Let the Cocooning Begin

I think my hopes that a defeat at the polls would prompt a self-reexamination on the part of the Left have already been dashed. The rapidly emerging consensus on the part of leftist media figures, pundits and political figures is that they lost due to “moral issues,” which many are interpreting to mean gay marriage and maybe abortion. The subtext here seems to be that they lost because too many Red Staters are bigots, not because people have lost faith in leftist solutions on economic and regulatory issues.

I swear, one can almost see the spinnerets, erupting from leftist asses pulsing with the liquid silk of rationalizations, just waiting for the barest of factoids on which to spin a comforting cocoon of leftist self-delusion.


The whole “moral issues” finding is a crock in the first place. The exit poll on which this is all apparently based asked voters which of the following seven issues was the most important.

Taxes (5%)
Education (4%)
Iraq (15%)
Terrorism (19%)
Economy/Jobs (20%)
Moral Values (22%)
Health Care (8%)

First, the pollsters selected the issues to choose from. Second, the phrase “moral values” could mean almost anything; if they had asked about “traditional values” they might have learned something. Third, “moral values” scored highest of the issues listed, but it still only got 22%, just between 1/5 and 1/4. 78% thought another issue was more important. If you combine Iraq and Terrorism into National Security you get an issue with 34%. If you combine Taxes with Economy/Jobs you get an issue with 25%. (And aren’t these separations indicative of how the Left views these issues in the first place? — i.e., Iraq is not a part of the War on Terror, taxes don’t have much to do with the Economy or Jobs.) Perhaps “Moral Issues” is just a broad clump of many issues which a statistical sample of people lump under “moral issues.”

The problem here for the Left is that if they all buy into this they won’t evolve. You can’t compromise on moral issues. If you believe in gay marriage or abortion on demand then how can you honestly or practically build a political platform based on opposing them? If they believe that they lost, and especially that they lost across the board, due to a small minority of bigots, they won’t ask basic questions. Most importantly, they won’t reexamine their fetishistic devotion to centralized-bureaucraticism, which is their Achilles heel.

I remain convinced that the Left loses because of the mechanism that they repeatedly choose to deliver services like education and health care. If they could just loosen up a bit, and even entertain the notion (what with this being the 21st century and all) that maybe, just maybe, a template laid down in the 1930s no longer offers the best solutions.

Apparently, I shouldn’t hold my breath.

(Note: this was inspired by a couple of postings from Boi From Troi via Instapundit

22 thoughts on “Let the Cocooning Begin”

  1. I have been peddling this link around for the last two days (in my own blog, in a letter to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page in response to a similar complaint, to all of my friends and at several other blogs. I want as many people as possible to see it so that we can encourage our misguided brethren to listen to one of their own. Despite its existence on DemocraticUnderground.com and being written by one of its admins, it is a cogent argument about why they lost. They don’t understand Red-State Americans. Their party used to and that’s why some of the Red States used to be Blue States. He goes on to urge his compatriots to find out why they lost the Center-left Populists (as he calls them).

    Unfortunately as you read the comments you see him getting shouted down or redirected by people who see lots of pretty trees but no forest. Look especially for comment #57 (by the author) as it is also intelligent and contains the voice of reason. I only wish more people on that site would listen to him rather than making idiotic posts about how Bush stole this election too. *shakes head*

  2. So is this a deliberate effort to repudiate the results of the election, or is it wishful thinking?

    I’ve been leaning “wishful thinking” the last few days, but now I’m having second thoughts.

  3. Today’s conversation with an apathetic, yet liberal-leaning co-worker:

    HIM: We didn’t need to kill all those people at Nagasaki, we should have just dropped the bomb on Mt. Fuji or something to show them what we could do.

    ME: Actually, we had already showed them. The fire-bombing of Tokyo killed more people than Nagasaki, and it didn’t seem to change any minds.

    HIM: Really? Wow, I never knew that. I guess I’m pretty ignorant about military history.

    ME: You’d rather be one of the ones doomed to repeat history then?

    HIM: Well, I don’t make those kinds of decisions.

    ME: You did on Tuesday.

    HIM: Oh, well I voted against the war.

  4. But… over populations, ideas don’t change because a sizable segment of people change their minds. Ideas change because the folk protecting one set of ideas die off, and the new ideas can take their day in the sun.

    Yes, certainly encourage folk like the one in Paul Bixby’s link to publish their ideas. After all, the new ideas have to have some currency, people have to see that there is an alternative. But their effect will not be now, and probably not in the next four years. We need to wait for time to take its toll.

    It seems it has already done so in the Republican party. In some sense the leftoid complaint that Bush is not a conservative is right, in the sense that small government is no longer a significant motivator in the party leadership. (OK, i should soften that to “I don’t see it as a significant motivator…” For example, i can’t think of two people in the federal government today who would agree with the statement “But Government IS the Problem!”)

    The question for me is, how will the the ideas tilt? Is the generation after the 60’s folk going to be more tolerant and less intrusive? Well maybe. Certainly the strident ones got the publicity, but then the squeaky wheel does get the oil.

    Matya no baka

  5. The comment above that ideas change when those promoting them die off and younger people have different ideas only makes sense in a world where one set of ideas doesn’t have a stranglehold on education like the one we live in.

    Our leftwing education system from earliest daycare through graduate school has been passed down practically intact for at least 50 years and probably even longer than that.

    Until we put a stake through the heart of the education unions and stop giving tenure only to those professors who toe the party line, nothing will change. More and more people who can afford it are sending their kids to private school and that includes most affluent liberals. Many who can’t afford the 10 to 20 thousand dollars for private school are home schooling. Still the public schools are demanding and getting more and more of our tax dollars.

    The complicit media have taught the public to equate a good education with spending more money. Ipso facto, kids can’t read or add & subtract because we don’t spend enough money on our schools. This notion is nonsense and the has been debunked many times. Fact: black slaves learned to read employing a stick scratching out letters in the dirt and learned to do arithmetic by the same low tech method, yet blacks in schools where over $10,000 per child is funded by generous tax payers, they can’t learn these two basic skills needed for life in the 21st century.

    Why? My theory — the left wants to keep this population in permanent custodial care
    for the same reasons “Palestinians” have been kept in “refugee” camps for three generations. To provide fodder for the grist mills of leftwing propaganda.

    Allah akbar, this election is the beginning of the end of this long nightmare.

  6. MatyaNoBaka,

    I think Bush believes that per Sulaiman there is little market for true small government. People, even people who vote Republican, want the government involved in things like health care and education. Weaning them off the idea that government should run their lives is a long term project.

    Bush has started the project buy co-opting the big government entitlements. The prescription drug benefit (which was going to pass in some form regardless) came in a form where people get to choose among several private providers which gets people in the mindset of efficiently using their federal benefits. No Child Left Behind gave block grants to States which gives more local control over education spending. Now Bush will strongly push Social Security privatization.

    For a person who’s reputation is one of unsophistication and bluntness Bush political strategies are one of subtle long term shifts. He employees political jujistu to turn a opponents momentum against them. He plants seeds that will long term erupt into major changes.

  7. Given the categories provided here’s what motivated me and I am an evangelical christain by a long shot. In fact I am an atheist regarding their particular brand of god.

    Taxes (0%)
    Education (0%)
    Iraq (25%)
    Terrorism (25%)
    Economy/Jobs (0%)
    Moral Values (50%)
    Health Care (0%)

    The zeros are for where I do not see a dimes worth of difference between the candidates in those categories. Bush is on domestic issues just another a big spending politician.

    On Iraq and Terrorism I think Kerry would be a complete flop. In fact where Bush gets it wrong is exactly where Kerry thinks he got it right. I think there was too much diplomacy involved, in fact over 12 years worth. To the point where sactions were hurting the little guy in Iraq, while UN officials lived off the blood. This should have been resolved after the Gulf War and that would have required us to have less allies involved even back then. I really don’t see the point in including allies who are fundamentally against a job that needs doing. Especially if they do not have an troops or material to contribute.

    The mistake in Iraq was the attempt to use sanctions and diplomacy. Sanctions being the worse because they harm civilians much more than even war does, and the results being to naturally hate the sanctioner.

    I do think Kerrys plans for Iran are incredibly stupid. He wants to give Iran nuke material and expertise plus a treaty then sit back and see what happens. When the inevitable nuclear bomb is manufacture he then plans to SANCTION Iran. Does that sound familiar. The result being that civilians who now hate Mullahs will start hating us. In the meantime it will be a decades long protacted economic war that much ultimately lead to a military one. This time with a nuclear armed Iran.

    If you are interested a good summary of other reasons there was a comment at another blog that pretty much summed up where I was at: http://brainwacker.blogspot.com/2004/11/why-i-voted-for-bush.html

    Then there is the whole Kerry sh.tstorm of BS. The whole Vietnam lies, traitorist behavior, opportunism angle. I investigated and found that Kerry was wrong and the Swift Vets were right. That along with the obvious lies in his personal life like marathon runner, fake sports fan, on the belly deer hunter, Christmas in Cambodia, I met with the UN security council, secret Draft, chopping SS, magic hat, I wasn’t at the VVWA assanation meeting, and I’m not a liberal. Please!

    The long and the short of it is that I don’t trust Kerry, and it is obvious from his behavior that he is not to be trusted. That’s a moral issue and that is why I would have picked “Moral Values” as the most important issue.

  8. I’ll have to agree with you that the whole “moral values” = bigoted redneck meme that the Left is putting out is false. I voted for GWB and volunteered for him. Here’s why:

    1. The War on Terror: GWB has opened a can of whoop ass on the nuts. J.Kerry was too ambivalent.

    2. Iraq (if you want to separate it from the WOT): No matter how badly GWB has mishandled it, he “gets” that the only way, long term, to avoid another 9/11 is through massive reform in the Arab world. J. Kerry rejected this notion outright.

    3. Economic Issues: Democrats like to raise taxes on people like me and my wife. We aren’t rich, we aren’t poor, but we have worked pretty hard to get where we are. I don’t want my wife to have to work 60 hours/week to stay where we are economically speaking. Sorry, I love her more than I love government programs.

    4. Government Reform: Believe it or not, President Bush was the more reformist of the two candidates. He campaigned on: changing/reforming Social Security, the Tax Code, improving educational/retraining programs. J. Kerry was a reactionary, rejecting all change especially with regard to Social Security.

    5. Gay Marriage: For me, not a moral issue…just kind of creepy. I always thought that gay folks had their own way about how to live, were ‘liberated’ from bourgeois constraints, and wanted to be left alone by mainstream society…all things that are ok with me, but why mess with the institution of marriage? Marriage is for a man and a woman. If you guys want civil contracts, etc. Fine, fine…I don’t hate you, but stop dickering in things that are not yours.

    Like I said, I campaigned and volunteered for GWB, so I talked to a heck of a lot of Republicans/Republican leaners over the course of the campaign (probably more than a 1000+) none said to me that they were supporting GWB in “moral values” alone, but rather a combination of these things.


  9. My take on the “Moral Issues” guestion is that “Moral Issues” were important in that one candidate is honest and the other is a lying sleazeball who lied about his service in Vietnam and still won’t release his records, and whose campaign relied primarily on sliming his opponent.

  10. erp: Agreed that the schools are a mess.

    I think that schools and even Big Media are not the only way folk get taught and form opinions. There is also a strong tendency to want be contrarian, to make mistakes your own way. Getting out of the education bind is, as you point out critical. But there will be some movement as Rather, Chomsky and fiends give way to newer voices. Some of it will be a reaction away from “Get away with what you can, it’s for The Cause”. I just don’t know how much, how soon, and whether the result will promote more intellectual activity or sameness. If the latter, we have a bigger problem. But i’m hoping that the alternative information sources provide diversity of ideas as well as opportunities to polarize.


    You and Ginny seem to be the best at seeing the best in Bush. I like the encouragement, thank you.

    I have not yet seen the private savings accounts and vouchers that will plant the real seeds. Will Bush be able to pull them off? Or will, like NCLB and the drug program, there be spending up front to build consensus (well, maybe just acceptance) with the real reforms in the future, where they can be revoked before they go into effect? (Sort of the expiring tax cut, but in reverse…) And will those reforms be revoked, or will they actually happen?

    So i agree that there is potential that this administration could be the seed that grows into the tree that splits the rock. But it could be just a holding action in the long term custodial trend in government that erp points out.

    Even as a holding action, i am grateful for the breather and the chance that it might be more.

    Matya no baka

  11. Paul Bixby: per your link – perhaps the reason the Dems are more and more disjoint from the Red States folk is that – unlike in the past – they have no contact with them.

    Before the ’70s, we had the Draft to “mix” them up with the Red folk… so they had some idea of what they were like and could therefore appeal to them.

  12. You will have to be patient. Denial and anger are only the first steps of any decent 12-step program.

    At least, it’s quite entertaining. I nailed someone the other day who almost screamed at me 4 years ago that someone who “lost” the popular vote by .5% of ballot cast had no moral authority or legitimacy. Yet, a 3+%, 3.6m victory was “certainly” no landslide and weak at best.


    At the same time, the recent events will probably make the Democratic Party more interesting to watch than its opponent in the future.

  13. I am a democrat, and I would’ve voted democrat if Gephart or Liebrman were on the ticket. *ONE* of the problembs I see is the primaries.(along with other issues noted in the above comments) After states like New Hamsphire and Iowa have their say, the rest of us get left out. Every state should have a say in the priamries in either/every party. Living in Colorado I did not get the chance to vote for Gephart or Lieberman.

    The dems in New Hampshire, and Iowa chose a man with so much baggage, I could not support my own party. That, and when I called my local democratic party for answers to quetions they were rude, and seemed like they could not take the time for me. I decided pretty early on that my vote would go to Bush.

  14. Boy, your analysis would be spot-on, except that the Democrats refuse in fact to propose leftist solutions to economic and regulatory problems. If the Democrats can get half the country to vote for them when the SCLM is saying that they are for socialized medicine and peace, imagine how many more votes they could get if they actually were. I mean, alot of us have a hankering for someone who will stand up for their beliefs.

  15. Jon Ravin: I suspect it is as you say. I think that when opportunities to interact present themselves (specifically, college) the red-state kids and the blue-state kids still choose not to interact beyond the classroom. Of course, in the “real world,” the opportunities are also ignored. The red and blue folks (god, I’m starting to hate those terms) don’t have to interact if they choose not to beyond work (where politics is often not allowed), parties (where it is impolitic to discuss them) and other social gatherings. The distribution isn’t entirely homogenous though (says the Chicago Bushie in stuck in Daley’s Blue Cook County) and a lot of counties were close one way or the other. I don’t really know what we can do to do change the situation. How do we make purple states again? A majority of people have rejected the Democratic Party’s candidate and issues. Even when they dressed him up in all the trappings of a centrist, they rejected his insincerity. Can you imagine what this election would have been like if George Bush had been running against someone from the Democratic Party who had a real vision for this country rather than a promise to return to the past (which is always a good idea to those who can’t remember that it was not as great as it sounds and would be dangerous to pretend so). If the Democrats can move beyond identity politics and advocating a victimocracy to new ideas and discussions of issues that affect all Americans, we may actually be able to return to a true two party system.

    To sleep, perchance to dream.

  16. Moral Values, Jobs, Terrorism. How can you analyze data in the face of this statistic:
    Half the people who voted think it was right to invade Iraq. Three fourths think it would have the wrong thing to have done if Iraq didn’t have WMD and didn’t have connections to Al Qaeda.

    That means that 25% of the people live in a different universe of reality than I do. No wonder I have lost touch with them.

    No meangiful dialog is possible if we operate on different facts.

    Should I change to their reality, I think not. To reference an old proverb, I refuse to drink the water.

  17. Chris, civil union / gay marriage has always been on the agenda. I don’t quite subscribe to it, but that’s because I can’t quite figure out why anyone would want the express approval of the government to form a contract with another person. In fact, why is there an “institution of marriage” any ways? Wasn’t marriage originally a religious thing? Why do we need to use the federal government to “protect it”?

    I think it boils down to the fact that the government gives special treatment to heterosexual married couples which is unfair. My solution is not to grant these priveleges to homosexuals, but to take them away entirely.

    Marriage is a just a contract, and anyone should be able to draw up a contract with any other human being.

  18. Great idea. Unfortunately, that would involve jacking up taxes on a huge number of people, not to mention changing the definition of their heterosexual marriage to a degree that just can’t be ignored. It’s bad enough when heterosexuals are worried about including radical new forms of “their” institution – if you change the institution as a whole, including the terms under which the heterosexuals are married, suddenly no one’s going to be able to laugh off the “they’re threatening the very concept of marriage”.

    In order to work, this change to “marriage is just a contract” will have to be incidental to other salutary changes. First, tax health “benefits” given by employers, to discourage the practice of employer-provided health benefits and open up a more responsive health insurance marketplace; the issue of what is and is not a “family” or “couple” in terms of group health insurance goes bye-bye, as different companies cater to different customer bases. Second, shrink the government to a point where the tax rates can be lowered to such a degree that simultaneously getting rid of tax breaks is a wash. The message behind it will still offend a lot of people, but it won’t cost them extra money or other benefits on top of that.

    Yeah, that’s kind of a long shot. But it’s the only way I can think of to defuse the marriage issue for good. Given that, I think we’ll just have to live with it for a good long while.

  19. I have one problem with Shannon’s analysis above. The health care category (8%) should be added to the taxes/jobs/economy total.

    Why include this with the other two? When voters cite health care issues as most important to them, they are not talking about the quality of health care here in America, which is the best in the world. They cite it because they are concerned about health care delivery/costs/coverage, which are clearly economic concerns.

    This puts economic concerns at 33%, one point under national security.

    Looking at the data this way, we find that 2 out of 3 voters (67%) chose either security or economic concerns as most important to them in deciding whom to vote for.

  20. “Bush has started the project buy co-opting the big government entitlements. The prescription drug benefit (which was going to pass in some form regardless) came in a form where people get to choose among several private providers which gets people in the mindset of efficiently using their federal benefits. No Child Left Behind gave block grants to States which gives more local control over education spending. Now Bush will strongly push Social Security privatization. ”

    I didn’t know “co-opting” and “increasing” were synonyms.

    Wow, do you really believe that? It really, really sounds like a bunch of crap. I mean really.

    For the record, I don’t beleive it. In 2000 I thought “compassionate” consevatism was just a ruse to get elected, after which Bush would fulfill the Contract with American promises of abolishing departements like Energy, Education and Commerce, not double their budgets! It wasn’t a ruse. I’ll give Bush credit for one thing: he’s honsest. When he talked about spending more tax-payer money he meant it.

    As happy as I am to have the Democrats defeated and the Europeans contemplating suicide, my happiness is much subdued becasue Big Government is here to stay.

    George W. Bush most certainly is NOT about to reverse that trend. Social Security “privatization” will actually cost more money, not less.

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