Friday, May 29, 2009

A Moment for Conservatives?

Cassandra at Villainous Company sent me her post, "Judging Sotomayor: A Moment of Truth for Conservatives."

Cassandra argues that conservatives have been
reduced to cheap smears against Sonia Sotomayor, that our arguments have lost their punch:

Politics is the art of persuasion. The problem with conservative arguments is that although we're quite good at telling the public what's wrong with what we oppose, we are not so adept at articulating what it is we support. It's not enough to run down the competition. A good salesman highlights the positive attributes of his product as well as distinguishing it from the competition. For as long as I can remember our opponents have successfully (and all too often with our enthusiastic help) characterized conservatism as a negative political philosophy. We are painted as a party full of fearful and reflexively authoritarian killjoys, out to harsh the national mellow and steal everyone else's corn flakes. Unfortunately, our response to this inaccurate portrayal often does more to confirm than refute that flawed premise ....

In watching the debate over the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, I've found myself returning again and again to an ancient legal maxim: Venire contra factum proprium non valet. Loosely translated, it means "Arguments which contradict one's prior actions will fall on deaf ears." For as long as I can remember conservatives have decried the Borking of judicial nominees on ideological grounds. But more than this, we have vigorously defended the right of a sitting President to nominate jurists whose views are compatible with that of the party in power ....

There are principled arguments to be made here. Not against Barack Obama's absolute right to nominate a judge whose views he finds compatible with his own, but against the views themselves. That places the responsibility for appointing Constitutionally faithful judges back where it belongs - at the top. It also makes it a lot harder for our opponents to mischaracterize our arguments as mean spirited or bigoted. It's hard to see how employing the very tactics we've derided in our opponents does anything to strengthen the Republican brand (unless of course our message is "Do as we say - not as we do!").
There's more at the link.

I love Cassandra, and my comments are directed at her arguments, not her. We need less personal infighting on the right (got that Rod Dreher?).

Cassandra notes that it's perfectly fine to hammer Sotomayor on her "wise Latina" statements, as long as we focus on ideas and avoid "over the top personal attacks."

Well, yeah ... I only disagree to the extent that I don't think hammering Sotomayor on her race-consciousness is "over the top." So what, don't call her a racist? Fine, we can then just sit back and oppose her on ideas while THE LEFT ATTACKS US as racist. Yep, that ought to work! That's what it's all about nowadays, you know?. Racist this, racist that ... pretty soon we're all racists!

The truth is, as we've seen in everyday interactions, as well as in academic research, conservatives are nicer, more compassionate people than liberals. Yet, we stand on clear moral principles, and especially on traditional values, and we're thus attacked as "haters," "bigots," and "racists."

Look at what happened to Carrie Prejean. She wasn't being mean or nasty. She called no one names, nor did she turn up her nose in contempt for gay oppositional values. All she did is say she was raised to believe that marriage was between a man and a woman. The knives came out immediately, from all angles. Perez Hilton called Prejean a dumb bitch. Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler attacked Prejean as violating the values of the Miss California pageant, as if honesty and integrity weren't values worth emulating.

But why stop there?

I've been called "racist" so many times for supporting merit in university admissions that I've lost count. Conservatives are excoriated simply for standing up for values that the progressive-left has labeled "archaic" and "Neanderthal." It's kind of sick, when you think about it.

Cassandra basically places herself along with moderate Republicans who pride themselves in the use of "reason and logic informed by an objective approach to the facts."

Actually, so do I. I backed John McCain in last year's GOP primaries. I took a lot of flak for it too. But I don't regret it. I've learned from it. McCain's moment passed him up. His success was in supporting a winning war strategy that paid no political dividends by the end of 2008. The progessive mindset that wars are automatically bad had taken hold after eight years of Democratic betrayal and disinformation (and we were winning, in any case). All Barack Obama had to do was tack with the wind of Bush fatigue and war weariness. In turn, McCain had little in his policy quiver to offer voters besides "fight with me." Well, when people weren't so worried about the fight overseas, when the guts were being sucked out of the American financial system, and when the housing debacle sucked everything under with it, McCain was left stumbling along the campaign trail like a dumb mule.

The funny thing is that conservative ideas are there. In education, in economic policy, in deregulation, in energy. The list goes on. The problem is that ideas such as reliance on personal initiative and self-reliance, on school choice, vouchers, and market competition in service delivery, on domestic energy exploration and production, on downsizing government, on compellence in international relations ... all of these ideas are reviled by progressives, unions, and the liberal media establishment. Conservatives have ideas. They haven't been tried. George Bush managed the war on terror. He fought for American national security in Iraq and the broader Middle East. The conflict was not a "disaster." But we've been told that so many times it's become the conventional wisdom. Young people's minds have been turned off to the realities of market choice at home and the deployment of power abroad. People have been led to believe that spending trillions of dollars, and preparing for Democratic budgets as far as the eye can see, won't cost them anything. The "rich" will pay for it! Let's raise taxes! Make them pay their fair share! And then as soon as hundreds of thousands of Americans take to the streets and the plazas to protest the loss of liberties on April 15th what happened? We were all attacked as ... wait for it ... tea-baggers and racists!

Perhaps Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrinch lack the style and grace of a Ronald Reagan. But who does? Where is our glamorous man (or woman) on horseback to lead us from the political wilderness? Are we even ready for a leader? We don't even have a Republican vision anymore. Governor Taxinator? He didn't even campaign for his own tax increases in California when the voters were about to say, "enough is enough"! And you know where he was ... with Jennifer Granholm in Washington, visiting President Barack "Infanticide" Obama and his tax-cheat adminstration! Now we've got people like John Cornyn saying forget about atttactive young up-and-coming Hispanic conservatives. We need to go with GOP moderate in Charlie Crist, who just Wednesday
broke his no-taxes pledge in signing a Flordia state budget that raises $2.2 billion in new fees and taxes!

Is this the kind of policy conservatives are supposed to argue in favor of? Is this something in which we need to articulate our "support"?

I can't help but think this is a disaster for conservatism. Moderation? Well, sometimes you just have to say no. Reagan did. Reagan said no. Why can't we? Reagan said forget about it brother, "cut taxes, spending, and regulation, and got government out of the way and let free people create new jobs and businesses."

In any case, back to Sotomayor ...

What's the meme right now, against the "evil" conservatives? Well, "
G. Gordon Liddy On Sotomayor: ‘Let’s Hope That The Key Conferences Aren’t When She’s Menstruating’." Wow, Liddy? Oh he's a real spokesman for the party!

And this, "GOP Hispanic Strategists Stunned, Outraged By Sotomayor Attacks." Stunned? Who says? The Huffington Post? Of course they're going to say that.

Meanwhile, the news is out that Sonia Sotomayor attacked Princeton University as an institution of bigotry: "
Sotomayor, as Student, Attacked Princeton as Anti-Latino."

Well, there's that race-consciousness I mentioned! But conservatives will be attacked as "racist" just for pointing it out ...

Now where was that "moment" we're looking for? Will we get another "moment" if we play nice on Sotomayor? Who knows? Maybe we'll get another "taxable-moment" with people like tax-hike Charlie down in Florida!

Now that's the way to eviscerate the Reagan legacy!

Back to you, Cassandra!


Mark Harvey said...

The time to play nice-nice all in the name of getting along so we aren't talked bad about is long since over and done with.

I came back from the war, missing some minor parts, and for the first time I ACTUALLY realized what the Vietnam Vets experienced.

We are at WAR here at home GD it!

You must identify the enemy so you can defeat that enemy. If the enemy is NOT identified, your positions WILL be over run and the surprise is ALL on you.

SCREW a bunch of nice-nice idiocy.

So, to ALL that want to play nice-nice and the feces hits the oscillating air mover and YOU get over run, do NOT look to men or women that have embraced the suck for YOU to come bail your lamed asses out. We will be busy taking the country back from the people YOU turned it over to because you wanted to be NICE in combat.

GD it! Wake up!

When I had Haji in my sights, it was POP POP. NEXT! I didn't run up to them, get on my knees and offer them my WileyX glasses as a peace offering so they wouldn't talk bad about me.

I could care less what the enemy thinks of me. I want my enemies SCARED TO DEATH of me and I made DAMN sure they were. I don't want to go along to get along with anyone.

Thanks for sharing.

Sonia Sotomayor IS the enemy.

Barack Hussein IS the enemy.

Tye DCN and half the GOP IS the enemy.

It's about the United States Constitution that I fought for, got blown up for, carried my friends - dead and wounded for - and I'll be GD'd if I am going to listen to lectures from people that have no earthly idea WTF is going on.


End of discussion.

Sonia is a racist. Enemy identified.

Sonia is a bigot. Enemy identified.

Sonia holds unconstitutional "values". Enemy identified.


Mark Harvey said...

If that comment was over the top, Sir, I will understand if it is removed. No harm no foul.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Wow, Donald. This post was so dumb I don't even know where to begin. But with the "stunned" GOP strategists, the HuffPost named the people. It wasn't just their opinion. It was the opinion of Lionel Sosa, former Congressman Henry Bonilla, and Frank Guerra; all three of whom know a heckeva lot more about Hispanic voters than you do. I know reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, but those three guys were the bulk of the article. I honestly can't see how you missed it.

And is there some special insight you have that informs you that Princeton didn't discriminate against Puerto Ricans? As her letter mentioned, at the time, there were no Puerto Rican or Chicano administrators or faculty members, no permanent classes on Puerto Rican or Chicano cultures, and only 58 Puerto Rican or Chicano students on campus. Now, I don't know if that's evidence of discrimination, as there might have been good reasons for this. But the thing is, you don't know either. So where do you get off pretending to have some slam against her, simply because she felt that the school was discriminating? And btw, she didn't use the word "bigotry," and it's quite obvious that you only did so because it's more inflamitory than "discrimination." And heck, you seem so prone to label folks as "racist." Are you suggesting that this makes you a racist? If not, then I fail to see how Sotomayor's charges of discrimination are automatically wrong. Who knows, maybe she had a point. Princeton seems to have thought so, which is why they listened to her.

And finally, you link to Arther Brooks as being "academic research" that proves that conservatives are more "compassionate" than liberals. But I guess you linked to the wrong article, as that one didn't claim any such research. That was just Brooks' opinion that conservatives don't care about income equality because they're more optimistic that inequality will take care of itself. He didn't even pretend to have research to back that up, and definitely didn't suggest that they were more compassionate. Again, your reading skillz seem to be non-existent. And as much as Brooks has done "research" on the subject for his book, I totally debunked that already too. But if I recall, you were too upset with me to bother rebutting my takedown of his work.

Anyway, that's enough for now, I guess. Though this whole piece was laughably bad. But please, don't listen to Cassandra. She's a siren trying to lead the conservative ship to ruin. Stay true to your conservative principles and don't forget to call Sotomayor a racist three times before going to bed each night. That's bound to help. You've got a real political winner with this one.

Oh, btw, Reagan raised taxes a bunch, including payroll taxes. Just sayin'.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Uhh, Mark, that comment was most definitely over the top. I mean, you kind of sort of just made a veiled threat on our president as well as a future Supreme Court justice; or at a minimum, you want them "scared to death" of you. And I can't see how that's a good place for you to be.

Honestly, if you saw a liberal writing that sort of thing back in 2002, wouldn't you have thought the guy was a wacko who needed to be locked up for his own good? Well, that's kinda how you look to me. I'm not saying you're a wacko and I'm definitely glad you seem to want to walk that back a bit, but I definitely think you need to rethink this whole thing and get a better grip on who you imagine the "enemy" is. After all, I knew people who thought Clinton was a mass murdering Soviet agent, and we seem to have come out of that alright. Trust me, things aren't nearly as dire as they might seem.

And Donald, this is why you guys really need to tone down the rhetoric. I understand that you're upset about how unpopular you are, but this apocalyptic "Obama's out to get us" stuff is NOT going to make you more popular. You guys need a steady hand at the till, not more fear-mongering and overhyped conspiracy theories. You might not like how things are playing out, but everything's going to be alright.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Donald, here's my revised takedown of Arthur Brooks and your precious belief in compassionate conservatives:
Compassionate Hackery: Redux

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Douglas: The pseudonymity of "Doctor Biobrain" tells you all you need to know about his motives. yet his point about Mark Harvey is worth thinking about. Mr. Harvey is doing a lot of metaphorical yelling, to no visible end other than yelling and showing his language skills ("So, to ALL that want to play nice-nice and the feces hits the oscillating air mover and YOU get over run, do NOT look to men or women that have embraced the suck for YOU to come bail your lamed asses out." Move over Edmund Burke, the new gunslinger has come to town, boiling over.)

I would ask you this: what do you want to do? I'm not clear on this. The taunts that the Left hurls at you for this blog, and likely for your work in academia, are to be expected. Remember the response Winston Churchill got for his speech denouncing the Munich Agreement in the British Parliament in October 1938. "Churchill is an agitator who should be shot or hanged," said Viscount Maugham, the Lord Chancellor. So too, you.

Martin Luther King did not earn his high place in history by crumpling up when he was called a Communist, an attack in his time thathad much the same effect being called "homophobic" would have today.

What to do about Sotomayor? Bring out her record, and vote against her. The notion that this will doom the GOP is troubling, but not soluble. If the Hispanic vote depends on political action, the Democrats will always win. See e.g. the fate of Geo. W., who was ready to move the capital of this nation to Mexico City in 2007, and was beaten back by his own party. The GOP nominee, McCain, in 2008 saw Geo. W.'s bid and raised. What good did it do him? Zip. So vote against Sotomayor. It will be futile, if the Intrade contract on her being confirmed has any meaning. But history has its claims, and a, say, 64-36 vote can be used to club her just as the Left clubs John Roberts for being confirmed 78-22 ("See? Roberts was too controversial to be confirmed," Quacktor Biobrain would say.)

This nomination will have long range consequences. But the odds of stopping it are tiny. There are other things popping that promise better, e.g. the horrifying notion that peace in the Middle East depends on the willingness of Benjamin Netanyahu to stand up to The One's idiocy and bigotry and stop Iran from getting nukes. Or the horrifying specter of US Treasury bills losing their AAA rating and the dollar being relegated to a secondary role as a reserve currency, follwed by 15% inflation. Or the mangling of American health care by shoving it into the meatgrinder of "Doctor Government," a medical plan that works fine if you are in Congress or have good connections there, but otherwise is a meddling nanny tying you down with all sorts of petty restrictions while carefully forbidding you from getting care when you are old, or need something that is just too expensive.

That's what we face. Quacktor Biobrain is still celebrating his election delirium. Ask him to predict what the "misery index" in this country will be in 2011. Or the spectacle of Guantanamo Bay prisoners in this nation tying up courts while waiting for their fellows to blast them out, even while they prosyletize from behind bars. Unpopularity is unpleasant, but far from crippling. See e.g. Cheney, Dick, who forced The One to make his preposterous National Archives speech, another nail in The One's reputation. Not now, but wait.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Dennis said...


I can understand your thoughts and feelings because I spent a couple of years in Southeast Asia myself (68-70.) Anger at those who would denigrate you, as Biobrain, for putting your life on the line for their defense is understandable. It is indeed interesting that Biobrain spends much of its time attempting to denigrate you for killing the enemies of this country because your death, as in Viet Nam, is a political expedient to them.
Here I agree, in ways, with both you and Donald. You have to go on the offense with considerable passion because it is the only way to fight the evil that is leftism.
It is interesting and funny that the very tactics that the Left uses are the very tactics they do not want used against them. One wonders if it is so bad why did they use those tactics themselves?
I can remember when I first learned to play chess, the person who taught me showed me the "Nizzo-Indian" defense. Of course I got mated until..horrors upon horrors...I learned to go on the offense. This is applicable here because those who play defense, and it is what the Left wants us to do, never win because there is nothing, no matter how heinous that they will not do.
One only needs to look at the examples shown by Donald. You would think that If Biobrain actually cared about what he posits he would acknowledge the utter contempt ability of those on his side, but no for to admit that is to undermine his screed.
I find it laughable for those on the Left to go ballistic when the same definitions they have used to denigrate others gets used on them. They like name calling until it is used to define them.
I am surprised that the Left's "Snidely Whiplash" has not appeared with his usual sneer dressed up as a comment. Though Biobrain does serve as a reasonable facsimile.
Again Mark, be proud of your service and hang in there buddy. It is good that you are alive and well. Now go out there and get the tools you need to succeed in life. Remember they are just tools and it is you that can build something beautiful with them. Try not to be like the Left an use your tools to build ugliness and misery for others.

Cassandra said...

I agree with much of what you've said, Donald, and I'm glad you took the time to lay out your response.

I disagree with Mark. We will never stop the opposition from saying bad things about us. We can (even metaphorically) kill them all and IMO it's a waste of precious energy to try.

When someone says starts calling names, it only convinces me they don't have a serious argument to make, or that they're insecure. Most people look to see how you react when you're attacked.

The best reaction is to show you're unfazed by insults. Getting visibly angry or wasting time when an opponent rattles your cage does little to convince people what they said was untrue. If anything, it makes them wonder if you're getting so defensive b/c you know their criticism have merit?

Leaders are confident. They are focused. And their confidence is infectious. When you show you're unfazed by irrelevent personal attacks, you make your opponent look over emotional, desperate and vindictive.

We need to stay on message and talk about what we want to talk about, not what some loser wants us to talk about :)

Anyway, my response is up.

Cassandra said...

Oops! That should have been "We *can't* (even metaphorically) kill them all ..."

Freudian slip.

dave in boca said...

When tax-cheat Geithner & Obama accomplish the runaway inflation that printing money without raising interest rates will generate, then the true shallowness of the Democrat agenda will be exposed.

Sadly, Frank & Waxman et al. will probably do irreparable damage to our long-term economic prospects before the Repubs are returned to power in '10 or '12, depending on how soon the American sheeple shed their wooly-mindedness.

In the meantime, BHO & TurboTimmy will have taken the dollar off its reserve currency status, which itself will generate a large decrease in consumer buying power.

So calling names is okay by me, because it's just the verbal overture to the REAL rack and ruin that "stimulus" by printing presses working overtime at the mint will accomplish.

Snooper said...

Since when is telling the Truth about the racist and bigot Sonia Sotomayor classified as "name-calling"? Grow up.

Liberalism: it's a mental disorder.

And, there was no "yelling". It was and still is fact.

I found it and continually find interesting how the libtards are incapable of refuting that which I and others state.

Apparently, there mental decapitation is a result of the mental illness of liberalism.

Not one single "tenet", "credo" or belief system of how they think the federal government should operate can be reconciled with the United States Constitution. Not one.

Nice try biobrainless but no cigar. Please check with Billy Bob Blue Dress Clinton for that cigar you seek.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Anonymous @ 1:35 - While I disagree with much of what you said, I MUST insist that you not smear me with strawmen. I have NEVER suggested that Roberts was too controversial, nor did I have any hopes that he wouldn't be confirmed. In fact, I just did a search of my blog on what I said during Roberts confirmation hearing and found this:

"Overall, I think our best bet in all this is to not threaten the filibuster at all, or even suggest a strong opposition. Instead, we need to claim him to be respectably moderate, especially in regards to Roe; while stalling his nomination in the hopes that the far-right will learn to detest him. A quickie nomination can't do that, but if he says enough things to calm liberals and moderates, he should burn enough bridges with Bush's base. But if we scream filibuster on this one, it'll burn the bridges for future attempts. We'll be like the party who cries "wolf", and it will reduce our ability to use it when we really need it."

And if you guys were smart, you'd have done the same thing now. I've read enough of Sotomayor's judicial history to see that she really is fair-minded and not at all an activist. In fact, the whole "Ricci" case that conservatives seem to be going crazy about was the right decision because it WASN'T judicial activism. She followed the law as it was written and made the right call. But you guys already blundered into crying "Wolf" yet again and it will only hurt you.

But on the plus side, I've never gotten "Quacktor Biobrain" before, so you score points for originality. Seriously, I kind of like that one. Oh, and you also score points for knowing the difference between anonymous and pseudonymous. Most conservatives lump the two together and attack me for being anonymous; which I most certainly am not. Kudos for knowing the difference.

Doctor Biobrain said...

It is indeed interesting that Biobrain spends much of its time attempting to denigrate you for killing the enemies of this country because your death, as in Viet Nam, is a political expedient to them.Uh, Dennis? I didn't denigrate Mark. I was just offering him polite advice to tone-down the assassination threats. I have no problem whatsoever with what he did in Iraq. While I was always against the war, I don't at all blame the soldiers for what they did there. I want a military that does their job, even if I disapprove of the job. It was him labeling Obama, Sotomayor, Dems, and half the GOP as the "enemy" which he wants "scared to death" that I took issue with. And even then, I assumed he didn't meant that literally. Again, I just thought a gentle reminder was in order, but I never insulted him in the least.

BTW, my dad was career military and was even in Vietnam on the day I was born. And while I definitely think that war was an idiotic idea that hurt America, I was always proud of his service to our country. I didn't like the mission, but I loved the man. So I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from smearing me as you did. I have never thought ill of our country or our troops. Our military is bigger than the missions we send them on.

jim treacher said...

BTW, my dad was career military and was even in Vietnam on the day I was born.Why was he in Vietnam yesterday?

Doctor Biobrain said...

Oh, and Anonymous, I suspect the "Churchill is an agitator who should be shot or hanged" quote is a fake. It sounds suspicious, if only because Churchill was already such an important person at the time that it sounds unlikely that the Lord Chancellor would suggest that he be shot. And when I did a search in Yahoo, i could only find one reference to it; which was far from authoritative. And it's not in Wikipedia for either Maugham, Churchill, or the Munich Agreement. I could be wrong, but I think you've been had.

In fact, I can't even find anything from Maugham that suggests he said anything negative about Churchill. While he defended Chamberlain for the Munich Agreement several years later, he really doesn't sound like a particularly political guy, and only got the job due to a bureaucratic quirk.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Why was he in Vietnam yesterday?Because he was screwing your mother.

Sorry. Sorry. I just couldn't resist. I saw a pointless insult of me and had to return fire. No offense intended. I would have said the same thing to a friend.

Mark Harvey said...

Liberalism: it's mental disorder just like Drs Rossiter and Krauthammer so revealed.

Much to the chagrin of the libtards, the Bigot and Racist Sonia Sonatamayor has had 60% of her activist BS over turned by the SCOTUS so I guess "someone" didn't do their libtardy homework.

Isn't it interesting how the racists and bigots are protecting Sonia's racism and bigotry?


Even Carbie and his little boy Gibbles and Bits Press Nerd admitted to it by trying to refute it. And THAT is the libtard way. They cannot help themselves.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Mark - Try doing your own homework next time, as I grow weary of educating you numbskulls. The Supreme Court DIDN'T reverse 60% of her decisions. They reversed only three out of 380 majority decisions that she wrote; which is a rate of 0.79%.

The 60% reversal rate only refers to the number of reversals the Supreme Court made of the decisions they reviewed; as they reviewed only five of her cases and reversed three. And that's not a bad rate, seeing as how the Supremes generally don't hear a case unless they think they might need to reverse it. By comparison, Alito had 100% of his reviewed cases reversed; as they reversed both of his decisions they reviewed. By your standards, this makes him more of an activist than Sotomayor.

And just to make the other point clear, the Supremes only reviewed 1.32% of the decisions she wrote; and apparently didn't find anything disagreeable with the other 98.68% of decisions she wrote. Spin that, contard!