So What Happened?

March 27th, 2010 at 11:55 am David Frum | 239 Comments |

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After my dismissal from AEI Thursday, I posted in this space my letter of resignation. I declined television interviews, but I did speak to print journalists about the basic facts, in a way that expressed respect for AEI and its leadership.

I spent most of today flying from Washington to San Francisco and emerged from the plane to a fierce counter-attack, including an especially unpleasant piece from Charles Murray.

Let me respond here to some specific issues in this matter.

1) Was the firing political? Obviously I cannot enter into people’s minds, and at my termination lunch AEI President Arthur Brooks insisted that politics had nothing to do with the decision. So let’s just follow the time line. Waterloo piece is posted Sunday March 22. Wall Street Journal editorial denouncing me appears March 23. Summons to lunch arrives mid-morning of March 23. At lunch I am told that AEI wishes to terminate my salary, office, benefits, and research assistance. I am however at liberty to continue to consider myself part of the AEI family. I declined that offer and wrote a letter of resignation.

2) Was the firing in response to donor pressure? At lunch, Arthur Brooks explained that AEI was facing a new kind of donor environment, in which donors were becoming much more specific about where they wanted their money to go. Arthur expressed extreme personal distress at having to terminate me. It’s possible that those words were pro forma, and that my own affection for Arthur led me to attach more weight to them than I should have. It’s very strange that Charles Murray would denounce me as a liar because I wished to think better of my former boss!

3) Did AEI muzzle healthcare scholars? I fear that in reproducing in print a private conversation from some months ago, Bruce Bartlett made a transmission error. I did not report as fact that scholars were laboring under any restrictions. What I did say was that AEI was punching way below its weight in the healthcare debate. I wondered, not alleged, wondered, whether AEI scholars were constrained by fear of saying something that might get them into trouble. To repeat: this was something I asked many months ago in private conversation, not something I allege today in public debate.

4) Was I terminated for under-productivity? If you’ll believe that, you’ll believe anything. In seven years at AEI, I wrote 3 books, over 1000 newspaper and magazine articles, millions of words of web journalism. I have made more TV appearances, delivered more lectures than I even know how to count. (I’ll be delivering half dozen such lectures in China in the month of April as a guest of the US Department of State.)

I have written speeches on an unpaid basis for politicians I admire. I worked pro bono on a presidential nomination campaign. Then, there was the campaign to oppose Harriet Miers nomination. Does AEI seriously suggest that it fired the man who led the battle that made possible Samuel Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court because I didn’t pick up my snail mail often enough? That’s what they said to Politico.

As for Charles’ other suggestions, well, they point in a very different direction than he’d like. I did attend for example the 2009 World Forum, and was fiercely scolded by Lynne Cheney for my criticisms of Rush Limbaugh. This year I was not invited at all, despite having obtained for the conference some of its most distinguished international guests.

Charles acknowledges that he himself spends almost zero time on the AEI premises. If that’s a firing offense, I’ll see him at the soup kitchen.


Finally, one last thought about my reply to AEI’s claims above. If it’s required that AEI scholars publish their online work at AEI’s own blog, why did Charles Murray post his remarks about on me on the Corner, instead of upon … AEI’s own blog?

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  • chriscurrey

    Dear Mr. Frum,

    Mr. Frum, I have been reading your columns recently. To be honest, I did not know you had a blog, but I was glad to have discovered it. See, I am an old Republican. I am religious, yet not a fanatic. I am a free-marketer; yet, I believe in the role of the government as a fair evenhanded referee. I am socially conservative; yet, I believe that my lesbian niece and my gay grandchild should have the full protection of the law and live as free Americans enjoying every aspect of our society with no prejudices and/or restrictions. Nowadays, my political and socio-economic profile would make me a Marxist, not a Republican.

    I grew up in an era where W.F. Buckley fought the John Birch society and kicked them out of the Republican Party. I grew up with–in fact voted for the first time for –Eisenhower. In 1956, he ran a campaign of dignity. A campaign that acknowledged that there are certain projects better suited to be handled by the government. See, business thinks in the short term, as he said. That’s the imperative of the market place. I invest and I expect that in a few quarters, I garner the fruits of my investment. Government, on the other hand, has the luxury to wait a few years, maybe decades, for a return on a given investment. As a former businessman, I know that first hand. Am I a Marxist for thinking that? I will come back to this question later.

    I witnessed the fight for equal civil rights of the 1960s. And as a proud American, I applauded the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and we became a better country because of them. Those acts made America stronger. Those acts, at their core, represented and still represent all the values upon which the Republican Party was founded. Yet today, our GOP representatives and leaders are ashamed of them. When they talk about them, you feel their discomfort, their clumsiness, and sometimes their shame. That awkwardness is so strong that it crosses the television screen and hits in the face in your living room. Why is that? What happened to this generation of Republicans? We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, and yet we act and behave as if we are the party of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    I did not like Medicaid and Medicare when they were passed. I was opposed to them. Maybe I was too young, too strong, and too ideologically confined. Yet, over the years, I saw how Medicare helped millions of elderly Americans. I saw how Medicare helped my mom in her final years battling emphysema caused by years of smoking. You have to be blind to oppose those programs. You have to be blind to wish for the suffering of millions of Americans just because you believe in personal responsibility.

    As a businessman, I was torn between my bottom line and providing health coverage for my employees. I knew that if I provided them with that coverage, their productivity increases. I did my best, but the riptide of the health insurance market defeated me. And with a heavy heart, I offered them gimmicky coverages that, deep down, I knew did not provide a comprehensive and adequate coverage, but it was the only coverage I could afford.

    I voted for Nixon and for Reagan. Although I did not like the deficit spending of the Reagan administration, I blamed it on and rationalized it by the necessities of fighting the Cold War. I liked Reagan—who didn’t? Even my Democrat and liberal friends liked and respected him. I voted for Clinton, twice. I thought he was the best Republican president since IKE. No, I did not make a mistake. Bill Clinton was closer ideologically to Eisenhower and Nixon than Bush I and II could ever be. I thought that Clinton practiced and articulated true Republican ideology in his fiscal discipline, job creation, smart tax cuts, and foreign policy than anyone since IKE.

    Then something happened in the 1990s. The leaders of the GOP grew belligerent. They became too religious, almost zealots. They became intolerant. They begun searching for the purity of the Republican thought and doctrine. Ideology blinded them. I continued to vote Republican, but with a certain unease. Deep down I knew that a schism happened between the modern Republican Party and the one I grew up with. During the fight over the impeachment of President Clinton, the ugly face of the Republican Party was brought to the surface. Empty rhetoric, ideological intolerance, vengeance, and religious zealotry became the common currency. Suddenly, if you are a pro-choice, you could not be a Republican. If you are for smart and sensible taxes to balance out the budget, you could not be a Republican. If you are pro-civil Rights, you could not be a Republican. It started with minorities; they left the party. Then women; they divorced the GOP and sent it to sleep on the couch. Then, the young folks; they left and are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Then, someone stood up and told my niece and my grandchild that they are not fully Americans–second class Americans– just because they are homosexuals. They wished hell and damnation upon my loved ones just because they are different. Are we led my priests or are we led by rational politicians? Now, we have became the party of the Old Straight White Folks. We should rename the Republican Party the OSWF rather than the GOP.

    Recently, since the election of Barrack Obama, common sense has left us completely. We are in the era of craziness. As you said it in one of your previous columns, a deal was there to be made over the health care bill. Instead, this ideological purity blinded us. As LBJ said it, instead of being inside the tent pissing out, we choose to be outside the tent and pissing against the wind, and we got splashed by our own urine, by our own nonsense. Why did we do that? Well, when a political party shrinks its electoral based to below 30% and is composed by one demographic group, all that is left are bunch of zealots. We shrank it by kicking out of the party those who believe that abortion should be legal but limited. We shrank it by kicking out those who believe that an $11 trillion economy, like ours, needs a strong government, not a government that can be drowned in a bathtub. We shrink it when we sanctified Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, and canonized Sarah Palin. These are the leaders of my party nowadays. How did we go from William F. Buckley to Glenn Beck? How did we go from Eisenhower and Nixon to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? I do not know. What i know, however, that these leaders remind of me the leaders of the Whig Party and they will bring the collapse of the GOP.

    I do not recognize myself in the Republican Party anymore. As someone said it before, I did not leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me. I have the same ideological position on most of the issues that I had when I voted for IKE, Nixon, Reagan and G.W. Bush in 2000. However, I just cannot trust the reins of our government and nation, of this formidably complicated and complex gigantic machine that is the USA, to the amateurish leadership of the Republican Party.

    We are living trough tough times. We are being challenged like I have never seen America being challenged before. China is a formidable foe, and it is out there competing against us on every field and beating on several fronts. While the education budgets are being slashed in every state across the nation, China is doubling and tripling theirs. These are the challenges and challengers that we are facing. And we need our best and brightest to lead us, not a half-term governor or radio/TV talking heads.

    Do your best Mr. Frum to foster a new generation of rational Republican. Maybe i am too old and too cynical, but i think the Republican party is in the last stages of agony. If nothing happens, we might win an election or even two, but on the long run we will lose America.

    PS: I apologize for the length of post, i needed to vent my frustration.

  • Curious

    Mr. Currey as a registered Democrat I see that you and I are not that far apart on the many issues that challenged our beloved nation. I would like to offer this piece of advise…don’t give up on your party, I understand your current disappointment with Republican Party leadership because we Democrats have a long history of being out of power and finger pointing and soul searching as to why we are out of power. Eventually the Republican Party will get it its act together and come up with some new ideas that will possibly address the needs of a wider more diverse groups of Americans.

  • Dermott

    I could not have said it better.
    I am an old republican who is now a bystander looking at opting out.
    Thanks for your comment.

  • sinz54

    ChrisCurrey: Why is that? What happened to this generation of Republicans? We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, and yet we act and behave as if we are the party of Nathan Bedford Forrest.
    Guess what, those are today’s Republicans.

    The decimation of the old Northeast and Northwest Republicans in election after election, has caused the center of gravity of the GOP to shift Southward. The old “Solid South” used to be staunchly Dem; now it’s staunchly GOP, so no Republicans dare to propose policies that white Southerners won’t like.

    These Republicans have the same insular, grasping attitude that the old McCarthy-McGovern antiwar liberals had about the Dem Party in the 1970s: The Party belongs to us, and we don’t want to share it with anybody who has a different point of view.

    I hope I’m not offending anybody here when I say that you can’t expect enlightened policies and an inclusive, cosmopolitan mindset to come out of a bunch of white Southerners. That was true when they were Dems; and it’s still true now that they’re Repubs.

    The GOP simply has to start winning again in the Northeast and Midwest. Fortunately, they have. They won the Governorship in NJ and the Senate race in MA. That’s a big start.

  • CentristNYer

    Chriscurrey, clearly you must be a left wing troll for daring to say that the GOP has become belligerent, intolerant and irrelevant. Where did you ever get such a nutty idea?

  • ottovbvs

    chriscurrey // Mar 29, 2010 at 1:27 am

    ……I read your entire piece with interest because your background and trajectory largely follows mine…..I’m a retired businessman, long time rather desultory Republican voter largely out of tradition since I come from a long GOP line (we even have a pic of my great grandpa with McKinley)…..I also agree exactly about the timing, the 90′s, which is when I jumped ship, and about the sheer insanity that has taken over since Obama’s election……what mystifies me most is the ability of a lot of Republicans(even relatively sane ones) to rationalize all this away… Sinz does in a largely accurate history of what’s happened about ths shift of gravity to the Dixiecrats….he agrees the GOP is under the control of a lot of ugly zealots but say’s that’s ok just so long as we have a couple of fig leafs.

  • sinz54

    ottovbs: he agrees the GOP is under the control of a lot of ugly zealots but say’s that’s ok just so long as we have a couple of fig leafs.
    I don’t think it’s OK.

    I think the best way to fix it is for the GOP to start winning again in the North, particularly the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Rust Belt. The more Northern Republicans there are in Congress, the more the power of the Southern Republicans will be diluted. The Dem Party was able to pass civil rights legislation that way, despite having a powerful bunch of conservative Southern Democrats to contend with.

    Scott Brown, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, all ran as reformers, not ideological crusaders. Scott Brown is even pro-choice on abortion (“chekote” should approve of that).

    The Tea Party movement is a temporary phenomenon, like those giant left-wing antiwar protests. Once they see that the new Congressmen and Senators are just as concerned about the spiraling national debt as they are, I’m sure that the Tea Partiers will just fade away.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    “I don’t think it’s OK.”

    …..that’s all very fine but reality is the GOP is not going to start winning big again in the areas you mention…..these were gubernatorial and special elections in reliably blue states and one swing state……Brown promptly went to Washington and voted for a Democratic bill and whether he holds the seat in 2012 depends entirely on national conditions and how good a candidate the Democrats field…..these swallows don’ t make a spring……even winning a few house seats back in the fall in swing or northeastern states (as they probably will) doesn’t alter the basic equation that you have a party that is dominated by southern zealots and that is not basically not fit to govern.

  • chriscurrey

    sinz54, i am afraid that a few victories here and there don’t do it. In order for the GOP to become a party again–and i mean a sane political party–we need the young folks like my grandkids and there friends. I can tell you that i have 17 grandkid and some of them are married and no one of them–and i mean no one–would ever vote for this GOP. And to be honest with you, why would they? I don’t blame them. So, without them, there is no rebuilding.

  • bang53

    so at the rate the republican party is shrinking as it purges (- ah that leftist word) those it considered not toeing the party line, will it shrink so small as to be “drowned in a bathtub”?

    ironic isn’t it

  • CentristNYer

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    “I don’t think it’s OK.”

    I agree with otto and chriscurrey on this. It’s not enough to win a few seats north of the Mason-Dixon to “dilute” the south’s Christianist influence. It’s about wholesale changes to the direction, tone and makeup of the party. So long as its leaders think it’s ok to scream “baby killer” at fellow legislators, so long as its presidential prospects doubt evolution and global warming, so long as its congressmen think it’s ok to show up at tea party events and call Democrats unpatriotic socialists, so long as its senators argue in favor of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and marriage inequality, so long as its sensible thinkers like Frum and Buckley and Brooks are dismissed as RINOs, be prepared for this party to recede further into obscurity and lose an entire generation of voters.

  • todd the liberal

    Thank you for writing the article that got you fired. It was brave knowing the possible consequences. I feel the Republican party is to enthralled by the extreme right. They are also out of new ideas. This country needs a center- right Republican party that looks to the future.

  • ottovbvs

    CentristNYer // Mar 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 11:59 am

    “I don’t think it’s OK.”

    I agree with otto and chriscurrey on this. ”

    …..Sinz is an interesting study in moderation and in many ways more unsettling than the obvious loonies….he’s said a couple of times he’s a registered indie but in reality he’s a Republican who knows GWB f’up mightily but isn’t willing to examine the irrationality of his conduct…..I’ve no doubt he voted for McCain/Palin (incompetent and goofball) and if the race was run again tomorrow he’d do the same despite all we’ve learned since. It’s akin to those people who thought Herr Hitler extreme but were confident he’d be restrained by saner conservative voices like Papen….I know this is a very extreme example and I’m not suggesting for a moment McCain/Palin are Hitler, of course they’re not, they are just an incompetent and a goofball whom Sinz is quite content to turn the country over to…..this was exactly the Republican rationale with Bush…….. it was obvious he was out of his depth but he was going to be “guided” by the much older and wiser Cheney!…..I had this very conversation with Republicans of my milieu who subsequently became very vocal when Bush imploded

  • LFC

    sinz54 said… I think the best way to fix it is for the GOP to start winning again in the North, particularly the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Rust Belt. The more Northern Republicans there are in Congress, the more the power of the Southern Republicans will be diluted.

    I think to see ample evidence that you are incorrect, all you have to do is look at Republicans from 1994-2006. They had a majority that required winning seats in areas you mentioned, but the radicals and those unfit to govern became the leaders of the party. The fact is that adding 10 Senate seats (giving the GOP a majority) from non-southern areas won’t change the tenor of the party one bit.

    The GOP has become ruthlessly efficient at keeping their Congressmen in line. They have enormous leverage, and use it … continually. It’s why they GOP so often votes in either full or near full lockstep. Handing them a majority before they change internally will do nothing but encourage the radicals that are currently in power.

  • blshurm

    Chriscurry’s post and this website in general fill me with the greatest hope for this country (and for myself), a hope I haven’t felt in 15 years. I’m as liberal as they come, and even Obama’s election has left me worried and anxious. As superb as he is (and I think he is an amazing man and president) I feel the political culture in this country has become so sick and toxic that I fear daily for his very life, much less that his policy ideas can receive a fair hearing and be implemented. Over the past fifteen years, I am somewhat ashamed to say, I have come to truly hate, hate, Republicans. I believe that nothing good comes of hate, and I’ve tried over the years to argue myself out of these feelings, but I am constantly barraged with Limbaugh/Fox and Republican talking points parroted by McConnel/Steele/Cantor, and it just fills me with rage. I find myself screaming in fury at the radio on my way to work. I have become part of the sickness–I know it, but I have been unable to do anything about it.

    Things started to shift for me when I discovered Andrew Sullivan’s blog. His blog is wonderful, and I read it everyday, and through that blog I have discovered so many intelligent voices, including David Frum. (This is, by the way, the first time I have every contributed to a blog conversation). I have to say flat out that I deeply admire David Frum and Bruce Bartlett (and Chriscurry) because they are decent, respectful, caring citizens of my country. I want to listen to what they have to say, even though I may not always or even often agree (though I agreed with everything Chriscurry said–if he’s a conservative, I guess I am too; I also thought, and often said, that Clinton was the best Republican president elected in my lifetime. He frustrated me on that account, but I admired him, and thought he was effective). Their ideas help me make mine better. I can easily see myself having an animated, passionate, satisfying conversation with these men–in which my ideas emerge changed, improved, but in tact. Unless they could convince me that I was wrong. That could happen. I love truth; my first allegiance is to truth, not to my own ego.

    I like blog entries that are relatively short, and this one is not. I just want to say that I’ve bookmarked this blog and will try to read it everyday, because I don’t want to hate Republicans–I want to like, respect, and learn from them. I want them to feel that way about liberals/democrats too. Together, liberals and conservatives, like blades whetting on each other, making each one sharper, are the heartbeat of this country (sorry for the mixed metaphor). We can solve our problems together. I think we have a President who truly believes that as well. We need to consign Fox/Limbaugh/Palin et. al. (and their liberal counterparts) to the dustbin of history, and start talking to each other again. That, Sarah, is what “that hopey-changey thing” was all about.

  • jgeorges

    You begin your timeline too recently, David. To me, it’s more impressive that AEI, knowing how and where you worked, or didn’t work, nevertheless thought well enough of your contributions that it kept you on the payroll between 2003 and 2010, It was only after your recent pronouncements that AEI termintated you. Of course the firing was political.

  • jandersonlee

    I’m one of those so-called city-dwelling, NPR listening types who’s been searching for a sane conservative blogger to read to better understand “another point of view”. Glad I found you. Sorry for the circumstances. All the best.

  • chriscurrey

    blshurm, i just would like to tell you that there are plenty of rational republicans like me, you just don’t hear from us because the noise of the crazies are everywhere and has been magnified and amplified by the radio/Tv talking heads. All my grandkids are democrats and liberals and i have the most passionate and lovely conversations with them. Some of them even volunteered for Obama and Clinton during the past presidential elections. I welcome all conversations with you my dear because the more we talk, the more we learn, the less extremists our mutual positions become.

    Yes, i am a republican, but i am not a conservative. Actually and to be honest with you, I do not know what a conservative or conservatism means anymore. If conservatism means you should be stuck in one place in time and hope that your country advances and develops, well that’s not me. If conservatism means that my niece and my grandchild should be second-class citizens, well i am not. If conservatism means that we should follow Senator Coburn and slash the NSF budget to nothing, well i am not. If conservatism means that when there is a deal to be made with a Congressional majority we should not make it, well i am not. If conservatism means that you should break the decorum of a Joint Session of Congress and call the president a liar live on TV, well i am not. If conservatism means the only 2 serious ideas to health care reforms are tort reforms and opening cross state buying-power, well i am not. If conservatism means that we should deny the overwhelming scientific evidence out there about global weirding (as Thomas Friedman calls it), well i am not. If conservatism means that no one should pay a little bit of taxes to help our country and lift the burden of this huge debt, well i am not. In one word, if conservatism means dogmatism, well i am not.

    Ted Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Nixon (please disregard for one second his personal destructive behavior, and focus on his domestic policies) were rational middle of the road republican politicians who delivered or tried to deliver for the country. The GOP needs to go back to those principles and stop with this religious crusades that our leaders have been engaged in for the last decade or so. If we don’t do that, well the demographic trends are seriously against us.

    Our ultimate test will be the upcoming immigration reform bill. If we let the voices of Bachmann, Demint, Toncredo and Hannity, and Limbaugh dictate our position, well we would lose the Hispanics just like we lost the African-Americans. If we come out against immigration reforms and we engage in pure xenophobic rhetoric (just remember what Toncredo said last month), i can guarantee you that Texas would go democratic in 2020. I think we have not learned our lesson yet. We need to hit rock bottom before we realize our insanity.

    PS: Our GOP leaders think that the democrats are going to lose badly in the midterm elections, well mark my word, they will not lose as badly as we expect them to lose. Obama has almost 8 months to sell the health care bill and the man can be very convincing. Moreover, Americans like a winner and hate whiners.

  • laughingcanuck

    Moderate mainstream conservatives love to evoke the memory of the Republican glory days under Ronald Reagan. His folksy manner and easy charm… Something to consider: It was Ronald Reagan who repealed the Fairness Act which in turn facilitated the rise of the Republican lunatic fringe (Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh et al.) The first clue that he shouldn’t have done this is that it was a thing called “THE FAIRNESS ACT”. I mean seriously, who in their right mind is against FAIR and balanced broadcast commentary? It’s one of the basics of maintaining a civilized society.

    I was interested in the remarks about Bill Clinton being the best Republican President ever. Yes I agree, but I was disappointed that no one pointed out the more obvious aspect of such a state of affairs. When you have a Democrat who is effectively a Republican you’re living in a one party country. And indeed it is a one party country. Unfortunately it’s the corporate party. The United States is controlled by a very small number of corporate interests who own both the Democrat and Republican parties, lock, stock and barrel. As I stated in another post, you’re in a crisis of values. Which do you place a higher value on, the rights of citizens or the right of corporations to make profits?

  • Meyer C Dhoates

    I hope Obamacare will cover your unemployment benefits since California is broke. You could move to Texas where we have no state income tax to eat away at what meager earnings you may have coming in. You wouldn’t be eligible for medical marijuana, but sacrifices must be made. I guess you could join Sarah Pay-In and the Tea Baggers. You could pass the hat after each performance and since Sarah seems to be gainfully employed elsewhere, you could have her share. Hang in there, the party of no won’t be helping you when your benefits expire.

  • ottovbvs

    chriscurrey // Mar 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    “PS: Our GOP leaders think that the democrats are going to lose badly in the midterm elections, well mark my word, they will not lose as badly as we expect them to lose. Obama has almost 8 months to sell the health care bill and the man can be very convincing. Moreover, Americans like a winner and hate whiners.”

    …..More to the point he’s going to have the economy working for him….as I’ve been predicting here for a year, by this summer we’ll be in full recovery mode… is and was inevitable and the timing is perfect……I guarantee that on Friday that we are going to see a sharp jump in new jobs… do I know this?….I look at the household surveys which while a very imperfect measure have been showing such positive movement for two months while firings have more or less stopped in their tracks that it makes a good number a virtual certainty ….not only did the Republicans bet the farm on HELL NO on healthcare they bet it on the recovery program and the Democrats have acres of videorecordings to prove it… the summer draws to a close you are going to see a huge campaign unrolling masterminded by Plouffe, Schumer, Rahm and few other when the entire Republican record over the past year will be under the klieg lights.

  • chriscurrey

    ottovbvs // Mar 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Two of my grandkids have small businesses (one has a computer software small company and the other construction) and both of them have been hiring and adding to their payrolls for the last 2 months because of a serious uptake in orders. It is almost at the pre-recession level. So, i agree with you. I don’t think we will see a serious decrease in the unemployment rate (unless we add 350K per month), but the economy will be in full recovery. That’s all you need to show to the voters.

  • sinz54


    I voted for Clinton twice. Are you surprised?

    First of all, McCain was hardly an “incompetent.” He was a war hero, a competent Senator; and he had earned a reputation as a dedicated reformer and a man of integrity. We would have been better off if McCain had beaten Bush for the GOP nomination in 2000, and been President these last 8 years.

    As a conservative, though I’m registered as an Independent, I have no choice but to vote for Republicans (unless I’m convinced they’re truly out to lunch). The conservative wing of the Dem Party (Miller, Breaux, etc.) is gone, Bill Clinton is retired; and there’s nobody left there that I agree with.

    Here are my views in a nutshell. I’ll lay ‘em out for you:

    The Platform of Sinz54
    Pro-choice on abortion, through the first trimester anyway
    Pro gay marriage
    Favors carbon tax to deal with anthropogenic global warming
    Build 100 more nuclear reactors and tell Greenpeace to go piss up a rope
    Criminals should go to jail
    First-degree murderers should be executed
    Osama bin Laden should be executed. If some Johnnie Cochran wannabe manages to get him a lesser sentence, have a CIA assassin plug him before he walks out of that courtroom
    Treat the Palestinians as they deserve to be treated for having elected HAMAS
    Modify ObamaCare to have strong cost controls
    Raise the retirement age to 67 immediately, and gradually raise it to 75 over the next 20 years

    Now you tell me: Would I be a good fit for the Dem Party? Would I be welcome there?
    Or would I be called:


    Those are just some of the epithets the folks on YOUR side of the political aisle have hurled at me over the years.

    You are correct when you say the GOP had hit bottom by 2009. But it seems like you would prefer that they stay at the bottom forever, rather than pick themselves up off the floor and reform themselves. That’s not the attitude I had with the Dems in the 1980s. I was glad to see men like Paul Tsongas and Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council come forward. In a two party system, it doesn’t help to have one extreme party–and the party that gave us McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis was just extreme, a prisoner of their hard-core left wing.

    Your position is inconsistent. The only way the GOP can put the crazies in their place is the same way the Dems did–by broadening their base. And that requires an active effort to win in new areas like the Blue States. A candidate who has a shot in New York State or Washington State or Oregon must necessarily have a broader appeal than Jim DeMint.

    You can’t saw off the part of the country you have strong disagreements with. We settled that issue in 1965.

    Your fellow Americans include: Conservatives, hard-core right-wingers, hard-core left-wingers, Socialists, Communists, Neo-Nazis, Libertarians, Raelians, Scientologists, Atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims,Hindus, Buddhists, UFO cultists, Black Nationalists, White Supremacists, and lots of others. They’re all our fellow Americans–and they all vote.

    And we only have two major parties to choose from. And I like to have a choice. Here in MA where I live, the GOP is so dead that they don’t run candidates in some local races. Instead, the Dem candidate runs unopposed. Even YOU would be disturbed to walk into the voting booth on Election Day and find only one major party on the ballot. It’s un-American, frankly.

  • sinz54

    Me: “You can’t saw off the part of the country you have strong disagreements with. We settled that issue in 1965.”

    Oops, I meant 1865 of course.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    “I voted for Clinton twice. Are you surprised?’

    …..We’re not talking about Clinton are we?….we’re talking about the Bush/Cheney and McCain/Palin abberations

    ” First of all, McCain was hardly an “incompetent.” He was a war hero, ”

    …..That automatically makes him competent does it?….. versus the current evidence of his campaign management and selection of Palin?…..and as I said if they re-ran it tomorrow you’d still go for McCain/Palin which be both irrational and irresponsible….the rest is essentially a self delusory smoke screen to rationalize this fundamentally flawed position

  • CentristNYer

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    “First of all, McCain was hardly an “incompetent.” He was a war hero, a competent Senator; and he had earned a reputation as a dedicated reformer and a man of integrity.”

    Unfortunately, McCain was no longer true to most of his principles after his defeat in 2000 as he spent the following eight years kissing the asses of the extreme right wing of the party, including Jerry Falwell, whom he’d rightly denounced as a zealot.

    Of course, once he selected Sarah Palin, there was no longer any rationale that could justify a vote for McCain. “Country first”? Hardly.

  • chriscurrey

    sinz54 // Mar 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm ,

    My father-in-law was a coal miner, are you going to work him until he is 75 years old? How about those who work in construction (a business i know very well since i spent 35 years in it) are you going to work them until 75? How about those in the assembly lines or those wiring the country from coast to coast? and so on and so forth.

    Yeah, for sure, if you have a desk job, you could work until you are 100 i guess. But this is a negotiable point and reasonable people would arrive to a nice compromise.

    However, here is where i have a serious problem with your stance: ” If some Johnnie Cochran wannabe manages to get him a lesser sentence, have a CIA assassin plug him before he walks out of that courtroom.” Killing a lawyer? Since when having a lawyer is a problem? Remember John Adams or was he a traitor? We have an adversarial judicial system and it is the best system in the world. If we don’t trust our court system, we are no longer a country my friend–and there is no difference between us and Zaire. Moreover, you know very well that we will never capture that guy alive. He will either kill himself or we will kill him. Why do you go for those extreme examples? When was the last time a terrorist walked in one of our courtroom and was released? This is the Sarah Palin-Jim Demint-Tom-Coburn crap that is killing our party. This is exactly the demagoguery and empty rhetoric that sucking the intellectual life out of our party.

    • Shawn Summers

      Chris, I think sinz was referring to Osama bin Laden as the one to be “plugged”. But I think the rest of your argument still applies.

  • TerryF98

    ” First of all, McCain was hardly an “incompetent.” He was a war hero, ”

    Um he crashed 4 planes and nearly destroyed an aircraft carrier. Seems incompetent to me!

  • ottovbvs

    TerryF98 // Mar 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    ” First of all, McCain was hardly an “incompetent.” He was a war hero, ”

    “Um he crashed 4 planes and nearly destroyed an aircraft carrier. Seems incompetent to me!”

    …..Actually there is a slightly humorous side to Sinz’ attempt to prove his moderation and rationality by proudly boasting he voted for Clinton TWICE…..I’d have to say that for any Republican/ Independant to say he voted AGAINST Bush senior and FOR McCain/Palin implies a judgemental compass is that broken….for the record I voted for Pappa Bush in 88 and 92 and for Clinton in 96 all of which seem to me entirely rational choices in the context of the elections…..just as Obama was the rational choice in 2008

  • chriscurrey

    I have no problem saying that i voted for Obama. No problem whatsoever. It is not about defeating my party, but about keeping the White House as far as possible from Sarah Palin. Can you imagine that idiot in the White House?

  • NHWoman

    I love your stuff and I have been a Republican for a number of years but have been seriously thinking of going independent. There does not seem to be a place for centrists/moderates in this party. Prior to the RNC National Convention, I wrote to everyone I could think of and said, if you don’t make healthcare part of your platform, the other side will, and you won’t like their solutions. Twenty plus years ago I asked Bob Dole what we were going to do about the healthcare crisis in this country and he said we didn’t have a crisis; we had a problem. Since it was outpacing every other item on the CPI at the time, and since I live in an area where many people are self-employed or run small businesses that cannot get competitive prices on health insurance, I didn’t agree with him. It doesn’t matter; I’m just one voter. But how many like me, and like you, try to raise questions or bring up issues only to be brushed aside. My husband is also a Republican. One of us is against abortion, the other is not. One of us is against gay marriage, the other is not. So we don’t fit in the party because there is only one “right” opinion to have. They’re going to cannibalize if they keep it up.

  • sinz54

    chriscurrey: ” If some Johnnie Cochran wannabe manages to get him a lesser sentence, have a CIA assassin plug him before he walks out of that courtroom.” Killing a lawyer?
    Not the lawyer–the terrorist defendant!

  • sinz54


    I don’t have to rationalize my vote for McCain–though I was never enthusiastic about his platform in 2008. I had supported him for the GOP nomination in 2000, and I still wish he had beaten Bush and become President in 2001 instead of Bush.

    I was making an entirely different point: That there is no way I can be a Democrat with the views I have. I’ve been kicked off of Democrat websites for trying to offer a different point of view. So be it. The hell with them.

    Of course I had problems with Sarah Palin. I do NOT consider her a nut, just terribly ignorant. I had the same problem with Dan Quayle. But I voted for Bush 41 despite my problems with his running mate, and I do not regret my vote. Especially given who his opponent was. Running mates never matter much. I’m sure you recall what Garner said about the worth of the Vice Presidency.

    So I remain a registered Independent who hopes for a GOP revival, so that I will once again have candidates I can vote for enthusiastically.

    One more thing.
    You have absorbed the Democrat mindset that anyone who is right-of-center must be delusional. When the Dems were out of power, they said “Dissent is patriotic.” Now that they’re in power, they (and you) are saying “Dissent is delusional.”

    But they should remember that times change.
    I’m a big fan of vengeance.

  • barrem01

    This is my first time at this blog. I’m surprised at two trends I see in the comments. 1) Impassioned yet reasonable arguments about the shift in the Republican Party platform, 2) These same reasonable people “opting out” and registering Independent. As a Democrat, I know too well how embarrassing it can be to be tarred with the brush of my party affiliation. But if smart Republicans abandon the party, who will vote in your primaries? When your party gets taken over by zealots, it’s your responsibility to fight back. You guys aren’t quiters, are you? Don’t get me wrong, if your party has moved so far to the right that you feel more comfortable in the Democratic camp than you do with the GOP, come on over, you are welcome. But if the real core Republican values: financial prudence, (not the penny wise – pound foolish, drown the government in the bathtub rhetoric you hear so often) strong national defense, pro-business environment, strong personal responsibility, tough on crime; if these are the values you hold most dear, stick up for them. Don’t quit, steer your party back to reason. I’ll do what I can to do the same for mine. The nation works best when rational voices from both sides chose the best possible compromise.

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