The Case Against the Establishment GOP

NoRINOsThumbby N. A. Halkides   3/10/14
Recently, there has been a spate of commentators taking up the refrain (long sung by the GOP Establishment) that said Establishment was to be congratulated for its wise stewardship of the Party, particularly through the recent “battles” on the budget and the debt ceiling increase. Hard as it may be to believe, these commentators (including Jonah Goldberg and Charles Cooke at NRO) have taken the line that the Establishment has saved the GOP from the crazy “Wacko Birds” (to use Sen. John McCain’s term) of the Tea Party and other Conservative groups who harbor the apparently heretical and dangerous notion that the time to fight against the Left is now, not at some indeterminate time in the future when Republicans hold the Presidency and both Houses of Congress (as they did from 2001 – 2007, whereupon they proceeded to do exactly nothing but spend money at a rate that made Bill Clinton look like a fiscal conservative) and perhaps some other as yet unspecified conditions also obtain, such as a blue moon or a transit of Venus.  As low as the Republican Party and, frankly, NRO have sunk recently, I still would not have believed this possible if I had not seen it with my own eyes.  In the face of such astonishing self-deception (or worse), it behooves us as Conservatives to indict the GOP Establishment for its recent malfeasance and duplicity as well as its longer-term failure to stop the Democratic Left, and I would like to present a kind of Bill of Particulars for the benefit of the young or forgetful who may not realize exactly what a record of failure, duplicity, and betrayal these commentators have been defending.

Let’s begin with a brief summary of the recent “battles” mentioned above.  The first of these was the budget deal, negotiated in secret by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and then presented to the members of Congress as a fait accompli.  The deal’s particulars aside, is that any way for the People’s business to be conducted?  A secret back-room deal worked out by a tiny handful of powerful insiders, shutting out all other input and presented to the Congress of the United States to be rubber-stamped in a manner that would be more appropriate for a banana republic?  And when we get to those particulars, what do we have?

On December 10, 2013, Ryan and the Republican Establishment he embodies agreed to give up the very modest sequester cuts of $63 billion (one of the only budgetary bright spots in recent years) in return for tax increases (which they attempted to disguise as “fees”) and Democratic promises to cut spending in the future(!) which together came to about $85 billion over the next decade.  As usual, the spending increases take effect immediately, while the “cuts,” if they ever materialize at all, will be phased in over ten years.  Why did Ryan (and Speaker John Boehner, R-OH) agree to this deal?  Because it avoided the threat of a government “shutdown,” something they apparently fear more than anything else.

Now this isn’t the place to discuss the question of “shutdown” strategies in detail, but when this subject comes up one very obvious fact is almost always left out:  if Senate Democrats choose to insist that they get all the spending items they wish in a continuing resolution (for Congress doesn’t “do” proper budgets any more, only ad hoc CR’s) and refuse to pass any bill not containing their entire laundry list, Republicans have exactly two options:  fight (“shut down” the government) until they get at least some concessions from the Democrats, or complete capitulation.  Repeatedly, they have chosen capitulation.  There are many excuses given:  the shutdown is unpopular, the Democrats control the media so we get all the blame, etc.  But if Democrats control the media (and they do, at least the dinosaur variety), one would think that would be all the more reason for the Republican leadership to be out in front of every issue, informing the public and explaining the reasons for the Republican position.  Instead, GOP leaders tend to hide in their offices, cowering at the thought of having to explain themselves or actually make a case for opposing the Democratic Left.

Cooke also approved of what he termed a “clean” debt ceiling increase (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/371095/praise-establishment-charles-c-w-cooke).  At least in this case, NRO had the decency to present an opposing point of view, that of Andrew McCarthy.

As McCarthy explains, the 60-vote threshold in the Senate still exists for raising the debt ceiling, thus Republicans have the power to stop Democrats there, and while McCarthy didn’t mention this, Republicans also have the power to prevent a debt ceiling increase in the House, where they have the majority.  All Democrats can do is threaten a “shutdown” in the Senate, for which everyone assumes Republicans will be blamed.  Again, this isn’t the place to determine exactly what concessions Republicans should get from the Democrats in order to agree to raise the debt ceiling (which is an irresponsible thing to do), and clearly simply refusing to raise the ceiling under any terms would not be politically wise, but with so much power on their side, surely they should be expected to wring something out of Harry Reid and his Senate Democrat big-spenders, perhaps modest cuts in domestic spending or some restraints on the out-of-control IRS.  But what did Republicans get in return for raising the debt limit?  Nothing!

Nor is that even the worst of it.  Not only did Senate Republicans capitulate, they attempted to do so in a way that masked their complicity with Democrats, and then they viciously attacked the one man with the integrity to unmask the deception – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Here is how it all happened:

It only takes 51 votes in the Senate to actually raise the debt ceiling, but under Senate rules, it first takes 60 votes to cut off debate (cloture) and proceed to the final vote.  This is how Republicans had the power to stop the debt ceiling increase.  But Establishment Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), had schemed to waive this cloture vote, thus sparing themselves having to go on record in favor of cloture (which meant in practice in favor of raising the debt ceiling).  In other words, McConnell and his Establishment buddies intended to vote against the debt hike itself, knowing all the while it was futile to do so because the Democrats had the 51 necessary votes for passage, so they could pretend to their constituents that they were against the hike, when in fact they were tacitly voting in favor of the hike when they waived cloture.  Sen. Cruz forced them to go on record voting in favor of cloture (hence in favor of the debt hike), exposing their duplicity and fraud for all to see, and that was unforgivable – not only Establishment Republicans, but also Cooke and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board piled on Cruz, not McConnell!  (Cooke went so far as to deny there was any such thing as a GOP Establishment.  For my views on that subject, see A Plea For Disunity and Incivility.

To summarize:  Republicans under Establishment leadership have had the power to extract concessions from Democrats, but instead capitulated to avoid having to fight, revealing both their pusillanimity and their political incompetence, and then tried to deceive their own constituents about what they were doing.  So much for recent history, although the antics of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign in refusing to support Conservative candidates in the fall general election, should they succeed in defeating any Establishment Senators in Republican primaries, is also highly revealing.

The Political Failure of the Republican Party

Now let’s take a somewhat longer view, say the past fifty years with the exception of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency (1981 – 1989).  What do we see?  We see the same pattern as the one over the past few months just described:  Republicans lose, and they lose by default.  Inch by inch, year by year, they allowed government to grow in size and power (these two attributes always going together), all the while reducing both individual liberty and, perhaps more surprisingly, their own viability as a political party.  I say more surprisingly because if Establishment Republicans care for nothing else, they do love to hold office and play the big shot.

I have chosen not to get too deeply into specific issues here, because this is definitely a case of not wanting to miss the forest for the trees:  what we need is a very high-level view of the American political landscape.  And when we get that view, we will see that (1) the Republican (Establishment) approach has largely failed politically, and (2) every capitulation has resulted in the further weakening of the Party.  Then we can descend a bit and take a closer look at exactly how this has happened.

The failure of the GOP can be measured by its inability to halt the growth of government, and it little matters whether we consider this as a failure to stop the opposition Democratic Party from achieving its goals (bigger government with more power and a permanent government class of dependents whose votes may be relied upon at election time) or, giving Republican leaders more credit than they deserve, a failure to enact their own political program, which assumes that they ever had a political program in the first place.  There is some truth to the characterization of at least Establishment Republicans as a “party of ‘no’”:  they have often opposed Democratic measures (although never on principle) but they never of speak of liberty or individual rights.

Medicare is a perfect example.  Republicans did not argue (as true Conservatives would have) that “providing” health care for seniors or anyone else is not a proper function of government, and that government involvement in “providing” goods and services was sure to create a host of problems as it always does.  Some of them may have quibbled here and there about the organization or costs of the Medicare program, but they did not have the courage to object on principled grounds.  The result was that they lost the fight and Medicare got established as the beachhead from which Democrats could continue to press for fully-socialized medicine which was their goal even then.  Medicare and the subsequent encroachments of government into medicine are what paved the way for Obamacare, just as Obamacare paves the way (as intended) for fully-socialized medicine.

The rest of the welfare state has followed the same pattern.  Once you refuse to fight on principle, the principle that it isn’t the responsibility of the individual citizen to provide for the food, clothing, housing, education, and health care of the rest of society, nor the proper function of government to steal and redistribute incomes for that purpose, you cede the moral high ground to your opponents and live in a permanent state of fear least you be labeled “heartless” etc. by opposing any of the hundreds of welfare programs that your “compassionate” opponents fund by ruthlessly taxing the incomes of the productive members of society whom you supposedly represent, and by borrowing money which is really a form of future taxation.  You lie low, whimpering in your office, staying largely out of the public view, avoiding conflicts with the Democrats at all costs and hoping they make some tactical mistake that will so disgust the electorate you can eke out a small victory in the next election without ever having to display an alternative and better vision for the future of the country.

The Decreasing Viability of the Republican Party

These repeated political losses have had a secondary consequence (in concert with high levels of third-world immigration, which is beyond the scope of this article) which was unforeseen by the Party leadership at the time and which, even more amazingly, they do not grasp even at this late date:  the Republican Party is very close to political irrelevance as an opposition party, by which I mean the Democratic Party is close to being unbeatable at the national level by a Republican candidate and program that is substantially different (i.e. more Conservative) from the Democratic offering.  This has come about because with the growth of government and the advance of statism two deleterious consequences necessarily followed: (1) An increasing number of government workers; and (2) An enlarged welfare class, now including middle-class citizens hooked like junkies on government programs they had no need for (as middle-class earners, they were well able to provide for their own needs without government “assistance”).  The corruption of the middle class is probably even a more serious threat to a democratic republic than income-transfer payments from the upper and middle to the lower class because of the sheer numbers involved and because the government thereby gains a control over the middle class it could not get by simply taxing it to pay for income-transfer payments to the “poor”.

My research on how government dependency skews election results is incomplete because I have found the statistics rather hard to come by, so they will have to wait for a future article.  For now, it should be sufficient to point to certain well-known voting patterns:  welfare recipients and government workers at all levels vote overwhelmingly Democratic; thus, as their numbers increase relative to the general population, a point must be reached at which the Democrats will win every election (this is the “tipping point” often referred to).  This is not theory; it is mathematical certainty and it is already observable in the State of California as well as every large city with a sizable welfare class.  Conceivably, a Republican might still win but only by adopting the statist philosophy of the Democratic Left (California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George W. Bush come to mind).  Notice that when this point is reached, no non-statist (i.e. Conservative) candidate can hope to win, and we have established de facto one-party rule, one of the hallmarks of dictatorship.  The “two” parties are really merely competing factions of the same statist party; no party dedicated to individual freedom can compete any longer, thus no such party will exist.  You can see this in Western Europe already, particularly in England and France – voters are only given a choice between Left and further Left – and we are very close to that point now in America.

This brings up the question:  why did the Establishment Republican leadership adopt a political strategy that necessarily leads to the extinction of the GOP as a political force?  The only answer I can suggest is that they could not see two obvious facts:  increasing the size of government will inexorably push a country politically to the Left, and importing millions of third-world aliens who love welfare programs will do the same thing by creating more Democratic voters, at least over the short and medium terms, and probably over the long term as well.  This in turn suggests that Establishment Republicans do not think well in abstract terms, or to put it another way, they’re a rather un-intellectual bunch, and this is one of their chief failings.

Now, the superior size of the Democratic base (another way of stating that the country has moved Left) may not have been obvious from the elections of 1992 and 1996, where the candidacy of H. Ross Perot kept Democrat Bill Clinton from getting a majority of the popular vote, but the elections of 2000 and 2004 were ominous warning signs of the Democratic advantage:  G. W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 to Al Gore, who could be described politely as uninspiring and not so politely, if still accurately, as “nuts”; Bush then won the popular vote in 2004 over John Kerry by a small margin only because Social Conservatives came out in huge numbers in swing states.  This latter fact should have been well-known from the exit polling, which revealed that voters favored Democrat Kerry over Republican Bush on economic issues by such a large margin that despite Bush’s advantage on national security issues, had it not been for voters motivated primarily by social issues, Kerry would have won.

This was a fact of monumental significance, which predictably the Republican Establishment either ignored or misunderstood.  What it meant was that the very first time an election hinged on economic issues the Democrats would win, and this was borne out by the elections of 2006 and 2008.  Yet political consultant Karl Rove saw a “Republican Realignment” in what was merely a larger-than-usual turnout of rural Ohioans opposed to gay “marriage,” and the Establishment believed him – surely one of the most egregious examples of political self-deception of all time.

Now Let’s Get Personal

What is it about the Establishment that has made it both morally pusillanimous and politically maladroit?  Examining Establishment Republicans like Trent Lott, Dick Lugar, John Boehner, and the Bush brothers reveal they have a number of characteristics in common.  First, as observed above, they are rather un-intellectual, uncomfortable with abstractions such as “liberty” and therefore unable to hold a coherent theory of limited government.  This leads them to adopt the prevailing ideology of unlimited government without even knowing it, just as they adopt philosophical Pragmatism in place of ethical or political principles.  Pragmatism means seeking the superficially “practical” route, or “doing what works”.  How anyone would have any idea as to “what works” even means without reference to a clear set of values to guide him in the proper direction toward a desirable goal has never been explained by Pragmatists, but nonetheless this philosophy endures, sort of.  It is interesting to note that Pragmatic Republicans pretend to be principled, while Barack Obama claims to be Pragmatic as if it were some sort of virtue while in fact steadfastly adhering to the principles of statism/collectivism.

Second, and as a consequence of the first, they lack the moral self-confidence that would allow them to fight the Democrats on principle.  The most they can do is put on their eyeshades and complain about how much the latest welfare program costs; they imply the program is wrong because it’s expensive but don’t have the confidence to say the program is expensive because it’s wrong.  You can’t win a political fight without making a moral argument for your position, something the Establishment has never learned no matter how many times the Left beats them like a drum by accusing them of “taking school lunches away from children,” “throwing Grandma off the cliff,” etc.

Third, the motivation of Establishment GOPers in seeking office is personal self-aggrandizement rather than public service.  The typical Establishment pol likes playing the big shot; morally and psychologically he’s somewhat better than the typical Democratic pol, who either longs for arbitrary power over his fellow men or is at best a useful idiot in service to the creation of such arbitrary power, basking in his supposed moral superiority because he wants to “help” people (by conscripting the lives and confiscating the property of others, of course).  Such Establishment players would by temperament rather cut secret deals in back rooms than fight the Left even if they understood the need to fight and were intellectually equipped to do so (which they’re not).  Thus, the various faults of the Establishment are mutually reinforcing, which explains why they never learn.  They will either have to be dislodged by their betters or they will remain to plague us forever.

It is because they can’t see this that commentators like Goldberg and Cooke have been led so far astray.  Here is Cooke, explaining why he thinks there’s no such thing as the Establishment (see the link given previously):

“After all, pretty much every single Republican agrees on the question of Obamacare. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on taxes and spending and the size of government. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on the debt. They disagree, however, on tactics.”

Does every Republican really agree on Obamacare?  Or is it that Conservatives understand this abomination to be a fundamental assault on American liberty, a disgusting exercise in the seizure of political power by the Democrats which will do irreparable harm to millions of people, while Establishment-ers understand only that opposition is politically necessary to avoid being challenged in a Republican primary?  So every Republican agrees on taxes, spending and the size of government?  That must mean the Establishment crowd has proposed actual cuts to government – and severe cuts at that – rather than merely slowing the rate of increase, and we all blinked and missed it.  And every Republican agrees on the debt?  That must mean the Establishment is ready to cut back social welfare programs, which is the only way we’ll ever get the debt under control.  We must have blinked and missed that one, also.  The closest the Establishment ever came was the budget proposals of Paul Ryan, which would have perhaps balanced the budget in 30 years time, assuming Republicans won every election over that period and that the country hadn’t collapsed under its debt burden by then – and that wasn’t very close.

The truth is that Establishment Republicans don’t agree at all with Conservatives, but they do agree with the Democrats about Big Government, and merely want a chance to run it themselves, perhaps at a slightly lower cost.  That the logic of Big Government dictates they will have to become Democrats themselves in order to do that is either something they don’t care about or, more likely, is something they aren’t smart enough to understand.  The fact is, today’s Democratic Left must be fought and defeated if the country is to be saved, and not only are Establishment Republicans not up to the task, they are standing smack dab in the way of the one political movement, Conservatism, that could do so.  They have, in fact, declared war on us Conservatives – the very heart and soul of their Party! – so let them feel the fury that has fueled the Tea Party movement, and let us, like Muslims, demand their submission or their heads – either will do. • (4206 views)

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49 Responses to The Case Against the Establishment GOP

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    It’s interesting that you mention the lack of moral courage; I’ve suspected for some time that part of the problem is that when Democrats denounce conservatives as selfish, the GOP leadership is afraid they’re right. One might note that some critics of Cruz and the ultras, such as Thomas Sowell, also acknowledge the gross failure of the party leadership to make their case (or often even TRY to make it). Given the known domination of the synoptic media by liberal Democrats, the Republicans must either push their case as hard as they can, or surrender. If the latter is all they’ll ever do, then what good are they and why should we ever bother to vote for them?

    One might also note that they were quite willing to throw away their alleged tactical priority (don’t distract from the myriad failures of Obamacare) when the Cheap Labor Lobby wanted them to bring up the legalization of illegal aliens (in return for better security that will never actually happen). It was that combination that finally made me give up completely on the House leadership.

  2. steve lancaster says:

    This is a very meaty article and much to the point. The RINO’S in DC and in state houses will seek to obscure the issues by the usual method of pandering to the constituency and the time honored process of “your guy is a crook” but my guy is OK. It should come to no one’s surprise that, ”The Republican Party is very close to political irrelevance as an opposition party, by which I mean the Democratic Party is close to being unbeatable at the national level by a Republican candidate and program that is substantially different (i.e. more Conservative) from the Democratic offering.” Indeed, some of us Libertarians are surprised that it is taking so long for conservatives to come to this conclusion.

    There are issues between libertarians and conservatives, but at least of late even at CPAC, there is more unity than divide about where the real issues are and the GOP establishment, “The truth is that Establishment Republicans don’t agree at all with Conservatives, but they do agree with the Democrats about Big Government, and merely want a chance to run it themselves, perhaps at a slightly lower cost.” The founder’s intent to the establishment is merely a talking point and not a principle to apply to government.

    We have a right to demand that our government not be a tyranny at any cost!

    It is for this reason, “They have, in fact, declared war on us Conservatives – the very heart and soul of their Party! – so let them feel the fury that has fueled the Tea Party movement, and let us, like Muslims, demand their submission or their heads – either will do.” In my part of the generally conservative South the Democrat party is viewed with suspicion yet, even conservative senators, and representatives’ best be on their good behavior lest an election wave swamp their boat.

  3. Rosalys says:

    The Republican Party disgusts me. I am tired of giving them my vote and then being pushed facedown in the mud, only to be pulled up and cleaned off and spoken softly to two years later when they want my vote again. Well they ain’t gittin’ it any more! I’ve had it and I’m just not going to vote unless they can come up with someone who is honest. I sick of “pragmatic” losers who speak with forked tongues.

    The fiscal conservatives greatly resent the moral conservatives. They don’t want us anywhere near “their” party. So let’s separate. “But”, you say, “that will only split the vote!” Well we’ve playing by their rules and where has that gotten us?

    This sorry state of affairs has happened because we have allowed it to happen. It will stop only when we make it stop. We need another Great (Christian) Awakening. This country is sliding toward Gomorrah because collectively we are immoral and cowardly. Speak the truth and preach the Gospel. Throwing oneself upon the mercy of God has worked wonders in the past. A people repenting can save a nation – we have the example of Ninevah.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Rothenberg (rothenbergpoliticalreport.com) has an article just out on the relative popularity of the Republican and Democratic parties. The latter have a big advantage, yet the reason isn’t that independents prefer them (they’re 60-31 negative toward the GOP compared to a virtually identical 61-30 against the Democraps), but because twice as many Republicans dislike their own party as do Democrats. They’ll still vote Republican, of course — if they vote at all. And this is what the leadership forget at their peril.

      • Rosalys says:

        And this is why I won’t give them my vote again unless they can show me they deserve it. My dependable vote is encouragement for them in their iniquity, so I just won’t be dependable anymore. They’ll have to settle for the fact that I won’t vote any Dem.

        I did once. Back in 2000 when Missing Linc Chaffee and Bob Weygand were running for the U.S. Senate. Weygand was in a primary against an awful, simply awful feminista, Kate Coyne McCoy who ran this endless stream of commercials dissing him. The more I watched her ads, the more Weygand sounded like my kind of guy! Looking at Chaffee vs. Weygand on the issues, Chaffee being a not too conservative Republican and Weygand being a somewhat less liberal Dem, they seemed comparable. However Weygand was pro life, Chaffee was not and so I voted for Weygand. Though he lost, time has demonstrated that I voted correctly as Chaffee has subsequently proved himself to be one of the worst people on the planet and Weygand seems to have been purged from a party that will never again allow someone calling himself Democrat to be anything other than a baby murderer.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          There used to be such Democrats, but note that as far back as 1992 PA Governor Bob Casey wasn’t allowed to speak at the Democratic convention, despite having engineered the election of a new Democratic Senator (Harris Wofford) in a special election the previous year because of his pro-life views. The one Democratic Congressman I’ve seen who might be worth voting for if I were there is Jim Cooper of Nashville, a rare Democrat with a decent record on fiscal issues from a liberal district (thus, one where the GOP opponent is less likely to be any better)

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    these commentators . . . have taken the line that the Establishment has saved the GOP from the crazy “Wacko Birds” . . . of the Tea Party and other Conservative groups who harbor the apparently heretical and dangerous notion that the time to fight against the Left is now, not at some indeterminate time in the future when Republicans hold the Presidency and both Houses of Congress…

    Indeed, that sums it up nicely, Nik. Need I read on? 🙂 The idea of “conviction politics” has lost favor on the right, at least in and around the Establishment. The only “conviction” many of them have is financial, which isn’t worth a hill of beans because they also deny that there is any moral underpinning to the financial problems.

    I’ve been reading some C.S. Lewis lately, and it’s amazing to hear him lamenting the exact same kinds of things back in 1945 that are going on today. The overview is that we have a secular (aka “Communist”) movement in our country that wishes to create a Utopia-of-control based on a large and overpowering state. And although a few bloggers once in a while (including Goldberg) critique this beast in theory, when it comes to actually supporting the policies and the politicians who push back against this beast, then it’s just never the right time. There’s always some excuse for why the person-of-the-moment is supposedly making some strategic blunder.

    Basically I’ve all but washed my hands of Thomas Sowell because of this. And those who know me know how big of a adherent I am of him. But leave it to David Horowitz, an article pointed out to me by Mr. Kung, to sum it up in Why Republicans Need the Tea Party. It is a nice compliment to your piece.

    And Paul Ryan is a near-perfect poster boy for this mess. After all, what a nice-looking young man, and he’s a Catholic! We see with his type not only patriotism and republicanism being degraded, but the very picture of what it is to be nice by this facade of pseudo-nice. And a whole lot of Catholics have bought into the “social justice” nonsense which is just another word for “Communism.” Baby Jesus weeps.

    Now this isn’t the place to discuss the question of “shutdown” strategies in detail, but when this subject comes up one very obvious fact is almost always left out:  if Senate Democrats choose to insist that they get all the spending items they wish in a continuing resolution (for Congress doesn’t “do” proper budgets any more, only ad hoc CR’s) and refuse to pass any bill not containing their entire laundry list, Republicans have exactly two options:  fight (“shut down” the government) until they get at least some concessions from the Democrats, or complete capitulation.  Repeatedly, they have chosen capitulation.

    Well said. Again, we see what happens when pseudo-nice (bullshit, really) reins. The GOP seems to believe in nothing more than their own power, perks, and future revolving-door profits. And with so much power now in the Federal government (and the advantages this brings to politicians), only men or women of conviction even stand a chance of saying “no” to any of this deceitful and corrupting pseudo-nice stuff (and there are a few such as Palin, Cruz, Lee, and maybe Paul, although his stand on amnesty is problematic). Instead of more Palins or Cruzes we get these “social” pseudo-nice people who put “going along to get along” above all other values….even while the Left has no such naive notions (other than their utopia and hatred of traditional America) and are certainly conviction politicians (and many of them should be).

    Anyone who who is for raising the debt ceiling, “clean” or otherwise, has a screw loose. I’m glad to see that McCarthy was against that. He’s one of the few adults over there at National Review.

    And this gun being held to the head of the GOP because of the fear of a “government shutdown” shows just how wise Mark Steyn is who said that Big Government changes the relationship between citizen and government to that of junkie and pusher. The only factor in favor of the immoral, gutless, and corrupt behavior of the GOP is that they reasonable know that the rank-and-file voters do not have their backs. And this isn’t just a factor of media spin. It’s a factor that nearly all Americans are hooked on government in one form or another, including Social Security and Medicare.

    It only takes 51 votes in the Senate to actually raise the debt ceiling, but under Senate rules, it first takes 60 votes to cut off debate (cloture) and proceed to the final vote.  This is how Republicans had the power to stop the debt ceiling increase.  But Establishment Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), had schemed to waive this cloture vote, thus sparing themselves having to go on record in favor of cloture (which meant in practice in favor of raising the debt ceiling).  In other words, McConnell and his Establishment buddies intended to vote against the debt hike itself, knowing all the while it was futile to do so because the Democrats had the 51 necessary votes for passage, so they could pretend to their constituents that they were against the hike, when in fact they were tacitly voting in favor of the hike when they waived cloture.  Sen. Cruz forced them to go on record voting in favor of cloture (hence in favor of the debt hike), exposing their duplicity and fraud for all to see, and that was unforgivable – not only Establishment Republicans, but also Cooke and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board piled on Cruz, not McConnell!  (Cooke went so far as to deny there was any such thing as a GOP Establishment.  For my views on that subject, see A Plea For Disunity and Incivility.

    Thank you again, Nik, for playing Rush Limbaugh: making the complex understandable. I am even now seething a bit over what can only be called the dishonest (surely he isn’t stupid) defense of the GOP and attack on Ted Cruz by Thomas Sowell. Stating the situation as forthrightly as you have, only a fool or an Establishment toady would have bought into the McConnell narrative. I don’t say this with glee. It’s just the way it is. It’s so sad to see the intellectual vanguard of the right play to these fools, cowards, and miscreants.

    That’s all I can read of your article for now. The veins have begun to bulge on my neck. But I’ll be back.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      To be fair, though Sowell is critical of Ted Cruz’s confrontational tactics, he also criticizes the GOP leadership’s gross failure to articulate their message. Just imagine if they’d announced publicly every time they passed an appropriations bill in 2013, then regularly challenged Reid on refusing to pass (or amend) them — which is what made the Shutdown so painful. Imagine if they’d pointed this out when the Shutdown hit — that there would’ve been no shutdown if Reid hadn’t ignored all those appropriations bills. Then imagine if they’d announced publicly as they passed their stopgap partial bills during the Shutdown, most of which Reid ignored (to no public criticism from Boehner et al). And finally, imagine if they’d pointed out who was responsible for the barrycades and other Shutdown abuses — the same piece of slime previously responsible for closing the Spite House to tours.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        To be fair, though Sowell is critical of Ted Cruz’s confrontational tactics, he also criticizes the GOP leadership’s gross failure to articulate their message.

        Then Sowell has a strange way of showing it. He was trying to be too clever by half in his two-part article. David Horowitz, on the other hand, was clear, concise, and correct regarding the relevant points. Sowell needs to take some of his own advice regarding the dangers of intellectualism.

        Just imagine if they’d announced publicly every time they passed an appropriations bill in 2013, then regularly challenged Reid on refusing to pass (or amend) them — which is what made the Shutdown so painful. Imagine if they’d pointed this out when the Shutdown hit — that there would’ve been no shutdown if Reid hadn’t ignored all those appropriations bills. Then imagine if they’d announced publicly as they passed their stopgap partial bills during the Shutdown, most of which Reid ignored (to no public criticism from Boehner et al).

        Just imagine if the GOP explained to the American people the simple point that is it immoral, if not outright dangerous, to be borrowing so much money. We should not pay for today’s trinkets on the backs of tomorrow’s children.

        Simple. Concise. Clear. You don’t need to factor in the press with that message. Nor do you have to worry about what Reid is doing or the strategies within strategies. We can too quickly forget how crystal-clear this issue is if only we would make the case to the American people and trust to the better angels of their nature — assuming they have any left.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Good points, but of course they require people who actually understand those points and are willing to fight for them. But the GOP couldn’t even sell the good (at least from the POV of the general public) bills they were doing, or point out the deliberate harm inflicted by Barry Screwtape Obama and Harry Wormwood Reid.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            While I hold the establishment types of the GOP in contempt, the alternative is considerably worse. If someone disagrees with this they have obviously been comatose since the Obamanation’s re-election.

            There simply is no other sane choice than the Republican party at this moment. For those who think a third party would work, I would just like to say, “Ross Perot”. From every study I have read, had Perot not been in the race, the odds were than Bush I would have defeated Clinton. Do anyone seriously think that was a good result?

            I like to bitch and moan as much as the next guy, but as an adult I know that if I want something, I have to work for it. I further know that I may not get everything I desire, but giving up because I can’t reach 100% of my goal is childish.

            If people want to change things in the country then they have to get involved. If you want to change the Republican party then go out and work at it from the bottom up. Search for, find and work for conservative candidates who can primary RINO’s. Do this for every down ballot race there is. If your particular candidate loses, go out and try again, and again, and again.

            The Left has been insinuating itself into every facet of society and politics for decades while most conservatives simply sat by without paying attention or exerting effort to block the destruction of our culture. Throwing a hissy fit at this late date is neither proper or effective. Get out and bring about your goals.

            This is not aimed specifically at you Tim, just at those who despair.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              From every study I have read, had Perot not been in the race, the odds were than Bush I would have defeated Clinton. Do anyone seriously think that was a good result?

              Keeping in mind that all politicians are described by the adage — Politicians are like diapers…both need to be changed often and for the same reasons — Perot was an egomaniac. I do believe he loved his country. But the campaign for president was mostly about him.

              But at the time — and this applies to the early days of Chris Christie as well — we’ll throw our support behind anyone with a pulse who is willing to take up a fight against these Leftists and statists — so much so that I think it was finally just a month or two ago when Ann Coulter finally ended her bizarre love affair with Christie. But we can certainly understand where she was coming from.

              But even if Bush hadn’t been defeated by Clinton, we can see now (with the election and re-election of Obama) that the days of the Red Diaper Doper Babies was eventually going to arrive.

              You’re absolutely right, Mr. Kung, that we have to do more than bitch. Working for people — even imperfect people (which is about all you’ll ever find) — at the grassroots local level is extremely important. I donate quite a bit of work to local Republican candidates in regards to putting together their campaign materials. It’s not much, but it’s a little. I can help stretch their dollars just a little further.

              But the GOP Establishment Republicans are bad news, coming and going. I didn’t quite understand how deep the rot was until I started hearing from local conservative candidates who were running for office. You would think the Democrats would be their main opponents. But the ass-wipes inside the GOP are often a huge impediment.

              I don’t have any easy answers. But one thing I won’t do is be like Sowell, Cooke, Tanner, or some others and pretend that it’s all Ted Cruz’s fault or something like that. It’s not his fault. And when we so reflexively dump on the reformers (and this includes the Tea Party), you can see just how corrupt of a people we have become.

            • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

              I think I’m basically in agreement with you, KFZ. Taking over the GOP from within was in fact the point of an earlier article of mine, Mission: Take the GOP. I mentioned within the need not only to run Conservative candidates for public office, but also Conservative candidates for internal party offices, because that’s the only way we won’t have to suffer under Establishment clowns like Reince Priebus on the RNC.

              I might differ with you on third-party viability: while it’s true there aren’t enough “non-aligned” voters to form a third-party in addition to the two we have today, if it should prove impossible to dislodge the Establishment from control of the GOP, Conservatives could withdraw and form the nucleus of a “third” party, which would gradually take the place of the GOP as more and more former Republicans joined the new “third” party which they would have to do to win elections. But such an annihilation and reconstruction of the Republican Party has always seemed more difficult to me than simply taking it over, which we Conservatives should be able to do since we have a voting majority within it.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I think I will call you Naha for short. It has a nice sound and is also the name of the first fixed capital of Japan, a beautiful place to visit not so far from Osaka or Kyoto.

                The basic reason I do not believe third parties would work here is because we do not have a parliamentarian system of government in which various parties can win seats in elections, loosely based on the percentage vote the party wins, i.e. it is not only winner take all.

                More specifically, in the present state of things, the only logical time conservatives might split off and form a separate party would be if the Republicans had gained power and conservatives decided to bolt the party to increase their leverage in general. And this wouldn’t work in presidential elections, only in legislative elections. And it is unlikely that conservatives would leave if the party was generally successful.

                If conservatives were forced to leave the Reps due to continued fecklessness on the part of the Reps and electoral losses, then I think the situation in the country would likely be so dire as to be past retrieving in my lifetime.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                Naha, it just hit me that I mixed Nara with Naha. Oh well, at least are in Japan.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            But the GOP couldn’t even sell the good (at least from the POV of the general public) bills they were doing, or point out the deliberate harm inflicted by Barry Screwtape Obama and Harry Wormwood Reid.

            I think this is so obviously so because they have no conviction. I mean, Jesus, just look at the shitstorm caused by Cruz when he tried to inject just a little bit of sanity and integrity into the process.

            The GOP is Debauchery Lite. They have debauched Republican principles in the pursuit of money, power, and being liked by the New York Times. In some ways, I dislike them more than I do the Left. At least the Left believes in something. The GOP does not (with a few notable exceptions).

            • Timothy Lane says:

              This is why (as I pointed out to Rosalys), polls show that far more Republicans dislike their own party (i.e., the leadership) than Democrats dislike theirs.

            • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

              Yes, exactly. You might be interested to know, Brad, that Ayn Rand hated Establishment Republicans more than the “liberals” of her day, but she mistakenly identified them as Conservatives, not realizing Conservatives did not control the GOP.

              And by the way, KFZ, feel free to simply call me “Nik” as Brad does, since it’s my name! Actually, N. A. Halkides is just how I’ve always signed my work, but I guess it looks like an alias.

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    “Keeping in mind that all politicians are described by the adage — Politicians are like diapers…both need to be changed often and for the same reasons —”

    Staying with the theme, scatology and politicians, I believe it was Cicero who said,
    “politicians are excreted, not born” or something very similar.

  6. Timothy Lane says:

    The basic problem with a third party movement is simple: for a while, this would probably simply mean a congressional landslide for the Democrats. Note that in 1912, Taft and Roosevelt won 50 percent of the vote to Wilson’s 42 percent, but the latter swept the electoral votes far more decisively.

    For anyone who may be interested, Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink (their 2010 gubernatorial candidate) in the special election in Florida’s 13th CD. The district was a swing district, narrowly carried by Obama twice (and also by Sink in 2010).

    Democrats such as La Estupida (Obama’s Waterboy at the DNC) promptly pointed out that this seat has been Republican since 1956 (when William Cramer won it), but carefully ignored the fact that it was held by incumbent Bill Young since he was elected in 1970 even as it became more marginal and the Democrats eagerly anticipated winning it on his retirement. (Note that when a Republican won the special election for Anthony Weiner’s seat, the Democrats were quick to ignore the fact that they’d held it since 1922, and to claim that it was a conservative district — in truth, it was more conservative than most NYC districts, but that didn’t say much.)

    Jolly sounds inauspicious — a former aide to Young, and also a lobbyist — but he did receive a lot of party criticism (though Rand Paul helped him out). Chuck Todd noted that most of the Senate seats the Democrats need to hold are in FAR less politically favorable territory than FL 13.

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    “The basic problem with a third party movement is simple: for a while, this would probably simply mean a congressional landslide for the Democrats.”

    And this is the case that most concerns me. Can you imagine the state the country would be in if the Dems won the Presidency for another 4, much less 8 or 12 years? As I stated above, it would be so bad as to be past retrieving in my lifetime. I don’t want have to live out the rest of my days under such circumstances so I am ready to fight within the Rep party with the hope of changing it further. As I often say, I would rather have pneumonia (Reps) than lung cancer (Dems).

    For those whining purists (especially those who don’t get off their butts to fight in the political arena) who feel good about themselves for not settling for any candidate other than exactly the one they want, I say grow up. You are leading to the downfall of the country almost as surely as the Left. All the so-called “realists” seem to have forgotten the basis of conservative thought, i.e human beings are not perfect. To suspend this understanding when talking about politics and political candidates is laughable. It is almost as if these “conservatives” have fallen into the Leftist mindset which they claim is so detached from reality. The question is “who is being realistic now?” The country is teetering on the edge of the abyss and any “conservative” who would sit out an election and take the chance that the Dems might win again, is … well, I will try to be polite and leave it unsaid. Let me just ask, would the country be better off if Romney had won or as it is now?

    As regards Jolly’s victory, he won even though about 5% of the voters chose a 27 year old Libertarian truck driver, as I understand it. Brilliant choice. Thank God the smuck didn’t peel enough votes away from the Rep candidate to throw it to the Dem Sink. Every Dem defeat is a good defeat.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Discussing the 1969 Pittsburg mayoral race in The Real Majority, Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg discuss a dispute over racial quotas opposed by local unions. The Republican opposed the quotas, but Democrat Pete Flaherty refused to take the opposite issue, instead finessing it (he later proved to be a surprisingly conservative Democrat). They note that he could instead have endorsed the quotas, and “pure as the driven snow” he could feel good about himself while his opponent served as mayor.

      As for the LP candidate in FL 13, both Jolly and Sink had problems so a lot of his voters were probably just people who disliked both.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        “As for the LP candidate in FL 13, both Jolly and Sink had problems so a lot of his voters were probably just people who disliked both.”

        At a very basic level, this is the choice handed all voters most of the time. We should remember this and not become romantic about our options, none are perfect, but some are a lot less perfect than others.

        I believe the fundamental aim of a true conservative should be to seek a government which interferes with our daily lives as little as possible, that is consistent with maintaining safety, security and order in society. The situations will constantly change thus the exact size and scope of government will vary, but the general goal should remain constant. We should not be promoting a government based on handouts.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          My own view is very similar. It’s always a matter of a lesser of two evils (which by definition pretty much can never be a Democrat, unless perhaps he’s running against an actual incarnation of Satan), with voting for a minor candidate who can’t win being the functional equivalent of not voting at all (Hobson’s choice — take it or leave it; in this case, vote Republican or not at all).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            It’s always a matter of a lesser of two evils (which by definition pretty much can never be a Democrat, unless perhaps he’s running against an actual incarnation of Satan)

            LOL. Exactly.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The failure of the GOP can be measured by its inability to halt the growth of government, and it little matters whether we consider this as a failure to stop the opposition Democratic Party from achieving its goals (bigger government with more power and a permanent government class of dependents whose votes may be relied upon at election time)

    I think that’s a great point, Nik. Will we be a free people or wards of the state? The Republicans have not stood up for liberty and the idea of America, as founded. They’ve capitulated, even ran full-steam toward statism, as with George W. Bush and Medicare, Part D.

    The rest of the welfare state has followed the same pattern.  Once you refuse to fight on principle, the principle that it isn’t the responsibility of the individual citizen to provide for the food, clothing, housing, education, and health care of the rest of society, nor the proper function of government to steal and redistribute incomes for that purpose, you cede the moral high ground to your opponents and live in a permanent state of fear least you be labeled “heartless” etc. by opposing any of the hundreds of welfare programs that your “compassionate” opponents fund by ruthlessly taxing the incomes of the productive members of society whom you supposedly represent, and by borrowing money which is really a form of future taxation. 

    That’s really a brilliant summation of things as they stand. And this…

    You lie low, whimpering in your office, staying largely out of the public view, avoiding conflicts with the Democrats at all costs and hoping they make some tactical mistake that will so disgust the electorate you can eke out a small victory in the next election without ever having to display an alternative and better vision for the future of the country.

    We need conviction politicians. We need politicians who understand and believe in America, as founded. They need to stand against Communism and socialism and state clearly why these things are so destructive.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    the Republican Party is very close to political irrelevance as an opposition party, by which I mean the Democratic Party is close to being unbeatable at the national level by a Republican candidate and program that is substantially different (i.e. more Conservative) from the Democratic offering.  This has come about because with the growth of government and the advance of statism two deleterious consequences necessarily followed: (1) An increasing number of government workers; and (2) An enlarged welfare class, now including middle-class citizens hooked like junkies on government programs they had no need for (as middle-class earners, they were well able to provide for their own needs without government “assistance”).  The corruption of the middle class is probably even a more serious threat to a democratic republic than income-transfer payments from the upper and middle to the lower class because of the sheer numbers involved and because the government thereby gains a control over the middle class it could not get by simply taxing it to pay for income-transfer payments to the “poor”.

    This is a very astute comment, and squares with my thinking. Yes, it’s a bad thing to waste billions on extended unemployment benefits. It’s a bad thing to undermine society by, in the name of “compassion,” underwriting single parents and bastard children. But nothing corrupts society like the various entitlements aimed at the middle class (that is, at Mr. and Mrs. Everyman). As Mark Steyn shrewdly observes, Big Government changes the relationship between the citizens and the state to the junkie and the pusher.

    The GOP Establishment (now including the rather foolish Thomas Sowell) cannot envision themselves as a party of liberty. But they do envision themselves as the party of managing our decline (also called “managing the socialist welfare state”). They are hostile to any notion of trying to roll back this entitlement state.

    One could say that this is just a cold-blooded calculation in regards to where the votes are, and I’m quite sure it is. But we have a duty as Americans, not just as Republicans, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. Some things must rise above party politics. And, as Rush Limbaugh points out, with Governor Scott Walker’s success, the idea that people will reject needed reforms may be a bit premature. But what these reforms need is leadership, and everything in the GOP Establishment is aligned against it, now including such former stalwarts as Thomas Sowell.

    The “two” parties are really merely competing factions of the same statist party; no party dedicated to individual freedom can compete any longer, thus no such party will exist. 

    Agreed. The two parties as they are led now are statist parties. The GOP can’t even be called an opposition party in most places.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    First, as observed above, they are rather un-intellectual, uncomfortable with abstractions such as “liberty” and therefore unable to hold a coherent theory of limited government.  This leads them to adopt the prevailing ideology of unlimited government without even knowing it, just as they adopt philosophical Pragmatism in place of ethical or political principles. 

    I think this is another great point, Nik. Now, I’ll be the first to issue the warning about “intellectualism.” Before Sowell lost his mind, he would talk wisely about the nature of the ivory tower pin heads who spin nice-sounding theories, but theories that only can ever work out when not subjected to the real world.

    But I do think it’s true that we live in a dumbed-down culture. I never bought the idea that “Bush is stupid.” And yet, most of these people (of either party) coming out of college are dumbed-down individuals. (They’re somewhat equally dumbed-down so they’re all a bit stupid.) That is the curriculum. And one has to work hard to rise above that. I do believe that Bush simply inhaled statism as second-hand fumes, repackaging it (fooling himself and others) as “compassionate conservatism” and supposing he was not just a product of this nanny culture.

    Some of the people who claim to be the keepers of the flame of liberty are often as nutty as a fruitcake. And I’m, of course, talking of libertarians. I think a course of Bastiat, Ayn Rand, Russell Kirk, W. Cleon Skousen, Theodore Dalrymple, and a few others are needed to gain an intellectual and moral footing. And perhaps it’s even true as Prager often notes that fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. I do suspect that being grounded in no principle other than various offshoots of subtle hedonism is no firm basis for any kind of good political, social, or economic philosophy.

    Second, and as a consequence of the first, they lack the moral self-confidence that would allow them to fight the Democrats on principle.  The most they can do is put on their eyeshades and complain about how much the latest welfare program costs; they imply the program is wrong because it’s expensive but don’t have the confidence to say the program is expensive because it’s wrong.

    This, I think, is your most vital and astute point in this whole article. I believe that no single thread ties together the various RINOs and conservative commentator “good time rock and roll” heretics (including Goldberg) than the simple fact of the loss of moral self-confidence. In fact, being “tolerant” is the squishy and emasculating PC way is pretty much the official ideology of perhaps all on the right, with a few noted exceptions such as Dennis Prager, Mark Levin (Jews) and Glenn Beck (Christian).

    I say this as an agnostic, but there is no way that the God of Economics (libertarianism) or the God of Social Justice (the Left and Progressive Republicans) can ever have the standing to say “This is wrong. We need to stop doing this.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One problem is that no one ever asks at what point government — no matter how useful they might think it — becomes too large. For example, regulations have negative effects on economic growth, but may have compensating value. But at some point, regulation becomes so pervasive that it can strangle the economy (in fact, I recall seeing some cartoon version of this concept when I was young). The same thing is true of taxes; how much should government take out of every dollar? Many people think it should be less than it actually is when asked in rare polls — but they don’t know (even if they get their 1040 every year) how much government taxes.

      As for the lack of conviction, my suspicion has long been that many Republicans (especially moderates and wishy-washy conservatives) believe in their hearts that the liberal smear of them is really accurate (which in their specific cases it may well be) and are unable to see that it certainly describes liberals (and their crony capitalism and similar programs, which actively harm the people they affect to be oh-so-concerned about). So this leaves them half (or more) unwilling to fight back against the liberal war against them.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One problem is that no one ever asks at what point government — no matter how useful they might think it — becomes too large. For example, regulations have negative effects on economic growth, but may have compensating value. But at some point, regulation becomes so pervasive that it can strangle the economy (in fact, I recall seeing some cartoon version of this concept when I was young).

        That’s a good point, Tim. That speaks to a point Daniel Flynn made in one of his books. For the Left, there is no “off” button. His distinction in regards to a liberal vs. Leftist (classic liberal, we might say) is that the liberal understands that at some point government becomes destructive of the ends of liberty. That is, the end is not Utopia, of the state running one’s life so that one can be relieved of the burden of doing so oneself.

        But for the Left, there is never this point of too much. This really is a secular religion. All things can be redeemed and made better through the state. The idea of private individuals choosing their own path is anathema to them. Obama tells us who he is and what the Left stands for if we just listen. He once (probably more than once) derided individual liberty as “every man for himself.”

        There is no off button for these guys. Like god, the very hairs on your head are all numbered and counted. The Left will create a perfect order.

        But, hey, those on the Left (and libertarians) really do believe that they are stalwart defenders of freedom. But the problem is, “freedom” has come to mean freedom-from-consequences. Nothing is to be prohibited. The costs for any behavior (other than cigarette smoking, I guess) are to be socialized. Libertarians are in synch with this scheme, thus despite their emphasis on “liberty,” their liberalism (their libertine-ness) simply goes toward growing the state.

        That is, without so-called “social issues” (that is, various “thou shall nots” and the sphere of personal responsibility), there can be no off switch. There can be no push-back to the state where ever-fine-tuned laws are a sort of secular god who will resolve all issues, and ameliorate all hardships inherent to being alive, via the government. This is particularly so, especially when liberty is disingenuously defined (in practice, if not in conception) as “freedom from consequences.” The state feeds this utopian (and quite corrupt) human inclination.

        As for the lack of conviction, my suspicion has long been that many Republicans (especially moderates and wishy-washy conservatives) believe in their hearts that the liberal smear of them is really accurate…

        At some point, people are simply worn down by all the nagging and figure that if they just give in, the naggers will go away, an idea forwarded by a homosexual writer at American Thinker in an article about the mass marketing of homosexuality. It’s a rather good article. But as one reader noted, even the author has not quite extracted himself (surely including his conduct) from the whole marketing campaign, for he refers to himself as “gay,” not as a homosexual — a term that was specifically meant to be a nice-souding euphemism. It’s funny how thick this stuff can get inside one’s head.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          So leftism basically is the Sorceror’s Apprentice. And we know how that ended. As for those worn down by all the smears (which is certainly humanly understandable), if they can’t stand the heat . . .

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a close paraphrase of something Dennis Prager just said on his radio show (I can’t always type fast enough to keep up):

    Libertarians are bothered by Big Government but not by evil. We have the right, the Left, and Libertarians…and only one of the three is preoccupied with evil.

    Note that this should give some insight into the Establishment GOP (and the halo of commentators who hover about it) who are extremely uncomfortable with moral issues. Most face them by finding creative ways to give in to the Left and making it sound “tolerant” or otherwise as if they have just joined a morally higher plane by being, in effect, weak collaborators. Some, such as many, if not most, libertarians, deny that there is a moral issue of importance at all.

    The moral core of the GOP has been eaten away by a steady series of rationalizations regarding why they need not stand up against Big Government. We saw that with Mitch McConnell in his opposition to the Tea Party. At every turn, we see a discomfort amongst the GOP Establishment with those “social issues.” As far as the GOP Establishment is concerned, those nutty Christians and other “social issue” types are an embarrassment to the party.

    This is the stance of the rationalizing, amoral, intellectual. And so how odd indeed that Thomas Sowell not only doesn’t see through it, he’s joined in on it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This would clearly mark me as a conservative. I may be a deist (and I used to consider myself an agnostic), but no one can read as much history (e.g., Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin) and true crime (e.g., Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, and Zodiac) as I do without realizing that there is indeed an abundance of genuine evil in the world. (Elizabeth once said I was an agnostic who was also a Christian conservative, and she ought to know.)

      By the way, has anyone noticed how much Kermit Gosnell seems to resemble the Creature from the Black Lagoon? I think that’s unfair to the latter.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        but no one can read as much history (e.g., Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin) and true crime (e.g., Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, and Zodiac) as I do without realizing that there is indeed an abundance of genuine evil in the world.

        Coincidentally, I was just thinking this morning that I have a much easier time believing in a God of Justice (and perhaps the existence of the Devil) than I do of Buddy Jesus.

        There are just so few examples of truly good people (Mother Teresa, St. Francis) but an overwhelming number of examples of not only evil people but a quite large sub-species of people who think they are “nice” but are by no means good. Self-delusion is one of the first things chipped away at by a good religion. (“Progressive” “social justice” Christianity has unfortunately gone in the opposite direction.)

        Creating self-delusion is the opposite thing a religion may do, such as the religions of Scientology and Islam. That Christopher Hitchens was never able to make this obvious distinction that there are good religious practices and bad ones is why I’ll never consider him a particularly clever man.

        That one might not be religious is one thing. Not all have that inclination. There’s no crime in that. But to falsify history to meet one’s narrow emotional proclivities is not the work of supposed “free thinkers” which I think Hitchens assumed he was. And, to my mind, much of the conservative commentariat is infected with an amoral strain of secularism. This can produce moral blindness, or at least astigmatism.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        “but no one can read as much history (e.g., Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin) and true crime (e.g., Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, and Zodiac) as I do without realizing that there is indeed an abundance of genuine evil in the world.”

        Ain’t it da trut. Many years ago I heard that 1% of the population were psychopaths. Since that time I have seen several studies which tend to confirm this. That is not to day all psychopaths become evil murders, simply that the latency is there. So while there are plenty of evil people in the world, I think it is probably a wonder that more aren’t complete rotters.

        The great curse of ideologies such as Communism and Nazism is that they give an organizing philosophy around which truly evil people may gather and multiply the effects of their evilness through the power of government. After all, Jack the Ripper had only five known victims. Mao and his minions slaughtered between 50 and 100 millions. Chinese government dollars at work.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          The great curse of ideologies such as Communism and Nazism is that they give an organizing philosophy around which truly evil people may gather and multiply the effects of their evilness through the power of government.

          But they just mean so well. Seriously. It makes you realize that “good” takes more than just good intentions. Mankind’s ability to deceive himself, especially when drunk on his ideology, is stunning and should never be under-estimated.

          Think of all the lives that Obama and the ignorant fools who voted for him are harming because of their diseased utopian (dare I say “sentimental”?) policies. But they’re just so damn “nice.”


          Not one of the 1%ers. But I know a few.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Evil people rarely (if ever) consider themselves evil. They either consider good/evil irrelevant, or actually think they’re the good guys.

  12. steve lancaster says:

    In my 20 or so years of counter-intelligence work, where bad men and women are over represented, I only came across one man who I would describe as truly evil. I did not have the pleasure of ending his life. When I found out he was dead I did not morn the loss of one of God’s children and I sincerely hope that there is a special place in hell for him.

    Evil is a special category reserved for those who best fit the description of a demon, intent on destroying our common humanity. The world is full of men and women who do bad things, but do not really fit into the rarefied category of evil.

    We need to think of true evil as a special side of badness; as we think of saints to be a part of a special side of goodness. It should be a rare event to place anyone in either category.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Evil is a special category reserved for those who best fit the description of a demon, intent on destroying our common humanity. The world is full of men and women who do bad things, but do not really fit into the rarefied category of evil.

      “Good” men and women often facilitate evil by remaining silent in the face of it. That’s the real dynamic that comes into play. The overt Jack the Rippers we can generally handle. It’s that much more insidious moral cowardice (or just amorality) that ultimately gives power to the Maos of the world. Most of these creeps could be nipped in the bud if people stood up to them. But many, because of moral cowardice or just because they are charmed by their lies, do nothing.

      Obama is one of these evil creatures, as are Biden, Kerry, Clinton, and that whole type. They are the kind of foolish and destructive people who belong on a psychiatrist’s couch rather than in office running around with sharp objects in their hands.

      Man is an animal unless otherwise domesticated by good moral laws. And if he is infused with the kind of moral laws that feed on his conceits, his bigotries, and his delusions, then he is the most dangerous animal of all. And that describes the Left.

  13. steve lancaster says:

    Of all the things I have called Obama, evil is not one of them. Mistaken, Misbegotten, Misanthropic, even just plain stupid. Just because someone acts in an immoral manner does not make them evil. Bad people, criminals and the misguided (there another m word) all fall into a general group of people you don’t want for neighbors.

    The evil people in the world are a special category. I say this because overuse of a word to describe bad acts as evil, lessens the impact. We should reserve the label of evil for those special cases the world develops in sufficient quantity. The 20th century was full of them.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Mark J. Fitzgibbons reports on the anti-conservative, pro-liberal/statist shenanigans of the Establishment Republicans in Virginia in his article at American Thinker.

    One wonders why good people such as Kevin Williamson even bother writing articles whose purpose is to get us to choke down the Establishment when the battle lines couldn’t be any clearer?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One must always remember that this is one side’s version (something I’ve been worried about, for example, regarding the Pelletier family and their ordeal at the hands of the People’s Democratic Republic of Taxachusetts). But there certainly are many Establishment Republicans who are actively hostile to their own grassroots voters, and the grassroots must get rid of those RINOs (and regardless of issue stands, those who hate their own voters qualify as RINOs).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Certainly it is necessary to get both sides of the story. But we’ve seen enough individual pieces of this puzzle to make the overall picture clear enough: Establishment Republicans are statists, at best, and liberals, at worst (and, I think, more likely the latter). And conservatives and conservatism is their dreaded enemy.

  15. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    George Will has always been an excellent writer and a mediocre thinker, the former disguising the latter. Evidence of this is his latest article: Jeb Bush in 2016: He Deserves a Chance.

    Once again, the wisdom at NRO appears at the bottom of the articles, not the top. Notthistime said:

    All due respect to Mr Will, but please, spare of more of the Bush dynasty. Read my lips, no new compassionate conservatives. Papa Bush and Ted Kennedy gave us tax increases despite fervent promises to the contrary. Baby Bush gave us ” Compassionate Conservativism”, implying that conservatives are cruel heartless Mongol hordes, and the biggest spending spree ever, until Barak Obama. No thanks, Mr Will. It is not a beauty contest. ” He deserves a chance?” Oh, it s the 9th inning and he hasn’t got a turn at bat. No sir. We need what Mr Buckley advised; the most right leaning viable candidate. Jeb aint it.

    And as Lippenheimer found off the top of his head (something George Will couldn’t find in his entire article):

    Jeb Bush is pro-amnesty, pro-Common-Core, and he adheres to the Global-Warming agenda (to name just three disqualifications off the top of my head). He has a “right” to run for president, but he “deserves” nothing in terms of how conservatives receive him.

    As others have noted, and a fact I wasn’t aware of, George Will backed Howard Baker instead of Ronald Reagan. There is something about intellectuals such as Will that requires them to remain above the fray, above the level of those who have mere “ideology,” above those people who actually believe in something stronger than the superiority of outer gentlemanly forms. Intellectuals are apparently above such things and go for the milquetoast, non-threatening “managers” in the suit and tie just because of the suit and tie (metaphorically speaking).

    I stopped reading Will years ago. The man is an empty vessel.

    On the other hand, you have some wise words from Michael A. Needham: What Conservatives Want. It’s short, and goes off on a couple tangents. But as one poster there said: Michael, are you sure you got the editors’ approval for this?. One assumes he did, even as he did an effective take-down of Kevin Williamson:

    ‘We have to win elections.”

    Party strategists in Washington throw around the phrase as though it were some brilliant political insight. It’s not. Most Americans learned this concept in elementary-school civics. The reason party strategists invoke a concept most Americans learned well before they could vote is to frame politics as a binary choice only about elections. As Kevin Williamson put it recently on NRO, “Which side are you on?”

    So let me join the chorus: Of course it’s critical we win elections.

    But winning elections isn’t sufficient. As the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Feulner, explained in a speech shortly after Ronald Reagan won the presidency, conservatives also must win in the realm of policy. Put another way, political power should not be viewed as an end in and of itself, but rather the means to achieve the policy outcomes that will save the country.

    See. That wasn’t so hard to say. And presumably Mr. Needham didn’t melt into a puddle of water like the Wicked Witch of the West when he did so.

    Mr. Needham also pointed out the obvious (well, obvious to those not toeing the Establishment party line) when he wrote:

    Make no mistake: Conservatives want to win elections just as much as Karl Rove does, but we refuse to accept a binary outcome. The Bush years — No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, massive earmarking and food-stamp spending, and bank bailouts — serve as a vivid reminder that conservative policy suffers when the principal objective is to maintain political power.

    Three cheers for Mr. Needham. How he got this article published at National Review is indeed a mystery. But he somehow did.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I suspect that most or all of Jeb Bush’s flaws (from a conservative perspective) are perfectly acceptable to Will, who after all is a Beltway conservative. But I do read him regularly; he’s often wrong, but if nothing else he can provide a nice challenge for one’s beliefs (and mental exercise in refuting him), unlike most liberals.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        He’s a good writer. But if Will can’t even muster a bit of curmudgeon for the highly un-republican idea of a Bush dynasty, then who is pulling his chain? Who owns him? To write an article regarding Jeb Bush as a possible candidate that leaves out this point is politically negligent and cause for suspecting either his motives or his wisdom….if not both.

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