is going to be Obama-lite and drive the country into the ground along the same path, then we are better off letting Obama take the blame rather than being complicit in it.

Moreover, by rejecting Obama-lite we send a message to the party that times have changed and if they want our support they will need to start winning it rather than expecting it.

The only way to change someone is to let them know there will be negative consequences if they don't change. Supporting the nominee no matter what won't do that.

That said, it's very hard to follow through with that because your instinct is to pick the least evil for the country.... let me note that the Democrats do not share that impulse.

Tennessee Jed said...

I absolutely agree that the wrong candidate on our part could do a lot to take down congress. But I'm also concerned an Obama victory would result in losses in Congress as well in 2012 and possibly even 2014. A stalemate like we have is better than going further over the edge, of course, but status quo works against us since the debt keeps increasing even without adding more big spending on top of what we already do.

I also agree that Mitt would probably govern best even if too cautuiously for my taste. My fear about him is more about his abilities as a campaigner. Not sure who is running his campaign, but it has been uninspired.

I think the instant communication of data (and political spin analysis has changed the game. It used to be for a front runner like Romney, the deal was to play it safe and avoid the big gaffe. If we look at Arab Spring, etc. it is amazing how quickly emotions get to go viral in the modern world. My guess is that South Carolina had not spent much time boning up on the field. When Newt elicits some raw emotion soundbites, there was a tidal shift virtually unprecedented in the past so we may have to be wary about historical evaluations of the electorate and how things will play out. That is a game which Romney hasn't learned to play very well.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I think you're absolutely right that it depends on how bad the opponent is. And Obama is the biggest threat since LBJ. Indeed, if Bill Clinton was in the White House and we ran someone like Santorum or Newt, there would be no question that Clinton is the better choice. With Obama, it's not so clear.

But the key is the long term. It truly does not help us to win an election and in the process guarantee a generation or more of liberalism.

Consider the issue of cap and trade. Obama couldn't get it. If President Newt decides to push it, that would be as harmful to the economy as anything Obama has done, it would further entrench the government throughout the economy, and it would all be done in the name of conservatism. Amnesty is the same thing. These are the kinds of things that could not only harm the country but would make conservatism unpalatable for decades.

And then you need to ask, would we be better off with a Republican Congress v. Obama and a better candidate in 2016 or with a liberal wave taking over the House and Senate in 2014 and Cuomo taking back the White House in 2016 and liberals holding it for another decade or two if they are right.

That's the question.

CrispyRice said...

Yep... I miss Cain. :*( I think he really might have changed things.

And I don't feel like rewarding the Republicans because they ran whoever was left standing after they let the media destroy good person after good person.

tryanmax said...

Wow! What a conversation! My mind is all over the place. I want to respond to the point where I can't put two thoughts together. First off, I know this isn’t an argument for third parties, but if it were, it is more salient than most of those that are made by the advocates. Just the first place my mind went.

Here is what impresses upon me deepest: that the equations “Republican = conservative” and “Democrat = liberal” have long since moved beyond mere branding to being outright synonyms for the party names. So what Andrew says is absolutely correct that if conservatism is to be properly understood, then the Republican party cannot be supportive of antithetical nominees.

Unlike the Big Mac, there is no mechanism to take back the ham sandwich and fix the error. After two, four, or six years of consistently receiving a ham sandwich each time you ask for a Big Mac, what would you conclude? Sure, you might reminisce about the days of two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese... But this ham and mayo is a Big Mac now.

Now, I will present one caveat, but it is only a potential one. In the last four years, there have been great strides in differentiating between conservatism and the Republican Party. The Tea Party is largely responsible for this; the far-left doesn't understand the Tea Party, but the general populous seems to and they also understand them as conservative. Even the MSM has had to admit that it is a populist movement.

So the caveat is this, that conservatism proper has the chance to survive a lousy nominee if they can remain united against that candidate. I know, that's a pretty tough caveat. But, if it were achieved, it would reveal the difference that many confused moderates are looking for between the conservative and liberal movements. I doubt that OWS types could even consider uniting against a less-than-liberal Democrat.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's the problem in a nutshell. Newt is an egomaniac with no concern whatsoever for conservatives or Republicans and would be an utter disaster. I have little doubt he would push through much of Obama's failed agenda only "better."

But on the other hand, Obama is a true threat to the country.

This would be one of the hardest choices in my political life. In fact, I have honestly never before faced an election where I felt some of the potential nominees were a worse choice than the Democrat.

CrispyRice said...

Tryanmax, I think Tea Party is doomed if we elect a Republican who doesn't do certain things immediately, such as repeal Obamacare, stop spending and rein all the gov't bureaucracy. If that doesn't happen, the Repub party will breathe a sigh of relief and think they can go with life as they know it. And then, the Tea Party will have lost its main rallying cry.

It's hard to fight "your own" and I think the Tea Party won't survive a moderate Republican prez.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I'm not all that worried about Romney against Obama in a general election for two reasons.

First, he is bland enough to leave this election as a referendum on Obama. In that kind of race we win. It's only a Republican who turns the race into a referendum on themselves that the danger arises.

That said, I do wish Romney would be a stronger candidate. He remains dull and uninspired, and while he says the right things he doesn't say them with enough passion to make people feel them. But again, I don't think that will hurt him in the general election where the public will be giving its verdict on Obama.

Secondly, Newt has two things going for him which Obama doesn't. First, Newt is benefiting from the "conservative" meme that Romney is somehow a liberal and the others are genuine conservatives. That's garbage, but it's being pimped mindlessly. So Romney is fighting against "institutional bias." That goes away in the general election where he will be seen by the public as the conservative.

Also, Newt is running on air. He is ephemeral. No one is fact checking him, to the contrary conservatives are ignoring his flaws, and he has managed to avoid his record by playing into knee-jerk conservatism. He's basically running around saying "I hate whatever you hate!" Obama can't do that because the public at large isn't foaming at the mouth and doesn't accept knee-jerk liberalism or conservatism. Nor can he run that kind of campaign because he is the incumbent and he would be attacking his own record.

In fact, I think people will be shocked how poorly Newt suddenly does when he tries this in the general election and the public doesn't respond to words like "Alynsky". Newt is a niche product, but the election is fought in the general market.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. I don't mean "conservative" when I say "niche." Newt is no conservative. Newt is a baiter, he's baiting people with slogans but presents no actual ideology.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Thanks a lot. Now I'm really depressed. I have been through Presidents I truly had no use for (left and right, depending on the year), but this is the first time I've actually hated the man in the White House. And now you've brought up the prospect of a Republican nominee who scares me. I need a drink!

I have only one ray of hope. If in their heart of hearts those who lean towards Gingrich because of his very successful attacks on the MSM stop long enough to think, we may yet be spared the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Run, Bobby, run.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think the Cain debacle really exposed the conservative establishment and in particular the conservative media. They showed that while they would make insane untenable defenses of their friends, they would not defend a genuine conservative from an obvious smear.

Essentially, they proved that they are conservative-leaning establishmentarians... not conservatives.

And I honestly suspect that if the country was offered a chance to become genuinely conservative overnight but the cost was that 80% of the Washington Elite would lose their subsidies, that these "conservatives" would oppose that on the basis that "genuine conservatism is too extreme."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Well said and very thoughtful additions to the conversation.

I think you are right about the extension of the Big Mac analogy. Over time, people will simply see the ham sandwich as the Big Mac and they will attribute our desire to see beef as nothing more than nostalgia. The exact same is true of the political parties. Eight years of Bush left conservatism in a state where LIBERALS could claim to be the party of small government and state's rights! Think about how ludicrous that is, and yet people bought it because that is how his 8 years seemed to work.... Bush expanded government everywhere while Pelosi and the Democrats blasted him for civil rights violations, states rights violations and budget insanity.

Secondly, you said: "conservatism proper has the chance to survive a lousy nominee if they can remain united against that candidate."

This is an excellent point and it is what I was sort of getting at by excluding Clinton and Bush I in my discussion. The reason Bush I didn't hurt conservatism was that he never ran as a conservative. He deliberately set himself apart from conservative Reagan by being a kindler, gentler, moderate. And the conservatives at the time attacked him for being a moderate.

The end result was that when Bush failed it didn't reflect poorly on conservatism and Clinton had to run to the right of Bush to win.

But Bush Jr. wrapped himself in the conservative flag and conservatives defended him for 6 years. In so doing, this redefined conservatism as big government/crony conservatism.

Obama has actually done the same sort of damage to "moderate liberalism." He sold himself as a moderate liberal but proved to be a progressive. Now his failures have all but wiped out moderate liberals because that is what he claimed to be.

I think the real problem in this election (along this same line) is this: Newt and Santorum act as progressives but swear up and down that they are conservatives AND conservatives are helping them make that case. That means, the meaning of conservatism is on the line with either of those candidates.

If conservatives attacked them as liberals or moderates, it would be different. But with conservatives jumping on the Newt bandwagon, they are hooking conservatism to HIM and conservatism will bear all the blame for his failures -- even though those will be liberal policies.

It's like claiming to be the chef but letting your neighbor actually do the cooking. You will bear any damage to your reputation if the meal is unpalatable -- not the neighbor.

The only way around that would be to expose Newt as no conservative and for conservatives to make it very public that he is no conservative and they don't support his views. But I don't see how that will happen given the "everybody other than Romney is a conservative" mentality in the conservative media right now.

In effect, the conservative media is committing ideological suicide.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, That is actually at the heart of something I think is important to point out.

What we have been doing with the Republicans is called "enabling." We demand a conservative. They give us a liberal and promise to do better next time but this was a special case blah blah blah. And rather than cutting them off and flexing our power, conservatives fall for the line, hold their nose and wait for the party to finally come around. That won't happen as long as we keep supporting them no matter what.

We need to cut them off.

And you're right that the Tea Party will fail if they don't flex their muscles. They got noticed when they threw out a bunch of sitting liberal Republican Senators. But that kind of getting noticed requires a continuing will to use that power. They run a real risk if they don't stand up for their beliefs at the presidential level. The establishment is playing a game of chicken, and we lose forever if we start blinking.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I've never been in this situation before either. Like you, I've never hated a president before -- though I have disliked several. And I've had many nominees I didn't care for, but none who scared me. This time, we have both... and that is making this one of the hardest elections ever.

I have to go back to blaming conservatives for this. They should have lined up quality candidates long before this began. They had many chance and they never took them. Why?

Why is our side so stupid?

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I guess my age gives me one small iota of insight into party stupidity. I was still a liberal in 1972 when my party (the Democrats) nominated Jellyfish George McGovern. The Republicans nominated Richard Nixon. What a choice! I asked myself at the time "how could we be so stupid?" I guess history really does repeat itself, particularly if we don't learn its lessons.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Excellent analogy. That's a lot what this election feels like. And it stuns me that we weren't able to find a solid conservative to win this race. We should have a nominee right now who is 20% ahead of Obama.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, you must be riding the zeitgeist train again. Limbaugh closed his show out (20 min. ago) by calling into question Newt's conservatism. His last thought was that in tonite's debate, Newt may try to present himself as the alternative to Newt.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I like to think of myself as a trendsetter. Trust me, now that we're pushing sequined jumpsuits for candidates.... it's inevitable! ;)

In all seriousness, I'm glad Rush is finally pointing this out. I know Newt is his friend, but the truth about Newt needs to be told. Newt has lied about EVERYTHING he's said lately and too many people aren't hearing it.

In fact, NRO had a fascinating article about Newt's relationship with Reagan the other day which people should read: LINK. It points out how Newt spent the 1980s attacking Ronald Reagan.

T-Rav said...

Well, I've been busy a good deal of the day and missed the conversation. (sigh)

Andrew, I remain staunchly in the "Anybody But Obama" position. This SOTU brought to mind everything I hate about our TOTUS--his shallow intellect, his determination to put party and ideology before country, all of it. If this "man" were to be in the Oval Office for another four years, I'm not sure we could pick up the pieces, GOP Congress or no GOP Congress. By the way, if our candidate loses, a GOP Congress is of little use. It can stop Obama from ramming stuff like ObamaCare through, but he's proven he'll do a lot of that through executive orders anyway. We won't be able to reverse any of it, because we won't have veto-proof majorities in either house, and there's going to be at least one more Supreme Court vacancy to be filled, and I'm afraid it might be Thomas or Scalia this time.

I say this with a little bit of trepidation, because I don't want it to come out wrong. But I think you're getting a little carried away with your (understandable) dislike of Gingrich (and to a lesser extent Santorum). I don't say that because I want either to be the nominee. I don't. But I also can't imagine that they'd be as bad as Obama. And in a world with either of them as President, the GOP Congress becomes much more useful, because they can act as a brake on the nuttier stuff, and both are sure to repeal ObamaCare and nominate conservative justices, among other things.

I understand your basic point. But with the circumstances now at hand, I cannot view a refusal to vote for the nominee (and a de facto vote for Obama) as justifiable.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, actually come to think of it, Rush spent a lot of time on Newt today, and most of it was not favorable.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Up yours! Just kidding, you make solid points.

Allow me to clarify a few points.

First, I'm actually still on the fence on whether or not Newt falls into the "more harm than the Democrat camp." I know others who have told me they simply will not vote for him no matter what because they see him as a danger to the country and conservatism, but I'm not there yet and I sincerely hope I don't need to make that decision. (I'm not worried about Santorum because his appeal is too limited to matter.)

Secondly, in general, years of watching elections have taught me that it will always seem like the country needs to be saved from the other guy this time and that this kind of thinking too often is nothing more than an attempt to trick conservatives into supporting someone who isn't a conservative. So in that sense, I have learned to devalue that argument.

However, this time it may actually be true. Obama is the most destructive president since LBJ and in that regard, almost anyone would be an improvement. And you make valid points about the courts, etc. That is in fact the most critical aspect of this upcoming election -- the courts.

Where I am right now, mentally, is really pissed off that it's come to this. I am pissed that conservatives are so stupid that they couldn't find one of the many genuine conservatives out there to run, that they let Cain be smeared right out of the race, and that they are falling for the utter BS of the Newt campaign which is trying to paint Obama-lite policies as "genuine outsider conservatism." And I am concerned that Newt may prove to be a disaster for us in both the short and long term.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's good because I know he's been very neutral about Newt so far. In fact, my father is cursing him for not pointing out everything that's wrong with Newt.

rlaWTX said...

on Cain - after the Tea Party response he gave (which was much livelier that The Daniels GOP response), he was asked questions. One of them was why he thought his issues were reacted to differently than Newt's have been. His answer was timing. His attacks were closer to the beginning when the public wasn't paying as much attention to the media driven nastiness. Newt's came at a later point where the public had become more aware of the media's bias. That was obviously the nice answer - and I enjoyed it. But if he had added the less nice reasons: [1] it was a full court lib MSM press because he had left the plantation and [2] the conservative media didn't come to his defense.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I saw that clip the next day. I think you're right. He gave a very solid, positive answer -- the kind the electorate likes. But the truth is a little more sinister -- though it wouldn't have helped him to say it.

I really, really wish the conservative media would not have sold him out. He would have been an incredible president!

rlaWTX said...

< premature submission >

if he had added those reasons, I think it would have been awesome...

StanH said...

With the exception of Ronald Reagan, I’ve disliked every candidate that the RNC puts up, even in 1980 I considered Libertarian John Anderson, but Carter was to dangerous to allow in the Whitehouse for four more years, the same can be said about Barry.

To me the best analogy by going 3rd party or not voting, is 1992 voting for Perot, I’m sorry : ( Clinton won by a plurality, and in ’96 thanks to Perot, and me, in ‘92.

Let us not forget another very important duty of the president, Supreme Court, and other federal court appointments, I don’t think McCain would have chosen Sotomayor, or Kagan? So though we all want to take the RNC to the woodshed for a severe beating, we must also think long game.

I miss Cain as well, but, we have to deal with reality…ABO!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Me too. But the MSM would have tarred him as seeking racism under every rock. I think it's better when conservative's avoid screaming racism as much as possible.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Those are good points, especially the Supreme Court. At this point, I'm just hoping it doesn't come down to that choice. I think Newt v. Obama is a no-win scenario for us.

T-Rav said...

Aaaannddd the day's finally over. :-)

Thanks, Andrew, I wasn't trying to make accusations or anything. The idea of Obama being president for four more years just makes me want to throw up, and it's difficult for me to believe anyone on the Republican side could be worse. Like I've said before, as much as I loathe Romney, if he becomes the nominee, I'll vote for him in November without hesitation.

But like you, I am really very disgusted at the entire field. With all the talent at our disposal, this is what it's come down to. I have literally zero enthusiasm for any of them.

LawHawkRFD said...

Just a thought. I've lived and been involved with politics in California most of my life. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown (father of current governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown) was twice elected governor of California by comfortable margins, including beating Richard Nixon in 1962. But he was boring, erratic, highly capable of mangled English and logic, and made some highly-unpopular decisions as governor. The running joke was that he won election comfortably, but nobody knew anybody who ever voted for him, including his two earlier elections as Attorney General of the state. What people say they will do at the ballot box doesn't necessarily translate into what they actually do.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I know what you mean and party of me shares that view. And in the abstract in a straight up comparison, no Republican would be worse than Obama.

But the real question isn't the straight up comparison, but the question of long term.

In other words, taking poison is preferable to setting yourself on fire, but neither is a great option.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's true and I've always discounted claims that people won't vote if they don't get their way. But I also think the truly unexpected appearance of the Tea Party and their willingness to lose races rather than support people they considered RINOs added a new more strident dynamic which I haven't seen in my lifetime.

(P.S. That's also why I discount any polls that show incumbents being soundly beaten this far out because it's easy to say you'll vote against them, but it's much less likely when the time comes.

Patti said...

i think the field is set too. makes me sad, but what can a gal do? i pray we win this one, but my bigger hopes are on the next.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I'm more hopeful of the future too than the present, but we need to be sure not to kill our future chances in the present.

Kit said...

I am leaning to Romney and here are some questions I want the candidates to be asked.

I would like for Newt to be asked why he slammed Paul Ryan's plan, which even Mr. Romneycare supported, "right-wing social engineering".

I would also want Santorum asked on his earmarks and pro-spending during the Bush years.

Romney: Will Obamacare be repealed within 1 year of taking office?
If so, why should it be repealed, especially when it bears so many responsibilities to your own Mass. healthcare law.

Ron Paul: Anything on foreign policy.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I'm leaning toward Romney too for a variety of reasons. Mainly:

1. Of the candidates left, except for Paul, is the only one who is currently speaking in conservative tones. He may have been a moderate in the past, but he has switched to conservatism and makes no signs of going back. The others keep spouting leftism and trying to call it conservatism.

2. Watching the debates, I am actually starting to believe he is a conservative. I say this because he's been consistently conservative throughout the debates on all issues and I don't think it's possible to fake it so thoroughly unless he believes it. I can't be certain obviously, but I suspect really has had a conversion.

3. Romney is the most likely to led the Congress lead him and the Congress is conservative. I'm concerned that the other guys would get into fights with Congress and would end up creating a very ugly situation in Washington. I think Romney is the most likely to hear what the public wants and try to achieve that.

I wish there were better choices, but I can accept Romney and I have a hope that he could end up being a very good President.

Excellent questions.

Kit said...

I support Mitt but I'm a supporter who does not think he should be tossed softballs.

In fact, I want the candidates I support to be asked tough ones, so I'll know if my support is right.


I also want to note, I am getting REALLY sick of Gingrich supporters calling anyone who is either supporting Romney or has reservations about Gingrich "RINOs", "Establishment RINOs", or "Establishment RINO dumbasses".

In fact, I think the term "RINO" is becoming, like the word "fascist", over-used to the point where it no longer has any substantive meaning.

Kit said...

My biggest concern with Romney is him as a Candidate in the General Election.

Will he have the fire in his gut to take on Obama.

If he keeps up his behavior in the Flordia debates . . . perhaps.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I agree on both points. Hard questions sharpen the nominee and expose their real thought processes. The softballs and questions that let them just spout bumperstick thoughts ("we need hope") do nothing except show you the marketing plan they created. So I absolutely think they should all be asked tough (but fair) questions to get that their real beliefs and expose their judgment and their thought processes.

I also agree about the Newt people and the use of the word RINO. The Newt people (and Newt himself) are being very destructive. They are adopting leftist ideas and using them to attack the others -- which only reinforces the idea that the left is right. They are also throwing an incredible amount of mud. And by using the RINO word, they are unfairly dampening the enthusiasm for Romney should he win the nomination. In other words, they are doing long term harm.

I've objected the overuse of RINO for some time now. RINO came about because of a very select few Republicans who voted more with the Democrats than the Republicans and who could be counted on to go on television and basically slander Republicans. They were left-of-center moderates who lacked judgment and loyalty.

Unfortunately, too many people turned RINO into meaning nothing more than "moderate" and now it's morphed further into "more moderate than my guy." That's bad on so many levels. It's elevated name calling over analysis, made genuine disagreement impossible, and it's made the concept of RINOs meaningless -- when they really should be removed from the party because of their disloyalty (not their moderate views).

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's a good question, but I think the keep in mind is that bland may be better in this election because this election will be a referendum on Obama. Obama loses in a landslide when it's about his record. So the only way he can win is to paint the Republican as a nut. That's the one thing he can't do with Romney.

That said, it is harder for Republicans to support someone without passion. Fortunately, he has been showing more of it in Florida. I too hope he keeps it up and keeps adding intensity.

Kit said...

Many Gingrich supporters need to realize Romney may very well be the nominee come November.

There is a reason for the Reagan Commandment. Some attacks are necessary but if you throw too much mud you can kill us in the General.

But that seems to be fine with a number of them.

And they attack ANYONE who criticizes Gingrich as RINO

Heck, I've seen comments attacking the author of an article as an "Establishment RINO" simply because the person said Gingirch performed poorly/flat-out lost the FL debates.

Kit said...

Mitt need not have Gingrich levels of Anger, he must simply show voters that he is not an alien robot sent to observe humanity*.


Show some passion, like he showed in the debate, clear up his position on Obamacare/Romneycare, and point out Gingrich's often statist positions.

Romney is POTENTIALLY the most electable. The key word, I think, is "potentially". He must simply show he wants it and point out how Gingrich is not as conservative as he claims and how Newt has been the "Vickie Mendoza"** of the primaries.

Also, in the general he could use his "Mr. Fix-it" reputation rather well.


*I stole that from Jonah Goldberg.
**Look up Barney Stinson's "Hot-Crazy Scale"

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I agree completely.

The level of anger and irrationality is disturbing. They really have reached a point where it's "you're with us or you're the enemy." And that's very bad for the party. The primary should be about testing candidates and finding the best one. It should not be a hate-filled name-calling contest that seeks to destroy everyone around you. Candidates should win primaries, not survive them.

Right now a lot of Newt people are happy to destroy anyone who doesn't toe the line. That's very bad for the party and it's really telling that Newt hasn't stood up and told them all to calm down.

On Romney, I agree. He needs to become "more human" to win people over. I have seen flashes of that in Florida, but he's not there yet. I wish I had some advice for him on that, but some people just come across as stiff in public and he may just be one of those people?

LOL! On the Vickie Mendoza line! I'd never seen that before. Very nice!

(BTW, Are you standing before the TARDIS in your new avatar?)

Kit said...

Also, foreign policy questions are a bit harder as there are so many variables in foreign policy.

Though there are a few:
-Would you end America's shunning of Honduras.
-Something on the EU. Though I doubt anyone would have time to answer that craphullaballoo in less 1 hour.
-How long should we stay in Afghanistan?


I also don't think questions should be asked on Gingrich's wives or Romney's wealth.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, There are some very solid foreign policy questions I'd like to know the answer to, but not in soundbite responses:

1. What would be your goal in Afghanistan and how do you see us getting there?

2. How would you slow the spread of leftist regimes in South America?

3. How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb?

4. What would be your economic policy toward China?

5. How do we help Mexico win it's civil war with it's drug cartels?

Those would be just for starters. I'd actually like to see a series of sit-down interviews with each candidate.

I agree complete on the money and wives. I think it's shameful that Republicans would ever play into the class warfare attacks by suggesting that there is something wrong with people getting rich. And I have long felt that families are off base unless there's something really extreme like an allegation that the wife is a foreign agent.

Kit said...

Yes, I am standing in front of the TARDIS. I am using Rory Williams as my Google Account profile photo.

And Ron Paul, he's in the "Shelly Gilespie Zone".

As for the Gingrich-supporter behavior. We saw a similiar thing with Christine O'Donnell.

Another thing that worries me with Gingrich:

Remember the Obama-Hillary feud in 2008? It nearly torpedoed the Democrats but after it was over Obama and Hillary were able to smooth things over enough for Obama to win the election.

I don't know if Gingrich will work with Romney to smooth things over.
I think Santorum would, he has enough to lose from fighting with Romney to the bitter end whereas Gingrich has nothing to lose from fighting to the bitter end.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Ah, I couldn't make out the face -- it's too small to see. But the TARDIS did look familiar! And now that you mention it, it does look like Rory.

I agree with your concern about Newt. More than anyone I've seen since John Anderson in 1980, Newt strikes me as a guy who is acting like it has to be him or nobody. I know part of this is to make people who might be on the fence decide they need to support him, but the bigger part of it strikes me as a personality defect -- he strikes me as a very sore loser and that seems to be what a lot of people who know him think as well.

Scorched earth in a primary is despicable.

Kit said...

Good point re Mexico. Not many realize it is facing a civil war and insurgency as real as the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Though it is more of a "criminal insurgency" rather than an ideological one.

Stemming from you Q.1, would be FARC. "Do you think that Venezuela's support for FARC constitutes it as a terror-sponsering state?"

I know what Paul's answers will be. Simply pick the most worst possible response to the question and that will be it.
But I would like to ask him about the Cuban embargo, especially considering it was put in place BECAUSE Communist Cuba started taking over American businesses down there.

I also want Gingrich asked about his Class Warfare attacks on Mitt.

Kit said...

Also, If they paused after a question, we start playing the Jeapardy theme. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, Mexico is a mess and if it goes wrong, then we could be looking at something even worse than Venezuela right on our border.

On Paul, it's not even the "less involved" in the world that bothers me, it's the head in the sand. It's one thing to say "we shouldn't be fighting in X or Y." It's another to say "if we just ignore all the bad stuff, it will all go away!

And you're right about FARC. How can we stand by and let our friends be swamped by insurgencies created by these leftist regimes?

America needs to get better at supporting our friends and punishing our enemies. Right now often do the opposite.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, LOL! If we're going to make a circus out of it, they should have to juggle too while answering! ;)

Kit said...

Here is an article at Washington Examiner calling Newt Gingrich the "Saul Alinsky Republican".

Worth a look
http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/article/newt-gingrich-saul-alinsky-republican/338701

AndrewPrice said...

I saw that earlier today. It's definitely on point. Newt's tactics are guerrilla tactics and they rely on him making himself seem like "the outsider who is dangerous to the establishment" -- even though he's a life-long establishment type.

I also think, by the way, that mentioning Saul Alinsky will play very poorly with the public. The public doesn't care about long dead radicals they know nothing about. They want bigger picture issues -- jobs, income, safety. Attacking Obama as a follower of Alinsky is just too obscure and sounds nutty to average people.

Here's the link: LINK

Kit said...

Also,

Who the $#%@ would have thought we'd see the day wwhen Anne Coulter and Jonah "Liberal Fascism" Goldberg would be called "Establishment RINOs"?

AndrewPrice said...

Pretty shocking isn't it?

Kit said...

Yep, it is shocking.

Kit said...

Not to mention the conspiracy theory nuttiness going on about the "establishment"

Just look at the redistricting of Allen West's seat.

The theory is that to punish Allen West for being a Tea Partier and not endorsing Mitt Romney (he hasn't endorsed anyone else, either) by redistricting one of their most popular representatives in a manner that will cost him the election.

Their main proof is that Will Weatherford, a FL State House member, was one of the primary guys behind the state's redistricting.

The people who did the redistricting claim that it was because of a new Flordia redistricting law that was passed in 2010.

Of course, there is one very strong reason to put Allen West in a tough spot: He could take it.

He, probably more than most (maybe any) Florida GOP Representatives, can get a large amount of donors and support not only state-wide but nationally as well.

Here is Rep. Will Weatherford's statement on the redistricting:

---------------------

Part of the challenge we with the new amendments, 5 and 6 that past, it created clear standards about how we draw districts. So, we can’t draw districts for any partisan reasons, we can’t draw districts based upon what a candidate wants, or what a party wants. We have to draw them based upon what the law said, so it took away a lot of the flexibility normally a legislature would have . And so in doing that, we felt that the maps we did draw, were the most legally compliant possible. There were winners and losers in that, unfortunately. But, I think that what we wanted to do was take the maps that we could send to the court, and hopefully get through the court, and I think we did that.

I think our plan is to pass it through(Allen West’s map) It complies with the Voting Right Act, it complies with Amendment 6, which is also something we have to follow. Drawing districts is not as easy as doing what you want, you have to look at cities, you have to look at county boundaries, you have to make population exactly the same in a congressional district, its not easy when you have two new districts that come into the state, that makes eveyone elses district a little bit smaller.

It’s a challenging process, but I think that what Senator Gaetz and I, and the Speaker and the President negotiated is a map that is fair and is legal. We allowed everyone to have a say. Republicans had a say, Democrats had a say. If people wanted to file amendments to make the districts different, they could, but everything we did was based on how to make the maps as legal as we possibly could.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Unfortunately, conspiracy theories come into play when people start playing the victim card and Newt's campaign has been based on making himself look like the victim. People will run with that and start seeing everything as part of some sinister plan.

It's pretty shameful to promote that kind of thinking, but lots of candidates do it because it's also effective ad creating a lot of strong supporters -- of course, it also turns off vast numbers of people.

Kit said...

Who do you think will fight harder for repeal of Obamacare?

I think Newt might fight harder for repeal but the problem with Newt is not that he won't fight for Obamacare's repeal but what he decides to replace it with really depends upon what he had for breakfast.

There is really no telling what he'll try to replace it with. After all, he felt that Paul Ryan's plan was too far-right calling it "right-wing social engineering".

Newt is a true wild card. He is the Joker in the deck.

Romney has shown hinted he would go for a more federalist approach.

And Newt is literally so eratic he might stop fighting for repeal.

AndrewPrice said...

I think Romney is the better choice here for three reasons.

1. He strikes me as a guy who will always do what the public wants first. And the public has spoken on ObamaCare -- they like 2-3 small parts and want the rest gone.

2. Also, he's said some very interesting "truly conservative" things in terms of getting the government back out of the patient/doctor relationship. That's the real answer to solving the healthcare problem and he's the only one who has made these suggestions (other than Paul of course). Has he gone far enough? No. But he has at least taken steps in the right direction -- the others seem happy to leave the federal government running healthcare, they just want to do it through Medicare.

3. I think Romney will defer to the House and Senate Republicans to handle the details of the repeal and what to replace it with. That should be enough. But even more so, that's better than someone (i.e. Newt) deciding they are going to create NewtCare to create a legacy.

Kit said...

At George Will to the list of "establishmet Republicans".


Mr. Fred Thompson, Matt Drudge is in no one's pocket but his own. He is a sensationalist. And Newt happens to provide more sensational headlines than Mitt. It's that simple.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, they were attacking Drudge the other day already. What's he supposed to do? Ignore all the conservatives who support Romney to show he's not anti-Newt?

George Will has always struck me as bland, but bright and I've never questioned his conservatism.

This is highly destructive stuff. And I have to say that if Newt didn't already trouble me, this would. If he's any sort of conservative, then he should be out there shutting these people up, not trying to stir them up.

Kit said...

I love how Drudge responded to it:



;D ;0 $$

Each emoticon was a link:
http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2011/11/14/20111114_201130.htm

http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2011/11/18/20111118_181506.htm

http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2011/11/13/20111113_022605.htm

Kit said...

And here is the original link for the NYTimes article that Thompson cited as prooof that Matt Drudge is in Mitt's back pocket.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/us/politics/the-calculations-that-led-romney-to-the-warpath.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all


It says that Matt Roades, Mitt's campaign manager, has "close ties" to Drudge. It also says that Gingrich's team "eventually gave up on trying to persuade the Drudge staff to spare them".

Now, I'll admit it is possible that Drudge would let personal friendships direct how he put out links it is just as possible he did because they were juicy headlines that would bring more people to his site.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I just saw the links. Nicely handled by Drudge.

I think Drudge can shade the new a bit by the stories he picks, but I rarely get the feeling he's biased or that he's doing anything to hurt conservatives or conservatism. To the contrary, he seems to give everyone a fair shake.

And I think this is more evidence of how reckless and destructive the Gingrich people are. This election will end one way or another and when it's over, people like Drudge will still be there as a valuable resource. But to help them in the short term, the Newt people are out there smearing Drudge in ways that liberals will be able to repeat for years to come.

In effect, Newt and his cronies are making a broad-based attack on conservatives which is doing an incredible amount of long-term harm.

Kit said...

Ironically, Newt has accused Mitt of doing Carpet bomb attacks.

While he and his supporters are on a Robespierre-style purity campaign.

AndrewPrice said...

You know, one of the things I've run into all throughout my life is that when people engage in misbehavior (and they know it) they often attack their critics by claiming the critics are doing exactly what they themselves are doing.

Kit said...

Newt's supporters have been screaming bloody murder about Mitt's (sometimes over-the-top) attack ads.

Newt has launched his share of personal attacks as well -with one difference.

Newt's personal attacks on Mitt have been incredibly clumsy.

First there was the King of Bain. Which many conservatives rightly blasted as anti-capitalist and class warfare.

Then there was the bizarre criticism of his investments in Freddie Mac. I still have no idea why Newt thought that was a ood idea when he was a damn consultant for the group (and I'm giving himthe benefit of the doubt on the lobbying claim). What on earth made Newt think that stirring that pot was a good idea?

There have been others as well.

Its the attacks by Newt's supporters against Mitt's supporters that have been over the top and might be the ones that work.

Kit said...

When I say "work" I don't thnk the attacks on Mitt's supporters will win the election. Rather, they might put such divisions within the GOP and the conservative movement that could prove impossible to heal.

Then there is the doomsday scenario: Newt running as an independent.

AndrewPrice said...

On the one hand, I can't see Newt running as an independent. It sounds crazy, right? That would mean he would knowingly damn the party for the potential of personal gain. But then it is Newt and he only cares about himself.

Then I think back on my own state (Colorado) where that exact thing happened this last time. Tom Tancredo didn't like the Republican candidate so he ran as an independent. The Democrat won with 46% of the vote. And Newt is much more arrogant that Tancredo, so I could actually see him try it.


The other thing about the attacks is that while Romney's ads have often been over the top, they've still largely focused on Newt's history or his personality. But Newt has gone after Romney in ways that are anti-capitalist and destructive to conservative ideas. Plus, Romney hasn't tried to attack anyone who supports Newt, as Newt has. Newt is running a scorched earth campaign.

Kit said...

Someone pointed this out in the comments at HotAir.

----------------------

"Newt and his surrogates have been all over the tube on Sunday crying about Romney’s money. Waaaah! Just let it go. Romney is rich, that’s true, and his organization was prepared to run. Romney’s camp raised the necessary funds to conduct a presidential primary campaign. They rose to the challenge.

Newt, your lack of funding and failure to get on several state ballots speak to your inability to manage a campaign. How in the world do you propose to defeat the Obama juggernaut – by your brilliant debate skills (which have been wildly unimpressive lately)?

Not ready for prime time.

Santorum isn’t whining this hard, Newt. And his campaign is essentially broke."

--------

Love that last line.

"Santorum isn’t whining this hard, Newt. And his campaign is essentially broke."

Kit said...

Oh, and now Newt is asking Santorum to drop out.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That is an excellent response to Newt -- if he thinks it's unfair that Romney had more money and he can't compete with that (not to mention not having the organization to get on each state's ballots), how in the world will he ever compete with Obama's billion dollars?


I heard earlier that he was asking Santorum to drop out, but I can't see Santorum agreeing. I think it's just a tactic to make Santorum's supporters think Santorum is about to give up and then select Newt as the anybody-but-Romney candidate.

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