Conservative (In)Competence

 

“Can’t anybody here play this game?” – Jimmy Breslin

Conservatives have been treated to serial disappointments of late, and while the left deserves to shoulder a lot of the blame, some of our recent wounds were self-inflicted.

First, I sympathize with Parler to a certain extent because what Amazon has done to them is somewhat unprecedented. There are, of course, competing views as to whether Amazon telegraphed their intentions far in advance of their final decision to bump Parler off their infrastructure. But whether they did or not, and even though what they have done is a little unprecedented for them, their actions were far from unforeseeable by anyone with a modicum of imagination.

Given the ferment within the tech market over censorship, Parler should have had a detailed plan locked and loaded long, long ago. The lack of an executable disaster plan is on Parler. As painful as it might be to admit, Parler has just been outplayed by the tech lords and there was nothing foreordained about that outcome.

But I have also come to view Parler’s failure in this regard as a mirror image of what happened to Republicans in the recent election.

It’s highly likely, in my view, that the election was stolen. That the left was going to try to steal the election was as plain as the noses on our collective faces. But the decision by Republicans, not to go to DEFCON 1 until after the election, reflects a rather breathtaking incompetence on their part. Mounting widespread challenges to the rules of the game only after the game has been played is just, well, dumb.

Both Parler and the Republicans (people don’t call them “the stupid party” for nothing) have demonstrated a lack of shrewdness and foresight that have ill-served both their constituents and the country at large.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I don’t think they play to win. They are a far cry from the radicals Lincoln delt with 

    • #1
  2. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    They should have known when they changed the election laws in the swing states (because COVID?) and dug in right then and there. They should have had some legal muscle in place in the big cities where poll watchers were given the bum’s rush. This is nothing new. The state courts were unhelpful, but they had time enough to work around this.

    • #2
  3. ape2ag Member
    ape2ag
    @ape2ag

    Trump called out the vote rigging before the election, but he didn’t really do anything about it. The rest of the Republican Party didn’t even say anything.

    • #3
  4. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    We do not know how to deal with totalitarians in our midst, which, by the way, includes the Chinese. We better figure it out quickly or it’s over. 

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think Parler made a logical choice to not worry about getting kicked off of Amazon Web Services. First, there’s so much competition in the cloud server marketplace. They would have assumed that the big tech companies would not have moved against them in concert and as suddenly as they did. Second, they would have assumed that the Big Tech companies would not move against them based on the political opinions that Parler’s members expressed. That’s discrimination, and I hope Parler sues AWS dramatically, I hope they win, and I hope the incident becomes an object lesson for big businesses.

    As for the Republican Party, to view them through the lens that we view a business organization will give us an inaccurate picture and a false set of expectations. Political parties in the United States are largely volunteer organizations that depend entirely on the largesse of their donors.

    That is a good thing for our country. It gives the party flexibility to enable it to respond to current events, and that is an adaptability that businesses and governments envy. It can function at a four-year excitement and mobilization pace, or a month-to-month pace to respond to government intrusions into our daily life.

    The Republican Party is there when we need it, and it goes away when we don’t. And its doors are always open.

    It does mean, however, that there’s no store manager to complain to. That’s a good thing because whenever people show up to complain, they are greeted with a smile and a “It’s nice to meet you. We’ll be glad for the help.” :-)

    The party will be shaped and reshaped and reshaped again by volunteers at the local level.

    • #5
  6. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think Parler made a logical choice to not worry about getting kicked off of Amazon Web Services. First, there’s so much competition in the cloud server marketplace. They would have assumed that the big tech companies would not have moved against them in concert and as suddenly as they did. Second, they would have assumed that the Big Tech companies would not move against them based on the political opinions that Parler’s members expressed. That’s discrimination, and I hope Parler sues AWS dramatically, I hope they win, and I hope the incident becomes an object lesson for big businesses.

    As for the Republican Party, to view them through the lens that we view a business organization will give us an inaccurate picture and a false set of expectations. Political parties in the United States are largely volunteer organizations that depend entirely on the largesse of their donors.

    That is a good thing for our country. It gives the party flexibility to enable it to respond to current events, and that is an adaptability that businesses and governments envy. It can function at a four-year excitement and mobilization pace, or a month-to-month pace to respond to government intrusions into our daily life.

    The Republican Party is there when we need it, and it goes away when we don’t. And its doors are always open.

    It does mean, however, that there’s no store manager to complain to. That’s a good thing because whenever people show up to complain, they are greeted with a smile and a “It’s nice to meet you. We’ll be glad for the help.” :-)

    The party will be shaped and reshaped and reshaped again by volunteers, people we generally simply say “thank you” to.

    The problem is that there is not operational institutional memory and you’re constantly reinventing the wheel.

    • #6
  7. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Hang On (View Comment):
    The problem is that there is not operational institutional memory and you’re constantly reinventing the wheel.

    True. :-)

    Although I am upset, angry beyond my ability to express in words, and heartbroken that the Trump chapter ended this way, and although I was prepared to never vote for another Republican again, I must say that I really like DeSantis, and if he is the candidate in 2024, I will be thrilled, and I will be volunteering my time and donating my money to getting him elected. :-) 

    • #7
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):
    The problem is that there is not operational institutional memory and you’re constantly reinventing the wheel.

    True. :-)

    Although I am upset, angry beyond my ability to express in words, and heartbroken that the Trump chapter ended this way, and although I was prepared to never vote for another Republican again, I must say that I really like DeSantis, and if he is the candidate in 2024, I will be thrilled, and I will be volunteering my time and donating my money to getting him elected. :-)

    I really like him as well. In general, governors to be successful have to know how things should run and attract the talent of those who can do the nuts and bolts of running things.

    • #8
  9. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    duplicate

    • #9
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    I expect for Parler they expected Amazon, Google and Apple to abide by their contracts. I have seen such contracts for companies I work with. There is no such thing as 24 hour disengagement clauses. Most are at least 30 day to 6 month or year disengagement. These guys have really hurt their credibility as infrastructure hosts.
    so who is next? Shall Netflix go because of their content? I am sure we can find plenty of hateful content there.

    the problem has been that the conservatives play by the rules against a group that sees rules as optional or even bad and need ignoring. Until conservatives play by the same smash mouth game they will lose.

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Shall Netflix go because of their content? I am sure we can find plenty of hateful content there.

    Good point. This could get really funny over the next few months. :-) 

     

    • #11
  12. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I think Parler did have a backup plan. In a Tucker interview with the CEO he said they had an alternate hosting service lined up, but then they pulled out at last minute due to external and internal pressures. Their payment processor Stripe dropped them and all sorts of other vendors dropped them. Even Parler’s silicon valley lawyers dropped them.

    This is the most coordinated and largest defenestration of a successful business ever. It is not just Big Tech it is all of Silicon Valley and most of corporate America. We are now living in a fascist state. 

    • #12
  13. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    I expect for Parler they expected Amazon, Google and Apple to abide by their contracts. I have seen such contracts for companies I work with.

    In Parler’s defense, Leftists used to say that Parler was a not a free speech alternative, because their code of conduct was *too* strict. It was bad to have all their eggs in the Amazon basket, but the publicity they are getting now is worth more than their company. Should they have anticipated that their lawyers would quit the same day?

    Anyway, the GOP is a little like a circular firing squad, while it tries to find out if it is a minority party that represents the chamber of commerce crowd or if it is a ruling party that supports the economics of the blue-collar workers too.

    • #13
  14. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    The ironic thing is that the only alternative for large scale cloud services right now to Silicon Valley are the Chinese equivalents Alibaba and TenCent. It is likely best for Parler to talk to one of those about their web services. The CCP will have all the users information, but they don’t care about suppressing free speech in America they only care about suppressing free speech in China.

    Internet 1.0 was a libertarian project, what we have learned is that Internet 2.0 is a fascist one.

    • #14
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    The ironic thing is that the only alternative for large scale cloud services right now to Silicon Valley are the Chinese equivalents Alibaba and TenCent. It is likely best for Parler to talk to one of those about their web services. The CCP will have all the users information, but they don’t care about suppressing free speech in America they only care about suppressing free speech in China.

    Internet 1.0 was a libertarian project, what we have learned is that Internet 2.0 is a fascist one.

    I think we are getting to the point that free speech on the internet will have to leave the country. Uncle Sam will not allow disagreements here. It maybe that we all have to leave the country. Maybe we all move to Canada and take it over.

    • #15
  16. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    The ironic thing is that the only alternative for large scale cloud services right now to Silicon Valley are the Chinese equivalents Alibaba and TenCent. It is likely best for Parler to talk to one of those about their web services. The CCP will have all the users information, but they don’t care about suppressing free speech in America they only care about suppressing free speech in China.

    Internet 1.0 was a libertarian project, what we have learned is that Internet 2.0 is a fascist one.

    I think we are getting to the point that free speech on the internet will have to leave the country. Uncle Sam will not allow disagreements here. It maybe that we all have to leave the country. Maybe we all move to Canada and take it over.

    I sometimes wonder about the same thing. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have to come up with something along the lines of the “Pirate Radio” stations of the 1960s. One medium-sized trawler could be home to a pretty good sized server farm…

    • #16
  17. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Political parties in the United States are largely volunteer organizations that depend entirely on the largesse of their donors

    @marcin – You make a legitimate point. And I probably should have been more clear. Who I had in mind was not so much the volunteers as the elected representatives who, state after state, had their pockets picked by their Democrat counterparts where running the election was concerned. I think we exhibited a lack of imagination at first by exhibiting a limited recognition of what was going on. Even those who recognized what was going on and understood it (the Trump campaign?) failed to take pre-election action to lay the necessary strategic legal groundwork.

    • #17
  18. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    The ironic thing is that the only alternative for large scale cloud services right now to Silicon Valley are the Chinese equivalents Alibaba and TenCent. It is likely best for Parler to talk to one of those about their web services. The CCP will have all the users information, but they don’t care about suppressing free speech in America they only care about suppressing free speech in China.

    Internet 1.0 was a libertarian project, what we have learned is that Internet 2.0 is a fascist one.

    I think we are getting to the point that free speech on the internet will have to leave the country. Uncle Sam will not allow disagreements here. It maybe that we all have to leave the country. Maybe we all move to Canada and take it over.

    Maybe Canada and Mexico will be building walls to keep us out.:-)

    • #18
  19. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    The ironic thing is that the only alternative for large scale cloud services right now to Silicon Valley are the Chinese equivalents Alibaba and TenCent. It is likely best for Parler to talk to one of those about their web services. The CCP will have all the users information, but they don’t care about suppressing free speech in America they only care about suppressing free speech in China.

    Internet 1.0 was a libertarian project, what we have learned is that Internet 2.0 is a fascist one.

    Now that just doesn’t feel quite right, but eventually they will have all the information they think they need one way or the other.

    • #19
  20. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I expect for Parler they expected Amazon, Google and Apple to abide by their contracts.

    I expect that Parler thought that to. And it was scandalously naive for them to think so for the reasons you state below.

    the problem has been that the conservatives play by the rules against a group that sees rules as optional or even bad and need ignoring. Until conservatives play by the same smash mouth game they will lose.

    This touches a longstanding sore spot for me. I hardly know where to start in even talking about it. I think many conservatives operate with a superstitious understanding of the left in this way: they think that what we’re involved in is more or less a disagreement about policies and means and the goal is to win the argument and once we do everything will be all right. Many conservatives think that people on the left just need to be made to understand.

    Unfortunately, that is not what is actually going on.

    I see examples of this superstition all the time in my social network of very good friends whom I enjoy and like. They’re forever posting these memes highlighting the latest absurd, logical inconsistency in the positions taken by the left. And all of us who see them dutifully laugh at how ridiculous and illogical the left is. And we’re all made to feel a tiny bit intellectually superior because the left’s position is so illogical and stupid. And we’re right about that.

    But here’s the thing: their illogical absurdity doesn’t matter at all.

    What conservatives need to understand, IMO, is that the left is not operating with a desire to rationalize their various positions or to develop a cohesive intellectual point of view. That’s what conservatives are doing. What the left is doing, by contrast, is doggedly pursuing the acquisition of power. They don’t care about intellectual coherence. They only care if their momentary words or actions in some way contribute toward the accretion of more power. That’s it. That’s the entire measuring stick for them of what they say and do.

    Day in and day out I see examples of this conservative assumption that we’re involved in some kind of rational disagreement with the left. I’ve come to believe it’s a form of psychological projection that blinds us to the fact that they’re no longer actually playing the game we’re playing. The argument will never be won and no amount of facts or information will be sufficient to win the day because the left is not trying to win an argument. They’re trying to amass sufficient power to eliminate the ability of anyone who disagrees with them to make any argument at all.

    (I think I may do a whole post on this since I’m about to run afoul of the 500 word comment limit.)

    • #20
  21. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    “Sundance” at the Conservative Treehouse posted the proposition a while back that Mitch would rather be in the minority (with members loyal to him) than in the majority. If he is the leader of the minority party, the majority party needs to come to him to bargain for votes. That puts him is a position of leverage where he can strike a bargain to benefit himself and those he designates to vote with the majority.

    If he is in the majority, he needs to give something to the other side.

    I’m not sure I fully believe this, but I would certainly be hard-pressed to prove it wrong.

    • #21
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):
    What the left is doing, by contrast, is doggedly pursuing the acquisition of power. They don’t care about intellectual coherence. They only care if their momentary words or actions in some way contribute toward the accretion of more power. That’s it. That’s the entire measuring stick for them of what they say and do.

    I agree completely.

    • #22
  23. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    “Sundance” at the Conservative Treehouse posted the proposition a while back that Mitch would rather be in the minority (with members loyal to him) than in the majority. If he is the leader of the minority party, the majority party needs to come to him to bargain for votes. That puts him is a position of leverage where he can strike a bargain to benefit himself and those he designates to vote with the majority.

    If he is in the majority, he needs to give something to the other side.

    I’m not sure I fully believe this, but I would certainly be hard-pressed to prove it wrong.

    I suspect there is some truth in this.

    • #23
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I expect for Parler they expected Amazon, Google and Apple to abide by their contracts.

    I expect that Parler thought that to. And it was scandalously naive for them to think so for the reasons you state below.

    the problem has been that the conservatives play by the rules against a group that sees rules as optional or even bad and need ignoring. Until conservatives play by the same smash mouth game they will lose.

    This touches a longstanding sore spot for me. I hardly know where to start in even talking about it. I think many conservatives operate with a superstitious understanding of the left in this way: they think that what we’re involved in is more or less a disagreement about policies and means and the goal is to win the argument and once we do everything will be all right. Many conservatives think that people on the left just need to be made to understand.

    Unfortunately, that is not what is actually going on.

    I see examples of this superstition all the time in my social network of very good friends whom I enjoy and like. They’re forever posting these memes highlighting the latest absurd, logical inconsistency in the positions taken by the left. And all of us who see them dutifully laugh at how ridiculous and illogical the left is. And we’re all made to feel a tiny bit intellectually superior because the left’s position is so illogical and stupid. And we’re right about that.

    But here’s the thing: their illogical absurdity doesn’t matter at all.

    What conservatives need to understand, IMO, is that the left is not operating with a desire to rationalize their various positions or to develop a cohesive intellectual point of view. That’s what conservatives are doing. What the left is doing, by contrast, is doggedly pursuing the acquisition of power. They don’t care about intellectual coherence. They only care if their momentary words or actions in some way contribute toward the accretion of more power. That’s it. That’s the entire measuring stick for them of what they say and do.

    Day in and day out I see examples of this conservative assumption that we’re involved in some kind of rational disagreement with the left. I’ve come to believe it’s a form of psychological projection that blinds us to the fact that they’re no longer actually playing the game we’re playing. The argument will never be won and no amount of facts or information will be sufficient to win the day because the left is not trying to win an argument. They’re trying to amass sufficient power to eliminate the ability of anyone who disagrees with them to make any argument at all.

    (I think I may do a whole post on this since I’m about to run afoul of the 500 word comment limit.)

    Even now, National Review has an article up rebuking the FLight 93 article. Something about the losers on the right, led by the Never Trumpers, keeps them from seeing what the LEft is really up to

    • #24
  25. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    The Republican Establishment was never all that concerned about voter fraud, and isn’t concerned about it now. Not because they didn’t think it would happen, but because they didn’t really care.

    The fraud occurs in districts that will elect Democrat Congressman in any case, fraud or not. There might be an effect on Senatorial races, true, but it’s relatively marginal. And I’m not sure Republicans really care about being in the majority; they seem happier in the minority where they can talk big but have excuses for never really stopping the left.

    The big victim of vote fraud would be Donald Trump. So I’m not surprised the GOPe has only gone through the motions of opposing vote fraud.

    • #25
  26. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I expect for Parler they expected Amazon, Google and Apple to abide by their contracts. I have seen such contracts for companies I work with. There is no such thing as 24 hour disengagement clauses. Most are at least 30 day to 6 month or year disengagement. These guys have really hurt their credibility as infrastructure hosts.
    so who is next? Shall Netflix go because of their content? I am sure we can find plenty of hateful content there.

    the problem has been that the conservatives play by the rules against a group that sees rules as optional or even bad and need ignoring. Until conservatives play by the same smash mouth game they will lose.

    And still we have republicans and members who say, “We’re better than that.” Dedicated losers. 

    • #26
  27. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    The difference between the left and right is, as Mark Steyn likes to say, the left is in power and the right is in office.

    The left is willing to take casualties to achieve its goals. Obama rammed through Obamacare knowing it would cost congressional seats. That’s because the point of the left being in office is to advance progressive goals. The goal of most Republican politicians is to win political office. Conservatism is just the brand they sell. So even when they control both branches of Congress and the White House, conservatism isn’t really advanced because Republicans are unwilling to suffer any casualties achieving conservative goals. For the right, being in office is the goal and conservatism is the means. They calibrate conservative initiatives in light of the next election: Just enough conservatism not to alienate the base completely; not so much that it invigorates the center-left. Then run for election on the grounds that the alternative would be worse.

    For the left, furthering progressivism is the goal and being in office is the means.

    • #27
  28. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Keith Lowery: But the decision by Republicans, not to go to DEFCON 1 until after the election, reflects a rather breathtaking incompetence on their part.

    The incompetence was before the election. The DEFCON as you call it should have happened before the election as these states changed the election laws. They should have protested then! After the election was too late. Once the votes were cast, it’s too late. It would then be a huge deal to reject cast votes that were cast under the current rules. Republicans needed to challenge as the rules were being changed and before votes were cast. 

    • #28
  29. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The difference between the left and right is, as Mark Steyn likes to say, the left is in power and the right is in office.

    The left is willing to take casualties to achieve its goals. Obama rammed through Obamacare knowing it would cost congressional seats. That’s because the point of the left being in office is to advance progressive goals. The goal of most Republican politicians is to win political office. Conservatism is just the brand they sell. So even when they control both branches of Congress and the White House, conservatism isn’t really advanced because Republicans are unwilling to suffer any casualties achieving conservative goals. For the right, being in office is the goal and conservatism is the means. They calibrate conservative initiatives in light of the next election: Just enough conservatism not to alienate the base completely; not so much that it invigorates the center-left. Then run for election on the grounds that the alternative would be worse.

    For the left, furthering progressivism is the goal and being in office is the means.

    Truer words have never been spoken regarding the GOPe. 

    • #29
  30. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Django (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I expect for Parler they expected Amazon, Google and Apple to abide by their contracts. I have seen such contracts for companies I work with. There is no such thing as 24 hour disengagement clauses. Most are at least 30 day to 6 month or year disengagement. These guys have really hurt their credibility as infrastructure hosts.
    so who is next? Shall Netflix go because of their content? I am sure we can find plenty of hateful content there.

    the problem has been that the conservatives play by the rules against a group that sees rules as optional or even bad and need ignoring. Until conservatives play by the same smash mouth game they will lose.

    And still we have republicans and members who say, “We’re better than that.” Dedicated losers.

    Reagan did not play “smash mouth” but ended the cold war without firing a shot and conquered inflation with a smile on his face.

    • #30