Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's an intelligent conservative to do?

At a time when the GOP has been co-opted by the hard core culture warriors now known as movement conservatives, it's tough to be an intellectual conservative like James Joyner. He joins other academics in lamenting the loss of his party. I feel for him. It must be embarrassing to watch the party be defined by anti-intellectual Xian creationists like Palin and Limbaugh and Joe the Plumber. Still, this argument strikes me as intellectually lazy and contributes to the problem.
Put another way, Republicans thrive as the party of normal Americans — the people in the middle culturally and economically. This is true of our leadership as well — we have a history of nominating figures who came first from outside politics. Our base is the common-sense voter in the middle who bought a house she could afford and didn’t lavishly overspend in good times and who is now subsidizing the person who didn’t.
As I said in my comment over there, I'm a bit put off by the notion that the GOP's base is the "normal" person in the middle. Judging by the pure numbers in 08, and the Democratic party gain, that would not seem to be the case.

I'd also love to see some figures on party affiliation to back up the claim that it was Democrats who bought houses they couldn't afford. It seems to me that a lot of the problems people are having stem as much from HELOCs as ARMs and I would love to see some hard numbers on who went to the HELOC cookie jar too many times before blithely claiming it's a quirk limited mainly to Democrats. I'd be willing to bet it's evenly divided or that the opposite is just as likely to be true.

Unsubstantiated claims of this sort are what feeds the angry hordes' irrational indignation and serves to validate the wrongheaded notion that any unproven claim is true if enough "honest but uneducated" people believe it. If the intellectuals want their party back, they would do well to insist on fact-based debate.

In the alternate, they could take a cue from John Cole and come join us in the Democratic party's tent. We like smart people on this side of the fence.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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3 Comments:

Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

"intelligent conservative"

Another oxymoron.

10:08:00 PM  
OpenID Mahakal / מהכאל said...

(O)ct(o)pus has a point. Conservative thinking is limited thinking, constrained to fit preconceived ideas instead of being adaptable to changing circumstances. Liberals are smarter than conservatives, not because we have better brains, but because we aren't afraid to use them.

12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Points taken, but there are few intelligent conservatives who aren't intractable ideologues. Joyner is actually a good guy in general. He has wrong headed ideas, but he's no nut case.

10:20:00 AM  

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