The Meaning of Conservative Principles

Governor Ross Barnett

Steve Hochstadt: The billionaires who fund Tea Party organizations, the bankers and stock traders who support Republican campaigns, and the mining company owners who oppose more safety regulations let their public frontmen cite the Constitution, wave the Bible around, and accuse their opponents of socialism. And it still works.

What’s with the Pipe, Glenn?

George Soros

Steve Hochstadt: No historian would transform the evidence into the nasty claims about Soros, and the Baumbach family who saved him, that Beck broadcast to his 2.6 million FOX News viewers.

Color Blindness

interracial

Steve Hochstadt: Our nation also has far to go. Claiming that we are color blind, that whites no longer have privileges in America, that we need no longer worry about preventing discrimination is nonsense. One need only have observed the reception of our first black President to know how important skin color still is in America.

Who Is the Spendthrift?

homeowners' lament

Steve Hochstadt: When the real estate boom turned out to be a house of cards, people’s debts came due much sooner than they had expected. Governments are much less to blame for the current foreclosure crisis than homebuyers, egged on by unscrupulous bankers.

Do We Have Common Ground?

hopey changey

Steve Hochstadt: If we tune out the shouting, we might find that we American voters are not at war with each other. Tuesday’s results included several messages about national policy that most Americans agree on.

Happy Election Day!

us elections

Steve Hochstadt: Republicans and Democrats agree on little else, but that this will be a transformative year for our national politics. After saying that, I wish that they both would offer me more about how my family’s life, my community, my country will be better

Looking for a Few Good Characters

o'donnell as witch

Steve Hochstadt: Many American voters appear ready to ignore character, to vote for liars and jerks, as long as they say they will cut taxes or shrink government or whatever the popular panacea of the moment happens to be.

Free Speech about Saggy Pants

baggypants

Steve Hochstadt: The most unfortunate recent development in American politics is that Constitutional questions cannot be discussed calmly. Too many people care less about defending our Constitution than using it as a club to smash political opponents.

Searching for the Liberal Elite

steve hochstadt

Steve Hochstadt: So when I see myself labeled as part of the “liberal elite”, and more often hear people talk about the “liberal elite”, I know they are trying hard not to think about all the people they know who are liberal but not elite, or elite but not liberal.

Whom Do You Trust?

blackwater

Steve Hochstadt: Those who want government to go away, or at least get a lot smaller, seem to have two ideas about how to shrink government: Cut out the “waste” and let private companies take over many of its functions. Their assumption is that the private sector can do these jobs better and cheaper. Is that true?

Clapping for Conservatism

joe the plumber

Steve Hochstadt: These days it seems like only political allegiance determines judgments about whether people are good or bad. I want to be judged by how I act, not how I vote, by whether I tell the truth, how I treat my neighbors, how I live in my community, how well I take care of my mother. (Hi, Ma.)

Joe the Plumber: A Political Inspiration?

Steve Hochstadt: Simple virtues and political cliches won’t solve our problems, which can’t all be blamed on “liberals.” Getting off our butts to cheer our congressman was not what Wurzelbacher wanted. If these conservatives do Take Back Illinois, they won’t know what to do with it.

The End of Encyclopedias?

Encyclopedia

Steve Hochstadt: Conservapedia is mainly silly, reflecting Schafly’s cranky ideas, such as that vaccines are a conspiracy to poison us. But the wider idea that science, and other kinds of knowledge, can be “liberal” or “conservative” is dangerous. This is exactly the argument that German Nazis and Soviet Communists used to reject “Jewish” or “capitalist” ideas.

Saving the Earth for Our Grandchildren

drought

Steve Hochstadt: Until recently, nobody knew that the unprecedented wealth of American society carried extreme dangers for our own future. Our modern lifestyles of consumption are slowly killing the planet.

Budget Cowardice Compounds Problem

deficit hawks

Steve Hochstadt: When conservative Republicans controlled Washington under George Bush, they spent government money on their pet projects with little regard for the long-term budgetary consequences. Now Republicans at the national level have made the deficit one of their major points of attack against the Democrats in preparation for the November elections.

Saving Water, One Drop at a Time

watering

Steve Hochstadt: Americans use more water per capita than any other nation. Every time we flush the toilet, we use as much water as the average person in the developing world employs for an entire day’s cooking, cleaning, and drinking.

Political Wrangling Aside, We’re In This Together

sarah palin bard of wasilla

Steve Hochstadt: I believe that as a society we are moving away from a desire to solve problems cooperatively toward a single-minded motivation to defeat opponents. Political conflict has spread into “culture wars,” in which other people’s choice of newspaper or dinner beverage, or their attitude toward recycling or marriage makes them our enemy.

Spinning the Truth

spinning the news

Steve Hochstadt: We have learned to expect our political leaders to adopt partisan positions on every possible issue, subordinating facts to ideology, truth to political advantage. We can no longer believe even the basic biographical “facts” that they claim qualify them for office.

Did Greedy Homeowners Cause the Big Crash?

homeowners

Steve Hochstadt: We grredy American homeowners appear as co-conspirators in many judgments about what caused the great recession. In these interpretations, many of us were greedy for wanting bigger homes than we deserved, foolish to have then bought larger houses than we could afford, and stupid for agreeing to the low-interest/low-payment scams of mortgage sellers.

Tea Party Again

Sharron Angle, running against Harry Reid in Nevada Senatorial race

Steve Hockstadt: Rand Paul discovered that most of his fellow Republicans disagreed with his idea that a significant part of the civil rights triumph of the 1960s was wrong. That led him and the Republican Party into a whole new strategy of pretending that past statements don’t exist and only allowing these very conservative candidates to appear in front of friendly media hosts, who will not ask about them.

The Republican Party in Disguise

sarah palin's reality show

Steve Hockstadt: The Tea Partiers are not what they seem. They say they’re about freedom, not party, that they just want government off their backs. They appear to attack incumbents of both parties. So why are they all Republicans?

Bogged Down in Wars

Warfare

I don’t doubt Obama’s strategic intelligence, his seriousness of purpose, his American patriotism, or his decision-making process. But I think his decision is wrong. We can’t do anything there but continue to lose lives and money.

The Politics of Science

climate change

Conservatives have repeatedly refused to accept the best science about threats to our public health, because only government could then offer remedies. They have fought significant efforts to improve public health, from Medicare to our current health reform debate, in order to prevent the growth of government. And every time their “science” was wrong.

Weimar America

Fascism

Our democracy is under attack. Men in high public office and with control over our national airwaves are deliberately stoking a potentially violent movement opposed to our democratic process.

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