Archive for the ‘Ideology/Principles’ Category

Sam Tanenhaus, the Senior Editor of the New York Times Book Review, offers what he calls “an intellectual autopsy of the [Conservative] movement” on the website of The New Republic. Coming in at a bulky 6,652 words, it’s certainly doesn’t enable my online ADD reading tendencies.

I gave it a cursory skimming, but I can’t bring myself to explore its depths. Actually I’m afraid that a tome titled “Conservatism Is Dead” that was written by a senior anybody at the notoriously ideological NY Times would send me into a rage from which I might not recover for the rest of the day. The concluding paragraph is enough to make me roll my eyes:

What our politics has consistently demanded of its leaders, if they are to ascend to the status of disinterested statesmen, is not the assertion but rather the renunciation of ideology. And the only ideology one can meaningfully renounce is one’s own. Liberals did this a generation ago when they shed the programmatic “New Politics” of the left and embraced instead a broad majoritarianism. Now it is time for conservatives to repudiate movement politics and recover their honorable intellectual and political tradition. At its best, conservatism has served the vital function of clarifying our shared connection to the past and of giving articulate voice to the normative beliefs Americans have striven to maintain even in the worst of times. There remains in our politics a place for an authentic conservatism–a conservatism that seeks not to destroy but to conserve.

Yeah, right. What’s that they say about bulls and pastures?


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I’ve been anticipating this one. Has a civil war begun within the GOP?  The first skirmish is being fought over the issue of immigration. I anticipate more firefights to erupt in the coming months over other issues, too.

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Money quote:

There is a lot of stimulus and growth in this bill – that is, of government. Nothing in this bill stimulates the freedom and prosperity of the American people. Politician-directed spending is never as successful as market-driven investment. Instead of passing this bill, Congress should get out of the way by cutting taxes, cutting spending, and reining in the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.

Read it all here. I disregarded Ron Paul during his 2008 presidential bid, because for the first time in decades a libertarian had a microphone … and the American people were listening. Yet he squandered his time (“squandered,” or so I thought) talking about closing down the Federal Reserve. Closing down the Department of Education. Closing down the Department of Energy. If anyone does, a then 10-term Republican representative knows the value of principled baby steps.

But as it turns out, the Federal Reserve has arranged for our worst recession in decades.  Inverted interest rates have led us from one asset bubble to the next for nine years now.  No Child Left Behind is its own punch line.  Oh, and, by the way?  How is that Department of Energy treating you now?  Revolutionary monetary policy, far-reaching shift in government operations are starting to smell pretty good right now.

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Michelle Malkin is calling Senator John Cornyn and four other Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee who voted in favor of sending Timothy Geithner’s nomination to the full floor for a vote the B.O. Republicans (B.O. stands for either “Barack Obama” or “Bend Over”, take your pick).

He followed that up by voting, along with just 10 Republicans, in favor of Geithner’s confirmation. (One couldn’t be sure that he would do that. After all, he voted to hold up Hillary Clinton’s unanimous nomination for legitimate reasons, and then capitulated by voting to confirm her after all.)


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Some (especially the younger generation of) Christian Evangelicals are embracing new causes. This makes perfect sense. After all, the old ones have been exhausted and we’re not converting anyone by continuing to have them with ever-increasing shrill tones. Those have reached such a high dB level that we are causing people to have tinnitis. Yes, we still believe in abolishing abortion and we still frown on an unrepentant gay lifestyle, but everybody knows that already, so why do we have to keep harping on it? It’s counterproductive and we come across as fanatical bores, so shuddup about that already! Here is Tom Krattenmaker’s take on it:

This younger wave will not stick to the narrow old script — abortion, gays, the erosion of Christian prerogatives in the public square — that has governed publicly applied evangelicalism since the ’70s.

These modern-day abolitionists, along with growing ranks of faith-fueled activists in the fight against global poverty, disease and other forms of human degradation, might not see themselves as political. Even so, intentionally or not, they could end up changing the meaning of a political movement and idea — “pro life” — that has been at the center of one of the most rancorous political arguments of our time.

Here are some more details about the new conversation, some of which might be a bit troubling to old-school evangelicals:

Also finding room on a more broadly defined “pro-life” movement are poverty, torture, immigration, health care, disease prevention and climate change. With that has come more talk of respecting the humanity of gay men and lesbians and new interest in cooperating with progressives and non-evangelicals (including the new president) on strategies to reduce the incidence of abortion.

“Respecting the humanity” of homosexuals might  be code for conceding the gay marriage debate. “Reduc[ing] the incidence of abortion” means no longer insisting that abortion be completely eliminated. Those two issues might be deal killers. Of course, nobody seems to be dealing with the Christian Right right now anyway, so it might be a moot point.

All in all, though, having this conversation makes much more sense than continuing to have the old one. After all, the objective is to bring more people around to our way of thinking, perhaps to save some souls and, as a bonus, win some voters, too! The key to winning the libertarians’ vote will be to show how we can take up these causes without involving the government. The key to winning back the Hispanic vote will be to show that we value them as partners in embracing causes like these, causes with which they naturally tend to gravitate. Add those two groups to the existing base and that sounds like a majority coalition to me.

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What do you suppose Jesus Christ meant when he told us to love our enemies? Would He have me love an Islamo-Fascist who wants to murder me just because I’m an American? I believe He would. It would behoove us Christian conservatives to be aware of this great truth. That said, I don’t think He would have me simply give in to my enemy. Their cause isn’t just, isn’t good. Even so, I can’t fight hatred with hatred. I have no idea how to love my enemy right now, but I’m sure that the Holy Spirit will eventually lead me to an answer, the right answer. Perhaps Luke 22:35-38 will point me in the right direction.

That said, please indulge me while I make the point I was trying to make: no matter how much I’m grappling with this admonition from the son of God that instructs me on the treatment of my enemies, I should always be aware that Barack Obama and his supporters are not the enemy. They are fellow Americans, fellow travelers in this crazy experimental journey we call Democracy. From this point forward I resolve to try to treat them like I would an errant kid brother who has gotten things all mixed up in his head. I wouldn’t hate my kid brother for being clueless. I would do everything I could to lovingly try and help him see things straight again. (Of course, I might give him a well-deserved noogie every once in a while, too.)

Let us conservatives resolve to treat liberals in much the same way. We will not win the debate, we will not convince anybody of anything, unless we do so. Furthermore, we will remain in the wilderness for as long as it takes to realize this fundamental truth.

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Sarah Palin is counter-attacking some smear mongers (aka the mainstream media) who have been making apparently false claims that her daughter Bristol and her son-in-law Levi Johnston are high-school dropouts.

This prompted media expert Michael Levine to characterize her statements as “profoundly unusual”  and, “in some ways, demeaning of the position she has. It’s so clearly an effort to go on offense against a bad situation.”

Say what? Combating lies with the truth is demeaning? Since when? The fact that a media expert thinks truth telling (especially by politicians and the MSM) is profoundly unusual comes as no surprise to me, but demeaning? Levine’s reaction speaks volumes, both about Palin’s integrity and the Public Relations industry’s lack thereof.

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