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Uptick owing largely to more independents calling themselves conservative
PRINCETON, NJ — The increased conservatism that Gallup first identified among Americans last June persisted throughout the year, so that the final year-end political ideology figures confirm Gallup’s initial reporting: conservatives (40%) outnumbered both moderates (36%) and liberals (21%) across the nation in 2009.
More broadly, the percentage of Americans calling themselves either conservative or liberal has increased over the last decade, while the percentage of moderates has declined.
Since 1992, there have been only two other years — 2003 and 2004 — in which the average percentage of conservatives nationwide outnumbered moderates, and in both cases, it was by 2% (in contrast to the current 4%).
“The proportion of independents calling themselves “moderate” held relatively steady in the mid-40s over the last decade, while the proportion of Republican and Democratic moderates dwindled.”
The rather abrupt three-point increase between 2008 and 2009 in the percentage of Americans calling themselves conservative is largely owing to an increase — from 30% to 35% — in the percentage of political independents adopting the label. Over the same period, there was only a slight increase in professed conservatism among Republicans (from 70% to 71%) and no change among Democrats (at 21%).
The 2009 findings come from an aggregate of 21 separate Gallup and USA Today/Gallup surveys, including nearly 22,000 interviews. The 1992 to 2008 trends also represent thousands of interviews compiled for each year. Thus, the margins of sampling error around the individual estimates are less than 1%.
Trends of the Past Decade
Just looking at the decade that ended in 2009, Gallup’s annual political ideology trends document a slight dip in the percentage of Americans calling themselves moderate (from 40% in 2000 to 36% in 2009), while, at the same time, the ranks of both liberals and conservatives expanded slightly.
Gallup measures political ideology by asking Americans to indicate whether their political views are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal. The detailed responses show a slight increase between 2000 and 2009 in the percentage of Americans calling themselves “very conservative” (from 6% to 9%) and less change in the percentage calling themselves “very liberal” (from 4% to 5%). Most conservatives continue to call themselves “conservative” rather than “very conservative,” and the same pattern is seen for liberals.
Republicans Become More Solidly “Conservative”
In addition to the very recent increase in conservatism among independents, a growing percentage of Republicans identified themselves as such starting in 2003. Across the same period, the percentage of Democrats calling themselves conservative dipped slightly, somewhat offsetting the increase among Republicans.
Partisans Shy Away From “Moderate” Label
The proportion of independents calling themselves “moderate” held relatively steady in the mid-40s over the last decade, while the proportion of Republican and Democratic moderates dwindled. Between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of moderates fell 5% among Democrats (from 44% to 39%) and seven points among Republicans (from 31% to 24%).
Democrats Grow Increasingly “Liberal”
Similar to the increased conservatism among Republicans, there was a gradual increase in the last decade in “liberal” identification among Democrats, from 29% in 2002 to 38% in 2007, and it has since remained at about that level.
The effect of this shift among Democrats is most apparent when one reviews the trend in their ideological profile over the past decade. Whereas moderates constituted the largest bloc of Democrats in 2000, today they are about tied with liberals as twin leaders, and the proportion of conservatives has declined.
By contrast, the expanded number of conservatives making up the Republican Party has merely strengthened the conservatives’ already strong hold on that party.
And despite the recent uptick in conservatism among independents, the largest segment continues to be moderate (although by a smaller margin than previously).
Political independents showed increased attachment to the “conservative” label in 2009, boosting the overall ranks of that group so that it now clearly outnumbers moderates in Gallup’s annual averages for the first time since 2004. Longer term, the proportions of Americans calling themselves conservative as well as liberal expanded slightly this past decade, largely because of increased partisan attachment to each label. At the same time, the percentage of “moderates” has dwindled, underscoring the heightened polarization of American politics as the nation heads into a new decade.
Dr. Richard Land
In his book, Who Really Cares: the surprising truth about compassionate Conservatives (Basic Books 2006), Syracuse University Professor Arthur C. Brooks demonstrates that “conservatives” give considerably more money and time to charitable causes than do liberals, thus proving that “compassionate conservative” is not an oxy-moron.
Once again, Dr. Brooks mugs common cultural perceptions with massive data. In his new book, Gross National Happiness (Basic Books, 2008), Dr. Brooks finds that “conservatives” are happier than “liberals.” In fact, Dr. Brooks’ research shows that conservatives have been happier than liberals for nearly four decades. Why?
Economically, liberals are statistically “better off” than conservatives. So much for money buying happiness.
Dr. Brooks’ research reveals that conservatives are more likely to be married and go to religious services on a weekly basis (twice as likely in both cases).
Conservatives are also more likely to have children, and more of them, than liberals. Dr. Brooks found parents are significantly happier than non-parents.
When one combines being religious with being conservative, such religious conservatives are 10 times more likely to say they are “very happy” compared to “not too happy” (50% to 5%).
Dr. Brooks also finds that “conservatives” are more optimistic about both the future, in general, and the future of their country.
Dr. Brooks seems to be making a habit of destroying cultural myths. Perhaps we should start calling Dr. Brooks, Arthur the Myth-Slayer.
By George Will
WASHINGTON — Residents of Austin, Texas, home of the state’s government and flagship university, have very refined social consciences, if they do say so themselves, and they do say so, speaking via bumper stickers. Don R. Willett, a justice of the state Supreme Court, has commuted behind bumpers proclaiming “Better a Bleeding Heart Than None at All,” “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty,” “The Moral High Ground Is Built on Compassion,” “Arms Are For Hugging,” “Will Work (When the Jobs Come Back From India),” “Jesus Is a Liberal,” “God Wants Spiritual Fruits, Not Religious Nuts,” “The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans,” “Republicans Are People Too — Mean, Selfish, Greedy People” and so on. But Willett thinks Austin subverts a stereotype: “The belief that liberals care more about the poor may scratch a partisan or ideological itch, but the facts are hostile witnesses.”
Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.” The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.
If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:
— Although liberal families’ incomes average 6% higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30% 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% majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40%, donated just 1.9%.
— 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.” America is largely divided between religious givers and secular nongivers, and the former are disproportionately conservative. One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one — secular conservatives.
Reviewing Brooks’ book in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Justice Willett notes that Austin — it voted 56% for Kerry while he was getting just 38% statewide — is ranked by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as 48th out of America’s 50 largest cities in per capita charitable giving. Brooks’ data about disparities between liberals’ and conservatives’ charitable giving fit these facts: Democrats represent a majority of the wealthiest congressional districts, and half of America’s richest households live in states where both senators are Democrats.
While conservatives tend to regard giving as a personal rather than governmental responsibility, some liberals consider private charity a retrograde phenomenon — a poor palliative for an inadequate welfare state, and a distraction from achieving adequacy by force, by increasing taxes. Ralph Nader, running for president in 2000, said: “A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity.” Brooks, however, warns: “If support for a policy that does not exist ... substitutes for private charity, the needy are left worse off than before. It is one of the bitterest ironies of liberal politics today that political opinions are apparently taking the place of help for others.”
In 2000, brows were furrowed in perplexity because Vice President Al Gore’s charitable contributions, as a percentage of his income, were below the national average: He gave 0.2% of his family income, one-seventh of the average for donating households. But Gore “gave at the office.” By using public office to give other peoples’ money to government programs, he was being charitable, as liberals increasingly, and conveniently, understand that word.
[Kwing Hung: a funny article!]
by Marvin Olasky
Columnist Peggy Noonan recently quoted a journalist saying that the expansion of federal entitlement spending during the past five years should come as no surprise, since George W. Bush “ran as a compassionate conservative.” Noonan’s frustrated reaction: “This left me rubbing my brow in confusion. Is that what Mr. Bush meant by compassionate conservatism?”
I don’t think so, judging by several conversations then-Gov. Bush and I had in Texas during the 1990s. At that time, compassionate conservatism was about neither government growth nor budget-cutting. Instead, it was a different way of looking at what government should do, what “civil society” — religious and civic groups — should do and what individuals should do.
Democrats had equated compassion for the poor with government poverty-fighting expenditures: Vote against my spending bill and you’re hard-hearted. They maintained that position even though entitlement programs did more harm than good when they enabled and even encouraged people to cease efforts.
Republican critics of those programs had repeatedly made the mistake of implying that welfare programs were fine except for their expense: I’m for your bill, but let’s cut the outlay by 10%. Welfare programs were expensive, but this affluent country could afford them. The real cost was multigenerational welfare dependency.
Republicans and others needed to understand that the welfare state was not extravagant, but stingy. The welfare state gave the needy bread and told them to be content with that alone. The welfare state gave the rest of us the opportunity to be stingy also. We could salve our consciences even as we scrimped on what many of the destitute needed most — challenging, personal and often spiritual help.
One compassionate conservative goal was to encourage average citizens to help the poor directly, instead of handing off all the responsibility to government officials. Another goal was to end government discrimination against faith-based groups that were often the most effective poverty-fighters. Those goals were both expenditure-neutral: They suggested neither bigger nor smaller budgets, but a different way of spending.
George W. Bush unveiled his understanding of compassionate conservatism in a July 1999 speech that cited the Front Porch Alliance in Indianapolis as “the way things out to be.” The FPA was primarily a city government’s attempt to help church groups cut through red tape. Example: One pastor wanted to turn a hooker-used alley across from his church into a park. Because of bureaucratic reasons, 51 different government agencies and private groups had to sign off on the alley-to-park conversion. The FPA helped the pastor get that done, and prostitution took a hit.
The president-to-be continued: “Government can spend money, but it can’t put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose in our lives. This is done by churches and synagogues and mosques and charities that warm the cold of life.” He announced his basic principles: First, “resources should be devolved, not just to states, but to charities and neighborhood healers.” Second, “We will never ask an organization to compromise its core values and spiritual mission to get the help it needs.”
He emphasized, in short, the importance of religious groups being religious. They would not have to become government look-alikes to gain access to resources. He specified a good way to decentralize: “We will provide for charity tax credits.”
In practice, most resources have not been devolved, and charity tax credits were left behind amid early-2001 rapture about tax cuts. Still, good things are happening. President Bush recently signed an executive order creating a faith-based office in the Department of Homeland Security, and maybe it will shred the red tape that hindered religious and civic groups following Hurricane Katrina.
At the state and local levels, 32 governors and over 115 mayors have established their own offices for faith-based and community initiatives. If they are Front Porch Initiatives, great. If they contribute to decentralization, great. If they are pork-barrel projects, not great. But it’s springtime, and optimism can still bloom.
By Chuck Colson
Some years ago, in a Firing Line interview with Bill Buckley, I argued for criminal justice reform. The moderator, Mort Kondracke—who then considered himself a liberal—was astonished. He stammered, “You want prison reform? But you’re a conservative!”
I almost laughed out loud. Kondracke was parroting the ideological stereotypes about liberals and conservatives. And, today, the same confusion dominates the election debates.
Ideology—that is, the manmade formulations and doctrines of both the right and the left in modern American politics—is the enemy of true conservatism, as it is the enemy of the Gospel, which rests on revealed, propositional truth. Russell Kirk, the great Catholic thinker whose writings have so influenced me over the years, said that ideology is “the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers.” Most tend to be utopian and end up serving not the welfare of the people, but the interests of power-seekers.
Conservatism, on the other hand, is not a set of doctrines, but “a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.”
The first principle of conservatism, according to Kirk, is that there exists an enduring moral order. Christians believe that moral order is revealed in Scripture. Conservatives, and some Christians, may also look to natural law. “Moral truths are permanent,” Kirk writes, and so the conservative “is one who defends the moral order.”
The first truth of the moral order is that human life has dignity. Both Christians and classical conservatives recognize this. So, why should it surprise commentators that we care about prisoners and the poor? It is “self-evident” to us all that humans have innate dignity. This is why human-rights campaigns are always fought by Christians and true conservatives like William Wilberforce.
Conservatives also have a deep respect for tradition—those customs and laws that have been found true, handed down to us by previous generations. Kirk famously said that conservatives “sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see further than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time.”
Indeed, according to Kirk, conservatives understand that “we moderns” are unlikely “to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste.”
Revering what is true, as opposed to embracing utopian fads, is what marks the conservative disposition. It is also at the heart of the Christian disposition—which relies on a Gospel revealed to the apostles and handed down over the centuries.
As the presidential campaign heats up, Christians need to see that most of the issues being debated arise from conflicting ideologies of the two parties. But we should be taken in by nobody’s ideology. Because we look to the revealed, enduring moral order, we may advocate things the world calls “liberal”—like prison reform—because doing so promotes human dignity. And we may also reject those things that ideology labels “conservative” that fail to recognize or uphold the moral order.
So, this campaign season, as we debate with our friends and co-workers, let’s try to see beyond ideological labels. After all, political ideologies come and go. The moral order—and the Gospel—are enduring.
by Mike S. Adams
Last Wednesday night, I gave a speech at Ohio University (OU) in Athens, Ohio. The speech, which was co-sponsored by the OU College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation, was about an hour long. It was followed by one of the best question and answer sessions I can recall. My favorite question from the session was this one:
“How, exactly, did you go from being a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican?”
This is how I answered the question:
“People often ask me why and how I experienced such a radical transformation, both politically and theologically. Regarding the latter, my story is certainly not like that of Charles Colson. In other words, I did not have a transforming experience in a friend’s driveway, like the one Mr. Colson describes in his wonderful book called “Born Again.” Let me also point out that my political transformation was perhaps even more gradual than my religious transformation. It was more of an issue-by-issue conversion. Some examples follow:
After a fellow fraternity member and his girlfriend were abducted by an armed assailant and murdered during my last year in college, I decided to abandon my support of gun-control.
After learning in graduate school that affirmative action did not involve quotas and reverse discrimination - that it was merely a tie-breaker for equally qualified applicants (and a temporary program to boot) – I went to work in the academy and saw how it really worked. Confronted with the truth of affirmative action, I had to abandon my support of what was clearly a permanent and discriminatory policy.
After seeing a film of an unborn child yawning, rubbing his eyes, and playfully rolling around in his mother’s womb, I realized that the fetus becomes a person long before birth and long after the Supreme Court allows it to be aborted. Therefore, I had to abandon my support of abortion rights.
Eventually, I woke up and realized that I had more in common with the Republicans than I did with the Democrats. I was also beginning to develop a new appreciation for moral absolutism, which would help to revive me spiritually.”
Looking back on that answer (only a few days later); I realize that it was woefully incomplete. As such, I owe it to my readers and the people who attend my speeches to give the principal reason for my political conversion. And here it is:
Republican women are simply more attractive than Democratic women.
It certainly feels good - after years of keeping it in - to state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Those who don’t immediately accept this revelation as true can just click on the following link:
Of course, I knew that Republican women were more attractive than Democratic women, long before I saw the above link. But I didn’t know that it was proper to discuss the difference until just before my speech at Ohio University.
That was when three very attractive women came into the room to take their seats and I asked innocently “Are you ladies all Democrats who are here to heckle me?” Their blue-eyed blond leader responded with this far more intelligent question: “Do we look like Democrats to you?”
Just two days after learning that it was alright to talk about this issue, I was giving another speech in North Carolina. After the speech, my wife commented on the good looks of the young Republican women from UNC-Chapel Hill who were listening in the audience.
Of course, this is very good news. Since my wife is able to comment on the surplus of good-looking women in the GOP, that means I can, too. Of course, it also helps that she stopped reading my columns many months ago.
The public discussion of this issue will help Republicans answer some important questions. For example: “Should we assume that being gay often causes one to be a Democrat? Isn’t it more likely that the lack of exposure to attractive women causes Democrats to be gay?” And “Do Democratic women consider compliments in the workplace to be sexual harassment simply because they rarely hear them?”
But, of course, it isn’t necessary at this time to explore the many intellectual questions that flow from the observation that our women are more attractive than theirs. Instead, we must immediately begin to exploit the issue for political gain. And the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute is doing just that by publishing a calendar featuring, among others, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Shemane Nugent.
If the Republican Party simply purchases and distributes a few million of these calendars, there is little chance that the Democrats will remain a viable party in this country for very long. Certainly, every man who is currently “independent” will change his voter registration after seeing what our party has to offer.
Of course, the only real question is whether all of those men who will soon switch to our party will stick around after learning that our women are more intelligent and self-sufficient than those in the Democratic Party. If not, they can always switch back and watch Hardball with Chris Matthews.
My attractive Republican wife says that I will get a record amount of hate mail after I run this column. But, of course, that can’t be so. Democrat women don’t care about their looks. They are far less superficial and far more principled than that. I’m not joking. I really mean that.
Mike S. Adams (www.DrAdams.org) is currently hiding in his office reading a copy of “The idiot’s guide to heavy sarcasm.” He says he’s trying to master the art of heavy sarcasm. I think he really means it.
The White House appears to have been truly blindsided by the vehemently negative response from conservative intellectuals to Harriet Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court. This revolt has been long in the making. What is surprising is that took so long to come into the open.
The truth is now dawning on many movement conservatives that George W. Bush is not one of them and never has been. They were allies for a long time, to be sure, and conservatives used Mr. Bush just as he used them. But it now appears they are headed for divorce.
As with all divorces, the ultimate cause was not the final incident but grievances built up over a long period that one day could no longer be overlooked, contained or smoothed over.
The conservative list of grievances dates to the first days of the Bush administration:
• One of Mr. Bush’s first acts in office was a vast expansion of education spending with little real reform. To conservatives, it always looked like a transparent effort to buy off the so-called soccer moms. But rather than buy peace with the education lobby, it has simply led to continuous calls for still more education spending, despite the paucity of evidence correlating spending with achievement.
• Almost all conservatives view campaign finance reform as a blatantly unconstitutional abridgement of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court’s endorsement notwithstanding. Now it may end up used to suppress blogs and other new media that have been critical for conservatives in breaking the liberal monopoly of the mainstream press.
• It is the rare conservative who has a kind word for President Bush’s immigration policy. Most conservatives think he has been woefully weak on protecting our borders. Among the Republican grass roots, there is active hostility to administration plans to give illegal immigrants guest-worker status. Most see this as a form of amnesty that will further encourage illegal immigration.
• Even leaving aside national defense and homeland security, government spending has exploded during the Bush years. Although most attention has focused on the vast proliferation of pork barrel spending, which Mr. Bush steadfastly refuses to veto, far more worrisome has been entitlements expansion, especially the extraordinarily ill-conceived Medicare drug benefit. In future years, Republicans will rue the day they passed this legislation, because they eventually will have to cut it, thereby losing all the political benefits they thought they would get among the elderly.
• Government regulation got a big boost from passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, which Republicans rushed through Congress to deflect criticism over the Enron scandal. But nothing in the legislation would have prevented Enron’s financial abuses — which is proven by a new scandal involving stock broker Refco that seems have engaged in Enron-style financial shenanigans now being investigated.
I could go on, but the point is that George W. Bush has never demonstrated any interest in shrinking the government. And on many occasions, he has increased government significantly. Yet if there is anything that defines conservatism in America, it is hostility to government expansion. The idea of big-government conservatism, often used to describe Mr. Bush’s philosophy, is a contradiction in terms.
Conservative intellectuals have known this for a long time, but looked the other way for various reasons. Some thought the war on terror trumped every other issue. If a few billion dollars had to be wasted to buy the votes needed to win the war, so be it, many conservatives argued. Others say Mr. Bush never ran as a conservative in the first place, so there is no betrayal, only conservatives’ failure to see what he has been all along.
Of course, this last point doesn’t say much for the conservative movement. At best conservatives were naive about Mr. Bush; at worst, they sold out much of their claimed beliefs.
The Miers nomination has led to some long overdue soul-searching among conservative intellectuals. For many, the hope of finally turning around the judiciary was worth putting up with all the big government stuff. Thus Mr. Bush’s pick of a patently unqualified crony for a critical position on the Supreme Court was the final straw.
Had George W. Bush demonstrated more fealty to conservative principles over the last five years, he might have gotten a pass on Miss Miers. But coming on top of all the big government initiatives he has supported, few in the conservative movement are inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt any longer.
Bruce Bartlett is a nationally syndicated columnist.
Pundits, political scientists, and observers of various stripes have been working hard to explain just what happened on November 2. The results of the election are clear enough by now, but the meaning of the election is still hotly debated. Various demographic trends, moral issues, and social trends have been offered as explanations for America’s voting patterns. Missing from most of these discussions is something very obvious, very important, and very controversial—the “baby gap.” Writing in The American Conservative, Steve Sailer identifies the baby gap as the factor almost no one mentions, even though the baby gap is “correlated uncannily with states’ partisan splits in both 2000 and 2004.”
In other words, America is divided between “red” [Republican] and “blue” [Democratic] states. That partisan divide, however, points to a more personal divide—between those states with high fertility rates and those with rates falling even below the replacement level.
According to Sailer, “voters are picking their parties based on differing approaches to the most fundamentally important human activity: having babies. The white people in Republican-voting regions consistently have more babies than the white people in Democratic-voting regions. The more kids whites have, the more pro-Bush they get.” Sailer focused upon Caucasian voters, because these represent both the focus and the energy in the arguments over the red-blue division. Though other factors may well account for voting patterns among non-white ethnic groups, the red-blue divide hinges on the voting patterns of the dominant population.
The baby gap is a major factor on the electoral map, even though most observers have missed the issue entirely. Sailer focuses on the “total fertility rate,” an estimate of the total number of children the average woman is likely to bear during her childbearing years. As Sailer reports, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that for 2002 the average white woman was giving birth at a fertility rate of 1.83. That’s 13% below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman.
Nevertheless, the states represent very different reproduction patterns. The highest level of fertility among whites is found in Utah, the only state where Bush received over 70% of the vote. Women there average 2.45 babies compared to only 1.11 babies in Washington, D.C., where Bush received only 9% of the vote.
Sailer summarized the correlation between fertility rates and voting patterns in the 2004 election. “The three New England states where Bush won less than 40%—Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island—are three of the four states with the lowest white birthrates, with little Rhode Island dipping below 1.5 babies per woman.” On the other hand, “Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility (just as he did in 2000), and 25 out of the top 26, with highly unionized Michigan being the one blue exception to the rule.” Sailer went on to identify West Virginia, North Dakota, and Florida as the red states reporting lower fertility rates.
Kerry won all sixteen states at the bottom of the fertility list, and the states Sailer correctly identifies as the “Democrats’ anchor states” (California and New York) reported fertility rates of only 1.65 and 1.72, respectively.
Does this really amount to a significant electoral impact? Sailer responds with a quick argument that underlines the importance of the fertility factor: “You could predict 74% of the variation in Bush’s shares just from knowing each state’s white fertility rate. When the average fertility goes up by a tenth of a child, Bush’s share normally goes up by 4.5 points.” That represents a hugely significant demographic factor with an immediate political impact.
Just as Sailer’s cover article in The American Conservative appeared, David Brooks addressed the same issue in his op-ed column published in The New York Times. Writing in the December 7, 2004 edition of the paper, Brooks addressed “the new red-diaper babies.” Though the old “red-diaper babies” were the offspring of American communists, the new babies Brooks has noticed are those born to parents in Republican-leaning states.
Taking a cue from the social sciences, Brooks identifies high-fertility parents as a new social movement sweeping the nation, a movement known as “natalism.” Put simply, natalists are those committed to bearing and raising children. “All across the industrialized world, birth rates are falling—in Western Europe, in Canada and in many regions of the United States,” Brooks observes. “People are marrying later and having fewer kids. But spread around this country, and concentrated in certain areas, the natalists defy these trends.”
Who are these people? “They are having three, four or more kids. Their personal identity is defined by parenthood. They are more spiritually, emotionally and physically invested in their homes than in any other sphere of life, having concluded that parenthood is the most enriching and elevating thing they can do. Very often they have sacrificed pleasures like sophisticated movies, restaurant dining and foreign travel, let alone competitive careers and disposable income, for the sake of their parental calling.”
Just after the election, the Los Angeles Times published a report indicating that President George W. Bush swept most of the fastest-growing counties in America. As a matter of fact, Bush’s margin of victory in those counties amounted to nothing less than a landslide. Brooks notes that these fast-growing regions “tend to have the highest concentrations of children.” The exploding suburbs feature exploding fertility rates, busy maternity wards, and family-friendly environments.
“If you wanted a one-sentence explanation for the explosive growth of far-flung suburbs,” Brooks argues, “it would be that when people get money, one of the first things they do is use it to try to protect their children from bad influences.”
Brooks’ argument is easy to follow. As he sees it, Republicans have a firm grip on those states and regions marked by high fertility and populated by voters very concerned with the tasks and responsibilities of raising children.
Steve Sailer noticed many of these same demographic patterns. “When city couples marry, they face major decisions: do they enjoy the adult-oriented cultural amenities of the city so much that they will stick it out, or do they head for the suburbs, exurbs, or even the country to afford more space for a growing family?”
Looking around the country, Sailer observes what he calls the “sexual organization of society.” With great plausibility, he argues that demographic patterns have as much to do with sexual activity as with economic and other factors.
Conservatives are not alone in coming to this realization. Brooks points to Joel Kotkin and William Frey who observed in The New Republic Online, “Democrats swept the largely childless cities—true blue locales like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boston and Manhattan have the lowest percentage of children in the nation—but generally had poor showings in most places where families are settling down, notably the Sun Belt cities, exurbs and outer suburbs of older metropolitan areas.”
Demography may not be destiny, but in matters as mathematic as election results, demographic factors can come close to determining the outcome. Brooks understands that the fertility rate is tied to larger issues of worldview. “Natalists resist the declining fertility trends not because of income, education or other socioeconomic characteristics. It’s attitudes. People with larger families tend to attend religious services more often, and tend to have more traditional gender roles.”
Democrats—and American liberals in general—have a new concern on their hands. Conservatives are literally outpopulating liberals, and it’s not all due to pregnancies. Abortion also plays a role. This factor was conclusively examined by James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal in his series of articles on “the Roe effect.” As Taranto demonstrates, liberals tend to have far more abortions than conservatives, and liberal Democratic women—or those women most likely to vote for a Democratic candidate—are most likely to have abortions.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, supported by Planned Parenthood, provides statistics on abortions nationwide, and the statistics for the last presidential election year (2000) prove that Taranto is on to something. In 2000, Al Gore carried the District of Columbia with 76.2% of the vote. That same year, the abortion rate among teenage girls in D.C. ran 55 per 1000 girls and young women, age fifteen through nineteen. That is an incredible statistic, indicating that at least one out of every twenty teenage girls living in the District of Columbia had an abortion in the year 2000. Most significantly, the highest rates of voting for the Democratic presidential candidate and the highest rate of teenage abortion came from the same geographic and political unit.
A similar pattern is evident throughout the fifty states. With few exceptions, abortion rates correlate closely with election outcomes.
All this is very politically incorrect, of course. James Pinkerton, never afraid to be politically incorrect, argued in his Newsday column that “the left has birth-controlled, aborted, and maybe also gay-libbed itself into a smaller role in American society.”
Parenthood, fertility rates, and voting patterns correlate so closely precisely because voting patterns reveal values and worldview commitments. The “baby gap” phenomenon draws attention to two related realities. In the first place, conservatives tend to have more children than liberals. Secondly, parenthood tends to influence voters in a more conservative direction. The responsibilities, experiences, and disciplines of parenthood—along with a parent’s obvious concern for the future—tend to move child-rearing voters to the right.
Of course, Christian parents know that there is more to this picture than politics. Children are gifts from God, and these precious gifts are to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Parents serious about this great task are likely to be serious about politics as well, and that’s why the “baby gap” is likely to be an important political factor for a long time to come.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Washington elites’ heads exploded when Christine O’Donnell won the Republican Senate primary in Delaware last week. Luckily they were all reading The New York Times’ op-ed page at the time, so the mess their exploding heads created was minimal.
The establishment’s complaints are confusing. They say O’Donnell has a problem because she’s never held a job in the private sector (like our president), didn’t pay her taxes (like our treasury secretary), and had her house foreclosed on (like half of the electorate).
They also accuse her of saying crazy things — but she’s running for Joe Biden’s old seat, so this may be an advantage.
This week, all we’ve heard about is how O’Donnell once said she went on a date with a guy in high school who claimed to be a witch. (So what? Bill Clinton married one!) Bill Clinton was credibly accused of at least one forcible rape. Those two seem about equal to you?
I haven’t seen hypocrisy like this since — oh, that’s right, since last week when CBS’s Bob Schieffer attacked John Boehner for smoking, after two years of the media’s ferociously avoiding the topic of Obama’s cigarette habit.
The Republican Party is being warned that tea party-endorsed candidates such as O’Donnell might lead to Barry Goldwater-style epic defeats.
Of course, the tea party candidates range from libertarian Rand Paul in Kentucky to Yale Law/Iraq War veteran Joe Miller in Alaska to Christian activist O’Donnell. But any evidence of principle in a Republican is always treated by the elites as if it’s an embarrassing eccentricity best kept under wraps.
Referring to “fringe candidates” from the tea party, Morton Kondracke wrote in Roll Call that Republicans are “heading out of the mainstream” and cited Goldwater as a “disastrous” precedent.
David Gergen said on CNN that the tea party candidates may be producing “something like what we saw back the 1960s when the rise of Barry Goldwater seized power in the party back from the establishment, took it, but then went on to get a real drubbing in that ‘64 national election.”
CNN’s Gloria Borger also compared the tea party movement’s demand for ideological purity to the conservatives’ ill-fated nomination of Barry Goldwater.
As a one-off, 46-year-old example, Goldwater is like the Timothy McVeigh of conservative presidential candidates. But if Goldwater is going to keep being used as a boogeyman to scare conservatives, let’s at least get the history straight.
Ironically, the elites also compared Reagan to Goldwater and predicted a devastating defeat for him in 1980. But Reagan didn’t lose. He not only never lost an election, he never won by less than a landslide. (You might say Reagan’s opponents suffered Goldwater-style defeats.)
So what was the difference between Goldwater and Reagan? Had the country changed that much in 16 years?
The social issues were the difference. Reagan agreed with Goldwater on fiscal and national defense issues, but by 1980, social issues loomed large and Reagan came down mightily on one side — the opposite side as Goldwater, as it turned out.
Unlike abortion-loving Goldwater, Reagan said, “We cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide.”
And unlike gay-marriage-loving Goldwater, Reagan said: “Society has always regarded marital love as a sacred expression of the bond between a man and a woman. It is the means by which families are created and society itself is extended into the future. ... We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality.”
Goldwater may have been a thorough-going right-winger on national defense, but — unless L. Brent Bozell Jr. was writing it for him — he never would have said this of the Soviets, as President Reagan did: “There is sin and evil in the world and we are enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might.”
CNN’s Borger contrasted Goldwater with Ronald Reagan by precisely reversing their differences, claiming Reagan “was probably the most secular president we’ve known in our lifetime.”
Yes, the man who called the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire,” who wrote a book against abortion as a sitting president, and who said that our government’s founding documents “speak of man being created, of a creator, that we are a nation under God” — that’s the one Borger calls “the most secular president we’ve known in our lifetime.”
By “most secular,” I gather she means “most deeply religious.”
Establishment Republicans are always telling Christian conservatives to put our issues aside because they’re not popular — and then moderate Republicans go on to lose elections, while conservative Republicans win in landslides. (It’s almost as if the voters couldn’t care less who David Brooks thinks they should vote for!)
As long as liberals are going to keep gleefully citing Goldwater’s love of gay marriage and abortion, his contempt for Christian conservatives, and his statement that “every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell’s ass,” maybe they could ease up on blaming Christian conservatives for Goldwater’s historic loss.
Goldwater wasn’t our guy; Reagan was.
It’s a topsy-turvy, upside-down political world out there for people who thought Barack Obama would be cruising at a 70% approval rating while crushing the Republicans like bugs. In fact, the opposite has happened. The Senate majority leader is in grave danger of involuntary retirement. Everyone in Washington concedes Nancy Pelosi is unlikely to bang the gavel in January.
So why in the world does the tone of news coverage suggest all kinds of political problems ... for conservatives, as if they were the collapsing majority in this campaign?
The media elites sound like they’re resigned to the idea that a lot of Democrats are going to be unemployed in November. Their coverage seems designed now to stanch the bleeding, to devote their coverage to close races where they can bash conservative challengers in the hope of turning the tide there.
On the first Monday in October, ABC “Good Morning America” reporter Jonathan Karl was alarming the masses about Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, insisting he was at war with history and the mainstream of politics. “In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Alaska’s Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years.”
“Should the federal government be requiring a minimum wage?” Karl asked. Miller said no, that should be left to the states. But really: Is there any chance that the Senate in 2011 will repeal a federal minimum wage? ABC doesn’t really care. They’re trying to scare voters about conservative positions. Karl continued: “Miller and other tea party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education. Some want to pull the U.S. out of the U.N.” Horrors. Are these likely to happen (as much as this writer would like)? It doesn’t matter. Halloween’s coming early.
Karl proceeded to announce it was somehow newsworthy that ABC had a supposedly damaging audio clip of Sharron Angle saying she can arrange a meeting with top Senate Republicans when she comes to Washington. That is “news” only if the reporter assumes she’s an extremist who’s political poison to every other Republican she touches.
Over on CBS News, Jeff Greenfield flagrantly offered tips to the Democrats, including this advice: “Convince the voters that this election is a choice, with ads that argue the Republicans are just too extreme.” This was followed by an actual campaign ad: “Sharron Angle, and she’s just too extreme.” National news stories and local negative ads go hand in hand.
You don’t have to be a tea party candidate to have mud thrown in your face. On NBC, reporter Chuck Todd focused on how the California governor’s race took a “nasty turn” when moderate Republican Meg Whitman blamed Jerry Brown for the allegation that she knowingly hired (or retained) an illegal-alien maid.
Like the other national reporters who jumped on this non-story with both feet, Todd couldn’t find any time to note that the accuser’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, has donated to liberal Democrats from Barbara Boxer to Hillary Clinton to Dennis Kucinich — and Jerry Brown. National reporters couldn’t mention that Allred pulled this same trick on Arnold Schwarzenegger when he ran for governor of California in 2003, when a stunt double accused the movie star of sexual harassment. Her lawsuit then was dismissed. But winning the lawsuit or even finding the truth wasn’t the point; beating Republicans was the point.
The media somehow deem that Democrats (a) should not be identified as Democrats when they try to ruin a Republican, and that (b) no one should remind the public that this partisan ambulance has been chased before.
Then on Tuesday, the Unwelcome Wagon was yanked along again. ABC began “Good Morning America” with George Stephanopoulos asking, “Is the tea party losing traction? Our new poll says the answer may be yes, as the movement’s most famous candidate releases this ad.” All three network morning shows highlighted conservative Christine O’Donnell proclaiming in an ad, “I’m not a witch.”
NBC’s “Today” offered an interview with Carl Paladino, the surprise tea party winner in the New York governor’s race. But it was only a setting for co-host Matt Lauer to assault Paladino as too brash a practitioner of “gutter politics,” insisting he wouldn’t be able to govern New York because they need a “bridge builder.” (Do you recall Lauer ever asking uber-brash liberal Democrat Eliot Spitzer about being too harsh?)
The bias is so thick out there you can step in it. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that all this biased sludge obscures the real picture of a wave election. When networks like NBC are mortified that a man they would typically ignore like Paladino might just deny Andrew Cuomo his daddy’s mantle in New York, that means the polls are really, terribly bad out there for Democrats.
by Michael Barone
Laments about polarization are filling the air — or at least that part of the air in which friends and family members have political discussions. It has been widely noted that every Republican member of Congress has a voting record to the right of every Democrat and every Democrat is to the left of every Republican. There is no partisan overlap anymore.
This is bemoaned by celebrators of centrism, who look back to a golden age when there were lots of liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats.
The funny thing is, when you look back to that time in mid-century America, the decades on either side of 1950, high-minded thinkers didn’t like that partisan muddle at all.
Mid-century political scientists disliked the ideological incoherence of the two political parties. It would be better, they argued, to have one party clearly liberal and the other clearly conservative. Then voters would have a real choice and could be confident about the consequences of their votes.
Political scientists then as now were mostly Democrats, and they evidently hoped that the Democratic Party would emerge as the clearly liberal party and that it would continue to be as successful as it was in winning the five presidential elections in the 1930s and 1940s.
They were writing at a time when Americans were not polarized by the cultural issues that have raged in recent years. Abortion was a crime in every state. Homosexuality was not mentioned in polite company. Everybody partook of the same uncontroversial popular culture in movies and on radio and television.
But there was one great polarization in mid-century America, and it contributed significantly to the partisan muddle: the divide between North and South. Southern states had laws imposing racial segregation, and many didn’t allow blacks to vote. The North had no such laws and, except for wartime and postwar migration to major cities and factory towns, had few blacks.
Southern whites voted solidly Democratic, but their officeholders were conservative on issues like civil rights and federal aid programs. That’s why there were so many conservative Democrats in Congress. More Republicans than Democrats voted for civil rights laws, and some Republicans supported extending New Deal programs. So there were quite a few liberal Republicans, as well.
We’re a long way from mid-century America today. No one favors racial segregation anymore. Cultural conformity has largely vanished. In an affluent nation, we have been able to choose different lifestyles, to inhabit different cultural niches.
The mainline Protestant churches have lost members, while more Americans identify themselves as secular or as evangelical Christians. Increasingly, we choose to live in neighborhoods and metro areas dominated by those who share our cultural and political views.
The bipartisan agreement on foreign policy that prevailed for two postwar decades ended as doves came to dominate the Democratic Party, while hawks became Republican. The abortion issue, which split both parties’ constituencies in the 1970s, in time became a defining issue for both parties, as pro-lifers abandoned the Democrats and pro-choicers the Republicans.
All of which leaves little room for centrists, who in any case are a diverse lot — libertarians who are conservative on economics and liberal on cultural issues, traditionalists who are liberal on economics and conservative on cultural issues. You can find a few members of Congress who fall in those camps, but not many.
The polarization of our politics is increased somewhat by partisan district lines. But overall, it’s a reflection of our society and a result of the increasing intrusiveness and involvement of government in areas of life that used to be left alone. Changing longstanding laws on abortion and gay rights was bound to stir controversy and heated involvement on both sides. Issues of war and peace naturally arouse strong partisan views.
In the last 16 months, the Obama Democrats’ proposals to vastly increase the size and scope of the federal government and to put federal spending on the way to doubling the national debt as a percentage of the economy have tended to sweep these cultural and foreign policy issues aside. They have increased the polarization of the parties, but have also produced some Democratic primary battles between supporters and opponents of the Obama program. The result could be a little less polarization — but don’t count on it.
By now I should be be used to this particular view of the world: it’s one in which only bad people, fanatics and crazies disagree with Canadian values, whatever those are. It is a world of “we” versus “them.” And we all know who “we” are and we certainly know “them.”
It is a world in which certain views are smart and others are for rubes. It is a world in which religion has no place in public life, unless, of course, it is “moderate” religion that is never judgmental, thinks of sin as medieval and whose values are always vague and never challenging to anyone.
It is a world in which anyone who strays outside the narrow realm of proper Canadian debate is an enemy.
Marci McDonald, author of The Armageddon Factor, a book about the rise of the Christian right in Canada, was a guest Tuesday morning on The Current, a CBC radio show where people with the above-mentioned world view are frequent guests.
Ms. McDonald believes there is a dangerous rise in the religious right in this country and most good Canadians are sleepwalking into a political nightmare, much like she witnessed in the United States under Ronald Reagan.
She warned of a Canada rife with divisiveness, as we see today in the United States, if we continue down this scary right fork in the road.
Yet, for all her warnings, Ms. McDonald, with the cozy support of host Gillian Findlay, was the only one being divisive. By the end of the discussion, it was clear that anyone who might have concerns about abortion, who still regrets Parliament’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, or who gives 100% support to Israel is a danger to the nation.
Put another way, anyone who disagrees is an enemy — though Ms. McDonald was far too polite to just spit it out that plainly.
“A lot of us in the mainstream media stopped paying attention to them after the same-sex vote,” she explained about how most of us hoped the religious conservatives would vanish once same-sex marriage was enshrined in law. “And we really thought they would go away.”
She went on to explain that “they” were more determined than ever never to lose this kind of battle again.
Part of the proof of this stealthy conspiracy was the fact that “they are now quoted in the media regularly.”
Ms. McDonald recalled arriving back in Canada about six years ago as the debate around same-sex marriage was “gathering force.”
Given it was a debate, it is not surprising that some opposed same-sex marriage while others approved of it and some were just concerned and not sure what to think.
But there was something sinister at work, something Ms. McDonald figured out right away.
“Suddenly I was hearing the same rhetoric I was hearing in the States,” she explained. “I was also hearing something even more disturbing: this willful denial, this wishful thinking, of commentators and the mainstream media saying it could never happen here.”
Ms. Findlay and Ms. McDonald went on to talk about how Stephen Harper never talks about his religion. Then came the revelation that Mr. Harper left the United Church around the same time others were leaving over the issue of gay ordinations. Mr. Harper then turned to Preston Manning as a mentor. Mr. Manning in turn gave Mr. Harper reading material from C.S. Lewis.
At which point Ms. Findlay might have said, “So what?”
The conversation only degenerated. Ms. McDonald talked about a weird agenda on the part of Mr. Harper to appeal to social conservatives, as if responding to that part of the electorate was a form of political arson.
Want to know something about social conservatives? The Catholic Church and many evangelical Christians are opposed to abortion and gay marriage but spend a lot of time feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and lobbying for social justice. As well, the religious, some of whom are conservative, pay taxes, support schools, vote, volunteer and look after their neighbours. They also give to charity, run shelters and give comfort to the sick.
In the view of Ms. McDonald, these activities are distractions.
Ms. McDonald has a sweet voice and Ms. Findlay has the self-assurance of a veteran broadcaster. But together, they helped present a deeply paranoid view of the world in which only one side is ever right.
The next time these two go hunting for real intolerance in this country, they should simply look at each other.
by Rebecca Hagelin
I’m not sure how you can describe the largest expansion of government into the most private area of our lives as anything other than socialism. And “socialist” comes fairly close to describing the manner in which our national leaders recently behaved when they ignored the will of the people and voted to ram through a health care program that seeks to force every American to bow to the “wisdom” and mercy of government leaders to decide what is best for us and our families.
Sean Hannity, in his new book, “Conservative Victory” proves that this is just the latest in a series of blatant anti-freedom policies that the Obama administration and radical liberals have advanced. He also lays out how such policies threaten our families, our republic, and America’s future:
“America’s leftists have consistently betrayed their disdain for the military, for American exceptionalism, for capitalism and capitalists. But today they’ve taken their assaults to a new level. It’s no exaggeration to say that our future as a nation of liberty and prosperity, and as the world’s sole superpower, has never been in greater jeopardy. We are in a war for our national survival.”
Hannity carefully documents how the Obama administration and the radical left agenda are quickly destroying our children’s future. From slowly dismantling our military and our military arsenals like missile defense; to driving families ever closer to personal economic crisis; to the government take over of critical private sector businesses; to chaining our children to the massive debt before they earn their first dollar– America, and especially our children, are in trouble.
Sean says it best, “The true key to conservative victory is to stay true to conservative principles; to convey the message clearly and powerfully; and to refuse to let liberals distort what we stand for and what is in our hearts.”
That’s it a nutshell: be true to our nation’s First Principles, and America will flourish. We know certain things are true, and we must not be afraid to defend them: That strong marriages between one woman and one man are the basic component of civil society; that there is intrinsic value in every human life; that workers should keep more of what they earn by the sweat of their brow; that we will remain free if we have a strong military and practice ‘peace through strength’; that lower taxes, smaller government, and free markets create economic prosperity and opportunity; and that America is a nation “under God”.
Sean brilliantly connects the dots between bad economic policies and their detrimental effects on the family unit. “We must not allow government to continue to undermine the nuclear family, as it has with welfare programs that provide incentives for people to remain unmarried, quit working, and produce illegitimate children. These are horrible results in the name of compassion. You don’t help people by destroying their dignity and their family.”
Sean’s terrific book outlines specific steps that must be taken if America is to be preserved, including seeking energy independence, securing our borders, and restoring free-market forces to the health care industry which will solve many of the problems with the system. Here are a few of my favorite steps, please read “Conservative Victory” for all of them:
- “We must be the party that protects religious liberties – which means opposing the efforts of secularists to suppress religious freedoms under a highly exaggerated and distorted notion of church-state separation.”
- We “must be known far and wide as the party that is committed to constitutional government.”
- We “must make the case that our constitution, along with our Judeo-Christian values, is the primary reason we enjoy greater liberties than any other nation in history – liberties that are inalienably bestowed upon us by God.”
A “Conservative Victory” is an American victory. I highly recommend Sean Hannity’s book as the way to get started on securing both.
Book sales ... blog visits ... tea parties ... town halls ... a national poll ... There is increasing evidence of a shift in the political winds: the nation is swinging right after President Obama’s victory last November.
A recent Gallup poll found that people who identify themselves as conservatives now outnumber liberals in every state. And that tilt is reflected in book sales, with three political books by conservative authors listed in the Top 10 New York Times nonfiction bestsellers: “Culture of Corruption” by Michelle Malkin, “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark R. Levin, and “Catastrophe” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.
There are no political books written by liberals on the list.
Some media analysts say it’s a sign that the mainstream news media are biased and out of touch, which is driving conservatives to find their information in other forms of media.
But others, including the books’ publishers, say it’s just a sign of the times — a reflection of the change of power in Washington. Sales are up, they say, because Democrats control Congress and the White House, and conservatives are frustrated.
“We, frankly, expected to see a rebound in conservative books after Barack Obama’s election,” said Marjory G. Ross, president and publisher at conservative Regnery Publishing.
“There is a phenomenon when one party is out of power that people are searching for leaders ... from their side. And if they don’t see those people in Washington, they often look for media and celebrities outside of Washington to support their cause.”
She said Regnery has seen an increase in sales, especially in the last couple of months.
“We right now have more than 300,000 books in print for Michelle Malkin’s book ... more books in print for a single title than we’ve had for two years.”
Penguin books’ conservative imprint, Sentinel, agreed.
“No question, conservative voices are back on the upswing again,” Sentinel spokesman Adrian Zackheim said, adding that it recalled “the heady days of the Clinton White House, when conservative books frequently dominated the bestseller lists.”
Liberal pundits also are noting the trend. Michael Huttner and Jason Salzman, authors of “50 Ways You Can Help Obama Change America,” wrote at HuffingtonPost.com that they hope their book “contributes to changing the dialogue in this country, at a time when ... books by right-wingers Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly [are] topping this week’s national bestsellers list.”
Data on New York Times bestsellers confirms the increase in conservative titles since November and shows that liberal authors did well during the Bush administration.
But some media experts say that what’s happening now reflects a more fundamental shift toward conservative writing — both in books and on the Internet — caused by an elite media that ignores conservative voices.
“In the old analog era, New York’s elite media could get away with ignoring much of the rest of the country, perhaps even having a certain disdain for parochial Americans who didn’t see things their way,” DePaul University journalism professor Bruce Evensen said.
“Now, in the digital age, these ‘savages’ are having their revenge. Conservatives dominate much of the blogosphere in news and information, because for so many years liberals have dominated [old media].”
Liberal analysts agree that conservative book sales are up, but they say it’s due solely to angry conservatives, not perceived media bias.
“The right has always complained about a phantom liberal bias in the media, so that doesn’t strike me as a likely cause,” said Peter Hart, activism director at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
“I think the biggest factor is talk radio. Conservative hosts can use their national shows to push their books, or books by like-minded authors, to an audience that is feeling marginalized and angry.”
The shift to the right is also apparent on the Internet. Arizona State University professors Kevin Dooley and Steve Corman looked at the 20 most popular conservative and liberal blogs on the Web, counted the sites they linked to — and then followed the sites those linked to, and so on. They ended up with a list of 814 conservative blogs, compared to 436 liberal ones. The conservative blogs also had more total posts.
“There was really no subjective intervention on our part, so I have faith that our population is representative of the number of blogs,” Dooley said.
Social media consultant Simon Owens said he found that conservative blogs had lost fewer readers since November. While the conservative blogs are now getting 37 percent fewer page views than during the election season, the liberal blogs have lost almost twice as many: 64 percent of their Web site hits.
In some cases, Internet activism feeds into real-world demonstrations. Many of the tea party protests that drew conservatives out in large numbers in the spring — organizers estimated that there were at least 790,000 protesters around the country on tax day — were also organized online.
Town hall meetings about health care have also generally been packed. Local media outlets reported that hundreds had to be turned away at town halls hosted by Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.).
“Conservatives are much more prominent now than when we started doing [media analysis in 1987],” said Daniel Amundson, research director at George Mason University’s Center for Media & Public Affairs. “Increasingly now you see people from conservative groups or conservative politicians showing up and supplying commentary to the press. I think they have become, I wouldn’t say even players, but on the field in a pretty significant way.”
He cited the town hall protests as an example of increased visibility.
“I’m hard-pressed to think of too many other situations where you’ve had coverage of town hall meetings across the country.”
Conservative-leaning individuals, on a whole, are happier than left-wing liberals according to a new study that even suggests the reason: Conservatives justify social and economic inequalities.
Conservatives from various different backgrounds reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than liberals, the study reported. Regardless of marital status, social status or religious affiliation, conservatives were generally happier and scored highest on the part of the study that gauged a person’s tendency to rationalize inequalities.
The study included statements intended to gauge how much a person rationalizes such as: “It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others,” and “This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are.” Conservatives tended to agree with these statements more than liberals.
Conservatives primarily supported the idea of meritocracy, which assumes that people move up in their economic status in society based on diligent work and good performance. This belief provides an explanation for people’s social standing, which the study interpreted as a rationalization of social inequality.
Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University, who conducted the survey, found that if people’s beliefs don’t justify gaps in status, they are likely to feel frustrated and disheartened. The researchers conducted a U.S.-centric survey and an internationally focused survey to reach their final conclusions.
“Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives,” Napier and Jost write in the June issue of the Psychological Science Journal, “apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light,” MSNBC reported.
The results of the survey further support a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2006. The results of the earlier survey indicated 47% of conservatives in the U.S. consider themselves to be “very happy,” while a mere 28% of liberals did.
By John Hawkins
Long ago, when I was a mushy headed moderate, I studied conservatism and liberalism to try to figure out what the best philosophy was for my life and for my country. After doing that, I became a conservative because...
* I don’t think some politician in Washington who has never held a job outside of politics in his entire life, has a better handle on what to do with my money than I do.
* I don’t resent wealthy people. To the contrary, I want to become one of them one day.
* Government policies should be based on whether they work or not and whether they are constitutional, not on whether they make the people advocating them feel “nice” or “mean.”
* “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” In other words, I’m not a victim, you’re not a victim, and 99 times out of a hundred, the person on TV screaming about how he’s a victim, isn’t a victim either. If you’re not happy with your life, it’s your responsibility to fix it, not the government’s responsibility.
* I don’t get upset that the federal government “doesn’t care about me.” In fact, I’d be pleased if it forgets that I exist.
* Human beings are inherently superior to animals. That doesn’t mean we should mistreat them or take them for granted, but it does mean that what’s good for humankind is more important than what’s good for animals.
* I am a citizen of the United States, not a citizen of the world. As such, my loyalty will always belong to this country and its people, not to any other nation, group of nations, or any sort of world governing body.
* I believe women and men are different, should be treated differently, and are not interchangeable. There are jobs women tend to be better at than men and vice-versa. There are ways a man behaves that women shouldn’t behave in and vice-versa.
* There are no fantastic new programs left for the federal government to implement.
* It isn’t the job of the federal government to make us successful; it’s the job of the federal government to create an environment that allows us to make ourselves successful.
* I believe that citizens of the United States have more to be proud of than the people of other countries and that every one of us should cherish this country and should thank God that we’ve been given the privilege of being part of such a great nation.
* The market and private industry almost always do a better job of allocating resources than the federal government could ever hope to do.
* Morals do matter. “If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” If that ever happens, it would be a tragedy not just for us and our children, but for the whole world.
* “Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.”
* People of all races should be treated equally and any laws, whether we’re talking about Jim Crow laws or Affirmative Action, that do otherwise are immoral, unconstitutional, and un-American.
* Having a government that is too involved in our lives is far more of a threat than a government that isn’t involved enough.
* My priorities are God, family, and country, in that order.
* Our tax rate is too high as it is and if it’s not producing enough revenue for Washington, D.C. then they should start trying to live within their means instead of asking us to pony up more money.
* Life begins at the moment of conception and we have an obligation to speak up for the children that are being exterminated via abortion since they can’t speak up for themselves.
* I believe the point of allowing people to emigrate to this country should be to benefit the people who are already here. With that in mind, everyone who wants to become an American citizen should come here legally, should learn our national language, which is English, should assimilate, and should pay his own way and be ineligible for programs like welfare and food stamps.
* I believe in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.
* The debt we have in this country is not because you haven’t given enough of your money to Washington; it’s because the politicians in Washington have spent too much money.
* I believe that Southerners, white males, the rich, business owners, Republicans, Christians, and the other groups that the Left looks down its nose at deserve every bit as much respect and protection under the law as the Left’s favorite protected classes and minority groups.
* There is a meaningful difference between tolerating behavior and deeming it to be acceptable or good.
* If we lose our freedom in this country, it won’t be because of a foreign invader; it’ll be because our own government took it away from us a bit at a time with one law after another designed to “help” us.
* We have a moral obligation to leave a better America to our children than our parents left to us.
By Terence Jeffrey
As a very political year approaches an end, and a new presidential election cycle looms, it’s a good time for conservatives to step back from partisan politics and reflect on their cause.
What do conservatives believe? Here are 10 principles worth pondering.
God’s Law Governs Nations as Well as Men.
The Ten Commandments should not only be enshrined in our courthouses, they should be engraved in our hearts and minds as guides to all behavior, public and private. As the Founders acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, laws and policies that violate the natural law are abuses of government power that must be resisted and reversed.
Life Is the First God-Given Right.
It’s always wrong to deliberately take an innocent human life. When this principle is abridged, violence escalates. Thus we have aborted 47 million unborn babies in the past three decades, begun to accept euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide, and stand at the threshold of cloning human beings for the specific purpose of killing them.
Marriage and Family Come Before the State and Deserve Its Protection.
The marriage of one man and one woman is the natural foundation of all human society, and the means by which children ought to be brought into the world and taught the basic values of our civilization. Government has a duty to recognize and protect the family, and must not grant alternative relationships the same status and privileges.
Freedom of Conscience Is the Soul of Liberty.
Understanding that freedom of conscience is at the heart of liberty, the Framers protected freedom of religion and assembly in the First Amendment. Movements to force the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual scoutmasters, or to compel religious individuals or organizations to distribute birth control or abortion drugs against their beliefs, directly attack these freedoms.
Private Property Is the Servant of Freedom.
The more that individuals, families and businesses can acquire and control the goods necessary to sustain and advance themselves, the more autonomy they will have from the state and others who may wish to unjustly restrict their freedom. The free and responsible use of private property tends to create greater wealth and greater freedom for greater numbers of people.
Government Dependency Is the Seed of Tyranny.
The more that individuals, families and businesses are dependent on the state for the goods necessary to sustain and advance themselves, the less autonomy they will have from the state and others who may wish to unjustly restrict their freedom. This is why expanding the welfare state is bad, and Social Security personal retirement accounts, health savings accounts and school choice are good.
The Constitution Means What It Says.
Believing in the God-given rights of man and understanding the imperfect nature of human beings, the Framers crafted a Constitution designed to protect the former from the latter. Many of the problems in U.S. government would be resolved if the president, Congress and Courts limited themselves and each other to the authority the Constitution actually grants them.
Taxes Are Justified Only to Fund Necessary Government Spending.
A massive and complex tax code has become a powerful weapon politicians can use to pressure citizens to behave as the politicians, or the interest groups that support the politicians, wish. The correct function of taxation is to equitably collect only that revenue needed to fund the legitimate activities of a constitutionally limited government.
National Defense Is Just That.
The first duty of the federal government is to defend the American people against foreign enemies. While advancing freedom in the world is good in itself — and, where it prudently can be done, would advance the interests of the United States — ultimately, the mandate for our national leaders is to use whatever moral means they can to carve out that path in our relations with foreign powers that is most likely to lead to enhanced security, prosperity and freedom for this nation.
We Should Strive to Give Our Children a Better Country.
America is more than just an expanse of territory or a set of laws. It is a culture, whose art, architecture, journalism, music, movies, television, schools and universities should reflect and reinforce the traditional values that made this country great. We owe this to our children, who will build the America of tomorrow on the foundation of the America we teach them to love today.
by Myron Magnet
Last week a trio of outraged Republican presidential contenders dismissed the idea of “compassionate conservatism,” espoused by Texas Gov. George W. Bush, as hot air at best and, at worst, a slur on past Republican accomplishments. They are half right: Compassionate conservatism does represent a break with national Republican programs of the past. But far from being an empty slogan, it is a well-formed domestic policy agenda.
At its core is concern for the poor —not a traditional Republican preoccupation —and an explicit belief that government has a responsibility for poor Americans. From Richard Nixon on down, the policy of Republican presidents toward the poor seems to have been, in Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s indelible phrase, benign neglect. For Nixon this meant extending welfare programs he considered useless; for Ronald Reagan and George Bush it similarly meant paying scant attention to social issues. But more recently, several innovative Republican mayors and governors have made solving the problems of the urban underclass a top priority. Compassionate conservatism really is the effort to make these solutions central to national politics.
Can’t Blame ‘The System’
If compassionate conservatism breaks out of the traditional Republican mold, it utterly rejects the liberal conventional wisdom about uplifting the poor. The liberal worldview, which has reigned for over a generation, purveys such notions as that the only way to reduce crime is to cure its “root causes.” Compassionate conservatism waves away the claim that such nostrums are the only possible expression of “compassion” for the poor. It acknowledges that liberal prescriptions, good intentions notwithstanding, have in fact made the lot of the poor worse over the last 35 years. Why else, after decades of growing opportunity, are the worst-off more mired in dependency, illegitimacy, drug use, school failure and crime than they were when the experiment began? Liberal compassion’s main success is to make the self-styled compassionate feel good about their superior virtue. Compassionate conservatism derails the Democratic Party’s greatest rhetorical advantage, its demonstrably empty claim of a monopoly on caring about the worst-off.
Compassionate conservatives call them comcons-offer a new way of thinking about the poor. They know that telling the poor that they are mere passive victims, whether of racism or of vast economic forces, is not only false but also destructive, paralyzing the poor with thoughts of their own helplessness and inadequacy. The poor need the larger society’s moral support; they need to hear the message of personal responsibility and self-reliance, the optimistic assurance that if they try —as they must —they will make it. They need to know, too, that they can’t blame “the system” for their own wrongdoing.
Guided by such ideas, state and local conservatives have hammered out effective new ways of helping the poor. The most visible of these is workfare, which began as an experiment by Govs. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and John Engler of Michigan long before congressional Republicans wrote the 1996 welfare reform act. Messrs. Thompson and Engler, as well as more recent welfare reformers like Gov. Bush of Texas and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York, don’t see their main goal as saving money. The problem with welfare, they believe, is that instead of helping needy mothers raise sturdy children who go on to succeed in life, it perpetuates weak families, stuck in dependency for generations. As a way of life —which is what it has become —welfare degrades rather than uplifts too many of its supposed beneficiaries.
Work, by contrast, makes an individual responsible for herself and her family and thereby provides a road to self-respect and equal citizenship. So far, former welfare recipients forced out into the work force, even those who work very low-level jobs, tell reporters that they are finding it just that. And the prediction that the 1996 welfare reform law would produce legions of mothers and children starving on the streets turns out to have been ludicrous.
But workfare doesn’t solve welfare’s biggest problem: the harm it does to children. With one hand welfare enables the creation of single-parent families in which children fare poorly, while with the other it falsely pretends to secure the welfare of those children by dispensing money. Comcons have two solutions.
First, try to stop single women from having babies in the first place by restigmatizing illegitimacy. The mountain of research showing how badly children without fathers fare —as measured by school failure. divorce, criminality, mental illness, even suicide —is ample reason to show disapproval of women who put their babies at such risk. Recognizing that illegitimacy is perhaps the nation’s No. l social problem, George W. Bush has repeatedly preached abstinence from sex until marriage. Even in anything-goes New York Mayor Giuliani warns about illegitimacy’s dangers. It takes a certain courage for commons to make such statements, since the nonzero rightly recognize them as a call for across-the-board responsibility that will circumscribe their sexual behavior too —something they resist, as the national shoulder-shrugging over the Clinton sex scandal shows.
Second, since some women will still have illegitimate children despite renewed stigma, Gov. Bush has just set up four pilot residential hostels for welfare mothers and their babies-tough-love institutions, not handouts for the irresponsible, that will focus on making sure the babies get the nurture they need to be able to learn and to succeed, something that young welfare mothers often don’t know how to provide. Private groups run the hostels —including, thanks to the “charitable choice” provision in the 1996 welfare reform act, a church-related group. They are able to provide the clearly, enunciated moral values that their residents, like most social-service clients, need to live by.
Comcons know that having safer neighborhoods is the one thing that most improves the lives of the poor. The activist policing that slashed New York City’s overall murder rate has reduced murder even more in crime-ridden poor minority neighborhoods —by almost 90% in one. That means, contrary to the liberals’ complaint that tougher policing oppresses poor minorities, that the law-abiding majority of inner-city communities can now send their children out for a loaf of bread or come home late from work without putting their lives on the line.
If public education has long been a bailiwick of the Democrats, comcons believe that without schools that work, poor children lack the traditional route into the American mainstream. After all, poor inner-city children are educable; Catholic schools prove it every day. But inner-city public schools today are a great national scandal, despite huge expenditures. Black and Hispanic students at 17 perform on a par with 13-year-old white students in every subject, and over half of inner-city kids don’t graduate from high school. Comcons blame, among other culprits, teachers unions that put the employment of their members far above the education of children, and state education authorities that don’t set high standards for teacher qualification or student achievement.
The comcon solution: much tougher tests for both teachers and students (as Texas has imposed charter schools (such as Arizona hopes to make virtually universal) and vouchers targeted to precisely the poor children whom the public schools are failing so grievously. In what may be an early indicator of the shape of comcon politics to come, Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and former Gov. George Voinovich of Ohio formed alliances with minority parents that produced publicly funded voucher systems in Milwaukee and Cleveland. George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani have also proposed experimental voucher districts. The point of these programs is to rescue minority kids from failing public schools right now, before another generation misses its chance —and also to provide the outside competition that will force the public schools to change their hidebound ways in order to survive, as is already happening in Milwaukee.
Finally, comcons like immigrants. They admire their energy and enterprise, which have revitalized vast swathes of New York and Los Angeles. The only danger is that this enthusiasm has sometimes led comcons to back policies that promote separatism and dependency, such as bilingual education or welfare benefits for immigrants. What made the urban immigration of yesteryear so successful is that immigrants universally came seeking opportunity to work, and they dreamed of becoming part of the American community. Comcons need to hold fast to this optimistic message.
An empty slogan? It may be that in the next election compassionate conservatism will change the face of American politics.
Mr. Magnet, editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, is author of “The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass.”
The IRS has released the year 2000 data for individual income tax returns. The numbers illustrate a truth that will startle you: that half of Americans with the highest incomes pays 96.09% of all income tax. This nukes the liberal lie that the rich don’t pay taxes. The top 1%, who earn 20.81% of all income covered under the income tax, are paying 37.42% of the federal tax bite.
*Data covers calendar year 2000, not fiscal year 2000 - and includes all income, not just wages, excluding Social Security
Think of it this way: less than four dollars out of every $100 paid in income taxes in the United States is paid by someone in the bottom 50% of wage earners. Are the top half millionaires? Noooo, more like “thousandaires.” The top 50% were those individuals or couples filing jointly who earned $26,000 and up in 1999. (The top 1% earned $293,000-plus.) Americans who want to are continuing to improve their lives - and those who don’t want to, aren’t. Here are the wage earners in each category and the percentages they pay:
Top 5% - 56.47% of all income taxes; Top 10% - 67.33% of all income taxes; Top 25% - 84.01% of all income taxes. Top 50% - 96.09% of all income taxes. The bottom 50%? They pay a paltry 3.91% of all income taxes. The top 1% is paying ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%! And who earns what? The top 1% earns 20.81% of all income. The top 5% earns 35.30% of the pie. The top 10% earns 46.01%; the top 25% earns 67.15%, and the top 50% earns 87.01% of all the income.
The bottom 50% is paying a tiny bit of the taxes, so you can’t give them much of a tax cut by definition. Yet these are the people to whom the Democrats claim to want to give tax cuts. Remember this the next time you hear the “tax cuts for the rich” business. Understand that the so-called rich are about the only ones paying taxes anymore.
I had a conversation with a woman who identified herself as Misty on Wednesday. She claimed to be an accountant, yet she seemed unaware of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which now ensures that everyone pays some taxes. AP reports that the AMT, “designed in 1969 to ensure 155 wealthy people paid some tax,” will hit “about 2.6 million of us this year and 36 million by 2010.” That’s because the tax isn’t indexed for inflation! If your salary today would’ve made you mega-rich in ‘69, that’s how you’re taxed.
Misty tried the old line that all wealth is inherited. Not true. John Weicher, as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank, wrote in his February 13, 1997 Washington Post Op-Ed, “Most of the rich have earned their wealth... Looking at the Fortune 400, quite a few even of the very richest people came from a standing start, while others inherited a small business and turned it into a giant corporation.” What’s happening here is not that “the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.” The numbers prove it.
I have made an executive decision as the owner and ultimate editor of this website that this table and these numbers stay on this website forever - or until next year’s numbers come out. In order to get these facts, you have to see them each and every day. This story, along with a link to the IRS chart, will stay somewhere on the RushLimbaugh.com homepage so everyone can see and find these numbers at any time. It’s crucial that people get this, so please, share it with a friend now!
Supplemental Articles in a separate file (click here to read)