Frozen Chosen: While I can understand you concerns, professor, I do not agree that a candidate who strongly advocates first principles would win this election handily.
At best there is maybe 20-25% of the country who understand these concepts. There are another 15-20% who can be counted on to consistently vote conservative. There are also 40-45% of the country who will consistently vote for either liberal/socialist ideas or goodies from the trough. That leaves about 10% of the country who vote on things like physical appearance and MSM headlines.
Saying we just need to articulate conservative ideas better and we would have 60-70% of the country on our side is naive. This country is far less conservative now than it was in 1980. The only reason the GOP has a chance this election is because Obama's sudden, severe lurch to the left has spooked the middle 20%. If the Dems were smart enough to play the incremental game Obama would be reelected in a landslide.
Our culture is in severe decline, the family is disintegrating, our schools indoctrinate our children with secular theology - not exactly a recipe for conservative resurgence. Let's not kid ourselves. · 1 hour ago
I quote Frozen Chosen here because I believe that he poses a question that is well worth thinking about and because he represents a view that is commonly held within conservative ranks. I also think that he is in part correct: Our culture really is in severe decline, the family is disintegrating, and our schools indoctrinate our children with secular theology. It is, I believe, the worst of times. And because of that it is the best of times, for it provides us with the perfect recipe for a conservative resurgence. It is the ideal moment for a man of courage and high principle to step forward and say, "The Emperor has no clothes." And, no, I am not kidding myself.
Consider what Barack Obama has done. He has unmasked the tyrannical potential of the administrative entitlements state, and he has once again demonstrated the defects inherent in Keynesian economics. He promised us that the stimulus would bring unemployment down dramatically. He acknowledged that if it did not do so he would be unelectable. He attacked religious liberty, attempting through a court case to interfere with a Lutheran church's ability to choose its own religious teachers as it saw fit, and threatening to make Roman Catholics, the Roman Catholic Church, and Christians and Jews who regard abortion as murder complicit with that act by forcing them to pay for abortifacients. He jammed through Congress a bill designed to undermine the health insurance industry and to institute healthcare rationing. He brought our government to the edge of fiscal insolvency. At a time of rising energy costs, he blocked the building of a pipeline that would bring petroleum from our northern neighbor and friend Canada to the United States and reduce our dependence on the Middle East.
In short, Barack Obama is forcing the American people to rethink the relationship that connects them with their government. Where many of them once saw a helping hand, they now see a threat to their livelihood, their personal and religious liberty, and their well-being more generally. A majority of Americans favor a repeal of Obamacare -- the President's signature achievement. A majority favor serious cuts in government expenditures. Most think that the President should not be re-elected. We are watching a near perfect storm. Barack Obama and his administration make Americans long for the good old days when they lived under Jimmy Carter and his administration.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan showed what can be done, and he did not eke out a victory. He won a landslide, and for the first time in decades more people voted for Republican candidates running for House seats than for Democratic candidates. Reagan even took Massachusetts, and he did not run as a moderate. He promised and he delivered radical change -- first and foremost, the end of punitive taxation.
One could argue that the country is more liberal today than it was in 1980. But that is demonstrably false. Look at the midterm elections in 2010. In them -- running as conservatives, promising to repeal Obamacare, and pledging to cut government expenditures in a severe fashion -- the Republicans won a landslide. They took the House; they made major gains in the Senate. At the state level, they gained a degree of leverage that they had not seen since 1928.
Frozen Chosen, you underestimate our compatriots. They know that our culture is in severe decline, that the family is disintegrating, that our schools indoctrinate our children with secular theology -- and they know whom to blame. All that it would take to turn the present discontents into a realignment would be for a forthright woman or man able to point out the connection linking cultural decline, family disintegration, and political correctness in the schools -- not to mention massive unemployment and fiscal insolvency -- with the administrative entitlements state and the doctrine that it is the responsibility of the government and not the individual citizen to make provision for his well-being.
People rally to strength and confidence, not to weakness and timidity. This is what President Obama once called "a teachable moment." It is a time in which the despotic character of our democracy's drift is visible. In such circumstances, a Republican could say something very much like what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in 1936: “Philadelphia is . . . fitting ground on which to reaffirm the faith of our fathers; to pledge ourselves to restore to the people a wider freedom . . . That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power.”
Where, in 1776, Americans had “sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy,” Roosevelt on that occasion urged them to seek liberty from “economic royalists” who had “created a new despotism” in which “a small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives.” “For too many of us,” he charged, come 1932, “life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”
I cited this material in a blogpost, and I concluded: "In my judgment, Roosevelt’s rhetoric — or something very much like it — deserves revival, for the argument that he disingenuously advanced on behalf of state control can now in all honesty be deployed against it. We really are governed now by a small group intent on concentrating into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. And for the first time in my lifetime Americans are waking up to the threat."
I posted this claim on Powerline on 2 August 2009 -- more than a year before the great Republican victory in the mid-term elections of 2010. Nothing has changed to make me think otherwise now. If anything, the crisis that I discerned then has ripened further. I would not be shocked if a timid, milquetoast managerial progressive were able to eke out a victory in the Presidential election in 2012. To win a landslide, however, one must do what FDR did: one must appeal to first principles. One must indict those intent on creating “a new despotism” in which “a small group" is concentrating "into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives.”
Frozen Chosen, if you really want to do something about the fact that "our culture is in severe decline, the family is disintegrating, [and] our schools indoctrinate our children with secular theology," you have to take the bull by the horns. As Margaret Thatcher once said to George W. H. Bush, "This is no time to go wobbly, George."