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Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

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Source: The Aspen Institute– Columnist David Brooks

Source: The New Democrat

If you just arrived on Planet Earth yesterday and were an adult and two of the first things you observed were supposed to be what it means to be a Conservative and Liberal and what conservatism and liberalism are supposed to be, you would probably think Conservatives are simply bigots who hate anyone who isn’t of European especially Anglo-Saxon background, who isn’t a Christian especially a Protestant and who isn’t male. That conservatism is simply an authoritarian bigoted political philosophy that is about conserving everything in society for Europeans especially English-Europeans in America and especially Protestant males.

And that Liberals are simply statists. In some cases democratic, but in many other cases communist who believe European-Americans are all bigots, unless they come from the Northeast or West Coast and were educated there as well. Who hate European-Americans again unless they come from one of the coasts and were raised there. The Northeast and West Coast, that is and believe the role of government is to take care of non-Europeans in America and to punish Europeans for being successful.

That Liberals are supposed to be people who believe that anyone who doesn’t look at the world as they do are basically idiots who need to be babysat by government. That freedom is dangerous and it only gives people the freedom to make mistakes. That free speech is only the freedom to offend non-Europeans. That capitalism and property rights are selfish. That even education and self-inprovent are dangerous things, because it means that people would be able to obtain the power and freedom to live independently and be able to think and act for themselves.

Now, I just gave you a pretty good idea about what conservatism and liberalism aren’t. What it doesn’t mean to a Conservative and what it doesn’t mean to be a Liberal. The anti-conservative views when it comes to conservatism and the illiberal views when it comes to liberalism. Now, how about what it actually means to be a Conservative and what conservatism actually is and what it means to be a Liberal and what liberalism actually is.

I agree with David Brooks about one thing which seems to be a common theme when I hear him speak, at least about public policy and philosophy. That conservatism is about conserving tradition and a certain way of life in America. Which is different from saying that the role of government is force a way of life on the rest of the country and force everybody to basically live as straight fundamentalist Protestant Evangelicals. Which is what Christian-Conservatives who today are basically Christian-Nationalists believe, that the problem with the America is personal freedom and individualism and that Americans shouldn’t have the freedom to live their own lives and have their own lifestyles.

My personal view of what it means to be a Conservative in the political sense, comes from Mr. Conservative Senator the late Barry Goldwater. Who said that he wanted big government out of our wallets, bedrooms, boardrooms, and classrooms. He wanted big government out of our personal and economic affairs. He believed in limited government and federalism and that the role of government was to protect Americans from predators both foreign and domestic, but not try to protect Americans from themselves and punish Americans for their own personal decisions. And that a big role of government was to conserve the U.S. Constitutional and our constitutional rights. Not conserve some fundamentalist Protestant Christian way of life and to force everybody to live under the same religious and cultural values.

For me as a Liberal, defining Liberal and liberalism is very easy for me. A Liberal is someone who believes in liberal democracy what some people might call classical liberalism, but what I just call liberalism and liberal democracy. That government should be limited and there to defend our constitutional rights and civil liberties, including our property rights. That everyone in America is the same at least in the sense that no one is better simply because of their race, ethnicity, or gender and that everyone has the same civil rights and are all entitled to the same equal and constitutional rights. Liberals believe in limited government, the U.S. Constitution, civil liberties, individual rights. A safety net for people who truly need it, but not having a government big enough to manage people’s lives and to force everyone to live equally from an economic standpoint. Socialists believe in forcing equality on everyone. Liberals believes in quality opportunity for everyone, which is different.

Now, if you just watch Fox News and MSNBC, you might think Conservatives are from Mars and Liberals are from Saturn. Two completely different planets with very little if anything in common. Thousands if not millions of miles way ideologically. But if you look at the American political spectrum Conservatives are on the center-right and Liberals are on the center-left. Ideologically they’re political opponents ( not enemies ) but have the most in common ideologically of any two political factions on the American political spectrum. With the Socialists ( both democratic and communist ) and the Christian-Nationalists, having the least in common. Conservatives and Liberals both believe in the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, our federal form of limited government. But differ when it comes to government’s role in the economy and national security. But don’t live in two on two different planets ideologically. As much as Fox News and MSNBC may disagree with this.

The Aspen Institute: David Brooks- On Conservative and Liberal Values

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“Without the emergence of the Christian-Right in the 1970s…”

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Without the emergence of the Christian-Right in the 1970s and 1980s, there is no Reform Party USA today. Why, because what is the Reform Party and what’s the point of it? The Reform Party is what the Republican Party use to be and what they believed in. Before they recruited the Christian-Right and broader Far-Right out of the Democratic Party and into the GOP. They use to believe in fiscal responsibility, economic freedom, strong but limited national defense and foreign policy that’s not designed to police the world and they were tolerant or federalist on social issues. Not believing that the Federal Government or government in general, should be used to tell how Americans should live their own lives and make their personal decisions for them. That was the GOP of the 1960s that Dwight Eisenhower essentially created in the 1950s, that Tom Dewey tried to create in the 1940s. That also had a growing conservative-libertarian wing in it led by Barry Goldwater and others.

If Donald Trump takes down the Republican Party in November and they lose the House as well as the Senate and he decides to take his movement with him and perhaps launches a new third-party and perhaps some nationalist party, the Reform Party could become relevant for the first time since Ross Perot launched this movement in the early 1990s. Along with the Libertarians and this is how the Republican Party could become a national party again that can win the presidency, because it would have the members and voters, to compete for the presidency and not need gerrymandered House districts to hold a majority in the House. Or low turnout elections to win a majority in the Senate, because again they would have the voters to be able to compete with Democrats everywhere. Or perhaps the GOP dies and the Reform Party emerges as the new Center-Right party in America. And brings in Libertarians and Northeastern Conservative Republicans.

The Reform Party, to me at least represents the Republican Party when it wasn’t owned by the Christian-Right and broader Far-Right in America. A party where the Ku Klux Klan and other Far-Right European-American nationalist groups, didn’t feel at home in. Because it was a big-tent party that welcomed African-Americans, Latin-Americans, Jewish-Americans, women, Catholics, immigrants, etc. Where it was the party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and yes even Barry Goldwater. Not Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, David Duke, Donald Trump, or the Tea Party. A party that could not only competed in the Northeast with moderate-conservative Republicans, but in the Midwest and the West with Conservative-Libertarians and even California, but in the South as well. And could win high turnout elections, because it had the members and voters to compete everywhere with the Democratic Party. That is no longer the case for the GOP today.

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Modern GOP
Crooks and Liars: Opinion: Mike Lux: Two Kinds of Meanness: The Modern Conservative Movement

It must be snowing in San Diego right now, because I actually agree with Mike Lux on something. But he’s right about at least a couple of things about the modern Republican Party, as I would put it. Can you imagine what Barry Goldwater would’ve said had he heard Vice President Dick Cheney back in 2003, saying that deficits don’t matter? The Republican Party, still has that strong conservative libertarian wing, that I and Mike Lux I guess both respect. I for sure anyway, that is now led by Senator Rand Paul and a few others in and out of Congress.

But in Mr. Conservative Barry Goldwater’s day, the Neoconservatives and Religious-Right, were still a growing force. But the Goldwater-Reagan Republicans and their supporters still ran the party. We’ll see what 2016 looks like and how big a movement the Conservative Libertarians led by Senator Paul are. But since 1988 or so, a Republican couldn’t win the presidential nomination without having the Christian-Conservatives and Neoconservatives behind him. They also couldn’t win the presidential election without these two groups as well.

Back in the day, the Religious-Right and Neoconservatives, the Pat Robertson’s and Rick Santorum’s of the world, were seen as extremists. As dangerous to the Republican Party. Now, the Santorum’s and Mike Huckabee’s of the world are seen as major presidential contenders. But, that could change in 2016 depending on how big a movement the Paul Conservative Libertarians have become. And has the GOP returned to some form of sanity and really gotten back to their conservative libertarian routes. The Patriot Act debate in Congress the last few weeks, suggests that the GOP might be ready to get back to where they were. And move away from their big government Republicanism.

Back in the day, the GOP was the anti-big government party. Not the, “we don’t like your big government when it comes to economic policy. So we’re going to replace your big government with our big government. And stick it in the homes of every American. And show them by force what it means to be a real American.” Back in the day, deficits and debt not only did matter, but they mattered regardless if the President was a Democrat, or Republican and who was in control of Congress. Back in the day, Republicans weren’t in favor of invading countries, simply because they didn’t like the dictator who was in charge of the country. The GOP, up until the last few years, have taken the opposite positions on all of these issues.

I don’t agree with Conservative Libertarians on everything, obviously. Otherwise I would be a Conservative Libertarian, instead of a Liberal myself. But I can work and talk to Conservative Libertarians, because we tend to have similar principles. That we both believe individual freedom, both personal and economic. That we need an effective, but limited government doing for the people what we can’t do for ourselves. And then the debates and discussions become about what exactly government should be doing. How they should regulate and what services they should perform. Instead of should people have the freedom to do this or that for themselves.

American politics would be a lot more fun and interesting today for me as a Liberal Democrat, if the Republican Party didn’t have their big government neoconservative faction. And their anti-government Libertarian faction, that has almost no role for government. Which is more extreme than the Conservative Libertarians, who aren’t anti-government so much as they’re anti-big government, which is different. And whatever you think of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, they’re not anti-government, or even in favor of big government into people’s personal lives, for the most part. Certainly for Senator Paul, on most if not all issues. And maybe we’ll see the GOP in 2016, move away from both their anti-government and big government trends and become a responsible political party again.

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Nelson & Eleanor

Nelson & Eleanor

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

To understand Nelson Rockefeller’s politics, you have to first understand the politics of the Republican Party up until 1966-67 or so. When the Republican Party officially moved into a different direction politically and became the official right-wing party in America. That had already started in 1964 with Barry Goldwater’s nomination for president, but the 1966 mid-terms is where it started paying off for the GOP in Congress and with governorships around the country.

See the Republican Party that Nelson fit into, was the GOP of the 1950s with Dwight Eisenhower. Nelson Rockefeller was no Liberal at least he wouldn’t be today. He certainly wasn’t a Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat either of course. But he also wasn’t a Rand Paul Tea Party Conservative Libertarian of today, or a Barry Goldwater Conservative Libertarian. If there is such a thing even sixty-years ago, Nelson Rockefeller would’ve been a Progressive Republican. And I mean that in the classical sense.

A classical Progressive in the sense of someone who believes in hard work, education and opportunity for all. A safety net for people who fall though the cracks of the private enterprise system. Someone who believed in rule of law and a tough internationalist foreign policy and national security. But someone who also believed in civil rights and equal rights for everyone. Nelson was to the Left of Franklin Roosevelt on social issues especially civil rights. But not as far to the Left of Franklin on economic policy and who wanted to create the next chapter of the New Deal.

Nelson wanted a safety net for people who truly needed it. Not a welfare state to manage people’s lives for them. And for everyone who was physically and mentally able, which is most of the country, he believed those people should get a good education, work hard and be productive. And then get to enjoy the rewards of their production. That if you were on public assistance because you couldn’t find a good job or not qualified to get a good job, that government could help you finish your education so you can become independent.

The Eisenhower/Rockefeller Progressives were no longer running the Republican Party by 1964. When President Eisenhower left office in 1961, Republicans were looking for a new direction and leadership. Senator Barry Goldwater filled that vacuum for them in 1964 and that is the direction they stuck with until President Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. And because of this there was no longer a base of support for Progressives like Nelson Rockefeller to step up and lead the GOP in that direction. Because they were now outnumbered by Conservatives.
The Political Lion: Conservatives Re-Take The Republican Party- 1964 GOP Convention

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Governor Nelson Rockefeller, R, New York

Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Times

If Nelson Rockefeller was alive today and still involved in public service in some way, whether it was in public office or working for non-profits, which he did both in his very long and distinguished career in public service. What party would he be affiliated with? I think it’s clear that maybe outside of the Northeast and of course he was from New York I believe GOV. Rockefeller would’ve had a very hard time getting elected as a Republican today. Especially in a Republican Party that’s now dominated by the Christian Right and to some extent Neoconservatives.

But neoconservatism has lost a lot if influence in the Republican Party, at least in the last two elections. Which I believe is a good thing, but the Religious-Right is still there and powerful there. And of course now with the Tea Party movement that’s now run by economic Conservatives and Religious Conservatives and with GOV. Rockefeller being fairly liberal at least to some extent on social issues except for crime and punishment, I don’t see how Nelson Rockefeller gets elected in the Republican Party today. He would probably be a better fit as a Democrat today with his liberal views on some social Issues. And his beliefs in public service and infrastructure investment, but probably like a Joe Lieberman.

Nelson Rockefeller was a social Liberal and somewhat progressive on economic policy. But more conservative on crime and punishment and foreign policy. I mean the Rockefeller Drug Laws aren’t called that for nothing, GOV. Rockefeller played a big role in advancing the War on Drugs in America. And also served as President Ford’s Vice President. Mr. Rockefeleller clearly had conservative leanings, but not enough of them for him to be successful in the Republican Party today. So where would Nelson Rockefeller go politically or maybe he would work on a third-party Movement instead.

I don’t see Nelson Rockefeller as a centrist, but an independent and they are different. A centrist is someone who’s pretty much middle of the road on most major political issues. But Rockefeller had clear political views, some conservative which is why he was a Republican. But also some liberal and progressive which is why I don’t believe he would be a Republican today. So maybe the Independence Party or a movement for that would’ve taken off with Rockefelller and George Wallace as their Leaders.

Nelson Rockefeller would be a prototypical Independent candidate and perfect for that type of political party as well. Someone who could help advance an Independence movement and would’ve been a great third-party candidate today. I don’t think he would’ve gotten elected President this way, but definitely been a factor as a presidential candidate. Sort of like George Wallace in 1968, Jack Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992. And perhaps because of this we could’ve ended the two-party-system that under represents a lot of American voters and we could’ve had more choices in who to vote for.
History Comes To Life: Nelson Rockefeller Announces For The Presidency in 1968

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Classical Conservative

Classical Conservative

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Whatever Andrew Sullivan is calling himself these days, I still consider him to be a Conservative. Conservative Libertarian even if that makes you feel better. Because similar to Barry Goldwater it is not that conservatism has changed, but similar to liberalism it is the people who call themselves Conservatives or Liberals that has changed. Using the old labels and throwing out the classical ideology and putting in something that is more comfortable with their ideological perspective.

Today’s Conservative is someone who’s supposed to believe that the Federal Government should decide who can and can’t marry.

That deficits and debt doesn’t matter except when there is a Democratic administration.

That tax cuts automatically pay for itself.

That America can afford to and must police the world.

Security before liberty.

That expanding government into the economy is a good thing if it is done with private market principles.

The Second Amendment is not only absolute, but the only absolute Constitutional Amendment that we have. Meaning it isn’t subjected to any form of regulation.

That there’s so such thing as waste in the Defense Department. Even though it is a government agency run by bureaucrats. And no limits to what America can spend on defense.

Corporation’s are people.

Andrew Sullivan’s politics hasn’t changed. He believes the same things that he did probably twenty years ago. But what has changed is the Republican Party and the broader American Right. To the point that Sullivan looks moderate to liberal or libertarian by comparison. But conservatism today is what it was when Barry Goldwater put it on the map in 1964. That big government is government that interferes in the economic and personal affairs of Americans. Whether it is taxing a lot of their money from them to spend on their behalf. Or trying to run their personal lives for them.

The modern rightist or Republican or what I call rabid partisans on the right do not resemble what it means to be a Conservative. Because as much as they may talk about how much they love the Constitution they spend as much time trying to change it. Instead of being about conserving individual freedom both economic and personal. Limited government, that government closest to home is the best government. Defend America first with a limited foreign policy. Not try to police the world ourselves. And keeping spending down so we don’t rack up large deficits and debt.

The rabid partisan is against Barack Obama no matter what even if they are actually in favor of it. Instead of fixing problems looking to blame President Obama for everything that has happened since the Earth was created. It is not that conservatism has changed, but the far-right that used to be so small in the Republican Party that they looked like a group of people who want to outlaw eating meat. Where today they have enough power to decide if the Republican Party can win elections or not. Sullivan is still Sullivan, but his party has changed.

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Source: History & Politics Hub-Andrew Sullivan 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Conservatism similar to liberalism, it depends on what you mean by it. Unlike with libertarianism where most people who follow politics probably have a pretty good idea what libertarianism actually is. And a big reason for that is how simple it is. Libertarians do not want government in their wallets or personal lives and be left alone unless they are hurting innocent people. But conservatism like Liberalism is a bit more complicated than that.

More people tend to get labeled conservative even if these people who are supposed to be Conservatives disagree with each other on what it means to be a Conservative. For instance Barry Goldwater who I believe is the father of modern classical conservatism, or at least modern conservative libertarianism who was famous for saying get big government out of my wallet and bedroom, he would be a Conservative today.

But someone like Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann who are both called Conservatives or Dennis Prager even, yet even though they probably tend to agree with Senator Goldwater when it comes to economic and foreign policy, but they would sharply disagree when it comes to social issues. Because they meaning Senator Santorum, Representative Bachmann and Mr. Prager believe in serious restrictions when it comes to what people can do with their personal lives.

If your idea of a Conservative is someone whose against big government both as it relates to the economy and as it relates to people’s lives and what people do in their privacy, which is what I believe and I’m a Liberal, than Andrew Sullivan is your Conservative in this debate. But if your idea of a Conservative is someone who believes in a strong national defense, small government as it relates to the economy with low taxes across the board, but traditionalism as far as Americans should live their lives and that government should even enforce that on society, than Santorum and Bachmann would be your Conservatives.

Because someone who also believes in a traditional way of life and when Americans moves away from that it is bad for the country a way of life from let’s say back in the 1950s and that we need legal restrictions on what people can do in their personal lives for the good of the country, to me at least would be a big government Republican or rightist. And Dennis Prager would be your Conservative in this debate if that is your idea of conservative. But he’s not a Conservative in the sense he believes in conserving freedom both economic and personal. As he is in conserving a certain way of life, even if that means in restricting personal freedom.

Again it goes to what you mean by conservative, but conservatism in a political sense is how Barry Goldwater and Ron Reagan even described it as, conserving freedom and allowing for people to live their own lives and making their own decisions. In other words conserving freedom, not that it is the job of government to decide how people should live their own lives. And for people who live differently and have different values, they need to be in prison for that.

History and Politics Hub: Dennis Prager vs Andrew Sullivan- Defense of Marriage Act- 1996

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