DougJ has already weighed in on David Frum’s request for a new definition of conservatism, but I have another suggestion:
This was the sole representation of the Grand Old Party at yesterday’s Rochester Pride. There were a number of Democratic candidates, as well as a few non-partisan (judicial) candidates, but not a single Republican. Frum can blather all he wants about a “culturally modern” and “socially inclusive” party, but until his party’s candidates aren’t afraid to show their faces at a minority gathering, he’s just pissing on our shoes and telling us that its raining.
Oh come on. Republicans are too socially inclusive, as long as you share their values. Their values are that gay, black and brown people are inferior. As long long as you believe that you’re welcome, no matter who you are!
I think it shows how wide the difference between US and UK conservatism is when the start of this month saw London Pride, one of the biggest Pride Parades in the world, with over 1 million marching, and it was lead by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who is one of the most publically well known faces of the UK Conservative party.
If a conservative party was “socially inclusive” and “culturally modern,” wouldn’t it by definition not be conservative? This is the ideology that “stands athwart history yelling, ‘Stop.'”
David Frum’s “desired” outcome for the GOP is the definition of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party. The problem, though, is that Frum doesn’t want the party to be socially inclusive and culturally modern; he wants the GOP to market itself as such.
@alephnaughtpix: Giuliani routinely participated in NYC’s Pride Parades. I think there’s a special exemption for urban mayors.
The Republican Party must have been baffled when a Tory leader like Johnson endorsed Obama for President.
“Conservative” has been skewed as to have lost all meaning in this country.
I’m surprised any official Republican entity showed up at all.
This is progress.
The Republican Primary in GA talks about the gays a lot. Of course not in a positive way.
@DougJ: Me, too.
They got a bunch of “thanks for marching” comments from the crowd.
The really frightening thing is how many people feel that the conservative stance is culturally relevant.
Not all of these people are pursuing a reaction agenda [repealing constitutional amendments?]. Some just think that everyone should try to fit inside the bell curve. Since I have spent a lifetime being out of this curve most of the time, I can sympathize with that feeling.
It does seem that Republicans want to smush everyone to fit under that curve while the Democrats want to do away with the curve itself. The more things change . . . .
This is an important point. I don’t think American Conservatism can be socially inclusive for culturally modern. It seems like the only thing that they can do is sit around all day wanking off to atavistic recollections of a past America that never truly existed.
My assumption for this is fear. I don’t know of what, but there are many possibilities. I don’t think they’re really afraid homosexual marriage will destroy the fabric of the institution at large or tear apart families. I think they superimpose fear of something much larger and intangible onto something much smaller, easier, and human.
By the way, I’ve noticed other people posting here under the handle “Josh” so I’ve decided to change mine to “Jeff Spender” to avoid any confusion.
Those guys holding the sign are clearly not closet cases, which is why they’re comfortable showing up. The black shoes/white socks is a dead give away. Ask Aaron Schock.
Bill E Pilgrim
A demonstration of what a “culturally modern” GOP would look like is on display on any slow news day of a given week, which is to say being the same repressive authoritarian Rush Limbaugh-placating throwbacks as ever but dressing it up in co-opted hip-hop language and so on, in other words: Michael Steele.
Speaking of David Frum and new definitions, this Obama Rebound piece in the Times asking Frum and several other choice Villagers to blather on at will is like a one-stop catalog of symptoms for the chronic elitist disease we are afflicted with these days. We are so fucked.
I recall the upstate New Yorkers here saying that the Republicans in their neck of the woods were typically fairly moderate, and that the radical crazies were a relatively recent phenomenon. It’s nice to see some old-fashioned moderate northeastern Republicans in action, and I’m sure their raving mad/Tea Party counterparts are spazzing out over their participation in this event.
Fuck Frum. And fuck the GOP and all goddamn “conservatives” in this entire fucked up country.
You know, Frum reminds me of a victim of abuse. His fellow travellers hate him, despise him, and wish him political death. And yet, here he is trying to find ways to re-brand them and support them and put them into power over the sane people once again.
Fuck him sideways. The only new definition of “conservative” philosophy I care to see is “dead.”
Wrong! The Repubicans prefer to parade around in private with their same sex partners. They are grow-ers, not show-ers.
I’m really grateful to Sully for his vacation fill-ins. I’m one of those who kind of liked Frum, based on a few excerpts. I have now completely gotten over that. Weigel I never paid any attention to til the recent dust-up. Thanks to the Dish, I realize I was not missing anything and can cross him off the list too.
I try to read a few “reasonable conservatives” so as to not suffer from a Left version of epistemic closure. That’s how I came to Balloon Juice, back in the day. ‘Course since since JC mutated into a DFH, this blog hardly fills that need anymore. But I keep reading AS in spite of a frequent desire to strangle him.
I always wonder why I keep reading Sullivan (see “desire to strangle”*, above), but his fill-ins remind me how truly awful the alternatives are.
*Note: As a certified bleeding heart knee jerk liberal, I do not advocate actual violence toward morons just because they are morons. Since I am a liberal I lean toward empathy, and FSM knows, I have certainly had my share of moronic moments.
@Ash Can: A recent mayor of Plattsburgh, NY was a popular, gay Republican. Knowledge of this fact is what gave me hope in last year’s NY-23 race. I see that district as being like Vermont without the hippies: not a liberal haven, but not a bastion of teabaggerism either.
The modern conservative movement is built almost entirely as a reactionary thing. There is no way to define what it is for, only that it exists to oppose those damn hippies.
The thing is that being truly conservative (as in, looking for long-term stability over risky growth) and being far-right wing don’t really go that well together. I could easily imagine a new conservative movement that in a lot of ways would be more to the left than a progressive movement.
A reality-based conservative movement would:
First, drop the culture wars. The reality is that most people really don’t think life begins at conception, and gay marriage is a GOOD thing for social stability, and is something that should be applauded by rational conservatives, not opposed.
Second, economically, the goal would be full employment. That’s the best thing for a stable society. If this means government employment is needed, so be it. Also, there would be a focus on making work hours be better for families. Again, social stability.
The third thing, is that they would pull back on military expeditions, and focus on the military for mostly defense. Much more non-interventionist, and probably more non-interventionist than I would like, but again, it would go with a coherent philosophy with coherent goals.
The fourth thing, is that they would be fiscally responsible. No tax cuts to run up huge deficits to gut the social safety net. The social safety net, as it promotes social stability, is a good thing in the rational conservative’s eyes.
In short, there are things we could agree with a rational conservative, and things we would disagree with. In fact, some of us might find we agree with them more than current progressive thought. But at the very least everybody is up front and clear on what their goals and priorities they have. And that at least allows a conversation.
Urban Republicans are a strange bunch, at least in overwhelmingly Democratic cities — a mix of people who for various reasons decide to register Republican even though there’s no hope of electing a candidate and they’re effectively disenfranchising themselves by not being able to vote in the Democratic primary that actually determines who’ll be in office. Many of them are the same sort of personalities you see in third parties.
In DC this year, our Republicans are running four candidates for city council, three of whom are black and two of those are gay. None will win, but they are trying to show they’re not the national party. Then again, the various DC Republicans I follow on Twitter are still retweeting Michael Steele and repeating bogus talking points about Obama and taxes and whatever the latest GOP obsession is.
This seems a bit like the “Red Tory” wing of the old Progressive Conservative Party in Canada. Most of them are Liberals now, AIUI, though I remember reading about one Red Tory who wound up joining the New Democrats, who IIRC are members of the Socialist International.
Obviously our conservatives want social stability, but they seem to think that means preserving the Norman Rockwell tableau. Millions are thrown into chaos in the service of other people’s esthetics. (For that matter, there’s nothing in the photo above that couldn’t fit into a Rockwell painting. When the indicator of TEH GHEY is something like OMG WHITE SOCKS AND BLACK SHOES OMG, you know you’re dealing with an entire society that’s essentiallly rolled over for its most esthetically reactionary segments.)
On the right track, but I think it’s still a bit too liberal to be a “true conservative” movement.
A true conservative would drop the culture wars because it’s inherently invasive to the privacy of citizens. Whether “most peopel” think life begins at conception or not is irrelevant. I think it’s acceptable for a “true conservative” (under the definition we’re developing) to have a pro-life slant. If you truly believe that life begins at conception, then abortion rights are a balancing test between the rights of beings who cannot protect themselves and the rights of women to be forced to bear a child. This isn’t a small difference. The reason a “true conservative” should drop opposition is because it seems to me that Roe and Casey got this pretty close to right. In the balancing test, we value both the rights of women and the state’s interest in protecting fetal health. It’s not unreasonable.
Similarly, conservatives wouldn’t favor gay marriage because it’s “good.” They’d favor it because it’s really none of the state’s business. Family stability is certainly a bonus.
It’s hard to look at conservatism and “values” issues. There are legitimate differences. But I think you’re on to something with your economic issue analysis. The goal should be long-term stability and growth over exceptional growth coupled with the very real possibility of a massive collapse. This means that conservatives would want a government that is limited in it’s scope, but effective in the pursuits it deals in.
The social safety net is complicated. A “true conservative,” even by our definition, is not going to be in favor of a fully functioning safety net that includes a single-payer or government operated system. Recognizing that a healthy society saves money and operates more efficiently, a “true conservative” should favor a regulated, market-based approach where competition inevitably leads to lower prices for the consumer, and allowing the consumer the freedom to choose their provider (or not choose a provider at all). A “true conservative” wouldn’t favor a full government system. A reasonable amount might favor a public option. I think an overwhelming number would favor a highly functioning exchange, and probably a separation of heath insurance from employment.
Just some thoughts.
And ran as far away from that history as he could while running for President. Still, I always thought it was hilarious some evangelicals supported Giuliani, cross dressing, living with gay staff members and all.
The Log Cabin Republicans always have a presence at Twin City Pride. They must have been mortified this year when a bible thumper set up right next to them and started spewing about how our evil asses were all going to hell unless we quit same-sex-partnering. I bet the Log Cabin volunteers got real tired of people pointing out that they and the bible thumper were both playing for the same team.
kommrade reproductive vigor
Rochester Committee of people who haven’t been laid since Reagan was in office is more like it.
I’m really sick of this “redefinition” shit from these morans. If an axe murderer claims he’s a dynamic free-form surgeon who uses non-traditional techniques, he’s still a fucking axe murderer. (And being able to see Russia from your backyard doesn’t make you an expert on international politics.)
@Karmakin: This is why I would argue that the modern keeper of philosophical capital-C Conservatism is the political liberal. Much of what’s done in their name is stated as, and designed for, maintenance of what is already in place, rather than any kind of radical shift*. The people we refer to as political conservatives, on the other hand, are just cafeteria radicals who pick what to protect & what to destroy on the basis of who it’s intended to benefit.
(* – this is a fault on their part, IMO.)
Thanks for the commenting to an old Scot such as myself. Much appreciated.
JGabriel: I think there’s a special exemption for urban mayors.
Well, that’s a fair point. If you have to work in a major population of actual real people, and all their differences, have to be pragmatic, or lose their mayorship next election. “Put your ideological differences aside, I wanna run this city!”
Still, it does beg the question: does the ideology of the GOP trump the day to day running of the most important cities on Planet Earth? Clearly Guilani and Bori Johnson know the score, can we say the same about US right wing?
It might seem unusual, as Boris Johnson was generally seen in the the UK as a bit of a bumbling gentry type, someone filmed walking about a country lane, and then pausing to extract the foot from their mouth. However he turned opinion initially by being a halfway decent UK constituency MP, and similarly a halfway decent Mayor of London. In some ways, this bumbling wannabe aristocrat is slightly to the left of the UK Conservative line, especially regarding immigration: he’s in favour of the Liberal Democrat line of an amnesty: perhaps he’s lived in London enough to know how much of the economy depends on such people.
Even given that, it is important to note that the UK Conservative would be considered a bunch of lefties by the current GOP politbereau, whoever they are this second. Think about the Religious Right talking points. Gay marriage? UK Conservative supported civil parntership in Blair’s day, and are intending to expand it to full marriage. Abortion? UK Conservatives support that too. National Health Service? U
Try getting a UK Conservative to admit they want to get rid of that.
And this is not just true of the UK Conservatives. It’s true of any western democracy outside, and quite a few others. The Conservatives in other countries are to the left of the Democrats in the US. It’s about time to admit that the political system of the US is to the right of most other countries to a seriously problematic degree.
BTW by this I mean that I feel the US political establisment is to the right of the US electorate. I don’t mean this as a diss of the country. Most US people I have met are friendly and intelligent