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I'm not talking about Bill Conner or Orval Faubus.
It does not seem plausible to many that white supremacy, as a respectable point of view, is anything other than some historical memory.
The central question that emerges ... is whether the white community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically. The sobering answer is Yes -- the white community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.
- William F. Buckley, writing for the National Review, August 24,1957
In fact, Bill Buckley, the intellectual model of thoughtful conservatism, was open even to Klan type violence. He wrote about localities in which black residents were in the majority, and the danger that they might vote.
...sometimes the numerical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.
- William F. Buckley
Later, Bill Buckley changed his mind. He regarded his one time hostility to civil rights as a terrible mistake. He came to admire Martin Luther King and urged passage of a holiday in his honor.
Not every conservative embraced the change. But what later came to be called "cultural conservatism" lost the luster of respectability, at least for the most part.
We still had the occasional Pat Buchanan or Michael Medved, who would separately opine that slavery's good points ought to be considered. But, over time, overt racism came to be regarded as a monstrous evil.
Since then, technology has brought with it an unintended political consequence.
The history of major political parties has been one of ebb and flow. When Republicans or Democrats have moved far enough from mainstream opinion, they have tended to lose elections. Enough lost elections makes for sober self-examination. Both political parties have found their way back toward the center.
This has not been happening recently in the Republican Party since the introduction and growth of the internet and cable television. Individual conservatives can pretty much choose any alternate reality. What is most often chosen is a message that urges a departure from the organic self-examination of the past.
The Republican Party has been shrinking. Liberal Republicans, then moderate Republicans were purged. As they left, the party grew incrementally more doctrinaire. So insufficiently extreme conservatives are finding themselves pushed out. This will have the predictable effect of accelerating the Republican drive away from the mainstream. And the beat goes on.
Public positions and policy moves can be expected to become more extreme. It may be reasonable to suspect that the same process will occur in the Democratic Party. Thus far, that has not happened.
Republican victories are temporarily amplified through gerrymandering and voter suppression.
Let's consider one policy example.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has six subcommittees.
One is the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.
The new Chairman is Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Senator Cornyn has built his political career on hostility to civil rights. He is a vocal opponent of a restoration of voting rights protections.
Republicans have renamed the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.
It is now the Subcommittee on the Constitution.
No more Civil Rights.
No more Human Rights.
Meet the newest Party of Lincoln.
For the past six years, Google has been hosting post-State of the Union interviews with the President on YouTube. Some of these used pre-recorded questions, others incorporated Google Hangouts. My brother John even asked a couple of questions during the Hangout they did in 2013.
This year, Google and the White House worked together to actually have the interviews happen in the same physical space as Obama. I’m sure it was not easy to get buy-in from all of the necessary parties, but they did it.
The media did not complain about (or even really discuss) the last five years of post-SOTU interviews but, as we’ll see, this year was a bit different.
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From The Kansas City Star:
A special prosecutor is taking a new look at the case of a handcuffed Iowa man who drowned after he fell from a Missouri trooper’s boat.
Amanda Grellner acknowledged that she is reviewing the case after receiving new information. Four months ago, she declined to press charges against Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Piercy after a coroner’s inquest found Brandon Ellingson’s death in the Lake of the Ozarks to be an accident.
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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wouldn't let the Supreme Court have the last word on same-sex marriage.
The potential White House contender hopes the Supreme Court does not legalize gay marriage in an upcoming decision, he said in an interview airing Sunday on ABC's “This Week.” But, he said, social conservatives like him could turn to a constitutional amendment if the court did rule in favor of gay marriage.
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Conservative James Wigderson is thrilled. At the Iowa gathering organized by Steve King, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gives a fiery speech about abolishing abortion rights, restricting voting rights, and promoting concealed weapons. James provides video.
tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors notes the latest conservative indictment in the ongoing Benghazi conspiracy. It seems that, since investigating Republican chairman Trey Gowdy couldn't find the evidence he looked for, he is part of the cover up.
At The Moderate Voice, Donald Trump, a self-made man, worships his maker. He believes he could have been President, and would have been a great President, if he had decided to replace Mitt Romney as challenger in chief.
Infidel 753 reviews the execution of a gay man in Iraq by ISIS fanatics. He correctly declines to ascribe anti-gay theology to Islam, but does identify it more generally to religion. Infidel argues that as "with the Christian Dominionists and Reconstructionists in the US who want to bring back stoning to death for homosexuality and adultery (among many other 'crimes'), this is not some sort of distortion or 'misuse' of religion." I have suggested that Jesus takes the opposite position.
- Blogenfreude at Stinque pretty much tells it all about King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud .
Has Fury Against America Gone Country Club Conservative? (5:05) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
Remember when conservatives claimed patriotism only for themselves? Now, some barely tolerate patriotism in anyone.
The last two runs were campaigns based on resume. Not in 2016. Not ever again.
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Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour has a bit of folksy wisdom to share with Republican voters when it comes to the possibility of Mitt Romney making another run for the White House.
"My grand-daddy used to say you don't learn much from the second kick of a mule," Barbour, who now heads up the BGR Group lobbying firm, told "With All Due Respect" hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on Thursday.
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(Reuters) - The death of a prosecutor investigating the bombing of a Jewish community center was not a suicide, as was initially reported, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said on Thursday.
Alberto Nisman, lead investigator into the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center that killed 85 people, was found dead in his apartment late Sunday, a 22 caliber pistol by his side.
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From The New York Times:
His power unbending, his whims often unexplained, Sheldon Silver, in his two decades as speaker of the State Assembly, became a seemingly indestructible presence at the nucleus of the New York political world, a steady advocate for liberal causes and a master tactician in Albany’s closed and entrenched way of governance.
But Mr. Silver’s arrest on Thursday on corruption charges has thrown into question that arrangement, in which the governor and the leaders of the two chambers of the Legislature privately decide the most crucial policies of the state.
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Congressional Republicans have changed their strategy on immigration from lawsuits to a more direct legislative confrontation. The image that comes to mind is one involving matches and explosives. Republicans in the House of Representatives are threatening to close, and to keep closed, the Department of Homeland Security unless the country meets their demands.
The Executive Orders issued by the President on immigration have been rigidly in accord with law and precedent.
Service officers are not only authorized by law but expected to exercise discretion in a judicious manner at all stages of the enforcement process.
- Doris Meissner, Immigration Commissioner, November 17, 2000
Immigration policy is largely powered by simple math. Congress refuses to budget enough funds to find and deport every undocumented immigrant. That is understandable. The cost would be astronomical. And, in many cases, harsh enforcement would be obviously unjust. The President has no choice but to make choices. It makes sense to put a priority on deporting violent criminals.
The reasons for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion are both practical and humanitarian. There simply are not enough resources to enforce all of the rules and regulations presently on the books.
- Sam Bernsen, INS General Counsel
for President Ford, 1976
This became more personal for me when I met a teenager who had been brought to America as an infant. She had no memory of any life except that of an American in the United States. As she and I helped lead a small segment for an inter-faith religious group, her simple expressions of faith and patriotism were impressive.
It is hard to understand a Republican commitment to put a stop to Homeland Security, allowing terrorists have complete freedom to direct their destruction at us. They are willing to put innocent lives at risk if they cannot attack my new young friend.
The willingness of Republicans to hold hostage America's security from terrorism over a policy with which they disagree is not new.
In December 2009, Republicans wanted to postpone Health Care reform. They adopted a similar tactic. American troops fighting in Iran and Afghanistan were actually in danger of running out of ammunition, food, transportation, and other wartime necessities.
Republicans used delaying tactics to prevent supplying our troops. They knew Democrats would act out of patriotism and anxiety for the lives of American soldiers. Sure enough, Democrats scrambled to put together the votes, barely in time to save American lives.
The willingness to put troops at risk while under fire, the willingness to put America at risk from terrorist attack, had an earlier precursor, a sort of warning signal. The conservative reaction to a much smaller, symbolic, event should have told us something.
The cheers were enthusiastic. It was as if some home team had won the big game. The conservative group Americans for Prosperity were overjoyed.
Cheering at news of an American loss was startling, even for those of us who were skeptical about conservative claims of exclusive patriotism. The loss itself was small, significant only for the honor involved. The United States would not be hosting the 2016 Olympics.
The cheers for America's loss represented only one of many expressions of hostility. Conservatives did not merely disagree with policy or governmental philosophy. It was not about economic stimulus or environmental regulation. It was not about consumer protection or anti-discrimination law.
This was personal. It was conservative revulsion at the very image of Obama as President. The loathing against the new President as a man had amplified. It became hostility toward the nation itself for having the cultural bad taste to elect him. That hostility continues today. I still sometimes remind the occasional conservative that America is not spelled with a K.
The rage does not consume all of conservatism.
It does not envelope all Republicans.
But the acceptance in at least some country club circles would have been unthinkable even a few years ago.
Congressional recklessness is reflected in actual policy votes affecting American troops and American security.
Furious conservative resentment toward America as a nation has gone politically mainstream.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:
We are 15 years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.
But tonight, we turn the page. Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. (Applause.) Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before. More of our people are insured than ever before. (Applause.) And we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years. (Applause.)
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. (Applause.) Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. (Applause.) We are humbled and grateful for your service.
America, for all that we have endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong. (Applause.)
I'm Joni Ernst. As a mother, a soldier, and a newly elected senator from the great State of Iowa, I am proud to speak with you tonight.
A few moments ago, we heard the President lay out his vision for the year to come. Even if we may not always agree, it's important to hear different points of view in this great country. We appreciate the President sharing his.
Tonight though, rather than respond to a speech, I'd like to talk about your priorities. I'd like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again.
We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we're getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.
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It's the pre-start of the pre-Presidential election of 2016. We begin our quadrennial speculation of what new Mitt Romney will appear in our living rooms in this cycle.
The foundation of each Romney campaign has been his resume. Successful in business, created a varying astronomical number of jobs, extreme wealth, and so on.
There are disadvantages to this approach. The resume has a flip side. The free market has a base philosophy. Individuals acting selfishly will, as a byproduct, benefit society as a whole. Jobs will be created, products will be produced, competition will help consumers. But the base motivation is ... well ... base. The benefits to others are incidental. The key impulse is the quest for profit.
When profit is the bottom line, the accidental effect will not always be positive. Layoffs, the raiding of pensions, the torpedoing of competitors, the closing of plants, contractual disputes, will often become part of the ongoing process. The faith and hope of Adam Smith was that, when all the human pluses and costs are totaled, the aggregate would be positive.
So the Romney record was, as it had to be, littered with the professional bodies of ordinary people. Opposition ads almost wrote themselves.
They told us that it wasn't personal. It was business.
- Mary Jo who lost her job at Sensata Inc, October 16, 2012
A resume based campaign often campaigns against itself, as great wealth itself brings a more personal disadvantage. Every Romney campaign brought new disconnects.
I'll tell you what. 10,000 bucks? Ten-thousand-dollar bet?
- Mitt Romney, to Rick Perry on Healthcare, December 10, 2011
I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re gonna get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.
- Mitt Romney, January 8, 2012
...they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved heh heh production to Wisconsin.
- Mitt Romney, March 28, 2012
But the deepest problem was the apparent lack of core values in the campaign, or in Mr. Romney himself. Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom was asked whether political positions advocated by Mitt Romney during the primaries might be rejected in the general election against President Obama. Mr. Fehrnstrom blurted out the standard that proved to be the campaign's guiding star.
Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.
- Eric Fehrnstrom, appearing on CNN on behalf of the Romney campaign, March 21, 2012
The vacuousness of the Romney positioning seemed to come together in one campaign stump speech, reported by conservative Mark Steyn in the National Review.
I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.
- Mitt Romney, quoted January 22, 2012
The absence of core political beliefs, the etch-a-sketch philosophy, the stump speech that was a satire of itself, seemed to me to come together in one brief explanation. Mitt Romney had been recorded explaining the difficulty in getting 47% of America to accept responsibility for their own lives. In November of last year, Mitt looked back on the lessons of that remark.
My mistake was that I was speaking in a way that reflected back to the man. If I had been able to see the camera, I would have remembered that I was talking to the whole world, not just the man.
Mitt Romney, to the New York Times, September, 2014
It is the television Madman philosophy, openly expressed. It is Mitt Romney apologizing for failing to recognize his real audience. If he had, he says, he would have expressed an entirely different core belief.
A new core belief will be prepared for 2016. Instead of deriding those struggling to escape poverty, he will base his new campaign on eradicating poverty. That's the ticket.
Peggy Noonan, seldom the wellspring of wisdom she imagines as herself, does hit the problem of Romneyism on the head.
There is no such thing as Romneyism and there never will be. Mr. Romney has never encompassed a philosophical world. He has never become the symbol of an attitude toward government, or an approach to freedom or fairness. “Romneyism” is just “Mitt should be president.” That is not enough.
- Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2014
Authenticity is an elusive quality in politics. To one with a reputation as an habitual shapeshifter, authenticity remains a very high bar. But Mitt Romney has talent and resources. He has access to the most advanced techniques and the best brains in image construction.
He and his panel of experts are constructing a new campaign incarnation, complete with a new message, different from anything he's ever tried before. Mitt Romney needs one final element to become President Romney.
He needs to put his people to work manufacturing authenticity.