|Liberals: The Necessary Delusion||Conservatism is More Than Growth and Opportunity|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm
THE CONVENTIONAL wisdom for this week is that President Obama will divide the Republicans and Nancy Pelosi will take back the House in 2014. In fact, according to Ron Brownstein in “Expect Obama to be more aggressive in his second term” and “How the Democrats are taking over California,” the new Democratic “coalition of the ascendant”--black, brown, young and educated female--is about to take over the nation, for Democrats don’t really need “older and blue collar whites” any more for a presidential majority. Brownstein writes:
Ruy Teixeira, co-author of the seminal 2002 book “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” says the party’s coalition has evolved over time “in such a way that not only makes the [presidential] majority more solid but shifts the weight toward groups that are less interested in a temporizing, triangulating politics.” Compared to even the 1990s, he notes, Democrats “don’t have—and don’t need—as many of those voters at the conservative end of their coalition... as they once did.
Here is what I don’t understand. If the Dems don’t need the old white guys and gals why are they standing in the entitlement door crying Medicare today, Medicare tomorrow, Medicare forever? And why do they use an old white blue-collar steel-worker to show up Mitt Romney as an unfeeling plutocrat?
Then there is California. It’s wonderful for liberals like Brown and Brownstein that they now have the two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature and so can increase taxes on the old and white to benefit the young and brown. But where is the politician demanding that the old white government retirees give up the pensions that are bankrupting cities all over the state? And where is the Democrat telling the trustafarian environmentalists to take their hands off California’s energy economy so minority kids can get a job?
Why do Democrats still insist on running the entitlement engine flat out, the one that benefits old white voters, when they don’t need them for a presidential majority?
Let’s get back to the 2014 midterm issue and Nancy Pelosi’s plan to take the House. Fortunately, we have usmidtermelections.com to help with that. You can look at House midterms here, and all House elections since 1900 here. Right now, the House of Representatives has 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats. So it would take a swing of 17 for Nancy and the Democrats to take back the House.
Let’s check and see how many times the president’s party has gained more than 17 seats in a midterm election. If you limit your search to the 20th century, there is a simple answer. None. The only election that comes close is the 1934 midterm when Republicans lost 14 seats in the second year of President Roosevelt’s first term.
OK. Let’s lower the bar. Were there any midterms, apart from 1934, in which the president’s party gained seats at all? Yes, there were. In 2002 the GOP gained 8 seats in Bush’s first term when Bush was the 9/11 president, and in 1998 the Democrats gained 5 seats in Clinton’s impeachment year. Then it’s back to FDR in 1934. Then you have to go back all the way to 1902, but that doesn’t count. Go ahead, look it up and find out why.
It’s Nancy Pelosi’s job to announce that she’ll take back the House and Obama’s job to help her. Good luck, Nance and Barry. But is much more likely that by the fall of 2014 the Republicans, bless their hearts, will have finally found the way to unite all the anti-Obama voters in America into one grim evil right-wing militia march to the polls. It is much more likely that Republicans will be the ones picking up 15-20 House seats when the new Congress is seated in January 2015.
Don’t forget that there is also the dangerous possibility that those Obama-bashing Republicans will persuade a few, just a few of those black, brown, young and female in the ascendant that Democrats are selling them the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, it’s wonderful to have free contraception and gay marriage. But what is that when measured against the shorter hours you are working because of Obamacare? Who cares about immigration when you are paying 15 to 20 percent of wages in payroll taxes for entitlements that you will be lucky to collect? Who cares about the permanent Bush tax rates when student loan payments function like an income tax?
Then there is unemployment, that hits the young hardest. And the demolition of the family in low-income America. And the trillion-dollar deficits.
It’s clear that Democrats are busily convincing each that the political barometer is set fair for the next few years. But all we know for sure is that we are at the half-way point in the Obama era.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel