LoOG Exclusive: Ask a Republican


Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

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56 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Great post.  High marks.  The Romney answer is classic.Report

  2. This was immensely enjoyable. Immensely.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    You would certainly expect someone with such a keen eye for hyperbole, exaggeration and stereotypes to be scrupulous in avoiding showing those same characteristics in his own posts and conversations.Report

  4. Avatar b-psycho says:

    What in particular do you find nuts about Ron Paul?Report

  5. Avatar Michael says:

    If you’re a Republican under 30, you’re probably a very different kind of person than someone who would have identified as a Republican even 15 years ago. Do most people agree with that, or would there be considerable push back?

    If you were in high school in 2002, turned on Fox News, saw Sean Hannity, and thought to yourself, “Hey, I get this!” that to me seems like a completely distinct personality type entirely removed from politics the way it’s discussed. A more dramatic example, say the willingness to defend torture, seems like a specific personality or character makeup that is wholly unrelated to one’s views on, say, taxes.

    I think the reason the word conservative has seemingly lost its meaning is because it’s literally something different now. In other words, it’s not that conservatism has changed over time, it’s the people (like, the actual literal group of people) calling themselves conservatives that has changed. I’m still thinking this through, I know it’s jumbled.Report

    • Avatar Michael says:

      I just realized what I wrote might be obvious to everyone, heh.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:


      read your polling on torture sometime. a lotta “conservadems” will support it to a limited degree. and they vote left, reliably.Report

    • Avatar Mike says:

      The republicans today are insane. Let me give you a few examples of “RINO” talk according to these nutbags:

      “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy.”

      “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”

      “The death of innocent civilians in anti-terrorism strikes is terrorism itself.”

      “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. . . “

      Now, guess who actually said those things? The demigod that these fake-christian Republicans worship without understanding – Ronald Reagan himself.Report

  6. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    If Cong. Paul wins the nomination, I’ll happily vote for him.Report

  7. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Few LoOGies observe Republicans in their natural habitat:

    Cocktail parties?Report

  8. Avatar James Hanley says:

    You’re right about Mitt being the least objectionable.  In that he may be a sort of throwback to the pre-primary days of presidential candidates, where the convention would go through vote after vote, with all the high profile names that people expected to have a chance being cast aside because in the process of becoming high profile that had managed alienate some substantial portion of the party elite, until at last they ended up with someone not particularly exciting, but who was low-profile enough to not have pissed of any major portions of the party.

    It’s not exactly the same, of course.  Instead of doing it through the primary process it’s being done via an endless round-robin of debates and in the media, and instead of pissing off large portions of the base it’s candidates self-destructing–in a better field of candidates it might not be happening at all–but the end result is likely to be much the same.

    And here’s a question I’d like to ask the Republicans:  With Obama presumably so weak, why can’t the party field a better crop of candidates?  Is it that it’s gone so far off the deep-end that it doesn’t really have enough good people to dredge up anymore?  That it’s gone so far off the deep end that the good people are wisely staying out of it this time around?  Or that they’ve assessed the situation and come to the conclusion that Obama’s not as vulnerable as the rank-and-file think he is?  Or some other option that I’m missing?

    That’s a sincere question.  Not that I’m generally enthused about any party’s field of candidates, but this is collectively the crappiest set I think just about anyone can remember.Report

    • Avatar superluminar says:

      Whilst I agree with this in general, when you say the “rank and file” believe President Obama is easy to beat, do you think that is actually true?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        when you say the “rank and file” believe President Obama is easy to beat, do you think that is actually true?

        Good question.  Let me amend that to “certain conservatives here at the League seem to express the opinion that Obama is very vulnerable, and I wonder if the lack of high-quality candidates reflects a difference in assessment between those League conservatives and those presumably-existing high-quality non-candidates.”Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        By most conventional metrics (i.e. approval rating and unemployment rate) Obama should be *very* easy to beat.  That this election is going to be close reflects both the characteristics of the people vying to be his opponents as well as the still ongoing fight over the soul of the Republican party created in the schisms of the Bush Administration aftermath.Report

        • Avatar Mike says:

          Obama’s not done nearly as bad as talk radio and their associated push-pollers would have you believe, and in the “mainstream” polls indicating a “negative approval rating” for him, Republicans (congressional or just as a whole) turn out to have even higher negative ratings. In past elections where the prez-in-power lost due to high unfavorables, that wasn’t the case.

          This isn’t going to be a “by the book” election campaign, certainly.

          As for the unemployment numbers, there are two sides to the coin. One side is that people could blame “Obama” for the economy. The flipside, which he’ll try to argue, is that he came to Congress with plans to help multiple times – but the Republicans who took control of the House wanted nothing to do with anything he offered, even after all the concessions.

          Often, the local lame-wing hate radio hosts have made a refrain of “Obama’s not a leader” lately. Near as I can tell, what they really mean by this is “Obama’s not a republican and he isn’t doing what we want him to do”, e.g. cutting taxes for the rich and fucking over the poor/middle class.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            “Gridlock” (famously) and “Do-nothing Congress” (less so) –  were also buzzwords in the ’92 election.  And the peak unemployment rate through Bush’s 1 administration (7.8% in Jun 1992) was the same as the lowest unemployment rate of Obama’s (in Jan 2009) 

            (though clearly, the fact that  an upward delta on unemployment for the first have of ’92 is a more important factor than the absolute numbers, because the game is all about perception.  Obama is modestly served by a continous drop in the unemployment rate over the next 6 months, but the perceptions of a weak economy will still linger nonetheless.)Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Obama’s both more and less vulnerable than people think. His base is strong, but needs SOME motivation. Still, the liberals will hold their nose, and the blacks who vote will vote for him.

      He doesn’t need the “independents” … just a strong enough base.

      Huntsman’s just setting up for next time, anyhow. I believe the prevailing idea is that it’s just easier to run after 8 years. Bush looked awful vulnerable in 2004 — and the Dems had a lot of talent. Most moderates are kinda scared off by the republican base right now.Report

      • Avatar A Teacher says:

        I’m not so sure he can count on the black vote like he did in 08.  We’ve elected a black president.  We “did it”.  We “Beat Racism”.  I had a good deal of friends who voted Obama for no better reasons than “It’s time we had a black president” and “What, another old rich white guy?”

        I agree that he has a lot of sandbags to duck behind though.  If the economy can shift to even a 8.3% unemployment or the like that might be enough to make it seem like 4 more years will be all it takes to turn it around.

        I gotta admit, I’m disappointed that the Repubs seem to want to run on “We’re the party of right winged nutters” more than embrace the middle and get some control of our out of control economy/ budget back.


        • Avatar Kim says:

          A Teacher,

          Obama is a damn fine role model to a black kid in the ghetto. The black vote stays Democrat — if only because it already was Democrat. The only question is whether the people who don’t normally vote (lower class union folk) get off their keisters and vote Obama. Think it’s likely, myself. OWS has a lot of mischief up its sleeve…

          mp’s conjurecast has us pitching into a recession, and Obama getting reelected handily. The lad may be a few sheets to the wind, but he tends to be disturbingly accurate.

          I want the repubs to run on “we’re the party of nutters”. Because I want a republican party that I can vote for back, and the sooner they go completely apeshit, is the sooner they can break up and become viable again. Conservadems need a home too.Report

          • Avatar A Teacher says:

            Actually the best thing we could have happen is for the Tea Party to steal all the religious nutters, and OWS to claim the socialists.  Then we do more Parliment style elections so that both “fringe” parties can get a few seats at the table, but not enough to do any real damage since all the cutlery will be near the grown ups.

            Then we have room for the Republicans and the Democrats to be more parties of the center and have more room to compromise and collaborate since the “Base” will be a little less Base.


            • Avatar Kim says:

              OWS is socialist, now? Say what? Those people in V for Vendetta masks don’t seem so socialist to me… but maybe you have a different idea of what socialism means…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I think it’s more likely that they’re unclear on the whole “Guy Fawkes” thing, if anybody is unclear on the concept of anything.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                *blink* *blink*


                *blink* *blink*

                Look up the prank pulled on Scientology, using those masks, on Encyclopedia Dramatica (assuming the site hasn’t been sued to the point of oblivion.)

                Completely hilarious.

                And most certainly the allegiance those OWS folks are referencing.

                to quote a certain nobody: “I never go to protests. I design protests, and get other people to go for me.”

                (sadly, if you don’t go to protests, you don’t get the funnel cakes)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m familiar with Anonymous. I’m familiar with Encyclopedia Dramatica.

                While I wouldn’t say that I am familiar with all internet traditions, I am familiar with being familiar with all internet traditions.

                And these guys, as much as I love them, seem unclear on the Guy Fawkes thing.Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 says:

                Having personally had conversations with people wearing the Guy Fawkes masks, I agree- they are referencing the movie, not Scientology and definitely not  the actual historical event.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                *nods* … when over 9000 protesters show up, who do you think is doing the counting? 😉 [Encyclopedia Dramatica might count as one of the more libertarian publications out there, fwiw. Certainly one of the more flamboyant, in your face, and transgressive libertarian pubs.]Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Chaotic Neutral does not equal Libertarian.

                This should not necessarily be seen as a slam of either side of that equation.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          <i>I’m not so sure he can count on the black vote like he did in 08.  We’ve elected a black president.  We “did it”.  We “Beat Racism”.  I had a good deal of friends who voted Obama for no better reasons than “It’s time we had a black president” and “What, another old rich white guy?”</i>

          I would argue that the counter narrative of “they’re trying to take (or steal) that victory away from you” is compelling enough to keep African American turnout high.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:


            LolMcCain and other propaganda outlets were doing an excellent job of characterizing McCain as an out of touch old white guy.

            I think that they could come up with a meme or two for Two-faced Romney. Probably take that guy from spiderman, and use bubbles on both sides of his face.

            Be pretty fun, actually…

            Who doesn’t like advice dog, after all?Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      I’ll second this question, but I’d reframe it a bit since it presumes that Tom thinks the field is weak (which he probably does, and may actually have said before, but I’m not sure).

      I think Mitt is certainly the most electable in a general election.  I think as well that there are numerous reasons why some other possibly credible candidates chose not to throw their hat in the ring this time around.

      I can imagine something along the lines of, “There is no heir apparent to Obama except possibly Hillary, and I can beat Hillary in 2016.  Taking over for Obama means taking on this bad economy, which will severely hamper my ability to get anything done, I’d rather take a pass on this upcoming election where I have to defeat an incumbent who has a large measure of personal popularity (if not political popularity) and go for taking 2016”.

      If you think PPACA is a particularly bad idea, I can see believing that running on it in 2016 is more likely to get you elected than running on it in 2012.

      But I’m interested in what Tom thinks the GOP candidates are thinking.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      “With Obama presumably so weak, why can’t the party field a better crop of candidates? Is it that it’s gone so far off the deep-end that it doesn’t really have enough good people to dredge up anymore?”

      No, they’ve just gotten too fixated on Obama when they’re better off ignoring him. They’re still living in 2009 before the rest of world figured out Obama was a fraud.Report

  9. Avatar superluminar says:

    “Talk Radio comes in only as Media Matters accounts of it” – are you suggesting those accounts are inaccurate? Please provide examples if so.

    Do you have concrete examples of the congresspersons mentioned engaged in corrupt activity, else retract the allegations.Report

    • Media Matters’ interest in placing things in their proper context is roughly equivalent to Breitbart’s.  The problem with any explicitly ideological media “watchdog” group is that their entire mission is to look high and low for the most outrageous examples they can find that supports their own presumptions.  If you’re just looking for things to  outrage you, then it’s really easy to find them.

      Sometimes, by the way, this can result in misinterpreting something that really is outrageous as being outrageous for a completely different reason that better fits with one’s prejudices.

      Here’s a good example of that (though Tom’s not going to particularly like that example).Report

      • Avatar superluminar says:

        Sorry Mark, but without even investigating the link you provide I can safely assume that MM is in no way similar to Andrew Breitbart in content. This is not to say leftwing media are always right, just that the assumption the RWM are telling the truth on anything seems…misguided.Report

        • It’s not an issue of “truth” vs. “not truth.” It’s an issue of whether Media Matters places the content it uses in an appropriate context.

          It’s surely not an exaggeration to say that Media Matters has no incentive to be fair in its coverage and portrayal of the Right.  It’s audience is solely supposed to be the Left, and the more it reinforces the Left’s narrative, the better it will do.  It literally exists to prove to the Left that the Right is evil, just as Breitbart largely exists to prove to the Right that the Left is evil.

          Have they done anything quite as bad as the Shirley Sherrod tape yet? No, they haven’t.  At least not to my knowledge.  But that’s not exactly a standard to be proud of meeting.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            MM’s audience is also media in general, and “undecided/skeptical” in particular.

            KOS? Kos routinely has fun finding weird anecdotes and posting them on his website. They’re in context, not “badly distorted” — but they’re about as representative of “most republicans” as that “money in fridge” incident is of Most Democrats.

            Next you’re going to tell me that MM’s is as bad as Ford’s campaign about dogwhistling. Oh, nevermind, you won’t get that joke without a pause button and some sharper eyes.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Media Matters wants to be taken Seriously. They’ve got an interest in Truth, even if they do wear green colored lenses. It’s like you’re saying that the Editorials in WSJ are just as biased as that Ol’ Gray Lady.

        … flippin crazy.Report

  10. Avatar Scott says:


    I’ve been having trouble with my evil laugh, so I’ve been working with a voice coach. As for a stach, my current employer would not allow a truly evil stach, so I’m out of luck.Report

  11. Avatar JG New says:

    TvD –

    I routinely disagree with just about everything you have to say, but I certainly love the way you say it.  You’re one of the most consistently amusing and brilliant writers around the League (where the bar is set exceedingly high).  Please don’t stop infuriating me.Report

  12. Avatar North says:

    Good job Tom old boy.Report

  13. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I’ll be honest, I get Mitt (that should be his slogan), or, at least, I understand why he’d get nominated, if he does; I don’t get Newt though. What’s the logic behind voting for an unctuous, pecksniffian, machine politician blowhard because you remember him being a bit of a prick over a decade ago? Let’s be honest, though- in six months he’s going to be about as relevant as the PUMAs are today, right? It’s going to be Mitt v Obama. I’m reminded of the old Bloom County cartoon where the newly arrived extra terrestrial says he’s planning to vote for Gregory Peck.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      I git Mitt

      Has a nice ring to it, you should sell it to his handlers.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I’m reminded of the old Bloom County cartoon where the newly arrived extra terrestrial says he’s planning to vote for Gregory Peck.

      The updated version of the joke has the aliens demanding to speak to Morgan Freeman.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      I’m completely with you on that one Rufus.

      I think they’re going through some of the issues the “centrists” did in the debt ceiling drama. It’s all emotional indulgence to a world that doesn’t exist any more.Report

  14. Avatar Jeff says:

    The GOP has made its choice — full-out embracing of the Christian Right (anti-gay, anti-Muslim — they’d be anti-Hindu if they realized how many Hindu there are in all levels of  society) and the 99 (or 99.9) %.   Choosing to be Republican means:  you want to drive people from their homes, you want to deny people the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital, you want “death panels” of beaurocrats to decide who gets health care and how much).  Choosing to be Republican requires you to be stupid or evil. 

    In short, fish you and all the others who think it’s “the Looney Left” that’s ruining the country.Report

  15. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Glad everybody enjoyed the interview with Republican Thomas X.  He’ll answer his fan mail after he gets someone to read it to him.

    He was intrigued, however, with a guy named “b-psycho” asking why Ron Paul is crazy.

    Special points go to commenter “Jeff,” who proves Mr. Gregniak wrong: there isn’t an ounce of hyperbole, exaggeration or stereotypes in the whole piece.