Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's not about the tea party or establishment but candidate quality

A national consultant sounded like a national consultant today in the Argus. He is right about 50% but he lays the blame on one side only. He's an NRA guy so he's not all bad. However, a lot of consultants (not all) like to blame everybody but themselves for the problems in the campaigns so they build themselves up.

“When conservatives are unhappy, bad things happen to the Republican Party.”
So wrote Richard Viguerie, the “Funding Father” of the modern conservative movement, in his 2006 book “Conservatives Betrayed.” Viguerie characterized the conservative movement as an independent “Third Force” in American politics, one that will bring the Republican Party to its knees “begging for support.” Then, George W. Bush was the enemy. Now, it’s “impure” incumbent Republican senators.
The modern conservative movement and the Republican Party have never been synonymous. But the animosity between the two has never been more self-destructive than it is today.
Many conservatives see the Republican Party as little more than “the evil of two lessers.” Couple that with their belief that pragmatism is a dirty word, and it’s little wonder that liberal and progressive leaders give thanks at the altar of the “tea party” while simultaneously crediting the movement for every problem facing our society. The irony seems lost on conservative leaders who should know better.

The thing about Republicans is that it is a big tent. Democrats do what their told. Republicans are anti-authoritarian, and not just the libertarians, business owners, and gun owners. Less government is the general core belief of the group.

"""For more than 30 years as a political consultant, I’ve helped elect Republicans to offices at all levels and enthusiastically advanced the cause of many national groups espousing conservative issues. Smaller government, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and greater individual freedom — all these tenets sound like the battle cry for the “tea party” when in fact they’ve stood as the modern Republican Party creed for decades. What has changed over the past several years is the assertion that if you aren’t 100 percent pure on the entire conservative agenda, you must be removed from office. Never mind that if you defeat an “impure” conservative or, heaven forbid, a moderate Republican, what you get in return is a liberal or progressive Democrat.""""

Devil's advocate. Sometimes I agree with this, but other times I don't. What if the so called "Moderate" is a Arlen Specter, Joe Schwarz, Charlie Crist, or John Stewart who are really democrats. Stewart admitted he never voted Republican for president after he switched parties officially. Schwarz backed Mark Schauer. A leftist. Specter switched because the base had enough of him (and so did the dems). Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are liberal republicans. I think Collins is great to have in Maine. That's the best we're going to get there. Plymouth didn't need a John Stewart type but a John Walsh instead. The 7th district voted for Tim Walberg over Joe Schwarz. Take the best you can get where you can win.

""Today, Harry Reid is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate for one simple reason: The “tea party.” It snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the 2012 elections by putting forth unvetted primary candidates who defeated incumbent Republicans who undoubtedly would have triumphed in the general election."""
Bullshit. I don't consider myself tea party, and still call this as bullshit. Tom, you lose your argument here. Both sides fouled up. These were election results. I'll put notable ones in bold.

In 2012, these were the results:
Arizona - Jeff Flake (center-right, some libertarian leanings) replaces Jon Kyl. - R hold
California - Feinstein wins again
Connecticut - Chris Murphy replaces Joe Lieberman. D hold. Linda McMahon was an establishment R running in a tough seat.
Delaware - Tom Carper wins again
Florida - Bill Nelson wins easily. Connie Mack was supposed to be a contender, but struck out badly. Establishment failure here. 
Hawaii - Hirono replaces Akaka. D hold.
Indiana - Gun grabber Richard Lugar loses the primary. Good. Bad however was Richard Mordouk running his mouth. Joe Donnelly won and this was a D pickup. Tea Party failure here.
Maine - Olympia Snowe retired. Angus King wins. Democrat pick up. (King's an independent, but caucuses with dems).
Maryland - Ben Cardin wins again.
Massachusetts - Scott Brown loses to Elizabeth Warren. D pickup. Straight tickets won.
Michigan - Stabenow wins easily over Pete Hoekstra. Establishment failure here. It should have been closer and Durant would have given a much better race than the (nonexistent) campaign we saw.
Minnesota - Klobuchar wins easily.
Mississippi - Wicker wins.
Missouri - Claire McCaskill hangs on. Todd Akin loses what would have been a win for his mouth. Establishment (Huckabee wing) failure here. Akin wasn't tea party. Tea party was split in the primary.  D hold.
Montana - Jon Tester hangs on against Denny Rehberg. Wasn't tea party. D hold.
Nevada - Dean Heller hangs on against Shelly Berkley. Establishment win. R hold.
New Jersey - Bob Menendez hangs on despite his issues.
New Mexico - Martin Henrich takes over for Jeff Bingaman. D hold.  Tough year there.
New York - Gillibrand wins.
North Dakota - Heidi Heitkamp upsets Rick Berg. D hold. This wasn't tea party either.
Ohio - Brown beats Josh Mandel. D Hold. This wasn't tea party either.
Pennsylvania - Maybe Tom Smith should have had more help against Bob Casey who didn't win by a margin that was expected.
Rhode Island - Whitehouse wins
Tennessee - Corker wins
Texas - Ted Cruz wins
Utah - Orrin Hatch wins
Vermont - Bernie Sanders wins
Virginia - Tim Caine beats George Allen for Jim Webb's seat. D hold. Establishment loss here.
Washington - Cantwell wins
West Virginia - Manchin wins

Wisconsin - Baldwin beats former Governor Tommy Thompson. I heard Thompson ran a very poor campaign. Establishment failure here.
Wyoming - Barrasso wins.

Tom, you can pin ONE here on the tea party. In 2010, you can pin Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle there - along with Pat Toomey, Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio's wins.

What was proven here. Tea party candidates can win. Tea party candidates can lose. Same goes for establishment candidates. Dean Heller deserves a lot of credit for his win. It wasn't easy. I'm not trying to pick on one side over another. Like Tom, I'm tired of self-enforced errors in the party. Unlike Tom, I see the big picture.

Instead of these pot sides at "establishment" or "Tea Party," both sides need to recruit candidates who can actually win. That means avoiding foot-in-mouth disease, laziness, and consultant backstabbing by announcing to the world that this person is going to lose because your favorite lost the primary (Rove).  


Jordan Genso said...

You wouldn't actually identify the religious conservatives as "anti-authoritarian" though, would you? The Republican Party, generally speaking, is actually quite authoritarian on social issues.

Those of us that are anti-authoritarian on social issues, while recognizing that government has a legitimate role in protecting the people from abuses inherent in a free market- we're very welcome within the Democratic Party.

Jordan Genso said...

Also, the neocons would be accurately described as 'authoritarian'.

The Republican Party (again, generally speaking), wants libertarian economic policies and more government involvement on social/foreign policies. The Democratic Party (generally speaking), wants libertarian social/foreign policies and government involvement on economic policies.

You'll be able to find exceptions to either description, but they're more accurate than your description of the Republicans being anti-authoritarian with no nuance at all.

Dan said...

Jordan - I couldn't disagree with you more. The left is extremely authoritarian on social issues.

I learned how authoritarian democrats are on social issues from my time on campus. Speech codes. Indoctrination (mandated - I learned how to 'play the game'). Tolerance extended only to the company line. Disagreeing with the "powers that be" turned one into a "bigot" or denial of so-called "white privilege." Disagreement of "global warming theory" made one supposedly "anti-science" even though the pushers are ignorant of the scientific method. They are "anti-authoritarian" until they become the authority. Other issues. Smoking. Second Amendment. House to house searches for firearms in DC. Sin taxes. Government involvement in "obesity" through micromanagement. House to house "code searches" (inside homes, not just new leases) in East Lansing.

A lot of religious conservatives see a government assault on the exercise of their religion. Despite what's on TV, most I know don't want government enforcing their religion, but don't want to be condemned for speaking their opinion on it.

Both parties are bad on the war on some drugs. The left wants government sanctioned gay marriage and wants to punish individuals that do not support it by bankrupting their businesses. The right is varied on that issue. My own stance is government getting out of marriage.

As far as foreign policy goes, I don't see a lot of substantive difference (plenty stylistic) between Bush I (less so him), Clinton, Bush II, and Obamaism outside of talk and in some cases which sides are backed. Obama kept troops in Iraq for three years. Troops are still in Afghanastan. US Forces were involved in Libya. Personally, I think Obama and Bush both ran their mouths too much. Obama with Russia/Ukraine, and Bush's "Mission Accomplished."

Fat Bastardo said...

It's not the quality of the candidates it is the quality of the voters. Republican nominate and elect idiots.

If you want to live like a rich Republican vote Democrat.

Dan said...

""If you want to live like a rich Republican vote Democrat.""

If you want to turn the entire state and country into Wayne County, vote Democrat.

Jordan Genso said...

A couple of things. The first is that when you state:
"most [religious conservatives] don't want government enforcing their religion"

I have a hard time believing that, since many times they cite the Bible as the reason for supporting certain policies (abortion restrictions and LGBT issues are the most obvious, and denial of climate change being another). As soon as they state their religious beliefs as being a reason in favor of or opposed to a certain policy, they do in fact want the government to base laws on their religion.

I will agree with you that when it comes to gun-related issues, the Democratic Party often takes what would be called the more authoritarian position, but the debate has moved so far to the right that it's a debate between pure libertarianism and mostly libertarian (for that topic). When the debate is simply whether or not we should have universal background checks, then technically speaking the 'yes' side is more authoritarian, but it's no where close to the "we're confiscating your guns" authoritarianism I think many conservatives view it as.

In regards to climate change, I'm really curious as to how you account for the overwhelming agreement on the issue within the scientific community. The idea that the scientific community doesn't understand how science works seems at face-value to be absurd. I believe that politics should not meddle with science, and instead allow the scientific community to determine the best understanding of our universe, and policy should be based on that understanding. When politicians start disagreeing with the scientific community, as though the politicians understand science better than actual scientists, we as a nation are much worse off for it.

I also agree with you that in practice, there is not much authoritarian/libertarian difference between the parties' foreign policy approach of those in the White House. But those that have fought in Congress against authoritarian foreign policy are much more likely to be Democrats rather than Republicans. And in regards to the parties' supporters as a whole, Democrats are less authoritarian on the issue. Again though, just like with guns (where both parties are arguing on the libertarian side, just to different degrees), the debate has moved so far to the right that both parties are arguing on the authoritarian side.

And in regards to the war on drugs, again that is an issue where the opposition that does exist is primarily on the left. Yes, there's not enough opposition on the left to have much influence over policy, but it's because the conservatives have successfully made Democrats scared of being "soft on crime" if they don't adopt the pro-drug war position. The "soft on crime" argument (which is very authoritarian) was used effectively by the right in the past, and so it's shifted the debate so that the anti-authoritarian politicians view it as politically risky.

Jordan Genso said...

Also, you often point to Detroit/Wayne County as the epitome of Democratic governance. If Democrats continuously pointed to southern states like Mississippi (and all of their numerous problems) as the epitome of Republican governance, do you think that that would be helpful for the discussion?

There are places where governance from either party has had bad outcomes. To pick one of them as the embodiment of what that party wants is nothing but a straw man. You could at least have the decency to point to locations that the Democrats themselves often identify as being a "good" example- like Ann Arbor. I'm sure you could come up with numerous criticisms of Ann Arbor, just as Democrats could come up with numerous criticisms of any place that you actually identify as being a "good" example of Republican governance, but at least there'd be some semblance of civil debate.

Dan said...

I've never heard denial of global warming as a religious argument. Not once. The authoritarian side is the left there because of the measures pushed in the name of global warming (ALWAYS anti-energy and anti-car). I've heard religion arguments for gays (my stance is government out of that issue altogether) and abortion (which I support a ban for the same reason as a ban on murder).

In my experience, the two social issues that gets people to the polls to vote are abortion and Second Amendment. Different type of crowds.

"""but it's no where close to the "we're confiscating your guns" authoritarianism I think many conservatives view it as.""""

That's happening in Connecticut right now. That aside, the gun owners there are giving the law the finger, and rightly so.

""In regards to climate change, I'm really curious as to how you account for the overwhelming agreement on the issue within the scientific community. The idea that the scientific community doesn't understand how science works seems at face-value to be absurd."""

As a historian, I want to see actual data that is more than 150 years old, let alone 20-50. Unless you are a Young Earth Creationist (I'm not) who believes the world is 6000 years old, that small of sample is irrelevant. The scientific method is something we are all taught (or should be) in 6th grade. There isn't a consensus, and true scientists aren't confined to company lines to get their funding grants. There's disagreement.

I have two degrees including a post-graduate degree. My job is to decipher and read data and apply the law (or political reality in some cases) to it. I'm quite capable at reading data and that includes weather measurements. Now, if a scientist wants to come to my field and argue with me at my game, that's fine. I'm perfectly willing to let the arguments and chips fall where they may. It's not the titles that make the person. It's the data, the processes used to get that data, the measurements, and the facts.

""But those that have fought in Congress against authoritarian foreign policy are much more likely to be Democrats rather than Republicans."""

99 out of 100 Senators voted for the Patriot Act. It passed again under Obama. The main push against it is from the Ron Paul and Russ Feingold wings.

The drug war? The last push I heard there was from Mike Shirkey and Mike Callton, along with Jeff Irwin. Two R's and D. One center-right, one conservative, and one far-left. Most of the push however is from libertarians, which are much closer to the right than the left. Clinton moved the Libertarians towards the R's, and Bush towards the D's or staying home, but Obama reminded those with short memories just how big government the democrats are.

I don't consider the crime arguments "the right" as I most remember that stuff from "Rockefeller" and "Nixon" era "Republicans" in one party and Clintonites in the other. Most of the right thought there were too many laws, particularly the "Old Right" along with the Paulites.

As far as "Ann Arbor" compared to Wayne County. Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County is propped up by government money and academia (UM, EMU). What would it be without government funding? Same goes for Ingham County.

As for Mississippi, there's some democrat parts there too. Much of the Delta, along with Jackson. Hinds County votes like Wayne County. In fact, the Republicans didn't take full control of the state at all until 2010. First time since 1876.

Jordan Genso said...

Denying climate change based on religious beliefs:

(please don't dismiss it as a source simply because the source is clearly designed to find wrongdoing on the part of conservatives. the source provides the Senator's actual words in audio format, and those words are what they are)

You make some good points, and I think there is room for reasonable disagreement about which side is less authoritarian on different issues. It's been a fun conversation.

In regards to Ann Arbor/Mississippi, you glossed over the main point. Do you think it is appropriate for one party to find a location (I could track down some counties in the south that are Republican-controlled, if you don't think the states are a legitimate comparison) that has had bad outcomes, and identify that as the most-likely outcome if that party gets control in other locations.

You recognize that there are many additional factors that influence a region's success (you say that Ann Arbor's success is because of UofM, thereby dismissing the governing policy in the city), but what about the factors that influence the region's failures (when globalization affects the manufacturing industry, cities like Detroit that rely on manufacturing are going to be impacted)? Your approach seems to be backwards, where if the Democratically-controlled area is successful, find a reason other than the fact that the Democrats are in control there, and if the Democratically-controlled area is unsuccessful, place the blame on the Democrats and ignore any other reasons.

All I'm saying is that it is wrong to ignore all of the reasons for a region's failure, and attribute it solely to which party was in power, so that you then claim the same outcome is likely if that party gains more control in a different region.