Skip to comments.The Biggest Missing Story in Politics - One Year Update
Posted on 08/20/2009 10:42:20 PM PDT by Scanian
August 25, 2008, just about one year ago, my article on those Battleground Polls -- which have routinely shown for many years that about sixty percent of Americans are "conservatives" -- stirred up quite a ruckus. If my analysis is right, then that would explain Democrat hysteria over the town hall meetings in America as the revelation that the Left is just a small minority of Americans who have insinuated themselves into the chokepoints of information, education, entertainment, and policy in American society.
Gallup, which has also polled the ideology of Americans, has presented the data in a much murkier way. While the Battleground Poll allows respondents six options -- "very conservative," "somewhat conservative," "moderate," "unsure," "somewhat liberal," and "very liberal," the Gallup asks (or reveals) only whether respondents identify themselves as "conservative," "moderate," or "liberal." Nevertheless, three Gallup Polls this summer have shown just how profoundly conservative Americans are. On June 15, for example, Gallup revealed that conservatives are the largest ideological group in America: 40% of us call ourselves conservative, 35% of us call ourselves moderates, and 21% of us call ourselves liberal. Moreover, Gallup shows that since 1992 conservatives have become an increasingly larger share of America.
Then, on July 6, Gallup revealed that Democrats were becoming more conservative, independents were becoming more conservative, and Republicans were becoming dramatically more conservative (a whopping 58% of Republicans said that they had become more conservative in the last few years.) Viewed from every angle, both Gallup and the Battleground poll identify conservatives as the largest ideological group in America and a group that is growing fast.
The most fascinating poll, however, was revealed by Gallup on August 14. The impact appears deliberately downplayed by Gallup. The title of the article simply states that the conservative ideology prevails
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
I think the first principle is that in politics you are either on defense or on offense and defense is a very bad place to be. Much of being on offense comes from taking charge of the language and thus taking charge of the debate. We all know that election advisers there candidates to define their adversary before he can define himself. And so it is with the issues as well.
There is a great story of Gertrude Stein who was approached by her acolytes on her deathbed and they asked "Gertrude Gertrude what is the answer." The great philosopher rose up on her elbows and croaked, "what is the question?" As any attorney knows, if you asked the right question you're going to get the right answer but if you asked the wrong question you get the wrong answer. The job of the candidate or the candidate's adviser is to ask the right questions that is to structure the debate on turf favorable to your side.
So long as Republicans are defending themselves against charges of stealing grandma's Social Security check they are on the defensive and they are losing. Obama just found that out when he had to defend itself on charges of pushing grandma off on the ice flow. I have been saying since before the election that the subject for debate for Republicans is liberty and if you look at the health care debate you will see that it is about liberty, freedom to choose etc. You also see that we are winning that debate and the Democrats clearly have got themselves on the wrong side of the issue.
Interestingly, if you listen to Rush Limbaugh you almost never hear him telling America that they have to repeal Social Security and observe the constitutional limits on federal power. He talks about people's freedom to smoke, to drive the car they want, to have the lightbulbs they want, to say what they want. He paints the left as a set of control freaks.
Limbaugh does not to use this tactic because he lacks a theoretical understanding of the American Constitution, nor does he lack in acquaintanceship with Milton Friedman. Limbaugh does this because he knows he has to popularize the matter and because he wants to demonstrate how constitutional principles affect people in their everyday lives. He wants to preach the gospel without citing the gospel. He knows that much of the Constitution today is simply unpalatable to an electorate conditioned to entitlements.
I think it's also instructive to look at the issues which Newt Gingrich has put forward as those which Republicans should advocate: English, immigration, energy. Gingrich says that these issues have all been polled and they all show overwhelming support. Of all people alive today, Newt Gingrich certainly has the chops for this assertion. He has proven that he can put together a platform, a Contract with America, which can drive the money changers out of the temple. It is a pity that more conservatives turned a deaf ear to him because he had a zipper problem.
The trick to winning back Congress is to nationalize the midterm election 2010. Gingrich is a proven genius at this. So. Apparently, is Obama.
The point is that both these men know enough to stay away from taking away people's rice bowl and talk about giving them their liberty back.That is not to say that the overwhelming weight of demographics and race is pressing down against us. The trend is not our friend.
Then it appears that we are still in a bad place, because as you said, the left controls the “chokepoints”, and controls the message that is disseminated to the public, students, etc. That has been one of our major problems all along, we haven’t been able, for all of talk radio, the internet, and the so-called “dying dinosaur media”, been able to have an equal platform to the largest public to get our message out on our terms, or define ourselves in the universities, or even get free speech in many cases in academia. To add insult to injury, not only do we get to define ourselves and our message to the public, the left wrongly defines us. And that’s only getting worse, the media and academia make not even a pretense of being fair and unbiassed mere purveyors of news and education anymore, they are increasingly open and blatant about supporting the left’s agenda. And I believe we’re fooling ourselves when we talk about the death of the MSM, most people still get what little news they get from a major newspaper or alphabet network, if they even pay attention to that. The left’s definition of themselves and of us seems to be in the very air the public breathes these days. More people pay attention to reality shows, Hollywood, entertainment, than to real news now, and the left gets its messages and definitions out through those channels very well, ie, the late-night comedians, Hollywood films, etc.
I often feel that I would gladly trade much of our 20/21st century “progress” in many areas, for the freedom our forefathers had to just live their lives without all the weight of the government jackboot on their necks. What good is all our “progress” without freedom? We are just well-kept slaves.
Sorry, Nathan, but Gingrich had more than a "zipper problem." He has a credibility problem. He will sound totally rational one day, and the next tell us "We are at the end of the Reagan era" or be appearing in "climate change" commercials with Nancy Pelosi, or, in his most recent endeavor, on a tour about education with ... Al Sharpton? To push Obama educational reforms? What is he thinking?
Limbaugh does this because he knows he has to popularize the matter and because he wants to demonstrate how constitutional principles affect people in their everyday lives. He wants to preach the gospel without citing the gospel. He knows that much of the Constitution today is simply unpalatable to an electorate conditioned to entitlements.
Here's Limbaugh's response to Gingrich's "Reagan era is over" comments:
"Figure out what the country needs" and then do it? We know what the country needs already! That's our ace-in-the-hole. One of the things Newt said in this interview was, "Far beyond just how do I subsidize your heating oil, how do I make it unnecessary for you to buy as much heating oil? And there are dramatic things we can do in that conversation." Now, "How do I...?" He means a president, running a campaign, not him. "How do I subsidize your heating oil?" We Republicans are going to talk about subsidizing people's heating oil now, and we're going to call that conservatism? If you want to talk about that, fine! If that's what you want the Republican Party to be, then be that and go ahead and say that's what you want, but don't call it conservatism. "There are dramatic things we can do in that conversation. I want to make it unnecessary for you to buy as much heating oil"? Now, conservation is great, folks. Conservation is great, but conservation does not equal growth. To sit out there and say people need to buy less and less heating oil, okay. Buy natural gas furnace, or any number of things, but if this country has always been about: "You need heating oil? It's going to be there. You need gasoline? It's going to be there."
The burden is not on you to conserve so that it's always there! It's economic. Capitalism is the greatest force for change in the world! Mark Steyn has a brilliant piece today on this very subject. It's how capitalism forces major innovation and change, not politicians, not Washington, not government. They don't force any kind of change other than in primaries with perception and attitudes and make people think that they're going to be better off, but it is capitalism that forces genuine change throughout culture and throughout society. Newt could have just as easily said here that conservative principles don't change, that the Reagan coalition is simply looking for leadership and that we need to bring more creative policy alternatives to the table than we have in the recent past. But that's not what he said. He said, "The era of Reagan is over. ... It's the end of the Reagan era." It is not. If the Reagan era is over, if the Reagan coalition is dead, what replaced it? Could somebody tell me? Precisely nothing has replaced it, and that's why so many people are scratching their heads, why so many people are a little nervous, because there isn't any real leadership out there that causes people and inspires people to get behind it and go rah-rah and make certain things happen.
Newt does not symbolize "real leadership."
Who was the driving force behind "drill here drill now"?
Now if I could myself only take the general's advice.
.....”never take counsel of your fears.”....
General George Patton
Was he quoting T.E. Jackson?
Well I know many don’t believe but I deal with my trepidations by knowing that God wins :) and I’m on His side.
Because the "right", or rather, the Republicans, are not standing upon Conservatism. Republicans are standing upon pragmatism rather than principle, just as much as the Democrats are.
Conservatives are Conservatives. It isn't a political movement, it is a way of life. Their color doesn't matter. They vote *for* Conservatives. If one doesn't offer something they can vote *for*, they don't show up. Ergo, statistically, if they don't show up, the (seemingly) racial vote goes for the opponent.
I'm not certain of this but my recollection is that upon retiring from the Shenandoah Valley at the conclusion of his campaign of 1862 and en route to Richmond to join Lee, a staff officer was dispatched to find lodgings for the night. He advised Jackson that he feared he would find nothing and Jackson at that point replied, "never take counsel of your fears."
I haven't had time to research it but I think that is accurate, however, I will not be surprised if my recollection is faulty. To understand the real significance of the quotation from Jackson one must understand that it was uttered by a man of profound faith and he was really saying trust God rather than entertain fears. So profound was his faith that he was astonishingly fearless on the battlefield and had no discernible regard for his personal safety.
.....It has also been falsely attributed to General Patton probably because he has uttered similar words concerning the effects of fear......
I am near certain that phrase is in Patton’s book War As I Knew It perhaps several times.
It is now my mantra and got me through numerous tight scrapes with bankers and lawyers and a colony of angry bees
Along with the Bene Gesserit “Fear is the Mind Killer”
Whether learned at the knee of his father or otherwise, Patton was fully familiar with the lore of the Confederacy especially in Virginia and was well-versed in "Stonewall Jackson's Way." Indeed, there were many shared characteristics in their generalship including celerity of movements, focus and intensity of attack, ruthlessness in discipline, personal piety, and physical bravery. Both were touchy about their prerogatives of command. I would say that the comparison pretty much ends there because that was a calculating showmen and Jackson was the most diffident of men when the demands of duty did not call for resolution and sternness.
LOL! Oh, how very...kind ;)
You put your finger on turn out although you do not use the term.
Yes, though "turn-out" implies ownership, which is not the case. That is the essential difference between Conservatives and the rest of the Republican base.
I think that is the remaining hope for the conservative cause as it faces a daunting wall of obstacles in the next election.
But, nathanbedford, that has always been our only hope. You make it sound so frightening and dire. There is no daunting wall of obstacles. There is only one. Moderate Bakerite control of the Republican Party. These wolves in sheep's clothing are the enemy within the gate. As long as they continue their co-opting of the Conservative message, and their intentional subduction of Conservatives within the party, there will be no Conservative revolution in the Republican party.
That in itself is dire, and nearly insurmountable - But only because of people continuing to believe in the sheep's clothing that the wolves have donned. It is Republican pragmatism which is our greatest threat, as has always been the case.
As for Socialism/Liberalism coming from the Democrats, I fear that not a bit, as these are Conservatives' natural prey. Whatever is instituted can just as easily be removed. It is the lack of will, or dare I say, complicity, within the supposed opposition which allow these unconstitutional things to stand.
We must keep in mind that the numbers I have quoted were of "voters" but even in a national election for President, the intensity factor never much exceeds 55% (56.8% in' 08) and in the mid-to high 30% range for midterms (37.1% in' 06) That leaves a lot of room for play, especially in 2010.
While I too, am fond of statistical analysis, I find that in most things, statistical numbers can be bent to deliver just about any conclusion. Especially when one is dealing with single digit percentiles. It is the trends that interest me - those things that can be taken from the broad terms.
The broad trends will show that when Democrats can play to the right of Republicans, they win. Furthermore, the further toward the right the Republicans play, the greater their win. The obvious conclusion would be to play hard to the Conservative base, and follow through once in office, nearly guaranteeing a dynasty. Since that is not what Republican leaders do, their motives obviously lie elsewhere.
And this is where the argument that this is a conservative nation comes in. When an issue arises such as the governance provided by Barack Obama in busting the budget with porkulus, the budget itself, Cap and Trade, and healthcare, voter intensity increases.
While this is certainly a factor which can leverage turn out, it will end end infamously under the current moderate Republican leadership- I guarantee it. What one will be left with is mere Liberal Republicanism, not Conservatism. And the follow-through on promises made is what will secure the nation. That follow-through has been absent ever since Reagan.
I, and many of my kind, will rise against this socialism as surely as the socialism the Democrats offer, for neither one is palatable. So I care less for what may spark off turn out. It is not important what the other side is doing. What is important is Conservatism's solutions, and long term commitment to Conservative principle within the party mechanism.
I believe that cannot be accomplished using the Republicans as a vehicle. If it can, it will be signaled by a wholesale stepping-down of the present leadership, and an ascendancy of Conservatives. If that does not happen, I don't think the Republicans will get the trust of Conservatives, regardless of the conditions or promises.
I am honored to be in the very best of company :D
But, you see, this describes perfectly the betrayal within our own gates - All of the so called "conservative" solutions accept the basic premise that federalized health and social security systems are "the" solution.
Accepting that premise is the betrayal. These SOB's are merely haggling over the price.
A Conservative solution would begin with the premise that existing federal programs are unconstitutional, and that they should be handed into the authority of the states - If not by the means I have described, then by some other...
In the present climate, such a premise would be readily received, and trumpeted by the TEA Parties. It is the obvious way forward, handing the control (and the money) of these massve boondoggle programs back to the people, and taking them out of the hands of the federal government, who have proven to be all too irresponsible with them since their inception.
Another huge consequence of such a position would be an immediate "Hurrah!" from the libertarian/FiCon camp, who have been sorely abused.
There is no downside from such a position at this point.
I refer you to this paragraph of my first post (#7) in the series:
In America, the Democrats have been so artful in providing ad hoc solutions to real or imagined problems that we have now gotten to the point where it is rare indeed when a solution which benefits intensely one group will be denied because it is ultra vires the Constitution. We simply don't think that way very much anymore. Even today, the argument over nationalized healthcare is not primarily a constitutional but a pragmatic argument. The right does not emphasize that to nationalize healthcare is unconstitutional, but argues that it is impracticable, costly, unfair, and, yes, big government. But I believe that the seniors in the town hall meetings are not primarily motivated by their love of small government but by their love of their Medicare entitlements.
Today the job of the Supreme Court is not to read the Constitution to determine whether a given entitlement program can be fit within one of the enumerated powers, the court is there to provide a rationalization to the will of the Congress and The Court only intervene if The Court bestirs itself and finds a conflict with an enumerated restriction to the power of the state such as might be contained in the Bill of Rights.
Thus the Constitution has been stood on its head and gone far towards the ideal expressed by Obama which is The Supreme Court should simply confect individual constitutional rights to economic advantages such as a good job or a good place to live. In other words Obama wanted in his, alas, far from famous interview, the court to provide a rationalization for redistribution of wealth. He wants a constitutional fig leaf for Roosevelt's Four Freedoms which takes us to my point in the last reply in which I noted that the patronage system had been federalized by Roosevelt. Hence the absence of political will.
Obama wants the abandonment of the Constitution by The Court to be taken one step further. He wants the court itself to find an affirmative right for The Four Freedoms much as it found an affirmative right for abortion. Thus the court would be flagrantly substituting its will in the absence of political will on Obama's side to further federalize everything by court decree. Obama calls for this because there is not quite enough political will on his side to carry federalization and redistribution to that extent.
Besides the evident absence of an Article III solution to the problem of federalizing everything, I repeat, there is not enough intensity of political damage to stimulate political will to reverse the baleful process. That is why Social Security is the third rail of politics and why the Democrats are learning that healthcare is also a third rail.
I say that to conclude from Obama's missteps over healthcare that the nation is ready to reverse federalism is simply to take the wrong lesson.
In this argument we both agree on the conservative values, we disagree about the landscape. I hold what I regard to be a realistic view of the political and legal obstacles involved. I regard your view to be Pollyanna-ish but certainly not undesirable. This dichotomy we will shortly see played out again in my next reply having to do with electoral realities.
I think it means conservatives don't vote until they get upset. 1994 was a classic case in point, as the rats had just passed the biggest tax hike in history along with (naturally - - the two go hand in hand) an assault on the Second Amendment, even as they were bouncing "House Bank" checks like a racquetball court.
If the rats can just keep being themselves for another 15 months the Republicans should be back in business.
Here is a portion of a post which I published before the election in response to a politico article calling for Republicans and conservatives to move left to fill the big tent:
As we conservatives drag the remnants of our movement into the wilderness with no idea how we will emerge or whether we will ever emerge as an electoral force in America which is recognizable by my generation, we must inevitably engage ourselves in the most soul- searing inquiry of what went wrong. This will be an agony but equally it will be effective only to the degree that it hurts. It will not succeed without bloodshed. There must be finger-pointing and bloodletting. We must carve to the bone. The process must be Darwinian. Those whose ideas are false must be bayoneted on the trail.
The object is to find our soul - nothing less. In a come to Jesus sense we must get absolutely clear what it means to be a conservative. Only at this point do we look to the tent flaps and open them. Those who cannot subscribe to the hard-won consensus, to a confession of faith as to what is a conservative, should walk out through that flap. Those who are attracted from the outside to the core message of conservatism should be encouraged to walk through the flap and enlarge the tent. What the left wants us to do is to expand the census in the tent prematurely and thus turn a movement into a menagerie. The Soul-searching must be conducted by conservatives without the earnest ministrations from liberals like those of Politico. This article, of course, has nothing whatever to do with explaining why Republicans lost 2008 election across the board, it has everything to do with first efforts by the left to sabotage the rebuilding process on the right which must be done exclusively by the right.
We have not lost the 2008 election because we were excessively partisan while Obama was enlightened and transcendental. We actually lost the election because George Bush and Karl Rove betrayed the soul of conservatism. A party without its soul is like an army which does not believe in itself, it cannot win the next contest. A party which had abandoned its principles and so lost the last two elections and frittered away both its power as the ruling coalition and its status as the majority philosophy of the nation, cannot expect to swell its ranks by recruiting to a lost cause. The party must first know what the cause is and only then can it recruit. To again borrow the military analogy, a party like an army disintegrates without a mission. Armies are assigned missions but a political party finds its mission only through soul-searching.
As this process occurs we will be told by the left that only a big tent party can win and that to become a big tent one must move to co-opt the center. That is not how it works. That is the reverse of the way it works. The center is not peopled by voters with fixed notions about the exercise of power who wait for one of the great political parties to surrender their values and embrace the tempered and resolute opinions of the middle. That happens with splinter parties but not with the mushy middle. When an unaffiliated voter bestirs himself to enter the polling booth he is confronted with one of two options: right or left. He does not consider who has moved the farthest geographically from right to the left or left to right any more than he commits because of his own long held political beliefs. He votes for the fella who best tickles his fancy at the moment. Put more charitably, he votes for the candidate who persuades that he is the best, and has the best to offer.
If we as conservatives do not believe that we have the best to offer we should get out of the business. A candidate, like a party, who is centered on his philosophy has integrity and is persuasive. And that philosophy must first have a vertical spiritual component which finds expression and out working in a horizontal governing philosophy.
Because of his race, Obama was asked only to demonstrate that he could walk and talk like a president. Obama has won the middle, not because he pandered to them, which he did, but because he had the wind at his back.
As John McCain reverts from titular head of the Republican Party to United States Senator, it falls to the rest of us to contrive a governing philosophy which he, unfortunately, did not own and therefore could not bequeath to us. We had such a legacy from Ronald Reagan but we squandered it. We must construct our own. We must do it in the wilderness. We must do it unaided by intermeddling liberals. Their's is the serpent's way, the easy way, a pander to the superficially popular, the accommodation to the middle. The bed of birth has always been a bed of pain. The pain must be embraced if we are to receive a new life.
A friend of mine is in her early 80’s. She has always voted democrat. We rib her about voting for Obama. Recently I asked why she voted that way. Her dad told here what a bad guy Hoover was. She is basicaly a conservative in talking to her but still votes dem. Your right that is how he got elected.
It would be the DIFFerence between this poll and a poll of MSM reporters that would objectively generate a media bias index.
How to Measure Media Bias on a Regular Basis?
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