The CPAC Snub and Conservatism’s Irrelevance


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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71 Responses

  1. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Regionalism increasingly seems to be a large part of the conservative movement.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Eventually, when the National GOP is a smoldering burnt out wreck perhaps Chris Christie will emerge from Jersey and help put it back together. Imagine the nerve of a politician who declines to ride in the handbasket with that lot into political ruin.Report

    • Avatar superdestroyer says:

      When has Christie ever showed the leadership skills to put together a political party. How is being a short term thinking bully and yelling out people going to get people to follow?Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    More and more, politics is about signalling rather than about… well… whatever it is that politicians used to do.

    Chris Christie was snubbed. To encourage the others, I suppose.

    Come 2016, the Republicans will be looking for a handful of guys who they think will be able to beat Clinton/Biden (or whomever it will be) 2016. Christie would make for one hell of a VP/Attack Dog. If signalling whatever the hell it is they’re signalling is more important to the powers that be than winning, we’re going to find ourselves looking at yet another Dole/McCain/Romney at the top of the Republican ticket.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      I suspect part of the signal, if one reads smoke signals between puffs, is to Christie to get in line and start acting like a parrot.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        There will be a non-zero number of folks who see this as a mark against CPAC rather than a mark against Christie.

        As such, I don’t know that Christie will necessarily get the message. He’s a stubborn son-of-a-gun. (Especially if the right folks are vocal about this in the right way.)Report

  4. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    In this post, & elsewhere, there seems to be a trend to have Conservatism == GOP, instead of the GOP members being a subset of Conservatism, or an overlap of Conservatism.

    Or does Conservatism have a very specific definition I am not aware of that makes the first statement true?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      MRS, to the extent that conservatives are not Republicans, they are largely irrelevant to electoral dynamics, in a similar manner as non-Democrat progressives are not particularly relevant. Ideologues who do not align with the major parties aren’t even strong enough to be spoilers.

      The power of the ideologues, on either side of things, is to influence how their parties behave, mainly through the power of activism at the ground level, picking candidates, steering primaries, raising money, providing volunteer work, and staffing low-level party functionary positions. Progressives have less overall power over the Democrats than conservatives do over the Republicans in this way.

      Progressives also have (relatively) less focus and coalescence on a fixed constellation of desired policies, although this may be changing.

      But for the most part, I think it’s more useful than not, at least when considering elections, to treat “Republicans” and “conservatives” as significantly interchangeable terms.Report

    • I actually would explicitly deny that I am considering Conservatism to equal the GOP, although it seems worth mentioning that CPAC’s apparent rationale of “Christie has a limited future in the Republican Party,” as well as the use of the term RINO to refer to any Republican who is insufficiently conservative implies that conservatives themselves view the two things as synonymous.

      The point here instead is twofold:

      1) If conservatism is a coherent, universalizable governing philosophy – as it purports to be – then someone like Chris Christie should fit well within the conservative fold, a fact supported both by Barro’s points and by the fact that Christie’s approval rating amongst NJ conservatives is so especially high.

      2) If modern movement conservatism is instead understood as a set of particular cultural markers that have little, if anything, to do with governing, then CPAC’s actions (not only with respect to Christie, but also GOProud) make a heck of a lot more sense. As, for that matter, does the intransigence of conservatives in Congress.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Remember the three legs of the conservative stool that Reagan got to work together so well?

      Social Conservatives, Fiscal Conservatives, Defense Hawks.

      Now, of course, each of these isn’t an exclusive category (you can be two or three… or, at least, it was easier to be three when the USSR was over yonder), but, for the most part, if you felt very, very strongly about one of these, you were likely to be a Republican (unless there were some regional factors at play) and if you were two or three, there was pretty much only one party that talked about stuff you cared about. (Whether or not, of course, anything was actually *DONE*.)

      Well, the USSR is gone.

      And Republicans were floundering there for a while until 9/11.

      Now they’re floundering again… because they don’t know what Conservative means in a post cold-war/post-Iraq world either.Report

      • This. It’s almost as if you’ve been reading me for years.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It means you turn Social and Fiscal up to 11 and eliminate any notion of being a big tent.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Dumbya turned Social and Hawkish up to 11. I’ll believe the Republicans are back to being Fiscal Conservatives the day one of them vetoes a spending bill.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Jaybird, what’s your take on the sequestration debate wrt the GOP? It seems like pretty much exactly what the GOP campaigns on when they don’t occupy the WH and, well, here we are.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Here is my take on sequestration:

              There are things that Republicans don’t like and things that they like. Let’s call these things X and Y.

              Sequestration goes through. X and Y both get cut. BUT WAIT! Y gets a special budget bill passed and handed up to the senate.

              Thus: X gets cut and Y does not get cut.

              This strikes me as a fairly clever trick except for the fact that IT WILL ONLY WORK ONCE. Additionally, the Republicans will demonstrate that they do not, in fact, support across the board cuts. Not even across-the-board cuts as dinky, miniscule, and otherwise inconsequential as those that will be imposed by the sequester.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You forgot “stupid”. Across the board cuts of 5% is the way an idiot balances books.

                Someone who isn’t a moron sets a goal of cutting 5% of his budget and looks for things he can do without that add up to 5%. A moron says he’s gonna cut every item by 5%.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Personally, I think you could cut 5% out of every program without too much damage if the cuts are implemented with some consideration and care.

                I don’t see that happening.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If nothing else, the Sequester has gotten a non-zero amount of Democratically-inclined folks to admit that, yeah, we probably could cut government.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Heh. Some democratically inclined folks, anyway.Report

              • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                It’s not the 5% cut that bugs me, it’s the wailing & gnashing of teeth and cries that vital services will shutdown.

                Total Drama Llama.

                It’s 5%, trim some fat & get the job done. Hell, I’m sure every department could fire one or two “Administrators” (or other non-mission critical positions) & hit 5% without damaging morale or effectiveness.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                5% of the federal budget works out to something like 200 billion dollars out of a 4 trillion dollar budget.

                That’s not “fat trimming” level, that’s “laying off entire departments” level of budget cutting.Report

              • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                Hardly. You act as if every department is operating on a skeleton crew as it is, and barely able to make payroll on the budget they have.Report

              • Avatar Rod Engelsman says:

                The problem as I understand it is that the sequestration legislation doesn’t allow administrators that kind of leeway. They have to cut evenly across the board by department, program, and activity.

                It’s like losing weight by cutting off 5% of your hair, 5% of your skin, 5% of your fat tissue, 5% of your muscle, 5% of your brain, etc.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        Anything that describes Reagan’s policies as “stool,” I approve of.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:


      Burt is right. There are two major political parties and they are increasingly sorting. conservatives are largely moving to the Republicans and liberals are moving to the Democratic Party.

      Most conservatives go to the Republican Party. Conservatives who don’t go to the Republican brand are largely irrelevant just like those on the left who hate the Democratic Party. Are you founding parties? Winning elections? Getting noticed beyond The American Conservative? No. Same for leftists beyond the Democratic Party.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Up to about September, I think I would have agreed with this.

        But I’ve watched Obama enact or move to act upon conservative policy after conservative policy; though I admit that it’s mostly fiscal/hawk conservatism; that I doubt.

        I think it depends on which type of conservative one is. Many of the conservatives I know, fiscal or national security/military are now more aligned with Obama’s policies then anything coming out of the GOP camp.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer says:

          When it comes to Fiscal issues, Obama is part of the political/technocratic elite. Neither party listens to the base when it comes to fiscal issues.

          However, I am not the kind of liberal who is going to call Obama a moderate Republican. He is basically liberal and possibly a bit further to the left than Clinton. I think the Second Inaugrial address was a defense of liberalism as I understand it.

          Obama is a realist and a pragmatic though. He understands that politics is the art of the possible on most issues except for those where there is no compromise like gay marriage.

          I’m not a purists in any sense of the word. I largely dislike the idea of political purity and people whose politics is constantly claiming to be “holier/purer than thou”. These purists exists on the left and the right. During the summer, there were a lot of lefties saying that Obama needed to lose because people would vote for real liberals after they suffered under Romney. This kind of argument drives me up-the-walls. A person who says it is not interested in politics or policy or making things better. They are only interested in their own purity.

          There are people on the left and right who think that humans have strayed from some kind of patoral state and we are meant to live in argriculturally based communal small villages. I am not one of these people. I love cities. There was no paradise when we were hunter gatherers just collecting nuts and berries in the woods.Report

          • Avatar Dan Miller says:

            Without in any way opposing gay marriage, I’d say that “issues on which there is no compromise” is doing a lot of work here.Report

      • Avatar superdestroyer says:

        To call the Republicans a major political party is somewhat a stretch. When was the last time that the Republicans were relevant on any political issues?

        In reality, there is the Democratic Party that is dominant and has every demographic trends moving in its direction and then there are the Republicans who seem to be nothing more than a speed bump for the Democrats and who serve the function as the scapegoat for the Democrats failures.

        In reality, the U.S is headed to being a one party state where the Democratic Party primary is the real election and the general election is an afterthought. IF you want to see the future, look at the special election victory of Robin Kelly to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. Mr. Kelly is a clount from Chicago and now that she has won the Democratic primary in a special election she will have the seat in the Illinois Second District until she is finally involved in a political scandal in 10 to 20 years. She will never face another meaningful opponent in either the Democratic primary or the general election. She has no worry about being re-elected no matter how bad the economy is, how incompetent she is, or had bad the quality of life is in the 2nd District.

        Politics is going to become boring in the future in a one party state where the only major issue is how to pay for a massive entitlement state.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          To call the Republicans a major political party is somewhat a stretch. When was the last time that the Republicans were relevant on any political issues?

          I’m less quick to dismiss them because of the number of governors’ offices and statehouse legislative chambers they control. Add to that that in 2012, the federal courts seemed more inclined than before to assert states’ authority in various areas. Not just the PPACA decision about Medicaid expansion. The District Court ruling in a case brought by several Republican-dominated states set aside the latest version of the EPA’s new rule on power-plant pollution because the EPA didn’t give the states the opportunity to fix the problem themselves first. Conservative states keep nibbling away at Roe v Wade, and at union power. A lot of analysts have looked at the questions the SCOTUS asked about the Section 5 Voting Rights Act case brought by Republican states and concluded that that section will be tossed. Broadly speaking, Republicans are winning the starve-the-beast battle at the state level, and not just in states where they control the legislature.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Thanks everyone, just wanted a feel for the way the wind is blowing.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      I will add that, if anything, the last couple of elections have shown me that the GOP party delegates at the primaries are… well… I’m left scratching my head, wondering who in the hell thought these people are the people who should be deciding the fates of candidates.

      I recall, during the last election, seeing interviews with some of the delegates on The Daily Show. Assuming TDS did not find random people to play the part of delegates, and they were interviewing actual delegates (the name badges looked official, but I have no idea), I couldn’t help but wonder why the GOP thought it was a good idea to kick over a trailer park, or a mega-church, to find these people?

      Maybe the Dems are no better (I was annoyed they picked Obama over Hillary, she was the much stronger candidate, IMHO), but they don’t seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel the way the GOP is.Report

  5. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I read about this snub and immediately thought of you Mark. I’m so happy you wrote about it. And one quick thought before I start reading it. Christie has what all the power-brokers in the GOP are deathly afraid of: authenticity.Report

    • Heh. Am I that predicatable? *Looks at posts for last 4 months*

      I am? Crap.

      I should probably mention that the reason I write as much as I do about Christie’s relationship with conservatives isn’t because I necessarily think that he’s the cure for the GOP’s ills (he may be, he may not be), but because (a) I’ve been following state politics more closely of late, those politics have been intersecting more than usual with national politics, and it; and I’m trying harder to write what I know when I have time to write; and (b) Christie’s difficulties with conservatives are a fantastic case study of the problems I’ve been ranting about with regards to conservatism for years – since even before we started this site, actually.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Very nice post. I agree. I think the reason Christie isn’t invited to the table isn’t just because he’s a RINO, but because he’s a very popular RINO. Inviting him in upsets the apple cart. The teetering rickety apple cart that needs lots of rebuilding.

        I wonder what TVD would say. Is shinning Christie the GOP being the “stupid party” again? Or is ideological purity going to win them elections down the road? (As I recall the latest effort to revise the Republican brand was to have politicians smile more.)Report

  6. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Chris Christie is in no way the future of the Republican Party. Nor will the Chris Christie we know now be the nominee. If he’s the nominee, it’ll be like Maverick John McCain or Moderate Mitt Romney. The things he would have to do to get there would render him unrecognizable.

    But he doesn’t have to be that guy. There’s no necessary dichotomy between “marginalized figure” and “someone we should consider for president.”

    Outside of a leadership role, he can still have a place within the party. A lot of conservatives are very anxious to relegate him to the role of Christine Whitman. An internal enemy, of sorts. Not that Whitman is/was an enemy of the party. Rather, her mission appeared to be to change the sails of it. That is, of course, going to garner some opposition among those who thinks she would set the sails the wrong way.

    But that’s not Chris Christie. We know why he’s a Republican. We know he would never make it as a Democrat. We should know that he is a type of Republican that may not be a real leader, but who is absolutely necessary as a part of the coalition because there are lots and lots of Chris Christies out there and the party can’t bounce them all (and expect to win elections).

    The Whitmication of Christie is a problem because it really does send an overly broad message about who isn’t a part of the coalition. That includes too many people, at present. The party needs the votes of people who could stomach being a Republican if it means they can be a “Chris Christie Republican” and not be an enemy of the party.Report

  7. Avatar George Turner says:

    That these “principles” are wildly inconsistent with one another is bad enough; but what is even worse is that to even attempt to implement so many “principles” simultaneously, conservatism must jettison any pretense of serving – or even being concerned with – actual interests of actual people, which of course is pretty much the entire point of government.

    And there’s the big disconnect between liberals and conservatives. The point of government is not to pander to individual interests. Down that road lies madness and fiscal collapse because the sum of all the individual interests is vastly larger than the sum of all the individual means to pay for those interests, and it just sets the citizens to viciously arguing with each other over the spoils. Thus the principle that the government should only do things that it’s uniquely qualified and positioned to do (which isn’t a whole lot): Courts, police, roads, canals, defense, weights and measures, etc. The conservative problem is that once enough people became addicted to government handouts, handholding, and benefits, it became nearly impossible for any politician to survive a campaign based on withdrawing those benefits, because people do vote their own interests, not the interest of the nation.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Of course it’s not the point of government to pander to individual interests. It’s the point of government to do what’s right for the country, which just so happens to coincide with my particular interests because I–unlike others–am a true American.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      *nods* sadly, the republicans show that they’re already addicted, just based on what they want government to cover.

      Roads. Electricity. Plenty of high priced giveaways to ruralia.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      I think you’re describing libertarianism, not conservatism, yes?.Report

      • This too. Though even if we’re (incorrectly) treating conservatism and libertarianism as synonymous, the reality is that serving the interests of actual, existing people is still essential to meaningful governance. How, after all, does one choose which particular parts of government you’re going to eliminate, and which powers you’re going to force the government to abdicate? It’s not as if there’s a small set of programs and powers that exceed any given libertarian ideal.Report

    • The point of government is not to pander to individual interests.

      The specific interests we’re talking about aren’t really the issue. The point is that government is responsible for governing – and serving – actual, existing people. After all, who defines “the interest of the nation” other than actual, existing people? The Constitution is not an end in and of itself, but rather a document that sets up a government to serve various ends. What ends are those? Well, the DOI tells us those ends are “to secure” “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That is a potentially broad – or narrow – set of legitimate ends, depending on how you define each of those terms.

      There are few things more demonstrative of my conservatism-as-cultural marker point than the outrage over the Sandy relief package, juxtaposed against the support (or at minimum, acquiescence) for various relief packages for Southern disasters.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        After Katrina, aid to Mississippi was prompt and uncontroversial, unlike aid to Louisiana. You can blame that on partisanship or race or a combination of the two.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          Or which state had more effective Reps and Senators, possibly.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          Or which governor refused to allow aid to come in, allowing Mississippi to get permission to use all the truck loads of relief supplies sitting at the Mississippi/Louisianna border waiting for permission to cross.Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      Isn’t this:
      “pander[ing] to individual interests” Just another way of saying “being responsive to the voter’s policy desires”?

      and this:
      ” it just sets the citizens to viciously arguing with each other over the spoils.”

      just another way of describing the political process by which we set budget priorities?Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      When we’re talking about pandering to individual interests, what are we talking about? I’m genuinely unclear how programs that either provide universal services, such as retirement or disability security or old-age health care, or that establish a universal safety net, such as food stamps or (now) Medicaid, pander to individual interests. Maybe we’re not saying they do.

      If the position is just that government activities should be limited to a set of core functions for which it is uniquely suited, that seems like one argument. If the argument is that it should not tend to individual interests, that seems like a different one. Between them it seems like there is quite a bit of room to fit a whole variety of government aims and activities that do not serve individual interests (at least not in aim and conception, though favortism is always possible in execution; but it’s certainly the case that government can serve individual interests in the course of discharging a set of duties identified as uniquely suited to government’ capacities as well) but that go beyond the set of core functions identified as uniquely suited to government.

      When you say that the point of government is not to pander to individual interests because that way lies fiscal collapse, do you just mean that the point is not to provide material benefits to the population at large, or to large, generally defined subsections thereof, like the needy, the elderly, the infirm, etc.? What actions count as pandering to individual interests? Obviously, ultimately every experience happens inside of an individual. So is any program or action that confers a benefit on an individual outside the correct scope of government action? For example, when George W. Bush sent us all checks, was that pandering to individual interests? Does Social Security pander to individual interests? Medicare? Public education? Or when you talk about pandering to individual interests, do you just mean to speak of things like tax loopholes designed to apply to basically just one company (in which case, you’ll probably get consensus agreement that the description fits the phenomenon)? I’m not clear how this statement clearly defines a set of legitimate government aims and actions.

      I think you’re on more solid ground just saying what you think the legitimate ends of government are (as you do separately from talking about pandering to individual interests) and making the case for what should and shouldn’t be on the list based on the specific arguments for each than u are in pretending there is any shorthand axiom that deductively indicates what kinds of aims should and shouldn’t be there. The one you offer, for example, not only doesn’t give the result you suggest it does; it doesn’t give any clear rule for what’s legitimate and what isn’t at all.Report

  8. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I’m sure someone else has already mentioned this, but I assumed Christie was snubbed because he “lost” the election by not being a dick to Obama when the president offered to help his citizens.

    Not that this detracts from any of your points.Report

    • That was my initial assumption as well, but the reporting that has come out, along with CPAC’s own statements, emphasizes that it’s about the Sandy relief bill and his decision to accept the Medicaid expansion (which makes no sense given that decision wasn’t made until yesterday while the snub became apparent over the weekend). Even if what you say is the real motivation, though, as you say it doesn’t affect my point; what’s more, the fact that the public explanations are what they are is more important than whether they reflect the organizers’ actual motivations.Report

  9. Avatar Rod Engelsman says:

    It’s interesting to compare Christie’s poll numbers with our Governor (Kansas), Sam Brownback, a Tea Party darling from the Policy Polling website:

    Sam Brownback is one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 37% of Kansas voters approve of him to 52% who disapprove. He meets with near universal disapproval from independents (22/66) and Democrats (14/81), but what really drives his numbers down is that even among Republicans just 55% approve of him to 30% who disapprove. Brownback’s signature proposal for phasing out the income tax may be part of what’s bringing him down. Just 37% of voters support it with 48% in opposition.

    Keep in mind that Kansas is about as Red as it gets with Rmoney carrying something north of 60% of the vote. Unfortunately, we’re likely stuck with the guy for another term since the Dem bench is awful shallow right now.

    The thing is that our previous governor, Kathleen Sebelius, current HHS Secretary, was very popular. Her and Christie are very much alike in a way. Governors of the party opposite to the way the state goes for president, yet widely praised as being good, smart, pragmatic, fix-the-roads-and-keep-things-running types.

    Christie’s the kind of Republican that if he were elected president wouldn’t elicit a face-palm of despair from me.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      I feel bad for Kansas being stuck with Brownback, but I do take a certain amount of schaudenfreude-esque glee in watching his poll numbers plummet.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson says:

      Awesome point.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Christie’s the kind of Republican that if he were elected president wouldn’t elicit a face-palm of despair from me.

      Yes, exactly. Which reminds me of something I wanted to mention earlier: I want Christie and people like him to be embraced by the GOP (rather than become Democrats, say) because there is a type of conservatism that’s not defined by mere opposition to Democratic and Limbaughian “liberal” policies. Reasonableness is what’s sorely lacking in the GOP right now, which was pretty much my take home message from Mark’s post. Adherence to conflicting obstructionist unjustified principles isn’t a reasonable way to govern.Report

  10. Avatar superdestroyer says:

    So what is the long term impact of the U.S. being a one party state. How high will taxes go in the coming one party state? How few people can work in the private sector in the future? How invasive will the federal government will become when there is no political party saying no? Will the standard of living decline until it becomes the equivalent of Mexco or Central America?

    Instead of writing about the irrelevant Republicans and conservatives maybe wonks and wannabes should begin to think about the U.S. as a country when most children are born to single mothters, less than 50% of the population is white and more than half the population is eligible for a set aside? Why not think about what is the maximum percentage of the population that can be totally dependent on the government? Of course, it seem to be easier writing about irrelevant Republicans instead of thinking about the future.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Is this performance art? Surely a real conservative would know enough to leave the racism implicit.Report

      • Avatar M.A. says:

        I wish, but superdestroyer sounds like a lot of the people where I live.Report

      • Avatar superdestroyer says:

        And which statistics is the performance art portion? Is there any demographic trends in the U.S. that should make anyone believe that the Republican (or any conservative party) can survive in the U.S.

        Why to white progressives keep pretending that all voters are whites like themselves while the U.S. is headed to being a majority non-white country?Report

  11. Avatar Bill Kilgore says:

    — That he is simultaneously so unpopular amongst conservatives nationally suggests that the national conservative activist class is unconcerned with how Christie is at serving his constituents’ interests —

    Which is why he has consistently been so unpopular with Conservatives since his election. Oh wait… that’s painfully dishonest.

    Perhaps the quoted text suggests that appealing to NJ conservatives- in the context of NJ state politics- is such a comically bad barometer for anything relevant to CPAC that it seems impossible that one would use it as such.

    Appealing to NJ conservatives- which Christie can do, temporarily at least- while taking his current gun-control position, is totally irrelevant to future, past, or present Republican politics. As you may recall, the last Republican nominee for President had a solid track record in a blue state , serving the needs of his constituents…and it meant, and it means, nothing. American politics don’t work that way and you damned well know it.

    More importantly, and why Christie is a non-starter in the current political milieu and why he wasn’t welcome at CPAC (whether they admit it or not) is that he is on the wrong end of a critical political issue (guns) and letting him anywhere near the nomination would be as ridiculous as running a buy who supported a universal insurance plan against Obama. Doing so would crush conservative turnout and guarantee a loss in the general. No way the Republicans will be that stupid….twice…in a row.

    More interesting regarding this “take random event and turn it into a perfect illustration of conservatism/republicanism” post is that we’ve already gone through this whole bit with Christie. But in the exact opposite direction. Since his election, the Republicans love of Christie- and his bombastic, arrogant, bullying style- perfectly illustrated how unserious conservatives were and how they just wanted to yell at Progressives. Gee, I wonder what changed to make him such a lovable, pragmatic guy and why supporting him his suddenly a litmus test for credibility.

    I like the new spin. But it’s nothing more than that.Report

    • Ugh. So much wrong here. But let’s start with the fact that I’m not a Progressive and have been a supporter of Christie’s for years now, at least since he put the kibosh on the asinine tunnel project.

      As for the notion that his apostasy is his support for gun control…..I’m calling bullshit. He’s been unsupportive of any significant new attempts at gun control in NJ after Newtown, and the only thing people seem to hang their hats on when saying he’s hostile to gun rights is a quote from 2009, when he was running for the first time, where he just said that he supported NJ’s existing (though draconian) gun laws. That would be before he became a conservative folk hero, and looooong before his subsequent bizarre descent into persona non grata status. And also Which, well, duh- in the absence of any popular will to repeal NJ’s gun laws (and there is absolutely no such will), that’s about the best you can hope for.

      If by opposing gun rights you’re referring to his criticism of LaPierre and the NRA’s tasteless- and dishonest- ad about the Obama chldren, then you’re just proving my point that conservatism has become about nothing more than cultural markers, since that criticism had exactly zero to do with substantive policy issues.Report

  12. Avatar Chris Bell says:

    I think that one thing everyone is forgetting and that is driving the current conservative movement is that there’s a wealthy 1% leisure class, best characterized by the Cohen brothers, the Coors dynasty and other wealthy families, that believe earnestly that *the wealthy need not provide to the common means*. Even though the hyper-wealthy in this country benefit immensely from the financial services, transportation and defense infrastructures that were built with working class labor, they feel that their wealth gives them an inherent privilege to not actually contribute to the overall economy. It’s these hyper-wealthy (far beyond the typical medium size business owner, successful lawyer or doctor) who pay effectively no taxes and believe that their simple presence gives them authority that transcends the vote. These parties fund the current tea party and other aspects of the astroturfed conservative movement. The Tea Party would disappear overnight without this funding, they are literally bought votes. It’s the war of the wealthiest 1% of Americans against the rest of the country, who are responsible for their unearned standard of living.

    I’m in favor of flipping the tax rates. There’s no reason that someone who earns hundreds of times what I do can’t pay 35% on income and I pay 17%.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Koch brothers, maybe?

      I’m all for letting the Cohen brothers live tax free as long as they keep making great films.Report

  13. Avatar Chris Bell says:

    Derp, Koch brothers. Yes, leave the Cohen brothers out of this! 😉Report