The Terrance Group and Lake Research Partners recently released the results for the George Washington University Battleground Poll taken in July. The fall 2008 results showed 57 percent considered themselves very conservative or somewhat conservative. July 2009 results show a 2 point jump to 59 percent. We remain a pretty conservative country.
Growing up and living in a blue state, it’s not easy being a conservative. Quite honestly, it’s hard to break out of the protective shell surrounding for those of us who don’t like to be strictly emotional when it comes to politics and the economy.
Harold Witkov has an article posted at American Thinker where he considers the occasional embarrassment of being a conservative. He thinks the issue is our preoccupation with being liked and American television programing. My emphasis added.
Politically speaking, I am a conservative whereas my wife is often on a different page. When we got into the car, she more or less let me have it. She told me how embarrassed she was that Rush Limbaugh’s picture and name kept popping up on the screen and that our technicians probably thought we were some kind of racists.
Of course I was quick to dispel her fears with, “They probably didn’t even notice,” and, “Why would you think that?” The problem was, although I did not fess up to it, I had shared some of the same uneasy feelings that she did.
This caused me to do much reflection and I believe I now understand my uneasiness and perhaps the root problem of the entire conservative movement: America’s preoccupation with television and the human desire to be liked.
Let me explain. Conservatism is in trouble, not because liberalism is better for the nation, but because conservatism does not play well on the much watched television news, which is short on substance yet high on passive thinking imagery. Just as one picture is worth ten thousand words, a carefully narrated television image can be worth a million votes. Read more…
So what can we do? First of all, I think I become a better advocate for conservatism when I stay informed on the issue and become comfortable with analogies and history. I’m not combative with my approach, and frequently find debaters – whether in person or online – change the subject or leave the conversation when I make my point well.
Of course I have a desire to be liked, but I’m not going to bend my personal beliefs just so people will say nice things about me behind my back.
On a macro scale, let’s see how well President Obama does getting other countries to like us. That was a big part of the last campaign; other countries don’t like us so we must be doing something totally wrong.
How far will we go – individually and as a country – to be liked?
Note: Have not had much time to blog this week, but will try to post during the next 36 hours or so – will be traveling Thursday through Sunday. – Steve
There has been quite a bit of discussion about who attended the TEA Parties, and questions like ‘what do you want?’ have been pretty popular. When you have a true grass roots effort – like this one – there are bound to be different, sometimes disorganized messages. Hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly should prove this is not a well funded and organized effort by Fox News or the GOP.
Since April 15, we had the CNN interview, but we’ve also got the St. Louis Fox station reporting the Constitution Party – a group referred to as radical and extremist – ran the TEA Party protest (lie) and David Axelrod stating the TEA Parties are unhealthy, and so far they are just expressions. Plenty of stories implied protesters have no clue about what’s going on.
This is a movement with – quite honestly – no leadership. There are plenty of very good state and local leaders that are giving up their time to organize these events, but there is no common message. The media and the left is taking advantage of it.
I’m describing these events – to those who will listen – as the tipping point. Remember $4 gasoline last summer? That event was called a tipping point that changed the behavior of Americans.
The culmination of the bailouts and stimulus packages created this tipping point. If the government wondered how far they could push, they may have found they went too far.
I did not attend one of the TEA parties, but if I did go, I’d have this Top 5 talking point list ready for the media.
- The federal government has too much power. They are spending money they are not authorized to spend per the U.S. Constitution. This puts elected leaders at the federal level – especially those involved with appropriations – in very powerful positions. If your state wants federal dollars for a special project, you’re asked by your leaders to contribute to the political action committees and election funds for representatives and senators from other states. Example – Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Congressional approval ratings are at 21 percent and 43 percent of voters think most members of Congress are corrupt.
- As the federal government provides funding for schools, brick crosswalks, entertainment centers and local police departments, the cities and towns get “hooked” on that funding and expect it – and more – in following years. Without the funding in the future, they suffer. A perfect example is Congress pulling funding for DC vouchers. Today, those families are learning the hard way; what the government gives, they can take away.
- If I told you just two year ago the federal government would be officially backing car warranties for GM – and GM would promote that fact in advertising – you’d think I was nuts.
- The federal government – and liberals – want to create a dependency on government. By providing funding for everything from education to health care to retirement, they enforce the nanny state; you need government to take care of you. Seat belt, helmet and trans-fat laws are good examples. By the way, you don’t need guns since the trained police have them and they will take care of you – that is their job.
- The government may not be able to take your guns away, but what they (liberals, schools, media…) do seem effective in doing is shaming Americans into thinking that our “gun culture” is a bad thing. As an example, I was at a retailer to buy ammunition for a training class. I had 20 boxes in my hand-held carrier in the check-out lane, and a boy – maybe 8 years of age – asked his dad what was in all the boxes. Dad did not answer, I did not answer. The store clerk lied to the kid. What does that tell you?
The TEA Parties must focus on bringing control and spending authority back to the states and communities. I’d even be fine with the government as a whole collecting the same amount of money (2008 levels) from taxpayers, but cut federal expenses to include only U.S. Constitution authorized spending. Then, drop federal taxes and let the states, cities and local towns jack up taxes to cover what they loose in federal dollars.
This would immediately put states, cities and towns in competition for business (residents) as they try to provide service, on time all the time; at the lowest justifiable cost; at the highest justifiable quality. Sure, they try to do that now, but since local leaders can blame everything on a lack of or reduction in federal support, there is no accountability.
Exit questions. Do you know the names of the members of your town council (or equivalent)? Do you know the members of the school board? How about the town manager? Your state representative? State senator?
I’m willing to bet 80 percent of the voters you ask do not know who those people are, and that’s the biggest problem we face. Because states, cities and towns are so dependent on federal dollars, we tend to – and at this point must – bitch, moan and complain about our inside-the-beltway leaders. Severing our dependency on the federal government, and on government in general, may allow us to reverse that trend.
Can the American political system handle third party? It’s pretty clear voters have been split between Republicans and Democrats during the past 10 years. Obama won by 7 percent, and Bush won by 3 percent in 2004, but we are defined as a split nation when it comes to national politics. Close races are, well, really close.
So, what would a third party – a conservative third party – do to the political dynamics of the country? I’ve aways been in the camp to help move the Republican party towards conservatism instead of away. Yes, I guess you could say move the group to – or back to – the right.
To many, a third party is one of those kooky ideas that serve only to gather less than one million votes, or do a bang-up job and get almost 19 percent and leave Bush 41 with only 37 percent as occurred in 1992.
If Bush 41 got half the votes that Ross Perot received in 1992, he would have beat Bill Clinton by 2 million votes. (Perot carried no states and received no electoral votes.)
Newt Gingrich was at the College of the Ozarks yesterday and mentioned the possibility of a third party in 2012. From the CNN Political Ticker…
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is warning of a third party mutiny in 2012 if Republicans don’t figure out a way to shape up.
“If the Republicans can’t break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012,” Gingrich said Tuesday. The speech, to a group of students at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, was recorded by Springfield TV station KY3.
My thought is that a third party could be tied in with the Tea Party movement.
This brings us back to the Battleground Polls taken last fall that showed 57 percent considered themselves very conservative or somewhat conservative. Click on the image to enlarge.
So, can the 59 percent ban together in a third party, or are we better off working within the established Republican party?
For me, the party made enough of a change two years ago that I stopped all contributions. When there is a pretty solid difference between my core political beliefs and the party that I belong to, what else should I do?
See the updated Steele comments below.
And quite honestly, for the new Republican National Committee chairman to call Rush Limbaugh’s show as incendiary, ugly entertainment you’re nailing the door shut buddy.
I guess my reaction was to close my wallet and start Conservative247 and join up with Vicevich.
We have no conservative elected leadership, and I’m not sure any of good recruits would want to step forward into the role. Why bother? You can be a pundit, talking head, radio show host, small business owner, company manager, executive or blogger and avoid all of the hassle.
Hinderaker at Power Line Blog calls it the most disheartening story of the day, but I don’t think John has it right. How can you throw Rush under the bus when you – DNC chairman Michael Steele – really has no power among conservatives?
I know I wasn’t that desperate, so here’s the video for readers from the DL Hugley show on CNN.
“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.” …
“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking,” Steele said. “It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not.”
“I’m not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh,” Steele added. “No such thing is going to happen. … I wasn’t trying to slam him or anything.”
I have said before I do not like polls. Not only are they snapshots of an America that seems consumed with the latest and greatest or whatever the crowd finds most appealing that day or that week. But I have always viewed pollsters with a certain amount of skepticism, especially when it comes to weighting (Democrats, Republicans and Independents).
So I thought this might be an opportune time to take a look at a couple of “How do you like Obama now?” polls and how pundits on the left and on the right see whatever it is they want in them. Or do they?
The Washington Post released a poll today, that I referenced on the show, that indicates that Obama’s still the man, although the halo’s slipping a bit. Here’s the poll … and here’s how the self identified liberal blogger “The Reaction” reads it.
And why has it eroded? Because the Republicans have no interest in working contructively with Obama and the Democrats, because they’ve entrenched themselves, once more, behind extremist ideological lines, because they think they can score political points by being obstructionist.
Now, I’m not one to think that polls are infallible reflections of the truth, nor that the American people, according to the polls, are right about everything all the time. But it’s an awfully good sign, not least given how virulent and, for a time, narrative-forming the Republican attacks over the stimulus plan have been, that Obama still seems to have such overwhelming public support.
Indeed. But if Obama does not turn this economy around, my guess is that erosion will continue. Here’s the conservative take on a different poll from Jules Crittenden
His approval is headed south (from a high of 70 to 63), his disapproval is headed north (from a low of 12 to 24), and more people are unwilling not to have an opinion (down from 21 to 13). Gallup.
Among recent presidents, only one-term trainwreck Jimmy Carter had better numbers one month in … 71-9-20. Correction, war-winning economy-flummoxed one-termer George H.W. Bush, though tied with Obama in approval, had significantly lower disapproval numbers and benefited from higher uncertainty, at 63-13-24.
Both are worth a read, both indicate the Republicans have peeled away, but not because they are obstructionists. Because Republicans do not believe the stimulus will revive the economy. My guess is with time … more Americans will peel away as the economy flounders. But then I am a republitarian.
I have no idea who will step up as the leader of conservatives during the next two years. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if anyone will step up as a national leader for conservatives. But we do need a leader.
Could it be Gov. Palin? One thing seems for certain, if we held a national Republican primary right now, she’d win hands down.
Conservatives are the majority. Some may consider us the silent majority since we tend to keep our mouths shut, but again, the most recent Battleground Poll shows our numbers near 60 percent. Liberals and socialists frequently call us racist bigots, warmongers, capitalist pigs and downright mean but maybe it’s time politicians start standing up for conservatism.
Of course, we’d need to get some conservatives to start running for office, but that’s another post.
Jed Babbin writing for HumanEvents.com. (My emphasis added and the full article is here.)
Tomorrow, both McCain and Romney will address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC. (Huckabee will appear on Saturday morning). The speech McCain will give could be the best opportunity McCain will have to reach out to conservatives and bring them into the fold before the September 1-4 St. Paul, Minnesota Republican convention.
One source told me last night that McCain is planning an all-out push at CPAC. At 3 pm tomorrow, McCain is scheduled to address the crowd expected to number over 6,000 activists. And McCain plans a very special introduction.
According to my source, McCain has prepared a video featuring President Ronald Reagan to make the introduction. If McCain uses this video, it is very likely to backfire badly. This is the group before which Ronald Reagan said in 1975 that, “A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers.”
Stop this. Just please stop all of this talk about Reagan.
McCain, Romney and Huckabee, all taking their turns comparing themselves to Reagan is flat out annoying. We are not looking for another Reagan, simply a conservative.