The Straightaway

Politics Without Pundits

Posts Tagged ‘conservative

Conservative Christmas Comes

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Within hours, possibly minutes, of CNN’s projection that Barack Obama had captured the presidency of the United States of America, the “alternative” (a.k.a. conservative) media began their offensive on the new President-elect. On Rush Limbaugh’s website at this very moment are the following headlines: “‘Creepy’ Obama Leaks His Thug Version of the Meeting With Bush,” “Drive-Bys Create Obamamania,” “The Obama Recession: Capitalism to be Removed from Auto Industry,” etc. Less outspoken conservative media people have followed suit, perhaps in a more subdued manner, such as Sean Hannity.

Although it might espouse that the world is coming to an end, the truth is that alternative media outlets can be nothing but overjoyed at the election of the liberal, Democratic President-elect Obama. These outlets barely scrape by when the Republicans are in power, because there is simply less for them to criticize. But conservative media bodies come alive during Democratic administrations – if you will recall, the venerable conservative channel, FOX News, was launched in 1996, during the administration of Democratic President Bill Clinton.

The next four years will be like a perpetual field day for these outlets. Obama has marketed himself so far as being fairly liberal, which means FOX News and the like will have more to debate and criticize in the coming years of the Obama administration. Conservatives and liberals alike will flock to these bodies – the conservatives because they will love what is being said, the liberals because they can’t wait to hate what they will say next (the Howard Stern/Bill O’Reilly Syndrome). Media, after all, is a business, and for the next few years it is likely that conservative media will boom.

I can almost imagine Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdock in a backroom, secretly toasting President Barack Obama – with new, solid-gold goblets.

Conservative Movement Turns on Founder’s Son

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In a bizarre turn of events, Christopher Buckley has resigned from the staff of the conservative magazine National Review after printing this article endorsing Barack Obama for President. Buckley, a well-known conservative-libertarian and author of several satirical novels (including the film-adapted Thank You For Smoking) is the son of the late William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review and regarded as the father of the American conservative movement.

To be clear, Christopher Buckley has not changed his political viewpoints – he is as conservative as he was when he served as a speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. Buckley’s decision stems mostly from displeasure with John McCain, as well as belief in Obama’s character.

This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence.

As for Senator Obama: He has exhibited throughout a “first-class temperament,” pace Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s famous comment about FDR.

Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.

Just 4 days after this endorsement ran, Buckley decided to leave his father’s magazine after he was set upon by an angry storm of feedback from readers and colleagues who felt he had betrayed his family name and his movement.

Yet perhaps the readers don’t remember the true Bill Buckley. As Christopher said in the 10/14 column:

My father in his day endorsed a number of liberal Democrats for high office, including Allard K. Lowenstein and Joe Lieberman. One of his closest friends on earth was John Kenneth Galbraith.

William F. Buckley held to rigorous standards, and if those were met by members of the other side rather than by his own camp, he said as much.

It seems unfair that Christopher Buckley shall be faulted for exercising his own judgment rather than following the line of a party, and a movement, in disarray. Perhaps the Republican party has strayed so far from its roots that it has lost its identity, that it cannot take honest criticism from a loyal son.

Written by acs2008

October 15, 2008 at 6:06 am

RNC Wednesday Rundown: Venom without Substance

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Click on the image to see Giulianis 2008 RNC speech.

Click on the image to see Giuliani’s 2008 RNC speech.

Rudy Giuliani‘s energetic speech was filled with direct, personal attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Giuliani kept the attacks coming all night, on anything from Obama’s experience as a community organizer to his foreign policy stances. Giuliani promoted the standard Republican line on McCain as a heroic POW war hero who is ready to lead America. Giuliani offered his own delusional foreign policy ideas, somehow managing to bring up September 11th. Again. (Surprise, Surprise!). The most effective and substantive part of Giuliani’s speech was his assertions on Obama’s flip-flopping tendences:

“They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.”

Overall, a solid, rousing speech that didn’t say much about the issues.

Click on the picture to view VP nominee Sarah Palins speech wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

Click on the picture to view VP nominee Sarah Palin's speech wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin‘s vice presidential speech, written by a former Bush speechwriter, was a smashing success inside the RNC hall. Palin established herself as a small-town mother with strong family values, which is sure to excite the evangelical conservative base. She showed that she has the potential to fill the VP-Attack-Dog role well, hitting Obama constantly and very personally.

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

and

“For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.”

Palin gave the usual inspiring rhetoric about John McCain, etc., but overall, her speech had little, if any, substance. She constantly attacked Obama’s policies, including a woefully erroneous assertion on taxes that leads one to believe that she is either a comfortable liar, or very misinformed on the issues – either would be dangerous, the former for the Obama campaign, the latter for the American people.

Palin came off as fiery but likable – her likability might allow her to get away with a lot. However, her barbs were deep and painful, some very dishonorable in a way that really contrasts with McCain’s respectful style. However, I suppose that is vice presidential politics.

Palin’s speech will galvanize true conservatives, but will do little, perhaps even repel, the independents they need to secure. Palin is quickly becoming the Republican Hillary Clinton, in the sense that she is a polarizing figure beloved by her party but absolutely abhorred by the opposition.

Babygate: Sarahpalooza Continued

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The Palin media circus continues – word has broken out that Sarah Palin’s 17-year old daughter, Bristol Palin, is pregnant. If John McCain wanted to steal the spotlight from Barack Obama with his VP pick, well, he sure is getting his wish.

Obama has already made it clear that family is off-limits in this campaign, especially Bristol and her baby. Luckily, his campaign won’t have to make it an issue – the media and everyday people are already all over it.

Really, this situation is an interesting case of broad platform policy affecting the lives of the candidates themselves. Sarah Palin, a staunch pro-life supporter, has done well to raise her daughter with her values – Bristol is keeping the baby, and will marry the father of the baby. Many socially-conservative evangelicals have been impressed by this inspiring stand of beliefs, poised to join the McCain ranks as they had declined to before.

However, this situation might very well show the failure of one of Palin’s policy stances: abstinence-only sex education. Many might take this situation to point out that if Palin’s own daughter couldn’t avoid this unplanned pregnancy and subsequent shotgun marriage, then who’s to say that the abstinence-only education works at all.

Normally, family news such as this should be kept out of politics. However, given that it so directly affects a key policy issue in this campaign, it might be alright for the media to keep dissecting this issue (as long as it is in a tasteful, constructive manner. Obviously, any personal attacks based on this would be unfair.) The fact that the story involves a key figure in the election is just an unfortunate coincidence.

The old, tired cliche says that there is no such thing as bad publicity. All this might not be bad publicity,  but it might certainly be overexposure. Remember when people were polled as saying they were tired of hearing about Obama? Well, there must be more than a few people who tired of hearing about Sarah Palin right now.