Episode 34 – Is Gay the New Conservative?

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Glenn and Jeff get very provocative this week, asking what it really means to be a “conservative.” They argue that a true conservative would actually embrace gay marriage. Politically, while unconventional, fiscal conservatives should back gay marriage in order to separate from their “conservative” brethren, and build a new party build on new conservative principles of limited government, fiscal discipline and social responsibility. Inexplicably, under the last “conservative” government, Medicare and Medicaid spending, the budget deficit, the national debt and federal spending per household all grew to their highest levels ever — all trendlines which should have been going down. Even the rate of growth of government, which one would expect to slow under conservatives, increased. With the party polling at its lowest levels in decades, it’s  time for them to take bold, and yes, even irrational steps. The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes and thinking you’re going to get a different result. We think the Republican Party, in its present form, has gone insane. You want the best of inside the beltway politics, listen to MSNBC’s Hardball. You want great political commentary? watch Ed Schultz, Keith Olberman or Rachel Maddow. But if you want Washington politics explained to Main Street, listen to PoliTalk — always entertaining and informative. It’s PoliTalk: your weekly political podcast.

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3 responses to “Episode 34 – Is Gay the New Conservative?

  1. This was written as an email, but I’m happy to post some thoughts for debate. (Sorry in advance over any spelling or grammar issues I may have missed.)

    Note: This is directed at the audio portion of this episode.

    @Glenn,

    A conservative as you define one is actually how I would define a Libertarian, fiscally conservative, small government and strong personal liberties as defined by the bill of rights. Please don’t try to pass these ideals off as Republican property, because they are not. Nor are they exclusive from the Democratic party. Bill Clinton lowered government spending and even balanced the budget as we all remember. You also seem to have hammered things such as social security and although I freely admit it is far from perfect the concept behind it is strong fiscally. Unexpected events can leave the most productive of us in a tight spot and we want to support these people in the short term and get them back on their feet so that they can start paying taxes again in the long term. Now going back to my original point, your definition of a “conservative” is what I will define as a Libertarian who traded in core values by siding with religion and fear mongering for political power. Who wants to be a Libertarian with no political power after all?

    I would also say that this religious right and fear mongering you both spoke of actually was most clearly defined by the actions of Senator McCarthy and the Red Scare then many years later it gained a strong foothold due to the popularity of the Ronald Regan. Ronald Regan was the first president since World War II to increase spending relative to income (not fiscally conservative) as seen (http://zfacts.com/p/318.html) while trying to substantiate the drug prohibition thus impeding on personal liberties and growing many government sectors such as law enforcement and incarceration (http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/glance/tables/corr2tab.htm).

    This seemingly led into a slippery slope scenario of taking away peoples liberties to such a point that we now have the Patriot Act and record incarceration numbers. Dick Cheney has kindly volunteered to support my theory by being heavily involved financially with the prison system and treating his gay daughter as a second class citizen.

    In response to your response. (I will not quote your email reply as I have not gotten permission, even if I am sure you would not have minded. But I will try to be clear regardless.)

    In your response there was confusion over the ‘core’ GOP values (http://www.gop.com/about/imarepublicanbecause.htm) running counter to the idea of personal liberties for gay individuals. I’ll postulate that this list may be somewhat (intentionally) deceptive and here’s why…

    1. The order of a list matters, when core values start falling by the wayside due to internal conflicts between values the top core values win. So lets say we have the following values in conflict:

    I BELIEVE free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity.

    I BELIEVE Americans must retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times.

    Economic growth may suffer if we work on innovation due to the up front research and development costs, so innovation loses and the focus becomes growth via other things such as cutting production costs. (Personally I place innovation over growth because I prefer to think that innovation IS long term growth.)

    2. Many of these values are core human values that would be considered taboo to not recognize such as item number 2. “I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability. ” It is difficult to garner support if your organization openly tolerates things such as sexism or racism. (Note: I think this ‘core’ value should be #1 not #2.)

    3. Republicans hold tightly to the idea of corporate personhood. This is the idea that a corporation is a virtual person who enjoys the rights that any human would, without any of those annoying drawbacks like certain death.

    Now, with these things in mind lets look at the #1 core value in the list.

    “I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.”

    Since a corporation a super-person (who may never die) it follows that protecting companies is the top priority. I could understand an argument for the usage of ‘individual’, but I don’t think even then that that would exclude an individual corporation.

    Then to take things even further, one could easily argue that religion is a form of corporation, but that is all I’ll say about that for now.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. Daniel,

    1. I disagree with your premise of “Economic growth may suffer if we work on innovation due to the up front research and development costs”. Up front research and development creates jobs, increases purchases on goods and services, so by definition, it is economic growth. R&D is good short term and hopefully the results will be good long term.

    2. I agree with your premise here that the statements are universal. However, the Republican party seems to have a breakdown between stating them publicly and implementing them. That is not to say that it is not a core belief. Like many things, it seems to come down to interpretation. Claiming something as your own, does not make it so.

    3. “Republicans hold tightly to the idea of corporate personhood”… while many in the party leadership may agree with you, I do not believe the rank and file would. One might argue that many would not even know what that means. Regardless, I am not clear how this impacts my belief that the Republican Party can get back to its core values, which I do not believe were based on social conservatism.

  3. 1. I agree, R&D is even more vital in hard times. Unfortunately, that does not mean it is not still the first thing that gets an axe when making spending cuts. This article talks about an example of that in our current recession -> http://www.dailynews.com/ci_12292277

    3. Your right, let me try to rephrase. “The person or people responsible for creating and choosing the wording of these core items are likely very familiar with corporate personhood and chose to word them in such a way to account for that very purpose. This person or people hold tightly to the idea of corporate personhood”. This relates to back to how the party lost its roots because religions are powerful, rich, influential, businesses that the party has yielded to.

    I argue that this is no different to them yielding on social issues and them yielding to lobbyists regarding recent copyright law changes backed by record and movie industries, conservation law changes backed by the oil industry or bankruptcy laws changed for the credit card industry.

    These businesses simply have their own agenda.

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