Easy like Sunday morning

The thing I like best about political blogging is how easy it is to be right about everything important, how easy it is to be years ahead of the curve. I’m not referring to my own blogging, per se, but to statements like this from cleek, who gave the definitive description of modern conservatism two-and-a-half years ago:

today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.

Taegan Goddard over the weekend:

GOP lawmakers were just reacting to what their constituents wanted: do the opposite.

[….]

If Obama wants to get something done in his second term, he might consider reverse psychology and propose the opposite of what he really wants. Republicans will unknowingly turn into his biggest allies.

It’s the same with the massive generational shift that’s going on in American politics. We’ve been talking about it for years (because frankly it was pretty fucking obvious in 2008), now it’s becoming one of the dominant story lines in American politics:

The lasting significance came in how the speech deepened the identification of Obama and his party with the preferences and priorities of his emerging “coalition of the ascendant,” especially the giant millennial generation at its core. “It does look like he is willing to say, ‘It’s a new era, a new Democratic Party, and it’s a new coalition that comprises the party,’” says Morley Winograd, a fellow at the Democratic advocacy group NDN, and the coauthor, with Michael Hais, of two books on the 95 million-strong millennials.

[….]

“Electoral realignments don’t occur because people change their mind about their partisan affiliation,” Hais said. “They occur because a new generation comes in with sufficient unity and number to tip the balance between two otherwise closely competing points of view. And that’s what we think is under way.”

There’s not that much to know about American politics, speaking broadly. Conservatism is exclusively about opposing what liberals want and conservatism is dying because teh kidz hate it.

119 replies
  1. 1
    Poopyman says:

    Where’s Cleek been these days, anyway?

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    I said the the other day that if Obama really wants immigration reform, he should promise to veto it.

  3. 3
    Cassidy says:

    I prefer he come out against drinking drain cleaner. I’m tired of these fools.

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    Anyone know whether College Republicans are still numerous or are they a dying breed?

    I’m guessing the chapter (cabal? coven? nest?) on our campus has less than 20. We’re working class and liberal as there is almost no entitlement to drive the resentment necessary to foster such a group.

  5. 5
    GregB says:

    But Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan are young and hip and will win over the younglings. Bank on it, Mark Halperin told me he’s never seen anything like this.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Electoral realignments don’t occur because people change their mind about their partisan affiliation,” Hais said. “They occur because a new generation comes in

    Is that true? The conservative era was primarily the result of losing whites to the GOP on account of social issues, not because a new generation came in. Or so I thought.

  7. 7
    Rex Everything says:

    Not only has Cleek been proven right, it’s becoming common knowledge. Kevin “even the liberal Kevin Drum” Drum wrote about this recently.

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    @Cassidy: Agreed.

  9. 9
    Cassidy says:

    @GregB: As long as you know who Tupac is, it’s all shizzle.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I think young Republicans clothe themselves with the libertarian gloss on conservatism.

  11. 11
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Cassidy:

    He should have FLOTUS introduce a new initiative “Today I am announcing my commitment to stop the senseless injuries caused by people striking themselves on the head with a hammer, drinking bleach, setting fire to themselves and stabbing themselves with sharp objects. If you hear someone say “hold my beer and watch this” please intervene and save a life.”

    That should thin the herd a bit.

  12. 12
    Davis X. Machina says:

    …conservatism is dying because teh kidz hate it.

    True enough — but don’t be surprise at how unconscionably long it takes to die, though.

    They make new old people every day.

    The kids who listened to Rush on their Walkmen, and cheered for Alex Keaton, and were dancing up and down to stay warm in Manchester in 2000 shouting ‘Freezin’ for a reason! Steve Forbes!’ are going to vote for another forty years — and they’re not going to get liberal-er over time.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    and cheered for Alex Keaton

    I watched that show for Mallory.

  14. 14
    StringOnAStick says:

    Yeah, the rethugs went a little too hard and fast on the shock doctrine for the millenials; all that student loan debt, a poor economy thanks to the neocon’s/Dubya’s economic magic, and the resultant inability to get on the starting rung of the American Dream (house, car, 2.4 kids). This generation got shafted, and they know who did it.

  15. 15
    c u n d gulag says:

    Whodathunkit – that a bunch of intolerant, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and/or homophobic Conservative Grandparents, could have such nice Grandkids, ‘ready and rarin’-to-go’ to replace them and their own parents?

  16. 16
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    This generation got shafted, and they know who did it.

    The problem is, you can know who did it, and still turn right around and punish someone else. Ask Gordon Brown — that’s how Mr. Cameron got his present job.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Poopyman says:

    Conservatism is NOT dying. It’s been around this country, the old European homelands, and probably every civilization on this planet, and it still has an appeal to some people. Always will. The trick is in being able to marginalize it and recognize when it’s making a comeback. Liberals failed at that in the 70’s and we’ve been paying for it ever since.

  19. 19
    Face says:

    The GOP needs to become more moderate and in tune with the electorate, so clearly the solution is to ban kids from voting.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I always had to deal with a Democratic House and, most times, a Democratic Senate. The only time during the recent conservative era when the Republicans were in control of all three branches of government was during Bush II, and we see how well that turned out.

  21. 21
    WereBear says:

    @StringOnAStick: This generation got shafted, and they know who did it.

    Well, that’s your modern conservative; not even enough sense to remove their fingerprints. Like an emotional old Mafia don, they want the victim to know who is shooting them in the head.

    Like the Bush Administration; if they could have kept their diabolical schemes on the down low, we’d be eating peanut butter full of rat droppings, taking expensive medicine to keep from dying from it, and paying 73% interest on our credit cards. But they had to go and lie themselves into a war.

  22. 22
    Foregone Conclusion says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Yes, because it isn’t as if Gordon Brown was, say, a banker-friendly Chancellor of the Exchequer for the nine years leading up to the crisis. They knew exactly who helped cause the current mess.

  23. 23
    dmsilev says:

    @BGinCHI: Definitely an underrepresented minority then. Have you considered an affirmative action program?

  24. 24
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Anyone willing to pay $25.00 for a $2.00 bottle of water has got to be nuts. The Republicans sure know their rubes don’t they?

    http://www.politico.com/story/.....87753.html

  25. 25
    roc says:

    In rhetoric? Sure, it’s “the opposite of what liberals want”. In deed? It’s just the same old “starve the beast and blame brown people” that it’s been for decades.

  26. 26
    the Conster says:

    So when will we rid ourselves of our FAIL media? How long will it take for them to drop the “both sides do it” pretense that keeps the GOP viable?

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Is that water the Rubicon?

  28. 28
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: Or blessed by St Ronaldus Magnus himself.

  29. 29
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Foregone Conclusion: ….and voted for the people who promised to do the very things calculated to make it worse, things most of them had seen in their voting lifetime.

    I suppose it’s encouraging that under the circumstances Cameron still fell short the length of Nick Clegg’s ego[1] at the finish line…

    [1] The only man-made object in the UK visible with the unaided eye from the International Space Station

  30. 30
    jonas says:

    @GregB: to paraphrase Paul Krugman, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are a cranky old guy’s idea of what a hip young guy should look like. They do great with the Fox News demographic. Actual younger people? Not so much.

  31. 31
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I am not falling for this. That linked piece must be a DougJ spoof since there cannot possibly be someone named “Morley Winograd”.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Randy P says:

    There’s a simply schadenfreud-a-licious article in the NY Times magazine this week about young Republicans trying to drag their party elders into the 21st century. Can’t link on the phone; read it in the dead tree edition. Quotes like “I would probably vote Republican if it weren’t for their stance on social issues”. I wanted to pick those people up, shake them and say “WHY? What do you find to vote for? That’s all they are!!!”

  34. 34
    cleek says:

    @Poopyman:
    i’m right here. lurking in the underbrush.

  35. 35
    Cassidy says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Republicans will pay $25 to think they are pissing off liberals.

  36. 36
    Poopyman says:

    @cleek: Good!

  37. 37
    Violet says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I clicked through to your Politico article on the water and then saw this headline:

    W.H. press corps: ‘Extreme frustration’ over ‘having absolutely no access’ to Obama

    So I clicked through to read it. They’re whining because they didn’t get to gawk at Tiger Woods. What a bunch of WATBs.

    Ed Henry, the Fox News correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents Association, released a statement Sunday evening in which he said the press corps had been given no access to the president, who was joined on his outing by star golfer Tiger Woods, and that the WHCA would fight for greater transparency in the days ahead.

    “Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend,” Henry said in a statement, relayed in a White House pool report. “There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency.”

    Our press is a lot more concerned with “transparency” (whatever that’s supposed to be) than they are with actual reporting of news or uncovering of truth.

  38. 38
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Cassidy:

    A fool and his money etc., etc.,

    I remember how successful the whole “tire gauge” campaign was, I am sure they can ride that one to an election victory again, oh wait….

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    @dmsilev: Yes, it’s called the Business School, which I’d happily see us get rid of.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    @Violet: Fuck Ed Henry.

    That he represents those layabout morans says all you need to know.

  41. 41
    Gex says:

    @Baud: Yes, but the views didn’t change. The party that represented their views changed.

  42. 42
    Lizzy L says:

    Not all geezers are conservative. I’m 67 and I’ve been a liberal since I first voted; hell, my grandfather was a leftie labor lawyer in NY last century, in the 1920s. And I suppose that means there are sincere young Republicans, though I can’t figure out why either.

  43. 43
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Violet:

    I saw that this morning and thought what a bunch of WATB’s they were being about it. It may surprise them that the POTUS gets to do some things in private. Are they going to start bitching because they are not allowed to cover the family dinners in the White House next? POTUS takes a dump, exclusive coverage! POTUS rolls over in bed and says to FLOTUS “you wanna fool around?” Idiots.

  44. 44
    PIGL says:

    @Cassidy:

    A ____ and his _____ soon are ______.

    Hell, they can piss me off for free. But then, I are sabre toothed socialist…

  45. 45
    Kyle says:

    If Obama wants to get something done in his second term, he might consider reverse psychology and propose the opposite of what he really wants. Republicans will unknowingly turn into his biggest allies.

    Hey Republitards, you know what libruls really hate? Drinking battery acid. Loathe it. Take note.

  46. 46
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    Even if there is attrition among Obama-inclined millenials as they age, the gap at this point is so overwhelming it simply will not matter.

    These are all from CNN’s exit polls the last two cycles (YMMV, of course)…

    In Arizona, Obama lost the state 54-44, but won the 18-29 vote 63-37. In 2008, he only won this demographic 52-48.

    In Nevada, 68-30 (67-31 in 2008).

    In North Carolina, 67-32 (74-26 in 2008 – hard to beat).

    In Missouri, 58-39 (59-39 in 2008).

    In Texas, no 2012 exit poll was conducted, but in 2008 Obama won 18-29 at 54-45.

    Keep in mind these are all states that Obama lost in 2012. As I recall he cleared 270 pretty easily…

  47. 47
    Poopyman says:

    @BGinCHI: Ed Henry gives President Obama a sad because Ed never gives him donuts with sprinkles.

    IOW, I suspect BHO says the same thing about Ed that you did.

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @Baud:

    Conservatism is exclusively about opposing what liberals want

    The problem is that approach doesn’t actually work. What the Conservatives really want isn’t the exact opposite of what the Liberals want. What they really want is for nothing to happen on the issues the Liberals care about and (ideally) for the blame for the lack of action to fall on the Liberals instead of them. Their most common approach is to take the opposite position to what the Liberals take, but that only applies when there are exactly two positions. When there are a range of options, they can always move to a more extreme position than what the Liberals take so that there seems to be an unbridgeable gap between the two.

    I think this is why they hate it when Obama “precompromises” by taking a moderate position. If he took a strongly liberal position and tried to negotiate, they could take a reasonable conservative position and then negotiate in sufficiently bad faith to prevent anything from happening. In that case, they can at least pretend that it was Obama’s initially radical position and unwillingness to meet them halfway that cased the negotiations to fail. If he takes a moderate position, they have to move so far to the right that they look unreasonable to start with, and the failure of the negotiations looks like their fault.

    The Conservatives would love it if Obama threatened to veto any immigration reform. Then they could pretend they really wanted immigration reform but were blocked by Obama’s intransigence, and the facts would actually support their position. They get no progress on immigration, which is what they really want, and Obama takes the blame. No, if the Republicans are really going to block any kind of immigration reform, Obama has to be publicly for it and make some good faith effort to negotiate. He won’t actually get reform, but at least he’ll be able to make some political points by placing the blame for its failure on the Republicans.

  49. 49
    Face says:

    Wow…RIP Jerry Buss.

    God knows I hate the Lakers, but this guy was legend.

  50. 50
    Cassidy says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I’d do something like that. I’d eat something horrendously potent. Something to make the eyes water.

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    conservatism is dying because teh kidz hate it.

    They aren’t the only ones.

    Some of us old geezers hate it too. Some of us see teh kidz as normal replacements, not the cause of us getting old. We did our time, now it’s yours. All I ask is let me live in peace, for a little while longer.

  52. 52
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    I’ve been saying for years that all we need to do is get Al Gore and Hillary Clinton to launch a program dedicated to telling people not to superglue their mouths shut.

    Seriously, when conservatives come out against vegetables because Michelle Obama supports them, parody is no longer possible (which might explain why the Onion is named for a vegetable).

  53. 53
    bemused says:

    @Lizzy L:

    Sincere young Republicans are sincerely asshole jerks using an ideological label as an excuse.

  54. 54
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Oh man I can’t wait to see the screeching over this

    Barack Obama to receive Israel’s presidential medal of distinction

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....istinction

  55. 55
    The Red Pen says:

    The same Freepers who wish poverty on all east-coasters who failed to purchase flood insurance and got flooded, proudly proclaim their decision to eschew buying health insurance.

    Some of them just say they’ll refuse to buy “Obamacare,” apparently unaware that it’s something you can’t actually buy.

  56. 56
    Splitting Image says:

    I have a pet little theory that 2014 will be the last election in the U.S. driven by the abortion issue, and I have another pet little theory that within a decade or so most Christians will be on the political “left” and most atheists will be on the political “right”.

    Basically, what is going to happen is that the G.O.P. will stop trying to use abortion as a wedge to limit people’s access to health care and attack health care strictly as an entitlement. The G.O.P. will build a platform around the idea that having a baby whose college education you’re not ready to pay for before the baby is conceived is irresponsible and a burden on the hard-working taxpayer. Then they’ll try to cut maternity benefits to the dollar equivalent of having an abortion on the grounds that the more expensive operation was an elective surgery.

    That will piss off the really serious religious voters enough to leave the party, and the G.O.P. will try to replace them with stupid women and atheists who don’t like moochers but don’t vote Republican now because of the party’s stances on abortion and godbothering. Within ten years, the G.O.P. will be actively smearing liberals for the Catholic child abuse scandal on the grounds that most Catholics vote Democratic.

  57. 57
    MikeJ says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Sadly it hasn’t hit free republic yet. I’ll check again later.

  58. 58
    JoyfulA says:

    @Lizzy L: Me, too! And I was begging people not to vote for Goldwater when I was too young to vote.

  59. 59
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The problem is that approach doesn’t actually work. What the Conservatives really want isn’t the exact opposite of what the Liberals want. What they really want is for nothing to happen on the issues the Liberals care about and (ideally) for the blame for the lack of action to fall on the Liberals instead of them.

    Well put.

    And the structure of our system of govt (including our news media) favors this tactic. If our govt were a machine it would have buttons all over it labelled: “obfusticate”, “delay”, “obstruct”, “sabotage”, and only one button labelled “take action” which is under glass with a red warning sign saying in case of emergency break glass and push button.

    That’s the GOP’s strength, that our system of govt is geared towards their tactics. Their problem is that they’ve so fallen in love with this state of affairs and gotten so lazy about doing anything else, that they’ve devolved to the point of being all tactics and no strategy. That is where the truth of cleek’s law comes in.

  60. 60
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @bemused:

    Sincere young Republicans are sincerely asshole jerks using an ideological label as an excuse.

    I can’t recall ever seeing College Republicans mentioned in a positive light. It is always something like “College Republicans celebrate global warming by handing out sunscreen and going to the beach” and never “College Republicans organize a food drive for the local shelter.”

  61. 61
    TooManyJens says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I cannot wait to see how the Right spins this into proof that Obama hates Israel.

  62. 62
    artem1s says:

    yea, except its not opposite day in Conservative land, it’s Do Nothing Day. They only want to do the opposite when the result is passing no legislation at all or devastating any public service that has been helping the 47% and channeling all that revenue into the stock market so they can clean up on the next Ponzi hedge fund.

    It’s not just the Occupy Generation that is getting this. It’s also businesses that used to get most of their work through government contracts for infrastructure repair and building. Also those who work for corporations and organizations with pension funds and 401Ks don’t want to see their retirement get slammed again. And that’s not just union workers.

    As to the 20-30 somethings, they also don’t want to see the social services gutted for seniors ’cause they don’t want Grandpa Hoveround living in the spare room hollering at the TV all the live long day. These kids know who’s gonna have to pick up the ball if those government programs send the baby boomers into poverty.

  63. 63
    Splitting Image says:

    @Splitting Image:

    Forgot to add to my previous comment:

    The percentage of the country that identifies as Christian, particularly evangelical, is going to crater over the next few years as the hardcore Randbots stop pretending to be even marginally interested in the dirty hippie from Nazareth.

    That’s why I think a majority of atheists will be conservative soon. What’s left of the Christian churches will seem to trend left as the radical right stops seeing a political advantage to joining them.

  64. 64
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Lizzy L: I suspect there are young conservatives for the same reason there are old conservatives- a mix of racism, misogyny and anger at the poor. That’s why Ron Paul has attracted such a following. It’s not like young people really care about arcane stuff like the gold standard.

  65. 65
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Why does Israel want to make teh Jennifer Rubin cry?

  66. 66
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Yutsano:

    LOLZ

  67. 67
    MikeJ says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I suspect there are young conservatives for the same reason there are old conservatives- a mix of racism, misogyny and anger at the poor.

    I think there’s a fair amount of reflexive contraryism too. Where do you think Slate’s writers come from?

  68. 68
    Yutsano says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I can’t wait to hear her condemnation of Peres over this. I think she forgets Shimon is an old Liberal from way back who doesn’t particularly care for Bibi.

    @MikeJ: The money’s better. Also. Too.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yutsano:

    Why does Israel want to make teh Jennifer Rubin cry?

    For the same reason everyone else does. Obviously.

  70. 70
    SatanicPanic says:

    @MikeJ: That too. Libertarianism tries to pass itself off as both rebellious and what the adults in the room believe. Which may be why I find it so insufferable.

  71. 71
    Steeplejack says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Damage control after Netanyahu went all in on Romney.

  72. 72
    Poopyman says:

    GOS makes the same argument:

    The White House, not crazy enough to believe that Congress will actually come up with an immigration reform bill, has been working on a backup plan, an immigration bill of its own, some details of which leaked over the weekend. That, of course, activated one of the ironclad rules of Obama-era politics: if Barack Obama supports something, even something Republicans have historically supported, Republicans will denounce it. Failed vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan called it “counterproductive.” Failed presidential candidate John McCain whined that Obama “has had no communication with Republicans on the issue, unlike the previous four presidents that I’ve dealt with” (ignore that three of those presidents were Republicans).

  73. 73
    Seanly says:

    Conservatism will take a long time to fade away. I’m not one of the kidz since I’m 45, but I know people in a wide range of ages. I’d say many of the white males in their early 30’s to my age seem to be pretty hard to the right on the glibertarian scale. Many are socially tolerant, but hate paying any taxes. They’re only slightly less reactionary than my German-heritage, 75-yr old FIL.

    My sampling could be skewed though as most of my contacts are fellow engineers.

    I think oart of the problem with many people is that they don’t consider the issues as part of the whole. For instance, I would like to see my take home get bigger. Taxes are a big bite, but the one that causes me the most consternation is my health care. And I don’t give a damn how much goes to the government versus for-profit companies – I want the overall bite to be less (or for the wage to increase so I notice the bite less). Just complaining about the portion the government takes misses the issues with what the health companies take and with how our wages are actually decreasing.

  74. 74
    bemused says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    The main focus does seem to be political volunteerism, getting their candidates elected and interning, preferably paid internships. I have seen a few groups that do donate to local food shelves but I haven’t read anything so far about young Republicans personally serving food at food kitchens. They seem to prefer “Christian” charities.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cassidy:

    Just this. Obama should have made the State of the Union all about a massive campaign against drinking drain cleaner.

  76. 76
    Hoodie says:

    Conservatism is exclusively about opposing what liberals want and conservatism is dying because teh kidz hate it.

    Conservatism is dying because it’s become a death cult. I find that most modern conservatives are stuck in a late 70’s/early 80’s time warp. Reagan came to power somewhat because Jimmy Carter and other dems of that era were viewed, rightly or wrongly, as a bunch of Debbie Downers who saw no way to change the current dynamic. Now the shoe’s on the other foot, with “the debt is going to eat us all” and “hordes of barbarians that need to be held off with AR-15s” being somewhat equivalent to or arguably worse than the “malaise” from the Carter era. Young people generally don’t like folks who ask them to commit suicide so their future will be brighter.

  77. 77
    Poopyman says:

    Hey, and since it’s President’s Day, why don’t we celebrate our Republican friends by recognizing those least effective presidents as grouped by political party – The Whigs!

    Four members of the United States Whig Party have governed for a total of 8 years:
    __
    1.William Henry Harrison (1841)
    2.John Tyler (1841–1845)[n 3]
    3.Zachary Taylor (1849–1850)
    4.Millard Fillmore (1850–1853)

    (And surely someone somewhere has named a rock band The Whigs, yes?)

  78. 78
    Poopyman says:

    @Hoodie: Conservatism isn’t dying because it’s become a death cult, the Republican Party is. Once “reasonable conservatives”[1] throw off the mantle of the Republican Party and organize around another standard, I think we’ll get back to “politics as usual”.[2]

    [1] Whatever the fuck that means
    [2] See [1]

  79. 79
  80. 80
    The Red Pen says:

    @Poopyman:

    throw off the mantle of the Republican Party

    I’ve long been of the opinion that we desperately need a viable 3rd party.

    It doesn’t even matter if it’s “conservative” or “liberal” or whatever, but just the competition will for the two leading parties to get their crap together.

  81. 81
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Splitting Image:
    We professed non-godists aren’t a particularly large demographic in the US of A, so our electoral effect is pretty minimal, though it is my impression that more people don’t really believe in god than are willing to admit it publicly.

    But most atheists in our fair land becoming conservative?

    I’d think probably not for one main reason – most atheists come to that view of life, the universe, and everything via science, even if most of us have only a very general layman’s understanding of science.

    And one of the key pillars of modern movement conservatism is that whole know-nothing, anti-science, anti-empiricism thing. And not just with the evangelical god-botherers – it’s a tribal belief of the greater movement (my Tea Party boss and my Reagan-raised baby brother are exemplars of that – neither one has darkened the door of a church in decades, but are anti-environmentalist and deny anthropogenic global warming and even evolution because those are all seen as “liberal” things).

    So sure, some atheists are and will be conservative, just as there are such creatures as Log Cabin Republicans.

    But a majority? I don’t think so.

    And American Churchianity will remain primarily rightwing for decades yet, IMAO.

  82. 82
    NonyNony says:

    @Splitting Image:

    You are making the classic mistake of thinking that there’s something that can be labelled as “Christian”.

    There is not. “Christianity” is a whole mess of different religions that have exactly one thing in common – a professed common founder in the form of Jesus of Nazareth.

    For most of the American Right, religion is a cover for racism anyway. You only have to look back at the history of the religious right to see how it all works.

    Since you can justify any philosophy you want to justify via the Bible, conservatives have no reason to profess atheism. Conservative Roman Catholics have already figured out how to justify their personal selfishness on taxes with their religion – they ignore the hierarchy when they want to be selfish and only listen when the hierarchy is telling them something that they can use as a political club against liberals. And if you want to see an interpretation of the Bible that can justify every horrible way you want to treat other people, look no further than radical Calvinism.

    Your premise is completely wrong. What will happen is that the old racists and homophobes will die off and the Republicans will lose a number of social issue voters – many of whom vote “anti-abortion” as a proxy for “anti-black people” and have since the right wing allied with Southern evangelical racists back in the days shortly after Bob Jones University was pummeled by lawsuits to force them to integrate. At that point Republicans may – MAY – decide to decouple themselves from religion. But it’s doubtful because they are conservatives and conservatives fight any change that comes along tooth and nail.

    It’s far more likely that the Republicans will go extinct and be replaced by a new conservative party than it is that they give up being the religious party.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @DFH no.6:

    I think you’re seriously underestimating the number of atheists on the conservative side, possibly because you’re not including libertarians (who absolutely should be included on the conservative side since they almost always vote for Republicans).

    There are a lot of conservatives who went through the same process you did and came to the conclusion that, since there is no God, only the laws of man, they can re-write the laws to benefit themselves with no fear of retribution. They will sometimes pay lip service to the idea of the “Judeo-Christian tradition” because they know that’s who votes for them, but they know they’re only using the religious right to gain votes.

  84. 84
    The Reverend Lowdown says:

    Just got back from an ice fishing trip, cooped up in a shanty, with a bunch of guys that I have known since college. All of them vote repub, unfortunately. Over the years of fishing with them, I have asked about their political beliefs(they are all business mgr types, 30-40+ year old range, college educated, six figure incomes). It’s kind of crazy to be close quartered and listen to their shit. They regard fox as the last honest bastion of news. Everything else is biased towards liberals. None of them are particularly religious or care about abortion and when I suggest that some of the gop losses are due to supporting unpopular socially conservative policies, then they insist that it’s the liberal media that frames the gop that way. They all repeat the “makers/takers” meme and insist that Obama is targeting their incomes to pay for the welfare state. They believe that his policies are pure socialism and are amusingly stymied and really misinformed when I ask them to define “socialism”. I think that to be a college repub, which they all were, you have to agree not to take a poly-sci course. They believe that they are steadfast “fiscal conservatives” who are appalled at the deficit, spending etc. I countered to them that they are, in fact, not fiscally conservative at all and I asked if they complained as vehemently when the bush’s, reagan and company were running up the debt and spending. As expected, their response…*crickets*. I have observed that they maintain a very superficial understanding of politics. None of them know much of the history, ideals or people associated with their party, other than a in a very recent sense. It’s closer to a “rooting for a sports team” kind of thing. My team rules, your team sucks. It’s very emotional and quite simple. That was my annual foray into the wingnut mentality. I’m glad to be back.

  85. 85
    eemom says:

    Commodores, just for the record ‘zall.

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: I hate that song.

  87. 87
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think you’re seriously underestimating the number of atheists on the conservative side

    But I’d always heard that there were no atheists in Fox Holes.

  88. 88

    I dare say this is a dead thread, but…

    Conservatism is exclusively about opposing what liberals want and conservatism is dying because teh kidz hate it.

    I think this is backwards. Their kids aren’t interested in the tribe and don’t spouts its shibboleths. In an avalanche of pebbles they’ve watched their kids grow up and have openly gay friends, not froth at the mouth when they hear the word ‘communist’, and have no interest in declaring how Christian they are. Conservatives have watched their culture becoming a minority and they’re getting increasingly scared. Scared people get angry and reactionary. Now a black man is president and they KNOW they’re not the Silent Majority anymore, and they’re going insane.

    EDIT – Apparently not dead at all!

    EDIT #2 – Heck, they’re so scared of becoming obsolete they’ve banded together former enemies to create as big a culture as possible. Fundies and Catholics used to hate each other, but now they need everyone they can get who mentions the word ‘God’ in every sentence.

  89. 89
    Roger Moore says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    I think the bigger point is that Conservatism is always dying but never dead. That’s because Conservatism is fundamentally about stasis, but the present is always dying and turning into the past. Today’s youth will grow old, and many of them will become conservative, but the world their conservatism will be fighting to preserve is the world of the near future, not the world of the today.

  90. 90
    Chris says:

    @Poopyman:

    Well said. Conservatism can’t die, really, because it’s not a developed ideology so much as just a vague desire to maintain existing hierarchies (or return them to a time when they had more power). Where we had William F. Buckley, the Soviets had Mikhail Suslov – different ideology, same basic “prevent change and maintain the power structure” conservatism.

    @Lizzy L:

    And I suppose that means there are sincere young Republicans, though I can’t figure out why either.

    There are. I’ve met them. Pretty much all of them are just people who were raised conservative and never learned to question it. Rich kids who think their parents are being unfairly blamed for the economy. Sheltered white middle class suburbanites who venture out into the world and never get over the shock of discovering non-white, non-middle-class, non-suburbanite people exist too. Religious fanatics. They’re around.

    I can’t figure it out either, but are they really different from their parents’ generation of conservatives? “This generation got shafted, and they know who did it.” Yeah, but the previous generation got shafted too. Our parents’ generation was given the most successful economy of all time and allowed Reagan to tear it down piece by piece. Apparently quite a few of them didn’t get the message either.

  91. 91
    Chris says:

    @Seanly:

    I think I agree with your “hate paying taxes” thing. Though my sampling may be a little skewed too, being that my demographic is college kids. Really, I think there’s a strong dose of “South Park Republican” in my generation.

    The other part of it is that even though our generation knows who shafted us on economics, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we believe the Democrats can help us. I think there are less and less of us that actually believe the smoke and mirrors shit about how conservative policies are going to make us all rich, but who have still bought into the notion that government and unions (especially unions; anti-union sentiment’s still really strong in this country) can’t help us. The idea of economics as a vast, impersonal force of nature that we lowly mortals can’t affect has caught on pretty well.

  92. 92
    Ruckus says:

    @The Reverend Lowdown:
    Lets see if I get this right.

    They don’t care about religion or even racism. They only care that they pulled themselves up by their third baseman’s jockstrap and have to protect their little piece of heaven.

    It boils down to IGMFY.

  93. 93
    xian says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: good point. seems like tons of tv conservatives were complaning last fall about their kids supporting Obama.

  94. 94
    Chris says:

    @DFH no.6:

    I think it’s a mistake to look at atheism and Christianity as belief systems and then trying to look at which of the two parties’ ideology lines up best with them, to predict voting patterns.

    It’s really very simple. Atheists are a minority. An unpopular minority. Therefore, the Republicans will continue pilloring them the same way they do Muslims and other undesirables, which will keep most of them voting Democrat for the foreseeable future. And conservative Christians will continue to identify with the GOP, because they’re the party of the dominant ethno-sectarian group.

    Personally, I’ve always thought that a consistent conservative would have to be an atheist (not a commentary on atheists, just because belief in something greater than yourself, even if it’s a God, is pretty much incompatible with the “ME ME ME – Greed is GOOD!” ethic they all preach). But ideological consistency is only part of the story here.

  95. 95

    Cleek, thanks for your Law. I get tons of trolling mileage out of it and I properly attribute it to you. I am in your debt, Sir.

  96. 96
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chris:

    Really, I think there’s a strong dose of “South Park Republican” in my generation.

    I think there will always be a market for a style of politics that really doesn’t mean anything other than giving people a chance to vicariously act as bullies and assholes. To spit on and kick other people, just because you can. Cynicism places a big role in justifying this attitude, because if politics doesn’t do any good, if it doesn’t make a difference one way or the other, then why not side with the bigger and more obnoxious jerks? I see that attitude with males especially, treating politics like an exercise in chest-bumping sports fandom.

    The trick for the GOP is put enough of a respectable gloss on it to attract other folks, people who are either looking for something else, or who aren’t comfortable with letting the inner bully/asshole side of their personality hang out in quite such a public and obvious manner. That’s how they get from 27% to 50+ or -. And I think our task in part is to make them push the buttons so hard on the bully/asshole part that it ruins the respectable gloss and they turn off the other folks.

  97. 97
    alien radio says:

    @Baud: @Splitting Image: on the money here. I’ve come to the conclusion that the smart conservative money will abandon the religious voter because they’re going to start dying out in the nectar twenty years and there’s votes to be had from nonreligious people who hate the poor. People on the left had better start planning because a coalition of economic leftists and the highly religious doesn’t sound like the easiest of coalition s to win with.

  98. 98
    alien radio says:

    @ baud somewhere up to. on the money here. I’ve come to the conclusion that the smart conservative money will abandon the religious voter because they’re going to start dying out in the nectar twenty years and there’s votes to be had from nonreligious people who hate the poor. People on the left had better start planning because a coalition of economic leftists and the highly religious doesn’t sound like the easiest of coalition s to win with.

  99. 99
    Baud says:

    @alien radio:

    the easiest of coalition

    I’m shocked at the idea that the Democratic Party would have to deal with a shaky coalition.

  100. 100
    The Red Pen says:

    @Chris:

    Rich kids who think their parents are being unfairly blamed for the economy.

    Father was the Home Secretary and Mother won the Derby.

  101. 101
    JasonF says:

    President Obama condemned the Holocaust and NRO couldn’t get a post up fast enough defending Nazis. We are so far past the point of parody that you can’t even see it from here.

  102. 102
    gene108 says:

    @Baud:

    Is that true? The conservative era was primarily the result of losing whites to the GOP on account of social issues, not because a new generation came in. Or so I thought.

    My generation, who are in their late-30’s to early-50’s late-40’s (i.e. post-Baby Boom), is the most pro-Republican voting block in the country by age.

    We grew up in the 1980’s and came of age during Reagan’s Presidency.

    If it wasn’t for the youth vote, in the 1980’s, I don’t think the Republican landslide wins of 1980, 1984 and 1988 would’ve happened.

    WASHINGTON — The oldest president in U.S. history and the youngest members of the nation’s electorate have forged one of the strongest bonds in American politics.
    Mindful of that, Ronald Reagan has started to court young people on a regular basis in the hope that his immense popularity with first-time voters can be transferred into a lasting allegiance to the Republican Party after he leaves the political scene.
    The Democratic Party has been the dominant political force in the country for the last 50 years, in part because it has consistently won over the largest share of new voters. But that trend has been reversed under Reagan and has encouraged Republican strategists to think that they may be able to nurture the youth vote to help the GOP regain majority status in U.S. politics.

    SNIP

    In 1984, according to a Wirthlin poll, voters under age 25 approved of Reagan by a ratio of 67 percent to 31 percent. In April 1986, according to a new Wirthlin poll, that group approved of Reagan’s performance by a ratio of 79 percent to 20 percent.

    From a 1986 Philadelphia Inquirer article

  103. 103
    Chris says:

    @alien radio:

    Maybe. Or maybe, if religious voters finally see abortion as well as gay marriage as a losing proposition, they’ll just chill out for a few years and then eventually come back with something new.

    I mean, it’s what they’ve been doing for ages. Prohibition was probably the biggest fail in the entire history of the moralist crowd, so they dropped that one. Then in the fifties they came back with modifying the Pledge of Allegiance, changing the national motto, all that stuff. It gets passed, so they have nothing more to complain about. Then in the eighties, they come up with a new hill to die on, abortion and gays. They’ll only stay out of it for as long as it takes them to find another pet reason to try and control other people’s lives.

    They’re losing on gays, they hopefully will finally lose on abortion, but religious fundamentalism isn’t going anywhere, IMHO.

  104. 104
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    So this thread’s still on, huh?

    I definitely include libertarians within modern movement conservatism.

    Every libertarian I have ever known is mean-spirited at the core (thus, conservative) and, as you say, always vote Republican, but importantly also considered themselves the smartest in the room, so use the label “libertarian” to supposedly distance themselves from the knuckle-dragging stupid people, aka “conservatives”.

    I still say “science-based atheism” means more professed American atheists (all 50 thousand of us) probably vote Democratic than Republican.

    Maybe not a huge majority, but a majority nonetheless.

    I would say that even holds for the much larger number (so I believe) of “in the closet” atheists (or as I think of them, “being honest with myself, awake and alone at 3 in the morning” atheists).

  105. 105
    Heliopause says:

    modern conservatism

    Not sure where everybody thinks the starting point is, but I’ll recount my own experience. I came of age in the 70s and 80s and our political blogs of the day were the newspaper op-ed pages. I early on noted a couple of generalization about the official liberal and official conservative columnists. The liberals wrote about issues or political figures, sometimes I agreed and sometimes I didn’t. The conservatives wrote about liberals. So this notion that conservatism was mostly just anti-liberalism was something that struck me several decades ago. Not sure how far this dynamic antedates me, maybe forever.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    My generation, who are in their late-30′s to early-50′s late-40′s (i.e. post-Baby Boom), is the most pro-Republican voting block in the country by age.

    I hate to tell you, but your lower age range is wrong if you’re talking about Reagan voters. The youngest ones in that block would currently be 46 years old, assuming they were 18 years old in 1984. My older brother is a big Reagan fan and is turning 50 this year, which means he was 17 when Reagan was first elected.

    I seriously doubt that many people under 40 are currently in that demographic. They were in their late 30s when they voted for Bush Jr. in 2000 and 2004, but that was almost 10 year ago now, so you’re really talking about people over 40 (aka in my age range — I turn 44 this year).

    It’s difficult to tell for sure since pollsters insist on splitting groups into “18 to 34,” “35 to 44,” etc. which is not useful when you’re talking about the Reagan generation. Pew has an interesting chart that shows voters under 50 went fairly overwhelmingly for Obama.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @DFH no.6:

    I still say “science-based atheism” means more professed American atheists (all 50 thousand of us) probably vote Democratic than Republican.

    My contention is that “science-based atheism” is a much smaller block of atheists than you seem to think. My mom (68 years old) has been an atheist her whole life, but she’s still a Fox News-watching conservative who hates liberals. Atheism does not automatically lead to better critical thinking skills.

  108. 108
    The Red Pen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My contention is that “science-based atheism” is a much smaller block of atheists than you seem to think.

    Sad but true. I was recently reading Freeper comments about the Pope’s resignation, and a “nyah-nyah you’re all in a cult” style atheist came in to post some anti-religion snark.

    He’s been on Free Republic for YEARS and I couldn’t see any evidence of trollery.

  109. 109
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Chris:

    Then in the fifties they came back with modifying the Pledge of Allegiance, changing the national motto, all that stuff. It gets passed, so they have nothing more to complain about. Then in the eighties, they come up with a new hill to die on, abortion and gays.

    You’re missing an enormous item in between that very much included religious rightwingers – the civil rights movement.

    The single largest thing those folks had “to complain about” with government and society in the entire 20th century.

    There’s a reason that the Southern Strategy worked so well for Republicans, and it wasn’t because Southern Baptists had marched arm-in-arm with MLK.

    It’s also what pushed so many Catholics in the north away from the Democratic Party (I watched that happen firsthand in my own family and with people I grew up with in my ethnic-Catholic Cleveland neighborhood).

    Civil rights for black people was – and still remains – the primary motivator for religious rightwingers to move from the Democratic Party (where so many once had been, from southern Protestants to northern Catholics) to the Republican Party. More than abortion, gay rights, and feminism combined.

  110. 110
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m 38. I think I’m on the edge of the big pro-Republican-post-Baby-Boom wave.

    Maybe I’m not in the sweet spot of the pro-Reagan voters, from the 1980’s, but I’m not in the more socially liberal millennial generation either that grew up in or was born in the 1990’s.

    My generation was still inculcated with the anti-government cynicism of the post-Watergate/Vietnam era that Reagan really tapped into, along with slowly shifting towards a more pro-integration mindset. There was still a lot of “acting white” and “acting black” divides, when I was in school and interracial dating could’ve alienated friends.

    If anything’s moved people away from being Republican, in my age group, I think it’s the clusterf*ck that was the Bush & Co. years. I know people, who voted for Bush over Gore in 2000 and maybe voted for Bush in 2004, but by 2008 it was basically folks who were never going to vote Republican again. They may not always vote for Democrats, but they aren’t voting Republican.

    *************************************

    From your Pew link, 30-49 year olds would vote for Obama at around 50%, with the trend line going from 52% in January to 48% now.

    The 18-29 year olds are much more pro-Obama and are hovering around 60% for him.

  111. 111
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My contention is that “science-based atheism” is a much smaller block of atheists than you seem to think.

    You might be right about that.

    However, my impression and (very limited, of course) experience tells me otherwise.

    I have never talked with or even read (that I can recall) any atheist who became a non-believer due to anything other than science.

    Meaning, it was science that provided answers about life, the universe, and everything, obviating a need for such a thing as the supernatural, which included any “guy in the sky”.

    We humans are complex and strange, so no doubt there are some who become atheist for reasons other than scientific understanding.

    I just don’t know what those other reasons would be, nor do I think the majority of atheists would be atheist without a scientific view of whatever all this is.

    Atheism does not automatically lead to better critical thinking skills.

    Absolutely agree.

  112. 112
    Chris says:

    @DFH no.6:

    Well, I’m talking specifically about attempts to legislate morality along religious lines. I fully acknowledge that there’s a huge overlap between that and racism and that the few True Believers who, like Paul Weyrich, really do believe in the abortion issue for its own sake, largely succeed by tacking those issues onto broader cultural backlashes powered primarily by ethnic/racial anxieties…

    … but, I’d say that’s always been true in America, not only a product of the civil rights era. Prohibition might have had a few supporters who truly believed in the virtue of banning alcohol for its own sake, but a huge part of it was just a “fuck you” to immigrants, and an assertion of the superiority of Protestant (read: native) culture over Catholic (read: immigrant) cultures where alcohol was a normal part of life (it’s only Protestant churches that have that attitude towards booze). Prohibition was part and parcel of the whole nativist/nationalist/racist revival of the 1920s.

  113. 113
    Redshirt says:

    I was a member of the Reagan Youth – had a “Free Ollie” t-shirt and everything, and cast my first vote for Bush Sr

    From that year onward, I’ve become more liberal, to now, where I’m pretty much a Marxist.

    I blame REM.

  114. 114
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Chris:

    different ideology, same basic “prevent change and maintain the power structure” conservatism.

    As a first-draft rule-of-thumb for making decisions, conservatism has much to recommend it. “First do no harm,” the motto of the medic, is fundamentally conservative.

    Note the small ‘c’.

  115. 115
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Note the small ‘c’.

    Funny how a little change from ‘c’ to ‘C’ makes all the difference between reasonable and prudent vs. crazy and trying to get us all killed.

    If I had known capitalization mattered this much I would have paid more attention in 5th Grade English class.

  116. 116
    mclaren says:

    The big question: why the fuck did young people ever vote conservative? Specifically, why did young people stampede to vote for Reagan in the 80s?

    I knew guys in college who were gung-ho to go to Reagan rallies in the 80s even though Reagan was slashing their Pell Grants. They loved him even though he was destroying their lives. WTF???!?!?!?!?????

  117. 117
    Mike G says:

    The big question: why the fuck did young people ever vote conservative? Specifically, why did young people stampede to vote for Reagan in the 80s?

    He had slick marketing. The stock market and the economy was taking off, there was a rise in the national mood after the dour Carter, gas lines and the hostage crisis. Many thought they were going to get rich in the brave new corporate future. Americans are suckers for optimism, and he tapped into the hope for the future and big dreams of the college-aged. We didn’t have the internet, and the mainstream media were totally in the tank for Reagan.

    Some didn’t fall for it, others caught on soon enough. Others are still addled by the image after decades of stagnating paychecks and layoffs that are somehow never the fault of the Republicans with all the money and all the power.

  118. 118
    Chris says:

    @Mike G:

    Said this before, will say it again: in 1980 the country was coming off of twenty years of liberals shining a light on every ugly little corner of America. Granted, it was so that they could clean it up, but still, that’s depressing shit. Right next to that is Reagan telling everyone “nah, don’t listen to these people! Everything’s peachy and anyone telling you otherwise is just a poopy-pants trying to get you down because he’s jealous of your awesomeness.”

    Which of these two is the average American going to want to believe? And thanks to the previous seventy years of liberal activism, the average American was well off enough that he could afford to believe it. The reason the tide seems to finally be turning is that now that they’ve spent thirty years hacking the safety net to pieces, the average American is finally reaching the point where he can no longer afford to believe the unicorns & rainbow fantasy even if he wants to.

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