The Conservative Moment Calls for a Cultural Crusader

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78 Responses

  1. As you’ve said, we’re settling into a rather simple dynamic:

    if GOP elites still run the show, Romney wins;

    if not, Perry.

    And that’s that.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      This seems about right. Perry sucks all the oxygen out of Bachmann and Santorum. Romney mops up all the little guys except for Paul, who consistently gets 15-20% and has no paticular reason to ever drop out of the race since under Texas law he can run for re-election concurrent with running for the GOP nomination unless the Romney-Perry contest becomes so close Paul winds up with the ability to broker it.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Well, okay, 15-20% may be a little bit high. 10-15%.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          Perry sucks all the oxygen out of Bachmann and Santorum.Report

        • Avatar Mike says:

          #1 – Ron Paul has already decided not to run for congressional reelection. If he loses this time, he just retires. Or goes out on speaking tours.

          #2 – Bachmann and Santorum – aka Homophobe Barbie and Homophobe Ken – are jokes on the national scale.

          #3 – Regarding Perry, the US can’t survive electing a dumbass texan who couldn’t even manage a C grade in freshman economics… again.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Are you saying that this next election could very well be the most important election in the history of the United States?Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              “Are you saying that this next election could very well be the most important election in the history of the United States?”

              I am, on the basis that I have never before had my early predictions recorded on an on-line time capsule that will be revisited right after the election.Report

            • Avatar Mike says:

              It’s certainly the election where we find out whether cooler heads prevail, or the homophobe/stormfront coalition has permanently taken over the Republican Party.Report

      • Avatar chris9059 says:

        Hasn’t Paul already said he won’t run for re-election to Congress?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Correct. It makes me wonder if he’ll try the third party route again. He was listed as a candidate in Montana and nearly threw the state to Obama.

          Fortunately for the GOP, his son is a senator and he might be less likely to run a vanity campaign if it hurts his son’s standing within their party.Report

          • Avatar Mike says:

            His son HAS no standing in the Republican Party. Or hadn’t you noticed that yet?Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              Right now he is a Freshman senator and the low person on the totem poll. I don’t think Rand intends to go the route of his father, and stay on the sidelines as Senator No.Report

              • Avatar Mike says:

                Rand has already espoused so many Libertarian positions, and gotten into enough trouble with his party, that he really has no standing left to lose. Either his constituents will vote him back in, or they won’t.

                Either way, Rand isn’t on the ballot again until the 2016 election, so his position is remarkably secure and nothing Ron Paul does in the 2012 election campaign will even be remembered by the Republicans come that time.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                How quickly did Democrats forgive Ralph Nader? If he had a son who was a senator, you don’t think any of that would have washed back on him?

                (In any event, I just don’t think that Rand Paul is as ostracized as his father. Yet, anyway. And I don’t think he wants to be – even if at the same time he is not angling to be majority leader.)Report

              • Avatar Mike says:

                The Democrats never had any love for Ralph Nader to start with. He was always basically a pariah to them – a Green Party candidate screwing with and “taking the votes of” any Democrat candidate every time he ran, including in 1992 and 1996 even before 2000.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Well Perry seems to have stuck his foot in it out the gate what with his harraunging Ben for his fiscal policy. So I wouldn’t crown the Governor yet.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I think that such has quite a populist appeal and I don’t think that he will lose points for putting considerable space between himself and Dumbya’s economic policies with anyone on Team Red or anyone on Team Fence.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Culturally? Yes. People will run screaming either towards him or away from him.

          Since, fiscally, there’s so much overlap between Obama and Der Chimpler, Perry’s decision to put distance between himself and the latter automatically puts distance between himself and the former.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            I agree with you here. I think it’s a calculated attempt to distance himself early in the race, since that’s where his margins lay. Eg., he couldn’t come out early embracing status quo views and expect to get the TP support. Or the media attention.

            As thing go forward, I’m sure we’ll see him bring it into the fold, so to speak, and talk more reasonable about policy and prospects. But always with an eye on the TP. If he loses them, he’s toast.

            It’s gonna be a difficult balancing act, no doubt. Personally, I don’t think he can do it – the party is too fractured right now. I think he loses moderate Republicans to the ‘real’ moderate Republican already occupying the WH.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              Rasmussen, adjust pontifications accordingly: Perry 29%, Romney 18, Bachman 13.

              Perry captures 39% of the vote among GOP primary voters who say they are members of the Tea Party, with Bachmann a distant second with 21% support from this group. Perry barely leads Romney among non-Tea Party members 27% to 24%, but this marks a interesting change from the previous survey when Romney held a double-digit lead over Perry among these voters.
              Sixty-nine percent (69%) of primary voters hold a favorable opinion of Perry, with 38% Very Favorable. Bachmann is viewed favorably by 71%, with 32% who share a Very Favorable regard for her.
              Romney has slightly higher overall favorable rating – 77% – than Perry and Bachmann, but there’s less enthusiasm in his support. Only 21% hold a Very Favorable opinion of him.

              It’s Perry’s to lose, Romney’s to pick up the pieces if he does. [Unless Paul Ryan gets in…]

              http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/gop_primary_perry_29_romney_18_bachmann_13Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yeah, I was a bit unclear upthread. I think Perry gets the nomination (odds at about 2:1 in favor right now), and loses in the general by more than McCain.

                Capital C conservatives will love him. And that’s why he won’t get the Presidency.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                ” Romney’s to pick up the pieces if he does. ”

                I’m not so sure it is yet. To date he still has the advantage of being whatever a GOPer wishes him to be. If he still has those numbers in 90 days, then I say it’s his to lose.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                But who’s gonna challenge him in the current field? I think Romney dies a slow death, and Perry only gains traction as time goes on. Of course, big money will try to buy a piece of him, and they’ll succeed in that effort. So in my mind, the Perry candidacy hinges on his ability balance his rhetorical commitments between the establishment, the usurpers and the moderates without alienating any of them. That’s a pretty difficult task.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Perry/Romney 2012!

                “I was just kidding.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                That’s pretty formidable, isn’t it? If Romney can shelve his personal ambition and ego, that might put the GOP over the edge.

                I know Democrats don’t want to see that pairing.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Of course, big money will try to buy a piece of him, and they’ll succeed in that effort.

                If you don’t think they already have, you don’t know anything about Texas politics. Perry is famous for his favors for big money donors.Report

              • Avatar Mike says:

                And his slush funds. And his corruption. And his cronyism. And his tax-and-spenditude. And his selling off of Texas land and roads to foreign businesses.

                Come to think of it, why the fuck do the Pee Tardiers like this asshole anyways?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                If Obama’s a liberal pretending to be a centrist, Romney’s a centrist alternately pretending to be a liberal AND a conservative.

                What’s not to like?

                Seriously, what you see on the left or left-center is the feeling that the GOP could do a lot worse, by their lights. It could be a GOP candidate who excites the base neither on the right or left has the best chance. For one thing, Obama would have to run on his record, which is the best argument to vote for the Other Guy.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I don’t think Perry’s polling numbers mean a whole heck of a lot right now. That he did better in Romney in Ames without actually being on the ballot means a lot for Romney, though.Report

            • Avatar E.C. Gach says:

              I agree with all of this. The media/blogosphere blow up about these remarks misses the point entirely. Had they been uttered at the Fox News debate last Thursday I he would have been met with thunderous applause.

              No one cares about what his remarks imply or about the actual role of the Fed on policy matters. What they care about is the fact that they hate DC, hate Obama, and “printing money” never sounds good to anyone, no matter what. It smacks of inflation or counterfeiting, whether actual or not.Report

          • Avatar Mike says:

            This illustrates the mental failing of your average Tea Party retard.

            “Obama sucks! His fiscal policies were terrible! Bush was so much a better president and Obama keeps trying to blame Bush for Obama’s fault!”

            Response: But Obama’s fiscal policies are almost identical to Bush’s, with the exception of disavowing shell-game accounting like keeping Bush’s wars off the books.

            “Bush wuznt that great! We need a real consurvativ like REAGAN who never raised taxes, just cut them and let businesses alone!”

            Actually, Reagan raised taxes three times, each time for the express purpose of (surprise surprise) balancing the budget…Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Mike, keep in mind that there are more than enough chromosomes to go around for everybody to have an extra one.

              There are folks on the left who thought that Chimpy was the worst person on the planet when it came to economics but think that Our Commander In Chief Barack Obama is soooooooo much better that it makes them feel like they’ve just been hugged to think about it.Report

              • Avatar Mike says:

                This is true, but the proportional numbers between Left and Right are not even remotely balanced. The Pee Tardy fringe is still full of knuckle-draggers who even today are shouting about the “muzlim n****r frum kenya whoze hidin tha rill birth certifikit.”

                It’s sad but true. Perry’s “base” is an embarassment to the country.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If only they had the charity of spirit that you bring.Report

              • Avatar Jeff Belkar says:

                If these are the same sort of assholes who smashed my car’s windows and keyed “Obama sux” and “Nigger lover” into my paint while I was shopping for the ‘crime’ of having an Obama ’08 bumper sticker on my car, no “charity of spirit” is warranted.

                Tea Tardiers are nothing but racist thugs.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

                And that’s never been done by anyone on the left to someone with a McCain/Palin sign on their front lawn.Report

              • Avatar E.C. Gach says:

                Wait a moment Jeff, and I’ll go find you a broader brush to paint with.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It would be preferable if we could avoid calling our opponents names. At its best, LoOG is a great forum for civil discussion across ideological lines. You are not representing LoOG at its best.Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    One thing to remember is that in 2007, everyone thought that the Republican candidate would be running against Hilary Clinton in an issues-based snoozefest. The idea of the race becoming a cult-of-personality thing was beyond anyone’s imagining.Report

  4. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    > But 2008 bares little resemblance to today. There
    > was not the same urgency nor doom and gloom
    > of then that there is today. Obama won on “hope”
    > remember? Does anyone think the atmosphere
    > that could propel that sort of candidacy to the
    > White House exists today?

    Not for Perry.

    Obama’s “Hope” message appealed to the Left and the Center. Perry’s “Hope” message can only appeal to the Right.

    He supports the teaching of ID in the classroom, he’s an evangelical Christian, and he doesn’t believe in global warming.

    Those all sound like things that turn off the Left, and that’s true. But they’re also things that turn off the left-leaning Center. And not in the way that you can recover by saying “Hey, and the guy doesn’t believe in the border fence!” Also members of the right-leaning Center who are fiscal conservatives but socially liberal.

    Right now the GOP simply doesn’t have a candidate who appeals to the Center. They’re walking away from the Center with a fast trot, because they’re all convinced that they can’t get the nod without appealing to the Right. Hey, we’ve got three threads on the front page in the last few days talking about Ron Paul and why he doesn’t get serious treatment: that’s why.

    Because the fiscal conservatives aren’t the power in the Right. If they were, Ron Paul would get a lot more play. The social conservatives are the power in the Right.

    Social liberals aren’t going to buy that “Hope”, no sir.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Social liberals are stuck with the same problem as social conservatives.

      Their designated party doesn’t move the ball forward a whole lot but at least they’re not actively malicious. More like passively malicious.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        Yes, but it’s a lot easier to rationalize away inactivity (there are reasons why they didn’t do that!) than it is to rationalize away the possibility that this guy might actually stab you in the head (metaphorically).

        “I’d rather keep my hundred bucks than risk losing a thousand.”

        “But the guy that gave you the C-note promised you $500!”

        “Well, there are Special Pleadings for that!”Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Because the fiscal conservatives aren’t the power in the Right. If they were, Ron Paul would get a lot more play. The social conservatives are the power in the Right.

      It depends. The money is with the fiscal conservatives, the organization is with the SoCons. This is why Romney is leading (by a good margin) in fundraising (over anyone but Obama), and (for instance) Huckabee was able to so well last time on a shoestring budget.

      Bachmann has an demonstrated ability to tap into both the fundraising base and the organizational base. Paul has a ready cadre of fundraising and organization that never turns into actual votes. It is presumed but not proven that Perry would able to tap into both even to a greater extent (and more than Romney). But Perry just started and we have no idea what his ‘ground game’ is like yet.Report

    • Avatar Mike says:

      Perry’s an odd duck there. He believes in the border fence when he’s talking to the Pee Tardiers. He doesn’t believe in the border fence two days later when he’s at a LULAC-sponsored dinner trying to get bribes… er “donations”… from centrist-leaning Hispanic business leaders.

      See the problem yet?Report

      • Avatar E.C. Gach says:

        That’s if you think people are more motivated by achieving movement on policy as oppose to just “beating” dems/Obama.

        I don’t see policy dissonance hurting someone like Perry in the same way it hurts Romney. In the general election, probably, but for now exudes that “Fed Up!” mentality that a lot of conservatives are looking for someone to channel. Afterall, how many people ACTUALLY care about border fences? Some to be sure, but I think most care about being strong, and the border fence is really just code for that, and Perry can be strong without having to yell about border fences (unlike a Romney who has to shill on every issue to appear less wishy-washy).Report

        • Avatar Jeff Belkar says:

          A border fence is Tea Tardier code for “we hate brown people.”

          They actually care about lip service to the racial supremacist codewords, and that’s what Perry is selling when he talks to the Tea Tardier crowd. And he tries to have it both ways when he goes off to a rally full of latinos and mangles spanish in front of them.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Perry got 38% of the Latino vote in 2010. More people for you to call stupid.

            “Our party cannot listen to our loudest opponents on the left. They are never going to like us, so it’s time we stopped trying to curry favor with them.”Report

          • Avatar E.C. Gach says:

            You’re trying to undercut my power principle with a less fundamental one.

            If it really is Tea Party code for racist sentiment, that racist sentiment is still fueled by deeper fears and longings, namely, the desire to project strength and exert control.

            Politically speaking, he doesn’t need latinos for the primary, and if he were to win and pivot toward a general election, I think many would find that is record more compelling that half-assed rhetoric.

            Again, it doesn’t matter what you say on a whole handful of issues, because the odds of anyone actually getting a chance to deal with lower end priorities (immigration) is so small.

            Still, the Tea Party wasn’t here a few years ago. If they really are full of racist sentiment, than that sentiment wasn’t there a few years ago either. It’s more a reaction to circumstance and relative decline than some deep seated belief.Report

            • Avatar Mike says:

              The sentiment that Jeff’s talking about has been alive and well in Texas (and Arizona) for a good long while, well into the late 1990s and through the early 2000’s to today. The more populous those of Latino descent (specifically, darker-skinned Latinos) became, and the more (re-?)prevalent the speaking of Spanish instead of English became, the more the anti-Latino sentiment has been growing.

              In a time when the economy seemed to be running well, it was an issue that only a few racists picked up and got excited about. The fact that the large metropolises of Houston, Dallas, Austin each have a couple of barrios and ghettos in which to store their lower-class latino and black residents really wasn’t more than a nuisance that could be dealt with. Sure, every now and then some drunk-driving illegal gets into a car crash and someone gets up in arms about it, or sometimes there’s an influx of blacks from Hurricane Katrina that raises the crime level, but they adjust pretty quickly as long as they are employed and feeling good about themselves.

              When unemployment hits 8% or higher, and most of the jobs being created happen to be minimum-wage, no-insurance, lousy jobs that they formerly would have been happy to farm out to slave-wage illegals or minimum-wage blacks, then all of a sudden in their mind the latinos and blacks become pariahs in their eyes. Add in the Tea Party bowel movement, stir in some infiltration from the stormfront fringe, and watch racist rhetoric and sympathy explode in the population.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Does anyone think the atmosphere that could propel that sort of candidacy to the White House exists today?

    Yes it could. Senator Obama would easily defeat President Obama in a head to head matchup.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      Nicely done.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      He’s good on Medicinal Marijuana, he’s good on Gay Marriage, he opposed the raising of the debt ceiling and gave a rousing speech as to why…

      Heck, *I* am tempted to vote for the guy.

      If only to send the party in charge a message.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

        Too bad signaling doesn’t seem to work. Stupid two-party system.Report

        • Avatar ~trumwill says:

          The two-party system is the worst.

          Except for the other systems.

          More or less.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            OK, America. We can get a third party if you really want it, but remember: You have to feed it, You have to clean up after it. I don’t want you to tell me you don’t have time to take the third party for a walk because you’re too tired.Report

          • Avatar Mike says:

            The problem with getting a two-party system is that every fucking election in the USA is a “first past the post” two-party election.

            Add to that the fact that we eliminated the way the Senate was supposed to work, and dumped it into direct elections.

            Now, third parties would work quite well if the Senate was a parliamentary system (say, each party got one representative for each 1% of the vote they could get) instead. It would be a good thing, too, since then you could have parties like the Libertarians or Greens be relevant on a national scale where they were needed and necessary for a Senate coalition.

            As it stands now, “independent” Senators are a joke, and “independent” House members even more so.Report

  6. Avatar E.C. Gach says:

    Just to qualify, I don’t think Perry could win a general election. The above applies to the primary.

    My feeling is that most conservatives, whether they know it or not, want a cathartic battle rather than a triumph of policy.

    What else explains the rhetoric from candidates across the board? We only call Romney mainstream or moderate because we assume he doesn’t actually mean half of what he says. 9 to 1 in spending cuts? He settled for worse in MA, but couldn’t admit to such when standing side by side with the rest.Report

    • Avatar ~trumwill says:

      I don’t think Perry *will* win a general election, though I think that’s different than pondering whether he *could*. The example I keep going back to is John Kerry. An extraordinarily uninspiring candidate. A liberal from the northeast. But for a hundred thousand votes in Ohio, he would have won. Not because he sold people, but because it was (a) a referendum on the president and (b) he came across as a plausible alternative.

      Whether Rick Perry can accomplish (b) remains to be seen. If Obama’s numbers don’t get better, it’ll be a lower bar. He could turn out to be Goldwater. But it’s impossible to say at this point. The focusing on his virtues as a candidate is a missing of the point. He merely has to rise above a particular threshold, if Obama’s popularity continues to be low. While I don’t think Bachmann could cross that threshold, it remains to be seen if Perry could.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        It’s an interesting take on referendum candidates, but Perry’s got to be a bit more exciting for Republicans than Kerry was for Democrats, right? I mean, I remember liberals talking about voting for Kerry like it was eating their vegetables. Maybe Howard Dean? Before he screeched, there was some real excitement about him. To be honest, I’ve never seen Perry speak though, so he might be less exciting than I’ve heard him made out to be.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I believe that if Howard Dean had run, the results would have been the same. Our explanations would have been different. There would have been more excitement surrounding Dean, but probably also more excitement in opposing him.

          The 2004 election was close enough, though, that Dean might have been able to pull out an electoral college victory. It does make a difference in close elections. Even so, above a certain threshold, I think people put far too much stock in who the opponent is.Report

          • Avatar Mike says:

            Given the amount of raw racism inherent in the Tea Party circles, it’s only a matter of time before they really screw up and it gets on camera again.

            All you have to do is google “Tea Party Racism” to get a good eyeful of it.

            Can a Republican candidate distance himself from that? I don’t know. It could be that they could. It might be that they couldn’t. But such an event will necessarily energize the anti-Republican and anti-Tea Party sentiment and will definitely help Obama with independents.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              Accusations of racism cut both ways. A lot of it is just considered noise. They aren’t voting for or against some Tea Party yahoo with a sign, they’re voting for or against Rick Perry.

              On the other hand, if Perry cannot make that distinction clear, then he hasn’t met a threshold of plausible alternative. Right now we don’t now whether he can do it or not.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I think he could have taken Ohio.

            (I’m certain that Gephardt could have… woulda coulda shoulda)Report

  7. Avatar Jeff says:

    “Before he screeched, there was some real excitement about him.”

    If you’ve heard the raw footage, you’d know he didn’t really screech.

    And Dean never signed the death warrant for a man he knew was innocent. But a little bit of murder won’t bother Republicans.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      And Dean never signed the death warrant for a man he knew was innocent. But a little bit of murder won’t bother Republicans.

      Neither did Perry. The most salient evidence used to convict that defendent was called into question. The defendent was not proven innocent. The Innocence Project commonly neglects the distinction in its press agentry. There should have been an institutional means to place an indefinite stay on his execution until matters were sorted out. What means there are cannot be set in motion by the Governor in Texas. Governors in other states have plenary authority to grant clemency. The Governor of Texas can only grant such upon the recommendation of the state board of pardons. Other than that, he can issue only a 30 day stay of execution. (Perry did not think the man was innocent, which may be pig-headed but is not evil).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The most salient evidence used to convict that defendent was called into question.

        You can go further than that. In fact the evidence that a crime even took place was severely called into question. In a real system of justice, that’s grounds for a new trial. In Texas, it doesn’t even stay an execution.Report

        • Avatar Mike says:

          You forget the guiding force of “Pro-Life” Republicanism/PeeTardyism:

          If you’re an “unborn child”, you have a “right to life” and anything else that happens is “murder.”

          Once you’ve been born, we don’t give a flying fuck what happens to you, so go die in a gutter unless you’re rich.Report

        • Avatar Jeff Belkar says:

          In texas not even federal law or international treaties signed onto by the federal government will save a man from having his civil rights violated by a racist shit governor out to kill a brown skinned man for his “tough guy” photo op.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          IIRC, the independent forensics examination that disputed the local fire department’s finding of arson was completed four days before the scheduled execution.Report

          • Avatar Jeff says:

            At which Perry, rather than call for a new trial (either officially as Governor, or, if he lacked that power, insisting the right party do it) “fired” the independent forensics agency. Thus proving that Perry knew the man was not guilty (he didn’t have to be innocent to avoid the death penalty) and had him executed anyway.Report

  8. Avatar Anderson says:

    I’m still thinking there’s room for more candidates in this race, though everybody seems to be talking as if Perry is the last one. The other day Karl Rove was saying Giuliani, Ryan, and Christie are all still potential contenders. I know Christie and Ryan have said no on multiple occasions, but apparently that may not be the end of the story.Report

  9. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Elias Isquith’s conception of good manners evidently comprehends the remarks of “Jeff Belkar” and “Mike”.Report