This blog,originally founded by Blogger, who is listed in Marquis Who's Who and is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Conserving Conservatism

Most conservatives believe they are underrepresented in the Republican party but there is disagreement on how conservatives should proceed to rectify it. Some believe the "big tent" approach waters down the purity of conservatism in the party. There is now talk of a "Purity Test". Then there are those who believe nothing short of a third party will do. Others believe (myself included) a third party under the current system will guarantee (think Clinton being elected with 43% of the vote) Democrat control for generations and that Republicans still won't get the message. The thought of having to choose between the "lessor of two evils" is so distasteful that they are willing to take that chance. Is choosing between the lessor of three or four evils any better? Can any candidate carve out a platform that 51% of voters agree 100% with? Is a candidate that is very conservative on all but two issues (immigration and spending for instance) evil?

Considering the fact that we have a right-of-center country, why don't we have a government that reflects that? Simply put, the American public has had the Republican party defined to them by the opposition. Newsflash, Republicans are not racist, they are not sexist, they are good stewards of the earth, they are more generous with charity than Democrats, they aren't richer or greedier than Democrats and they don't corner the market in religious zealotry as Reverend Wright showed us. These notions should not be debated. They should be ignored.

As long as Republicans tacitly accept these characterizations by debating them, they will loose. As long as they try to ingratiate themselves to the left by hiding from truth out of fear, Democrats will win. A good example of this are the high profile Republicans (Michael Steele and others) that criticized Rush Limbaugh, not on the facts but to show they somehow have more legitimacy because they are willing to criticize him. This was based on the left's definition of Rush which had little connection with the actual Rush. That's why they ended up having to apologize. It made them look stupid and not a single issue was ever debated. To what end?

The left won't change. The press won't change. Republicans must accept that and quit allowing themselves to be defined.

Another problem is the system. There are good lifetime politicians but they are rare. Too much time in Washington skews reality for most. Term limits are badly needed, incumbents have inherent advantages and that's not healthy.

Preferential voting is an idea worth considering and was the motivation for this post. It would make a third party viable.

Personally, I would be in favor of a requirement to pass some kind of civics (or even intelligence) test to vote. Voting is not a right.

It's hard to make the case that the Republican party hasn't lost its way. The debate is on what to do about it. Lest you think we have no power remember, if not for our voice we would have public option health care by now. Harriet Meyers would be sitting on the Supreme Court and Bush's immigration plan would be law.

We have the power but the ballot box is not enough. There are Democrats who have said they would gladly commit political suicide to pass health care, we'll see. That would change politics much like suicide hijackers changed war.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about a third party likely ripping the nuts from Republicans, HD. That's why I was so amused by the more dishonest or naive of this year's teabaggers who claimed that their "grassroots efforts" should strike fear in the hearts of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Right. Just like Perot's nutjob supporters struck fear in the hearts of BOTH parties. And just like Nader's run in 2000 struck fear in BOTH parties.

The only people who need worry even the least little bit about this "movement" are those who have depended on its "diverse" participants for significant blocks of votes. And that sure as heck ain't the Democrats.

That said, even the nuttiest of teabaggers should surely, after taking a breath and reading a couple books that are less than two thousand years old, see HD's point and come to grips with the fact that a third party will help nobody but the infidelic enemy, the Democrats.

But heck, if the baggers want to run someone on their own, I'd be ALL for it.

guy faulkes said...

First of all, the assumption is being made that the third party will be a conservative one. If the Republican party goes back to its conservative base (as there is a very good chance that it will), the third party may well be a "moderate" organization. This would pull from the Democrats as well.

I personally hope the idea of a third party does strike fear in the hearts of the Republicans. Their support of big government is the cause of the mess we are in today. People did not have a choice. It was liberal and liberal lite or nothing.

The Democrats are terrified at eh idea of a third party. Witness their mindless attacks on those such as Palin.

If we cannot win as conservatives, so be it. At lest we will be supporting something instead of being hypocrites and abandoning our principles to vote for the lesser of two evils.

"The only people who need worry even the least little bit about this "movement" are those who have depended on its "diverse" participants for significant blocks of votes. And that sure as heck ain't the Democrats." This is a most interesting perspective. The Obama administration has led us on the road to Hell to the point that the Democrats are being abandoned by the young that do not want to be financially enslaved for their entire professional careers, the old that do not want rationed health care, the poor that do not want cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, etc. I believe all of these groups contributed to the Obama victory. It is going to be interesting to see how the Democrats fare without them.

Finally, I can only speak for myself, but I am through voting for the lesser of two evils. If it takes the liberal victory destroying the country, let it do so. We can then rebuild out of the ashes.

Anonymous said...

Here, here, Guy. March across that burning bridge and right on through the gates of defeat while waving that "independent" banner that makes you feel so warm and fuzzy.

The next day, the Democrats will thank you you, your morals and all your naive torch-and-pitchfork kin.

And, for heaven's sake, if there's ANY way to help ensure that Palin becomes your third party candidate, PLEASE let me know. I'll literally contribute cash to see that happen. Heck, a conservative ticket including she and maybe Huckabee????? That would make me mess my pants with glee.

Come on, baggers. Grow a pair and start a new party. Bring it or admit that all your picket sign BS was nothing more than a childish attempt to toss rocks at the President.

Honest Debate said...

I heard Chuck Woolery (of all people) on Huckabee's show (ironically enough) make the point that politicians should fear us rather than the other way around. I agree. I think that's what was meant by striking "fear in the hearts of Democrats and Republicans alike" Nonny.

Guy, as you know we disagree on this issue. When you say "I am through voting for the lesser of two evils" that says to me that you are through voting after the primaries. And when you say "If it takes the liberal victory destroying the country, let it do so. We can then rebuild out of the ashes" I am not as confident as you that it will be conservatives that do the rebuilding. I also think the price is much too high. We've been through this before and I respect your view because I don't know with certainty that you are not correct.

My question however seeks common ground. Do you agree that the system as now constructed makes a third party nonviable? By "nonviable" I mean destroying America before letting unknown forces rebuild. I'm sure you don't prefer that option so please accept my definition for the sake of this discussion unless you believe that a third party can win now.

That changes the question to "What can be done to make a third party viable"? The alternate question is "What can be done to save the Republican party, thereby preserving the two-party system"? Those two questions beg another: "Is the two-party system worth saving". IMHO these are the issues that can be resolved as I doubt we will agree on the first points.

That's where term limits, run-offs, honest debate and preferential voting come in. Before the article, linked in the original post, I had never heard of preferential voting. I like the idea.

I definitely think election laws need reforming and voting procedures updated. Unlike the libs in 2000 I prefer to do it before the votes are cast.

Sarkazein said...

It's funny, you read smug asinine comments like A'mous' and at the same time read news article after news article about the majority of the people considering themselves conservative and Obowma's liberalism sliding down the polls like a greased up 400 pound topless dancer and A'mous still thinks he is on the winning side.

Honest Debate said...

Nonnhy,

I could agree with some of what you're saying but do you have to be such a jerk?

Anonymous said...

Fair point, HD. I'll sincerely try to hold off on the jerkishness until first jerked.

As far as "saving the Republican party" goes, I think it's going to take some massive back-peddling by a branch of supporters who feel that any small move back is an admission of error or a complete abandonment of their religious beliefs.


Face it, until the Democrats stopped bending over backwards to please every feminist, every union member and every Nader supporter, the party could not rely upon the backing of mainstream (NOT the protesting rightists who feel even Republicans are too liberal) independent voters.

Republicans may actually find it beneficial to learn this lesson from Democrats. If you want to stand around with pictures of bloody fetuses, or if you want to paint every Muslim as a potentially dangerous character, or if you want to make blatantly racist and illogical arguments in favor of radical immigration enforcement, you're going to scare off sane voters.

Honest Debate said...

Well, I think I can make the case that the extreme left owns the Democrats much more than the extreme right owns the Republicans but it's your last paragraph that interest me most.

In your three examples you are talking about tactics not issues. Bloody fetuses are a reality that most people don't want to face so the tactic may or may not be successful. The issue is real. Muslims are more likely to be "potentially dangerous" than any other demographic. This is very different than saying every Muslim is a terrorist but can easily be misunderstood to mean just that. The issue is real. I'd need you to elaborate on the third point about immigration to comment, but again the issue is real.

Compare that with "bending over backwards to please every feminist, every union member and every Nader supporter...". Saying any man would lie about an affair assumes any man would have an affair. Not real. Saying a serial abuser of women is advancing the feminist agenda because he believes in abortion is twisted logic. Not real. Holding up his enabler as a role model for women while vilifying women like Condi Rice is not beneficial to young girls. Is that considered bending over backward for feminist? Confusing and not real. Being against secret ballots or in favor of mandatory dues going to Democrats only is skewing reality as far as unions are concerned. Not real. Nader and the whole green thing is a lie. He hasn't done anything meaningful since the Corvair.

Anonymous said...

Not true, HD. Nader, more than anyone else in terms of Florida's vote, cost the national election for the Democrats in 2000. I'd say THAT's doing something.

And you almost did get my point. It's not that the feminists, unions and Nader nuts are no longer being serviced by the Democrats. It's that the national party is no longer bending over backwards to publicly appease them in open arenas. And THAT's what was needed to win over truly independent voters.

Until and unless the national Republican party shoves its own radicals to the back row of their big tent, or at least convinces them to shush up and accept backdoor feedings, they will remain the party of wingnuts in the eyes of truly objective independents.

And that calls for clarification.....

Many Republicans are simply embarrassed to call themselves Republicans. They need to say "conservative," or "patriot," or "supporter of small government." Basically ANYTHING except "a member of that party that George W. Bush and John McCain are members of."

Many of these folks have, in very large numbers since November, taken to calling themselves "independents."

There are also those, like some on this blog, who believe the Republican party is actually too liberal for their taste. They feel every law, every policy and every program developed by the government should incorporate and should adhere to fundametalist Christian dogma.

Many of them also now claim to be "independents."

So when drawing conclusions regarding any potential movement at all in the feelings, the loyalties and the voting tendancies of "independent" or centrist Americans, you might want to first check on the number of those who, out of embarrassment or an inability to deal with reality, have opted to deny their Republican party affiliation.

Once one does that, they can see that there is no significant "movement" afoot. There is no tremendous upheaval and tumult among sane and rational independents. Any hub-bub is little more than insincere whining from sunshine Republicans who will no doubt come slithering back next November to vote as they always do.

However, as shown in the last election, those who vote in that particular direction are severely outnumbered in key, electoral-rich states. So if sane conservatives and wingnut extremists want to EVER gain decent national footing again, they're going to have to do what the Democrats did. And that means cutting back a bit on the rhetoric, reducing demands, and paying closer attention to the way REAL Americans see them.

guy faulkes said...

Anonymous, I think you are overlooking the fact that the United States is a moderate - conservative country. After Obama it is going to be a conservative country. The 2010 race is going to be "anybody but a big government liberal" gets elected.

However HD and you may be correct in saying a third party would doom the Republicans. All I can say to that is, if the Republicans do not get back to their conservative base, good. I had rather be defeated by my enemies than stabbed in the back by my "friends".

Honest Debate said...

I'll give you the Nader point Nonny. I was referring to the CRU scandal as one indication that the green movement is based in part on lies. Perhaps I projected a bit too much onto Nader.

Obama had the most liberal voting record in the Senate. Who is more liberal than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi? These are your leaders. You claim "the national party is no longer bending over backwards to publicly appease them in open arenas. And THAT's what was needed to win over truly independent voters." How can that be interpreted any other way than to say they got Independent votes based on lies? At the very least you have admitted they had to hide their true ideology to trick Independents.

"Until and unless the national Republican party shoves its own radicals to the back row of their big tent, or at least convinces them to shush up and accept backdoor feedings..." Did you miss the last election? Republicans lost because they marginalized conservatives (you call them radicals).

You are correct that Republicans don't want to be associated with Bush or McCain. I think the two are different. Conservatives never did like McCain, that's why we lost. Bush however was very conservative on the military, national security, taxes, guns, judges, sanctity of life and other issues but he was not conservative on immigration and spending. For that he is accused of being no different than Democrats. I understand the anger but the accusation is crazy. Maybe some are embarrassed but most believe he betrayed them despite having advanced conservatism in many areas. Others think they will have more credibility with the left if they criticize the hated Bush. Bill O'Reilly and to a lesser extent Glenn Beck fall into that category in my opinion.

I just disagree with your "fundamentalist Christian dogma" statement. I agree with those who think the Republican party has become too liberal. Bush 41 was elected on the coat tails of the conservative Reagan but governed to the left of him. That led to defeat in 1992. Clinton moved right and was re-elected. Bush 43 ran on a conservative platform and won...twice. We moved left with McCain and lost. Meanwhile, Democrats threw out the very liberal Joe Lieberman because of one issue (big tent indeed), put Howard Dean in charge of the DNC and went with ultra-liberals like Gore and Kerry. They lost. See a pattern?

Anonymous said...

The pattern I see is one of the radical right repeatedly failing to recognize the mainstream's repulsion with their dogged dogma. Heck, they fail to even recognize that their own party finds them out of line and unsellable.

If everybody finds you crazy, is it not time to start questioning your ways? Or is just time to turn up the denials and the accusations to eleven?

The initial point of this thread was one related to the potential demise of the Republican party if they cannot unify, refortify and mobilize in a way that out-performs the Democrats.

As long as that point remains widely unrecognized or unheeded by extremists, my side'll be jumping for joy. I'm frankly not in a position to beg kooks to save themselves, so deny on, guys. Have at it.

Honest Debate said...

Nonny,

I laid out the history, what did I misrepresent? Why am I wrong?

I will clarify one point. I don't agree with you that Obama had to trick Independents by hiding his ideology. I think any idiot with half a brain could see who he was. The lamestream media did the work for him.

Liberal POV said...

HD

Great exchange between you and anonymous.

The right is more about settling scores than finding answers to today's problems.

The right never makes a mistake so they never have to apologize but they also never learn anything new.
Justice is not in the conservative's vocabulary.

History and science is of no value to the right in finding answers to current problems.

The only answers needed by the right wing extremist is tax cuts, guns, prayer and blame liberals for anything that goes wrong. The right wears patroitism and religion like a horse wears blinders.
This is from WW
“"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes" Thomas Jefferson
shyster | 11.30.09 - 8:18 pm | #

Honest Debate said...

"History and science is of no value to the right in finding answers to current problems." -LiberalPOV

I'll give you the fact that conservatives ignored the "science" that the CRU via the IPCC invented out of thin air (pun intended) but we at least know that keynesian economics has never in "history" worked to stimulate an economy.

Liberal POV said...

HD

:we at least know that keynesian economics has never in "history" worked to stimulate an economy."


It's in the process of working now as it did during the great depression , WWII, Space program, Interstate highway program,and Marshall Plan for Europe.

That's what I talking about you right wingers can't learn from history.

Sarkazein said...

Just as Ted Kennedy and his Klan fought against "green" technology in their backyard, there are other greeniacs fighting and suing to stop solar farms in the desert. The proposed solar farm is in the highest unemployment county in the country, in California, and would add 700 jobs. The Left fights it. Two years held up in the courts by Algore inbreeds.

guy faulkes said...

POV, you keep saying things that, to quote you, "just ain't true". For instance, you blindly refuse to admit FDR worsened and lengthened the depression. To prove this to yourself, read a book titled "the Forgotten Man" by Amity Shales. It is a pretty dry read, but outlines and backs up with sources FDR's many mistakes during the depression. I know that telling you this is useless, because you are going to put your fingers in your ears, your hands over your eyes, and run around screaming "FDR did to help - he did too!!"

Sark, you do not have to go very far to find hypocrisy in the green movement. I read that Blowing Rock has been given an award as a green community while being the first and maybe the only municipality in the country to ban wind generators both in town and the ETJ. POV, do you live in blowing Rock?

Liberal POV said...

Guy

No thanks! I will believe my grand parents and parents who lived during those times and the infustructure I've seen with my own eyes planned and built during the great depression and still working.
TVA, Blue Ridge Parkway, Boone Post office, Old Cove Creek School,
The Republicans would have let thousands of fellow Americans starve to death during the great depression.
Ms Amity Shales is an english major not an economist and writes propaganda for the National Review.

guy faulkes said...

POV, if you had the courage to read the book, you would find out why those projects were worsened and lengthened the depression. You would discover how FDR killed private construction of rural power initiatives with the TVA. You would discover how he killed farming.

Pardon me, but I am inclined to believe documented research over your parents and grandparents. However, it is now easier to see why you believe as you do. It is difficult to escape when you have been raised in a family environment that has historically taken advantage of entitlements rather than individual initiative.

guy faulkes said...

HD

I am sorry for taking so long in answering your questions. I let my self be sidetracked while considering them.

Do you agree that the system as now constructed makes a third party nonviable? No. People are starting to realize that both parties have evolved into proponents of big government. They are also becoming irate with the fact that we have created a ruling class by reelecting people due to yellow dog politics in both parties. A third party would make for a much more convenient way to run a candidate with a fresh perspective than bucking the party line in the primaries.

What can be done to make a third party viable"? People are going to have to start voting their convictions instead of following thee party line. If Neither party represents them, then a third party is the only choice. It may not win for a while, but will eventually gain the support of those dissatisfied with eh status quo. I do not think even term limits would help with the no choice system we now have.

"What can be done to save the Republican party, thereby preserving the two-party system"? They are going to have to return to their conservative base so that there will be a choice between liberal and liberal lite.

Is the two-party system worth saving". No, not if doing so leaves us in the shape we are now in. We really do not have two parties. We have two versions of the same one.

They both love big government.

Honest Debate said...

Guy,

Thanks for the response. My main quibble would with your statement, "We really do not have two parties. We have two versions of the same one." and "They both love big government."

I get your point but politics involves more than "big government". There is also taxes, judges, national security, sanctity of life, guns as well as many other issues where the differences could not be more stark. I would also posit that both parties don't "love big government". I'd say one party likes big government as a result trying to compete with a party that worships big government. That's my view anyway but I don't want to beat a dead horse.

My questions (and the direction I had hoped this thread would take) is what can be done legislatively to change the system so that a third party is more viable? That was where preferential voting, run offs, voting reform, ACORN, voter qualification test, term limits or any other ideas having to do with election reform come in. It's a tall order because the politicians have power they want to keep but that's bad for America. I don't think that's what the founders had in mind especially in regards to the House.

"We the people" have more say than most of us believe. We can get what we want even if it is a tall order. Surely we don't have to watch our country be reduced to ashes before people see the light...if they do.

Sarkazein said...

Obama will give you $2,500 a year to go to school


Above is a title of an article on ARAlifestyles.com site.


There are people being bribed with tax payer money.

guy faulkes said...

HD, all of your limits to the power of the incumbent would be a good idea. I do not think they will be very easy to archive. I am of the opinion that a vast number of angry people voting as a block in a third party will be the most likely reform to come about. This third party may not win, but after it costs one of the present to parties enough elections, that party will split. At that point it will be a winning contender. Hopefully this third party would then legislatively enact many of the proposals of which you speak. I do not think it is very realistic to expect the status quo incumbents to do anything that would endanger their gilded nests.

"I get your point but politics involves more than "big government". There is also taxes, judges, national security, sanctity of life, guns as well as many other issues where the differences could not be more stark." In my opinion, most of these issues are merely aspects of intervention by big government into an individual's life.

The older I get, the more Libertarian I get. With this in mind , you may have a valid consideration. Someone as fed up as I am might be missing the point, but I do not think so.

Honest Debate said...

Guy,

We disagree about how a third party can succeed. I think the system must be changed first for it to be viable without destroying America. I have no problem agreeing to disagree on that point because I just don't know for sure.

It's the "big government" thing that I can't get passed. I just don't see how judges (they will be appointed by someone with dramatic consequences), sanctity of life or even tax cuts can be considered big government. Cutting taxes gives more power to the people. On other issues you are correct. For instance, energy policy. Drilling in ANWR or off shore as well as exploiting nuclear energy is without a doubt big government. So is cap and trade but the two approaches are not different sides of the same coin. Spending blood and treasure to change the face of the middle east so that we can continue to be safe is big government. So is spending blood and treasure to surrender in 18 months. The approaches are opposite however.

I am of the opinion that in less than a year Obama has mucked things up to the point that even if Republicans see the light and return to more conservative roots that the price has already been too high...and he's just getting started. It's a disaster for our country.

The wild card is impeachment, conviction and removal. I agree whole-heartedly with you there.

Honest Debate said...

Guy,

I see that you said "most" issues so my points may be moot. Sorry.

guy faulkes said...

HD, I think we are basically saying much the same thing, but from differing perspectives. Neither of us want government interference with the free market, individual rights, or the ability to live ones life as he pleases without initiating violence against another.

In my opinion, protecting the citizens of this country from foreign aggression, be it by another nation or terrorists is not a function of big government. It is one of the limited legitimate powers of any national government of any size.

Judges are not a function of big government. They are a function of any legal system from the Supreme Court to the local magistrate or justice of the piece. You are right in that there will be judges appointed or elected, no matter what.

Likewise tax cuts are not a function of big government. They are a limit on government power while at the same time increasing the economy and ultimately the amount of money taken in by the government. In a sane world where there is no radically increased entitlement spending (a function of big government), taxes could then be further reduced.

The only time the taking of a life is permissible, in my opinion, is in the defense of yourself, an innocent, your country, or as a punishment for an exceedingly heinous crime. This excludes the murders called abortions. It does not matter if this self defense is an individual or public process except the instance of a punishment for a crime is entirely public.

I agree that Obama has placed us in a position in which it will take years for recovery to be possible. However, I have faith we can do it. If not you and I, then our children, our grandchildren, or their children will do so. The one thing conservatives have going for them is that they take the time to rear their offspring in such a manner that they have a sense of values and morals.

I would hazard our main difference is that you appear to think significant changes can be made through the legislative process without a firm line being drawn in the sand. Forty years of voting has taught me this is not the case. This line may require a third party to implement it.

I believe we have identical goals but believe in differing paths to reach those goals. I hope you are correct as your path will be much less painful than mine.

I must say that I really enjoy debates with people that do not get their underwear in a wad and start calling people names because they do not exactly agree with each other. Thank you for the civil discourse.

Honest Debate said...

I believe election reform is a winning issue for any candidate who runs on it. The RNC would do well to seek those candidates and make it part of their platform. Most all of the problems we face stem from a government that has failed the people.

Guy, I don't want to come off as unappreciative of your comments. I am, the feeling's mutual but "civil discourse" is not a lot to expect. It's sad that it's rare.

guy faulkes said...

Amen.