My Attempt to Explain “The Establishment”

 

It’s a word that gets thrown around with more frequency than anyone would really care to know. For some it means, “Those who will not commit political suicide,” while for others it means, “Those who have no spine.” But despite being near useless in explaining who is at the top of the Republican Party, the word “establishment” does have a meaning, and it does have members. The power of the establishment is debatable. On one hand, the performance of the national party inside Washington DC is more than capable of being orchestrated by these select few. After all, what good is having a leadership apparatus if it cannot exert some form of influence within its own sphere. However, on the other hand, it’s powerless to influence individuals like you or me to do anything when it comes to campaigns, including vote, if you do not succumb to their efforts. I will explain this.

First, the political establishment is made up of the folks one might expect. These would be the people in high positions of power in the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the leadership positions in the House and Senate. So yes, Reince Priebus and Sharon Day, the second in command at the RNC, would fit this description. We all know about Priebus, but who is Sharon Day? Day is someone described by the Florida paper The Sun-Sentinel as an “uber [sic] Republican.” She hails from Florida, obviously, and was elected to the number-two spot in 2011. She stays behind the scenes mostly, speaking to dedicated GOP crowds during elections, and trying to wash the smears of “War on Women” off of the GOP. Since she is from Florida, it is hard to imagine that she has not had close contact to folks like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, but that is pure conjecture and not enough to go on to claim that she is secretly a leftist, as many wish to paint the Establishment as being.

The Establishment members at the RNC are in charge of one thing: get Republicans elected to federal office. To the extent that they succeed in this or not is dependent on raising money. Individual donors such as you are probably not where they are gathering most of their funds for campaigns, so they must go elsewhere. Groups like the US Chamber of Commerce or private businesses such as Boeing are where the RNC garner their war chests. For the Chamber, these donations are given directly to the candidates, as depicted by the campaign finance watchdog website Open Secrets. However, the same individuals who donate to these candidates and PACs can very easily give to the National Committee. Conjecture? Sure, but sometimes assumptions have more truth to them than not. The Chamber of Commerce has made its goal for 2016 defeating Conservatives in the House and in the Senate.

Now the political leadership. The political leadership, we all know their names, but do we know their actions or their purpose? Like the RNC, these folks must get re-elected, but unlike the RNC they also have to move legislation through Congress, or stop bad legislation from getting through it. This second part is where they get into the most trouble. I am sure we have heard many times how the elected leadership constantly seeks to pass legislation that is more bad the good in the hopes of getting it out of the way, so they can focus on lower-hanging fruit in political battles that they claim to be able to win. Sometimes they do not even attempt to win battles for that low- hanging fruit, they just keep on trying to pass bad bills such as the Import-Export Bank. Who likes the Im-Ex Bank, as it is known? Read the previous paragraph.

Finally, we arrive at how the Establishment gets its message out. The RNC has a responsibility to get the message of the Party out to the people, but, human nature being what it is, when you see or hear something with the official stamp of “POLITICAL PARTY,” it is difficult imagine that message carrying any weight.So political parties must rely on talking heads in the media who carry with them a certain amount of intellectual clout to explain the process in a message that does not have the taint of “paid for by the Republican National Committee.” This is not to say that these folks do not believe in what they are saying. The most certainly do. But more importantly, they all think in terms of what is best for the country and what can win. The people who make up this cadre are George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks, and Bill Kristol.

It’s easy to dismiss this aspect of the premise, but messaging is a key component to politics and the Establishment understands this like no other when it comes to what strategy to employ when battling the Left or what candidates are acceptable or electable in a given election cycle. The four men listed above do a good job telling us what strategies will work and which ones will not. Recall just this week, when the GOP House announced that it will seek to impeach IRS head John Koskinen, that it was both George Will and Charles Krauthammer who said this will go nowhere, although with differing opinions as to whether or not to do it. Some of you might say that this is a rather disjointed message for two members of the same Establishment, but it is important to keep in mind that they both acknowledge that it will go nowhere which will give the cover to the Senate side of the Establishment to vote against it or not even bring it up.

This is but one example of how this works. Another example is foreign policy, and on most major foreign policy issues, all four, Will, Kristol, Brooks, and Krauthammer, have sounded the same alarms on Obama and international relations. Also, take a look at how they regard the possibility of a Trump candidacy in the GOP presidential primary. One might say that they are simply applying the voice of reason, but they have applied this voice with every top tier candidate not named Bush or Rubio. This election cycle it appears that the Base of the GOP is just not listening.

It is true that the Establishment does not sit around and pick the candidate with no input from voters. Rob Long is absolutely correct, we do pick our candidate. However, he is wrong to think that this is done in a vacuum, or that there is no outside influence steering the voters into what choice to make at the polls. There is a concerted effort by the Establishment, each cycle, to see to it that the right people get the nomination and that the right people implement the right strategy. To think that this does not happen is naive, simply and utterly naive. This is how politics works.

The GOP Establishment is hoping to influence you to support candidates and ideas that will not get them lambasted in the leftist press, and you can see it in the comments here on Ricochet that this influence has worked. We have people worried that Ted Cruz will get tarnished with being “for Wall Street,” yet believe that Marco Rubio will not receive the same treatment. Or that any loss by a Republican after 2013 was the result of a partial government shutdown, despite ample evidence from left-wing media that the loss had nothing to do with the shutdown, for they themselves did not tout it.

If conservatives are going to change the thinking of the GOP Establishment, we are going to have to change the leadership in its respected segments. It will do no good to just gain one or two slots here or there, because the rest of the Establishment will set out to hamper, influence, or outright destroy the people in those positions — just ask Ted Cruz or Ken Cuccinelli or Richard Murdoch of Indiana or Joe Miller of Alaska. The Establishment does have one major obstacle, and it gets back to what Rob Long always says: At the end of the day, it is we the People who select our candidates. We just have to be sure that we can see through the Establishment camouflage when we make our pick.

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  1. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Larry Koler:Klaatu, you are at an extreme disadvantage when reading and writing here on Ricochet if you don’t know the basics of the historical debate in this country over the last half century. It’s all about the power of the state vs the power of the individual.

    Do you think that Klaatu was actually expressing ignorance of the content of “A Time For Choosing”?

    It might help to read it again. Reagan is concerned with the defeat of Communism, which has taken place. He’s worried about the increasing numbers of federal employees. Today, a smaller portion of Americans are employed by the Federal government. He’s worried about farm subsidies. In 1964, the Agriculture Department accounted for about 6% of GDP. Today it’s less than one percent. He’s concerned about inflation, which is now far lower than it was.

    If you remind yourself of what the actual issues were, you’ll see how confused your claim was that the things he was talking about have gotten worse and you’ll probably understand Klaatu a little better.

    • #61
  2. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:Klaatu, you are at an extreme disadvantage when reading and writing here on Ricochet if you don’t know the basics of the historical debate in this country over the last half century. It’s all about the power of the state vs the power of the individual.

    And what have been the great advances in the power of the state since 1968?

    I’m not your political science tutor. Ask someone else but please don’t pretend as though you don’t know what is being discussed here. If you really don’t, then read more — if you do, then work out your stuff with someone else.

    I am asking you to substantiate your claim, not educate me.

    I look at the issues that the left has been pushing for the last 50 years and with the exception of Obamacare, which they had to pass over the objection of most Americans, they have been unsuccessful in implementing.

    Now if you cannot back up your claim, just admit and move on.

    Are you saying that the size of the state — by itself — is not evidence of leftward movement? Because I’ll hang my hat on that alone.

    How are you measuring the size of the state?  Federal spending as a % of GDP?

    • #62
  3. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Larry3435:

    Larry Koler:

    Larry3435:

    Zeke:

    So, by all means, we should form a circular firing squad and start shooting at each other. Because that will help a bunch.

    I remember when Democrats used to do that. I liked it better that way. But then their side got tired of losing. They closed ranks, and now they don’t worry about their candidate being a dynastic, corrupt, robotic insider. They only care about winning.

    This is correct and well stated. There are additional items to consider.

    • Before the D’s closed ranks, they settled on what they stood for. If/when republicans settle on what they stand for there will be similar unity.
    • Before Obama and the ACA there was a split between the DLC and the far left and it was as fractious as what we are experiencing on the right and they had significant Congressional majorities during this turmoil, much like we do now.
    • Once the democrats decided what they stand for in 2009 beginning with the ACA they have closed ranks, but their herd in Congress is dramatically thinned and they have only Obama to show for it.
    • Obama’s singular message/priority reinforced by rigid Congressional democrats is working.

    I suppose that, eventually, we will get tired of losing. I shudder to think how much the debt will be by the time that finally happens.

    I shudder as well. Before we can can rally around a person we need a message and ‘not democrat’ isn’t one.’

    • #63
  4. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England: Do you believe that politicians who spend a fair amount of time with immigrants and for whom their advocacy for amnesty is a personal issue of principle, like McCain, are different from those who treat it as an abstraction?

    What in the world does this mean? I don’t understand. I have to treat a number of things as abstractions (to use your word) because I am not personally affected DIRECTLY by them. The Soviet Union was an abstraction by your definition yet I felt completely justified in denouncing them as “the focus of evil in the modern world.”

    Did you read the comment to which I was replying? I completely agree that one can come down on either side of this issue whether one is pro- or anti- amnesty.

    You and I are both opposed to amnesty, despite our lives not being affected by the issue in a day to day way. This was my point, and I believe you and I agree on this.

    The stuff about McCain seemed to be a non sequitur or at least confusing.

    Are you saying that McCain’s position on amnesty has more legitimacy because of dealing more intimately with it? Or are you complaining about the definition of Zeke that “personal self interest is tied to the Republican Party” and you were mentioning people on both sides of the issue but who still have the stated self interest in the party? If the latter, then sorry about that — I misread you.

    I think that if you read Zeke’s comment again, in which he uses dealing with immigration on a day to day basis as part of the definition, it will become clearer to you why I was responding with a question about dealing with immigration as a day to day issue.

    Like you, I don’t think that it’s particularly relevant. Zeke appears to, but I wasn’t sure what he meant, which is why I was asking him to clarify. McCain is relevant to the degree to which an intimate involvement in the issue meant that one would take a particular side, since he is intimately involved and takes the other side.

    • #64
  5. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:Klaatu, you are at an extreme disadvantage when reading and writing here on Ricochet if you don’t know the basics of the historical debate in this country over the last half century. It’s all about the power of the state vs the power of the individual.

    Do you think that Klaatu was actually expressing ignorance of the content of “A Time For Choosing”?

    It might help to read it again. Reagan is concerned with the defeat of Communism, which has taken place. He’s worried about the increasing numbers of federal employees. Today, a smaller portion of Americans are employed by the Federal government. He’s worried about farm subsidies. In 1964, the Agriculture Department accounted for about 6% of GDP. Today it’s less than one percent. He’s concerned about inflation, which is now far lower than it was.

    If you remind yourself of what the actual issues were, you’ll see how confused your claim was that the things he was talking about have gotten worse and you’ll probably understand Klaatu a little better.

    I think measuring government by subsidies, spending, federal employees, etc. is a good start.

    Measuring those relative to GDP tends to mask the ever expanding nature of the federal government and prevents a meaningful discussion of right vs. wrong.

    If it is appropriate to subsidize industries then it should grow with or > GDP. If isn’t appropriate than it should be 0.

    • #65
  6. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:Klaatu, you are at an extreme disadvantage when reading and writing here on Ricochet if you don’t know the basics of the historical debate in this country over the last half century. It’s all about the power of the state vs the power of the individual.

    Do you think that Klaatu was actually expressing ignorance of the content of “A Time For Choosing”?

    It might help to read it again. Reagan is concerned with the defeat of Communism, which has taken place. He’s worried about the increasing numbers of federal employees. Today, a smaller portion of Americans are employed by the Federal government. He’s worried about farm subsidies. In 1964, the Agriculture Department accounted for about 6% of GDP. Today it’s less than one percent. He’s concerned about inflation, which is now far lower than it was.

    If you remind yourself of what the actual issues were, you’ll see how confused your claim was that the things he was talking about have gotten worse and you’ll probably understand Klaatu a little better.

    OK, I give up — we have no reason to continue with the conservative project. Glad to hear we are winning.

    Now James, you know that the fight between the left and right (my issue on the table) is long standing and it continues to be fought on battlefields of all kinds. The essential fight still goes on.

    • #66
  7. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    BrentB67:

    Larry3435:

    Larry Koler:

    Larry3435:

    Zeke:

    So, by all means, we should form a circular firing squad and start shooting at each other. Because that will help a bunch.

    I remember when Democrats used to do that. I liked it better that way. But then their side got tired of losing. They closed ranks, and now they don’t worry about their candidate being a dynastic, corrupt, robotic insider. They only care about winning.

    This is correct and well stated. There are additional items to consider.

    • Before the D’s closed ranks, they settled on what they stood for. If/when republicans settle on what they stand for there will be similar unity.
    • Before Obama and the ACA there was a split between the DLC and the far left and it was as fractious as what we are experiencing on the right and they had significant Congressional majorities during this turmoil, much like we do now.
    • Once the democrats decided what they stand for in 2009 beginning with the ACA they have closed ranks, but their herd in Congress is dramatically thinned and they have only Obama to show for it.
    • Obama’s singular message/priority reinforced by rigid Congressional democrats is working.

    I suppose that, eventually, we will get tired of losing. I shudder to think how much the debt will be by the time that finally happens.

    I shudder as well. Before we can can rally around a person we need a message and ‘not democrat isn’t it.’

    We don’t need a “message” — that whole approach is what is the problem. We need to fight those who control the message. We need to be able to get ANY message out — not get the “right” one because that is the very problem with the people on the “establishment” side.

    • #67
  8. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    BrentB67:

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:Klaatu, you are at an extreme disadvantage when reading and writing here on Ricochet if you don’t know the basics of the historical debate in this country over the last half century. It’s all about the power of the state vs the power of the individual.

    Do you think that Klaatu was actually expressing ignorance of the content of “A Time For Choosing”?

    It might help to read it again. Reagan is concerned with the defeat of Communism, which has taken place. He’s worried about the increasing numbers of federal employees. Today, a smaller portion of Americans are employed by the Federal government. He’s worried about farm subsidies. In 1964, the Agriculture Department accounted for about 6% of GDP. Today it’s less than one percent. He’s concerned about inflation, which is now far lower than it was.

    If you remind yourself of what the actual issues were, you’ll see how confused your claim was that the things he was talking about have gotten worse and you’ll probably understand Klaatu a little better.

    I think measuring government by subsidies, spending, federal employees, etc. is a good start.

    Measuring those relative to GDP tends to mask the ever expanding nature of the federal government and prevents a meaningful discussion of right vs. wrong.

    If it is appropriate to subsidize industries then it should grow with or > GDP. If isn’t appropriate than it should be 0.

    I’m happy to agree that ag subsidies should be zero. The argument isn’t “we have won the battle of farm bills”. It is “things are better” or, at the very least, “things are not worse”.

    Edit: Also, you know the size of government as measured by federal employees has shrunk, right?

    Larry Koler: OK, I give up — we have no reason to continue with the conservative project. Glad to hear we are winning.

    Now James, you know that the fight between the left and right (my issue on the table) is long standing and it continues to be fought on battlefields of all kinds. The essential fight still goes on.

    I completely agree that the fight goes on. Indeed, I’m fighting it. That we’ve won some great victories, and that reading the speech you used as a demonstration that we’ve not won them should remind us that we we have does not mean that we should not win more.

    Gun rights are better, but they could be better still. Abortion is becoming rarer, but we’d be better with it rarer yet. Crime is down, but the remaining criminals still cause enormous harm. We live longer, but still die to diseases that we can find cures for. Communism is defeated, but the Russians still support evil across the world. Unions are a shadow of their former selves, but they still spend amazing amounts on elections. School choice is more widespread than ever before and homeschooling easier, but we still need to smash the teacher’s unions.

    Victories don’t mean that we can rest, any more than feminists rested when women got the vote. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t won important victories.

    • #68
  9. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    I shudder as well. Before we can can rally around a person we need a message and ‘not democrat isn’t it.’

    Larry Koler:  We don’t need a “message” — that whole approach is what is the problem. We need to fight those who control the message. We need to be able to get ANY message out — not get the “right” one because that is the very problem with the people on the “establishment” side.

    An analogy is apt here: Clinton’s fight with Saddam Hussein was a duel of sanctions and UN resolutions. Clinton just thought we needed to have an 18th resolution after the 17 others had failed.

    There is no magic bullet of getting the right message when the message is distorted by the media (and others). We have to do something about the delivery of the messages to the American people. If Clinton had done his job and got effective in his handling of Hussein by admitting the resolutions were not effective AT ALL and instead actually helped Hussein because the use of the UN itself worked to Hussein’s benefit, especially in delaying things.

    • #69
  10. Bijaz Inactive
    Bijaz
    @MrFrench

    Larry Koler,

    This string has devolved into caca the past hour or so, has it not? I feel for you, pal. And, by the way, don’t you ever think of claiming that America is, for example, exceptional without specifically backing up and substantiating your claim . . . even though it’s just OBVIOUS.
    I won’t try to specifically back up this observation: Many in the younger generations make personal/moral judgments using the criminal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Gut feelings, for example, don’t count — unless such feelings are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This change in personal moral decision making has allowed the DNC to thrive and allows persons such as Hillary to be considered for election.
    And also allows people to claim that for the past 50 years, except for Obamacare, the Left has been unsuccessful in implementing any issues. Wow.

    • #70
  11. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:Klaatu, you are at an extreme disadvantage when reading and writing here on Ricochet if you don’t know the basics of the historical debate in this country over the last half century. It’s all about the power of the state vs the power of the individual.

    Do you think that Klaatu was actually expressing ignorance of the content of “A Time For Choosing”?

    It might help to read it again. Reagan is concerned with the defeat of Communism, which has taken place. He’s worried about the increasing numbers of federal employees. Today, a smaller portion of Americans are employed by the Federal government. He’s worried about farm subsidies. In 1964, the Agriculture Department accounted for about 6% of GDP. Today it’s less than one percent. He’s concerned about inflation, which is now far lower than it was.

    If you remind yourself of what the actual issues were, you’ll see how confused your claim was that the things he was talking about have gotten worse and you’ll probably understand Klaatu a little better.

    OK, I give up — we have no reason to continue with the conservative project. Glad to hear we are winning.

    Now James, you know that the fight between the left and right (my issue on the table) is long standing and it continues to be fought on battlefields of all kinds. The essential fight still goes on.

    We have won some and we have lost some.  Your statement, that the left has won and is winning them all is the issue at hand.  It is demonstrably false.

    Would you rather have a world with or without the Soviet Union?

    The 1968 Congress or today’s?

    Warren Court or the Roberts Court?

    The crime rates of the 70’s or today’s?

    70’s era tax rate?

    • #71
  12. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu: We have won some and we have lost some. Your statement, that the left has won and is winning them all is the issue at hand. It is demonstrably false. Would you rather have a world with or without the Soviet Union? The 1968 Congress or today’s? Warren Court or the Roberts Court? The crime rates of the 70’s or today’s? 70’s era tax rate?

    I didn’t say the left has won nor that they won them all. I admitted that there were successes (see #43). But, I did say that the direction of the country is leftward. Then, I said that the two issues of our debt and illegal immigration are the two main issues on the table at present and that they divide the Republican Party, too.

    But, I like to put this all in the context of the control that the media has nowadays. That’s my personal issue — I identify that as the main problem that the establishment has in general and in dealing with sane immigration and budget policies.

    • #72
  13. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Bijaz:Larry Koler,

    This string has devolved into caca the past hour or so, has it not?I feel for you, pal.And, by the way, don’t you ever think of claiming that America is, for example, exceptional without specifically backing up and substantiating your claim . . . even though it’s just OBVIOUS. I won’t try to specifically back up this observation: Many in the younger generations make personal/moral judgments using the criminal “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.Gut feelings, for example, don’t count — unless such feelings are proven beyond a reasonable doubt.This change in personal moral decision making has allowed the DNC to thrive and allows persons such as Hillary to be considered for election. And also allows people to claim that for the past 50 years, except for Obamacare, the Left has been unsuccessful in implementing any issues.Wow.

    Yes, exactly — what planet am I on?

    • #73
  14. Bijaz Inactive
    Bijaz
    @MrFrench

    Larry: The same planet that I and BrentB67 are on?

    Compare Klaatu #58 & #71. Klaatu can’t seem to make up his mind whether the Left has lost on everything except Obamacare or whether they’ve won some and lost some.

    Agent provocateur is Klaatu? Or someone who just wants to argue? You make the call.

    • #74
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Larry, we are usually in agreement, but not as much this particular subject. I can say with absolute certainty what it means to be a democrat and with the exception of Jim Webb their candidates are consistent with that message and their primary is being properly use to determine the best messenger.

    On the republican side? We have no idea what the priority of the party is, thus we are struggling, again, with who is the best person lead in the general election.

    I agree that there is an entrenched establishment who benefits from a career or status quo and that there is a minority who wishes to remove the status quo.

    I don’t think we have a consistent message or priority. Ask 10 people on Ricochet what it means to be republican and you will receive 11 articulate answers. Ask what it means to be a democrat and you will at least get a consistent theme.

    Similar question to define conservative with respect to 21st century governance. As near as I can tell, and I don’t mean this insultingly, the majority of folks identifying as conservative wish to maintain the majority current institution of federal government and just manage it differently or better by their definition.

    • #75
  16. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    James, I don’t track non-military federal employees and trust your statistics.

    • #76
  17. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: We have won some and we have lost some. Your statement, that the left has won and is winning them all is the issue at hand. It is demonstrably false. Would you rather have a world with or without the Soviet Union? The 1968 Congress or today’s? Warren Court or the Roberts Court? The crime rates of the 70’s or today’s? 70’s era tax rate?

    I didn’t say the left has won nor that they won them all. I admitted that there were successes (see #43). But, I did say that the direction of the country is leftward. Then, I said that the two issues of our debt and illegal immigration are the two main issues on the table at present and that they divide the Republican Party, too.

    But, I like to put this all in the context of the control that the media has nowadays. That’s my personal issue — I identify that as the main problem that the establishment has in general and in dealing with sane immigration and budget policies.

    Here is what you said, “What’s going on here is that we have a long line of failures with regard to the direction the country is going. Socialistic ideas seem to keep winningThere are a lot of successes but the main direction of the country is to the left.”

    On many issues (taxes, Cold War, guns, crime, etc…) the country has not moved left at all.  It has in fact, moved very much to the right.

    You also make the mistake of believing immigration is a subject that defines rather than divides conservatives.  There is no conservative position on immigration.

    As for the debt, the only Presidents/presidential candidates/congressional leaders who have offered meaningful measures to reign it in are those pillars of the so-called Establishment,  GW Bush, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan.

    • #77
  18. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Frankly I find this whole anti establishment wave to be adolescent.  The sixties were anti establishment by a bunch of teenagers and radicals.  The Liberals are the anti establishment party.  The Liberals are the anti tradition party.  This runs counter to what has traditionally been the “daddy” party.  I was anti establishment when I had long hair and was in high school and college.  Today this just seems childish.

    If you don’t like the people in office vote them out, but to select a bunch of no experienced people just because things have not gone one’s way is throwing a hissy fit.  Throw out the ones you don’t like and replace it with someone else with experience.  But to think that Trump, Carsen, Fiorina, or some Senator (ala Obama) who hasn’t completed a single term can operate the highest office in the land or be commander in chief is ludicrous.

    What can I say, I must be part of the establishment.

    • #78
  19. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Bijaz:Larry:The same planet that I and BrentB67 are on?

    Compare Klaatu #58 & #71.Klaatu can’t seem to make up his mind whether the Left has lost on everything except Obamacare or whether they’ve won some and lost some.

    Agent provocateur is Klaatu?Or someone who just wants to argue?You make the call.

    It is confusing for people with the present day media notions that the Republicans have become so much more extreme, that they win all the issues of the day but can’t afford to say so because their appeals for money will dry up. Now, this is what we say about people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson — that they simply can’t afford to admit how the glass is way more than half full because their reasons for living will dry up and blow away.

    In reality the Democrats have slowly moved to the hard left since 1994 when they lost the southern states. But, the distance between the parties is blamed on the Republicans. I really think that when the Dems lost the south that the media decided to help them out more to make up the deficit. If the media was professional then the government would have moved to the center and the far left would not have much power in the Democratic Party. But, when the media can move the needle on close elections control of the country is slowly taken out of the peoples’ hands.

    • #79
  20. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu: You also make the mistake of believing immigration is a subject that defines rather than divides conservatives. There is no conservative position on immigration.

    Do you mean illegal immigration? Or is this a tell on your part — that you get your news from the MSM? This constant MSM drumbeat reflects their desire to confuse the issue about what is contentious on immigration — it is the illegal aspect not immigration. And it is the conservatives’ (by and large) belief that the Democrats want to fight us on this because their political future is dependent on it.

    • #80
  21. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    I think you’ll find this table quick and interesting to read, Brent. The 1980s were particularly counter intuitive.
    https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/

    • #81
  22. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: You also make the mistake of believing immigration is a subject that defines rather than divides conservatives. There is no conservative position on immigration.

    Do you mean illegal immigration? Or is this a tell on your part — that you get your news from the MSM? This constant MSM drumbeat reflects their desire to confuse the issue about what is contentious on immigration — it is the illegal aspect not immigration. And it is the conservatives’ (by and large) belief that the Democrats want to fight us on this because their political future is dependent on it.

    No, I mean immigration.  The issue is our immigration laws, what should be legal, what should not, and what the penalties for violating the laws should be.  We have conservatives like Ann Coulter and Mark Kirkorian who want to severely restrict or even place a moratorium on all immigration.  We also have conservatives who believe in a free(r) flow of people just as they do a free(r) flow of trade.  Saying you are against illegal immigration is pointless when the issue is what should be legal and what should not.

    • #82
  23. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    James Of England:I think you’ll find this table quick and interesting to read, Brent. The 1980s were particularly counter intuitive. https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/

    Thanks. Interesting the decline in executive branch civilians during the Obama admin. That isn’t intuitive.

    • #83
  24. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    There are also issues about the enforcement of laws, Klaatu. The chief conservative debates are about the fence, sanctuary cities, and everify as much as refugees and my fellow state department/ DHS wrestlers.

    • #84
  25. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    BrentB67: Similar question to define conservative with respect to 21st century governance. As near as I can tell, and I don’t mean this insultingly, the majority of folks identifying as conservative wish to maintain the majority current institution of federal government and just manage it differently or better by their definition.

    The main dividing lines for me that defines “Establishment Republican” is the US Chamber of Commerce (CoC). Establishment Republican’s want to appease the CoC on immigration and fiscal issues (ExIm Bank, Debt Ceiling, rising DoD budgets), the non-establishment Republicans* oppose the CoC on all these measures.

    *Brent convinced me a few weeks ago that conservative describes establishment republicans better than it describes those of us that which to return to true constitutional governance.

    • #85
  26. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    BrentB67:

    James Of England:I think you’ll find this table quick and interesting to read, Brent. The 1980s were particularly counter intuitive. https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/

    Thanks. Interesting the decline in executive branch civilians during the Obama admin. That isn’t intuitive.

    While the Federal government employees has declined dramatically in the past 50 years, it is because they have been replaced with contractors, not because civilian government has shrunk.

    • #86
  27. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    James Of England:There are also issues about the enforcement of laws, Klaatu. The chief conservative debates are about the fence, sanctuary cities, and everify as much as refugees and my fellow state department/ DHS wrestlers.

    I’m not sure how much of a conservative divide there is on the issues you mention.  There may be those who argue a fence is less effective than say sensors but maybe I’m missing something.

    To my mind, the divisive issue is what we should do about the people currently in the country illegally followed by who we should allow in and in what numbers.

    • #87
  28. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Klaatu:

    James Of England:There are also issues about the enforcement of laws, Klaatu. The chief conservative debates are about the fence, sanctuary cities, and everify as much as refugees and my fellow state department/ DHS wrestlers.

    I’m not sure how much of a conservative divide there is on the issues you mention. There may be those who argue a fence is less effective than say sensors but maybe I’m missing something.

    To my mind, the divisive issue is what we should do about the people currently in the country illegally followed by who we should allow in and in what numbers.

    We are of like mind on this. There appears general agreement on the first paragraph and the divisive issue is the second.

    Your two paragraphs are however, very related. If we allow those here illegally to stay, either through some legal, non-citizen status, or by refusing to deport (our current arrangement) combined with a liberal birthright citizenship interpretation of the 14th then the physical border security issue is much more problematic.

    If we leave the inducement to come here illegally knowing they can stay the much more expensive and complex physical security we will need to pursue.

    If we begin deporting those we apprehend here or trying to come here illegally, clarify and end birthright citizenship as now practiced, and even consider capital controls there will be less inducement to come and less need for stringent physical barriers.

    • #88
  29. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Z, I don’t think that this is true. You can get to the same facts with a different path. For obvious reasons we don’t have detailed stats on contractors employed, but the Federal government budget has shifted from a focus on manpower intensive departments to entitlements. The DHHS employs very few people (~80k), and commands the bulk of the budget. Discretionary spending has been repeatedly crunched even as average salaries have increased.

    • #89
  30. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Z in MT:

    BrentB67: Similar question to define conservative with respect to 21st century governance. As near as I can tell, and I don’t mean this insultingly, the majority of folks identifying as conservative wish to maintain the majority current institution of federal government and just manage it differently or better by their definition.

    The main dividing lines for me that defines “Establishment Republican” is the US Chamber of Commerce (CoC). Establishment Republican’s want to appease the CoC on immigration and fiscal issues (ExIm Bank, Debt Ceiling, rising DoD budgets), the non-establishment Republicans* oppose the CoC on all these measures.

    *Brent convinced me a few weeks ago that conservative describes establishment republicans better than it describes those of us that which to return to true constitutional governance.

    So where does this leave Mitch McConnell and John Boeher (McConnell opposed immigration reform in the Senate and Boehner is singularly responsible for the Senate plan not being law, they worked together to see that Ex-Im died and stayed dead, but just negotiated a deal to raise defense spending)?

    • #90
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