March 17th, 2012

Those wild and crazy Republicans/conservatives

Funny how the word “crazy” comes up quite a bit today, in modifying the words “Republicans” and “conservatives.”

First we have the Daily Beast’s John Avlon with, “The Case for Crazy: What the GOP Would Learn by Picking Rick Santorum.” Then there’s Rick Perlstein in Rolling Stone, whose “Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years” is the usual hit job listing (and often exaggerating and/or misunderstanding) the most extreme excesses involving a minority on the right (which Perlstein attributes to the majority on the right), as well as ignoring the similar variety of wackos on the left.

We can dismiss Perlstein as a partisan guy engaged in writing polemics. Avlon’s article is different, and bears some looking into—not because it’s good (it’s not) but because it raises some interesting points about Santorum’s candidacy. Avlon seems to believe that if Santorum were to be nominated and lose the general, conservatives would finally get it that “ideological purity and electability are [not] one and the same,” and then would come back to their senses and towards the center.

I’m not so sure. I think there are plenty of other ways for Santorum-supporters to explain his defeat that would not lead them towards a more moderate candidate next time.

For example, one argument might be that Santorum wasn’t conservative enough; after all, he’s hardly the small government champion conservatives are looking for, at least not in his voting record. Others might say that he lacked executive experience, or economics experience, or gravitas, or was Catholic rather than Protestant, or was just too weird a person, or wore too many sweater vests, or—you get the picture. A Santorum defeat would not necessarily lead Santorum-supporters to abandon their devotion to finding a candidate who could best express their conservative principles; why would it? It might be more likely to cause them to double down on those principles with a renewed dedication to finding a candidate who better expressed those principles, or who carried them in a more electorally-pleasing personal package.

What’s more, there’s a wing of the far right that I call the apocalypse-seekers. By using that phrase I don’t actually mean anything religious, but instead am referring to those who believe that if the electorate doesn’t see the conservative light and pull a hard reverse of our recent trend towards a larger welfare state and the demise of traditional social morality, then we deserve what we get, which will be some sort of societal/governmental breakdown and/or conflagration. They reluctantly welcome that because they see it as the only chance to rebuild. People who believe such a scenario aren’t going to be deterred by a little thing like Santorum’s losing.

Are Santorum-supporters crazy? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think he’s a very poor candidate who would get creamed by Obama in the general, but I see no reason to call those who would vote for him crazy. If you’re a social conservative, it’s hardly crazy to support the guy who most closely mirrors your views. It’s not crazy to vote for a man who spent a lot of years in the Senate as a conservative representing a large somewhat-purplish-but-mostly-blue northeastern state. It’s especially not crazy to do so if you think his opponents in the primaries are either losers or non-conservatives, or both.

45 Responses to “Those wild and crazy Republicans/conservatives”

  1. holmes Says:

    Unless you are an Ivy-league educated conservative in which case you become “scary”, as they still cannot bring themselves to impugn the Ivies.

  2. sergey Says:

    May be, these “crazies”are exactly right. USA simply did not have enough of progressive agenda to repent and see reality as it is. Another 4 years of unhinged leftism would be a bitter medicine to swallow, but it may be necessary to return to one’s senses.

  3. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    “the apocalypse-seekers. ”
    These people have bothered me for some time, but are neglected as a factor by most everyone.
    They will stay home to see Obama elected.
    They hope to see everything fall apart, as you said, to rebuild in the founders intent.
    Where, in heavens name, did they ever get that idea?
    What historically has ever happened like that?
    It’s usually the left that triumphs at those times.
    And should the left prevail, one way or the other, be it on their heads.

  4. rickl Says:

    Right. As if propping up the economy by borrowing trillions of dollars that don’t exist isn’t crazy.

  5. foxmarks Says:

    Once again, as an “apocalypse seeker” I object to the persistent characterization that we’re naive about the risks, suffering and dim prospect for success.

    If crazy is the term du jour, y’all are crazy to believe an upheaval can be avoided. Y’all are batsh!t crazy to believe an upheaval can be avoided by continuing the same errors with less conviction.

    Nice try, but you can’t escape blame for what happens. There are no bystanders. Y’all are participants in the two-party illusion and the abdication of Constitutional responsibilities. You bought the end of the Republic with your votes. You cannot run away when the bill comes due.

  6. Kae Arby Says:

    I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

    I’m getting this information from Wikipedia.

    Right now, Romney has 434 delegates or 56% of the total delegates that have awarded to date. Santorum has, on the other hand 173 or a little more than 22%. To top it off, only 34% of the delegates have been pledged and the primaries of the three largest states, California, Texas and New York, are at least a month away. The way I see it is that unless Romney self destructs, runs out of money or gets out of the race entirely, the Republican nomination is his; no Santorum upset; no brokered convention; no David beating Goliath.

    So, again, I ask what is all the fuss about potential Santorum candidacy?


  7. Don Carlos Says:

    I am not an apocalypse-seeker; I fear it greatly, and I know it is coming. In the meantime we are being smothered by soft totalitarianism, with air hunger yet to appear.
    But I have the distinct impression that Romney, if elected, will act much like Tearful John the Boehner, and the nation will go off the cliff at ‘only’ 60mph instead of the present 90.

  8. kolnai Says:

    This is an interesting topic. I’ll add a few observations.

    First, there is a difference between pessimists and apocalypse-seekers – an obvious point – but it’s a difference that can easily disappear if the pessimism gets deep enough. I myself am mostly a pessimist, in that I expect (but do not hope for) a pretty nasty period of breakdown and “facing the abyss” in this country. What makes me not an apocalypse-seeker is that I believe we must still do all we can to avert it. I do not think we will succeed (hence the pessimism), but maybe we can make the reckoning “less bad.”

    But this leads to a second point. Eric Posner (son of Richard) and Adrian Vermeule wrote a book a few years ago on how to make practical judgments from a policy-maker’s perspective concerning the terrorist threat. One of their key points is that there are certain horizons of consequences that are too “far” and involve too many variables to be predicted and thus acted upon confidently (they were thinking of the “blowback” thesis).

    I consider the coming catastrophe to be that kind of deal. I do think something worse than the current malaise is coming – but what exactly? Don’t know, and can’t pretend to.

    On the other hand, nothing in what I would hope for policy-wise hinges on a prognostication of cataclysm. Since I think having our country become a de jure tyranny (if Obamacare is judged constitutional) and a social democracy is cataclysm enough, even if we wind up functioning like France, it doesn’t really matter if an “apocalypse” is coming. The prescription is the same. Don’t become a tyranny. Don’t become a social democracy.

    However, if instead I christened my pessimism “inevitable” and did not believe any step-wise process was good enough to alleviate it, then I guess I would have to conclude, logically, that the only potential for the needed change was in the very apocalypse I’d want to avoid. What Posner and Vermeule want to say is that such judgments are not reliable guides to practical decision-making in the present. The Bayesian prior (if you will) that can be objectively attached to the occurrence of an apocalypse is fantastically low, and even if it were mid-range (around .5) that still would not tell us about triggers, causes, and so forth. The best approach is to just try to avoid near-to-mid range threats that can be known with more certainty, and therefore can be addressed with more effectiveness.

    So, taking account of this kind of “pragmatic epistemology” can help pessimists such as myself avoid slipping into fever-dreams. We may feel tempted to say, “Let the disaster come, it’s the only hope we have,” but we should be aware that we’re speaking as prophets when we do so, not as people who have to come up with justifications for practical action in the here-and-now.

    And besides, if it’s coming anyway, then shouldn’t we at least try to make it “less bad,” sort of like caring for a patient dying from a painful cancer? I would think that means we should try to promote fiscal sanity as best we can, try to promote the traditional bourgeois virtues as best we can, try to get our ordered liberty as properly ordered and free as best we can – in other words, we should keep trying to promote a conservative agenda.

    Third – and I think this is very important to note – Republican and conservative leaders have had to thread the needle on rhetoric here, and it’s quite difficult to convey a sense impending doom without encouraging apocalypse-seeking. Check out Paul Ryan’s latest ad for his upcoming budget. The music is doom-laden, the rhetoric is “if we don’t do x, then bye-bye sweet figs.” I’m not blaming Ryan, and I think it’s a good ad. I’m just saying our perilous position has put us in a kind of “fog of war” situation, and striking the appropriate balance is no easy thing.

    I was in Barnes and Noble recently, and as I scanned the books in the current events section it was impossible not to notice the overwhelming tone of imminent doom in the titles and subtitles of the political screeds. Again, I’m not blaming them. I agree with almost everything in Mark Steyn’s latest book, and I believe my pessimism matches his. The point is that hitting this motif again and again, to the point where it becomes dominant, is bound to contribute to apocalypse-seeking, rather like salutary manufacturing is bound to cause pollution. So long as this doesn’t get out of control, we simply have to accept that it’s going to be present. We have to call attention to how dire our situation is – it would be immoral not to – but at the same time we have to be prudent in doing so. Not an easy task. People get scared – I certainly do – and transitioning to a prophetic vision of rapture-upon-destruction is easier to accept than black despair and radical uncertainty.

    Finally, a personal note. I am not a fan of apocalyptic politics. Reading the history of practical endeavors rooted in such ideas – see, for instance, Richard Landes’s recent “Heaven on Earth” – conveys one lesson very clearly: it almost always ends in prolonged misery. I’ve quoted James Fistjames Stephens’ here before, but it’s appropriate to do so once more:

    “The whole current of thought and feeling, the whole stream of human affairs, is setting with irresistable force in that direction. The old ways of living, many of which were just as bad in their time as any of our devices can be in ours, are breaking down all over Europe, and are floating this way and that like haycocks in a flood. Nor do I see why any wise man should expend much thought or trouble on trying to save their wrecks. The waters are out and no human force can turn them back, but I do not see why as we go with the stream we need sing Hallelujah to the river god.”

    Stephens was talking about universal suffrage – democracy – and his book was an attempt to temper the hubris of people like Mill who seemed to be all for singing Hallelujah to the river god. “Salut par le sang” is not what we should be promoting, either practically or morally.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Kae Arby: the fuss is composed of measures of all the following, depending on who’s doing the fussing:

    (1) wishful thinking

    (2) fear

    (3) what a long strange primary season it’s been so far

    (4) desire to make headlines by stringing it out further

  10. Promethea Says:

    I’m not crazy. As I mentioned on a previous thread, I’ve been thinking about voting for Santorum and asked for neocon reader opinions. Foxmark answered me by telling me to look at Santorum’s website. So I did. I also checked Santorum’s bio on Wikipedia.

    I didn’t see much to complain about. Like all politicians, Santorum has not voted consistently about anything. He says that he’s against birth control, but really, what are the chances that this will become a big issue in the U.S.? It’s a stupid issue that’s been pumped by various publicists (like the speaking English in Puerto Rico issue).

    My main concern about Santorum is that he has no business experience nor governing experience. Romney does have this experience.

    HOWEVER, Romney just look like a big mushy flabby flippy fish. He should have condemned Obamacare, not defended government healthcare programs. He should have called for fiscal conservatism and meant it.

    Neo, you wrote extensively on what Romney really said, but that’s not the Romney that I’m seeing. Romney looks to me like a big Zero.

    Of course, if he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him against Obama. But I don’t see him as being all that different from Obama.

  11. Promethea Says:

    I just got a robocall from Romney for President. His pitch to me was that Santorum first voted for aid to Planned Parenthood and then voted against aid to Planned Parenthood.

    For God’s sake people. This stuff is just so petty. Romney said nothing to convince me to vote for him.

    Really, when did sex become the all-import issue of our times? This is so totally childish. I’m embarrassed by these clowns in both parties.

  12. Parker Says:

    I’m a pessimist about the future of our society. Government has been expanding its reach year by year all of my adult life. For 30+ years the economy has been based on easy credit and the cumulative debt burden, both public and private, is going to have terrible consequences when the bill comes due. As Don Carlos notes its been a slower expansion under Republicans, but an expansion nonetheless. However, despite the numerous issues that I have with the republican party and its members, I’d prefer a republican in the Oval Office and republicans controlling congress over the modern day democrats.


    Everyone will pay the price. And, BTW if I thought there was a 50-50 chance that an ‘apocalypse’ could bring about a positive change I might look forward to the turmoil. But IMO it would bring about a total victory for the ‘progressives’.

  13. Kae Arby Says:

    Actually, Neo, I think it goes way deeper than that.

    The problem these people have isn’t that Santorum has a real chance at winning the nomination; it’s that he won’t, along with Gingrich, go away. I remember hearing, as far back as November, that we all needed to put aside our difference and get behind Romney if we were to have any chance of beating Obama. The nomination was supposed to be his two months before the first vote was cast. Our presumptive nominee has a lot of weaknesses and the Republican establishment knows this, which is why they wanted this sewn up just as quickly as possible to keep those weaknesses hidden from the public.


  14. Nolanimrod Says:

    I really wish Santorum had been able to realize he wasn’t in a late night skull session at the dorm and stifle himself.

    He couldn’t. So now every interview is going to open with a question asking if he really believes birth control is the root of all evil. Because of that he probably can’t win.

    But something else is at work here.

    A very usable bon mot stipulated that when people’s personal lives are scary they focus on world politics and when the world is a scary place they focus on personal matters.

    We have a trillion dollar deficit. We had one last year. We’ll have one next year. Hayek, Keynes, and everybody in between will tell you this can’t go on forever yet our masters are acting like it can.

    Is it any wonder we’re compulsively ranting about birth control? Next up: the tragedy of hang nails.

  15. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I would be more concerned if I hadn’t seen all this before. The 70s were much like this. The books predicting hyperinflation and collapse were big sellers. Gold, silver, and farm land were in vogue. I still have a bag of junk sillver coins that I bought then as “insurance.” Believe me things looked very scary. The market was in the dumpers for ten years, inflation got up in the 7-10% range, the deficit was soaring, Carter was disarming the U.S. while Iran, (yes, there’s that name again) was spitting in our faces oil prices went up, and we scaled back exploring for oil. There was “malaise” and palpable fear that we were never going to come back. UN soldiers with black helicopters were reportedly waiting at the borders to swoop in and establish one world government. There was paranoia and rampant rumors of calamity. And yet, and yet, one man with a vision of what America was capable of, working with a Congress controlled by the opposite party, turned things around. Yes, there was some pain. 15% interest rates inflicted a lot of pain, but the medicine worked.

    My friends, if we can elect a Republican, even a RINO, as President and provide a Republican Congress, (the Republican Congress may be the more important of the two) I have full confidence that government spending can be reined in, entitlement programs can be scaled back, and, most impotantly, with proper energy and regulatory policies, the economy can come roaring back. That is what we all need to be working for between now and November 6th. Buck up, the end is not anywhere near in sight.

  16. foxmarks Says:

    kolnai: Maybe surprisingly, I consider myself an optimist. I’m not gnashing teeth over the inevitable. I’m focused on beating the odds so we come out re-Constitutionalized.

    The way to make the collapse “less bad” is to get the Great Repricing started. Waiting makes it worse. One reason I liked 9-9-9 was that it would create a repricing dynamic while there was still a little resilience in the economy.

    Promethea: I’m glad you went to the source. There are many things I like about Santorum. But he fails to explain how he gets to his $5T FedGov cut. Which areas get the axe?

    Whatever our differences, we share common ground about Rmoney. At least until election day…

    Parker: This is my optimism talking—the laws of economics ensure the Progs will lose. Just a matter of when. I’m more worried about a reemergence of fascism.

    The Progs are profoundly unhappy with Obama, but not nimble enough (or not presented with a palatable alternative) to support someone who holds to their anti-corporate anti-bankster values. Barry is a “black” Mussolini.

  17. n.n Says:

    American conservatism represents the center of the ideological scale. It is a hybrid of classical liberalism and the Judeo-Christian faith. The American left advocates for an abdication of individual dignity and devaluation of human life. Their well-intentioned policies have been the principal cause for progressive corruption of individuals and society. They do not offer a compromise but a request for submission. The contemporary liberal and progressive is neither liberal nor progressive (in the classical sense). They have enjoyed an accumulation of wealth and power through the exploitation of the American people and it has corrupted them. They have forgotten what they were fighting for and predisposed themselves to establishing new, progressive extremes.

  18. Parker Says:

    JJ Formerly,

    I’ve also seen it all before, but its not the 1970s. The austerity required is an order of magnitude greater than the citizens of Greece face and that sad story is just beginning to unfold. There is no way to grow our way out of this situation. The FED and the ECB will continue to print, its the only thing they know how to do. The debt has been monetized and history shows this is a dead end street.


    They ‘99%’ are nothing, useful idiots at best. You seem to believe the progressives are communists, but in reality there is little difference between fascism and communism. The so called leftist ‘intelligentsia’ are in fact fascists. BHO is a fascist and he’s doing his best to weld the big corporations & banks to the hip with big government. Its not a conspiracy, its taking place right in front of us.

  19. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    “I’ve also seen it all before, but its not the 1970s. The austerity required is an order of magnitude greater than the citizens of Greece face and that sad story is just beginning to unfold. There is no way to grow our way out of this situation. The FED and the ECB will continue to print, its the only thing they know how to do. The debt has been monetized and history shows this is a dead end street.”

    I’m no economist, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know one thing – the U.S. economy cannot be compared to any European economy except for possibly Germany. Greece is in the trouble it is in becaus it has no way to create new wealth. They depend on olives/olive oil and tourism to bring new money into the country. Now, some major electronics company might locate there and provide some new wealth if, by chance, they made their country more hospitable to business. Ireland is in the same boat, but they see that they must cut back and attract new businesses to their shores. I’m betting that Ireland, with a struggle, is going to do okay. And that’s not St Paddy’s blarney.

    This country has unlimited capabilities for creating wealth. Resource production, agriculture, high tech, manufacturing, and even tourism are all capable of amazing new wealth creation if they are unleashed from government regulation.

    Grow the tax base and cut spending! We have to do the two together. If Congress quits increasing spending by 8%/year, which is the SOP now, and holds the budget level for the next five years, while allowing the economy to grow, the fiscal situation will be back to a manageable level. (Some say we could be in surplus in seven years. I’m not that optimistic.) If, in addition, Congress can slow entitlement growth by reducing future benefits (Change the SS benefit formula to inflation gowth vice wage growth, slightly increase retirement age, require either higher premiums for Medicare or copays or both) turn Medicaid over to the states, and enact some real common sense things to slow the rise in medical costs (tort reform, insurance exchanges in all the states, allowing individual insurance buyers to deduct the cost of their premiums from income, encouraging low cost walk-in clinics in places like Walmart, and much, much more) we may be able to slow the growth of medical costs and put entitlements on a more fiscally sound basis.
    I don’t buy the meme that we have to cut spending by $1 trillion immediately. It might cut our deficit quickly – it would also cause another big recession/depression.

    That’s my thinking and I freely admit I could be wrong, but it is almost certain that just continuing to do what Obama and company are doing will bankrupt us in 5-10-15-?? years. Anyone that even tries to cut spending woud be an immense improvement.

  20. Promethea Says:

    (1) Eliminate the Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare

    (2) Reduce the EPA to its original function, eliminating over-the-top air pollution (not “dust on farms”) and bad chemicals that set rivers aflame.

    (3) Check the water supply for actual poisons, not ridiculous standards that are beyond commonsense.

    (4) Hang public officials that are found taking bribes over $xxxx. The amount to be discussed in a democratic fashion. I vote for $1 million because that’s a lot of money.

  21. Parker Says:

    JJ Formerly,

    I too have never portrayed an economist on TV but Krugman has been on TV and has a Nobel but that does not make him a reliable economist. 😉 Reality is rather easy to discover. In terms of debt per GDP & unfunded liabilities per the capita, the ratio is far greater in the USA than in Greece.

    “Greece is in the trouble it is in becaus it has no way to create new wealth.”

    What ‘wealth’ has been created in the USA that was not created by inflation or borrowed money or off shoring manufacturing or credit default swaps and sub prime mortgage derivatives or deficits and QE?

    There is a slim chance for hope but there must first be painful consequences and I have my doubts that the public is willing to take the pain. Thus, I see monetizing the debt leading to hyperinflation. Here is a taste of what I think the future holds:

    Of course “I could be wrong” but history says otherwise. First Greenspan & now Bernanke are taking us down a road to a rather dark place where there may well be monsters.

  22. Parker Says:


    What you are proposing is spare change; a few weeks at most.

  23. rickl Says:

    I don’t buy the meme that we have to cut spending by $1 trillion immediately. It might cut our deficit quickly – it would also cause another big recession/depression.

    I do, we do, and it would.

    But the alternative is far, far worse.

  24. Randy Says:

    The frequent charge that conservatives are calling for “ideological purity” is a straw man.

    Conservatives simply want the party to fight for some sort of conservative policy or legislative accomplishment, not simply act to slow down down the eventual triumph of collectivism.

    Arlen Specter’s recent candid remarks about Bob Dole and previous statements by Bush ’41 make it clear that conservatives are completely disrespected by GOP leaders, explains why, despite a couple decades of electoral victories, conservatives won zero structural changes to the government.

    No conservative I know wishes to impose Obama on America as a lesson, we just can’t get that excited about supporting the establishment that is embarrassed by us, and which won’t fight for any of our goals if it gets elected.

  25. Randy Says:

    There are some conservatives who believe that if, in the face of the current Obama presidency, republicans won’t back a true conservative agenda, they never will.

  26. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Parker: “What ‘wealth’ has been created in the USA that was not created by inflation or borrowed money or off shoring manufacturing or credit default swaps and sub prime mortgage derivatives or deficits and QE?”

    I respectfully disagree. Have you been following the fortunes of Apple, Facebook, Groupon, and other such companies? They have been creating new wealth during a recession. Anytime we get new products or new services that supply a need, new wealth is created.
    Derivatives and other such financial instruments are reshuffling of already created wealth in the hopes of making a speculative profit. The markets are a zero sum game except when a new dynamic company is brought into being – that adds to wealth. In most financial market transactions there is a loser and a winner. Especially when you are talking about derivatives. The banksters and brokers take their share in fees, but have been doing more speculating – which led to our present situation. That is a problem that needs solving, as it wasn’t solved by the Dodd/Frank act. A topic for another time. But when a new company such as Facebook comes into the market new wealth is created. Wealth is, of course, destroyed when companies fall by the wayside such as Sears is in the process of doing. The process is on going in relatively free markets. The trick is to be creating more new products and services than are falling out of use.

    Every time we produce new oil, new gas, a new airplane, a new service, a new crop of farm products, etc. we are producing new wealth. Since the 1970s we have been throttling that process back. Farmers are being regulated tighter and tighter. Farmers in Washington state are about to lose 30% of tillable acreage to “protecting wetlands!” Oil exploration has been choked off. Manufacturers have found a more hospitable climate overseas, And so on. If allowed to, this country has enormous wealth building capabilities.

    I enjoyed looking at the link. Argentina is one of the countries that has experienced hyperinflation. In the early 1900s Argentina was the second richest country in the world. They’ve got it all. Lots of excellent farmland, oil, minerals, fishing, and people who are willing to work hard (at least by South American standards.) However, they have suffered a series of inflations and devaluations in the last 100 years. The cause has been a government that spends more than it takes in on social programs. The last devaluation was in 2001.
    I was there in January. Is the place a shambles? No, life goes on, but not as well as many would like. There are many psychological scars for those who can’t seem to get ahead and lost ground in the devaluation. They have all the components to become wealthy again, but the tradition of socialism is so strong they can’t seem to get out of the doldrums. Talking to people there, it is obvious to me that their minds cannot grasp the idea that their government is the problem. Sigh. I think we are not that far gone.

  27. Randy Says:

    Foxmarks – “This is my optimism talking—the laws of economics ensure the Progs will lose. Just a matter of when. I’m more worried about a reemergence of fascism.”

    Is there a real distinction between fascists and modern day progressives who have grown up learning that only good things come from centralized power? Not a distinction based on some academic definition, but on a rubber meets the road definition?

  28. rickl Says:

    J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:
    March 18th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Talking to people there, it is obvious to me that their minds cannot grasp the idea that their government is the problem. Sigh. I think we are not that far gone.

    Nope, I think we’re pretty much there right now. About half of the American voting public thinks that socialism is perfectly OK. And their minds also can’t grasp that government is the problem.

  29. virgil xenophon Says:

    I’m seriously conflicted. Electing a RINO “manager” like Romney only insures that the Ship of State will be steered more efficiently toward the rocky shoals towards which we are now heading. No one seriously thinks Romney is up to the task of major programmatic/structural governmental change. With Romney we may just become more “efficiently ineffective.” OTOH, there IS the looming prospect of at least two slots on the SCOTUS. Were Obama to win this could tip the scales–perhaps fatally–for the better part of half a century. This election is about the lesser of two evils. With Romney not only will we not only not get anymore “wise Latinas” or leftist ideologues like Kagan (has anyone actually read some of her academic musings?) but we might actually get some true conservatives as Romney seeks/is pressured to prove his conservative bona fides. If the Elephants can gain control of both houses this time even a RINO might be forced much further right than many now think possible–mainly because he is NOT a “conviction” politician. What is wanted, of course, is a conservative as firmly ideological as Santorum, as smart as Thomas Sowell and as glib as Gringrich. But, in the insightful words of a certain home-schooling housewife from Ark named Freeman Hunt (whom I bumped into at Ann Althouses’ place)
    in a 2009 essay she wrote on her own blog, “He Is Not Coming!” for a variety of sociocultural reasons.
    Let us not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. As Graham T. Allison (of “The Cuban Missile Crisis”) once quoted Thomas Schilling as saying: “It’s tough enough to find a needle in a haystack, let alone the sharpest needle in the haystack.”

  30. foxmarks Says:

    Arguing the difference between Progressivism and fascism would take more than I think fits here.

    In brief form, yes, there is are essential and important distinctions “where the rubber meets the road”. I’m not sure how many here actually spend time living with and arguing with real-live Progs.

    The Progs want to vote on everything. Their idea of central control still puts the gov’t under the will of a democratic majority. Fascism does not honor democracy in the same way. Fascism attempts to stifle dissent, while the Progs love to protest.

    I called Obama a “black” Mussolini. I had properly identified him as a fascist four years ago. And this is why the Progs are so upset with him. They hate all the anti-speech and NDAA stuff he has done. They resent the perversion of their communalist ideals by a bureaucractic Orwellian gov’t.

    A fissure exists between socialist Progs and dictatorial-fascist Obama. I keep talking about it because it can be exploited to precipitate political change. Some of the Progs can be turned; they must see that central control always crushes democracy, even if begun with “noble” prog aims.

    The best way to honor democracy is to limit its power. Our republican Constitution is the model to restore and rebuild on.

  31. Lisa Says:

    What I find most objectionable with the majority of the Santorum supporters is their blinding hatred of Romney. I think that a lot of it might be because of bigotry that they don’t want to see in themselves. I don’t recall this much hatred aimed at McCain or Dole when they were “the establishment’s” pick. I don’t have any other way to explain it. Yes, I know, Romney is a RINO (a favorite name to be put on anyone that doesn’t agree with the uber-conservatives), he is the “establishment’s pick” (who is the establishment anyway? They seem to be as mysterious and powerful as the Bilderberg Group), and other name calling that is based on anti-mormon rhetoric. I can accept their belief in Santorum if they offer reasonable explanations. But, most of the time, they sound like the liberal’s I see commenting on the Daily Kos. The only difference being that the conservative’s hatred is focused on someone in their own party. It is really ugly. We need to stop cannibalizing our nominees.

  32. foxmarks Says:

    J.J.: You’re citing particular successes. At the level of the firm and the individual, there will always be fortunes created in an economy with even a sliver of dynamism.

    The argument about no wealth being created rests upon an aggregate measure of all individuals and firms in an economy. Using GDP is a trap, because it includes the inflation which Parker and I call false growth.

    It is also important to consider population growth. Every life is a resource and part of an economy’s wealth. If there are more people, a dynamic economy will produce more wealth. Every extra t-shirt is wealth.

    As new wealth is created, old wealth is also consumed. Or old wealth loses its economic value, even if the object or idea still exists. In the American economy households have garages and storage units stuffed full of used clothes, furniture, recreational equipment, and countless particles of crap. Is that stuff an asset or a liability? How was it paid for, considering that most households are carrying massive loads of debt (credit card, HELOC and cash-out refis)?

    A huge portion of measured GDP is worth much less in the real world than in the statistical world. That pair of skis you bought counted in the GDP two years ago, but now while the skis sit in your storage locker, that portion of GDP has been essentially reduced to zero (salvage value). But this year’s GDP is not adjusted downward to reflect the loss in value-product of those skis. And if you are still making payments on the skis, it counts as current GDP, even though you are in effect paying for nothing.

    This is one aspect of what I call the Great Repricing.

    Everything we all have in storage and in our minds is going to be part of a huge swap meet. And then we’ll find out how wealthy we really are.

    It is another of my causes of optimism that even if all the storage lockers burned down, we would still know how to grow enough food to make us fat and how to build enough iPads to keep us connected. We’re all much less wealthy than we think, but we will survive.

  33. Randy Says:


    “The Progs want to vote on everything. ”

    I think only to a limit. Case in point is the numerous cases where courts have overruled popular initiatives against same sex marriage.

    I think progs primarily want to create what they believe is a rationally correct society, and will use the vote to the extent that it gets them there. But ultimately, the feel that they need some sort of priesthood of superiors that can make sure the people don’t prevail when the people are wrong.

    In some respects then, they are like conservatives, who would limit the power of the democracy by the written constitution, only the progs would substitute for the constitution an elite meritocracy.

    “The best way to honor democracy is to limit its power.”


  34. Randy Says:


    “What I find most objectionable with the majority of the Santorum supporters is their blinding hatred of Romney. I think that a lot of it might be because of bigotry that they don’t want to see in themselves.”

    In a way, Romney is a victim of Bush/Dole/McCain. How many times will conservatives hold their noses and vote for the establishment candidate, only to see the conservative agenda totally ignored when the GOP wins.

  35. Randy Says:

    Virgil Xenophon:

    “…but we might actually get some true conservatives as Romney seeks/is pressured to prove his conservative bona fides.”

    This is one reason I’d like to keep conservative pressure on Romney as long as possible.

  36. Promethea Says:

    I certainly don’t have a “blinding hatred” of Romney. He’s a big nothing to me. Yesterday his robocall told me that Santorum voted for planned parenthood. Today two Romney ads on two different blogs (Lucianne and Instapundit) told me that Santorum is for giving felons the right to vote and for something else bad (I forgot already).

    What is Romney for?

    Why should I jump on Romney’s bandwagon just because he supposedly the predetermined candidate? I’m just not a herd animal. The election is Tuesday, and I haven’t voted yet.

  37. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Foxmarks says “Everything we all have in storage and in our minds is going to be part of a huge swap meet. And then we’ll find out how wealthy we really are.”

    That’s exactly what happened in Argentina in 2001. It became a barter economy and many people survived by trading their “stuff” for food, clothes, and other items they needed. So, some of that stored stuff has a value in the right circumstance.

    As to Romney versus Santorum. Santyorum is no more conservative than Romney. He is a vocal social conservative. A trait that, IMO, makes him less electable in the general. Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney all believe that government is the people’s friend. But they all want to pay for it, unlike the Dems and Obama. They all recognize that spending must be cut while growing the economy. They all have plans to do that. The major question to ask is, which of them has more executive and leadership experience. On that point Romney edges out Newt and leaves Santorum behind. I understand not warming up to Romney personally, but we’re not voting on American Idol here. That said, if Santorum or Newt becomes the nominee, I will work for and support financially the nominee. ABO – 2012!

  38. Parker Says:

    “I will work for and support financially the nominee. ABO – 2012!”

    JJ formerly,

    I truly respect your position, even when I think you are tip toeing through the tulips. You impress me as someone with much experience and a sincere heart. Long may you live.

    I have had a busy day in the garden and with grand kids so I lost track of this discussion, but it is here that I hope everyone, including Foxmarks can agree: ABO!

    We need a bit of breathing room. 😉

  39. Parker Says:


    Bravo! You are so succinct. I bow down to your brevity.

    “I don’t buy the meme that we have to cut spending by $1 trillion immediately. It might cut our deficit quickly – it would also cause another big recession/depression.

    I do, we do, and it would.

    But the alternative is far, far worse.”

  40. Parker Says:

    “It is another of my causes of optimism that even if all the storage lockers burned down, we would still know how to grow enough food to make us fat and how to build enough iPads to keep us connected. We’re all much less wealthy than we think, but we will survive.”

    Wow! If the ultimate SHTF arrives, iPads will be worthless, indeed they will be dangerous as they will be hacked by the NSA.

  41. RandomThoughts Says:

    All I need to make me truly despair for our nation is to be surrounded by preppers intoning their “SHTF” mantra.

    Just saying.

    In the meantime, I agree with Foxmarks, “At the level of the firm and the individual, there will always be fortunes created in an economy with even a sliver of dynamism.”

    It may not be iPads being produced, per se, but it will be something new, creative, and desirable. Despite her current economic failings and a government that seems determined to squash entrepreneurs under the boot heel of socialism, America still is a place where creative capitalistic minds thrive.

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    Promethea: when you say that Romney’s “a big nothing” to you, it sounds ignorant. You can say you don’t like him, don’t support him, don’t plan to vote for him, don’t agree with him, don’t trust him—but he’s certainly not a “nothing.” Nor, by the way, are Santorum or Gingrich, or Paul, or any of the other candidates who dropped out already.

    There’s plenty to read about Romney, if you care to learn. On this blog, and all over the place. You can even start with his Wiki entry. There’s plenty of substance there. If you want more, read this book. And here are his positions and plans.

  43. NeoConScum Says:

    Bunny Hole-Alfred E. Newman Alert..!

    A man with the name, Rick Perlstein, is pouring lefty blather on conservatives!! What, Rick, you HATE Israel too, Bro?

  44. T Says:

    Virgil Xenophon @1:12 PM above wrote:

    “OTOH, there IS the looming prospect of at least two slots on the SCOTUS. Were Obama to win this could tip the scales–perhaps fatally–for the better part of half a century.”

    This is precisely the argument I have promoted in several threads on this site. In addition to the thought that Romney, if anything, is malleable, so that a sufficiently conservative Congress could push him in the correct direction. (Although I have admittedly supported Newt).

    Kolnai, your discussion above (@5:06 PM) of distant horizons sounds much like the Steven Covey “spheres of influence.”

    Tangentially related is the following: I have been suggesting that Obama cannot take PA in htis election cycle. My thoughts come from an aggregate of anecdotae information. The latest is the following link (remember, Pittsburgh is union nanny-state blue) Hat tip

    Take heart and keep working for the greater goal—an Obama free 4 years!

  45. Commenter formerly know as roc scssrs Says:

    When Rick went to Iowa I thought he was on a fool’s errand; when he came in “second” I sent him a check. When all those people around the country started voting for him I felt so proud and happy that there were still people around the country who thought like he did, and I do. Are there really enough of us to win an election? I kind of doubt it– but I never expected anybody to vote for Rick in the first place. So maybe I’m wrong about his electability. And anyway it’s just hard to be calculating and say Romney could win, and Santorum couldn’t, so I should vote for Romney. I vote on the basis of who I’d like to be President.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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