Patterico's Pontifications

11/19/2008

Kathleen Parker: Martyr

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:25 am



Kathleen Parker, Martyr:

So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette.

Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

Oh, the courage!

Between Parker’s martrydom and Barack Obama’s “Being the President (Elect) Is a Lonely Job” schtick, we’re surrounded by selfless, courageous people, aren’t we?

It’s a very special time.

(Link fixed.)

62 Responses to “Kathleen Parker: Martyr”

  1. Her string of self pitying/self aggrandizing columns is becoming tedious. I don’t click the links anymore; wouldn’t want to encourage her employers.

    brobin (c07c20)

  2. Goldberg is not impressed.

    Pablo (99243e)

  3. It appears she’s trying to surpass Excitable Andy.

    Old Coot (8a493c)

  4. This is just another variation of the tactic where someone, not getting their way, disparages those who stand in the way. Maybe once upon a time, people actually argued about the substance of pushing policy X or policy Y, but now both sides seem content to attack the moral underpinnings of those on the other side and to depict themselves as being on the side of angels for daring to take on the oh-so-powerful opposition.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  5. Why must KP endanger our collective health with her second-hand imaginary martyr smoke?

    The Other JD (904e65)

  6. Other JD: so don’t inhale.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  7. Can the political world support two MoDo’s?

    One was tiresome enough!

    Another Drew (a9b92d)

  8. To Values Voters values actually have meaning and are worth fighting for without compromise. I think that’s how our country got its start–“our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.” That’s how I feel about my votes.

    (BTW, 1st link to Parker’s article is empty.)

    ManlyDad (22e85d)

  9. Who is Kathleen Parker?

    gabriel (6d7447)

  10. I can’t believe my instincts…sometimes they bother even me, but…I have a touch of sympathy for her now.

    She is trying to find her voice (not yet successfully) and is reaching out to an audience, that she is having trouble finding.

    Frankly, I believe there is an audience for what she is feeling, but not articulating very well.

    We can split the atom, but we can’t seem to split the two party system. I think it is failing the overwhelming majority of this country.

    “Not quite Republicans” …blasted immediately in some quarters as RINO’S…if they don’t march in lockstep on every issue…and “Not quite Democrats”, who get ripped and shredded by Soros and Kos goosestepping thugs, have no party any longer.

    You are fringe-tied or exiled.

    Let’s not give my words more meaning than they intend to convey. She has not found her voice and it is currently shrill, whining and self-aggrandizing.

    But underneath the surface of it, is a truth that nobody wants to surface.

    The two party system…sucks. Especially for folks with multi-lever thinking faculties. Our own Pat got a taste of it here when he dared to suggest that President-elect Obama was not evil incarnate.

    There are many, many, many more people who would like to permanently divorce themselves from the fringes who have clamped onto the two parties respectively…and made our elections a pendulumic farce…swinging in ever widening arcs of extremism and intolerance for all but lockstep marchers.

    The system is broken and it is painful to watch as Republicans make hash of whether to move left, right or become paralyzed by indecision.

    The answer is there to be dug out of the dirt. But nobody wants to get their fingernails dirty…and Kathleen, to her credit, is willing to do it. She’s just not doing it well yet.

    Nobody is. Because trying to pick up what is broken and pounding on it to make it work again…is simply not identifying the problem at its core.

    1)Identify what is fringe and what is not

    2)Identify the core values that everyone with a modicum of intelligence and a conscience agrees upon

    3)Identify why good people can hold a value and stick to it

    4)Find a way to build alliances without damaging principles

    5)Take the reins from the fringes

    6)Identify the differences between “fringe ideologues” on both sides and you

    7)Leave room for more than lockstep agreement

    8)Don’t waste time on manufactured issues intended to distract and inflame

    9)Be principled, consistent and fair…point out when your opponents are not.

    10)Use YOUR language to frame issues, not theirs.

    cfbleachers (1f4df1)

  11. There are many, many, many more people who would like to permanently divorce themselves from the fringes who have clamped onto the two parties respectively

    I disagree. The problem with the two parties is that they are too similar, not that they are run for the benefit of two “fringes”. The country would be better off and mentally healthier if there was more than a sliver of daylight between Democrats and Republicans. Whichever party is nominally in power, we get pretty much the same policy on all the big issues. Operationally speaking, this is a one party state.

    Subotai (83ffb8)

  12. Actually, I think that KP has an issue with Sarah Palin’s popularity. Since she herself isn’t as popular as the governor, it must be because the people who like her are stupid.

    And dress poorly. Probably sleep around. Grumble grumble.

    Doesn’t this sound like what it really is: high school snobbery?

    Me-ow.

    Seriously, look at Maureen Dowd and Peggy Noonan.

    I’m old enough to remember Reagan. Apart from the sexist issue, it was the same deal there: how can “smart” people support a “dumb” person like Reagan? Why, he is a warmonger, and believes in the Book of Revelation!

    Too bad that Reagan was anything but stupid (read his letters). I don’t hero worship any politician, but this “Palin is stupid,” “Palin is religious,” etc is foolish.

    Remember how the President-Elect could sit in a church for twenty years, listening to a hateful racist demagogue claim, among other things, that our own government invented AIDS to kill African Americans?

    And that was okay with everyone?

    Puh-leeze. Put away the flexible yardstick, KP and company.

    Cue the Sarah Bernhart music.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  13. The two times in my life that the Republican party had a broad enough base of support to take power and have a profound influence on the country were the Reagan years and the 1994 takeover of the legislature. They did not get this support by being Democrat lites or compromising their principles. They offered a real conservative platform and convinced the American people they were serious about implementing it. They did not push their religion but they did not turn their backs on it either. People supported their politics, not their faith. Both periods ended when the party abandoned those principles and became too much like the Democrats.

    Machinist (c6ce7d)

  14. It is much better to work within the party to change it than try to reinvent the wheel. The socialists have done this with the Democratic party and conservatives have done it in the Republican party in the past. The party leadership were certainly no fans of Reagan. The membership forced them to get behind him. This is why they dumped his policies as soon as he left office. We need changes in the leadership.

    Machinist (c6ce7d)

  15. Oh fortunate we, whom are graced by Parker’s selfless sacrifice in saying exactly what is popular in the DC cocktail circut.

    /me puts hat over heart.

    Sniff, where do we find such courage?

    Techie (62bc5d)

  16. That a capable person with integrity and public service aspirations learns the political reality of seeking elected office and the alliances that must be formed with a political party in order to have a better than even chance of getting elected should explain at least in part the questionable nature of our country’s leadership over time.

    Stanford Matthews (407547)

  17. I wrote Goldberg that her martyrdom reminds me of when I did standup and all the minority and gay comics talking about gay or minority was so “un-p.c.” as if they were taking a huge risk

    Hawkins (3d318d)

  18. While poorly articulated, Parker does raise a valid critique of the Republican party. Is it the party of conservatism or the party of religion? Conservatism has been described as having 3 legs, Fiscal, Security and Culture. Naturally, we are focusing on just part of the 3rd aspect of conservatism.

    So what is cultural conservatism? I contend that our founders intended a separation of church and state. The very first words of the very first right reserved to we the people speak to this separation. Our founders practiced and accepted ceremonial deism (opening prayers, our national motto, etc examples of what could presume to be permissible) in our public life and so one can conclude that such was their intent. Our founders clearly intended for issues such as gay marriage and abortion to be decided by the democratic process at the state and local levels (the Feds were granted no such power to regulate them and there is no right to them in our Constitution).

    I would contend that the religious right, who solely focus on cultural issues are not conservatives at all. Not even cultural conservatives. Would we like them to vote with us? Sure. But just as we don’t want to attract liberals by pandering to certain special interests, so we should avoid pandering to religion.

    MJBrutus (fdc0cd)

  19. Eric Blair has it exactly right. Parker is blinded by envy/jealousy over Palin. There is no (zero! none!) evidence that she “cost McCain the election”, but that won’t stop vindictive Kathleen from playing the blame game — or from proclaiming that the party of the candidate that garnered 48 million votes is lying in tatters on the ground.

    She has no idea what she’s saying; it’s all just emotional discharge from her coconut.

    Icy Truth (aedb2f)

  20. Hey ICY, just wanted to let you know that I agree with you (rare I know).

    Not only did Palin not cost McCain the election, she actually helped him lose miserably instead of extremely lose miserably.

    Palin ignited the Republican base that saw an America ignited by Obama at the DNC the night before Palin was selected.

    Indeed the party of the candidate that garnered 48 million votes might have been looking at 40 million or so without Palin.

    Oiram (983921)

  21. I contend that our founders intended a separation of church and state. The very first words of the very first right reserved to we the people speak to this separation.

    Have you read the Constitution lately ? Or ever ? You sound like one of those people who think Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house. I’ve got some news. Tina Fey said she could see Russia and the Constitution says nothing about “separation of church and state.” That was a letter from Jefferson.

    Cultural conservatives just happen to share economic conservatism and security concerns. Mike Huckabee got a lot of attention because he is a great speaker but he was not very conservative in governing Arkansas so he didn’t get nominated.

    This is a phony issue by people who think the social conservatives are a bunch of holy rollers. This is snobbery. That’s all. People who tend to be conservative in economic areas also tend to be more religious. Not all but it is a trend. The “libertarian” wing of the party should be willing to accept those who share some, but not all, of their values.

    There was a lot of BS this past campaign. Examples: Palin did NOT ban books or recommend creationism in schools. One of her first acts as governor was to veto a bill that ended domestic partner benefits for gays in state government. I’ll bet you never heard about that one.

    This is a snobbery thing and people like Parker are responding to cocktail party gossip. That puts her outside the conservative tent as far as I am concerned. David Frum, who I have great respect for, also dissed Palin but he has other good work to his credit. I think he is also reacting to gossip and cocktail party chatter but he has not been as nasty about social conservatives.

    That column should be the end of any interest in her ideas from Republicans. Maybe she should write one about Muslims. Then she’d show some guts but I won’t hold my breath.

    Mike K (531ff4)

  22. KP’s latest column goes beyond constructive criticism, all the way to outright contempt.

    gp (72be5d)

  23. Mike K,

    It was in Jefferson’s letter and it was also spoken about by Madison, to wit:

    The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State (Letter to Robert Walsh, Mar. 2, 1819).

    That aside, when I say that the principle is enshrined in our 1st Amendment, would you please explain how, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” does not qualify as a form of separation between church and state?

    Cultural conservatives just happen to share economic conservatism and security concerns.

    Some do and some don’t. I cannot count the number of times I have heard so-called conservatives say that they would not vote for a candidate the was in favor of allowing abortions. Those types of single-issue voters are certainly not conservatives. As for Paln, I personally liked her and would loved to see her serve as VP. She was only slightly more qualified than Obama for the Presidency and I felt was a bad choice for that reason alone.

    MJBrutus (fdc0cd)

  24. It’s more than that, gp. It’s more like an exercise in self-parody. That one line, “the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows”, should be evidence enough for anyone that she is a total joke. The religious-right is the lowbrow faction of the party?

    Also in the article, she dismisses Sarah Palin as “Miss Alaska”, writes: “Let’s do pray that God shows Alaska’s governor the door”, and characterizes Christian conservatives as “the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP”.

    I take back what I said earlier. She IS a total joke.

    Icy Truth (aedb2f)

  25. Quote of the day…

    Via National Review:
    I don’t know what’s more grating, the quasi-bigotry that has you calling religious Christians low brows, gorillas and oogedy-boogedy types or the bravery-on-the-cheap as you salute — in that winsome way — your own c…

    Sister Toldjah (52e518)

  26. Kathleen Parker has no standing and no right to act like a snob. Wikipedia notes that Parker

    “. . .attended Converse College before transferring to the University of San Francisco for a year of study in Spain, majoring in Spanish Literature. She holds a Master’s degree in the subject.”

    So, not only did she attend [the little-known] Converse College (I guess it’s something like Nike University), she went on to USF, the alma mater of Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, and Bill Cartwright. (Maybe USF is even more like Nike University.) Parker would up with a Master’s degree in Spanish, just like my gardener.

    If someone wants to be a snob, he or she should be at least be a lord to the manor born, like former National Review Online columnist David Frum, scion of a wealthy Canadian family, and a graduate of Yale and Harvard. Frum has decided the Republican party is now too lowbrow for him, too.

    Official Internet Data Office (777bfc)

  27. MJBrutus,

    Notice that you leave out a key article when you paraphrase Jefferson. He says ‘total separation of *the* church from *the* state’, while you leave out *the*. It is quite clear from the article in Jefferson’s quote, as well as the context, that he is referring to what the 1st amendment actually does — prohibits Congress from setting up an official Church — ‘the’ Church, in the US. It does not ban the participation of religious people in public life, or their use of religious and moral ideas to mobilize supporters.

    Mitchell Young (fd04bb)

  28. This is smoke and mirrors coming on the heals of Christie Todd Whitman pimping her 2004 book about how Social Cons are destroying the Republican Party.

    Please. Did GWB establish the Theocracy of Cultural conservatism? Is this the reason Obama won?

    Notice that Parker offers nothing nada, zilch in terms of what it would take to win. There isn’t a positive push in the entire piece (except for a quick sideswipe of “fiscal conservatism.”) Rather than engaging in an honest discussion of how the core principles of conservatism might re-establish their legitimacy as an important issue, we are treated to her impressions developed by her deep, collegial discussions with the “intelligentsia.”

    Nauseating.

    Left unmentioned is the fact that the Democrats seem to be able to operate a impose strategy despite having a 15-20% base of rock solid lunatics that make “Left Behind” aficionados look like Lincoln Chaffee.

    It’s still about principles and I’m not interested in becoming the party of “Democrat lite” or “Us, too! Only cheaper!”

    BJTexs (1baae5)

  29. Official Internet Data Office wrote: So, not only did she attend [the little-known] Converse College (I guess it’s something like Nike University), she went on to USF, the alma mater of Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, and Bill Cartwright. (Maybe USF is even more like Nike University.)

    Maybe at one time, but not any more.

    The Russell-Jones era USF teams held the NCAA record for consecutive victories before John Wooden’s UCLA teams with Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton shattered it. But in 1981, the Quintin Dailey sexual assault scandal and the subsequent revelations of phony “jobs” given players by boosters ruined everything. The Jesuit priest who was President of the school at the time shut down the mens’ b-ball program. The team eventually was revived, but not as a big-time program like before.

    Although new coach Rex Walters — a former NBA player and an Eddie Sutton protege — may make USF competitive in the West Coast Conference, it will be a long time before it returns to national prominence, if ever.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  30. Dowd, Frum, Parker (and frequently Will), are singular-poled batteries of wisdom that are chronically dis-charged.

    Another Drew (a9b92d)

  31. The two party system…sucks.

    At times it’s unsatisfactory, but would you really like to try the al la carte‘ menus of political thought that occurs in Europe and in places like Canada? There is no vibrant nor predominant conservative agenda in any of these countries (only Thatcher comes to mind as an obvious exception), just a choice between the soft left, hard left and nutball left (aka the Green and Socialist Parties). Their elections are forever being delayed because “none of the above” get a solid majority, so it then becomes a weird conglomeration of two or more parties joining forces in order to achieve a national plebiscite. The voters are left with bland and colorless policies and the politicos who spoonfeed them, with no chance at changing the status quo. We now have an opportunity to cleanse one party and attempt to redefine it’s purpose in our political ecosystem – Europe never undergoes those types of dynamic transformations, and thank your lucky stars that we don’t begin to travel down that road to eternal mediocrity.

    Dmac (e30284)

  32. The thing about the multiparty system is that it allows an essential minority (say, 35% of the people) to run the show…when the opposition is divided into several other parties.

    It appeals to people who have a not-real-world drive for perfection.

    This drive for a multiparty system makes the DNC lick its chops.

    The ironic part is that only way a multiparty system works is by…a coalition that opposes the majority.

    And how does that coalition arise? By compromise on core principles.

    So that is different, how, than the current system?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am all for reform of the Republican Party…sort of in the mold of the “Grand New Party” being proposed.

    But the folks who sat out this election, or voted for Ron Paul…well, they actually voted for Obama. Hope they are okay with that. And what makes me sad is that we did the freaking experiment with Ross Perot. And that drive for perfection got us…eight years of Bill Clinton, and no real change in the RNC.

    So when I watch Frum or Noonan or Parker…I keep asking myself why they get to define what a Republican is or thinks. Or who is smart or stupid, for that matter. It’s okay if voters do…and maybe they did. But it shouldn’t be up to freaking journalists or pundits.

    YMMV.

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  33. That aside, when I say that the principle is enshrined in our 1st Amendment, would you please explain how, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” does not qualify as a form of separation between church and state?

    OK. It means that ALL churches are equally entitled to freedom of worship (not always present in the colonies) and no state church can be established. That is why it is called “The Establishment Clause.” It says nothing about separation.

    Cultural conservatives just happen to share economic conservatism and security concerns.

    Some do and some don’t. I cannot count the number of times I have heard so-called conservatives say that they would not vote for a candidate the was in favor of allowing abortions.

    Do you happen to recall all the people who said they could not vote for (fill in the blank) because he/she was opposed to a woman’s right to choose ? What do you think caused the rage against Palin ? The fact that she shot a moose ?

    Those types of single-issue voters are certainly not conservatives.

    And the single issue voters on the other side ? What do you call them ? Intellectuals ?

    As for Paln, I personally liked her and would loved to see her serve as VP. She was only slightly more qualified than Obama for the Presidency and I felt was a bad choice for that reason alone.

    Comment by MJBrutus

    Most of the complaints about social conservatives really concerns one issue; abortion. The fact is that the national majority OPPOSES abortion. That is a fact that all the dismissive articles in the NY Times can’t wash away.

    I am personally pro-choice. I have done abortions. The medical association long ago learned to stop polling its membership on abortion. The medical associations are pro-choice but they do not want to know what the members believe because doctors are just as split as the rest of the country. I suspect college graduates are just as split.

    What we have is an expression of frustration by pro-abortion people who are trying to convince the public, and themselves, that anti-abortion people are religious bigots. That’s all it is. Show me someone complaining about the “religious right” who is pro-life.

    You can’t. That’s what it is all about.

    Mike K (531ff4)

  34. I’ve read Parker’s column for many years. Most of her writings are reasonable and lean conservative in beliefs. (Townhall.com has 5+ years of archived columns for each of their columnists)

    Not sure what has gotten into her since the Palin pick. Could be the really nasty emails she got after her first column criticizing her really ratttled her and she is reacting badly.

    voiceofreason2 (4d5de2)

  35. Parker has a lot of truth in what she writes, except this: evangelical voters comprise about 25% of the party, assuming that Huckabee’s performance in the primaries is indicative. After all, Huckabee had little to offer the libertarian or business wings of the party — a pure evangelical play, if you will. They are NOT the party.

    Just the same, we need to attract the financially conservative but non-religious voter in the middle. The 60-70% who favor 1st trimester (only) abortion, couldn’t care one way or another about gays so long as they don’t have to do it, and haven’t been to church this decade. But who want a balanced budget, criminals in jail and decent schools for everyone.

    This cannot happen while we toe the evangelical line. Yes, we need to pay attention to them, but in a large tent party everyone gives up something. Evangelicals had the presidency for 8 years and now its someone else’s turn.

    Too bad we couldn’t have run Colin Powell back in 2000 when we had the chance. Long climb back.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  36. So what Parker considers the low brow crew need what, move out of the way for the high brow crew instead? Because apparently the GOP no longer needs the low brow support, votes, door-to-door canvassing, donations. Parker’s big tent may very well have a Not Welcome sign out to a select few.

    Re Parker and Palin: no one eats their own like women. And if there is a very attractive and smart one on the horizon, she’s the first to go. Can’t have the competition.

    Salon has an unbelievable essay up re Mrs. Obama’s uh, tush. In the article the female author refers not to Mrs. Palin, or Governor Palin but rather, the Republican sexpot. Women are brutal toward women.

    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/11/18/michelles_booty/index.html

    Dana (79a78b)

  37. Comment by Dana — 11/19/2008 @ 5:16 pm

    There has been a lot of unnecessary animosity between the different factions of the party. RINO, CINO, etc. are used often. Until both sides stop this the party unity will continue to fracture.
    One doesn’t excuse the other – don’t mean to imply that.
    I’ll take your word for it about women toward other women. Dangerous territory for men to venture an opinion on!

    voiceofreason2 (df4382)

  38. Agreeing for the sake of agreeing won’t solve anything. I think we need to disagree and air the disagreements so we can see how and with whom we can build a consensus.

    DRJ (a50047)

  39. DRJ,
    Airing disagreement is fine and can be constructive but goes nowhere toward a consensus as long as people keep ratcheting up the name calling.
    Only my opinion but most of the name calling has been coming from the self-professed conservatives and aimed at the self-professed moderates. Picking on Palin is an easy (and admittedly cheap) way to get the goat of many conservatives.
    Hopefully everyone will get it out of their systems soon.

    voiceofreason2 (df4382)

  40. Kathleen Parker is not interested in discourse or debate or finding a middle ground or building a consensus. She is interested in seeing the GOP slough off what she sees as the dead weight holding back the party.

    Dana (79a78b)

  41. She is interested in seeing the GOP slough off what she sees as the dead weight holding back the party.

    That may be so in Parker’s case, although I don’t think it is the case, but how many conservatives have you read or heard say “We just need to get rid of the RINOs and take the party back”.

    It is a circular firing squad. We need a leader for the party and soon. I’m hoping Steele as the RNC chair can be that leader. Has nothing to do with the 2012 nominee.

    voiceofreason2 (df4382)

  42. I think we’ll continue to have these issues for awhile. Some conservatives are still in the anger-denial-grief phase, and I think we’ll stay there until the Obama Administration begins.

    DRJ (a50047)

  43. I’m hoping Steele as the RNC chair can be that leader.

    Ditto.

    Dana (79a78b)

  44. Too bad we couldn’t have run Colin Powell back in 2000 when we had the chance.

    We did, in fact – but Powell’s wife reportedly said if he ran that she’d leave him, flat. Since he already was quite hesistant about running for the top job, it was an easy decision for him to make after that pronouncement.

    Dmac (e30284)

  45. Machinist @ 13,

    I believe you are right that “They offered a real conservative platform and convinced the American people they were serious about implementing it.” is the right way to go. I still don’t understand why the Republican party doesn’t have another “Contract With America”. It seems to me that is the way to garner votes, not to distance themselves from social conservatives.

    I’m very pro-life and very conservative. I did not vote for Mike Huckabee because he was not financially conservative enough. I believe it is arrogant to label social conservatives as being “one issue” voters. I’m a social conservative that also believes in financial accountability. That’s more than “one issue” isn’t it?

    Tanny O'Haley (36baa6)

  46. The 60-70% who favor 1st trimester (only) abortion, couldn’t care one way or another about gays so long as they don’t have to do it, and haven’t been to church this decade. But who want a balanced budget, criminals in jail and decent schools for everyone.

    I would like to see your cite for this figure. It might be 60 to 70% of Democrats but the general population is majority pro-life. This huge pro-choice majority is a myth. That is why Republicans can’t just throw out the pro-life people.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  47. Here’s a recent Gallup poll on abortion, for example.

    A November 2005 Gallup poll asked when Americans thought abortion should be legal and 54 percent of Americans oppose either all or most abortions while just 42 percent say abortion should always be legal or legal in most circumstances.

    The January 2006 poll also asked Americans about making abortion laws more strict and 38 percent agreed that should happen while 20 percent said they should be less strict.

    The new poll also finds that a majority of Americans say abortion is important in terms of how they vote.

    Some 52 percent say abortion is extremely or very important to their Congressional vote while 46 percent say its moderately or not very important.

    Abortion is more likely to be rated extremely important today than it was four years ago — 27% in 2006 vs. 18% in 2002 — implying Americans have intensified their views.

    The new Gallup poll follows the release of a CBS News survey that found 55 percent of Americans took a pro-life position on abortion while just 42 percent indicated they support legalized abortion.

    I rest my case.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  48. Notice that you leave out a key article when you paraphrase Jefferson. He says ‘total separation of *the* church from *the* state’, while you leave out *the*. It is quite clear from the article in Jefferson’s quote, as well as the context, that he is referring to what the 1st amendment actually does — prohibits Congress from setting up an official Church — ‘the’ Church, in the US. It does not ban the participation of religious people in public life, or their use of religious and moral ideas to mobilize supporters.

    Comment by Mitchell Young

    Mitchell, you didn’t notice it seems, but the quote was Madison’s, not Jefferson. Going beyond that detail, the Constitution bans the establishment of religion, not merely the establishment of one church. Certainly people of faith are free to apply their conscience as informed by their religion while in office. That evades the question. The point that I made and stand by is that those who seek to legislate their religion are going against the spirit of the Constitution and conservatism as well.

    MJBrutus (78a680)

  49. Comment by MJBrutus — 11/19/2008 @ 8:40 pm

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    The plain and simple is:
    Keep your f…ing hands off!
    If I want to pray in public, if I don’t want to pray in public; the Government has no say in the matter!
    And, that includes large gatherings of people too; or, how do you reconcile the “assembly” clause with restricting those gatherings?

    Another Drew (a9b92d)

  50. _________________________________________________

    Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.

    Scratch below the surface and Parker appears to have the gut biases of a squishy “centrist,” one who in the 21st Century really is quite socially, culturally liberal by the standards of, say, the 1950s (when Jack Parr, a predecessor to Jay Leno, David Letterman, Johnny Carson, was bleeped for saying — get this! — “water closet” during his monologue), or certainly the era before then.

    Moreover, when surveys indicate that non-secular Republicans/conservatives are more generous with their time and money than secular Democrats/liberals, I’d say the last thing a decent society needs is more of the crowd that Parker is wistfully watching off in the distance and wringing her hands over.

    That’s why information like the following should be stamped on the foreheads of people like Parker, and definitely on those who fancy themselves caring, tender-hearted, warm-hearted liberals, the kind who snicker at folks like Sarah Palin or the “lowest brows” of the Bible Belt.


    George F Will:

    — Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

    Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

    — Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

    — Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

    — In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

    — People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

    Brooks demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and “the values that lie beneath” liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.

    The single biggest predictor of someone’s altruism, Willett says, is religion. It increasingly correlates with conservative political affiliations because, as Brooks’ book says, “the percentage of self-described Democrats who say they have ‘no religion’ has more than quadrupled since the early 1970s.”


    _________________________________________________

    Mark (411533)

  51. Politics, not principle, wins elections. And with the near continuous campaign mode and the agenda being politics all the time, principles are a non-issue.

    When politicians and voters decide to act on principle, politics as usual can be eliminated or reduced to a subordinate position in public life. Maybe then we will find true leaders.

    Stanford Matthews (407547)

  52. Mike–

    Most polls I’ve seen that asks unloaded (non-push) questions finds that about 15-20% would ban all or almost all abortions, and about 15-20% would allow all or almost all abortions.

    The vast bulk is in the middle. They would support abortion early on, or to save the mother’s life, but very much dislike 3rd trimester abortions on demand. They have very mixed feelings about minor abortions They generally want some more controls on abortion but have no wish to ban it.

    Which is why the partial-birth abortion law passed, with substantial numbers of Democrat votes, and why abortion has not been overturned by mass support of a Constitutional amendment.

    But don’t take my word for it — see the history of abortion polls.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  53. Editing comments would be so cool.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  54. And the single issue voters on the other side ? What do you call them ? Intellectuals ?

    I think that this pretty much sums up your reply. You seem to think that since the pro-choice crowd is virulent, the pro-life crowd should be as well. To answer your question, specifically, I do not consider either form of single-issue obsessed voter to be conservative.

    The problem with the abortion debate is that Roe v Wade was such a lousy decision. It rested on the tenuous logic of finding a right in the emanation of the penumbra of an implied right to privacy. The result is that it took the issue away from the states and away from the ballot box. It usurped our right to vote on the matter and that has produced a pent up and horrific division in our society.

    MJBrutus (78a680)

  55. circle the wagons will ya?

    um, let’s see she didn’t say the right things?

    It’s all Democrats fault.

    It’s all workers fault.

    It’s socialism.

    It’s the damn n*****s, L*****ls, gay’s fault.

    GW Bush wasn’t really a Republican.

    oh, I got the Republican arguments in a nutshell…but she violated the ban of self criticism…and her days are numbered.

    datadave (882dce)

  56. It’s the damn n*****s, L*****ls, gay’s fault.

    Seems dataless is off its meds again.

    JD (b96a9e)

  57. I think that this pretty much sums up your reply. You seem to think that since the pro-choice crowd is virulent, the pro-life crowd should be as well.

    That doesn’t even make sense. You are the one saying that Republicans need to distance themselves from those icky religious people. I’m saying that abortion is a very difficult political issue and the people who allege their superiority over religious “fundamentalists” are really complaining that they can’t convince the majority that they are right on abortion.

    To answer your question, specifically, I do not consider either form of single-issue obsessed voter to be conservative.

    I think the left is far more obsessed with this issue but tries to conceal it with a pose of superior intelligence. The pro-life people are not burning down anybody’s house. The anti-abortion violence is minimal and confined to a few nuts.

    The pro-abortion side trashed Sarah Palin with appalling falsehoods and nasty gossip. They justify this crap by called her “Caribou Barbie” and other terms to imply she is ignorant and not very intelligent. Those same people worship Al Gore who flunked out of a couple of colleges.

    The problem with the abortion debate is that Roe v Wade was such a lousy decision. It rested on the tenuous logic of finding a right in the emanation of the penumbra of an implied right to privacy. The result is that it took the issue away from the states and away from the ballot box. It usurped our right to vote on the matter and that has produced a pent up and horrific division in our society.

    Comment by MJBrutus

    I agree and you could have saved some of this by acknowledging this obvious truth. Abortion was legal in California in 1969. Roe v Wade wrecked what could have been a consensus arrived at by legislatures. Note that the poll I quoted says the issue is MORE divisive now than it was 30 years ago.

    When I first got involved in politics, about 1975, I read a book called “Strange Bedfellows; making deals with unlikely allies.” I wish everyone in politics would read it or something like it. You assemble a coalition of people who agree on an issue. That’s how you get legislation passed, or blocked.

    You assemble a party of people who agree on a majority of issues. The Republican Party has included both pro-life and pro-choice members for decades. What is happening is that the pro-choice faction is getting impatient and is trying to boot out the pro-life segment even though it is about three times larger. Until Reagan, the Republicans had been a minority party at the federal level since 1933. The Kathleen Parkers seem to want to go back to that era.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  58. Gee, datadave. Which side brought up (once again!) race & gender as an issue?

    Oh, and the sin Kathleen Parker committed is the sin of being completely wrong in her analysis. Republicans lost ground in this election because the Christian Conservatives have taken control of the GOP? Where is there proof of that?

    Icy Truth (aedb2f)

  59. The thing about the multiparty system is that it allows an essential minority (say, 35% of the people) to run the show…when the opposition is divided into several other parties.

    The American two party system does a pretty good job at allowing a minority to run the country. Which is why we see the same policies being followed even when a supposedly “different party” takes power.

    Subotai (9d8942)

  60. If Parker had written an equally ignorant, hostile and bigoted column about any other group of people in America (Jews, for example) she’d have been thrown out of polite society.

    Subotai (9d8942)

  61. […] I’m courageous. Not quite as courageous as Courageous George, mind you, but courageous […]

    damnum absque injuria » All I Am Saying Is We Already Gave Keyes a Chance (490ac4)


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