October 3, 2004


Democrats Losing Battle For America's Hearts and Minds (Michael Kazin, 30 Sept. 2004, Ottawa Citizen)

Approach this book with caution, fellow progressives. It may confirm your worst fear.

John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, two smart Brits who work for The Economist, have written a vividly detailed study (The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America) of why conservatives rule American politics. What is worse, they maintain that the right is likely to dominate for some time, even if the Democrats eke out a victory this fall.

The Right Nation has nothing in common with the crude polemics by the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter that growl from racks at every airport and mall. Micklethwait and Wooldridge gaze on their American subjects with the skepticism of European agnostics who've grown up in a tidy welfare state. The moralism of the evangelical right makes them shudder, and they mock the hypocrisy of a president who rails against "big government" but has blithely run up a record deficit. A keen grasp of history and demographic trends firms up their prose, which is spiked with the dry wit that seems the birthright of every Oxford graduate.

Many Republicans, the authors report, believe high deficits will prevent liberals from enacting future social programs. That logic "is rather like saying that, because your brother-in-law drinks too much, you're going to drink all the alcohol in the house before he visits for the Memorial Day weekend."

All this frames an argument that the most confirmed W-hater should take seriously. In their view, three simple reasons explain why conservatives keep defeating the left: The right wins the battle of ideas, has a more determined and focused army of activists, and is reaping the benefits of long-term changes in American society.

Which leaves the Left what?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2004 2:33 PM

I mock the ignorance of authors who, regardless of whatever else they keenly grasp, believe that nominal "records" have any meaning.

That the Federal government is running a deficit is a cause for concern.
However, if:
The costs of the war and reconstruction in Iraq, the occupation and reconstruction of Afghanistan, and the war against terror are subtracted from the Federal budget
It's postulated that the US will experience 4% GNP growth and 5% unemployment in '05, and that the Federal government will receive commensurate revenues
Federal spending doesn't rise significantly in '05
Then the "true" deficit is about $ 100 billion, or around .85% of '05's GNP.

While distasteful, the US could run a $ 100 billion annual deficit for, roughly, ever.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 3, 2004 4:03 PM

I continue to object to adherents of moribund ideologies, pre-literate cultures, and Paleolithic religions being named "Progressives." The Left, you see, is a sort of an asylum of oblastniki, primitivo-centrists, and Earth-Mother worshippers, whom world civilization has more or less run over and left flattened in the center of the road.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 3, 2004 6:18 PM

re: Progrssives:

You mean, like these people—

""How Berkeley Can You Be?" parade in Berkeley on Sunday, September 19, 2004.


(via InDC Journal and beware of the pictures of excessively ugly people with no taste and fewer clothes.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 3, 2004 7:16 PM

I'll never get this kind of stuff. Modern leftists continually act as if a "conservative America" is some sort of bizarre anomaly, a philosophical tangent, in this country's historical arc.

In fact, it's leftism itself that is a tangent, an anomaly. The New Deal and other neo-socialism devices are anithetical to America as it was conceived. Generally speaking, conservatives/libertarians and others of the "right" want the spirit of the Constitution, and the country's actual constitution, to be honored and preserved. It is leftists who are happy to keep tinkering and designing and reshaping and ignoring the founders' intent.

To boil the formulation down to its essence: conservatives, like the founders, exalt freedom over equality. The left exalts equality over freedom. No matter which side is philosophically "correct," it's just plain dumb to pretend that today's conservatives are some new, alien American species, when they in fact are the ideological kin of the country's very founders. The modern left is the kin of 18th century France, not of 18th century Virginia or Boston.

Americans who espouse what we today call "conservative" values are simply intent on making sure America remains America. There's nothing weird or perplexing about it. The question shouldn't be, "Why is conservatism triumphing?" The question is, "How the hell did leftism manage to grab a foothold here for about half a century?"

Posted by: Tomas at October 3, 2004 8:02 PM


Next time you offer warnings like that, could you please be a little more sex-specific---Yuck!!

Posted by: Peter B at October 3, 2004 8:17 PM

Which leaves the Left what?

The universities.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at October 3, 2004 9:38 PM

I'm sorry.

Okay, next time I'll say that "these are people whose genders are definitely not indeterminate, have nothing to be proud of, and far uglier than their politics."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 4, 2004 1:34 AM

>Which leaves the Left what?

The Media, *C*E*L*E*B*R*I*T*I*E*S*, and Educators, all of which shape the hearts and minds of us and our (no, their) children.

Posted by: Ken at October 4, 2004 12:48 PM

Is Bill O'Reilly a conservative, or even a conservative like Ann Coulter?

Posted by: Vince at October 4, 2004 6:36 PM