04 Aug 2010

A Conservative Tries to Tell Moderate Swing Voters Why (Not) to Vote GOP

I almost just skipped by this post, but it occured to me that this blogger at Townhall – a conservative online haven – has to have some kind of ego to think that he’s someone who can give good advice on why moderate swing voters should vote for Republicans this fall. But hey, maybe he’ll take off his ideological glasses for a minute and come up with some creative and convincing copy, right?

Not so much.

He gave six supposed reasons, but none of them actually amounted to reasons to support the Republicans. At best they’re just a run-of-the-mill appeal for lesser evilism.

I don’t buy into lesser evilism. It is one of the major reasons we’re in this hyperpartisan mess, and too many centrist swing voters like us are willing to hand over our votes to “evils” of any kind. What we need is exponentially more people who don’t sacrifice fundamental principles, no matter where they stand on the political spectrum.

But I digress. Let’s take a look at these ‘reasons’, shall we?


(Non)Reasons (Not) for Swing Voters

The first reason he gives is that we need checks and balances. This is the only one that has a bit of logic to it. If the GOP has more votes, then they’re most likely to make everything grind to a halt, like when we had divided government for a time in the mid 90’s.

But, this isn’t a good reason to vote for the GOP – it’s just a good reason to vote against the Democrats, which is what is happening right now in the polls.

The second fake reason he gave is to restrain spending… are you laughing at this as much as I am? Its genuinely funny that some Republicans actually believe this themselves, much less think that centrists are going to buy that line of nonsense. Cutting a tax we can’t afford to cover adds to the debt the same as spending more than we tax does.

This, on top of starting unnecessary wars and growing our world’s police network all over the globe… all of that equals more spending – not less.

The Democrats have taken the cake on stealing from future generations the last few years, but before that Dubya and Reagan had the non-war records, and forgive me if I don’t take them on their word that they’ve come to their senses on this, given that I have absolutely no evidence of such, and mountains of fiscally insane evidence to the contrary.

The third fake reason amounts to economics. I’ll make this a quick one. While deregulation had a place in the early 80’s we’ve since been dealing with some of the more darker ramifications of going too far with that, believing that companies inherently have the best interest of the country in mind when they act. This has been proven to be false, yet the GOP continue to push the same dishonest line of nonsense nonetheless, and think it’ll fool centrist swing voters.


Conservative Talking Points Ineffective with Swing Voters

The fourth – surprise, surprise – is about repealing the health care legislation that is just starting to come into effect. Now, I’ve seen the polls showing that a majority of people want to see this happen right now (it is certainly a big mess of a bill, and is most likely to cost a hell of a lot more than the Dems pretend it will), but there is evidence that the numbers are moving the other way, and I have not seen any polling that blocked out how moderates think on this (if you have, send it my way).

My guess is its split, so again, they’re using conservative talking points to sell us on voting for them, and the reality of it is that there are a lot of elements of the bill that the vast majority of Americans – centrists and moderates included – like. The problem is the horribly misguided individual mandate. If the GOP were smart, they’d make the coming electoral wave into one for the ages and come out in support of keeping most of the ACA, while tossing the individual mandate.

Number five also made me laugh out loud. Would you believe that they would have us think that putting more of them into power would lead to less corruption?!? I don’t think I need to add any more to that.

The last one is something that I’ll agree with in principle, but not in a way that they would want. They say we should vote for them because we have “Got to Punish Bad Behavior or You Get More of It”.


Pendulum is Going Their Way, but Swing Voters Aren’t Fooled

This sounds like a mock script of a Stephen Colbert skit… I mean, the public has often shown a willingness to forget some pretty inane things over the years, but it was only a few short years ago that we were still living under Republican rule, and that went really damn peachy for us didn’t it?

Do you think they think we’re really that dumb and forgetful, or are they just incapable of seeing things from moderate swing voters’ perspective enough to give us reasons that make sense to us?

Here’s the link to the Townhall post, if you want a laugh >>

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.

7 thoughts on “A Conservative Tries to Tell Moderate Swing Voters Why (Not) to Vote GOP”

  1. Sol,
    I have to call you on a bit of disingenuousness in your article review. Much of what you criticize is already addressed in the article itself. As such, your review puts aside much of the article in order to make hay of it. Allow me to take it point by point.

    Let me preface by saying I won’t defend Hawkins’ prose. It is bland, tired, we’ve heard much of it before, so we’re agreed on that point.

    I can see how you think he is promoting lesser-evil-ism, and in a way he is. But he is addressing an actual situation in which we find ourselves. You respond with an idealist platitude–one which I agree wholeheartedly with–but that doesn’t make it any more practical.

    Your criticism of his first point—checks and balances—is that it’s more of a reason to vote against Democrats than for the GOP. Here it feels like your reaching just to disagree. Ostensibly, we are operating in a two-party system, and while I’d love to see Independents sweep the congress, I can only survive without oxygen for five minute.

    I’m not laughing as much as you are at the second point. Here, Hawkins concedes the point on Bush (he seems unaware of Reagan’s record), but he makes the case how things have changed. The GOP is feeling pressure from the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement. Obama and the Democrats are overtly and expressly unmoved by TEA Party pleas, to the point of biting off their own noses. Further, Democrat spending has passed being merely irresponsible into just plain irrational, and in a very short time. Hawkins could also have tied this point back into his first, but perhaps he felt the connection was obvious.

    Your response to his third point doesn’t even address it. Deregulation is not mentioned. It is the unpredictability of federal fiscal policy. An uncertain economic climate is a stale one. Marketplace movers and shakers cease to do both when they don’t know what’s coming. Again, this could be tied back to Hawkins’ first point.

    I see what you are saying in response to Hawkins’ fourth point, that if you are trying to win moderates over to a point of view, make sure your arguments resonate with them. What’s funny is that his arguments don’t resonate with you. You obviously believe the Dems foisted a disaster upon the public. Yet you deride his words as “talking points.” I would personally characterize them as a rant; it is the most unordered portion of his article. I think you object more to his inarticulateness than his actual position.

    I think you may have misunderstood the fifth point being made. Hawkins’ states, “[W]hen the defendant, the prosecutor, and the judge are all on the same team, it shouldn't surprise anyone when justice isn't served.” That makes it obvious to me that he means the parties will keep each other in check, which would tie back to his first point. He doesn’t say Republicans are pure as the wind-driven snow, in fact he says to bet against it.

    Hawkins’ last point is essentially his first restated. Three other points are easily tied to the first as well, and if you view the healthcare bill as what-you-get-without-checks-and-balances, then really it all boils down to that one thing. Overall, you agree with Hawkins, but make the stretch to disagree. That is moderatism that stands apart for the sake of standing apart.

  2. Do you not realize you're doing same kind of thing that this guy did? You read between the lines, take ideological stances that I don't agree with and use them as reasons I'm supposed to take because… you say so?

    You need to understand where I'm coming from before you tell me why I should agree with something. The article I was referring to, and your response, are both pretty good examples of doing the opposite.

  3. I'm baffled. I wasn't telling you to agree with the author you criticize. I was only telling you that you already have a fundamental point of agreement with him.

    Perhaps my form was confusing. At each point, I was restating Hawkins' position, not necessarily espousing it.

    I'm willing to admit that I may not understand where you're coming from, so correct me if I am wrong here. I took from your article that you like the fundamental notion of applying presently absent checks and balances. What you don't like is the way Hawkins buttressed the argument. But it's unfair to leave it at the latter. Here is why I think so…

    The hallmark of the moderate mind is that it is capable of drawing out silver from the dross that exists throughout the ideological spectrum. I see it as the moderate's responsibility to do that actively, for I take it as given that the ideologues on the edges can't see through the very mud they stir. So, the moderate takes it upon himself to attempt providing clarification for those stymied by the fog, including those who raise it. This leaves no room for self-congratulation at our open-mindedness, and it banishes bewilderment at others' apparent blindness.

    As George Orwell put it, "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."

  4. You said I was reaching for a disagreement on one point, while that point is something I've been against for years.

    I disagree with the this whole bugaboo of uncertainty is what is holding the economy back. There is a long list of reasons. People will begin hiring when there is unmet demand. People don't hire workers just because they have profits lying around.

    I disagree that the supporting the GOP is a good way to check the Democratic Party. I think centrists should be focused on supporting moderates and independents, no matter what party.

    The statement by Hawkins about checks and balances isn't complicated, I just disagree with it.

    yadda yadda yadda

  5. First, let me say, I was a bit taken aback when you told me that I read between the lines. My reaction was, “Of course I read between the lines! That’s what critical thinking is!” But it led to me completely mistake your position on checks and balances. To be fair to myself, I think there was more in your prose leading me to the conclusion I made than to the opposite. Still, this is all ancillary to the point I was trying to make.

    You’ve requested on the about page that, if you mess up, please tell you how. “Especially if its grammatical!” (By the way, that should be spelled “it’s” but I can’t be sure if that was a gag.) Now, I’m reaching beyond grammar and trying to comment on rhetoric. Where I messed up is that I failed to divorce the content from the style.

    I think both our points were lost while deconstructing the Hawkins article. So we both made a similar error. Your stance is quickly summed up when you said, “Not so much,” which I take to mean that Hawkins’ appeals land on deaf ears because he’s talking to Moderates as though they were Republicans. My point was that you had only demonstrated your deafened ears in the form of an article. Perhaps that makes your case in point, but it left this reader confused.

    After saying, “Not so much,” you employed a pattern of stating Hawkins claims X, but ignores Y. When I read the Hawkins article, I felt that he had addressed Y right along with X. Then at another point, you discarded X altogether and substituted a Q. (I’m speaking here of your statement on deregulation.) I felt compelled to respond because it just didn’t seem like you were truly responding to the Hawkins article. I inadvertently assumed there was a motive for that, and that assumption naturally incorporated itself into my response, but now I don’t think there was.

    In light of what you told me about your disagreement with the checks and balances position, you have a perfectly good argument to make against the Hawkins article. Instead you mocked it as insipid. I got right away that Hawkins is not connecting with you—that’s elemental—but I never got why. So, in answer to your closing question in the original, I think they are just incapable of seeing things from your perspective, because they can’t tell what it is.

    (Only one of us knows what you mean by "yadda yadda yadda".)

  6. Thanks for the trackback.

    I meant read between the lines as in you assumed some things about my reasoning that weren't true, as in making a reach for an argument, when what I was saying was something I've been saying for a while.

    Hahaha, no. The grammatical error in the sentence asking for help with grammar is certainly not intentional, hahaha. But appropriate! I'll go fix that now 🙂

    Its a never ending problem of a blogger to decide how in depth to write. I could spend two hours on each post, make it 20 paragraphs long, and make myself super clear on every point, but very few people would read that, and I'd have even less of a life than I have now, haha.

    I'm not sure if they are incapable of seeing things from a less than conservative perspective or not. The article probably wasn't really meant for moderate ears, but more for rallying the troops/preaching to the choir. I understand this, as I really don't spend much time trying to change peoples' minds either. This blog is written with a centrist / moderate & independent audience in mind.

    Yadda yadda yadda is just another way of saying ‘etc, etc, etc’ – meaning there were other examples, but I thought the statements before had illustrated my points enough.

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