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Republican Party’s Future

My Palin Derangement Syndrome post got a number of thoughtful responses, especially for a weekend post.

My fellow Jacksonville State alumnus Stacy McCain, a Palin fan, thinks the internal debate on her role in last week’s defeat and her future as a Republican Party standard bearer is one we should have.  He objects strenuously, though, to the tone of some of her opponents.  His difference with me is that he thinks I place too much emphasis on foreign policy wonkery, both because the wonks are often wrong and because foreign policy debates are a moving target and a dicey strategy for building a winning coalition.

Domestic politics is permanent. The economy is always relevant. The ceaseless growth of the Washington bureaucracy continues to intrude into the lives of ordinary Americans. The Department of Education is still an unconstitutional travesty that ought to be abolished. Social Security is still a disastrous Ponzi scheme. The entitlement mentality is still an insult to the Tocquevillean spirit of the nation. These arguments may not be as popular in the short term as pointing at a mustachioed foreign dictator and screaming “Hitler!” but they have the basic virtue of being true.

From a center-left perspective, Kevin Drum believes more of my fellow conservatives should share these concerns about Palin but, alas, he thinks I’m clinging to an old view of Republicanism, writing, “For a movement that decided long ago that slogans and shibboleths mattered while serious policy discourse was merely a distraction, a candidate who showed no interest in domestic policy before the age of 44 is the perfect public face.”

Mark Lilla expands on that view at some length in a must-read WSJ piece, “The Perils of ‘Populist Chic.’”

For the past 40 years American conservatism has been politically ascendant, in no small part because it was also intellectually ascendant. In 1955 sociologist Daniel Bell could publish a collection of essays on “The New American Right” that treated it as a deeply anti-intellectual force, a view echoed a few years later in Richard Hofstadter’s influential “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” (1963).

But over the next decade and a half all that changed. Magazines like the Public Interest and Commentary became required reading for anyone seriously concerned about domestic and foreign affairs; conservative research institutes sprang up in Washington and on college campuses, giving a fresh perspective on public policy. Buckley, Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Peter Berger, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Norman Podhoretz — agree or disagree with their views, these were people one had to take seriously.

[...]

So what happened? How, 30 years later, could younger conservative intellectuals promote a candidate like Sarah Palin, whose ignorance, provinciality and populist demagoguery represent everything older conservative thinkers once stood against? It’s a sad tale that began in the ’80s, when leading conservatives frustrated with the left-leaning press and university establishment began to speak of an “adversary culture of intellectuals.” It was a phrase borrowed from the great literary critic Lionel Trilling, who used it to describe the disquiet at the heart of liberal societies. Now the idea was taken up and distorted by angry conservatives who saw adversaries everywhere and decided to cast their lot with “ordinary Americans” whom they hardly knew. In 1976 Irving Kristol publicly worried that “populist paranoia” was “subverting the very institutions and authorities that the democratic republic laboriously creates for the purpose of orderly self-government.” But by the mid-’80s, he was telling readers of this newspaper that the “common sense” of ordinary Americans on matters like crime and education had been betrayed by “our disoriented elites,” which is why “so many people — and I include myself among them — who would ordinarily worry about a populist upsurge find themselves so sympathetic to this new populism.”

Stacy jokes that Jax State grads shouldn’t be siding with the elites.  Recently, Ace had a lengthy diatribe against self-anointed elites in a memorable comments thread.  But Lilla identifies the elitism with which I side:  a meritocratic, intellectual one rather than one of birthright and pedigree.  A movement built on know-nothingism — indeed, outright hostility to higher education — is bound to fail.

The Republican Party will be consigned to permanent minority status if it continues down its present course.   It is increasingly becoming a white, Southern party.  Even though I’m both white and Southern, it’s obvious to me that we have to expand our appeal beyond hard-core Evangelicals and anti-elitists that to get back Virginia, North Carolina, the Midwest, and West.

I’m not advocating turning the GOP into a centrist party.  For reasons John Hawkins identifies and others, it won’t work.  Rather, I’m calling for a return to Ronald Reagan’s vision of a Big Tent that offers enough to attract a broad coalition.   It’s not 1980.   We can’t simply dust off Reagan’s platform.   The bottom line is that, however unappealing it is to die-hards, Social Security and the Department of Education are here to stay.

Quite likely, so is legal abortion.   Roe v. Wade was seven years old when Reagan ran.  When Bill Clinton came to office after twelve years of Republican control of the White House, it was twenty years old.  George W. Bush is leaving, after eight more years of Republican control, with Roe still largely intact and 36 years old.  The younger generation, then, have grown up with abortion as a simple fact of life and have no interest in changing that.

Nor is the boogeyman of homosexuality going to do it.  Despite another string of victories last Tuesday for anti-gay marriage amendments, the fact of the matter is that for those under 50 — certainly, under 40 — homosexuality is normal.  While a majority still oppose granting gays the right to enter into an agreement with the name “marriage,” most support gay unions under a less sacred label.  A decade from now, the debate will seem silly and running on the issue will further marginalize the party.

A majority Republican Party, then, is going to have to figure out a way to keep social conservatives without abortion and gays as shibboleths and without alienating libertarian-minded right-of-center voters.  It’s inconceivable how it’s done so long as the Democrats are winning among college graduates.

A return to fiscal sanity is perhaps the best rallying cry in the short term, one that’ll be made easier in opposition.  (After all, it’ll be Democratic priorities that we can be frugal about rather than our own.)   Beyond that, though, there will need to be a lot of spade work in rebuilding an intellectual rationale for conservatism beyond cutting taxes and anti-elitism.

Note:  An outline form of this post was inadvertantly published earlier. My apologies for the confusion.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. odograph says:

    I the Palin thing interesting to you all because it IS your proxy fight for the direction of the Party?

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  2. Tad says:

    Kathleen Parker writes along the same vein.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2203800/entry/2204034/

    Perhaps what surprises me most out of all this is the suggestion that the format for the interviews is what the problem was with the Couric/Gibson affair. The problem was the moron answers to simple, and frankly very predicable, questions.

    When did it become reasonable to assume that her lack of knowledge would have been less apparent in a press conference. She was hidden from the press for a reason. It’s depressing how far people will go to avoid obvious conclusions, but then willful ignorance always is.

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  3. tom p says:

    This from a commenter at the McCain piece:

    “I have been a fan of James Joyner for years, but he also has a debt to the McCain Campaign folks.
    He was one of the few bloggers invited to the blog interviews McCain held when his campaign was on the ropes. My guess is that he has some deep ties to those who ran the McCain camp.
    As is coming out there was a fissure between Palin and McCain’s handlers and James may be influenced by the inside baseball of the campaign staff.”

    You see James? You’re just a shill for the McCain camp, repaying old debts.

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  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Kevin Drum’s argument

    do we really want our standard bearer to be someone who didn’t become seriously interested in either domestic policy or foreign affairs until the age of 44?

    has a problem: what’s the cut-off age for evidently being not interesting in world events before it’s a disqualification? 44? 36?

    A stronger argument which I think is the one you’ve made and that Kevin also makes before veering into the less sensible age cut-off notion is that she showed no interest until she was nominated for national office.

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  5. Dave Schuler says:

    I don’t think that Mark Lilla really appreciates the fix in which Republicans find themselves. He writes:

    In 1976 Irving Kristol publicly worried that “populist paranoia” was “subverting the very institutions and authorities that the democratic republic laboriously creates for the purpose of orderly self-government.” But by the mid-’80s, he was telling readers of this newspaper that the “common sense” of ordinary Americans on matters like crime and education had been betrayed by “our disoriented elites,” which is why “so many people — and I include myself among them — who would ordinarily worry about a populist upsurge find themselves so sympathetic to this new populism.”

    But that wasn’t the reason. It wasn’t to avoid siding with liberal elites it was to bolster the connection with the leadership of the Republican Party which had passed to social conservatives. It was the only way to do that with any kind of intellectual coherence.

    As I’ve said before that was inevitable. Libertarians (particularly minarchists) just don’t have the patience with organizations necessary to compete with social conservatives within the party organization. The only possible counter-balance was the Rockefeller Republicans who’ve been purged from the party for lack of ideological orthodoxy.

    The Democratic Party faces an analogous problem in its own transition to a programmatic party rather than a catch-all party, as it’s always been. How do you reconcile the technocrats with the social conservative populists who form their most dependable constituency?

    The danger for the Republicans is trading representative democracy for anarchy while the danger for Democrats is trading representative democracy for autocracy in the guise of technocracy.

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  6. Dave Schuler says:

    A return to fiscal sanity is perhaps the best rallying cry in the short term, one that’ll be made easier in opposition. (After all, it’ll be Democratic priorities that we can be frugal about rather than our own.) Beyond that, though, there will need to be a lot of spade work in rebuilding an intellectual rationale for conservatism beyond cutting taxes and anti-elitism.

    Uh, no. Only the libertarians and minarchists in the Republican Party are interested in fiscal prudence. For Jacksonians (most of the social conservatives) credit is a sacrament.

    For evidence of this look at the last eight years. The party has been in the control of the mostly southern populists and there hasn’t been a great deal of fiscal prudence to be found. It looked a great deal more like LBJ than Barry Goldwater.

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  7. odograph says:

    My first comment above was on an early-framework draft. Good job expanding it, James.

    I see your shift from anti-intellectual to anti-elite. That might be constructive. Just the same, even though my grandparents were domestic servants, and my dad a schoolteacher, I’ve made it to successful consultant. America is a great country. I might have become a “city elite” for some.

    That’s the contradiction some have noted … when elites shopped at k-mart in their youth, are they still elites?

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  8. Dave says:

    If Palin is the future of the Republican party, then I guess I’ll be staying away from the party longer than I thought.

    Maybe my demographic (white 30 year old male professional) isn’t what they care about anymore. I know plenty of average Joe blue collar workers who were already steadfastly going to vote Republicans who were ecstatic about the Palin choice.

    The Palin choice always seemed to me a choice to pander to a small segment of the party they already had locked up. To further pursue that path in the future would continue to alienate those they cannot afford to lose.

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  9. steve says:

    The last eight years! The last 20 out of 28 years. How the hell did conservatism come to mean lower taxes and ballooning debt? Whatever happened to fiscal responsibility?

    Here’s a thought. Can you name even one leading conservative who really means it when he says he believes in smaller government? That means being willing (or at least I think it should mean) to list what spending will be cut. Conservative trot out earmarks and waste. Bah. No one campaigns FOR waste. Define exactly what you are willing to cut. What we get are conservatives saying they are for smaller government, but never following up because they are afraid they will not be re-elected. Conservatives need to have the power of their own convictions. Make the case for smaller government, explain how that will be achieved, and run on those proposals.

    Steve

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  10. Dave Schuler says:

    In support of Steve’s comment above I would add that fiscal conservatives have always been a relatively small proportion of the Republican base. Was Ronald Reagan a fiscal conservative? Other than rhetorically, I mean? I see little evidence of it.

    As I recall Barry Goldwater was a fiscal conservative. He also delivered the Republicans the greatest defeat they’d seen since FDR at the polls. However sensible it may be, fiscal conservatism is no banner to which voters will rally.

    No one has ever mounted the barricades or gone to the gallows for the cause of fiscal conservatism.

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  11. G.A.Phillips says:

    “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!” Abraham Lincoln “Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin” (September 30, 1859)

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  12. odograph says:

    Personally, I think Ronald Reagan was a fiscal conservative, in spirit. I think he was defeated in part by a less fiscally conservative congress, and in part by his own side’s inability to connect the dots on a 600 ship navy, etc.

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  13. Dave Schuler says:

    Personally, I think Ronald Reagan was a fiscal conservative, in spirit.

    That’s a wonderful argument and can be made on anybody’s behalf on any subject. Bill Clinton was chaste, in spirit. It’s just all those temptations that got in his way. George W. Bush is an intellectual, in spirit. He just has other pressing obligations. There’s really no limit to the power of the argument.

    Contrariwise, I think you can only figure out what somebody believes by what he or she is willing to sacrifice for, go to the limit for. I see no actual evidence that Ronald Reagan was a fiscal conservative other than rhetorically. It might have been a value for him but it was so far down in the hierarchy of values that it could never surface.

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  14. PrestoPundit says:

    Let’s just pile the strawmen higher and wider, shall we?

    “A movement built on know-nothingism — indeed, outright hostility to higher education — is bound to fail.”

    For “The One’s” sake, give me a break.

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  15. Floyd says:

    James;
    What you seem to advocate is that a party, in order to gain election, should follow the trends in society[set by the media and advertisers] and not offer real leadership.

    Some cynical S.O.B. once said…
    “If you want to lead, then find out which way the crowd is going then get in front of it.”

    This argument has some merit,but it only means that leaders are the first to arrive at lynchings, dead ends, etc. It advocates that we accelerate mistakes by leading the nation down the wrong road when it is inclined to go there.It also leaves the people with no real choice at election time.Those who stand on immutable principle and don’t choose to be blown around by every fickle whim are thereby disenfranchised.

    On the contrary IMHO,A real leader will stand in the gap and warn the nation when they are marching lock step down that wrong road.
    I guess you are saying that it would be preferable to preside over hell than advocate heaven?
    Well…nations die without princpled vision, which requires principled leaders to keep that vision before their eyes.

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  16. PrestoPundit says:

    what has any of this to do with Palin?

    Palin is well to the left on gay rights. (look it it, I’m guessing you are ignorant of the facts.)

    Palin is bi-partisan in Alaska — with Dems in her cabinet. She ran against the GOP establishment, not with it. Alaska tends to be libertarian on social issues, and so does Palin (again, correct you ignorance by learning something about her).

    So I as, what the hell does this post have to do with Palin.

    And be specific. And be factual, if you are capable of it.

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  17. odograph says:

    Sure, the difference between hypocrisy and mere failure is intent. The spirit may be willing where the flesh is weak.

    I may also give Reagan some charity for what were in retrospect early aspects of alzheimer’s.

    To get back on topic though, we should probably talk about true intent for the Republican party, and highlight what is hypocrisy and what is failure.

    For my money the Republican government 2000-2006 had an unhealthy mixture of both … as evidenced by both ballooning budgets and not a few FBI investigations (and arrests!) for corruption.

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  18. anjin-san says:

    Does anyone else think PrestoPundit is Bitsy?

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  19. odograph says:

    Presto, I don’t think it has to be about Palin. It’s enough that she obviously triggers this discussion. If there’s smoke (concern about anti-intellectualism), there might be fire … and it is certainly burnin’ up the RSS feeds this morning.

    Rather than turn back to Palin, turn forward to registration trends for the Republican Party.

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  20. JT says:

    For either party, hopefully compassion will return to their criminal policies. The days of “tough on crime” politics that leads to thousands of inmates jailed for stealing pizza and video tapes needs to end.

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  21. PrestoPundit says:

    Sorry, I’m typing on a crappy old Mac laptop with a bad keyboard.

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  22. Bithead says:

    Does anyone else think PrestoPundit is Bitsy?

    I guess the back of our hands both look pretty much the same, eh?

    (thwap!)

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  23. PrestoPundit says:

    Odograph, I support Jindal in 2012, because he can articulate a position without a text.

    Palin’s problem isn’t that she’s stupid, her problem is speaking well without a text. Her syntax is unbelievable — she never knows where she is going or how to make it all square up.

    I take her syntax as a sign of someone who spent too much time reading ideas and information as a kid, and not enough time in her life discussing them in conversation. Hence the syntax. Just a guess.

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  24. PrestoPundit says:

    And for the record, I’m not an “evangelical” and I don’t like Jindal’s view of all sorts of social issues. But he can do what almost no other Republican or conservative can do — he can communicate effectively in conversation, without a text.

    It’s been two generations since we’ve seen that from a Republican or conservative.

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  25. Alex Knapp says:

    Presto,

    Are you sure that Palin is to the LEFT on gay rights?

    http://dwb.adn.com/front/story/8508726p-8401181c.html

    I’m not sure that looking into proposals to amend the state constitution to prohibit extending benefits to same-sex couples is particularly pro-gay rights.

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  26. anjin-san says:

    I guess the back of our hands both look pretty much the same, eh?

    You know bit, I was in the nightclub business for a long time. Spent a lot of time behind the bar. One thing I learned is that guys who talk a lot about how tough they are are all talk, and guys who really are tough never talk about it.

    You have shown conclusively that that carries over into blogging…

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  27. Bithead says:

    I spent a few years in that business, too.
    Let’s just say my own experince there doesn’t bode well for you.

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  28. odograph says:

    I didn’t know Jindal. I read his wikipedia page and watched him on Leno. He looks intelligent and accessible, which is a good combo. He could set back Leno with the Hollywood zinger and then fill-in again with friendliness.

    I’d say the big risk would be that in 2012 the “son of immigrants from strange countries” thing could be done. Son of Kenyan vs. son of Indian could be strange (IF the Republican Party could actually do it).

    That said, the contest might not be a bad one … from the Nation of Immigrants perspective. (Would Real Americans buy it though?)

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  29. G.A.Phillips says:

    One thing I learned is that guys who talk a lot about how tough they are are all talk, and guys who really are tough never talk about it.

    Do much bar tending in Wisconsin, lol.

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  30. PrestoPundit says:

    I’m not saying Jindal will win, I’m saying conservatism and the GOP will die unless we can get someone who can talk, with a personality the appeals. We haven’t seen such a thing in 20 years. That’s a long time.

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  31. PrestoPundit says:

    Alex, that was 2006. That’s not her position in 2008.

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  32. Alex Knapp says:

    Alex, that was 2006. That’s not her position in 2008.

    Citation?

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  33. Bithead says:

    I’m not sure that looking into proposals to amend the state constitution to prohibit extending benefits to same-sex couples is particularly pro-gay rights.

    I’ll be interested in your explaining how it could be read as anything else in reality.

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  34. PrestoPundit says:

    Socially liberal, fiscally conservative, anti-Christian, anti-small town, warfare-state GOP’ers should want Huckabee on the ticket in 2012. Most likely the GOP will lose big, and what you should want is someone who discredits your cultural and intellectual enemies in the GOP.

    Huckabee is your ticket, I’d say.

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  35. SB says:

    I think the conservative party died with the end of Reagan’s administration. His was the last great conservative stance, and it didn’t exactly succeed. Not all his fault though. But with conservative policy not providing much benefit to the populace as a whole, republicans were forced to rally around social/moral issues to gain ground among the struggling middle and lower classes that didn’t benefit much from traditional conservative policy of lower taxes and less spending (which was mirage anyway). And by now, all the old conservative rallying cries have become fairly meaningless. Less earmarks, pork and corruption, but Abramoff and others proved that wasn’t working. Less taxes, but incredibly costly and mis-managed war, staggeringly increasing corporate welfare, dwindling jobs and income, and stratospheric deficit. And the whole social/moral stance in tatters with among other things, government sponsored torture and black sites. As a liberal, you would think I’d be happy about this train wreck; but I’m not. If anything I’m a social justice liberal who is fiscally conservative. I don’t think the federal government can or ought to control everything, and I have a fervent belief in states’ rights. I believe Roe v. Wade was a mistake. Although pro-choice, I really think this ought to have been a decision states made. So what can the conservative party do now — get back to state rights. For instance, health care. Can universal coverage by our federal government really work, or would states have a much better approach to this. Instead of being inimical to the changes we have to make in our new world, be proactive on a state level. Although I’d loathe to admit it several years ago, I admire Schwarzenegger’s approach. On a federal level, strive for more power to the states, more fiscal conservatism, less war-mongering and lastly, fight the liberals tendency toward excessive regulation and nannydom. As for the elite v. populism argument, I believe that among the conservatives, as among the liberals, there are those insufferable elites on one end and buffoons on the other and in the middle a whole lot of sensible, admirable politicians. The disaster of the conservative party this election cycle was pairing one of the sensible, admirable conservatives with the whack-job Palin (and Joe the Plumber). I suspect the intent was to enlarge “the tent,” but it ended up showing Americans exactly how little the republican party values its citizens.

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  36. James Joyner says:

    Socially liberal, fiscally conservative, anti-Christian, anti-small town, warfare-state GOP’ers should want Huckabee on the ticket in 2012.

    Who’s advocating such a thing?

    “Socially liberal” is a moving target. Positions on gender and race that would have made one a bleeding heart liberal in 1972 are now hard right.

    Certainly, being “anti-Christian” and “anti-small town” would be counterproductive. One can’t, however, build a majority coalition JUST with hard-core religious folk and people in small towns. We’re a secular society mostly living in suburbs and big cities.

    And why would Huckabee be the standard bearer for this? He’s a religious fundamentalist with a small town appeal.

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  37. Bithead says:

    “Socially liberal” is a moving target. Positions on gender and race that would have made one a bleeding heart liberal in 1972 are now hard right.

    True, but in my lifetime, it’s been that way invariably… such targets always move left.

    That said, I think you’ll find that a lot of people even those living in big cities support what are now ‘small town values’. Even though I ahve y own problems with Huckabee, Ihave to say he’d have gotten more votes in the GE than McCain did.

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  38. PrestoPundit says:

    “He’s a religious fundamentalist with a small town appeal.”

    I’m trying to understand the rage and contempt which fuels the smears on Palin by the conservative “intellectuals”.

    As far as I can tell, the hate her mostly for cultural reasons. Her stand on the war was solid. I’m not buying it that intelligent people think she’s stupid. I think they’re using this as a pretext to smear her.

    I think we’d be getting the same kind of analysis from these people if Huckabee had been McCain’s VP choice. Palin is a mere symbol, based on vicious stereotype, popular in the Ivy League and in the nation’s news rooms.

    What’s dismaying is to see various “conservative” feeding on it.

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  39. PrestoPundit says:

    The advantage Huckabee has over McCain is that he can talk and he’s likable.

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  40. anjin-san says:

    Let’s just say my own experince there doesn’t bode well for you.

    The difference between our experience is that you were spinning records and I was hanging out with the guys who made them :)

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  41. anjin-san says:

    And why would Huckabee be the standard bearer for this? He’s a religious fundamentalist with a small town appea

    Concur. I found Huckabee to be an engaging and likable guy, until he started to go into detail about his religious views. He like anyone, is certainly entitled to hold any beliefs he wishes, but I don’t think most American want government coming from that perspective.

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  42. James Joyner says:

    As far as I can tell, the hate her mostly for cultural reasons. Her stand on the war was solid. I’m not buying it that intelligent people think she’s stupid. I think they’re using this as a pretext to smear her.

    The pushback from the right against Palin was not on ideology but on preparation. Not only was she more green, from a major experience standpoint, than any Republican VP nominee in my lifetime, but she seemed Not Ready for Prime Time when it came to media interviews and non-scripted public appearances.

    Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

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  43. odograph says:

    I’m trying to understand the rage and contempt which fuels the smears on Palin by the conservative “intellectuals”.

    Christians have at least one potential conflict with science, and the “observation plus reason” world-view. I say “potential” because many Christian religions treat evolution as a non or side issue. The Lutheran Church of my youth treated it as a non-issue because, basically, there have always been material ways to describe the world, and there has always been a leap of faith to … Faith. The current Catholic position is not that dissimilar.

    I raise all that because I think evolution, as a wedge issue, divides some Christians from science in a somewhat fundamental way. They are less ready to believe in anthropomorphic global warming, or in a dangerous rate of overfishing, because … hey, they don’t trust those scientists anyway.

    I’m kind of ignoring the emotion in your quote above, about “rage and contempt”, because I think there is something that can be discussed rationally … whether the Religious Right requires a rejection broadly of science, and how that rejection might play among the differently-religious.

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  44. anjin-san says:

    Look, Palin had the world on a string up to the point of the Couric interview when she actually spoke without a script. It was downhill from there.

    Palin’s problems on the left and the right were rooted in the fact that she is obviously not qualified for any national office, much less that of Vice President.

    I have profound disagreements with Bobby Jindal, but he is obviously a very bright guy who has done his homework and given a lot of thought to the issues. I despise Dick Cheney, but that does not mean that I do not respect him for his ability, which is considerable.

    Respect is earned. Palin has not earned any on a national level. Perhaps she has in Alaska, I don’t know enough about what goes on there to have a meaningful opinion.

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  45. PrestoPundit says:

    So “intellectual” conservatives hate Palin because of evolution? This comes close to a version of Godwin’s law.

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  46. Bithead says:

    Respect is earned. Palin has not earned any on a national level. Perhaps she has in Alaska, I don’t know enough about what goes on there to have a meaningful opinion.

    And your respect was earned by Obama, how, again?

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  47. odograph says:

    I was speaking to the wider conflict between intellectual and anti-intellectual Republicans:

    Debate evolves into religious discussion

    I certainly did not make it an item at the Republican Presidential candidates’ debate.

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  48. LFC says:

    Look, Palin had the world on a string up to the point of the Couric interview when she actually spoke without a script. It was downhill from there.

    The Gibson interview, actually. The Couric interview simply reinforced the obvious, that Palin was a mile wide and a millimeter deep.

    Out of interest, what happened to Pawlenty? I thought he was being groomed for a rise in the GOP, but seems to have completely dropped off of the radar.

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  49. PrestoPundit says:

    Two high pressure, hostile interviews with a candidate trying to keep on the incoherent McCain message of the day doesn’t establish anything about Palin. It merely established that the McCain campaign was run by truly incompetent political people. I wouldn’t do to my own mother what the McCain people did to Palin. Robert S. McCain as spot on rejoiners to these clap trap anti-Palin talking points, which you’ve never answered.

    The truth is this sort of “sand bad” journalism is going to happen to every non-DC GOP VP pick — it’s even happened to inside DC VP picks. Democrats in the press will be gunning for them every time. Obama never got this treatment. (Seen the side by side you tube videos?)

    Watch the interviews again — they were savage, adversarial and relentless. The McCain campaign set Palin up for failure. She could have done better, but mostly with great experience giving false and BS answers like Biden uses, rather than from any bigger brain or more years reading “Foreign Policy”.

    You write:

    “she seemed Not Ready for Prime Time when it came to media interviews and non-scripted public appearances.”

    This all easily could have been avoided with a different Palin media approach. Easily. Again, read Robert S. McCain on this. He’s spot on.

    You keep insisting with no evidence that Palin is to stupid to be President — the brain dead argument of “moderates” and “intellectuals” against Ronald Reagan.

    Some really smart people don’t buy it that two hostile interviews from Democrats and some false lies about Palin from Mark Salter prove anything — especially given the fact that the foreign policy experts on the McCain campaign say this smear is pure crap.

    So another agenda is a work. What is it?

    I think I’m zeroing in on it.

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  50. PrestoPundit says:

    Obama stooge Chris Matthews did. You write.

    “I certainly did not make it an item at the Republican Presidential candidates’ debate.”

    How stupid are Republicans to keep letting Dems run nearly every debate they participate in.

    In the General it was 4 Obama Democrats to zero anything else.

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  51. [...] McCain has a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to my post on the Republican Party’s future in which he notes that Sarah Palin graduated college, some non-Southern states voted for McCain, [...]

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  52. odograph says:

    “I think I’m zeroing in on it.”

    From my perspective you are choosing to paint from some particular numbers ;-).

    “Culture wars” as a slogan and a reality predate the Palin selection. Palin was immediately mapped to those templates. That was unfair to her, but at the same time we can see why people had their radar up. People were prickly about her “teach both” answer to teaching creation science in public schools, etc., for the same reason.

    People want to know, “which kind of Republican are you?”

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  53. odograph says:

    (I went to public school during the week, and church on Sunday. I think that system worked, doesn’t need tinkering, etc.)

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  54. LFC says:

    Watch the interviews again — they were savage, adversarial and relentless.

    Is this the new definition of Palin Derangement Syndrome?

    She faced two interviews with real questions given in a highly respectful manner. No yelling, no accusations, but not fawning and not 100% softballs (like the Hannity interview). All questions were up front and legitimate. The fact that she couldn’t stand up to that level of questioning shows she’s simply not fit to lead.

    I don’t suppose Mr. Putin, when he “rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America” would treat her like a delicate little flower.

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  55. Alex Knapp says:

    Watch the interviews again — they were savage, adversarial and relentless.

    Okay, well, they weren’t. (I guess I don’t consider the question “What’s your favorite movie?” to be hard hitting.)

    But even if they were “savage, adversarial and relentless,” isn’t that the proper role of the press? To be hostile and skeptical towards politicians? Would you prefer that all politicians get softballs? And what does it say about Palin’s leadership qualities if she can’t hold up to a tough interviewer? If she can’t hang tough then, what makes you think she could hang tough in a high-stakes negotiation with, say, Russia or China?

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  56. Deanna says:

    Sarah Palin spent the week end looking for her daughters underwear that somehow was lost but now has to be accounted for to the RNC. Regardless of her inability to discuss anything with intelligence, do we really want this to represent this party? Really? The only people that will attract will be the whack jobs and religious nuts….which were in the majority at her rallies.
    She will not attract the youth vote, nor the upper middle class and we can forget anyone with a college education. All 3 of those groups? changed their vote to Obama during this election and if we ignore that? we do so at risk to the party.

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  57. Deanna says:

    For the first time in 30 years I did not vote for the Republican ticket. I refuse to put my, and my family, in the hands of Sarah Palin. I was not alone.

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  58. anjin-san says:

    And your respect was earned by Obama, how, again?

    Simple. By talking to me like I was an intelligent person who needed to be persuaded. A very refreshing change from the Bush “your either for us or against us” years.

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  59. anjin-san says:

    You keep insisting with no evidence that Palin is to stupid to be President — the brain dead argument of “moderates” and “intellectuals” against Ronald Reagan.

    Comparing Palin to Reagan is like comparing a flashlight to the sun.

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  60. Floyd says:

    Hell hath no fury like a feminist scorned![lol]
    Looks like it’s even worse than a woman scorned.

    This explains the pyretic ire directed at Palin.
    It is a sense of resentment, resulting from the thwarted expectations of gender bias!
    Talk about “religious” nuts…
    Palin simply did not submit to the feminist catechism…
    Therein lies her excommunication.

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  61. anjin-san says:

    Therein lies her excommunication.

    Actually it was rooted in the Peter Principle.

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  62. PrestoPundit says:

    Alex, you’re a tree stump.

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  63. Floyd says:

    anjin-san;
    Considering the level of disdain,wouldn’t you think that if her detractors thought it was the peter principle, they would have started b*tching when she ran for mayor?[grinz]

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  64. anjin-san says:

    Considering the level of disdain,wouldn’t you think that if her detractors thought it was the peter principle, they would have started b*tching when she ran for mayor?

    A. 99.9999999999999% of the people in the U.S. did not know she was alive when she ran for mayor.

    B. She may well have been an adequate small town mayor. She may even be a decent gov. of a state with a low population. I don’t know anything about Alaska politics.

    Clearly, she was totally unprepared to function effectively as a candidate for national office, or to serve with distinction, or even competence, if elected. Hence the Peter Principal.

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  65. Floyd says:

    Gee!! That leaves .0000003 of a person, the average drunk probably loses more cognitive cells than that on an single binge!
    Talk about unknown!
    Wow! What a remarkable rise to ignominious notoriety![lol]
    So…. You say she blindsided the omniscient elites?[grinz]

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  66. Alex Knapp says:

    Alex, you’re a tree stump.

    How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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  67. Bithead says:

    Simple. By talking to me like I was an intelligent person who needed to be persuaded.

    And on what principles do you operate if he’s able to talk you off of them, so easily?

    Simple. By talking to me like I was an intelligent person who needed to be persuaded

    Thus demonstrating his inability to stay within the realm of reality.

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  68. [...] Republican Party’s Future [...]

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  69. Barry says:

    “And your respect was earned by Obama, how, again?”

    Posted by Bithead

    Taking on the frontrunner of the party, who had just about every advantage, and methodically beating her, after starting with jack sh*t in his hand. That’s a really good start.

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  70. Barry says:

    “Social Security is still a disastrous Ponzi scheme.”

    James, anybody who says this is either ignorant, foolish or lying. There is no third alternative. It’s one of those things which allows one to check somebody off as not having an opinion deserving of respect.

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  71. Floyd says:

    Barry;
    So… You’re saying that David Axelrod should be president? Right?

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  72. Bithead says:

    Ummm… No, Barry, just truthful.
    It is a scam that in a sane world would have been axed the moment Truman left 1600.

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  73. anjin-san says:

    Thus demonstrating his inability to stay within the realm of reality.

    Well, reality in the bitverse perhaps. You know, the place that proves Orwell knew of what he spoke…

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  74. Barry says:

    “Ummm… No, Barry, just truthful.
    It is a scam that in a sane world would have been axed the moment Truman left 1600.”
    Posted by Bithead

    Thanks for taking the test- you flunk; not a surprise to anybody who has read even one OTB comment thread.

    “Barry;
    So… You’re saying that David Axelrod should be president? Right?”
    Posted by Floyd | November 11, 2008 | 03:11 pm |

    Thank you for taking the test – you flunk, and are also positive for psychedelics (considering I didn’t even mention D.A.).

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  75. PaulDeReno says:

    I don’t understand why people keep falsely asserting that Social Conservatism is dead. I understand why David Frum is saying it. He hates social conservatives and has been trying to sabotage them since his Yale days. I don’t understand, however, why anybody takes him seriously.

    Social Security may be here to stay, but nobody, liberal or conservative, gives a damn about the DOE except vested interests. (Although high-information liberals who recognize its role in multicultural indoctrination might fight for it, most voters are vaguely–if at all–aware that it exists. The thing is, they don’t like words like “abolish” and “end” because these words sound extreme. All a conservative candidate would have to do is say “reduce the budget for the DOE” and then kill it, and no one would care.

    Same with abortion. Abandon harsh rhetoric and the issue is yours, particularly with the extremism of Obama, NARAL, and other proponents of the FOCA. A small–but real–majority of voters of all ages want to restrict abortion more than it is restricted today. And the amount of truly committed Pro-Lifers vastly outnumbers the committed Pro-Choicers, a contingent mostly limited to “Wymyn’s Studies” departments on college campuses.

    IMO, the main reason why urban “moderate” Republicans want to stifle the Social/Populist/Christian/anti-PC Right is because they don’t like them and are embarrassed of them in front of their nice urban liberal friends. They wish to say “Look, we’re as sophisticated and progressive as you liberals, and we love PC; we just want lower marginal tax rates.” (I am not saying that this is what Mr. Joyner thinks.)

    This is doomed to fail for obvious reasons.

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  76. PaulDeReno says:

    And furthermore, no matter how much abortion is restricted, the Republicans will still have the issue, because the Christian Right’s ultimate goal is the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. They won’t break with the right until that happens. (Even in the unlikely event that it does happen, many on the Christian Right will continue to push for a Right to Life Act/Amendment, when they see that all the Roe reversal would do is leave abortion up to the states.) I personally feel that such an act would be unconstitutional, as it is a police power, but my opinion isn’t important.

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  77. Floyd says:

    “”Taking on the frontrunner of the party, who had just about every advantage, and methodically beating her, after starting with jack sh*t in his hand. That’s a really good start.””
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    It’s not me who flunked! It was David Axelrod[Obama's puppeteer] who did the above!
    As for psychedelics; I quit being a Democrat when the party was taken over by the ’60s “Flower Children” and then later by the ’90s “Children of the Corn”.

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  78. [...] the only Republican to be concerned over the future of the party, either. James Joyner, author of Outside the Beltway, has posted an interesting article that addresses the same problem that Ms. Parker has identified. [...]

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