June 15, 2009

Liberal, Conservative, Moderate — put these types in rank order, by percentage of Americans, according to a new Gallup poll.

Conservative (40%), Moderate (35%), Liberal (21%).

If the GOP can't figure out how to use this, it is truly pathetic. But what would work better — defining and promoting the conservative brand or signaling moderation? Looking at the last election, I'd say: Be forthrightly conservative. Tell us what it is and stand by it. You only need to win over less than a third of the moderates: Convince us it's better to trust conservatives than liberals. The Obama administration and Congress are giving you so much material to work that theme.

***

Even divided by gender,"liberal" comes in last:



Oh, but we women do have that urge toward moderation — toward fence-straddling and splitting the difference that makes you men think we lack intellectual development.

Let me call your attention to my old "How McCain Lost Me" post. I analyzed what tipped me toward Obama, and one of my 4 reasons was: "[McCain] never defined himself as a principled conservative." Think about it.

141 comments:

Salamandyr said...

Damn Straight. Say what you stand for and then stand for it.

Unfortunately, the GOP hasn't figured this out. All the big noisemakers are still bleating about how "we need to be moderate" as if John McCain wasn't their handpicked candidate. So count on them screwing this up at least through the next election.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The GOP (my party) thinks that screaming a few slogans over and over and over somehow makes the slogans the gospel truth.

Many conservatives sold their souls to support Dubya, and reclaiming a soul is tough and expensive.

And there is the matter of a total lack of competent leadership (McConnell? Shelby? Boehner? Limbaugh? Coulter? Goldberg?) What a bunch of chowderheads.

Joaquin said...

I want consistent conservatism.

The NC Rep. Party just elected a new leader, Tom Fetzer who is just what this state needs.

On Saturday he said: "We cannot move to the mushy middle, and we cannot tolerate mealy-mouthed candidates who do"
"the Democrats have been doing all the governing, and we have been doing all the talking. We talk about things that don't matter, and we talk about each other. That stops today."

Mushy middle!! I like that!

Sy said...

Rush had it right all along. You don't win with a moderate(McCain).

garage mahal said...

Please everybody ignore Fen. Maybe he/she will go away.

Henry said...

John McCain isn't really moderate or conservative. His politics are all personal. He is an identity candidate for crusty old guys.

The biggest failure in the GOP last election season wasn't McCain (he is what he is), but Romney. Romney was the economy-oriented financial whiz who tried to reinvent himself as a social conservative. Loser.

Joaquin said...

GM - Ignore who?

MadisonMan said...

Is conservative, moderate or liberal defined anywhere, or is it left to the person responding to the survey to decide what it means?

Knowing that seems to be important if you are interpreting the survey results.

garage mahal said...

Joaquin
Looks like the mess graciously cleaned up. Trust me, you didn't miss anything.

sohereiam said...

I doubt the self-reported conservatives are all that conservative, and likewise the moderates. "Conservative" or "Moderate" feel like comfortable labels to a lot of people who in fact support the policies of the Obama administration.

Trevor Jackson said...

GM, if he had cleaned it up himself wouldn't there be "removed by" placeholders? Is there a way to delete comments, even by the "administrator" that removes all trace of them?

I think the whole post would have to have been republished.

On topic: MM and sohereiam are exactly correct. "Liberal" is the only term of the three that has gotten a stigma attached to it over the last 30 years.

Dark Eden said...

McCain's campaign is exactly what people like Powell said they wanted, a reasonable moderate who was very willing to cross the aisle and compromise.

The Dems and Media disingenuously called him a nazi fascist warmongering scary old man. Powell and company ate it up and voted for Obama.

No matter how moderate a Republican we put up, he or she WILL be portrayed as a monster. The only way out is to vigorously promote conservative ideas.

SteveR said...

I think the percentage of liberals who call themselves "moderates" is much greater than the number of conservatives who call themselves "moderates". I don't believe the numbers mean that much.

That said, conservatives need to pull their head out of their ass.

Sloanasaurus said...

I doubt the self-reported conservatives are all that conservative, and likewise the moderates. "Conservative" or "Moderate" feel like comfortable labels to a lot of people who in fact support the policies of the Obama administration.

Actually, the poll probably understates those who are really liberals. Liberals like to call themselves "moderates" even though they are flaming liberals. Rightly-so because liberal is a dirty word these days. Modern liberalism is anti-freedom and no one wants to be on the side against freedom.

It is odd that so many Americans are willing to turn so much power over the government. All it takes is one bad leader for you to lose everything.

Jim said...

We have several folks here who claim the mantle of "Libertarian," who actually just Leftists.

For many, all they know Libertarianism is that it supports the legalization of marijuana. So, since they want pot legalized, they think that they MUST be Libertarians.

I agree with the comments above that the self-labelling by survey respondents is pretty much meaningless. If the self-labelling had been accompanied by confirmatory questioning about whether they supported larger government, higher taxes, more social programs, national defense, etc. it would have been a much more useful survey.

That being said, the survey results aren't far off what previous surveys have told us: that America is basically a center-right country. What is interesting is the uptick from 2008 to 2009 in those who self-identify as conservatives which also corresponds to other surveys which are showing majorities who disapprove of Democratic handling of deficits, government spending and the economy overall. The road to ruin for Democrats is paved with good intentions: especially when they try to pay for those good intentions with other people's money. They can't say they haven't been warned....

gaywrites said...

I've never quite understood what it means to be a moderate. This poll indicates that the "party" with the most moderates is the nonpartisan Independents. So being moderate implies nonpartisanship: one would not identify with one party or the other (or at least not easily).

So is moderate synonymous with independent? To be moderate is certainly closer to being independent than being either a Democrat or a Republican. But when forced to identify which pole they lean towards, 51% of independants say they lean Democratic.

Therefore, this indicates that to be moderate is to be more independent than partisan, but also to be more Democrat than Republican. This explains the data that more people that identify as Democrat consider themselves moderate than they do liberal as opposed to the same question asked of Republicans with regard to moderate vs. conservative).

Is that how moderates view themselves? More moderates see themselves as Democrats than Republicans, even if they identify more with Independent than either of the parties?

Then again, the meanings of all terms in the poll certainly change depending on age/geography/gender, right? Maybe a twenty year old female from Massachusetts has a much different idea of what it means to identify herself as a conservative than a forty-five year old male from Indiana who also identifies as a conservative does.

Just thinking out loud...

Salamandyr said...

"That said, conservatives need to pull their head out of their ass."

I don't think it's the conservatives that have that problem, but the GOP electioneers who would rather win elections than lead. And thus can't do either.

I've always found it interesting that, with the exception of Huckabee, the people the media dub "social conservatives" don't spend a lot of time by choice talking about social issues.

It seems to go like this, they give a 45 minute speech detailing some economic issue and their plans to fix it, and then they ask for questions and get "so what do you think about gay marriage?"

Fred4Pres said...

Conservatives need to stop playing it safe and start leading.


The only reason the Dems swept into power was because it was perceived the leadership of the GOP was miguided. It was not an ideological shift. Conservatives need to do better than to win merely because the Democrats do a bad job running the country

Fen said...

Good. You do have limits.

Ann, this is no longer just your blog, even though you created it. You have a loyal community of good faith commenters from both sides of the aisle that are worth reading. You also host one of the few sites that allows conservatives and liberals to interact without admin favoritism or censorship.

If you don't think you have a responsibility to defend that from Leftist Brownshirts whose only intent is to spike the blog... then email me when you figure it out. Until then, you're just yanking chains and setting your conservative guests up for abuse.

I'm tired of wading through filth to pick out anything of worth. Like I said, if you fix it, let me know. Till then, I'll be reading someone else.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If the GOP can't figure out how to use this, it is truly pathetic. .

What the GOP needs is transfusion of new blood in the party. The current crop is too tainted by the last eight years of so called compassionate conservatism which was nothing more than liberal policies of massive spending wrapped up in a GOP wrapper.

Roger J. said...

I am with MM on this; lets see how the terms are defined. The older notions of C/M/L are simply too simplistic. Look at the discuss several threads back on the nut who shot up the Holocaust museum to understand the difficulty in applying yesterday's labels to today's polity (and individual psychos). I dont think this Poll is going to benefit any political party very much

Lem said...

Freeman has a great article relating to this.

We desire virtue, but we are too distracted to practice it, and so we outsource it to the state.

Joe said...

A big problem with the GOP is how to deal with a news media that continues to be entirely uncritical of Obama and almost entirely so of Murtha, Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Frank, etc. Their current solution of the GOP is to play by MSM rules.

That said, the bigger problems is that like any organization, the GOP is a club for members only and is far more interested in retaining power for its senior members than in actually being a voice for conservatism. (Mind you, the GOP is largely composed of the same bunch of idiots that spent money like crazy under Bush and who went along with the Democratic idiots lock step. Look how Flake and DeMint get ignored and shouted down by their own colleagues. [I disagree with DeMint on several issues, but, like Flake, he is a strong fiscal conservative and as far as i can tell a believer in Federalism. Too many GOP politicians are neither, starting with McCain.])

Joaquin said...

I left the Republican Party 2.5 years ago because I 'saw' where the party was headed. RIGHT WHERE IT IS NOW. Will I come back? Certainly, but not with this bunch.

John said...

I agree with the people above who think the liberal numbers are understated. I think that happens because the dominant discourse in the media and academia is on the left. So if you uncritically read the NYT and watch CBS, agree with them, and believe them when they say they are neutral, it is easy to think you are a moderate when your views are decidedly on the left.

Before the election a friend of mine was going off on how much he hated Sarah Palin.
I said, "yeah, well, that is the partisan democratic line."
Him: "What are you talking about? I'm not partisan. I am completely independent."
Me: "When was the last time you voted for a republican?"
Him: "Well, um.... never. But that doesn't mean I'm not partisan."

I think because conservatives define themselves against the dominant voices in the media, they have more self-knowledge of their identity. A left-wing slant to lefties is just water to a goldfish.

John from Queens

Randy said...

Many conservatives sold their souls to support Dubya, and reclaiming a soul is tough and expensive.


True.

Anthony said...

No matter how moderate a Republican we put up, he or she WILL be portrayed as a monster.

Very true. And also, Bush wasn't all that "conservative", if by that you mean fiscally conservative, small-government, or even very socially so. His foreign policy post-9/11 was by far the most conservative thing about him. He blathered about his faith far less than The One (PBUH) has, and had identical views on gay marriage and gays in the military.

But he won two elections with the media demonizing him as a fire-eyed fundamentalist Christianist.

Any GOP strategy that takes advantage of this will not originate in Washington, the same way that Reagan did not. Inside-The-Beltway Republicans are far more of a political class than they are members of a particular party or governing philosophy. They share the same basic big-government philosophy with the Dems if only because it keeps them in power and keeps getting them invited to all the right cocktail parties.

SteveR said...

Salamandyr: what I was referring to specifically is how folks like those at National Review nit picked to death every Republican candidate, except McCain who was dead in the water already (or so they thought).

In the end they didn't get a conservative or an electable, candidate. They need to be less dogmatic and intellectual and more pragmatic. William F. Buckley might have started it but Ronald Reagan was the one who got elected.

jdeeripper said...

The country is mainly liberal. It's just that many liberals are afraid of the term so they call themselves moderate.

Republicans are not in the majority on most issues and they lack American Idol like media stars and media hype.

kynefski said...

Unfortunately, standing up for conservative principles means standing down "conservative" voters.

When you use the words, you have to define the axes. In this past generation, I think people regard themselves as conservative if they're socially conservative; that is, they'd really prefer that their daughter not be sexually active. They may think they're fiscally conservative, but they only mean they don't like the government taking their taxes. They certainly don't mind it spending in their district, and they're not happy with representatives that fail to bring it in.

That's a real dilemma for principled conservatives who want political influence. Unless deficits don't mean anything, and that's getting to be a harder case to make.

Tom Grey said...

Conservatives didn't sell their souls to support a pretty reasonable Pres. Bush-- they liked his pro-Iraqi Freedom, they liked his pro-Life (mostly), they didn't like his big spending but put up with it -- they did like his Tax Cuts.
Tax cuts which the liberal fascist media claims were "for the rich", but, after they implemented, a higher percentage of income tax collected was collected from high tax folk.

"Compassionate Conservatism" is absolutely necessary for the GOP -- but it must be based on everything that helps the poor EXCEPT more gov't spending.

Bush's lousy implementation degenerated into a thousand new little gov't spendings, rather than a thousand new little tax credits to increase the help individuals who have some extra actually give to those who need help.


On Iraqi Freedom, which Obama opposed, it has always been a race between the Iranian people's desire for freedom and the mullahs desire for a nuke. Showing the Iranians how much better off Iraq is with US supported real freedom (& corrupt, incompetent democracy politicians) is surely a huge reason tha Operation Iraqi Freedom has changed the game in the ME. But the liberal fascist press has been unwilling to see any such change -- will likely claim it's Obama's credit, rather than the US success in Iraq.

Success in Iraq.

Success in Iraq.

A functioning Arab democracy in Iraq, thanks to Pres. Bush.

Success, not failure. Not Killing Fields. Real, messy, real success.

But too much mushy middle spending.

Bart DePalma said...

Let me call your attention to my old "How McCain Lost Me" post. I analyzed what tipped me toward Obama, and one of my 4 reasons was: "[McCain] never defined himself as a principled conservative." Think about it.

Understandable reason to stay home and not to cast your ballot for McCain. Hundreds of thousands in the conservative base did just that.

How does this explain why you cast your ballot for Obama, though?

Joaquin said...

I don't know if I subscribe to the idea that
hundreds of thousands conservatives 'stayed' home instead of voting for McCain. I'm not sure I buy that..

garage mahal said...

GM, if he had cleaned it up himself wouldn't there be "removed by" placeholders.

Yea I think the blog administrator is the only one that can zap them from existence.

Bruce Hayden said...

Republicans are not in the majority on most issues and they lack American Idol like media stars and media hype.

I would like to see you document that with current polling data. Last polls I saw showed exactly the opposite.

MikeDC said...

The winning formula for the GOP is based on the maxim that economics needs to trump social policy.

Conservative and moderate economics is a simple and straightforward proposition. Limit government influence.

Over the last 8 years, the GOP obviously lost their way here, but not as much as on social policy.

Here, the GOP needs to maintain the social right but not alienate everyone else. How?

Limit government influence. Again. While this won't appeal to the social conservatives who wanted the government to be on their side in the cultural battle of the moment, when it comes to making a decision in future elections, the social conservatives are going to have to ask themselves whether it's better to have a hands off government that can leave them free to pursue their own goals in a civic society (as is everyone else) or a government that is actively antithetical to their goals.

bagoh20 said...

""[McCain] never defined himself as a principled conservative." "
-
And Obama did? Whatever Obama convinced you he was, you got taken, and easily.
-
A man, in his 40's, who has never done anything but write autobiographies would never convince me of anything that would make me hire him to run the most powerful, complicated and important organization in the world.

But, I never graduated from college. Therefore, I'm hardly qualified to judge.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Polls this simplistic aren't about ideologies, they're about labels. "Liberal" is a dirty word because of all the loony "liberals" from MichaelMoore to NancyPelosi. While some very special people are willing to wear that label on their arm, to many it's toxic. And, "conservative" may include many different varieties: social, economic, etc. Actually listing specific conservative ideas to those who identified as that may result in people realizing that they aren't really *that* conservative. For instance, when it comes right down to it, very few Republicans want to give up SS, Medicare, and so on.

As can be seen by the relatively very small number of loons who turned out for the tea parties (promoted by Althouse's idiotic buddy Instapundit), there just aren't that many people who are really hardcore conservative.

The thing for the GOP to do is to be a bit more libertarian on social issues at the same time as not being as immoral as some Dems. And, they need to stop playing a Dem game on a Dem field expecting to win. Instead, they need to play a game that the Dems are weak at. Their differentiating factor doesn't have to be about political ideology as much as things that are more fundamental: less corruption, more integrity, a more pro-American stance. They also need to ignore all them many people like Mike Murphy, those who present a "moderate" position that's actually extremist and delitirious for the U.S.

Jeremy said...

"If the GOP can't figure out how to use this, it is truly pathetic."

The fact that they can't use this (although even as a full on "liberal" I have few friends who call themselves liberal...most stick with the safety net of representing themselves as being moderate or somewhat conservative)...is a surprise?

This is the same party that had John McCain and Princess Sarah running on their ticket.

And who, according to the recent poll of Republicans...name Rush Limbaugh as their leader.

Oh, and don't forget that BIG TENT loaded with old white guys.

rhhardin said...

we women do have that urge toward moderation

Nice eyes is more likely.

Roost on the Moon said...

Frank Zappa called himself a conservative. Andrew Sullivan calls himself a conservative.

See the problem here? No, not funny goatees. If the GOP convinces everybody that the uncomprimising do-nothing, know-nothing, abstructionist garbage that they stand for is "conservatism", they'll just have fewer people labeling themselves conservative.

John Althouse Cohen said...

The term "moderate" is so amorphous that I'd hesitate to draw any conclusion from a poll that uses it. The graphs make it look like "liberal" is significantly less popular than "conservative," but the whole thing could easily be thrown off depending on whether "moderate" is more right-leaning or left-leaning.

Der Hahn said...

I'd be interested in seeing some of the unabashed liberals around here explain how 'liberal' got to be so toxic if policies generally identified as 'liberal' (say, universal government funded health care or unlimited access to abortion) are supposedly so darn popular.

One would think that such (supposed popular) ideas would mean that the politicans proposing them would also be popular, and that people would want to identify with those politicans. Likewise, (supposedly unpopular) positions like starting and sustaining a war in Iraq ought to cause people to dislike politicians who propose them, and people would avoid the label.

In fact, the reverse seems to be the case, and the most straightforward answer would be that the 'conservative' positions being taken are not unpopular. The mounting number of posts tagged 'Obama is like Bush' on this blog is another indication that positions labeled 'conservative' are popular enough that even a 'liberal' politican is forced to maintain or enhance them even when he could easily change them.

EnigmatiCore said...

Jim, then there are people like me who support legalization but are not leftist nor Libertarian.

Ann Althouse said...

@JAC, yes, and it may be that "liberal" is more of a bad word these days, so people who would say "liberal" if it was a good word are saying "moderate."

Synova said...

"I've always found it interesting that, with the exception of Huckabee, the people the media dub "social conservatives" don't spend a lot of time by choice talking about social issues.

It seems to go like this, they give a 45 minute speech detailing some economic issue and their plans to fix it, and then they ask for questions and get "so what do you think about gay marriage?"


And Huckabee isn't conservative. Not at all. He's very very liberal in a "if we're nice to people all social problems will be solved" sort of way. I also don't recall anything about him representing small government or any particular financial responsibility tendencies. He's a nice guy who wants to help people and doesn't seem to see any reason why government shouldn't be involved.

Many of those who self-identified as "conservative" are probably in the same big government social involvement majority rules camp.

Many of those who self-identified as liberal or moderate are probably actually classical liberals who hold that identity but haven't realized that the multi-culti crowd has progressed onward, moving on without them.

Classical liberalism was about equality, not differences. It was about an essential and shared humanity, not about cultural relativism. It was about freedom and tolerance far more than it was ever about the State making everyone comply to the proper attitudes.

Ann Althouse said...

Still the fact that "liberal" feels pejorative to a lot of people is something conservatives should exploit.

bagoh20 said...

The poll is reassuring, but without a clear definition of the terms it's unclear. "Moderate" usually means: "I don't know." "I'm afraid to say." or "I'm above all that". Those types still have strong propensities. There are true moderates but they are a small minority.

What the GOP needs to do is teach the simple lesson that freedom from government including free markets is the only proven way of lifting people above their history. The only way to advance society and release the human spirit that individuals possess and which group-think kills.
-
Americans in particular are capable of understanding this. It is what has made us the most compassionate, powerful and innovative nation in history.
-
There is no close second to this soft ideology of freedom in either power or proven success.
-
They need to talk about it, but more importantly nominate and vote for it.

Roost on the Moon said...

Still the fact that "liberal" feels pejorative to a lot of people is something conservatives should exploit.

I don't know if they can; wouldn't that be backtracking? The Democrats are already "Socialists".

Jim said...

"As can be seen by the relatively very small number of loons who turned out for the tea parties..."

If you think that the tea parties are "small" or primarily populated by "loons," then you haven't been paying attention.

The TEA parties are literally happening every day and drawing hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people who have never before taken to the streets in protest.

Unlike many "protests," they're not organized by a special interest group, and they're not primarily ill-attended made-for-media-consumption press conferences as so many are from the Leftist side of the aisle. In fact, many TEA party protesters are as much against the entrenched GOP officials as they are against the Leftist politics of the Democratic Congress and their own personal Messiah.

If you were to summarize the overall theme of most of TEA party protests it would be "throw all these bums out and let's start over."

The GOP is starting to pay attention to its credit, and they're beginning to push back. But Democrats in general and the media specifically do themselves no favors by pretending that this is just a few whackos holding signs out in the wilderness.

I've been following politics all my adult life, and I've never seen non-Leftys spontaeously decide to take to the streets in protest of the government the way they have over the last 4 months or so. It's a hugely significant moment in American politics, and you dismiss it out of hand or ignore it at your own peril.

Synova said...

I just wanted to completely repeat what Dark Eden said:

"McCain's campaign is exactly what people like Powell said they wanted, a reasonable moderate who was very willing to cross the aisle and compromise."

And it's what certain noisy people were saying after the election, too. That McCain lost, therefore Republicans should be more moderate, more centrist, more urbane and refined and that harsh persons like Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin needed to go.

"The Dems and Media disingenuously called him a nazi fascist warmongering scary old man. Powell and company ate it up and voted for Obama."

Obama ran his campaign against George Bush. Period. McCain could have been anyone at all. People (like my mother) who'd voted for him in primaries for centuries were joined by people who let themselves be convinced that only an entirely bland person would do... that "those other" people wouldn't vote for a Mormon, and that "those other" people wouldn't vote for pro-choice or gun-control, and that Fred didn't have "fire in his belly." So we ended up with McCain who had so little force of character that Obama could run against the "nazi fascist warmongering scary old man" George Bush for President and no one even noticed the switch.

"No matter how moderate a Republican we put up, he or she WILL be portrayed as a monster. The only way out is to vigorously promote conservative ideas."

Yes, and not act like an abused spouse every time you get hit and are told the violence is your own fault.

Cabbage said...

toward fence-straddling and splitting the difference that makes you men think we lack intellectual development.

Nah, just balls.

Hoosier Daddy said...

So we ended up with McCain who had so little force of character that Obama could run against the "nazi fascist warmongering scary old man" George Bush for President and no one even noticed the switch..

Yet considering how weak McCain was as a candidate, Obama won by less of a margin than Bush 41.

The fact that McCain was literally boarding up the door to his campaign office six months prior to the election certainly makes you wonder how the hell he ended up with the nomination.

I still contend that had Romney gotten the nod, Obama would be voting present right now.

JackOfClubs said...

Interestingly, each of the breakdowns for men and women is only missing 1% (which is easily attributable to rounding error). But in the general population, there is 4% missing. Which suggests that about 3% cannot even decide if they are men or women. That is a truly impressive committment to indecision!

On a more serious note, 21% of Democrats consider themselves conservative, but only 4% of Republicans consider themselves liberal. If that is true, it is very hard to understand the last 3 elections.

Jim said...

Enigmatic -

Actually I support the legalization of marijuana myself, and I'm pretty sure that no one would call me a Leftist.

Although I agree with many Libertarian positions on policies, I wouldn't call myself a Libertarian either.

Like Palladian's comment on a previous thread, I merely object to the attempted hijacking of the word "Libertarian" to mean "Statist Authoritarian Leftist Who Wants To Be Able To Smoke a Bong." If you're a Leftist who wants to smoke a joint, then be a Leftist who wants to smoke a joint. But you don't get to call yourself a Libertarian if your other stated policy positions put you somewhere in the vicinity of Dennis Kucinich on the political spectrum.

MadisonMan said...

The TEA parties are literally happening every day

If they are actually happening, by definition they are literally (rather than figuratively, I suppose) happening.

Sorry, I can't stand the word literally used that way. I literally cannot stand it.

Jim said...

Synova -

Once again, you are spot on:

"not act like an abused spouse every time you get hit and are told the violence is your own fault."

I've argued for a long time that Republicans need to act like the small-government, low-tax party that they advertise themselves to be.

Running as "Democrat-Lite" is an inherently doomed strategy. If people want Democratic policies, there's always going to be an actual Democrat on the ticket that they will wind up voting for.

Whenever the public at-large has a chance to choose between a small-government conservative and a liberal, it always chooses the small-government conservative. Bush 41 lost because violating his "No New Taxes" broke faith with his promise to be one. Clinton got elected by promising to be more fiscally responsible than Bush. Bush 43 got elected by promising to lower taxes. McCain lost because people lost faith in the Republican party to push for small-government conservative policies while Obama was disingenuously promising to govern as a fiscal conservative (a spending cut for every increase, going line by line through the budget, etc.).

If Republicans want to win, then all they need to do is go back and figure out what worked: fiscal conservatism. It was a winner in the past, and Obama and the Democrats are doing their best to make sure it will be a winner in the future.

Jim said...

MadisonMan -

As opposed to "figuratively" happening every day which is what most people when they use a phrase like "happening every day." What they really mean is "a lot" or "quite often." The use of the modifier "literally" differentiates my use of "happening every day" from the common usage of the phrase.

Thanks for your amateurish attempt to dissect my statement though. You've only succeeded in embarrassing yourself. Literally.

Synova said...

As for conservative ideas...

Conservatism as a concept is simply a tendency to "wait and see" instead of rushing forward to take up the newest and best thing, the next Cause, the most cutting edge solution.

It's no more complicated than that.

It's considering that a "fix" might well break what is broken even worse than before; that efforts to "help" might do harm. It's understanding that intentions do not ensure good results.

But it's not ideas set it stone. Conservatism today includes a whole lot of "liberal" ideas that liberals have abandoned in favor of the flashy and new.

For all that conservatives are branded racist, they believe more in real equality and the possibility of a post-racial reality. They believe in the right and *ability* of people in every culture to experience liberty without being hampered by a fetishization of cultural difference.

They believe that people are valuable and desirable rather than something we're "punished" by when they are born and rather than a cancer destroying the Earth.

Those of us who trend libertarian may cringe, but conservatism today accepts the idea of exporting human rights and democracy and making the world a better place.

Conservatism promotes development, industrialization and modernization as the best path to improving the welfare of people all over the world, while "liberalism" is now trying to hamper those things in favor of some notion of agrarian harmony and quaint brown people weaving baskets and hand-picking fair-trade coffee.

The Crack Emcee said...

"[McCain] never defined himself as a principled conservative."

And Obama did?

I swear, it's hard to keep up with what passes for thinking these days.

hdhouse said...

so let me get this straight. we liberals are of a decided minority yet we win the elections...does it mean that we have all the ideas?

ya'betcha!!

Synova said...

"I still contend that had Romney gotten the nod, Obama would be voting present right now."

I don't know that he could have beat Obama EXCEPT that the economy went toes up right before the election. With even a little bit different timing he might have been picked for VP but it was already too late. At that point, had Romney been on the ticket, particularly on the top spot, he very well may have won, yes.

I agree.

hdhouse said...

MadisonMan said...
"Is conservative, moderate or liberal defined anywhere..."

Dictionary definitions usually work...Liberal:1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

Conservative: NONE of the above.

Hoosier Daddy said...

so let me get this straight. we liberals are of a decided minority yet we win the elections....

So let me get this straight, in your world elections aren't cyclical.....

LonewackoDotCom said...

I just scanned the comments after mine, but it looks like there are one or more libertarian recruiters here as well as an idiot who thinks 0.1 to 0.2% of the U.S. population is a large number. If the most that endless pleas from Fox can get to turn out is smaller than the population of Indianapolis and only two or three times the number of (non-uni) people who are directly employed by the state of CA, then the tea parties are indeed a small, fringe movement.

For a specific example, consider this. If you're smart and sane, you realize that that protest will only have one impact on the Dem who represents that area: it will make him happy that his opposition is so weak. If you aren't smart and sane, you'll double-down on the blimp and the period costumes.

Seriously: Americans have overwhelmingly rejected libertarian philosophy. The whole West has overwhelmingly rejected libertarian philosophy. We've moved beyond serfs, workhouses, and feudalism. Deal with it.

Synova said...

"so let me get this straight. we liberals are of a decided minority yet we win the elections...does it mean that we have all the ideas?"

No, not really.

Democrats couldn't win in 2004, not even against Bush.

In 2008 it was far far less likely that Iraq could be messed up... at least not without really *trying*... and the population was in a state of severe war fatigue, either about the wars themselves or about all the whining about it.

Hope and Change was a message people who were very tired of it all wanted to hear very much.

What Hope and Change *wasn't* was an IDEA. Not about anything. It was a "concept" campaign not an "idea" campaign.

And it worked well.

ricpic said...

Sarah to the rescue! First of the party. Then of the country. And she'd make for nice dreams.

Hoosier Daddy said...

does it mean that we have all the ideas?".

Let's see if the ideas have legs to them. More than a few Democrats are already balking at the Cap and Trade bill Obama wants passed. Health care is hardly a foregone conclusion because even the more sane Democrats are trying to figure where the money is going to come from since the Chinese are already having doubts about our ability to make good our debt obligations.

Liberal ideas are just dandy as long as you can get someone else to pay for them. Once you find out you have to have some skin in the game it kinda loses its luster.

Synova said...

Defining "liberal" is problematic.

Firstly... liberal can mean "lots of" something. ie. apply sun-screen *liberally*, means use a lot.

Classical Liberalism and the meaning of "Liberal" in Europe is very different from American political liberalism... when talking to foreign friends it's often necessary to be specific because assumptions about meaning are usually completely wrong.

Neo-Liberalism in South America seems to be hard core Capitalism based liberty.

What "conservatives" are "conserving" these days looks pretty similar to Classical Liberalism in a whole lot of ways.

BJM said...

Nothing the GOP does or says will matter as long as the MSM is swallowing for Obama.

Seniors may wake up and smell the euthanasia-laced, health care reform coffee, but with the AARP in the bag, that's not likely before the mid-terms.

Dark Eden said...

I hate polls like this because they're far too simplistic to represent the variety of American political thought. For example compare classical liberal beliefs with the 'progressive' ideology and there's really very little the two have in common. Where do I as a libertarian fit in? How about a Green Party member?

bagoh20 said...

"The whole West has overwhelmingly rejected libertarian philosophy. We've moved beyond serfs, workhouses, and feudalism. Deal with it."
-
That's way behind the curve, (by a few hundred years).
-
The entire world is moving away from socialism except the United States. It's gonna be a bad time to have our people handicapped by a "directed" economy controlled by politicians stifling innovation and drive with their 5 year plans and requirement to "do what's best for all"

We are the only ones putting training wheels back on our bikes before the race. The rest of the world has learned their lesson and is stripping down to race weight.
-
The people that do the best in the coming years will be the ones living in the most free environments just like always, but it may not be us anymore.
-
I hope these "conservatives" know what that means and start voting with their heads.

scinfinity said...

There's one other thing:

EVERYBODY thinks they're moderate.

To paraphrase Ann Coulter: I think I'm moderate. The rest of you are bat shit insane.

Jim said...

"The whole West has overwhelmingly rejected libertarian philosophy. We've moved beyond serfs, workhouses, and feudalism."

Really? Serfs, workhouses and feudalism are a part of libertarianism? Since when? Seriously..where did you learn the meaning of the word? Obviously you have no idea what the word means and you should stop putting your ignorance on display.

As far as how many people showed up for the TEA party protests. If you want to count the number of protesters in terms of political strength then MLK was a nobody because not a significant portion of the population marched with him either. You can also count out the anti-war protesters as insignificant because an even smaller number ever attended an anti-war rally. This is the most inane line of argument ever.

The fact that these protests took place AT ALL is significant. That the July 4th TEA parties scheduled will make the April 15th ones look small by comparison is significant. That the composition of the protesters isn't a few hippie stragglers, anarchists and bored college kids is significant.

The TEA party protesters are people who probably never would have thought of attending a political protest a year ago. You can parrot the Democratic Party talking points about it being ginned up by FoxNEWS all you want, but it doesn't change the actual facts on the ground.

Calling me an idiot may be self-satisfying, but I'm not the one with my head stuck firmly in the ground. There is a grassroots political movement afoot, and the polls are showing that a majority of Americans agree with their basic complaint: that government is spending too much, taxing too much, and that politicians are corrupt and unresponsive to the electorate.

Be dismissive if you like. But when the next election cycle comes around and you're dumbfounded at the results, you won't be able to claim that you weren't warned it was coming.

bagoh20 said...

"Dictionary definitions usually work...Liberal:1. favorable to progress or reform,"
-
Except that context is everything: A Liberal in the Soviet Union agreed with American Conservatives.

What is important is the principles embraced, not whether or not you want reform. Both sides want that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Except that context is everything: A Liberal in the Soviet Union agreed with American Conservatives. .

Trust me, that distinction won't win over comrade hdhouse.

Alex said...

Another nonsense poll. The country is 90% flaming communist and that's the gospel truth!

Alex said...

libertarianism = unfettered capitalism = slave labor sweatshops!

Big Mike said...

I think that one of the problems -- and MikeDC hit on it (good name, that) is that what we call "conservativism" is actually a coalition between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives.

In my opinion and for what it's worth, too many Republican politicians got into Congress by pushing a social agenda -- to the point where some closeted gay Republicans engaged themselves in gay-bashing -- and not nearly enough were conservative fiscally.

We Republicans need to sort this out internally.

The problem with liberalism, and I think a lot of people grasp this instinctively, is that there is relatively little the government does that it doesn't screw up. The military is something that works pretty well (though it was a mess during the Viet Nam years and for a while thereafter), but many of the agencies of the federal government were created to address specific problems and yet live on with huge budgets pushing ever more arcane and onerous regulations onto people so that the Civil Service staff can continue to justify the agency's existence and not because the serious problems still exist. Absent that, conservatism would never have a chance.

elHombre said...

If the GOP can't figure out how to use this, it is truly pathetic.

Well, they are pathetic, but their real problem is that they don't understand the concept "relentless," even when the Democrats demonstrate it for them.

Salamandyr said...

Salamandyr: what I was referring to specifically is how folks like those at National Review nit picked to death every Republican candidate, except McCain who was dead in the water already (or so they thought).

In the end they didn't get a conservative or an electable, candidate. They need to be less dogmatic and intellectual and more pragmatic. William F. Buckley might have started it but Ronald Reagan was the one who got elected.


I have heard this criticism of NR before (here) and I keep wondering if they're reading the same magazine (or website) I am. They were for Mitt Romney, KJL might as well have been on his staff. Ponnoru liked him. I don't recall Steyn being opposed. I don't recall Jonah talked him up. And the Derb wanted Ron Paul. They did talk about his swerves vis a vis social issues, but why the heck not? I don't want my conservative magazines to be public relations departments for the Republican party. I want at least the spirit of independence.

They pretty much all hated McCain, but got in line once it became clear he was the candidate. They didn't stop talking about his bad points, but they did their best to show his good ones (of which McCain has many-actually he's got many of both).

But it's not really National Review's job to shill for the next Republican candidate, it's to report on the world from a conservative point of view. It's the Republican's job to persuade them, not the other way around.

AlphaLiberal said...

snore.....

It's the old bifurcation between labels and policies.

Ask people what policies they support, sans labels and marketing spin, and you'll find them backing the liberal option time and time again.

Slap a label on it, not so much.

MadisonMan said...

We Republicans need to sort this out internally.

Until fiscally conservative candidates bring out more voters in primaries than social conservatives, I don't see that happening. I mean, you can try to sort it out, and I would welcome it, but I don't see the social conservatives not agitating at the polls during Primary Season.

(Of course, why listen to me? You're not talking to me when you say We Republicans! You're talking to my Mom)

Anthony said...

I agree that the label numbers are misleading. To add onto the argument, here are my thoughts about the disparity of labels.

What it comes down to is that many people who self describe as conservative do so because there is one issue that they find themselves conservatvie on. As for liberals, they tend to be liberal down the line.

So someone like me calls himself conservavtive even though I support immigration amnesty, gay marriage and drug legalization. I consider myself a conservative because the things that really concern me -- federalism, and a strong national security have been pegged as conservative issues.

Social conservatives may be opposed to federalism (at least on social issues like gay marriage) and even like the welfare state. But the issues they care about, abortion and gay marriage for instance, have been tagged as conservative issues.

Run down the line with other issues and other types of conservatives.

So if you have someone like Al Gore who supported a robust American foriegn policy (unlike his 2000 GOP opponent) and a strong national security, get gets tagged as a moderate even though otherwise he checks off the liberal talking points.

Anyway, that is my two cents.

Jim said...

Alex -

From the first line of the Wikipedia entry on libertarianism:

Libertarianism is a term used by a broad spectrum of political philosophies which seek to maximize individual liberty and minimize or even abolish the state.

That's a pretty fair description of libertarianism. Your formulation that libertarianism = unfettered capitalism = sweat labor workshops is waaay off the mark though.

In a free market, laborers are free to choose other employment rather than work in sweat labor workshops - so a sweat shop would soon find itself with no one willing to work there as potential employees chose other places to work with less hostile conditions. In addition, consumers would likely not choose to purchase products produced under such conditions which would force either the folding of the business or a change in its workplace policies. (Witness the various consumer-led boycotts of companies who were found to employ child labor or sweatshops. Just ask Kathie Gifford how her career is going these days.)

In addition, the inevitable rise of unions in response to an enterprise that tried to engage in such behavior provides a counterweight to the desire by an employer to maintain such workplace conditions.

Even before there was an OSHA there were union agreements which bound employers to pay a fair wage and maintain certain safety standards, so your argument that unfettered capitalism equals sweatshops fall completely on its face.

But even given all that, the discussion is moot as the vast majority of libertarians don't advocate for unfettered capitalism. Rather they advocate for a maximization of individual liberties, a minimization of government interference with commerce, and an avoidance of international entanglements in foreign affairs.

Much like conservatism and liberalism, libertarianism as a political philosophy is rarely practiced in its purest form, and even that purest form means something different than what it used to mean.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a libertarian who was an actual anarchist, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a libertarian who believed that absolutely no government involvement in the marketplace is a desirable outcome either.

You're arguing against a strawman.

scinfinity said...

Ask people what policies they support, sans labels and marketing spin, and you'll find them backing the liberal option time and time again.

Looking at the polling on issues...no.

bagoh20 said...

The Crack Emcee said...

"[McCain] never defined himself as a principled conservative."

And Obama did?

I swear, it's hard to keep up with what passes for thinking these days.
1:50 PM

-

That's the point! Ann said McCain was not conservative enough, so she votes for Obama? I'm just pointing it out. Maybe I missed something.

Jeremy said...

Ann Althouse said..."Still the fact that "liberal" feels pejorative to a lot of people is something conservatives should exploit."

And you think they're not aware of this?

Good lord, between Rush, Newt, Hannity, Palin, Cantor, and 90% of the Republicans running for something try to count the times you hear the term "liberal," "leftist," "Socialist" and even "communist" every day of the week.

I think they have it firmly in hand (no pun intended).

Jim said...

Alpha -

"Ask people what policies they support, sans labels and marketing spin, and you'll find them backing the liberal option time and time again. "

That's true, as far as it goes, but it intentionally disregards the reality of the situation which is that the "liberal option" is and has been rejected time after time.

For example, well back into the early 1990's the public at large has wanted national healthcare because, in the abstract, it's a great concept: every gets healthcare, whooppee! The problem comes when you have actually enumerate an actual solution to a nebulous problem such as giving everyone health care insurance.

The Democratic/Liberal/Leftist solution to pretty much every issue is to have government do it, but there is far less support for the actual Leftist solution than there is for solving the problem as a whole.

The Clintons found out the hard way that, although people say they want national healthcare, when you start laying out the details of the Leftist solution would cost, what sacrifices people who are already insured would have to make and the like - support dries up like a grape in the sun to solve a problem that affects very few Americans.

The 30-45 million number that is constantly thrown around is a complete lie. It includes illegal aliens (for which there is wide agreement should NOT be included in a national healthcare plan), the transitionally uninsured (i.e., waiting for their health benefits to kick in at their new job), the voluntarily uninsured (large portions of the population between 20-35 who choose to not pay healthcare premiums because they're healthy and view it as a waste of money), and those who are already eligible for a government health plan but who either: a) aren't aware of that, or b) just haven't done the paperwork for one reason or another. Once you account for all of these people, the numbers of actually uninsured people is actually quite a small portion of the population, and people aren't willing to endure additional taxes, longer waiting times to see their doctors or rationed healthcare.

We could go through "liberal policy" after liberal policy and yes, you would find that as a nebulous concept for the idea; however, when it comes down to the actual execution of it and putting the government in charge of running it, the support just isn't there.

Jeremy said...

elHombre said..."...but their real problem is that they don't understand the concept "relentless," even when the Democrats demonstrate it for them."

When you say "relentless," are you referring to the use of the term; "socialism" every time anybody mentions health care?

Every time I hear it, I wish we could force those saying it to call their mothers, fathers and grandparents and tell them to lay off that damn socialistic Medicare and Medicaid and take care of themselves without relying on the government.

Same thing for veterans and those unemployed people sponging off the government.

What do you think about that...elHombre??

EnigmatiCore said...

"Ann said McCain was not conservative enough, so she votes for Obama? I'm just pointing it out. Maybe I missed something."

I don't think it was that he wasn't conservative enough, it was that he wasn't principled enough.

Jeremy said...

Jim - "The Democratic/Liberal/Leftist solution to pretty much every issue is to have government do it, but there is far less support for the actual Leftist solution than there is for solving the problem as a whole.

And there you have exactly what I just commented on: "Socialism."

Jim, I'd like for you to call your mother, father and grandparents and tell them to lay off that damn socialistic Medicare and Medicaid and take care of themselves without relying on the government.

And if you know anybody who is a veteran or unemployed, tell them to stand on their own two feet and stop sponging off the government.

Could you do that for us, Jim?

Jim said...

There's a world of difference between telling people that have already paid into that broken system, or served their country or whatever that we're going to take it away from them; and telling people that our children and those who haven't already "paid their dues" that we should continue to support a system that everyone agrees is already broken.

As far as veterans go, they earned their benefits. It's not socialism to give a veteran benefits, and any argument that it either fundamentally either misunderstands or is intentionally deceptive about why our veterans get benefits. Here's a hint: it's part of the "benefits package" we agreed to pay them when they signed up to serve our country. Your 401(k) plan isn't "socialism," and just because the government is writing the check doesn't make it socialism either.

On the other hand, eliminating the programs you mentioned going forward implies that there would be no alternative when people reach retirement age. That all the money that is currently going into the Social Security and Medicare systems would somehow magically disappear into the night if not for the government confiscating it.

The truth is that - even with all the ups and downs of the stock market - if the average worker had invested the money they paid into the Social Security system into the overall stock market, they would be several times better off than accepting the measly 1-2% annual return on the government taking it over those same years.

Same thing with Medicare. As Medicare Part D has proven, private companies can and will compete to provide coverage to seniors. Not only that, they are providing that coverage more inexpensively than even government estimates at the time projected. Private companies. Insurance. Not government insurance. Private. Cheaper. More efficient. Get it?

The ridiculous argument that people who don't support Medicare or Social Security somehow want to deprive our elderly of the money they have earned over a lifetime is absolutely ludicrous. We just want them to get a better return on their investment than a bloated and inefficient federal bureaucracy is able to provide.

It is actually more factual to say that those who support these broken systems want our elderly to get by with less in order to pay for massive government waste and fraud. So why do you hate the elderly so much?

scinfinity said...

I don't think it was that he wasn't conservative enough, it was that he wasn't principled enough.

That sounds right...but, it's not like Obama was exactly laden with principled stands.

scinfinity said...

I don't think it was that he wasn't conservative enough, it was that he wasn't principled enough.

That sounds right...but, it's not like Obama was exactly laden with principled stands.

Jim said...

Jim - "The Democratic/Liberal/Leftist solution to pretty much every issue is to have government do it, but there is far less support for the actual Leftist solution than there is for solving the problem as a whole.

And there you have exactly what I just commented on: "Socialism."


I'm glad we can agree that there is little public appetite for Leftist solutions/socialism.

Now have a cookie and run back home, your mother is calling you.

Jeremy said...

Jim said..."There's a world of difference between telling people that have already paid into that broken system, or served their country or whatever that we're going to take it away from them; and telling people that our children and those who haven't already "paid their dues" that we should continue to support a system that everyone agrees is already broken."

You think everybody has "paid into Medicaid and Medicare?"

How so?

My mother has had open heart surgery, a broken hip repaired, numerous visits to the doctor and hospital over the past 10 years and she's never worked a day in her life, other than being a mother to her children.

We certainly contribute a share to SS, but when a veteran receives free medical attention through the VA, are you saying it isn't a form of socialism?

How about child welfare, food stamps, welfare, etc.??

Do you think we should discontinue those programs?

Jeremy said...

Jim - "Now have a cookie and run back home, your mother is calling you."

That's cute, but as always, you're not answering my question: Are you saying we should discontinue Medicare, Medicaid, Child Welfare, Unemployment, Food Stamps, Welfare, Veteran's Benefits, etc.?

All are forms of "socialism" and at this point I have a feeling you really don't even know what that means.

You're merely regurgitating the usual right wing talking points that are based in distortion and lies.

Put up or shut up.

Jeremy said...

Jim - Oh, and by the way; SS is a "safety net" not a an investment vehicle.

And if it were designated as such one would want to be damn sure their "investment" was solid when they reached the time of retirement.

Where would all of this supposed "profit" you talk about be if the market plummets?

Synova said...

No one accepts the basic fallacy of your "clever" question, Jeremy.

But by all means, keep repeating it and demanding an answer.

John Lynch said...

If moderate=liberal it doesn't really matter.

Alex said...

Jeremy - yeah I say cut em all off!

Jim said...

Jeremy -

I put up.

1) Veteran's benefits aren't "socialism" any more than maintaining a standing military is.
2) I already stated my position on Medicare and Social Security. Maintain the system as it is for those who have already paid into it, but from now on let people keep their money, let them decide how to manage their own retirement.
3) As far as the other welfare type programs go, those should be responsibility of the states - not a federal responsibility. It's the principle this country was founded upon. If New York wants to lavish benefits upon its recipients, then New Yorkers can pay for it. If Tennessee wants to provide for a minimal benefit or no benefit at all, then they can do that too. One-size-fits-all solutions rarely are. Our Founding Fathers figured that out over 200 years ago, why are you still struggling with the concept?

Now you had your cookie, so why are you still here?

Jim said...

Jeremy -

Oh and by the way, you get paid in Social Security benefits based on what you paid into it. If you had ever received your annual Social Security benefits statement you would know that.

Once again, you are making an argument from the relative safety behind your own sphincter. When you reach daylight, come back and join us.

Mark said...

Trevor: "Liberal" is the only term of the three that has gotten a stigma attached to it over the last 30 years.

Wow, you're definitely not in NYC, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, or any other Deep Blue area. Being called Conservative in any of areas is akin to being accused of eating babies raw.

Synova said...

"Being called Conservative in any of areas is akin to being accused of eating babies raw."

Raw is best.

Cook 'em and they get stringy.

Jeremy said...

Jim said..."Oh and by the way, you get paid in Social Security benefits based on what you paid into it. If you had ever received your annual Social Security benefits statement you would know that."

I understand SS, dumbfuck.

Why are you avoiding answering my questions relating to Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Food Stamps, Unemployment, etc.?

Other than not knowing your ass from a hole in the ground.

I suggest a few business courses.

Anthony said...

Synova

So you like them sushi style? I prefer pan seared with a mango salsa.

Jeremy said...

Jim, You have no fucking idea what you're talking about.

You saying we "pay into" these funds...but...when, Jim?

When does someone who never has a job pay into Medicare or Medicaid?

Did you even attend high school?

Here's a list you might want to keep in mind:

Government Worker Programs -

Civil Service Retirement Systems
Federal Employee Retirement Systems
Railroad Retirement System

Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Programs
Public Housing
Rental Vouchers & Certificates
Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Shelter Plus Care
Single Room Occupancy
Low Income Home Energy Assistance

Social Security Programs
Social Security (OASDI)
Unemployment Insurance
Temporary Disability Insurance
Medicare
Medicaid
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Welfare Programs
Supplemental Security Income
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Food Stamp Program
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
National School Lunch Program
School Breakfast Program
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Jim said...

Jeremy -

Re-read my previous post on the subject. I answered your "questions" and posed a couple of my own which you conveniently neglected to answer.

If you fail at reading comprehension, then it's nobody's fault but your own. Get a clue - or maybe you can find a government program to buy one for you. Either way, don't come back til you have one.

Jeremy said...

Ever notice how the conservative babies always taste bitter, but go better with whine?

And the liberal babies always taste sweet?

Just wondered...

Jeremy said...

Jim - You're an idiot.

You don't even know what socialism is.

Call Rush, maybe he can help out.

Mark said...

scinfinity:

"I don't think it was that he wasn't conservative enough, it was that he wasn't principled enough.

"That sounds right...but, it's not like Obama was exactly laden with principled stands."

Well, as has been pointed out again and again, everyone knew Obama was telling huge lies all over the spectrum on the campaign trail, but the people who voted for him assumed that his lies were "good" lies and that he'd govern in ways to their liking.

Well, hope is a beautiful thing, but foolishness ain't. It's looking like America is getting exactly what it deserves, from an H.L. Menken perspective.

Jim said...

Anthony and Synova -

No, no and no...You're all wrong!

Deep, batter-fried with a sprinkling of powdered sugar...

Yummy!!!

Big Mike said...

Of course, why listen to me? You're not talking to me when you say We Republicans!

@MadisonMan, you're a bright guy, even if we don't always agree, and I wouldn't mind having you inside the tent. Like the magical tents in the Harry Potter stories, it's a lot bigger than it looks from outside.

I also think you put your finger right on the problem. Or one of the problems, anyway. The fact that over 40% of the electorate pays no taxes means something like half the voters (the very rich, whose wealth shields them from the impact of higher taxes, as well as the 40% who pay nothing) have no stake in fiscal conservatism.

Jeremy said...

Mark - "Well, as has been pointed out again and again, everyone knew Obama was telling huge lies all over the spectrum on the campaign trail, but the people who voted for him assumed that his lies were "good" lies and that he'd govern in ways to their liking."

And yet another insane bitch and whine from one of the local wingnuts.

Tell me: Did Bush distort or lie about WMD? Saddam and al Qaeda? Saddam and 9/11? Torture? Illegal wiretapping?

You people are soooooo full of shit...and you wonder why the GOP is in free fall?

Jim said...

Big Mike -

You're right about not paying taxes, but everyone pays indirect taxes even if they don't pay income taxes.

For example, Obama's reckless fiscal policies are driving up interest rates which is going to affect the availability and price of credit for everyone. Even if you can't get credit or don't use it, the prices you pay for everything are going to go up because the companies that produce the goods and services you consume do use credit.

The problem is that most people don't understand the indirect costs of an out-of-control spendthrift Congress and its enabler-in-chief. An effective opposition would be pointing out how their cronyism on the taxpayer's dime is affecting household budgets across this country.

And let's not even get started on the effect of a weak-kneed foreign policy on the price of oil and how that's affecting - and will affect - household budgets.

The only question is whether there will be an effective advocate willing to make these arguments. If there is, then the entirety of the Democratic Party is in serious trouble.

scinfinity said...


I also think you put your finger right on the problem. Or one of the problems, anyway. The fact that over 40% of the electorate pays no taxes means something like half the voters (the very rich, whose wealth shields them from the impact of higher taxes, as well as the 40% who pay nothing) have no stake in fiscal conservatism.


They don't NOW.

BUT, they will, inevitably, be impacted because they want all of these benefits and money isn't infinite.

And when they ARE impacted...it'll be exceptionally ugly, and also quite well deserved.

As Thatcher said, the problem with Socialism is that you will eventually run out of somebody else's money.

bagoh20 said...

""I don't think it was that he wasn't conservative enough, it was that he wasn't principled enough.
-
She said: "he never defined himself as a principled conservative", therefore she voted for an unprincipled Liberal.
-
kinda like: "It was too dark, so I turned out the lights." I must not be understanding her logic. I assume she does.

Jeremy said...

Jim - "The problem is that most people don't understand the indirect costs of an out-of-control spendthrift Congress and its enabler-in-chief."

Ohhhhhhh, and can we assume you were in a fucking coma during the Bush years?

You know, when we had a dramatic increase in government spending? When the surplus left behind by Clinton was eaten up via tax cuts and massive spending?

Bush walks away, leaving the country buried in debt, entering a huge recession...and all you can do is whine about Obama's policies?

Do you read anything before posting or just let Rush and Hannity do you thinking?

Jim said...

bagoh20 -

Ann's logic in supporting Obama was, quite frankly, never very sound to begin with. It always boiled down to essentially this:

"As a resident of Wisconsin and member of a liberal faulty, my default position is to vote for Obama. If McCain says something earth-shattering or the media points out just how mind-bendingly inane his promises are in light of his past track record, then maybe I'll vote for McCain."

Aside from the "true believers" on the Left for whom only slavish devotion to all things Left is sufficiently loyal enough, I don't think anyone here really thought there was a realistic chance that she was going to wind up supporting McCain.

That's certainly her right, and I would never gainsay our hostess the illusion that her vote was ever really in doubt (barring some kind of "game-changer" which a supine media ensured wasn't going to happen). But, whether it was conscious or not, I have little doubt that she reached her conclusion first and attempted to justify it later.

Jim said...

In my previous post, the "his promises" was unintentionally ambiguous. It should read "Obama's promises."

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ask people what policies they support, sans labels and marketing spin, and you'll find them backing the liberal option time and time again. .

Absolutely. That's why liberal California voted overwhelmingly to allow gays to marry. And why liberal Oregan voted overwhelmingly for that state universal health care program.

Big Mike said...

@Jim, regarding your 5:46 post, did you think you had to tell me?

Unlike a large part of the electorate, apparently, I have vivid memories of the Carter years. Hyperinflaction, stagflation, 16% mortgage rates. I'm less than a decade from retirement so I have strong fears of its return.

But if you're part of the 40% who pay zero in federal taxes, runaway inflation probably seems to be a purely abstract concept.

As regards oil, I used to wonder whether the US wasn't being really smart underneath it all -- pump Venezuala and the Arabian penisula dry and we'd still have our offshore oil reserves, not to mention shale oil, Canadian tar sands, and ANWR to draw upon. But now I think we're just stupid and doing something smart purely by accident.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ohhhhhhh, and can we assume you were in a fucking coma during the Bush years?.

Do you actually have an argument of substance as opposed to the 'he did it too!' excuse most 3rd graders use?

Oh wait, it's you. Never mind.

Jim said...

Big Mike -

I too remember the Carter years, and this is all too reminiscent of how they began. Keynesian government policies, weak-kneed foreign policy...it's like deja vu all over again.

The primary thrust of my post was simply to point out that the GOP hasn't been making the case to that 40% that pays no income taxes. I was merely pointing out that there definitely is a case to be made in terms that will bring it home to every American regardless of their tax situation, but the GOP has yet to make it.

I hope for the sake of this country, that an effective spokesman (or spokeswoman) starts making this case today - before Obama ratchets up the "well, I know I said I wasn't going to raise taxes on 95% of Americans, but the situation has changed..." argument that is inevitably going to follow this drunken spending spree.

EnigmatiCore said...

Bago, obviously I am engaging in a little mind-reading. Althouse can speak for herself. However, from what I gleaned from her posts back then she felt McCain had not shown himself to be a principled conservative-- or rather, that he had shown himself to be an unprincipled one.

Obama, on the other hand, at the time had not shown himself to be unprincipled.

That he has so proven doesn't matter.

Besides, Althouse has said on many occasions that she is a liberal. All things being equal, if she had to choose between an unprincipled conservative and an unprincipled liberal, without other extenuating circumstances, she's likely to choose the liberal every time.

Anthony said...

Jeremy

Ever notice how the conservative babies always taste bitter, but go better with whine?

And the liberal babies always taste sweet?

Just wondered...


Sweet is for desert, not dinner.

In any event, you are probably seasoning them wrong, and cooking them too long.

Cedarford said...

Salamandyr said...
Damn Straight. Say what you stand for and then stand for it.

Unfortunately, the GOP hasn't figured this out. All the big noisemakers are still bleating about how "we need to be moderate" as if John McCain wasn't their handpicked candidate. So count on them screwing this up at least through the next election.


The problem is saying we need that good 'ol time Reagan freedom for Wall Street to act without any dang gummint regulation and oversight, need to put most money with the rich so they create good jobs, and do and suffer more major wars for Israel....and do the full true believer act on Terri Schiavo and other "values" lodestones.

And "excite" the Southern whites and hardcore conservatives elsewhere. No moderation! No "pandering" to non-whites..weak women...and so on.

The problem is Reagan got 55% of the white vote in 1980. McCain got exactly the same - 55% - and lost, and the underticket was led to doom by Dubya..2008 was another catastrophic rout in the States and Congressional offices. The difference, thanks to Bush and Clinton's open Borders - is whites are down from 88% of the population in 1980 to 74% today.

There is a reason "true believers" NEVER get elected except following a failed President.

Usually they end up on the wrong side of a national or Party primary landslide - think Goldwater, McGovern, Jesse Jackson, Pat Buchanan. After the debacle, they get lionized as the "true believers of impeccable purity - while at the same time knowing no one will touch them with a 10-foot pole for the debacle they get blamed for.

And after a few years out of power, even the most fanatical liberal or conservative will will want a return from the wilderness so much they will jettison Jesse...or will jettison Sarah Palin, Huckabee is fellow hardcore Fundies, anyone with a taint of Bush II or the Neocons, Newt, and any conservative ideologue for the rich - like Steve Forbes and Grover Norquist..

Penny said...

If Jim and Jeremy wouldn't mind, I'd like to go back to how the Tea Party Movement fits in here?

I agree with Jim that the movement is 21st century historic, no matter how small it is. I would like to disagree with Jim on his feeling that we will see results in the next election cycle.

This movement is much more about American's taking back their power than it has one thing to do with whether we are Conservative, or Moderate, and Liberal. Based on the comments to this Althouse post, it's clear that labels don't really matter so much because most of us get quite angry about being pigeon-holed inaccurately, at the same time we are sure that everyone else was pigeon-holing themselves inaccurately --- but for some "perfect" definition.

The Tea Party concept works for anyone, regardless of party. Those that think it is a conservative movement will do what (?) eight years from now when that pendulum swings in the opposite direction?

While this country may have a two-party system, most recently defined as those in power and those out of power... as thinking people, we can't really believe that anyone might dare to speak for us when we dare to speak for ourselves? THAT is the beauty of the Tea Party Movement. Americans speaking for themselves!

In this internet age, we expect instant gratification. From Palladian's lips, for example, to our legislatures' actions?

Time to stop looking for the "quick fix", fellow citizens. Palladian hasn't even convinced Althouse to ban Jeremy.

I applaud Althouse for her objectvity, given local demographics. On the other hand, I fully expect that Palladian will take his well stated conservative arguments to Palladian.com. He and Trooper.com will come together to make some fun of Ann when they aren't thanking her for providing them both with just the right way of stepping out on their own.

THIS is America. One step after another of hard work, pain and reward on timelines only your grandparents could imagine making sense.

Althouse is an entrepeneur. She bakes pies, and is not on a diet. Her "kids" have their favorites though.

Thank you, Ann. Could I have a slice of Palladian cherry and a sliver of Jeremy blueberry? A big scoop of whipped cream over both, please? REAL whipped cream, if you don't mind. I am on my way to Troop's house, where "cream" is
continually redefined. I like it there, but then again, I'm not so fussy about my cream as long as it is liberally applied by a New York conservative. (Oxymoron alert).

bagoh20 said...

I actually can respect someone voting for an unprincipled Liberal - they at least know what they are voting for. Hiring a candidate with Obama's resume for this job would get that manager fired at my company. Even if he ends up doing well, it was poor decision making that lucked out, like betting your savings on the lottery and winning. If it ends in disaster, I want a few million apologies.

Cedarford said...

Hoosier - The fact that McCain was literally boarding up the door to his campaign office six months prior to the election certainly makes you wonder how the hell he ended up with the nomination.

I still contend that had Romney gotten the nod, Obama would be voting present right now.


1. McCain got it because quirky NH voters thought he "deserved it as a POW who suffered and all after losing in 2000". And because down South, the conservative vote got split 3 ways. And Romney lost it by trying to swing so far right into "values conservatives areas" that he smelled phoney.

2. Romney likely would have been unable to shed the stink of Bush II. The country wanted a big change...and Obama still almost lost it by people reminded this was a serious time and a guy who read a Teleprompter as his main asset for office may not be the best choice. Yes, he faced a horrific, inchoherent McCain...and a woman that alienated women outside her rural white bastion areas no no end, along with Independents and many moderates. (McCain was forced to pick Palin because Pastor Huckleberry was too much to stomach, and his decades of backstabbing conservatives meant he had to get someone to toss them the good old 30 year old conservative red meat slogans..)

3. However, I think Romney might not have salvaged the Presidency, but he would have done more to stop the massacre Down Ticket. Both Palin and McCain were so ignorant on economic matters that when the crisis hit, they both failed open...and worse...allowed Democrats place blame square on All REpublicans.
Romney would have campaigned with a clear, well prepped Reublican message. McCain was all about "character" and "trust me I don't know what to do, but I will do the right thing - My Friends! My Friends!"
He may have lost, but Romney would have saved many Republicans down ticket, and put clear markers of Republican positions down rather than the blank slate McCain gifted Obama with - all Obama had to do was expand to fill the national policy vacuum left by McCain.

That wasn't good enough, alas.
And the great irony is the One Republican that could have won, was well thought of by moderates and hispanics as well as white Fundies and those that wanted less belligerance overseas was screwed by Dubya more than anyone, cursed by Dubya with the same last name.
Gov Jeb Bush.

Anthony said...

Cedarford --

I am coming at this a bit biase, as I volunteered on McCain's 2000 campaign and in 2008, he was the first (and will probably be the only) candidate I ever maxed out on contributions too.

I believe that McCain was the only Repuiblican who had a shot in 2008.

As for Romney, I was more impressed with him before he started running, and very impressed with him after he dropped out. While he was running he left me cold and wet.

elHombre said...

Jeremy wrote (4:24): elHombre said..."...but their real problem is that they don't understand the concept "relentless," even when the Democrats demonstrate it for them."

When you say "relentless," are you referring to the use of the term; "socialism" every time anybody mentions health care?
...
What do you think about that...elHombre??

I think your comment is a non sequitur and that you are dumb as a rock, Jeremy.

Jeremy said...

What is a political party that is vastly white, middle-aged, male, Southern, pious, conservative, aggrieved, impotent, nostalgic, rude...(John Batchelor-Republican)

Jeremy said...

elHombre - So can I assume you don't understand the meaning of "relentless?"

Duh.

Jeremy said...

bagoh20 said..."I actually can respect someone voting for an unprincipled Liberal - they at least know what they are voting for. Hiring a candidate with Obama's resume for this job would get that manager fired at my company."

You're describing a the people who voted for and elected President Obama. Where doe that leave YOU...dipstick?

On the outside.

Jeremy said...

Anthony said..."I am coming at this a bit biase, as I volunteered on McCain's 2000 campaign and in 2008, he was the first (and will probably be the only) candidate I ever maxed out on contributions too."

You gave this idiot $5.00?

Penny said...

Thanks to Lem for linking to Freeman Hunt's comments earlier today.

I feel your pain, Freeman, hence my last post.

Not all of us are as good with words, though. And extreme sadness belies your ability to act in new ways.

Be passionate, yet patient and hard working. Above all, be sure to ask what you wish for.

Far too many of we Americans find it easier to be built up or let down by those to whom we hand over our personal power.

Democrat, Republican?

Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama?

Conservative, Moderate, Liberal?

No thank you.

I will find my own voice.

It will take time and hard work, but it will happen.

Fuckin' Palladian and Jeremy need to just recognize my open hand!

Buncha friggin' "right fighting" eloquent dolts who just can't disagree without being tasty boors, AND here I am loving and sucking every last ounce of fat from their boners.

"She said, wryly and shyly, with no hint of sexuality."

I have this "THING" for leaders.

Synova said...

"The fact that over 40% of the electorate pays no taxes means something like half the voters (the very rich, whose wealth shields them from the impact of higher taxes, as well as the 40% who pay nothing) have no stake in fiscal conservatism."

I was thinking about this and... it's not true. On the one hand, everyone should pay *some* income tax, if only a symbolic token amount, to signify participation in citizenship...

But it's not true that people who do not pay income taxes don't pay taxes. Of course they do. Lots of taxes. And we're looking at more and more taxes on *all* people despite Obama's promises... they just aren't *income* taxes. It will be greater taxes, nearly punitive taxes, on purchases of those items that other people figure you don't need or shouldn't have. Sin taxes. And they WILL hit the poor hard.

Anyone and everyone ought to have a stake in fiscal conservatism.

During the campaigns someone asked people if they knew what Obama had said about spreading wealth around. One the You Tube video one attractive young lady turned her vacant smile on the camera and said, "Well, that sounds pretty good, doesn't it?"

She may not have thought that she'd be one of those being asked to give her wealth to other people, and Obama was very FIRM about how taxes would not go up a single penny for people making less than $200 or $250 K or whatever it was...

But there are a whole heck of a lot more taxes and ways to tax people than just tax their income. We're already seeing proposals for different ways to tax drivers who drive the wrong sort of cars, for example.

This clear fact of *universal* taxation and taxpayer interest in government fiscal responsibility is one of those things that conservative candidates should be prepared to clearly articulate.

Revenant said...

The conservative/moderate/liberal breakdown is outdated. The key point that needs to be understood is that the grumpy/happy/apathetic breakdown stands at 72%/10%/18%.