We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, May 3. 2009
From Sen. Jim DeMint's WSJ op-ed on building a big tent party:
People who prefer dependency to freedom need to find another country. Lots of those countries out there, but they are disappearing fast. If you want a strong dose, try Cuba or Venezuela. Maybe Bolivia. Stay away from China, because they are looking for entrepreneurs.
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I've been watching and listening to DeMint for awhile, and he is defining himself as a real centrist Republican who could emerge on the national stage. He seems to have sensible, achievable goals.
Saw this myself in yesterday's WSJ. Thought it was very good and yet two pages later, Peggy Noonan criticized it as "Shrink to Win". Both espousing a big tent yet they can't even agree on what one is. I truly would like to see more big-tent thinking in the GOP, but if even the big-tent people are calling each other out, there's a long way to go.
Don't know much about DeMint but what little I've heard I like. Yet OTOH, from what I've seen of SC (mostly around Columbia), it's not exactly my kind of place, which I guess is somewhat to his point...but it makes me suspicious. Not that he's responsible for the state as a whole but whenever I've traversed the place I've been left with a hopeless feeling. I've seen little (good) change there since the 80's, but maybe that's just my superficial view from the highways. I'd be curious to hear what is happening there and if maybe my impression is way off base.
What is a centrist these days? My liberal friend thinks I"m a little right of Hitler. I think I"m a centrist. The old political reference line where you have Commie's on the left and Nazi's on the right is propaganda from the left. Hitler and the Nazi's should be right next to Stalin and the Commie's on the left side of the line. And to the right of me should be the radical libertarians and anarchists. I believe in law and very little gov interference in our lives. Just like in Maggie's credo.
DeMints op-ed sounds good, but you"ll always have Republicans like those two from Maine who will vote for programs empowering the Federal Gov to have more control over our personal lives, if only for our own good.
A political party cannot be a detailed ideology or it will die as times change. However, the Repubs have a proud heritage of standing for freedom ever since Abe Lincoln.
A good piece by DeMint. Standing for freedom is a good place to begin for the GOP. The belief in freedom would be a move to the right. Unfortunately we have people in the GOP who think they know best how to run people's lives. The GOP is still battling within over whether it will move left or right. It seems that however the outcome, the losers will be less than enthusiastic about supporting the party. It does not bode well for the future, but then it is always darkest before the proverbial dawn.
Two things made me pause in this excerpt: His use of the vague 'freedom' and his criticism of NCLB. Is any liberal/democrat against 'freedom'? Used in such a philosophical manner, it means nothing as every American will swear by 'freedom'. 'Big tent' has a circus feel to it, and it is also too philosophical to account for the details the GOP needs to draw people in, not for a side show of dreamy idealism but for believable purpose. As for NCLB, test scores have risen consistently since 2004. There is much to NCLB that people don't think about beyond the fact the government mandated it. It bypasses the NEA when a school needs to fire a teacher, and in all states, teachers must teach required subjects and not pick and choose what they themselves like. KRW, your instincts about SC are right on. South Carolina vies with Mississippi for worst of all states in education.
He's wishy-washy and preacher-like. Frankly, I don't think it's okay for states to go their own way on a lot of issues because people suffer when the original philosophy of the American Dream is interpreted by different locales. We need a political barker for the GOP who can demand conservative principles for our republic without making people feel their only seats under the big tent are in the nosebleed section of uncompromising social values and disregard for liberty by having to focus on freedom from and giving up freedom to.
The problem with the free use of the word "freedom" is not only that it makes many people's eyes roll, but that even in the context of conservatism it is not clearly delineated as to why it is a good thing. Conservatives would do much better to put "freedom" more in the context of anti-monopoly (of power) than anti-government. The message would carry a good bit further if more effort was put into explaining how allowing large numbers of people the freedom to make mistakes also allows the best solutions to rise to the top. Make the humble point that even the brightest minds are not omniscient and even those with pure intentions are not completely uncorruptible.
Screaming "Freedom" whilst having your guts torn out only worked for Mel Gibson 700 years after the fact. And in reality the real guy had to have his real guts really torn out. For today's GOP leadership, the comparison is embarrassingly weak.
Thing is, to paraphrase an old TV show, there's 300 million people here... and 300 million interpretations of freedom. Hard to get 51 percent out of that melange of thought for that particular word.
A false start in my opinion, to rely on such now.
Though it shouldn't be necessary, as freedom is what it is all about... but any other thoughts on a fundamental that might strike a broader and more substantive chord.
It seems to me that when modern day republicans call for a big tent it is a clone of the current dem party....big government, abandon pro-life, anti illiegal immigration.
The recent group of new-day republicans have government as an answer to all ills.
If I wanted a big tent, I would go dems....aren't they the if it feels good, do it party?
The pro-life position is a government answer to an ill. Anti-illegal immigration (aka anti-invasion) is a problem that is the prime purpose of government's existence. "If it feels good do it" is only a problem if someone else gets forced to pay for it. Nothing wrong with "if it feels good, so long as you figger out how pay for it yourself and it's OK with your own conscience, do it"...That IS freedom.