Come GWJ conservatives, we must chat

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I'll admit upfront that I'm passionate (ok sometimes over-passionate) in my political beliefs.

However, I've recognized two things over the past few months. First, there doesn't seem to be many conservatives on GWJ. Secondly, I'll admit that I've seen some utterly fair criticism of the Republican extreme partisanship and Romney's antics in not being open during his election.

So I wanted to use this thread as a rallying point for conservative discussion. If you're a conservative, what issues matter the most to you? How do you feel about how the Republican candidates are representing you? And how do you feel we can work with our fellow liberal Americans to fix some of the nation's big problems?

I think you'll find that a fair number of conservatives in the GWJ community. However, I think you will find very few Republicans.

I think that speaks to your question of "How do you feel about how the Republican candidates are representing you?" I consider myself a conservative. But I have no interest in going anywhere near the current Republican party.

I used to be far more conservative than I am now, but I've grown more jaded about the conservative mindset of late. I'm still a huge proponent of individual freedoms and very wary of government power, but that doesn't mean I have faith in private enterprise to fill the gap.

I would like to see a small government movement that is ALSO about small business and transparency.

Yeah, at the risk of this becoming a predictable chain of the same comments, the problem is that the Republican Party has very little intersection with conservative ideals at this point. As far as what's important to me -

1) Balanced regulation. Unlike the banging drum of some, I don't think all government is evil. The purpose, to me, of a federal government is to protect citizens from threats larger than themselves. So, while I can agree that the government itself is inefficient and impractical at times, I think that's just a symptom of a necessary size. Few national companies with so many employees or such a broad scope of operation can function any more efficiently. Overregulation is a harmful barrier to growth, but underregulation is a plague that causes destruction. Related -

2) The reach of the federal government is just too damn far and too damn high. This is a problem that is worsened each year no matter who is in control of the White House or Congress.

3) I like the concept of privatized education. I haven't seen many models that do it in a way that doesn't scare the bajesus out of me, but I firmly believe that the lack of incentive to be a teacher and the lack of results in education (which are linked) can be more easily solved by making the Dept of Education into a business regulation office.

4) Separation of money and politics. If anyone can figure this out, let me know. But it's something I think is important - not putting a chokehold on rich people, but just putting everyone on a level ground of influence. Uh... somehow. My problem with the generic liberal/Democrat answer here is that usually it boils down to shackling the hands of people who have money in one way or another. I think business owners have a responsibility (not a legal obligation) to put back into the country that has given them a place to prosper, but right now the system doesn't favor furthering America, it favors furthering Some Particular Guy.

5) Gay marriage is a pretty big issue to me just because, to me, an actual conservative should not be inclined towards writing regulation on what two consenting adults do with their relationship. Fundamentalists and Constitution-waving folks should realize that the values this country were based on means that the people of the United States have to come up with an argument as to why you can't rather than force people to have to argue why they should be able to. So far, there is no rational legal argument as to why you can't.

As far as how you think Republican candidates are representing me... you can look at the above and imagine the answer is "poorly". I had some faith in Huntsman - not that he was a perfect example of all things, just a good example of many of them - but beyond that, most of them are on the local level that I like decently. But at this point I can say that for a good handful of Democrat/liberal politicians, too.

And if you want to work with people, my idea has always been to stop thinking of people as conservative or liberal. You just look at an issue and discuss the issue and what people want with that issue. We just have to, somehow, separate out the imagined inter-connectivity we've falsely built into topics.

There are a few of us around. Many stay out of P&C completely due to the...'tone' of the threads here. Sometimes you can get into genuine discourse where actual ideas are exchanged and no one loses a limb. Most of the time this is not the case.

Bloo and Jolly have already expressed my feelings almost exactly, so for now I'll just +1.

Back to work!

Can I safely mention that I want Eisenhower resurrected? Hell, I am at a point I think Nixon would be a good choice. He at least ENDED the war he inherited.

Ask little old me 10 years ago, and you would have found someone much more in line with the then conservative line of thought. But conservatism has died in America I have come to believe. I see a Republican party seeking to control what is in my pants and what is in my home. I see splinter groups seeking to do harm to America for individual or privatized gain. I see theocracy and I see fascism more represented than protecting the constitution, than looking to streamline and make more efficient government.

Frankly I see the Democratic party of the 19th Century. I see the Federalists of the 18th Century.

I would relish an opportunity to vote for a candidate who was truly fiscally conservative, without catering to large corporate interests. The money does NOT trickle down, and we have seen this time and again, but still the public is fed that lie. We have tons of guns and butter spending on all sides, without anyone to say how to end it. Tax reform seems to have gone completely off the table.

In short, I thing GW Bush and congress of that era did a lot of damage to conservatism in America. We had a republican sweep in congress and things went to sh*t because not a conservative could be found among them. Run away spending on defense contracts, pittances of tax rebates, spending cuts happened at the expense of jobs, a treasury mad with power seeking to reign in our economy like a cart horse.

I, like many ex Republicans, became sick of the anti-science, anti-intellectualism, anti-woman policies.

Aside from Chris Christie, I am struggling to come up with any actual conservatives left in the Republican party in the public eye.

I've moved towards conservatism as I age; I agree with most of Eisenhower's platform, and the vein of resource conservation that was also part of the GOP outlook for decades. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative.

Of course, today, that makes me a screaming Marxist compared to the current crop of "conservatives". I view them as radicals, in the vein of Goldwater and John Birch (for the mainstream Republicans making noise today) or Murray Rothbard (for the Libertarian crew). None of those had a seat at the table until Reagan's crowd was well entrenched. On the scale of politicians I grew up listening to, the US has been taken over by the crazy right. Even today's Progressives would be middle of the road in the 60's and 70's Democratic Party.

Bah. Seems like all there is to do is listen to the crazy and wonder when Congress is going to drive us off a fiscal cliff.

(Nixon, though - never wish for Nixon. Heck, he not only had the CIA and FBI eavesdropping on political opponents, he actually suggested *killing* journalists who found out about it. He was Soviet-style corrupt. Even Reagan, who had the stones to admit he broke the law, was a saint compared to ol' Richard Millhouse.)

funny. My political positions used to be called conservative when I joined the GOP in the 1980's. Now I'm screamed at by members of my own party as some kind of "RINO". I'm not the one who's changed.

Interesting answers all, and I realize that my political views are very much in flux right now. I was really conservative as a kid through my military years, but became very disillusioned under George W, which coincided with when I got out of the military and went to college. I actually voted for Obama, but today feel that except for a few notable exceptions his presidency has been mediocre at best, disastrous at worst. I've also become more conservative now that I'm in a higher tax bracket but still working long hours and not feeling like I'm getting all that much for my money.

So right now I feel very torn between candidates. On one hand, I stand by my assertation that I'm incredibly turned off by Obama, but Romney is a very poor substitute. I defended his time at Bain because I think he's being unfairly picked on for taking advantage of greater global market forces, but I can't defend his total secrecy about his taxes and fortune. And it feels like the choice for the presidency is either continued expansion of big government or total sell-out to big business. And there's no partisanship whatsoever going on, unlike even in the Reagan years where there was still some sense of working together for the greater good.

Final question - any suggestions for being a better poster in the Politics and Controversy mudpit? I'll own up to a few threads where I wasn't at my best, especially the rant I went on about the Stranger article. However, I also felt like times when the other side jumped to some pretty nasty conclusions. I'm fully willing to concede that maybe I need to be completely above the fray because of the many bats#t crazy ultra-conservative posters out there. Or maybe it's just time to just post about how to get phat lootz in Diablo 3 or pull off the perfect PVP combo in Guild Wars 2.

Or make money posting about adhesive shoes.

Robear wrote:
Of course, today, that makes me a screaming Marxist compared to the current crop of "conservatives". I view them as radicals, in the vein of Goldwater and John Birch (for the mainstream Republicans making noise today) or Murray Rothbard (for the Libertarian crew). None of those had a seat at the table until Reagan's crowd was well entrenched. On the scale of politicians I grew up listening to, the US has been taken over by the crazy right. Even today's Progressives would be middle of the road in the 60's and 70's Democratic Party.

Funny you should mention Goldwater and Birch. I used to work at a library where I helped archive materials from the fifties to the nineties related to "extreme" political movements. The resemblance between those ancient materials and the current Republican zeitgeist is uncanny.

Paleocon wrote:
funny. My political positions used to be called conservative when I joined the GOP in the 1980's. Now I'm screamed at by members of my own party as some kind of "RINO". I'm not the one who's changed.

This. I joined the Young Republicans in 1982. I've always been a card carrying Republican. But the party has turned into something I don't even recognize. If I could pick an exemplar of what I consider to be a Republican, it would probably be Teddy Roosevelt. He was definitely a man of his time, but his forward-thinking racial policies, concern for the environment, his attitude towards structuring and controlling big business and being a good steward of the land were what I signed up for.

What we have now, I can't even name.

Final question - any suggestions for being a better poster in the Politics and Controversy mudpit? I'll own up to a few threads where I wasn't at my best, especially the rant I went on about the Stranger article. However, I also felt like times when the other side jumped to some pretty nasty conclusions. I'm fully willing to concede that maybe I need to be completely above the fray because of the many bats#t crazy ultra-conservative posters out there.

Imagine when you're here it's not about "sides" and that you're talking to a quorum of individuals. That may help. I often find most derailments and personal attacks begin when a poster starts by addressing this imagined "other" they disagree with rather than the people in front of them.

jdzappa wrote:

Final question - any suggestions for being a better poster in the Politics and Controversy mudpit? I'll own up to a few threads where I wasn't at my best, especially the rant I went on about the Stranger article. However, I also felt like times when the other side jumped to some pretty nasty conclusions.

Speak on what you know. And that should not only be based on hearsay. Don't act like you will convince anyone. Understand that our Republic was founded on and thrives on diversity of thought and of personality. Our Supreme Court needs Scalia as much as it needs Ginsberg. Even if I tend to agree with Ginsberg more often than not.

This should stay friendly and respectful, more Bill Maher than Bill O'Reilly. And dear god do not double down.

jdzappa wrote:
Interesting answers all, and I realize that my political views are very much in flux right now. I was really conservative as a kid through my military years, but became very disillusioned under George W, which coincided with when I got out of the military and went to college. I actually voted for Obama, but today feel that except for a few notable exceptions his presidency has been mediocre at best, disastrous at worst. I've also become more conservative now that I'm in a higher tax bracket but still working long hours and not feeling like I'm getting all that much for my money.

So right now I feel very torn between candidates. On one hand, I stand by my assertation that I'm incredibly turned off by Obama, but Romney is a very poor substitute. I defended his time at Bain because I think he's being unfairly picked on for taking advantage of greater global market forces, but I can't defend his total secrecy about his taxes and fortune. And it feels like the choice for the presidency is either continued expansion of big government or total sell-out to big business. And there's no partisanship whatsoever going on, unlike even in the Reagan years where there was still some sense of working together for the greater good.

Final question - any suggestions for being a better poster in the Politics and Controversy mudpit? I'll own up to a few threads where I wasn't at my best, especially the rant I went on about the Stranger article. However, I also felt like times when the other side jumped to some pretty nasty conclusions. I'm fully willing to concede that maybe I need to be completely above the fray because of the many bats#t crazy ultra-conservative posters out there. Or maybe it's just time to just post about how to get phat lootz in Diablo 3 or pull off the perfect PVP combo in Guild Wars 2.

Or make money posting about adhesive shoes.

As a dirty hippie commie, I generally enjoy hearing things from your point of view. I'll try and stand up for you a little more when you get unjustifiably dumped on.

@ Kazooka - I enjoy your posts as well, even if we're on opposite sides of things. Thank you and I will endeavor to do the same.

@ Certis - Excellent point and I recognize that I've been guilty of making things too personal.

@ KingGorilla - Also, thank you for your advice. I'll admit though it's getting harder and harder to see common ground on things, especially when both sides talk about theoretically supporting succession and breaking in to two different countries.

@ Momgamer - I'm a big fan of Teddy too, even his monopoly busting. My only concern today is that the pendulum is switching too far left and the private sector has become the whipping boy for everything wrong with America.

Robear wrote:
I've moved towards conservatism as I age; I agree with most of Eisenhower's platform, and the vein of resource conservation that was also part of the GOP outlook for decades. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative.

Where I come from that makes you centre left. Australia's right wing party is the Liberal Party - Socially conservative, fiscally liberal.

I think the problems with the GOP started when we started beating the drum of anti-incumbency and the whole term limit nonsense. Instead of fighting the battle of ideas, we just tried to paint the entire institution of government and the profession of governance as corrupt and unAmerican. The result was a race to the bottom for bad, but different ideas. The logical conclusion to that was and is folks like Michelle Bachmann and Jan Brewer (you can't spell "crazy" without R-AZ).

And now it appears we're stuck in that downward spiral largely because we are sick of hearing stories about the worst offenders. Every time someone rightfully points out that the most vocal voices from the Right are off the chain insane, the only response we seem to ever come up with is "both sides do it" (which, btw, is about as true as saying that we should be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire). And all this does is further discredit the institution and profession of government.

I came into political awareness during a time when both sides honestly believed that government was both necessary and good. There were inefficiencies to be sure and the GOP was resolved to finding ways to make government more efficient, but this whole "burn it down" or "drown it in a bathtub" or even "water it with the blood of tyrants" bs was not in the center of the debate. It was relegated to the lunatic fringe. They were the useful idiots. Now they appear to be the heart of the party.

It is good to see the crazies put in their place. When these members 1st questioned the citizenship of a Muslim Hillary Clinton staff member, and then insinuated that same staffer was really a terrorist plant, John Boehner and John McCain ran them through the wash in full public view.

Bachman then compared having her bullsh*t tossed in her face as a McCarthy-esque witch hunt.

It is good that you mention the private sector being a whipping boy JD. Right behind the morality policing and bible thumping, I think comes perverting the message of pro-business, promoting an environment for trade, to attract foreign interests. Romney is at least talking about re-working corporate tax systems to get them more in line with our chief competitor nations-Germany and Japan. Lost in that is all of the government services that those nations offer to help promote thriving business interests-national public transit, healthcare, well paved roads. The rest would have us believe that by reducing the individual tax rates of the very wealthy translates into more jobs. That is lunacy. Reducing Bill Ford Jr's tax rate has no translation to him employing more people at Ford, or taking back jobs sent to Mexico. More and more I have seen the Republican party become the party of private wealth. We cut business taxes, issue rebates, slash the estate tax, start 3 wars and marvel that the debt is ballooning. However, wealth is retained and passed on to the next generation. The tax code remains filled with loopholes and inconsistencies that a company has no clue year to year what their tax burden may be. We created an environment where government grants are a no go, a public bank is a no go, and private banks are not loaning money so we write in rebates that may last a few years. But we boil the private woes down to tax rates.

What is funny is that not so long years ago much of this was Republican thinking. And partisan politics have gotten so bad that the very men and women in Red who proposed much of what comprises "Obamacare" in the 90's are decrying it as a communist plot in many instances.


Funny you should mention Goldwater and Birch. I used to work at a library where I helped archive materials from the fifties to the nineties related to "extreme" political movements. The resemblance between those ancient materials and the current Republican zeitgeist is uncanny.

That's why I keep reposting links to "The Paranoid Style in American Politics", an essay on how extremism looks in the US, published around the time of Goldwater's ascent. It's amazing that we're seeing those elements move mainstream again, and a good reminder of what to look for in fringe politics, as well as a general guide to evaluating fringe arguments as well. (Hint - if there's "secret knowledge" about a group of people who, if unchecked, will enact policies that will destroy the world as we know it, it's fringe. When someone tells you the world is about to end, step away slowly and watch their hands and your wallet.)

JD, the biggest thing that gets me in trouble here is reacting to someone making what I think are personal attacks (sometimes it's clear, sometimes it's just me). It's not that I forget that they are real people so much as that I get caught up in a bad attitude and get too personally involved myself. I try to do my part by keeping things from being personal; unfortunately, that makes me easy to bait with personal comments. And it lead to people thinking I'm "clinical" or "dismissive" when I'm actually trying to be precise and unemotional. YMMV, but reminding myself that maybe the interpretation that makes something personal is not the right one prevents a lot of incendiary replies.

KingGorilla wrote:
It is good to see the crazies put in their place. When these members 1st questioned the citizenship of a Muslim Hillary Clinton staff member, and then insinuated that same staffer was really a terrorist plant, John Boehner and John McCain ran them through the wash in full public view.

And an AZ Tea Party leader responded by saying he was going to fire up a recall effort against McCain saying "we must find a way to get rid of this embarrassment," telling him to "go to Hell," and that "it's time for [McCain] to take [his] final dirt nap."

I don't believe the Republican Party has much control over the Tea Party, but the reality of the situation is that they have to keep them happy if they want to maintain their legislative majorities. That just means that the GOP is going lurch further right and further into crazy town.

I do have to wonder, though, if so many moderate conservatives feel the that GOP has abandoned them, why there isn't a populist movement to take back the party or found a third-party that's crazy free?

OG_slinger wrote:

I do have to wonder, though, if so many moderate conservatives feel the that GOP has abandoned them, why there isn't a populist movement to take back the party or found a third-party that's crazy free?

That was the Tea Party, before it was eaten by Team Koch. I also think OWS is a fundamentally conservative, populist group, but their absolute refusal to organize politically has made them largely irrelevant. Maybe in 2013 we'll see something of the sort, although my cynical side says such a change will require an actual Tea Party President burning the country to ashes for four years before we change.

Bloo Driver wrote:
Yeah, at the risk of this becoming a predictable chain of the same comments, the problem is that the Republican Party has very little intersection with conservative ideals at this point. As far as what's important to me -

I have to agree with Bloo, and add #6. Being conservative does not mean you are an anti-tax cult. Today's Republican party is a cult that believes that cutting taxes solves everything. The idea of restoring federal taxes to the rates that we had in the '90's does not scare me if it is accompanied by cuts in the federal budget that actually balances it. I didn't see many destitute millionaires during the '90's crying that their federal income taxes were too high, nor did I see an explosion ofprivate sector job creation in the '00's that justify keeping the tax cuts around.

Seth wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

I do have to wonder, though, if so many moderate conservatives feel the that GOP has abandoned them, why there isn't a populist movement to take back the party or found a third-party that's crazy free?

That was the Tea Party, before it was eaten by Team Koch. I also think OWS is a fundamentally conservative, populist group, but their absolute refusal to organize politically has made them largely irrelevant. Maybe in 2013 we'll see something of the sort, although my cynical side says such a change will require an actual Tea Party President burning the country to ashes for four years before we change.

My guess is it's the media. People don't even realize they have other choices. Why did Huntsman not win the nomination?

I'm in the Chris Rock school of politics. I think everyone has some issues they're conservative about and some issues they're liberal about. There's a whole lot of areas where I would be considered conservative and others where I'm overwhelmingly liberal. When I comes to fiscal policy, I want to keep the money I earn but I'm not without compassion and I'm willing to give a bit to help those in need. I think people should be free to earn as much as they can but find the concept of CEO's earning 500 times that of their workers appalling. I'm disgusted by the entitlement nation that refuses to work because we're willing to give them free money. I believe we can't pour billions at defense and completely ignore infrastructure. We can't call ourselves a superpower and ignore the social issues that have existed for generations. The strength of a nation is not measured in how many carrier strike forces you own.

Unfortunately we're now in an age where any political thought has to be instantly quantified and categorized so that the opposing faction can begin immediate derision. It doesn't seem like there's any room in the middle anymore.

OG_slinger wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:
It is good to see the crazies put in their place. When these members 1st questioned the citizenship of a Muslim Hillary Clinton staff member, and then insinuated that same staffer was really a terrorist plant, John Boehner and John McCain ran them through the wash in full public view.

I do have to wonder, though, if so many moderate conservatives feel the that GOP has abandoned them, why there isn't a populist movement to take back the party or found a third-party that's crazy free?

More and more I think that has been absorbed into the Democratic party courtesy of the Blue Collar and Rural Dems who successfully ousted moral conservative Republicans in the past 2 Elections. These are pro gun, pro life, church going Democrats who won their seats by talking to a traditionally conservative base-farmers, the elderly.

OG_slinger wrote:
I do have to wonder, though, if so many moderate conservatives feel the that GOP has abandoned them, why there isn't a populist movement to take back the party or found a third-party that's crazy free?

I think a lot of relatively moderate (or comparatively moderate) Republicans and ex-Republicans still have difficulty shaking off the idea that missing a chance to vote against the liberal Democrat is a mistake.

OG_slinger wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:
It is good to see the crazies put in their place. When these members 1st questioned the citizenship of a Muslim Hillary Clinton staff member, and then insinuated that same staffer was really a terrorist plant, John Boehner and John McCain ran them through the wash in full public view.

And an AZ Tea Party leader responded by saying he was going to fire up a recall effort against McCain saying "we must find a way to get rid of this embarrassment," telling him to "go to Hell," and that "it's time for [McCain] to take [his] final dirt nap."

I don't believe the Republican Party has much control over the Tea Party, but the reality of the situation is that they have to keep them happy if they want to maintain their legislative majorities. That just means that the GOP is going lurch further right and further into crazy town.

I do have to wonder, though, if so many moderate conservatives feel the that GOP has abandoned them, why there isn't a populist movement to take back the party or found a third-party that's crazy free?

To clarify, the Tea Party leader didn't actually tell McCain to "go to Hell" or take a dirt nap--that was the woman who runs the blog barenakedislam.com, which surprisingly is not an alt-pop band.

I'd rather castigate him for what he did say:

“Have you ever read the Quran? I suggest you do so, because anyone that is a Muslim is a threat to this country, and that’s a fact,” Harris told the Arizona Capitol Times. “There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. If they are Muslim they have to follow the Quran. That’s their religion and that’s their doctrine.”

...

“Is she a Muslim? Is she an active Muslim?” Harris said. “I rest my case. That’s all she needs to be.”

Bloo Driver wrote:
I think a lot of relatively moderate (or comparatively moderate) Republicans and ex-Republicans still have difficulty shaking off the idea that missing a chance to vote against the liberal Democrat is a mistake.

Doesn't that just create a positive feedback loop for all the behaviors and positions moderate conservatives don't like in their party?

jdzappa wrote:
I'm a big fan of Teddy too, even his monopoly busting. My only concern today is that the pendulum is switching too far left and the private sector has become the whipping boy for everything wrong with America.

Perspective really is everything. From where I sit, at least 40% of the country wants to fully unleash big business -- which would be interesting considering the control that private industry already has over our elected officials. If anything, I think rational people of all political stripes should want to reign in the runaway beast called corporatism and the control it has over the public and private sectors, then resume our left-right dialectic in a purer political system. Unfortunately that may be too idealist.

OG_slinger wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:
I think a lot of relatively moderate (or comparatively moderate) Republicans and ex-Republicans still have difficulty shaking off the idea that missing a chance to vote against the liberal Democrat is a mistake.

Doesn't that just create a positive feedback loop for all the behaviors and positions moderate conservatives don't like in their party?

Well, yes. I didn't say it was a rational impulse. But it's one that gets ingrained firmly and over time to anyone who has been party loyal to any party or political ideology. It's understandably hard to snap out of.

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