Saturday, May 17, 2008

Obama and Bush and The Press and Conservative Gloominess

I thought the Anchoress had a great post that was a recap of the Bush's visit to Israel and Obama reaction to his remarks at Linking around: Bush/Obama/Press & more. The whole episode was troublesome. I was watching CNN and the Situation Room when it broke. The headlines at the bottom of page were things like "Bush Slams Obama" like it was fact. A sorry state of affairs.

By the way how many people even knew the President was Israel before that happened. It was not a huge part of the news cycle. Why was that? Lots of links worth reading

The Anchoress also touched on Huckabee. She said :
Moving along, over at CQ Politics the veepstakes comes down to Huckabee vs Pawlenty & Palin vs Portman. Huckabee’s charm offensive never worked on Betsy, nor on me. If McCain puts him on the ticket, I’m going to have a very hard time.

Needless to say the Anchoress for whatever reason is not a fan of Huckabee like I am. :). However that is all right. She was not alone in the blogsphere or of course as we saw in the election However the Anchoress's problems with Huckabee she echos there is one I have seen elsewhere. Sort of look at this guy and his charm offensive what a snake oil salesman etc etc.

I never understood that point of view. I was not mad at people that had that view. Some people just rub people the wrong way. That's life .Sometimes people think the same of us. I used to chalk that up to regional and cultural differences perhaps. But her comments (and this is not to pick on her because that is a theme as to Huckabee I see elsewhere and I am using it as a jumping off point) made me think of a good article I read this morning by Roger Kimbal on Conservative gloominess. Great read. He says in part:

I have recently begun keeping a folder marked “Conservative Gloominess.” It is full of articles and animadversions by various hands: dire prognostications about who the next occupant of the White House will be, harrowing descriptions of disarray among conservatives, despairing portraits of U.S. or European society. What’s odd, or at least uncharacteristic about these bulletins from the abyss is not their substance–to be candid, I have written plenty of items that could justly be filed there–but their tone and what we might call their existential orientation. From time immemorial conservatives have delighted in writing works with titles like Leviathan, The Decline of the West, The Waste Land.

Nevertheless, by habit and disposition conservatives tend, as a species, to be less gloomy than–than what? What shall we call those who occupy a position opposite that of conservatives? Not liberals, surely, since they are so often conspicuously illiberal, i.e., opposed to freedom and all its works. Indeed, when it comes to the word “liberal,” Russell Kirk came close to the truth when he observed that he was conservative because he was a liberal. In any event, whatever the opposite of conservatives should be called–perhaps John Fonte’s marvellous coinage “transnational progressives” is best–they tend to be gloomy, partly, I suspect, because of disappointed utopian ambitions.

Conservatives also tend to enjoy a more active and enabling sense of humor. The English essayist Walter Bagehot once observed that “the essence of Toryism is enjoyment.” What he meant, I think, was summed up by the author of Genesis when that sage observed that “God made the world and saw that it was good.” Conservatives differ from progressives in many ways, but one important way is in the quota of cheerfulness and humor they deploy. Not that their assessment of their fellows is more sanguine. On the contrary. Conservatives tend to be cheerful because they do not regard imperfection as a personal moral affront. Being realistic about mankind’s susceptibility to improvement, they are as suspicious of utopian schemes as they are appreciative of present blessings. This is why the miasmic gloominess emanating from many conservative circles today is so dispiriting. It goes against the grain of what it means to be conservative. It is dampening, and I for one hope it will prove to be a quickly passing phenomenon. Among other things, this recent access of personal gloominess makes the practice of professional gloominess–the robust deployment of satire, ridicule, and so on–much more difficult and less satisfying.

How true. As to Huckbee, is this a snake oil salesman Charm offensive? Maybe it is perhaps as he said
"I'm a conservative, but I'm not mad at anybody about it. I've learned that you don't have to give up your own convictions," Huckabee said. "But you do need to be willing to have an open mind, spirit and heart toward people who are completely different from you."

How true. I think perhaps that is part of the problem. I noticed that a lot of Huckabee supporters were Conservatives and not mad at anybody about it either. Perhaps that why we were drawn to him.

I think the negative tone among Conservatives affects us all. I often here people complain about the Republican party like its is some living thing cut off from the rest of us. No the Republican party is made of people with various valid conservative strains of thought. From the Huckabee Evangelical supporters, to the Ron Paul Libertarians, to the law and order immigration hardliners, to the Wall Street Journal Immigration Reform Folks, and to the Tax Cut diehards.

It seems that we still are doing what we did in 2006. That is spending a lot of time trying to read everyone out of the conservative movement and Republican party. We spend a depressing amount of time calling each other RINOS and talking about how various segments are not true conservatives. In essence it seem to be Republican or conservative is to "BE MAD AT SOMEBODY". Why is there still a significant amount of conservatives that are still attacking John McCain and yes even poor Bush.?Do they realize we have election coming up? Even the gloomy attitude affects me.

Call me old school but I believe primaries are about a competition of ideas within the party and then everyone gets on the same team afterwards. It seems that when I look around the conservative blog sphere there is a segment that can't get over they lost and are the prime movers of this gloomy attitude.

This attitude will not win elections I can tell you that. There is some talk that the Reagan Coalition is over. I really try to fight that. I think it just needs to be tweaked. However perhaps it is. What it would be replaced with I don't know. However I do know that this internal bitching fest that we have with different parts of the party has got to stop. It started around early 2006 and has not really abated yet.

Returning to Huckabee it should be recalled that he beat the Clinton Machine twice and was a pretty successful Governor of Arkansas. All while not attacking the Clintons. That does not mean Obama should not be called to task for some of his positions. In fact I am going to that in the next post. However I can't help but note that in the last two recent Special Elections we Republican lost (In Louisiana and Mississippi) both our "Republican Champions" seemed to portray themselves as MAD, UPSET, etc etc. This came across in their advertising and the voters perhaps reacted. Americans are not by large a negative people. I hope we grasp a positive message and soon or Election night in November might be a very long one.


I was thinking how this affected me. You know thinking back I did not put a lot of stock in Senator Brownback because at times he seemed so Mr Smith goes to Washington when he ran. I thought nice guy but not tough enough. I do wonder if I was affected by an overall cynical attitude toward a person I should have liked but thought that would not fly in today's political environment.

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