September 2, 2001
6:10 AM   Subscribe

"I am not a Bush Republican," Alan Keyes wrote Saturday for WorldNetDaily. "The Bush administration is skillfully lobotomizing the moral conservative cause in America because it is unwilling or afraid to take the positions that are best for America."
posted by rcade (24 comments total)
The further widening of the gap between Republicans and conservatives... It's the trend for the decade.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:50 AM on September 2, 2001

Alan Keyes is exciting to watch as a speaker and very articulate in print. I do not agree with him. I do not agree with Bush or Clinton. I see good things and bad things from both parties. I see extremes on both the liberal and conservative sides of many issues. I am Middle America, in the middle on most things, and there are many people who feel the same way. Damned if you do and Damned if you don't.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:52 AM on September 2, 2001

I have to disagree with your assertion that Alan Keys is exciting to watch as a speaker. Whenever I see him on TV, he hogs all the air time. He doesnt let anyone else say anything, and when the can finally get into the discussion, he dismisses it. The worst I have ever seen him was on Politically Incorrect, where, no matter what the topic of discussion was, he would turn it into an anti-abortion argument. This, to me, does not make him exciting, it makes him annoying.
posted by rift2001 at 7:09 AM on September 2, 2001

and yes, bjgeiger, the number of folks who feel somewhat like you has just been shown in a poll that reports that the number (percentage) of those voting has again dropped, a trend for the past few years. I guess this will mean that the Few will put in place the person and people they want to represent them and you, whether or not you approve or don't. Would you vote for a third-party person?
Keyes is a very articulate neaderthal--a cultural conservative who opposses just about all things not sanctioned by the bible (which seems to sanction a lot of things that don't get mentioned). By contrast, Bush is a hoplessly inarticulate conservative who will bend and yield in order to get power and votes from all.
posted by Postroad at 7:10 AM on September 2, 2001

I do vote, thru I will not discuss for whom I voted, but the the choice narrows everytime I go to the polls. I pick out what I do like about the runner I choose to vote for and hope for the best. There are few issues which I have a passion for. So many things just do not seem to effect me as I now live. You work 40+ hours a week, clean house, cook, feed and water animals, go to grocery store, pay bills, then you have no money or time left for things that once seemed so important.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:02 AM on September 2, 2001

Maybe I didn't read the article correctly, but it sure sounded like Keyes was siding with the Democrats on most of the issues.
posted by redhead at 9:22 AM on September 2, 2001

redhead: hehe. That'll be the day.

Keyes advocated everything that liberals hate: the flat tax, school choice, the elimination of affirmative action, increased military spending, mandatory parental notice when a minor requests an abortion, etc.

While I often disagree strongly with him, Keyes is an impassioned speaker who at least has the decency to take intellectually congruent positions. Call him a Neanderthal if you want, but that's more than most politicians are willing to do.
posted by gd779 at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2001

gd779... good point most Poli types spend most of there carrer cowering in the corner waiting for the next approval rating to come in. Keyes is speaking his mind but about what? We all know the extremes do not like Bush, hell the extreme ends of the political spectrum havent liked a president in probably 50 years. The last two elections were decided on who was the blandest and most unoffensive candidate. Real change comes when you rock the boat not when you stay on the fence. (mixing metaphors sorry)
posted by neon_slacker at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2001

But why worry about Keyes? He runs. Always. He then drops out. And down the pike there he is again. He takes no votes away from anyone (either party) because he is not in the running. Nader, by contrast, as a third-party candidate can influence things, one way or the other. As did Perot for (against) the GOP.
posted by Postroad at 9:53 AM on September 2, 2001

I was wondering what the point of Keyes story was,
agree to disagree? or gee Mr. President its your god given right to be naked but you're embarassing the rest of us.
posted by redhead at 10:13 AM on September 2, 2001

Too true, Postroad. Too true. I wish I could say that Keyes acts as a force to sway moderates to the conservative side of the spectrum, but I can't. I fear that he does most of his preaching to the converted.
posted by gd779 at 10:31 AM on September 2, 2001

Devils Advocation:

Doesn't being 'moderate' or 'in the middle' just mean that you're unwilling to have an opinion on anything? The American trend towards moderation to me just seems like politics behaving like art.

We like our food and entertainment non-confrontational, happy, bland, and boring so no one gets upset. And now everyone's a 'moderate'. Riding the fence on every issue.


and YUCK.
posted by glenwood at 10:41 AM on September 2, 2001

Charismatic leaders with consistent, radical ideologies tend to be capable of great good or great harm: more often, alas, great harm. (Hubris, meet nemesis.) In that context, it's perhaps safest not to take the risk, and to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. Cowardly, but safe. And I'm not even sure whether the whited sepulchre of "third way" politics is preferable to the fire and brimstone of ideology.
posted by holgate at 10:43 AM on September 2, 2001

Glenwood, good point.

This book shows that the more informed a voter is, the more likely he is to have strong, fundamental opinions on policy, role of government, etc.

The less informed tend to sway with whatever demagogue they just heard last. We call these people "Moderates."
posted by marknau at 11:31 AM on September 2, 2001

holgate: I've never been drawn to politics for that very reason. Why does ideology have to equate with fire and brimstone? Why must having a strong opinion result in closed-mindedness and anger? Why can't a bunch of reasonable people just sit down and discuss the issues rationally and come to some sort of consensus? Call it nerd hubris if you want, but I think that most issues should be resolved by reasonable, intelligent people taking an objective look at the evidence.

Lately, I've realized that part of the answer may lie in value systems. Many times the real issue of dispute is not the facts underlying a policy rationale. Rather, the dispute is about conflicting value systems. Many "factual" disputes really seem to be either: A) tactical arguments used by one side to muddy the waters or B) a form of deliberate blindness needed by one side to reconcile cognitive dissonance. Sure, there are legitimate differences of opinion as to the facts in some debates, I'm just saying that I don't think the facts are what most people really care about.

Take the abortion debate, for example. Everybody's got an opinion, but few people actually studied the science in depth before coming to that opinion. For that reason, few people are actually swayed by the science once they are informed. At a practical level, abortion is about the feelings associated with the word "choice" coming into conflict with people's feelings about the sanctity of life. At a conceptual level, it's about what it means to be "human". Either way, the scientific facts are secondary to most people.

Further, there are actually people in this world who value things other than reason and rationality. There are people who believe what they believe because they feel good about it... regardless of the logic. Call me sheltered, but that's shocking to me.

And that's why I think Keyes rarely wins. Most "feelers" are more persuaded by the reassuring mainstream politician with the poll-driven personality. Most "thinkers" are generally smart enough to realize that the world is not as black and white as Keyes paints it. So Keyes gets a loyal but small following, never wins a national election, but lets the press give him a lot of free publicity that boosts his radio show.
posted by gd779 at 11:35 AM on September 2, 2001

Maybe it's just me, but I think many in America are 'moderate' not because they don't care, but because they support an economically-conservative, but libertarian-social policy that very few politicians (Lowell Weicker, Ventura, Bradley) support. For instance, government non-intervention in values, separation of church and state, welfare and social security only for those in dire straits who are incapable of working, lessening the "work week" to 32 or 35 hours, more funding and reform in public schools, etc.. Oh, removal of subsidies of developed industries that lessen technological progress (such as the current US agriculture program). Lowering of wasteful pork-barrel military system, but an emphasis on keeping America ahead of the curve militarily.
posted by Kevs at 11:37 AM on September 2, 2001

I think the moderate road is to not be an extremist on either side. I identify myself as a Democrat but not "way left" meaning I don't demonize corporations, but I also don't believe they are the end-all in a free market orgy that will better all our lives (way right thought). I think the vast middle believes both government and coporations have their place and the extremists on either side who would basically do away with one of the two can't see the forests for the trees because of their ideology.
posted by owillis at 11:38 AM on September 2, 2001

Owillis, here I've got to disagree. The path through the forest is well lit and the trees pose little danger as long as the fog of the complacent middle doesn't obscure it. How's that for cheeeeeezy esoterics?

Really though. If you will. . .allow that the "far left" ideology that say, Ralph Nader espouses is extreme, as it calls for not the dismantling of corporations or the banishing therein, but only corporate responsibility and accountability to the increasingly voiceless majority. In which case, if the vast middle cannot recognize that they have no power to elicit change, to empower themselves, through strong labor unions, unions just as important as billion dollar corporations, then they are, as they say, right where the corporations/government want them--unconcerned what inhumane, ecologically deleterious practices may or may not have brought them their products.

As far as the extreme left stacks up against the extreme right--roving defacing, destructive anarchists, animal liberation types, militant vegans are to me less scary (though equally as ideologically unreasonable) as the worst the extreme right has to offer--White Aryan Resistance, *NRA* (yes the NRA), KKK, Operation Rescue, building bombing ethics-buffoons etc.
posted by crasspastor at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2001

but is he a Hamiltonian?
posted by clavdivs at 12:49 PM on September 2, 2001

Doesn't being 'moderate' or 'in the middle' just mean that you're unwilling to have an opinion on anything?

Moderates like Jim Jeffords and Zell Miller don't lack opinions. They lack opinions embraced by their party's mainstream. I appreciate politicians who are willing to deviate from the party line. These people are often the ones who get things done in Washington.
posted by rcade at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2001

Activism shouldn't always be equated with extremism, though modern political discourse often seems to do so.

But there's a paradox at work here: I think we'd all agree that the healthiest political society is one where the movement for change comes from the grass-roots, but I'm not convinced that traditional "less government" parties actually deliver. Nor do I think that "third way" governance works in that respect. History suggests that the more successful British administrations have been remarkably heterogeneous -- for instance, the members of Attlee's 1945 cabinet -- but who these days would vote for such quiet revolutionaries?
posted by holgate at 2:01 PM on September 2, 2001

the only reason mr. keyes runs in every election and then drops out is to garner publicity for his radio show and possibly some campaign contributions. his ideologic rant is meant to polarize and inflame. i do believe you can be somewhat to the right or left and still listen to the other side and acknowledge that they might have a point about some things. i would love to see the day when we would have a politician, who when presented with an issue that they did not have much knowledge of, would not automatically refer to the party line handbook.
posted by bas67 at 8:18 PM on September 2, 2001

Alan Keyes rules. I just wanted to say that.
posted by Witold at 1:48 PM on September 3, 2001

the United States will not be intimidated by the latest junk-science propaganda of the hysterical, globalist, Luddite anti-liberty left

A bit hysterical himself, methinks...
posted by fellorwaspushed at 3:43 PM on September 3, 2001

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