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Old 02-12-2014, 01:20 PM   #31
Jim in CT
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Originally Posted by detbuch View Post
Yes, that pyrrhic victory is visible on the horizon of failed strategies and lack of principled courage.
I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just stating that if you stick to your guns but get clobbered in the election, is that better than a pyrrhic victory? I dunno.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:31 PM   #32
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We need to take the Senate and then we can break the stalemate. It will give us 2 years before Hillary and if we keep it 2016 it will force her to move to the center like her husband did. It gives us a chance to improve "income opportunity".
Chris Christie quote...
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:56 PM   #33
Jim in CT
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We need to take the Senate and then we can break the stalemate. It will give us 2 years before Hillary and if we keep it 2016 it will force her to move to the center like her husband did. It gives us a chance to improve "income opportunity".
Chris Christie quote...
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device
Picking up 6 Senate seats will be a very tall order. That said, the timing looks great. There are twice as many Dems up for re-election in 2014 as there are Republicans. And a few of those Democrats rode Obama's coattails in 2008 to get elected in places that don't usually elect Democrats. As Obama helped those candidates in 2008, so will he hurt them in 2014. I'm sure the GOP will pick up Senate seats, but 6 would be a real ass-whoopin'.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:19 PM   #34
detbuch
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I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just stating that if you stick to your guns but get clobbered in the election, is that better than a pyrrhic victory? I dunno.
If by sticking to your guns means fighting with a well articulated conviction on principle and you get clobbered in the election, then either you didn't fight well enough, or the people have abandoned your principles. Is the answer, then, to compromise your principles and win elections? Isn't that what has been happening for the past several decades?

Are we now to have faith that THIS time winning an election will bring about actual victory. Or has the constant erosion of principles occurred both by the progressive attack on them and by "our" relentless bargaining them away in order to win? Every new compromise takes us that much further away from principle, never a return in the other direction. The first compromise is presumably a shift to a middle ground. The next compromise is a shift from that middle ground, which is already distanced from first principle, to another middle ground toward that of your opposition. And it keeps going in that direction because the opposition itself, not yet fully having established its foundation, is also constantly moving in that direction toward its ultimate and still defining goal.

If there were two equally defined and established political entities in opposition, the middle ground in every succeeding negotiation should ideologically remain statically in the "middle." But only the so-called "conservative" position was established and defined (in the founding), and the "progressive" position has been evolving and doing so continuously further and further away from founding principles and away from any previous middle compromises.

Further, the progressive message has become appealing to more and more people with every compromise in that direction, and so more legislation that appeals to peoples' weaker angels is passed, making them more dependent and self-sufficiency less appealing. And the need for progressives to compromise dwindles. The Republicans become less "conservative," and the Democrats become more confidently "progressive." Notice how little the Democrats have actually compromised during Obama's tenure. And what little compromise they give is bargained away in the next round of negotiations such as was done with the sequester.

So if another round of "compromise" by Republicans "wins" an election will that be the actual pyrrhic victory? A victory at the cost of even more of what supposedly defines "conservative"? If Republicans fear "sticking to their guns" and abandon that to win, what will make them pick up those guns and stick to them after victory? Or will they conclude that they must always avoid those guns in order to keep winning. This has already been happening and with greater acceleration of the transformation of the established Republican party into a quasi-progressive one.

The Tea party, which rose up against the trend and picked up those guns which the "moderate" Republicans had put aside to avoid being accused of pushing grandma off the cliff, was used by a weakening GOP to ride to a substantial victory. But now the Tea Party is shunned by Repubs who drifting back into fear mode. Hoping to win by default, not by stick to your guns principle.

So, is it better to be clobbered in the election by sticking to principle, or is it better to have the pyrrhic victory of gaining election but losing your soul? Or is that a false dichotomy? There is always the next election. Hone your message. Stick to your guns. Fight with vigor and principle. Show that you are a worthy opponent who will not back down or fear mealy-mouthed, pusillanimous media pundits--walk soft but carry a big stick. Articulate your principles with passion. Have a clear identity, don't weasel back and forth to win. That is not honorable. It is not appealing to people who are looking for inspiration.

The notion that it's all about the economy, stupid, is a demeaning view of human nature. Either the economy will take care of itself if left the space to do it, or it can constantly be manipulated by whatever slight of hand necessary to convince us that it's "heading in the right direction." If we remain passive in the face of supposed financial doom, the ruling class can pull a dug here or there to give us milk, forgive or eliminate a debt, become powerful enough to do whatever, and by any means, is necessary to keep us complacent and happy. The laws of economics are no obstacle to those who don't abide the rule of law. You can argue like a prattling idiot about an "unsustainable debt," but it has long ago been unsustainable, going from millions to billions to trillions--what height is insurmountable for administrative magicians to climb?

If We The People have been reduced to overgrown children who have lost the ability to strike out on our own and seek the fullness or our lives in spite of the difficulty and danger of the quest, then let us throw in the towel and let the ruling class give us our daily bread and comfort. We can finally shuffle off the ancient notion of humanity being a noble state, next to that of the Gods. And we can trade our souls for manna.

Last edited by detbuch; 02-19-2014 at 10:08 AM..
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:04 PM   #35
Jim in CT
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If by sticking to your guns means fighting with a well articulated conviction on principle and you get clobbered in the election, then either you didn't fight well enough, or the people have abandoned your principles. Is the answer, then, to compromise your principles and win elections? Isn't that what has been happening for the past several decades?

Are we now to have faith that THIS time winning an election will bring about actual victory. Or has the constant erosion of principles occurred both by the progressive attack on them and by "our" relentless bargaining them away in order to win? Every new compromise takes us that much further away from principle, never a return in the other direction. The first compromise is presumably a shift to a middle ground. The next compromise is a shift from that middle ground, which is already distanced from first principle, to another middle ground toward that of your opposition. And it keeps going in that direction because the opposition itself, not yet fully having established its foundation, is also constantly moving in that direction toward its ultimate and still defining goal.

If there were two equally defined and established political entities in opposition, the middle ground in every succeeding negotiation should ideologically remain statically in the "middle." But only the so-called "conservative" position was established and defined (in the founding), and the "progressive" position has been evolving and doing so continuously further and further away from founding principles and away from any previous middle compromises.

Further, the progressive message has become appealing to more and more people with every compromise in that direction, and so more legislation that appeals to peoples' weaker angels is passed, making them more dependent and self-sufficiency less appealing. And the need for progressives to compromise dwindles. The Republicans become less "conservative," and the Democrats become more confidently "progressive." Notice how little the Democrats have actually compromised during Obama's tenure. And what little compromise they give is bargained away in the next round of negotiations such as was done with the sequester.

So if another round of "compromise" by Republicans "wins" an election will that be the actual pyrrhic victory? A victory at the cost of even more of what supposedly defines "conservative"? If Republicans fear "sticking to their guns" and abandon that to win, what will make them pick up those guns and stick to them after victory? Or will they conclude that they must always avoid those guns in order to keep winning. This has already been happening and with greater acceleration of the transformation of the established Republican party into a quasi-progressive one.

The Tea party, which rose up against the trend and picked up those guns which the "moderate" Republicans had put aside to avoid being accused of pushing grandma off the cliff, was used by a weakening GOP to ride to a substantial victory. But now the Tea Party is shunned by Repubs, drifting back into fear mode. Hoping to win by default, not by stick to your guns principle.

So, is it better to be clobbered in the election by sticking to principle, or is it better to have the pyrrhic victory of gaining election but losing your soul? Or is that a false dichotomy? There is always the next election. Hone your message. Stick to your guns. Fight with vigor and principle. Show that you are a worthy opponent who will not back down or fear mealy-mouthed, pusillanimous media pundits--walk soft but carry a big stick. Articulate your principles with passion. Have a clear identity, don't weasel back and forth to win. That is not honorable. It is not appealing to people who are looking for inspiration.

The notion that it's all about the economy, stupid, is a demeaning view of human nature. Either the economy will take care of itself if left the space to do it, or it can constantly be manipulated by whatever slight of hand necessary to convince us that it's "heading in the right direction." If we remain passive in the face of supposed financial doom, the ruling class can pull a dug here or there to give us milk, forgive or eliminate a debt, become powerful enough to do whatever, and by any means, is necessary to keep us complacent and happy. The laws of economics are no obstacle to those who don't abide the rule of law. You can argue like a prattling idiot about an "unsustainable debt," but it has long ago been unsustainable, going from millions to billions to trillions--what height is insurmountable for administrative magicians to climb?

If We The People have been reduced to overgrown children who have lost the ability to strike out on our own and seek the fullness or our lives in spite of the difficulty and danger of the quest, then let us throw in the towel and let the ruling class give us our daily bread and comfort. We can finally shuffle off the ancient notion of humanity being a noble state, next to that of the Gods. And we can trade our souls for manna.
"you get clobbered in the election, then either you didn't fight well enough, or the people have abandoned your principles. " Or a little bit of both, plus some impact from the fact that every TV station except one will claim that you are pure evil.

"Is the answer, then, to compromise your principles and win elections?" I don't know. Maybe winning with a John McCain is better than losing with a Ted Cruz. I'm not saying that's what I believe, I'm saying there's a case to be made for that argument.

"Isn't that what has been happening for the past several decades?" Not in New England, where it's almost impossible to get elected if you are in the GOP. And the US Congress has been controlled by Democrats for far longer than it has been controlled by Republicans.

I cannot disagree with anything you are saying. But today, it's very difficult for a true conservative to get elected, at least to the Executive Branch (we continue to do well in midterms, because the liberal media cannot demonize hundreds of candidates running all over the country).

Detbuch, I don't htink things can be fixed at this point. Those who understand elementary school arithmetic, have been saying, for 50 years, that SS and Medicare will go bankrupt due to the Baby Boomers. For 50 years, people who say that out loud have been demonized. I don't know that we can avoid going over the cliff at this point, because the Tea Party isn't going to control Congress and the white House. My predisction is that we slog along this way for 25 more years, then we start bouncing checks to people receiving entitlements. The impact of that will be so bad, that not even Spence will be able to say that Paul Ryan was wrong. That could well be the end of liberal economics, because no one will be able to claim that the liberals were right and the conservatives were wrong.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:20 PM   #36
detbuch
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"you get clobbered in the election, then either you didn't fight well enough, or the people have abandoned your principles. " Or a little bit of both, plus some impact from the fact that every TV station except one will claim that you are pure evil.

In my opinion, it is a lot of the first two, and not enough fight and pushback against the third.

Not fighting well enough is, to a great degree, abandoning your principles (not sticking to your guns, as you put it), which, to a great degree, is why the people also abandon them.

And when media pundits paint a false picture of you, fight back against every little point. Don't let them get away with anything. If you worry that it might make you look defensive, make it obvious that you are on offense. The more you're concerned about reaction, the less you will take action. If you let the media define you, that will stick in the public mind, and your lack of a rebuttal laced with a definition of who you really are, will confirm the media picture and make you look weak.


"Is the answer, then, to compromise your principles and win elections?" I don't know. Maybe winning with a John McCain is better than losing with a Ted Cruz. I'm not saying that's what I believe, I'm saying there's a case to be made for that argument.

A case can be made for any argument, if it is one. If you're ambivalent, you will lose. Make the case for the argument you believe in. Make it strong, articulate, speak the speech well with passion, and consistently BE what you argue. Don't waffle. Don't say one thing then compromise it and do another. George Bush Senior supposedly lost his bid for re-election due to a great degree because of his "read my lips" quote which he went back on.

Conservatives acting like liberals is not the most winning combination. And it is a compromise from which they cannot escape. The compromise is woven permanently into the fabric of how they must govern in order to "win."


"Isn't that what has been happening for the past several decades?" Not in New England, where it's almost impossible to get elected if you are in the GOP. And the US Congress has been controlled by Democrats for far longer than it has been controlled by Republicans.

I was speaking mostly of national politics in which the Republicans consistently caved, "compromised," over the past several decades, not that they mostly won because of that. Rather, I think, that is why the Congress has been controlled by Democrats longer than by Republicans. People of just about every ethnicity or culture admire strength over weakness.

Local politics in the East has an interesting history. It used to be very "conservative." Who I consider the last fully conservative President, Calvin Coolidge, was a quintessential Northeasterner. He was immensely popular. And he did not compromise at all. And he was known and respected for that. He won because of that. He consistently "stuck to his guns" even in the face of the most withering sentiment to act outside of the scope of constitutional executive power. And this was an age when progressivism was politically catching on like wildfire. Unlike the manufactured political debacles of Katrina and Sandy, he refused to give federal aid to a huge flood disaster as bad, or worse, than Katrina in a state in the South, and was excoriated by the press, and the Democrats and even by Republicans for not doing so. (There was no FEMA then.) He said it was strictly a state matter, and the federal government had no business being involved. He was accused of being anti-Southern and wouldn't act that way if the same disaster happened in his home state of Vermont. As it turned out, it did happen in his home state, and he acted the same way. And both states, Southern and Northern, managed to recover, as was appropriate, on their own initiative. He was a penny pincher and made it his duty to cut expenditure to bare necessity. And when his fiscal policy actually reduced the national debt for the first time since before the Civil War, his response was to cut some more. The "economy" and the country flourished during his tenure. He didn't run for re-election, though he could have won in a landslide. He served a good six years (the first two as a Vice President taking over for the deceased Harding) and considered his job done and time to go back home. He was frugal, as were Vermonters, in his personal and public life. Then the burgeoning progressive tide swept into power, and the Constitution was eviscerated, and the debt has continued to rise.


I cannot disagree with anything you are saying. But today, it's very difficult for a true conservative to get elected, at least to the Executive Branch (we continue to do well in midterms, because the liberal media cannot demonize hundreds of candidates running all over the country).

Detbuch, I don't htink things can be fixed at this point. Those who understand elementary school arithmetic, have been saying, for 50 years, that SS and Medicare will go bankrupt due to the Baby Boomers. For 50 years, people who say that out loud have been demonized. I don't know that we can avoid going over the cliff at this point, because the Tea Party isn't going to control Congress and the white House. My predisction is that we slog along this way for 25 more years, then we start bouncing checks to people receiving entitlements. The impact of that will be so bad, that not even Spence will be able to say that Paul Ryan was wrong. That could well be the end of liberal economics, because no one will be able to claim that the liberals were right and the conservatives were wrong.
Maybe so. But if we totally abandon our founding principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility, the aftermath of the disaster you predict may not be as kind to Paul Ryan, or conservatism, or constitutionalism, as you might wish. A society that has gone that far astray, politically, personally, financially, and morally, might recover its old strengths, or it might, as has happened elsewhere in history, be prey to an openly dictatorial regime.

Last edited by detbuch; 02-19-2014 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #37
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Jim--I just read this article this morning. It relates to our discussion about sticking to your guns or compromising.

http://www.redstate.com/2014/02/13/t...y-and-reality/
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:26 AM   #38
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Jim--I just read this article this morning. It relates to our discussion about sticking to your guns or compromising.

http://www.redstate.com/2014/02/13/t...y-and-reality/
it was a great article. I don't disagree that conservative principles are what the country needs. I just don't think pure conservatives can get elected everywhere, and where they can't, I'll take a moderate Republican over Nancy Pelosi. But we need to do a better job of getting the message out, I agree. I think 2014 will be a good year for us.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:04 PM   #39
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it was a great article. I don't disagree that conservative principles are what the country needs. I just don't think pure conservatives can get elected everywhere, and where they can't, I'll take a moderate Republican over Nancy Pelosi. But we need to do a better job of getting the message out, I agree. I think 2014 will be a good year for us.
Aren't you suspicious of someone's motives when he uses a word which means good or best as a pejorative? Let us not be "pure." You will not be electable if you are pure. Really? Have we become so jaded as a species that we demand the best and purest quality we can get in all the trifling commodities we consume or use for the precious money we have to spend to get them, but want some taint in those we choose to represent and rule us rather than demanding the best and least corrupt, the "purest" representatives in terms of their values and promises?

Not even the most "conservative" politicians are totally "pure." As the article points out, even Cruz and Sessions cast occasional votes that don't meet some perfect standard. But their standards are high compared to "moderate" Republicans. What needs to be pure is the message. "Getting the message out" is no good if it is muddled.

What makes the conservative message pure is its foundation--its principles. If those are compromised, the message is corrupted. Then it becomes politics. Winning. And the pyrrhic victory of having to rule against those principles. Therefore losing them.

If the message is only about the "economy" and what we can do for you better than the other guys, it becomes a popularity contest full of deceitful promises and hateful aspersions. An appeal to the lowest political instincts. A message which tells the people that they are weak, needy, and base in character, and that you are no better so you are more able to relate to their needs and know best how to provide, not like some pie in the sky holier than thou purist who demands more of you than you can give, and can only give you vague promises of "liberty" and stuff that doesn't feed the belly. Oh, sure, you can dress it up, like Palin's lipstick on a pig metaphor, and convince everyone to accept the far less than "pure" arrangement of society because of inherited conditions left by previous regimes. But if you must compromise principles to get elected by putting makeup on the face of your message, how do you wipe it off if you "win"? If mud gets you there, won't the mud keep you mired in order to remain and win again?

I don't accept that picture of the People. I think most want to be inspired. I think most want to feel good and noble, not like pigs at the trough. And I think the true and "pure" conservative message would connect with the better angels of humanity.

I think there is a message beyond the "economy" and which is inspirational to the soul (dare I say that word) of the American People.

Do you?

Last edited by detbuch; 02-21-2014 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:38 PM   #40
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it was a great article. I don't disagree that conservative principles are what the country needs. I just don't think pure conservatives can get elected everywhere, and where they can't, I'll take a moderate Republican over Nancy Pelosi. But we need to do a better job of getting the message out, I agree. I think 2014 will be a good year for us.
Here's an article by David Horowitz that speaks to elections based on establishment vs. principle:

http://www.redstate.com/2014/02/25/g...g-back-senate/
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