Saturday, February 12, 2005

I thought I'd post an interesting and thought-provoking dialogue from a good friend who is a conservative (as opposed to "Republican"). This is the type of man who highlights the difference between what a "conservative" is (actually, he's got more of a libertarian slant) and a "Republican". Clear difference - not driven by partisan ideology, but rather a guy who is open to constructive dialogue about the state of the country. He and I don't always agree what the role of government should be, but I think we share common ground in more areas than one would think, such as patriotism, the right to be left alone, anger at government waste, etc. An example of how Americans are tied together by more bonds than the current politicos and press want you to think. Need to read from the bottom up, and the discussion begins (which is not included) with me asking my friend what he thinks about Social Security.

---------
As for government largess, keep in mind I said “conservatives” and not “Republicans.” You and I are more or less aligned here.

From my vantage point, the social conservatives never get into gear until poked in the eye. This is where I think liberals never cease to harm themselves harm and energize a bunch of people to go vote Republican who otherwise would not. The Massachusetts court decision, NEA-sponsored blasphemy, the scrubbing of all religion from the public square, the endless public temper-tantrums of protest, etc. are all part of this fabric.

From: Jonathan
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 3:55 PM
To:
Subject: RE:

Civil rights racketeers.... The one area I would quibble with is the idea of liberalism as being the majority practitioner of the procurement of government action and funds, and conservatives as the "anti-government" and "let's leave everyone alone" party -- we've discussed this. For one, the pool of government resources going to conservatives is just as large -- it just takes different forms, whether in the form of tax and trade breaks, appropriations projects, etc. instead of collective insurance programs, such as health insurance and social insurance programs. The same is true for social action; instead of civil rights, many conservatives push a religious-driven agenda (gay marriage, anti-abortion, etc.) that affect many people's lives outside of "their own right to be left alone".

Where I think the GOP has been successful is a) it's easier to sell tax cuts than government spending. I'd respect this if that what was actually going on, but (and I know you're concerned about this) the level of both discretionary and non-discretionary spending has skyrocketed, this positioning of the 2006 budget notwithstanding. b) The GOP has been extraordinarily successful in pushing its social agenda as a motivating and uniting factor. Funny thing is, I think liberals have a better story to tell about social issues. However, for Democrats to succeed in this area, they will need to combine a respect for people's own beliefs while at the same time advocating everyone's right to equality and an emphasis on community and family. We fall very short in this area - everyone is equal, but gosh those rednecks in the Midwest are such wing-nuts!!! That approach needs to change....



-----Original Message-----
From:
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 2:45 PM
To: Jonathan
Subject: RE:

I tend to agree with your comparison, solid insight. Yes, the Dems have become a collection of disparate one-issue groups (labor, feminist, the civil-rights racketeers, etc.) that don’t really come together to form a complete (or even consistent) mosaic. Since most of them advocate government action and/or funding, many if them end up competing for the same finite pool of resources and attention. Conservative factions, on the other hand, tend to be bound by either a mistrust of government or the desire to simply be left alone altogether. This allows groups that have little or nothing in common to peacefully coexist and rally around a common adversary.

If you recall, I’ve told you I think Dean possesses a certain “Goldwater” quality. Whether or not that is the right fit for an insider-operator job like party chairman has yet to be seen. If nothing else, the left wing of the party was fed up with compromising so many of their beliefs in the name of preserving power. Now we’ll see what they do with this…



From: Jonathan
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 2:17 PM
To:
Subject: RE:

It will take awhile -- it took the GOP about 30 years to get where it is today. The GOP is different than the Democrats in one key respect - many of them view conservatism as a "movement" while the Democrats are stuck on an issue-by-issue dialogue. There was a point in time where liberalism was its own 'movement' (the 60s/70s), but it grew fat and complacent. I actually think Dean is good for the long term health of the party, even if he is kind of a big mouth. He's the only one willing to get up there and open his mouth to begin with.

-----Original Message-----
From:
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 9:14 AM
To: Jonathan
Subject: RE:

I more or less agree with you on Soc Sec. And Teddy's speech was borderline seditious. I've kept some tabs on the low-wattage drama of the Dean/DNC story. I am confident your party will repair and re-invent itself in time to be competitive in the 2008 cycle, I just can't figure out how at its current trajectory...

From: Jonathan
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 5:51 PM
To:
Subject:

Agreed with you on two counts: 1) the real crisis is Medicare/Medicaid - talk about an unfunded budget liability. 2) That "response" was the most flaccid, insipid reply the Dems could possibly come up with. Plus, good ol' Teddy bashing elections right before they happen -- and then look at what happens. Geez, you can't get more irrelevant than that. Anyone who wasn't moved by that day isn't moved by freedom (and I think the war has been a disaster).

I think the solution is somewhat simple - some kind of needs testing for the underlying SS benefit, coupled with a private account regardless of needs testing.

-----Original Message-----
From:
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 5:44 PM
To: Jonathan
Subject:

The real problem is Medicare/Medicaid, and it's not clear to me why this isn't being discussed.

I realize the Dems are the opposition party, but it's not enough to just oppose - there has to be alternative ideas, and I'm just not seeing any. You guys should dump Pelosi ASAP - her teleprompter-reading performance after the SOTU address last week was a disaster. "San Fran Nan" is not going to help the party's image as weak on national security.

1 comment:

Urbanpink said...

Great Post! It's so awesome to see different perspectives in productive dialogue, refreshing. I LOVE YOU!