Steyn on the election results

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One-man global content provider Mark Steyn says we haven't been fighting the war for hearts and minds:

It was in many ways the final battle in a war the Republican Party didn't even bother fighting -- the "long march through the institutions." While the Senator certainly enjoyed the patronage of the Chicago machine, he is not primarily a political figure.... He emerged rather from all the cultural turf the GOP largely abandoned during its 30-year winning streak at the ballot box, and his victory demonstrates the folly of assuming that folks will continue to pull the lever for guys with an R after their name every other November even as all the other institutions in society become de facto liberal one-party states.

....Go into almost any American grade-school and stroll the corridors: you'll find the walls lined with Sharpie-bright supersized touchy-feely abstractions: "RESPECT," "DREAM," "TOGETHER," "DIVERSITY." By contrast, Mister Maverick talked of "reaching across the aisle" and ending "earmarks," which may sound heroic in Washington but ring shriveled and reductive to anyone who's not obsessed with legislative process. This dead language embodied the narrow sliver of turf on which he was fighting, while Obama was bestriding the broader cultural space. Republicans need to start their own long march back through all the institutions they ceded. Otherwise, the default mode of this society will be liberal, and what's left of the Republican party will be reduced (as in other parts of the west) to begging the electorate for the occasional opportunity to prove it can run the liberal state just as well as liberals can.

The latter being the fate of, e.g., the Conservative Party in the UK.

On The Corner, Steyn raises a related point

Acorn is still a disgusting organization and Obama's fundraising fraud is still outrageous. But nobody wants to hear that now. The problem for us is more basic - the Dems control the language on such issues ("count every vote", etc), and they're much better at demonizing. Why did McCain talk about Ayers but not even mention Wright? Because he was terrified someone would point a finger and cry "Racist!" And in four years' time the Democrats' media-cultural-organizational advantage on such subjects will likely be even greater.

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See-Dubya said:

See, here's the thing--the GOP hasn't fought for hearts and minds because it has been obsessed with a by-gum real shooting war since 2001. While we've been trying to think about strategy and tactics to kill jihadis, the opposition just threw up a blanket opposition to the war and opened their own front on the domestic battlefield Steyn describes.

We sacrificed a lot of ideological credibility to fight this war. We barely paid attention to social issues and, because we needed broad support for the war, we turned a blind eye to profligate spending on both sides of the aisle.

Now some of this is just venality and/or incompetence on the part of the GOP, but a lot of it stems from the fact that Republican lawmakers' and pundits' attention has necessarily been focused abroad for the past seven years, while the Dems got to set the tone for everything that happened in the USA.

Steyn demonstrates the real problem when he calls the terms terms RESPECT, DREAM, TOGETHER, and DIVERSITY "touchy-feely abstractions". These are simply Imaginist language, something that is spoken by few Republicans. Since it will soon conclude its rise to dominance, fully supplanting the Empiricist language, refusing to acknowledge its power will simply lead to further marginalization of Republican ideas. Since Empiricists make up the Republican "base" these days, they will likely resist this necessary transition, as Steyn seems to. If Republicans "start their own long march back through all the institutions they ceded", they will have to change to the Imaginist language of decision-making. This will probably lead to a failure in 2012 of what was always the uneasy Republican coalition of Bush I (old con) and Bush II (neo-con) conservatives. Oddly, old cons are more likely to adopt Imaginist language than neo-cons.

Plainly put, the GOP ceded the power of ideas for plain power. It always seems like a good idea but it rarely works out.

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

It's really much simpler and more basic than the ideological claptrap from Steyn: Bush and too many of the Republican reps started doing a lousy job as a result of growing arrogance that came with years of power.

Some specifics:

The Iraq war. Maybe a good idea, maybe not, but no question there was enormous incompetence, hubris, and massive waste of money.

No Child Left Behind. What a load. The problem is the tsunami of illegitimate kids being cranked out by parents, one of which was just relieving himself, and the other incapable of raising a pet rock. But Republicans can't address illegitimacy in any pragmatic way because that would annoy the religious conservatives.

Runaway deficit. Corruption. "Earmarks" which I guess is the latest term for pork.

Although Republicans weren't THE Cause of the latest financial mess, there was a lot of complicity.

It should be acknowleged that there is some unfairness in public judgement that can be attributed to Republicans branding themselves as the holy and righteous party. So, Ted Kennedy can get drunk, kill his secretary, leave the scene and get re-elected because that is what Dems do. They are expected to be that way. Kind of like how the world expects Russia to invade a country now and then. No big deal. That's just what they do.

But, when a Republican slides his foot under a toilet stall to solicit a homosexual encounter, there is public outrage (although the public seems to be happy to endorse the gay agenda ... but not if you are a Republican). Kind of like how an American accidentally tosses a grenade in the direction of a Pakistani outhouse, and it's a front page outrage worldwide.

Then there is the undeniable truth that most people voted for Obama the personality and historical figure; not because they actually knew anything at all about what will be the likely result of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. Maybe Palin should have suggested that if people want change, they should vote for the ticket of Hannibal Lechter and Jane Fonda; at least that way you know what you are getting. And there is no question that Hannibal is an elegant speaker.

It is entirely likely that the general mess things are in will only be made worse by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid; and their reign will last exactly four years. We just have to hope it isn't a mess that requires a generation or two to clean up (a la Jimmy Carter).

Pat Buchannon had a piece a few weeks ago suggesting that there is no way Obama can make it work. If he supports the values of "Main Street", the backlash will come from the liberal elitists. If he caves in to the elitists, the backlash will come from Main Street. Either way, the backlash is coming.

It is looking like Republicans will still have the fillibuster capability in the Senate. I'm thinking that with all but the most extreme legislation, they should just vote no, let Obama, Pelosi, and Reid pass it, and wait for the resulting crash. However, I see one possible problem with that: If the Democrats succeed in building a sufficiently large dependency class of voters and state employees, it come to pass that responsible voters are outnumbered. I point to the UK with an economy in worse shape than ours, a massively bloated government, a National Health Service that is on life support, a crime rate that makes Detroit (and Tulsa, Egad!) look pretty good by comparison, and yet, the Labor party is still in control.

I think advice to the Republican party can be stated very simply: Cut the crap.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

M. Lee,

Spoken like a true patriot and I agree with all but one part of your post. Couldn't have said it better myself except...

The problem is the tsunami of illegitimate kids being cranked out by parents, one of which was just relieving himself, and the other incapable of raising a pet rock. But Republicans can't address illegitimacy in any pragmatic way because that would annoy the religious conservatives.

I don't know why you'd say that because I'm a religious conservative and I've been yelling that to the masses for years. Maybe you need a reminder that it's the inane "religious conservatives" like me who ripped their kids out of the public schools long ago and footed the education bill out of pocket because we recognized the problem wasn't lack of funds but worthless parents and a rotten curriculum.

Or do you mistakenly think all of us "religious" conservatives are a bunch of Nancy's?

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

Sorry there S. Lee...not M. Lee

Brian Blackwell Author Profile Page said:

Brent. S. Lee's pragmatic way of dealing with illegitimacy is abortion. Or at least that's the inferrence I gathered from his post.

Brian Blackwell Author Profile Page said:


"Empiricist" versus "Imaginist" is exactly the stark contrast between conservatives and liberals. "Empricists" do..."Imaginists" talk. How much "respect" to use imaginist language have those on the left shown to the current President?

Pure lip service to the imaginist language because it is a means to an end. And that end is control.

Welcome to the new Amerika, comrades.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:


Brent. S. Lee's pragmatic way of dealing with illegitimacy is abortion. Or at least that's the inferrence I gathered from his post.

That was the inference I gathered too. I was kind of tiptoeing around that for the sake of Michael's blog. I have adopted the new Obama mantra of give peace a chance. Or is it still hope and change? The Obama meme so deep, it boggles my mind.

I haven't been here but a few weeks and have already managed a couple of barroom brawls and tussling with a preacher.

A man has got to know his limitations (about being invited back.)

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

When you cut through all the five dollar words analyzing the defeat, the fact is the Republicans were hypocrites. Conservative my shorts. Conservative means you take the heat to practice your principals.

The Bush administration over the last four years looked the other way as the sub prime problem grew. Conservative would have been to lobby hard and publicly for the responsible parties in this mess to stop the practicie whem it first became popular. That as well as lobbying to repeal the Clinton law that mandated a % of mortgage funds go to low income buyers who could not yet afford to own houses. Again do it loudly and publicly.

That may have resulted in a loss just like the one that happened. But the conservative right would have maintained a credible image going forward.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

I see Michael has this linked. If you're brooding over the election, you require some much needed humor:

Election Analysis: America Can Take Pride In This Historic, Inspirational Disaster

in part...

It's also heartening to realize that as president Mr. Obama will soon be working hand-in-hand with a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard like Senator Robert Byrd to craft the incoherent and destructive programs that will plunge the American economy into a nightmare of full-blown sustained depression. As Vice President-Elect Joe Biden has repeatedly warned, there will be difficult times ahead and the programs will not always be popular, or even sane. But as we look out over the wreckage of bankrupt coal companies, nationalized banks, and hyperinflation, we can always look back with sustained pride on the great National Reconciliation of 2008. Call me an optimist, but I like to think when America's breadlines erupt into riots it will be because of our shared starvation, not the differences in our color.

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

The accusatory responses to my mention of illegitimacy proves my point. The issue can't be touched without bringing the infallible, finger waving saints out of the woodwork. This blocks all serious attempts to find out what works and doesn't work; what should be taught and how it should be taught.

Being such a touchy subject for some people, it's a little difficult to find reasonably impartial info on the subject, however the following site,pubID.23048/pub_detail.asp
points out that the illegitimacy rate among whites has quadrupled since 1975. The Republicans owned the vast majority of that time period. Maybe it was something that was bound to happen regardless of what attempts were made, but we'll never know because there was never any serious attempt made to address the issue. Republicans can, however, point to No Child Left Behind. Ain't that special.

My observation, supported by the comments I got, is that anything other than the preaching of strict abstinence will be vigorously fought by religious conservatives believing that, any day now, the abstinence movement is going to achieve critical mass and take off. In principle, the abstinence idea is great. In practice, the results have proven similar to waving a paper fan at a tsunami.

We can, and I do, lay majority blame on the MSM for the problem. A recent, well publicized study added support to that blame (you needed a study to tell you this?). But the abstinence crowd have, thus far, proven completely impotent in doing anything about the MSM. And I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of abstinence preaching conservatives making copious use of their TVs tuned into the MSM. The end result being that Republicans have absolutely nothing to show concerning the number one social problem of the US.

On the issue of abortion: As I've posted previously, the most conservative Supreme Court you are likely to see in your lifetime has left Roe v. Wade intact. It gets you nowhere politically to keep taking damage over the issue. Like an army determined to continue suffering losses over ground it can't win, you can remain bullheaded about it and continue losing political power to those who will simply cram the issue down your throat along with other issues you might have won had you been politically savvy.

I do understand the exercise of political acumen will require you to occasionally remove your halo ... mess up your hair ... not look your best in church.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

My observation, supported by the comments I got, is that anything other than the preaching of strict abstinence will be vigorously fought by religious conservatives believing that, any day now, the abstinence movement is going to achieve critical mass and take off. In principle, the abstinence idea is great. In practice, the results have proven similar to waving a paper fan at a tsunami.

Someone once said, "You are entitled to you own opinions; you're not entitled to your own set of facts." Without speaking of demographics and being 'abstinence only' a recent phenomenon, I would say something appears to be working:

I'd like to know exactly S. Lee how you plan to prove that "abstinence only" doesn't work being that I can't see a lack of implementing the plan an abject failure? Exactly how do you propose to measure your results? That is, unless there's a bunch of virgin births going unreported. Of course, with most adults like you stating abstinence a failure, mumbling something like "hey, it's just going to happen", I doubt it reinforces the idea to most of the students. I think with your polished halo, what you're kind of saying is "hey, don't you dare drink and drive. But if you do, put on your seat belt..."

I always thought one of the great lines of the mushy middle where you apparently reside what this gem: "abstinence only doesn't work!"

Really? That's not what I discovered throughout my 21 years of marriage. In fact, I found the concept bullet proof, when invoked.

So what's your suggestion? We just kill 'um and be done with it? Cave on core principles to save to buck? Should we get another good moderate in there who doesn't have an opinion? That apparently worked well this last time. Which shall it be?

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

Although this is buried too far down in the blog list to be of much use, I'll go ahead with it.

Brent Taylor again proves my point. Thanks for the support. His link says abortions are down. It says nothing about illegitimacy. It suggests that abortions are down because of increased availability and use of birth control and the morning after pill RU-486 (mentioned multiple times in the article and considered by many to be abortion, by the way). It even has words from Planned Parenthood -- not exactly the hero of the abstinence bunch. The word abstinence, or its equivalent, never occurs in the article; not even a vague suggestion that abstinence played even a minor role.

A helpful hint here: If you want to debate, you should supply facts that help your case rather than bolster the case of the other side.

On the topic of how best to reduce illegitimacy, there is an abundance of speculation and emotional opinion out there based on a selective view of statistics. The few attempts at some kind of scientific study that I have been able to find were so small and so limited that they are of dubious value as a guide for how best to deal with the problem. But Brent's article, while not scientific, does a pretty good job of claiming that relying on chemical means is the way to go.

It needs to be made clear that I am not necessarily in agreement with that conclusion. In fact, my speculation is that it will require an orchestration of a variety things, and the correct thing to do is to try to determine what that orchestration must be. My claim is that the Republican party made no progress on that determination because of constant fear of a big dust-up with the abstinence only group. So, instead, the country got No Child Left Behind.

Keep on posting those articles supporting Planned Parenthood's claims, Brent. Together we might be able to get the Republican party off this abstinence only stuff.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

I don't think you're quite as clever as you try to convince yourself S. Lee. I purposely picked that from the Washington Post for the infanticide proponents like you so you wouldn't make your usual claim of cherry pickin' articles from "fundie" groups. However, you were still able to cherry pick the the parts suiting your taste. Dishonest, but typical.

For instance, no mention of this from the article: "Even look at Hollywood," he said, citing the hit movie "Juno," about a pregnant teenager who decides to have her baby. "More and more people are starting to reconsider their positions."

The fact that both you and Planned Parenthood parrot that abortions have been reduced because of increased availability and use of birth control and the morning after pill RU-486 humorous, if not so tragic. And that is a wonderful group you've hitched your wagon to there Lee. Perhaps we can restart eugenics to reduce Head Start? And you're wanting all of us to follow your advice?

Since the pill has been available for about 40+ years and RU-486 proven to be pretty unpopular due to complications, I think you are going to have a hard time explaining how abortions have dropped about 25% the last 10-15 years. You might sound a little more reasonable if you simply admitted a change of mindset and a limiting of the number of abortion providers. Otherwise, for all your arrogance, you still remind me of something hollow.

So let me wrap this up and see if I can follow your convoluted logic. If we would simply allow abortions whenever and whatever, illegitimacy would cease and we could strip the worthless Head Start stuff? I think you're the same crowd that was telling all of us in 1973, abortion would be a means to assure all babies wanted?

What you might note but I doubt is when you start down the path of simply allowing immorality, something else bad gnerally follows.

A helpful hint here: If you want to debate, you should supply facts that help your case rather than bolster the case of the other side. Remember, Roe V. Wade 1973; and according to you the illegitimacy rate among whites has quadrupled since 1975.

But you keep right on convincing all of us that killing more babies would help our moral rot. However, you'll forgive me if I'm not terribly convinced by your argument.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

Hey, S. Lee? Nice tabs on the website. Here's a helpful hint. Ask Michael for some help. I just had to take a look out of morbid curiosity.

Do you give your same chemical induced abortion sales pitch from above down at the altar of the churches you're selling your tubas to? Shoot, they would probably buy at cost plus for character alone.

But I am dying to know from the superior intellect? Can you give me a candidate you think worthy? Just one would do.

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

"Can you give me a candidate you think worthy? Just one would do."

It makes no difference which "candidate" you support. The Supreme Court has already decided the issue; the popular vote supports it, and the legislative majority support it.

But if it makes you feel better, I believe Ann Coulter is pro-life, so I recommend *YOU* support her. Even though I like her, I am reasonably sure she will lose. But you can congratulate yourself on remaining true to some fine principles, while somebody else, who not only is pro-choice, but is in opposition to many of your ideas, has the political power and will be making the rules. On the issue of illegitimacy, that somebody else will now include Planned Parenthood and NARAL. It certainly won't include you because you chose to lose.

Referring back to the focus of the original topic of this thread -- i.e. what do Republicans need to do to regain power -- you have made it clear that you believe they can best regain political power by strictly adhering to the most conservative religious dogma even to the point of futile opposition to the Supreme Court, popular vote, and legislative majority.

I have made it clear that I believe politics is politics, and there are times when one must surrender one issue and move on in order to win other issues. So, the candidate I recommend for *ME* to support is not the one who spouts off the standard dogma, but the one who is closest to my beliefs that I think is among the most likely to win.

Rest assured that the people at the altars of the conservative churches I've attended understand that aspect of politics very well. You can't make the rules if you don't win.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

Come on S.,

Let us act like hairy legs and grow a thicker skin. An intellectual giant like you has no need to obfuscate on the questions. I do like the Ann Coulter suggestion {snicker}. No doubt she's smarter than any lib I've ever met or read. So I guess if I choose Ann as my candidate, I must assume you would like somebody like Margaret Sanger or Kim Gandy from NOW to oppose her?

I was just curious if there is somebody you admire for a candidate as a frame of reference the next time we discuss something. Somebody that you feel best represents your idea of a worthy candidate. Right off hand, I personally can't think of a one holding all my dearest tenets; who also makes for a pretty soundbite which now apparently is what wins elections, character or content be damned.

I was just calling you on your dissing of the abstinence only treat it like Pat Robertson is teaching in the classroom and sex education isn't also part of the curriculum. As if somehow, that is the issue costing Republicans elections. Choice wasn't hardly on the federal radar this go around S. Where it was, McCain won if memory serves. And they were teaching sex ed when you and I were in school.

I was just calling you on your misrepresentation of the abstinence program. That was blatantly misleading what you wrote above about its failure, being that not only has it not ever been implemented to any degree in education, you have absolutely no proof that it doesn't work.

What you posted just parrots the Planned Parenthood meme (a misnomer if there ever was one). And we know their programs don't work as they try to speed up the lines at the mill before people wake up to their true motive.

I'm not sure what it is going to take to change hearts and minds. And I'm pragmatic enough to recognize, yes you're right. It's still going to happen. But why give your tacit approval while doing so, then think eliminating the unborn the answer? If you're going to punish someone, punish the perpetrator and not the real victim.

Personally, I think it time to start holding people accountable for bad behavior. I'm pretty sure I could bring the financial crisis to a screeching halt without one new government regulation which is a joke. I'll take a few financial CEOs, a couple of politicians, and some journalists and throw them in with the Aryan Brothers for about 20 years. I'm almost positive I could bring a new attitude about honesty to Wall Street immediately.

Otherwise, I thought your first post pretty much spot on.

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:


You didn't bother to return the message, so I'll end at this. I voted for McCain, the lessor of two evils. He wasn't my choice for the nominee - probably the last one I would have chosen. Nice personal history but a lousy candidate and horrid debator.

Like you, I was trying to determine who I thought had the best shot to win because I believe Obama vacuous and dangerous. Personally, I believe that Romney, Rudy G. or Huckabee all would have done better - but that is arm chair quarterbacking. If you think my religious dogma is the only criteria I use to cast a vote, think again. I was rooting for Rudy G. and he is definitely not pro-life. I thought him most electable in a national election and still do. It is the SCOTUS that is important concerning the issue of abortion and not the candidate, and Rudy G. explained he liked Scalia (strict contructionalist) as a justice. That's good enough for me. Again, I am more pragmatic about politics than you give me credit.

I'd like to remind you the last true Conservative to run, won twice overwhelmingly. And Bush also won twice posing as a Conservative. Both were pro-life and both called themselves Christian. It didn't cost them the election, if indeed that is what you are insinuating...

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 5, 2008 6:52 PM.

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