Wednesday, April 06, 2005
David Brooks thinks it is, at least in part, that it is a party of diverse viewpoints and corresponding debate:

Conservatives have not triumphed because they have built a disciplined and efficient message machine. Conservatives have thrived because they are split into feuding factions that squabble incessantly. As these factions have multiplied, more people have come to call themselves conservatives because they've found one faction to agree with.

In the early days of National Review, many of the senior editors didn't even speak to one another. Whittaker Chambers declared that the writings of Ayn Rand, a hero of the more libertarian right, reeked of fascism and the gas chambers. Rand called National Review "the worst and most dangerous magazine in America."

It's been like that ever since - neocons arguing with theocons, the old right with the new right, internationalists versus isolationists, supply siders versus fiscal conservatives. The major conservative magazines - The Weekly Standard, National Review, Reason, The American Conservative, The National Interest, Commentary - agree on almost nothing.

This feuding has meant that the meaning of conservatism is always shifting. Once, Republicans were isolationists. Now most Republicans, according to a New York Times poll, believe the U.S. should try to change dictatorships into democracies when it can. Meanwhile, 78 percent of Democrats believe the U.S. should not try to democratize authoritarian regimes.

I think he is right. As someone who could just as easily vote for a Democrat as a Republican (ideologically speaking), one thing that tends to turn me off from Democrats is that they push a message even when it is made apparent that message is wrong, or doesn't account for certain facts. They come across as liars (or, alternatively, as too stupid to understand they are wrong). This may work on less educated voters, but it doesn't work on people who think for themselves. Perhaps this is part of the recent trouble for Democrats, more and more people are becoming college educated, and thinking critically.

This is one of the reasons I despised Kerry. He attacked Bush for saying there was a problem with Social Security. Well guess what, anyone with a clue about Social Security knew there was a problem. A mere few weeks after Kerry lost that is a universally accepted fact - no one doubts that Social Security has a problem. The only debate is how to solve that problem.

Nothing changed factually between the campaign months and now - so it is obvious that Kerry was in fact lying when he said Social Security was fine. Not a good strategy. Bush won despite the fact most people disagreed with his foreign policy (especially the Iraq war) because people believed him. He actually says what he believes.

If Democrats ever want to win again, they need to figure out what they stand for, why that is a good thing, and then honestly explain it to America. This "I have a plan," but I am not going to tell you what it is crap won't fly. Nor will simply saying that things are fine when you know they aren't. The Democrats should have been leading the charge to fix social security, not claiming it was fine. What idiots. And liars. Do they still wonder why they lost?
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I am an attorney in Chicago. Politically speaking, I am an indepedent that tends to lean conservative on fiscal issues and progressive on social issues. I try to remain as unbiased and open-minded as possible. Please email or post any comments, and especially criticisms. If something I say is wrong, or you disagree - let me know about it!



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