October 28, 2008

The future of conservatism after McCain: Green Eyeshades

Everybody is talking about what will happen after McCain loses.

It seems pretty obvious that there's a huge empty niche open for somebody to come along and embody a very old type of conservatism: Green Eyeshade Conservatism. Sharp Pencil Conservatism.

Picture a suspicious, flinty old bastard who adds up all the numbers twice and makes sure nobody is pulling a fast one with other people's money. He doesn't care whether the folks playing fast and loose call themselves "government," "private enterprise," "NGO," or some monstrous hybrid.

It's not been a popular role lately, so I don't know who would be ready to step into it. (Maybe California state senator Tom McClintock if he could get himself elected to statewide office in 2010? But that's a big if.)

The picture above is of Golden Age Hollywood's favorite Green Eyeshade skinflint, character actor Charles Lane, who played bookkeepers, IRS agents, accountants, Mr. Potter's rent collector in "It's a Wonderful Life," and other killjoys in 344 films and TV shows in a career lasting from 1931 to 1995. He died in 2007 at age 102. (He was the cousin of Mickey Kaus's grandmother.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

53 comments:

michael farris said...

Traditionally parties balance the stick and carrot.

dems: carrot - order your private personal life like you want and we'll help to the extent that's possible; stick - Obama's gonna make you work.

repubs: carrot - money! money! money! (when they can't deliver this, they lose); stick - you're going to hell if you stick things in places God doesn't want them.

libertarians: carrot - money and sex and drugs, free! stick - no safety net, tarpaper shacks are okay if that's all the poor can afford, sometimes people starving on the streets is market correction and it would be wrong to tamper with that

And I don't see where the carrot is in Green-eyeshade Conservatism.

Anonymous said...

I think we're going to be stuck with Newt Gingrich for the moment -the man does have a good thing going with his AmericanSolutions.com thing: solutions that 60-70% of americans agree on (that are mostly conservative in origin).

But i'm afraid that the brand has been so destroyed by Bush and company that we'll need a "Valley Forge Project" type of movement to get conservatives to agree on some basic principles (smart economics including balanced budgets, free market solutions to healthcare which is a big issue for poor people, tax/regulation simplification, term limits, "big sweden" foreign policy, immigration reform that is perceived as "non-racist", etc.) and hopefully not come apart at the seams when Obama and the congress deliver more than half the nation anything they want without paying a dime for it - that is a tough electorate to convince that you should work hard, get an education and give back.

I think conservatives are in big trouble - getting healthcare for free will make millions of swing voters democrats for life and all we'll be able to say is "no, you should pay for it".

Lawful Neutral said...

I like this idea a lot. That's probably a bad sign, though; a lot of the things I like are despised by the general public and vice versa.

mnuez said...

Steve, I'm all in favor of engaging in fantastic reveries about what sort of "Conservativism" will emerge in the post-election period but I think we'd be way overestimating the American populace's ability to reason were we to take such daydreaming seriously.

People are fucking fools. Even smart people.

As a f'rinstance, have a look at Al Fin, one of the brightest of the brightest, who managed nonetheless to fall head over heels for Sarah Palin despite the fact that we've just suffered EIGHT FULL YEARS under the boot of her masculine equivalent. "Conservatives" everywhere lined up to fall in love with YET ANOTHER regular ole "Joe Sixpack" despite our having seen PRECISELY what such leadership looks like.

The average person doesn't reason the way that you do Steve. You see positions and principles that have been tried and that have failed and you figure that something ELSE must fill the void left by such failures.

Nonsense. Human reasoning may or may not exist but if it does it's so small a thing that only the historian can spot it.

mnuez

The Social Pathologist said...

They just don't make crusty bastards like that anymore. Thad McCotter's got potential. Let's hope for the future.

Half Sigma said...

Obama will give citizenship to millions of illegal alients, creating a Democratic majority. Libertarianism has lost. It's over.

Richard h said...

Steve,

What do you think about the potential of White Nationalism catching in? I know you wrote earlier that it's not gonna happen because whites like to see themselves in competition with other whites and not NAMs, but with the white population shrinking and Mexicans and Blacks more and more willing to legislate blatantly in their own favor, can you see it anytime between now and 2042?

voodooman said...

What you are describing, Steve, is simple fiscal conservatism combined with limited government. It has been dead for a long time.

As long as the Religious (i.e. Christian) Right continues to dominate the American conservative/Republican scene, fiscal conservatism will never have a chance.

Take the issue of open borders, for example. The bleeding hearts of the Christian Right would dearly love millions of Christians and "potential Christians" flooding in from Mexico. Even Muslims are potential Christians they mistakenly think can be easily converted.

Anonymous said...

The neocons have a death grip on the GOP. Witness their control of leading "conservative" think thanks and publications.

As a largely single issue (more war hawkish than most Israelis) interest group, Neocons would rather reduce the GOP to an unrecognizable rump party than cede control.

Neocon control guarantee GOP failure because most Americans do want unsustainable military budgets to pursue ill-conceived wars abroad that are not in US interests. Beyond foreign military adventurism and with some exception, Neocons are often as liberal as Democrats which leaves conservatives cold (big governement, massive budgets, liberal open boarders, world government).

The single social issue voters (abortion, creationist, gun rights) that Neocons deign to pander to (e.g. Palin) do not determine elections any more than hard left special interests do (animal rights, GLBT, environmentalists). A Neocon-controlled GOP has nothing to offer independent and swing voters who determine elections and much to dislike.

Anonymous said...

With one party rule, Republicans will have the opportunity to become the opposition to whatever the reigning orthodoxy is. In the case of immigration, they'll be able to advocates of restriction, as opposed to the Bush/McCain posture, which obviously didn't make them the party of Latinos.

Anonymous said...

Lew Rockwell's resident Hispanic is insulting you Steve:

Ryan McMakin

CK said...

The republicans have had a person of just exactly the calibre and character that you describe. SOmehow I just don't see the rumpublicans moving en mass to Ron Paul.

dearieme said...

OT, iSteve, but I've just realised why Barry O won't release his birth certificate. It would reveal that he wasn't born in that Honolulu hospital at all. He was, in fact, born in a stable, but feels that if he admits to it, people might think he was taking the piss.

Anonymous said...

When I first logged on this morning, I thought it was a photo of A.K. Chesterton, cousin of that "other Chesterton". Imagine my disappointment.

travis said...

I can assure you from my limited contact with two of South Carolina's political leaders, Govenor Mark Sanford and Sen Jim DeMint, that, not only are both commmitted fiscal conservatives, they are also race realists with the good sense to be discrete about it. Absloutely no danger either man would be tempted to pursue Bush's "compassionate consersativism." Another plus: Both men have a slightly antagonist relationship with their fellow SC Republican Sen Lindsey Grahamnesty.

airtommy said...

The picture above is of Golden Age Hollywood's favorite Green Eyeshade skinflint, character actor Charles Lane, who played bookkeepers, IRS agents, accountants, Mr. Potter's rent collector in "It's a Wonderful Life," and other killjoys in 344 films and TV shows in a career lasting from 1931 to 1995.

You forgot to mention one kind of killjoy - the budget balancer. Obama wants to balance the budget by raising taxes. There's your killjoy. Listen to the Republican children whine and complain as Obama tries to get our books in order.

The last Mr. Killjoy we had was Jimmy Carter. He put Volcker in charge of the Fed and authorized him to use any means necessary to fix our inflation problem (which was created by Nixon and Ford's lax monetary policy). It was not a fun ride (and the short-term pain cost Carter re-election), but Volcker did it. The Republican children still haven't stopped whining about the high interest rates and recession we had to endure as we took our medicine. The medicine worked, the inflation disease was killed, and Reagan got to bask in the resulting glory.

Concerned said...

Great idea, except that most of us have worked for someone like that and spent our waking & sleeping ours hating his guts. Gubmint (since the New Deal) is supposed to be the antidote to this kind of guy. It's hard to shake these deep-seated things. Still, it may be the only thing left. Uncompassionate conservatism?

Would such a skeptical guy give the time of day to the creationist bullshit artists? Does he think that it's worth carrying a Down's Syndrome baby to term?

I have my doubts.

canson said...

'People are fucking fools. Even smart people. "

@ Mnutz

No kidding. Your posts are conclusive proof. If I was forced to make a choice I'd rather read Evil99's posts, which is to say, you're dead last.

Jonathan said...

Good idea. However, the Democrats will move quickly to make it next to impossible for Republicans to win in the near to medium term. Among other things, they will use a revived Fairness Doctrine to destroy talk radio. Then they'll make millions of Mexican peasants U.S. citizens and get them hooked on welfare. And that's just for starters.

jbday said...

Bobby Jindal would be my pick for the green eyeshade conservative. Romney would be second.

Anonymous said...

"Would such a skeptical guy give the time of day to the creationist bullshit artists? Does he think that it's worth carrying a Down's Syndrome baby to term?

I have my doubts."

What do you think of the Renaissance? Or Western Civilization? They were very Christian, sometimes too fundamentalist, but we are riding the momentum of the greatest civilization ever to be on the face of this earth.

What one could give to be in Florence circa 1500 when Leonardo DaVinci and Michelangelo were fierce rivals.

Or seen the birth of the Industrial Revolution.

Or as late as 1900, walk down the streets of London or any civilized city and not be accosted by people in trashy clothes, but be really and truly beautiful.

Heck, even the Gothic architecture of the Middle ages, one of the most violent and fundamentalist periods in Europe, is more enduring than anything created today.

Today, we have our wealth and exponential growth in scientific and technological achievements. Our ancestors built the bases for these things over centuries. We are proud, hateful and ungrateful towards the giants who came before us and brought us to where we are today.

Anonymous said...

airtommy

The last Mr. Killjoy we had was Jimmy Carter. He put Volcker in charge of the Fed and authorized him to use any means necessary to fix our inflation problem (which was created by Nixon and Ford's lax monetary policy).

You left out the fact that it was Johnson's unsustainable guns and butter excesses of the 60's that started this financial death spiral. Johnson's Great Society and massive welfare expansion not only seeded the financial havoc starting in the 70's (and continuing today), but destroyed social and family stability that has devistated the underclass and contributed to damaging social outcomes like explosive single motherhood across all races.

Anonymous said...

In politics it is easier to play defence than offence. One reason for the Dems comeback is that they rallied against the war and George Bush. Now they have to lead a multi-culturial coalition and all the squabbling that will go with it. The Republicans now just need to keep the tap shut. That should be easy in a time of high debt payments and high social security and medicade costs.

Anonymous said...

...flinty old bastard who adds up all the numbers twice and makes sure nobody is pulling a fast one with other people's money.

ROFFL :D


JD

headache said...

It's not just the finance. Law enforcement, traditional academic standards, traditional tradesmanship standards, public behavior, the way people treat public property, accountability in personal life (lying, adultery, tax evasion), serious military defense (not empire building) etc. The list is endless. Where to begin?

voodooman said...

What do you think of the Renaissance? Or Western Civilization? They were very Christian,

Nope, pagan Greco-Roman.

sometimes too fundamentalist,

Fundamentalism, both Christian and Islamic, is a relatively modern thing, a reaction against Western Civilization, indeed a reaction against the last few million years of evolution.

Medieval Catholicism, despite its
tyranny, was very different from the paranoid witch-burners spawned by the Reformation and Counter- Reformation.

but we are riding the momentum of the greatest civilization ever to be on the face of this earth.

I don't doubt for a minute that Western civilization is tbe best. But at least give some credit to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle rather than that band of vicious communist ragheads whose leader the Romans happened to crucify. The Romans really knew how to deal with terrorists!

We are proud, hateful and ungrateful towards the giants who came before us and brought us to where we are today.

Yes, many of us now have the same attitude as that mob of retarded Christian savages that burnt down the magnificent pagan Library of Alexandria.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

BTW, the picture is of Mickey Kaus' cousin, who died last year at about a hundred.

Anonymous said...

The time has indeed come for a "New Right" in America. The core of this new Right needs to be intellectualism and anti-political correctness. In fact, if America is to survive, political correctness needs to be fought at every turn.

While we still need to show acceptance towards the religious Right, they need to be replaced by a new base that is capable of comprehending science and empirical thought. Science needs to be thought of as a national security issue. We need leaders who are capable of breaking down empirical thought to the masses. We need less James Dobson and more Charles Murray.

While free markets should never be abandoned, the Right needs to face the fact that issues like poverty need to be addressed. There are obviously people in America who are incapable of "pulling themselves up by the bootstraps." The new Right needs to present better ideas to address the underclass and not NO ideas. This obsession with abortion, needs to be transformed into an obsession about freedom of association. Opposition to "gay rights" needs to be replaced with opposition to affirmative action and racial preferences. The science centric approach, will help merge issues like global warming and immigration together.

The key to getting this new Right off the ground of course, is leadership. Gone must be the days of 80 year old men leading the Right. The new Right needs youth, diversity, and most importantly; people who are willing to stand up to the oppressors who use political correctness as a weapon. Anyone who doubts that political correctness is a weapon, needs to ask themselves how Bill Clinton of all people, could be called "racist" during the Democrat primary?

An Obama Presidency is a golden opportunity for the rise of the new Right. While Obama tries to push Fabian socialism through the backdoor, free thinking individuals need to be developing the ideological base for the new Right. The Internet will be the optimal place to do so. Don’t be surprised however, if the left and the current right attempt to shut down the Internet (along with free speech in general) as the new Right starts gaining legitimacy. We’re not talking about "influencing" the current Right, we’re talking replacing it.

I must stress that our main weapon will be empirical thought. We must make our positions and arguments so obviously true, that no-one will be able to deny them. As long as nature, science, and truth are our cornerstones, we can’t fail.

Anonymous said...

Steve-o, there is no future for conservatism. The world is run by Baby Boomers. In ten years, they'll start turning the reins over to the MTV generation. At that point, your Mr. Green Eyeshades will be arguing that the national health service should pay $18,945 for gender reassignment surgery, and not a penny more!

--Senor Doug

airtommy said...

Johnson's Great Society and massive welfare expansion not only seeded the financial havoc starting in the 70's (and continuing today), but destroyed social and family stability that has devistated the underclass and contributed to damaging social outcomes like explosive single motherhood across all races.

Those outcomes resulted from the liberal cultural upheaval, not from government welfare.

Anonymous said...

Most Americans think the world was created by god a few thousand years ago so it's not surprising that Hussein Obama should win. The many deviant hordes at his rallies clearly show this indentured ignorance and lack of intelligence.

amnesiac said...

What do you think about the potential of White Nationalism catching in?

It'll catch on all right - just after the last moment when it would have been able to achieve anything. See also: response to global warming.

Anonymous said...

airtommy,

IIRC you're a Brit, so this is going to have to be explained to you:

Welfare means the government will pay money to women with fatherless children, so people with low intelligence and poor impulse control will breed indiscriminately.

Welfare means the government will pay money to sick people, so people with low intelligence and poor impulse control will not care for their health.

Welfare means the government will pay money to people without a job, so people with low intelligence and poor impulse control will just go on the dole rather than seek gainful employment.

Bottom line: if you pay for poor, sick bastards, you're going to get a lot of poor, sick bastards.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

"We’re not talking aout "influencing" the current Right, we’re talking replacing it."

Good luck. Let us know how that turns out for you (and whoever else is included in "we").

"I don't doubt for a minute that Western civilization is tbe best. But at least give some credit to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle rather than that band of vicious communist ragheads whose leader the Romans happened to crucify. The Romans really knew how to deal with terrorists!"

And how did that policy of crucifying terrorists work out for the Romans?

"Most Americans think the world was created by god a few thousand years ago so it's not surprising that Hussein Obama should win. The many deviant hordes at his rallies clearly show this indentured ignorance and lack of intelligence."

I had no idea that a large number of creatonists were flocking to Obama rallies. Fascinating.

testing99 said...

Oh please Steve, might as well look for Unicorns and Leprechauns.

The future of Republicanism is not Ron Paul lunacy. It is populism, particularly identity politics populism, done at the grass-roots level, led by veterans, and espousing a very Americana / Patriotic populism.

Joe the Plumber, not green eyeshades.

No one votes passionately for a balanced budget. They certainly will vote for what benefits THEM, which is the bigger slice of the pie than other groups.

No it will not be "White Nationalism" but it will be specific Jacksonian populism which will be likely the same thing.

Yes, Obama will try to create Amnesty and open borders. If GWB could not do that in good times, what makes anyone think that Blue Dog Dems who will have threats pouring in to Congressman for recalls and massive vote-switches to Republicans. Obama's majority will be from Blue Dogs, not hard-core safe liberals.

Congressman are up to re-election in two years. Murtha may fall. Amnesty in a recession, like reparations, and other things of that nature are DOA. They may be proposed, but the toxic reaction will poison many Dems. As will drastic cuts in the Military, amidst Iran breaking out to nuclear status, or the abolishing of tax free status for 401Ks.

togo said...

AFDC (now TANF), what people usually think of when they refer to "welfare", existed before LBJ. What happened during "The Sixties" was that, in response to the social upheavals of the period, the dominant elites decided that the stigma attached to being a welfare recipient should be removed. People were encouraged to apply and eligibility requirements were eased.This was part of the zeitgeist, it was not directed from the White House.

The "typical white person" probably did not agree with all this, but he wasn't consulted.

BTW, SSI(federal welfare for the disabled and the "disabled") began under Nixon.

James Kabala said...

"[The Renaissance] was pagan Greco-Roman."

It would be funny if voodooman were Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins in disguise (who could prove otherwise?), but they have some brains, whereas he is clearly pure idiot.

voodooman said...

The time has indeed come for a "New Right" in America. The core of this new Right needs to be intellectualism and anti-political correctness.

There's nothing new about what you proposed. It sounds like libertarianism or even classical liberalism, which cannot succeed in the electoral system for obvious reasons.

The population of our modern Disneyland for Dummies are too dumb, and in a way too sado-masochistic, to handle the immense responsibilities that come with freedom. Why else do they hate freedom and responsibility so much? How else do you explain modern authoritarianism?

How else do you explain the Religious Right? They collectively want Jesus to bark orders in their heads, on how to live, what to eat, and even when and how to take a piss. In other words, they are the only people alive who want to be schizophrenic! And naturally, these hypocrites are always questioning the sanity of their self-regulating intellectual superiors.

(I know this sounds like something out of Julian Jaynes and his bicameral mind theory ... but it does make a grim sort of sense.)

DissidentMan said...

voodooman,
I'm in partial agreement with you. I don't claim to know anything about the real Jesus, but authentic scripture-based Christianity is antithetic to conservatism. If you really believe the gospels the world should have ended long ago anyway, which it didn't but the fundies (like Palin) still believe its going to end in their lifetimes. Viewing conservatism as partly a defence of one's cultural and genetic line, if you knew those things would end tommorrow, no matter what, you wouldn't tend to their preservation.

The non-fundy xtians are, OTO, still wedded to creationist blank state ideology even if they deny it, and it is perfectly consistent with their own creationism, original sin, and free will doctrines. They still believe that everyone on earth can be transformed into their likenesses and there isn't a Marxist cause they won't support. Their much vaunted compassion *never* extends to those who disagree with them. Supposing I say I want those illegal mexicans sent back because *I* (and many others) want a better life, you know I won't find any friends among the clergy.

Is is for these reasons that I tend to bristle at the oft stated suggestion that in order to restore a conservative order we must turn to Christian religion. It's like asking us to drink more of the poison that's already killing us.

That being said I'm not all that happy with taking swipe at Jesus (calling him a"terrorist"). Although I don't know anything about him for certain, the gospels portray him as a corageous guy who conciously chose a grizzly death in furtherance of whatever it was that he believed. People with that level or courage are rare, and even most warriors aren't that courageous because they seldom choose to die horribly, even if it happens sometimes. It's not whatever Jesus taught that I personally object to. It's the monstrosity that Christianity crystallised into beginning with Paul, and sometimes I grieve over the murder of the old gods. A reccurent thought is "maybe they weren't real either, but at least they were ours."

Anonymous said...

"It'll catch on all right - just after the last moment when it would have been able to achieve anything. See also: response to global warming."

I stopped listening to leftist activists on science after I found out how full of it they were on race. Don't believe the global warming hype.

Ronduck said...

Anonymous said...

...In fact, if America is to survive, political correctness needs to be fought at every turn.

I agree. I wish the Republicans had decided to do this 40 years ago. In fact I wish the nation had elected George Wallace, but such is life.

while still need to show acceptance towards the religious Right, they need to be replaced by a new base that is capable of comprehending science and empirical thought.

Nice, don't blame the low quality candidates the Republicans have been running for several decades now, blame the voters! Why is it conventional wisdom that running a racist campaign would lead to defeat? Becauuse the Republican party has been living by the racial-exclusion rule for decades.

While free markets should never be abandoned, the Right needs to face the fact that issues like poverty need to be addressed...The new Right needs to present better ideas to address the underclass and not NO ideas.

The current right has been trying to do this with varying degrees of success, haven't you heard of Newt Gingrich?

This obsession with abortion, needs to be transformed into an obsession about freedom of association. Opposition to "gay rights" needs to be replaced with opposition to affirmative action and racial preferences. The science centric approach, will help merge issues like global warming and immigration together.

If the Republican party was really obsessed about abortion they would have ended it a long time ago, they have had complete control of all three branches of government for the last several years and partial control many times before. Heck, I believe they don't end it so they have something to help them get re-elected.

The new Right needs...diversity...

LMFAO

An Obama Presidency is a golden opportunity for the rise of the new Right.

No, an Obama presidency is a chance for me to find out what South Africa went through in 1994. An Obama presidency is a chance for America to have a White minority *right now*. If Strom Thurmond couls live to 100 whil in office, who is to say that Ted Kennedy won't stay in the Senate for another 20 years? Can't you imagine a Kennedy-Obama pair working for amnesty and even more immigration?

I must stress that our main weapon will be empirical thought.

Yes, and when the Farm Seizures begin like they have in SA our main weapon can be "empirical thought." And when the Obama Riots breakout after the election they can be put down using "empirical thought."

We must make our positions and arguments so obviously true, that no-one will be able to deny them.

The whole point of bringing in sub-90 IQ immigrants is so that they won't be able to reason. Besides, large numbers of high IQ Qhites are denying reality *right now*, what makes you so sure that the public won't be able to deny the truth?

As long as nature, science, and truth are our cornerstones, we can’t fail.

How is that different from the Religious Right claiming that "with God on our side we can't fail? You are like the idiots during the French revolution that set up the Cult of Reason.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

we'll need a "Valley Forge Project" type of movement to get conservatives to agree on some basic principles

I mentioned earlier on another thread that Republicans need to lay down some basic principles that most of the party can agree with. They don't hae to be too specific, it should be kept very, very short, and they should come up with them ASAP, so the GOP can point to them while they spend the next two years opposing the Democrats. A Contract With America-type project that pulls the GOP together. The "carrot" is that it will lead to lower taxes and greater prosperity, if anyone can be convinced of that.

He was the cousin of Mickey Kaus's grandmother.

"But one of these days this bright young man's gunna be asking George Bailey for a job."

Knew there was a reason I liked Mickey. Greatest...movie...ever...

As long as the Religious (i.e. Christian) Right continues to dominate the American conservative/Republican scene, fiscal conservatism will never have a chance.

Fiscal conservatism - lower taxes on the rich, endless immigration to supply them with cheap labor and more customers, and free trade that's led to annual trade deficits of $800 billion+ - has been tried for the last 8+ years. Worked out well, no?

And name one lousy thing the religious right got out of this administration? I don't always agree with them, and I agree that sometimes they scare voters away, but in reality they've gotten very little for their 30 years of support.

In the case of immigration, they'll be able to advocates of restriction...

But they won't - not with John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Arlen Specter and Bob Bennett still in the Senate. It would have to be led by the House, terrifying "Blue Dog" Democrats into submission with threats of defeat in 2010. But does the House have any Newt Gingriches available to lead that charge? Would I that Bobby Jindal were still in the House. Don't know where he stands on immigration - or anything else, for that matter - but he certainly has the brains.

Those outcomes resulted from the liberal cultural upheaval, not from government welfare.

Government welfare provided the necessary financial backing. It would've happened some, but not nearly as much.

Would such a skeptical guy give the time of day to the creationist bullshit artists? Does he think that it's worth carrying a Down's Syndrome baby to term?

What we neeed is not "compassionate conservatism" but "compassionate to Americans and American values conservatism." Conservatism with a friendly face but a hard nose, if that's even possible.

While we still need to show acceptance towards the religious Right, they need to be replaced by a new base that is capable of comprehending science and empirical thought.

Yeah, OK, you get right on that replacing them bit. With who? You fight with the army you have, not the army you wish you have. Republicans simply need to stand up to the religious right on the occasional issue where they can be embarrassing, like teaching evolution. How hard can it be? Of the 15 states with legislatures controlled by the GOP, how many don't teach evolution, or teach ID alongside it? None? One?

I had no idea that a large number of creatonists were flocking to Obama rallies. Fascinating.

Maybe they believe in evolution, but they sure as hell don't believe in biology. And given the overwhelming support of superstitious, uneducated minorities for Obama, I'd be willing to bet they're less likely to believe in evolution than most Republicans are. And most of the leftist LA grads I work with may claim to believe in evolution, but talking to them it's quite clear they don't even understand the its most basic precepts. Before the Dawn does not appear on their reading lists and never will.

Atheists may run the Democratic Party, but they do not form its base.

michael farris said...

Social safety nets are basically a good idea for social cohesiveness as long as recipients feel either:

a) gratitude for being helped in a time of need,
or
b) shame, for inconveniencing others and needing help.

Either will work (some of both is best with the first overshadowing the second) but if recipients are conditioned to feel neither then all hell will break loose.

Anonymous said...

The future of Republicanism is not Ron Paul lunacy. It is populism, particularly identity politics populism, done at the grass-roots level, led by veterans, and espousing a very Americana / Patriotic populism.

Wow, t99. Good thing the GOP has had such steely-eyed realists like you at the helm the past 8 years.

You want Americana and populism? How about money that doesn't depreciate in value so Joe the Plumber can just keep it in a savings account rather than shipping it off to shysters in Manhattan and hoping and praying he can still buy groceries in 20 years? How about a frontier culture of self-reliance and hard work that doesn't rely on imported labor? How about an honest head tax (and those who don't vote need not pay it) instead of a corrupt, byzantine system that Joe the Plumber can't possibly figure out? How about a government that says we want people who look like Joe the Plumber here and everyone else can just get in line and prove to Joe's satisfaction that they deserve to be here?

If the GOP had nominated Ron Paul--a military veteran, btw--Obama would be a flustered, tongue-tied, chain-smoking mess headed back to Chicago in front of a flood of white working class voters who are instead withdrawing from public life.

You know, in a just and truly populist America populated almost exclusively by the descendants of its founders, the likes of Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz et al. would be marched off to the airport at gunpoint and flown into exile.

This is a family forum, so I'll stop there.

--Senor Doug

Sebastian said...

Finding more cost effective ways to do things requires imagination and curiosity. Things lacking in todays GOP.

You'll never find a shortage of people to say "no". "No" is easier, cheaper and frees up time for more demagogery.

What's needed is a combination of an analyst and a planner. There's more data online about gov't inflows and outlays. There's more data online about demographics and economics. This stuff is waiting for the right person or party to use it to push us forward instead of apart.

To quote an imfamous Chicago Bears ex-coach, "all the pieces are in place"

Anonymous said...

That's not a bad potential direction for the Republicans to take. Unfortunately, Sarah Palin is the template for the direction the Republicans will likely take.

David Davenport said...

The bleeding hearts of the Christian Right would dearly love millions of Christians and "potential Christians" flooding in from Mexico. Even Muslims are potential Christians they mistakenly think can be easily converted.


DooDooMan, are you T99 posting under a different name?

Mazybe not. You're more stupid than Testing 99 ( faint praise for T99), and even less attuned to Middle America.

James Kabala said...

dissidentman: I don't know what your beef with St. Paul is (and I suspect you don't know either and are just repeating leftist canards), but if it's that he was insufficiently pro-Gentile, just the opposite is true. It was St. Paul who ensured that Christians didn't have to obey the Jewish Law.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

The bleeding hearts of the Christian Right would dearly love millions of Christians and "potential Christians" flooding in from Mexico.

George W Bush tried to religify the amnesty issue by stressing that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." John McCain defends his open borders position by saying he isn't "gunna deport millions of God's children." I've heard John McCain talk dozens of times, and the only time I ever hear him mention God is when he's speaking of amnesty.

Clearly they're both operating from the same playbook. It's worked some, but it's gone as far as it will go. If the recession doesn't stop it the backlash (people leaving open borders churches) will.

DissidentMan said...

james kabbala,
I guess I have always considered Paul to be a bit of a malicious phoney or insane, with his claimed conversion on the road to wherever it was, whereas Jesus strikes me as sincere. I certainly hope that the bits of the scriptures that portray Jesus as a doomsday prophet are false, and that's not actually very improbable, if we consider that the gospels can't even agree on the details of the crucifixion which was the most important part of the story of his life.

With Paul OTO we get his words first hand, and there is no enlightened wisdom to be found anywhere. Instead we find the curious doctrines such as bodily resurrection and the trinity, arguments about whether or not gentiles should be circumcised, and the assertion that gentiles are taking the place of Jews that won't convert, as if heaven has finite capacity, just to point to a bit of the awryness of his letters.

The fact of the matter is that I don't think Paul understood Jesus, whatever his motives were.

Jesus said a lot of stuff that I agree with. He said "the kingdom of heaven is withing" meaning that happiness does not have to be a response to external stimulus although this is a very difficult state for us to reach. Jesus said it's what comes out of your mouth that makes you good or evil, not what you ingest. I agree again, and so does buddha. Words actions and deeds are the proximal (but not root) causes of karma. The type of food ingested doesn't matter. Buddha, correspondinly said: "Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox."

The fact is that Jesus, perfect or not, was a good guy with a lot of good stuff to say, and Paul's ravings didn't reflect this. I wasn't actually thinking about what Paul thought about gentiles in relation to Jews when I wrote my original post, although I do sometimes think about that.

I apologise for the disjointedness of my writing tonight. I am in the midst of studying for a test tommorrow.

voodooman said...

dissidentman:

Thank you for your intelligent comments and constructive criticism.

My view of Christianity has been shaped by decades of personal experience and historical research. Christianity, more so than most religions, is based on sacrifice, and irrational sacrifice at that. While most Christians themselves are people who mind their own business, many of them are not, and those ones are dangerous. Those ones fill the ranks of the Religious Right.

As for Jesus being a terrorist, the Romans surely thought so. King George also thought the same about George Washington. The historical Jesus was a political leader first and foremost (King of the Jews, anyone?) - and allowing himself to be martyred was a brilliant psychological warfare tactic that worked in the end. Yes, he did have guts, more so than Mohammed Atta, who chose a quick death instead. Jesus and his crucifixion didn't make the world a better place in any real sense, but it sure fired up his followers, starting with Paul. Maybe the Romans weren't so bright; they could just have left Jesus and his trouble-makers alone, and they would have faded into obscurity.

The old gods were "ours" in a deeper, truer sense than Jesus and Yahweh.

b_broadside said...

Prof. John Frary is not really the green-eyeshade type, but he's certainly old and flinty. He's running for Congress in Maine, and on the Republican ticket time (not the Constitution Party!) Here's what he has to say about immigration (reprinted with his consent):

For the moment the recession (stimulus package to the contrary notwithstanding) will reduce the problem [of illegal immigration].

This will provide an opportunity to avoid mass expulsions and the arrest of thousands of small businesmen, in short an opportunity to move energetically to secure our borders.

This is a question of sovereignty and assimilation. In previous eras of peak immigration there was never a question of American identity and pride. Now there is vast educational apparatus devoted to denigrating American, its people and its whole history. The liberals offer but one attraction to new immigrants---access to the welfare state, i.e., access to the earnings of our citizens.

Open borders and the welfare state cannot long co-exist. Few people ever feel gratitude for government hand-outs. Why should they when they are represented as rights? In fact the Democrats count on equipping the Hispanic minority with grievances and hatred for the Anglos so that they will have a lock on their vote similar to the one they have on the Black vote. The GOP yearns to add them to the social vote bloc and fears being branded as "racist." Considerations of electoral advantage cancels out any consideration of principle.

I feel no animus against immigrants, not even illegal immigrants. Our government has not respected or upheld its own laws. Why should we expect them to?

Ideally we should welcome millions of energetic and enterprising immigrants and make them into loyal and patriotic citizens. Social security cards, US passports, etc. are the results, not the means to this end.

This whole issue fills me with loathing for the political sociopaths that run this country but I have no means of turning this loathing into policy. I have not got beyond 1) control the borders; 2) no welfare for immigrants, legal or illegal; 3) rational procedures for admitting legal immigrants. There must be more, but I don't yet know what.


Not every day you see a major party candidate writing that way! Just to reassure doubters - there are still conservatives left in the GOP. It's too late in the cycle to make a differnce now, but the future is the topic here. Either we help conservatives reassert control of the Republicans for 2010 and beyond, or we evacuate them Dunkirk-style into another party.

none of the above said...

I think green-eyeshade-ism is a guaranteed lose at the polls. For evidence, look at the political response to the current market meltdown. All the serious (likely to be taken seriously) policy proposals I've seen are focused on minimizing short-term pain. Many pretty explicitly push the pain forward in time (like the idea of basically giving all the people defaulting on their mortgages an extra three years of teaser rate). We've minimized the financial pain of collapsing markets, not by fixing anything broken, but by pumping lots of money into the financial system. (This may have helped with banks' willingness to make loans, but at an enormous cost.)

Similarly, look at Obama's health care plan, or the Medicare drug benefit from the current occupant of the white house. Notice how well that all works out? Health care inflation and demographics add up to a looming disaster, which can be seen (and is seen) by green-eyeshade types all over the country. Addressing it is guaranteed to be politically painful, since it's inevitably going to involve saying no to some medical care and ceasing a big flow of money to politically connected industries.

If Alice promises to raise your taxes and cut social security for wealthy people and cut a bunch of government programs, and Bob promises to cut your taxes and spend more on those government programs, then all else being equal, Alice is going to lose to Bob. Even this year, Obama would have lost to McCain on that platform, despite McCain having W's disastrous record tied around his neck.

So, we're not going to address that hard stuff. We're not going to address global warming, either, because that involves imposing huge costs on voters who will retaliate at the next election. Green eyeshades can't win elections, as far as I can see.