Friday, March 15, 2013

Rob Portman: Do Liberals Really Hate When Republicans Moderate?

Some of my most conservative friends, if I asked them about many large social programs they would not be in favor of removing them completely (although that would be something interesting to hear a real debate about).  Most of them are pro-national defense and not against some infrastructure and social safety nets.  However, most of the reform policies that they would be in favor of have been deeply and rigorously villainized by the liberal coalitions.

In other words, unlike many self-described libertarians, they are not wholly against government programs but believe they are bloated, unwieldy, stupid, and corrupt--their sheer size and scope invites corruption.  (In all fairness, many self-described libertarians agree.)

I've written recently about the libertarians giving themselves a liberal makeover (what could be called Miss America libertarianism, to riff on a cute phrase).

Now we have Rob Portman "coming around" on using the state's power to make everyone acknowledge same-sex unions as part of the millenia-old, pre-state institution of marriage.  Whether because he doesn't want to risk hurting his son's feelings or because it gives him an excellent opportunity to get that post-Romney political makeover that some politicians are looking for, or both, we may not ever know.  He has a much more personal reason than either Biden or Obama did when key culture war issues provided a convenient distraction from questions of fiscal leadership.  How timely!  (Portman's conversion may be timely too.)

Matthew Yglesias, and presumably many more progressives, thinks this is narcissism.  How many liberal causes you must take up before you are no longer guilty of narcissism?   Yglesias doesn't say exactly although he throws some examples out there right from the big liberal playbook.  Yglesias apparently worships at the εκκλησία of liberalism.

Now, elsewhere liberals are likely to hold that principled consistency is absolutism and black-and-white thinking--usually just when applied to conservative causes, oddly enough.  When one is badmouthing the Tea Party is convenient to juxtapose them with "reasonable" (i.e. more liberal) Republicans. (McCain almost seemed to win the GOP nomination more for his popularity with liberals than with conservatives, that "maverick.")  Principled consistency in sticking to the progressive platform is not absolutism for liberals-- just goodness and mercy.

"We're just talking about gay marriage.  We are not talking about polygamy! Slippery slope! Slippery slope!"  You don't have to get far into the fray to hear that one.  Now why don't we hear "We're just talking about gay marriage.  We are not talking about Medicare, affrimative action, redistribution, open borders with fast-track to social care, etc."  No, we're hearing, "If you don't swallow the whole progressive platform, you're a narcissist."  Or hypocrite or whatever.

There is no slippery slope!!! No!!!  You can avoid the slippery slope by being as selectively compassionate as you wish.  However, some of us like to care about everybody.  And we need everybody's money to care for everybody...  (Not all the narcissism is on the conservative side.)

It's all part of the progressive narrative.

Make no mistake though, liberal activists group love moderate Republicans because they can simultaneously beat them up for encouraging "conservative extremism" and for embodying weak versions of liberal compassion.  As we saw last autumn.


  1. I've heard from a couple of people that talked as though they might have voted for Romney for political reasons, but were leaning toward voting for Obama for purely personal gain. Of course, there are people that ALWAYS vote Democrat for this reason alone. So those people are more _consistently_ narcissistic, to frame it in those terms. Possibly the most demoralizing thing about the election for conservatives was the palpable sense that liberals could depend on "Screw you, America--I'm doing right by ME AND MINE!" We felt like America finally belonged to the social engineer do-gooders and the do-good-by-me-ers.

  2. Totally. Just look at that sick video by the Michael Megalomaniac Moore. And the latest polls show that a large majority of Americans believe that government spending needs to be a LOT less. But the same polls show that a large majority don't want any specific program to be touched. It's an addiction. It's like Thomas Sowell said recently-- it doesn't make sense for the Republicans to play the liberal game in promising free stuff in return for votes--liberal politicians are always offering MORE free stuff (because they LOVE people).

  3. It reminds me of the verse of the Progressive Bible: "For Obama so loved the world, that he gave them other people's money, so that whomsoever voteth for him shall not have to work harder than anyone else but shall have unlimited help forevermore. Amen."