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The Death of Conservatism (or "Bury Goldwater")
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Death Ray



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: The Death of Conservatism (or "Bury Goldwater") Reply with quote

No one knows how often the obituary for conservatism has been written than conservatives themselves. But in the wake of recent events, they really ought to start dividing the good silver amongst the children. Whatever conservatism once was will be liquefying in a box in less than three presidential cycles.

You could smell the change on the breeze immediately following Obama’s re-election. The new generation of Republican hopefuls, those with brown skin and ethnic names like Rubio and Jindal, immediately pounced, jabbing the embalming needle into Romney’s neck and demanding recognition of the new voting force in electoral politics, the “demographics”, what Democrats call “minorities”. Rising East Coast GOP star Chris Christie, through his praise of Obama and FEMA during Sandy, and his avuncular relationship with Cory Booker, also threw down the gauntlet to the reactionary wing of the Republicans to shift gears and fast.

While these and other politicians certainly retain qualities that can be identified as conservative (Jindel, especially, is know for parroting the Limbaugh line, which is still less toxic than the spew from Limbaugh’s Fox News by-blows), this is still a sea change considering how tight the conservative grip used to be on the Republican imagination.

The re-election of America’s first gay-embracing black president through the power of their kissing cousins of the southwest’s hated immigrant swarms would be plenty of crow for the conservatives to swallow, if the other leg of the conservative ladder to power, so–called fiscal responsibility, had not the first part of their political myth to rot on the branch.

In short, while reactionary politics never goes away, the aura of Reagan and his hopeful, revolutionary conservtism, a movement never designed to survive the end of communism or the triumphalist “Unipolar Moment”, now has the wattage of a single LED. The Republicans will soon be a party in the same stew as the Democrats, having neither a mission nor a lodestar. With conservatism discredited, what forces will shape the politics of the right?
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Willem



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry dude, but that's hella stupid. the thing you want to be crowing about is the death of the GOP in its current form - and that's something radically different than what you're saying now.

i mean, conservatism is in no way dead. your definition of conservatism is pretty jacked up, regardless, conveniently limiting itself to the areas where the dems are slightly less shit than the GOP.

the thing you're currently seeing is partially a shift in demographics and a familiarisation of the mainstream with things like homosexuality and the like. before you cry victory, however, you might want to note that this familiarisation has its limits, which it has already reached in other countries on other topics.

take feminism in my country, belgium, for example. the big fights have been fought, the obvious ones. feminism has become a familiar thing and has gotten rights which are pretty goddamn basic (like abortion, birth control, etc) and don't really require much sacrifice from anyone. but belgium isn't a feminist utopia. not even close. we've covered the easy ground and now the real battle with conservatism starts. and that's where the US is heading in the fight for gay and minority rights. you're gonna reach base camp soon, but you'll have to climb the mountain afterwards still.

but this isn't a defeat of conservatism. it's still there and it'll keep on truckin'. compare it to this famous atwater quote:

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

it's just transforming to become acceptable once again and it may give a little ground, but you can't defeat it.

and that transforming stuff is basically what'll happen to the gop too. don't worry, they'll still be horrible (also the dems are horrible too and would be considered conservative by many metrics)
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Willem



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

your comic is also bad
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Death Ray



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
sorry dude, but that's hella stupid. the thing you want to be crowing about is the death of the GOP in its current form - and that's something radically different than what you're saying now.


I'm not sure I see a distinction between the conservative movement and the GOP at this point. Yes, the former is an ideology, but it is so interwoven with the Republicans that in any normal conversation, you can hardly speak of the one without evoking the other.

Willem wrote:
i mean, conservatism is in no way dead. your definition of conservatism is pretty jacked up, regardless, conveniently limiting itself to the areas where the dems are slightly less shit than the GOP.


I conceded that so-called "conservatives" remain alive and active, but theirs is a zombie religion at this point, a ceaseless stream of invectives, race baiting and jingoism. One could say those qualities were always within the movement, but they now burns hotter than all the other intellectual features conservatism once boasted.

But this is not simply name calling. When a movement, even a large one, loses its moorings, they simply cannot produce good leaders, or good politicians. The rolling catastrophe that is the US fiscal situation since 2008, though it does have a "liberal" component, has been exacerbated, politically, by the plain fact that conservatives are out of tricks. Their theories have been tested and failed. Trickledown failed, deregulation failed, an oversized Pentagon failed.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the current incarnation of the republican party is not conservative, it is reactionary. they are driven by ideology, and fail not only to connect it to reality, but to different sections of their ideology (for example, republicans who are genuine believers in the government being as hands-off as possible used to be in favor of abortion rights, because they genuinely believed that the government should stay out of the relationship between a woman and her doctor; their initial support of roe v. wade was because it gave the doctor the freedom to treat his patient as he believed best). the current hysteria over a too-big government, which is yet too small to sufficiently monitor what is going on in everyone's bedroom, and which needs an ever-larger military, even though we should be isolationist....this is not a group with a coherent ideology, let alone a functional one.

the atwater quote is interesting - it suggests that a lot of the policies that his chosen republicans embraced, like opposition to busing, had nothing to do with a genuine interest in governing, but was just straight racism. i don't know that you can build a stable government on hating one segment of the population. i know hitler tried, but i think even he had to give the people something more than a scapegoat. now you have me wondering how long that would have lasted, if the war hadn't further provided a basis for uniting the german people.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem's first point still stands, though. The GOP is not homogeneous. It includes both extreme and moderate wings - or it would if it allowed the moderates to function. Olympia Snowe is a conservative, but she's not a Tea Party extremist. Any collapse within the GOP is simply the collapse of the far right wing, and even that's not assured (they still get millions of votes, remember). When it does happen, though, a return of moderate Republicans is likely, if only because there will always be a place for the loyal opposition in a two-party system. Anyone dissatisfied with Dems has to vote red or stay home. At some point, if the far right implodes those people will simply vote for other candidates within the Republicans, not Democrats.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and olympia snowe is no longer a senator, because she was pushed out by the tea party wing of the republican party. which is rapidly becoming the mainstream republican party.

sure, eventually the bulk of conservatives, the one who believe in a real conservative agenda and not some hysterical The World Doesn't Belong to Us White Men Anymore group, will find a place to go. either the moderate wing of the republican party will be revived, or there will be a new party that will take them all in, or the moderate wing will bleb off and call itself something new, but it will really be the old-line republicans. the ones who write to the papers saying "i've been a republican all my life, but i can't vote for the current batch of crazies".

but right now, what is being called the republican party is being distilled down to only the extremist wing; it is in the process of eating its own moderate wing (note the moderate GOPers who lost to tea-party challengers, or flat out stepped down out of fear of them). the republicans that everyone notices, the ones driving the congress and various state legislatures and governorships - with a few exceptions, they are reactionaries. and even the ones who aren't are having to bow down to the ones who are.
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

moderate Republicans still exist, they've just found refuge in the Democratic Party. that's why the Democrats have been drifting rightward: both because the overall political center of gravity is being shifted rightward by the GOP's march into bugfuck insanity, and because the Democrats are absorbing increasingly conservative lawmakers and voters who are nonetheless still not conservative enough for the GOP.

which is why the Democrats seem lost and rudderless. they have to span almost the entire political spectrum, from Elizabeth Warren to Joe Manchin.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the GOP has continued to move right as a whole, but that doesn't spell the end of conservatism. Conservatives exist across the entire spectrum, so if (and that's a big if) the party implodes because of the Tea Party those moderate politicians who have been pushed out will still have more in common with the far right voters than Dems. So, whatever happens to the Tea Partiers, the GOP will survive. It's not going to die. They'll either find a happy medium on the right (changing policies on gays and Latinos in fractional ways to attract larger portions of growing electorates, but staying hawkish on the military and spending), or they'll move back toward the center over all with more Snowes and Specters. Personally, I expect the former before the latter. Remember these folks are still getting elected, even if they have a national problem. Their tactics might change to include more swing votes, but you have to assume there are plenty of conservative-leaning swingers who are looking for a reason to support them, be it a change in immigration policy (which would align them very closely with large swaths of Latinos, who are generally more conservative than is depicted in how they vote), or fiscal policy, or women's rights.

If I were a betting man I'd say immigration is where they'll float new ideas.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the GOP in it's current form even count as Conservative?

I mean, I'm a conservative, but at this point the GOP seems to be more of a hatred machine than an actual conservative political party.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bipartisan immigration reform proposed

Immigration reform is a wedge issue with the GOP, obviously, and Lamar Smith loves the buzz word "amnesty"

John McCain is tactfully using the phrase "Hispanic citizens," because Lamar Smith et al.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
Does the GOP in it's current form even count as Conservative?

I mean, I'm a conservative, but at this point the GOP seems to be more of a hatred machine than an actual conservative political party.

They're the Old White Male party. Minorities break Democratic, women leaned Democratic (55/44; 55% of the electorate), youth went 60/40 Democratic (and made up 19% of the electorate!). The only constituents the GOP has are white men (52/45) and the elderly (56/44). The youth vote essentially cancelled out the seniors, leaving white dudes stacked against women and minorities.

It's also worth noting that while Obama won (obviously), the vote shifted to the right compared to the 2008 election. Which just goes back to my "the GOP is not dead" line. You could say 2008 was somehow special, given the difference in voter turnout (62% in '08, 57% in '12), but that would also imply conservative voters are somewhat more dependable (for instance, '12 was also lower than '04, when GWB was re-elected).
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have such a terrible grounding for conversations like this because our Conservatives are more like your liberal Democrats.
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Death Ray



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Willem's first point still stands, though. The GOP is not homogeneous. It includes both extreme and moderate wings ...Any collapse within the GOP is simply the collapse of the far right wing


I think this is the opposite of the case. It is the moderate wing that has collapsed, and the far right (Tea Party) that is ascendant. This may be short term, as Obama's reelection has been taken as a huge reversal from the House putsch of 2010. It might be better to say that the Tea Party is collapsing and taking the remains of the moderates with them.

But don't get caught up in the language. "Collapse" obviously doesn't mean a collapse of the party itself. More like a an earthquake within its governing ideology.

Back to my original point, I am asserting that it is no longer possible for the Goldwater conservatives to pretend that that the ambition of "entrust(ing) the conduct of our affairs to men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given" is at all a goal embraced by a strong or sensible majority of their own movement.

The moderates within the GOP that are trying to reassert themselves are not conservatives in that mold (movement conservatives) , while the ones who think they do belong to that tradition are cranks like Bachmann and Alan West... the talk radio wing.

So today's conservatives, if they can push back against the fringe of the GOP that seems to be burning the party out, are like the Democrats' liberals; pragmatists, the soft center of the two-party sclerosis.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dude, there haven't been any goldwater conservatives in god-knows-how-long.
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