It's the economy, stupid?

We've raised the issue here before about what is and isn't permissible to discuss publicly in conservative circles—at least if you have any interest in getting ostensibly conservative candidates elected to office. Are so-called social or generally non-economic issues off the table or not? In an opinion piece at the WSJ:

New York was a big win for gay-marriage advocates, no question. It was a big win precisely because it was not inevitable: The New York Republican Party decided to abandon its base to make this happen.

Four Republicans voted for gay marriage. Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos permitted a vote on marriage, a move that he asserted the majority of Senate Republicans supported. To kill this bill, Republicans only needed to do what Democrats repeatedly do when they control a chamber: refuse to bring it up for a vote.

So what will the consequences of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's triumph be in other states and for New York's Republican Party? There are three things to keep in mind.

First, the majority of Americans continue to oppose same-sex marriage...

...The second repercussion of New York's gay-marriage vote is that the prominent media attention it drew is firing up the GOP base, and it will affect the presidential nominating process, starting with the Iowa caucuses...

...Third, the New York vote will hurt the New York Republican Party. Gov. Cuomo, along with a handful of Republican donors and a sympathetic media, managed to give Republicans a very inaccurate impression about the consequences of voting for gay marriage. What happened last week in New York is simple politically: Republicans enabled the passage of a bill that will help the governor please the Democratic base in his state and nationally. It simultaneously alienated a significant portion of the Republican base.

Memo to Empire State Republicans: Abandoning your core values to get elected is wrong. Abandoning your core values to help the Democrats get elected is just plain dumb. The governor emerges from this vote as a strong horse; Senate Republican leaders look weak...

Sounds like it might be be hard to avoid talking about this.

And at Townhall:

On June 14, [CNN's Jack] Cafferty expressed surprise that, in the previous night's presidential debate, "social issues—like abortion, gay marriage, 'don't ask, don't tell'—still manage to work their way into the conversation. And that may prove to be a problem for Republicans. . . . These are not the issues that middle America is worried about. They would like to be able to find a job."..

[....] What Cafferty doesn't understand is that every issue is a moral issue. The current bad economy didn't just happen. It was the direct result of immoral choices made by our leaders...

[....] When voters consider a candidate for public office, they should not just ask, "Can this person manage the economy?" They need to know, "Does this person have the values and character to hold public office?"

And on the question of "the issues that middle America is worried about," Henry Olsen at NRO raises some interesting points regarding what Republicans need to understand about what Pew calls the "Disaffecteds," the blue-collar white swing vote:

The Pew poll suggests that Republicans, in the short term, should concentrate their fire on jobs and the economy. Blue-collar whites agree with Republicans on low taxes and opposition to liberalism, and they already hold Obama and Democrats in low esteem. The president and his party will largely be held responsible for the prevailing economic conditions in 2012: Why not simply focus on the attack and worry about the policy aftermath later?

The trouble with this approach is that it has been tried before and has failed. The 2010 contest was the fourth GOP wave election in the last 60 years. In each case, the voters who swung to the GOP were blue-collar whites; in each case, attempts to roll back the welfare state quickly eroded GOP support. GOP establishmentarians who focused only on short-term wins also found that blue-collar loyalties quickly faded away.

If conservatives want to break this cycle and finally reverse the seemingly perpetual growth of government, they must understand how blue-collar voters are different from them. Research shows that blue-collar whites take the political positions they do because of their self-perception. They know they are less skilled than others; this makes them friendlier to protection from competition, whether the competition comes from trade abroad or immigrant workers at home. They depend more on public services to provide public order (which is why they support police so much) and economic stability (which is what middle-class entitlements support). Above all, they are risk-averse and proud. They fear the future as much as or more than they welcome it; one misstep and their whole world can collapse. This means they are wary of sudden change, whether it comes from the left or the right. And their dignity and pride mean they resist attempts to tell them what to do or treat them like pawns in someone else’s game, whether those attempts come from big business, big government, or big anything.

Republicans can begin to garner consistent loyalty from blue-collar whites only if they demonstrate genuine sympathy with them....

And who was the absolute best at expressing this sincere sympathy?

Reagan’s rhetoric always made the typical American feel valued and special. It did not emphasize the great entrepreneurs and captains of industry, although Reagan understood how setting them free would benefit America. Instead, he focused in speech after speech on ordinary people who did extraordinary things — the “boys of Pointe-du-Hoc,” the Lenny Skutnicks. It’s a rhetorical approach built on genuine sympathy for the average person.

So where does this leave us with respect to what we can and can't talk about?  Is it always only the economy, stupid, in every instance?

As they say on Facebook, "It's complicated."  Discussion in the public square can't possibly be limited to only the economy; people aren't one-dimensional and topics, even gas drilling for instance, don't fit tidily into mutually exclusive social boxes (don't mess with my utopia) or economic boxes (Andy needs the money, as South of 5 and 20 points out).

What's the single biggest lesson to be learned from all the recent uproars about social issues or the economy?  It isn't that certain topics are so toxic that they must never be brought up in public.  That's ridiculous.  It's that nobody likes candidates or elected officials who are invertebrates.  Republicans would do well to remember that.

Constant vigilance is required

I was looking for a particular graphic at iOwnTheWorld when I stumbled across this post:

We can’t let what’s happening in Wisconsin slip under the radar… the left hasn’t. We can’t wallow in our victory and let a more determined group get the upper hand.

I’m not saying that the left is more passionate about their message, but they seem to be more organized and determined. It may be the difference in being a normal person and a progressive. Normal people are not intent on changing everyone else to be the same as themselves. Progressives cannot abide the individual spirit; everyone must agree with them.

Therefore, we are content to let people live as long as we are left to live as well. Yes, there are rules, but as long as we live within those basic rules, we are fine. Sure, we can get worked up like we did with the Wisconsin situation. But since we “won” (yes, we did pay attention to the Supreme Court Justice race and the other WI lib Judge declaring the law that the WI government passed as void) we have not needed to keep up the intensity with what has been happening.

But the progressives have. They have organized and schemed to get back what they lost. They cannot be content. They must change their world. Because of their organization they have been able to keep up the pressure and intensity in so many different arenas that we who just want to be left alone to live our lives are overwhelmed.

That’s where we bloggers and pundits come in. We will remind you of the fights that are going on. Not only do we present you with current events such as Weinergate, but as much of the covert shenanigans that the progressives are trying to pull...

Whiskey tango foxtrot?  Sure enough, I hadn't been paying attention.  At American Thinker:

The Democrats and their union comrades are pulling out all the stops in the Wisconsin in their attempt to seize control of the State Senate.  An unholy alliance of public sector unions and their Democrat enablers have joined together under the banner of an innocuous sounding organization called We Are Wisconsin.  The plan is a tried and true staple of leftist politics, get involved in the Republican primary elections and manipulate the process in order to ensure victory in the general election.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that in an email Kelly Steele, communications director for We Are Wisconsin said "it would be in the interest of Democrats to run candidates in the Republican primaries," adding that "it would be in the interest of flipping the Wisconsin Senate that interested Democrats contact the Democratic Party of Wisconsin."...

Definitely read the rest.  We can expect to see more of this kind of thing. At RedState:

California’s SEIU leaders are planning on getting rid of California’s conservative lawmakers by taking over the California Republican Party by recruiting their own GOP candidates...

[....] The SEIU, which already owns the Democratic Party in California is not satisfied with merely owning one party, it wants control of both parties and is willing to take over the GOP from the inside out [see Saul Alinsky].

And the "wolf in sheep's clothing" in NY-26 even got the attention of Bill Whittle and Andrew Klavan at PJTV, who also brought up the TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch) concept:

In the wake of the NY-26 special election in which there was both a false-flag candidate and massive demagoguery that succeeded because of voters' ignorance of the issues, we must, must, must pay attention, educate ourselves, and equal or exceed the intensity of the opposition.  If we don't, it's game over. 


I know we were talking about the end of the world coming in 2012 if George Will were right (no, not about baseball) and it's now true that half of Will's dynamic duo is out of the picture, but oh, my (via Weasel Zippers)...

And in related news (heh):

NY-26: Like sands through the hour glass, so is the...Maze of Our Lives

The saga continues.

We've had occasional posts about the goings-on in NY-26 since the story about Chris Lee's pec-cadillo broke in early February.  The election to replace him is Tuesday, May 24th, and things certainly are interesting.  Here's the false flag Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, in action in recent days (via The Lonely Conservative):

Way to go, Jack!  And by the way, although it's been reported that the assaultee in the second video is a cameraman,

Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy confirmed Thursday that the Republican volunteer whom Jack Davis was caught on camera slapping was in fact a member of Republican candidate Jane Corwin’s staff — reportedly her chief of staff.

Read the rest yourself—there's disagreement about what actually happened (what else is new?)—but it's safe to say that Davis is a little, well, strange.

As for Kathy Hochul, the Democrat in the race (there are really two Democrats to the race but I'll get back to that shortly), last night the NYDN was reporting:

A helpful reader tips me off that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined much of the New York Democratic establishment at a just-concluded fundraiser for NY-26 hopeful Kathy Hochul on the upper West Side.

"About 120 showed up for the event," which was hosted by James Simon at his home.

According to the event's Facebook page, the prices were: Chair: $2,500, Vice Chair: $1000, Patron: $500, Friend: $250.

The original "Special Guests" were advertised as Sen. Chuck Schumer (who'll also be on the stump with Hochul on Sunday), Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler and City Comptroller John Liu.

Also on hand tonight, the tipster reports: State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former NY-13 Rep. Mike McMahon.

"It seemed as though the only person missing was Andrew Cuomo," my reader says...


And Jane Corwin, the Republican

“Just last week it was announced that our unemployment rate rose to 9 percent, and the last thing we want to do in a struggling economy is raise taxes on the job creators that will lead our economic recovery,” Corwin said. “As someone who has helped run a small business in Western New York, I know firsthand the devastating effect high taxes have on a small business’ ability to grow and create jobs. Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and if honored to be Western New York’s next representative in Washington I will fight to fundamentally reform our tax code to allow hardworking taxpayers to keep more of what they earn and small businesses to invest in themselves and create jobs,”

Corwin gained her firsthand perspective of the detrimental effect of high tax rates while working in the private sector. Corwin helped grow her family’s company – The Talking Phone Book – to more than 700 employees.

So how did Jack Davis end up with the Tea Party appellation in this race? Thereby hangs a tale.  As Professor Jacobson writes:

You will not hear a word in the MSM about the fact that Davis is not a real Tea Party candidate, and instead this will further be portrayed as part of a schism in the Republican Party and reflecting how the Tea Party movement hurts Republicans.

The race and the whole Jack Davis/Tea Party question is actually getting some attention not only at NRO but, of all places, at the WaPo (via Legal Insurrection):

Davis is someone who has made a career — at least in recent years — of running for this seat...

[....] After three straight losses as a Democrat, Davis courted the right — though he’s provided no roadmap to explain his shift.

After failing to win the endorsement of either the Republican Party or the Conservative Party in this special election, Davis started a ‘Tea Party’ line.

Tea party activists were miffed; Davis never talked to them or asked for their support. He just got to the Board of Elections before they did. In New York, anyone who files 3,500 signatures to get their name on the ballot can create their own party line. (In New York, candidates can run on a variety of “lines”, allowing for multiple candidates on the ballot in a general election.)

[....] If Republicans lose this race in two weeks time, expect Democrats to paint it as a referendum on the cuts to Medicare contained in the House-passed budget crafted by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. And, that will clearly be a part of the narrative.

At the NRO:

...Davis ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, endorsed then-senator Barack Obama for president, and accepted $5,000 from Obama’s political action committee. But primary voters rejected Davis in favor of lawyer Alice Kryzan.

Now, Davis’s name sits on the ballot line marked “Tea Party” — a line he fabricated with the help of a petition-signature-gathering firm. Sure, Davis professes belief in low taxes, but he tosses the social-conservative agenda to the wind, and he views foreign policy through the eyes of a mercantilist. And on his signature issue, his hobbyhorse, his idée fixe — protectionism — he is just plain wrong.

So there are actually two Democrats in this race against the one Republican, Corwin.

There's a week and a half before the election.  See Jane Corwin's website for more info.

Dancing on the ceiling

From Dryden's own Chrissy the Hyphenated:

2011_05 08 GALLUP - Raising the federal debt ceiling

At Gallup, the heading for the table in the graphic above is "Americans' Feelings About Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling." Did someone mention "feeling" and "ceiling" in the same breath? Could it be—could it be—Lionel Richie?

Oh, what a feeling 
When we're dancing on the ceiling...  

Hey--it's Friday night.  Cut me some slack.

Half a loaf is better than none?

Mitt Romney has an opinion piece in today's USA Today:

If I am elected president, I will issue on my first day in office an executive order paving the way for waivers from ObamaCare for all 50 states. Subsequently, I will call on Congress to fully repeal ObamaCare....

All righty then.  Read the whole thing.  And then review this from a few weeks ago.

A columnist at PajamasMedia, in the guise of a fictional therapist "helping" a conflicted conservative, posed the following questions earlier this week:

  • What if Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination for president in 2012?
  • Are you going to pick up your signs for Candidate X and go home?
  • Could you work for and support Romney’s campaign?
  • Will you vote for Romney in the 2012 election?
  • What if the polls show that Romney is running neck and neck with Obama?
  • Do you resent that squishy independent swing vote that is fueling Romney?

She also quotes Ronald Reagan:

“I’m not retreating an inch from where I was. But I also recognize this: There are some people who would have you so stand on principle that if you don’t get all that you’ve asked for from the legislature, why, you jump off the cliff with the flag flying. I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want. So, I think what they’ve misread is times in which I have compromised.”

Make no mistake—the struggle of many rank-and-file Republicans and conservatives with these very issues given the current crop of potential candidates (and the questions could be applied to almost anyone at this point) is, in the immortal words of Vice President Biden, a big effin' deal.  Don't minimize it.

Of course, that columnist then does exactly that with this final salvo: "If [Romney as GOP nominee] is the eventual outcome, and as a “true conservative” you find yourself still demanding a “full loaf,” please consult a therapist and Ronald Reagan."

And who is this font of wisdom?  Myra Adams, who served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign.  That turned out well, didn't it?

"Because somebody has to remember that the last word in GOP is Party."

Here at Redneck Mansion, we had last night's Republican primary debate running in the background whilst doing actual, you know, work.  If you missed it, not to worry—Vodkapundit has a handy-dandy written summary available for your perusal.  Maybe this is because I was (half) listening rather than watching, but I think the most memorable part was—the cowbells. Anywho (and Vodka lives in CO, hence the bizarre time stamps):

5:58PM A couple things you might not know about drunkblogging. First — remove your contact lenses. Things move fast, and you won’t have time to blink. I’m not making this one up....

6:02PM Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Gary Johnson. Five candidates in the debate, five cincos in a de mayo. Coincidence?...

Read on—and party like it's 1858.

More on the race in NY-26...the plot thickens

An update to an earlier post.  At the Buffalo News:

Suddenly, congressional candidate Jack Davis is the bull’s-eye target in a host of political cross hairs.

After posting a strong 23 percent showing in last week’s Siena College poll, the Tea Party candidate making his fourth try for the 26th Congressional District seat is now on the receiving end of attacks by nervous Republicans as well as local figures in the tea party movement incensed over his use of their moniker.

Both groups are taking aim just days after Davis told The Buffalo News he will organize with the GOP should he win the special election May 24, a move that in effect pits Democratic candidate Kathleen C. Hochul against two Republicans — Davis and official Republican candidate Jane L. Corwin.

Now the GOP is ratcheting up last week’s verbal criticism of Davis into mailers delivered throughout the district linking him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and “liberal Democrats.”

[....] The mailings were sponsored by the state Republican Party, whose executive director, Thomas J. Basile, cited Davis’ three runs for the seat as a Democrat. “It’s obvious that Democrat Jack Davis doesn’t share our Republican values,” he said. “Voters deserve to know the truth about his dishonest attempt to distort his record. Jane Corwin is the only real Republican in this race.”

Corwin’s allies in the tea party movement were also firing away. “We at TEA New York do not support Davis. We all voted to endorse Jane Corwin, yet Davis runs on a tea party line,” complained Rus Thompson, a Grand Island resident and local pioneer of the tea party movement.

Oh, there's more.  Read the rest.

So while all this might seem to be playing into Democrat Kathy Hochul's hands, things may not be peachy in her campaign either.  State Democrats, with the exception of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, don't appear to be supporting Hochul, nor are the national Democrats.

The Lonely Conservative probably has it right: "The lack of actual Democrat support for Kathy Hochul is indicative of a politico that knows Hochul is only running a close race in the headlines." 

Another nice kettle of fish--this time in NY-26

Upstate NY politics often seems like something out of Laurel and Hardy—without the humor.

Remember this and this? Well, now there's this (at the WSJ, via Jazz Shaw at Hot Air):

A poll shows Republican Jane Corwin leading Democrat Kathleen Hochul in a tight race to fill the New York congressional seat vacated by Republican Chris Lee after he sent a shirtless photo to a woman on Craigslist.

The Siena College poll released Friday shows 36 percent of likely voters supporting Corwin and 31 percent favoring Hochul. With the May 24 special election about a month away, Tea Party candidate Jack Davis received 23 percent and Green Party candidate Ian Murphy trailed with 5 percent.

Siena's Steven Greenberg says that in a district with a seven-point edge for Republicans, Corwin's support lags behind Republican enrollment

The poll questioned 484 likely voters Tuesday and Wednesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 points.

The polling results from Siena are here.

Oh, my.  Professor Jacobson had called Jack Davis, the supposed tea party favorite, a "false flag candidate" several weeks ago—understandable in view of Davis' past ties to the Working Families Party.  But false flag or not, The Lonely Conservative puts a different spin than the WSJ on the Siena poll figures. And, as is often the case, the commenters add value by pointing out that Siena doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to congressional polling, which had certainly been my recollection from last fall.

Another nice mess...stay tuned...

Hinges of history (with apologies to Thomas Cahill)

Via JammieWearingFool:

...Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill compared lawmakers trying to block a debt-ceiling increase to terrorists...

A different perspective:


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