It’s funny how these supposed champions of the Enlightenment can’t grasp that people can disagree with them for honest reasons.
Archives for August 18, 2009
It seems a standard fallback position for defenders of the President to resort to the argument he first used in the early days of Administration when facing resistance from elected Republicans to the “so-called stimulus.” They merely repeat the mantra that he won.
To be sure, he did win. But, if his victory means he is entitled to win passage of all his legislative initiatives, well, then, let’s first have all these folks apologize for blocking George W. Bush’s proposals in 2005-06 and move immediately to confirm all the federal judges he nominated.
Just because a candidate wins election doesn’t mean the majority (or plurality, in some cases) who backed him favors every policy he puts forward. And anyway, in our republican form of government, the legislature must first approve said policies.
Many Democrats are balking at the president’s latest proposals because they recognize that the American people don’t show the same enthusiasm for Obama’s policies as they once did for Obama the candidate. In order to generate that enthusiasm, he distinguished himself from the freespending Republican incumbent.
Yes, he proposed new spending schemes, but did so in the context of a “net spending cut.” He was going to pay for new programs by cutting existing ones. But, when he assumed office, he proposed new federal programs while increasing the outlays for existing ones. Obama’s ability to win over wavering independent voters was contingent on his commitment to reining in federal spending (that he continues to talk about holding the line of federal spending shows that he still recognizes the power of this notion).
In short, he convinced a majority of the American people to back his candidacy by making clear that the change advocated was not radical and the spending increases he proposed would be paid for with spending cuts. That he has not delivered on those promises show his current actions at odds with his electoral mandate. They show as well why he is losing favor with the American people.
With a recent Gallup poll showing that conservatives outnumber liberals in every state, even the President’s Illinois and socialist Bernie Sanders’ Vermont, it is clear, to paraphrase Mark Twain, that reports of the death of the conservative movement are premature.
And while some may say we need a leader to begin anew, the signs of the revitalization of conservatism are everywhere. Many (if not most) of those gathering in public squares and congressional town halls to take issue with the Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul may not identify as conservatives. But, by the very questions they raise, they stand up for a basic tenet of American conservatism: distrust of big government.
Poll after poll show the American people continue to oppose ever increasing government spending, with a July Gallup survey showing that the primary reason for “disapproval of the president’s economic policies was, literally, ‘spending too much.’” In short, conservative ideas continue to resonate. We don’t need a leader to galvanize our base (but we will need leaders to defeat increasingly unpopular spendthrift Democratic politicians).
That the issues continue to rally the right (that Gallup survey showed that 65% of those who disapproved of Obama did so because of issues*) shows the contrast between the revitalized conservative movement and the fading appeal of the movement which propelled the President to power. Obama’s movement was little more than a personality cult built on his image. The “Tea Parties” and the spontaneous expressions of opposition to Obamacare grow out of an idea, the same one that motivated patriots in thirteen British colonies to take first to the streets and harbors, then to arms, in the 1770s: freedom.
In recent years, the left was first united in opposition to George W. Bush, then in support of his successor. We conservatives (and libertarians) have long been drawn to an idea. Had George W. Bush and congressional Republicans understood the importance of small-government principles to their conservative base, the former may have left office with higher approval ratings and many of the latter might still be in office.
*Whereas only 17% of those who approved his performance cited “issues” as the reason for their support.
According to Michael Barone, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “is not going to conduct in-person town meetings in Nevada during the August recess.” Read the whole thing as Barone takes apart Reid’s lame excuse for avoiding his constituents.
This seems to be a pattern among all too many Democrats, attack those protesting the legislation you propose, but don’t deign to meet with them to learn why they’re so upset with Democratic plans to overhaul the health care system with which most Americans are pretty happy.
They could learn from one of their number, Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy. That good man (and yes, he’s a Democrat) understands says “people have a right to be concerned, even angry about” the issues he and his colleagues are addressing in Washington. But, unlike Mr. Reid and Ma’am Boxer, he believes it’s “productive” when he talks “to my constituents in an unfiltered way.”
A better attitude to have than calling your constituents names or misrepresenting the motives for taking to streets and townhalls to protest an increased federal role in the health care.
Remember the daily, almost hourly, updates we got back in 2005 when Cindy Sheehan protested the War in Iraq outside then-President George W. Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch?
Well, according to Byron York:
She’s still protesting the war, and on Monday she announced plans to demonstrate at Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama will be vacationing.
And it doesn’t seem the media are paying much attention. York sums it up:
But her days are over. The people who most fervently supported her have moved on.
Not too long ago, some observers worried that Barack Obama would come under increasing pressure from the Left to leave both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, it seems those worries were unfounded. For many liberal activists, opposing the war was really about opposing George W. Bush. When Bush disappeared, so did their anti-war passion.
When I first considered blogging, before I had even heard of GayPatriot (indeed before this blog even existed), I ran through countless potential blogging monikers for myself from AmericanCamus to something from a favorite flick.
As I was pondering the perfect name for a website, I discovered a fledging blog called GayPatriot, wrote the eponymous solo blogger to congratulate him on a post taking Log Cabin to task for failing to endorse W’s reelection. We exchanged e-mails, instant messages and the next thing I knew, he invited me to join him here. I still agonized over my own moniker, so finally just settled on GayPatriotWest.
I’d always wanted something a little more descriptive, saying something about my passions. In the intervening years, other ideas came to me, many involving the topic of my dissertation. No one name really called out to me. Nothing really worked.
So, I decided to go with my own name.
I realized that when I was first searching for a moniker, I wanted to describe myself without revealing myself. I had intended to maintain my anonymity because my public political identification could compromise (if not destroy) any chance I had of breaking into the entertainment industry. (And it’s hard enough breaking into the industry as it is.) Still, barely two months after I started blogging, when interviewed by a reporter from a Boston gay paper, I agreed to let him use my name in the article.
I had crossed a personal Rubicon. If this would make it more difficult for me to succeed in Hollywood, then so be it. And anyway, I was getting tired of remaining silent when friends and acquaintances discussed politics.
From then on, having the moniker GayPatriotWest served primarily as a means to identify myself as the blogger at GayPatriot who lives on the West Coast.
I had thought I might have something particularly profound to say about the importance of blogging under your own name and not hiding behind a fabricated moniker.
I suppose the most profound thing I can say in this. Both Bruce and I have been subject to mean-spirited personal attacks on left-wing blogs, in our very comments section and oftentimes in our e-mail by those who hide behind a cloak of anonymity.
While we don’t engage in such vituperative attacks, we do take issue with a great number of people, including leaders in the gay community. It didn’t seem right to criticize them while not disclosing our own identities. I’m not ashamed of who I am, an American, a Republican, a gay man, a lover of myth, legend and history, a film buff and a Tolkien geek who loves Beowulf who is devoted to his nephews and nieces. And so many other things.
One simple moniker couldn’t describe all that without leaving something out. Perhaps my name contains multitudes.