Author Topic: Which Side Are You On? If you don’t care whether Republicans win, care that Democrats lose.  (Read 348 times)

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http://www.nationalreview.com/node/374528/print

 NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE       

March 29, 2014 4:00 AM
Which Side Are You On?
If you don’t care whether Republicans win, care that Democrats lose.
By Kevin D. Williamson

For conservatives, the story of the Obama years has been the depressing spectacle of Republicans fighting a rearguard action covering their retreat from a Democratic agenda backed by superior numbers. Republicans began the Obama administration with effectively no leverage: Barack Obama in the White House, Nancy Pelosi in the speaker’s chair, and Harry Reid running the Senate. The outcome of that was the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the worst domestic defeat for the cause of limited government in a generation. The 2010 congressional elections gave Republicans some relief in the form of a House majority empowered to contain the worst fiscal and policy inclinations of the Obama administration and its congressional allies, and the blessed Republican obstructionists in the Senate have kept a few very bad apples out of high office, but a House majority alone is a poor foundation for advancing conservative policies or reversing the Left’s advances. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have felt the wrath of the Right for spending too much time playing defense, but voters — including conservative voters — left them with little opportunity to do much of anything else.

Republicans now have the opportunity to effectively bring the Obama administration’s legislative program to an early end this November by eliminating the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, which would also give them a much stronger hand in keeping the worst of his appointees out of office, safely quarantined in whatever dank recesses of academia currently housing them. And while one should never underestimate the Republicans’ ability to blunder their way into missing a political opportunity or the fickleness of our bread-and-circuses electorate, there is a very good chance that that will happen. (Knock wood, salt over the shoulder — pick your own prophylactic.) But conservatives all too often seem to have failed to learn the lesson of the heavy losses we have suffered during the Obama years: The differences among us are minor compared with the differences between us and them, which are fundamental.

Conservatives had an opportunity to put the Obama administration not to an effective end but a literal one in 2012, but we blew it. Mitt Romney improved on John McCain’s vote total (barely), fared better in every battleground state save Ohio, and even won independents. The election in the end was decided by 334,000 votes in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire. Even with Barack Obama’s edge among newly registered minority voters and an unusually high turnout among overwhelmingly Democratic black voters, only 57.5 percent of eligible voters actually showed up. That left a lot of room for conservatives to make a difference. But we did not take the opportunity.

The three most important words in politics are: “Compared with what?” And I am more than a little sympathetic to conservatives’ complaints about the failures of elected Republicans in Washington, who consistently disappoint us even when they are in the majority. I am also sympathetic to the view that our situation may have deteriorated to the point that even a unified Republican government under the leadership of principled conservatives may not be enough to turn things around. And though I reject the notion that Mitt Romney wasn’t good enough for true-believing conservatives, let’s say, arguendo, that that was the case. Unless you are ready to give up entirely on the notion of advancing conservative principles through the ballot box, you might consider looking at things this way: Even if you do not think that it matters much whether Republicans win, it matters a great deal that Democrats lose.

Maybe you were not that excited that 2012 gave you a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. I sympathize — I liked Rick Perry. But how is President Romney vs. President Obama a hard choice? How is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a hard choice? How is Speaker of the House John Boehner vs. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a hard choice?

It isn’t.

Even if you think that Romney is a squishy RINO Massachusetts technocrat with a secret crush on Obamacare, you have to be on the wrong side of the border between ideologically hardcore and ideologically blinded to conclude that spending four years fighting against the very worst imaginable tendencies of a Romney administration would have been anything other than wine and roses compared with spending four years fighting against the very worst tendencies of an Obama administration, especially when the president is in the position of never having to face another election.

You can tell yourself a just-so story about how the guy you liked who couldn’t beat Romney in the GOP primary would have beaten the mom jeans off of Obama in the general, and maybe you’re right, but it didn’t happen that way. (And maybe you don’t like that the so-called establishment supported Romney. Guess what? You can support candidates, too!) Likewise, if all the senators that conservatives admire weren’t already running for president, one of them might make a majority leader that you’d prefer to McConnell. And Paul Ryan probably would be a more inspiring speaker than Boehner is. Fine, fine, and fine. But that isn’t where we were, and it isn’t where we are.

The question wasn’t “Mitt Romney — yes or no?” It was: “Mitt Romney — compared with what?”

Compared with this.

The Obama administration has handed conservatives — and, more important, the country — disaster after disaster after disaster. Rather than scaling back the most worrisome aspects of the surveillance state and the so-called War on Terror, President Obama has expanded on them. Taxes are up, spending is up (2013 spending was $250 billion more than 2009, itself not exactly a banner year for fiscal restraint), health insurance is a chaotic mess subject to ad hoc revision every time Democratic political necessities demand it, our allies are dispirited, our enemies emboldened, our religious liberties under attack by the very government entrusted with defending them, our economy anemic, with too many of our people unemployed and those who are employed earning too little.

I am not naïve enough to believe that having elected Mitt Romney president or consigning the Democrats to the minority in both houses of Congress would change all that. But unless you are ready to give up on electoral politics entirely — and I confess to wavering on that question with a bias toward despair — then it is a matter of deciding whether X is preferable to Y. And sometimes that is a pretty easy call. Contemplating the inevitable shortcomings of elected Republicans, conservatives may consider the situation and think: “The lesser of two evils is still evil.” And it is. But it’s also lesser. And if that’s the choice we have, it may be unpalatable — but it is a choice that we have to make. I liked the Cthulhu 2012 slogan — “Why Vote for a Lesser Evil?” — but that’s a joke, not a program. The reason to vote for a lesser evil is because we’re responsible  adults who don’t want the greater evil to prevail.

If this seems inconsistent with more than a little of what I have written before, I suppose a personal note is in order. I left the Republican party because I didn’t want to be part of any organization that would have Arlen Specter as a member, and because I was appalled at the fiscal incontinence of the Bush years. And I’ve very much enjoyed being able to tell people that I’m not a Republican. (Some days more than others, as you might imagine.) That being said, I am coming around to the view that I’d rather be disappointed by Republicans who periodically fail live up to their principles than have my country pillaged and hobbled by Democrats who consistently live up to theirs. I admire the Tea Party and organizations such as the Club for Growth for being willing to do the hard work of trying to ensure that the Republican party serves the interests of principled conservatism, not the other way around, because the only real available channel of reform for conservatives who don’t like the Republican establishment is to become the establishment. I don’t know where to find a Republican registration card in New York City, but, moral and intellectual vanity be damned, I think it may be time for me to get a new one. It’s not a matter of white hats vs. black hats, but of competing visions about how the country should be governed. There are some honorable and intelligent people in the progressive camp, but the final outcome of allowing them to hold power is to make the country and the world worse off — unnecessarily poorer, weaker, and more vulnerable. Former union president Ronald Reagan talked about “a time for choosing,” while Harlan County union organizers a generation before him demanded to know: “Which Side Are You On?”

And that isn’t a hard decision.

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Offline Gazoo

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Quote
If this seems inconsistent with more than a little of what I have written before, I suppose a personal note is in order. I left the Republican party because I didn’t want to be part of any organization that would have Arlen Specter as a member, and because I was appalled at the fiscal incontinence of the Bush years. And I’ve very much enjoyed being able to tell people that I’m not a Republican. (Some days more than others, as you might imagine.) That being said, I am coming around to the view that I’d rather be disappointed by Republicans who periodically fail live up to their principles than have my country pillaged and hobbled by Democrats who consistently live up to theirs. I admire the Tea Party and organizations such as the Club for Growth for being willing to do the hard work of trying to ensure that the Republican party serves the interests of principled conservatism, not the other way around, because the only real available channel of reform for conservatives who don’t like the Republican establishment is to become the establishment.

Now if the established republicans that are having a high end meeting off the coast of Florida would realize the same exact thing. We would all have one less enemy.
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Offline Oceander

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Just remember this:  control of the Senate and of the House, including control of which bills are brought up for a vote and which amendments are allowed, and the assignment of committees, it based on how many Ds and how many Rs there are in each house - the letter with the bigger number wins.

Offline sinkspur

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Now if the established republicans that are having a high end meeting off the coast of Florida would realize the same exact thing. We would all have one less enemy.

It was FreedomWorks, Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action that started this war against fellow Republicans when Matt Kibbe decided to clean out anyone who doesn't live up to his purity standards. 

The "high end meeting" is in response to those who want, for a third time, to screw up the opportunity to capture the Senate. 
From  "A Shining City on a Hill"

To "A global laughingstock"

Offline Olivia

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It was FreedomWorks, Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action that started this war against fellow Republicans when Matt Kibbe decided to clean out anyone who doesn't live up to his purity standards. 

The "high end meeting" is in response to those who want, for a third time, to screw up the opportunity to capture the Senate.

I suppose you think conservatives should get excited about Mitch McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Graham, etc..  Might as well elect democrats for all the good they do the conservatives.  Some of them have spent two-three decades in powerful positions and our country is still going down the drain.  NOTHING ever gets done!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 01:16:16 PM by Olivia »
Truthfully, the most important thing in life is knowing what the most important things in life are, and prioritizing them accordingly.   Melchor Lim

Offline sinkspur

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I suppose you think conservatives should get excited about Mitch McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Graham, etc..  Might as well elect democrats for all the good they do the conservatives.  Some of them have spent two-three decades in powerful positions and our country is still going down the drain.  NOTHING ever gets done!

You don't have to get "excited" about any politician.  I know I don't;  I despise almost every one of them.

But who's going to do the least damage?  That's the unfortunate choice that faces a country where 47% of Americans receive some government assistance and half the country supports that kind of set-up. 

When all the primaries are through, these Tea party types better not pull what they pulled with Mitt Romney in these Senate elections. If they do, to hell with them.
From  "A Shining City on a Hill"

To "A global laughingstock"

Offline speekinout

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I suppose you think conservatives should get excited about Mitch McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Graham, etc..  Might as well elect democrats for all the good they do the conservatives.  Some of them have spent two-three decades in powerful positions and our country is still going down the drain.  NOTHING ever gets done!

Your definition of power leaves a lot to be desired. A minority position in Congress is not power. And it's even less power when the President is of the opposite party.
You are suggesting that giving more power to the dims is a better idea than giving some power to the GOP. That's self defeating - you'll never get anything you want that way. Taking away some of their power is definitely progress, unless you want more things done like 0bamacare, which is what the dims will do.

Online truth_seeker

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I suppose you think conservatives should get excited about Mitch McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Graham, etc..  Might as well elect democrats for all the good they do the conservatives.  Some of them have spent two-three decades in powerful positions and our country is still going down the drain.  NOTHING ever gets done!
Have you compared how those representatives voted, as opposed to how a typical democrat in the same state votes?

ACU rating is a good guide. Empirical data is better than emotion. But I notice "true conservatives" thrive on emotion.
#NeverHillary

Offline Olivia

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Your definition of power leaves a lot to be desired. A minority position in Congress is not power. And it's even less power when the President is of the opposite party.
You are suggesting that giving more power to the dims is a better idea than giving some power to the GOP. That's self defeating - you'll never get anything you want that way. Taking away some of their power is definitely progress, unless you want more things done like 0bamacare, which is what the dims will do.

You're putting words in my mouth that I didn't say.  I'm not suggesting giving more power to the democrats. I say we might as well give it to them if it means giving it to the same old republican fossils that have helped put our country is the mess we're in now.
After all, Congress holds the purse strings but you'd never know it by their actions.
We need to get rid of the same old Washington elites that think of themselves as royalty and elect new people to fight the battles that need to be fought. 
Truthfully, the most important thing in life is knowing what the most important things in life are, and prioritizing them accordingly.   Melchor Lim

Offline speekinout

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You're putting words in my mouth that I didn't say.  I'm not suggesting giving more power to the democrats. I say we might as well give it to them if it means giving it to the same old republican fossils that have helped put our country is the mess we're in now.
After all, Congress holds the purse strings but you'd never know it by their actions.
We need to get rid of the same old Washington elites that think of themselves as royalty and elect new people to fight the battles that need to be fought.

You're repeating the same thought. Congress might hold the purse strings (although 0bama has shown there are ways around that), but it's the majority party that holds those strings. The GOP has not had power in the Senate since 2006. The "same old Washington elites" are Democrats. We need to take their power away.
You can't get where you want to go if you're only a passenger in the back seat; you have to be driving the car.

Offline Gazoo

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Have you compared how those representatives voted, as opposed to how a typical democrat in the same state votes?

ACU rating is a good guide. Empirical data is better than emotion. But I notice "true conservatives" thrive on emotion.

The 'guide' I am going by is the one that shows republicans redistricting Allen West so he goes away. Or is it just a coincidence that all those with tea party voices,speaking out are all called wacko birds and railroaded to go away? They want Cruz gone so bad they can taste it. They railroaded a man elected because of the tea party (Rubio) into not joining the tea party caucus upon arrival. Why? They want the power, they won't retire and they obviously like the status quo. There is a majority of people that do not like the status quo. (SEE CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATINGS) This is a reflection of Boehner and his backyard gang. And the only way to fight it, is to run someone to make them retire.
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

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You're putting words in my mouth that I didn't say.  I'm not suggesting giving more power to the democrats. I say we might as well give it to them if it means giving it to the same old republican fossils that have helped put our country is the mess we're in now.
After all, Congress holds the purse strings but you'd never know it by their actions.
We need to get rid of the same old Washington elites that think of themselves as royalty and elect new people to fight the battles that need to be fought.
How did you feel about the loss of seats in Delaware, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana etc. when the "true conservatives" messed up big-time ?

Does it give an emotional charge, greater than the actual loss? I say place reason over emotion.

Try to practice holding two conflicting ideas in mid, at once.

My elected representatives aren't their for me to like them personally. They are there to vote on measures.

If Republicans keep chipping away at their own, they weaken them. Is that wise?

The choice was McCain or Obama. Why waste endless resources, time, words bemoaning what a horrible fellow McCain is?

So called conservative Republicans are just about the most stupid people some times.

Quit expecting elected representatives to be like professional entertainers.

 
#NeverHillary

Offline Olivia

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The 'guide' I am going by is the one that shows republicans redistricting Allen West so he goes away. Or is it just a coincidence that all those with tea party voices,speaking out are all called wacko birds and railroaded to go away? They want Cruz gone so bad they can taste it. They railroaded a man elected because of the tea party (Rubio) into not joining the tea party caucus upon arrival. Why? They want the power, they won't retire and they obviously like the status quo. There is a majority of people that do not like the status quo. (SEE CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATINGS) This is a reflection of Boehner and his backyard gang. And the only way to fight it, is to run someone to make them retire.

 :beer:
Truthfully, the most important thing in life is knowing what the most important things in life are, and prioritizing them accordingly.   Melchor Lim

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The 'guide' I am going by is the one that shows republicans redistricting Allen West so he goes away. Or is it just a coincidence that all those with tea party voices,speaking out are all called wacko birds and railroaded to go away? They want Cruz gone so bad they can taste it. They railroaded a man elected because of the tea party (Rubio) into not joining the tea party caucus upon arrival. Why? They want the power, they won't retire and they obviously like the status quo. There is a majority of people that do not like the status quo. (SEE CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL RATINGS) This is a reflection of Boehner and his backyard gang. And the only way to fight it, is to run someone to make them retire.

All I know about West is he lost his election. He's too extreme for most districts in the country. Period.

Tea Party is a narrow but deep and loud segment. Declining approval, increasing disapproval. Reason?

Probably reasons include supporting some whackos. And shifting from their initial non-social issue emphasis to more social issues.

Losers Akins, Angle, Buck, Cucinelli, Mourdock, O'Donnell had one thing in common; support for outlawing abortion even in cases of rape.

That position is very unpopular. If the Tea Party is dominated by people with very unpopular policy positions, expect to lose. Expect to decline in approval, and increase in disapproval, just as several polls over the past year indicate.

The TP failed to organize, beyond a few professional fundraising entities. Those entities function JUST like Rove. They get commissions of money raised, and again on advertising placements.

So it pays them well, to cater to their narrow, but deep and loud little constituency.

The Tea Party started with tremendous potential, but let it slip away. It wasn't started by amateur grass roots activists, but rather by pros like Armey and Gingrich.

The second rate leaders of the movement don't have the discipline to weed out the crackpots from their roster of candidates.

It works for them, since the narrow, deep and loud segment sends their money even for crackpots, and they get paid for raising the money and again for placing the ads.

It takes political skill, experience and discipline to support candidates effectively. The TP needs more of those qualities, plus more money.

By this stage they would have had those ingredients, if they hadn't blown it.

Kibbe and Kremer and Demint are taking your money and laughing all the way to the bank.

Sure they will win a few, but waste a lot of energy, money and credibility on losing causes. But that will keep the donations flowing. And commissions too.

My congressman is very conservative. He has decided to NOT label himself "tea party" because it would harm him more than help him.

Try getting your head around that idea. Tea Party is a negative label, overall. Maybe Rubio wised up politically.

The whole thing reminds me of the original "Saturday Night Live" and their "Not quite ready for prime time players."

O'Donnell "I'm not a witch" should be the mascot.

It is a fantastical illusion and delusion that the entire political system in this country is going to be turned upside down by "we the people" any time soon.

Not with the caliber and calibrations of candidates and leaders in the movement today.

   
#NeverHillary

Offline Gazoo

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All I know about West is he lost his election. He's too extreme for most districts in the country. Period.

Tea Party is a narrow but deep and loud segment. Declining approval, increasing disapproval. Reason?

Probably reasons include supporting some whackos. And shifting from their initial non-social issue emphasis to more social issues.

Losers Akins, Angle, Buck, Cucinelli, Mourdock, O'Donnell had one thing in common; support for outlawing abortion even in cases of rape.

That position is very unpopular. If the Tea Party is dominated by people with very unpopular policy positions, expect to lose. Expect to decline in approval, and increase in disapproval, just as several polls over the past year indicate.

The TP failed to organize, beyond a few professional fundraising entities. Those entities function JUST like Rove. They get commissions of money raised, and again on advertising placements.

So it pays them well, to cater to their narrow, but deep and loud little constituency.

The Tea Party started with tremendous potential, but let it slip away. It wasn't started by amateur grass roots activists, but rather by pros like Armey and Gingrich.

The second rate leaders of the movement don't have the discipline to weed out the crackpots from their roster of candidates.

It works for them, since the narrow, deep and loud segment sends their money even for crackpots, and they get paid for raising the money and again for placing the ads.

It takes political skill, experience and discipline to support candidates effectively. The TP needs more of those qualities, plus more money.

By this stage they would have had those ingredients, if they hadn't blown it.

Kibbe and Kremer and Demint are taking your money and laughing all the way to the bank.

Sure they will win a few, but waste a lot of energy, money and credibility on losing causes. But that will keep the donations flowing. And commissions too.

My congressman is very conservative. He has decided to NOT label himself "tea party" because it would harm him more than help him.

Try getting your head around that idea. Tea Party is a negative label, overall. Maybe Rubio wised up politically.

The whole thing reminds me of the original "Saturday Night Live" and their "Not quite ready for prime time players."

O'Donnell "I'm not a witch" should be the mascot.

It is a fantastical illusion and delusion that the entire political system in this country is going to be turned upside down by "we the people" any time soon.

Not with the caliber and calibrations of candidates and leaders in the movement today.

 

2010 shows the success of the tea party. They were so successful the tea party and conservatives were targeted by the IRS.

Defining the tea party as, I am not a witch O"Donnell is not accurate.

Who is your Senator that runs from the tea party name?
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Online truth_seeker

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2010 shows the success of the tea party. They were so successful the tea party and conservatives were targeted by the IRS.

Defining the tea party as, I am not a witch O"Donnell is not accurate.

Who is your Senator that runs from the tea party name?
My House Rep. is Oceander Rohrabacher, who was TP before there was a TP. He elects to not align with the movement.

I have discussed it with his staff. Oceander can't come out and say "the TP is..." this or that. But he has not aligned themselves in the House TP Caucus.

That caucus is about 20% of the GOP members, and NOT growing. And a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 2010 in regard to this situation.

This is here and now, and the TP movement is losing approval.

Why? Another reason might be voters, see the principle enemy as the democrats, not other Republicans. A little dose of common sense and reality which is not on the TP radar screen.
#NeverHillary

Offline Gazoo

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My House Rep. is Oceander Rohrabacher, who was TP before there was a TP. He elects to not align with the movement.

I have discussed it with his staff. Oceander can't come out and say "the TP is..." this or that. But he has not aligned themselves in the House TP Caucus.

That caucus is about 20% of the GOP members, and NOT growing. And a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 2010 in regard to this situation.

This is here and now, and the TP movement is losing approval.

Why? Another reason might be voters, see the principle enemy as the democrats, not other Republicans. A little dose of common sense and reality which is not on the TP radar screen.

Tit for tat. I happen to think the GOP established cronies have no sense of reality. They have no clue that their approval rating is so low because both political parties despise their way of doing business.  They are so PC that they cower to the inept dems and line their wallets doing so. They need to do their jobs as serving us- not their bank accounts, their lobbyists and runaway spending. As far as lack of common sense. The only sense the established GOPers have, is the sense to bank their paycheck while they live off their slush funds and get their car notes paid for by us. They have no sense of reality of what it is like to live in this horrific economy nor do they care about anything but yielding power over the people not for the people.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 07:32:40 AM by Gazoo »
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?


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