Politics

America the Conservative?

How to understand U.S. politics

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If you want proof that America is a conservative country, Ronald Reagan provides it. Once seen as a reactionary nincompoop, he's probably the most respected president of the last 50 years. Highways and buildings bear his name. Republicans compete to see who can lavish the most praise on him.

It's not really surprising that Barack Obama has paid tribute to Reagan on the approach of his centennial. What's surprising is that Obama did it in the 2008 presidential campaign—during the Democratic primaries.

That devious tactic may help explain how this alleged socialist fooled Americans into electing him president. Fortunately, in conservative eyes, the nation repudiated Obama in November, giving the GOP control of the House of Representatives and putting a stop to the administration's more ambitious plans.

Now it's just a matter of waiting for the order of nature to reassert itself. That can be expected to happen in January 2013—since, as Dick Cheney asserts, Obama's liberal record dooms him to a single term.

It's certainly true that the national mood feels pretty conservative right now, with the tea party ascendant, health care reform in legal jeopardy, and the GOP controlling more state legislatures than at any time since 1928. But that mood may not be all it's cracked up to be.

In the first place, despite high unemployment and record deficits, Obama is not particularly unpopular. In the latest Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans approve of his performance. At this point in his presidency, Reagan had an approval rating of 35 percent.

Consider how presidential elections have been going. Democrats have won three of the last five. In 2004, John Kerry, the Republicans' very image of the out-of-touch liberal elitist, got 48 percent of the vote. Al Gore, whom they detest even more, won the popular vote in 2000.

George W. Bush, the only Republican to win a presidential election in the last 20 years, left office with the worst approval rating (22 percent) of any outgoing president since Gallup began doing these surveys in the 1930s. Reagan's final approval rating, it's true, was 68 percent. But so was Bill Clinton's.

All this is a puzzle, since the number of people who call themselves conservatives is double the number of liberals. But Henry Olsen, director of the National Research Initiative at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, says that lopsided ratio misleads.

About one-third of Americans say they fall in the middle of the road. But "a very large portion of the people who tell pollsters they are 'moderates' are in fact loyal, partisan Democrats who view their own party as representing moderate views," writes Olsen in the journal National Affairs. "These voters are clearly not open to persuasion by the right or center-right, and they constitute a hidden 'liberal' component of the electorate that traditional poll questions tend to overlook."

Not only that, but when people say they are conservative, they don't mean they subscribe to the philosophical tenets of the intellectual right. This is particularly true of white, working-class voters, whom Olsen credits for the Republican House sweep.

As a rule, they don't like taxes or deficits, but they value public schools and Social Security. They resent welfare dependency but want a government safety net.

These are common sentiments. Even after the GOP surge in November, Americans are not itching to dismantle big government. Hoover Institution pollster Douglas Rivers reports that in 15 of 16 areas of federal spending, most people want spending to stay the same or increase. The only program they would cut is foreign aid—which is 1 percent of the budget.

The temptation of any political party is to interpret any impressive triumph as an enduring affirmation of its ideology. Democrats did it after their 2008 triumph, with the left-of-center magazine The New Republic running an article titled, "America the Liberal."

But Obama won more because of the lousy economy than his worldview—which, as it happens, was also true of Reagan in 1980. Since taking office, Obama has been forcefully reminded that America is much less liberal than his party imagined.

So humility is in order among Republicans. "They have not been restored to their natural ruling place by a grateful people," writes Olsen. "They have been turned to by an angry people who harbor as many doubts about conservatives as they do about liberals."

A conservative nation? Sort of. Until it's not.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  1. That pic is RAAAAACIIIIIST!!!111

    1. That pic is NAUSEATING. As is all of this Obama as Reagan malarkey.

    2. Boy, I’ll say!

  2. For the most part I agree with this article. Most people underestimate how unprincipled our politics are. Politicians will switch rhetorical sides depending on who’s in the White House, and voters respond to it. Today, conservatives want to rein in the federal government, tomorrow it’ll be the liberals.

    1. They don’t underestimate heller; the electorate is smart. Every voter is a single issue voter: how are you going to buy me off and how are you going to make me feel less guilty about it?

      We get the government we deserve.

      1. That’s the saving grace of democracy: we give people the power to do very stupid things, but at least they get punished if they do.

  3. I wish people could stop using the word conservative, its misleading and the definition changes country by country. In the UK the conservative party is trying to tackle the bloated NHS, a labour politician will support the status quo and not want to rock the boat, so who in this instant is the conservative ? The same can apply for USA, a politician who want to reduce social security versus one that want to protect the status quo, who is the conservative here ?

    1. Maybe we should stop using lift, boot, and biscuit, too, then.

      1. Shall I knock you up in the morning?

        1. Not if you wear an eraser. 😉

      2. This goes beyond nitpicking trivial English language matters, when one reads a story about a conservative government in some country one actually has to know a bit about the country first to understand what the word in context means.

        An Iranian conservative, Bolivian conservative, Chinese conservative, US conservative, Soviet conservative etc. are completely different to each other.

        1. As are Bolivian liberals, etc., no?

          What would you call a Bolivian conservative other than a Bolivian conservative? Chinese? US? Etc.?

          I’m not so sure that the context isn’t important. Someone seen as conservative in CA may be seen as liberal in TX. What’s your alternative to shorthand, if imperfect, labels in instances where it may not be feasible to show a list of policy positions instead?

          1. Well for one using the left winger, right wing label is already much better (yes I know it is also can cause confusion and be debated) but it beats the conservative label easily. A conservative Chinese politician will, in most peoples book, be called a left winger, while the Bolivian would be called a right winger. As for the Iranian “conservative”, probably the “traditional religious” label is better.

        2. one actually has to know a bit about the country first to understand what the word in context means.

          Quite true. But wouldn’t it be quite true even if the terminology were not ambiguous?

          Suppose there were a specific word to refer unambiguously to a specific platform in a specific polity at a specific date. If I read that word, it would only have as much meaning to me as I had knowledge of the people, motivations, and other context that tie the political position to its setting in the world.

          In other words, unless I already have knowledge about “conservative” politics in Bolivia, a more specific word for Bolivian conservatism provides me with no extra meaning. And if I did have such knowledge, I would be able to interpret a nominally ambiguous term like “Bolivian conservative” quite unambiguously.

          All this is to say that the ability to understand different political belief systems does not depend on having extremely specific terminology.

          On the other hand, more specific terminology might have the advantage of not hiding our own ignorance from us. If I read the word “conservative” applied to a place with which I’m unfamiliar, it’s easy for me to assume an equivalence between conservatism I know and “conservatism” I don’t. I might be quite wrong, but this possibility is not obvious. By contrast, if I read a more specific term for a particular “conservative” movement with which I’m unfamiliar, I will know that I don’t know what it is. I may even take the step of familiarizing myself with it, but even if I don’t the unfamiliar term has shattered the illusion of clarity, and so reduced my ignorance.

        3. Ambiguous term / Unambiguous term

          US Liberal / Statist
          US Conservative / Statist
          US Libertarian / Liberal
          UK Labour / Statist
          UK Conservative / Statist
          UK Liberal / Liberal
          etc…

  4. There’s truth to this. Most Americans don’t want to cut SS or Medicare to pay for the debt, because they’re programs people have been forced to pay into for their entire lives so they ought to get the benefits as well. (This is an argument against statism, not for it, by the way)

    If you want to cut government, you need to do it the right way. Start by cutting defense, ending all business/trade barriers, the banking monopoly, corporate welfare and privileges for the rich (intellectual property, transportation subsidies etc.) so there’s less need for forced entitlement programs. Then, instead of raiding the Medicare and SS piggybanks, make it possible for people to plan their own retirement.

    Like Harry Browne said, the government breaks your legs, gives you a crutch and says “See? Without us you couldn’t even walk!”. The American people by and large see the government as a crutch factory; libertarians would do well to focus on the leg breaking before demonizing the “welfare queens” (of whom most are trapped by the state to begin with).

    1. Start by cutting defense, ending all business/trade barriers, the banking monopoly, corporate welfare and privileges for the rich (intellectual property, transportation subsidies etc.)

      Silly me. I thought libertarians were active on these issues.

    2. Then, instead of raiding the Medicare and SS piggybanks, make it possible for people to plan their own retirement.

      The problem is that if something like this happened–making Medicare and SS true “public options” where you didn’t have to pay into the program if you didn’t want to–there wouldn’t be any more need for Medicare or SS to be raided, because both programs would simply collapse faster than they will already due to a massive drop in revenue. Social Security is the #1 item on the budget and Medicare is #3; I honestly don’t see how there can be a serious discussion about balancing the budget without enacting some serious reforms there, even if, realistically, it’s a non-starter politically. Remember we’re looking at a possible $2 trillion deficit next year–even if you cut the DoD to $0, you’d only get about 35-40% of the way there. The other things that we’d like to cut, such as the Dept of Education, Dept of Agriculture, ending foreign aid, etc., would be nice, but statistically speakign they probably wouldn’t add up to more than 15% of the total budget, at best.

      the Big 5 have got to be confronted, but no one really has the political courage to do anything other than kick the can down the road. And quite frankly, that’s the voters fault–they’re getting exactly what they want.

    3. Nothing should be off limits – that includes SS and Medicare which are the biggest underfunded entitlements and budget-busters. I would throw in Medicaid as well. You cannot have serious fiscal responsibility while leaving these untouched. The first reform would be increasing the age for SS and Medicare eligibility. I would also place greater limits on Medicaid eligibility while freeing up the healthcare markets so that lower priced catastrophic insurance is available. Then, these programs should be privatized as much as possible – will Americans agree to this? No, because Americans are by and large, idiots who want a free lunch. They don’t realize how wasteful and dysfuntional these programs are.

      As for “corporate welfare,” there’s no such thing. Corporations all pay taxes and do not receive “welfare.” It’s an idiotic leftist idea. Corporations often receive tax breaks and these unfair breaks need to be eliminated in favor of a flat lower corporate tax rate – the US currently has one of the highest, if not the highest, corporate tax rates in the world. This high tax rate often results in lower tax revenues.

      1. There’s no such thing as corporate welfare? Seriously? Were you with us during the bank bailouts or the auto bailouts? How about all those no-bid contracts awarded by the federal government for things such as infrastructure and defense? These seem to be classic examples of corporate welfare.

        1. And earmarks

          And directed spending through appropriations.

          And don’t forget Farm Subsidies

        2. Government loans, too. (Often residing under the title of bailout during hard times.)

        3. OK, I stand corrected. A bailout (and farm “subsidies”) would qualify as “welfare.” The term “corporate welfare” is unfortunately used as a catchfall for all political corruption favoring certain companies. Other supposed examples of “corporate welfare” such as no-bid contracts, are more accurately termed corruption. It is corrupt to award a no-bid contract or a targeted tax break but it is not, in any way, welfare. Welfare is purely a handout – to those who do absolutely nothing to earn it.

    4. ” privileges for the rich (intellectual property, transportation subsidies etc.) ”

      Intellectural property rights are NOT a subsidy for the rich. I don’t have a lot of money, but it’s sure nice knowing that the music I work on, and eventually hope to make money on is protected.

      Else why invest the thousands in music gear? Or all the time?

      1. http://blog.mises.org/15346/mi…..-in-music/

        IP law is a statist straw man. Why do you love being a slave?

        1. What a crock. I don’t tour, and don’t plan on doing it.

          More importantly that doesn’t have anything to do with the issue of me being able to control the products of my creativity.

          1. Well, you better plan on it, if you want to make any money. Ever been to a Widespread Panic concert, or any of the other “Jam Bands”? They allow their music to be recorded by their fans and traded. They even have a special section behind the mixing boards. There are bit torrent sites specifically dedicated to live “bootlegged” recordings, all with the full blessing of the bands. That’s how they get their music “out”.

            You’re behind the curve. You’ll never get rich writing and recording. And once you share the “products of your creativity” with others, they are no longer yours to control.

            1. “they are no longer yours to control.”

              Bullshit, unless I give away or sell those rights they are mine. People that copy without permission are stealing.

              1. Damn it don’t you realize that the libertarians discovered file sharing and have now persuaded themselves downloading music, movies, ebooks, software, and of course porn is all in the greater interests of liberty, that property rights in this case aren’t actually property rights.

                Damn it, this is like the only thing (some) libertarians are retarded on. Just because you like free entertainment doesn’t mean IP is some kind of statist sham.

                The idea that people would work on drugs, better tech, new software, etc. without the ability to patent the results is weapons grade stupid.

                Unless the new libertarian hatred of property rights is just extended to stuff that can be copied and downloaded, while leaving patent law in place.

                1. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Patent rights are a Mercantile principle. If you love patent rights, you must love Mercantilism.

                2. Britt

                  Necessity is the Mother of Invention, not Patent Rights.

              2. Kroneborge,

                Ray Charles was probably the only artist who the rights to his music. When you record a song, who owns the masters? The record company, that’s who. Go worship your corporate masters, slave.

                1. Britt

                  The average citizen has a better chance at hitting the Power Ball than being awarded a patent. Patent rights are a legal right, not a natural right. They are special privileges that are given to business to sue their competitors and create an unfair, competitive advantage. They also distort the profit/loss motive.

                  1. Without patents to protect my invention I would practice in secret, not disclosing my new invention. In order to promote the advance of science and technology, the government grants me a right to a limited monopoly so that others can learn from and improve upon my invention. It’s a good deal for the public.

                    1. When I record a song I own the rights. The only way the record company gets it, is if I release them/sell them to them in a voluntary transcation.

      2. Nobody makes money on the music they copyright anymore. It’s all live performance, now, unless you really hit it big. Most bands allow their live performances to be recorded and traded or sold. They make some money on board recordings, but they end up in the circle soon enough.

        Wake up, and start touring. That’s the only way to make money in the music business, anymore.

        I mean, Christ, you don’t even need to book time in the studio anymore, either. Anybody, and I mean anybody, can home record now, cheaply.

        http://pro-audio.musiciansfrie…..-recorders

        When I was younger and first started out, all we had were shity 4-track cassette recorders that we had to ping-pong the tracks.

    5. Most Americans don’t want to cut SS or Medicare to pay for the debt, because they’re programs people have been forced to pay into for their entire lives so they ought to get the benefits as well. (This is an argument against statism, not for it, by the way)

      The only way to deal with this problem is to phase out Social Security by making those born after December 31, 2011 ineligible for retirement benefits. There would be little political opposition to those who currently receive retirement benefits, since it will not affect them.

      1. That might work, if we pass the law now. The problem is that five-year olds now, who will draw in the 2070s, will probably live until the 2100s. That means an awful lot of money, and the system will be bankrupt by the 2060s or so as it is. We could only afford this by heavily taxing those kids who can’t draw. Since no one likes a tax they don’t get back, I can’t see this being held in effect.

        Good idea, let’s keep trying.

  5. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the order of nature to reassert itself. That can be expected to happen in January 2013?since, as Dick Cheney asserts, Obama’s liberal record dooms him to a single term.

    Dick Cheney really needs to have that ticker surgery done; his brain is oxygen starved if he believes Obama can be dethroned. Let’s see: historic presidency born of white guilt believing his tripe of “post-racial America”, power of incumbency and a helluva war chest already, slavering lapdog media, and a public (both rich and poor alike) looking to nursed by the federal tit and the false feeling of security that centralized government promulgates. I still say Obama, as incompetent and downright hostile to liberty as he is, cannot be beaten.

    Who does any other side have? Romney? Don’t make me laugh. His 10th amendment defense of RomneyCare is accurate, but it will be a cold day in hell before he admits it was a really bad idea, not to mention “Beavis” McStain cleaned his clock. Palin? Indelibly written off as a doofus regardless of how well she understands energy policy. Newt? Puh-leaze! That macro-headed sleazeball support ethanol, farm and eco-theology subsidies and his stones withered when the government shut down blew up in his face. Who else is there? Herman Cain? A relative unknown who is packing serious business credentials and can negate the race card but probably will have lukewarm backing from RINO’s since he espouses conservative values and is stalwartly pro-life. Santorum and Huckabee? Shit, might as well replace their surnames with “Bush” with twice the evangelical fervor.

    Forget it. Whoever gets nominated on the Repubican ticket is a sacrificial lamb, pure and simple.

    1. C’mon – no love for Ron Paul? He’s ten times the candidate than anyone you mentioned.

      1. Bernanke’s bank buddies will torpedo any Paul candidacy, no matter how much support it seems he has. No way in hell do they want that guy with enough stroke to actually push through a bill to kill the Fed stone dead.

      2. I think it is a question of who is remotely likely to be nominated far more than of love.

      3. GARY JOHNSON

        I can dream…

      4. C’mon – no love for Ron Paul? He’s ten times the candidate than anyone you mentioned.

        I like Paul overall, but again, he cannot win. He is regarded as a tin-foil truther reactionary and if he was the nominee, he would get Haley Barboured so fast the votes would pile up for Obama.

        Obama cannot be beaten.

    2. SovImmun, yes yes and yes. As unemployment drifts lower, it is hard to see how Obama won’t win again.
      Maybe the GOP will win the Senate and retain the House in 2012, but Obama
      wins. Those who don’t agree – let’s hear your political strategy for defeating him with a viable candidate.

      1. How about Cantor or Ryan?

        I agree that Obama may be tougher to beat than many realize. It is a testament to the stupidity of the American people that Obama, after having proven to be a completely dishonest corrupt a$$hole and imbecile, still has an approval rating of 48%.

        1. It is a testament to the stupidity of the American people that Obama, after having proven to be a completely dishonest corrupt a$$hole and imbecile, still has an approval rating of 48%.

          It is a testament to our dishonest lapdog network media which still has too much influence on public opinion

        2. Cantor is a spineless milquetoast; Ryan has potential, but let’s see how he legislates and garners consensus in the house for real reform before we deign any rock star status on him. Same goes for Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. The last time America voted in a rock star, look what happened. Repubican strategy should be to focus on shoring up the house and taking the senate, and eschewing the presidency as Obama cannot be beaten.

          Let’s see how these supposed “young guns” govern, first.

    3. Obama’s gonna be toast if unemployment is in the 10% range, which it will be.

    4. Let’s see: historic presidency born of white guilt believing his tripe of “post-racial America”, power of incumbency and a helluva war chest already, slavering lapdog media, and a public (both rich and poor alike) looking to nursed by the federal tit and the false feeling of security that centralized government promulgates. I still say Obama, as incompetent and downright hostile to liberty as he is, cannot be beaten.

      Why is there white guilt in the first place?

      White supremacy is simply another manifestation of a socially dominant ethnic group exercising its social and legal power. For thousands of years, the right of a socially dominant ethnic group to exercise its social power for its own benefit was uncontested. It was only here, in the past century, that such a thing was considered evil.

      I still say Obama, as incompetent and downright hostile to liberty as he is, cannot be beaten.

      Depends on the economy.

      Had the economy still been in a recession in 1984, Reagan would have lost.

      1. Why is there white guilt in the first place?

        The race pimps and hucksters, racists, to be blunt, have co-opted, raped and beaten into submission MLK’s original idea of racial equality to mean “I didn’t get what I want, and when I did it wasn’t to my liking == TEH RACISM!”

        That battle was lost when impressionable minds in government schools and universities were and are indoctrinated with the mantra of “Black is good and sinless; Hispanic is good and wise; Asians, we’re not sure about but at least they aren’t white. White is bad.” And when all racial groups have enough of a majority (disproportionately in one in particular) to believe that claptrap then the race pimps hold the cudgel of pronouncing racism where none exists. When the word “discrimination” became a dog whistle, that is when white guilt became a noted pathology. Yet this same standard is not applied to blacks, who are in the tank to the tune of 87%-90% simply because Obama is black, underscores this point.

        Depends on the economy.

        Had the economy still been in a recession in 1984, Reagan would have lost.

        For Reagan, that may be true. For Obama, this standard will not be applied because he is an Affirmative Action president and for the reasons I stated in the original post, not to mention that the unemployment statistics are, when counting “underemployment” and people who have dropped off the rolls, yet have not found work, skewed in his favor. The real unemployment numbers are higher than officially reported and even if they stay at the official 9%, he will be re-elected. I think the social progressives have officially won the narrative.

        In short, Americans are not, and never will be, ready to have their own personal oxen gored.

        1. That battle was lost when impressionable minds in government schools and universities were and are indoctrinated with the mantra of “Black is good and sinless; Hispanic is good and wise; Asians, we’re not sure about but at least they aren’t white. White is bad.” And when all racial groups have enough of a majority (disproportionately in one in particular) to believe that claptrap then the race pimps hold the cudgel of pronouncing racism where none exists. When the word “discrimination” became a dog whistle, that is when white guilt became a noted pathology. Yet this same standard is not applied to blacks, who are in the tank to the tune of 87%-90% simply because Obama is black, underscores this point.

          Matbe we should start teaching our kids that might makes right.

          Any accusation of racism will be countered by, “I have the might, so I have the right.”

          1. That is the social third rail. “The might makes right” cudgel swings both ways. Exhibit A: the notion of positive rights trumping negative rights (read: direct democracy and mob rule).

          2. Yeah man, Blacks and Hispanics are all just taken in by the Dems racist plot. Obama’s victory has nothing to do with McCain’s dottiness or the fact that Palin was picked as VP. All of those minorities are just ignorant, welfare loving statists with no agency at all. They are honestly just too stupid to make their own decisions, and even if they were, they would totally try and wipe out all whites. Look, someone even wrote a book about it, which is totally not racist, just the truth. http://www.amazon.com/White-Ap…..467&sr=8-1

            You know how I know its not racist? Because James Edwards, the guy who wrote Racism Schmasism, a book outlining exactly how those dastardly dems use racism to subvert democracy said, “White Apocalypse is fascinating, tough, compelling, glowing with White pride.” Sure showed those Dems who the real racist is right there. I still can’t believe blacks don’t give their 3/5 vote to the Republicans in every race.

        2. Basically, everyone but white heterosexual men are in a minority group.

  6. Whoever gets nominated on the Repubican ticket is a sacrificial lamb, pure and simple.

    How about if it were David Petraeus?

    1. While he certainly has the ego for it, he’s not very Republican and he’s not well.*

      Beside, while his record is better than Clark’s, it’s not as if he’s won a Civil War or defeated Nazis.

      *Comment on his health based solely on observation.

      1. it’s not as if he’s won a Civil War

        Hmmm ….

      2. Petraeus is typically in phenomenal physical shape. I haven’t heard since he left for Afghanistan, but this is a man who sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. He pressed to be released early from the hospital. When his surgeon objected, he dropped to the floor and did 50 pushups.

        When a couple of West Point cadets came to visit Ft. Leavenworth a few years ago, one on the cross country team, he challenged them to a race (3 or 5 miles). He, in his mid-50s, was barely beaten by the collegiate runner. He then challenged the cadet to a chin-up contest and won.

        I’d go on, but this is starting to sound like a series of Chuck Norris jokes.

  7. Anyone who calls Reagan a fiscal conservative must pay their mortgage with a credit card.

    1. More like a “cash advance” on their credit card.

      1. Those checks they keep sending me are really convenient!

  8. Attention Reason editors, webmaster et. al.:

    This article could have easily appeared on one page. Think about it.

      1. They get payed per page it seems.

        1. One more page per article = one extra page view for which to charge the advertisers.

  9. Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.

    –Bastiat

    Looks like the third system that Bastiat warned of some century and a half ago have taken control, and Reagan deserves more than a little credit.

    1. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are of the thirds school. That’s why I’m a libertarian.

  10. Obama’s barking up the wrong tree if he thinks anyone is going to buy him as another Reagan. In pretty much any sense. And this is from someone who thinks the Reagan administration was deeply flawed in many ways.

  11. The American Sheeple have been conditioned to take it lying down!

    http://www.ultimate-privacy.tk

  12. Obama’s prospects for re-election ride, as they pretty much always have, on two things:

    (1) How’s the economy doing in the summer of 2012?

    Sure, unemployment is part of this, but even if the official (read: fraudulent) number is down to 8% by then (which is possible, if everything goes very well), there’s a lot of other moving parts.

    (2) How’s the Mideast doing in the summer of 2012?

    Not looking so good right now. All this instability sets us up for the bad guys to make real gains. Obama insisting that they be included in the Egyptian government post-Mubarak doesn’t help.

    Right now, I’d say Obama’s re-election chances are 40/60. After correcting for my loathing of the man, I’d say 50/50.

    1. “Obama’s prospects for re-election ride, as they pretty much always have, on two things:

      (1) How’s the economy doing in the summer of 2012?”

      and that’s what worries me. Most people have short memories, and if things aren’t totally in the shitter in the summer of 2012, Obama’s got the inside track. That’s why I’m hoping the economy gets worse.

  13. If we use a big government = left, small government = right continuum, America is, relative to most of the world, a right of center nation. The problem I see in the discussion of this issue, is the American right’s attempt to take this fact and then say that America is even further to the right than it is. They want realign the center with America’s political continuum (which is already skewed right) and then say that we the nation is to the right of that center. But, of course, once you use only American input, the center is, well, at the center. It can’t be to the right of that center.

    As a rule, they don’t like taxes or deficits, but they value public schools and Social Security. They resent welfare dependency but want a government safety net.

    This is close to the mark, but I think it would be more accurate to say that they want effective government programs that provide needed services while avoiding waste and the creation of privileged and/or dependent classes of citizens.

  14. they want effective government programs

    Oopsie!

    that provide needed services

    Whatever those are.

    while avoiding waste

    Oopsie, again!

    and the creation of privileged and/or dependent classes of citizens

    Which, of course, is a contradiction in terms. Programs to provide services necessarily create such clases.

    Not saying you’re wrong, NM, just that Americans are, apparently, idiots.

    1. Programs to provide services necessarily create such clases.

      Nah.

  15. Since there is no getting around the fact that a President will have to come from one of the 2 national parties, it is going to take a very charismatic individual who actually wants to limit government to bring about change. This person must use the bully pulpit to call out the phonies in both parties who so desperately want change as long as it doesn’t impact their personal pork, constituents and special interest “contributors”. Of course we citizens are very much to blame for our over-bloated, excessive government, because we all fear any change that might impact ourselves, selfish, fat, stupid and lazy people that we increasingly are. As the joke goes: How many people does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.

    1. “This person must use the bully pulpit to call out the phonies…”

      Caulfield ’12!

      (Not really. An unlikeable fictional character from an overrated novel would be a horrible choice for president.)

      1. Heh heh, I see what you did there.

  16. One must wonder what counts for conservative positions.

    Many people beleive that keeping the historical and traditional definition of marriage is a conservative position. But the voters of Maine chose to keep that definition, even though at the time the Main electorate was considered center-left.

  17. The terms liberal and conservative are so fluid, it’s hard to have a conversation about them. Everyone interprets their meaning in their own way.

    1. Today’s American liberals are very different from “classic” liberals, which are often different from the liberals in other countires.

  18. Sort of a conservative nation? Totally agree. And that’s at best. Don’t forget this country gave a virtual dictatorship to Dems in 2006 and 2008 (combined). You’ll lose if you think the public is conservative.

  19. America the conservatives ?
    Maybe yes, maybe no, because the political situation is very dynamic.

  20. “the Donald” Trump is talkin about runnin in ’12. Yah I know, no big libitarian positions there, but the fireworks in the political world, caused by his election, would be worth the price of admission…

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  22. The world is getting kobe 7 shoes for sale better every year and the last thing we need to do is lebron 9 china for sale question the need for centrally planned economies.

  23. Get government replica uggs out of education and kids will get educated or fake uggs for sale not, as their parents desire. More of them will actually become educated without government than do now with it.

  24. Get government replica uggs out of education and kids will get educated or fake uggs for sale not, as their parents desire. More of them will actually become educated without government than do now with it.

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