prog rock


Anyone wishing to avoid another day of political discussion would be well-served to skip over this blog (and go read Virginia’s awesome this-week-only blog of the “TV Upfronts”!). However, I’m going to try and do this a little differently. Conservatives have taken over the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and run the most-watched media outlets, and today… they’re going to get my blog.

Having seen every political discussion in these pages (the war, the election, the Coastopia brouhaha, etc.) degenerate into name-calling, “you just don’t get it”-style sniffling disdain, and emails to yours truly telling me what a commie asshole I am, I’d like to completely open up to the opposition and let them have at it.

In short, I’d like to know why you are a conservative, because I’m having trouble understanding it. When I get letters that excoriate me and my family, I’d like to know where that rage comes from. Even if you’re a very calm conservative that I like (chris m, badbob, etc.), I’m genuinely interested to know how you came by your belief system.

Here are the rules:

1. Your statements have to be positive and pro-active – i.e., you can’t say that you’re a conservative because liberals are idiots.

2. You can’t give a reason that the other side holds as well. In other words, you can’t say “I’m a conservative because I care about spreading democracy in the Middle East” when clearly, 99% of progressives share that opinion.

3. No incendiary bullshit. You can’t throw out something like “blue-staters kill babies” when “I care about unborn children” would do nicely.

4. If you’re going to make a bold point, please have it backed up with decent research. “Everyone knows the media has a liberal bias” is a dog that won’t hunt.

5. You get points for honesty. “I’m a Republican because my family has always been Republican” is totally cool, although it begs more questions.

6. No commenters are allowed to mock your answers. They can, however, question basic principles.

I thank you in advance for taking the time to write these. Or nobody’s going to bother, and then I’ll just sit here and be humiliated because nobody came to my 7th birthday party.

0 thoughts on “prog rock

  1. LL

    The upfronts aren’t half as fun as Virginia implies. They’re killing me. And hurting others. I think a buddy of mine broke up with his girl during one today. However, the Mexicans (TV Azteca and Univision) really know how to throw a party. The Anglos could learn a thing or two about hospitality from them.

  2. Killian

    Great post/invitation–I look forward to reading the comments, and if there are none, I’ll bring the cake and balloons!

  3. southern conservative

    I did not start out as a conservative. I “rocked for Gantt” in Chapel Hill and went to hear him speak on a Sunday morning at a Baptist Church in Carrboro and voted against my father’s hero, Jesse Helms, in the early 90s.
    As I have gotten older, I have adopted a more federalist-conservative approach. I do not like the federal government telling me what to do. I do not like them telling me that I have to wear a seat belt, although I know it is a good thing. I do not think the government should legislate regarding my right to die. I do not like them taxing me so that during the first four months of the year, my paycheck is going to the government. It bothers me that I live in a country where I see people having children for the sole purpose of being able to get more money from the government – I know that it happens, because I hear the parents say that. That being said, (and this is where I differ from most conservatives) I also believe that it should not be the government’s decision on whether a woman can have an abortion.
    The current president has not advocated my desire for a smaller government as much as say, Alexander Hamilton (I hope I have my history right) would have, but I felt he would do a better job at that than his opponent.
    I do not consider myself very political, but these ideas have affected my political beliefs. I do like to hear both viewpoints, both liberal and conservative and will look at each issue individually (not necessarily voting a party line at each election).

  4. Sharon

    I don’t know if I qualify to post, since I did vote for Kerry. But I’ll own up to having voted for Republicans in other races and in the past. Growing up in the South, the Democratic party was the party of good old boy corruption – and the Republicans seemed to me to be the New South business ideal that would move the region forward. I think a lot of what underlies Republican voting patterns is class-based. The patrician Democrats of the past (and Kerry too, darn it) seemed to hold a paternalistic ideal of what’s “right” for everyone and had only a disdainful sniff for the tastes of the average white guy for NASCAR, Everybody loves Raymond, etc. Ironically, it’s this same arrogance we exhibit as a nation toward the “backward” countries of the world. Speaking as someone who wants this country to get back on the right track, liberals need to work on their message to the middle and working classes. What the average American hears is is that his/her deep and sincere beliefs in God and country are silly and immature, the only culture worth anything happens on the coasts and that if he/she were just smarter they’d vote Democrat. The Republicans feed on the inherent class insecurity of those groups and couple it with the business interests who are going to vote their pocketbooks. It’s a pretty shrewd strategy. I remember at UNC — surrounded by the prep-school liberal ethos — I was more conservative than I’ve ever been since. I distinctly remember the unspoken but perceptible scorn of professors and fellow students when they heard about my redneck background. Until liberals can once again reclaim the province of faith (sorry Ian), acceptance and true inclusiveness – even for middle class white guys — we’re not going to move forward. That’s why I’ve got high hopes for John Edwards. He is one of us — and he’s a Democrat. He goes to church, grew up in the shadow of a NASCAR track and knows how to talk to people in the red states without condescension.

  5. VinCam

    I am not black, I am not gay, I have no need to kill unborn children with a beating heart, the Democratic party has nothing to offer me.
    I value the life of unborn children over the lives of convicted killers on Death Row.
    I know that marriage should be between a man and woman, that is how the world was constructed.
    I am not a liberal and can proudly say I have never ever voted for a Democrat in my life, not even for a position as dog catcher or town councilman.

  6. Carson

    If you want to think of conservative as in “would vote for Bush”, I don’t think you will get a lot of replies here. Mostly because I doubt you have many readers with that bent, conservative or not (Unless they’ve been ‘ghosting’ up ’till now). If you are a progressive in a red state, you have to vote for ‘conservative’ candidates occasionally because the options are ‘old school’ or ‘frothing Bush coattail’ candidate, or a bastardized Democrat who has no clear identity. I’m conservative to the point that Ross Perot looked viable (personally too strange tho’), Liddy Dole is turning out to be a businesslike Senator (sorta’ like Hilary, who until recently stayed out of the fray and is doing a great job of building a record as a Senator, whether one agrees with her or not) and I voted for the Republican for Gov. because he appeared to be the best candidate if you’re into the details of NC politics.
    Why be even slightly conservative? A true conservative/libertarian does not care what you personally do. A true conservative does not worry about gay marriage. A true conservative is very much a constitutional fundamentalist as opposed to biblical. If you are a Christian, your Law dictates that you remind people that they should accept Christ, but in this country you should then get the hell off their back! I am not a true conservative because human nature is not good enough to protect the environment, or live in moderation or respect others. It requires the conscious reminders and arguments of social progressives and these are typically Liberal.
    What sort of issue brings out some Conservatism? Let’s try public schools. My kid is a 3rd grader who spends quite a bit of time in what is commonly referred to as ‘diversity studies’ or perhaps ‘sensitivity training’. This results in a school of kindness, fairness, no bullies, etc. It looks (and is) really good and he thrives there. The poor kids from the projects are fucked. They have no frame of reference for what they are learning when they go home. The problem is, my kid is bright enough to blow past their curriculum and is now sectioned out into G/T and whatnot while the typical cross section of lower class kids is already falling terribly behind. They really need to learn to read and they’re not going to. My kid is going to think of the world as a very fair place, being smart and white, but the other kids need to be put on a level playing field by training, not sensitivity. Nice try progressives, but wrong, wrong, way wrong.
    I can’t imagine why someone would be a modern Republican. You must remember that the party has usurped very many groups with specific agendas. Since you profess to some early political ignorance, look back to 1994 and the Contract with America. Every group you despise at this point existed in equal numbers at that time. Think about how Clinton survived by ‘ending welfare as we know it’, bombing Iraq occasionally, raising hell on Yugoslavia, V chips, Tipper Gore album labels, deficit cutting, big business deals with China; it kept him in the game. Us X’ers were just having too good a time to notice what was coming.
    Vote for Bush or even close? Not a chance. Be conservative? It reflects an idealized straightforward manner of living that is independent and therefore slightly isolationist. This is what you interpret as stupid or lower class because it seems very simple. It unfortunately requires everyone to be very educated and very aware to not give a damn about ethnicity, culture, sexual habits, and this probably isn’t going to happen. Some of the world’s most conservative people have endowed the greatest arts institutions, humanitarian efforts, and liberal universities. This is exactly what they intended. It is no reflection of the current “conservative Republican” party.

  7. Andrew

    Here goes:
    Like Southern Conservative, I try to look at each issue individually, listen to all sides, and then make independent judgments. For example, although a conservative thinker, I do believe a woman should have the right to chose. And yet, contrary to that “liberal” viewpoint, I do believe the death penalty is appropriate.
    Yet, though I hope to make independent judgments on all issues, the majority of my leanings are conservative. Why is that?
    I am 34 years old. Therefore, I remember presidencies since Ford. My first recollection of international political issues was the Iran hostage situation. I recall my father, a career military officer, saying that we would get the hostages out as soon as Reagan was elected. And that is what happened. Therefore, as a child I equated Republican with strength. I equated Democrat with weakness.
    When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, military personnel at the base we lived on where hit by a terrorist attack less than 1 mile from my house. 2 sailors died. I learned then that the world was a very mean place.
    When I was at UNC, like Sharon above, I felt the liberal tendencies of certain professors and students. While intellectually I enjoyed the exchange of ideas, I was put off by the sense from those professors and students that if you did not agree with their point of view, you were stupid.
    On Sept 11, I thanked God that a Repulican was President. [see above]. Things may not be going like gangbusters now, but on Sept 11 when the sky was falling, I bet most Americans were glad it was Bush and not Gore.
    I believe there is a population of Americans that abuse government safety nets that my and your tax dollars support. I believe Democrat administrations do not care that this is happening. I believe that Democrat administrations believe the cure to each social ill is the creation of more government. I do not agree. I believe Democrat administrations believe that helping economically dependent people by taking from economically independent people will bring the poor out of their circumstances. I think it simply feeds the cycle.
    Long and short of it: I believe that a core value of liberal thought is that we can create societal bliss through sharing, discussion, and simply being friends. Problem is, that is not how the world really works.

  8. Piglet

    I call foul on southernconservative for violating rule #2. His reasons for voting Republican are almost identical with my reasons for voting Democrat.
    I too, do not like the federal government telling me what to do. I don’t like them telling me what I can and cannot say in order to be considered a patriot. I do not like them snooping over my library and bank records, giving unfunded mandates to my childrens’ school, giving my tax dollars to religious groups that long for the good old days when they were allowed to burn heretics. I do not like my taxes given in kickbacks to heads of corporations that spend money getting Republicans elected. I don’t like them deciding whether the people of my home state may decide to allow medical marijuana or assisted suicide, or even to provide a state health plan that saves money by importing inexpensive pharmaceuticals from Canada.
    More than anything, I dislike a political party that tells me I must agree with them lock-step on every issue, or I’m not only not one of them, but not even a “real” American! How dare they! Just look at the treatment of moderate Republican Senators and compare with the treatment of moderate Democrats if you think the parties are no different in that regard. I break with the official Democratic platform on some issues like guns. Many Democrats are pro-life, or support the Iraq war, and so on, sometimes to the point where the party is accused of not having real values. But the Republicans will not hesitate to denounce even war heroes as commies for not towing their line 100%–not just Democratic heroes like Max Cleland, but even members of their own party, like McCain and Dole, when they are not far-right 100% of the time. That kind of groupthink is just not compatible with the values I associate with America.
    Here’s a secret for you Republicans–Democrats don’t like taxes either. Nobody likes taxes. At best, we see taxes as a regrettable necessity for paying for the things the nation needs. Yes, when Democrats say they want to increas programs, we know it means they’re going to raise our taxes. And when Republicans say they’re going to lower taxes, we know it means they’re going to raise our taxes. But you–you seem to think that your taxes will go down based on how you vote. And that, I’ve never understood.

  9. Laurie

    I was born into the Catholic Church and educated in Christian schools from my middle-school years and beyond. I still attend a Catholic Church weekly and have only missed about 3 or 4 Sunday services in my entire life. I do not go to church on a Sunday only to turn around on a Tuesday and vote for a pro-abortion candidate. I only vote for pro-life Democrat and Republican candidates. I more or less vote by issues, not by the party, but the pro-life stance is the main issue I am concerned with. I think of myself more as a Democrat than a Republican, but it seems that the Democratic party is drifting away from me, not me drifting away from the Democratic party. I voted for Bush in 2000 and reluctantly voted for Bush again in 2004. I will never forget the 1992 Democratic National Convention when the Pennsylvania governor Rob Casey who is a Democrat was barred from speaking at the convention just because he is pro-life. It was right around 1992 that I got the wake up call that church attending Democrats like myself no longer have a voice within the Democratic party, and are not even given the opportunity to speak at the convention, the very party which always yells about Freedom of Speech and inclusion, suddenly had become the party restricting speech and the party of rejection. And three conventions later, Rob Casey has not been invited as a speaker, his voice as a Democrat is still being shut out.

  10. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    I don’t think you are a commie a-hole.
    Why am I a conservative? It just happened as I got older. I come from a long line of Democrats, my parents are both teachers, and I am still a registered Democrat. I used to be very liberal. In college, I was involved in different multicultural groups and hosted seminars about racism, abortion rights, gay rights, diversity, etc. After law school, I worked at two different legal aid agencies. I was so happy when Clinton was elected after all the years of Republican rule. By all means, I should still be a die-hard Democrat.
    I think that my turning point was when I became a parent. Being pregnant and giving birth changed my views on abortion. Suddenly the bumper sticker that says “It’s a child, not a choice” made sense to me. I became disillusioned with legal aid work (let’s just say that this kind of work was not the liberal-minded ideal that I had envisioned, and neither were my clients the poor, misunderstood victims of society). I wanted to use the education that I had worked so hard for to benefit me and my family in the form of a decent salary. My faith became more important to me and I wanted to share it with my daughter. When my daughter started watching tv, I started to think that Tipper Gore may have had the right idea all along in putting parental warning labels on music and censoring tv. After 9/11, I wanted a leader who seemed interested in protecting our country, rather than appeasing and apologizing to nations that hate us in the first place.
    In short, my life became more about me and mine, instead about all the liberal ideals I droned on about in college. It was easy to be liberal when I was living off my parents’ dollar, without a REAL care in the world. Kind of like John Kerry, living off Teresa’s dead husband’s money. Now that I am responsible for a mortgage, child and the like, my world view is less global and more local. That’s my reality. I am not AGAINST voting for Democrats. In fact, I vote Democratic on the local and statewide level. I just don’t believe in voting for a presidential candidate strictly along party lines.
    Now that you have your mojo back, can we have some more photos of baby feet and Chopes?

  11. fiend

    I like to pay taxes. It is purchasing civilization. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, United States Supreme Court Justice

  12. Piglet

    Laurie, it’s kinda hard to see how Gov. Casey could have been barred from the Democratic convention JUST for being pro-life, since Zell Miller keynoted the same convention, and he’s pro-life too. Evan Bayh is pro-life, and he keynoted the 1996 convention. Max Cleland spoke at the 2004 convention. Heavyweight Democrats, all of them. Seems to me there must have been other factors behind Casey and the 1992 convention.
    That said, if abortion is really the most important political issue in your life, outweighing everything else, then it probably makes sense for you to go with the other party, because the Democratic party as a whole has made a promise to women who want the right to make their own choices, and they intend to keep their promise. As a party. Personally, I’d rather see the government devote its resources to providing opportunities and a better future for those who have actually been born, but your mileage may vary.
    “Kerry living off Teresa’s dead husband’s money”? What’s up with that–you think of a veteran and 20+ year US Senator, who almost made his wife First Lady of the US, like he’s some kind of mooching slacker? You can agree with him or not, but if you’re honest you will acknowledge that he does work hard and he uses the talents God gave him. And he was independently wealthy before he even met Teresa. Can you say the same about the guy you voted for instead, the frat boy whose daddy’s money bought him everything he ever wanted up to and including the White House?

  13. Chris M

    Life of the Party
    By NAT HENTOFF, The New Republic, June 19, 2000
    Robert Casey, who died on May 30 at age 68, was a Democrat fiercely committed to his party’s tradition of protecting society’s most vulnerable. And, for that, his party made him a pariah….
    Bob Casey’s Revenge
    By William McGurn
    I can’t believe I’m losing to this idiot. So said John Kerry during the presidential campaign. Judging from the news stories following the election, many of his supporters appear to have had the same reaction—with no sense that the condescension inherent in their candidate’s statement helps illuminate the reasons for the election results.
    In the New York Times Maureen Dowd complained that Kerry lost because the President divided America “along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance, and religious rule.” In the Washington Post, E. J. Dionne took much the same line, attributing the Kerry defeat to “vicious personal attacks, the exploitation of strong religious feelings, and an effort to create the appearance of strong leadership that would do Hollywood proud.” James Carville said it was the lack of a “compelling narrative.”
    But perhaps the best explanation was given by a Democrat who called this election more than a decade ago: Bob Casey, the governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995.
    I didn’t know Governor Casey personally. But back in 1992, fate put me within a few feet of him inside Madison Square Garden during the Democratic National Convention. That was when Clinton officials refused a place at the podium for the Democratic governor of America’s fifth-largest state while also providing speaking slots for six pro-choice Republican women. To make sure the point was delivered, one of these was a pro-choice woman who had campaigned for Casey’s Republican opponent.
    On Election Day 2004, the silencing of Bob Casey thundered through America’s polling booths. In vain, Casey in 1992 had warned his fellow Democrats about allowing the Party to be become “little more than an auxiliary of NARAL.” In his autobiography he put it this way:
    Many people discount the power of the so-called “cultural issues”—and especially of the abortion issue. I see it just the other way around. These issues are central to the national resurgence of the Republicans, central to the national implosion of the Democrats, central to the question of whether there will be a third party. The national Democrats may, and probably will, get a temporary bump in the polls—even, perhaps, one more national election victory—from their reactive strategy as the defenders of the elderly and poor who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. But the Democrats’ national decline—or better, their national disintegration—will continue relentlessly and inexorably until they come to grips with these values issues, primarily abortion.
    As Democrats emerge from the electoral rubble, must not a few be noticing that Bob Casey has proved to be prophetic? Today a Republican who lost the popular vote in 2000 and launched a controversial war returns to the White House with the largest number of votes any American President has ever received; Republicans have added to their majority in the House; and they now well and truly control the Senate—even if it’s not yet clear that they control Arlen Specter.
    Another way to put it is this: Democrats seeking to understand their plight need look no further than the Catholic members of their own leadership, whose apologias for the Party’s pro-choice orthodoxy have had the unintended effect of making Republicans out of Democrats who might otherwise have delivered a Kerry victory…

  14. kaz

    ian, i’m so right here with you on just wanting to understand the “other” side…i’m tired of getting into fisticuffs with people who can’t explain to me WHY their position is more rational than my position.
    laurie, all of the things you describe as becoming more important as you became a parent are things that are important to me, to many people, many democrats, right now. i think life IS valuable, and it’s a shame that the abortion debate has devolved into a misguided split between sides. if protecting life is so important, then why do many of the reddest states with anti-abortion laws in place have the highest rates of infant mortality and neglect? if life is so important, then these children should be as vigorously supported as the pro-life rallies are.
    i’m also incredibly concerned about secruity in this country, but carrying a big stick is only one strategy (and not a very good one, as we can see). diplomacy and tactical engagement aren’t solely in the republican realm. and i do think that it’s worth examining the cycle of violence against this country in context before deciding how to tackle security and peace.
    my biggest issue is that most avowed republicans SAY they care about all kinds of things but don’t actually look at what’s being done about them by this administration. do any of those people with the “support our troops” stickers on their cars actually care that bush is closing bases, cutting medical benefits for the vets returning from iraq, and closing bases? not exactly what i consider supporting the troops.
    finally, as for the notion of not wanting to pay for people who don’t smoke or exercise, it’s foolishness to think that you’re not paying for that now…that’s how insurance policies work. you’re paying for the other people in the plan who get sick, for whatever reason. a plan to provide basic health care for every american is a way to SAVE money, since simple preventative care staves off the most expensive treatments of advanced illness later on (that state and county hospitals often treat…can you say “tax dollars”???).
    i absolutely agree with scott M about religion. i have no interest in keeping faithful, practicing people from worship, but i don’t want to be told how to live my life based on the tenets of one religion, namely at the moment, christianity. there’s room for allowing respectful practice without pushing beliefs on the entire country. and i do think that it’s incredibly hypocritical to be attacking other countries for religious intolerance when our country is barrelling down the same path.

  15. Piglet

    Chris M, those are opinion pieces written by people with an agenda. They are not evidentiary documents. And yes, the Republican Noise machine loves to spread this fiction about Casey being unacceptable for a one-note political belief.
    The thing is, if that’s the true story, and being pro-life guarantees you a black ball from the Democrats, then why have so many other pro-life Democrats been welcomed and even honored? Why does the Catholic community continue to be a bedrock Democratic constituency? How come only Casey gets shunned? Seems to me there must be more to it than that.
    Anyhow, I don’t speak for the whole Democratic party, but you’re still welcome at my booth if you want to outlaw abortions. I’m afraid most of my crowd isn’t going to give you what you want on that point, but we won’t boo and hiss ya either, and hopefully we’ve got something you’ll like better on economic issues, civil rights, health care, pollution control or freedom from government interference.

  16. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    One other thing. I consider myself to be a conservative, but as I said, I am a registered Democrat. Among people our age, I don’t think that everything is black or white anymore. I think many people fall into my category, wherein they are liberal or conservative based on individual subjects.
    I am anti-abortion. I am also for gay marriage. I am Catholic. I am for birth control. I am for affirmative action. I am for the death penalty. I don’t fit neatly into one side or the other. Kind of schizophrenic, I know.
    As for the thing I said about Kerry . . . I was just being a bitch. Sorry. I am also a snide bitch sometimes . . . does that make me a liberal or a conservative?

  17. VinCam

    Teresa Heinz… you mean the woman who bashed WalMart and said WalMart was bad for America, and then we found out the next day that she owns $ 1 Million worth of WalMart stock, that crazy woman ? Luckily the Drudge Report reported her walmart stock ownership, we can’t count on the liberal media CBS,CNN,NPR,NY TIMES to report stuff like that which goes against their agenda. I’m surprised Kerry didn’t put some masking tape or a muzzle over her mouth, it was as if she was having a contest with Howard Dean to see who could say the craziest and most outrageous stuff and cook up the looniest conspiracy theory, when you see clowns like that running the modern Democratic party, it shows you how far the DNC has fallen.

  18. KTS

    As I was leaving the party, I was confronted by a fanatic, one who I’d heard from before:
    “Jeez, VinCam, you sure seem tightly wound. I now understand Ian’s frustration. What would cause you to act like this? I refuse to let your rant go unanswered. (White glove to the face.) It degrades the tone of the blog! Why are you so angry? Have you ever had a sense of humor? I disagree with Pat Buchanan, but he has a sense of humor, and I can’t help but like the guy as a person. I hate to say this, and I may be breaking one of Ian’s Rules, but dude, you’re a complete Downer.”

  19. Lawrence

    I’m a conservative because I favor limited, decentralized government, lower taxes, greater personal responsibility, free markets, a strong military and a Jacksonian foreign policy. I think F.A. Hayek had it exactly right in The Road to Serfdom. I cherish the 2nd Am. as much as the 1st. I believe the U.S., with all its faults, is still a force of net good in the world, which would be even more of a shit-hole if we “minded our own business” and let communists, facists and tin-pot dictators do as they please.
    I’m a veteran of the first Gulf War, having served in the Navy and Army, so that certainly played a role in forming my political identity. I was raised in a conservative rural family in Iowa, another major influence. I usually vote Republican because its candidates are generally much closer to my beliefs than Democrats.
    I don’t know if that helps Ian to understand what makes conservatives tick — and I don’t write angry letters excoriating anyone, except maybe Paul Krugman — but there it is. . .

  20. Chris M

    Ironically you don’t offer a shred of evidence to support your theory that Casey must have done something besides “just” oppose abortion rights to merit his being snubbed and exiled in 1992. You simply say that 1992 keynote speaker “Zell Miller’s pro-life too.” Guess it depends what the meaning of is, is.
    Since factual accuracy supported by evidence is so highly valued among the commentators here, I decided to research it for you. The links are provided below. Turns out that in 1992 Zell Miller was very clearly PRO-CHOICE. In fact, through the 1980s and most of the 1990s, Zell was very much a liberal, not conservative, Democrat. Miller did not begin to change his position on Roe v. Wade and abortion rights until 1997. So, Zell’s selection as keynote speaker in 1992, with his southern twang but pro-choice views, is entirely consistent with the Dems excluding Casey solely for his pro-life views. That was precisely the point of the dagger thrust into Casey.
    Here’s some of the support:
    Electoral support for the GOP has been generally increasing at both the federal and state levels for two decades, so empty rhetoric about the GOP demanding that everyone agree with them on every issue is refuted by the voting patterns of real people who apparently are not receiving this exclusionary message.
    As for your other unsupported assertions about Catholics continuing to be a bedrock of the Dem party, I guess you didn’t want to provide the actual 2004 election numbers and compare them to earlier elections since they would show the erosion of this bedrock support.

  21. lyle

    first, thank you to the commenters who responded thoughtfully (and sometimes wittily) to ian’s query. also thanks to ian for opening up his blog as a forum for people to share their political beliefs and motivations in a peaceful way.
    second, the discussion of what’s really “conservative”, what’s truly “democrat”, etc., as well as the many examples of people harboring certain beliefs that deviate from their chosen party’s platform, makes me wonder…
    what would the U.S. political scene look like if we had three or more viable, credible, legitimate parties to choose from? right now it’s so black and white, either/or, with us or against us, dem or repub. the greens and libertarians are growing, but definitely the big races still come down to the donkey and GOP. wouldn’t it be great if we had one or two other serious contenders to choose from? i guess such wondering is moot, though, because we’re a loooong way from such a scenario.

  22. badbob

    Ian said
    “Even if you’re a very calm conservative that I like (chris m, badbob, etc.)”
    I’m late to this discussion but I appreciate the sentiment that I am calm but folks who know me would argue otherwise!
    “I’m genuinely interested to know how you came by your belief system.”
    – Blue collar neighborhood in a blue state. Didn’t know anyone who wasn’t a democrat. Republican’s were rich mean folks who owned all the mills (those mills and the towns they supported were quite egalitarian for the age…) continued to believe all that until Johnson..Was a Boy Scout and a athlete. No creative capability for music/art altough I appreciate it. Hid under the desk during Missile Crisis. WWII vets were our teachers, coaches, scout leaders and fathers. No self-esteem school bumper stickers were allowed. Oh BTW, I was a skinny pimply kid who was bullied- temporarily-all it took was the guts to fight back and a few black eyes. If life were so simple for kids today……….
    – Went to college in early 70’s and became very apolitical…seemed like smoking dope and protesting were not always the best avenues to getting, who wants to screw a space cadet when you don’t have to. Plus, having to get 140 credits for a BSME kept me up late.
    . …plus being a jock until junior year I was listening to Motown with the other pill players and not listening to Steppenwolf like my “peers”. Grew embarrassed of my generation.
    – Became a cop in a big city for thrills and got none- just more jaded.
    – Went to AOCS to be a Navy jet pilot.. Finally got south of Jersey and learned about grits, greens, quail hunting and w/accents (IE the world is much bigger syndrome). Saw the fall of Saigon on TV and felt ashamed but I didn’t know why……Many of the folks in leadership at that time in Pensacola were ex-POWs. Ever see “Flight of the Intruder” or “When Hell was in Session”. There you go…that’s them.
    – Watched SNL and thought G. Ford was a bumbler and voted for Carter,who had been ex-Navy..Watched Jimmy relegate us to #2 behind USSR and tell us we had to get used to stagflation and lesser expectations…Then the Iranian hostage crisis happened. Looked at Republican Party for the first time for a change. Discounted Reagan because as we all know “he was the actor you know”. Then I heard him give a speech and started to read what he said…At that moment I was hooked as a conservative (although I hate to be labeled). When the wall fell 9 years later I knew I had been right.
    – Out of 21 years in the Navy spent 7 years out of CONUS (continental US) and a lot of time in 3rd/4th world countries. Gives you a little perspective. Having to go to War? That’s why I volunteered- we are adrenaline action junkies you know.
    – Married, had kids = more meaningful perspective for reasons which are unfolding to you.
    – During Clinton years I observed somebody I couldn’t respect try to run things. One of my own generation who couldn’t measure up, like in the same way I felt that most of my peers hadn’t. Stopped watching network television (except sports) when I watched an episode of “Friends”. If I was a guy in that household, those chicks would have kicked me out for being a lech (sic?). Total unreality. Haven’t watched a movie in a theater since ’91. Predictable plots, unrecognizable heroics and none-thematic techno geek stuff. TCM for me. Pick and choose what I see and read through careful vetting.
    – 9-11 just ratcheted up what I already knew…2000 and 2004 elections just made the lines more stark. The world is a dangerous but manageable place,.one mustn’t run from the bully! (who BTW. ain’t us….)
    – Religion a personal thing-don’t discuss although I will share that I believe in God since early kid-dom and am a member of the largest Christian Church….it hurts when you (Ian) disparage religion or believers as dummies. It’s simple. We have faith and you don’t- get over it.
    So that leaves me here wondering what non-responsible and unrealistic members of my generation can fuck up if given the chance… that is why I am a Conservative I guess.
    More- The GWOT is the biggest event of our (your) life. I feel we are on the cusp of a Pax America period of world history. Given the alternative-is there a choice? This about that and little Lucy (a beauty BTW). Another thing, I am proud of those kids in leadership of our military who I mentored and of those that serve. Where do we find such folks?

  23. Claudia

    I have been a lurker for a short period of time. This is my first post.
    An individual commenting on one of your old posts referred to you and Tessa as “good people.” I have no doubt that this is true. I am married to Chris M; we also are “good people” (especially him). I believe in the essential goodness of most people, and I also believe that fundamentally evil human beings are rare.
    To me, it follows logically that the same factors that contribute to making some people “liberal” contribute to making others “conservative.” We are all products of our environment: our parents, our friends, our schooling, and, if applicable, our religious beliefs contribute to forming our consciences. We develop compassion and we develop the capacity for reason; both are integral to normal human social development. The interplay between the two, tempered by experience, enables us to form opinions about the events of the world. Essentially, and ideally, then, both liberals and conservatives desire maximum happiness and peace for themselves and others, and merely disagree on how to achieve those objectives. As a lawyer, I believe in the legal conceit that reasonable minds can differ.
    If I am reading you correctly, Ian, then I interpret your question as a desire to know how these same factors of compassion and reason contribute directly to one’s development of conservative beliefs, with posters’ comments providing specific case studies.
    I applaud this inquiry, and consider it an example of real dialogue and real respect. I am very troubled by what I perceive as the current rhetoric of anger and blame between liberals and conservatives. I think that those who claim that the President is “evil” are naive and misguided. So are those who think that supporters of the President’s actions in Iraq are opposed to peace, or are warmongers who are interested in violence for its own sake, or are just plain ignorant. We have processed the same information as others. We, too, very much seek peace; we just disagree regarding the best way to achieve it in the shortest period of time, with the smallest overall loss of life, both now and in the future. Those of us opposed to abortion are not misogynists or mindless “Jesus freaks”; we recognize the extraordinary physical and emotional burden placed on a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy. (Admittedly, with the widespread availability of birth control, pain relief during childbirth, and adoption, some of us may consider the burden of an unplanned pregnancy less weighty than the physical and emotional burdens placed on people in a myriad of other situations, such as cancer patients and those who lose the use of their limbs.) We simply believe, having processed the evidence with our minds, hearts, and consciences, that a human life begins at conception, and that the right of a conceived human being to exist trumps even the right of the woman carrying that conceived person to do with her own body as she pleases.
    I have spent a good portion of my life as a sort-of conservative in the midst of liberals. Thinking the same way as everyone around me has never been high on my list of priorities; I prefer to follow the dictates of my conscience. I hope and believe that most other people are doing the same thing, and beg simply for tolerance and respect for my heartfelt beliefs. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to put up a sign in Park Slope supporting a conservative candidate alongside the future analog of all those rainbow “We the People” banners, without fear that my window will be broken or my family harrassed. Thank you very much for the opportunity to voice and explain my opinion on your blog. I appreciate your respect, and I think your baby is really cute.

  24. Bill P.

    I was middle-of-the-road politically growing up and never quite knew what the differences were between Republicans and Democrats. And then one day, like most people, I had children. Those children then attended the public schools which have been hijacked by liberals. The schools cannot talk about the Ten Commandments in schools because statements like Do Not Steal and Do Not Kill are too radical of statements for the liberals to tolerate, they rather instead throw condoms at kids and show them how to put them on cucumbers. When I saw the crap being forced upon my kids without my consent, I suddenly went from middle-of-the-road to a radical right-wing conservative. When liberals refuse to teach stuff like Do Not Steal and instead turn around and teach putting condoms on cucumbers to my children, that was the day liberals waged war upon my family and I now hate liberals inside and out and hate liberals to the core. I am glad that my children are being taught good values at home, they surely are getting the opposite at the liberal public schools and on the liberal controlled media outlets from CBS to NBC. If liberals had not forced their agenda on my children, I would not have become such a radical conservative but the only thing the liberals have done is just created two more Republicans as my children are both straight and proud of the values I instill in them and have nothing in common with the liberal agenda. It is almost a full time job tring to shield children from the trash on television and in the movies. Just two weeks ago, we read in the news that Bruce Springsteen has had his new album banned from Starbucks because he sings about giving anal to prostitues, and Ben Affleck makes the news for having a child out of wedlock with some other Hollywood liberal actress. The two people that John Kerry was dragging on stage the most last year were Springsteen and Affleck. The Hollywood people make their money by pushing trash on our children, and I use Hollywoods hate for Bush as a barometer for voting, the more that Hollywood hates him, the more I know that Bush must be doing something right. If the people who profit by pushing smut and violence on young kids do not like Bush, then I know right there that I am going to like him, because him and I are both on the same side trying to stop the Hollywood crap from invading our living room. We kept hearing last year from all the media outlets that the higher the voter turnout would be, the more that would favor the Democrats, but that turned out to be just another lie. Highest voter turnout in history, and Bush won with the most votes in history.

  25. Michelle Wyatt Mrozkowski

    I honestly don’t care what people think, as long as they think for themselves and participate in the electoral process in a responsible manner. I voted for GWB the first time because I thought Al Gore was a pu$$y (and no Bill Clinton…) and I was sick of all of the bad Democratic politics in Raleigh at the time and it was my protest vote– it was an emotional vote and I wasn’t thinking.
    During the 90s I worked for the NC State Board of Elections. I entered into that job after a year of working in a group home for teenage delinquent females and after three years of working as a technical writer for an ag-chemical research company that helped companies get their various pesticides registered for use on crops in Amurrca. I worked at the Board of Elections for eight years.
    At the start of my employment, I was the kind of liberal that did not mingle with conservatives. I had not met one Republican that seemed like a very nice person (other than Margaret Anne Hoard’s family from Tarboro, NC– who enjoyed a good time and good drink to the point that I could forgive myself for liking them). The word Republican represented to me an elite, judgmental overlord– using religious rhetoric to control the brainless.
    Over time, I began to understand some conservative arguments and even appreciate hanging out with such morally upright and well-to-do folk. I dated a fellow by the name of John Gurley while in my late 20s who was a political advisor to Republicans. He was a rabid true believer, so I learned that it does exist on that side of the aisle– that some people were genuine in their beliefs that conservatism is really better for the country. After nearly a year of a very intense romance, John looked at me while we were watching “Win Ben Stein’s Money” one evening and (without prelude) said, “I can’t do this anymore. Get out.” And he never spoke to me again. His roommate claimed that my liberalism gave them all the heebie-jeebies. So I had come full circle, it seemed. Man, did I feel dirty… I had slept with the enemy. So for about six months post-dumping I turned against all things conservative once again and ran five miles a day.
    What resulted was I became a size six (which was great) and I had my political epiphany. Politics is not cerebral as much as personal and emotional. And you know it’s true: Don’t kill babies! Support our boys in uniform! A hand up, not a hand out! And on the other side: No Blood for Oil! Keeps your laws off my body! Dick Cheney is a robot!
    Republicans have, in the short run, won the “marketing war” against Democrats in America. They can thank Karl Rove for that. He is brilliant. A few weeks ago, a pastor in Waynesville, NC asked the Democratic parishoners to either repent or leave the church based on their political beliefs. It seems that the brainless, like rabid sports fans after a winning season, have gotten too big for their britches.
    It’s like the time, late at night, after lots of red wine, I asked my friend Doug if he could ever be straight. His belief was that sexual preference is a spectrum and that we all fall somewhere on that spectrum– lots of folks close to the middle, even. And maybe it is that way with politics. There’s a great deal wrong with the modern world that Democrats helped create, but I don’t think we throw out the baby with the bath water. The weird thing is, after growing up in a liberal society when times were good (especially the eighties)– I just don’t feel like I belong in this new Amurrca anymore. I don’t understand how GWB could possibly have been reelected after all of the mistakes of that administration, but I realize too the power of fear-based mind control.
    Last weekend, my husband Andy and our 3 year old (Wyatt) and our 11 month old (Georgia) went to the annual Smilefest event which was created out of vigils held in NC when Jerry Garcia (God rest his soul) died. My son had been afraid of men with long hair and beards for about the last six months and I decided that we would use the wildly popular “flooding” technique to cure him of his fear of hair. It worked. My little angel was dancing up front to Bela Fleck’s trio with the rest of the tie-dyed, dreadlocked crowd. He seems freer this week, happier, having lost his fear.
    Ultimately it isn’t about conservative, liberal, anti-this-or-that– but one’s ability to think, check one’s own personal hangups/baggage at the door, and understand that no one, not even George Bush, is God’s Cowboy.

  26. Harry E.

    I’m conservative by 49 years of living. My parents were apolitical. I remember always hearing in the mainstream media (at the time), that William F. Buckley was so evil. I was changing the channels one day back in the early 70’s, when I came across Firing Line.I wanted to see this evil man in action. What shocked me was the things that he was saying were things that I’d believed in for years. I thought, If this guy’s evil, then I guess I am too. After that time, I never trusted the media again. No one has ever told me what to think. I don’t give a crap what Rush Limbaugh or Fox News says. My opinions are my own.
    P.S. How close were you to Laurie Dhue? I was just curious, since I think she’s hot.


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