Thursday, May 31, 2012

Democratic Wedge Issues

I said a long time ago that the Democratic Party really isn’t a political party anymore. It’s become a collection of tribes held together by some common interests. The thing is, their common interests are really quite narrow and they glossed over significant disagreements in forming the coalition. Recent events, such as Obama’s embrace of gay marriage against the wishes of blacks and Romney’s discussion of education with Hispanics highlight this more than ever. It’s time for conservatives to start driving wedges into this coalition.

Conservatives need to spot the disagreements that were glossed over and start pointing those out relentlessly. The idea would be to cause enough friction within the Democratic alliance that the party ruptures into ineffective smaller groups. Here are some thoughts on where those disagreements might be and how to attack them.

1. Gays v. Feminists: At one point, gays should have been natural allies of conservatives. Conservatives believe in less government and individual rights, and the problems gays faced until the mid-1980s were sodomy laws, which made gay relationships criminal. But now that those laws have been struck down, the gay agenda has switched to forcing others to accept their lifestyles. That puts gays at odds with conservatism. Feminists similarly are at odds with conservatives because they too favor big government schemes to reshape society. So neither groups is likely winnable for conservatives. But that doesn’t mean we can’t drive a wedge between them.

The big issue for feminists is abortion. And as I mentioned the other day when discussing sex selection (something Planned Parenthood just got caught promoting), abortion means the end of homosexuality once genetics locates the “gay gene.” It would behoove conservatives to keep pushing this idea to the gay community that abortion = gay-genocide, and suggesting they seek to limit abortion.

2. Blacks v. Feminists: Blacks have very much tied themselves to the Democrats by making themselves wards of the state. Through either direct money transfers to poor blacks or race-based preferences in loans, housing, schools and jobs for middle and upper-class blacks, blacks as a group have come to rely on the government. So they are unreachable as a group. But as I pointed out the other day, abortion is killing blacks in massive numbers compared to all other races. Conservatives need to beat this drum that abortion = black-genocide to separate them from feminists. It would also be smart of conservatives to start pointing out that affirmative action has by far benefited upper-to-middle class white women more than it has blacks. This has the potential to set up a bloody fight between feminists and blacks over how to divide the spoils of affirmative action.

3. Blacks v. Gays: Blacks as a group are socially conservative when it comes to gays. Conservatives should push the message to blacks that the Democratic Party, which is dominated by the gay lobby, is looking to force the gay agenda on them and their churches.

4. Hispanics v. Everyone: Hispanics are an odd group to be jammed into the Democratic coalition. They are socially conservative and largely Catholic, yet the Democratic Party hates religion (atheists) and is dominated by the gay lobby (gay marriage) and feminists (contraception). Moreover, they are the second biggest victims of abortion, so they should be uneasy with that too (feminists). Unions have worked hard to keep them out of the country, to keep them from getting jobs, and have kept them out of the well-paying union jobs. Further, as Romney noted, the teachers unions are hurting their kids. They run a large number of small businesses, who find themselves attacked by unions, who are unable to obtain financing from the Democrats’ Wall Street friends, and who are crushed by environmental and labor regulations. Each of these issues should be made clear to them.

5. Bankers v. Socialists: By and large, the Democratic rank and file hate business, hate capitalism, and HATE banks. They despise Wall Street. Yet, most of the money the Democrats get comes from that very same Wall Street. And right now, Wall Street is upset at being vilified by the Democrats. Conservatives should keep pushing the Democrats on this point. They should force elected Democrats to make a choice, support Wall Street or do the bidding of the rank and file, by bringing up legislation which splits this coalition, such as elimination of banking fees. The more the Democrats are made to dance, the greater the chance they will lose one group or the other.

6. Environmentalists v. Farmers/Miners/Workers: Since the days of FDR, the Democrats have done their best to buy farmers, coal miners, and skilled-labor workers with government handouts. But in the past thirty years, as ivory tower intellectuals and white-collar professionals have come to dominate the Democratic Party, they’ve adopted environmentalism as a religion, and with it they’ve put in place insane rules which cripple farmers, miners and workers. It’s time for Republicans to push this issue hard. They need to point out to auto-workers in Detroit and coal miners in West Virginia how much regulation the Democrats have imposed on their fields and what the cost is and why this lets China steal their jobs. Also point out how Democratic friends like GE are shipping their jobs overseas. Similarly, Republicans need to become fluent in the regulatory burden imposed on farmers and they need to go farm by farm explaining to these people how the Democratic agenda is crushing them.

7. The Elderly v. the Poor: The elderly are abandoning the Democrats already, and Republicans need to help push that along. Republicans specifically need to talk about Medicare. Fewer and fewer doctors are willing to take Medicare because it doesn’t pay enough. Despite this, Obama plans to steal another $500 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare and its subsidies to the poor. Republicans need to make this clear that the Democrats are stealing from the elderly to hand out the money to other groups.

8. Jews: The Republicans have had little success winning over Jews. There are two reasons for this. First, many Jews are simply scared of the Religious Right starting a second inquisition. I know that specific outreach has begun on this issue and that needs to continue. More importantly, as I mentioned with Hispanics the other day, Republicans have wrongly been treating Jews as a single-issue people, with that issue being Israel. But Israel clearly isn’t that strong of a pull. A better approach would be to talk to them about issues like Medicare (which resonates in Florida), the attacks on Wall Street (which resonate in New York), and this: the Republicans need to establish a counterpart to the Anti-Defamation League to focus exclusively on all the anti-Semitism coming from the left these days. We’ve seen this at Media Matters, at OWS and just generally from the left.

If Republicans do these things right, they can create tremendous friction within the Democratic alliance, perhaps even enough to shatter the party. The way to do this is to relentlessly point out the issues above. Do that through targeted advertisements, in speeches, on webpages/blogs and through media stunts by having our talking heads demand explanations from the Democrats on these wedge issues. Further, the Republicans should start crafting legislative proposals which put the groups above on opposing sides and forces the Democrats to pick sides.

At the same time, as I said the other day, Republicans needs to start reaching out to each of these groups on the issues that we have in common. Even taking away 5% of Democrats would guarantee a permanent Republican super-majority.



K said...

Some good thoughts, Andrew.

You are off base, I think, in the gays vs feminists department. NOW, for example, is dominated by gay women - quite a bit of their policy comes from lesbian issues and have only recently been coming back to being what is in essence a defacto union movement for women - selling affirmative action government mandated salary adjustments and government handouts.

Where the gays could be split from the Democratic party is that quite a few tend to libertarianism while also representing a higher average income than any other segment of the Democrats save the bankers and finance wing. So things like soaking the over $250K "rich" isn't going to play there - and you will notice didn't get passed when they had control.

I'm actually sorry that some of the "safe" Republicans didn't help out the 'Crats balance the budget by a tax increase on the million+/yr folks. I'm convinced it would have done more harm long term harm to the Democrats than it would the few Republicans who voted for it.

Anthony said...

I'm as anti-abortion as the next guy, but I recognize that abortion is a morally unacceptable choice too many black women make, not something that is forced upon them by outsiders (including feminists and/or Planned Parenthood).

Its no coincidence that the black community has the highest rate of out of wedlock (half of which are unplanned) births and the highest rate of abortions.

Also, I fail to see how a dispute over abortion (which I judge unlikely) could trigger a dispute over affirmative action.

I think blacks vs gays is doable, but tricky, because most of the leadership of the black community is to the left of the community itself. That is a very longstanding gap.

I think someone could come along and take advantage of the gap, but honestly, despite swooning in some circles over guys like Allen West and Herman Cain, neither of them seems to know how to talk to a black person that doesn't share their beliefs (slavery rhetoric wins applause at CPAC, but in real life its a quick way to turn a discussion into a fight).

DUQ said...

Interesting thoughts. This makes sense. Not as an entire strategy, but certainly as part of one.

How about Hispanics versus environmentalists because we are importing about two million people a year and that should drive the environmentalists nuts, you would think.

Ed said...

Excellent article. Very thought provoking. I think most of this could be done to cause a lot of tension in their ranks. Whether they break off or not, I'm not sure. But it would be fascinating to watch the rank and file demand the Democrats stop taking money from banks, that's for sure.

Ed said...

Anthony, I don't think Andrew means the abortion debate would cause an affirmative action debate as well, I think he means those as two separate issues. And on that point, I read him to be saying that because they are fighting over the same benefits, that would be a source of agitation we could exploit.

AndrewPrice said...

K, The abortion issue wouldn't be a problem with a group like NOW for the reason you mention, but I think it would be a problem with feminists generally, who really do view abortion as the Holy Grail in life.

But leaving that aside, I agree with you about soaking the rich (gays, bankers, professionals, billionaires -- all Democrats). And it's unfortunate that so many conservatives don't see the forest for the trees on that issue. Most of the people who would be zapped with a soak the rich (or regulate the banks) routine are Democratic supporters.

And the Democrats are just using this as rhetoric to pump up their rank and file with no intention of actually doing "the rich" any harm. Republicans need to call their bluff on these issues.

Another good example is eliminating or capping the deduction for home mortgages and eliminating the deduction for state income taxes. Those things work as a transfer payment/subsidy to rich liberal states like California and New York and help those states hide their true tax burden. But Republicans won't allow the elimination of those things because they are "tax hikes." That's short sighted. Eliminating those things, would punish big liberal states and force them to stop being so liberal. The Republicans need to start thinking more strategically.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, The key on the abortion issue would be the leadership. If you get Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan et. al. whining about needing to limit abortion because it kills blacks disproportionately, then you start to drive that wedge between blacks and feminists. If you can get Hispanics and gays doing the same thing, you really are likely to create a Democratic-civil war.

The abortion and affirmative action issue are two separate ideas. There have been dozens of studies over the years which showed that upper-class white women have benefited most from programs like affirmative action. That is again the sort of issue you could use to spur a fight between blacks and feminists. For example, suggesting that the programs be fixed to achieve their "true intent" by eliminating women from the protected categories or including an income cap -- anything to get the two groups fighting over who is more deserving.

On speaking to blacks, that is something Republicans haven't been good at because they've been afraid to talk to blacks for fear that anything they say will be seen as racist. Guys like Cain and West at least are breaking down those barriers. I think an effective campaign like this would require people like Ann Coulter (for example) asking Al Sharpton questions like: "doesn't it bother you that black children are five times more likely to be aborted and how can you support abortion under those circumstance". The idea would be to (1) keep pushing the issue and making the left defend it, which will generate it's own publicity, and (2) look for legislative ways to put the two sides on opposing sides.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Definitely this would not be a complete strategy. Nor should this be an official strategy. This should be one of those things which gets coordinate quietly behind the scenes.

The big strategy should still be selling conservatism.

I think the idea of environmentalist v. Hispanics should work in theory, but the problem (as we keep learning) is that environmentalists don't really believe the things they say. Their primary goal is socialism, not protecting the environment. BUT it would still be a great argument to add to the immigration debate.... "we can't keep adding a city the size of Denver to the country each year, the environment can't take that."

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I think it is unlikely they would blow up entirely. But every little bit helps.

If you could make it toxic for the Democrats to deal with big business, then they will lose an important source of funding.

Hispanics I think can be won over.

Some of the more socialist rank and file can probably be spun off to a "progressive party" which might cost the Democrats 1% of their voters.

And even more importantly, a lot of this could just create natural constituencies within their own party who will stop them from achieving their own goals. For example, if gays and blacks turn against abortion, then their chances of getting pro-abortion laws passed goes to zero. Hispanics might stand in the way of union laws. Environmentalists might stand in the way of immigration increases. Etc.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Yes, that's right. I didn't mean to imply that abortion and affirmative action were the same issue, just the same fighting pair. The goal would be to get blacks and feminists fighting over changing the laws to favor their own side. That could create significant tension, of the type which keeps them from working together on other issues.

Ed said...

Andrew, That is great thinking. If we could create blocks within their own party for each of their worst ideas, then they would basically grind to a halt as a useful political organization.

Ed said...

By the way, thinking about this, the only wedges I see in Republicans circles are the ones between libertarians and so-cons, and the one between big business and everone else. That's interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Thanks. I think it's good strategy. If we can get them fighting internally, then they can't present a unified front and can't move legislation. It will also muddle their message.

There probably are more wedge issues for Republicans, but I can't think of any right now. By and large, Republicans are together because they believe the same things for 80% of the issues -- so wedge issues really aren't as big of a problem.

It's the Democrats who've tried to cobble together a coalition based on 20% agreement. That's why they are vulnerable to this.

Unknown said...

With Obama's volte face on gay marriage, the Democrats have proven once and for all that politics makes strange bedfellows. Fortunately for us, as the fringe base becomes stranger and more self-contradictory, the bed keeps getting smaller. Putting together while at the same time pitting against each other the groups you've outlined is much like herding cats. In the long run it won't work as well as it used to. There's one large group that he can't put into the formula--the hard-working middle class which has been devastated by his victim/socialist policies.

T-Rav said...

As far as Jewish fears about the Religious Right go, I find them amusing more than anything. Given that most of the RR members who think much about the Jews at all are fanatically pro-Israel (mainly in the belief that the Jews should be allowed to rebuild the ancient Temple, which would supposedly then bring on the Rapture), I can only say that there must be extremely poor communication between these groups.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Welcome back! :)

I think you're right about what is happening with their party. They more fringe they get, the more they push themselves further to the fringe. And that is causing problems for them because they have so little else in common that there is almost nothing to hold them together anymore except dislike of the rest of America.

That's why I think pushing them at these pressure points makes a lot of sense.

rlaWTX said...

I think that a lot of the billionaire, banker, big business support for Dems is 2-fold:
[1] I have a feeling some give to both sides just to make everyone beholden to them
[2] cronyism. While I agree that R's are susceptible to it also, from what I've seen, the GOP cronyism tends to have a basis in reality ("this friend of mine who gave lots of $ is also really good in this particular field, so I'll use him/her") as opposed to the apparent unfiltered, unbiased payoff system the Dems have ("step right up and buy your contract/office/position here - better the donation, better the prize!").

Ed, as for the RW wedge issues - I think you are right about the small govt (almost libertarian) impulse vs the so-con moral impulse. I tend to sympathize with many of the so-con ideas, because I think that our culture does make a difference. However, I also realize that politics requires a bit of compromise and wiggle room. It seems that the libertarian impulse is actually more friendly to the so-cons than the so-cons are to the other.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Don't underestimate the fears. This is a well-documented thing with Jews feeling that they are safer in a secular American than they are in a country where a huge chunk of the population are fundamentalists who are pushing "a Christian America."

It's because of that that several Religious Right groups have begun outreach to the Jewish community to assure them that the intent is not to force Christianity upon them.

I understand that is helping the issue.

Patriot said...

Andrew....I agree that your strategy makes good political sense when driving wedges. Unfortunately, as more and more people/voters become dependent on the dole for their livelihood, their votes count as much as anyone else's. With the Dems strategy of forcing more and more people onto the gov't subsistence rolls, they are creating a voting bloc that overrides social issues like those you cite.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, You already know I love the idea. This is a very good list of potential wedge issues.

I didn't take the order as a hierarchy, but if it were, I would put Bankers v. Socialists last. Why? Because bankers give money to Democrat, no so much in support, but to hedge their bets. The reasoning is that Democrats are so vitriolic against banks, giving them money will keep them from actually acting on their words. (Clearly, the banks haven't really endgamed that one.)

So, basically, it goes last on the list because bankers won't stop paying Democrats until they believe they no longer hold the reigns of power and have no easy shot at getting them back.

rlaWTX said...

Hey, Hawk - you done already?

T-Rav, I meant to make that point about conservative Christians & Jews too (didn't see your post when I started typing mine). Anyway, I agree that the cons. Christians I know are very pro-Israel. The impression I get from MSM is that they are more pro-Israel than Democrat Jews. There is also the Messianic movement that I think scares Jews. The Messianic Christians are VERY pro-Jew/ pro-Israel, but they are also conversion-oriented (Jewish acceptance of Christ as Messiah) and I think that terrifies them.
As for the "theocratic" so-con inquisition, that MSM meme drives me bonkers!!!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I think that's absolutely right about Big Business. On the one hand, they absolutely give to both sides, just like they give to all candidates in the hopes of buying favors. Unfortunately, as long as our government is huge and can hand out favors, this will always be the case.

But on the favors/cronyism, the two sides are very different. The Republicans really do believe similar things to what Big Business wants. So they typically aren't doing something which goes against their beliefs when they do the favor. Sometimes they cross over into helping specific friends, but legislation by and large is consistent with the views they espouse. (Which is not to say I like it, but I understand it.)

Democrats, on the other hand, are truly dirty. They will take money and trade favors with anyone all the while demonizing the very thing they are doing.

Tennessee Jed said...

People tend to support what they see is their individual self-interest. As you recently pointed out, the Democrats have tended to play "identity politics" by treating members of a specific class as victims. They have forgotten that members of these classes are actually real individuals. The Democratic coalition has always been a class affair, preying on the notion Republicans have been the party of rich, white businessmen who have gamed the economic system to keep themselves in power by victimizing these various classes. In other words, it has been a coalition of people "against" the image of Republicans rather than "for" anything the Democrats are doing. The media has been a great ally in culturally enforcing the stereo-types.

But, as you also recently pointed out, conservatism is on the rise. There is enough alternative media getting out an opposition message. So even if Republicans have been traditionally too busy defending their own negative stereotypes to do much in driving these wedge issues, maybe the time has finally come.

As far as the individual issues you mention, I'm not sure about gays vs. feminists. Surely, gays want to live their lives openly and free from legal and social restrictions. But many have said nobody would voluntarily choose to be gay. In other words, if sex is at it's root a biological function designed to propegate one's specy, there is no rationale to push gay rights. Many only wish to not be ostracized for something over which they have no control.

The Jews - this is a hard one for me. Certainly American Jews understand discrimination, and have traditionally been raised as Democrats, but they also tend to be the world's most successful capitalists. Still, most of the originators of communist and socialist economic views were developed by European Jews. For some reason which escapes me, it seems as if Jews as conservatives will always be largely an exercise in futility.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX and Ed, I think both the libertarians and the social conservatives have much more common ground than they realize, even on their biggest issues. I think it's just a matter of really hashing it out rationally.

rlaWTX said...

ideology and rationality don't always play in the same sand box...

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, That is sadly very true. That's why I think Republicans need to start getting people back off government support. They need to cut programs, reduce payments, lower COLAs, impose stricter income requirements, impose unpleasant new requirements as conditions of getting payments, etc.

We need to shrink the number of people getting government money as well as the importance that money plays in their lives.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I did know you would like this list. Anything you would add?

On bankers, I agree that the bankers wouldn't stop giving money because they are trying to buy influence. I think we would need to work the other end of that one and work to create such a storm from the socialist rank-and-file that the Democrats are afraid to take money from bankers. In that regard, I would suggest constantly pointing out every contribution every Democrat gets from a bank or banker and then pointing out the anti-consumer things they've done and tying those together. In other words, playing up the dirty relationship between the money and the payoffs, and showing how it contradicts their rhetoric.

If we did enough of that, the socialists would run with it and do the rest.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, The problem with the MSM meme on conversion is that there is just enough evidence to support it. All it takes is a couple video quotes from fringe groups talking about the need to convert everyone and average people will start to believe it.

I've known a lot of Jews and I can tell you that many of them, very rational people, do have this fear. I think that is fading now, especially as the left has gotten very antisemitic, but it is still an issue.

Fortunately, as I mention, there has been outreach from various fundamentalist groups and that has started to put this idea to rest.

As an aside, this is the same issue as blacks being told that Republicans want to bring back slavery, Hispanics being told we want to deport them, and women being told we want to force them back into the kitchen. Even if these people don't fully believe it, it still leaves the impression that we don't like these people and that we will work against their interests.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, A thoughtful comment! :)

I think with the vast amount of new media, it is now possible to do many different things at once without losing the message. The key is to have different groups do different things. The Republicans/conservatives need to have a main public strategy of selling conservatism and refuting the negative MSM-backed stereotypes.

Beyond that, we need to start doing things like pointing out the issues above through blogs, editorials, twitter wars etc. The idea would be to start putting ideas into heads on the left so that they start infighting. And the best way to do that, frankly, is to mock them on these issues so they feel compelled to defend them, which will get them arguing.

The thing I'm not sure about with gays is how many are libertarian in nature and how many want the government to impose gay-acceptance. I suspect there are a little of both, though gay leaders clearly are pushing gay-acceptance by force. Again, this means there are gays who could probably be pulled away by conservatives if we tried.

Jews are a strange group because they clearly have been voting against all their interests for some time now. Hopefully, that will begin to change, but I think it will take a lot of effort.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That's very true. In fact, ideology is often a way to get around the problem of acting rationally.

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, Well done. This is actually a really interesting thought. In war, you not only try to beat the guy at the front, you try to disrupt him at home. What you've pointed out here is that the Republicans by and large have failed to do that second part. I like this plan a lot!

ellenB said...

Nice thinking Andrew! You've always got really interesting thoughts. I think you makes some good points. I've been trying to think of more wedge issues, but nothing comes to mind just yet.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, That's an interesting insight. In war, you do try to disrupt the other guy, but the Republicans really have never done that. They need to start.

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, Thanks! If you think of any, let me know.

ellenB said...

Andrew, Speaking of abortion, I see in the sidebar that Obama is opposed to banning sex-selection abortion. That sounds like another wedge issue developing!

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, for those looking for the so-con article today, I just ran out of time. I'll have that for next week.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, in that case, move it to the top of the list!

The addition that comes to mind presently, and maybe you could help me flesh this out, is to somehow break union solidarity. A union guy barely making ends meet in a factory has no idea what a union teacher in Wisconsin makes But when he hears that the teacher might have to take a pay cut, he automatically assumes he's next by virtue of the union connection and will rush to the teacher's defense. Hopefully you can see where I'm going with that thought...

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, I saw that. Obama is actually taking "the right" position if he believes that abortion is a right, but he's on the wrong side of history (and the public) again on this issue. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

T-Rav said...

rla, that's probably a lot of it. Jews think their religion is just fine and there's nothing that needs to be changed, so I suppose they and evangelical Christians will always be at odds to some extent. Still, if the GOP continues to make clear its support for Israel and the Jew-hatred of the Left, maybe that will start to change.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Looking at OWS and their petulance, I think this could be a key weakness in the coalition.

On breaking union solidarity, that is a good question. On the one hand, I don't think you can break the solidarity of groups like metal workers and truck drivers. They don't really have competing interests.

I'm not sure you can break service employees from them either. Again, they just see those people as fellow travelers.

I think where you CAN break union solidarity is between government employee unions and private unions. You can do that by painting the government unions as white-collar, rich, immune from the economy, and imposing rules and handicaps on the parts of the economy which affect the jobs of the blue-collar guys.


AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think the key is to assure Jews that (1) so-cons don't want to turn the US into a theocracy, i.e. they just want freedom of religion, and (2) pointing out the antisemitism of the left will eventually start to shift Jewish opinion

(p.s. I'm still working on the so-con article. I publish it early next week.)

tryanmax said...

Patriot, Andrew, I think there is a bit of fallacy in worrying about more and more people coming onto the dole, especially under present circumstances. The fallacy is that it assumes everybody on the dole wants to be there. That's simply not true.

At present, there are a number of people who are begrudgingly accepting assistance because Obama has stalled the economy. They'd rather be working, but the jobs aren't there. In the meantime, they've rationalized that they've paid into these programs, so they have a right to draw from them. They've come to terms with the decision, but any viable alternative would be preferred.

Also, in addition to all the things you listed, Andrew, to reduce the number of people on government support, Republicans need to take the lead on building "exit ramps." Democrats won't offer them, because they want people to stay in the programs.

To illustrate, if the government has determined based on my income that I need $50 extra each week to feed my kids, then it makes no sense for the government to take the whole $50 away when I get a 25¢/hr. raise ($10/week). Yet that is how most government programs function. So effectively, the reward for working hard and getting that raise is a $40/week cut to a person's income.

My guess is that Republicans haven't offered any "exit ramps" because they don't want the appearance of promoting welfare. It's easy to suppose that Rs and Ds will come to loggerheads over whether to build the ramps inward or outward, so to speak. Rs need to get over that and become willing to build them in either direction.

T-Rav said...

I think a useful tactic regarding the unions would be to point out the things we have in common, things which might be more cultural than fiscal. The unions in my area are pretty annoying when it comes to stuff like the minimum wage and so on, but they're very pro-gun, often very pro-life, and somewhat socially conservative in other areas as well. Partly, this stems from a lot of them being Catholic (which means the Church's reaction to ObamaCare could be used as a weapon). So an emphasis on social issues could be preferable at times, though it would not work everywhere. Another, similar tactic would be to point out how low on the pecking order the average union member ranks, when compared to gays, feminists, and all the other identity groups the Democrats are interested in pleasing.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I know there's a place to stick a wedge in unions because I've seen it, I just haven't gotten as good a look as I need to understand it. Your suggestion is pretty approximate to what I'm thinking. Let me just tell you a story that might help.

While the whole Wisconsin teachers' union thing was going on, an old friend of mine, a civil servant union member (AFSCME), would continually trash Gov. Walker accusing him of having something personal against unions.

In the course of explaining to him that it wasn't about unions, it was about the state getting a fair return for what it pays, I came to the realization that this guy had no idea how extravagant the teachers' pay and benefits were in Wisconsin. He just assumed--by virtue of their being union--that the teachers' compensation was on order with his own, which isn't all that great.

After I told him about these things, he was still a bit reluctant to speak against another union (understandable) but he started to see my point and began saying things like, "the teachers' could give in a little."

He also started comparing things to his own situation, where he knows that his union takes a shaft while the police and fire unions pretty much see all of their demands met. He began to openly wonder how the civil servants' union gets treated in Madison and decided, "I bet it's about the same as here." That's how I broke off one union member.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, the pecking order suggestion is excellent.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I disagree a bit. I think it is important to get people off the dole as quickly as possible because people begin to see it as an entitlement and that makes it very hard to make changes. Essentially, it creates a permanent constituency for the status quo.

Also, in places like West Virginia, this really does become a lifestyle and it shatters the work ethic. I know that's not always true, but it is true enough to worry about. We need to stop people from living off the government.

I agree completely about the exit ramps and the example you site is something which has frustrated me for along time. I first learned about this twenty+ years ago, that the way income caps work, once you hit a certain level, you just get cut off. That's stupid and counterproductive. What they need to do is ramp people off it. For example, cutting one dollar of support for every 2-3 dollars of income. That way, the recipient can keep making themselves richer by working more and there is no moment of punishment where they suddenly lose all their benefits.

Sadly, as I said, I learned about this 20 years ago and it hasn't been fixed in the meantime.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think the pecking order idea is key. "Unions" are powerful within the Democratic Party, but union members aren't. The Democratic Party is run by feminists, gays and blacks. The unions who matter are teachers unions and public sector unions. I think those facts would probably anger a lot of real-world union members.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That is true of the public generally. If you ask them what a teacher earns, they will tell you it's very low -- well below the median. Most would probably say around $30k a year because that is what you hear as starting salary. When you tell them that average salaries for teachers are double that and that many are earning more than $100k, their jaws drop.

Government workers are the same thing. People think they earn about the median income of around $40k. In reality, (in 2009) they earned an average salary of $67k, with many in the $100+ range and some in the $200k plus range. Again, jaws drop when you explain that.

This needs to be pointed out to steel workers, coal miners, construction workers, etc. Government employee unions and teachers unions whine about lack of pay and poor working conditions, but they are in a totally separate league from the union idiots who are backing their demands. And they use these other union guys to help them keep getting more, all the while claiming solidarity.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I don't think we're in disagreement at all. It is paramount to get people off of the dole quickly before it becomes a lifestyle. I'm just trying to point out that at the moment, a lot of people aren't there yet. But we need to act fast before they lose ambition and skills.

Also, it's a bad idea to write off people only recently on the dole. People don't become slugs right when they cash their first government check. There's a lot of resentment that can be tapped into right now. But it could be gone in four years.

T-Rav said...

Andrew and tryanmax, Jonah Goldberg makes an interesting point in "Liberal Fascism" about the black community. Back in the '70s or thereabouts, in the wake of LBJ's "Great Society" (now there's something that should have a double set of quotes), lower-class African-American households were among the very last to start signing up for welfare benefits. This may have been partly due to racism, but a lot of it was the self-respect these households had for themselves; they were too proud to accept such handouts. Eventually, though, the government won them over by promising it would help out their children down the road. And look where we are now--Newt Gingrich mentions "welfare queens" and instantly gets accused of racism, because what else could such a term refer to besides a black woman? Great job, government.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree and I'm not saying write anybody off. What I am saying is that we need to create a weening-off for the medium term and a cut-off for the long term, except in truly needy circumstances. We also need to create these ramps so that no one feels trapped.

Some examples of things that need to change. Disability needs to be made harder to get. Right now it's way too easy to get it without having any genuine disability.

There needs to be a time limit on welfare.

Unemployment should reduce over time and needs to be trimmed back from 99 weeks.

Medicare/Medicaid needs to be about needed care. Right now they pay for things that are elective like sex changes, ED treatments, and some cosmetic procedures. They need to strip all of that kind of garbage out.

College loans needs to be trimmed severely. If colleges still want kids, let them lower their tuition or hand out grants.

They need to end the subsidy on school lunches.

End corporate welfare.

Federal assistance for home heating and energy costs need to end, as do tax breaks/subsidies for homeowners to go green.

These are just some example where people are getting used to living off the government.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The Great Society is the perfect example of what happens when the government steps in to help people -- it creates dependence and destroys the values those people need to ever be independent again.

It's the same with whites now in poor areas and overseas in places like Britain. And it was the same with businesses in Eastern Europe.

You can't make people independent by making them dependent.

DUQ said...

The John Edward jury has reach a verdict on one count. I wasn't interested before, but now I'm dying of curiosity.

T-Rav said...

Word is Edwards will be found guilty of receiving illegal campaign contributions and having outrageously expensive haircuts, but mostly receiving illegal campaign contributions.

AndrewPrice said...

I hear the haircut charge carries a life sentence. ;)

tryanmax said...

Andrew, do you have any past articles on the income tax deduction?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Yep. Tax Article

DUQ said...

Edwards is NOT guilty on the first count. No word about the haircuts or looking like Damien Thorn.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I'm not surprised they agreed to a not guilty. They probably decided pretty quickly that one of the charges was just way too much. Now they're arguing over the rest.

I still think he'll be convicted on the haircut and the Thorn charge.

rlaWTX said...

I saw they were deadlocked on the rest...

DUQ said...

That's what happens when you try to put Damien Thorn on trial. He is the son of the Devil after all.

Individualist said...


As an aside I really wish we could somehow explain to people that affirmative action just does not work. Your comment about it helping white women is a symptom of the problem but I think it ignores a deeper truth. These are white women that probably would have reached the same goal had they bit had access to the government hand out anyways. Maybe not as quickly but most probably get to the same rung of the ladder anyways.

This is best put forth by a book on affirmative action that I read by Thomas Sowell called "Preferential Policies..." That is the start of the title I don't remember the rest.

In this book he talks of preferential "affirmative action" style policies enacted in India in the 1920's by the British Government. (That's right AA is another european socialist idea progressives conned us into trying). In India people were really hampered by the caste system especially the "untouchables". So the British government put policies in place to help them. The thing was that there were may different untouchabkle castes, too many for the bureacracy to address so the amalgamated them all under the same system. As it turned out the individuals that were able to take advantage of the program were those at the upper rung of the lower end of the ladder. While the lower end the truly needy ones were never able to make the transition.

Sowell makes the argument that AA does not help anyone that was not already in the running to overncome their circumstance. Those truly in need and impoverished will never be able to take advantage of the program due to lack of education or living conditions.

Unfortunately there just is no way to summarize this idea into a 10 word or less soundbite that I can think of.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX and DUQ, I was frankly surprised they charged him with anything, but now that they have I'm just enjoying the show. I haven't really looked at what he supposedly did.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I think that's accurate.

In my experience, the people who are able to do it on their own want no part of affirmative action because (1) they really do want to succeed on their own merits and (2) they hate the stigma that attached to everyone in the group.

The people at the bottom of the heap who really need help can't make use of it either because they are both completely unsuited and unqualified for the job and they don't know how to exploit the program.

Finally, the people who end up using it are by and large those with little skill for the job itself, but with strong skills at making trouble, i.e. the worst possible people. They basically force their way into the jobs under threat of legal action and then entrench themselves.

Anonymous said...

The main issue with Jews is that they cover a broad spectrum in terms of belief and identity. Some Jews are mostly secular, but wish to still claim the cultural identity. While others feel more inclined to genuinely believe in the religion. It's a long, complex continuum following that. The main point I am making is that Judaism is comparable to religion in general in that individuals who believe it may be highly religious, highly secular, and in between. The big message to bring out is that if political action can target another religious group, it can easily also target you.

Regarding the race issue, someone just needs to grasp and put the facts out straight that there's more damage within racial groups nowadays than there is without, just as Bill Cosby mentioned years ago, and pissed off the media in the process.

AndrewPrice said...

obiwan, I think that's right about Jews. But they also have a Democratic tradition which needs to be overcome and I think exposing the antisemitism of the left would go a long way toward breaking that link.

On the race issue, the problem is that as with cults, their leaders have managed to put in place a huge defense mechanism -- the cry of racism. Basically, it lets them tell "their people" to ignore all messages the leaders want them to ignore by claiming that those messages are lies promoted by racists who want to destroy them.

It's the same way cults teach their followers that all contrary evidence is from the Devil or is produced by non-believers who are trying to trick them away from "the truth." When you can get people believing that sort of thing, then it becomes really hard to get through to them with just facts... you need to shake their faith in their leaders.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I do agree about the leaders part, but my feeling is that a general template is to be found in the inclusive approach - somewhat exemplified by Romney's address at a Hispanic conference, he mentioned issues that by his mentioning, are problematic in America, but left it to the audience to think about how they as Americans, are also affected by it.

Outside of politics, there's the important regular good christian routine of being all-around great and showing that you really don't care all that much about the differences someone else may have in comparison to you. Again, the demonstration, and really coming to like and not being afraid of the person are the hardest parts here.

AndrewPrice said...

obiwan, There is certainly room for multiple strategies, and I think what Romney is doing is excellent politics for winning people over.

But that said, I think there is a real opportunity to break up the Democrats and soften the opposition through the wedge strategies above. I wouldn't recommend Romney be beating these drums because it would make him look back. Instead, this is the sort of thing conservative surrogates need to start pushing, with the idea because to sow chaos and dissent among the Democrats while simultaneously trying to win over smaller portions of these groups on issue after issue.

Basically, it would be two separate strategies running simultaneously. And together they would be much more effective than either alone.

Anthony said...

obiwan said:

Regarding the race issue, someone just needs to grasp and put the facts out straight that there's more damage within racial groups nowadays than there is without, just as Bill Cosby mentioned years ago, and pissed off the media in the process.
Its not the entire media that got offended, it was some black leaders and intellectuals. Some accused him of 'blaming the victim' some acknowledged he was right but said it at the wrong time (though of course he didn't say anything anyone with two brain cells to rub together already knew). I thought it was heartening that Cosby didn't become persona non grata in the black community.

I think it helped that A) he is clearly right B) he is active in the community and puts his money where his mouth is C) his most vehemenent critics are guys like Toure and Dyson who are big presences on tv but who don't actually do anything constructive and D) he didn't follow that up by announcing he was becoming a Republican (there is a lot of tolerance of idealogical variance in the black community, but little tolerance of Republicans, something which I hope will change).

Anthony said...

Andrew said:

you need to shake their faith in their leaders.
I think A) there's little faith in most of the leadership and B) the term leader is applied too generously.

To be Christened a black leader by the media, you need to A) be a guy who was involved in the civil rights movement or B ) win elected office or C) be willing to talk crazy.

Its sad how many crazy talkers will little apparent support show up in the media as the 'voice' of blacks. The New Black Panthers are media darlings but the biggest event they ever held attracted 6,000 people back in 1998. But they are media savy and willing to offer colorful soundbites so they are everywhere.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I would agree with that and that's why I don't really worry about fringe groups like the New Black Panthers -- you'll notice I've never bothered writing about them myself.

I also doubt that most blacks consider Sharpton, Jackson and the goofballs in Congress as their leaders. When I say "black leaders", I tend to think of this large collection of religious leaders, a smattering of entertainers, and local politicians -- big city mayors, famous council members. (The Nation of Islam is an exception as they are more like a cult unto themselves.)

The problem I see with this group is that they use racism as an excuse to cover their own failures and crimes. Thus, when a black big city mayor gets caught taking a bribe, he screams racism. And when the city goes bankrupt because they mismanage the budgets year after year, they scream racism. I've seen black pastors who got caught stealing church funds do this, big city mayors, school administrators, etc. Every time, they scream "white plot to destroy blacks" the moment they get caught, and unfortunately, a great many other black politicians, black reporters, and celebrities jump on board and automatically defend them.

Then you get black college professors who run around preaching liberation theology and critical race theory, who preach that it's impossible for black to succeed with whitey in charge, who claim that blacks can't be blamed for their own conduct, and who claim that blacks can't be racist by definition no matter how racist they behave. They also do things like cite statistics about the number of blacks in jail and claim the justice system is out to get them but conveniently omit that it's usually black juries who convict black defendants.

All of this adds up to create a siege mentality and a sense that blacks are not responsible for their own actions.

Then you have the specter of "black enough." You're in the DC area, right? So you probably remember how they savaged Williams when he first ran for Mayor as not being "black enough". People actually called into the radio and questioned whether a man with his light skin color "could represent" blacks... and no one called them on this kind of thinking! Since that time, I've seen this over and over where whisper campaigns are created against black politicians who "sell out" or become "Uncle Tom's" just because they try to do their jobs right.

Look at how they've treat Clarence Thomas. The man is honestly brilliant and should be held up as an icon of achievement, yet they openly mock him as a supposed moron.

That's the problem we face with the black leadership. It's not the couple idiots at the top, it's this middle layer of thousands of notable figures who all use racism as an excuse to explain away their own failures and who have bought into this idea that blacks are not responsible for their own actions.

Those are the people we need to expose as frauds, so that average blacks stop believing their lies.

Anthony said...

Jim Crow ended more than a decade before I was born, but those who lived through it (and though who fought to end it, which often meant subjecting themselves to Jim Crow in its worst forms) tend to have a more pessimistic view of race relations that I do.

I don't believe they are seeing a truth I'm not, I believe they are seeing the ghost of something that no longer is (some of them are cynically using racism as a cloak for criminality, many are probably that pessimistic).

By virtue of their past activism in the Civil Rights movement, many such people are in positions of authority. Time will bring people will more positive experiences and positive views to positions of prominence.

Moving on to your next point, I remember questions about whether Williams was black enough, but the ones I heard were in reference to his backgroud and demeanor (he was seen as a bow tied accountant), not his skin color. Of the top of my head, names like Malcolm X (the most high profile militant black leader), Frederick Douglas (the first) and Ben Jealous (current leader of the NAACP) indicate that racial purity has never been a big obsession of the black community.

Which isn't to say that interracial relationships are universally popular, but there's no stigma attached to being the child of such a relationship.

And its worth mentioning that Williams easily won his first race because a big chunk of DC didn't want Marion Barry part 2 (the fact that Congress would have never let such a man have power helped).

Last but not least, Thomas is arguably the most conservative member of the Supreme Court. It would be strange if the most liberal community in America celebrated him.

If you are on the wrong side of the divide, people won't celebrate you or your achievements but mock you and pray for your failure (nods towards conservative websites dancing on the ashes of Oprah's commercial ambitions). Its kind of sad, but its human nature.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, What I find disheartening are:

1. That so many blacks can speak so openly about someone not being "black enough", calling things like interracial marriage (or adoption) "genocide", attacking blacks who are successful in everyday fields "sell outs" or "Uncle Tom" and saying things like "we can't succeed because whites won't let us". And even worse, they say these things openly in magazines, on the radio, in hip hop songs, in speeches at award shows, in legal journals, in college classes.... and nobody challenges them.

Blacks would freak out if whites said these things and no one called them on it.

2. Related to your point about more-positive people moving into the leadership positions, when I was in law school, I met a lot of very privileged black kids. These were the sons and daughters of doctors and lawyers, kids who never worked a day in their lives but had lots of money, nice cars, nice clothes, kids who had been helped along every step of the way through college. These are people with nothing to complain about. Yet, they were fiercely anti-white and deeply racist. They routinely talked about "being held down by whites" and how whites "owed" them x, y, or z, and who everything the western world has was stolen from blacks.

If you stuck in the word "Jew" instead of "white", the things these kids said to each other and to us (when they associated with us) would have fit right in with Hitler in the 1930s.

I am worried that these are the people who will take over the leadership and that they are even worse that the Civil-Rights Era leaders because at least the CRE leaders worked with whites to solve problems like Jim Crow. These kids had no such experience.

You are right about people mocking those on the other side and that's too bad. But in a community like the black community, where they have so few role models as it is already, they should be much more careful about tearing people down just because they don't agree with their politics.

Anthony said...

1. I agree that some of the rhetoric is ugly and the sort of thing a white person would get called for.

A lot of the people using that rhetoric just clown themselves though (nods towards the NFL players comparing themselves to slaves).

Interracial relationships are a matter of debate within the black community, but quite a few are proceeding with them (more men then women) and catching little to no flack.

As for the negative behaviors often attached to 'acting black' smart and even not so smart people recognize their ridiculousness. On a related note, have you ever seen Chappelle's hilarious but extremely NSFW 'When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong' sketches?

2. I ran into a few of the types you mentioned in college, but only a few (though there were only 40 black students at my school so a few translated into 12%).

3. Nobody who lives/works/studies in the upper strata of American society can do so solely surrounded by one ethnic group, so while contact with non-blacks doesn't necessarily cure idiocy (after all there are whites who subscribe to that idiocy), a lack of contact won't be a problem future black leaders suffer from.

Also, I suspect the heights risen to men like Obama (who plays the game a little bit differently than old school Civil Rights leaders) will translate into more black leaders who aspire to more than 'merely' leading the black community.

Yeah, I can respect disagreeing with Thomas, but calling him an idiot or an Uncle Tom is just plain nutty. Its a shame that many people in the black community habitually diminish people on the other side that way.

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