Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

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Cold Water

Ron Paul may have won the CPAC straw poll, but from what I saw, Marco Rubio got the best reaction.  The crowd didn't just love him, they wanted to love him really badly.  But there were parts where his message and his thinking could have been sharper.  Here are some thoughtful criticisms by David Frum that bear some thinking about and some hyperbolic criticisms by Daniel Larison that are worth answering, if only as a prelude to coming up with a governing conservatism.  I generally share Rubio's perspective and I sure favor him over a glad hander like Charlie Crist, but the George W. Bush years taught us something about the potential pitfalls of careless rhetoric and thinking.   
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Discussions - 30 Comments

I'm reminded why I look at the American Conservative so rarely. About as much as I look at David Frum. On the issue of social mobility, I wonder if all those stats deal with the fact that the low in the U.S. have a lot higher to go than the bottom in other countries. We have greater relative poverty, the others have less absolute poverty.

Young conservative scholars had a real presence at CPAC:

http://twitter.com/KuhnCNN/status/9343255786

She seems more learned than you, at any rate.

Regardless of what you think of me, the fact that you could consider that student's question even relatively "learned" is telling.

Relatively learned; absolutely retarded.

I realize that I've poked and prodded at the idiocy of Owl et. al. on a regular basis, but I've never descended into this sort of childish name calling. As Craig said, whatever you think of him, it's pathetic to elevate a young woman who doesn't even know that Regan's dead over someone who ... well, who disagrees with you. Unless, of course, you understand learned to mean: agrees with you. Which it wouldn't surprise me.

Wow, a college student is uninformed. Shocking, simply shocking.

I wasn't shocked by that at all, especially considering the venue. Facts are not very valuable there.

Geez. What happened to the level-headed right that consolidated its originalist principles with pragmatic solutions for real and present problems? Rather than defining your principles as opposed to Obama & Comrades, maybe you should stop villifying anyone ever associated with him (like Charlie Christ - a Republican, true, but not a nutjob like Rubio) and quit jerking off to whoever flies their American flag the longest (Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, anyone?).

Seriously. Your party, your "movement", your blog have all been caught up in some kind of idiocy I could have never imagined two or three years ago. I've always thought you guys have been wrong about a lot of stuff. But I never thought you were all going crazy.

I'm sorry to say that's no longer the case. I hope you all get this crap out of your system and come back to reality sometime soon. Until then, I'm going to sit this out. Bantering here and reading your posts used to be interesting and fun. Now it's just depressing and frustrating.

Take care. If you come across me while you're participating in Beck's cancer-purge of American progressivism, please show mercy.

Matt: I agree with (most) of what you have said. The movement has really lost its bearings. But it is not completely wacked out, not yet.

And that is why commenters such as Craig deserve worse than some girl who doesn't know Reagan is dead: those on the left willingly ignore what vestiges of stable conservatism are left. Uninformed crazies are not the only component of this movement, and the truth is that there are still many who dedicate themselves to to "originalist principles with pragmatic solutions for real and present problems."

I have supported Charles Johnson precisely because he gives credence to the left, and because he is more than willing to point out the excesses of the right. When I saw posters of Bush with a Hitler 'stache, I expected it. But when there are posters which do the same thing to Obama, I expect a little more from my conservative friends.

But that isn't what this girl Craig has pointed out was doing. Should she know more? Absolutely, yes. What little credence I can give her is that at the very least, she wasn't mean-spirited.

Wow, what an easy opening, Owl. Sure, maybe YOU support (or "have supported" - does that continue?) Charles Johnson, but this blog has quite clearly not. I think he's on their "enemies" list, considering how quickly he got dropped from their blogroll (maybe Ashbrook board member Bill Kristol made a call?).

Having read this blog over the years and the thoughts of both the blog and its commenters (from Dain to Kate to Hal Holst), as well as the direction of Ashbrook generally, I have to agree with Matt's take. It's not merely "No Left Turns" but "Constant Right Turns."

CPAC attracts a disturbing crowd. Note that former Ashbrook speaker Glenn Beck was their keynote speaker. The link about the ditzy girl (and note, I'm happy to avoid the "r" word; I'm not going to start using it now just because Your Sarah expressed one-directional outrage over its use!) - which I'm fully aware could easily be false (or was just misheard/misunderstood by the Twitterer) - was just a trivial post from a commenter who has nothing to lose. Dr. Schramm has instructed his minions to ignore me, and I'm probably seen as a terrorist/Commie symp like Obama (haha), so I made a light-hearted post. Get over it already...

Matt, You don't have to be a CPAC delegate to have noticed that Crist is a shifty, opportunistic gladhander. The New York Times sure did http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/magazine/10florida-t.html
You also don't have to be Glenn Beck to think that Crist's approach to public affairs is unsustainable http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/25/governor-charlie-crist-florida-opinions-columnists-politics-reihan-salam.html
You don't have to be a Rubio enthusiast (though I am optimistic) to conclude that Crist is the kind of "moderate" that neither party needs more of in the Senate.

I am over it. It is just that I have never seen you do anything here but antagonize.

Craig, your gotcha is beyond silly. I really don't know what it is supposed to do other than make you fell better about yourself. One can always point to the fractured history of a member of the House Democratic delegation http://michellemalkin.com/2009/08/28/race-baiter-democrat-rep-diane-watson-praises-cuban-health-system-castro-guevara-who-kicked-out-the-wealthy/ Speaking of a place where facts aren't valuable.

Of course all that proves is that one member of one party said something really stupid. No doubt you could come up with stuff from some House or Senate Rpublican and so on....Focusing too much on these kinds of statements is really just a substitute for thinking.

Bah... what "gotcha"?? I certainly don't think my initial post with the funny link (hey, maybe she was referring to MICHAEL Reagan - was he at CPAC??) qualified as a gotcha. Please - you're using Palin's definition of gotcha, and that's just embarrassing.

Or are you talking about my reminding Owl that NLT dropped its link to Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs blog soon after Johnson parted ways with what he saw as a sick right-wing? Ok, maybe THAT was a gotcha.

As for Owl's accusation that I "ignore what vestiges of stable conservatism are left" - Not so! I think they exist in shrinking pockets across America, but I also think that NLT doesn't happen to be one of them. It's still a fascinating place, though.

BTW, when is someone here going to blog about the recent TERRORIST ATTACK, in Austin? I'm sure he must have been a liberal - probably one of Obama's terrorist pals - but his rage about taxes certainly reminded me of of more than a few posts here at NLT.

I am of course terribly embarrassed.

I read what that crazy guy wrote about capitalism. I was glad when you commented here and showed us you were okay. Kinda.

The best short analysis of CPAC and the GOP tea party "small government" sham is from Glenn Greenwald:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/02/21/libertarianism/index.html?

yeah, that stuff about a "political party dominated by neocons, warmongers, surveillance fetishists, and privacy-hating social conservatives" really cut to the heart of it. Sure beats thinking through another point of view.

Greenwald would also have been wise to consult National Review's survey of tea party participants (I think it is behind a subscriber wall so I'm not linking) , which points to problems for Republican exploitation of the tea party phenomenon, but not the ones that Greenwald mentions.

Craig: Greenwald has some interested points about the GOP's in/out of power flip-flopping between big and small gov't. But I still don't think most of us outside "Paul-mania" can countenance the secessionist element of their ideology, even if some of it is attractive.

*interesting

What if the girl was making a joke?

- then she's a true comic genius.

Or just an audience participant who has heard endless references to someone who cannot be called back from the grave. We have no context for that remark. I can easily imagine it said with an ironic sarcasm, though taken out of context and flatly put it would seem like ignorance. I'm just saying.

This whole thread seems a weird extrusion from the post and much ado about nothing.

Interesting how this conveniently serves the interests of the pro-terror crowd. I suspect this young woman was a left-wing plant. Either that or Kuhn made it up. Liberals always lie if it gets them what they want.

"I really don't know what it is supposed to do other than make you fell better about yourself ... Focusing too much on these kinds of statements is really just a substitute for thinking."

Hmm ... That sounds a great deal like much of what goes on around here at what Craig astutely calls CRT. Which is really what this blog has now become. Schramm and Hayward, men with whom I profoundly disagree but who continue to think and to try to justify what they believe, must be sad that Hal Holst and Cowgirl are now the best representative of what's being said here. I know I am.

I'm sick and tired of America-hating liberals like you. Go back to your cave in Afghanistan, you puke.

Oh, forget about the ridiculous twitter post already!

You're ascribing far more significance to it than I ever did...

It's not as though that comment (if true) is the sole thing that compromised the credibility of the CPAC/tea party crowd! Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Snarling Dick Cheney, and Glenn Beck do that nicely without any help from some random college-age girl.

Hal Holst IS CPAC - in short form.

“A Constitutional conservatism … reminds … national security conservatives that energetic but responsible government is the key to America’s safety and leadership role in the world…. It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.”

What does that mean? It sounds like big government pragmatism/who rules is more important than limits on power.

Hal, the fact that I think everything that comes out of mouths like yours is just nonsense doesn't make me someone who hates America. My grandfather, my father and I have all fought for our country and, having done so, come back home, gone to college, and spent time thinking about what we'd just done. Does that really sound like someone who hates America?

And when was "you puke" a thoughtful rebuke to anyone?

SaT, your comment to me was an example of the (fairly common on the internet) problem whose presence on NLT you so grotesquely exaggerate.

I don't doubt your love of country. You do seem to amuse yourself by taking on the weakest arguments you run across, rather than the best and then complaining about the standard of discourse.

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