Tuesday, February 5, 2013

No, "Moderates" Are Not The Answer

There have been a couple articles lately that are worth discussing, particularly as they give rise to a clarification that I think is important. I’ve spoken a good deal recently about the problems conservatism is having, both in terms of message and in terms of substance, and I get the feeling that some of you think I’m suggesting we become moderates. I’m not.

Let me start with the two articles because they’re instructive. The first involves a group called the Republican Main Street Partnership. They’re a lobbying group whose goal had been to get moderate Republicans elected to office. They’ve decided to drop the word “Republican” from their name and change their mission to getting moderates of either party elected. The other involves a couple of moderate Democratic groups called The New Democrat Coalition and Third Way, who claim the real base of the Democratic Party is moderates who want Obama to act in a bipartisan manner to get things done. Their message to Obama was, “Work together and fix it.” That’s actually kind of funny since Obama is signaling that he’ll take a nasty, hard-left turn now that he’s been re-elected and he intends to run over the Republicans.

Both of these groups are advocating an end to partisan rancor blah blah blah and that we all get warm and fuzzy in the squishy middle... can’t we all just get along.

Forget it.

Here’s the problem with moderates and why “becoming moderate” is not the answer. Moderates have no ideas. They are just people who can’t tell good from bad and who don’t have the nerve to come to firm conclusions. They mistake non-mindedness for open-mindedness.

Let me put this another way that might help explain the problem.

Imagine two ideologues and a moderate. Ideologue A suggests something utterly utterly stupid. Ideologue B opposes it and demands something equally stupid but in the other direction. Along comes the moderate. It never occurs to the moderate that Ideologue A and Ideologue B are BOTH wrong. No. They just assume the right answer must lie somewhere between the two and the moderate believes that if the two of them can just come together and reach a solution that makes them both happy, then we will have found the right result. That’s simply stupid. . . splitting the baby on two bad ideas does not produce a good idea.

And that’s my point.

Right now, the problem with conservatism is NOT that has taken it’s good ideas to an extreme. The problem is that it’s abandoned its good ideas and what’s left isn’t selling. Moderating what’s left doesn’t help. Indeed, wrong at half-speed isn’t any better than wrong at full-speed. And mixing conservatism with liberalism won’t help either because liberalism is even worse when it comes to being wrong.

Basically, conservatives are wrong. . . liberals are wrong-er. . . and moderates are suggesting we try to find a way to implement both sets of wrong ideas. This is why we should ignore calls to moderate. This also highlights the problem with Chris Christie. He’s trying to sell the idea that the solution for the GOP’s problems is to become nasty moderates. He offers NO ideas except to do what the Democrats propose only swear to do it better and be grumpy about it. This is idiocy, and he’s obnoxious and self-righteous about it. This guy is the worst kind of politician.

What we need to do right now is move conservatism in a different direction. This is something many conservatives are not understanding. They seem to fear change because they think our only choices are continuing along blindly and praying the public changes their mind, or becoming conservative-lite/liberal. But that’s not true. There is a third choice. . . doing something else.

That is what I’m talking about. I’m talking about creating a new agenda, an agenda based on things that will make people’s lives better and advocating conservative ideas to make that happen. In a couple weeks, I hope to start releasing just such an agenda. I’m working on it right now, but I can’t release it just yet because I want to get it into book form and Amazon gives me grief when they find things already published on websites. But it is coming.

In the meantime, let's do some brainstorming. Think about the world around you. Tell me what kinds of problems you see that you think need to be fixed?

UPDATE: As an aside, this appeared online today:

According to excerpts of Cantor's speech provided to Yahoo News, the Virginia Republican is planning a wide-ranging address at the American Enterprise Institute that he believes promotes policies that work for the "most vulnerable," and boosts working and middle-class citizens. Reflected within the excerpts is a desire to put a personal face on politics, as opposed to one that dwells on numbers that tally up government spending and the size of the national debt.

"Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability in government. Our goal: To ensure every American have a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams," Cantor will say.

It almost sounds like they've been reading my articles! Let's see if they follow through or if they just go back to the same old garbage.


Tennessee Jed said...

I would say the biggest challenge we face is the damage being done by spending more than we make, e.g. our deficit problem. It hurts everybody. At the same time, there are a lot of people who believe in individual responsibility who are hurting. So the conservative challenge is to try and policies that will help these people and make them less dependent on government which ends up making them serfs, and has a very nasty end game. Not an easy task.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think a healthy jobs market and financial independence should be keys to the conservative platform.

I agree about reigning in government spending, but I don't think that's an effective selling point. I would lump that under a generic catchall of making government "more effective."

Tennessee Jed said...

yeah, it's a tough mainly academic look at things; very real, but not a particularly effective selling point. Gotta crash in the east though :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's the problem with the entire platform -- it's all academic. We need a platform that actually addresses people as people and talks about their concerns, not one that talks about theory and hopes voters somehow believe that the theory will make their lives better.

I'm hoping this is what Cantor means as well, but we'll see. I have little faith in the Republicans.

Good night in the east! :)

Commander Max said...

Gotta love the modern idea of moderation, it has the same definition as compromise.
Do whatever the Dems want.

Solutions? Let the system fail, and whoever survives it, can rebuild. Why, the people who are there are not going to change a thing. They are enjoying it too much.

Patriot said...

Andrew.....This is indeed a difficult task...finding policies that appeal to the majority of voters by getting them over to our side. I think sometimes we just have to have some firm positions on things that are universal and time-tested, and stick with those.

Let's take abortion. We have framed it as a woman's right to choose, instead of the state sanctioning the taking of a life. I think we need to start equating it with the more extreme positions the left takes, i.e., euthanizing perfectly healthy people (Kervorkian; Singer at Princeton. Show people the effects of these policies. Let the left howl and wail and accuse. It will show we've hit a nerve. Look at how they're now trying to say that abortion is mainstream and the majority of Americans don't have a problem with it.

Anyway, sometimes we have to have principles that we just won't bend on. Life seems to be a good one to plant our flag. Remember, I read that only 30% of Americans at the time supported the Am Revolution. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for everyone should be a good start for our principles.

tryanmax said...

This may be on my mind b/c of the conversation yesterday, but the standardized, assembly line approach to education isn't working. I'm not exactly sure what a more tailor made model looks like, but the marketing of it should be easy enough. "Free to Choose" is about the best-selling phrase in the English language.

Also, it cannot be denied that with numbers of around 1 in 100 children today being diagnosed with autism, the disorder is an epidemic of national importance. To put it bluntly, what is going to happen to all of these autistic people in 20 years? There are a lot of them!

I don't advocate putting the government in charge of researching the causes, as that will most certainly become politicized to take aim at some unfavored group. But we can't ignore the ramifications of what such a large influx of individuals with the disorder will mean to our society.

BevfromNYC said...

Think about the world around you. Tell me what kinds of problems you see that you think need to be fixed?

See, Andrew, this is where I am at a loss. I live in NYC and apparently ALL the problems here have been solved. That's why, to remain relevant, Mayor Hugo Benito Josef Bloomberg has had to resort to trying to improve our personal appearance [i.e. 16oz. soft drinks]

T-Rav said...

Along the same lines, I saw yesterday that Karl Rove's founded a new group committed to helping establishment Republicans win primaries, because apparently all those tea party guys are carbon copies of Todd Akin (not even the "official" Tea Party candidate), or whatever. Well, isn't that just precious.

BevfromNYC said...

I don't so much think that it is that we shouldn't "go to the middle" as learning to recognize the GOOD ideas from the BAD ideas.

As you said, the middle will take the worst of each end and create bad legislation. Well, both sides also have good ideas too and we need learn to recognize them. THAT'S what politicians/statesmen USED to be able to do. In our need to polarize we are losing our ability to recognize a good idea when it comes our way.

I will let you know WHAT ideas may be good ideas later.

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - There is a nonsensical war going on between the "tea party" and the establishment Republicans. I will try to write about this week, but I am still trying to sort out the players and what they are fighting about.

Mostly it's for control (of course), but it is even more basic/fundamental than that. But one of the problems is the absolute chaos amongst various and sundry Tea Party groups/regions/noise.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, That is the definition set up by the Washington establishment and, frankly, conservatives have fallen into the trap. We've come to believe that we only have two choices -- do what we're doing or do what the Democrats are doing. There is a world of different ideas out there!

Look at education. For most of my life, the choices were spend more or spend a lot more. Then somebody came up with the idea of vouchers... suddenly the world changed (after a huge fight) and since that time education has gotten better and better. That's what I'm talking about. That was a strongly conservative idea that made people's lives better and the whole system needed to respond to it.

Tennessee Jed said...

Bev - I will look forward to that. It should be interesting reading. I've always seen the tea party being defined by it's reluctance to be defined by politicians who claim to be, somehow, "authorized" leaders of what really is an idea or state of mind, rather than a "party."

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I disagree. You will never a magic bullet that wins over the majority of the public because people aren't that uniform. People have different issues that matter to them and those issues change over time. So even if we found something that will win someone over as a student, for example, the same won't hold true when they get a job or when they get married or have kids or when they retire. We need to offer lots of things that help people.

As for abortion, the problem there is that you're talking about a fringe issue. That's an issue that about 12% of the public cares about -- 6% on either side. The rest simply don't want to hear it. So trying to build a party based on that is the same as trying to build a party based on capital punishment.

And let me make this point because it's vital: if you waived a wand and abortion and gay vanished from the human belief system right now -- not one person's life would be made better. That's the impotency of those ideas when it comes to attracting voters.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The answer I have on education is "choice." I think we need to decentralize schools and let competition among schools force them to start offering different/better methods of education.

We need to turn K-12 into a similar system as the nation's colleges, which are easily the best in the world.

I don't have any thoughts on autism except that the government funds massive amounts of research people really know nothing about already. They may be working on that?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, LOL! Yes, sadly, you do live in a perfect world if your dictator... er, mayor, has time to go after indulgence policies.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Bev, I'll tell you what though, there is a lesson in the fact Bloomberg has succeeded to a degree. The lesson is that people do fear that their food is dangerous and they want someone to figure it out. I don't advocate becoming the food police, like the Democrats are, but I think it means we need to realize the consumer protection is an issue we need to embrace.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I understand what Rove is doing. He says he wants to help elect "the most conservative guy who can win," which is an old quote that makes a lot of sense. The problem is he's not really offering anything new.

What I think this really comes down to is an attempt to break the grip of the Religious Right on the party.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, EXACTLY! That's my point!

The problem right now is that conservatives have blinded themselves to their options. They believe that the world is bipolar -- extreme right or extreme left, and that those are the only choices available. So if you aren't extreme right, then you must be wanting to be extreme left. That's nonsense.

At the same time, this army of professional "moderates" has appeared who see an opportunity to be had by attacking the two extremes and advocating "can't we all just get along." They offer nothing in the way of ideas except "why can't you two work it out."

Right now, no one is talking about the obvious - there is a third way. The third way is where we actually come up with conservative solutions to real problems that we strangely refuse to consider right now. I'm very serious when I say that the party stands for nothing except anger on social issues, some tinkering with the tax code, and an obsession with government accounting. Not one of those issues will make anyone's lives better.

We need to break this idea that conservatism is this small thing that traffics in theory and we need to start trying to help PEOPLE with the real issues that matter to them.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm not on the inside of the movement, but one of the problems I'm having with the Tea Party at the moment is that the people who are speaking for them in the media are idiots. They are playing the same old tired games that got conservatives into the mess they are in today -- they are trying to claim the extremist mantel.

I look forward to your article. :)

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, I think you've made your point quite brilliantly between this and the prior articles. On several occasions now you've asked people to tell you (1) what conservatism stands for other than "not the Democrats"... nobody could, (2) you've asked people to explain how the things the Republicans want with budgets matter to people... nobody could, and (3) now you've asked people to come up with things that matter to the public which conservatives could address and the near-silence is deafening.

This is a very bright crowd, and if we can't answer these things, what makes us think the public can?

In all honesty, you've opened my eyes to the problem we are having. Thank you. :)

Doc Whoa said...

Also, I'm looking forward to your solutions.

El Gordo said...

The real question is, what are the problems that we CAN talk about?

The fundamental one is the ruling class (as described by A. Codevilla) and its mega-government, which is a corrosive to the republic. Within a few years we have come to a point where it endangers everything else. It is the source of debt, unemployment, inequality before the law, the corruption of the voting process, loss of privacy and personal autonomy. It fails in its basic duties (to us) while it invents new rights for itself every day.

But how can we talk about "solutions" and not sound crazy when the real solution requires that Washington gets cut in half? Because I happen to believe that.

You cannot really talk about fixing the fundamentals. Even when it comes "only" to fiscal issues, it has become poisonous for us. Because it is too late for a painless fix. The debt is too high. There will be pain. I hope it comes before 2016. No one wants to be the guy who brings the bad news.

I do not know if the decline of traditional values and family structures is a cause or a result of our liberalism. The worst symptom of all is the falling birth rate, but I don´t think we can explain the connection or make people realize why this is a problem since we are not supposed to sound like social conservatives.

I would be ok with deemphasizing abortion. I´m pro-life but if we are becoming a culture that does not care about this peculiar institution, I do not know how to reverse the trend. It is ugly though. We cannot talk about mass immigration as a problem, so forget it.

I think we can only come at the problems obliquely. We can talk about the symptoms: the cronyism, the waste, the injustice of Washington getting fatter while the country gets leaner, the lack of opportunity for the middle class and the poverty of the underclass.

I hope we can still talk about personal freedom and autonomy. Is self-reliance still seen as a good thing?

I have said this before, but the GOP should get on the right side of issues like privacy, data protection, surveillance. The right to bear arms is central to personal freedom, but it does not end there. Conservatives cannot credibly attack mega-government and then embrace it when it comes to national security or regulating private behavior. We already have the right instincts but no coherent position.

Oh, and stop saying that "corporations are people". People just work there. Big corporations can look out for themselves.

Beyond that, I really don´t know. To be honest, I want politics to leave me alone. Not much of a platform.

Doc Whoa said...

Oh, and I have no faith in Cantor. "Most vulnerable" is a code word for abortion.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Doc. I think this does highlight the problem. And in all honesty, I didn't see this until I started talking to lots of people who aren't conservatives and hearing them talk about why they don't like conservatives. When I tried to explain to them why they were wrong, I found I really didn't have any way to explain away their criticisms. That got me to take a long hard look at our side and that's when I realized how off kilter we had become.

Again, as I say in the article, I'm NOT saying become moderates. What I'm saying is that we offer nothing at the moment and we need to start offering ideas again.

When I look back on conservatism my whole life, we stood for lots of great ideas -- deregulation and privatization, freeing up private enterprise and giving people an incentive to succeed, having a strong military so no one would challenge us, IRAs to help people save for retirement, enterprise zones to help inner cities, adding a work requirement to welfare to get rid of the lazy, vouchers for schools, etc. All of those did great things.

Then we stopped thinking. Now conservatism is this truly narrow ideology, if you can even call it that anymore... abortion, gays, taxes on the rich.

We need to turn our brains back on.

I think you'll find my solutions interesting. Even more, I think you'll find my approach interesting. It's not conventional anymore, but it's truly classic.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, This...

The fundamental one is the ruling class (as described by A. Codevilla) and its mega-government, which is a corrosive to the republic. Within a few years we have come to a point where it endangers everything else. It is the source of debt, unemployment, inequality before the law, the corruption of the voting process, loss of privacy and personal autonomy. It fails in its basic duties (to us) while it invents new rights for itself every day.

...is the depressing part. I fear that you are right and that Washington simply won't change no matter what will happen. They (left and right) have made themselves into a corrupt ruling class and they have no intention of giving it up.

That said, unless we want to turn ourselves into a revolution, then it's still worth trying to come up with solutions and to hope that someone can break the system or that we can change it little by little to be less friendly to the bad guys and more friendly to average Americans.


AndrewPrice said...


On the issues, I think there are many more than you realize and the problem is that we are stuck in a method of thinking that keeps us from seeing them. The powers that be in the conservative movement (Religious Right and Neocons) have sold us a bill of goods which always plays right into the hands of the Religious Right and the Neocons. Let me explain.

We have been taught that conservatism consists of three parts: economic, foreign policy, and social. All discussions about conservatism start with that assumption, which means each of our ideas must be squeezed into those areas and must address them.

But that's the trap.

Think about economics. When you start by assuming you need to come up with an "economic plan," you automatically establish boundaries that will keep you from ever talking to real people. Instead, the ideas you end up talking about are macro economic ideas that are meant to improve GDP or corporate profits. But those things don't help people. People don't care if IBM had a good year, they care if they have a job, if their assets are safe, if they can send their kids to school, if they can retire. NONE of that can be addresses except tangentially when you start with the assumption that you need to talk about "economic policy."

Look at healthcare. Healthcare is an issue we should have fixed decades ago, but we didn't. Why didn't we? Two reasons. First, "healthcare" doesn't fit into the 3 point model above because it's not economic, foreign or social. So we never saw it as an issue because it wasn't on our radar except as a subset of the economic issues. And because of that, when it did come up, it came up in terms of "this is a drag on the economy," not as "people are worried they will get sick and go broke." We effectively let ourselves be blindsided because our 3-point worldview didn't give us a hint that there even was an issue. And then the 3-point view limited our thinking to things that could never win people over.

This is what needs to change. We need to drop this 3-point garbage and start looking at the needs of the public.


AndrewPrice said...

Finally, this...

I have said this before, but the GOP should get on the right side of issues like privacy, data protection, surveillance. The right to bear arms is central to personal freedom, but it does not end there. Conservatives cannot credibly attack mega-government and then embrace it when it comes to national security or regulating private behavior. We already have the right instincts but no coherent position.

Oh, and stop saying that "corporations are people". People just work there. Big corporations can look out for themselves.

...is absolutely right. Conservatives are major hypocrites when it comes to government. We preach individual freedom and individual rights, but then we turn right around and try to control people in so many ways. We are particularly bad on social issues, on criminal/defense issues, and on anything where a corporate donor wants power over the public... SOPA.

We need to stop being hypocrites on those things and we should back up our own ideology and champion privacy and freedom.

We also have this love affair with corporations. Corporations are not people, they don't vote. They also don't need us to protect them. Moreover, corporations are a distortion in the market place and we should be opposed to anything that interferes with free markets. It really is time we stopped being crony capitalists and started being free market capitalists.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I've never seen anything from Cantor which tells me he isn't just more of the same.

Patriot said...

Andrew....here's something to consider for your conservative manifesto:

Healthcare - Conservatives should embrace healthcare for all. Like it or not its here to stay. However, we should state that the American Healthcare System should be set up similar to the military. The govt will pay for you to go to medical school, if you give 7 years afterwards to the AHS and work in their clinics at a reasonable wage to pay back the taxpayers. Afterr that, go into private practice if you wish. Those without insurance can use these clinics for their general healthcare. I'm sure this idea could be expanded upon by the smart guys here.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I think that any agenda that doesn't address healthcare is doomed -- and it needs to be more than "will give more power to insurers." People want to know they will get treated if they are sick.

That's an interesting idea to get doctors to work for a government clinic. I'll have to think about that.

I actually think the fundamental solution, however, is to reintroduce the free market into health care... something that doesn't exist there right now. Look at services that fall outside insurance -- cosmetic care, eye surgery, dentistry. Each of those areas deals in the free market and people are generally very happy with them. It's only once you get into general care where everything is dominated by insurance that things go wrong.

I think the best things we could do would be to (1) discourage insurance beyond catastrophic care, (2) require open pricing of all services, (3) free doctors to arrange their businesses as they see fit and to move between states, and (4) legal reform to kill off the lawyers.

Then we could certainly add things like the free/cheap clinics you are talking about. We could also use these clinics as a way to reduce the cost of elder care, which is the real killer in the system.

BevfromNYC said...

(4) legal reform to kill off the lawyers.

Ummm, I don't think killing lawyers is a viable solution, no matter HOW much it might help in so many areas. Just sayin'. Though if killing lawyers IS legalized, then that would certainly drain that swamp in DC pretty fast...okay, I'm on board. ;-P

AndrewPrice said...

As an aside, I just encountered one of the more bizarre moments of the digital age. Larry's e-mail account must have been hacked by a virus or something because it just sent me an e-mail. Talk about weird to see that pop up in my inbox!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Killing might be too extreme. How about we just put them in happiness camps where they can happily work on knock-off wallets we can sell on the streets of Beijing? :P

BevfromNYC said...

BTW - The medical school system is already in place around the country, not just in the military. Many small rural communities will pay for schooling for a commitment of varying years. And I just saw a subway ad by one of the local colleges that is offering scholarships to medical students who will work in area hospitals.

Tort reform (a much better option than actually killing lawyers, btw) was taken off the table during the healthcare debates. Portability and all of the above are great issues.

I think that Patriot is correct that Obamacare in some form will be with us forever more. But it will need to be shaped/formed/manipulated to minimize the damage to the individual and maximize the advantages for the same.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Pretty much everything that would lead to real reform went off the table. But we need to plow ahead and push threw the politics.

I think one of the best things to help rural hospitals actually would be allowing doctors to practice in any state. That would make it a lot easier for people to have practices in multiple states.

And you and Patriot are right that we are stuck with Obamacare, so we should come up with our own version and fix it.

Patriot said...

M AHS clinics will provide basic medical care up to a point. Don't know what that point is yet. I think if conservatives address the fear factor that the American people have with healthcare (PAIN!) then we've got a winner here. Talk about how we want people to not be in pain, so we will liberalize the pain medication regulations/laws. No specifics, just in general because we don't want people to be in pain. This would be a full frontal assault on Doomberg and his ilk. Lump him in with "big government" making every decision for your healthcare and voila....winning!

T-Rav said...

Sure it's a virus, Andrew. Just a virus. Yep, we'll go with that.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I think that free clinics plus getting people to buy catastrophic care insurance that kicks in at $2k or $5k would solve the "uninsured" problem.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That or the net in haunted.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Colorado Republicans spent the day trying to pass a law that will make providing abortion a crime. Yep. Not obsessed at all.

K said...

Andrew: Colorado Republicans spent the day trying to pass a law that will make providing abortion a crime.

Where are you getting your information from?

Denver Post: Harvey said his bill has nothing to do with personhood or criminalizing abortion but instead involves prosecuting a drunken driver, for example, if an action by that person killed a fetus.

"There are many people arguing the bill should define when life begins. There are many people arguing we should state it is not about personhood," he said. "I don't want to have that debate on this bill.

AndrewPrice said...

Radio news and local television news breaks. The bill makes "providing an abortion" a class three felony. This comes complete with quotes from Republican lawmakers.

BevfromNYC said...

I kind of like that Lawhawk is trying to reach out when we're talking about solutions to fix stuff like Obamacare. I know he's taken this long because even in heaven, the outcome of the last election must have been really disappointing...

AndrewPrice said...

K, Here is the clearly "not-obsessed" abortion calendar for Colorado Republicans who are riding a massive losing streak...

1. Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severa, introduced House Bill 1033, which outlaws abortion, including in cases of rape or incest.

"I ran as a pro-life candidate. I understand it's very controversial, but I'm not going to back away from it," he said. "The heart of the bill is that life begins at conception."

2. Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Colorado Springs, introduced House Bill 1032, which would allow prosecutors to charge a person who commits a crime that causes a pregnant woman to lose her baby.

Critics say it it would bestow "personhood" status on a fetus, thus criminalizing abortion. Colorado voters in 2010 defeated a personhood measure by almost 3-to-1.

3. Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, introduced Senate Bill 56, which would ban sex-selection abortions. He conceded it would be difficult to know whether someone was having an abortion because of the sex of the fetus, but said "it's an issue I feel passionate about."

BevfromNYC said...

K - This is the problem. If you make a drunk driver oar anyone criminally liable for killing/harming a pregnant woman who then loses the baby, then the state MUST define at what stage in her pregnancy is the bright line. This is what abortion advocates fear most - it is a slippery slope for them Then someone challenges that clinics/doctors who perform abortions should be criminally liable because [fill in the blank]. It is the slipperyest of slopes.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, LOL! I have no doubt they are shaking their heads upstairs right now.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's exactly what pro-lifers are intending. That's why they have no credibility with the public on restrictions anymore. It's the same thing the environmental movement has run into. When you lie and act in sneaky ways, people treat all of your ideas as toxic.

El Gordo said...

Andrew, what you wrote about 3-point garbage and healthcare really nails the problem (and the opportunity). Well put.

I know I´m sometimes overly pessimistic. Nothing is written in stone. Obama will eventually be gone.

If his successor has enough sense to fire as many of his appointees as possible, we may overcome. That is a key point, by the way. Conservatives don´t really think like revolutionaries, but the Left does. The Left will absolutely replace technocrats with ideologues and put their people in as many positions of influence as possible. Personnel is policy. If the next GOP President doesn´t understand how that works, he will be stymied.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo, Thanks. It took me a while to see the problem. When I started trying to think of a new platform, I started with those three points and I quickly found that it forced me into boxes that are very hard to get out of. That's when I realized how much of our policy and how much of our rhetoric is trapped within that structure. Basically, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

I share your pessimism, but I do know that things can change. Reagan changed the Republicans once, Clinton changed the Democrats, then both Bush and Obama changed their parties again. It can be done.

I agree completely that personnel is policy and the next GOP president better be as brutal as the Democrats are about putting ideologues into every part of the government and chasing out the Democratic ones.

Individualist said...


Not that everyone will want to discuss abortion but I think that a major point should be that minor's do not need parental consent in many states.

I know someone who told me she had an abortion at 14 and her guardians (her grandparents) never knew about it. The father was 22 and talked her into it so that he would not be arrested for statutory rape when the child was born. He was also abusive and hit her which might be one of the factors that led to her decision.

I know this is anectdotal but still I have always felt that the left does not just want to protect the right to choose. They want to influence the choice. Their collectivist brains decide underage girls can't take care of children so let's make it easy to terminate the pregnancies. This is what really boothers me the most about the pro choice crowd. The seeming obtuse blindness as to how serious what is happening really is.

Individualist said...

We can have platforms but honestly none of these things will work unless we can somehow find a way for the public to have the political will to lessen government control and especially spending.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I think it's a false dichotomy to think that the public either wants spending or nothing. There are many things we can offer that are genuine reforms which not only don't require government spending but can replace the government spending the Democrats are offering. And the only way we're going to break the idea that spending is good is to offer something better. The problem is that right now, we offer nothing except opposition or "we'll spend less".

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said, Andrew!
"Moderate" is just another word (or has become in a political sense) for thoughtless compromise.

They have no ideas of their own and they don't even consider other ideas.

Education: there's a lot of things wrong with mnost public education (and many colleges as well) but the number one failure of the public system (and again, many colleges) is that they don't teach or encourage critical thinking,

IOW's they don't teach and demonstrate to their students how to think for yourself and how to discern the truth as well as not to simply accept what anyone, including the media and politicians, says.

Also, WHY it's important to think for yourself and value truth.

This also would include more education on American history, with classes that go in depth into WHY our Founding Fathers put a Republic form of government in place and everything that entails, including how it affects all of us.

The GOP should push school vouchers harder. Do a full on attack touting school choice.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben!

I agree. And I don't want to give the wrong impression. I think we hurt ourselves by pushing the idea that we hate moderates and that we're extremists... BUT we need to distinguish between "moderate views" that represent what the public wants and "political moderates" who just want to score points by pretending they are being more reasonably by splitting the difference or "working together" to double down on stupidity.

On the lack of critical thinking, I would argue that logic and reasoning should be part of the K-12 curriculum. It's not something we should just assume people will get.

And I totally agree about vouchers. Wait until you see my article on Sweden on Thursday!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Patriot said...
"M AHS clinics will provide basic medical care up to a point. Don't know what that point is yet. I think if conservatives address the fear factor that the American people have with healthcare (PAIN!) then we've got a winner here. Talk about how we want people to not be in pain, so we will liberalize the pain medication regulations/laws. No specifics, just in general because we don't want people to be in pain. This would be a full frontal assault on Doomberg and his ilk. Lump him in with "big government" making every decision for your healthcare and voila....winning!"

That's a great idea, Patriot!

As someone who has had a lot of chronic pain, and I know several others that have had it, incuding folks who have had temporary pain, I gotta say the current system sucks.

Some idiot drug addict takes oxycontin (or whatever pain med with meth and alcohol and dies and all of a sudden politicians are screaming "we need to do something!"

So the take away the doctor's freedom top fully practice medicine and outlaw or make it virtually impossible for folks to get proper pain relief.

And this broken system that ignores what is best for patients will continue to get worse in that regard (and every regard).

So yeah, this would be an excellent tactic to employ.
Let's let doctors do their jobs and do what is best for their patients.,

Let's stop hurting law abiding patients because a relatively few idiots OD on their pain meds.

Let's get rid of the bureacrats in washington that are destroying the free market from working in healthcare, and take away our choices of better healthcare and ruin's innovation and investments into new drug therapies.

This is only anedotal but the vast majority of folks I knopw, including many democrats consider this a big issue.

They don't want some "know-it-all" in DC deciding whether they are worthy enough to get the best medications or procedures done.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

IRT free clinics, I think the sliding fee scale clinics works best. It would still be free to those who could afford nothing and also discourage the deadbeats that can pay (or can pay a percentage), based on their take home pay.

It's amazing how many people suddenly don't need healthcare when they discover that they need to show their pay stubs to see how much (if anything) they must pay.

One note: Those who can pay but who have a lot of bills (or a family emergency requiring a lot of dough) should be given the option to make monthly payments.

There should be more flexibility in that regard.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Regarding my use of the word "regard" I just realized I have been using it too much.
So in that regard I'll try to use regard a bit less.

No need to thank me or nothin'. Just my way of showin' how much I care about youse guys.

Best regards!

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I've heard from many doctors that Washington imposes very stupid rules that interfere with patient care for the sake of politics. It really is time to take the government out of the healthcare system.

It's no surprise to me that the two areas that are most messed up in our country -- healthcare and K-12 education -- are the most heavily regulated.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, On fees, when I wrote the Commentarama Care articles, I mentioned a fixed-price scheme that I got involved in at one point. That was fantastic. Everyone benefited.

What happened?

The insurance companies tried to shut it down. They even got the doctor charged criminally and he had to go to the State Supreme Court TWICE to get his name cleared and to be allowed to offer his program. That's ridiculous.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew, aye. The tyranny of govt./big businesses over our healthcare (and everything else) has to stop.

Unfortunately, as long as politicians like Boehner is in charge I don't have much hope that anyhing will change for the better anytime soon.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best to continue to get good candidates elected to tip the balance towards sanity but it sure won't be easy to break the hold that the idiot neo-cons have on Congress and the Senate.

But we will never give up tryin' to restore Liberty, Justice and the American way!
So there's that.

Besides, issues like this resonate with most folks no matter what their political leanings...except for the far left and far right of course.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good point on the fees. It's simply insane and downright fiendish what has been going on, and it has hurt a lot of people in the process.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is a good opportunity for a conservative movement to occupy heartless Big Govt,/Big Business partnerships that prevent doctors, teachers, etc., from doing their jobs.

The result is, it only helps politicians and their crony big business friend get richer on the backs of American citizens.

The schemes they come up with always hurts us little guys (and gals).
And who the hell are they to tell us what to do?

There needs to be a big push by all conservatives to combat Obama and his minions (or any other politicians, R or D that go along with these criminal schemes to rob us blind and give us slavery and next to nothing as a "reward."

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I kind of go back and forth between the idea that things will get better because people are agitated right now and that we're doomed. The problem is that when I look at the GOP and the Democrats, I see two parties who have successfully managed to lead their bases down a self-destructive path which lets them continue to pillage the treasury unchecked. It's rather disheartening.

I know that one great leader could break the power base in Washington, but I don't know that such a person can get through the gauntlet they've established to keep people like that out. They've really got people working against their own interests right now.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I concur, Andrew.
It is rather disheartening. It feels like the 70's again. Before Reagan. It was grimm then too.

But that's no guarantee we will get another Reagan.
I would settle for an Allen West, though.
Or someone with the same good character.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I'm not sure who could break this. I think the problem is that it will take a "wild outsider," but the system is set up to weed those people out before they become a threat.

Koshcat said...

I still think you should run for Udal's senate seat. I would support you and work to get you elected.

Keep thinking about health care. Although I agree that getting less government would help, you also have to consider how it comes across. Getting sick scares people due to the costs. Saying we will just turn it over to the market just doesn't fly.

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

Thanks for the distinction, Andrew! You're scaring me lately! lol

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I'm not even sure how to run for Udal's seat, though I have been considering running locally for something and then trying to step up.

I agree on health care. We can't say we're going to turn it over to the market -- people won't trust that. That's why we need to sell it in pieces. For example:

1. We talk about freeing up doctors to arrange their practices as they see fit and to move from state to state so they can practice in any state and aren't forced to work in the big cities only so they can pay their bills.

2. We talk about freeing patients from the insurers by returning the relationship to being between the doctor and the patient. "When you buy a new stove, your home owner's insurer doesn't get to tell you what kind you can buy, nor does it negotiate the price."

3. We talk about catastrophic care insurance as a means to protect people from serious problems and we propose laws which require insurers to take those people and not to drop them if things go wrong. And we push the idea of tax breaks or subsidies to help people get this insurance. We relate this to car insurance -- if your car is wrecked, you're covered. If you just need to replace your tires, you pay for it.

This gets us the biggest benefit because it removes the insurers from the day to day stuff.

4. We highlight something like the fixed-fee clinic I was part of and we point out that most insurers would even cover that fixed fee. And we use this as a way to explain how the total cost to people will go down.

5. We talk about the insanity that no one in the system knows what anything costs or what they are paying, and we push the idea that people should pay the same no matter who they are or who their insurer is.

Each of those ideas moves us toward the market solution, but they don't sound at all like "turn it over to the markets." They sound like pro-doctor, pro-patient changes that should make sense to people and alleviate their concerns. At the same time, they make people responsible for paying for routine care, it will force the system to come up with a public pricing model -- which lets consumers apply pressure and make their own decisions, and it protects people if they have a serious problem.

AndrewPrice said...

No problem, Snape. I want to be clear on this. I don't want people thinking I'm just talking about becoming a moderate. I'm really not.

Post a Comment