Extreme Party Makeovers

by Dennis Sanders on September 26, 2013

alf landonI always enjoy reading political analyst Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics. What makes him interesting is that he tends to go against the conventional wisdom that is flying around the politisphere. Recently, he a three part series on the future of the GOP and true to form, he goes against the grain. Today’s article dealt with the idea of the GOP having to move to the center in order to win elections and be a viable party. It’s a viewpoint that many have taken, including myself. Trende looks to the past to show that moderation doesn’t always bring votes. He starts by sharing what happened to the GOP during the FDR years:

In the aftermath of the ’32 blowout (when Democrats gained almost 100 seats) and the affirmation of the New Deal in the 1934 midterms (they gained another nine seats), Republicans decided they needed to change.* In 1936, they nominated a governor from the progressive wing of the party, Alf Landon of Kansas (pictured). Landon had actually broken from the party and supported Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose run in 1912, and represented an attempt by Republicans to re-energize the party’s strength in the progressive West.

The result was an even worse loss than it suffered in 1932 with the more conservative Herbert Hoover. Notwithstanding Landon’s support for organized labor and large portions of the New Deal, he won just eight electoral votes. Republicans were reduced to 88 House seats, 16 Senate seats, five governorships, and control of 21 state chambers (out of 92). Republicans stuck with the model, though. In 1940, they nominated a former Democrat (Wendell Willkie) who supported large portions of the New Deal. Likewise, Tom Dewey was a cautious centrist, whose campaign (twice) focused on his ability to manage the New Deal better than Democrats.

When Republicans did win, in 1952, there was no makeover. Conservatives had argued for one, and backed Ohio Sen. Bob Taft for president, using terms that in many ways foreshadowed today’s anti-establishment Tea Party rhetoric. Everett Dirksen, shouting from the podium and wagging his finger at Tom Dewey (in the audience) argued for the seating of delegates critical to Taft’s campaign: “I stood with you in 1940. I stood with you in 1944. I stood with you in 1948, when you gave us a candidate [drowned out by crowd] . . . . To my friends from New York, when my friend Tom Dewey was the candidate in ’44 and ’48, I tried to be one of his best campaigners. . . . Re-examine your hearts [on this delegate issue] because we followed you before, and you took us down the road to defeat! Don’t do this to us!”

What find so fascinating is that I and alot of other people never thought about this. I mean, all you had to do is look at a history book and figure this out.

None of this means that the GOP is fine and doesn’t need to remodel. But no one should think that a policy change here and a compromise there is going to create a winning coalition. Rebranding for the sake of rebranding isn’t going to put the GOP back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The model that pundits like yours truly like to think about when it comes to reforming the GOP is the Democratic Leadership Council which created policy positions that were not the typical liberal fare and made the way for Bill Clinton to become president in 1992. Pundits like to think that it was because the Democrats moved to the center that Clinton was able to win. While that might be part of the answer, could it also be that the GOP had the Presidency for 12 years and voters wanted something new? Also, the economy was sluggish in 1992, and President George H.W. Bush didn’t appear to be handling it well. What if the Democrats won not because they were so excellent, but because of external factors?

Paul Waldman echoes this in a recent article. Here’s what he says about the ’92 general election:

I think the degree to which political success comes from the public agreeing with you on issues is being dramatically overstated. If you look at the ups and downs of the parties over the last 20 years, a couple of other factors—timing, and what your opponents do—matter a whole lot more.

Let’s quickly run over this history, starting with the Democrats’ first revival, with the election of Bill Clinton in 1992. Was it important that Clinton was a centrist Democrat who sought to neutralize the party’s electoral problems on being seen by white voters as too solicitous of black people and too soft on crime? (If you’re too young to remember the 1992 campaign, Google “Ricky Ray Rector” and “Sister Souljah” to see what I’m talking about.) Sure. But had the country not been in a recession in 1992, that wouldn’t have been enough. And if that was a Democratic revival that went beyond one guy getting elected, it didn’t last very long; two years later, Republicans took over both houses of Congress.

That brings us to the opposition factor. After the Gingrich Revolution, voters got to see the new version of the Republican party, and they were completely turned off. In 1996, Clinton ran one ad after another featuring pictures of Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich together to taint Dole with the stain of the unpopular House Speaker. But what got him re-elected, more than anything else, was the humming economy. We could argue about how much credit he deserved for it, but the importance it had was undeniable, and it wasn’t a judgment voters were making about his New Democrat philosophy that got him a second term.

I’m curious to see how this will all play out in 2016. By then, the Democrats will have had the Presidency for 8 years. What will the economy be like? Will we be at peace or at war? Maybe all of these factors will have an effect on whether or not we will have a President Hillary Clinton or a President Chris Christie.

Does that mean that ideas (or lack thereof in the case of the modern GOP) don’t matter? No. Ideas do have a place and the current discussions going on in the GOP between the libertarian populists and the establishment matter. Bill Clinton won because he had ideas and connected to people emotionally during an uncertain time, but he wouldn’t have one if the country wasn’t in a recession. George W. Bush won in 2004 because September 11 was still fresh in the American mind and Iraq was not yet a quagmire. Americans were thinking about security and the GOP seemed better at keeping us safe. Ideas do matter. But so do the times.

I think it is important for the GOP to focus on issues like the economic insecurity that people face in this sluggish economy. But even if the GOP comes up with a boffo policies it might not matter if the economy is humming in 2016.

Does the GOP needed rebranding? Being a heterodox conservative, I tend to think so. I just don’t think that rebranding alone will put the GOP back in the White House.

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Wishes Won’t Change the GOP

by Dennis Sanders on September 25, 2013

gop elephantFellow Leaguer Tod Kelly wrote a post a few days about his doubts that the GOP would change from what some see as a self-destructive path. I have to say that I have come to agree that the party isn’t going to change after a few losses. Many a moderate or independent hopes the party will lose big in some election that would scare the party to relevance. Think a political version of “scared straight.”

I don’t think this will happen, but it isn’t simply because of the so-called crazies. No, its the same moderates and independents who are constantly wringing their hands that don’t care enough to do anything about it.

As someone who has been involved in GOP circles for a decade or so, I’ve seen my share of fellow travelers who are upset at the current direction of the party. The whine and moan, but seldom do they ever get involved in party politics to change things. When the party loses big in a presidential election, they quietly hope that this time the party leaders will get it right and the party will be steered in less strident path. It’s a hope that outside forces will magically bring the party back from the brink.

 

A few years ago, I wrote a post with the insightful title, “Why Moderate Republicans Suck.” The thrust of the article is that if there is to be change in the party, it will come from activists who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of forging a more moderate conservatism. Here’s a bit of what I wrote:

 

 

The missing story is the lack of a credible countermovement within the GOP, a movement for change. When one talks of Moderate Republicans, we talk of basically a loose group of individuals who are basically on their own. For example, take Senator Arlen Specter, who until recently was a moderate Republican. After he voted for the stimulus package, he recieved a fair amount of protests from Republican groups.

The image in the media was of a lone Republican Senator against a phalanx of hard right groups. In the end, Specter decided to leave.

This image has been seen again and again. A lone, moderate Republican legislator is attacked, not by a collection of cranks, but by organized groups that have the money and more importantly, the people to take down those who are not pure.

The lesson here is simple, the hard right is a movement. There are groups of like-minded individuals that come together and are able to force change in the party. A single person realizes they are part of a larger movement and that gives them the stregnth to march forward.

On the other side, moderates are at best a collection of individuals. We tend to feel lost and alone and don’t feel a connection to anything greater than us. Because we are isolated, we don’t feel as empowered and tend to give up easily.

 

I would also add that the more moderate members in the party are good compromisers, but terrible in coming up with a competing vision of what the Republicans party should do and be in the 21st century. The Tea Party’s views might seem ridiculous, strange and downright scary at times, but they at least have ideas. Crazy ideas, yes, but ideas nevertheless.

Earlier this year Republican consultant Liz Mair discussed what was wrong with moderate Republicanism:

Everyone knows that Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle were not good candidates. What a lot of people don’t seem to recognize is that their opponents, even though they looked like they would perform better based on on-paper attributes, were even worse candidates. How do I know this? They lost to Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle. I’m serious. Think about that for a minute.

Now, I come from the more moderate end of the GOP, and cut my teeth as a blogger as an advocate for moderate Republicans. A lot of people in that part of the party will be inclined to respond to this criticism by saying, “no, they weren’t worse candidates, it’s just that the party is so extreme that more moderate/mainstream candidates can’t win over the base.”

And it pains me to say it, but this is simply not true, and I’m going to throw out several names to prove it to you: Mark Kirk. Kelly Ayotte. Carly Fiorina. Dan Coats.

Kirk, Ayotte and Coats not only beat primary opponents widely considered to be more conservative than them, they also won in the general. Fiorina (for whom I consulted—full disclosure) won decisively in the primary besting an opponent generally regarded as more conservative than her (and for the record, California Republicans are more like Kansas Republicans than New York City Republicans). While ultimately losing in blue California, Fiorina lost by a lesser margin than did gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. She also beat the registration gap between Democrats and Republicans.

Now, not all of these people started off running campaigns that might be described as A+ (side note: In my experience, most campaigns suffer road bumps and hiccups on a fairly phenomenal scale for the first 2-8 weeks, anyway).

However, they did not assume they would coast to a victory and they took the job of campaigning very seriously.

That means they hired good staff (not just whoever was already familiar to them or in their entourage or who that one guy who won big 10 year ago used, or some big name consultants who talked a good game but didn’t have a record of putting points on the board).

Sarah Steelman, one of Akin’s opponents, basically failed to raise any money, making it hard for her to beat Akin on the day (one dreads to think how she would have stood up to Claire McCaskill, who wasn’t exactly running the world’s cheapest, crappest campaign).

Mike Castle, who I would have infinitely preferred Delaware Republicans nominate, just couldn’t fathom that his party would nominate someone as nutty as Christine O’Donnell (lesson #1 in life: Never assume, because when you do, you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”) He also spent time campaigning at, say, art fairs—probably a very good thing to do in the general, but probably not that helpful in a Republican primary. (Note: Castle did turn things around in the final weeks of the campaign, though by then it was too late; so he does deserve some credit for his efforts.)

If estranged Republicans really want to see change, then it’s time to get busy. There needs to be candidates that can articulate new ideas, connect with the base (and not always assume they are all nutjobs) and well, actually give a damn about the party they claim to want to be a part of.

But if none of that happens, if we are left with the Ted Cruzes of the world, then we will have a party that will continue on the path it has set because it’s the only game in GOP town and frankly because no one was willing to take the time to actually stand up and offer something different.

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Social Conservatives: The Republican Party’s Dilemma

by Dennis Sanders on July 1, 2013

One of the readers that I most enjoy reading is the French writer Pascal Emmanuel Gobry.  He is able to give a view of American politics from a very different standpoint than most of us.  He recently came up with a manifesto to reform the GOP.  If you have some time, please read it. I want to life a point he makes about social conservatism and the GOP.  Gobry goes contrary to some reformers in how  the GOP handles this faction of the party.

 

The Republican Party can’t win without social conservatives. There’s roughly a third of voters in this country who are committed social conservatives. What that means is that Republicans can’t get to 51 with just those people, but it also can’t get to 51 without them. This is for “upper-middle” reform conservatives who think the Republican Party’s problem is social conservatism. There is simply no path to victory for a socially liberal Republican Party. Period. Maaaybe the GOP is in danger of becoming a “Bible Belt rump” if it goes too much in the social conservatism direction, but there’s no doubt that if it goes too much in the social liberal direction it will become a Northeastern nothingburger. More deeply, it is deeply fitting and consistent (as we’ll see in greater depth below) that  the GOP be an economically and socially conservative party, since economic dynamism creates churn and disruption in people’s lives–churn and disruption which can be alleviated either through big government which destroys freedom and kills the goose that lays the golden eggs, or through vibrant cultural, social and local institutions.

This message is directed at me and others who tend to be more socially liberal.  I’ve longed thought the problem with the party is it’s social conservatism.  If we just got rid of them,  I thought, then everything would be great. As much as I want to believe that, I’m coming to the conclusion that we just aren’t going to get a socially liberal Republican party. I can envision a party that welcomes social liberals as well as social conservatives, but I don’t see the party totally abandoning social conservatism.  The problem boils down to who shows up.  Social conservatives tend to be the most committed members of the GOP.  They are the ones that are involved in party politics and in the footwork of getting candidates elected.  The more moderate folk tend to not be as involved and in most cases tend to be somewhat standoffish in dealing with the party.  I’ve learned this over my years of being involved in more moderate GOP groups; we want the party to bend to our will, we just don’t want to work that hard to get it done.

Which is why the recent op-ed by two straight interns at Log Cabin is dear to my heart, but isn’t realistic and in some cases antithetical to the cherished “big tent” we want.  In the article, Mack Feldman and Lisa Schoch advocate for the party to give up its opposition to same sex marriage or face losing the vote of social moderates:

A recent study by the College Republican National Committee suggests that young voters have an appetite for a more moderate GOP. Forty-nine percent of respondents maintained that same-sex marriage should be legal, half of whom indicated that “they would probably or definitely not vote for a candidate with whom they disagreed on same-sex marriage, even if they were in agreement on taxes, defense, immigration and spending.” In other words, the GOP’s opposition to marriage equality definitively eliminates at least one-fourth of its youth vote, regardless of the relevance or appeal of its other conservative policies.

Despite efforts to convince themselves otherwise, the Republican Party needs to accept that social matters do make a difference. Indeed, as the CRNC report illustrates, social concerns — including support of same-sex marriage — are increasingly a priority for young voters, with fiscal policies threatening to take a backseat.

There are two problems with their reason and they line up somewhat to Gobry’s views.  First, Feldman and Schoch assume that if the GOP modernized its stance on same sex marriage, then a whole tide of voters will come and vote GOP.  But I think this view is missing some key factors.  First, if the GOP does change its stance, we also have to face the fact that part of the reason that the GOP lost votes in the last general election wasn’t simply because of social issues, but economic issues as well:

In order to win, therefore, Republicans need to find a way to adapt Reagan’s core insights–”government that rides with us, not on our backs”–in a way that directly addresses the front-of-mind day-to-day concerns of the lower-middle in the 21st century. These concerns include: unemployment, economic insecurity, wage stagnation, healthcare (security and affordability), education, quality of life, etc. And remember, lower-middle people are not ideologues. Maybe capital gains tax cuts or a flat tax would create a rising tide that would lift all boats. Reform conservatives love them some tax cuts. But people in the lower-middle ain’t buyin’ it. If Republicans don’t have good, credible, conservative policies to address these concerns, lower-middle people will vote for Democrats if only by default. This is the story of 2012. Lower-middle people don’t like Obamacare but they still swung the election for Obama because Romney’s alternative to Obamacare was (perceived to be) zilch. At least the Obama agenda realized what their concerns were and addressed them.

The thing that is holding the party back isn’t simply social issues, but economic ones as well.  It has to find a way to speak again to the lower middle class on economic matters.  I’m guessing a lot of young people are not voting GOP simply on same sex marriage, but also on the fact that they don’t see the party really helping people like them.  The same-sex marriage issue is frosting on the cake instead of the cake itself.  The problem with social liberals like myself is that we have internalized the Democratic critique of the GOP instead of seeing what is the real problem.  Social issues are a drag on the party.  But the problems that drag the GOP down looks more like an iceberg.  The social issues are on top and look imposing, but the economic issues are bigger and dwell below beneath the waterline. We can support same-sex marriage and immigration, but as long as we don’t deal with what’s below, the party will not win.

So what to do with social conservatives? Instead of trying to throw them overboard, it might make more sense to lift up more of their salient points, while downplaying that which polarizes.  Earlier this year, Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner wrote a piece in Commentary that got to the point: how to save the Republican Party.  Gerson and Wehner suggested the following when it came to social issues:

…the GOP can engage vital social issues forthrightly but in a manner that is aspirational rather than alienating.

Addressing the issue of marriage and family is not optional; it is essential. Far from being a strictly private matter, the collapse of the marriage culture in America has profound public ramifications, affecting everything from welfare and education to crime, income inequality, social mobility, and the size of the state. Yet few public or political figures are even willing to acknowledge that this collapse is happening.

For various reasons, the issue of gay marriage is now front and center in the public consciousness. Republicans for the most part oppose same-sex marriage out of deference to traditional family structures. In large parts of America, and among the largest portion of a rising generation, this appears to be a losing battle. In the meantime, the fact remains that our marriage culture began to disintegrate long before a single court or a single state approved gay marriage. It is heterosexuals, not homosexuals, who have made a hash out of marriage, and when it comes to strengthening an institution in crisis, Republicans need to have something useful to offer. The advance of gay marriage does not release them from their responsibilities to help fortify that institution and speak out confidently on the full array of family-related issues. Republicans need to make their own inner peace with working with those who both support gay marriage and are committed to strengthening the institution of marriage. (Emphasis mine)

Yes, the ability of government to shape attitudes and practices regarding family life is very limited. But a critical first step is to be clear and consistent about the importance of marriage itself—as the best institution ever devised when it comes to raising children, the single best path to a life out of poverty, and something that needs to be reinforced rather than undermined by society.

Other steps then follow: correcting the mistreatment of parents in our tax code by significantly increasing the child tax credit; eliminating various marriage penalties and harmful incentives for poor and for unwed mothers; evaluating state and local marriage-promotion programs and supporting those that work; informally encouraging Hollywood to help shape positive attitudes toward marriage and parenthood. There may be no single, easy solution, but that is not a reason for silence on the issue of strengthening and protecting the family.

While social liberals like myself has usually seen nothing good to come from social conservatives, they are partly right about the disintergration of the family.  Liberals and libertarians have been slow to see the problems with a crumbling family structure.  If social conservatives are willing to work with social liberals and if social liberals are willing to see that social conservatism might have some value sans the anti-gay rhetoric, then we might be able to co-opt and harness the power of social conservatism in a way that’s beneficial for society and not divisive.

At some point social liberals/libertarians and conservatives are going to have to come to some sort of detente; a place where they won’t every agree, but are willing to live with each other and work with each other for a greater good.  But for that to happen, both factions have to see the other as valuable to the GOP coalition.

Will that happen?  We shall see.

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The Jon Huntsman Syndrome (An Insiders Look at the GOP)

by Dennis Sanders on June 15, 2013

Liz Mair is a political consultant that has worked for various Republican campaigns such as John McCain’s 2008 presidential run. She also a great blogger and I wished she blogged more. Back in February, she posted  about what’s wrong with the GOP. It’s a good take on the current state of the Party.

Here’s a taste:

Everyone knows that Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle were not good candidates. What a lot of people don’t seem to recognize is that their opponents, even though they looked like they would perform better based on on-paper attributes, were even worse candidates. How do I know this? They lost to Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle. I’m serious. Think about that for a minute.

Now, I come from the more moderate end of the GOP, and cut my teeth as a blogger as an advocate for moderate Republicans. A lot of people in that part of the party will be inclined to respond to this criticism by saying, “no, they weren’t worse candidates, it’s just that the party is so extreme that more moderate/mainstream candidates can’t win over the base.”

And it pains me to say it, but this is simply not true, and I’m going to throw out several names to prove it to you: Mark Kirk. Kelly Ayotte. Carly Fiorina. Dan Coats.

Kirk, Ayotte and Coats not only beat primary opponents widely considered to be more conservative than them, they also won in the general. Fiorina (for whom I consulted—full disclosure) won decisively in the primary besting an opponent generally regarded as more conservative than her (and for the record, California Republicans are more like Kansas Republicans than New York City Republicans). While ultimately losing in blue California, Fiorina lost by a lesser margin than did gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. She also beat the registration gap between Democrats and Republicans.

Now, not all of these people started off running campaigns that might be described as A+ (side note: In my experience, most campaigns suffer road bumps and hiccups on a fairly phenomenal scale for the first 2-8 weeks, anyway).

However, they did not assume they would coast to a victory and they took the job of campaigning very seriously.

Read the whole thing and see if we can shake the Jon Huntsman Syndrome.

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Random Thoughts on the NSA and Metadata

by Dennis Sanders on June 15, 2013

big brotherThere’s a part of me that’s hesitant to say anything about the NSA scandal. It involves a lot of things that I’m not clear about, such as how you comb through the data without snooping on folks. I still think this story is forming and we don’t know the whole scope of things. That said, I do have some musings which are sure to bug people on all sides. So, here goes.

  • Whenever I hear libertarians complain about this, I have to wonder what they think is the proper response when terrorism happens. More often than not, the answer is that such things like 9/11 won’t happen again or the chances of terrorism happening to us are slim. I would agree that a 9/11-style attack was probably a one-shot deal. But in the years following 9/11 we have had other smaller scale threats such as the Christmas Day attempt to blow up an airliner over the skies of Detroit, or the guy that wanted to set off a car bomb in Times Square and of course, the Boston Marathon bombings. So, how does government best respond to these threats? How do we try to protect the American people and yet uphold the ideals we cherish? How do we keep the balance? It bugs me that libertarians don’t really have an answer for this, which leads me to think that their answer is basically to shrug it off. I hope I’m wrong, but I do wonder.
  • Are we really surprised the government would start sorting through our data? In an age where Google and Apple collect tons of our data, it would only be a matter of time before the government got into the act. The internet and mobile technology is a wonderful thing, but it has also left us more vulnerable to be followed.
  • We have to start thinking about what privacy means in the Internet age. I tend to think we have an expectation of privacy that made sense 40 years ago, but not now. In an age where we freely share our history on Facebook and where Google can provide us with ads based on our searches, we have to think about what privacy means now and we also have to think about the trade offs of taking part in this new age.
  • These next few points are Via Peggy Noonan. Politicians tend to look at terrorism through the lens of self-interest. No politico of either party wants to be the one that gets blamed for some major attack because they didn’t do anything. As much as the public might say they are upset at government snooping, I tend to think the public will also punish any politician that appeared to not do respond to a threat. This means, any politician is going to do something that could be incredibly stupid in order to save their hides.
  • A growing surveillence state might thwart some attacks, but it can also not notice other potential threats. The most obvious example are the Tsarnaevs. All of the apparatus of the security state for some reason didn’t pick up what was going on with these two brothers. The state might be powerful, but it isn’t God and it isn’t perfect.
  • The collection of data could very well be used for bad purposes. The president and Congress can swear on a stack of Bibles that the data is secure, but the people collecting the data are human. The information could be used to threaten innocent people. The temptation for overreach and abuse is high.

I know this isn’t a self-righteous blog post expressing anger either way. But then our post 9/11 world leaves me with more questions than they do answers.

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On Conservative Strawmen

May 30, 2013

Note: I’ve been doing some writing over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen lately and this is a post I wrote over there on Tuesday of this week. I’ve never really understood Michael Tomansky’s role at the Daily Beast other than to write screeds about how evil Republicans and conservatives are. I never had much love for pundits whose sole duty in life is to write column after column about how evil the other side is. Ann Coulter and Michele Malkin do that quite annoyingly on the starboard side and I find it not only bothersome but rather boring. These […] read more

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How to Sustain a “Republican Spring”

May 20, 2013

Chris Ladd, who used to write for this blog, has written a post on how to rebuild the GOP.  In many ways, he is trying to communicate what I’ve been saying for years: the need to create a viable alternative view of governance than what has been brought forward by groups like the Tea Party.  I want to offer some critiques on his advice and how to move forward. Ladd’s point is that moderates and others not on the far right must take on and fight the Tea Party: Traditional Republicans have been reluctant to engage in open dissent out […] read more

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Scenes from a Walmart

May 18, 2013

  About two years ago, the majority of the old Brookdale Mall were demolished. Brookdale was opened in 1962 and by the time it closed in 2010, it’s best days were behind it. In its place came a WalMart Supercenter. I will admit WalMart isn’t my favorite place to go. But since there’s one close to me, I do go there every so often to find something that might be at a lower price than say at Target. WalMart seems to be the villian du jour for people. Especially in the churches that I am a part of, it seems […] read more

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The Curious Logic on Civil Unions

April 6, 2013

Here in Minnesota, a bill legalizing same-sex marriage was introduced earlier this year.  This comes on the heels of the defeat of an amendment to ban same sex marriage in November.  The bill has cleared both committees and will head to the House and Senate floors. This week a Republican House member introduced a bill allowing civil unions instead of marriage.  The main sponsor is state Representative Tim Kelly, who happened to be one of four Republicans that opposed allowing the marriage amendment from going to the voters when it came to the House in the spring of 2011. Kelly’s […] read more

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Why Do We Have to Choose?

April 3, 2013

There’s a meme running around among some center-right wonks that I can only half agree with. The meme goes like this: GOP domestic policy is hopelessly stuck in hyper-libertarian thinking, something that doesn’t resonate with middle class Americans.  These same Ayn Rand-loving Republicans go around supporting a more liberalized immigration policy and same-sex marriage.  What the GOP needs to do is stop supporting these silly policies and get back to a more conservative domestic policy that can help a struggling middle class. Ross Douthat, a center-right wonk that I usually love, adheres to this view.  The most recent conservative pundit […] read more

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