How Palin Taps the GOP’s Economic Fears

May 31st, 2011 at 10:38 pm David Frum | 85 Comments |

| Print

This is part three in a series. Click here for part one and part two.


Not every Republican lives in Greenwich and earns millions.

For non-wealthy Republicans – as for non-wealthy Americans generally – the past half-decade has been a terrible time. Perhaps they have seen their house collapse in value. Perhaps they have lost their home altogether. Perhaps their retirement portfolio lost its value. Perhaps they have lost a job. Perhaps their child cannot start a job. Perhaps they have been hit by all of the above.

Or maybe they got lucky. Maybe they escaped any particular disaster. Yet they still face a reduced future. To repay its debts, mind the nation will need to export more. That means a reduced dollar, salve which in turn means that Americans will find it more expensive to buy globally traded goods like gasoline, grain, and coffee. Their state government is raising fees and cutting services to balance its books, so they can expect to pay more for worse roads, schools, parks, and hospitals. A big question mark hangs over the retirement guarantees extended by the federal government. Will Social Security and Medicare be there for them in anything like their current form?

Nor were things going so well even before the disaster.

Now they feel themselves living in a hostile culture, under a president who describes himself as a Christian but never goes to church, and who manages to symbolize both the ascendency of the educated elite and the displacement of native-born whites by non-white immigrants.

In this inhospitable climate, they have had many reasons to feel that the GOP does not speak for them.

They had reason to feel that the GOP did not speak for them during the years leading up to the disaster, when they were told that the Bush economy was “the greatest story never told,” despite the stagnation of their wages.

They had reason to feel that the GOP did not speak for them during the crisis, when Republicans bailed out Wall Street and the big car companies, while leaving distressed homeowners to fend for themselves.

They have reason now to feel that the GOP does not speak for them, as it coalesces around a plan to eliminate their deductions and curtail their Medicare in order to enact a big tax cut for people much higher on the income ladder.

They feel victimized, embittered, deeply mistrustful of every established institution except the military. And they are hungry for a candidate who pungently expresses their victimhood, bitterness and mistrust: Donald Trump? Herman Cain? Michele Bachmann? But of course, nobody does it better than the candidate who has made victimhood her core message: Sarah Palin.


Recent Posts by David Frum



85 Comments so far ↓

  • TJ Parker

    “But of course, nobody does it better than the candidate who has made victimhood her core message: Sarah Palin.”

    Hrm. I thought b00bs were here core message.

    • Smargalicious

      This is fun. Even Frum is terrorized by Sarah.

      Actually, she is sorta cute, along with Bachmann. Imagine, if they ran together next year and elected, we’d have two conservative hotties in the WH! Woo hoo!

  • indy

    Just to put an exclamation point on the house value issue, I saw this chart today over at calculated risk:

    In real terms, the National index is back to Q4 1999 levels, the Composite 20 index is back to October 2000, and the CoreLogic index back to November 1999.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    Frum wrote: “[Obama] manages to symbolize both the ascendency of the educated elite and the displacement of native-born whites by non-white immigrants. In this inhospitable climate, they have had many reasons to feel that the GOP does not speak for them.”

    For years conservatives have argued that the economic and social status of whites (relative to minorities) in this country was due to the educational attainment of whites (not racism against minorities) and that we should not desire a different system. But since that very same system has now rewarded a highly educated minority with the presidency, whites (according to Frum) deem it inhospitable and are looking for the GOP to alter it.

    What a joke . . .

  • arvan

    I’ve got to give credit to Frum on this installment. It does seem to be a very strong argument for why the crazies are receiving so much purchase among the GOP base. They’ve been victimized by the GOP establishment for years, decades. They know it, deep down. And so they want candidates that break from the establishment, and don’t much care about doing so in a reasonable, rational way.

    They won’t go to the Dems, for the culture war reasons David has laid out. The GOP has fomented that war precisely to keep these people in their camp, not realizing the internal divisions it would cause. All I can wonder is what it would take for them to realize that the Dems are not their enemies. That Obama is not some great evil. Or are their minds beyond saving?

  • _will_

    Now they feel themselves living in a hostile culture, under a president who describes himself as a Christian but never goes to church, and who manages to symbolize both the ascendency of the educated elite and the displacement of native-born whites by non-white immigrants.

    if you’re a white, middle class “Christian” in this country who honestly feels this put-upon, this terribly “under-siege”, you’re probably better off just ending it all now. seriously.

    • Deep South Populist

      Or they can choose option 2: Do something about it besides vote Republican.

      I’m going with option 2 and encouraging others to do the same.

  • Deep South Populist

    Poor, lower-middle, middle-, and some segments of upper-middle class conservative White America have no credible representation for their interests. The Democrats do a decent job representing their core constituencies: non-Whites, government employees, unions, homosexuals, affluent urban liberals and other assorted leftists of all races and ethnic groups. The Republicans, in contrast, generally only represent the financial interests of the White Corporate elite. The GOP pays lip service to the concerns of ordinary White Americans who are not wealthy, but lip service is all it ever is.

    The takeaway from these articles is obvious: conservative White Americans who are not wealthy are getting screwed by the Republicans.

    • _will_

      i would say “poor” and “lower-middle-class” whites have an axe to grind, sure. but i’m having a really difficult time buying the idea that middle class and upper middle class white people in the USA aren’t being listened to.

      if there’s any disconnect between these (relatively) affluent whites and the affluent whites who run, oh, I don’t know … EVERYTHING , well i’d say these voters only have themselves to blame. when you’re willing to trade America’s solid middle class legacy for corporately sponsored leaders who exploit your fear of the “other” in order to get you to the polls, i guess you kind of deserve what you get.

      • arvan

        Gotta disagree with you there. I’m an upper-middle class white man, but the rich couldn’t give less of a shit about me. I have no more voice in politics than my poorer neighbors. Maybe even less, since I’m not in a union. I was a Republican for most of my life, and I definitely feel they deserted me.

        And while some of my peers may have themselves to blame, they aren’t only harming themselves. If they were, then sure, look down on them. But since they’re hurting us all, it’d be better to try to wake them up and get them to realize that the GOP no longer cares about them, and hasn’t for the better part of a century.

    • Bunker555

      +1

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    Deep South wrote: “Poor, lower-middle, middle-, and some segments of upper-middle class conservative White America have no credible representation for their interests. The Democrats do a decent job representing their core constituencies . . . ”

    Please do tell us what policies the GOP would advocate if it were to represent the interest of these poor/middle class whites.

    The fact of the matter is poor/middle class whites benefit from the exact same policies that poor/middle class minorities benefit from. The problem is that poor/middle class Republican whites don’t realize they are poor/middle class. Like Joe the Plumber, so very many of them believe they personally will benefit directly from tax cuts for people making over $250k/year, and so they vote for McCain/Palin and other GOP candidates who promise tax cuts for high earners.

    To be clear, I should say that the vast majority of poor/middle class Republican whites don’t realize they’re in the same position/predicament as poor/middle class minorities.

    • Bunker555

      ^+1

    • Deep South Populist

      SIND: “Please do tell us what policies the GOP would advocate if it were to represent the interest of these poor/middle class whites.”

      They should advocate the Democrats economic program while taking the usual conservative stance on issues like guns, abortion, immigration, etc.

      • _will_

        ok. so where should they stand on telling magical stories in public high school science classes? or letting two tax-paying, consenting adult citizens who happen to be gay get married? or if American citizens who happen to be Muslim want to build a house of worship in Murfreesboro, Tennessee?

        • Deep South Populist

          Like I said, Democrat economics, plus cultural conservatism IMO would constitute an agenda generally responsive to conservative middle class Whites (IMO). In your examples, this would mean advocating for the culturally conservative positions on those issues.

        • JimBob

          Democratic economics is forced unionism and stagnation. Middle Class entitlements which are bankrupting the country.

        • ElizabethBennett

          In response to Deep South Populist: What you are describing are the so-called “Reagan Democrats,” culturally conservative, working class Whites.

      • Redrabbit

        I’m not so sure about that. As someone pointed out above, a large portion of this demographic really does believe that things like tax cuts, reductions in govt. spending, and so forth, will be good for them. This belief has held pretty steady since at least the 1980′s, and it is one of the major factors which has allowed to GOP to gain such an advantage in this area.

        Perhaps the people you know who qualify as being part of this demographic say otherwise. But pretty much every single individual I have met that falls in to this category is convinced that their economic woes are due to high taxes taking their money for social programs and govt. regulations keeping businesses from expanding.

        • JimBob

          You just proved my point. People don’t want tax cuts. They want the government to take care of them. Which is stagnation.

  • _will_

    or, to put it another way the “concerns of ordinary White Americans who are not wealthy” have apparently (and very shamefully, I might add) become relegated to a utterly ridiculous, manufactured homosexual-ethnic-elitist-urban-academic threat.

  • kuri3460

    ….Except that Palin has come out pretty strongly in favor of the Ryan plan. I think her exact words were something like “saving a billion dollars a day sounds good to me”.

  • zzonkmiles

    I have to say, this is a very well written argument, Mr. Frum. FrumForum is turning into one of my daily must-reads in my RSS feed. It’s nice to read intelligent commentary with mostly intelligent comments where conservative, moderate, and even a few brave liberal voices can be heard regarding conservative policies.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    DSP: “They should advocate the Democrats economic program while taking the usual conservative stance on issues like guns, abortion, immigration, etc.”

    This presupposes they agree with the GOP on guns, abortion, immigration, etc. To the extent they do agree with the GOP on these issues, then it is not correct to say the GOP does not represent their interest. However, I haven’t seen any compelling evidence that poor/middle class whites do agree with the GOP on these issues. Those that disagree with the GOP vote Democratic.

    The inescapable problem is that the GOP has exploited the resentments, fears and racist inclinations that can be found among poor/middle class whites for political gain. Now that ALL GOP economic policies are proven disasters, Frum and other GOPers are at a complete lost to find a candidate who (1) has new economic policies and (2) isn’t wedded to the politics of resentment, which is clearly going to fail in light of the country’s changing demographics.

    • Deep South Populist

      SIND: “This presupposes they agree with the GOP on guns, abortion, immigration, etc. To the extent they do agree with the GOP on these issues, then it is not correct to say the GOP does not represent their interest.”

      I’m not sure about this. In point of fact, the Republicans at the federal level haven’t done anything about abortion ever, other than SCOTUS appointments, in 40 years. They haven’t done anything about immigration either. Ronald Reagan signed the last amnesty bill. In fact, the Corporate White Republicans and Chamber of Commerce Republicans are among the biggest supporters of high levels of immigration because they need a de facto pool of slave labor to exploit. The GOP is generally responsive to conservative Whites on gun legislation, but that really one of the few “cultural issues” where the GOP actually does respond consistently.

      SIND: The inescapable problem is that the GOP has exploited the resentments, fears and racist inclinations that can be found among poor/middle class whites for political gain.

      This characterization is mistaken.It is the exact opposite in my view. I would put it this way:

      The GOP has exploited the legitimate grievances that can be found among poor and middle class conservative Whites by paying lip service to those grievances without actually doing anything about them.

      Part of the problem here is the tendency dismiss many middle class White concerns as expressions of “resentment.” It proves their concerns aren’t taken seriously by the other side either — the Democrats — which brings me back to my original point about the lack of representation.

      • zephae

        SIND: The inescapable problem is that the GOP has exploited the resentments, fears and racist inclinations that can be found among poor/middle class whites for political gain.

        This characterization is mistaken.It is the exact opposite in my view. I would put it this way:

        The GOP has exploited the legitimate grievances that can be found among poor and middle class conservative Whites by paying lip service to those grievances without actually doing anything about them.

        The GOP goes one step further than simply paying lip service to the legitimate concerns of the poor, working, and middle class Americans, they use scapegoats to complete the message. They play to racist tensions with the Birther nonsense and the stupid crap Dinesh D’Souza says about Obama having a “Kenyan Anti-Colonialist Worldview” (followed up by one of my favorite lines of his: “two cheers for colonialism, not three.”), in an attempt to speak to the feeling that fundamental changes are going on in America. They stoke fears about immigrants to explain away problems in the job market while they play their two-faced game about Wall St. To say they aren’t fearmongering here for political gain is to overlook the obvious implications of their rhetoric.

  • _will_

    maybe these white, middle class Christians are ‘disenfranchised’ to different degrees based on region? because they are very much the top of the food chain in my neck of the woods.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    kuri3460: “Except that Palin has come out pretty strongly in favor of the Ryan plan. I think her exact words were something like “saving a billion dollars a day sounds good to me.”"

    Exactly. And that is why its difficult to distinguish the anger in these poor GOP whites from anything other than cultural resentment – if not outright racism.

  • Churl

    Palin has tapped David Frum’s fears about not getting another cushy job with a GOP presidential nominee.

    • politicalfan

      Well Churl does she have your endorsement for President? Sean Hannity seems to be encouraging her to run (panel included). Let’s see how long it takes Fox to jump on board. Is that a conflict of interest?

      Is there a President in our history who never spoke to the media?

      • Churl

        You flatter me by asking for my “endorsement”, as if that would mean anything.

        To answer your question, I would like to see Ms. Palin run. Odds are the Emperor Ai won will beat any Republican, but Palin would make the election much more interesting than Pawlenty, Romney, or any of the other snoozers who could be in the running.

  • arvan

    Middle-class white Republicans aren’t all racists. That’s an unfair characterization.

    Think about the lives these people have had. They grew up in a single-income family. They had a nice plot of land, their dad had a pension plan, gas was cheap, etc. They got into college at reasonable tuition rates, got a job, and settled down.

    Only now, they needed two incomes to make ends meet. Housing prices were way up. Pensions were a distance memory. Gas was going up. College tuition for their kids was far beyond their ability to pay, and jobs were scarce.

    They didn’t get the quality of life they saw among their parents, and they fear that their kids will have it even worse. They are, rightfully, afraid. What they don’t realize is that it was the rich, with support from the GOP, that stole everything from them. Instead, they’ve fallen for the lies that blame the immigrants, the socialists, the welfare queens.

    They may be foolish to fall for these lies, but they are not malignant or racist. They just want their kids to have the quality of life their parents had.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    DSP: “The GOP has exploited the legitimate grievances that can be found among poor and middle class conservative Whites.”

    By use of the term “grievances” I’ve assumed that you mean poor/middle class whites believe they are being denied something that they are legitimately entitled to. In this case, then among the non-economic issues you’ve listed, gun rights are the only entitlement for which whites could even theoretically claim a grievance. But as you correctly point out, there have been absolutely no plausible threats to gun rights of any kind in almost 20 years.

    Abortion, immigration, gay marriage, etc. are issues that do not deny poor/middle class whites any rights at all. Now GOP whites might be opposed to these issues for legitimate reasons, but their opposition is usually based on a belief that these social issues will result in the denial of their rights/benefits. So we get arguments like gay marriage is a threat to hetero marriage, or immigration and affirmative action are the reasons some white people don’t get into college (or become President). These arguments are largely nonsense and that is why I said it’s difficult to distinguish their anger from cultural resentment.

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    arvan: “Middle-class white Republicans aren’t all racists. That’s an unfair characterization.”

    I didn’t say this, nor do I believe it. What I said was that the anger among poor/middle class GOP whites is hardly distinguishable from cultural resentment or outright racism. And this is based on the support so many poor/middle class GOP whites give Palin, who espouses the exact same economic policies as Mitt Romney, but has also made victimhood her M.O.

    If poor/middle class GOP whites were truly concerned about their economic interests, they would abandon all of the GOP candidates and vote for the Democrats as Deep South suggested. They reject that option and continue to vote against their economic interests. For this reason, it’s hard to believe they have legitimate economic concerns. It’s also hard to feel any sympathy for them.

  • arvan

    SpartacusIsNotDead: “… it’s hard to believe they have legitimate economic concerns. It’s also hard to feel any sympathy for them.”

    That’s not very fair. They have legitimate concerns, they just don’t know what could solve those concerns. Then along comes the snake oil salesman, promising to fix it all, pain-free. They are, in essence, victims of the largest scam ever pulled off. And it’s not like they bought into the scam out of greed. All they ever wanted was a decent quality of life for themselves and their children.

    There are policies which could help them. Cracking down on illegal immigration by going after employers would help. Fixing the trade imbalance, perhaps with Warren Buffett’s free market approach, would help. Fighting outsourcing would help. Reducing H1-B visa abuse would help. In other cases, such as with gas prices, nothing can help them, but one party is willing to lie and say that they can. This is why Trump had that burst of popularity before people realized he was a windbag: He promised to do all these things — albeit in completely unrealistic ways.

    • Redrabbit

      There are policies which could help them. Cracking down on illegal immigration by going after employers would help. Fixing the trade imbalance, perhaps with Warren Buffett’s free market approach, would help. Fighting outsourcing would help. Reducing H1-B visa abuse would help. In other cases, such as with gas prices, nothing can help them, but one party is willing to lie and say that they can. This is why Trump had that burst of popularity before people realized he was a windbag: He promised to do all these things — albeit in completely unrealistic ways.

      I don’t exactly dispute this, but there is a major problem that might arise should anyone try to do what you say. Solving these problems will necessitate some sort of regulation and enforcement.

      This, of course, will be met with anger. There is a great deal of anti-regulation, anti-government sentiment among this demographic, as everyone knows. They will likely view these actions with suspicion, and if they do not, the pre-existing mistrust will make it easier for businesses to spin things in their favor by claiming to be victims of onerous regulation.

      None of the solutions you outlined are bad in and of themselves, but getting this demographic to accept them will require convincing them that government, especially government regulation of business activity, is not absolutely harmful in all cases.

  • ElizabethBennett

    I think one can make the argument that there is a large element of the public who have no trust in the government to improve their economic condition, and that if more money is given to the government through taxes, it will just go to the wealthy and well-connected, or to government employees. So, these people oppose higher taxes on anyone as a matter of principle because they think the government cannot be relied upon to do anything but spend money wastefully and increase its size, thereby always needing more money to sustain itself.

    • Deep South Populist

      That’s a very astute observation. Many rank-and-file Democrats IMO commit the same error as the rank-and-file members of the GOP except in reverse. I don’t know if it’s partisan blindness, or that the wool has been pulled over their eyes or what, but they definitely have the same zeal and quasi-religious faith in tax increases as the GOP has in tax cuts. The GOP rank file demands “tax cuts,” “tax cuts,” “tax cuts” without ever stopping to think who will benefit from the GOPs tax cuts (not the rank and file GOP, of course).

      At the same, the Democrat rank-and-file calls for “tax increases,” “tax increases,” “tax increases;” all we need is “more revenue” to solve X budget problem, and so. But, many of them rarely appear to give serious thought to what such tax increases would be used to fund. If it was a certainty that all this extra tax revenue would be directly applied to debt, deficit, and capital expenditures on the nation’s critical infrastructure then supporting tax increases would clearly make sense. In a Realpolitik world, however, that isn’t going to happen. A lot of that extra tax revenue would go directly to the military industrial complex and unnecessary overseas wars, or maybe another Wall Street bank bailout. And of lot of it would be wasted paying off various constituencies and lobbyists for their money and support, except it would be dishonesty labeled as “critical investments” rather than payoffs.

      We could fix a lot of problems without raising taxes with drastic reductions in defense spending. Neither party wants to do that though, including the Democrats.

      • ElizabethBennett

        In response to Deep South Populist:

        Though I agree that infrastructure projects could be very much needed, these projects take quite a while to get started, are often inefficient and over-budget, and are payoffs to well-connected contractors and companies. They employ people, but at what cost? Some say this is what happened in New Orleans before Katrina. The Mississippi-River-Gulf-Outlet was an example of this process. Government money given to well-connected contractors and it didn’t even solve the “problem” it was meant to solve. In fact, it arguably created the problem. http://ucsdmag.ucsd.edu/magazine/vol3no3/features/cost.htm

        The best way to help the poor and middle class is to allow them to keep more of their money and/or give them cash directly. In a time of stagnant wages, more taxes on the middle class would be a killer.

        Stopping foreign military entanglements, reducing the Pentagon budget, reforming entitlements, getting rid of ObamaCare, and eliminating pork barrel projects are all things that need to happen. The government must be reduced in size. It is not benefitting middle class Americans or our position in the world to continue on as we have been.

  • Gypsum Fantastic

    So, in other words, bitter people clinging to their guns and religion?

    • TerryF98

      That was the truest statement of the 2008 elections.

      It was so true the Right Wing were scared shitless it would resonate, become a meme and the fools who vote against their own interests election after election would suddenly wake up and realize they had been played like a fiddle for 50 years and more.

  • indy

    The GOP has exploited the legitimate grievances that can be found among poor and middle class conservative Whites by paying lip service to those grievances without actually doing anything about them.

    Change the words ‘GOP’ to ‘Democrats’ and ‘Whites’ to ‘Blacks’ and I can call you Al Sharpton.

    Lower and middle class whites have not been represented by the GOP for at least 40 years. If the tea party is a manifestation of some sort of awakening movement spearheaded by Sarah Palin, you can see why it took so long for them to wake up.

    Democrats for many years exploited minority votes in the same way that the GOP exploited lower/middle class whites, but in the end they delivered.

    • Redrabbit

      They seem afraid to deliver on some issues. At least on the ‘social’ issues. When it comes to abortion and gay marriage, they have not delivered anything, and that was always intentional. They fear two consequences if they do;

      1.General public backlash. Right now the public is split on abortion, and pretty much everyone from top to bottom is content to leave the status quo alone. Any truly radical change will result in a possible surge in pro-choice sentiment, which could cost them on election day. Various state challenges to abortion often end up being more symbolic than anything else, giving state level Republicans various electoral benefits while doing nothing to seriously upset the status quo. Gay rights, meanwhile, is a subject on which public acceptance is trending upward. The GOP knows that the position of their ‘base’ on this issue is a losing one, and they’ve slowly put this issue back on the shelf. Again, upsetting the current status is a scenario in which the GOP runs the risk of facing large public backlash, this time on an issue where they keep losing more and more of the nation, including the young, the education, and even some Catholics.

      2.The members of the base who respond to these issues most consistently tend to behave like single issue voters. It seems that there has always been the fear, probably justified, that if this segment of the base got what they wanted on this handful of issues, they would then lose much of their desire to turn out to the polls. Sure, they could be brought back should some threat arise to topple any victory they are given, but it doesn’t seem like the GOP wants to risk losing a large chunk of these voters to the inevitable apathy that will set in should they get what they want. The fact is, when it comes to the die hard anti-abortion and anti-gay types, there aren’t a lot of other issues that excite or even interest many of them.

      Which, of course, brings us to the premise of this article and much of the discussion. The GOP dangled that carrot of overturning Roe V Wade, and a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage for years. There were signs of this coming after the 2004 election, when one major figure of the religious right (whose name escapes me) said that the ‘evangelical’ vote put George W. Bush in the White House, and now they expected the Republicans to finally deliver on something. As everyone knows, they did not, and instead focused on their disastrous plan to privatize social security, earning ill-will from the public and spending most of their political capital. They tried to appeal to the religious right with the Terri Schiavo fiasco, but that turned in to a complete media disaster. It also reinforced the sense of betrayal/being screwed among this part of the ‘base.’ It seemed that many fundamentalists really did expect Bush to do whatever was necessary, even sending in the national guard or something, to ‘save’ Terri Schiavo. Once the Bush administration jumped in to that affair, they ended up in a hole they could never climb out of, because those who wanted them to act would accept nothing less that the feeding tube being re-inserted.

      After that, the GOP slowly began to lay lower and lower on ‘social issues’, with the exception of various loudmouths in the party. This sense of betrayal most certainly accounts for the unexpected breakout performance of Huckabee in the 2008 primaries, as well as the initially pitiful response the fundamentalists had to John McCain, whom they never liked much to begin with.

      Well, I’ve rambled enough for now. To sum it all up, the GOP has sort of reached the limit in which it can use social issues to exploit this particular segment of the middle to lower class white population. The reason being that these people no longer believe the GOP will ever deliver on any of the handful of issues that motivate them. Around 2004 they began to wonder if the GOP really was just using them for votes, and never giving them what they wanted to drag that support out for as long as possible. It seems that now they realize the answer is clearly ‘yes’.

      • indy

        They seem afraid to deliver on some issues. At least on the ’social’ issues. When it comes to abortion and gay marriage, they have not delivered anything, and that was always intentional.

        Gay marriage is an issue that hasn’t been delivered yet. Do you doubt it will be? I don’t. Look at the polls and people under 30 support it overwhelmingly and people under 40 support it by a majority. In fact, it you compare it to other major social issues (race equality, suffrage, etc.) in the end it will have happened in record time. Now, I don’t give credit to the Democrats for that because rights are not given, they are demanded, but in the end the Democrats will be the ones who support the changes in the law to enforce it.

        Abortion is an issue where there is legitimate conflict and it doesn’t break cleanly across Democratic/Republican lines. Remember Bart Stupak, for example. Most Democrats don’t support abortions, per se, but instead support a woman’s right to choose. That is sort of a conflicted point of view in and of itself, so it is no wonder to me that it is reflected more broadly across the legislative landscape.

  • indy

    We could fix a lot of problems without raising taxes with drastic reductions in defense spending. Neither party wants to do that though, including the Democrats.

    You can’t really make any meaningful inroads into the budget issue with defense alone in a reasonable time frame. So much of the broader economy is either directly or indirectly tied to supporting it. If you want to deeply cut spending on the military, you would have to do it over a long period of time.

    • Redrabbit

      There are other problems too. On a more ‘political’ level, this is another issue that is very easy to demagogue. While reducing spending and reducing our military involvement overseas currently polls well in the abstract, those numbers could quickly reverse. The American people have always been very receptive, I would say unreasonably receptive, to arguments based on ‘national security’.

      The military is still a very trusted institution, especially among the demographic that this article and thread are discussing. Any attempts to reduce military spending by a large margin will be very susceptible to accusations that such moves are an attack on the military itself.

      This is not to say it should not be attempted, but it is important to be realistic about possible outcomes, and what those in opposition to serious defense cuts are likely to do in response.

      • indy

        DSP said Democrats don’t want to cut military spending. I don’t think that is true. Instead, Democrats are afraid to approach the issue because they know what will happen.

    • ElizabethBennett

      In response to Indy:

      Yes, good observation. If Defense was cut drastically, we would have a much worse unemployment problem.

      One of the best ways to reduce the defense budget is to reduce health care costs, as Secretary Gates has said that, “health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive.” I don’t think you do that by creating another huge “complex” called “The Health Care Industrial Complex,” as Obama is in the process of doing.

  • talkradiosucks.com

    Sarah Palin is walking garbage, the distillation of everything that has gone sour in American society. Stupid, uneducated, and happy to be both. A dishonest, power-craving, vindictive, hypocritical reality TV fraud who has never accomplished anything of any meaning, yet has been catapulted to high positions based on her looks and her willingness to exploit anything and everyone around her.

    Anyone who supports her is little better, except for the ones too stupid to even realize what they are doing (admittedly, a high percentage).

    • indy

      Anyone who supports her is little better, except for the ones too stupid to even realize what they are doing (admittedly, a high percentage).

      I think they are worse. Palin didn’t choose to be plucked from obscurity and thrust into a money booth. I don’t blame her for grasping at the bills with both hands.

      The people who throw the bills at her, however, do it by choice.

  • nhthinker

    “They had reason to feel that the GOP did not speak for them during the crisis, when Republicans bailed out Wall Street and the big car companies, while leaving distressed homeowners to fend for themselves.”

    No more bail outs for people that took risks for their own reward. Make the federal government smaller. Frum incorrectly views Republicans as asking for their special interest. Frum thinks everyone is basically narcissistic. Frum believes the selfish gene drives everyone’s decisions- He is perplexed like the Grinch when they don’t make the decisions that he would if he were in their predicament.

  • Rob_654

    I can’t speak to the cultural issues as if someone who is freaking out about their job, financial security and the future of medicare and social security wants to vote for people who want to ban gay marriage and abortion while promising the wealthiest that they will cut their taxes while the meat cleaver comes out for the middle class – well – they are cutting their own throats.

    But the true Conservative answer is right before us – there ARE lots of jobs available in the United States that start at high 5 to low 6 figures with good benefits.

    No jobs? If we look at how many jobs were being lost each month when Bush left office and were we are now – Obama has turned around the jobs picture from losing many hundreds of thousands of jobs each month to starting to add jobs.

    I know plenty of companies in my industry that can’t find qualified people to fill the openings they have – its just that Americans are too lazy to go get the type of education that those jobs require – in other words – the opportunities are there if these Republicans want to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work hard to get them – and not wait for the government to bring back jobs that are long gone to China and Mexico – yup – the Free Market can be brutal….

    • chephren

      Is it really fair to say those jobs you refer to, which by your own admission require specialized training, aren’t filled because people are “too lazy”?

      It strikes me as obvious to have spell this out to you – but for most people, including the unemployed and underemployed, it is very hard and very expensive to retrain for different work. And risky – returning to school to retrain, probably having to borrow to do so (on top of mortgage payments and the cost of feeding a family) may not actually get you a job when you’re finished. What then?

      What about people over 45 or so, who have the hardest time adjusting to this tough, tough economy? There are millions of them, many of whom once sold houses or ran contracting businesses, or did any number of other jobs for which there is now zero demand.

      Who are you to say they are “lazy”? Have YOU ever had to retrain in a completely different career and compete with people decades younger than you for a new start? Do you understand how deeply education and retraining budgets have been cut back in many states, just when the demand has never been higher?

      What of these companies in your industry that you complain can’t find qualified workers? What are they doing to train and develop the people they need? Or are they just expecting that the job market will deliver qualified personnel, ready to work at increasingly specified jobs? If so, who is really “lazy” here?

  • jg bennet

    I can’t stand Palin but what she said will soon become the battle cry of the beleaguered GOP voters.

    What did she say? “To have a balanced trade arrangement with other countries across this world so Americans can have our jobs, our industries, our manufacturing again.”

    They, the middle class republicans were betrayed when their party was hijacked by the free trade neoliberal/Chicago School Friedman economic crowd. Once the neoliberal hijacking is articulated to the GOP base they are going to be pissed.

    Now that Palin is talking trade and bringing back manufacturing jobs the GOP voters are going to get even angrier because the bought off politicos & think tank/trade status quo bunch are very soon to become a bigger boogeyman than Obama.

    The last ten years? Try the last 23 years. The heist of middle class wealth actually started right after Reagan in 1988 because there was no one left to protect the middle class hen house from the neoliberal foxes……….

    Lost in the flood of Ronald Reagan retrospectives and testimonials is a crucial fact with special relevance for all Americans today: To a great extent, Ronald Reagan was a trade realist.

    When major American industries were on the ropes, a combination of national security fears, electoral concerns, and outrage at inequitable, illegal competition prompted Reagan to act, and American manufacturing was unquestionably the stronger for it.

    Tragically, this is a crucial aspect of his legacy that all of Reagan’s White House successors have rejected, frittering away American manufacturing and jobs in one ill-advised free trade agreement after another.

    The conventional wisdom about Reagan as free enterprise, free market champion is largely true. But on trade policy, Reagan acted decisively in five instances to save major American industries from predatory foreign competition. Moreover, the temporary import relief succeeded spectacularly, resulting in improved performance by these industries and avoiding the captive market prices that conventional economics teaches will always flow from restricting foreign competition.

    Granted he let Friedman in (it was the trend) but he kept the free trade minions at bay with his old school Lincoln/Teddy Roosevelt republican protectionism.

    May 30, 1988
    The Reagan Record On Trade:
    Rhetoric Vs. Reality THE CATO INSTITUTE

    The Reagan administration has failed to promote free trade. Ronald Reagan by his actions has become the most protectionist president since Herbert Hoover. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa107.html

    How does the GOP win the middle class in 2012? Start talking about the neoliberal hijacking and follow Reagan on protectionism.

    Here is a little history for the duped republicans out there in Frumtopia….

    **Northern Progressives sought free trade to undermine the power base of Republicans** –
    Woodrow Wilson would admit as much in a speech to Congress. A brief resurgence by Republicans in the 1920s was disastrous for them. Woodrow Wilson’s ideological understudy, Franklin Roosevelt, would essentially blame the Great Depression upon the protectionist policies exemplified by the previous Republican President, Herbert Hoover……….

    So if a “socialist” Democrat like FDR supported free trade and was against protectionism to undermine the Republicans why is it that Republicans so staunchly support it today? Look at CATO, Heritage et al…

  • politicalfan

    jgbennet,
    What happened to Trump?

  • jg bennet

    Trump decided not to run that is what happened but I’m betting his heterodox economic message will be the biggest GOP winner in the election.

    The reason I supported Trump was that message (I have never voted GOP for pres) and the fact he had his own money and did not have to whore himself out to the neoliberal big business guys for campaign cash and kiss the knee caps of CATO, Heritage, The Club for Growth etc.

    The GOP once protected and nurtured American industry and the middle class but today they sell them out for corporate profits.

    Obama can be beat with Trump’s message and I’m looking forward to Trump’s book which will probably become the Tea Party/average Joe conservative/union members bible for restoring America’s jobs & wealth…..

    Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.
    Donald Trump

    • politicalfan

      JG- Trump is not the average Joe. I agree with part of your Palin theory. However, I think she is tossing out stuff to see what sticks (or what gets the most cheers). I think it is very difficult to take her serious and that is unfortunate because I don’t think she is as far right as her base thinks she is.

  • Bebe99

    There is one economic reform that lower and middle income Republican voters I’ve spoken to would support–raising taxes to pre-Bush levels (or higher) on the highest earners (over 3 million). This alone could help to restore the middle class by capping salaries, discouraging huge bonuses and spreading the earnings downward and outward in the form of expansion.

  • lillyluminatus

    The problem is that Palin stands for precisely what has caused this stagnation in middle class wages in the first place–elimination of collective bargaining, deregulation, and starve the beast politics.

    It is no coincidence that middle class wages began to stagnate under Ronald Reagan, nor that 30 years of Reaganomics has merely exacerbated the problem.

    • ElizabethBennett

      In response to LillyLuminatus:

      Unions are a relic. When it comes to public sector unions, they are extremely harmful to non- union, middle and lower class workers because they are draining money away from public services that middle class people use – like parks and libraries.

      Plus, it was failure to enforce regulations, or a loosening of banking regulations by both parties, that led to the financial meltdown.

      And, globalization has caused income stagnation of working class Americans.

  • jg bennet

    Bebe

    That is wealth redistribution which is totally taboo in neoliberal/classical economics/modern republican economic theory.

    Classical liberals Adopted Thomas Malthus’s population theory, they saw poor urban conditions as inevitable, as they believed population growth would outstrip food production; and they considered that to be desirable, as starvation would help limit population growth.

    ***Classical/neoliberals oppose any income or wealth redistribution, which they believe would be dissipated by the lowest orders.***

    The classical liberals advocated policies to increase “liberty and prosperity”. They sought to empower the commercial class politically. Modern GOP for sure…

    The term “neoliberalism” has come into wide use in cultural studies to describe an internationally prevailing ideological paradigm that leads to social, cultural, and political practices and policies that use the language of markets, efficiency, consumer choice, transactional thinking and individual autonomy ***to shift risk from governments and corporations onto individuals**** (or from Wall Street to Main Street) and to extend this kind of market logic into the realm of social and affective relationships.

    Philosopher Mark Lila refers to the “The forces of globalized nation that have given us a ‘neoliberalism’ that people everywhere associated with unregulated markets, labor exploitation, environmental degradation, and official corruption.”

    The Chicago school of economics describes a neoclassical school of thought within the academic community of economists, with a strong focus around the faculty of University of Chicago.

    The school emphasizes non-intervention from government and rejects regulation in laissez-faire free markets as inefficient. It is associated with neoclassical price theory and libertarianism and the rejection of Keynesianism in favor of monetarism until the 1980s, when it turned to rational expectations. The school has impacted the field of finance by the development of the efficient market hypothesis.

    So the winning GOP campaign pitch?

    Obama is from Chicago, Saul Alynsky is from Chicago, Rham is from Chicago, Bill Ayers is from Chicago, Reverend Wright is From Chicago aaand both the Republican & Democratic economic philosophy is from Chicago.

    Seems to me if you are average Joe voter GOP anything from Chicago is anti Republican including The Chicago school of economics. Richard Nixon the “great republican hero” is the guy who ushered the Chicago school into our politics and we all know his credibility was total crapolla.

    The only way to do what you suggest is to purge Richard Nixon’s economic ideology from our current system and to do that you need a Trump type of thinker in the white house.

    • Nomad13

      I am sorry jgbennet, but that is a horrible campaign pitch. Your own definition says the school of thought revolves around the Univ of Chicago. Which Obama did not attend. If you think to smear Obama with picking up economic theory on the streets through osmosis, then I agree that would be entertaining, and last about as long as it took to bring up where Obama went to school and what his actual policies are (hint: Obama favors regulation and consumer protections), and that would fizzle out.

  • Hunter01

    As Reagan would bypass the media to speak directly to the public, Palin bypasses the cognitive centers of the brain and speaks directly to our subconscious. (With Reagan it was a preference, with Palin it’s the only avenue she’s got.) Thus, she goes on about “real” Americans, “blood libels,” “restoring” national character, the flag, hunting and rifles, defending liberties, heroes in uniform, along with other familiar tropes. Through bitter experience she has learned that public policy issues, thoughtful debates –indeed, prosaic language itself — are beyond her. She rejects them in turn.
    But there is another factor — none of her manipulations of symbols and archetypes would play so well with the conservative crowd (and so irritate the liberal crowd) were it not for her physical appearance and her weirdly pitched voice. It’s a picture of raw, female animalism combined with a cunning, childlike intelligence. If her star has begun to fade, I would argue it’s because she is now aging out of our imagination.

    • Chris PG

      Strange analysis you have Hunter01.

      Thus, she goes on about “real” Americans, “blood libels,” “restoring” national character, the flag, hunting and rifles, defending liberties, heroes in uniform, along with other familiar tropes.

      She isn’t a real American?

      She also was correct in her use of the term “blood libel” as it applied to the left’s insane attempt to pin the horrific shootings of a madman on her.

      The shooting were never about her; only the hysterical imaginings of persons like Krugman, Kennedy Jr., and Obermann made her a part of the story. She acted honourably by calling out those progressives for the slander they were perpetuating.

      But there is another factor — none of her manipulations of symbols and archetypes would play so well with the conservative crowd (and so irritate the liberal crowd) were it not for her physical appearance and her weirdly pitched voice.

      How grotesquely sexist. And America is a country of such incredible diversity yet you find her small town Alaskan accent offensive. How small minded some people are.

  • think4yourself

    Frum describes these GOP voters like lonely islands being swept over by storms looking for a saviour. He describe the death of the GOP. Isn’t that hyperbolic overkill? The GOP control the house, the majority of governorships and many (most?) statehouses. In 8 years President Bush (and in the 12 years of Reagan & Bush 41) have stacked the judiciary and now generally have a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. It’s possible that the GOP could win the Senate in the next election. If Republicans won the Presidency either this election or in 2016, you’ll hear the same handwringing on the Democratic side (as you did after the midterms).

    The fact is we have a large moderate centrist group who occasionally vote GOP, Democratic or not at all. You then have extreme’s on both sides who try to drive their respective representatives to support their view to the exclusion of all other views and like reality TV, the louder the better. Palin, Bachmann and Trump are the standard bearers for that view. If we didn’t have a sitting Democratic President, you’d have the same thing on the other side (Trafficant for President, anyone?), egged on by the likes of Daily Kos.

    • ottovbvs

      He describe the death of the GOP. Isn’t that hyperbolic overkill?

      Where to start with this rather odd catalog of assertions. To start with DF did not describe the death of the GOP but suggested it has betrayed non wealthy Republicans who are attracted by the faux populism of a Palin. I certainly don’t think the GOP is dead but neither do I think the fact it won control of one house of congress and a majority of governorships in an off year with an electoral turnout of only 82 million is evidence of its long term health and strategic clarity. Scotus is merely a product of the Grim Reaper’s lottery and it’s very extreme conservatism in itself carries the risk of blowback. And as far as I know, Democrats have never suggested Trafficant or anyone remotely like him (or Bachmann, or Palin or Trump for that matter) as remotely suitable Democratic candidates for president. Kos is not the Democratic party. It’s one of thousands of blogs. In fact I think DF makes some valid points about the alienation of blue collar and middle class Republican voters although some of them merely reflect the fact that the GOP does not really represent their economic and/or social interests. The light bulb may have come on but they are mistaken in thinking Palin is a source of illumination.

  • ottovbvs

    the past half-decade has been a terrible time.

    Actually it’s been the past decade. The events leading to the collapse of 2007/8 all grew from seeds planted at the start of the decade. Cheap money from the Fed, initially used as a means of mitigating the dot com bust but allowed to continue far too long because Alan Greenspan didn’t see it as the role of the Fed to prick asset bubbles and said so. Reckless banking practices unrestraind by an administration that was ideologically opposed to regulation of any sort. Profligate fiscal policies that cut taxes (mainly for the wealthy) while massively expanding expenditures on wars and programs like Part D that were conducted off the books or not funded. The events of the last three years are merely the denouement of the farcically inept Republican style of management. The problem is it’s not been particularly funny for the vast majority of Americans.

  • NRA Liberal

    It seems to me that a “socially conservative/economically liberal” candidate could do well, as long as they had the right mojo.

    anti-abortion
    pro-medicare, pro-SS, pro-union
    anti-globalization
    anti-gay marriage
    strong on religion

  • drdredel

    @Hunger01
    But there is another factor — none of her manipulations of symbols and archetypes would play so well with the conservative crowd (and so irritate the liberal crowd) were it not for her physical appearance and her weirdly pitched voice.

    I can’t say I agree here. I’m pretty sure I would find her sentiment to be as idiotic and irritating were I simply to read it, completely separated from her presence or delivery. Sure, those two things don’t help (she’s got that idiot smile, not unlike Jack Nickelson’s Joker and while her voice isn’t all that grating, the sentences she forms with it turn it into a circular saw), but I can’t think of having ever read a single quote from this person that hasn’t left me thinking “how the hell can anyone be dumb enough to take this seriously?!”

    • rubbernecker

      But there is another factor — none of her manipulations of symbols and archetypes would play so well with the conservative crowd (and so irritate the liberal crowd) were it not for her physical appearance and her weirdly pitched voice. It’s a picture of raw, female animalism combined with a cunning, childlike intelligence.

      Wow, that was good!

  • Tom in Houston

    Except for one little detail: how do her followers know that she won’t support the very policies that the rest of the GOP supports? That’s rhetorical. She will support those policies. She’ll just “also, too” keep pissing off liberals, which apparently is enough to compensate them for the loss of their economic security.

  • Bebe99

    jg bennet thanks for the economics history, it is not my strong suit. I have a question: Is neoliberal economics all based on theory (or fantasy) rather than practice? I know that South American economies were at one time heavily influenced by the Chicago school. I don’t hear anyone on the right saying ‘Look what we did in Chile, we can do that here too.’ This system seems destined to cause a never-ending flow of money upwards that only gains momentum as it goes.

    And I think the ordinary Republican voter isn’t as rigid about economic policies as the leadership. They don’t like paying taxes, but I think they are ok with other people paying taxes.

  • jg bennet

    bebe

    the neoliberal’s run the global economy it is not a theory it is like a religious doctrine. really, google it and you’ll find all kinds of examples of the exploitation of the poor, the destruction of american jobs and all to enrich the elite.

    it is not a conspiracy neoliberal economics is our current economic policy and they hand out nobel prizes for it.

    the neoliberal fight really began for the soul of america in 1861 and after the shooting war ended the political/propaganda war began. that war was sadly won by the confederates aka the neoliberals.

    slaveholders and their enterprises are perfect examples of the classical economic model at work. cheap labor for non manufacturing high margin products. all produced with imported manufactured goods so not to have to pay high wages for skilled labor and all with little gov interference in business.

    the civil war was not started over slavery it was started over free trade, basically it was started because neoliberalism/classical economics was what the south saw as the best model and lincoln wanted to keep the american school of economics.

    In broad outline, the Confederate Constitution is an amended U.S. Constitution. Even on slavery, there is little difference. Whereas the U.S. Constitution ended the importation of slaves after 1808, the Confederate Constitution simply forbade it. Both constitutions allowed slave ownership, of course.

    In fact, slavery only became a constitutional issue after the war had begun. In his 1861 inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln said, “Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican administration their property [is] to be endangered…. I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States where it exists…. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclina6on to do so.”

    But the differences in the documents, small as they are, are extremely important. The people who wrote the Southern Constitution had lived under the federal one. They knew its strengths, which they tried to copy, and its “weaknesses”, which they tried to eliminate.

    In the Confederate Constitution is a clause that has no parallel in the U.S. Constitution. It affirms strong support for free trade and opposition to protectionism: “but no bounties shall be granted from the Treasury; nor shall any duties or taxes on importation from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry.”

    Why fire on Ft. Sumter? It was a customs house, and when the North attempted to strengthen it, the South knew that its purpose was to collect taxes, as newspapers and politicians said at the time.

    Sooo with all this being clear and looking at our trade deals which both parties are religiously dedicated to, we have abandoned the ideas of protectionism/america first that made our nation great. the neoliberal economic philosophy is immoral and very un american.

    free trade = the confederacy or at least their ideas

    i really believe it is time for an outside party to win the white house and it could be done with the right message an anti neoliberal message, money and a bold messenger.

    divide and conquer…. a strong candidate could take the white house with 40% and set america on a post partisan no more neoliberals in the oval office course.

    June 1st 2011, 6:48 PM
    Donald Trump jumped back into the spotlight Wednesday, saying he will “absolutely” run for president as an Independent if the Republicans nominate a weak candidate.

    “Oh absolutely,” he said on Fox’s “Good Day New York.” “I’d like to see what happens with the Republicans. If they get the right person. So far, I don’t see it.”

  • jg bennet

    BeBe

    NEOLIBERALISM 101
    the neoliberal heist of americas wealth……

    Neoliberalism” is not based on Adam Smith, as is often claimed for it by the libertarian propaganda, but is, in reality, based largely on the ideas of an Austrian economist, Friedrick Hayek, who had written in the 1930′s that the control of an economy by a government is the “road to serfdom,” as he titled his treatise. Asserting that human rights sprang from property rights, he claimed that a society could be no more free than its economy. The two principal failures of his analysis, were of course, first, the premise that human rights are a function of property rights, and that a society that planned its economy was doomed to serfdom. What Hayek never considered is that the obverse of such a policy is obviously that someone who has no property, has no rights, which means that person is, quite obviously, vulnerable to the very serfdom that Hayek claimed to fear. Witness the millions in debt-slavery in India and much of the rest of the world – the very serfdom that Hayek claimed to be repulsed by. The second major error was the assumption that corporations were entitled to the same property rights as individuals, and yet somehow deserved an exemption from liability that individuals do not enjoy – a basic inequality of rights. But nevertheless, his ideas had a great deal of resonance among social libertarians, who were highly enamored of an economic theory that corresponded to their social theories. It also found additional resonance in the writings of the Russian philosopher and popular novelist, Ayn Rand, and became the basis of her philosophical celebration of what can only charitably be described as selfishness.

    The conservatives of the Republican Party in the U.S. in the 1960′s and 1970′s used that period of slow economic growth as a means of persuading policymakers that Keynesian economics had somehow failed, and that only a turn to the deregulation advocated by Hayek could solve the problems of “stagflation” that had become such an intractible problem. So, claiming that Keynes was dead, “neoliberal economics” was born, brought to life in America by a bald, mousy-looking economist from the University of Chicago, by the name of Milton Friedman. Friedmand knew that Hayek’s ideas were functionally anti-egalitarian, regardless of the title of his most famous book, yet Friedman privately, but freely admitted that he was not an egalitarian and didn’t care about fairness. This made him the instant darling of the “neo-liberals.”

    Friedman was the undying, sworn enemy of Keynesian economics. He widely publicized what he considered to be a need to return to the “unseen hand” of the market to cure the “stagflation” of the time. His ideas were exactly what the right-wing rich elites needed in an economic theory. It was simple, easy to understand, superfically reasonable and logical, and above all else, suited their need for an economic theory, which, if implemented, would enable them to accumulate wealth and thereby transfer its accompanying power to themselves without restraint. It suited their desire for revenge and their greed and avarice beautifully. Friedman very quickly became their darling, lavishly gifted, and being driven around the University of Chicago campus in a chauffered limosine. Paul Samuelson, Friedman’s long-time rival and the principal advocate of careful, sensible regulation of business and government intervention in the market in the Keynesian mold, tirelessly warned of the anti-eglaitarian dangers of Friedman’s approach, but amidst the propaganda, he was largely forgotten, even though it was his ideas that had not only prevented a return to business cycles, but had created a vast middle class in America in just a couple of decades following world war II.

    I did not write this Scott Bidstrup did

  • anniemargret

    Palin speaks for nobody but herself. The GOP is the loser here. She loves to have a foe . She loves to tweak people and parties and the ‘bluebloods’ even if those ‘bluebloods’ are the people she should not be insulting.

    Palin likes all this.

    And she ‘taps into’ everyone’s fears. The fear that this nincompoop could even be still the media darling and GOPs talking head for three and one half years now. Even after we’ve listened to her inane and stupid remarks for those three years.

    Talk about fear. Fearful that at least 1/3 of this country hasn’t the maturity to pick a pickle out of a barrel of brine.

    • politicalfan

      annie- They (GOP) could actually learn from Palin. People do not like that she is ‘put down’ by people who think they are smarter than her. Higher education has a different meaning to each individual.

      They really need to stop saying she is “not smart enough” and would benefit by stressing the importance of having stronger policy strengths. She has to be able to answer questions instead of presenting it in readable form.

      • anniemargret

        I’m sorry, politicalfan, but they rallied around a doofus. Sarah Palin has a minimal education….it has nothing to do with graduating anywhere. She is a very lazy person in learning what needs to be learned if a person wants a political career. She has spent her entire life surrounded by people who are dazzled by her appearance and learned early on that she did not have to work hard mentally to rise to the top.

        She was, after all, a beauty queen. What exactly does a beauty queen have to do? Look pretty. Right?

        Has she done ANYTHING to prove herself outside of snide, snarky remarks and looking pretty? She has even had the audacity to put her kids around her both for political protection, and for brownie points. Name one other political candidate who has done this, other than John Edwards? And he, at least, debated issues openly.

        Her fans don’t like her being put down? Too bad! They picked a charlatan and a coward. She has still not left Fox News to open herself up to pointed, serious questions that were not set up for her.

        That smacks of indifference and arrogance. The American people deserve better. We need *serious* people in politics because it often involves Life and Death for many. We don’t need political celebrities egging on racists and bigots, and out there primarily to fill their coffers.

        • Chris PG

          Reply to anniemargret:

          Sarah Palin has more education then Katie Couric and accomplished far more then 99% of women ever will, despite starting from a far from privileged background.

          She is proud of her kids, which of course only a progressive could find offensive.

          She is sexy, sensual, accomplished, and a conservative. Since you are a progressive, it is understandable why you would be so upset by Sarah Palin.

  • ottovbvs

    the civil war was not started over slavery it was started over free trade,

    Bunk!

  • jg bennet

    ottovbvs

    then what is this all about?

    South Carolina had seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860 and by the following February, six more states had followed. On February 7, the seven states formed a provisional Confederate government.

    Charleston was a key port in the South and as such, was a collecting point for tariffs on imports into the South from Europe, upon which the Federal government depended for about 85% of its total revenue. Therein lay its significance as the place where the war began. As long as there was a Federal presence in the center of Charleston Harbor, ships could be stopped and tariffs could be collected. Fort Sumter was practically dead center in the harbor and capable of stopping any ship trying to enter.

  • Chris PG

    I read Mr. Frum’s article here a few days ago, and then again today in one of Canada’s national newspapers, the National Post, and I still can not understand what Mr. Frum is saying. I respect the writings of Mr. Frum, but on the issue of Sarah Palin, he, like so many others, appears to lose all capability of rational discourse.

    Economic fears encompass nearly everyone at present, it is hardly a GOP-unique situation. But Mr. Frum, at the end of an otherwise interesting and intelligent article, tacks on the following sentence:

    But of course, nobody does it better than the candidate who has made victimhood her core message: Sarah Palin.

    Sarah Palin? A victim? Where? When?

    And please don’t bring up the Tuscon shooting where high profile Democrats odiously attempted to use a murderous rampage as cover to commit political murder against a Republican opponent.

    As I said, tacking on that sentence at the end of the article makes no sense. Talking about the fears and concerns that millions of citizens live with is not victimhood, it’s reality.

    And I really do wish that writers commenting on Sarah Palin could keep their visceral hatred of her under some sort of control. We know, you and so many others despise her. But tell us something new, something interesting, and if we are really lucky, something coherent.

  • The Radicalism of the Rich | Library Grape

    [...] well as those who lose by it: For non-wealthy Republicans – as for non-wealthy Americans generally – the past half-decade [...]

  • Newslinks for Wednesday June 1, 2011 | Conservative Home USA

    [...] How Palin taps the GOP’s economic fears – David Frum [...]