Obama’s non-plan for the fiscal cliff a ridiculous power play

During the Vice Presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz asked Joe Biden what the Obama administration’s plan was for dealing with trillion dollar deficits and a burgeoning debt other than raising taxes on the rich.

His response was, “Martha thank you for asking that question brrreg….bllleeerp…dddeeerp….I think it’s really important that those who can afford to pay more do.”

Maybe I’m paraphrasing, but his answer, more or less, to what else they had besides tax the rich was tax the rich.

Not a great start.

So then, it should come as no surprise that Obama’s opening bid in the debt ceiling negotiations was utterly devoid of compromise and full of the tax raising nonsense he ran on.

Same cuts as in the budget he proposed, which didn’t get a single vote in the House it was so utterly ridiculous.

What it does have is a higher top tax rate for the rich, higher capital gains taxes and explosive increases to the taxes on dividends.

Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo, suggested this first proposal would make the Republicans look bad because…ummm I’m not sure. The only real analysis he provides is that it now means the GOP must come up with a plan (duh), and this plan was the one Obama ran on.

(Beutler disagreed with that assessment on Twitter yesterday, but read the article and tell me who you think is right).

Business Insider took Beutler’s explanation a step further saying there was a host of things to like in Obama’s plan.

One includes giving the President the power to raise the debt ceiling whenever he wants, which apparently Joseph Weisenthal thinks is a good idea. Obama is in favor of extending the payroll tax break, which was a Republican policy to begin with.

More unemployment benefits and modest infrastructure spending. The last part seems pretty superfluous in the grand scheme of the plan because of nearly $1 trillion in spending didn’t stimulate the economy, $50 billion won’t much matter.

But the president put this plan out there knowing the GOP would laugh at it. Mitch McConnell literally laughed at it.

No entitlement reform, the top driver of our debts and deficits. Even liberals know that is true.

An onerous tax hike, particularly on investment earnings when most economists believe in a recession you ought to lower taxes on investments, particularly given how many people’s retirement money sits in 401K’s and other investment-based holdings.

National Public Radio (gasp), was on board with the potential dangers of raising taxes like this. This plan is a about as serious as a Will Ferrell movie.

Democrats know that raising taxes isn’t going to do much of anything to deal with the deficit, particularly given that only the top end will lose the tax break. It’s just something they want and the left sees this as the time to try and ram it through.

If there had been real movement on entitlement reform – just blindly wielding the budgetary axe is not reform – or a discussion about actual federal government austerity, then maybe the GOP would have reason to talk about revenues from top earners.

I see no reason why the Bush-tax cut revocation for people making $250,000 or a more can’t be accepted by the GOP, but only if it isn’t coupled with burdensome tax hikes on all sorts of other income and comes with a serious attempt to get entitlement spending under control.

This $4 trillion in supposed deficit reductions over the next 10 years is laughable when Obama has rung up $4 trillion in deficits in his four years in office. There’s no reason to believe he won’t just subvert these cuts with new spending. In fact, he almost certainly would.

Matt Yglesias lays out what could actually be a reasonable compromise that would include capping deductions on the rich and allowing Obama to move forward with his stimulus, unemployment benefits etc. Would it ever happen? Of course not, because then the Democrats feel like they lost since it wasn’t their idea (unless of course Harry Reid or a senior Democratic Senator has the stones to suggest it…unlikely)

Democrats think they have the upper hand because the Tea Party looked like the culprit in the last debt ceiling debacle. The sequester though, includes serious cuts to liberal pet programs like Head Start and AIDS funding. It also would include tax increases on the middle class, something the Democrats desperately don’t want to be responsible for.

For Republicans, the spending cuts in the sequester will be fine for many Tea Party Republicans who believe military spending already accounts for too much of the federal budget and that the Medicare and Medicaid cuts were inevitable.

Both sides have reasons to want and not want us to go off the fiscal cliff, but the plan cannot and will not look like the one Barack Obama just put forth. That plan is a non-starter with the GOP and it’s up to them to paint Obama as the one unwilling to compromise by putting forward their own plan which the country can get behind.

Obama has, in the midst of his power play, actually done the Republicans a mighty favor: he’s put the ball in their court. If the GOP can come through with a plan that actually makes sense (and that likely means raising rates on top earners, or at least creating some sort of minimum tax rate coupled with deduction caps), they’ll be able to put considerable pressure back on the president and the Senate to pass the plan.

We can’t pretend like this is a zero-sum game where either the Democrats or Republicans win and the other loses. Unfortunately that’s how the media and even the politicians themselves seem to view it. If that continues, then we all truly lose.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Why Costco is proof the free market works: A critique of government interference

Modern American economic politics, particularly in the last 15 years or so, has morphed into a perverse and dangerous game of stock picking.

Given the economic intelligence of most politicians, particularly our last several presidents, the better analogy might be horse racing.

Government has invested heavily in certain industries. Some have grown and some have famously flopped. President Obama’s investments into Solyndra and other green companies have cost taxpayers billions. His investments in bailouts for the auto companies, particularly GM, were band-aids on what are long-term problems. General Motors still owes the government billions while a company like Ford, who had to pull its way out of the recession, is the top selling American brand in the market place.

But it hasn’t just been the Democrats. President George W. Bush put billions of dollars of subsidies into defense contractors for a war we couldn’t afford to fight. Liberals will tell you Iraq was all about the oil, although the Iraqi government has said they plan on using their oil is a bargaining chip from now on.

Even so, Bush put billions into the oil industry as well.

The idea in all of the aforementioned cases was to create growth.

The free market, though, is a funny thing. Failure actually makes the market stronger. Failure is the backbone of any economy. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb puts it, “(Organic systems) need some dose of disorder in order to develop. Deprive your bones of stress and they become brittle. This denial of the antifragility of living or complex systems is the costliest mistake that we have made in modern times. Stifling natural fluctuations masks real problems, causing the explosions to be both delayed and more intense when they do take place.”

His article, Learning to Love Volatility sets the groundwork for why a free market will function much better over the long term without government intervention.

Interfering with the market, whether it’s the stock market, monetary policy, or economic sectors, propping them up over long periods of time as we’ve done with oil subsidies, has done nothing to change the behavior of either the producer or the consumer.

Ending those subsidies, driving the price of things like gas way up, would certainly change the behavior of most people. You’d try to drive less. You’d ditch that SUV for a sedan, or at least a hybird.

Auto-makers would try harder to create technology to make cars more fuel efficient because they’d have to. Ford literally had to stop making Excursion SUV’s because they guzzled gas and no one wanted to pay $100 to fill up their tank once a week.

That’s the market at work. No government mandate would have changed things. Mandating better fuel efficiency doesn’t change consumer behavior because oil subsidies make it cheap to buy gas. If I can still buy gas for a low cost, I could care less what my gas mileage is.

Ask Chevy Volt, who has stopped production on a car no one wants to drive.

And I know the left thinks corporations are evil, but what about Costco? A New York Times profile points out that Costco marks up their retail goods at about half the rate of normal big box stores while paying their employees considerably better.

Jim Sinegal, the company’s CEO, says he knows happy workers are good workers and the same is true of customers. Although Costco is a public company, they focus more on their in-store performance than their Wall Street one.

Still, their stock is up 10% in the last year whereas Wal-Mart is down 5%. Sinegal takes a modest salary, about $350,000 a year, but with his stock options is worth more aboust $150 million.

His theory is that it wouldn’t be right for the salary disparity to be any bigger.

It isn’t benevolence, to Sinegal, it’s good business. And it is.

The best anecdote from the article is a conversation Sinegal had with Starbuck’s head Howard Schultz. Costco, Sinegal threatened, would stop carrying the coffee hegemon if Schultz didn’t lower his bean prices.

It had become public that the price of beans had dropped, which means it had become cheaper for Starbuck’s to buy their coffee, but the price of a latte or a pound of french roast hadn’t changed.

Eventually, Schultz relented and agreed to lower his prices.

There was no government intervention. No conspiracy or oligopoly or collusion. This was market forces at work.

You can bet the New York Times profile will be a bump for Costco’s business. The morality of companies has grown in importance to the market place, and for consumers that should be considered an enormous win.

It will also make the government’s job much easier because they no longer have to decide who wins and who loses. It was never their role to begin with, just one they decided to take up.

But given the expansive media landscape, access the market and access to information has never been broader. The playing field has never been so level.

The government, and that means both political parties, must learn that a free market means a free people. It should be the goal of every government and every politician to see its people free from the shackles of the economic burden that poor management from government has done a great deal to create.

Political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes would say government control can actually make us more free because in what he calls the state of nature – essentially a primeval anarchy – there is no protection for anyone.

A truly free market cannot stand. But the government-controlled market we’ve created is on its last legs. It’s time to once again let the bones of the market grow strong by standing on its own.

It’s time for government to stop picking winners and losers and let us do that. That’s our job, not theirs.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blame the left that ‘war on men’ idea even exists

One of my biggest pet peeves, particularly among conservatives, is that people whose basic ideas I agree with, argue for them in the worst possible ways.

As a result, it’s a negative reflection on me when I tell people I believe something because they automatically assume I believe it for the prominent, ignorant reasons offered by whomever.

Fox News is a regular culprit in this increasingly pervasive problem among the right, but a recent post regarding a supposed war on men is an archetype example.

The argument in the article is one only a woman could make, and by that I mean she essentially blames women for the problems feminists set out to solve. Had a man written this column, the outrage would have been obvious and perhaps even more warranted.

Rebuttals were numerous and furious, although perhaps the most even-handed critique was done by Mediaite.

Suzanne Venker, who wrote the Fox piece, said a number of particularly inflammatory things such as “women aren’t women anymore.”

The entire article smacks of covert sexism and the idea that women would be better off had they remained subservient to their male partners.

It’s in a man’s DNA to provide for a woman, not compete with her. That’s more or less how Venker’s argument goes.

Full of holes and obvious fallacies, the argument fails to stand, but there are significant reasons to believe the rise of women have marginalized men.

It’s based on the liberal idea that in order for someone to succeed someone else has to fail. This is obvious composition fallacy, given that you could probably think of numerous examples where this isn’t directly the case. But you can also see the workings of the liberal mind here, as best expressed through the Occupy movements whereby the rich only succeed by making others poor.

Men, for generations, oppressed women.

This is an indisputable fact. Women weren’t allowed to own property, vote, run a business, and in some places it’s still legal for a man to rape his wife – or more specifically, he can have non-consensual sex with his wife and it isn’t considered illegal rape.

Women still earn less for doing the same job as men.

Venker’s point that the feminist culture over-corrected is one of the few valid points she’s made. Whether explicit or implicit, feminists have often tried to tell women they don’t need men. The result has been widespread, as women are more professionally oriented, independent, and sexually promiscuous, not waiting to marry. None of these are inherently a problem for men.

But what often happens to marginalized sects of society, is they are given special leeway to overcompensate. It’s the reason you could have a newspaper called “The Black Voice” but never called “The White Voice.”

Black voices are suppressed by mainstream culture, while white voices are not, or at least the theory goes.

Affirmative Action and a host of other legislation aimed at creating equality has actually created resentment among those who do not get special treatment for their minority status. The government picks winners and losers even among the marginalized.

Much like quantitative easing or any fiscal policy,  the market finds a way to correct itself. True equality would be a time when programs like affirmative action wouldn’t be necessary.

Women are earning more now than ever. They outnumber men on college campuses and their voices are finally being heard. At some point, there has to be a correction of course because the man cannot oppress the woman forever.

This oppressor theory is explained in an excellent piece by Victor Davis Hanson.

At what point do women stop blaming men for their own lack of success? At what point do we decide that men are no longer oppressing women?

Men’s problem with modern women isn’t that they “aren’t women anymore.” Plenty of women still want to have families, be mothers and follow the gender roles of the 1950’s. They just want the option to choose it.

Feminism has perverted this dream as professionals look down their noses at those who choose to stay at home with their children.

Such a thing for a man would be laughable. In fact, for a man to stay at home rather than work would be viewed as a success among other men, especially if its because he chose a mate who can afford to sustain the household.

Stereotypes in the media have set men back as well, from Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin to Phil Dunphy and Don Draper. Either fathers are inept, stupid, philandering or all of the above.

Bill Cosby and Mike Brady are long gone.

But more to the point, men are more than willing to compete with women professionally. Women often work harder than men, particularly in industries where women are greatly outnumbered like finance or law.

Straight Christian men in particular, have begun to be marginalized so that others can grow and succeed. There’s nothing wrong with wanting women or racial minorities to succeed, but there’s no reason white men have to be marginalized for that to happen.

Only a liberal could believe that in order to succeed someone has to fail, but they decided that must be the case, and then blamed society for going along with their plan.

Tagged , , , ,

The confirmation bias and hypocrisy in critique of conservative group think

Burying the Republican Party, or at least throwing a handful of dirt on it, has become en vogue following Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 Presidential Election.

If they don’t adapt, they’ll die, etc.

But that was always true. Every political party has to adapt to the people it governs. Democracy is, after all, about following the will of the people.

Bruce Bartlett wrote a sizable treatise on the state of the American Conservative on the appropriately named TheAmericanConservative.com.

His position is not new, but rather an in-depth deconstruction of the GOP echo-chamber thesis being put forth by plenty of people both left and right in the political spectrum.

Bartlett, for his part, is a credentialed conservative, having worked with Jack Kemp, the Reagan administration and most recently George W. Bush.

His main criticism of the Republican Party is that they’ve become closed-minded. He cites an example of criticism he offered in a New York Times Magazine article that none of his conservative friends had even read. Some offered disdain that he would even suggest they’d believe something from a “liberal rag.”

One of the architects and champions of supply-side economics, Bartlett had more recently found love with Keynesian theory. Furthermore, he felt the right’s attack of this theory to be misguided and unfair.

But what Bartlett’s criticism, and by proxy any political criticism, of economic policy is missing is the truism that theory is theory. It exists in a vacuum.

Policy exists in the world. It has actual impacts on markets and those markets are never as cookie cutter as the cute, nice examples in such pieces of turn-of-the-century economic diatribes.

No one can argue the Keynesian notion that government spending levels do have an impact on business cycles in an economy, but they were more important in 1930 when the United States didn’t have to compete with China’s currency manipulations, the Euro-zone falling apart, or really any global competition.

Furthermore, spending levels are one thing – FDR spent a ton to help get us out of a recession – but he didn’t run up massive deficits or debt to do it. In fact, his spending as it relates to GDP was a fraction of what President Obama has done and is proposing in the future.

Debt levels have buried Greece and are threatening to bury Italy, Spain and soon yes, the United States.

Bartlett is correct to criticize the heinous perversion of conservatism by George W. Bush, a man who was driven by craven megalomania (an influence Karl Rove must take a considerable responsibility in) and not a conservative ideologies.

Bush 43 spent about as responsibly as a Hilton trust fund baby, but modern conservatives do criticize Bush for that.

Part of the problem, perhaps, for Bartlett and probably for the left who agree with him, is that they just don’t know enough modern conservatives. They don’t know people who believe in the conservative policies that are working in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.

That’s because the loudest conservative voices are, and probably always have been, the most closed-minded and ignorant. That, however, is not a GOP-only issue.

The left, hardened by two straight presidential victories, has become the most closed-minded group of people on planet Earth. Al-Qaeda has more wiggle room on their extremist positions than any pundit on MSNBC or NPR.

Just like Bartlett had friends who were shocked to find he’d think they would read the New York Times, I have friends who are equally shocked that I might think they would watch Fox News or read the Wall Street Journal.

What Bartlett and the Cato Institute have called “epistemic closure” is not something that only takes place on the right. As MSNBC and surrogates like Mother Jones, Daily Kos and others, move further left, the same sort of group think which pervades many circles of conservatives will create its own similar echo-chamber if one doesn’t already exist (and I think it does).

Plenty of GOPers convinced themselves that Gallup and Rasmussen had the party ID breakdown right and no one else did. Conservatives, particularly modern ones, are used to being underdogs. But if Gallup had been right, what would the echo-chamber criticism look like?

This critique is easy to make now because the GOP lost, but it wasn’t the landslide people pretend it was. Mitt Romney, an admittedly weak candidate who was never a strong conservative, nor a sufficiently appealing moderate, lost by less than 2% in the national vote and if half a million votes in swing states go for Romney, he wins in the landslide instead of Obama.

We don’t need to re-write reality in order to conform it to the way we want it. That kind of confirmation bias is evident in the ironically-named Bartlett article, “Revenge of the reality-based community.”

The mandate in 2008 was obvious: a rejection of Bush-era policies. In 2012, that mandate, if there is one, is less obvious, but Bush-era policies are decidedly not conservative. You can’t, in one breath, say the world is now anti-conservative because they’re anti-Bush, and yet say that means they’re now center left, when 60% of voters believe our economic problems are Bush’s fault.

The inherent implication there is that our dire economic straights are from a president spending like a maniac on programs we couldn’t afford and wars we didn’t really want to fight.

Obama’s policies have been no different. In that way, Bartlett’s characterization of Obama as a center-right politician is fitting: if Bush is what we might call a neo-conservative, Obama isn’t much different.

But there’s no evidence that either is the so-called ‘mandated path’ that this country wants to be on. Just about any critique for an echo-chamber or group think effect you can label on the right, you can do the same with the left.

Going off the deep end and decrying the end of the GOP is an unnecessary and unsupported claim. Critiques are right about one thing, the GOP must adapt or die.

But that was true even 10 years ago when Republicans had a strangle-hold on American politics. It’s a truism. It just is. All political parties, ideologies, and theories must adapt or be rendered irrelevant.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The liberal’s historical argument for higher taxes on the rich doesn’t add up

I can’t blame left-wing ideologues for not understanding the difference between causation and correlation. It’s a tenant, actually, of liberal ideology, to completely misunderstand the very nature of reality in cause and effect.

But when economists start screwing it up, there’s cause for serious concern.

Paul Krugman hasn’t been the most non-partisan economics writer of his time, but in his latest dive off the deep end into the political economic climate in a post-Hostess world, his title ‘The Twinkie Manifesto” is a fitting one.

You can imagine Krugman’s glee at his Karl Marx pun.

In his piece, he explains that in the 1950’s and 60’s when economic growth was booming, top tax rates were above 70%, even at 90% at various times and the corporations were taxed at double the rates they are now.

All of this in a world where one in three workers were part of a union.

In short, the life of a corporate CEO was anything but luxe…just the way the left likes it.

The implication Krugman seems to be making is that if we go back to these kinds of tax rates, what could it hurt? We’ve seen it work before.

What Krugman is missing here – besides mostly everything – is reality (you know…nothing important).

The post-World War II world was an industrial boom. Cities were being built and rebuilt, industries were expanding, being created and this was happening while the rest of the world, for the most part, was mired in economic hardships.

Europe was still struggling to unshackle itself from the devastation of two world wars, Asia was still woefully behind the modern world and this truly was the time when America asserted its world dominance.

There’s a reason they got in an international pissing match with the USSR; they were the only two countries with any sort of economic or military might at that point.

The point of the history lesson is to point out that this industrial revolution of sorts was what drove economic growth. Imagine, conservatives could say, a world in the 1950’s with some technological advancements and industrial growth, had you let the business owners and investors actually keep some money from their endeavors.

We might still be reaping the boons of such an economic policy. Just because those top tax rates didn’t absolutely murder the U.S. economy, doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t now – they certainly would.

In short, the global economy is such an inescapably different place that to compare current economic circumstances with those historical ones is fallacy and near lunacy.

Enormous top tax rates didn’t cause those economic booms, it was a function of circumstances and opportunities. It’s not a difficult argument to make that if top rates and corporate rates had been lower, we likely would have seen even higher rates of growth.

Perhaps more to the point, modern economists have expressed concerns that America’s history as an economic superpower is too reliant on innovation and growth. The U.S. was a burgeoning behemoth when the car was invented, when digital technology was discovered and industrial advancements were being made.

Now, innovation is harder, there is more global competition. No economy can rely solely on innovation to drive it forward.

Essentially, Krugman’s argument is the leftist Clinton argument re-hashed and doubled down. Clinton’s higher tax rates on the rich are where liberals always turns to in an argument about pushing rates up. But Clinton had the housing bubble and the tech bubble both in full boom when he was in office. Those tax rates didn’t cause either bubble, but they didn’t significantly inhibit them either.

The housing bubble was creating by bad long-term fiscal policy (which is Clinton’s fault), and the tech bubble was created by overzealous business owners and ultra-aggressive investment professionals.

Also remember, Clinton lowered taxes on investments, which caused millions to be re-invested, growing the economy.

But even just 15 years ago, the complexities of the global economy were not the same. Higher tax rates didn’t have the same effects they do now as millions and probably billions of dollars in American corporate profits are being sheltered in other countries with more favorable tax structures.

Higher taxes on the rich would only make liberals feel better. That’s the only causation in this equation. It wouldn’t put even a nick in our debt, nor would it account for even a fraction of our deficit spending. It would just make liberals feel the world is fair and they could pay for more inefficient and ineffective government programs.

For all the talk about the GOP not being the party of math, the liberals’ math on tax reform doesn’t add up. Nor does their stance on physics: their reality is not the one in which we all live.

Tagged , , , , ,

Heartened by an election victory, left leaves reality

How quickly the left forgets that just a few years ago they were the extremists, the outliers in American political culture.

Suddenly, it’s as if they believe the world has validated their ideologies and the brazen arrogance and resentment they have for anyone unlike them has reared its ugly head.

They speak as if you’re just supposed to agree with them and any argument to the contrary would be reason for commitment to a mental institution.

It used to just slip out occasionally, but given the rise of Mother Jones, Daily Kos and other liberal outlets, coupled with the rise to power of the most liberal man ever elected to major office, the arrogance of liberalism has reached a new height.

“America’s meanest business owner will make his employees regret health care coverage,” is the headline.

The Gawker article is a hatchet job of a restaurant owner who says he’s raising prices and encouraging patrons to tip less because ObamaCare has raised his costs and he knows it will add strain to the people around him.

To the author of this article, and the left – both of whom apparently live outside reality – this guy is an asshole. He’s sticking it to the left and Obama. There couldn’t possibly be another explanation, like say, the truth right?

Liberals have become so insulated, so arrogant and overconfident in their ideologies, that they fail to recognize the effects their policies have in the real world.

I wouldn’t expect a liberal to understand supply and demand because, frankly, the average liberal doesn’t even understand simple cause and effect in policy-making.

But ObamaCare does have negative effects. You can like the policy, appreciate what it does for people who can’t get insurance, and still understand that there are going to be people who don’t benefit. For example, the businesses who have to pay penalties for failing to have certain coverage.

The people who have to pay penalties for not having insurance they already can’t afford.

There are the millions of workers who will lose their health care coverage all together because their companies couldn’t afford to pay for it – that’s assuming they keep their jobs at all.

Now, you have Hostess – an American institution in the food world – basically being driven out of business by the same people who have driven states into insolvency: the unions.

You know what happens to unions who overplay their hand? They lose their jobs because companies go out of business. Do you want to take a little less money or do you want to lose your job altogether? Unions would rather play hardball as we’ve seen in school districts across the country.

Unions would rather have a philosophic point and let hundreds of teachers get laid off, than bargain slightly smaller step increases or less expensive health insurance.

Ignoring the real world consequences, when businesses have already begun laying off workers in anticipation of the rising costs (insurance costs have already gone up most places) and thousands of businesses affecting millions of workers have already said they will have to the same, is something liberals do at their own peril.

The restaurateur is an asshole because he dares live in reality, where policy has real consequences. Encouraging patrons to tip less is a stupid thing to do, but raising his prices and reducing his staff isn’t something a business does just for fun.

I had people in my Twitter account insisting that businesses were laying people off just to rub it in Obama’s face. Those people clearly have never run a business. The average business can’t afford to lay people off just to stick it to a politician. You hurt efficiency, morale and your bottom line.

Businesses are laying people off because the pernicious effects of President Obama’s policies, in cahoots with the statists in Congress, are real.

To ignore that and instead live in a land of liberal euphoria and hallucination is the decision modern American liberals have made.

Who’s the asshole again?

Tagged , , , , ,

Redefining a party: Building Conservatism in the 21st Century

Mitt Romney was never the leader of the Republican Party, despite winning the GOP nomination for president. But an important questions faces the GOP and conservatism in this country: if not Romney, then who?

Certainly I won’t argue it ought to be the presidential failure of a Massachusetts governor who doesn’t seem to have an ideology of any kind outside of his Mormon faith.

Republicans are now being pulled in so many directions, it’s like the party is being drawn and quartered. And if the Grand Old Party doesn’t choose its leadership wisely, it may just be pulled apart at the seams.

As one Reagan biographer put it in the Daily Caller, “People say this is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party…“That’s bullshit. This is a fight for the mind of the Republican Party.”

Craig Shirley, the biographer in question, told Matt Lewis in the DC that conservatism has yet to be established in the 21st century, a scary idea given that we’re 12 years into the century.

Mitch Daniels believes we ought to solve economic crisis before dealing with social issues. In theory, this is congruent with the way we think about priorities. Our most basic needs must be met first and that includes food and safety, neither of which people have with unemployment hovering at 8% and 50 million people on food stamps.

But the left would never allow it, nor would the media. People don’t want to hear about the dire straights of the U.S. economy, they want to hear zingers about Big Bird and lady parts.

Conservatives can’t win the arguments surrounding fiscal and economic policies, in part because Republican social policy is viewed so negatively.

It’s why Marco Rubio is pushing to create a new Republican platform on immigration, one the entire party can embrace.

The issue with the Republican party is that the loudest voices are heard and those voices tend to be the most extreme. Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock get headlines, when Aiken in particular is a looney, radical voice that don’t represent mainstream GOP thinking.

But there are fractures in the party on abortion policies, on gay marriage, on defense spending, on taxes, and all sorts of places.

In the wake of so many election defeats, the Democratic party coalesced. They’re the gay marriage party, the pro-women’s health care party, the part of the poor, the sick and the weak.

That’s not my opinion, that’s how they’ve branded themselves and they’ve done it through united opposition to Republicanism.

Republicans, if they hope to survive, have to find similar common ground and they have to find that common ground to connect with mainstream voters. Immigration policy under Rubio is an excellent place to start.

The perception of the party has to change if the conservatives hope the outcome of elections are to change. That starts with strong leadership from men like Rubio in deciding what 21st century conservatism looks like and what the country believes they stand for – the distinction is important because what the Democrats say they stand for is actually counter to many of the policies they’ve actually implemented.

We’re now building 21st century conservatism and if we don’t choose the right architects, the foundation will crumble.

Tagged , , , , , , ,