Monday, May 11, 2009

Conservatives Can Finish First

John Hawkins has started a much needed debate among conservative bloggers on partisanship, civility, and political conflict. In his article, "The Right Needs to Play as Dirty as the Left," Hawkins argues that leftists tactics are "below the belt," and if conservatives want to stay in the game, they "need to start giving them a taste of their own medicine."

It turns out that Hawkins opened the proverbial can of worms. His argument generated a couple of worthy responses: Adam Graham's, "
No, The Right Doesn’t Need to Play as Dirty as the Left," and Clarendon's, "Thoughtful Conservatism Can Win Hearts and Minds."

Hawkins responded to Graham's piece with, "
Attention Conservatives: Nice Guys Do Finish Last." He cites Machiavelli:
There is such a gap between how one lives and how one ought to live that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation: for a man who wishes to profess goodness at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good.” — Niccolo Machiavelli
Regular readers know that I've written much about these issues (see, for example, "Kos and Andrew: Merchants of Hate," and "The Commentocracy of Hate"). It's perfectly clear to me that while both left and right engage in hardball - and often undignified - political conflict, there's a specific and unrivaled secular demonization on the left that conservatives - by nature of their values - will never match.

Again, I'm not exonerating conservatives of their worst excesses. My point is that day-in and day-out, collectivist partisans dig down, endlessly, to the depths of depravity to demonize and excoriate conservatives, often in ways that truly defy moral reason, much less common sense.

Down With Tyranny! this weekend, Mike Huckabee - who warned of a potentially fatal Republican schism over social issues - was smeared with a "I now pronounce you Huck and Chuck" Photoshop. At the same post, Republicans are slurred "Limbaughist extremists" and "lunatic fringe America-haters", while Senator James Inhofe was lampooned in Photoshop as a bigoted clown (below).

Yeah, I know, I know, this is supposedly tame: It's just political comedy and partisan satire. It's always okay when leftist drag their knuckles with shameless attacks on conservatives. When Wanda Sykes calls Rush Limbaugh the "20th hijacker," that's brilliant comedic theatre. When TBogg attacks conservatives using Sambo displays, it's incisive satiric commentary. When Sadly No! Photoshops Thomas "Uncle Ben" Sowell de-Nazifying William Buckley's toilet bowl, that's "hilarious," says Dr. Hussein "Arlon" Biobrain.

But the fact is, conservative just don't go that low.

And I think Hawkins is right
when he says it's foolish politically for conservatives to "pat ourselves on the back for being 'better than they are' because we let them do it?" Hawkins looks to Machiavelli, but we might also recall Reinhold Niebuhr's Christian realism, which holds that society will never confirm to the ideal "Heavenly City." Thus a hard-headed, morally robust approach to politics is possible without capitulating to a utopianism that works only to empower the secular leftists and their moral hypocrisy.

I'm routinely attacked by the secular collectivists for not taking "the high road." These folks, of course, are the very same people who turn around and post truly juvenile character assassinations against me, with slurs, for example, as "
Donald the Moose":

So, to me, it's not so much that "The Right Doesn’t Need to Play as Dirty as the Left." We can never be that dirty!

The key is to recognize that the necessity of power on the "Earthly City" requires the occasional willingness to get down in the muck and give as good as it gets. Conservatives by beliefs, values, and temperment will never succumb to the level of diabolical excoriation that we routinely find on the partisan left. But conservtives must know this: Refusing to look at the problem realistically amounts to unilateral disarmament, and thus political impotence. And a willingness to engage realistically is the political requisite for survival of the moral order and regime stablity.

Conservatives can finish first, and they owe it to themselves and society to settle for nothing less.


JSF said...


As a former Dem who learned from the Old school Dems (who switched in 92), these modern Dean Democrats have no understanding of America and the Two party system.

They politicize everything. They make the personal Political. If they wish us dead (read Think Progress or daily Kos or wanda Sykes), then we need to stop by Marquiess of Queensberry rules and hit BELOW THE BELT.

To hell with proprierty, the Dean Democrats do not deserve respect until they show they can work within the TWO party system.

(Also, I will be hitting this point in the Republican Encycliclas later on, but thanks for pointing it out).

AmPowerBlog said...

It is a funny picture, Philippe. It's not that funny when these people suggest that I'm the moose!

Typical though...

Eskimohorn said...

All that matters is how official representatives and media sources behave. It really doesn't matter what anonymous internet posters do on their own time, or what some high school kid in his basement photoshops while playing World of Warcraft in his basement. What does matter is the behavior of the media and official representatives. AKA - The people on the payroll.

Tell me, how many stories have you seen from the mainstream media that asked listeners the question, "Is George Bush a fascist?" I cannot recall any (though they may have alluded to it during stories of Gitmo), but the "F" word was not used often if ever. Yet, conservative media and officials are debating whether Obama is a fascist or socialist. Who's resorting to lower tactics?

IMO, conservative officials resort to lower tactics more often (see staged Bush/Gore election riot in Florida). As an indepedent who voted Democratic in a presidential election for the first time ever, I think you're wrong on this one. Or, more likely, it's a wash (see Bush v Kerry miltary records; faux documents exposed on CBS, etc.)

Reliapundit said...

fdr and truman didn't win ww2 by playing by the marquess of queensberry rules.

anything we do to defeat leftists and jihadist is good by me.


practically, we need to use different styles for different venues/markets.

Steven Givler said...

We need to keep in mind that if conservatism is the embodiment of Judeo-Christian ideals, our playbook should come from a higher source than Machiavelli.

Our responses to liberal provocations and distortions can be incisive, can make the most of media, and can be robust, without blurring the distinction between ourselves and unprincipled political hacks.

Anyone who thinks a virtuous response has to be a weak one is insufficiently acquainted with virtue, and is unfamiliar with Jesus' exhortation that we be "as innocent as doves, but as wily as serpents."

George Washington was a great military leader and a terrible foe in battle, but he conducted himself as a gentlemen. This further endeared him to those who were predisposed to love him, and made it all the harder to find fault with him by those predisposed to hate him.

Call me old fashioned, but I’ll do my best to follow the Washington model, and I’ll leave the Carville model for others.

Anonymous said...

Donald, better the moose than the buffalo.

Anonymous said...

That's a statue of a buffalo, trog.

The "metaphor" here is that conservatives think they see something (anything!) that gets their "juices" flowing, then WHAM! They spooge all over it...not realizing they have just defaced/defamed another national monument.

The moose (conservative) doesn't care...he gets his rocks off, and "finishes first!"

The "buffalo" (liberal) doesn't care; it's just a bronze prop (a "strawman", as it were).

From then on, the conservative can slander all libs as "cold, unfeeling" and lousy f**ks...and he speaks from experience!I mean, it's a lovely image, all around!

cursed said...

This is great theater. "We don’t like having to lie cheat and steal, but it’s momentarily convenient, and it’s OK if we do it because we are noble and virtuous".

Doctor Biobrain said...

Too funny, Donald. In a post that you lament mean attacks by liberals, you still can't call me by my actual name or honestly represent what I wrote.

I NEVER said the picture was "hilarious." What I said was "absolutely hilarious" was the "unintelligible" post in which they referenced you, mocking you for being fifty years behind the times in terms of racial sensitivity. And that was absolutely brilliant, yet wasn't the post that the picture came from.

What I wrote about the picture was "As for the picture, the meaning of that was less clear. But I'd guess it had something to do with Sowell being a token black used to mask the filth that Buckley spewed out; seeing as how Sowell was writing in the National Review. I personally didn't think it was super funny, but I fail to see how it was offensive."

And gee, Donald. I only wrote that at your own blog. Yet you can't even get that straight. But then again, you still haven't explained how Sowell was supposedly "de-Nazifying" the toilet either. Perhaps I missed it, but I think you might have invented that connection.

Finally, I think it's HILARIOUS that you're so concerned about the silly moose picture, yet have no problem with conservatives who insist that liberals hate our country, or are all nihilist, post-modern, rejectionist, denialists. And of course, you also said that comparing Hitler to Obama isn't "unreasonable," as if we're to imagine that Obama is a mass murderer with plans for world domination. Or what of conservative David Feherty, who recently "joked" that any soldier trapped in an elevator with Pelosi and Reid would murder them? I suppose that's nothing compared with being referred to as a moose, huh?

Listen Donald, if you ever expect to have any moral ground from which to attack dirty insults, you need to attack those who do it on the right (who can be just as bad as liberals), as well as removing the childish insults from your own material. And yes, it is unreasonable to compare Obama to Hitler. Arlonnnnnnn!

Dave said...


"Call me old fashioned, but I’ll do my best to follow the Washington model, and I’ll leave the Carville model for others."

If this were any other time in our nation's 236 year history, I would agree.

However, given the rapid progression of the takeover of the private sector by Obama's federal government, playing nice with the enemy is going to do us in for good.

The elections of 2010 will either make or break the America we all know and love.

Should we fail, there will be no redemption in 2012.

Its time to either be willing to get your hands dirty, or else run for the tall grass.

There is no middle ground anymore.


Doctor Biobrain said...

And here's my rebuttal to this nonsense:
Argument by Character Assassination.