This American Election

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My new radio show on BlogTalkRadio starts TONIGHT! Join me at 11:00 p.m. EDT (that’s 7:00 8:00 p.m. for you Left Coasters) for a discussion of the GOP Convention and the wacky Lame Stream Media reaction to it. The call-in number is (347) 324-3592 (use your cell phone so it’s free). I’ll be on the air for half an hour. I can’t promise it’ll be smooth because it’s my first time (virgin!) and, well, I’m me. 🙂 But I can promise it will be fun and informative.

Yeah, I stole the title from Ira Glass. What of it?

Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. ~T. S. Eliot
I only curse on air by request, so make sure you call in if you want to hear nasty language!
Show details:

I’ll be discussing the reaction to the GOP Convention throughout the Interwebs.

Secondary topic if we get to it: Paulbots suck.

Didn’t I Tell You?

Here’s the video of Mitt’s speech.

He hit out of the park. Did everything he needed to and then some.

  • Presentable? Check.
  • Practical? Check..
  • Believable? Check.
  • Emotional? Check.
  • Sense of humor. Check.
  • Admirable? CHECK.
  • Contrast with Obama? CHECK.
  • Hirable? CHECKITY-CHECK-CHECK.

I’m going to remind you that I told you so. I told you that he would hold steady, eyes on the prize over the summer, that he’d pick his running mate before the Olympics were over, and that he would unleash himself at the Convention And that is just what he’s done. It’s ON now folks.

If you’re one of the three-legged bitches moaning about “sanctity of life” or worrying about fearmongering over war with Iran, prepare to eat dust. LOTS of it. Because Mitt is bringing it, and he is going to win. The Walker Margin is what I said once, folks. Let’s see how close I get.

Can’t wait for the debates!

BTW: Here’s how effective last night was: Continue reading

New Republican Liberalism

There are some who say the the two main political parties are no different, that both have been captured by the capitalistic forces of business enterprise. (Never mind that capitalism is the economic system we’ve chosen to compliment our political system of republican democracy, or that capitalism itself is the most liberal economic system there is.) In this you have the disaffected Democrats of the Obamacrat years, and the Paulbots of the GOP, as well as a scattered group in the middle. Folks who subscribe to this point of view, however, miss the entire point of our republican democracy as it was envisioned by the founders, who laid out our values in the Declaration of Independence, and set the rules in our Constitution. The purpose of our government is to meet the compromise of the mainstream, to deliver what it is the middle wants while accommodating the extremes on both sides. This argument that the parties are the same does not resonate more broadly because it is false.

Recently, the parties have been subject to a realignment process. Democrats have adopted a New Conservatism, while Republicans have adopted a New Liberalism. The Democrats’ change has centered around the development of orthodoxy and dogma, as I outlined here. The Republican’s changes are of a more dynamic variety, bringing a much needed opening up of the stale Republican focus of the past. Once a staunch Democrat myself who was poised, like so many, to buy into the orthodoxy and dogma of the Democratic Party, I have spent four years evolving my thinking and having a series of revelations about the nature of politics and the changes happening within it.

But what has changed? Is it me, or is it Republicans?

The short answer is both. Yes, I’ve had many “click moment” in the last four years, moments where I questioned my own assumptions as all critical thinkers must do. While others have returned to the progressive borg, effectively unseeing what they once saw (so much for that theory), I have continued to forge ahead with clear eyes and more thinking, leading to those continuing revelations. And what I have seen coming from the Republican Party in those years has been a radical shift from what they were about in the 1980s, 90s, and much of the first decade of the new century. The adjective “radical” is employed deliberately, for it is the nature of this action that allows me to ascribe the other adjective, “liberal,” to their side. In their case, and in contrast with Democrats, it is both the ideas and the methodology that have changed. Before we start, let’s get a couple of definitions down on this one, too.

The broad definition of liberalism, according to Wikipedia, is as follows:

Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a broad political ideology or worldview founded on the ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally liberals support ideas such as capitalism (either regulated or not), constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free press, free and fair elections, human rights and the free exercise of religion.

The first things likely to jump out at you as you read that is that capitalism is the first idea in the constellation of ideas, and free exercise of religion is last, and that neither of these are tenets of what we today call progressivism. So again we’re getting a look at how the leading forces within the Democratic Party are abandoning liberalism in the broad sense. But there are other, more defined definitions of liberalism, and since I will be referring to them, it’s important to get an understanding of them.

Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates individual liberties and limited government under the rule of law and stresses economic freedom. (Source: Wiki)

Modern American liberalism is a form of liberalism. It includes Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism, Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. It combines social liberalism with support for social justice and a mixed economy. (Source: Wiki)

Neoliberalism is a label for economic liberalizations, free trade, and open markets. Neoliberalism supports privatization of state-owned enterprises, deregulation of markets, and promotion of the private sector’s role in society. In the 1980s, much of neoliberal theory was incorporated into mainstream economics. (Source: Wiki)

It is in the employment of these more specific definitions that things get tricky. It is the first, Classical Liberalism, that defines much of the shift happening in the Republican Party. But there are roots of the third definition as well, as suggested by the last line. These ideas about deregulation and free markets were espoused throughout the second half of the 20th century and gained a full head of steam during the Reagan years in the 1980s. They penetrated so deeply that by the time the 1990s rolled around, even President Clinton was willing to sign a bill like The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999, which effectively repealed The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.

The second definitions is particularly intriguing to me, because of what it suggests about the modern Democratic Party. Here we clearly see a couple of things. One is that Teddy Roosevelt pops out as the bridge between the subordination of the old Republican Party, the one that fought and won the Civil War, and that the ascendency of the Democratic Party that has been shaped by the formulaic foundations laid by Franklin D. Roosevelt, which he himself learned from his distant cousin, Teddy. It was then codified by the forces of marketing, as suggested by the related rolling names of various Democratic presidents’ “New” and “Great” programs. These are akin to the heraldry of the ascendant Democratic ideas of the 20th century.

What I see happening with the Republican Party, then, is a hybrid shift of liberalism and libertarianism taking hold. Continue reading

500

Romney Democrats on Facebook is now over 500 strong. We are bigger than King Leonidas’ army when they took on Xerxes in the Battle of Thermopylae. 🙂

When we first started this project, I’d hoped to get 50 followers the first month. We have now been in existence for just six weeks and since the end of that first week when we met our one-month goal with lightening speed, it has been my dream to reach 500 by the convention. I can say that we have done it. A big round of applause goes out to my co-moderator, Denise, who has helped me manage the page through endless Obot trolls and plastered the blogosphere with links to the page.

Between our efforts and the Facebook ads, which many of you helped pay for, we are reaching Democrats and helping them go public with their support for Mitt Romney. We are feeding them an endless supply of excellent articles about Romney and Obama, as well as photos from the campaign trail and elsewhere, and they are sharing them in huge numbers. Our viral reach continues to grow, which means we reach additional thousands of Facebook users every day with our positively-focused content, reaching into an audience that does not often get the exposure to such information.

Many thank to those who donated! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Now, for the data geeks in the house, some charts and numbers for you. First, a break down of our audience. Continue reading

About the Obama “Offensive” on the GOP Convention

Well, well, well, what have we here? In an unprecedented move, Team Obama is going to try to disrupt the GOP Convention in Tampa next week.

Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention.

Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent’s nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee.

It started a week or so again when Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she would hold a “counter-convention” in Tampa during the GOP convention. Then Joe Biden announced an appearance. Now Obama has announced he’ll be campaigning in Iowa and Colorado during the convention, while Michelle Obama will appear on Letterman on the same night Ryan will deliver his speech.

I know what they’re thinking. They’re thinking this is an effective offensive move. It’s basketball analogy season in the Obama campaign, but they don’t realize that what they’re fighting is actually a militaristic ground war. Basketball strategies are for chumps in this case.

Think a little deeper on this issue, and the hazards become apparent. This is not an offensive move, but a defensive one. Team Obama thinks this is like Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, where Reggie Miller scored 25 points in the fourth quarter of the game and won it, then made that famous choking gesture to Spike Lee from the court. Maybe they’ve forgotten that the Pacers went on to lose that series.

A closer analogy is the World War II Battle of the Bulge, after which it was all falling action that led to the surrender of Nazi Germany. It is just as revealing about Obama’s own weaknesses. He’ll string his paltry assets around the nation, bulging them in Tampa during the convention, trying desperately to push Team Romney back. It will not stop the voting forces because it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the American character.

An Election Beyond Fear

The American people have been afraid long enough. Continue reading

New Democratic Conservatism

Yesterday I posted about a new political realignment I see happening. As commenter 1539days pointed out, realignments happen in stages, and I agree with this assessment. In accordance with that, and with what I’m seeing playing out across the socio-political landscape, let me clarify that Geo. W. Bush and Barack Obama are representative of two of the stages. As I said in comments:

The reaction/revolt within the ranks of the GOP to Geo. W. was stage 1 of this one. The reaction/revolt to Obama within the Dem ranks is stage 2. Note how in both these cases the ranks came on strong in protection early on, but as both men proved they were not what the constituencies of each had in mind as to what a conservative or a liberal/progressive acted like, the ability to abandon the ideologies and parties ratcheted up.

With this in mind, it follows that the American political parties are, to some extent, swapping places along the political spectrum. This is what realignment is, and it’s driven by both constituencies wanting something different, and finding recent changes unsatisfying to their world views. In recent years, the Democratic Party has increasingly expressed its political ideas in terms of traditionally conservative methodology. Meanwhile, The Republican Party is now increasingly expressing its ideas in traditionally liberal methodology. This is part one of an examination of this argument, of the why of realignment. Soon I’ll post about the Republican side. For now, let us focus on the Democratic Party.

What do we mean when we say conservatism? It’s a question worth asking, because there is an old definition and a new definition, as well as related terms. For example, it may be more accurate to use the terms traditionalism or fundamentalism in some cases. All three terms are related as they apply to political and social world views, but there is a slight perceptible difference between them.  In this post I will use all three, but before I do so, let me offer some definitions.

Conservative (adj): Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion. (Merriam Webster)

Conservatism (Wiki): (Latin: conservare, “to retain”) is a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional institutions and supports, at most, minimal and gradual change in society.

Traditionalism (Burkean): a political philosophy emphasizing the need for the principles of natural law and transcendent moral order, tradition, hierarchy and organic unity, agrarianism, classicism and high culture, and the intersecting spheres of loyalty.

Fundamentalism (Wiki): the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, primarily to promote continuity and accuracy.

I’ll use all of these terms to describe and explain the trajectory change in Democratic Party politics in recent years. What has happened is that Democrats, especially progressive Democrats, have developed a whole constellation of approaches to guard against any changes to their movement. They have become defensive toward change itself. They hold themselves up as a small group of the good, out to save or skewer the larger groups of either unthinking, or deliberately evil actors that populate our nation. Keep in mind that the ideas don’t have to change much, though they certainly do change. It’s the approach that is different. But how is it different?

In a word: orthodoxy. Democrats have developed an orthodoxy, and as with all orthodoxies, the establishment of such indicates that there are now hard rules that everyone who subscribes to the party must adhere to. There are also hierarchies and the enforcement of loyalties. The entire structure is sold as the realization of the highest natural order and draped in the vestiges of high culture, if that even exists anymore in the roaring volume of pop culture.  This is the orthodoxy one must subscribe to if one is the product of cultural evolution, else one is a cultural barbarian so low that the very language a person uses is likened to shrieks and grunts. Only those who use the language of the group belong, only those who subscribe in whole to the beliefs can be accepted. This closed structure is entirely new in the Democratic environment; it didn’t used to be this way. The Democratic Party used to have a big-tent, and it prided itself on it.

Democratic Liberalism has been ascendent for about 80 years. This is about as long a stretch as any American political party has enjoyed in our history. We often like to talk about the Republican ascendency in our short-term historical points of views, but that has been a case of presidential elections, not ideological spread. Historically speaking, Democrats have had the upper hand since at least FDR. They expanded their ideology in the 1960s, moving from economic justice issues to social issues. And in so doing, they have delivered some change in the market of social justice. I don’t’ think anyone can reasonably deny this. In 50 years we’ve gone from oppression to opportunity for select groups. All the problems haven’t been solved, but the great majority have.

That makes the Democrats worldview status quo, ftr. You won’t find Democrats arguing this point, because an underdog status is critical to any conservative movement. Conservatives want to make sure change doesn’t happen too fast, no matter the change. And Democrats think they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, because they can’t yet see that realignment is happening. As long as the status quo remains, they can believe all the pretty lies they tell themselves about how what they do is righteous and good. They can also keep their audience enthralled by political theater and unaware of what’s going on off stage.

This is why you see so-called liberal progressives saying that no matter what you believe in, you can’t be a Democrat if you’re willing to entertain the idea of voting Republican. Continue reading

Realignment is Happening

As many readers know, I’ve been subject to a swirling onslaught of revelations about what I think, what I believe, and what I’m ready to change about my political and cultural trajectory in life. Many of you have shared these revelations within yourselves. Some disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters have flipped the script entirely, joining the conservative side of the aisle, others have embraced an independent minded approach, while still others cling to their old ideas about what a Democrat is and what it means to be liberal or progressive. I fall into the independent category for now, but this could change.

One of the things I wrote about in 2008 was the idea that parties could be changed by the simple act of people taking risks and joining them in order to change them from the inside out. I came to this idea through seriously thinking about whether I wanted to cast a vote for John McCain. In that piece I examined the history of the Democratic party and accepted the fact I’d willingly believed lies about them, among them that there was something wholly positive about Democrats, and something wholly negative about Republicans. I accepted that my thought process was sloppy, at best, in believing these lies and accepting this division. My search led to another revelation, the idea that we, the people, could make the parties into anything we wanted. That’s such a powerful idea to me even now, four years later.

Ultimately, though, reform doesn’t happen in a vacuum. All of this partisanship has only caused rancor among the voters while the power players rob the country blind. Maybe we have been short-sighted about it all. Maybe change happens more effectively and more rapidly from the inside.

I’ve since had another revelation about how both sides have played a kind of “cooties politics,” but it is a dynamic more pronounced on the left at this time.

What I mean by this cooties metaphor is that for many, politics is kind of like the game we used to play throughout our primary and secondary school years, where some group–it may have been boys or girls (depending upon your own sex and preferences), poor people, stoners, metal-heads, preps, etc–had “cooties,” and were not to be trifled with because of that. To associate with these groups meant that some of their pestilence would rub off on us. It depended on the group we were in as to who had cooties.

This kind of practice and view of politics is a dead end street. It’s immature, based on the worst aspects of human behavior, and appeals to the shallowest thinkers among us. Moreover, it stalls positive progress. Maybe it’s the kind of break we needed after so much shifting change between the 1960s and the turn of the century, and in that sense, maybe it’s served its purpose. But it has to change now, and I think that’s beginning to happen. There’s no telling if the change will take hold or how long it will last, but considering that “cootie politics” has been the way for my entire politically conscious life, I’m really looking forward to some disruption of this practice.

Which brings us back to our our original topic: realignment. What evidence is there that realignment is happening? Continue reading