Conservative Archives

Sweden Discovers Reagan

Sweden, long an example that the Left has pointed to as a socialist enlightened economic haven, has been running away from socialist progressive ideals.  The latest domino to fall is the realization that tax cuts spur on the economy.

Sweden’s centre-right government on Saturday announced income tax cuts of 10 billion kronor to stimulate the job market, its primary objective.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and three other ministers in the four-party coalition said the reduction would mean most wage earners would have 200 to 250 kronor (20 to 25 euros, 29 to 36 dollars) more in take-home pay every month.

The proposal, to be presented to parliament on Monday as part of the 2010 budget bill, is the fourth leg of a tax cut programme introduced in January 2007 to stimulate employment.

The fourth leg would enter into force on January 1, 2010.

With that step, 99 percent of full-time employees will have had their taxes reduced by a total of 1,000 kronor per month, while 75 percent will have had reductions of 1,500 kronor, the government said.

"The coalition government has agreed on reforms for jobs and entrepreneurialism that will increase employment in the long-term. It has to be more profitable to work and more companies should be able to hire employees," the government said.

Imagine that; looking at the long-term rather than a quick "stimulus" "fix" for the here-and-now.  Not only that, but letting the people keep their money rather than spending their childrens’ is predicted to increase employment in the long-term, in hopes of reducing this:

Since coming to power in late 2006, the government has launched a series of measures aimed at inciting Swedes to return to the job market instead of living off of state subsidies.

The success of public assistance shouldn’t be how many people are on it, but how many no longer need it.  That line is not original with me, but it is an idea that the Swedes are coming to grips with.

Thanks, Ronnie.

A Conservative Nation

I have always though that the US as a whole leans conservative, but now I have a Gallup poll to back up that impression.

The strength of "conservative" over "liberal" in the realm of political labels is vividly apparent in Gallup’s state-level data, where a significantly higher percentage of Americans in most states — even some solidly Democratic ones — call themselves conservative rather than liberal.

I like the accompanying graphic.

Gallup Poll

Now, why party affiliation doesn’t quite match this, or why we elect such liberals as the one currently in the Oval Office, or heck, whether or not these folks even know what "conservative" means, is an open question.  But the fact that they at least believe themselves to be it is heartening to me.

What Will You Do For Me If I Vote For You?

Scott Ott, of ScrappleFace blog fame and occasional CNN guest, is running for Executive of Lehigh county in Pennsylvania.  Tuesday night, he went strolling around Allentown, looking to strike up conversations, maybe hand out a few campaign bookmarks; no real agenda in mind.

Turns out that when he enters a store and starts talking to the guys there, a chance to really discuss the issues crops up and he has what he called "an intensely practical, intelligent discussion about political ideology and freedom".  The conversation begins:

"What will you do for me if I vote for you?" the shop owner said. "Will you get me a grant for my store?"

I’m a bad politician.

I said (paraphrasing from memory), "The first thing I’ll do for you is put an end to the idea that public servants should hand out special favors to people who support them."

I told him that the next thing I could "do for him" was to abolish the idea that government is going to save you from your troubles, and to exchange that for the idea that you are responsible and free, and that no one cares more about your children, your business, your home and your neighborhood than you do. In addition, no one is better equipped to deal with the challenges of your neighborhood than you and your neighbors. But it won’t happen until you stop thinking that someone else is to blame, or that some outside agency is going to intervene to fix things.

He looked at me and said, "You’re a Republican."

I was delighted that he associates freedom and responsibility with my party.

His thoughts on that discussion, what the aims are (or should be) of the Republican party, and a sense of community that’s been lost elsewhere can be found here.

Voter’s Remorse

"Buyer’s remorse" is a phenomenon where, once a purchaser gets a product home and uses it, they decide it’s not living up to its potential, the advertising hype, or their expectations (realistic or otherwise).  According to Rasmussen, looks like America is getting a case of "Voter’s remorse".

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on six out of 10 key issues, including the top issue of the economy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% now trust the GOP more to handle economic issues, while 39% trust Democrats more.

This is the first time in over two years of polling that the GOP has held the advantage on this issue. The parties were close in May, with the Democrats holding a modest 44% to 43% edge. The latest survey was taken just after General Motors announced it was going into bankruptcy as part of a deal brokered by the Obama administration that gives the government majority ownership of the failing automaker.

Voters not affiliated with either party now trust the GOP more to handle economic issues by a two-to-one margin.

If voters didn’t realize that a President and a Congress in the hands of Democrats was going to be a big-spending perfect storm, they were just reading the advertising hype before casting their ballots.  Republicans certainly tarnished their "fiscal conservative" image in the last 8 years, no doubt about it.  But claims of "It would be worse with Democrats" is ringing true right on cue. 

And how about that "culture of corruption" that the Democratic party has tried hard to pin on Republicans?

Republicans also now hold a six-point lead on the issue of government ethics and corruption, the second most important issue to all voters and the top issue among unaffiliated voters. That shows a large shift from May, when Democrats held an 11-point lead on the issue.

There are others, and it’s worth reading.  Again I will say that most polls (or as fellow Stone Mark refers to them as, "cricket races") are simply a measure of emotion, and it’s also true in this case.  Polls that ask whether or not the economy is getting better measure what people think is happening.  What is really happening may be completely opposite to that. The general public, myself included, don’t know enough about economics to make the answer anything but a hunch.  But this poll is asking who people trust, which they, in fact, are experts on.  If the winds blow a different way tomorrow, these numbers could in fact change again.  However, the trend right now is that folks see where we’re heading, and they don’t like it.

Neither do the folks in Europe, where EU Parliamentary elections finished up recently.  This election, following the global financial crisis, shows which way the world leans when the find themselves in an economic pickle; to the Right.  The love affair with the Left and the Socialists has grown cold — more voter’s remorse — especially in France, which started a move to the Right with Sarkozy and continued with a crushing defeat for the Socialists, losing almost 20% of its French seats.  They may cheer Obama on the Left, but then they go home and vote Right when the chips are down.

Shire Network News #158 has been released. The feature interview is with former Muslim, Adil Zeshan talking about the recent incident in Luton in which returning soldiers were abused in the streets of Luton by Muslim protesters.  Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary. It’s a little longer than the actual segment, since I cut out the quote from Ron Silver’s article because of time constraints.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

Ron Silver, actor and political activist, died last week of cancer at 62.  Ron was a TV, movie and theater actor in the U.S. From the late 70s sitcom "Rhoda" to playing Bruno Gianelli on "The West Wing", to movies like "Ali", "Silkwood", "Kissinger and Nixon" and "Timecop", Silver was certainly not one to be typecast.  But that resistance to being easily pigeon-holed extended to more than just his acting roles. 

The phrase that I said earlier, "actor and political activist", usually connotes a person who has devoted their life to unwavering support of liberal causes.  Indeed, Silver did found the liberal lobby group Creative Coalition with the likes of Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin.  He went on the stump for Bill Clinton.  He was in favor of abortion rights and gun control.  What do you call a guy like that?

In Hollywood, they call you a "libertarian" or a "neo-con".  No, really, that’s what he’s been called.  Why is that?

Well, there was a seminal event a bit over 7 years ago that caused Ron Silver to change the label he used for his political alignment.  You might have heard of it; it was in all the papers, and I mean all of them.  After that event, he called himself "a 9/11 Republican".  You know the type; we have several on staff here at SNN.  The events of that day caused him to re-evaluate some of his views, and in an article he wrote in December of 2007, he explained why he took the terrorists seriously.

International Affairs 101 looks at intentions and capabilities. If my five-year-old son declares the United States his enemy and he intends to destroy it, call me crazy but I take it with a grain of salt. (Although I will monitor more closely what he’s watching on TV and check the parental controls on the computer.) If a group of people have the same intention as my son but they may represent the feelings of hundreds of thousands or more likely millions upon millions of people I take the threat more seriously. And when these folks have successfully attacked our military, our diplomats, and our cities and civilian population, well yeah, I take them at their word. Perhaps I didn’t when they officially declared war on us more than 10 years ago, but they’ve certainly got my attention now.

Silver didn’t think his fellow Democrats took this threat seriously, so he switched to the GOP.  He came out in support of President George W. Bush in this regard.  He narrated the film "Fahrenhype 9/11", the rebuttal to Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9/11".  He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention.  And continuing in his rethinking of liberal dogma he had unquestioningly believed, he produced a film questioning whether the United Nations was actually fulfilling it’s ideals.

While filming episodes of "The West Wing", this change of heart, on these few issues, got him greeted on the set with chants of "Ron, Ron, the neo-con", which, while he acknowledged it was said in fun, still "had an edge".  Alec Baldwin, commenting on this change while writing about Silver’s passing, labeled him a "libertarian".  Never mind all the other issues with which he lined up with them; he failed the orthodoxy test and thus had a scarlet "GOP" sewed to his garments.

By the way, there was another member of "The West Wing" cast that agree with Ron’s position.  However, Ron said, "he was smarter than me. He donated to the Democrats and made sure his vote for Bush stayed quiet.”  Y’know, somewhere, Senator Joe McCarthy is lying in his grave watching the Irony Meter go off the scale.

So let the passing of Ron Silver give us some lessons.  The Hollywood liberal elite is lockstep liberal and very elite.  Stick a pinky toe off the line and prepare to be marginalized, even after you’re dead.  And remember this when these folks talk about their support for the First Amendment.  "I’ll defend your right to say it (but then it’s open season, baby)."  When they sit in front of Congress trying to push their pet project of the month, remember Ron Silver, and consider this.

Worldview Matters

Chuck Colson explains that we disregard the past at our own peril.

One of the best exponents of [the role and importance of tradition] was G.K. Chesterton. In his book Orthodoxy, he wrote, “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.” And he wrote that “tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”

It’s not only respect for tradition that’s involved here—it’s prudence. These institutions and arrangements have helped to preserve the moral order, which is our first duty to maintain. They have been shaped by people who took into account the world as it is—filled with fallen human beings—instead of an imaginary utopia filled with perfectible people.

This respect is why true conservatism is a disposition, not an ideology. It doesn’t seek to reinvent man and his world—its concerns are about what T.S. Eliot called the “permanent things.”

In contrast, perverted modern liberalism, which includes many who call themselves “conservatives,” is about innovation, breaking from the past, upsetting the established order, and maximizing individual autonomy.

Colson is responding to the liberalism that is being taught in our universities, as exemplified in a quote from a Harvard faculty committee.  Read the whole thing.

Back to the Future

This was the title of a post on Redstate by Aaron Gardner, regarding where the Republican Party goes from here.  Gardner started, as his foundation of what the Republicans need to stand for, from the party platform of 1980, when Reagan was swept into the White House with 489 electoral votes.  He made some of his own modifications, but overall the (lengthy) statement stands as a good starting point.

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Election Post-Mortem

I was on the road again this week, so not much time for a post-election wrap-up from me.  But now that the dust has settled, let me knock out a few thoughts.

1.  Exit polls indicate that the number of self-described liberals in this country and the number of self-described conservatives hasn’t changed hardly at all since the last election, and conservatives hold a 12 percentage point lead (34 to 22).  This is still a center-right country.  Obama would do well to remember that.

2.  You win with your base, and McCain took too long to pick it up.  Now, I know that others (our own contributor, Jim, being one) have said that the base took too long to converge around the candidate, but I have to respectfully disagree; I think that’s entirely backwards.  Conservatives in the Republican party have always looked at McCain with a cocked eye, and they — or, to be honestly inclusive, we — had a tough time with many of his positions.  Our minds weren’t going to be changed overnight because he won the nomination.  That’s not principled.

Conversely, McCain did, in fact, make moves to the right that eventually won over the base, but I don’t think he did it quickly enough.  However, if you win with (or lose without) your base, what about the highly-touted independents that were supposed to make McCain so popular?  The answer is…

3.  …they largely split between the two candidates, which throws out all the conventional wisdom on how to win elections.  It’s been all about the "bell curve", that huge group of voters in the center; neither Left or Right.  In a race between a center-Right candidate and a hard-Left one, the conventional wisdom was that the more centrist candidate would pull in the middle in droves.  That didn’t happen.  Karl Rove, love ‘im or hate ‘im, was right, as Dan McLaughlin noted on Redstate:

Karl Rove’s theory – one he perhaps never explicitly articulated, but which was evident in the approach to multiple elections, votes in Congress, and even international coalitions run by his boss, George W. Bush – was, essentially, that you win with your base. You start with the base, you expand it as much as possible by increasing turnout, and then you work outward until you get past 50% – but you don’t compromise more than necessary to get to that goal.

Standing in opposition to the Rove theory was what one might call the Beltway Pundit theory, since that’s who were the chief proponents of the theory. The Beltway Pundit theory was, in essence, that America has a great untapped middle, a center that resists ideology and partisanship and would respond to a candidate who could present himself as having a base in the middle of the electorate.

Tonight, we had a classic test of those theories. Barack Obama is nothing if not the pure incarnation on the left of the Rovian theory. He ran in the Democratic primaries as the candidate of the ‘Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.’ His record was pure left-wing all the way. He seems to have brought out a large number of new base voters, in particular African-Americans responding to his racial appeals and voting straight-ticket D. As I’ll discuss in a subsequent post, the process of getting to 50.1% for a figure of the left is more complex and involves more concerted efforts at concealment and dissimulation, but the basic elements of the Rovian strategy are all there.

John McCain, by contrast, was the Platonic ideal Beltway Pundit-style candidate, and his defeat by Obama ensures that his like will not win a national nomination any time soon, in either party. McCain spent many years establishing himself as a pragmatic moderate, dissenting ad nauseum and without a consistent unifying principle from GOP orthodoxy; McCain had veered to the center simply whenever he felt that the Republican position was too far. McCain held enough positions that were in synch with the conservative base to make him minimally acceptable, but nobody ever regarded him as a candidate to excite the conservative base.

Yes, this is essentially a restatement of point 2, but where as #2 is looking from the Right, #3 is looking from the center. 

Also keep in mind that the center is where most undecided voters live, some of whom don’t decide who to vote for until they in the voting booth.  Reagan won by sticking to his conservative principles and Obama won on his liberal credentials (spreading the wealth around, socializing health care, anti-war).  It wasn’t the blowout it should have been, given the perfect storm of an unpopular President, and unpopular war and a tanking economy, but a win is a win.

UPDATE:  John Hawkins concurs:  Top 7 Reasons Why the GOP Can’t Build a Political Party Around Moderates.

4.  McCain was hoist on his own petard; McCain/Feingold.  On election night, you could almost hear, in the back of your head, a voice-over saying, "This election brought to you by…campaign finance reform."  Another element of the perfect storm for Obama was the fact that he reneged on his promise to stick to public financing and hugely outspent McCain (yet still only managed an average victory).  This unconstitutional (in my humble opinion) program restricts free political speech, arguably what the First Amendment is precisely about.  McCain/Feingold is dead, for all intents and purposes.  At least it’s now irrelevant. 


I still respect McCain as a politician and a bridge-builder, and I believe he would have made a far better President than the one we’re going to get.  But cheer up, Republicans.  At least Obama is going to pay for your gas and your mortgage.

Gracious Concessions

Well, by John McCain as well, but by prominent conservative bloggers and personalities, too.  No moves to France contemplated here.

  • Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.
  • Scott Ott, Christian, satirist at ScrappleFace, but serious blogger on his TownHall blog.  Excerpt:

After George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, and later John Kerry, for the presidency, countless Democrat-owned cars bore bumper stickers with clever phrases like ‘Not My President’ or ‘Don’t Blame Me I Voted for Kerry’.

As a conservative evangelical Christian who voted for McCain-Palin, and for every other Republican on the ballot yesterday, let me say for the record: Barack Obama is my president.

I stayed up past midnight to watch his victory speech. I wept (a little less than Jesse Jackson) because the moment stirred me with gratitude for how God has thus far corrected America’s most crippling birth defect — racist discrimination.

And a guest blogger at Patterico’s Pontifications, along with congratulating him, lists what President-elect Obama can do to keep his campaign promises, and offers his own promises in return.

Congratulations again, to our first black President.  We’ve lived through a point in history that will be talked about for a long time to come.

This is the 2nd and final part of my analysis of an open letter from Anne Rice. Part 1 was posted yesterday.


Anne Rice spends most of her letter covering this issue, and she starts with an assertion that, to me, shows a lack of consideration of the history of the issue.

I want to add here that I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party.

Ms. Rice does touch on these historical issues lightly later on, and I’ll hit them more in-depth then, but even looking at how the abortion issue generally falls between the parties today, I don’t see this as making sense. What I hear from Democrats are things like John Kerry with this sentiment:

I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many. I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman’s choice. It’s between a woman, God and her doctor. That’s why I support that. I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade.

If one’s commitment to Christianity should be “absolute”, as Ms. Rice has said, there is a big problem with this statement, that is generally the line religious Democrats use when talking about abortion, and that is the canard about legislating one’s religious faith, or sometimes call ramming one’s religion down your throat. Civil rights are very much a moral issue, but does Sen. Kerry have the same problem with legislating that? No, he’s very willing to impose his view on KKK members, and rightly so. It’s right, it’s moral and it’s the law. Legislators all throughout our country’s history, and more so in our early history, based many of their decisions partly or mostly on their religious faith. This excuse is disingenuous.

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