as steele marginalizes reid conservatives must marginalize the left

As Steele Marginalizes Reid, Conservatives Must Marginalize the Left

Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele gave the only appropriate response on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, to Senate Majority Leader and member of the anti-war Left Harry Reid comparing critics of health care reform to opponents of abolition: he refused to answer questions about it and told CNBC commentator Donny Deutsch to change the subject.

It was a good reaction, because taking it seriously would have mainstreamed an argument, conservatives shouldn’t want to mainstream. Progressives have set the tone of the debate for too long. It’s time for conservatives to fight back and create new rules for the political debate. Kudos for the moderate conservative Steele for understanding this and for making clear to progressives that he doesn’t fall for their tricks to discredit all opposition to their plans.

Ever since George H.W. Bush’s presidency (albeit especially since his son George W. Bush took office), the Left has excelled at framing the political debate. Because of the Left’s opportunistic use of political correctness to silence critics, conservatives are nearly almost forced to play defense. Leftists can say everything, conservatives get away with nothing. When leftists are the minority in Congress and passionately oppose the plans of the majority, they and their friends in the MSM proclaim that “dissent is patriotic.” When they are the majority, however, self-proclaimed “liberals” quickly turn into little dictators, who ferociously attack, vilify and smear the opposition.

Read my whole post at NewsRealblog.

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  1. Michael Merritt

    December 10th, 2009 at 07:16

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    You article lead me to some interesting links. I found this point at DTN highly interesting:

    In addition to Prohibition and segregation, the Progressives’ anti-individualist idealism found yet another manifestation — militarism. Under the Roosevelt Administration, the “spirit of imperialism was an exaltation of duty above rights, of collective welfare above individual self-interest … [of] the heroic values as opposed to materialism, action instead of logic, the natural impulse rather than the pallid intellect” (Osgood) — in short, an exaltation of every tenet of Progressive ideology above Enlightenment liberalism. This manifestation tumefied with the outbreak of war in Europe, with the Progressives clamoring for U.S. entry:


    § Croly: The “tonic of a serious moral adventure” — i.e., the war — will prevent the “real danger of national disintegration” by forcing the American citizen to elevate “national service” above “having his own way.”

    If this is the case, that means that entire nation has been taken in by the progressive agenda already. And if elevating national service about individualism is really part of the progressive agenda, then someone might want to let the Republican Party know that they’ve been infiltrated pretty thoroughly.

    Though later it says progressives hate the military. I’m not sure that it can be both that they like militarism but hate the military. That doesn’t make sense.

    One final thing. I think conservatives do need to fight back, but it must be in a war on ideas, not on character. The problem for Republicans is that when they have fought back in recent years, it’s usually been by using the same methods as the left (see Karl Rove).

  2. Bengt Larsson

    December 10th, 2009 at 13:44

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    This is a lot of myth-making, Michael.

  3. Doomed

    December 10th, 2009 at 14:25

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    I agree that the right is and can be as ugly as the left. The question becomes who has the better ideas?>

    Democrats…are the perpetual perveyors of poverty.

    Health care….the poor will still be poor.

    food stamps….the poor will still be poor.

    Housing…….the poor will still be poor.

    busing…….the kids still return to their poverty ridden homes.

    MINIMUM WAGE….everyone raises their prices and the POOR are still poor.

    In other words. What is the message.

    Throw out the social agenda. I feel the government has NO right to tell us HOW to live our personal lives. Thats why you almost never see me involved in a debate here about social issues, religion, abortion, gay rights etc. Its none of my business what YOU do personally or socially.

    But in the grand scheme of ideas this nation is heading toward a generation of entitlement and I find that deeply disturbing because now it gets into what I believe is my business.

    That my government is taking MY money and giving it to people who wont work or cant work because government policy is forcing employees to follow ever dangerous economic principals in order to make themselves (GOVERNMENT) continually relevant.

    In other words….our federal government is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. They have overreached, overstepped and have grabbed power from the people and from the states on a level that will go down in our history as mindboggling.

    This has led to a nation of entitlement seekers and RENT seekers and the rolls are swelling.

    So for that I find the Democrats lacking ideas and I find the Republicans ideas lost in a sea of entitlement seekers.

  4. Chuck Norton

    December 10th, 2009 at 20:23

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    You nailed it. Conservatives must not only reject leftist premises, but attack them aggressively. Those who accept the left’s premises should be and deserve to be mocked, especially considering the record the left has.

    There are only two reasons to campaign against freedom and push for the leviathan state on a regular basis, either because you are foolish, malicious or both.

    Steele did ok, but should have done more to put them on the defensive.

  5. c3

    December 11th, 2009 at 01:51

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    Steele’s response to “you people” reminded of the reaction by some of to McCain’s debate statement of “that one!”.

    Rule #1, Republicans don’t get to use the race card, even in half-gest.

    Now obviously these two clips had other stuff between them but I can certainly understand Steele thinking OK, we just discussed slavery and I was being asked my take on it and as a Black man? Republican? I stated the comparison was absurd. And now I hear “you people”. How should I respond, as a Republican or as a black man?

  6. Michael Merritt

    December 11th, 2009 at 02:43

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    I always love the irony of a Democrat making any condemnation of the Republicans for slavery, given it was their party that held nearly all the racists and slave owners once upon a time.

    A very different Democrat Party, maybe, but the Democrats none-the-less.

  7. Interested

    December 12th, 2009 at 11:35

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    Though later it says progressives hate the military. I’m not sure that it can be both that they like militarism but hate the military. That doesn’t make sense.

    Sure it does. State run vs Against the State.

    While being interviewed in the polling place, another African-American voter stated that she couldn’t support someone who still believed in “a false war based on lies.”

    That’s the framing right there. The ability of the left to remove their own involvement in the war.

  8. redfish

    December 12th, 2009 at 20:51

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    Roosevelt in his own time was known as an individualist; when he spoke on things like service and greed he was speaking to Christian values that were part of America since before the founders, and isn’t incompatible with Enlightenment liberalism.

    The problem current conservatives have with Roosevelt is that he was a moderate, he spoke as a moderate and saw himself as a moderate, and they don’t understand the middle. They call Roosevelt an liberal in the same way they call John McCain a liberal. How can any conservative support campaign finance reform or some environmental legislation? To conservatives today, any political moderate is on the left.

    There never was a single Progressive movement. There were several actual progressive movements politically, and progressivism itself was just a popular term a large number of people used, often they used the same rhetoric, but the ideologies were completely different. The same way libertarianism now is a popular term, to the point that its being hijacked even by people with socialist views who want to say they believe in some kind of libertarianism. Libertarianism is a popular idea today among those who feel marginalized in politics so all sorts of nuts on the fringe glom on to it. Like neo-nazis who write in the same newsletters that Ron Paul does.

    Originally, Roosevelt Progressivism was meant to infer that without giving up the values of Enlightenment liberalism social progress could still be made. Those arguments were made against extreme people like William Jennings Bryan (the Democratic nominee against Roosevelt) who’s rhetoric spoke of overturning all Enlightenment values.

    Conservatives are trying to create a historical narrative that isn’t there. The idea of ‘progress’ has been abused in the last century by many people, but there was no real ‘movement’. Likely, the idea of libertarianism will be abused in the coming century.

  9. Michael Merritt

    December 12th, 2009 at 22:56

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    redfish :

    The same way libertarianism now is a popular term, to the point that its being hijacked even by people with socialist views who want to say they believe in some kind of libertarianism.

    Actually, it’s my understanding (and I researched this when I was in the midst of my libertarian love affair last year) that libertarianism did start off as a socialist movement. Now-a-days it’s an all-encompassing set of political views with social views ranging from far-left to far-right, but libertarianism originally holding ties to socialism is the history as I understand it.

  10. Doomed

    December 12th, 2009 at 23:17

    There is no chance of progress if our country is in taters and bankrupt.

    Progressives are nothing but social equalizers who believe that the public coffers are unlimited.

    Progress? Hardly.

  11. Tully

    December 12th, 2009 at 23:34

    “Libertarian” was originally a term used by anarcho-communists referring to the abolition of the state. But it was also used in 19th-century Enlightenment thinking as the foundation of classic liberalism. Since then, sadly, “liberalism” has come to mean socialistic statism instead.

    In the 20th century things got confusing, so I’ll skip it. Today in general it means market-economy limited-government individualism. (In specific, it means whatever anyone wants to claim it means…)

  12. redfish

    December 12th, 2009 at 23:40


    Yea as I understand there were ties to socialists early on but for a lot of its history it was mainly centered around classical liberalism.

    The bigger point I’m making though is that libertarianism as a term can be used to support an umbrella of ideologies just like progressivism was and it will likely be used to support stupid things also. Beck himself, ironically, is already appropriating the term, calling himself a libertarian, even though most libertarians cry foul at that.

  13. redfish

    December 13th, 2009 at 00:10

    I think to better put it into perspective, Roosevelt’s view on government came from Whig ideas.. that can be traced back to Hamilton, then Henry Clay, then Lincoln.. Conservatives and libertarians don’t like any of those figures, but the viewpoint is very far from the kind of anti-Constitution, leftist viewpoint they ascribe to Roosevelt.

    The Hamiltonian view of the Constitution is a very valid one and goes back to the founders.

  14. Doomed

    December 13th, 2009 at 02:54

    anti-Constitution, leftist viewpoint they ascribe to Roosevelt.

    1. In complete secrecy, he told his Cabinet that he proposed to expand the Supreme Court to 15 members by adding a co-justice for every judge over 70. That would give him a majority and make the Supreme Court his obedient servant.

    2. On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which imprisoned the “Issei” (first generation of Japanese who immigrated to the US) and their children, “Nisei” (who were US citizens).

    3. The rapid expansion of government programs that occurred during Roosevelt’s term redefined the role of the government in the United States, and Roosevelt’s advocacy of government social programs was instrumental in redefining liberalism for coming generations.

    4. More and more its coming into focus that the reason the great depression lasted so long was directly a result of the POLICIES of FDR many of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme court he was unable to pack with his own henchmen.

    FDR is a modern day marvel. Hero to the left and progressives and yet his legacy remains as one of the ultimate power grabbers and expanders of the federal government in the history of America. The power of the Federal government was Alinskized before Alinsky was even born.

    Roosevelt was hardly a conservative. was NOT a moderate. Neither is Obama. The left has already played that card. Obama is NOT nor has he EVER been a moderate. In 2012 If the world is still in existence then…Obama will have to run on his record and so far its hardly anything but Moderate.

  15. redfish

    December 13th, 2009 at 03:58

    doomed, I’m talking about Theodore Roosevelt. TR and FDR are completely different even though progressives (and conservatives) today want to draw a straight line between them. Its possible to like TR and hate FDR.

  16. redfish

    December 13th, 2009 at 04:02

    arguably though, FDR is still a lot less liberal than the left today… he expected that a lot of social programs he helped pass through would operate on a much smaller scale and require far less taxes than they did in the end. So its possible to also agree with some of FDRs programs like social security while not liking the modern left and where they’ve taken those ideas.

  17. Doomed

    December 13th, 2009 at 23:36

    This is a leftist rally.

    This is a rightist rally.

    But remember the FBI and homeland security has identified those on the right as potential terrorists.

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