Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

Why Trump supporters think 2020 was rigged

July 13, 2021

Last Friday a Twitter user named Darryl Cooper wrote a 35-tweet thread explaining the mindset of Trump supporters who think the 2020 election was rigged.

The thread was read verbatim on the Tucker Carlson show, and Cooper’s Twitter account went almost overnight from about 7,000 followers to about 70,000.

Glenn Greenwald invited him to write a summary of the thread for his Other Voices Substack account.  Although he did not agree 100 percent with Cooper, he thought Cooper’s viewpoint is important to understand. So do I.

Cooper said that for many years, most conservative Republicans, although they disagreed with the direction the country was moving, long had a basic confidence in the country’s institutions – the military, police and judiciary, the large corporations and even the press, which might be biased

This changed with the run-up to the 2016 elections and the victory Trump administration.  Intelligence agencies, Democratic politicians and the Washington press endorsed a conspiracy theory of Russian collusion which, it turned out, was based on opposition research conducted for the Hillary Clinton campaign.  Each of the claims were debunked one by one.

I happen to think Donald Trump was a terrible President.  But he was almost never attacked for the things he actually did wrong (nor was Hillary Clinton, for that matter).  Trump was attacked for his erratic statements, which didn’t matter, and for things he didn’t really do.

Cooper wrote:

Trump supporters know – I think everyone knows – that Donald Trump would have been impeached and probably indicted if Robert Mueller had proven that he’d paid a foreign spy to gather damaging information on Hillary Clinton from sources connected to Russian intelligence and disseminate that information in the press. Many of Trump’s own supporters wouldn’t have objected to his removal if that had happened.  [snip]

Trump supporters had gone from worrying the collusion might be real, to suspecting it might be fake, to seeing proof that it was all a scam. Then they watched as every institution – government agencies, the press, Congressional committees, academia – blew right past it and gas-lit them for another year.  [snip]

This is where people whose political identities have for decades been largely defined by a naive belief in what they learned in civics class began to see the outline of a Regime that crossed not only partisan, but all institutional boundaries. They’d been taught that America didn’t have Regimes, but what else was this thing they’d seen step out from the shadows to unite against their interloper president?

In the run-up to the 2020 campaign, the establishment press abandoned all pretense of neutrality, and, with the help of social media companies, imposed a news blackout on information that would help Donald Trump or hurt Joe Biden.

Is it any wonder, Cooper asked, that Trump supporters do not believe assurances from the Washington press corps and the Biden administration that the election was on the up-and-up?

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Are conservatives mean-spirited?

October 8, 2015

There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.
       ==Ralph Waldo Emerson

Half the useful work in the world consists in combating the harmful work. A little time spent in trying to appreciate facts is not time wasted.
        ==Bertrand Russell

Liberals and progressives call conservatives mean-spirited.  Conservatives complain about this even as they speak and write about “bleeding heart” liberals and progressives.

The fact is that a large part of conservatism consists of warnings against acting on your generous impulses.

This can be mean-spirited.  It can be wise.  Sometimes it is both at the same time.

A basic conservative truth is that there are many more ways to make things worse than there are to make things better.  This is true no matter how bad things are.  Another is that people are much better judges of their own interests than they are of other peoples’ interests or of the public interest.

I don’t believe that being heartless makes you more realistic, but neither do I believe that good motives guarantee good actions.

How job choices correlate with political choices

June 3, 2015

20150602_jobsHat tip to zero hedge.

This chart was created by Verdant Labs.  If you click on that link, you can find the original chart, plus an additional interactive chart with information about more occupations.  For example, it shows that, in my own former job of journalist, there are 88 Democrats for every 12 Republicans.

This by the way does support the claim of conservatives that reporters tend to be liberals, but I’m not sure what, if anything, could be done to change this.  An affirmative action program for journalists who claim to be conservatives?  I don’t think that would work.

I often hear that Americans prefer political centrists, but Americans classified by occupation are strongly polarized.   Interestingly, though, if you go to the original Verdant Labs article, you will find that some of the top corporate and business positions are more evenly divided between the two parties than many of the middle-class and working-class jobs.

I can understand while environmental protection workers would tend to be Democrats while oil field workers would tend to be Republicans.  But some of the other political polarizations seem to based on people deciding to fit stereotypes than the actual positions of the two parties.

Why liberals no longer believe Seymour Hersh

May 13, 2015

Bush liberals conservatives militarism

When George W. Bush was President, most liberals believed the exposes of investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.  Now that Barack Obama is President, they are more skeptical.

As Espeth Reeve pointed out in The New Republic, liberals and Hersh are no longer on the same page.

militarism Obama liberals conservativesLINKS

The Killing of Osama bin Laden by Seymour M. Hersh in the London Review of Books.

The Loneliness of Sy Hersh by Elspeth Reeve for The New Republic.

The Southern Republicans embrace diversity

November 14, 2014

Tim Scott, a black Republican, was elected U.S. Senator from South Carolina, the same state that produced John C. Calhoun, the 19th century defender of states’ rights and slavery, and Strom Thurmond, the 20th century defender of states’ rights and racial segregation.

He’ll be the first black Republican Senator from the South since the end of Reconstruction.  He represents the ethnic diversity of Southern Republicans, which include Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, of south Asian heritage, and Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, of Hispanic heritage.

He won a special election, after being appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned to head The Heritage Foundation.  He is one of two African-Americans currently in the Senate.  The other is Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey.

His victory goes to show that white Southern Republicans are open to members of minority groups who reflect their conservative opinions and values, which Scott does.  Scott is a believer in the Booker T. Washington view that black Americans should pull themselves up by their own efforts and not expect whites to defend their rights.

It also goes to show how little diversity at the top of American society affects things at the bottom.  The reason that the majority of black Americans vote against Republicans is not because they’re white, but because they’re conservative.  If they didn’t vote for Senator DeMint, there’s no reason to expect them to vote for someone of DeMint’s views, just because the person is black.

The reason that a large majority of black Americans vote for progressives and Democrats, and a small majority vote for conservatives and Republicans, is not that either side is racist—at least, not necessarily.  It is that whether you have a light skin or a dark skin has a lot to do with your experience of life in the USA.

LINK

Tim Scott won South Carolina’s Senate seat: The first black Republican Senator elected from the South since Reconstruction by Jamelle Boule for Slate.  Good insights on race in American politics.

 

Obamacare: conservatism as the new liberalism

October 24, 2013

obamacare-sure-is-unpopular

Even though I think the Affordable Care Act is a bad law, I’m opposed to most of the people who oppose the law.

Most opponents of the law are against it because they don’t agree with having the government guarantee a minimum level of medical care to all.  I’m opposed to the law because I don’t think it will come anywhere near to accomplishing that purpose.

Defenders of the Affordable Care Act point out that it originated as a conservative Republican plan, drafted by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and first implemented by Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts.

From my standpoint, that is the problem. I am a liberal Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and I did not vote for him in order to advance a conservative Republican agenda.

I’m pretty sure that the Heritage staff did not offer up their plan because they felt an urgent desire to assure health insurance for everybody.  I think they proposed their plan as a way to avoid enacting Medicare-for-all, aka a single-payer plan.

The chief merit of the Obama / Heritage plan from the right-wing point of view is that it locks the for-profit insurance companies into the system and gives them a captive market, even though they add no value to medical care.  The threat of a universal system would be that there would be no role for the insurance cmpanies.

Back in 2008, the single-payer plan was the mainstream Democratic position. Both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards advocated it in their presidential campaigns.  Barack Obama offered a moderate compromise, a public option in which an affordable government insurance plan would be made available, which at the time that seemed reasonable to me.

But as soon as President Obama took office, he embraced the Heritage / Romney plan.   His staff ridiculed anybody who took his campaign promise seriously.

If Obama thought that this would bring the Republicans on board, he was sadly mistaken.  They reverted to what they really wanted all along, which is to do nothing or take away what we have.

In five years, the former mainstream liberal position has been taken off the table for discussion. The former mainstream conservative position has been redefined as the liberal position.  The extreme right-wing position which was not then on the table has been redefined as the mainstream conservative position.

Nobody really wanted Obamacare.  It was originally proposed as a lesser evil from the conservative point of view,  and it was enacted as being a lesser evil from the liberal point of view.   The right-wing Republican goal is to get rid of it altogether.   The liberal Democratic goal should be to replace it with something adequate.

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The conservative case for Obama

October 18, 2013

Under Barack Obama, stock prices are up and government deficits are down.  The overall national debt continues to increase, but if it is increasing at a slower rate than the overall economy, that is good enough.

Now it is true that the President doesn’t run the government all by himself, and the government does not determine the state of the national economy all by itself.   Still, if I were a conservative, I would have a more favorable opinion of President Obama than I do.

Click on Economically, Could Obama Be America’s Best President? by Adam Hartung for Forbes for the conservative case for Obama.  Hat tip for the link to Anne Tanner.

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A traditional conservative vs. neo-conservatives

June 23, 2011

Hat tip to The American Conservative.

Conservatives and liberals: the difference (4)

October 28, 2010

Liberals are like a doctor who tells somebody with cancer of the brain to go and take two aspirin.

Conservatives are like a doctor who tells somebody with cancer of the brain to go and shoot himself in the head.

Abusive conservatives and battered liberals

October 1, 2010

It is bad enough when 41 Senators block action supported by the other 59, but there is something worse – a single Senator blocking action supported by the other 99.

Senate procedures allow for up to 30 hours of debate on bill or appointment that comes before it, even with cloture.  Currently the Senate has before it more than 100 appointments and more than 350 bills passed by the House, most of them noncontroversial.  There aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week to debate all of these.  So routine, noncontroversial business requires “unanimous consent” to waive the rules.

In the past, Senators have sometimes refused unanimous consent – put a “hold” on a bill – when they have some objection to it.  But in the current Senate, the “hold” and other procedural technicalities are being used not because of specific objections, but for the purposes of obstruction and blackmail.

What surprises me is not so much that these abuses take place as that there is no outcry against them by the Democratic leadership.  The whole thing reminds me of the relationship of an abusive husband and a battered wife.  It takes two to maintain such a relationship, an abuser and an enabler who tolerates the abuse.  The battered wife keeps deluding herself that if she just finds the right approach, the abuse will stop.  But in fact it won’t until she finds a way to walk away from the relationship.

I have great sympathy for actual battered wives who are trapped in abusive relationships and see no way out, I agree there is a need for battered women’s shelters and other services, and I certainly do not blame the victim in such circumstances.   I do, however, blame the battered liberal Democrats who accept the abusive relationship.

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Conservatives and liberals: the difference (3)

August 27, 2010

Liberal men pride themselves on being nice guys.

Conservative men pride themselves on being tough guys.

Remembering William F. Buckley Jr.

July 23, 2010

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Christopher Buckley’s Remembering Mum and Pup. “Mum” and “Pup” were his pet names for his parents, Patricia Taylor Buckley and William F. Buckley Jr.  It wouldn’t have occurred to me to read the book otherwise, but it was more interesting than I expected.

William F. Buckley Jr. was once the face of the conservative movement in the United States, through his magazine, National Review, his syndicated newspaper column, his TV program “The Firing Line” and his many books.  I thought his opinions, except for anti-Communism, ranged from the misguided to the morally reprehensible.  His first books were an attack on academic freedom and a defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, and he was a champion of white supremacy in the American South and South Africa (a position he retracted after it was too late to make any difference).

At the same time I always watched “The Firing Line” on PBS, and often found food for thought in it.  Buckley did his homework, was courteous to his guests and debated issues of substance and not trivialities.  He made me think through my own positions.

I think the fact that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck occupy Buckley’s niche in the conservative movement says something about how that movement has evolved over the years.  I think the fact that Limbaugh and Beck have the influence formerly held by Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite says something about how American society has evolved over the years.

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