Conservatives’ Terrifying Message

If you had told me the day before the election that Mitt Romney would win independents by five, convincingly win among all voters making more than $50,000 per year, and that evangelicals would vote for Mitt by wider margins than they did for even George W. Bush, I would have assumed he’d be on the path to victory.  He wasn’t.  As the messaging and tactical second-guessing begins (and it began even before Fox made its Ohio call Tuesday night), we have to be clear-eyed about our challenge:  To tens of millions of American voters, a conservative message of self-reliance and individual economic freedom is, quite frankly, terrifying.

First, each of Obama’s core constituencies (single women, African-Americans, and Latinos) is seriously — and disproportionately — economically disadvantaged compared to the classic paradigm of the white, college-educated Republican voter. The rates of poverty and near-poverty among these groups are much greater, thus causing a critical mass of both populations to suffer — even if they’re technically middle class — from a greater degree of economic insecurity. Even as Mitt won the votes of those who make over $50,000 by nine points, Obama won those who make less by a whopping 22 points — enough to give him the victory.

Second, while classic identity-group issues like abortion, affirmative action, and immigration undoubtedly matter, conservatives are deluding themselves if they think they can simply take those issues off the table and then compete on equal terms for this slice of voters. In fact, economically insecure voters can even agree with conservatives on social issues yet will still consistently pull the lever for statist candidates. Ideologically and historically they are pre-disposed towards statism as the means of alleviating economic insecurity and distress. In other words, for the single mom, “Julia” is an appealing paradigm — because at least someone is taking care of her family. (If I hear one more time that Latinos are social conservatives ready to support Republicans if only we could pass comprehensive immigration reform, I might throw something).

Third, this statist outlook is relentlessly reinforced in a news and pop-culture bubble that conservatives simply aren’t penetrating. If you check out this chart (from Buzzfeed), you’ll note the obvious truth that not only do conservatives and liberals read different publications, but even “moderates” read disproportionately liberal publications (which is perhaps one reason why “moderates” are really less-liberal liberals and not less-conservative conservatives). Within this liberal bubble, it is simply conventional wisdom that conservatives not only don’t care about those less fortunate but that we will even promote human suffering if it means higher profit margins and more cash in our pockets. In other words, we can change our messaging on Fox News, talk radio, and even our primaries all we want, but it won’t make a dime’s bit of difference to this decisive economic constituency. We might laugh at Obama choosing the “Pimp With a Limp” and Us Weekly over Meet the Press, but he’s simply reaching more potential voters through those outlets.

To understand the scale of our communications and persuasion challenge, remember that Republicans have now lost five of the last six popular votes for president, with our last convincing wins occurring well before the advent of our vaunted new media — back when the MSM was the only game in town. Recent conservative “wave” elections have only occurred during off-years (1994 and 2010) when the electorate is tens of millions of voters smaller than it is in presidential years. Simply put, the larger the potential electorate, the worse we tend to do. You see this even in polls, where conservatives do worse with registered voters than likely voters and worse with adults than with registered voters.

What to do? We simply can’t retreat into our large but still-minority cocoon of new media and talk only to each other, working hard to get ever-larger numbers of our shrinking constituencies to the polls. Our cultural efforts have to be every bit as wide-ranging and persistent as those of the Left. Majority ideologies are built over generations, not overnight, and it means breaking the public-school monopoly, influencing public schools even while we work to diminish their influence, sending our best and brightest young writers and actors into the lion’s den of Hollywood, working to reform higher education and breaking the ideological hammerlock of the hard Left on faculties, and working hard — very hard — to tell the true story of conservative compassion for the “least of these,” a story featuring the efficiency and creativity of private philanthropy combined with Christ-centered love and concern for the individual.

We have the better message. Now we have to make sure our fellow citizens see it as empowering, not terrifying.

[Ed. Note: This column originally appeared at National Review Online.]

  • Craig

    To tens of millions of American voters, a conservative message of self-reliance and individual economic freedom is, quite frankly, terrifying.

    Americans have learned that this message too often cloaks an agenda to skew policies in favor the wealthy at the expense of the least well off and the middle class. And let’s not forget all that nutty social conservative stuff–the zygote hysteria, the self-deportation, the campaigns against contraception availability, against gay marriage, the war on drugs, and the sanctity of privately owning high capacity assault weapons. And there’s all that militarism, the inordinate defense spending, and the atrocities we commit both at home and abroad in the name of the national self-interest. And there’s all the anti-science, the climate change denial, the commitment to fossil fuels, and the failure to take seriously environmental concerns. And there are worries about the direction of the Supreme Court (Citizens United, etc.), the polarization and obstructionism in Congress, the gun-to-the-head politics of the Tea Party Caucus, and the destructive influence of Grover Norquist and the Republicans who have signed his pledge. And there’s disregard for serious economic theory and refusals to invest in education. The list could go on for why Americans legitimately fear the GOP.

    • Joshua

      Thank you, I read that same statement and balked severely at the egregiously over-simplistic conclusion that the author came to. The article wasn’t bad, but that statement was off-putting, ignoring the *numerous* instances that the GOP have offended people, and implying the same Romney-esque attitude that non-Republicans are lazy moochers who won’t take responsibility for their own lives.

    • Jill

      I’ve read your entire post and you actually believe that the GoP wants to do all those things? Or do you just simply parrot what the main stream media tells you about the GoP and conservatives?

    • Joshua Gibbs

      “Americans have learned that this message too often cloaks an agenda to skew policies in favor the wealthy at the expense of the least well off and the middle class.”

      So does the rhetoric favored by the Democratic Party. Read these:

      http://www.holisticpolitics.org/GettingThere/corporations.pdf

      http://www.holisticpolitics.org/GettingThere/balanceOfWealth.pdf

      “And let’s not forget all that nutty social conservative stuff–the zygote hysteria, the self-deportation, the campaigns against contraception availability, against gay marriage, the war on drugs, and the sanctity of privately owning high capacity assault weapons.”

      Social conservatives think you are just as crazy as you think they are. If you really believe in tolerance, equality, and diversity you will tolerate others who are politically and religiously different from you, treat them equal to yourself when they disagree, and celebrate the fact that we have political diversity. If you don’t then you have failed to meet your own ethical standards.

      “And there’s all that militarism, the inordinate defense spending, and the atrocities we commit both at home and abroad in the name of the national self-interest.”

      I agree 100% here. The current administration hasn’t been an improvement in that regard though, we broke even at best. They may be less to blame though because those programs already had momentum.

      “And there’s all the anti-science, the climate change denial, the commitment to fossil fuels, and the failure to take seriously environmental concerns.”

      Global Warming has not been conclusively proven. But that REALLY shouldn’t stop conservatives from caring about the environment in general like they do. As a Christian I find it disturbing…

      “And there are worries about the direction of the Supreme Court (Citizens United, etc.), the polarization and obstructionism in Congress, the gun-to-the-head politics of the Tea Party Caucus, and the destructive influence of Grover Norquist and the Republicans who have signed his pledge. And there’s disregard for serious economic theory and refusals to invest in education.”

      Honestly, these things are both parties faults. It took both to ruin our country like this. Just cross out “Tea Party” and scribble in “Occupy”, ignore the Grover Norquist comment (because I have no idea who that is), and then read the last line from a conservative perspective and presto! “It’s all the Democrat’s fault” No, It takes two baby!

  • LisaJ

    “If I hear one more time that Latinos are social conservatives ready to support Republicans if only we could pass comprehensive immigration reform, I might throw something”

    I absolutely agree. Thank you! I was told yesterday (for the millionth time) how the Latinos are family oriented, church goers, etc. and so naturally they should vote Republican. I had to point out to them that the same cancer is in their community that is in the other communities that voted for the incumbent. They are the group with the highest out-of-wedlock births. Hence, their families are breaking apart, their belief in their church’s doctrine is gone, they no longer believe that God has certain rules that they are to live by. Their need for government assistance is crucial for their survival.
    As conservatives the problem is not with our message. The problem is a spiritual as well as cultural divide in our country. We will never heal as a people unless we are humbled and realize there is a moral compass we all need to follow.
    I am indeed sad that Romney lost the election. But, what truly breaks my heart, is the realization of how lost half of our country is.

    • NancyC

      Oh LisaJ, please don’t let your heart break for the “lost half of our country”. There are a hundred reasons why the Republican party lost, not the least of which is their attitude of “ours is the way” and the rest of you are lost. This moral superior and paternalistic attitude is offensive to the majority. We hear you preach your Christian values and then watch as you judge anyone who is not exactly like you…Latinos, single mothers, gays, and women who believe they have the right to make medical and family decisions for themselves. Continuing to think of us as “lost” is your demise and you wil continue to lose election after election with it. It must be very lonely up on your self constructed pedestal. So save your prayers and broken heart for someone else. We don’t want them and we certainly don’t need them. What incredible hubris!

      • Agkcrbs

        I think you meant “maternalistic”, NancyC. How can LisaJ be fatherly? Let’s go over what went wrong here…

        LisaJ: “I’m sad that Latinos are losing their faith, families are breaking up, and people take government as their source of values and sustenance. People are losing their moral compass and are lost.”

        NancyC: “Grr…! Your party is stupid and arrogant! I’m offended! You must be lonely! Don’t pity or pray for me!”

        Third-party observer: “Hm. One of these ladies has manners.”

        • Carys Birch

          Paternalistic, I do not think it means what you think it means.

          Paternalism (n): A policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities.

          Paternalistic (adj): Adj. 1. paternalistic – benevolent but sometimes intrusive

          http://www.thefreedictionary.com/paternalistic

          As for the two ladies, LisaJ was smug. Nancy was angry. Gosh darn it, I sometimes get angry when someone looks down on me smugly too, I must be irrational. Disregard me.

        • Dorfl

          As an actual third-party observer-I’m not American, so my interest in your elections is pretty much limited to foreign policy-my reaction was more like:

          LisaJ: “I’m amazingly arrogant, but I express it using a polite choice of words.”

          NancyC: “I find you amazingly arrogant, and I don’t express this politely.”

          Agkcrbs: “Look! LisaJ is using polite language but NancyC is not! Clearly their choice of words is more important than the actual content!”

          • Joshua Gibbs

            “Clearly their choice of words is more important than the actual content!”

            Actually, yes, it is. The lack of civility in politics and interfaith dialogue is tearing my country in half. We Americans really need to calm down and treat people from the other side like fellow human beings.

            I don’t know what country you’re from but I wonder wether or not it’s also had a disfunctional two-party political system for longer than I’ve been alive. After living in that environment you start to see the value of a little bit of respect.

            Also, to call someone arrogant because of their religion is religious intolerance.

        • Joshua

          NancyC is right. The Republicans alienated, offended, and/or attempted to suppress the vote of Blacks, Latinos, veterans, people on government assistance, single parents, gays … you name it. But the message you’re endorsing is that they didn’t vote Republican because they’re lost and don’t appreciate spiritual and family values.

          That is a myopic and arrogant attitude that many conservatives unfortunately exhibit, and desperately need to relinquish.

          • LisaJ

            Wow! I have been called arrogant, smug, etc. Unbelievable. I express a real concern I have about what is happening in several communities in our country. Morality is morality. I understand mistakes can happen and women become pregnant out-of-wedlock. But when it becomes epidemic it is a problem. It is a breakdown of the family. A child born to an unwed mother has a higher change of living in poverty which can lead to poor education, welfare dependency and various other ills. It is insane that anyone would defend a lifestyle that doesn’t help that person or future generations to have a chance. Being born into a two parent family does not guarantee utopia, but it does increase a child’s chance for success. I see what is happening in the community around me and I feel sad. NOT because I put myself on a pedestal and think I am better. I don’t need to go into my history to justify my comments. I know what it is like to be poor and to be a single mom. I also know that thumbing my nose at morality and values did not make my mistakes or the consequences for my mistakes go away. I do believe there is a cancer of anti-morality in this country and throughout the world (oh, and the word morality encompasses a lot more than just sex). No matter how hard we try to justify our actions and say morality doesn’t matter, it does. Truth is truth. In my latin community family is important…however, fidelity not so much. In my latin community we are catholic….but, only when we are dying or getting married. I could go on and on. Latins are a vibrant, wonderful people with a lot to give to any community. But, if we don’t start looking at ourselves we will destroy ourselves. Government CANNOT heal us. We are the only ones capable of healing ourselves. Call me arrogant, smug, etc. but I personally believe that a return to God is the answer. Period.

          • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

            LisaJ wrote: “A child born to an unwed mother has a higher change(sic) of living in poverty”

            Which is more reason to support choice… a recent study found that “women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.”

            Citation: http://io9.com/5958187/what-happens-to-women-denied-abortions-this-is-the-first-scientific-study-to-find-out

            LisaJ cont’d: “It is insane that anyone would defend a lifestyle that doesn’t help that person or future generations to have a chance.”

            It is insane that you want to deny fellow citizens the lifestyle that they wish to live simply because you don’t understand statistics or the cause of poverty (hint: it isn’t single parents!).

            LisaJ cont’d: “I personally believe that a return to God is the answer.”

            Just one more thing you’re dead wrong about…

          • LisaJ

            Jatheist….I never said I wanted to deny anyone anything. I am stating my PERSONAL opinion about what is affecting civilization adversely. I fully understand the statistics and causes of poverty. One would have to be a fool not to (and, yes, I know, you think I am a fool). I am stating my opinion. You may think I am dead wrong….but, that is also just your opinion.

          • Joshua Gibbs

            You handled yourself admirably in responding to that comment LisaJ.

          • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

            LisaJ wrote: “I never said I wanted to deny anyone anything.”

            Oh – I suppose there’s a chance I’m wrong about that then… let’s find out:

            Would you vote to keep marriage exclusively one woman/one man? If you answer ‘yes’ to that question then you ~do~ want to deny people something (as apposed to your claim that you don’t want to “deny anyone anything”).

            I’d be shocked if you answered ‘no’ to that question – but if that’s the case then I will admit that you don’t want to “deny anyone anything”, that I was wrong on that. I doubt it though…

      • LisaJ

        NancyC…I have personal ties to the Latin community AND I am a single mother. My original statement still stands. I am heartbroken to what is happening within the Latin community.

    • Sharon

      LisaJ, I understand your POVs and I appreciate your sharing them. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing what is personal. Jatheist, considering the name, must have shut God out a long time ago and anything you might mention regarding ‘morality’ or God would rankle him/her. I grew up in a single parent home, and yes, through personal experience, I know single parenthood contributes to poverty. I also believe very strongly that a mother and a father living in the same home and working together to raise their children is extremely important. And a family striving to build their lives on a foundation of faith in God, and keeping His commandments can make all the difference.

      The feminist movement of the 70s would have us believe that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle–but when it comes to raising healthy kids, a father and a mother play an important role in developing a child’s identity.

      • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

        Sharon wrote: “Jatheist, considering the name, must have shut God out a long time ago…”

        I didn’t have to… God has been absent my whole life – my atheism stems from the complete lack of evidence that any god(s) exist, I’ve never been a believer. There was nothing to “shut” out.

        Sharon cont’d: “…anything you might mention regarding ‘morality’ or God would rankle him/her.”

        Not true. Morality is important – I’m a very moral person. I happen to derive my morals from my humanity and goal of living in a peaceful, happy society. I’m not fond of the morals theists derive from their holy books if that’s what you meant – but that’s a far cry from the idea that mentioning morality would upset me.
        And I’m a “he” for the record. ;)

        Sharon cont’d: “I also believe very strongly that a mother and a father living in the same home and working together to raise their children is extremely important.”

        Who doesn’t? I am a married man with 2 kids at home myself – I think families are wonderful! The problem with the lack of 2 parent families stems from the high divorce rate among heterosexual couples. It’s sad, but IMO it’s better to support a parent’s right to divorce than to force them to stay together to produce a toxic environment in which to raise families.

        In a perfect world every child would have 2 parents – but that’s not realistic. Allowing gay couples to marry (and adopt) gives more children a 2 parent family to grow up in – something we both agree is important. Gay couples make wonderful parents btw:

        http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1994480,00.html

        For the record – I am heterosexual… in case you were thinking otherwise.

    • Terry

      Lisa…I agree with you totally. I believe in morality, and I believe that the framers of the Constitution of the United States knew what they were doing when they drafted it. I fear that this nation will only get deeper in financial trouble under this president’s disastrous economic policies. Companies are already beginning to lay employees off in preparation for the monetary calamity called ObamaCare. We’ll see how the “progressives” and liberals feel the first time the government raids their bank account because they couldn’t pay some health care fee. Obama wants cradle-to-grave government control, and his health care plan does just that.

      I’m glad I’m an old coot. I might be dead in 10 years or so. Heaven sounds a lot nicer than the government constantly in my life.

    • Joshua Gibbs

      “I am indeed sad that Romney lost the election. But, what truly breaks my heart, is the realization of how lost half of our country is.”

      Those two sentences are not compatible. Romney is a Mormon. Regardless of what you’ve heard Mormons are not Christians. Not even close, just look into Mormon theology and then compare it to the Nicene Creed if you don’t believe me. If Mormons are Christians then so are Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists. Republicans are not on the right side of the spiritual divide any more then Democrats are, it’s just a different set of man-made traditions – some traditions are good, some are bad, and some are downright sinful.

      And morality will not return to this country until we stop trying to enforce it through the power of the state and instead focus on reforming our churches.

      http://frankviola.org/2012/04/18/christianleftchristianright/
      http://www.holisticpolitics.org/GettingThere/GodsWelfareSystem.pdf
      http://www.redletterchristians.org/daring-to-call-it-idolatry-nationalism-in-worship/

  • http://PlanetRomney Annette S

    Craig…….I appreciate your post, but you follow the ideology and spin of the left which fails to understand the Republican message. You follow an ideology that supports a larger government that creates dependency. As Romney stated he supported a stronger private economy by lowering taxes, unnecessary regulation and cutting government spending. This approach creates jobs for everyone…from the poor on up. More jobs means more people are working and paying taxes which creates more revenue for the government. When the government has more revenue they are better able to save our safety nets such as social security, medicare and medicaid. Instead of Obama supporters being scared of a word like self reliance, they should be scared of a president whose only economic plan is to raise taxes on incomes over 200K & above (single dweller). This is a president who has never made any serious spending cuts, but demagogues Republicans for trying to be fiscally responsible and save us from going off the fiscal cliff. With taxpayer dollars he took 90 billion out of the stimulus package and played venture capitalist with solar companies. Many of these companies are either bankrupt, close to bankruptcy, severe layoffs or other problems. If you want to dispute this because you read a left leaning fact checker….I have a list I can post. Now we are getting reports that Obamacare is causing layoffs in the 1000′s …..either doing it now or projected. The problems with Obama supporters is they can’t separate fact from fiction. But it’s not their fault…Obama has mislead and the main stream media will protect him.

    Another falsehood is Obama telling his supporters that the Republicans caused the meltdown when the problem started with Fannie, Freddie and the Democrats. It started with Clinton changing policy to create more lending activity in poor neighborhoods. Well intended, but then Fannie and Freddie told the banks, not to worry, they would buy up all sub prime loans so that it is no risk to them. It wasn’t until 2004 that the Republicans realized what the Democratic controlled Fannie and
    Freddie were doing to the housing market and in spite of their efforts could not stop the train wreck. All came to fruition at the end of Bush’s term. Now Obama has taken the crisis and made many on left insecure about about their values, and the very system that made this country strong.

    We need a strong economy and defense for our national security. Environmental policies don’t help the environment enough to warrant crippling our economy. With a crippled economy we have to worry about lack of funds for defense and not being energy independent. We don’t want to be vulnerable to nations in the middle east. The 3 top disasters that scientist worry about is asteroids, death stars and nuclear war…..man made pollution is not on the list.

    I will tell you what will cure the Democrats understanding of Republican intentions for their welfare. Another term of Barack Obama. His economic policies are oppressive and many of his words are misleading. Democrats will be ready to listen and try another path. It is sad that they can’t see the smoke that is leading to the fire.

    • Craig

      Annette, speaking of “the ideology and spin”: have we already forgotten that it was the Kool Aid from the right that put all of you in fantasyland until last Tuesday night? Your election-night bewilderment was but one symptom of a far deeper collective delusion. My advice: flee the conservative echo chamber–and start by looking for new blog to read!

      • Jill

        Craig, you didn’t really address Annette’s post. In fact, you didn’t address it at all. The Kool-Aid that that those who voted for Obama is more of a fantasy land than what the right hoped to happen on the 6th of November. Yea, your guy won reelection. What’s he going to do?

        >>My advice: flee the conservative echo chamber–and start by looking for new blog to read!

        Funny you say that. As an ex-liberal the left is more of an echo chamber (not saying the right isn’t, but then again so what if it is?). In arts. In the media. In pop culture. In schools. In cities.

    • Sharon

      Great post, Annette!

    • Joshua Gibbs

      It doesn’t matter though; political reality forces you to tone down your stance on smaller government. The United States are a democratic republic, not a monarchy. You can’t just tell the people what’s good for them and expect them to listen, even when you’re right (which you are by the way). You have to either persuade them or SHOW them. The days when conservative economics were a viable national platform are long gone. Instead of promising the people solid economic principles simply promise them an improved economy and stand on a platform of moderate economic conservatism. Then honestly implement it while in office. Once people see firsthand that conservative economics actually WORK and that your candidate can be trusted with the small stuff then they will trust you with the big stuff and won’t WANT a liberal economic policy.

      Seriously folks, check out http://www.holisticpolitics.com. It really does have something for everyone with an open mind – wether conservative, liberal, or whatever.

  • http://PlanetRomney Annette S

    I just want to add…..Obama’s economic policy of taxing the rich will pay for about 11 days of government spending. We need to cut spending and Obama has trouble doing that. When taxing the rich is not enough, he will tax the middle class. Government trinkle down doesn’t work.

    • Joshua Gibbs

      Exactly. We are in a recession. We NEED to cut spending. If you want lower taxes then focus on cutting spending first (Tea Partiers take note). The best part is… we can do it without cutting our programs! We just need to start increasing efficiency when a program isn’t working, instead of just throwing more tax dollars at it and hoping it gets better. In fact, if we are thoughtful and open-minded we can cut spending while making welfare BETTER. More good news; if we play our cards right we could actually get both parties to agree to the solutions! See http://www.holisticpolitics.org for details.

  • Marcion

    This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

    At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department.

    I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

    • Agkcrbs

      …And lastly of all, you take your mind off the coming tax hike you just voted for by dishing out some spam that misses the points of small-government doctrine. Nobody has argued for anarchy, only sustainability instead of built-in budget deficits, transparency and accountability instead of overcomplexity and favours, restraint instead of excess. The presumption of your satire is that it’s not possible for government market involvement and regulation to be unsustainable, non-transparent, excessive, or burdensome in any other way. Is that what you really believe? Doubtful; you probably just want to say, regulation is not always bad — a classic Romney line, by the way, with which there is little genuine dispute across the political spectrum.

      • Joshua Gibbs

        “Nobody has argued for anarchy”

        No conservatives anyway. Certain Libertarians on the other hand…

  • http://www.theupsidedownworld.com Rebecca Trotter

    Honestly, this is the most clear eyed examination of what has gone wrong with the Republican party. I hold to Rod Dreher’s critique that what sex has been to the left, business has been to the right. Unfettered from any restraint or limitations, both destroy families and lives. There are many conservative actions which can be taken, but will require standing up to powerful lobbies. For example, our food industry (here I’m thinking ADM, Conagra, etc) are ripe for anti-trust action. Their practices mean most farmers can’t support themselves through farming. Instead of opposing consumer protections, conservatives could move from a model of “regulation means disclosure” to “best interests of the consumer” and demand that fees and cost bear some relationship with each other. Force credit agencies to be accountable for errors on people’s reports. There are many regulations which favor existing, large businesses over start-ups which can be tackled. Many states have excessive licensing requirements. Laws of scale ought to be used to prevent safety regulations which make sense for large scale producers from putting small artisans out of business. And we need to reject the ridiculous idea that the minimum wage is bad. The more money people make at the lower rungs, the more they have to put back into the economy which leads to growth. Practices like hoarding cash ought to be penalized while taxes that make hiring too expensive should be targeted. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit, but it does mean letting go of the hand of monied interests and putting the needs of those who haven’t yet made their fortunes above those who have already succeeded.

    • Joshua Gibbs

      Anyone who thinks the above would win votes but worries that it would go against conservative values owes it to themselves to visit http://www.holisticpolitics.org

      Warning: It contains some theology, which is of uneven quality. If you are a Christian I suggest running through anything questionable with a more mature believer who you trust. If you’re NOT a Christian then don’t worry; the site is mostly secular and is humanist and pagan friendly. Just don’t trust his conclusions on what the bible says about salvation, okay?

  • Keith

    An Atheist liberals take on the election.

    For the first time in 30-years the the Christian right finally summoned the integrity to honestly state their agenda, and the American People voiced their disagreement with you. You lost because the rest of us think your wackadoodles, not because of Demographics.

  • David Naas

    I think the Catholics are right — Evangelize the Culture. That doesn’t mean, “Catholicize the Culture”. It means rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, not trying to claim them as our birthright. It means working to make things better, a bit at a time, not trying to force feed Christianity to the very unwilling — ie most of those who profess to be “Christian”. Mister Sheldon’s book may be dated, but his message is still pertinent, and as I note in the Bible, Jesus didn’t hammer on sinners (who have no doubts they are hurting), but on the smug and religious (who don’t know they are bleeding to death). (Hint, hint!)

  • Matti

    “There are many conservative actions which can be taken, but will require standing up to powerful lobbies. For example, our food industry (here I’m thinking ADM, Conagra, etc) are ripe for anti-trust action.”

    The day politicians bite the hand that feeds them is the day the cows fly home.

  • Joshua Gibbs

    “Now we have to make sure our fellow citizens see it as empowering, not terrifying.”

    Then stop trying to elect people who frankly seem either retarded or terrifying. Try someone with charm and wit – first impressions are important. Bush and Palin seem scarily ignorant and overconfident. Kerry and Romney are just plain scary. Justified or not these are the reactions they inspire, through their facial features, body language, and even speech patterns. By contrast Obama is only scary on a personal level after you investigate him – or elect him for a second term.

    While you’re at it nominate someone your average economic or social conservative can actually feel good about. At the same time moderate social and economic liberals need to feel like they can vote for him without violating their conscience. Your candidate needs a spine and a heart, not an agenda. McCain fails that first test, the others fail the second.

    If you really want to win then nominate a *genuine* born-again Christian who actually stands for traditional conservative values. Electing neocon AA members and nominating socialist Mormons does not help you – especially in the long run.


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