Do you like good debates about politics and policy? All right, then we’ve got a podcast for you. This week on The Ricochet Podcast, Rob and Peter (Lileks was temporarily banished by the Skype gods) get into a crackling debate on a progressive’s advice to conservatives (thanks, virus cop!). What do you think the great Republican achievements over the past 40 years have been? Tell us in the comments below.

Then, one of the great thinkers of our time –Dr. Thomas Sowell– joins to discuss his new book Intellectuals and Race, whether could Cyprus happen here, and that now infamous RNC post-election report. Finally, our good friend John Yoo stops by to discuss SCOTUS, DOMA, and his quixotic run for the mayor of Oakland, California. 

Music from this week’s show:

Sweet Soul Music by Sam & Dave

EJHill is on a mission from God.

The Ricochet Podcast opening theme was composed and produced by James Lileks

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Members have made 44 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of rosegarden sj dad Member

    Life without Rob

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to this week’s podcast yet but finally got around to *last* week’s (Pat Cadell) podcast and wanted to chime in with this idea:

    * I got to hear more about Peter R’s socon attitudes and James L’s quasi-libertarian ideas (the censorship discussion) than previously. And while I align more with libertarians on these ideas I did sense that Peter R was more unleashed and forthcoming than usual and I appreciated his candor; ditto with James. It was refreshing hearing those two chat it up without the Big Dog in the room (no offense Rob). Great stuff as always!

    • #1
    • March 29, 2013 at 1:13 am
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  2. Profile photo of Astonishing Inactive

    Rob, before you decide conservatives should abandon social issues, and therewith the SoCons themselves, maybe you should test that business model here on Ricochet first.

    (It would be a very short test.)

    But, seriously, the liberal welfare state is not “here to stay.

    The liberal welfare state is unsustainable. It will sputter out or collapse altogether before long. It will end up in the ashheap of history. The real question is, what will replace the liberal welfare state when it dies under its own weight?

    In the meantime, the role of conservatives is keep alive an understanding of, attachment to, and belief in our founding principles so that when the liberal welfare state does collapse under its own weight, its successor will not turn to outright tyranny, but might return to those founding principles.

    Until the day the liberal welfare state collapses under its own weight, social conservatives will still predominate in some states and regions (like Texas), and we might even sometimes win a national election, but only if we actually nominate a conservative presidential candidate (instead of McCains and Romneys).

    • #2
    • March 29, 2013 at 1:53 am
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  3. Profile photo of billy Inactive

    Couldn’t the creation of 401k plan (and other similar measures) be considered a conservative achievement? 

    • #3
    • March 29, 2013 at 2:00 am
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  4. Profile photo of Guruforhire Member

    You can’t pass legislation by expanding the party with people that by stipulation won’t vote for it.

    • #4
    • March 29, 2013 at 2:24 am
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  5. Profile photo of I. raptus Member

    Peter was more feisty than usual. Must’ve been the cold.

    • #5
    • March 29, 2013 at 2:25 am
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  6. Profile photo of Antiphon Inactive

    Peter, denial is not just a river in Egypt. Considering last weeks “Santorum could have won” argument, I’m starting to wonder…Republicans, including Regan, are simply managing the welfare state – as you said Regan was growing the economy to feed it. I can’t seem to refute Rob’s argument. Rand Paul and a bunch of guys have “found their voice”? You better give me something else because we couldn’t “find our voice” with 2010 and the Tea Party, so what other approach is there? Head to the pews?

    • #6
    • March 29, 2013 at 3:04 am
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  7. Profile photo of Bereket Kelile Member

    About what Peter and Rob were arguing about, I think looking at the national picture obscures what’s going on in each state. I’d say that the red states prove that conservative policies work and you can look at how people vote with their feet. You can also look at where the growth in the country is taking place-red states in the South. Just like what’s going on in the GOP, it’s important to define the context.

    • #7
    • March 29, 2013 at 3:11 am
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  8. Profile photo of Viruscop Member
    Antiphon: Peter, denial is not just a river in Egypt. Considering last weeks “Santorum could have won” argument, I’m starting to wonder…Republicans, including Regan, are simply managing the welfare state – as you said Regan was growing the economy to feed it. I can’t seem to refute Rob’s argument. Rand Paul and a bunch of guys have “found their voice”? You better give me something else because we couldn’t “find our voice” with 2010 and the Tea Party, so what other approach is there? Head to the pews? · 7 minutes ago

    Take my advice.

    • #8
    • March 29, 2013 at 3:17 am
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  9. Profile photo of Ryan M(cPherson) Listener

    Is this the counterpart to that podcast where you discussed the socon’s open letter? I’m pretty sure I could still take Rob on this one … viruscop’s advice was eye-roll inducing. Rob, I haven’t listened to your take, but if you give that nonsense more consideration than you did my well-thought thesis … er… I mean “some guy’s” well-thought thesis … so help me whatever deity it is that you liberals pray to. 😉

    • #9
    • March 29, 2013 at 3:31 am
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  10. Profile photo of Monty Adams Inactive

    James, how old is your router? It may be on its last leg and that is why you’re getting kicked off so often.

    • #10
    • March 29, 2013 at 3:37 am
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  11. Profile photo of Ryan M(cPherson) Listener
    Monty Adams: James, how old is your router? It may be on its last leg and that is why you’re getting kicked off so often. · 26 minutes ago

    He is in Minnesota. He may need to buy it a little sweater so that it can muscle through those cold mornings.

    • #11
    • March 29, 2013 at 4:04 am
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  12. Profile photo of Full Size Tabby Member
    raycon and lindacon: Rob asks how did the Democrats succeed, and can we not follow their model. They succeeded by expanding the electoral base numbers with the mantra of universal suffrage from 18 years up and to include the populations of cemeteries, prisons, asylums, care facilities for Alzheimers and dementia sufferers, battling against voter identification, using union money to taxi bums in shelters and from park benches, and anyone willing to give their vote away for a few bucks.

    They appealed to the lowest nature of Americans, and offered to subsidize every pathological being that comes along.

    . . .

    · 9 hours ago

    And the leftist wing was (and remains) more than happy to lie about its intentions, and to paint false pictures of its promises. Conservatives have a much harder time being so dishonest because conservatives instinctively respect people. Therefore, conservatives can’t follow the leftists’ post-1964 path.

    • #12
    • March 29, 2013 at 4:24 am
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  13. Profile photo of Chris Campion Thatcher
    Don Tillman: Peter at 8:10:

    Uh, okay, however, when you say to me, “let’s begin by figuring out how to become a majority party”, it almost immediately follows from that that the correct thing to do is to sit down with a bunch of polling data and figure out positions that would appeal to the majority. And that exercise leads to perdition.

    Woah, hold on Peter, that doesn’t follow at all. And just considering that as your go-to choice means that something is terribly wrong.

    The way to become the majority party is to simply present the horrible, awful results of the policies of the left. That’s all there is to it. If Mitt Romney had campaigned on a platform of “Do you really want the entire nation to be Detroit?”, he would have won handily. · 4 hours ago

    This part struck me as atonal, too, I’m not sure what he meant. The fact remains that, as you’ve outlined, we have mountains of evidence for how Progressivism Does Not Work, yet we decline to show the worst of it.

    I still don’t know why. This is a Powerpoint waiting to happen.

    • #13
    • March 29, 2013 at 4:38 am
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  14. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    I think that Rob and Peter at both right. We have to figure out how to win that center part of the country or we are doomed. The fact that we lost the White House again is proof of that.

    And, we have to keep those elements of our platform that are important to us, and keep those front and center.

    Peter’s comments about polling data are meant to suggest that if becoming a majority party is the goal, then it’s simple: check the polls, find out what people want, and promise to give it to them. And that’s a bad idea. I’m pretty sure that is what Peter is saying.

    And I go back to Rob: he’s right! The welfare and entitlement state just keeps growing and growing. And we’ve done some great things over the years but we haven’t turned this back, not an iota, if you look at the numbers.

    But I do think there is a way back for Republicans, and it ain’t taking advice from a wet-behind the ears “progressive” who likes to rouse rabble. Republicans lose when they act like Democrats, nationally.

    • #14
    • March 29, 2013 at 6:28 am
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  15. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    Democrats win when they act like moderate Republicans, nationally. That tells me that to win the White House, Republican need a strong conservative candidate who doesn’t have a history of squishiness, but who also doesn’t have a dingbat past. That means to me that we need a young Senator who talks the talk, and walks the walk . As was said, it’s anything goes this next time around because we don’t have “the next guy.” I’m excited about it.

    • #15
    • March 29, 2013 at 6:31 am
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  16. Profile photo of Chris Campion Thatcher

    Great podcast on a great run on a chilly New England evening, gentlemen. Again, I believed I scared some raccoons with shouts of “No!” and “Shut up!” a couple of times, but there was always more laughs coming out than anything else.

    Rob’s right. Narrowing the party’s platforms is going to leave fewer people planks to stand on, and that’s why we’re losing. We haven’t been defining our ideas, we’ve been defining them down – and we’ve done a great job at painting ourselves, conservatives, exactly how progressives see us.

    They see us wrongly, undoubtedly, but we seem to manage to show them the worst, when what we really offer is the best thing the planet has ever had, and progressives, often mindlessly, are tearing down (by building up gov’t) as fast as they possibly can. We need to take their gas cans away from them before the fire they’re starting finishes off what was once a great idea, because as we were warned, we might not be able to keep it.

    • #16
    • March 29, 2013 at 6:44 am
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  17. Profile photo of raycon and lindacon Member
    Astonishing: Rob, before you decide conservatives should abandon social issues, and therewith the SoCons themselves, maybe you should test that business model here on Ricochet first.

    (It would be a very short test.)

    But, seriously, the liberal welfare state is not “here to stay.

    The liberal welfare state is unsustainable. It will sputter out or collapse altogether before long. It will end up in the ashheap of history. The real question is, what will replace the liberal welfare statewhenit dies under its own weight?

    In the meantime, the role of conservatives is keep alive an understanding of, attachment to, and belief in our founding principles so thatwhenthe liberal welfare state does collapse under its own weight, its successor will not turn to outright tyranny, but might return to those founding principles.

    Until the day the liberal welfare state collapses under its own weight, social conservatives will still predominate in some states and regions (like Texas), and we might even sometimeswin a national election, but only if we actually nominate a conservative presidential candidate (instead of McCains and Romneys). · 4 hours ago

    Edited 4 hours ago

    Cease conservatism to win an election… for what purpose?

    • #17
    • March 29, 2013 at 6:47 am
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  18. Profile photo of raycon and lindacon Member

    Rob asks how did the Democrats succeed, and can we not follow their model. They succeeded by expanding the electoral base numbers with the mantra of universal suffrage from 18 years up and to include the populations of cemeteries, prisons, asylums, care facilities for Alzheimers and dementia sufferers, battling against voter identification, using union money to taxi bums in shelters and from park benches, and anyone willing to give their vote away for a few bucks.

    They appealed to the lowest nature of Americans, and offered to subsidize every pathological being that comes along.

    This is how conservatives will win in America, if that victory is worth anything. If we cannot win by being conservatives, then winning is meaningless.

    Never forget that the Founders believed that they might lose the Revolutionary War, and all be shot. They preferred that to winning by joining the Torries.

    • #18
    • March 29, 2013 at 7:01 am
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  19. Profile photo of Chris Campion Thatcher

    I don’t remember Rob advocating for the commission of felonies in order to get votes. We are certainly doing a lousy job of messaging if what we have to offer is not sinking in, and we are not getting the message out enough, we’re not stating our arguments well, and we especially do far too much of “go along to get along” at the highest levels of the party that we’re mostly toast before we even get out of the gate, electorally speaking.

    Picking up your toys and going home isn’t going to win an election, either, and that seems to be what so many are happy to do. Build a wall, complain, and do absolutely nothing different in the next campaign. We get exactly what we work for.

    raycon and lindacon: 

    This is how conservatives will win in America, if that victory is worth anything. If we cannot win by being conservatives, then winning is meaningless.

    Never forget that the Founders believed that they might lose the Revolutionary War, and all be shot. They preferred that to winning by joining the Torries. · 10 minutes ago

    • #19
    • March 29, 2013 at 7:14 am
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  20. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Bereket Kelile: About what Peter and Rob were arguing about, I think looking at the national picture obscures what’s going on in each state. I’d say that the red states prove that conservative policies work and you can look at how people vote with their feet. You can also look at where the growth in the country is taking place-red states in the South. Just like what’s going on in the GOP, it’s important to define the context. · 4 hours ago

    Beautiful–and why didn’t I think of that while Rob was on the line?

    • #20
    • March 29, 2013 at 8:09 am
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  21. Profile photo of Rightfromthestart Thatcher

    Why are we arguing about these issues such as gay marriage that are of interest to .6% of the population? Because the press and Dems want us in a blind canyon where we can be slaughtered. On each of these issues most conservative people would rather not be involved in other peoples lives, abortion , gay ‘rights’ free contraception, etc. but Republicans are forced by the press to give some kind of answer which can then be turned into a weapon against them. The age of the earth? Who cares? What has that got to do with anything? The only reason the left cares at all about these things is that they can be formed into offensive weapons against conservatives. 

    • #21
    • March 29, 2013 at 8:18 am
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  22. Profile photo of Rightfromthestart Thatcher

    Part II — It’s always ‘for’ or ‘against’, why not ‘I don’t care, just get out of my face with it’. Why is it necessary that we validate people’s personal decisions? Because the press demands that we do so. What I deeply resent is the feeling of being constantly pushed and shoved to the left. Republicans should say ‘if you don’t want me in your life then let me out of it, don’t demand my blessing on your decisions’. We are 16 thousand, billion dollars in debt and an out of control leftist bureaucracy is destroying us, those are the issues.

    • #22
    • March 29, 2013 at 8:19 am
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  23. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    billy: Couldn’t the creation of 401k plan (and other similar measures) be considered a conservative achievement? · 6 hours ago

    Yes, and thank you. I’ll remember that for next time.

    • #23
    • March 29, 2013 at 8:55 am
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  24. Profile photo of Matthew Gilley Inactive

    Good Lord. That first segment was unbearable. It was Sean Hannity reading a Peggy Noonan column after three cans of Red Bull.

    • #24
    • March 29, 2013 at 9:29 am
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  25. Profile photo of Astonishing Inactive
    Sabrdance: Rob’s post 1964 history was a mess. . . .

    Not only his post-1964 history, but Rob’s entire argument in the first segment was an incoherent mess. And the reason it was an incoherent mess is because Rob is way too clever to say outloud what he really wants.

    Rob pretends he just doesn’t know what to do, when what he really wants is for the GOP to marginalize social conservatives politically while still retaining their votes. But he won’t say that straight out, not right now, because he knows such candor would lose votes. So Rob has adopted an insidious approach that aims to gradually discourage social conservatives from defending their social issues in political forums, while placating them with pretended sympathy.

    So Rob condescendingly pats the socons on the back, saying, “Gee, I do feel for you,” but there’s a knife in his hand.

    Rob’s schtick, “I’m just a nice fumbling RINO squish just trying to figure out how win elections,” wears thin. In my opinion, Rob is no friend to socons, and I believe he would immediately abandon them in every way, shape, manner, and form, if it were politically expedient.

    • #25
    • March 29, 2013 at 9:32 am
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  26. Profile photo of Ryan M(cPherson) Listener

    Yes, Matthew, I agree (for the same reason? not sure…)

    Rob, I love ya, but you were spewing so much nonsense during that first segment – this isn’t enough space to articulate. (just wait)

    And Peter, I hate to pick on you, but I’ll repeat what I said last week – do you read the member feed? There are many people who have arguments that would have simply pounded all of that handwringing out of Robs squishy head. More than once, you’ve touted something that a guest has said, and it has been almost word-for-word something that I saw earlier on the member feed. You loved Scalia’s comment about the bill of rights almost implying an unlimited government and, in a way, doing more harm than good through that implication, and Peter!, Scalia stole that right out of my mouth. 🙂 You should peruse what we’re saying, and promote those things you agree with. Your views have a lot of support and Rob is bringing “a progressive’s advice to conservatives” to the table. That’s a softball, Peter, and you have a team of staunch conservatives that you’ve left on the bench.

    • #26
    • March 29, 2013 at 9:50 am
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  27. Profile photo of Ryan M(cPherson) Listener

    Also, Rob, please consider this… A lot of social conservatives didn’t vote this last cycle. What if that was specifically because the republicans, in large part, took your advice over Peter’s? And why on earth should some college liberal vote for us because we move to the center when he can simply vote democrat?

    You talk about abandoning social conservative principles – how many votes will you actually pick up? How many will you lose? Maybe it just evens things out, is it worth it?

    Lastly, I made this same point (as did others) on that “progressive’s advice” thread: we are reading WAY too much into the fact that the first black media_darling president was elected twice. Not to pull the race card, but would a white Barack Obama have been elected even once? Granted… I don’t think Thomas Sowell would get elected (that may happen in one of my better dreams, though), so his being a liberal obviously helped.

    But give me a break! This country just elected the most pro abortion president ever … bully for us. It doesn’t mean we love abortion – Obama was elected in spite of that, not because of it.

    • #27
    • March 29, 2013 at 9:58 am
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  28. Profile photo of Astonishing Inactive

    In the historical big picture, one must understand that in a democracy (even in a representative republic), the conservative party (the aristocratic party, so to speak) will always tend to be in the minority, and the party of the masses (the popular party) will always tend to be the majority.

    By creating a federal commerical republic with a large middle class, our founders attempted–with some success–to shift this historical paradigm sufficiently to make popular government workable; however, the historical role of a conservative party remains to serve as a redoubt for fundamental principles, so that it can be around to cobble things back together when demagogues of the popular party make a complete mess of things.

    The risk for conservatives is that, instead of functioning as an aristocratic party, it will devolve into an oligarchic party that aims too much at personal material wealth rather than virtue. This is exactly the risk that libertarianism presents. Eventually, the libertarians, pursuing “private happiness” and thinking that government can be separated from morality and virtue, become in Kundera’s words, “the brilliant allies of their gravediggers.”

    • #28
    • March 29, 2013 at 10:03 am
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  29. Profile photo of Monty Adams Inactive

    Well said, Astonishing. I too weary of Rob’s whining without solutions.

    Of course we need to win elections, but Peter is exactly right, winning elections while driving out a core constituency is a short term gain. The lasting victories you want to achieve won’t be worth the wreckage left behind. I guess Rob believes that we can pull together some kind of coalition to dismantle the welfare state and gut the regulatory culture of the government and that we could make those changes permanent. He thinks that if we could do that, driving socons from the party would be a price worth paying.

    Well, without a majority whatever blows we strike against the growth of the state will never last. So the idea that if we cobble together a big enough temporary majority we can implement lasting radical reform is a complete fantasy. It’s easy to promote and maintain support for a permanent welfare state; people see a direct benefit from the nanny. The benefits of smaller government, the benefits of absence, are much more difficult to recognize and credit.

    So, Rob, if you don’t have a plan, stop whining until you have one to offer.

    • #29
    • March 29, 2013 at 10:20 am
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  30. Profile photo of Monty Adams Inactive
    Don Tillman: Peter at 8:10

    I thought you were about to get scriptural with us.

    • #30
    • March 29, 2013 at 10:21 am
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