When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Friday, November 14, 2008

Part II - Approaches To The New Administration

“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read "President Can't Swim”

-President Lyndon B. Johnson

This statement was directed at the press, but is also illustrates quite well the level of political discourse in this nation as it has existed for the past few decades. Since well before the election was held on November 4 there has been some consternation as to where the Republican Party is going, and what should it do to once again become relevant. That debate largely fueled the publication of this blog and will be a significant focus of our work.

Following the first two years of the President Clinton’s first term, conservatives were the dominant force in the Republican Party. Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Tom Delay of Texas crafted a masterful strategy that enabled republicans to control congress for the first time since the elections of 1952. Conservatism was strong and the voters wanted a substantive change in government. The new congress proposed the Contract with America (CWA)and there was new life and new winds in Washington.

There are a few other significant events that occurred during this election. Republicans overturned 20 state legislatures and 12 governor’s chairs. For the first time in 50 years the Republican Party controlled a majority of the states as well as the federal government.
It is imperative to understand why the conservative movement was abandoned in the intervening years, and why the election of 2008 was a foregone conclusion immediately after the Democrat Party’s convention. The expedition in Iraq that has become lengthy and tiresome, coupled with an economic meltdown during the course of the campaign contributed, but I posit that the GOP itself is the main culprit in its own downfall. In 1995 Republicans moved quickly on the provisions of the CWA with some success, but ultimately had to compromise with the Democrats due to the inability to gain consensus in the Congress regarding the specifics of the legislation.

In the time period since the CWA was introduced, Republicans have offered little in the way of distinction between the party and the Democrat Party. The Bush administration made no progress, and indeed exacerbated the problem of government spending, for example. There was no priority placed on reigning in the size and scope of the federal government. Without the drive to accomplish something the party was left dangling in the wind and directionless.

The party became exactly what it had fought against in 1994. In pork-barrel spending, the Republicans surpassed the levels of earmarks that the Democrats had passed in Congress. The party mitigated its stand on values and morals, allowing the issues of the to day fall by the wayside. As the adage says, “If you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing’” and that became the condition of the Republican Party. The Party establishment made selections for candidates who were not conservatives, and in fact have steadily “moderatized” the party candidates. Following Ronald Reagan’s second term, the candidates were George H.W. Bush, Senator Bob Dole, and Senator John McCain. All of these men are personally admirable and worthy of respect, but their politics was not conservative as desired by the American voter. In 1994 American voters told the nation that they wanted true conservative values and limited government, yet the party did not heed the call.

During this time frame, the relationship between the parties was little more than the trench warfare mentality of World War I. The War in Europe was fought between trench lines, with little effort to advance and capture territory. Instead, each side sat in their own bunkers and fired small arms and artillery into the other side’s trenches, taking and giving casualties yet the battle lines remained stagnant.

All is not lost. During the Obama administration conservatives have a prime opportunity to recreate the party into a conservative movement. Democrats control both the Congress and the White House, so the onus of decision making and responsibility for outcomes is on our opponents. Historically, the off year elections, such as the one that will take place in 2010 favor the minority party as the public juxtaposes the election day expectations with the reality if policy and legislation. Conservatives are in a position to reawaken the stagnant conservative voters who exist in massive numbers. It is the approach of the party that will determine success and failure.

A revolution of the kind exhibited in 1994 is what is needed not just to take political control in Washington and across the land, but necessary to revitalize conservatism among the minds and hearts of a nation.

Recommendations For Action

1) The GOP should find the common threads that can bind the various wings of the party and make those threads the tenets of the new conservative movement. Despite the diversity of the party and the presence of several factions, there are commonalities of beliefs that should be the strength of the party, and not let single issue politics divide a united front.

2) The GOP should engage the base. The establishment of the party has lost touch with the run of the mill conservative, the “Joe the Plumbers” of the nation. The party leadership should listen to talk radio, read blogs, and seek the counsel of those they are sworn to serve.

3) The GOP should reinstate statesmanship as opposed to continuing as politicians. George Washington did not want to be President of the new United States. He wanted nothing more than to retire to his plantation in Virginia, yet the nation called and he responded. We should seek leaders that approach leadership as an obligation, not a new suit that will be displayed to friends.

4) The GOP should educate the citizenry as we oppose policy and legislation. There should be no opposition based upon party affiliation, but opposition when it strikes at our conservative beliefs. Conservatives should learn from the Obama campaign by repackaging conservatism, such as abandoning the call for personal responsibility, and present the same concepts as “personal empowerment” and explain how the concept can benefit the individual as well as the nation.

5) The GOP must present a solid, consistent vision of America supported by specifics such as occurred with the CWA. We must communicate this vision in all corners of the land, and not concede territory such as California simply because it is historically liberal.

6) The GOP should make inroads into the traditional Democrat minority strongholds. After all, it was the Democrat Party in control during Jim Crowe. The Democrats allowed Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537, 16 S. Ct. 1138; 41 L. Ed. 256; 1896 U.S. LEXIS 3390) to remain in place for 60 years. I am heartened to see that Michael Steele, the primary contender for head of the Republican National Committee, as having this approach.

As we oppose that which is not in the best interest of the nation, the party must construct arguments that are communicated across the land as positive disagreement, not partisan trench warfare.

The comments posted on this topic by readers appear to agree that there must be significant change in the Republican Party and that conservatives are most appropriate to do so. Because Republicans have typically been successful when they do present a conservative approach, a return to those principles is what is desired.
There are areas where the party in general can improve and educate. The party should present a unified, mature front and educate the public on conservative principles and show Americans where they can personally benefit from conservative government. The term I used in the post was "personal empowerment" and not personal responsibility, but in many ways the outcome is the same with different packaging.
In presenting the case for conservative government, it was pointed out that the GOP has not taken advantage of alternative methods of communication as well as the Democrats. Blogs, podcasts, and other high tech alternative should be pursued in the effort to get out the conservative message.
Finally, the general theme of many comments was best summed up by TAO, who suggested that instead of concentrating on the individual candidate, the GOP would be better served by a focus on the merits of our own positions, not so much on the downfalls of our opponents. I think this is a distinctly excellent suggestion, as over time the GOP has been relatively indistinguishable from the Democrat Party.


rockync said...

Robert - I don't know if the GOP platform that could come out of this new conservative movement will win me over, I'll reserve the right to choose when I've seen the candidates, but, as usual, you have made a well presented, intelligent and practical presentation of the path the movement should take.

Joe said...

I am suspicious of the GOP's ability to unify and/or communicate.

Unity requires that one modify one's stance in favor of another's.

However, since the GOP no longer has a stance, it will be hard to modify.

What I see so far is a bunch of lilly-livered, yellow bellied sap suckers, who are cowering in fear.

I think it is time for the base to energize THEM.

Clay Bowler said...

I would add one more thing to your list. Conservatives need to advance their message with the efficient use of technology. The Obama campaign revolutionized the campaign with the internet, and they are continuing to do so with his administration. If you haven't heard yet, the President's weekly radio address is going multimedia. Conservatives need to reach out to the youth base and share ideas and conservative thought to combat the brainwashing that is taking place, ie: the indoctrination of gay beliefs on five year olds. Obviously, our message isn't to five year olds. It amazes me when I speak to young people how out of touch they are with the reality of the world. We need to present that reality to them in ways that make them think and decide for themselves, even if we lose some battles. At lease the seed has been planted. So many of these kids haven't been challenged to think. They just accepted whatever a college instructor taught, and that is scary. Getting back to my point, there is not better way to reach kids anymore than through electronic media.

TRUTH-PAIN said...

In the past 24 hours i've gotten more insight on the pulse and variety of the conservative nation than I ever imagined having to having the access. Joe's comment is soooo dead on. Especially the part about unity requiring modification of one's stance in order to meet another stance that is favorable to both (I paraphrased, Joe). Lastly, Clay stole my thunder of part of a posting I had in the oven. The GOP / Conservatives are leagues behind in the new media / communication methods of spreading the word. That comment alone has made me think of a few things the movement can do right now to instantly catch up.
Excellent post my friend..., and I am not done yet. I have other comments awaiting...

TAO said...

I like the idea of personal empowerment and I think that as a conservative we can make our message very positive in alot of ways. BUT, we must recognize that the concept of personal responsibility will affect our base. If we believe in personal empowerment then we believe that work should be rewarded and not penalized...thus we need to understand that by altering taxes on capital gains and dividends and not income we are giving the perception that we are penalizing work. We need to end welfare but we cannot say that because even by calling ourselves "compassionate" that sounds really cold. So we need to reform welfare so that reward those who work to get off welfare and punish those who refuse to work. We also need to quit rewarding single motherhood and unmarried couples with welfare and rather focus on working poor families...you are not going to rid this country of welfare in one big step...you will do it in little steps....and a few at a time.

We have to get out of the nation building business...no disputes that we have a right to defend ourselves but once a defensive military situation turns in a police and nation building situation Americans get fed up with you....follow the Powell Doctrine in a military adventures.

We have to change our way of thinking, not our principles, and once we change our way of thinking then Americans will change their thinking about conservatism...

Clay Bowler said...

Sorry to steal your thunder Robert. I cheated. I have a degree in technical communications and that's what I do for a living. So I decided to give a hand at blogging politically to offset what I saw was a huge advantage of the Obama campaign. I guess I am doing okay at it. I got noticed by www.westernfrontamerica.com as they recently featured one of my blogs on their Web site.

We definitely need to use this powerful forum, and we need to get defensive. Recently, I wrote a blog about Obama's Electronic War. During the course of the campaign, many pro-McCain blogs and comments were attacked by Obama campaigners. A recent comment to that blog opened up my eyes even further to what may be going on. We need to maintain our integrity, so I am not advocating that we totally follow the Obama campaign's footsteps. We do have the world at our finger tips, and we can be more effective online than going door to door and calling the community at your local Republican headquarters. I know. I did all three this year.

Clay Bowler said...

Sorry, I meant to respond to Truth Pain and not Robert.

TRUTH-PAIN said...

No worries about the identification snafu. Robert steals MY thunder all the time ... ;)

One thing I have noticed, and I hope I don't come across as buttering up the population here. What a cast of Bloggers! Seriously, just look at the level of intelligence, logic, pragmatism and cordial discourse happening right here and right now. Can you see how the Obama internet grass roots went viral? When you connect with like-minded individuals, and you build a network that has a strong foundation of beliefs buttressed by passion, it surpasses what any news organization or PAC can lay down.

Everybody, please accept my sincere appreciation and gratitude for pumping ME up. Just knowing the talent pool we've yet to discover is all the fuel I need to keep going... THIS is going to be special.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

While I agree with each of your bullet points as to the direction the GOP must take in order to return the party to conservatism, you have left out one of if not the most important component to make it work.

I have no doubt that after two years of Obama, Reid and Pelosi and unfettered libealism, (socialism), the country will move to either return balance in the Congress between the two parties or elect a GOP majority back to the Congress.

Here in is where the problem lies now and in the near future. Even with Steele at the head of the RNC and returning to a conservatve platform and ideals if we do not have a boat load of new conservative candidates to run in the primaries in 2010 to take out the RINOS and the Country Club Republicans out, even if we get the Congress back, in 2012 it will go right back to the Dems because a large majority of those already there are the very RINOS who caused the GOP to lose the confidence of the voters in the first place.

Senators like Olympia Snow of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania just to name two.

If we do not get a fresh slate of good strong conservative candidates to run in 2010 then returning the party to conservative values will not amount to much because the RINOS if re-elected will march to the same tune that has brought the GOP to where it is today.

Patrick M said...

“If you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing’”

5) The GOP must present a solid, consistent vision of America supported by specifics such as occurred with the CWA.

When Republican run as principled conservatives, we can win. This past election was an example of what happens when Republicans abandon their principles to compromise, or "reach across the aisle" as the most idiotic have said. Consider that we won big in 1994, and with a Democrat administration, pushed through some of the reforms that the CWA promised. Then, it was left aside. But Bush rode the lingering anger over the Clinton years (which were good years) to a squeaker of a victory. Then, along with the GOP-led Congress, adopted the perversion known as 'compassionate conservatism' which turned out to be a dose of big government liberalism with the words 'free market' duct taped on in an attempt to be different than Democrats. Bush went on to win in 2004, mainly because of 9/11, but from there, the losses mounted. From control in 2001, we are now facing a Democrat President, a Democrat House, and it's close enough to that filibuster-proof Senate that we're wanting RINOs like Norm Coleman and criminals like Ted Stevens to win (in Stevens' case, it's so Sarah can replace him).

So it's time to strap on the conservative principles and actually use them.

Robert said...

You guys are discussing this almost exactly as we wanted! Keep it up! I am witholding my points until tomorrow so I don't influence the discourse. Please continue....

Robert said...

Sorry, I neglected to say one thing before I clicked....

I see the point about the GOP and unity. Work with me here...the focus has been compromise, i.e. "we will pay attention to abortion if you will pay attention to ....." Lets SKIP that mold....How about "You want abortion as an issue, I want pink bananas as an issue. We both can't have the front stage, so lets do this. How about we make smaller goveernemtn the front burner, since we both agree on that, and then we can work with the rest. Conservatives win, we don't waste time and money fighting our pet peeve battles in the primaries/general elections, and we all win and gain control. We can then proceed from a posture of leadership, not minority numbers."

That make sense?

rockync said...

Robert - that makes so much sense! What I found most repulsive about this last campaign was all the negative attacks - and I'm not just talking about the attacks on Obama's personal relationships - I'm talking about the ads and speeches where the gist of the message was "Don't vote for him, he's going to raise your taxes, sell your children to pedofiles, make Islam the national religion..." I'm taking poetic license here - I know this is NOT exactly what was said, but I want to get across how it looked and sounded to moderate me.
IF the GOP had started from a point of "Look, we are all in disagreement about Roe vs Wade and one day soon we will need to get back to it but that is not the most pressing issue today - first we need to fix the economy and get a real plan going for how we are not only going to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan but how our plan, in the end, will get us to a more stable Middle East - here is our plan and why we think it will work."
See, I'm a supporter of 2nd amendment rights so I'm going to be watching carefully for any bills designed to further restrict gun ownership, but with the way this campaign went, I decided this was NOT the most pressing issue and that I would cross that bridge when I got to it.
It's not about compromising principles but timing and choosing your fights accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Robert, great post as usual!

1......I totally agree with number one. We need to find the tie that binds us all together and focus on that. We are all opinionated and have different views. If we can't come together, how can we expect a country to?

2.....We have more resources at hand than we have ever had. Obama's campaign took notice of that and used everything available. The GOP didn't and we can see so clearly that the younger generation was lost to us. We have to rectify that if we are to have any kind of chance at 2010 Congress or 2012 presidency.

3.......That will be one of our biggest challenges I think! Obviously experience wasn't the top priority this election and we although that is handy we need people with new ideas and a fresh approach to politics. It is a given(at least to us) that we need to get back to the basics of conservatism.

4....We need to know when to attack and at the right times! Timing is everything right now. Like you said, we need to attack the policy, not the person.

5.....Hey T-P is from Cali....enough said!

6.....hmmmmm, like Jersey!

Just a sidenote....Rocky, I agree with you, but remember it was done from both sides with the same amount of character attacking! We need to rise above both!!

Dan Trabue said...

remember it was done from both sides with the same amount of character attacking!

For myself and most folk (according to polls), the McCain camp was clearly doing most of the attacking - the whole terrorist-loving, socialist, baby-killing tone of the right side paled in comparison to the Obama side's attacks on McCain as "out of touch" or "too much like Bush..." I mean, look at the difference between the two charges. Yes, it could be called an attack to say that McCain is out of touch, but does anyone here seriously think that compares to calling Obama a socialist or a friend of terrorists?

It's the tone, I'm telling you, that is losing the support of most decent moral Americans. We know that Obama does not love terrorists, we know that Obama is not a socialist. So, when the other side calls him those sort of things, they lose credibility.

TAO said...

Before we all go off and run rampant on what conservatism is all about....

Remember this: "In 2016, young voters under age 30 will be the largest voting block at 100 million strong. They will be the most educated American generation, according to Michael Connery's book "Youth to Power." And they see their inheritance from the baby boomers as an America in decline.

Yet they remain optimistic. They also want to change the perception that America is an arrogant and greedy nation. And this yearning to make a difference is what Obama successfully tapped into."

I got this from an article from AP....worth noting....

Anonymous said...


He associated (notice I did not use the word love) with a known terrorist. His policies to many are considered socialist. When did calling things the way you saw it suddenly become evil and forbidden. Look I am all for a more civil campaign but to get in a debate over whose words were worse is juvenile. Both sides were just as guilty and we all know how much integrity you can put in polls.

["It's the tone, I'm telling you, that is losing the support of most decent moral Americans." ]

I think there are many things that influenced the election and the fall of the GOP but I think the "attacks" or "tone" as you call it, is not high up there on the list. I mean really, when has any presidential campaign ever been considered friendly?

Anonymous said...

TAO.....agreed! Then we have to tap into the same thing!

Robert said...

Dan, you assert that we "know" he doesn't love terrorists or that he isn't a socialist. I know neither of these things. Bill Ayers is not only a terrorist but complicit in more than one murder. Bill Ayers called Obama a "family friend" on a Thursday interview on ABC. Re-distribution of wealth is a socialist premise. It would seem to me that we "know" the exact opposite of what you claim.

These aren't attacks. They are the revelation of characteristics that the population should know about. Had it not been for the Presidential campaign, I would not have known about his association with Ayers.

The sad part is that most Americans didn't know Ayers or what he had done.

We are all in agreement that the ad hominem attacks are ridiculous, and we should expect a little more honesty and integrity on the part of our nominees.

Dan Trabue said...

I don't know that "most" Americans don't know Ayers - do you have something to back that up?

After some nine months of Ayers being talked about in the media fairly constantly (even though he had nothing whatsoever to do with the Obama campaign), I think most Americans know a good bit about Ayers - I certainly do.

Look I am all for a more civil campaign but to get in a debate over whose words were worse is juvenile. Both sides were just as guilty and we all know how much integrity you can put in polls.

Hey, if you all want to keep up the attack/demonization of candidates, by all means go ahead. But you asked why conservatives are losing. I'm telling you, I think that is one of the reasons. Polls DO show that McCain was considered to be the worst offender in this front and it turned people off. When people got turned off, many of them did not vote for him. Therefore, McCain lost.

I'm not saying it is the only reason, I'm saying it is one reason. If you all are not interested in getting at why you all lost, ignore my comments, it won't bother me.

Robert said...

Dan, we are interested in points of view from all. I am simply positing that your reasoning commits a formal fallacy in its deductions.
1) McCain attacked Obama with false information
2) Obama won the election
3) Obama won because he was attacked with false information.

Since all components of each statement must be correct for the deduction to be valid, this deductive reasoning is false. The fact is that Obama associated with an admitted domestic terrorist and murderer, of whom Obama was called a "family friend." I doubt the assertion that Obama lost because people were annoyed by what you percieve to be an attack.

And please don't misunderstand my comments, as they are not attacks on you. They are simply further discussion of the topic.

And I have no statistical data regarding my comments about the public not knowing Ayers. While I am sure that people are more familiar now with Ayers. But I seriously doubt that a generation of people who cannot identify either the countries comprising the Axis Powers or the decade in which WWII occured is familiar with the history of the Weather Underground.

Is it then your opinion that a pointed characterization of an opponent's beliefs is a demonization?

Dan Trabue said...

I'd suggest another reason that the Republicans lost is this kind of comment:

we all know how much integrity you can put in polls.

I would suggest that the Republicans are coming across as the party that is opposed to science and reason.

Of course no polls are perfect. But we have a point to consider (are the Republicans failing because people consider them to be mean-spirited and untrustworthy in their attacks on their opponents?) Now, how do we "weigh" how accurate that accusation is? Do we rely on anecdotal evidence ("I don't know any one who thinks the Republicans are worse about attack ads, therefore, they aren't")? Or do we rely upon subjective "gut" feelings ("I don't see how the Republicans are any worse, therefore they're not")? OR, do we consider what the polls have to say?

Well, obviously, no matter that polls are a flawed and imperfect science, they are more helpful that relying upon anectdote or gut feelings. That does not mean that we blindly accept what polls say.

What it does mean is that we don't attack polls as meaningless, for when we do, we come across as anti-science, anti-evidence, pro-emotional "feeling"-based decision making and I would suggest that is a losing stance.

Dan Trabue said...

Robert said:

we are interested in points of view from all. I am simply positing that your reasoning commits a formal fallacy in its deductions.

I appreciate that, Robert, but you have failed to grasp my reasoning. I never proposed what you suggest I proposed.

My reasoning, rather, goes like this:

1) Opinion polls suggest that a good majority of the US electorate thought the McCain camp was being overly-vicious and unreliable in his opposition to Obama.
2) Therefore, it is likely that such distaste and distrust helped contribute to McCain's loss.

So, given my actual argument, do you think I have a logical fault in my reasoning?

Dan Trabue said...

Is it then your opinion that a pointed characterization of an opponent's beliefs is a demonization?

Not at all. It is my opinion that a mischaracterization of an opponent's beliefs is a demonization.

Case in point: Obama's views on economics. Obama has stated plainly that he is a capitalist. Obama has not advocated state-ownership of the means of production (the definition of socialism). Therefore, Obama is, by definition, a capitalist.

That Obama has a different angle on how to set up the tax scheme than some capitalists do does not mean that he is a socialist. Words have meanings and clearly (I think) most people in the US do not think that Obama is a socialist, based upon his own words.

So, when those on the Right call Obama a socialist, they sound like they're trying to associate him with Lenin-style oppression/fascism and people can see that this is clearly not the case with Obama. This, therefore, makes the People more distrustful of the McCain supporters who would make such an accusation.

Or at least that is how it seems to me and why I would suggest that the Republicans would do better NOT to call their opponents socialists, but rather, tackle the meat of their economic positions.

Again, since you're asking, I'm telling you that I think the whole Ayers/terrorist/socialist/baby-killer angle is the wrong way to go. The People are not buying the accusations and it undermines any serious arguments you may have about his actual positions.

Dan Trabue said...

Robert also said:

Bill Ayers is not only a terrorist but complicit in more than one murder.

I don't believe this (the "complicit" part) to be the case at all. Do you have any evidence?

If I'm not mistaken, this is an example of misstatements taking on a life of their own and a group (sometimes on the Left, sometimes on the Right) take the kernel of truth, add to it some half-truths or non-truths and build a case based on an unreality.

The only people the WU ever killed were themselves (three of them) in an accidental bomb detonation.

To be clear, I consider (as does Obama) Ayers' actions with the WU to have been atrocious. I consider his actions terrorism (not nearly on a scale with 9/11 or the Iran contras, for instance, but still terrorism - acts designed to induce terror). I consider his cause just (opposition to the Viet Nam War), but his actions were wrong. But regardless, those days are gone. Obama had nothing to do with those actions, nor does he support them. He, in fact, condemned Ayers' WU actions. It is a non-issue for most Americans, NOT because we are ignorant of the facts, but because we have listened to the facts and decided they are not relevant at all to this election.

A question: McCain received support from Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy - both who were convicted of crimes and both who have supported terroristic actions. McCain NEVER went so far as Obama did - he never condemned their past actions - and he was actively supported by both men. Should McCain have been chastised as Obama was? Or even moreso, since he never condemned the crimes of these two supporters?

Robert said...

I can agree that there is more traction, and more integrity both personal and intellectual, in addressing specifics of plans. That does not necesssarily transpose into the characterization of his policy preferences as socialist being demonization. The fact is that a belief that government should provide equality of all without production by many, is not capitalism.

I also believe that there is more to a candidate, and in the Presidency, than simple positions. Integrity and core beliefs are essential to the deciding if a candidate is worthy of the office. Obama stated that he "sought out" the hardcore activists and Marist professors in college. I am appreciative when these thigns come to light.

Not defending negative political actions as perfection, and both sides engage in childishness of the worst kind.

I would prefer that all GOP reps present themselves as intellectual and analytical as Newt Gingrich.

Dan Trabue said...

Final one, for tonight. Robert said:

Obama stated that he "sought out" the hardcore activists and Marxist professors in college.

And I sought out hardcore Christians and Rightwingers (James Dobson, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, etc) when I was a young man. What of it? All of these things that we study contribute to who we are. It does not mean that I am a right-winger because I read exclusively right-wing material when a young man.

Look, we agree that childishness and demonization ought not be done. We agree, I think, that we ought to spend more time talking about the issues. If you think calling your opponents socialists and "pals of terrorists" is a winning approach, go for it. I'm just offering an opinion for what it's worth.

Robert said...

I should mention here that the Weather Underground was responsible for a number of bombings: in San Francisco that killed a police officer, a New York city police station, a bombing in Greenwich village, and the bombing of the Pentagon on the birthday of Ho Chi Minh that destroyed classified information are just a few.

WUO, more specifically Bernadine Dorhn and Bill Ayers, published the group's manifesto, called "Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism". These are people that hated America, and still do. They are people who refused to support democracy and have attempted their entire lives to disrupt America. They described themselves as communists! (http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/weather.htm)

Dan Trabue said...

I'm sorry, one more. You said:

The fact is that a belief that government should provide equality of all without production by many, is not capitalism.

I don't know of anyone who is advocating this, do you? This is what I'm striving to get at: I think that some on the Right make assumptions about what Obama stands for and they are doing so not based on what he has said or what his policy positions are, but based on their gut feeling about what Obama stands for. I think this is a losing approach.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, seriously, last one, since you responded, saying:

These are people that hated America, and still do.

No, they did not. They hated what America was doing. They hated the Viet Nam war, thinking it a moral atrocity and they were willing to use limited violence to try to end that atrocity. Do you have evidence that they hate America?

Again, this is where I think you all are crossing over into making assumptions about what people believe rather than going by what they have actually stated.

On the accusation of murder by WU, do you have any sources? This is what wikipedia (admittedly, an imperfect source) has to say:

Certain members remained underground and joined other radical groups. Years after the dissolution of the WUO, former members Kathy Boudin, Judith Alice Clark, and David Gilbert formed the May 19 Communist Organization, which eventually joined with the Black Liberation Army. On October 20, 1981, in Nyack New York, the group robbed a Brinks armored truck containing $1.6 million. The robbery turned violent, resulting in the murders of two police officers and a security guard.[6] Boudin, Clark, and Gilbert were found guilty and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison, considered the “last gasps” of the Weather Underground.

It sounds like to me that other groups not directly related to Ayers did the killing. Still wrong, of course, I was just trying to verify the info.

Robert said...

The exact words of Dorhn and Ayers are found on page 10 of "Prarie Fire", and are as follows"

"We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years."

"The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war."

"PRAIRIE FIRE is written to communist-minded revolutionaries, independent organizers and anti-imperialists; those who carry the traditions and lessons of the struggles of the last decade, those who join in the struggles of today. PRAIRIE FIRE is written to all sisters and brothers who are engaged in armed struggle against the enemy. "

Dan Trabue said...

What's that supposed to prove?

Robert said...

I think that the self admission to being communist, extoling other "communist minded" people to join the revolution, and to take up arms against the U.S. is pretty characterisstic of people who hate America.

Add to that Ayers proclamtion the the WUO didn't go far enough.

Thanks for spending so much time here! I have to head to bed, so please turn out the lights when you leave...

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks for the welcome to do so.

You are free to think that Ayers hates America. That might be one explanation for what he had done.

However, I think another more reasonable explanation is that he loves America, HATED seeing us involved in what he considered to be an immoral, imperialistic war and - because he LOVED America's ideals and because he believed in they myth of redemptive violence - he attempted to overturn the path that America was on and return her to her true ideals.

That is what he has actually said. When he said he didn't go far enough, he has explained repeatedly that he meant that they didn't go far enough in ending an immoral war, not the twisted truth that many conservatives have been suggesting, that they didn't use enough violence.

Let me ask you: If you were convinced that America was involved in genocide, how far would you go in attempting to stop her? If you though the US had illegally invaded a country and was killing innocent men, women and children daily, what would you do to stop her? Would you be pleased with America or would you be outraged that American ideals had been so usurped and twisted?

I would hope that you would, like Ayers and myself and millions of other patriotic Americans, be outraged, livid and working stridently to end such an atrocity. I'd further hope that, unlike Ayers, you would not embrace terroristic violence to try to stop it.

Dan Trabue said...

Here's a quote for you:

Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests." ...

"They've got a big target on there, ATF. Don't shoot at that, because they've got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots.... Kill the sons of bitches.

~McCain supporter, G Gordon Liddy

Now, I'm curious: Do you think Liddy hates America, too, because he was advocating deadly violence against American authorities, right? OR, do you think it the case that Liddy loved American ideals and because of that, he was willing to embrace deadly violence against fellow Americans?

As noted, you are free to think as you wish. I'm telling you, though, that I believe the majority of the American people realized that both Obama and McCain had some shady people in their backgrounds, but that we also realized it had no significant impact upon their candidacy.

BUT, if anything, I'd suggest we were more wary of McCain and his nutty supporters (Liddy and North) than Obama because at least Obama disavowed the violence that Ayers' had engaged in. Whereas, McCain did not and at least in the case of North, he supported a much much worse violence than Ayers, insofar as he was engaged in illegal selling of weapons to and gave support to terrorists and thuggish gov'ts, in Iran and in Nicaragua, which resulted in the actual deaths of tens of thousands of innocents (in the case of Nicaragua - it might be harder to quantify the damage done by illegally selling weapons to Iran).

So, as far as your questions your asking yourself here - how can we adapt to better present our case - I'm suggesting that you recognize that at least some segment of the American people you hope to win over find your positions hypocritical when you condemn Obama for Ayers but turn a blind eye towards McCain's violent supporters. Condemn all or condemn none, but it strikes us as hypocritical to condemn only along party lines, especially when your own "team" committed the deadliest actions.

Robert said...

Dan, I really should take a moment and express my appreciation for the civil and reasonable tone of the discussions here. As we both know, these debates often turn to a very negative and ineffective tone.

Let us presume for the moment that you are right about Ayers. Let us say that the SDS and WU and Black Panthers and the WUO all loved America so much that they were devestated about the war in Vietnam. Don't you think that the groundswell of people who opposed the war, particularly those on the campus of universities, would not have rallied behind these groups to oppose through lawful and non-violent ways? Ayers had a choice. The Weathermen were the immediate predecessor to the WUO and were a violent group, and used some violent actions to make their point yet had no desire to kill anyone. They would make warning calls to evacuate areas before the struck. It was Ayers and Dorhn, among others, who wanted a militant and more violent strategy and left the WM and his faction became the WUO. And you are correct, by the way, in your assertion that the security officers and police officer were killed bu the M19CO and not the WUO. However, one group morphed into another and the lineage of those subsequent groups such as M19CO and the WUO can be traced directly back to the split in the Weathermen.
Regardless, we both seem to agree that the terroristic course of action can in no way be condoned by reasonable people.

Anonymous said...

Robert I agree with you. The Republican needs to come together and unify under Republican principles. The party needs to remember its roots and get in touch with the American people again. We need to use the new technology that's out there and attract the attention of the public more often.

BTW, I would like to thank you for visiting my blog as often as you do. I greatly appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

For Gods Sake, give the man a chance, the Bush administration had 8 years and couldn't get it right. Look at the shape we are in right now.
Everyone is putting Obama down and he has yet to spend one day in office.

TAO said...


Ayers and Dohrn had also turned themselves in to federal authories a year prior to the killing of the officers you mention...

What you need to also think about is turning the focus of your argument around....looking at it from the perpsective of what was wrong with our government that would make a small group of radicals feel that they had to go to such extremes to get input? One of the problems with conservatives is that they want small government, they want government that is less intrusive in their personal lives, and they want government that is more responsive to the will of the people but then they are also the ones who attack anyone as terrorists and anti american who might threaten the government.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment Matt, although our purpose here at Conservative Convictions is to bring back conservatism into the GOP. We welcome all comments, but it would be great if you had something positive or constructive to say toward accomplishing our goals.

Anonymous said...

["What you need to also think about is turning the focus of your argument around....looking at it from the perpsective of what was wrong with our government that would make a small group of radicals feel that they had to go to such extremes to get input?"]

There is absolutely, positively NOTHING that the government could do to to cause me to want to kill anyone or bomb a building. Period! That you don't find fault with such actions, I find bothersome. Do you support terrorism for the right reasons then? Murder? Bombings? As long as the government did something bad to deserve it?