Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Is this political Hell yet?

Are there more GOP House seats in play now than there were a month ago? Are the House races being "nationalized"? Adam Nagurney says yes to both questions. Richard A. Viguerie (surprise!) thinks that conservatives have been betrayed and, "Sometimes it is better to stand on principle and suffer a temporary defeat." He is willing for that defeat to come. He cites examples, but, of course, his examples are incomplete. Still, he wants to feel good about himself, and he likes being angry. So, not only are white conservatives moving away from Bush and the GOP, but so are Latinos, according to Thomas Edsall. There are some stretchers in the article for sure, yet there is something to all this drumbeat. On the other hand, nothing stays the same in politics. Pretty soon the Dems will have to start talking and taking positions; that will be telling.

Discussions - 29 Comments

The drumbeat is getting louder. And, as Peter says, there’s a growing inclination of conservatives not to resist it. The rationalizations are numerous and varied: Bush is no conservative--not to mention a serial screw up--and needs to be taught a lesson, the party needs purification, divided government is better for budget control, it’ll be easier to win the presidency in 08 if your lose Congress in 06 (the 94, 96 analogy--which I think would only hold if the Republicans get a candidate a skilled as Clinton and the Democrats one as lame as Dole), it’s ok to lose the House but hold the Senate (which is responsible for Court confirmations), only after the Democratic landslide will the "religious right" be chastened enough to accept McCain on electability grounds (on this point: If the war--allegedly the gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats--is most of all what’s dragging Bush down, why would the most Hawkish conceivable candidate be the most prudent one for the Republicans?), and (the only one that seems plausible to me) the Republicans are tired, discouraged, and short on talent and a massive defeat will provide plenty of opportunties for ambitious young men and women to enter conservative political life. But for the most part: I’m still in the camp that believes that Bush, despite many missteps, doesn’t really deserve a massive repudiation.

One wonders, Mr. Lawler, what Bush would have to do to earn your disapproval. Beyond becoming a raging America-hating lunatic...exactly what?

What leads you to believe that Democrats are going to have to start taking positions?

The media isn’t going to hold them to account, and it’s not as if the Republican leadership is going to start maneuvering Democrats into taking positions between a rock and a hard place.

As for the Latinos, it makes sense that they would be moving away from the President and the GOP. The language of the bill, and the talk about "getting tough" has been sufficient to irritate those looking for an excuse to see the immigration proposals as racist, but simultaneously, the actual provisions discussed are so pathetic and weak, as to absolutely disgust Conservatives. It’s the worst of both worlds, the proposals aren’t enough to entice Latinos towards the GOP, but they are enough to move the base away.


As a non-academic, let me describe what I believe many disillusioned conservatives, including myself, are doing and planning. (BTW, I consider them "reasons" and not "rationalizations". Pace’.)
I’m writing to the WH and the RNC to tell them they’ve lost my confidence, and my financial support. I want them to know how angered I am about spending and the convenient retreat from the rule of law (de facto open borders and consequential amnesty). There are other issues, but those are the biggies.
In the voting booth ("sitting out the election" is not an option for a committed citizen, IMO) the least objectionable non-Party-of-Death candidate will get my vote. Given current realities, those candidates will overwhelmingly be Republicans. But if the Conservative or Libertarian or Green parties run a more principled candidate, then *they* will get my vote.
In a very small way I’m trying to convey to the Republican party my strong desire for them to return to conservative principles. If that leads to a massive repudiation of Bush, so then so be it. If it leads to Republican defeats in Congress, so be it.
Conservatives have for years criticized "interest groups" of various stripes of being beholden to the Democratic Party. Of being taken for granted. Unless we conservatives *somehow* send a message of disagreement and disaffection to the GOP, then I say we’re ripe for the same charge.


Gary Seaton

ps I’m also supporting morally and financially the candidacy of Ray Hunkins for governor of Wyoming, although I’m not a resident of that great state. Ray is a faithful, principled conservative - a very good man - who epitomizes a disinterested commitment to the common good. I urge NLT readers to help him in any way they might.

In Defense of Bush

At the very top of Richard Viguerie’s list of "rewards" Bush has supposedly betrayed his base is the response to Katrina. Thus Viguerie writes:

"For all of conservatives’ patience, we’ve been rewarded with the botched Hurricane Katrina response, headed by an unqualified director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which proved that the government isn’t ready for the next disaster."

Well, for all his pretentious anger and bluster, I think this actually betrays Viguerie’s soft conservatism. I mean, what was Bush to do? Ride roughshod over local and state authority? This would have been met with just as much liberal outrage as Bush got anyway. If real conservative angst exists with Bush on the Katrina mess, it would be his very unconservative determination to toss more and more federal money into that disaster-in-waiting (still to this day) for merely the sake of politics.

But of course Viguerie doesn’t even mention that. Don’t get me wrong, the guy makes some reasonable and valid points about Bush and Republicans in congress. But I’m dubious with his free use of liberal code words like "Big Business," "cronyism," "special interest," and such. Viguerie sounds too much like a McCain-like RINO for my tastes.

Dan is right--the Democrats won’t have to take any positions. And why should they? The largest political faction in America now is united around one certainty--Bush sucks! If I were a Democrat, I would do nothing to disturb that principle of unity. Gary gives one eloquent set of reasons why many conservatives want to send the president a message, and the Democrats will be less likely to benefit from their anger if they show their true colors. Notice that GAry didn’t even mention the war or the hurricane. I don’t regard adhering consistently to Green or Libertarian principles as an advantage, though. Wyomingians who read this should listen to Gary. An advantage of taking an interest in Wyoming races is that you only have to influence a very few to have a big impact.

If this is true then I think a new dynamic might be about to go into play. Coupled with Republican candidates, Steele, Swann, and Blackwell, this might get really interesting, the "Bush Sucks" coalition might start to unravel.

Look at Rendell’s approval numbers in PA and Swann’s inexperience. He is a non-starter. Blackwell has a chance, and Steele an outside chance, but I’m afraid the action is elsewhere this year. In any case, none of these candidates will do much to "unravel" the anti-Bush coalition or the Democratic coalition. Nor will anything else. The Dems will not do us the favor of collapsing or unraveling, though they may well overplay their hand. We must get the base out to vote. This president will not.

You know, Richard Viguerie. said some of the same things in 2004. He suggested that Republicans and/or conservatives just might stay home to protest the Republicans/conservatives in power.

Be that as it may, he also stated that one way to motivate the Republican/conservative people is to highlight the successes of the Democrats.

Also, throughout the Bush administration, he has let it be known that he as not been a big fan of Bush at all.

Funny thing about Viguerie, he has publicly stated that Bush has done a lot for conservatives and conservatives. It appears, though, that for the likes of Viguerie, a lot is not enough.

But hey, we can Barry Goldwater the Republican party and conservatives while the Democrats hold power again. I mean Viguerie did state at one time that the Goldwatering of the part and of conservatives, ie Democrat/liberal wins, was cathartic.

It makes sense that Latinos are moving away from the President and GOP.
Ya right said nothing remains constant in politics. Its ever changing. Lets see when the Dems will start talking!!!

I honor this President for his strong stand on terrorism, and I supported the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq (and still do). Beyond that, however, and a few tax cuts, what exactly has he done for conservativism? Alito, I suppose, but that’s after the base held his feeet to the fire. Give me some reasons to change my mind (honestly).

On Viguerie: He would regularly issue manifestos of angry betrayal about President Reagan.

He immediately expressed disappointment at Reagan’s initial appointments, saying that he, like Carter, "gave conservatives the back of the hand" (Jan 27, 1981).

He announced 1983 that he could not support Reagan in 1984.

...he [Reagan] has changed sides and is now allied with his former adversaries, the liberals, the Democrat and Soviets..." (Dec, 5, 1987).

I’ve copied all this off a pro-Bush email, but I’m pretty sure it’s accurate.

The only point is that the fact that V. has turned means nothing. I’m much more concerned about Gary Seaton.

Gary Seaton, I can report from long-time experience, is a good barometer of the base. So, too, is Ryan Rakness, for that matter. Both are, to put it mildly, disaffected with GWB and many of the national Republicans.
Addendum: Ray Hunkins is the real deal. Support him with your $, if you can’t vote in Wyoming.

There is good news, however. Remember that one person’s descent into Hell is another’s ascent and liberation. While Bush may feel betrayed by conservatives, and conservative white guys may feel betrayed by Bush, remember that there is about 50% of the country that voted vehemently against him and his politics twice in a row. We have hated him, argued against him, tried to expose his lies and the corruption of his administration for at least 6 years. So, if you are feeling the heat of the flames, you may reach for relief in the knowledge that half of this country has remained steadfast, integral, and consistent throughout your long, torturous, inevitable slide towards your date with the devil.

In fact, it may help to remember that many of us on this very blog predicted that the short-sightedness and arrogance of writers who announced the end of the Left, and the Manifest Destiny of the Right, would taste particularly bad when those pronouncements and insults were revisited after Bush’s collapse. Many of us predicted that his cronyism, and his disastrous fiscal policies and tax breaks for the rich,and his ultimate cowardice and mistrust of the American people, his racism, and his utter disregard for the spirit and letter of the Constitution, his embrace of corruption, would sooner or later crumble under their own weight. So, it may help you to remember that. It helps me!

Crow while you can, FMG. With the possible exception of cronyism, Bush’s downfall in the eyes of his base hasn’t anything to do with "lying" or "corruption." It has to do with his failure to support conservative values.

He who laughs last ... is slow on the uptake!!!

I enjoyed your post very, very much Fung, and I fervently hope you are right:-)

Brian, for a feriner you sure take a lot o’ interest in ’murcan politiks.

Brian - I hope I am right, too!

dain- Good to see that you are back, old friend. Is there a sporty new haircut to accompany the diminutive ’d"?


50% of the country did not vote against Bush.

50% of those that vote voted against Bush.

Big difference.

Approx 50% of the people in America do not vote.

The President is not in trouble because of a rise of the left/liberals in America. Nope, he is on the skids because he isn’t doing all or most of what the his base wants done.

Bush has done a lot fpr conservatives, but even that will not satisfy a significant portion of those that voted him in, it appears.

So, if this is to be believed, then expect the Goldwatering of the GOP, thusly ushering in a new age of Democrat rule.

Brian, for a feriner you sure take a lot o’ interest in ’murcan politiks.
It’s true, I can’t deny it. So I won’t:-)

Paul, you’re right! If Ryan Rakness is lost, all is lost. Will Ray Hunkins welcome the remnant to Wyoming? There’s plenty of room for more immigrants there! And a terrorist attack there would be very cost ineffective.

Dale, I don’t want to "Goldwater" the party, but I think we do have a few core principles that need some attention. Controlled government, regulated immigration, the preservation of our culture via court appointees, the restoration of free political speech, a strong national defense, and more. Bush’s record on most of this is so-so.

One misunderstanding, however, is the bond between conservatives and libertarians. About the only thing we share in common is a belief in free enterprise, and even that is pretty tenuous. Why? Well, the Libertards fairly worship capitalism, whereas conservatives honor it as the most likely system to retain the balance between civil society and government. For conservatives the free market is like every other institution touched by man...liable to corruption and in need of checks-and-balances by religion, government, and voluntary associations.

Given that our manufacturing base is now 10% of employment and falling, inequality is growing, and the demographic picture is shifting radically, I think the rather bad marriage between Libertarians and Conservatives is coming to an end. Libertarians will split, about 60% going to the liberals and about 40% joining us.

The challenge, of course, will be to find a path to electoral victory with the Right Coalition in shreds. It’s possible, but only with clarity and courage.

I have have missed it, but I have not seen any mention here of Peter Viereck’s death. (I know this is not immediately germane to this thread, but neither is much else in these free-wheeling tos and fros.) As an outsider and a moderate Democrat, I wonder what conservatives have to say these days about Viereck, who went deep. He was the first self identified living conservative I ever read.

Who is this "Ryan Rakness" and how do I contact him? Is he a baseball fan?

The fact that you don’t already know, Karl, is part of the crisis of competence which is plaguing this administration.

Nothing is permanent in this life and so in politics. Not only white conservatives but Latinos are moving away from the President and GOP. Lets see when Dems will start talking and taking positions.
Only time would tell....

Hey, the Dems will have "a plan." If they’re smart they won’t say a thing...just pump up Bushaphobia. Most people will buy it, believe me. I mean, John Kerry didn’t lose by much, and he didn’t say a damned thing. And the GOP doesn’t have the same set of assets coming into 2006 and 2008...they’ve squandered their capital.

Do you understand that it is the best time to receive the home loans, which would make you dreams real.

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