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Eight Wasted Years - And the ratchet slips free.
National Review Online ^ | November 05, 2008 | John Derbyshire

Posted on 11/05/2008 11:30:22 AM PST by neverdem








Eight Wasted Years
And the ratchet slips free.

By John Derbyshire

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.

Thus Barack Obama, writing in his autobiography about his time at the expensive liberal-arts college Occidental in California. I’d like to tell you that he goes on to mock his young self for naïvety and infantile leftism, to deplore the way those “Marxist professors” used their prestige and influence to fill young heads with poisonous rubbish long discredited by events in the real world. I’d like to, but I can’t, because he doesn’t. Obama doesn’t think Marxism is rubbish. He thinks it’s basically … correct.

Not that our president-elect is going to roar through the U.S. economy nationalizing the means of production, distribution, and exchange. (The current administration has that well in hand, in any case.) Nor, I am pretty sure, will he incite a violent class war, with the losers hustled off to labor camps or driven into exile with the family jewelry sewn into their petticoats. We are long past the point where classical Marxism has any application. Obama can’t incite the workers to seize control of the factories: the factories are all in China. He can’t consolidate peasant small-holdings into communal farms, because there aren’t any peasant small-holdings; and if he tried anyway, no one would notice, farming being the occupation of less than half of one percent of us.

Barack Obama does, though, have the heart and soul of a cultural Marxist. He sees history in terms of class struggle, with pitiful, soulful Oppressed being brutalized and impoverished by arrogant, heartless Oppressors. Anyone who sees matters in these Who-Whom terms has absorbed the essence of Marxism, even if he has never held a hammer or a sickle — even if, like Obama, he has never held anything heavier than a Community Organizer’s clipboard.

This was the import of the Joe the Plumber incident. In a long campaign your true self is bound to emerge once or twice. No matter how tightly your handlers apply the shrink-wrap, a sharp claw or beak will work its way through now and then. In Barack Obama’s worldview, the Who and the Whom are locked in a bitter struggle, from which the Whom is bound to emerge victorious at last. Then the victors, purified by suffering, will lead mankind on to the sunlit uplands where from each shall be taken according to his abilities, to each shall be given according to his needs.

That these doctrines are utterly false, completely mistaken, and catastrophically destructive in practice, is a thought Barack Obama cannot think. That “ability” and “needs” turn out to be shapeless and slippery concepts when politicians try to corral them, has not occurred to him. (I need a new car. Will whichever citizen has been delegated to pay for it, please mail the check to National Review? Thank you.) How could such thoughts have occurred to him? He was a red-diaper baby, offspring of a love-the-world, hate-America sixties gal and an African socialist in the Mugabe mould, raised by leftish grandparents addled with “Uncle Tim” racial guilt, and mentored by a hard-Left labor radical.

Pat Buchanan (Whom God Preserve!) gave his own autobiography the title Right from the Beginning. If Barack Obama had been a tad more honest when writing his, he could just as well have titled it Left from the Beginning. He was honest enough though, lavishing praise on coarse, fascistic radicals like the odious Jeremiah Wright. (You can let Rev’m Wright out of the basement now, guys.)

Margaret Thatcher used to talk about the “ratchet effect.” When the Left gets power, she said, they drive everything Left; when the Right gets power, they slow the Leftward drive, perhaps even halt it for a spell; but nothing ever gets moved to the Right. U.S. politics in the 21st century so far bears out this dismal analysis. What does the Right have to show for eight years of a Republican presidency? I supported George W. Bush in 2000 because I thought he had a conservative bone in his body somewhere. I supported him in 2004 because I thought him the lesser of two evils. At this point, I wouldn’t let the fool park his car in my driveway. Bruce Bartlett was right, every damn word.

I see that some of my NRO colleagues are scratching around for shards of optimism — of Hope! — in the general wreckage. Good luck to them. I see nothing for conservatives to hope for in an Obama administration. We just have to stick it out. This shallow, ignorant, self-obsessed man, who held an actual job for just one year of his charmed life (low-grade editing for an obscure newsletter — he felt, he tells us in Dreams, “like a spy behind enemy lines,” the enemy of course being capitalism), this red-diaper baby and his wife, will be our First Couple for the next four years and some weeks. It’ll be interesting. Interesting.



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: culturalmarxism; marxism
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1 posted on 11/05/2008 11:30:22 AM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

BUMP


2 posted on 11/05/2008 11:32:43 AM PST by eleni121 (EN TOUTO NIKA!! +)
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To: neverdem

Excellent.


3 posted on 11/05/2008 11:36:11 AM PST by skeeter (Its Barry's fault)
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To: neverdem

-bflr-


4 posted on 11/05/2008 11:37:23 AM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: neverdem
The GOP is not an effective advocate for Conservatism. Unfortunately, Reagan and Gingrich are proving to the the exception and not the rule.

Conservatives have two choices: engineer a takeover of the GOP like the left's takeover of the Dem Party or start a another party. RINOs do not have the vision nor the fortitude to fight the left.

5 posted on 11/05/2008 11:39:50 AM PST by bailmeout ("During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act" - G Orwell)
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To: neverdem

He knows damn well the next four years will not merely be “interesting.” They will be damaging.

As for Thatcher’s observation, it is proving out. There is no turning back.


6 posted on 11/05/2008 11:40:18 AM PST by La Enchiladita
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To: neverdem

He nailed it.


7 posted on 11/05/2008 11:40:19 AM PST by Southside_Chicago_Republican (Being dragged, kicking and screaming, down the road to serfdom.)
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To: neverdem

ah of course. Blame Bush. How original.


8 posted on 11/05/2008 11:43:07 AM PST by RDTF (BO smells and eventually people do what's necessary to avoid it)
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To: bailmeout

You’re right but the answer is NOT starting another party, as it’s this very attitude that got us here in the first place, and into trouble with disengaging from public schools and allowing William Ayers’ ilk to socialize the younger generation.

We take our kids and run off to homeschool or private school, and STILL we have to pay for their failed godless liberal NEA public schools which STILL indoctrinate children.

THEY get up in our faces while we continue to turn the other cheek. We’ll sure as the day is long lose this country by disngagement.


9 posted on 11/05/2008 11:45:34 AM PST by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: La Enchiladita

I think Derbyshire is assuming his readership is literate enough to know that there is a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”


10 posted on 11/05/2008 11:47:07 AM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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The problem, IMO, is that the conservatives’ natural state (in general) is a less government/don’t get involved ( in govt) idea. It leaves WIDE PATHS for liberals, who are almost religious in their passion to control, to control the gears of govt, even when conservatives have the top.

What other explanation for educational policy to be so dismal, for DECADES under GOP congress or Presidents? It SHOULD be a state matter, but even in deep Red (we are going to have to change the red/blue state them now) states the engines of educations are decidedly liberal controlled.

I believe just as the Dems turned NEOCONS into a dirty word, NEO MARXIST must be the Obama phrase.


11 posted on 11/05/2008 11:48:08 AM PST by Crimson Elephant
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To: La Enchiladita
As for Thatcher’s observation, it is proving out. There is no turning back.

Exactly. Which is why it is so disheartening to read the fools on this site who advocate compromise at every turn. "Better half a loaf than none!" they cry, never realizing that the Dems will be back to ask for half of what we kept, then back for half of that quarter, etc. until there's nothing meaningful remaining.

I hadn't heard of Thatcher's "ratchet effect" but I've understood it intuitively for years. Sadly the Republicans have not and they've drifted slowly leftward over the years, but leftwards nonetheless. Many of the current crop of Republicans in the Congress make John F. Kennedy look like a hardcore right-winger in comparison.

12 posted on 11/05/2008 11:48:31 AM PST by whd23
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To: RDTF
ah of course. Blame Bush. How original.

Does Pres. Bush not deserve some of the blame?

13 posted on 11/05/2008 11:52:55 AM PST by rogue yam
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To: The_Reader_David
....there is a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

How FABULOUS of you to know this!!! Fortune cookies are chock-full of literacy!!!

14 posted on 11/05/2008 11:56:57 AM PST by La Enchiladita
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To: rogue yam

No thanks. I’m tired of that bandwagon and don’t wish to jump on it.


15 posted on 11/05/2008 11:57:46 AM PST by RDTF (BO smells and eventually people do what's necessary to avoid it)
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To: La Enchiladita

“May you live in interesting times” is a famous curse, supposedly of Chinese origin.

It is in this sense I think Derbyshire is using the word.


16 posted on 11/05/2008 12:00:06 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: bailmeout

I hate talking out loud, but why can’t Conservatism form the equivalent of a [I can’t remmember!] group that was created to spread communism. Conservatism needs to spread and use any means as well, including forming our own Saul Alinskys. It will take more than our lifetime, but if the Left can do it, so can the Right.


17 posted on 11/05/2008 12:02:39 PM PST by Clock King (Democracy has failed completely.)
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To: SoothingDave

See #14.


18 posted on 11/05/2008 12:04:05 PM PST by La Enchiladita
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To: neverdem
Hmm, “ratchet effect”, I like that. I've pondered that concept for some time, leave it to the great Lady Thatcher to summarize it so succinctly.
19 posted on 11/05/2008 12:04:22 PM PST by mrsmel
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To: Clock King

moveondotorg


20 posted on 11/05/2008 12:05:01 PM PST by La Enchiladita
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To: La Enchiladita

“He knows damn well the next four years will not merely be “interesting.” They will be damaging.

As for Thatcher’s observation, it is proving out. There is no turning back.”

Yep.


21 posted on 11/05/2008 12:07:24 PM PST by CaribouCrossing
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To: Clock King

The mechanisms we have to “form an equivalent group” will very quickly be shut down by the new order. This will be their most important priority.


22 posted on 11/05/2008 12:07:34 PM PST by workerbee (If you vote for Democrats, you are engaging in UnAmerican Activity.)
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To: neverdem
What does the Right have to show for eight years of a Republican presidency? I supported George W. Bush in 2000 because I thought he had a conservative bone in his body somewhere. I supported him in 2004 because I thought him the lesser of two evils. At this point, I wouldn’t let the fool park his car in my driveway.

Gotta commend Derbyshire for hitting the nail on the head here.

Some of us aren't too disappointed because we were never Republicans in the first place.

23 posted on 11/05/2008 12:13:33 PM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: bailmeout

“The GOP is not an effective advocate for Conservatism.”

humor by understatement, I presume?


24 posted on 11/05/2008 12:16:25 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Clock King
You are referring to the Frankfurt School of Marxist/anti-capitalist ideology.
25 posted on 11/05/2008 12:21:05 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus
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To: RDTF
ah of course. Blame Bush. How original.

"I supported George W. Bush in 2000 because I thought he had a conservative bone in his body somewhere. I supported him in 2004 because I thought him the lesser of two evils. At this point, I wouldn’t let the fool park his car in my driveway."

That was the extent of Bush being mentioned. He may have been harsh in his comment, but if we can't be honest, we're doomed. Cinderella, if the shoe fits, wear it. RINO compassionate conservatism has been an abysmal failure. Our gains in foreign affairs and national security are about to be tossed away. Obama's ideas threaten our economy in too many ways to count. Social security and Medicare/Medicaid funding are a bad joke.

26 posted on 11/05/2008 12:22:12 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: rogue yam

Bush not deserve some of the blame...


No kidding.

Of coure he does.

He proved that he is an establishment mainline tool - not the independent strong conservative we needsd and wanted.

He neglected his conservative base and kowtowed to the liberal elites time and again. I am sure we can enumerate those instances.


27 posted on 11/05/2008 12:22:35 PM PST by eleni121 (EN TOUTO NIKA!! +)
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To: neverdem

I guess somehow you missed the meaning of the title.


28 posted on 11/05/2008 12:23:54 PM PST by RDTF (BO smells and eventually people do what's necessary to avoid it)
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To: neverdem

John nails it.


29 posted on 11/05/2008 12:24:16 PM PST by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck)
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To: bailmeout
Conservatives have two choices: engineer a takeover of the GOP like the left's takeover of the Dem Party or start a another party. RINOs do not have the vision nor the fortitude to fight the left.

NAILED IT.

30 posted on 11/05/2008 12:24:50 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: The_Reader_David
I think Derbyshire is assuming his readership is literate enough to know that there is a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

That was my take.

31 posted on 11/05/2008 12:30:47 PM PST by Interesting Times (For the truth about "swift boating" see ToSetTheRecordStraight.com)
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To: tpanther
THEY get up in our faces while we continue to turn the other cheek. We’ll sure as the day is long lose this country by disngagement.

Exactly. This don't discuss politics in public has left the left in charge of of the discussion.

32 posted on 11/05/2008 12:31:09 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
Derbyshire may be right, but he's either too early or too late. He's too late to affect the election. Too late for his prediction to be original. And too early to have something substantial to point to to back up his view.
33 posted on 11/05/2008 12:33:27 PM PST by x
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To: neverdem
This shallow, ignorant, self-obsessed man

Not to worry, this shallow, ignorant, self-obsessed man will surround himself with 'deep thinkers', as Thomas Sowell likes to call them, who'll translate his leftist infantilism into destructive policy measures.

34 posted on 11/05/2008 12:40:42 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Everytime they open their mouth they shoot themselves in the foot.)
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To: Clock King
Conservatism needs to spread and use any means as well, including forming our own Saul Alinskys.

I've been thinking the same thing. It works for the left because they use lies, half-truths, logical fallacies, infiltration, selective disregard of the law, legal intimidation/extortion, and union thuggery.

If we adopt these tactics, we aren't conservatives.

35 posted on 11/05/2008 12:42:09 PM PST by Spirochete
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To: RDTF
I guess somehow you missed the meaning of the title.

How so? What am I missing? The title is quite appropriate. Government/statism became bigger for what good?

36 posted on 11/05/2008 12:43:57 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
---Margaret Thatcher used to talk about the “ratchet effect.” When the Left gets power, she said, they drive everything Left; when the Right gets power, they slow the Leftward drive, perhaps even halt it for a spell; but nothing ever gets moved to the Right"--

--Eight years ago I was known to make the comment that given the portion of the voting public interested in personal responsibility, freedom of choices and any of the other qualities prized by the founding fathers, that George W. Bush was -at best-only a bump on the road the nation was on, the road leading over a precipice.

--unfortunately , he wasn't much of a bump.

However, we can console ourselves that the last eight years weren't under a Kerry or a Gore---

37 posted on 11/05/2008 12:47:53 PM PST by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the MSM tells you about firearms or explosives--NRA Benefactor)
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To: RDTF
ah of course. Blame Bush. How original.

GWB has not, in 8 years, ever been considered the leader of our party or of the conservative movement. He has governed in many admirable ways (WOT, tax reduction), but I wonder if these have been nullified by his presiding over the exhorbitant growth of federal power, including the prescription drug fiasco. Unfortunately for us he inherited too much of his political ideology from his father, not Ronald Reagan. As far as the WOT, he has been a true leader, all things considered. IMHO

38 posted on 11/05/2008 12:48:22 PM PST by floozy22 (Hey, can I call you Joe?)
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To: x
Derbyshire may be right, but he's either too early or too late. He's too late to affect the election. Too late for his prediction to be original. And too early to have something substantial to point to to back up his view.

There's no time like the present. Who likes No Child Left Behind? All it did was dumb down the various tests in the states. Medicare Part D wasn't enough. Karl Rove's hopes fell flat.

39 posted on 11/05/2008 12:57:32 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: bailmeout
Unfortunately, Reagan and Gingrich are proving to the the exception and not the rule.

Forgive me ... but Reagan is the only exception in that list. He was clearly cut from different from different cloth than the "conservatives" of today.

Gingrich is very much an exemplar of "the rule." When it came down to it, Gingrich's Contract for America was nothing more than a campaign tactic that was quickly discarded once it became apparent that Gingrich had neither the political ability nor the political power to carry it out. Bill Clinton beat Gingrich half to death with the Contract, and then used the resultant momentum to win re-election in '96.

It doesn't mean that the principles embodied by the Contract are wrong -- they're not; but the actual results of trying to apply the Contract show that Conservatives really don't know what to do with them.

There are two issues here, both of which we conservatives need to address.

The first is that, despite what the Contract said, "conservatism" has no clear meaning; but at the same time the public has gained a perception of conservatism that is quite unfavorable. Much of that is our own fault -- there are no Reagans among the current crop of "spokesmen for conservatism;" those who step forward, are prone to feeding red meat to an already oppositional media.

The second is strategy and tactics. We've GOT to behave differently.

40 posted on 11/05/2008 1:00:18 PM PST by r9etb
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To: Spirochete; workerbee

I know, I know. It is wrong to fight evil by becoming evil. But we have to face some serious facts: the people who make up the voting public are not logical and severely mis-educated. They go for “cool”; style over substance. So even though conservative ideals have produced the wealthiest nation with the greatest personal liberty and freedom, people just won’t care. Even those who are wealthy, like Warren Buffet, will side with the Socialists so they can steal from the American Public. So we will need another approach. I’m just suggesting that a group be formed to look for other ways, but consider all options, even unpleasant ones. It’s either that or wait 2000 years for humans to evolve away from such group-think.


41 posted on 11/05/2008 1:09:40 PM PST by Clock King (Democracy has failed completely.)
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To: neverdem

"To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy."

Such a comical and cartoon-like self-caricature of leftist clichés.
But it's not satire???

He could be a chapter in Roger Kimball's Tenured Radicals.

42 posted on 11/05/2008 1:32:15 PM PST by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: neverdem

Bush seems to have kept the author’s worthless ass and a lot of others safe the last eight years.


43 posted on 11/05/2008 1:37:38 PM PST by mtntop3
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To: neverdem
It’ll be interesting. Interesting.

May you live in interesting times.

44 posted on 11/05/2008 1:47:34 PM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: bailmeout

“The GOP is not an effective advocate for Conservatism”

What a silly comment....
“Reagan and Gingrich are proving to the the exception and not the rule. “

Monumental exceptions! These 2 men between them helped keep USA on a more conservative path from 1980-2000.

The GOP is the only political vehicle out there capable of advancing conservatism... WE have to get in and drive it in the right direction. Drivers are needed!


45 posted on 11/05/2008 1:58:50 PM PST by WOSG (STOP OBAMA'S SOCIALISM - Change we need: Replace the Democrat Congress)
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To: r9etb

“Gingrich is very much an exemplar of “the rule.” When it came down to it, Gingrich’s Contract for America was nothing more than a campaign tactic that was quickly discarded once it became apparent that Gingrich had neither the political ability nor the political power to carry it out.”

FALSE on a number of levels. First, it was a positive and real agenda. Second, all the 10 promises made were kept in that Gingrich got the bills through the House, in the end most of the proposals went through the Senate and ended up getting passed. In welfare reform case, we have the signature conservative reform of the era, it worked and it made a big difference in reducing welfare dependency.

“The first is that, despite what the Contract said, “conservatism” has no clear meaning;” Did the contract even use the word conservative? It was 10 point specific program.


46 posted on 11/05/2008 2:04:36 PM PST by WOSG (STOP OBAMA'S SOCIALISM - Change we need: Replace the Democrat Congress)
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To: rogue yam; RDTF

Not that he doesnt deserve blame, but there is a serious mistake in pretending we didnt get a big benefit from having Bush for President.

2 reasons: Alito, Roberts

When Heller was decided, it was a 5-4 vote. We had Roberts and Alito on the good side. All the Clinton appointees were against our RKBA. That wasnt the only key decision where Roberts and Alito saved us from something awful.

Now I ask you. If Gore or Kerry were President WOULD WE EVEN HAVE A 2ND AMENDMENT TODAY?

Then there are the tax cuts, which the Democrats may take away in part of in whole, and/or bring back the death tax.
Would Gore have even passed it? No.

Not to mention the many ways that Bush properly waged the war on terror despite the Democrats flogging him at every turn.

To call it ‘wasted’ is simply wrong.


47 posted on 11/05/2008 2:11:34 PM PST by WOSG (STOP OBAMA'S SOCIALISM - Change we need: Replace the Democrat Congress)
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To: r9etb

BTTT, everything you said.


48 posted on 11/05/2008 6:58:52 PM PST by LibertarianInExile (Looks like the Constitution is gonna be a "living, breathing document" again. Sigh.)
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To: tpanther
You’re right but the answer is NOT starting another party

How would you suggest conservatives fortify themselves against the RINOs who will actively seek to undermine them?

49 posted on 11/05/2008 7:16:53 PM PST by supercat (Barry Soetoro == Bravo Sierra)
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To: supercat

We have to become involved! From the local level right to the top! Explain that we will not vote for them, they serve us, not the other way around!

As hard as it is, I may not vote for Saxby Chambliss in the run off. I’ve got some time to think about it, but I think we’re getting his attention.

WRITE! SPEAK UP!


50 posted on 11/05/2008 7:55:16 PM PST by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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