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Between Arrogance and Despair

The politics of 2015 reflect the differing moods of liberals and conservatives. Liberals are frustrated at the moment, but are ever more confident in their ultimate victory. Conservatives are even more frustrated, and they suspect that they are going to lose no matter what. It does not have to be . . . . Continue Reading »

Producers vs. Scribes?

At the Liberty Law site, my friend John McGinnis has a very interesting post on what he calls America’s “scribal class.” These are people—professors, journalists, opinion writers, lawyers, even entertainment industry types—who set America’s cultural and political agendas. John writes . . . . Continue Reading »

A Campaign That is Lost Every Day

Many conservatives feel like they are living in a country they no longer understand and that does not particularly like them. There is some truth to those feelings. Millions of Americans only hear about conservatives when they (putatively) misbehave and about conservative ideas in ugly and distorted forms. The result is that many Americans who might otherwise be supportive of or indifferent to political conservatism range from passively to actively hostile. Continue Reading »

Conservative Outrage Won't Work

Peter Hellman, in a review of by Bryan Burrough's Days of Rage, outlines how the frustrations of the 60s gave way to the violent extremism of the 70s. The violence of radical leftist protesters discredited their movement, contributing to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Conservatives won . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservatives and Low-Skilled Workers

People in the Republican establishment have been suggesting that conservatives can either try to appeal to working-class whites by supporting limits to future immigration levels, or they can try to appeal to Hispanics by seeking to increase future immigration levels. The truth is that conservatives have never had to make this choice. In 2012, Republicans chose to alienate both working-class whites and Hispanics. In the future, conservatives should try to appeal to both groups by focusing on the economic priorities of those groups rather than ethnic gamesmanship.In the 2012 campaign, Romney's combination of economic priorities and immigration messaging proved especially toxic. On immigration, Romney advocated no amnesty and hoped that current unauthorized immigrants would self-deport. For Hispanics (and possibly even for Asians—among whom Romney did even worse than among Hispanics), the message was that Romney’s love for business owners was exceeded only by contempt for immigrants (legal and illegal). Continue Reading »

Irving Kristol's God

Having long been regarded as the godfather of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol is well known for his political writings. Less well known are his essays on religion. And yet, the more one reads of his work, the more apparent it becomes that this is in some sense the wrong way around. Though Kristol . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservative Con Artistry

A breach has opened between the Republican party’s business interests and the party’s activists. It has always existed, of course, but not so widely as now. While the issue of immigration might be the most significant policy consideration that divides them, there is also a very important institutional divide. The Republican business establishment, from K Street down to the local Chamber of Commerce, has functioning institutions, while the party’s populists do not. This is why conservati Continue Reading »

Christian and Countercultural

Over the past decade, especially in the struggle over same-sex marriage, some of my friends and allies among social and religious conservatives have called me a defeatist for my culture-war pessimism. I believe that pessimism today is simply realism, and that it is better for us to retreat . . . . Continue Reading »

Opportunity and Incentives

President Obama’s recent actions to effectively exempt millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation and to issue them work permits has caused frustration among many who believe that neither the precedents nor the law support the his actions. The president’s opponents have focused on what can done in the short-term to reverse his executive orders, or at least make him pay a political price. But rather than simply reacting, conservatives should learn from their experiences with Obamacare. In the short-term,, the ability of the Republican Congress to reverse the president’s executive orders or repeal Obamacare is very limited. It matters much more what President Obama’s opponents are prepared to do the next time they wield greater policymaking power. Continue Reading »

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