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  1. 21 Nov '12 21:07 / 2 edits
    Candy Cigarettes and Social Conservatives
    By GOPLifer

    Growing up, there was a U-Totem just a block from my cousin’s trailer park. We used to walk there to buy candy cigarettes and a brand of gum that came in a fake Skoal can. I developed a pack-a-day candy cigarette habit on my summer visits. Apparently those chalky sugar cigarettes I loved as a kid were never outlawed. This summer I found them in a specialty candy store in Nashville. My kids couldn’t grasp the appeal. When I showed them the candy they looked at me like I was offering them a box of spiders and warily refused the treat.

    Social conservatives could learn a lot from public health and safety campaigns of the last generation. With relatively modest legislative support those efforts transformed our culture at its core in a very short time. Instead of leading with prohibition they chipped away at the culture with a steady onslaught of reason, science and careful political pressure. Anti-tobacco activists successfully slashed the incidence of a practice that was not only a cultural icon, but a physical addiction. This lesson is important because culture issues remain Republicans’ core differentiator. Those issues, when stripped of hysteria and extremism, are perhaps more popular than they have ever been, yet social conservatives are a serious electoral drag. Republicans need to find a strategy that preserves the high ground on culture issues while avoiding authoritarian policies that frighten voters. Social conservatism, at its best, represents an optimism . . .

    A social conservative from the ‘70’s, plopped down into our age, might be thrilled by what they found as most of the greatest fears of their era have faded. Divorce rates have not only leveled off, but declined. Children are treated with near-reverence, buckled up, cherished, and sheltered from negative influences. New York’s Times Square in our time is a conservative’s wildest fantasy made real. Substance abuse, crime, and smoking not only halted their rise, they have declined significantly. Public disapproval of adultery has strengthened. Abortion is in steady, long-term decline. Teen sexual activity and pregnancy are in dropping.

    Our visitor from the ‘70’s would be treated to one particularly mind-boggling phenomenon. Homosexuals, once mistakenly derided as lust-driven deviants, are pressing for the right to settle down in stable families and raise children. The Village People now have entirely different plans for the YMCA – signing their kids up for soccer and gymnastics.

    By most reasonable measures, social conservatism has experienced a generation of triumph. So why are today’s family values advocates such a gloomy bunch? Social conservatism can be confident when its goals are rooted in the real world of rational, measurable outcomes, but there is a tendency among the rigidly religious to view the wider world with fear rather than confidence. When social conservatism becomes dominated by insecurity, dark authoritarian impulses emerge that set it at odds both with traditional conservative values and with the mainstream of American public opinion. We live in an age of near-continuous social transformation. That reality of wrenching, dislocating change is causing heartburn for religious conservatives of all faiths globally. Their discomfort is rising toward a crescendo of blind, apocalyptic terror as the predictable assumptions of the past all fall into question. Their paranoia is pressuring the wider political movements which depend on their support.

    Social conservatism, at its worst, can be a political gateway drug, paving the way to ugly tendencies toward religious fundamentalism, bigotry and repression. When “values voters” are motivated primarily by fear, their political movements descend into identity politics. Their failures in this past election are just the tip of the iceberg. If social conservatives cannot soon find a broader ethnic and racial foundation a political eclipse looms. The greatest real-world challenge facing social conservatives in our era is the way in which lower income Americans are seeing their lifestyle and opportunities decline relative to the more affluent. Under the pressure of falling wages for unskilled labor, rising education costs, and the growing challenge of obtaining quality healthcare, lower earners are seeing every pillar of their social networks crumble. In those communities, family life and traditional values are crumbling along with their economic prospects. Among those who are struggling to survive many of the positive cultural trends that have improved the quality of life for everyone else are nowhere in evidence. Social conservatives have a critical role to play in spreading values that not only promote family welfare, but improve the chances of material success.

    They cannot accomplish those goals while mired in racially-tinged apocalyptic fears. The Great White Freakout has hit social conservatives hard, devastating their ability to spread their message across cultural boundaries. The insight that social conservatives could bring to the most pressing economic issue of our time is their recognition of the crucial role of moral values in economic success. The problems facing lower income Americans cannot be solved with government programs alone. By the same token, they cannot be solved with a reflective urge to prohibit, repress, and scourge.

    As David Frum explained, “If social conservatives can shift away from the urge to ban and condemn, and instead think more about how to support and encourage, they can be a rich source of inspiration for the larger conservative world and the Republican party in the years ahead.” A broad swath of Americans of all ethnicities and religions are open to the core values of social conservatism. An overwhelming majority of Americans are spiritual, values-oriented, prepared to sacrifice their own personal desires to support their families. At the same time they are generally hostile toward religious scolds who want to use the political process to impose their beliefs on others.

    Can social conservatives overcome their urge to write religious dogma into legislation and instead use their influence to shore up traditional social and economic values in struggling communities? Can the lessons of the successful science and reason-focused health campaigns of the past generation form a blueprint for a new era of conservative priorities? Their success proves that a values campaign can win if it is based on something more universal than personal religious convictions. With the right approach and a healthy dose of humility, social conservatives could have a very bright political future. You don’t need to pry the candy cigarettes from my cold dead hands to change public attitudes. Persuasion is more powerful than prohibition in changing a culture.

    http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2012/11/candy-cigarettes-and-social-conservatives/
  2. 21 Nov '12 21:11 / 1 edit
    Despite any optimism from the above article, traditional or moderate or free-thinking Republicans candidates will continue to get primaried out. Rubio wouldn't even give a direct answer to the question as to how old the Earth.

    If you are a traditional Republican and turned-off by the evangelicals and social conservatives who dominate and control the Republican Party, and if you value free thinking and social freedom, you may be better off in the Democrat Party and working from within to change the Democrat Party more toward your interests.

    The Republican Party is a lost cause.
  3. Subscriber kmax87
    You've got Kevin
    22 Nov '12 03:51
    Originally posted by moon1969
    Despite any optimism from the above article, traditional or moderate or free-thinking Republicans candidates will continue to get primaried out. Rubio wouldn't even give a direct answer to the question as to how old the Earth.

    If you are a traditional Republican and turned-off by the evangelicals and social conservatives who dominate and control the Rep ...[text shortened]... change the Democrat Party more toward your interests.

    The Republican Party is a lost cause.
    Many see Welfare Dependency as a Democrat inspired re-slavery of minorities in America. Using Lincoln as a model, who was not that a strident anti-slavery advocate prior to his election, it might be interesting from a Republican perspective for a candidate to come along and free a class of economic slaves by enabling them with a worldview and structural change within which they can enjoy the benefits of self agency....... Its a long shot.
  4. 22 Nov '12 04:56
    Interesting take on a Republican’s viewpoint. As a new American and having voted now only two times, AND as a registered Republican who votes Democrat (because I thought I was more of GOP mindset at the time of my swearing in ceremony) I am not opposed to any rational political posturing be it whatever party. However, could I really be Republican and/or vote for Romney and his ilk? Could you imagine the likes of Sarah Palin or Donald Trump sitting with the leaders of China as did President Obama just recently (watch the YouTube vids on the federal government’s page) and representing our country in a cogent, rational, decorous way?

    You may be interested in what I wrote to an acquaintance of mine who is a staunch Republican. He is also a believing and practicing Mormon. I don’t portend to know a great deal of ‘what’s going on’, but I am pretty sure that the GOP has the image as standing for ardent racists, greed mongers and religious nut cases.

    Joe:
    In the last statement of the piece you sent me it states, “If I can leave the reader with one thought regarding the concept of social engineering to achieve equality, it would be this: Socialism claims to be the great equaliser. However, it does not lift those at the lower levels to a higher economic level. Instead, it takes from those that have achieved a higher economic level, discouraging their ideas, abilities and ambitions, assuring a form of lower equality for all, through the elimination of the motivation to achieve.”

    Even though I’ve tried to make it clear to you that ‘socialism’ nor anything akin to it is NOT President Obama’s agenda, sitll, by the same token of questioning, what does capitalism, which runs amok a great deal of the time, claim to be? If you think socialism does not lift those at the lower levels to a higher economic level do you think capitalism taken to a wanton state of greed does?!

    Papa John's CEO John Schnatter is complaining that Obamacare is costing his business too much money. This pizza chain CEO has made his views about the Affordable Care Act clear in recent months claiming the new health care law will cost his business about $5 to $8 million per year. So, to compensate, Schnatter said he will likely raise pizza prices, AND cut back some workers' hours SO HE DOESN’T HAVE TO INSURE THEM!!!

    However, Caleb Melby of Forbes has done the math on Obamacare's cost to Papa John's and according to his analysis, to cover the cost of Obamacare the pizza chain would have to raise prices by 3.4 to 4.6 cents per pie (LESS THAN A NICKLE A PIZZA!), which is a lot less than the 11 to 14 cents Schnatter claims he needs. But even still, come on -- “OOOO...another dime more for a pizza! Oh my, how will anyone be able to afford it?!”

    However, there are other changes the chain could make to save some money, Melby notes, like not giving away 2 million pizzas for FREE at a cost of between $24 and $32 million (he does this almost every year during the sport’s season).

    Here’s a guy that lives in a 40,000 square foot mansion WITH A MOTE, has a twenty-two car garage, who made close to  THREE MILLION DOLLARs compensation in 2011, and owns 297 MILLION DOLLARS in Papa John stock.

    But that’s not all of the story. He only offers his employees one plan, which he refers to as a ‘Cadillac’ health care plan, a plan which unfortunately only the top salaried employees can afford. And the insanity isn’t just with this greed monger. As the article states: “Schnatter is just one of many company heads using Obamacare as an excuse to make changes at his company. Murray Energy's CEO laid off 160 workers the Wednesday following President Obama’s reelection, claiming his company was in “survival mode” due to regulations and taxes Obama put in place. The reality: the coal industry, of which Murray Energy is a part, is in decline thanks in large part to a recent influx of natural gas into the U.S., according to the Washington Post.” and even more companies are mentioned. You can read more about this on Jillian Berman’s  Huffington Post article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/papa-johns-obamacare_n_2123207.html

    What do think about this, Joe?  What do think Jesus thinks about this?

    Here’s another question for you: Who do you think does more work, the horse pulling the heavy wagon, or the guy sitting comfortably on the wagon being pulled along by the horse? In most of the civilized world parents want their kids to ‘get a good education’ so that they can ‘get a good job.’  What do they mean by ‘get a good job’?  Does it mean work harder, or rather does it mean work smarter (and dressed up cleaner) so they don’t have to work so hard (and get dirty)? Nevertheless, the ‘dirty work’ has to get done and we need people -- lots of them, who are willing to WORK at those kinds of jobs.  Correct?  However, does that mean that they are to be exploited like John Schnatter (and his ilk) exploits his  ‘dirty work’ employees? Is the guy sitting in the wagon justified to say to the horse, “Ah f@#& you, you’re just a horse. I don’t have any obligations to look after you. I’ll  just do as little as I need to for you and if you drop dead do you think I’ll give a sh#$?  I’ll just get another horse.” Do you think Jesus thinks this way, Kendell (sans the expletives, of course)? President Obama isn’t preaching socialism, or anything remotely related to it.  It’s about what’s fair and just; it’s about what’s moral and ethical and being a good stewart over others; it’s about ‘right size government’; it’s about balance, and *right now* it’s about having Americans who can afford a little more in taxes which won’t compromise their ‘high and mighty’ lifestyles one teensy bit to help THEIR country and the country of their ‘dirty work’ employees -- the ones who MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THESE RICHER AMERICANS TO HAVE ALL WHAT THEY DO HAVE.

    Use logic, Joe, and think: ***Were the rich so bad off BEFORE the Bush tax cuts came into play years ago?***  Think about that. And also think about how the media and the GOP and, yes, even the Dems mess with our thinking processes -- influence your thinking in very subtle ways.  For example, the GOP, instead of saying ‘the rich’ now banter, “the job creators”. Instead of ‘middle class’ you hear, ‘middle income wage earners’ or ‘middle income workers’.

    There are a lot of factors at play, Joe, and it isn’t just about the differing ideologies of two major political parties. President Obama is a BLACK man and most of the nation’s populous is racist and this is what cuts deep into THIER flesh instead of a black guy tied to a whipping post.  Are you aware of the tweets that were tabulated immediately after President Obama was declared the victor?  Offensive, racist tag words like ‘nigger’, ‘monkey’ ‘Obama’ Odumba’ etc. brought back some interesting results.  Well, no surprise the red states like Alabama brought back the most results, but in the mid-west and west coast it was VERY limited EXCEPT one state -- Utah.  You go figure.
  5. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    22 Nov '12 17:36
    Originally posted by vikingz2000
    Interesting take on a Republican’s viewpoint. As a new American and having voted now only two times, AND as a registered Republican who votes Democrat (because I thought I was more of GOP mindset at the time of my swearing in ceremony) I am not opposed to any rational political posturing be it whatever party. However, could I really be Republican and/or ...[text shortened]... n the mid-west and west coast it was VERY limited EXCEPT one state -- Utah.  You go figure.
    Finally. At long last. A person with Liberal leanings who can articulate what they believe in. Moon and the rest - you should take a page out of this person's book. It doesn't trace all the way back, but damn fine job nonetheless - and this from a naturalized citizen.
  6. 23 Nov '12 21:18
    Originally posted by vikingz2000
    Interesting take on a Republican’s viewpoint. As a new American and having voted now only two times, AND as a registered Republican who votes Democrat (because I thought I was more of GOP mindset at the time of my swearing in ceremony) I am not opposed to any rational political posturing be it whatever party. However, could I really be Republican and/or ...[text shortened]... n the mid-west and west coast it was VERY limited EXCEPT one state -- Utah.  You go figure.
    Good points and questions.