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Tilting at Windmills

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May 19, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

END OF AN ERA?....David Frum is pretty pessimistic about the current state of movement conservatism, but George Packer says that David Brooks is even more dejected:

When I met David Brooks in Washington, he was even more scathing than Frum. Brooks had moved through every important conservative publication — National Review, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard — "and now I feel estranged," he said. "I just don't feel it's exciting, I don't feel it's true, fundamentally true." In the eighties, when he was a young movement journalist, the attacks on regulation and the Soviet Union seemed "true." Now most conservatives seem incapable of even acknowledging the central issues of our moment: wage stagnation, inequality, health care, global warming. They are stuck in the past, in the dogma of limited government. Perhaps for that reason, Brooks left movement journalism and, in 2003, became a moderately conservative columnist for the Times. "American conservatives had one defeat, in 2006, but it wasn't a big one," he said. "The big defeat is probably coming, and then the thinking will happen. I have not yet seen the major think tanks reorient themselves, and I don't know if they can." He added, "You go to Capitol Hill — Republican senators know they're fucked. They have that sense. But they don't know what to do. There's a hunger for new policy ideas."

The great liberal wave that lasted from the 30s through the 70s was fundamentally based on three things: middle class wage growth, the construction of a social safety net, and the individual rights revolution. Its other pathologies aside, liberalism's big problem by the end of the 70s was that it had essentially won most of these battles. Not all of them. No movement ever wins all its battles. But once you win two-thirds of them, it's hard to sustain the kind of momentum it takes to win the rest.

Conservatives are in the same boat today, except worse. Modern movement conservatism was also fundamentally based on three things: low taxes, anti-communism, and social traditionalism. ("Small government" was never more than a fig leaf.) Today communism is gone (and Islamofascism has failed to rally the troops in the same way), taxes literally can't be lowered any more, and sex-and-gender fundamentalism has become an albatross that's rapidly producing a generation of young voters more repelled by conservatism than any generation since World War II. Even in the late 70s, there were plenty of traditionally liberal goals still to be fought for. Not enough to build a winning coalition around, but still something. Modern conservatives don't even have that. The culture war is pretty much all they have left, and its clock has run out.

They won't be willing to say this during a presidential campaign, but there are at least half a dozen smart Republican senators who understand this and don't really want to go down with the ship. So even if Democrats don't win a filibuster-proof majority in November — as they almost certainly won't — it's likely that there will still be enough survival-inspired GOP senators around to give Barack Obama the votes he needs to make a difference. If that's the case, and if Obama has the courage of his convictions, his first two years could be historic.

Kevin Drum 3:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (133)

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Comments

it's likely that there will still be enough survival-inspired GOP senators around to give Barack Obama the votes he needs to make a difference - Kevin

Have you got rose colored glasses on today Kevin?

Posted by: optical weenie on May 19, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I hope you're right!! (But I'll believe it when I see it.)

The biggest challenge Obama faces is not creating a whole generation of young cynics the first time he disappoints. Expectations are too high....

Posted by: jane on May 19, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

We're counting an awful lot of Obama chickens before the general election is hatched, ne? Let's concentrate on winning first.

I remember feeling awfully hopeful about RFK.

And Bush and Cheney could still start a new war on Iran.
Or someone could stage another successful terror attack on the US Reichstag fire
And there's always Diebold.

Posted by: joel hanes on May 19, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK
"You go to Capitol Hill — Republican senators know they're fucked. They have that sense. But they don't know what to do..."

--My nomination for quote of the day.

Needless to say, my hope is that this assessment doesn't wind up applying to the rest of us..."

Posted by: idlemind on May 19, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Two points:

1. Whatever the true extent of Brooks' "alienation", he still retains the main characteristics of movement conservatives: he's a first class liar and wanker!
2. "Conservative" mythology talks of Barry Goldwater and other fairy tales, of which I have little first-hand knowledge. And I don't much care--the only conservatism I've ever seen is the wanerrific kind, where the Walton family's reluctance to pay inheritance taxes on their billions is the true motivation, and family values, religious traditions and all the rest are window dressing.

Surprising as I find it, people are apparently recognizing "conservatism" for the hollow mask it is. I doubt it'll last more than a decade, but let's hope for the best.

Posted by: Amit Joshi on May 19, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

If that's the case, and if Obama has the courage of his convictions, his first two years could be historic.

of course, if the Electoral Martyrs for Clinton have their way, there won't be a President Obama.

Posted by: cleek on May 19, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

if Obama has the courage of his convictions,

That's a good topic by itself. On which occasion did Obama display his convictions: when he refused to denounce Rev. Wright, or when he denounced Rev. Wright? When he promised to bring American troops home within 16 months of taking office, or when he promised to keep a strike force of 60,000 men ready in or near Iraq so they could be used against AQI?

Obama is a good, smart, hard-working and ambitious man. Even eloquent. But he has also said some pretty stupid things in this campaign. Can you discern his convictions from his rhetoric?

Posted by: spider on May 19, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I think we're entering into a post-ideological era (or at least, a time of different ideological differentiations.) Liberals have been quicker to acknowledge that there are some problems that the market can solve better, and some problems that government can solve better. Conservatives have clung to their old verities. When a problem arises that cannot be solved without government intervention, like global warming, they pretend it doesn't exist. Until conservatives give up their reflexive mistrust of government a new generation that trusts empiricism more than theory will not look kindly upon them.

Posted by: Wagster on May 19, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

The progressive will find having control of the levers of power very frustrating.

The federal gov't is in a very difficult budget squeeze.

An Obama administration will find the only way to fund new programs will be to pass the cost on as unfunded federal mandates.

Posted by: bluesmoke on May 19, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes I can't tell Brooks from Frum, are they both Canadian?

Posted by: someotherdude on May 19, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Amen. This to me is gospel, something I have been saying for years, that the liberals may have blown it in the '70's, but that conservatism's day of
reckoning is coming too, that it will be just as reviled (or more than) as liberalism was then.

Posted by: Stewart Dean on May 19, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Movement is far more alive than current polls indicate. Here is why Republicans are in trouble:
1) Iraq
2) The price of Oil
3) Iraq
4) Republican Congressmen not delivering smaller government to their base
5) Iraq
6) Bush losing credibility because of Harriet Miers and Katrina
7) Iraq

Notice that none of these issues has anything to do with domestic conservatism-- neither social nor small-government. Iraq may be the deathblow to the foreign-policy wing of neo-conservatism, but that's it.

Does anyone really believe that Bush suffered in popularity because he nominated John Roberts and Sam Alito? Or that the majority of Americans favor gay marriage? Or that they're not worried about government spending and taxation?

Iraq will be less and less of an issue the US consolidates its victories there, and Bush will no longer be an issue once he is gone and McCain takes his place.

Posted by: A Berman on May 19, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

bluesmoke: "The federal gov't is in a very difficult budget squeeze."
The was always part of the Norquist game plan: bankrupt the government, so that those that follow after cannot fix things. I've got an answer:
= seizing the estate of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al to pay the war they lied us into and loved so very much and
= a takeback from all the fat cats that ran away with the store.
Isn't that part of the RICO statue, seizing property involved in a racket?

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Small government" was never more than a fig leaf.

No, it was two things: the central tenet of the libertarian wing (admittedly a small one in the Republican party), and a necessary concomitant of low taxes. Unfortunately for the national debt, both parties figured out plenty of ways to grow government while pushing off the taxes on another generation.

Posted by: Shelby on May 19, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

And Bill Clinton's election was supposed to usher in a new era of pragmatic liberalism. But then 1994 happened. And GOP victories in 2002 and 2004 were supposed to mean Republican dominance forever but then there was 2006. This year could be the start of a new cycle of liberal Democratic governance. Or in 2010 Republicans might retake one or both houses of Congress in reaction to failures of the Democratic President and Congress or external events. It was only 6 years after Watergate created huge Democratic majorities in Congress that Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. You only really know what is a sea change and what is just the normal ebb and flow decades later. It's stupid to worry about such things. Just try to win the election at hand and then deliver the best policies possible and the rest will take care of itself.

Posted by: Ron on May 19, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The social safety net was the defining achievement of 40 years of liberal hegemony in American politics, and it is that social safety net that has been the single minded target of all movement conservatives. It inspired the infamous WSJ "Lucky Ducky" editorial, oh so many attacks on "socialized medicine", and the supposed weaknesses of Social Security. It is a mug's game that the GOP has been playing. The trick has always been to dismantle the safety net slowly so that the people getting screwed don't know it till it is too late. When there aren't enough voters left around to remember what it was like to have some semblance of security in your life (a good job with good wages, health coverage and a defined benefits pension plan), the GOP figures that it will be easy enough to convince all the uneducated idiots that are left that it is all big government's fault that they don't have that security that their fathers did. And they won't know any better.

Small government? Never happen. The name of the game for the GOP for the past twenty years or so (with only a brief hiatus under Clinton), has been to transfer as much money to the wealthy as possible and convince people that there is no other way. They abandoned the phrase "trickle down", but never the concept.

The problem that they've always had, and will have, is that as economic inequality grows so does revolutionary fervor. People will never take to the streets in defense of Microsoft, IBM, and GM, but they will for social security and decent health care. So, in the end, the GOP and movement conservatism will always be defeated, poisoned by their own brew.

Posted by: majun on May 19, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Then what the current GOP is facing is either oblivion along the lines of the Social Credit party in Canada or to embrace the Lincoln/Theodore Roosevelt legacy of the party and compete with Democrats for centrist, reformist voters that are often independent.

But asking these folks to give up their inner William McKinley for Teddy for the sake of survival is probably more than many of them are willing to do. We may be looking at a future of only one significant political party for a generation or two, something we haven't seen as a nation since the 1820s when the Federalists faded and before the Whigs emerged.

Posted by: Superskepticalman on May 19, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

It coouldn't happen to a nicer movement.

Posted by: AndrewBW on May 19, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

..taxes literally can't be lowered any more..

What are you basing this statement on? Given that in Calif., the combination of federal, state, and sales tax can easily make your net tax rate over 50%, it can definitely go lower. It might be that the idea of lower tax/flat tax rates haven't caught the imagination of the public after the failed campaigns of Forbes and Perot, but I wouldn't say it can't be lowered any more.

Posted by: Andy on May 19, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"but I wouldn't say [tax rates] can't be lowered any more"

How you plannin' to pay for that war? Current tax rates aren't even close to making it.

Posted by: David in NY on May 19, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

"They won't be willing to say this during a presidential campaign, but there are at least half a dozen smart Republican senators who understand this and don't really want to go down with the ship"

Can you name names ? I get Collins, Snowe, and
maybe Hagel, and then I'm stuck. Specter ? But
he's voted with Bush every time it came to the
crunch. Maybe Lugar ?

I hope you're right, I just can't come up with
enough names.

Posted by: Richard Cownie on May 19, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's first two years are likely to be historically abysmal.

His ship will run aground on the shoals of internecine turf wars, mostly because he doesn't have a clue about how to sail the Executive Branch in treacherous Washington waters.

He'll take advice for two years, most of it stunningly paralyzing, and then he'll campaign for the next two. Nothing of any consequence will get done.

Foreign policy holes will be dug deeper as experienced players make him pay for every blunder. Every side will lunge for the spoils. You can see that in his demonstrated lack of knowledge already and, shockingly, his general lack of interest. Arrogance and naivety will rule as Obama, much like George, clings to an imaginary mandate Pony® until ... Drizzle Drazzle Druzzle Drone, Time for this one to come home.

In the meantime the Party will be destroyed. Ya, it will be historic alright.

Posted by: Comment on May 19, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

maybe they could find that new idea..
if they gave up golf..

Posted by: mr. irony on May 19, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

maybe a new slogan would help...some appropriate candidates for this thread from huffingtonpost:

GOP: The End Is Near, Repent!

GOP: Embrace Your Inner A-hole

Posted by: mr. irony on May 19, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

"... and the individual rights revolution ..."

What. The. Fuck. ???????????????

You guys *rape* our individual rights. On a daily basis. Get your god-damned stinking sticky government paws out of my life!

Posted by: a on May 19, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, at stately Wayne Manor, Comment continued to hide his true identity from the world.

Citizens of Gotham,
is "Comment" really:

A) David Brooks?
B) A GOP Member of Congress?
C) Eeyore?

Posted by: cazart on May 19, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

American so-called "conservatism" has no real content other than hatred of "liberals". And it has been that way for a generation, at least.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 19, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The big defeat is probably coming, and then the thinking will happen.

Oh, noes! Not duh thinking! Dat way basemnt kitteh lies!
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's first two years are likely to be historically abysmal.

QUICK!!! GO HIDE IN THE FUTURE!!! IT'S SAFE, 'CAUSE IT'S NON-FALSIFIBLE!!!

FLEE! FOR WE HAVE FUCKED THE PRESENT!!!

Which is a very silly way of saying "oh, go blow it out your ass!"
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

ah yes, someone has defied the horde and shat upon their little charade.

btw, I didn't bring up the future 'tense', Kevin did. I gave my opinion, which has seemingly struck a nerve with some.

Anyhow, its all very predictable, and thus you have my reasons for remaining at more than arms length.

toodles

Posted by: Comment on May 19, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party can't come up with new policies because they don't believe in policy (that's a consequence of not believing in government).

Also, they're irrational, and rationality is a prerequisite for good policy. How do I know this? The recent statistic that only 19% of college educated Republicans believe the earth is warming.

Posted by: dissent on May 19, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Good post Kevin. The Liberal Team will now likely get a crack at solving some problems. I think it all has to do with circumstances and what tools each team has in their tool box at the time. Liberals are looking at problems that require government intervention and regulation to solve, so their toolkits are better because of the nature of the problems.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on May 19, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

a: You guys *rape* our individual rights.

Just what the f*ck are you talking about?

When they took away your individual right to smack your wife around? Or when they took away your individual right to burn leaded gasoline for the rest of us to breathe? And your individual right to dump raw shit into the river for us to drink?

Tell us which individual rights you're talking about. And unless you've been forcibly penetrated, don't use the word "rape."

Posted by: thersites on May 19, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

If the survivors after November give the votes to President Obama to carry out liberal advancement, they will be signing their own execution orders. Who needs conservatives that bend to liberal policies? No one, especially the people that vote conservatives into office.

What the survivors actually need to do is to ignore the Kevin Drums of the world, which should be obvious to any but complete idiots. Unfortunately, I think the Republicans on the Hill might be complete idiots.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on May 19, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

btw, I didn't bring up the future 'tense', Kevin did. I gave my opinion, which has seemingly struck a nerve with some.

A nerve? More like a whole brain, the kind that doesn't tolerate stupid.

Kevin's statement wasn't just in the future tense, you illiterate. It was a doubly conditional statement: "If that's the case, and if Obama has the courage of his convictions, his first two years could be historic."

Yours was a statement of likelihood: "Obama's first two years are likely to be historically abysmal."

So, let me now ruin everyone's fun and explain the joke to you. Bush is supposed to be vindicated by history ... in the future. McCain lives in the magical year 2013. I am amused to absolutely no deliquescent end that conservatives' successes can only exist in Schroëdinger's fucking box.

Are you all caught up now?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans also ran on being tough and protecting America. If they weren't so appallingly bad at it, it would be a pretty good platform point.

Posted by: Emma Anne on May 19, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans also ran on being tough and protecting America. If they weren't so appallingly bad at it, it would be a pretty good platform point.

This is your country.

This is your country under Republicans.

Any questions?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

But he has also said some pretty stupid things in this campaign.

Can you point out the remaining candidate that has not?

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on May 19, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes I can't tell Brooks from Frum, are they both Canadian." Brooks is the one comfortable saying "fucked."

Posted by: RollaMO on May 19, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

What Brooks has figured out, and what several contra-commenters will likely nevah, is that the republicans have repulsed the nation's moderates and centrists for the next generation.

It matters not what the 28-percenters "think" or do at this point, they're helpless to steer their ship away from the shoals--the Rove legacy. So by all means, carry on. We understand you won't be joining the sane any time soon.

Posted by: trollhattan on May 19, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

GMT, that's impressive, but decoherence need not be employed to explain any post of Kevin's. It's a bit showy, no? Deliquescent? Cute.

You drive way off into the weeds to avoid a very big 'if' and an opinion you, for some reason, feel the need to call stupid.

At any rate, good luck.

Posted by: Comment on May 19, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Who needs conservatives that bend to liberal policies? No one, especially the people that vote conservatives into office.

should be

Who needs conservatives? No one.

The right's central problem was that their policies don't work as advertised. Iraq wasn't supposed to be a hideously expensive quagmire, the economy wasn't supposed to be in the toilet, and gas wasn't supposed to be edging up to $4/gallon. (At least, that's not what the moderate voters who put Bush in thought.) Eventually, performance trumps propaganda.

"Small government" was always 100% propaganda.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 19, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

From the Center on Responsive Politics:

Industry Switch Indicates GOP Trouble
Published on May 16, 2008 by Lindsay Renick Mayer

"Bruising losses for congressional Republicans in districts that are traditionally GOP strongholds pretty clearly signal that the party's in trouble. The money behind the elections is painting the same picture. The Politico this week wrote about a few facts that indicate that Republicans, who in the past have had plenty more money on hand than Democrats, are significantly behind financially this cycle, making the path to Capitol Hill clearer for the opposition.

"The Center for Responsive Politics has noticed another trend suggesting that Republicans are going to have a nearly impossible time catching up: major industries that have backed Republicans for years are re-directing their money to the opposing party.

"Take the defense sector, for example. This cycle, Democrats collected 52 percent ($7.2 million) of all contributions from defense employees and PACs. That's the Democrats' largest share since the 1994 election.
"Health professionals have turned similarly Democratic. In the 1992 election cycle, doctors, nurses and other health pros split their contributions evenly between the two parties, but they have backed Republicans the rest of the time with up to 62 percent of their overall donations. This cycle they've given $22.4 million to Democrats (or 53 percent of the total), compared to about $20 million to Republicans.
"For the first time ever, the pharmaceutical and health products industry is giving more to Democrats than Republicans, $7.4 million compared to $7 million. (The drug manufacturing subset of that industry is more Democratic than it has ever been, though Republicans have a slight edge still.)
"And commercial banks and electric utility companies have just hit the 50/50 mark after years of strongly supporting Republicans. This isn't chump change we're talking about--all four of these industries are in the top 20 most generous industries this cycle.
Just peruse our list of top industries to follow the money this cycle as it turns from red to blue." (Opensecrets website)


Posted by: consider wisely always on May 19, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

The neoliberal ideology of movement conservatism was basically an economic theory dressed up as a social theory. Low taxes and anti-communism are the same thing. It was doomed not to serve the common wealth because it was created to serve the fetish of individual wealth accumulation that only a few in society can take part in. Some movement conservatives truly may have believed low taxes would served everyone but those in the know understood it would undermine the well-being of middle and lower classes who anyway were robbing the rich of their wealth. They had to sell the take-back with a big dose of culture war.

Posted by: bellumregio on May 19, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

GMT, that's impressive, but decoherence need not be employed to explain any post of Kevin's.

Didn't the inadequacy say it was going to leave?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

cwa: Democrats collected ... from defense employees ...
the pharmaceutical and health products industry ...commercial banks and electric utility companies
etc.
Is this somehow supposed to make me optimistic? Or are we getting the same tired whores, but with different faces, and a big blue "D" tattooed on their butts instead of a red "R?"

Don't get me wrong. I will happily vote straight Democrat, as I always do. But to expect anything to really change is naive.

Posted by: thersites on May 19, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yup it's going to be historic all right.

And then when he has trouble getting stuff thru congress, what's he going to say to this fan of his?
Fan on CNN board
What a wonderful time to be alive! Obama will lead us to the promised land. He is such a revelation and I can't understand how all of you who support that witch can't see Obama for the blessing that he is. I don't know where our great nation would be without such an amazing leader. There is something truly special about him that inspires me with such hope.

President Barack Obama in 2008, 2012
YES WE CAN


Do people honestly expect to be led to the promised land?

Posted by: optical weenie on May 19, 2008 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Do people honestly expect to be led to the promised land?

Uh, no. That looks like a spoof to me.

Honestly, I only ever see this kind of encomiastic bullshit from Obama's detractors, as sarcasm.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

historically bad - Obama's not gonna win, fools. Conservatism is in disrepute, for sure, but for serveal reasons McCain is gonna win in November -you deluded liberals just can't seem to understand that America is fundementally a conservative country and is at its best as such so when the congressional rejection of conservatives happens in November it will almost certainly be followed by a compensatory vote for McCain - Obama will be a foot note.

Posted by: oblong on May 19, 2008 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Grand Moff,
I guess I am naive, I never thought to think of those types of comments as sarcasm. Interesting - certainly makes the swill go down more easy.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 19, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Optical:

If you're feeling masochistic, check out Talk Left, Soto's site, or MyDD. You'll see that mode everywhere, but only in spite.

I could be wrong about your sample, but I doubt it.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 19, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Progressive politics, not liberal politics was LBJs thing. Why do progressives want to invade the turf of liberals?

The only thing remaining from the New Deal and LBJ is medicare and social security. Carter removed most of the useless regulations FDR left in place.

Individual rights expansion came mainly from the use of the mass media and has notrhing to do with progressive politics.

Voter rights was a relative non-issue, an important point in the South but otherwise its main effect were to make it easier to organize voters.

Posted by: Matt on May 19, 2008 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin is correct that democrats will not have a veto proof majority, then it is dreaming to think that Obama's "first two years could be historic," at least in a positive sense. It is interesting that Kevin does not suggest what would be the "historic" changes in two years.

It also is interesting that Kevin places the life of "historic" at two years, seeming to acknowledge democrats would lose seats in two years. It is more likely than an inexperienced guy like Obama will bumble through a couple years and have the Clinton experience of stumbling and losing Congress, compounded by the fact that he will face some very difficult international situations that may make his presidency historic, but harmful. One "historic" bad thing he could achieve is the so called Employee Free Choice Act, which will squash individual rights by taking away the secret ballot from employees in union elections that we have had for over 70 years, harm the economy, and increase the movement of business to right to work states.

On a related point, below is Bill Kristol's argument today. The argument is interesting because if Kevin is correct, then the history of Republicans winning in democratic years is less llkely to repeat this year [my own view is what I read the other day, that "democrats are nominating a candidate who cannot win in a year they cannot lose" and "republicans are nominating a candidate who can win in a year the republicans cannot win" - seems like a toss up election.

"From 1968 through 1988, we had six presidential elections. During that time, Democrats won the Congressional vote by an average of more than 10 points; they controlled the House of Representatives for all of that period, and the Senate for most of it. But the Republican presidential candidate won five of those six contests — four of them (1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988) easily. This year’s election could see a return to this cold-war model — a strong-on-national-security and supporter-of-middle-American-values Republican presidential candidate prevailing, while at the same time voters choose a Democratic Congress. Last week’s developments — in West Virginia, Sacramento and Jerusalem — have increased the odds of such an outcome."

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Dave Brooks and the Conservatives will be back in four years, most likely.

The only thing that can prevent the return of the conservatives is intelligent balance by Obama and his advisers. Which means that Obama has to deal with wealth as if he wanted wealth and government to reach a balanced relationship.

Can Obama do this? A close race will educate Obama's advisers fairly quickly as Repubhlicans slowly reveal the entire missing half of the Obama economic program. (And Visa Versa)

The key here is Austan Goolsbee. If this guy knows his stuff, then Obama will have basic theory to get him through the debates. But if Goolsbee screws this up, then Obama will be charged with Malthusian recklessness and be limited to four years, if that.

Thje entire campaign will revolve around the economic stupidity of McCain vs stupidity on Obama's part. As soon as one of these bozos fuck up the theory, there will be a wave of disgust much like what happened to Hillary when she dismisses science in favor of pandering.


The problem for the electorate is if they are fooled, then the entire trading globe will counter invest to take advantage of voter stupidity.

Posted by: Matt on May 19, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

"If you're feeling masochistic, check out Talk Left, Soto's site, or MyDD. You'll see that mode everywhere, but only in spite."

lol, particularly rich coming from a long time ranting Kossack such as Grand Moff Texan.

Manipulation and air sucking rants seem to be a specialty. Unapologetically arrogant, much like Obama. Perfect.

Posted by: Comment on May 19, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

[Modern conservatism is based on three things:] low taxes, anti-communism, and social traditionalism.


This is a very simplistic view of conservatism. It would seem to imply that the opponents of conservatism, i.e., the liberals, are for high taxes, communism, and breaking down of traditional social norms.

I don't think that many liberals would agree with this [implicit] characterization of their beliefs. I have never heard any liberal propose high taxes just for the heck of it, or propose that we abolish the free market or the family unit.

A more accurate statement would be that Modern Conservatism seeks to overturn all the gains made by the lower and middle classes as a result of the New Deal and the social programs enacted subsequent to the new deal.

In the final analysis, modern conservatism is a reactionary ideology, with nothing affirmative or positive to offer , despite all its protestations and affectations to the contrary.

Posted by: gregor on May 19, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Given the demographics changes in the U.S there will be no comeback for the Republicans in 20 years or so. So the real question is what will the U.S. be like as a one party state. What will poitics be like when the Democratic Primary is the only meaningful election? What happens to the Democratic Party when all of the previous Republicans start voting in the Democratic primary.

On policy issues:

What will the final tax levels be in the coming one party state?
Will the Democrats stop supporting unlimited immigration when they no longer need the new voters?
What would anyone want to start a new private enterprise with the coming Obama administration?

Posted by: superdestroyer on May 19, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

What would anyone want to start a new private enterprise with the coming Obama administration?

No comprende. Habla ingles por favor.

Posted by: thersites on May 19, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

With the coming tax increases, the coming living wage movement, the coming nationalization of industrial policy in the form of carbon trading, and a surge in government mandates, why would anyone want to start a new private sector business.

The problems with the Obama vision of the economy is that a government job is the best job to have. However, what happens to the economy when a government job is the best job to have?

Posted by: superdestroyer on May 19, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Who let the dogs out?

Posted by: gregor on May 19, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

the coming tax increases
You mean the coming repeal of Bush's insane tax cuts? Remember how the econonomy struggled under the onerous tax burdens of the Clinton administration? You don't? Me neither.
the coming living wage movement
Yes, it's terrible for the economy when people want to be able to live on their salaries. They might even waste some of that money on goods and services, and we wouldn't want that, now, would we?
...nationalization of industrial policy in the form of carbon trading
The current market-driven energy policy is working so well, isn't it?
a surge in government mandates
For example...
Obama vision of the economy is that a government job is the best job to have.
Oh yes, they crank out Marxist-Leninists all the time over there at that Harvard Law School, don't they?

the coming one party state?
Like in the 1980's, when they danced on the grave of the Democratic party.

It's called history. Read some.

Posted by: thersites on May 19, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

thersites,

The federal budget deficit is around $400 billion. Even leaving Iraq and letting tax cuts expire will not make up the difference. the only way that the Obama Administraiton can fund new programs is with massive tax increases. Those tax increases lower the rate of return on investments and will discourage them.

The Democrats were the majority in the U.S. house through the 1980's. Please try to remember what you have read.

Also. waging wages just causes prices to increases and at the margin causes some businesses to fail. It does not increase the overall economic activity because increased prices will decrease any benefit from increased wages. Wage controls are inflationary and self-deafeating. It was tried in the 1940's and 1970's and did not work.

Another question is why would anyone want to go into a career in healthcare when the Obama Adminsitartion wants to use CMS to managed healthcare? The government is quickly begin to demand prices cuts and those mean lower wages and fewer jobs in healthcare.

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Modern conservatives don't even have that. The culture war is pretty much all they have left, and its clock has run out.

Poor conservatives... all they've got left is Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: ExBrit on May 19, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

End of an Era.
End of an Error.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on May 19, 2008 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

The demographic change will be the most important factor affecting future politics, and it obviously favors democrats, but it is not possible to predict the effect with certainty.

If the republicans get their act together and have any sense, they will develop Hispanic candidates to secure their fair share of the Hispanic vote and fight off the demographics. The problem is that politicians with power (in both parties) are almost never willing to give up their positions for the benefit of the party. So, entrenched politicians (including democrats who love affirmative action as long as it does not adversely affect them) resist giving power to up and coming Hispanics and Blacks. Obama secured his advance through his own great political talents and ambition, plus the power of the black vote in democratic primaries and some good timing, but that combination is unlikely to be repeated in either party.

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK
However, what happens to the economy when a government job is the best job to have?

Given the evidence we have from 1935 and beyond, the economy seems to improve pretty rapidly. Or are you talking about that weird conservative alternate universe where another four years of economic depression would have brought ponies to all Americans and we'd all be swimming in gold bullion except for that damn FDR?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 19, 2008 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama says:

"GRESHAM, Ore. (AP) - Hours before being greeted by the biggest crowd of his campaign, Democrat Barack Obama quietly told a small group of seniors Sunday that Republican John McCain would threaten the Social Security they depend on because he supports privatizing the program."

What Obama really means is hide your cash, get out of the dollar, raise prices. Does Obama know this reaction will occur? Not unless his economic adviser is something other than stupid. We can tell how stupid or dishonest his adviser is by how Obama follows up with the inherent criticism.

McCain and the Republicans will be all over him with the Malthusian charge that the system favors one group over the other. McCain will accuse Obama of creating inflexibility and Malthusian disaster, and McCain will have plenty of economics to back him up.

Why did Obama start this nonsense again? It just guarantees his failure. The man is very badly advised by his economic adviser.

Posted by: Matt on May 19, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

"If that's the case, and if Obama has the courage of his convictions, his first two years could be historic."

What convictions?

He's already sold out the Party on universal healthcare, the crown jewel of the progressive agenda.

But Kevin is correct that the '09 - '10 Congress is a historic opportunity. Too bad Kevin is too much of a coward to support a candidate who would actually do something with that opportunity.

Posted by: Petey on May 19, 2008 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Who are the half-dozen smart Republican senators?

Posted by: Jim Nuccio on May 19, 2008 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

McCain will accuse Obama of creating inflexibility and Malthusian disaster, and McCain will have plenty of economics to back him up.

Bush did precisely this in 2004-5, and had his head handed to him on the SS issue -- and that's before the financial services industry collapsed. There are no fundamental changes in the landscape -- it's still a losing issue.

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

In the final analysis, modern conservatism is a reactionary ideology, with nothing affirmative or positive to offer

Not nothing positive.

If you're already in the treehouse, pulling up the ladder is just good, clean fun.

[Above at 8:20 also me....]

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on May 19, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Funny that "low tax" is seen as a core "conservative" value. I have been doing some research on the doctrine's genealogy. From what I can tell, the "low tax" idea is a direct descendent of (a) states' rights federalism as applied to tax collection and (b) resistence to the 16th amendment. Somehow the old idea that local taxes should be spent locally and that the collection of federal income taxes was unconstitutional evolved - especially in the 1960s forward - into a quasi-religious doctrine of low taxes.

Posted by: Salty1 on May 19, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Anyhow, its all very predictable, and thus you have my reasons for remaining at more than arms length.

toodles

Posted by: Comment on May 19, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Toodles -- the new catchphrase for the back half of aloha.

Comment -- the new handle for the back half of a horse we haven't heard from in a while.

Posted by: junebug on May 19, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

You guys *rape* our individual rights. On a daily basis. Get your god-damned stinking sticky government paws out of my life!"

Sure. Just as soon as you get > g-d stinking sticky government paws out of my wallet.

Posted by: cajuncocoa on May 19, 2008 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

"You guys *rape* our individual rights. On a daily basis. Get your god-damned stinking sticky government paws out of my life!"

Sure! Just as soon as you get *your* g-d stinking sticky government paws out of my wallet!!

Posted by: cajuncocoa on May 19, 2008 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Poor cajuncocoa and his bleeding fucking wallet. Cry a river with the rest of us asshole...

Posted by: elmo on May 19, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

cajuncocoa seems to have missed where all the money is going. Question for you: under which Presidents did the Federal Debt grow the most?

If you can answer that question then you know which party is digging into your wallet.

I'll give you a hint, it starts with an "R"

Posted by: the on May 19, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Comment says,

Anyhow, its all very predictable...

Kind of like our current Commander Guy in Bunnypants' reign was very predictable. Or the Glorious Iraq Invasion. How's that one working out? Exactly as I predicted.

Posted by: ed on May 19, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Defend America, for the rest of the World will not"

"Fair trade in BOTH directions, or NO trade."

"If the UN doesn't want us, we don't want the UN."
"The UN: UN-American."

"Secure America's border first. Period."

"Shared values. Shared prosperity. Shared responsibility."

That's just for starters. Republicans have plenty they could run on, but they've got to shift. Some of the above simply tell the rest of the world that we're not taking their sh*t anymore. The others would indicate a shift: We are going to make damn sure that the rich are not raping the rest of America, because we're all in this great country together.

That last point is the one Republicans are losing on BIG TIME. "I've got mine, buddy - you can go f' yourself," is a guaranteed losing position in a democracy. Guaranteed. You have to show that there is a way for everyone to benefit, and that THE SYSTEM IS FAIR. There's a greater and greater sense that the system is not fair, that there is NO equality of opportunity, that the game is rigged. And that Republicans do not give a damn.

That is the huge danger for Republicans, whether the perception is right or wrong. Under this tsunami of threat, the Republicans had better do everything they can to show that they are for fairness, show that they won't ALLOW the system to be rigged. Right now they are losing that argument so badly, it's ridiculous.


Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

You socialist apologists never get it. America became great because our Constitution protects individual rights from the government. Yet, you see government solutions for every perceived and mostly nonexistent problem you can dream up. Government murdered 150 million or more of its own citizens in the 20th century alone and here we are fighting a war for survival against the same sort of totalitarian forces that want to destroy our way of life. It amazes me that you spoiled American Democrat socialists think everything revolves around your made up offense of the day and that some government program is going to fix it for you. Meanwhile, the adults have been making the trains run on time and protecting your sorry, ungrateful asses while you kvetch. Grow up.

Posted by: Mike on May 19, 2008 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have two major problems: Their policies are either 1) unpopular and/or 2) don't work.

No matter how ill advised any of Obama's ideas may be, he still has the comeback, "we tried the Republican idea, it didn't work. Let's try something else." That argument is probably the only reason he's even competitive with McCain. Obama is an excellent orator and a able politician, but he is an unusually weak candidate, even for a Democrat. He got blown out in W.V. AFTER all but clinching the nomination. He is the most liberal Democrat to ever win the nomination. Let's face it, HRC was able to bloody his nose and she didn't hit him half as hard as she could have.

The only bright spot for the Republicans is John McCain and those like him. McCain may only be breaking even with either Democrat, but he's running 15-20 points ahead of his party. Not all of that is due to the weaknesses of BHO and HRC. McCain is not strongly associated with the Bush Administration, the Republican Congressional leadership, the religious right or the racist right. He has a reputation of reaching across the aisle to get stuff done.

The case for John McCain is even stronger if the Democrats maintain or gain seats in Congress, which is practically guaranteed. McCain can work with Democrats without giving them control of the government. People don't like the Republicans, but they aren't crazy about the Democrats either. Divided government is not a bad idea.

Down the ballot, this will be a Republican blood bath. Whether McCain wins or loses, there will be a lot of "McCain Democrats." The bad news for the Republicans is that the "McCain Democrats" and the Obama Democrats will both be voting Democratic down the ballot.

Posted by: Jim on May 19, 2008 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatism dead? As a "moderate" I moved to a liberal college town 15 years ago. During the intervening years I have witnessed first hand what it apparently means to be a Liberal:
1) "We hate the U.S. Government, but we want more of it."
2)"We have the right to say anything we want, but we won't allow Ann Coulter on our campus."
3)Shouted profanities and obscenities are extremely common on the streets and at sporting events.
4. Sexual assaults and property crimes have grown with the population of the university, and now both exceed the national average in our small town. Of course the university administration does not see it as a problem.

I could go on at length but the bottom line is: We have moved, I am now proudly Conservative and am donating to both the RNC and John McCane. I suppose I should be thanking our liberal university for my "education".

Posted by: Randy 2 on May 19, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatism dead? As a "moderate" I moved to a liberal college town 15 years ago. During the intervening years I have witnessed first hand what it apparently means to be a Liberal:
1) "We hate the U.S. Government, but we want more of it."
2)"We have the right to say anything we want, but we won't allow Ann Coulter on our campus."
3)Shouted profanities and obscenities are extremely common on the streets and at sporting events.
4. Sexual assaults and property crimes have grown with the population of the university, and now both exceed the national average in our small town. Of course the university administration does not see it as a problem.

I could go on at length but the bottom line is: We have moved, I am now proudly Conservative and am donating to both the RNC and John McCane. I suppose I should be thanking our liberal university for my "education".

Posted by: Randy 2 on May 19, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

"it's likely that there will still be enough survival-inspired GOP senators around to give Barack Obama the votes he needs to make a difference."

Indeed, I think they are already declaring their eagerness to leave the sinking ship in barely coded plain washintonese.

In particular I think friendly Bob Corker's cloture emporium is open for business. He agreed to be quoted by name by E.J. Dionne talking about how the Republicans are scre*ed and deservedly so. This is remarkable for a serving senator who is not up for re-election this year (or even in 2010). Also, and in particular, he clearly said that he was willing to deal on health care reform

http://tinyurl.com/5skxns
"And Corker said voters did not believe the Republicans were 'solving the major problems,' notably guaranteeing Americans health coverage. 'We just haven't been responsible,' Corker said. 'We deserve to be where we are. I hope we right ourselves.'"

It doesn't get any clearer than that. This is a Republican up for re-election in 2012 in a red state.

I think that there will be several smart Republicans eager to be the 60th vote. They better start dealing right now or someone else will beat them to it.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 19, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, Republican policies lately have been no different from Democrat policies and no, they have not worked. Conservative policies, on the other hand, Reagan's policies, worked amazingly well. If Congress had had the guts to slow the rate of growth of government spending just a little, the hugely increased tax revenues we have seen from the incredible economy of the last 25 years would have paid off our debt by now.

Posted by: Mike on May 19, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

"...Brooks left movement journalism and, in 2003, became a moderately conservative columnist for the Times. "

See Col. W. Patrick Lang's recent post on David Brooks. He has a different view.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/05/david-brooks-an.html

"David Brooks and "implacable enemies"

"Hezbollah is one of the world’s most radical terrorist organizations. Over the last week or so, it has staged an armed assault on the democratic government of Lebanon." Brooks

***********************************************************************

"Does Obama believe that even the most intractable enemies can be pacified with diplomacy? What “Lebanese consensus” can Hezbollah possibly be a part of?" Brooks

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, actually, David, it is the consensus that the Arab League is busy negotiating today.

It is increasingly clear that David Brooks is not an editorial columnist. He is a propagandist for the hard right in this country and in Israel. "Implacable enemies?" "..an armed assault on the democratic government of Lebanon?" Brooks is not a stupid man. He knows very well that the various Lebanese factions are engaged in a struggle over re-alignment of power in the government that has been in progress for most of a year. He knows that Hizbullah, Amal, the Aounis and others all hold seats in the parliament and are for that reason, in fact, part of the "government of Lebanon" that he writes of just as members of Congress are part of the government here. He knows exceedingly well that todays's "terrorists" are often tomorrow's rulers, (Kenyatta, Begin, Shamir, etc) He knows very well that his factional allies in the Bush Administration and in Israel favor the Siniora Cabinet in Beirut because they are supremely biddable and useful tools. Siniora is so much an instrument of US and Saudi policy that he should be provided a federal judgeship to retire to when when he is finally ejected from office. (Maybe Guam would be a good place. That was suggested for Thieu long ago)

"Implacable terrorist." I suppose that is what the British called Menachem Begin and Begin's hero Michael Collins before they became heads of government.

Brooks understands all this, but he also knows it is his assigned duty to spout rubbish for his pals. pl"

Posted by: G Hazeltine on May 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

With any luck, Randy 2 at 9:53 will learn to spell his preferred candidate's name before November.

The unknown poster of 7:07 caught me on the 80's reference -- I thinking of Rethug rhetoric of 2002 -- but otherwise couldn't really refute what I said except by pulling stuff out of his butt.
I suspect he's confusing Nixon's wage controls of the 70's with the minimum wage, which are two entirely different things.


Posted by: thersites on May 19, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: the hugely increased tax revenues we have seen from the incredible economy of the last 25 years would have paid off our debt by now.
Kind of like what was happening during the Clinton administration

Posted by: thersites on May 19, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, go back to your cave, dipshit. Reagan started the entire mess we are in now. Your precious conservative values are nothing more than spit. And you sound like a broken record. Has-been...

Posted by: elmo on May 19, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

We already know what the future of America will look like when the movement is finally dead-

Could it be West Germany? or other 'social democracies' then we will have scoloritic economic growth, moral relativism and multiculturalism as national ethos, and massive government increases in power. So slowly but surely productive people will stop producing and we will see a slowly dying utopia like Sweden.

I am betting more like East Germany though- environmental polices will make Big Brother everywhere- to protect the earth is more important than others. All conservative media will be criminalized. And judging from the extreme intolerance of the highly tolerant- reeducation camps won't be far off- of course these will only be for the haters- and they are far worse than 'terrorist'.

Yes, we know you progressives were born basking in the glow of totalitarianism- your time will come again- then we can have our utopia.

Posted by: Ted on May 19, 2008 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Elmo,
Conservative, classical liberal, values are American values. That you do not know that, nor the history of your own country, is a tribute to the public school education you received. A case of dumbing down, obviously. It is always the left-wing stormtroopers that call people names, destroy private property, resort to violence, and then take people away in the night to the reeducation camps.

thersites,
Clinton cut spending by gutting the military and ignoring terrorist attacks which resulted in 9/11. Proud?

Posted by: Mike on May 19, 2008 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

No matter how we look at the November election, one thing is clear - it's a watershed big time, and its political consequences will arch over generations. Neither extremes (liberals or conservatives) have too much (true) traction nowdays. The California gay rights decision will be defeated on the ballot - on the opposite side, the small government thing is an idiocy as well.
Yet, if Obama wins, this will be the end of the conservative movement in America for the next historical period. And if McCain wins, the liberals, in the post-defeat internecine slaughter will become a lost species (the feminists have already disappeared, haven't they?)
No alternatives so far - and this comes from a CA, McCain supporter.

Posted by: misanthropicus on May 19, 2008 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wow Mike really knows how to hurt a movement. Clinton "gutted the military" and "ignored terrorist attacks."

Since we know that Mike wouldn't lie and is incredibly well versed in history, he can answer a question that conservatives on this board have consistently failed to answer:

What exactly did George W. Bush do in his eight months in office to prevent 9/11? Name the concrete steps he took that minimized the damage, that prepared the nation for such an onslaught, or in any way, manner, or form made the slightest effort to combat terrorism.

It has to be an easy question. After all, eight years of Clinton's fecklessness must have given George W. Bush insights into what needed to be done. What forms did those insights take Mike?

When you've answered that (and I know you will), you can answer the question of whose plan Clinton followed in his "gutting" of the military. You are also welcome to compare and contrast the military readiness in 2000 with that of 2008.

This is an open book test. Extra paper will be provided if you need it. Our lax standards will even give you all the time you need. Grading will not, however, be on a curve.

Posted by: the on May 19, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

the,
George W. Bush did not do much in the eight months before 9/11 and Bill Clinton did not do much in the eight years before 9/11. But, when one looks at what happened during the Clinton years, the first WTC bombing, the Somalia retreat, the Khobar Towers bombing, the bombings of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the bombing of the USS Cole, it becomes difficult to see your point.

It was George Herbert Walker Bush who began the downsizing of the military and it was Bill Clinton who continued it. Combined, they reduced the military by about one third.

That is just one more of many reasons constitutional conservatives are fed up with Republicans. Republicans had the White House, the House, the Senate, and a majority of Governor ships. They blew it by forgetting what got them there. They got to DC and succumbed to whatever pixie dust is in the air up there and acted like Democrats-lite.

Posted by: Mike on May 19, 2008 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Take a chill pill, Mike.

Conservative, classical liberal, values are American values.

LOL! Nice try you fucking Tory! Conservatives have been on the wrong side since the beginning, with little room for wiggle. Don't let the last thirty years fool ya, retard. You couldn't no more shit a golden brick now if the Chinese could clean their air...

Reap the whirlwind mother fucker.

Posted by: elmo on May 19, 2008 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Filibuster-proof? Why would conservatives want to filibuster? Since they tried so hard to abolish it a couple years ago, it seems to me they'd be duty-bound not to use it now.

Posted by: psteve on May 19, 2008 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK
"You go to Capitol Hill Republican senators know they're fucked. They have that sense. But they don't know what to do. There's a hunger for new policy ideas."
Man, Republicans today. No ideas. Their counterparts from ten or even four years ago wouldn't have this problem. They would be awash in ideas for wonderful new legislation to benefit the American people.

For example, perhaps a Constitutional amendment outlawing the New York Times. Or perhaps one requiring the adjective "smelly" whenever the word "French" is used. Or changing the Pledge of Allegience to say "... under God, who is Jesus, ...".

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

They are stuck in the past, in the dogma of limited government.

Limited government? Where?

Posted by: on May 19, 2008 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Elmo, you are an uncivilized prick.

Conservative, classical liberal, values are American values. Look it up, Elmo. Classical liberalism, American conservatism, stresses individual freedom and limited government which includes human rationality, property rights, natural rights, protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint.

If this is the wrong side, which side are you on, Elmo?

Do you even know, prick?

Posted by: Mike on May 19, 2008 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, I notice you declined to answer the questions.

What did George W. Bush do? You didn't name a single action but rather wasted valuable class time on a repetition of your anti-Clinton talking points. Not well done.

Whose plan was the reduction of the military? Do you need a hint? It was the Secretary of Defense under Bush's daddy.

And you seem to have completely missed the final question: compare and contrast military readiness in 2000 with 2008.

The conservatives were happy enough to back George W. Bush until it became clear that by implementing conservatism he has revealed the complete bankruptcy of its ideals.

For someone who feels superior enough to lecture the rest of us on history, your own efforts in that direction seem, well, rather weak.

You are welcome to come back when you can answer simple questions without resorting to simpleminded spin. Until then you are welcome to fuck off.

Posted by: the on May 19, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is an anti White, anti America, anti Israel likely Manchurian Black Muslim candidate tied closely with nation of Islam/Farrakhan, Pastor Wright, and supported by the New Black Panthers and Hamas. He'll lose 55% of Jews.

I predict he loses 70-75% of the White vote and McCain becomes president with a 270-165 Democrat House and 57-43 Senate. it will be McCain with an historic 2 years cutting deals with liberal Democrats in exchange for military spending for Iraq.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: Bill on May 20, 2008 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Elmo, you are an uncivilized prick.

Why thank you, Sir. LOL!

You're God damn right I'm a prick, Uncle Sam made sure of that. As far as you trying to morph liberal realisms into Conservative failures...ROFLMAO!(oh wait, did I say that wrong? aw fuck it)

Keep playing that same 'ol song, limpdick.

Posted by: elmo on May 20, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

the, I answered the questions, you did not like the answers, and you threw a fit. Typical. As for the nasty, puerile language, it is exactly what I expect from people like you. You always succeed in living down to my expectations for you. If you are an example of the angry, pathetic, dependent, hopeless people Obama appeals to, then I can only pity you for you are not what made America great.

Elmo, get it straight. It is Republican failures for trying to please the liberal Democrats and media. No conservatism was involved.

Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Elmo, man. If you have any chill-pills handy, down a handful, quick. Retard? Shit a brick? My personal favorite: Reap the whirlwind Motherfucker. Very macho, Elmo. Mike's logic is transparent and not very well founded, but it has left you in a frenzy, your fingers trembling at the keyboard as you compose Die-Hard dialogue in your haste to remind yourself of your own rightness. You have exposed yourself as a contemptible light-weight hater, and you lend Mike the smug certainty of his convictions by living up to his stereotype of the bomb-throwing progressive culture warrior.

Posted by: Russell on May 20, 2008 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

"Now most conservatives seem incapable of even acknowledging the central issues of our moment: wage stagnation, inequality, health care, global warming."

This list of the supposed central issues of our time doesn't even include the WAR we are in right now! Could you imagine someone during Vietnam, Korea, or WWII not naming the war in the top 5 issues? The problem with David Brooks is that he is so constantly surrounded by liberals that he accepts all of their premises and merely tries to make insignificant conservative tweaks to their ideas.

The central issues of our time are the Social Security and Medicare entitlement crisis, our failing K-12 education system, illegal immigration, the rising cost of health care, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. When Social Security and Medicare are bankrupt, our economy is falling behind because of poor education, our country is 1/3rd poor immigrants that can't speak our language, health care is nationalized, rationed, and takes up 30% of our economy, terrorism is a greater threat than ever, and terrorist states like Iran have a nuclear umbrella or perhaps even use nuclear weapons - David Brooks will wonder why people didn't deal with these issues sooner.

As far as the issues he mentioned, wage stagnation is simply a result of increasing health insruance costs. Total compensation is rising, but most of it is going into health insurance that is full of more government regulations than any other industry in America.

Inequality!? We live in a country where the poor would be middle class in almost any other country on Earth. People in America are paid the value of their labor or products. Unless you are a marxist and believe equality means arbitrary redistribution of wealth from working people to those who don't work, then that is fair and equal.

Global warming is just the next in a long, long line of predictions of imposing doom from environmentalists that have never come true. There has ALWAYS been an imposing doom since the late 60s. We were doomed because of the coming ice age. We were doomed because of peak oil. We were doomed because of impending food shortages. We were doomed because of deforestation. We were doomed because of aerosols. We were doomed because of the hole in the ozone layer. And when you try to argue the facts, they just say "most scientists agree with me" as though popularity is part of the scientific method! In fact, most climatologists and meteorologists know that global warming is a largely natural phenomena. It's only those who were already environmentalists who went into Environmental Studies that overwhelmingly buy into the man-made global warming doom predictions. Carbon dioxide absorbs merely 0.08% of all of the heat absorbed by the atmosphere.

"small government was just a fig leaf... Taxes literally can't be lowered any more."

Small government is at the core of conservatism. It was never a fig leaf to Reagan. You cannot turn back the tide of an ever more intrusive and confiscatory federal government without a foundation of belief in small government and federalism. Conservative Republicans in the House that are in the RSC, a majority of Republicans, do believe in small government and vote based on those beliefs the majority of the time. We just need to make the rest of the Republicans stand up for what they say they believe in instead of getting elected based on smaller government and then becoming corrupt wasteful spenders like the Democrats.

As far as taxes, they can be lowered more if you cut the size of government! Brooks ignores that option as though it is "literally" (in his words) impossible. He doesn't even consider it! David Brooks and Kevin Drum are liberals with identity crises, not conservatives.

Posted by: Greg on May 20, 2008 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

What kind of cognitive dissonance allows someone to post this:

It is Republican failures for trying to please the liberal Democrats and media. No conservatism was involved.
Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 12:25 AM

... when they posted this one hour earlier?

That is just one more of many reasons constitutional conservatives are fed up with Republicans. Republicans had the White House, the House, the Senate, and a majority of Governor ships.
Posted by: Mike on May 19, 2008 at 11:37 PM

Posted by: on May 20, 2008 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Don't fret, Mike. I'm sure you guys will pull some different(but same) agenda out of your asses...

Posted by: elmo on May 20, 2008 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Mike, you dodged the questions. You said "did little." There's nothing concrete there. You did so because, like all conservatives, you don't want to admit that your standard bearer did nothing. As I said, you failed to answer. I suppose merely because you aren't competent to do so.

Let's be honest Mike, your vaunted understanding of history is just a pose. Making you a poseur.

And then we have Greg, who dishonestly (are you a friend of Mike's?) lumps Social Security (you know the program that is, and has been for more than a quarter of a century, over taxing the working class to subsidize tax cuts for the wealthy) in with Medicare so he can pretend that it is in crisis. Of course, Greg is so simpleminded that he imagines that the guy who gave us the single largest tax increase in history (Ronald Wilson Reagan) in order to mask his wild borrow and spend based increase in government was a champion of (get ready to laugh) "small government."

You people crack me up. It's as if you read your first Republican tract yesterday in your Junior High School civics class and didn't understand the lesson was on "propaganda."

Posted by: the on May 20, 2008 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

the, you have all the sneering attitude and left-wing talking points down to a science. You are really good at it. As for propaganda, we have listened to it from the Democrats and their media allies since Reagan was elected. The crowd that was wrong about Reagan's tax rate reductions and confronting the Soviets are the same one's lying about us being in recession (we are not), that Bush's tax cuts went only to the rich (they went to everyone who pays taxes and resulted in record tax revenues strong economic growth), first declared Afghanistan a lost cause and then Iraq (both seem to going pretty well now that Bush found a competent general), and find a way to tear down just about everything they can just for political power. That is the classic big lie and it is the left-wing that has perfected it. the, you are a practitioner.

Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Randy 2

'We have moved, I am now proudly Conservative and am donating to both the RNC and John McCane. I suppose I should be thanking our liberal university for my "education".'

I can't add a punchline to this. It is already a thing of beauty in its self-satire.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on May 20, 2008 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

We have moved, I am now proudly Conservative and am donating to both the RNC and John McCane. I suppose I should be thanking our liberal university for my "education".
Posted by: Randy 2

maybe if you stayed in the university town longer, you'd have learned how to spell your candidates' name. whatever ... this poor fucking illiterate probably thinks spelling it correctly would be elitist. a credit to the grand ol party!

Posted by: on May 20, 2008 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

See, this is what I'm talking about Mike. You couldn't answer the questions about terrorism or military readiness without resorting to Republican spin and now you simply use that same reflexive set of lies when talking about, well pretty much everything in your post.

Let's do the play by play folks (christ I must be bored to bother with a loon like Mike):

  1. Democrats and their media allies A pretty funny one that needs only a look at the canonization of Reagan, the excoriation of Clinton, and the tongue bath given Bush from the time this clueless moron set foot on the national stage
  2. Reagan's tax rate reductions which were accompanied by rate increases every year thereafter including the massive Social Security hike
  3. declared Afghanistan a lost cause - as opposed to the beacon of democracy it is under the mayor of Kabul?
  4. both seem to going pretty well now that Bush found a competent general - hm.. .I guess Mike doesn't really do current events. But that goes with his rather pathetic understanding of history, so what can one expect?
  5. That is the classic big lie and it is the left-wing that has perfected it - Mike's self-refuting conclusion
Well Mike, I guess that's it. You still can't come up with a single thing that George W. Bush did to prevent 9/11, you still can't admit that his VP was the mastermind behind the drawdown of the military, and you still can't admit that the US military is in much worse shape now than it was in 2000. As idiots go, you are right up there.

Now, you will (after reciting a bunch of RNC distortions and using them to call me a liar) once again decry the use of bad language when I call you a fucking moron, but the truth is that presenting your lies does more violence to our discourse than any number of damns, shits, or fucks ever will.

Posted by: the on May 20, 2008 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

1) Liberals can't grasp the fact that everytime the tax rate goes down, revenue to the Govt. goes up.Bush's lowered tax rates brought in the most money to the government ever.

2) Liberals also can't carry on a serious conversation without serious cussing...but they are so educated.

Posted by: Bogart on May 20, 2008 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

People like Mike wonder why their opponents seem so arrogant. It's really simple. We have opponents like Mike. It's rather hard not to feel superior to the kind of dipshits, lackwits, and general buffoons that will claim (and I couldn't make this up) that Iraq and Afghanistan are doing well.

It would be hilarious if it weren't a massive bloody fucking tragedy brought to the world by idiots like you Mike.

How many hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis does it take to slake your bloodlust?

Posted by: the on May 20, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Its pretty late for him to wake up. Brooks, and every other Republican with a media slot, never said IT IS NOT CONSERVATIVE to attack and kill 250,000 innocent people in Iraq, including tens of thousands simply sleeping in their apartment buildings when Bush bombed them and slaughtered them. IT IS NOT CONSERVATIVE to knowingly lie about an atomic threat that did not exist in order to carry out the attack on Iraq. The Founding Fathers would have been shocked to see that a president installed by a corrupt poltically motivated stolen election conspiracy, including a Supreme Court justice appointed by the candidate's father and the candidate's brother manipulating the count in the key state would have the gall to commit such war crimes, and was not only not impeached, but was raised up as some kind of hero. Traitor, not hero. Traitor not hero.

Posted by: Joe Anders on May 20, 2008 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

Taxes can't go any lower? You're an economic moron.Ted Kennedy's taxes can't go any lower because he has sheltered all his income. The rest of us pay for millions of gov't workers that do very little good.
Anytime you here the words mandate, regulation, excise tax,amt,sin tax,or excess profits tax think of democrats...or better yet,Stalinist wannabees.

Posted by: dtg on May 20, 2008 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

Anytime you here the words mandate, regulation, excise tax,amt,sin tax,or excess profits tax think of democrats...or better yet,Stalinist wannabees.

Anytime you hear the words corruption, recession, chickenhawk, evil, fake, tight ass, moron, thief think of retadicans...or better yet, fascists wannabes.

Posted by: elmo on May 20, 2008 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

the, your screeching speaks for itself.

Elmo, on the political spectrum, stalinism and fascism are much the same thing. Like I said earlier, the basic argument is the role of government. You folks on the left, who contain so much hatred that you are blind to relentless lies of your puppetmasters in the media, embrace government to solve every problem and will make problems up just to extend government reach and power. Man made global warming is the perfect example of an anti-capitalist, anti-American power grab. Obama stated the classic left-wing, zero-sum argument when he said we cannot drive our SUVs, eat as much as we want, and keep our houses at 72 degrees. My question to him, and to you, is who is going to stop us? The US is about 5% of the world, uses about 25% of its energy and produces about 25% of its output. That output is not coming from the government, it comes from the efforts of individuals who live free from government.

Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Mike if you want to hear screeching - read your posts out loud. If you want to see nonsense - just read your posts.

The problem with idiots like you is that you simply regurgitate the RNC talking points without ever noticing that they don't correspond to anything in real life.

At this point you've been reduced to such rank stupidity that there's no sense in refuting your nonsense. But I did laugh at your "make me" comment with regards to Obama. I overestimated you. You really are a four-year-old.

Posted by: the on May 20, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

...it comes from the efforts of individuals who live free from government.

LOL! Our government is not separate from our people, we are the government. Remember, our founding fathers gave it to us. The free market is not the constitution of this country, you fascist loser...

Posted by: elmo on May 20, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

"Small government is at the core of conservatism. It was never a fig leaf to Reagan. "

Why does this crap keep coming back? For the umpteenth time, under Reagan the federal government ate 23% of the economy, under Clinton the same ratio was nearly 18% when he left office.

Republicans, for the umpteenth time, are the party of big government, they were formed precisely to grow government, and they decided to grow government in 1854 by using exactly the same fiscal policies that Reagan used to grow government.

With the exception of occasional good and bad liberalism, this has always been the economic scheme in this country since 1854. Republicans grow government, Democrats shrink it.


Posted by: Matt on May 20, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

1) Liberals can't grasp the fact that everytime the tax rate goes down, revenue to the Govt. goes up.Bush's lowered tax rates brought in the most money to the government ever.
Posted by: Bogart on May 20, 2008 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Consevatives can't grasp the concept of diminishing returns. The lower the current tax rate, the less potential there is for a revenue increase to government. Even Arthur Laffer admits this so I don't see why conservatives have such a problem with common sense. There are a couple of signs that the federal tax scheme is at the break even point for the laffer curve, further reductions will reduce revenue not augment it. Also will the massive debt in place and rising interests cost as interest rate rise will further raise the threashold further tax decreases need to meet to be revenue inhancing. It was one thing to believe in the laffer curve when top marginal rates were 70%, but today with the top rate at 35% your just not gonna get bang for the buck. Diminishing returns have set in.

Posted by: Northern Observer on May 20, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

lol, particularly rich coming from a long time ranting Kossack such as Grand Moff Texan.

I was talking about fake encomium, dipshit.

It's OK, I'll wait while you look it up.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 20, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a kindergarten lesson on America for you lefties. The US Constitution protects our inborn rights from the power of government. Government is force. It is pure, unadulterated police power enforced at the muzzle of a gun. Obama wants us to change our lifestyles and will use the force of government to do it. You liberals make the primary mistake of emoting that our rights are granted by government and that all solutions to perceived social ills lie with government. This modern liberal mindset is dangerous, murderously so, as history shows. The totalitarian, left-wing, "liberal" mind-set somehow rationalizes violence, property destruction, rights oppression, and murder all in the name of liberalism. You shrill, hateful, and irrational left-wingers have a history. It was the government worshiping modern liberal, people like you, who murdered 44 million for Stalin, 77 million for Mao, ran the National Socialist gas chambers, ran Pol Pots reeducation camps, and want to use the police power of government to silence those who think differently in the media, in academia, and in politics. It is the modern liberal who wants to give more power to government to manage health care, to manage trade, to manage (nonexistent) global warming, and to continue and extend the other failed policies of the modern welfare state. Entire generations of Americans have seen their family units destroyed by government meddling and yet you liberals want more; damned by the results. I despise you and everything you stand for.

Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

This really shows how unintelligent GOP office holders were. For so many years they could get away with mindless attacks that when they actually have to stand up and articulate real policy they haven't the faintest fucking clue what to do.

Mike, I'm skipping most of the diatribe (as you conflated Nazis with liberals when they are actually conservatives) but if government is only a monopoly of violence then how does the constitution actually protect us our rights? It's a piece of paper not a Halo Weapon.

Posted by: MNPundit on May 20, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

MNPundit,
You really should get out more. Nazi is a contraction of National Socialist. Socialism is a form of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a left-wing phenomenon of overbearing government power and no, you cannot ignore the slaughter the left-wing has perpetrated on humanity. This thread is nothing more than a left-wing, Bush-hating, circle-jerk. Which of you brave souls is the pivot man? Elmo? the? MNPundit? Again, American Conservatives have history and fact on our side. The Founding Fathers were Classical Liberals which means they were Conservatives. Modern Liberalism is nothing more than authoritarianism, totalitarianism, socialism, communism, or fascism and is an abomination. Modern Liberalism is the antithesis of freedom.

[losing patience with the repetitive, fact-free smears and thread spamming on this topic - mod.]

Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Moderator,
Facts and truth tend to be repetitive. The word motherfucker speaks for itself. Which side are you on?

Posted by: Mike on May 20, 2008 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Government is force. It is pure, unadulterated police power enforced at the muzzle of a gun.

There you go again. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT! Sorry to shout, but you're hard o' hearin'.

The truth, Mike, is that you are trying to portray us in you and your ilk's image. It's your, shall I say, "for-tay". You suck so bad even I get away with making you look like a dumb ass. Must suck to be you...

Posted by: elmo on May 20, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

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