Archive for the ‘conservatives’ Category
The Republicans won in Tuesday’s election when they were able to hide or smooth over the divides in their Party, and when they were facing weak opponents. But District 23 in upstate New York was the Bermuda Triangle of the Republican Party, metaphorically speaking of course. Here is an excerpt from Wednesday’s on-line New York Times (November 4, 2009). Republicans sure have a long and winding road ahead of them as many in their base push ever more conservative candidates onto the ballot.
Ms. Palin, who had endorsed Mr. Hoffman in the upstate New York race, indicated that she had not been dissuaded by his loss.
“To the tireless grass-roots patriots who worked so hard in that race and to future citizen-candidates like Doug,” she wrote on her Facebook page, “please remember Reagan’s words of encouragement after his defeat in 1976: the cause goes on.”
And Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, announced that he was endorsing Chuck DeVore, a conservative, in the California race for a Senate seat. Mr. DeVore is opposing Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, who was encouraged by party leaders to seek the nomination.
Other conservatives, too, were not deterred by the New York defeat. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a conservative organization that strongly supported Mr. Hoffman, said that conservative activists intended to play a role in Republican primary and general elections next year and that it was just as important to keep unacceptable politicians out of Congress as to help others win.
With fighting words such as keeping “unacceptable politicians out of Congress”… and “the cause goes on,” right-wing Republicans should provide quite a show in 2010 and 2012. I can just see all of those Independents rallying to the party of “Dr. NO” and “Conservatism or Bust.”
Of course the Republicans could wise up and take the loss in District 23 as an indication that following the extreme right is like walking off a cliff. However, I am not betting at this point that the Republicans are ready to let self-interest guide them. Someday, perhaps, when Alaska starts to thaw (which may not be that far off, come to think of it).
UPDATE, January 21, 2010.
Brown’s win in Massachusetts suggests that the thaw I referred to above may be happening sooner than expected, that is, the GOP’s interest in survival is starting to win out against ideology. However, I wouldn’t count on it down the road. The Republicans won in Massachusetts with a pro-choice candidate who voted for the state’s publicly supported health care system, which covers 97% of its citizens. It will be interesting to see how Palin’s supporters deal with Brown and the Republican establishment in the coming months. Of course a lot depends on whether the Democrats are able to get their act together.
UPDATE, January 25, 2010
Regarding just how well the right wing of the Republican Party is going to get along with itself and the rest of the Republican Party, see “Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention” in today’s New York Times. The article notes,
The convention’s difficulties highlight the fractiousness of the Tea Party groups, and the considerable suspicions among their members of anything that suggests the establishment.
The Republicans aren’t home free by any means. Scott Brown’s victory does not a unified party make.
Have you heard? The Republican candidate in the 23rd District in NY, Dede Scozzafava, has dropped out of the race. It seems that she wasn’t conservative enough for the likes of Sarah Palin, who endorsed Douglas Hoffman on October 22nd on her Facebook Page. Doug now has behind him such luminaries as: Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, Fred Thompson, and Dick Armey, and organizations such as the Club for Growth. In the face of this extreme right-wing onslaught, poor Dede, and the moderate to traditionally conservative Republicans who supported her, had to take to the hills.
Perhaps you are thinking that Doug, an accountant by trade, is a charismatic, insightful, inspirational fellow. That the split we are seeing is not due to ideology. That Doug must be a political thoroughbred. If so, check out his picture (above) and remarks that are currently on one of Doug’s Web Pages:
My opponent is a Nancy Pelosi Democrat. Defeating him comes down to one cold, hard fact – money.
In 1980, I helped Lake Placid with our Olympics when the US beat the Russians in hockey – the same year Reagan was elected. It’s time to send Washington a new message now.
If you can follow the logic of this, I would like you to write UP@NIGHT immediately. It’s simply beyond me. There is no logic. It’s an incantation: invoke Reagan, mention a near miraculous victory against the unbeatable communists on ice, mention that the victory on ice was the same year that Reagan was victorious (the stars must have been aligned), and of course mention sending a message to Washington, etc. (Send a message to Washington, powerful stuff, if you are a Goldwater Republican in 1964. Oh, I forgot, he wouldn’t be conservative enough for some of these folks.) Oh, and don’t forget to mention the she-devil, old NP herself.
To say the obvious: the right-wing of the Republican Party, which is becoming the Republican Party, can not win with chants and spells over the long haul. The GOP may pick up a few seats in 2010, because that’s the way mid-term elections go and because they can still unify around a few causes. But should the right gain full control of the GOP, which appears to be happening, 2012 will be a disaster for them. It could spell the end of the Republican Party as force in American politics. Of course, a survival mechanism may set in. Watching the 23rd, some leaders of the GOP may recognize that their Party is on a suicide watch, and that they had better get some counseling ASAP if they are going to survive beyond 2010. American political parities can not afford to be so rigidly ideological. We would need a multi-party system for that. And so far, this just hasn’t been the American Way.
UPDATE, November 1st. The New York Times reported at 5:38 this afternoon the following:
Canastota, N.Y. — The moderate Republican who suddenly abandoned her campaign in an Upstate New York Congressional race that has exposed deep divisions in the Republican Party urged her supporters on Sunday to vote for the Democratic candidate — a surprising act of defiance that added another unexpected twist to the closely watched race.
Here is what you can bet on: those on the right will claim that this is proof that Dede Scozzafava was never a real Republican, in spite of her relatively conservative record in NY state politics. Here is what you can’t bet on: enough Republicans seeing this as a sign of just how much danger they are in. The GOP can not function as a national party by relying on only the most conservative voices of what was once the Republican base.
UPDATE, January 21st, 2010
The Brown victory in Massachusetts might suggest that the Republicans have realized how much danger they were in. Perhaps they have come to understand that they were on a suicide watch. After all, they got behind a candidate, Brown, who is pro-choice and who voted for a public health care system in Massachusetts that covers 97% of its citizens. I am still taking a wait and see attitude on this “unity.” There were too many unique factors to the race in Massachusetts to say that this Republican “unity” can be repeated in other states. Palin and friends are a cantankerous bunch. (Glenn Beck has already started to go after Brown.) And much depends on how the Democrats respond. For example, will they reclaim the populist mantle that the Republicans managed to claim in Massachusetts? Obama has begun to try with his move against the banks.
If you want to get some idea of just how lost some of the folks on the right are these days, catch this from Red State:
Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
Friday, October 2nd at 11:29AM EDT
I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone.
I thought if we whored ourselves out to our enemies, great things would happen.
So Obama’s pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic committee, and they did not even kiss him.
So much for improving America’s standing in the world, Barry O.
Maybe now perhaps we can hope he will mature a bit on the issues of foreign affairs. But I doubt it.
BTW, Dear Barack Obama, you are no Billy Mays.
Let’s leave aside the fact that a major American city lost a bid today for the Olympics, which would have meant jobs and publicity for the Windy City. Let’s leave aside the disgusting comment about “pimping.” Let’s concentrate on the line, “So much for improving America’s Standing in the World.” What does this claim amount to? If we don’t win every time, then we shouldn’t bother talking to other nations and peoples, or placing ourselves on the world stage (unless we are #1). This is what one would expect from those who don’t understand that “improving our image” involves a willingness to engage, and engagement doesn’t always mean winning. It means “losing” at times. (Should our athletes not participate in the Olympics because they might lose?) This is how decent peoples and countries behave. And in the long run, it builds respect and allies, as opposed to vassal sates.
Erickson and many of his fellow (right-wing) conservatives are like the whiny kids in the school yards who take their marbles home when they can’t get their way. And then decide to stay home because they might lose. And cheer (from home) when others lose.
Obama took a chance. He didn’t succeed. Good for him. Meanwhile, you guys on the right, keep up your good work mocking the president for trying to bring the Olympics to the U.S. We know what you really care about: bringing Obama down, even if we lose because of it. But I am betting that the American people can tell the difference between self-destructive xenophobia and patriotism.
Okay, here is my take about what has been going on in terms of Palin and McCain. The writers for the Daily Show are actually trained undercover agents. They have infiltrated the McCain/Palin campaign and have been writing speeches, talking points, and press releases. How else can one account for Palin’s statements? Seeing Russia from Alaska counts as evidence of foreign policy expertise. Who can deny that this is a beautiful piece of writing? And now there are the cows.
From The NY Times:
WASILLA, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.
So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.
Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages. The New York Times, Sunday, August 13th. Link
Does it get better than this? VP candidate appoints classmate, real estate agent and cow fancier, Franci Havemeister (is this a real name?), as head of State Division of Agriculture. (Did I miss something here? Agriculture=Cows.) I mean, let’s suppose this was President Palin: For Secretary of Defense: Bobby Have A’meister, friend, used car salesman, lover of Colt 45′s, and Moose hunter. Why not?
Palin and her good friend Bobby Have A’meister:
Well, there is the, “but seriously folks,” to all of this. The problem with Palin is not just that she places friendship over expertise, but that she also appears to be Nixon-like (remember his Enemies List) and Bush-like in the way in which she goes after perceived enemies. The Times article goes on to make the following point, which we have seen made in other venues.
But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
Wow….Opponents are haters! Unfortunately this is not a corny reference to a group of aliens in a bad sci fi flick. It is Palin unfiltered. They are Haters because they are perceived to be her enemies.
What we have here is one of the oldest ethical failings in the book, and conservatives, as well as moderates and liberals, should be very concerned. In the first book of Plato’s Republic various definitions of justice are offered. All prove inadequate. One of the earliest ones to be shot down is the following:
Justice is helping friends and injuring enemies.
While this definition is pretty common in gangster-land, it reflects a poor and limited understanding of justice. Here are a few of the issues: 1) our friends may prove to be bad people; 2) there may be good individuals amongst our enemies; 3) we need intelligence and knowledge to determine who are our real friends and who our real enemies; and 4) we can injure (or do an injustice to) our friends if we don’t understand what we are doing (for example, the incompetent physician who gives his friend the wrong medicine).
It’s simpleminded in the extreme to think that we can be just by merely helping those we take to be our friends and injuring our enemies. Those who call themselves our friends may not worthy of our support. Or to take this closer to home: they may not be competent to hold the positions to which we appoint them. (From Real Estate to Agriculture Honcho via a love of cows….a friend is a friend is a friend.) It appears that Palin never considered that it might be unjust (as well as unwise) to appoint friends instead of those who have genuine expertise. After all she was climbing a ladder to break her own personal glass ceiling. She is much like Bush. And this is indeed no laughing matter. So maybe the Daily Show people are not actually behind her words.
(Yes, there are times when we may have to hurt good people, for example, when we are in a war. But we must not slip into the mentality that we are always at war or at war against our fellow Americans because they disagree with us or don’t share our values.)
One last point, the sort of mentality that I have been describing–let’s call it: loyalty fanaticism–is not confined to the head honcho. It pervades the culture of the administrations of such people. I leave you with one small example from Palin’s current administration in Alaska, which should make bloggers of all political stripes take to the barricades. (It’s from the NY Times article quoted above.)
And four months ago, a Wasilla blogger, Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles the governor’s career with an astringent eye, answered her phone to hear an assistant to the governor on the line, she said.
“You should be ashamed!” Ivy Frye, the assistant, told her. “Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!”