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

    BrentB67:

    Larry Koler:

    Robert McReynolds:

    Obama certainly could never have been elected if the country was moving rightwards. I don’t think Clinton could have either.

    Obama could’ve been elected given Bush’s low approval and Obama’s smooth rhetoric.

    Obama could not have been re-elected.

    Issues aren’t the only things that matter. Obama’s massive funding for voter registration and GOTV from the stimulus bill and the tremendous efforts from Google volunteers, the singularly damaging primary, the lack of party unity at the convention and in general, the lack of think tank and conservative media support, the Candy Crowley moment in the second debate…. none of that’s really about issues, but several of those may have been decisive.  There are many Presidential elections where the country votes on the basis of matters other than policy. 2004 is another example; Kerry wasn’t able to keep the rabid parts of the left from making Bush look good. See also Nixon, Nixon again, Walker in the recall and re-election, or Lindsey Graham’s success at marginalizing primary opponents.

    If Bevin goes down here in Kentucky, it won’t be for the reasons he deserves to lose. It’ll be because of some tax liens, because Conway’s been successful at persuading people that he’s pro-coal, not really accurately, because of a third party problem, and such.

    Wilson was re-elected, but Wilson’s second term saw electoral support shift to the most radically conservative government America has seen.

    • #151
  2. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Robert McReynolds:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    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?

    By this same standard would you rather have the education system of today vs the 50s?

    Today. By a huge margin. In 1950, 34% of the population 25 and older had completed 4 years of High School. We’re now up to an 81% graduation rate. We have school choice, and home schoolers have serious resources to support them.

    Higher ed has expanded even faster. This means that dumber people are graduating, so the average graduate is less impressive, but if you want the sort of education that Americans got in the 1950s, heavy on rote learning and 19th century theory, you can get it today in India. The beneficiaries of that system aspire to hit a tenth of the average American income in a long time.

    There are areas where education has fallen behind (the awesomeness of the Founding Fathers, or the ability to list off the counties in one’s state along with their capitals), but American’s ability to command high wages in international labor markets is primarily due to the fantastic successes of American education. It is a problem that civics isn’t taught well enough and that religion is particularly poorly taught, but  I’d much rather have a powerful and prosperous America than one where the schools did the job of the churches more effectively.

    Even in terms of civics, there’s positive shifts. The segregated schools of 1950 encouraged genuinely problematic approaches to race, of the kind that Republicans and conservatives have generally opposed. The awfulness of racial abuse in the south was followed by the awfulness of forced bussing. Today we still have regrettable integration policies, but they’re far less bad than the 1970s, and we still have racism, but it’s in a different league to the Jim Crow era.

    The regulation on private property of today or the 50s?

    I like the modern takings clause protecting us from regulatory takings. It used to be the case that the government could make your property worthless and not give you a dime. I’ve already covered Jim Crow, but it applies here, too. We don’t have price controls or nationalization as nearly as large political issues today.

    Obviously, if you’re talking about micro regulation, then yes, the government does more of it, an often absurdly, but in the 1950s, unions did more of it, and their regulation was not just absurd, but often corrupt and accompanied by violence.

    The Federal budget of today or the 50s?

    It’s true that the 1964 election was a disaster. Just about every other election has been positive, though. We spend a lot more on social security, despite increasing the retirement age, because we live longer. We spend more on government medicine than we did when Medicare was new partly for that reason and partly for the same reason that private healthcare is so massively more expensive than it was in 1950; there’s just an enormous amount that medicine can do today. In 1950, throwing money at medical problems didn’t help so much and Americans didn’t have nearly as much money to throw anyway. Now things that were uncurable are curable, things that were undetectable can be searched for with tests, organs that fail are replaceable, and the comfort and general pleasantness of hospitals is astonishing, with many patients getting private rooms with televisions and decent food.

    Or the culture of today (think twerking) or of the 50s?

    Well, again, Jim Crow. I’m not sure how many lynchings one needs to offset the ugliness of modern dance. In terms of lyrics and such, blues dancing is my chief non-Ricochet hobby, and I’m often surprised by how awfully bleak the lyrics used to be; I think modern rap may be a mild improvement on 1950s blues, although cheap sex, drugs, domestic and same sex violence play prominent roles in both. I prefer modern TV and film to the 1950s, but I can see that that is subjective.

    The culture today produces a lot less crime. Whether one thinks that the treatment of women or gays was better in 1950 or today is obviously subjective, but I think I prefer today’s. If you read the feminism of the 1950s, you can see why feminism was able to create a movement of popular revolution in a way that it isn’t really able to do today. The Equal Rights Amendment’s threat of government assessed salaries for every job is a thing of the past in part because the harm was addressed by the market.

    Where the Left has won–and swept the field I might add–are areas that will soon make it impossible to keep tax rates from being what they were in the 70s, crime rates from being what they were in the 70s, and a court filled with folks much worse than what the Warren Court could have hoped of being.

    If we win this election, the Court should move yet further to the right. In part because of conservative institution building, particularly the Federalist Society, Reagan appointed better judges than Ford, Bush did better than Reagan, and 43 did better than 41. If Ginsburg and/ or Kennedy are replaced by a Republican, we’ll have a Court that sees conservatives in the majority in the overwhelming bulk of decisions.

    If we pass the Ryan Plan, we’ll never have a need for 1970s tax rates (indeed, they were on the wrong side of the Laffer curve and are unpopular, so there are no circumstances when they would ever be needed).

    Crime rates might climb in the future (and it seems likely that they will over the next few years), but it seems more likely to me that they will continue to fall in the long term as we continue to improve at reducing recidivism, at surveillance, and at self defense. Why would you think that they would go up to the levels of the 1970s?

    • #152
  3. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Duane Oyen: and then made himself as likable and useful in the Senate as the Spanish Flu of 1919.

    And with the mood of the electorate right now — is this a bad thing? I love that he called out McConnell about lying AND did it from the senate floor. That takes guts and it says to me that he does not respect the way that things are done in Congress. I don’t either — something’s wrong.

    • #153
  4. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England: [From 23, regarding Cruz]

    He says in his book that his attacking his own party schtick is something he adopted after discovering that it polls well. This is consistent with his behavior before and after the discovery.

    James, you tend to grasp at straws when you go after people you don’t like. This is truly pathetic. What politician would do other wise? Do you think he wasn’t inclined to go after the party leaders?

    Yes. Look at his career up to that point and you will find it exceptionally establishment friendly.

    (Notice that you said “his own party” and I say party leaders — this is important.)

    I agree that this is a non-trivial difference, but you are wrong to suggest that Cruz restricts his attacks to the leadership.

    Are there any Republicans who have attacked Cruz? Using your formulation, since Cruz is in the party, he is “attacking his own party.”

    Attacking Cruz doesn’t have a lot of general spillover into the party, since Cruz’s brand isn’t particularly attached to many other candidates. It is an attack on party unity, but it’s not really an attack on the party. Obviously, the direct damage is minimal; Cruz’s seat is entirely safe from Democrats.

    And that’s comparing Cruz’s least evil form of target selection; his attacks against specific individuals. Worse is when he attacks guys in the leadership generally, which include some people in vulnerable seats. and damages the party more generally. Worst of all (in political terms; using the victims of genocide to score cheap political points might be worse morally) are his attacks on Republicans in general.

    Your Cruz Derangement Syndrome is going to be fun to watch this go around.

    Since you were happy to defend King of Bain, it doesn’t surprise me that you’re happy to defend the guy who turned on free markets when Breitbart opposed them. I’ll keep going in my “deranged” preferences.

    Surely, you must regret your support of Romney by now. This election season so far has gone much more in the Newt direction than in the tentative (except against Republicans) Romney way of doing things. It never occurred to me that you would not feel chastened by Romney’s timidity. Newt and Cruz are not timid — and since, in my analysis, that is the first and most important problem that needs fixing at this point — these guys will fight. You might not like who they fight but surely you can admire their courage, especially with respect to Romney’s complete collapse.

    • #154
  5. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler: There is simply no doubt that had Bush defended himself, too, it would have made a difference — but in a country that truly represents the people he wouldn’t have had to — the media and the responsible Dems (there used to be some) would have not trafficked in this and cause our troops to get killed.

    I agree that it would certainly have made a difference if Bush had focused more on relitigating 2003, but I’m not sure that the difference would have been positive.

    Bush’s achievement in getting the Democrats who were elected primarily on a withdrawing troops from Iraq platform to vote to increase funding for troops in Iraq was one of the great political achievements of the modern age. It was necessary to victory. It was also necessary that his successor did not immediately withdraw, which aim Bush also achieved.

    If Bush had focused on relitigating 2003, he could easily have failed to turn funding the surge into a matter sufficiently bipartisan to get a decisive number of Democratic votes and to get Obama’s tepid, but sufficient, support. That would have led Iraq to fail in substance, which would not have improved the public assessment in perception.

    No, not re-litigating after too much time has gone by — but defense of himself at the time when Kerry and Clinton lied about him lying. That was unforgivable — to the party’s image and to the war on terror.

    • #155
  6. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England:

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England: [From 23, regarding Cruz]

    He says in his book that his attacking his own party schtick is something he adopted after discovering that it polls well. This is consistent with his behavior before and after the discovery.

    James, you tend to grasp at straws when you go after people you don’t like. This is truly pathetic. What politician would do other wise? Do you think he wasn’t inclined to go after the party leaders?

    Yes. Look at his career up to that point and you will find it exceptionally establishment friendly.

    (Notice that you said “his own party” and I say party leaders — this is important.)

    I agree that this is a non-trivial difference, but you are wrong to suggest that Cruz restricts his attacks to the leadership.

    Are there any Republicans who have attacked Cruz? Using your formulation, since Cruz is in the party, he is “attacking his own party.”

    Attacking Cruz doesn’t have a lot of general spillover into the party, since Cruz’s brand isn’t particularly attached to many other candidates. It is an attack on party unity, but it’s not really an attack on the party. Obviously, the direct damage is minimal; Cruz’s seat is entirely safe from Democrats.

    And that’s comparing Cruz’s least evil form of target selection; his attacks against specific individuals. Worse is when he attacks guys in the leadership generally, which include some people in vulnerable seats. and damages the party more generally. Worst of all (in political terms; using the victims of genocide to score cheap political points might be worse morally) are his attacks on Republicans in general.

    Your Cruz Derangement Syndrome is going to be fun to watch this go around.

    Since you were happy to defend King of Bain, it doesn’t surprise me that you’re happy to defend the guy who turned on free markets when Breitbart opposed them. I’ll keep going in my “deranged” preferences.

    Surely, you must regret your support of Romney by now. This election season so far has gone much more in the Newt direction than in the tentative (except against Republicans) Romney way of doing things. It never occurred to me that you would not feel chastened by Romney’s timidity. Newt and Cruz are not timid — and since, in my analysis, that is the first and most important problem that needs fixing at this point — these guys will fight. You might not like who they fight but surely you can admire their courage, especially with respect to Romney’s complete collapse.

    Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    As for “Newt the Fighter,”  am I the only one who remembers him rolling over for Bill Clinton to have his belly rubbed during their 1995 town hall?

    • #156
  7. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England:

    …It never occurred to me that you would not feel chastened by Romney’s timidity. Newt and Cruz are not timid — and since, in my analysis, that is the first and most important problem that needs fixing at this point — these guys will fight.

    Just because timidity is a problem doesn’t mean that all types of non-timidity are better. Even when timidity is bad, there can be types of non-timidity that are worse. (I learned this from personal experience, having occasionally tried overcoming shyness in utterly disastrous ways – not all boldness is good boldness.)

    I disagree with James on the usefulness of Cruz’s non-timidity – I see it as much more helpful than James does, and don’t really understand James’s impulse to treat Cruz as one of Satan’s minions.

    Nonetheless, I would agree with James that not all forms non-timidity are superior to timidity. It’s one reason I haven’t been a big Trump supporter: I perceive Trump as bold, sure, but not in a helpful way. “At least he fights” is not an argument for anyone, since one can fight for bad things, or pick the battles one fights very unwisely.

    • #157
  8. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu: As for “Newt the Fighter,” am I the only one who remember him rolling over for Bill Clinton to have his belly rubbed during their 1995 town hall?

    Reagan did a lot of this but only Newt doing it is considered bad by the media and some Republicans.

    • #158
  9. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu: Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    I’m on record as saying that Newt would have lost, too. I didn’t think either one could beat Obama. But, for the long run (in Goldwater ’64 terms) he could have better laid the stage for the long slog against the entrenched left and the GOP timid ones. Romney made things worse because we looked weak and vacillating and the media got the idea that they could roll us — and they were (and are) right. We simply won’t fight at their level. It’s much like the early days of spying — “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” — well, we are not dealing with gentlemen and anyway we don’t care because we are in big trouble — even though James lauds everything as being peachy with his happy talk.

    • #159
  10. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: As for “Newt the Fighter,” am I the only one who remember him rolling over for Bill Clinton to have his belly rubbed during their 1995 town hall?

    Reagan did a lot of this but only Newt doing it is considered bad by the media and some Republicans.

    He did?  When?

    • #160
  11. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    I’m on record as saying that Newt would have lost, too. I didn’t think either one could beat Obama. But, for the long run (in Goldwater ’64 terms) he could have better laid the stage for the long slog against the entrenched left and the GOP timid ones. Romney made things worse because we looked weak and vacillating and the media got the idea that they could roll us — and they were (and are) right. We simply won’t fight at their level. It’s much like the early days of spying — “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” — well, we are not dealing with gentlemen and anyway we don’t care because we are in big trouble — even though James lauds everything as being peachy with his happy talk.

    We must remember Newt’s tenure as Speaker very differently.  He was regularly rolled by the media.

    • #161
  12. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: As for “Newt the Fighter,” am I the only one who remember him rolling over for Bill Clinton to have his belly rubbed during their 1995 town hall?

    Reagan did a lot of this but only Newt doing it is considered bad by the media and some Republicans.

    He did? When?

    Hanging out with Tip O’Neill, telling jokes and schmoozing. I don’t consider this bad but it is part of the job. Newt’s coming to power was a bigger surprise to the media than Reagan’s election was. Newt was on a roll. I don’t have perfection as a standard. Newt did more good for the party than any other Republican since Reagan.

    • #162
  13. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    I’m on record as saying that Newt would have lost, too. I didn’t think either one could beat Obama. But, for the long run (in Goldwater ’64 terms) he could have better laid the stage for the long slog against the entrenched left and the GOP timid ones. Romney made things worse because we looked weak and vacillating and the media got the idea that they could roll us — and they were (and are) right. We simply won’t fight at their level. It’s much like the early days of spying — “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” — well, we are not dealing with gentlemen and anyway we don’t care because we are in big trouble — even though James lauds everything as being peachy with his happy talk.

    We must remember Newt’s tenure as Speaker very differently. He was regularly rolled by the media.

    In these terms, what you mean is that he got Borked — just like Clarence Thomas. The victim is blamed in your mind, evidently.

    • #163
  14. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: As for “Newt the Fighter,” am I the only one who remember him rolling over for Bill Clinton to have his belly rubbed during their 1995 town hall?

    Reagan did a lot of this but only Newt doing it is considered bad by the media and some Republicans.

    He did? When?

    Hanging out with Tip O’Neill, telling jokes and schmoozing. I don’t consider this bad but it is part of the job. Newt’s coming to power was a bigger surprise to the media than Reagan’s election was. Newt was on a roll. I don’t have perfection as a standard. Newt did more good for the party than any other Republican since Reagan.

    Hanging out is different than being subservient.  Newt rolled over for Clinton, never saw Reagan do that for Tip.

    • #164
  15. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    I’m on record as saying that Newt would have lost, too. I didn’t think either one could beat Obama. But, for the long run (in Goldwater ’64 terms) he could have better laid the stage for the long slog against the entrenched left and the GOP timid ones. Romney made things worse because we looked weak and vacillating and the media got the idea that they could roll us — and they were (and are) right. We simply won’t fight at their level. It’s much like the early days of spying — “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” — well, we are not dealing with gentlemen and anyway we don’t care because we are in big trouble — even though James lauds everything as being peachy with his happy talk.

    We must remember Newt’s tenure as Speaker very differently. He was regularly rolled by the media.

    In these terms, what you mean is that he got Borked — just like Clarence Thomas. The victim is blamed in your mind, evidently.

    If your standard is ‘getting rolled by the media,’ who gets blamed for it is hardly relevant.

    • #165
  16. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    James Of England:

    James,

    Jim Crowe not withstanding are we really going to say that 70% teenage pregnancy, 50% abortion rate in many cities, and roughly 60% insufficient reading level is better for blacks because they get to eat at the same lunch counter as I do? It’s a fine line I know because you are absolutely correct, segregation is/was an evil thing, particularly the state variety (schools and public transit for instance). But if you look at the above numbers it is also impossible to conclude that today’s culture is any better for blacks than the culture of 1950s.

    Regulation. I don’t know the ins and outs of what regulation was like in the 50s. Perhaps I should look into it. What I do know is that private property rights in this country as of today are hanging on by a thread. That thread might not be frayed, but it is still a thread as opposed to a rope or a cable. The EPA comes up with all sorts of ways to regulate what you can do with your own property and I am not even talking about the evil coal industry. I would bet that the amount of land held by the Federal Government today dwarfs what it did in the 50s.

    Con’t.

    • #166
  17. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Education. Yes we have literacy rates that are through the roof today…so long as you are talking about up to a fourth grade level. The 2015 NAEP Report Card is out and it isn’t pretty. And then you tie in that in California we are sponging American History of relevant events in the hopes that they can tell the kids how many great things were done by homosexuals. Or you look at New York City which wants to teach sex ed to 1st graders. Or come to my state of Maryland where you are now required to be taught about climate change in order to graduate high school (I will let you guess how that subject is going to be taught by the way). So you want to say that the children of today are any more intelligent than the kids of the 50s? They might be able to use computers and work a share drive, but that is hardly a measuring stick for intelligence or critical thinking in my view.

    So yeah, I think I would be more than willing to try to make my way in the culture of the 50s than the culture that we have now. I certainly would love to raise my son in the culture of the 50s than in today’s culture.

    • #167
  18. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Robert McReynolds: Education. Yes we have literacy rates that are through the roof today…so long as you are talking about up to a fourth grade level. The 2015 NAEP Report Card is out and it isn’t pretty.

    You don’t have to look at test scores in isolation, either. That post comparing the quality of presidential debates is relevant.

    That said, as a side-note, it has to be noted that in historical terms near-universal literacy at what we regard as a fourth-grade level is a huge accomplishment. But having done that, what we’re doing now isn’t working.

    • #168
  19. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    I’m on record as saying that Newt would have lost, too. I didn’t think either one could beat Obama. But, for the long run (in Goldwater ’64 terms) he could have better laid the stage for the long slog against the entrenched left and the GOP timid ones. Romney made things worse because we looked weak and vacillating and the media got the idea that they could roll us — and they were (and are) right. We simply won’t fight at their level. It’s much like the early days of spying — “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” — well, we are not dealing with gentlemen and anyway we don’t care because we are in big trouble — even though James lauds everything as being peachy with his happy talk.

    We must remember Newt’s tenure as Speaker very differently. He was regularly rolled by the media.

    In these terms, what you mean is that he got Borked — just like Clarence Thomas. The victim is blamed in your mind, evidently.

    You are using rolled — I am talking about being attacked. Big difference. Look at what Borking means. Look at what Thomas went through. At least with Newt he got to fight back and did quite often. But, the timid Republicans eventually learned they could curry favor with the media (much like abused children do with each other) by going against Newt and agreeing with the media on how bad he was. Eventually, Republicans and others on the right started repeating the media narratives about Newt.

    Reagan got a lot of the same treatment: amiable dunce, out of touch lightweight, he didn’t win the cold war, he was a war monger, slept through meetings, didn’t know who people in his cabinet were, Ray-gun, star wars instead of SDI, etc.

    But, Reagan handled the media very differently. He didn’t attack them directly. But, they are much more vicious now and especially after the Dems lost the south in 1994. Also, they lost the Cold War along with the Soviets.

    • #169
  20. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Leigh:

    Robert McReynolds: Education. Yes we have literacy rates that are through the roof today…so long as you are talking about up to a fourth grade level. The 2015 NAEP Report Card is out and it isn’t pretty.

    You don’t have to look at test scores in isolation, either. That post comparing the quality of presidential debates is relevant.

    That said, as a side-note, it has to be noted that in historical terms near-universal literacy at what we regard as a fourth-grade level is a huge accomplishment. But having done that, what we’re doing now isn’t working.

    Let’s not forget about defining deviancy down:

    Defining Deviancy Down (DDD) was an expression coined by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1993. Moynihan based his phrase on the theory of Emile Durkheim that there is a limit to the bad behavior that a society can tolerate before it has to start lowering its standards.

    • #170
  21. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: Other than his losing (which Newt would have as well, and worse), what is regrettable about having supported Romney?

    I’m on record as saying that Newt would have lost, too. I didn’t think either one could beat Obama. But, for the long run (in Goldwater ’64 terms) he could have better laid the stage for the long slog against the entrenched left and the GOP timid ones. Romney made things worse because we looked weak and vacillating and the media got the idea that they could roll us — and they were (and are) right. We simply won’t fight at their level. It’s much like the early days of spying — “gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail” — well, we are not dealing with gentlemen and anyway we don’t care because we are in big trouble — even though James lauds everything as being peachy with his happy talk.

    We must remember Newt’s tenure as Speaker very differently. He was regularly rolled by the media.

    In these terms, what you mean is that he got Borked — just like Clarence Thomas. The victim is blamed in your mind, evidently.

    You are using rolled — I am talking about being attacked. Big difference. Look at what Borking means. Look at what Thomas went through. At least with Newt he got to fight back and did quite often. But, the timid Republicans eventually learned they could curry favor with the media (much like abused children do with each other) by going against Newt and agreeing with the media on how bad he was. Eventually, Republicans and others on the right started repeating the media narratives about Newt.

    Reagan got a lot of the same treatment: amiable dunce, out of touch lightweight, he didn’t win the cold war, he was a war monger, slept through meetings, didn’t know who people in his cabinet were, Ray-gun, star wars instead of SDI, etc.

    But, Reagan handled the media very differently. He didn’t attack them directly. But, they are much more vicious now and especially after the Dems lost the south in 1994. Also, they lost the Cold War along with the Soviets.

    I’m using rolled to mean the media narrative took root and became popularly accepted.  That never happened with Reagan, it did with Newt (regardless of whether he fought back) and Romney.

    When you go down swinging, you are just as out as the guy who didn’t.

    • #171
  22. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Larry Koler: Surely, you must regret your support of Romney by now. This election season so far has gone much more in the Newt direction than in the tentative (except against Republicans) Romney way of doing things. It never occurred to me that you would not feel chastened by Romney’s timidity. Newt and Cruz are not timid — and since, in my analysis, that is the first and most important problem that needs fixing at this point — these guys will fight. You might not like who they fight but surely you can admire their courage, especially with respect to Romney’s complete collapse.

    I agree that Newt is not timid, although I don’t think that Romney is, either.

    I think that Cruz is more craven than any other politician I’m familiar with. The trade flip flop stands out as particularly contemptible.

    I’ve never seen Cruz fight. Not for anything of substance. I’ve seen him fundraise off issues, and I’ve seen him claim to fight (at least once in every speech) but I don’t know of a single issue in which he’s made even a modest difference. There may be an exception for his tussling with the media, in which the Venn diagram of “fighting” and “fundraising” overlaps, but that’s process, not substance.

    Klaatu:

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu: As for “Newt the Fighter,” am I the only one who remember him rolling over for Bill Clinton to have his belly rubbed during their 1995 town hall?

    Reagan did a lot of this but only Newt doing it is considered bad by the media and some Republicans.

    He did? When?

    The Brady Bill is the only time I remember his supporting Clinton on a liberal issue.

    I don’t think that Larry is wrong to say that Reagan had his heterodox moments. I do think that he’s wrong to say that people don’t criticize Reagan for them and he’s wrong to imply an equivalence. Reagan made some poor choices, but none were on the scale of his great choices. Reagan is great not because he lacked heterodoxy, but because of his enormous orthodox accomplishment.

    There are many Newt like figures on the right in terms of policy excitability (McCain was, Ron Paul, in some ways, Jesse Helms, etc.) They all get flack for their missteps.

    • #172
  23. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    James Of England: The Brady Bill is the only time I remember his supporting Clinton on a liberal issue.

    I don’t think that Larry is wrong to say that Reagan had his heterodox moments. I do think that he’s wrong to say that people don’t criticize Reagan for them and he’s wrong to imply an equivalence. Reagan made some poor choices, but none were on the scale of his great choices. Reagan is great not because he lacked heterodoxy, but because of his enormous orthodox accomplishment.

    There are many Newt like figures on the right in terms of policy excitability (McCain was, Ron Paul, in some ways, Jesse Helms, etc.) They all get flack for their missteps.

    I was not speaking of Newt supporting Clinton on a policy matter but rather his unwillingness to engage Clinton, that is fight, during their town hall appearance.  Nothing in Reagan’s relationship with Tip O’Neil was comparable.

    • #173
  24. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    James Of England:

    He did? When?

    The Brady Bill is the only time I remember his supporting Clinton on a liberal issue.

    I don’t think that Larry is wrong to say that Reagan had his heterodox moments. I do think that he’s wrong to say that people don’t criticize Reagan for them and he’s wrong to imply an equivalence. Reagan made some poor choices, but none were on the scale of his great choices. Reagan is great not because he lacked heterodoxy, but because of his enormous orthodox accomplishment.

    There are many Newt like figures on the right in terms of policy excitability (McCain was, Ron Paul, in some ways, Jesse Helms, etc.) They all get flack for their missteps.

    Who flipped the South? Who thought it could be done when others thought he was nuts? Who angered Republicans when he proved them to be dead wrong — and that they had been for decades? Who brought the Republicans into power in the congress for an extended period? Who brought us the first surpluses in decades? Who brought us welfare reform? Who schmoozed Clinton and the Dems in Congress into not fighting him but to put out bi-partisan legislation?

    Who fought the media when every single stupid consultant and many people on this site say it shouldn’t be done? Who showed Romney to be a fighter of Republicans but who COMPLETELY wimped out in the general election? Romney followed the old line Republican loser strategy. Trump and Cruz and Rubio are finally learning what Newt has known all his political career — that the media and the Democratic Party are in cahoots and are destroying this country. (Sorry, James I don’t buy your happy talk about this country.)

    Newt was heterodox only in his correctly identifying the problems in the Republican Party — that’s your heterodoxy. He went to work and changed this country’s federal government. He was orthodox in that — just like Reagan and he had to fight the same forces to do it. Just like Trump and Cruz and Rubio and Carson and Fiorina are having to do now.

    Romney’s influence on the party — on the other hand — is nil. It’s like a splash in a pond with ripples that are not even evident now. But, there is a memory for some of us who were so disgusted with his cowardice. That anger for his amateur naivete is still with us.

    • #174
  25. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Klaatu:

    James Of England: The Brady Bill is the only time I remember his supporting Clinton on a liberal issue.

    I don’t think that Larry is wrong to say that Reagan had his heterodox moments. I do think that he’s wrong to say that people don’t criticize Reagan for them and he’s wrong to imply an equivalence. Reagan made some poor choices, but none were on the scale of his great choices. Reagan is great not because he lacked heterodoxy, but because of his enormous orthodox accomplishment.

    There are many Newt like figures on the right in terms of policy excitability (McCain was, Ron Paul, in some ways, Jesse Helms, etc.) They all get flack for their missteps.

    I was not speaking of Newt supporting Clinton on a policy matter but rather his unwillingness to engage Clinton, that is fight, during their town hall appearance. Nothing in Reagan’s relationship with Tip O’Neil was comparable.

    One appearance and you write him off? Newt fought Clinton and won big time. Reagan would go into meetings with Tip and be lied to. Tip wouldn’t back up Reagan on the issues discussed in the meetings. Never forget what a debacle that TEFRA was and how Reagan was rolled on that and immigration. I don’t denigrate Reagan for these failures because the good always outweighed the bad AND I don’t have perfection as my standard for politicians. These are all natural things to happen in the world that these politicians inhabit. There are tremendous forces at work in the halls of power. Worldwide forces at work.

    • #175
  26. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Larry Koler:

    Klaatu:

    James Of England: The Brady Bill is the only time I remember his supporting Clinton on a liberal issue.

    I don’t think that Larry is wrong to say that Reagan had his heterodox moments. I do think that he’s wrong to say that people don’t criticize Reagan for them and he’s wrong to imply an equivalence. Reagan made some poor choices, but none were on the scale of his great choices. Reagan is great not because he lacked heterodoxy, but because of his enormous orthodox accomplishment.

    There are many Newt like figures on the right in terms of policy excitability (McCain was, Ron Paul, in some ways, Jesse Helms, etc.) They all get flack for their missteps.

    I was not speaking of Newt supporting Clinton on a policy matter but rather his unwillingness to engage Clinton, that is fight, during their town hall appearance. Nothing in Reagan’s relationship with Tip O’Neil was comparable.

    One appearance and you write him off? Newt fought Clinton and won big time. Reagan would go into meetings with Tip and be lied to. Tip wouldn’t back up Reagan on the issues discussed in the meetings. Never forget what a debacle that TEFRA was and how Reagan was rolled on that and immigration. I don’t denigrate Reagan for these failures because the good always outweighed the bad AND I don’t have perfection as my standard for politicians. These are all natural things to happen in the world that these politicians inhabit. There are tremendous forces at work in the halls of power. Worldwide forces at work.

    That one appearance is evidence against your claim Newt is a fighter.  He had the opportunity few, if any other Speakers have had to publicly confront a President of the United States and hold him to account and he wimped out.

    Newt won some against Clinton and lost some.

    • #176
  27. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Larry Koler:

    James Of England:

    He did? When?

    The Brady Bill is the only time I remember his supporting Clinton on a liberal issue.

    I don’t think that Larry is wrong to say that Reagan had his heterodox moments. I do think that he’s wrong to say that people don’t criticize Reagan for them and he’s wrong to imply an equivalence. Reagan made some poor choices, but none were on the scale of his great choices. Reagan is great not because he lacked heterodoxy, but because of his enormous orthodox accomplishment.

    There are many Newt like figures on the right in terms of policy excitability (McCain was, Ron Paul, in some ways, Jesse Helms, etc.) They all get flack for their missteps.

    Who flipped the South?

    Eisenhower.

    Who thought it could be done when others thought he was nuts?

    You know, I’m not sure which people condemned Ike. Do tell.

    Who angered Republicans when he proved them to be dead wrong — and that they had been for decades?

    Oh, lots of terrible people. Talk to any crank in any political context, and they’ll tell you.

    Who brought the Republicans into power in the congress for an extended period?

    Oh, wait, are we talking about Newt? Then, I guess I’m just in disagreement with you about the degree to which he did any of these things.

    Who brought us the first surpluses in decades?

    The surplus in the 1990s was primarily the result of the dot com boom. To the extent that it was a policy success (which is a non-trivial extent), the largest impact came from the 1990 OBRA. The second largest impact came from the 1993 COBRA. The rate of deficit cutting fell when Newt came into power (the deficit still falls faster, but only because those were the terms of the budgets existing when Newt took the speakership). He does pass helpful cuts in 1998, but the impact is dramatically less.

    Who brought us welfare reform?

    Bush again, in conjunction with Thommy Thompson, implemented the test case, which was tremendously successful. So much so, in fact, that Clinton ran in 1992 on “ending welfare as we know it”. Newt didn’t oppose him, but was felt to be a liability throughout the negotiations according to Kaus and others who followed the issue closely.

    Who schmoozed Clinton and the Dems in Congress into not fighting him but to put out bi-partisan legislation?

    It’s certainly true that Newt was into schmoozing Dems and producing bipartisan legislation. I’m slightly confused by your position that this is a positive thing, which seems at odds with your general position of Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Who fought the media when every single stupid consultant and many people on this site say it shouldn’t be done?

    Are we still on Newt or is this Roger Ailes? If the latter, then I fully agree that he and Murdoch were (are) very impressive, and should be appreciated.

    Who showed Romney to be a fighter of Republicans but who COMPLETELY wimped out in the general election?

    I’m not sure of the grammar of this sentence, but I’m pretty sure that my eye rolling response is appropriate. If I thought that you were suggesting that Newt showed Romney how to be a fighter of Republicans and then Newt completely (but in a code of conduct compliant non-use of all caps) wimped out in the general, I would see your point.

    Romney followed the old line Republican loser strategy.

    Is that different from the old line Republican winner strategy? We win sometimes, right?

    Trump and Cruz and Rubio are finally learning what Newt has known all his political career — that the media and the Democratic Party are in cahoots and are destroying this country. (Sorry, James I don’t buy your happy talk about this country.)

    I’m not sure I understand. Do you think that Trump, Cruz, and Rubio didn’t know until recently that the media are closely tied with the Democratic party? Why would you think that?

    Newt was heterodox only in his correctly identifying the problems in the Republican Party — that’s your heterodoxy.

    Newt was heterodox in his prolific desires for government programs, his attacks on capitalism, his belief that his personal morality didn’t matter so long as he lied about it, his understanding of how important it was that the Speaker got a good Air Force One seat, and many other issues.

    He went to work and changed this country’s federal government.

    Sure. I’m not claiming that his introduction of HIPPA and such were unimportant.

    He was orthodox in that — just like Reagan and he had to fight the same forces to do it.

    Like, the media? I mean, sure. Everyone does. Reagan was more clearly supportive of his party, though. There was no “cannibals” moment with Reagan, in part because the Gipper had a sense of personal decency, humility, and charm that allowed him to work with others.

    Just like Trump and Cruz and Rubio and Carson and Fiorina are having to do now.

    So, “the media”? Or other issues?

    Romney’s influence on the party — on the other hand — is nil. It’s like a splash in a pond with ripples that are not even evident now.

    Romney’s a significant part of the reason that the party is as clearly behind social security reform as it is, and he helped get some of them elected. It’s true that Romney didn’t hold as prominent a job as Newt, though.

    But, there is a memory for some of us who were so disgusted with his cowardice. That anger for his amateur naivete is still with us.

    I think his cowardice was a figment of angry people’s imagination, and that a Newt fan referring to Romney’s amateurism is slightly astonishing. It’s true that there are people who object to Romney, and that this is somewhat important to understanding the party.

    The creation of compassionate conservatism in an effort to detoxify the party after Newt seems like a bigger backlash, though. Newt’s leaving in shame, each of the times he’s had to do it, has always been amply supported by motivation.

    • #177
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