Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Change all around

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama and his supporters. While I would have preferred someone along the lines of Michael Steele or J.C. Watts, the election of an African-American to the Presidency is historic. It reflects racial progress and is itself redemptive and healing.

"Change" is here, but its still unclear to me just what it will be. As I said on WMCS last night, if Obama doesn't disappoint his enthusiastic supporters on the left like Joel McNally (who was in studio), he's likely to be a one term President. Interestingly, Eric Von expects him to do just that.

As for the state of the GOP, it was a bad night but not nearly as bad as we feared it might be. The Senate and House pickups are at the low end of the expected range and Obama's margin of victory was less than or comparable to those of Clinton.

But a loss is a loss and this is two in a row. Although the media deserves some of the blame and McCain did not run a good fall campaign, it would be a mistake if we avoid the frank and difficult discussion of what conservatism means in 2008.

What do we need to change?

That's a conversation that begins today.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

“Although the media deserves some of the blame”

My nephew is in Dubai where a young man from Iraq befriended him. The young Iraqi told him that he would do anything to help him because his people immensely appreciate what Americans have done for them. He cannot wait to come to America to attend University here. The democrats’ line will surely change his opinion of America.

The other interesting thing is that my nephew meets people from different countries in Dubai and was surprised by their open support for Obama. However, he was more surprised that none of them heard of John McCain and knew that he was running against Obama. That would probably have been the case here if McCain did not run some ads to let people know they had a choice.

It appears that the media is a problem everywhere and is a good place for conservatives to start.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous; blaming the Media is one of the things conservatives need to change.

Perhaps people in Dubai didn't hear about McCain; so what? They aren't voters. Everyone in the States who was paying attention knew who their choices were. McCain ran a vigorous if inept campaign (like Kerry did 4 years ago).

McCain had the grace last night to accept responsibility for his loss. If conservatives are to learn from this defeat they have to start by accepting the blame; not casting it on others. The Media has no responsibility to carry water for conservatives; only to TRY to be fair. No one's perfect (not even Obama) but the media did it's job well enough.

Time to stop playing the victim card; man up and accept the blame.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

Obama represents a break from Democratic candidates of the past. When the Republicans embrace a similar wind of change, they'll see their fortunes improve. And no, Sarah Palin does not represent that sort of change. If she is supported on the national stage in 2012, the GOP will have not learned its lessons of '06 and '08.

Anonymous said...

sean s -

How many Americans know Iraqi people appreciate what we have done for them because of the main stream media?

tom paine said...

Rick, you ask what does the GOP need to do now?

Well, the first step might be to enter reality and then try to define itself. The GOP is no longer the party of conservatism, small government, and fiscal responsibility.

"Compassionate Conservatism" as defined by Team Bush has been neither compassionate nor conservative. The results are the size of our government, our trade deficit, preventative wars, and the "nation building" that Bush promised not to do.

Right or wrong, a huge number of Americans see the GOP as conservative only in the respect that GOP cponservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

The current GOP has often seemed like a chicken without a head. One example is demographics. The GOP does not appear to realize that it is isolating itself from the population. Consider Hispanics. President Bush has presided over a situation where up to 13 million illegal Hispanics entered our nation during his administration. In 2000 about 4 million Hispanics voted and this year about 12 million voted. Guess who got most of those votes?

Same with the black vote where the GOP gets about 8 or 9 percent of that vote.

The GOP is seemingly unaware that whites will be a minority in our nation in the very near future and that the GOP base is only going to get smaller as our nation's population increases. This is a recipe for disaster unless the GOP undergoes a severe and fundamental change very quickly.

And with Gov. Palin being hailed as the future of the GOP the Republican Party is begging for more of the same.

tom paine said...

anonymous asked:

"How many Americans know Iraqi people appreciate what we have done for them because of the main stream media?"

I would ask you how many Iraqi's want the USA out of their nation? That is much more relevent and the media has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:57 AM asked me, “How many Americans know Iraqi people appreciate what we have done for them because of the main stream media?”

This question is pointless on several levels.

The mainstream media puts maps in their stories all the time; how many Americans are unable to find [insert almost any foreign country] on a map even though the mainstream media shows them where it is? A lot of Americans can’t find much on a map.

So even if the mainstream media reports things, people don’t always pick up on them. That is not a failure on the part of the mainstream media.

Your question assumes that a significant number of Iraqis appreciate what we’ve done for them. Can you cite an authoritative poll that demonstrates that appreciation? I am not familiar with one. I’ve looked for some, but find nothing.

Since we’ve learned not to trust polls taken in America too much; how would a reasonable American trust a poll taken in Iraq by God-knows-whom?

So your question becomes: How many Americans have learned this particular, uncertain claim because of the mainstream media?” What should Americans learn about this uncertain claim except that its uncertain?

I know that some Iraqi’s do appreciate what we’ve done for them; I am sure most Americans know some Iraqi’s appreciate what we’ve done for them. No one knows where they learned this from.

I know that some Iraqi’s do appreciate what we’ve done for them. I know that some Iraqi’s hate us for what we’ve done to them. I don’t know what most Iraqi’s honestly think; and I doubt anyone really does. So which of these stories do you think the mainstream media is remiss in reporting? How should they report all of them?

The mainstream media is not perfect; neither are you or I or anyone else. The mainstream media’s imperfections are not the cause of McCain’s loss yesterday. McCain and his supporters own that one all by themselves.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

How about conservatives stop letting liberals define us as a start (examples in the comments above)

The aristocratic GOP of today is not conservative. The Bush/Rove/Noonan/Will/Parker beltway crew has got to go.

We need to re-establish fiscal conservatism, small government, and personal responsibility. If the GOP won't comply, it is time for a 3rd party.

The future may or may not be Sarah Palin personally, but the future certainly will be from outside the Ivy League and the New York/Washington corridor.

The mantra was that the GOP is out of touch. That is true to the extent that the above crew wouldn't look or listen to anybody outside their own inner circle.

If anyone will note, the GOP that lost last night, were not the conservatives, they were those in the squishy middle and virtually undistinguishable from Democrats.

Anonymous said...

"...the future certainly will be from outside the Ivy League and the New York/Washington corridor."


Sorry Esenberg, but your out.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:52 PM wrote (among other things) :

How about conservatives stop letting liberals define us as a start (examples in the comments above)

Don’t blame liberals for that; conservatives do likewise. But Do Go for it. How do you define “conservative”?

The mantra was that the GOP is out of touch. That is true to the extent that the above crew wouldn't look or listen to anybody outside their own inner circle.

. . . except they reached out and picked Sara Palin. She’s hardly an insider.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

Sean -

The point was the continued negative coverage of Iraq to support Obama position.

Then there is the fact that the mainstream media spent three times as much covering Obama that it did McCain. I am sure that it was three times the effort to make sure that he is right for the job.

Now there is news that Syria is moving its military to Israel northern border. After all the campaigning, I still do not know what Obama will do. All I know is we’re going to have change. Yeah.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:12 PM wrote “The point was the continued negative coverage of Iraq to support Obama position.

Well, two thoughts: 1) if that was your point, you could have just said so; 2) whether or not the media’s coverage of Iraq was fair is a matter of opinion. I know that the media has frequently mentioned the significantly improved security situation there; which news is not biased toward Obama in the least. Anyone paying attention knows that things are improving. So I don’t see your point; should the media have skewed it’s coverage to a “neutral” view even if the facts don’t support it? On the spectrum between Iraqi-Paradise and Iraqi-Hell-On-Earth; where is the middle? And is the middle where things actually are? According to whom? Should the media be neutral? Or accurate?

Then there is the fact that the mainstream media spent three times as much covering Obama that it did McCain. I am sure that it was three times the effort to make sure that he is right for the job.

Two more thoughts: 1) from where do you get your metrics? and 2) if the mainstream media made three times the effort to make sure that he is right for the job (your words) then Obama was more thoroughly scrutinized than McCain which seems unfair to Obama and contrary to the typical conservative complaint that Obama was getting a pass.

Now there is news that Syria is moving its military to Israel northern border. After all the campaigning, I still do not know what Obama will do.

Since Bush is still President, there’s nothing for Obama to do right now but prepare for the job. You may lack confidence in Obama’s abilities; that is not proof he’s unprepared, just that you don’t trust him yet. I am not nearly as worried about what Obama will do as what Dubya will do in the next 70 days. You don’t trust Obama because of what you don’t know. I don’t trust Dubya because of what I DO know.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

Sean. . .well said!

Anonymous said...

Conservative -

Small government
Strong National Defense
Low taxes
Personal responsibility

tom paine said...

anonymous said...

"Conservative -

Small government
Strong National Defense
Low taxes
Personal responsibility"

And that is why the past 8 years should have lost conservative backing: Team Bush failed on 3 of them!

Anonymous said...

anon 2:43

sorry but you are an idiot

Terrence Berres said...

"...it would be a mistake if we avoid the frank and difficult discussion of what conservatism means in 2008."

Usually these discussions include factions founding new magazines.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:36 PM wrote:

Conservative -

Small government
Strong National Defense
Low taxes
Personal responsibility


OK; now tell us how those translate into solutions for real-life problems: health care, education, job security, public safety, economic stability, etc.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

Sean asked:

OK; now tell us how those translate into solutions for real-life problems: health care, education, job security, public safety, economic stability, etc.

Answer - not all of them will.

The small government approach. Taxes SHOULD pay for things that everyone needs like the military, police, fire, infrastructure, public education.

Taxes SHOULD pay for the "safety net" for those with disabilities and cannot take care of themselves or for those in short-term need.

The problem is the "safety net" has been so bastardized, its unrecognizable. The government was never intended to take care of every need for every person from cradle to grave. That is where the personal responsibility comes in. As an example, if someone chooses to drop out of school and can't get a job or a high paying job, that isn't anyone else's problem. The school was provided, that person chose not to participate. That behavior should not be rewarded with free stuff and money.

stephen said...

I think a good discussion of where the Republican party needs to go is certainly needed. Of course ultimately, just as big of an issue - heck maybe bigger - is not what or where, but who. I'm a conservative and consider what Bush did to party as much more damaging than anything the Dems have done.

This past election is most certainly not a sign that America has moved to the left. When you consider the perfect storm: economy & sub-prime mortgage ugliness, a tough war, and a sitting President with horrific approval ratings, not to mention a charismatic media darling opponent who outspent him by an astounding amount, that a lukewarm Republican candidate was able to get 46% of the vote is pretty amazing.

I think one of the biggest issues the Republican party must deal with is the urban/rural problem. Across the board, there is just such a dramatic difference in support between the two. The problem should be evident - every year voters are moving from one side to the other. What can the party do to become more appealing to that demographic?

Once upon a time, this would have killed me, to say, but the Republicans need a candidate more like Clinton. A centrist willing to move a little on most issues in order to actually get something done. I don't want some one who will give up everything - he or she must be principled and unwilling to compromise on some things. But social security is not going to get fixed without some one willing to kill some sacred cows - to give and take. The healthcare system really needs help - and neither total government takeover nor complete hands-off, free market will work. Immigration, Energy, Education and Environmental issues can't be fixed - but most certainly can be greatly improved by reasonable compromise.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with conservatives today? Why aren't they winning more votes?

Two things: negativity, and demographics. It is a gross generalization, but nonetheless true, that conservatives have an innate tendency to be crotchety. Think of Russell Kirk, Buckley's "God and Man at Yale," and Tom Tancredo. The world's going to hell in a handbasket, and things aren't like they used to be in the good old days. Homosexuals, getting married? Disgusting. (For good measure, take a look at many of Rick's posts about Bill Ayers, Obama's redistributive tendencies, etc.) There's some psychological evidence pointing to a conservative personality: intolerance of ambiguity; authoritarian tendencies; etc.

Negativity is unattractive. The two most successful conservative presidents of the modern era -- Reagan and Eisenhower -- were successful because they were positive people. The "shining city on a hill." "Morning in America." This sells. Negativity does not sell, except perhaps to that portion of the population that can be described as the conservative "base." People in the middle want to be inspired by a positive vision, and are put off by the likes of Sarah Palin offering up sarcasm.

Negativity is never attractive, but it is particularly unattractive when coupled with aristocratic elitism. George Will and Bill Kristol and the like-minded folks in the Federalist Society are interesting to listen to, but aristocratic proclivities and majority party status do not go hand in hand. The Federalist Party and the Whig Party gave us some wonderful statesmen. But they both went out of business, and pretty quickly, in large part because they were perceived (to some extent accurately) as aristocratic groups catering to moneyed interests.

As noted in a prior post, and by many others, demographics is another main reason the Republican Party currently faces a risk of going the way of the Whigs. White people are soon going to be a minority in this country. The faces at the Republican Convention this year looked about as diverse as those at a Federalist Society luncheon. Unless the party makes more of an effort to be inclusive, it'll become the party of crotchety old white people. And that will consign it to permanent minority status -- and, perhaps, extinction.

Republicans have made some efforts to avoid this. Bush reached out to the Hispanic community, and his appointments of Powell and Rice were, compared to some others he made (Brownie comes to mind), good ones. But the party doesn't seem to be reaching out to minorities in quite the way it did when Jack Kemp was active.

So, what do the Republicans need to do? Nominate Bobby Jindal next time. Send Sarah Palin back to Wasilla. Offer a positive, inclusive message. Reach out.

The problem with this advice is this: the base of the Republican Party loves Sarah Palin. And some of the base probably finds Bobby Jindal a little too brown for their tastes. What will sell with the Republican base may, unfortunately, be negativity. If this prevails, prepare for the Republican Party to become first a regional party only, and, eventually, extinct.

Anonymous said...

What I hope to be my final comment on this thread (because I am neither a conservative nor a GOPer) is that Obama’s advantage was his skin color; not because he could count on racial guilt or racial loyalty but because his story was written on his face. He didn’t have to make his story the center of his campaign.

McCain and Palin kept telling us their stories; that they were mavericks; that they were straight-shooters, that they were leaders and patriots. But McCain couldn’t even maintain leadership of his own campaign; Palin was such an un-maverick that she didn’t have the strength to even pick out her own clothes.

Obama didn’t talk about his calm, competent leadership, he DISPLAYED it. McCain and Palin talked about their virtues, but DISPLAYED contrary behavior.

If Republicans want to win next time, find candidates who actually are what they say they are, so clearly that they can focus on what they want to do, not on reminding us who they want us to think they are; like John Kerry had to ...

Find candidates who can run on who they genuinely ARE not who they used to be or want to be.

sean s.