Republicans: The Next Generation

“As conservatives, we don’t hate America,” Erickson told his young audience. “The life of a liberal is hell. It is not possible to have a debate, a discussion, with someone who at their root, at their core, hates everything this country stands for but doesn’t hate it enough to leave.”

Ann Coulter’s latest book, “Treason,” which tarred virtually all Democrats as traitors, may have been denounced by conservative intellectuals, but its message has pervaded the party. Gene McDonald, who sold “No Muslims = No Terrorists” bumper stickers at the Conservative Political Action Conference in January, was doing a brisk trade in “Bring Back the Blacklist” T-shirts, mugs and mouse pads. Coulter herself remains wildly popular – Parker Stephenson, chairman of Ohio College Republicans, calls her “one of my favorite conservative thinkers.”

At least a Green Party event, people get granola and free love.

The latest Economist (the one with Blair, The BBC, and the War cover) has a Lexington column about the reallly strong inroads the Republicans are making into 18-year olds and older…

Ann Coulter’s book gives me the heeby jeebies, and I’m what you call a Scoop Jackson Democrat. She mentions Scoop just once, as what she calls the rarest example of a “good” kind of Democrat, the rest of them she slanders as traitors to humanity. Never mind the fact that Scoop was probably more hawkish than Reagan, and had been so before Reagan came to office. But gawd, this is why I’m a Democrat, cause at least we’re the party of tolerance.

The scary thing is, and i’ve said this before, the Republicans have gotten their shit together in a really terrifying way. Rove has them firing on all cylinders and in lock step. Their party discipline and organization is light years ahead of the Democrats, and they’re waging an offensive on all fronts. At colleges, they’re really stepped up College Republican programs, and launched what they call “alternatives to the liberal college newspapers” on most major campuses. Their radio and TV (I’m talking about you Fox News) campaigns are growing in ratings. And they’re just hammering the Democrats with impunity.


It’s terrifying to think of people this fundamentally gullible and stupid ever stepping up to adopt any kind of leadership role. How many times do you have to be dropped on your head as a baby to really buy into the kind of simplistic pap that states, with great fervor and rage, that this one party, coincidentally the party of the speaker, is the “good” party, full of the people who love America and Mom and Apple Pie, and this other party, coincidentally the political foes of the speaker, are full to the brim, without exception, of evil rotten horrible people who HATE America, and everything America stands for, and are, in fact, evil and godless and just awful beyond belief?

What kind of short-circuit has to happen in a human brain to accept this kind of crap, and the laud the person who spews it? Am I just underestimating average stupidity, or is this truly as exceptional a case as I believe?

I think–I hope–it’s an exceptional case. It’s easy to grab the nuttiest right-wing person you can find and throw them up as a way to tar all Republicans. Reps could just as easily grab some loony left-winger and claim he speaks for all Democrats (in fact, IIRC, they have).

I don’t think any reasonable person believes this stuff. I mean, I’m pretty pro-war, but I don’t think Tim Elhajj and Jason McCollough are traitors to the country. Well, maybe Jason is–he’s a Communist, as we all know. :wink:

(sings the Internationale)

I’m not sure where the economist got that “strong inroads” thing; the demographics are slightly shifting to the Democrats in the short-run, and really shifting to the Democrats (Texas will be a toss-up state by 2020) in the longrun.

As to why conservatives are so well organized? An infinite fountain of money works wonders.

“Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”

–Winston Churchill

Well, I agree with the first part, at least. :)

Nope - you’ve hit on the key problem in politics today. Both sides are so filled with venom and rancor for the other side that they label the other side in ways that make it impossible to work together. Democrats label Republicans as right wing nuts who hate the poor, are all rich white men lighting cigars with $100 bills and who want to nuke the whales. Republicans label Democrats as left wing kooks who hate democracy and America and the military and who would prefer that everyone in the nation was paid by the government and made the exact same wages. Both are driven more by taking power and keeping it than they are by doing what is best for the country.

Hell, we can’t even discuss political issues on this board without falling into the “I can’t be right unless the other guy with a different view is not only wrong, but an idiot” trap.

Amen, Jeff. The current two-party system has degenerated past its usefulness. It’s continued to work fairly well due to the power splits we’ve had – either split house/senate or congress/presidency. The current situation of the Republicans having near carte blance scares me – but I’d say the same thing if the Democrats had complete control of the executive and legislative branches too.

It’s a shame that the numerical majority of Americans whose views fall between those of both parties is apathetic and thus unrepresented. Or at least resigned to the idea that they’re stuck with a lesser-of-evils choice.

The problem with Democrats is that Republicans like Lieberman are now lead Democrats.

And the really bizzare part is that despite all the rhetoric, both of the parties are closer to the center and each other compared to a parliamentary system where the nutballls on either end get their own parties.

I think that all we can do is sit around here, have our amicable discussions (even if McCullough is an America-hating-baby-eating-communist) and do our best to roundly make fun of the extremist on both sides.

I mean, if anyone wants to make fun of the Green Party, I’m game.

I really do not think the personality cult aspects of the right are matched on the left. There’s some liberalish nuts, but they’re neither in the Democratic party or in positions of power. By contrast, in the GOP the inmates are basically running the asylum (Delay, Wolfowitz).

That’s by design, really. Our system of government (and this is the reason why we tend to have only two dominant parties) is designed to encourage centrist leanings. Fringe political interests generally end up with no real power at all. A parliamentary system, by contrast, tends to magnify the power of fringe political groups. Getting things done in parliament means cutting deals to gain support, and all the favor-granting gives minority parties an inordinately large say in what gets done.

Wow - totally disagree. You don’t seem some really radical liberals in the Democratic party in the Senate or House (including leadership roles?)

What radical suggestions have they made? Other than national health care - which actually had non-trivial support - I can’t think of any.

Contrast this with the GOP, where they talk about:

Eliminating Social Security, Medicare, the Dept. of Education, replacing the entire tax system with a flat tax, replacing the entire tax system with sales taxes, eliminating the EPA (Delay, of course), etc.

The right is currently advocating extremely large changes in the scope of government with extraordinarly low poll levels; the Democrats aren’t.

Oh, and support of Democratic presidents by Democrats is nowhere near as fanatical as what you get on the right. The last one with undying support was probably FDR (maybe Truman?). Reagan, Bush 2, and Nixon (pre-Watergate) were fanatically defended.

Bush 1 wasn’t loved, but he’s the exception. The kind of sniping Clinton got from his own side seems to be the rule on the left.

I insert my previously posted theory on all of the above, which was viewed multiple times but never replied to :). Yes it’s long but I do think it remains a valid analysis of the idiocy of contemporary politics. (Although now that I’ve finished reading Fareed Zakariah’s book The Future of Freedom, I would have a few additional wrinkles to add).


You know, if it didn’t require a two-thirds majority to pass a budget - and the Republicans didn’t refuse to accept any, and I do mean any, tax increases - CA’s budget crisis wouldn’t exist.

And Zakariah’s opinion seems to be “I don’t like democracy very much.”

I don’t think that’s quite the case. I’ve only read excerpts of the book, but have read a lot of his columns. His point has generally been that Western-style democracy – particularly the American variant – took hundreds of years to develop. Why should the expectation be that the third world can do it in a few years.

Heck, even Japan and Germany took a decade or so after the war ended, and they were more developed after the war ended, even with all the bombing and destruction, than many third world countries today.

Aw, c’mon Jason, you have to be incredibly partisan to try to blame the problems from the total ineptitude of Davis on Republicans. He lied about Billions of dollars of problems during the election, and he did some pretty shady things that led to the current problem. Some of my best friends are fairly liberal California Democrats, who have lived through this, and even they say that Davis is the absolute fundamental problem. They want him replaced with a Democrat, but they want him out. And they wish he could be thrown in a pit somewhere.

And Zakariah’s opinion seems to be “I don’t like democracy very much.”

Not at all - as Loyd said, he thinks expectations in many areas (particularly some parts of Asia) are unrealistic, but if you read his books and papers and columns he is a believer that democracy is a key enabler of the types of reforms required to resolve many of the problems he espouses. For example, in a recent interview:

“But as many of them – South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand – became more democratic, it became very clear that the friendlier economic climate and the friendlier social opportunities were doing the trick.”

and, referring to some problems in developing Asia:

“Furthermore, these economies didn’t have the social securities that you find in the European capitalism model. Asia’s leaders kept on saying that such securities are not needed in Asia because of “Asian Values” – that community values are such that people will automatically take care of each other in a crisis. Well, the fact is they didn’t. There is a need for a social mechanism, and that social mechanism wasn’t in place. And on top of that, since there was no democracy either, you couldn’t demand that social mechanism.”


“Democracy is not just majority rule. It’s also toleration – tolerance of minority views and tolerance of criticism. The previous government, even though it had a majority, was deeply intolerant. My friend Najam Sethi, who edits The Friday Times, was enormously harassed while in jail, and harassment continued even after he was released. The suppression of opposition made Pakistan a less democratic regime.”

My reading of Sen over the years is that he deeply believes that democracy is ultimately critical to solving the problems he talks about, which is why many were surprised at his support, from a “how do we make life better in the long run” for the forced overturn of the regime in Iraq.

By the way, while we disagree on some interpretations, there aren’t many gaming forums where Zakariah is brought up - nice elevation, Jason. :)

Hey check it out, analysis of what conservatives are!

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

* [b]Fear and aggression[/b]
* [b]Dogmatism[/b] and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management