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Monday, November 3. 2008
Appearances and Mood in Politics
Your Editor here at Maggie's will vote tomorrow (even though there is no point in ever voting) out of duty and citizenship. We promise no blame or recriminations towards anybody (except the press) if our preferred candidates lose in these elections which entail much more than just presidential elections, and we promise not to go hysterical, infantile, and paranoid like the Left tends to do if we don't get our way. (Well, but we may all move into Habu's cabin in Montana.)
Related to that, our guest poster Bruce Kesler has some thoughts in anticipation of vox populi:
Posted by Bird Dog in Our Essays, Politics at 17:30 | Comments (28) | Trackback (1)
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"If McCain loses, conservatives will likely place most of the blame on him and his campaign for failing to take more advantage of Obama’s coterie of radical mentors, to alert more voters of their dangers."
I'm just blaming McCain for not getting his message (any message) out. It didn't have to be those specific things... any message would have been good... When he did give a good speech with some specifics; the media blocked it.... and he didn't always give good speeches making his case. Example, he tried to get Freddie and Fannie regulated but he got beat up over the whole melt down. On an item he was right on the money, he couldn't get a message out about being right. Its mostly just a poorly run campaign IMO, not that Ayers was not in the news more. Aside from general message issues and getting some blame put on democrats he should have prepaired for the media filter better. I'm sure there are a few experts on how to get your word out around them or forcing them to cover things they don't want to. They should have hired and listened to...
"The crucial role that National Review played post-1964 in guarding against that will require a new central forum of conservative sanity and principle."
National Review, now a shell of it's former self, is certainly not up to it.
Considering a sizeable percentage of so-called conservative columnists endorsed Obama, for various reasons that in no way excuses them for endorsing a marxist, I am not holding my breath for a resurgence in conservative media.
The ones we should have been able to count on have been sabotaging the McCain campaign since day one. There aren't that many left to trust.
Here’s a six-pack of rules:
1. No more drowning governments in bathtubs. Anarchist social experiments performed in Somalia, Palestine, south central L.A... have failed. Conservatism should be ‘The most rule of law for the least cash’.
2. No more fiscal irresponsibility. “Just Focking Finance It” is not the way the party of frugality should work.
3. No more crazy talk. While Coulter, Malkin, Limbaugh... may be as entertaining as their liberal counterparts, they are not to be mimicked mindlessly (unless it’s more entertaining than their liberal counterparts). There are far more serious thinkers worthy of mimicry.
4. No more going into wars without being 100% sure of a quick victory and rebuild. It’s damned expensive the other way. And wasn’t it supposed to be the lefties who got all orgasmic about dragging expensive weapons and medal encrusted uniforms all around town in jingoistic parades?
5. No more going into potentially tough times as a candidate without being clued in. For example, don’t say “I don't know as much about the economy as I should" right before events turn voter attention toward the economy.
6. No more “Joe Sixpack” talking head politicians. All candidates for public office must be smarter than that media which gets off on picking apart public personas.
Meanwhile, in a campaign during which the overwhelming portion of the major media have utterly failed to research ...
But it goes further than this. McCain's campaign recognized that the national press was coordinating communications with the Obama campaign, as evinced by the talking points documents that were leaked to secondary outlets. Any attacks were rebuked in concert using language and argumentation disseminated by Obama's campaign staff. They effectively controlled the airwaves and print media. McCain may as well have been campaigning in Venezuela or Russia.
McCain's nuclear option would have been to attack the press directly and forcefully. For instance, he could have called for a FEC investigation of coordination between these corporations and the Obama campaign on the premise that their efforts constitute in-kind contributions to the campaign. He could have had surrogates name names, not only of reporters but also individuals in editorial and executive roles. But this is a dangerous gambit, as the press would claim suppression and censorship - he'd have had to frame his charges to focus on the MSM's betrayal of American Democracy.
Mack makes a good point. It might have been better this year for the Repubs to take the nuclear uption and boot most the press off the plane [or bus, as-it-were], but McCain is too genteel for that, so though fierce, he's likely the wrong warrior for that particular war.
Good luck on commander clopfelter's wishful rules. The only ones open to advance planning and control are numbers 2 and 3, imo. We'd be dreaming if we thought the other four could be successfully "managed". I thinks its better to learn how to quickly adapt to adversity than plop one's head in the sand. But that just might be me.
The floor is now open for nominations to fulfill that role. I'd love to hear from Kesler on that.
No kidding, Mack.
I sent an emailto a friend on the McCain campaign suggesting the same thing about the media echoing the BO talking points. In-kind contribution!
And I do blame the McC campaign for blowing it. They had the most unproductive, unpopular Congress in history to run against. They had the Dems on the sub-prime scandal and McCain had a perfect opportunity to take a principled stand against the unpopular bailout. He did none of these things. He tried to talk like a DC outsider while running as an insider. Finally, he brought Palin in and let his bozos mishandle her completely.
Before conservatives start planning the counter-revolution, they better figure out where they're going to find a constituency. Bush and McCain have nearly wiped out the old one and Obama, the Dems and Acorn will finish them off during the next four years through fraud, the Fairness Doctrine and redistricting.
Blacks, eggheads, hispanics, gender voters, millennials and convicted felons are the emerging American majority.
@Mack, I beg to differ re: Obama controlling the media's presentation of his message. It's only been a few days since the NYT's stock tanked, the Newark Star Ledger laid off half it's staff, and major newspapers, magazines, etc. have either folded or face the prospect of terribly-reduced readership/sales. The media, as it once stood, is no more. There is, in effect, no audience that it plays to anymore, that audience having abandoned it (mostly) because of it's shallow electioneering-disguised-as-editorial. The only 'major' media outlet that has been all-Obambi-all-the-time is MSNBC, and it's audience can be measured by a simple show of hands -- it is preaching to the choir.
As for what Conservatives can do to 'right the ship';
1. Remember that Conservatism is a grown-up philosophy that doesn't need to be sugar-coated. Plain speaking and complete honesty go an awfully long way. It's more than national Defense and tax cuts and a reminder of Osama bin Laden 700 times a year (although we certianly shouldn't abandon those important memes). It has to offer more than anti-abortion-anti-gay-rights-flame-throwers-for-everyone-and-lower-taxes. Speak to a broader base, plainly and on anything under the sun, and we'll win elections.
2. Stop the hypocrisy. If you claim to be the party of responsible grown-ups, then act like one. No more pork-barreling, no more fiscal irresponsibility, no more playing both sides of the fence with triangulation strategies. Stop claiming to be the party of social reform while you defend the likes of DeLay, Craig, and Foley.
3. Time to recognize that in the economic arena, that the mantra of "What's good for Wall Street is Good for America" no longer applies. neither Wall Street nor Washington can be trusted anymore. It most certainly isn't good for anyone when what's good for Wall Street comes at the expense of our citizens. I'm talking about lax regulation (there doesn't need to be any more regulation, but you should enforce whatever is already on the books, vigorously), outsourcing America's industrial base (not to mention many white-colllar jobs, also), and giving anod-and-a-wink to the problem of illegal immigration (playing to xenophobes on the one hand, while giving into the demands of small business for cheap labor on the other).
4. Stop bailing industries out. If you claim to be in favor of the free market, then let free markets work. There is no such thing as "too big to fail", especially with a $700 billion taxpayer-funded band-aid. I know some principled free marketeers stood against this, but the pressure to rush so for the sake of doing something evntually outweighed reason and debate on this issue. It has been on the Republicans watch that bail-outs of Chrysler, the airlines after 9/11, and now, Wall Street, have occured. The American economy is fundamentally sound (the economic activity of America is as much cultural phenomenon as much as exchange of capital); it would have weathered all of these storms in time -- if the markets had been allowed to work. Yes, there would have been pain, but that would probably have been shorter-term than it will be now.
5. If no one else will say it, I will; the way our primary system works is a complete disgrace. It is skewed in favor of social conservatives to such an extent that other candidates who might have solid credentials in governance, economics, law, and other areas, do not get a fair hearing, nor do they get a chance often to be heard. Imagine what might have been if Rudy Guiliani or Newt Gingrich were free to fight for the nomination (they are both labelled adulterers, and that's a no-go for social conservatives), Condi Rice could have thrown her hat, and considerable credentials, into the ring (she may be pro-choice), or if Mitt Romney didn't have the stigma of 'Mormon' attached to him (having lived in the South, I can tell you that many religious Southerners consider Mormons and Catholics the next best things to a cult).
We need to stop producing cookie-cutter candiadtes who can spout the social-conservative line (although that shouldn't be ignored), and start advancing other voices who might help in other, specific areas of Conservative politics. You can't get a custom fit in an off-the-rack world; you sometimes have to mix and match. A series of smaller advances on abroad front very often succeeds where a bold leap in one direction fails.
6. Do not let Sarah Palin fade away. She is a silver bullet in our gun -- once she has been properly prepared for the rough-and-tumble of national politics.
Well said Mr. Kesler. We need to refocus on our core principles. We should likewise be inclusive of anyone wishing to abide by those principles and seek to promote a positive attitude towards practical implementation of them. The more focused we stay the more support we can attract.
But what is this no more "joe sixpack" talking head politicians?? Just who is he describing? Couldn't mean Sarah Palin could he? She's the reason McCain is still in the game this late (well, that and the fact that the Dems chose a marxist cypher.) And the 'smarter than thou' game sounds stupidly close to Joe Biden's turf - someplace we do not need to go.
We need honest human beings, people that the public can relate to, and people that will embody what out principles are. If the American public looks at the TV set and sees themselves and their neighbors looking back at them then we don't need to worry about the media types. They'll continue to be self refuting just as they have proven to be in this election cycle. Trust the people and trust yourself, Reagan did and look what he accomplished.
If McCain loses, this conservative will put most of the blame on media bias.
I'm with you, Matt. Excellent synopsis.
Question is, how do we make those changes?
"The floor is now open for nominations to fulfill that role. I'd love to hear from Kesler on that."
I believe the best new leaders will come from the ranks of our vets of Iraq and Afghanistan..........who care more for honor, guts, and getting ahead through their own efforts than both political parties' leaders who care more for profiteering. Just look what they're doing to Murtha. Just look what we, the Vietnam vets, did to Kerry.
Most of us know one or more vets. We should mentor and support them to be involved, and they will lead us.
Good ideas, and I agree especially on the matter of recruitment.
But I also think there needs to be a larger focus on some new old conservative ideas:
- Term limits: An issue on which an enormous number of people on all sides agree with.
- Bipartisan redistricting: Nothing could be worse than the current system.
- Immigration restriction: Our system should look those found in all other English-speaking nations, and favor high-skilled professionals over likely consumers of public services. Employers should be policed aggressively as part of this.
- Balanced Budget Amendment: This can be framed as a question of protecting Medicare and SocSec. If we can't balance our checkbook now, how will we in 20 years?
Personally I'd love to see these offered as a slate of constitutional amendments. Doing so of course requires a 2/3 majority of Congress, which is not a low bar, but also would provide an excellent anvil against which to bang all the Democratic incumbents out there.
"Just look what they're doing to Murtha. Just look what we, the Vietnam vets, did to Kerry."
I dont' understand this statement... could you please elaborate.
Exactly how is the primary system skewed in favor of social conservatives, other than the fact that they turn out to vote reliably in large numbers? Last I checked, the two favored candidates of their side both lost in the primaries this year.
Gingrich is undeniably smarter than almost anybody out there and while I'm a dead-ender for him I find it pretty lonely. Who cares what he does or thinks anymore? Likewise, Giuliani had money, name, and polls going into the primaries. Where were his voters? It's like my math teachers used to say, "show your work."
In any case I suspect we're going to hear a lot more from the social-cons rather than less should McCain lose.
Murtha smeared the haditha Marines, and is getting creamed in his re-election campaign.
Kerry got creamed by us Vietnam vets. See a great book:
To Set The Record Straight by Scott Swett
Numero Uno thing Republicans need to do: Stop attacking social conservatives. Your standard conservative is 1)Good on values 2)Good on national defense 3) Good on financial matters. Your standard conservative is a social conservative.
Granted, we need other varieties, but the penchant for attacking the base has to stop.
Numero Deus: Smile and be bold.
Numero Treis: Only now attack the media (and go after them hard), but keep in mind that you're not going to be able to force them to be reasonable. Ultimately, you have to rebuild the institutions of America and replace the corrupted organizations.
The first of the "six pack of rules" clearly implies summary executions -- they're fast, cheap, and certainly demonstrate Commander Clopfelter is getting a lot of government for her buck. But that slogan of hers is just the sort of "crazy talk" she unfairly blasts her betters for in her rule #3.
Rule 2 suggests that Commander Clopfelter always pays cash for her shoes and the rest of her wardrobe -- can anyone really believe that? As for #4, that wars be quick in-and-out affairs -- well, a great nation doesn't always get to pick its wars; in the case of Saddam Hussein the Iraq war picked America, not the other way 'round.
McCain's failure to follow Commander Clopfelter's rule five was one of his actions as a presidential candidate that I've come to admire. He's not so arrogant to believe that he knows all the answers all the time or so arrogant to believe that he must maintain the illusion for the public that he's America's Professor who does. A president should have some sense of personal humility and that remark of McCain's that has Commander Clopfelter's panties in a bunch demonstrated exactly that.
Finally, as for rule six, "All candidates for public office must be smarter than (the) media..." that's not much of a challenge because the media and its talking heads can rarely, on their most sober days, rise to the level of smarts shown by a bunch of punchy kids giggling and sniggering over nonsense at 2 AM in their college dorm room.
I like Matt's synopsis, although I don't agree with all of it. But I like his comment on Palin. She is indeed the 'silver bullet' in the conservatives' gun, and we should cherish her. She's a 'bright, particular star' as Shakespeare said and we should hang on tight to her and give her increasing responsibilities.
The point about where our next 'political heroes' are coming from is also good. They'll come from our military soldiers who have been fighting for us so successfully in the MidEast. We have the best educated, most courageous soldiers we have ever had in a standing army, and we should cherish them and give them important work to do. One of them LCR Russell is standing against Murtha in this election and I hope and pray he beats that dissolute and depraved pol tomorrow.
Lastly, if the election goes against us, we should continue to press for a thorough investigation of voter fraud and then tough prosecutions of it. I've been watching ACORN's illegal antics through two or three elections. The courts have nailed them for a few of the more blatant offenses but there are still more to be prosecuted.
Thanks. Context helps.
And I agree... some use their service as a shield. Despicable bastards.
With any luck, tommorrow night's riots will render this jabber moot.
I agree with everything except Palin.
We need to get rid of the Christian dominionists. I don't care if they are our "base" or not. They need to be purged from the conversative party.
Yes, you are free to worship any religion you want, but the influence the religious wackos have over our conservative party is insane.
I'm sick of them.
My fellow conservatives can see the insanity of utopian controllers like marxists, yet they can't see the same sort of utopian insanity inherent in religious control-freaks.
Snob, the Republican primaries are nothing if not a tour-de-force of kow-towing to Jerry Falwell, pilgrimages to Bob Jones University, kissing James Hobson's ass, et. al. to score a) money and b) organized voting blocs. The problem is that every quid has a quo, and the quo in this equation is the prestige given to the ministers seen arm-in-arm with a Presidential candidate.
That may be fine for the minister (after all, he gets face time, an influx of donations to his church -- snicker, snicker --and national attention), but not so much for everyone else; the downside is that the moderates see the Presidential candidate arm-in-arm with the minister. And it turns them off. Guess what? Those are the folks you need to win. They represent 25-35% of the electorate, and most of them regard religion in the same way you might regard an enema.
Also, you can't make the argument that democratic politicians shouldn't be able to electioneer in black churches, and then have a Republican get his picture taken with Franklin Graham.
On another level, it often seems to me (although I cannot prove it) that one of the requirements for entry into Presidential politics, on the Republican side, seems to be membership in one of the Protestant denominations. The more Protestant, the better. We were supposed to have done away with that sort of thing 230 or so years ago, weren't we?
As for the social Conservative candidates losing in the last primary, here's the list:
Duncan Hunter. Qualification: Ann Coulter said he was a conservative and should be President. Really, she did. Then again, she said the same things about Mike Pence only two years before...
Sam Brownback: Qualification: Can chew gum and walk at the same time....
Mike Huckabee: Qualification: Baptist Minister, reminds one of Huckleberry Hound, which is reassuring, but not very Presidential.
Fred Thompason: Qualification: He's on TV...on that show. You know, Ronald Reagan used to be an actor, too...
The reason they lost is because they were crappy candidates, no matter (to borrow a phrase) how much lipstick you put on those pigs. Not even the most ardent fire-and-brimstone Conservative could get excited about that bunch. And they didn't.
But they did get all excited that Guiliani cross-dressed as a gag on Saturday Night Live. And they got their panties all bunched that Romney might secretly endorse polygamy.And they all tisk-tisked at Jeri Thompson being a century younger than her husband, and...
You getting the idea?
One thing for sure:
We are NOT going to be able to keep Democrats from tampering with our primaries. Either the GOP should make ALL primaries all or nothing, or all proportional. Setting up CT, NY, and NJ for Guliani handed democrats in CT, NY, and NJ the ability to select John McCain. Honorable man, great story, good fiscal conservative principles, but utterly incapable of articulating why Americans should hire him or how Obama's plans would be a disaster for voters.
If you can't articulate important conservative beliefs than you shouldn't be able to win the nomination. Period. Romney would be running away with this if he had been the nominee merely because he can articulate what he thinks.
Somebody needs to give Palin a national job so she can get ready for 2012. Remember, nobody thought an M-R-S degree like Hillary Clinton or some vapid empty suit from Chicago's machine could win back in 2004, and somehow both of these fools looked passable to a shockingly large percentage of the population by 2008. Palin is ALREADY a solid "gut instinct" conservative with outstanding instincts. Equip her with some national experience to get rid of the provincial gaps in her understanding of national issues and you will have winner with or without a masterful grasp of ideological purity.
”The first of the "six pack of rules" clearly implies summary executions”
WTF? The intent was - 'government as a last resort fallback when all else fails, or if the worst happens' - as loyal opposition to the democrats nanny state philosophy.
“Rule 2 suggests that Commander Clopfelter always pays cash for her shoes”
Lower case c’s (I was a virtual starship commander before I turned to political blogs for entertainment). You’re saying that Bush’s “No tax and spend” is conservatism’s future?
“As for #4, that wars be quick in-and-out affairs”
I supported the invasion of Iraq based on my assumption that the CIC is far more informed about national threats than anyone else – it’s their job. But I lost respect for the CIC’s judgment and decisions when guys he’d hired (Cheney, Poderhertz, Natsios...) were allowed to speak freely about the low cost and ease of the operation, and were then proven utterly wrong (McCain was actually correct).
”A president should have some sense of personal humility and that remark of McCain's that has Commander Clopfelter's panties in a bunch demonstrated exactly that.”
Humility is easy to discern up close. From a distance (the way voters see candidates) it’s easy to fake and difficult to discern. I’d rather the candidate proclaim their “superiority”, then submit to public scrutiny and be forced to back that superiority up. In my experience, when someone is always trying to hammer at the other guy, they’re hiding something.
Totally agree. Not that I would toss them aside completely, but the universe-was-created-in-4004-BC crowd really are a drag on the party. Many fiscal conservative, potentially cross-over dems will never feel comfortable voting for people with the ass-backward scientific mind set of the "social conservatives". Even those as benign as a Palin who lacks the usual gay-bashing, holier-than-thou attitudes of a significant number of social conservatives. They certainly don't belong on such a highly visible position as the VP slot on the ticket.
When a candidate or party loses an election, the tendency is to over-read it and to self-scrutinize, sometimes to a fault. When they win, the tendency is to over-read it and not self-scrutinize enough. Often, the process devolves into a circular firing sq
Tracked: Nov 07, 04:32