James Joyner points to an article at Next Right I noticed last night.

Patrick Ruffini decries the “Joe-the-Plumberization of the GOP.”

If you want to get a sense of how unserious and ungrounded most Americans think the Republican Party is, look no further than how conservatives elevate Joe the Plumber as a spokesman. The movement has become so gimmick-driven that Wurzelbacher will be a conservative hero long after people have forgotten what his legitimate policy beef with Obama was.


Conservatives should not need Joe the Plumber to prove their middle class bona fides. We are naturally the party of the middle, and we don’t need gimmicks to prove it. Demographically, Democrats rely on being the party of the upper sixth and the lower third, while Republicans tend to do better with everyone in between. When we start losing the middle class and the suburbs, we lose big like we did in 2008.

Put another way, Republicans thrive as the party of normal Americans — the people in the middle culturally and economically. This is true of our leadership as well — we have a history of nominating figures who came first from outside politics. Our base is the common-sense voter in the middle who bought a house she could afford and didn’t lavishly overspend in good times and who is now subsidizing the person who didn’t.

Of course, they didn’t appoint Wurzelbacher as VP as they did with Sarah Palin.  The two are of a piece:  A faux populism that comes at the cost of alienating the intellectuals and serious leaders of the movement.


I’m becoming increasingly non-plussed with the assertion that Joe represents an ‘unserious’ move on the part of the GOP. It’s that attitude, disaffection and condescension of the Republican rank and file, that led us to the nomination of John McCain, for example, wherein we saw the crowds running much larger for Palin than McCain.

As that mess demonstrated clearly, the bigger danger is in the alienating of the rank and file. I’m amazed that message hasn’t been heard.

James comments:

I’m writing this from the CPAC convention and judging from the speakers, there’s not a whole lot of recognition of the need to update the intellectual platform to accomodate a changed era.  It’s as if Jimmy Carter’s still in the White House and Roe vs. Wade was just handed down.

Yeah, well, Look, James… and Patrick, for that matter; I’m less than convinced that what we have before us, ISN’T Jimmah Carter in blackface. Add to that, the issue of the GOP needing to return to it’s roots… the values it’s intellectual leaders spent so long ignoring… and the mood you describe seems to be an exact fit to the situation at hand.

I almost told Pat this last night when he posted his piece… with considerable effort I ignored it, in favor of putting time into the point by point on the SOTU address… but with James jumping on this one, I can’t resist replying.

If Pat really thinks, as he says, that the “Republicans thrive as the party of normal Americans — the people in the middle culturally and economically”, then how is it that the only ‘serious’ candidates are those of the intellectual class? The connection Pat’s never made, in my sight, is that such a middle class party doesn’t feel the need of intellectual leadership… a beholding to an advanced inner circle.

I described this a while ago in my Pajamas Media article on Obama Worship and the Herd Mentality. I dare to suggest that holding the intellectual crowd so high is a herd mentality, one that Republicans simply do not subscribe to. It’s one major reason McCain got clobbered.

I agree, Wurzelbacher’s meme is overblown by his supporters… but why? The very reason that Wurzelbacher gets elevated to the degree that he does is because his end of the party has been ignored for far too long, and they’re latching onto him, because finally, someone’s listening to them. What you’re seeing is the Republican rank and file getting it’s first clean breath in years.

That oughta be a clue as to which way we should go.


Update: (Bit) INSTALANCHE!

Also blogging: Dan Riehl

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39 Responses to “Understanding the Wurzelbacher Effect”

  1. What I’m concerned about is that “normal” is going to change significantly between now and 2015. That’s one of the issues that Conservatism has to come to terms with. Burke-ian notions of conservatism were primarily concerned with Government action. But when the rate of change of technology is accelerating, “new” becomes the norm. How can Conservatism cope with that?


  2. It all depends on what you mean by “conservatism”, Michael.

    If by “conservatism” you mean “stasis”, then conservatism is in trouble, because things aren’t static, and they’re getting less static by the year.

    If by “conservatism” you mean “limited government”, then conservatism doesn’t ever really go out of style, thanks to the eternal truths about human nature and the nature of power.

    As for Joe the Plumber and his popularity….. it seems to me that the Republican Party is run by people who have spent too many years living inside the Capital Beltway.  They’re not as out-of-touch as the Democrats’ leadership, but they’ve still to some degree forgotten where they came from and what the folks back home think is important.  Joe the Plumber is a reminder to them of what they’ve forgotten, and I think that’s why they look down their noses at him.

    Hale Adams
    Life Member, Libertarian Party of the U.S.
    Pikesville, People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland

  3. “But when the rate of change of technology is accelerating, “new” becomes the norm. How can Conservatism cope with that?”

    Are you trying to say that The Singularity is inherently fascist, or “progressive”?

    Conservatism isn’t “old”, it’s “normal”.  There’s a “norm” to be found within advancing technological paradigms.  Conservatism is based on certain principles, which can be applied to particular situations.

  4. You know, I’d thought that Wurzelbacher was a gimmick when they’d started bringing him along to campaign events. But having seen his television appearances, and the spots that he’s done for PJTV, it’s apparent that he’s more than that. He’s a well spoken guy, and seems to have a pretty good grasp of the issues – and he’s capable of formulating his arguments without the support of producers, writers, researchers and the other assistance that media pundits typically enjoy.

    So I don’t see the downside.

    Also if you listen to Wurzelbacher, you’ll recognize that he’s not promoting populism. The fact that certain ‘intellectuals’ can’t make this distinction, suggests to me that they’re letting their prejudices influence their opinion of him.

  5. Let’s cut the crap.

    Joe The Plumber partly represents the alienation from Republican elites by Republican grassroots.  The elites got us into this mess we’re in, and now thinks we should follow them the whole hog.

    Hell no.  Never.  Many of us will rather the Marxists play Joker and burn the city down.  Enough is enough.

  6. Hey, Eric: Incoming…

    Bit responds: (Chuckle) No kidding?  II guess that explains mhy my tracker melted at around 3 this morning.  I’ll tell ya, Billy, I’ve seen a few of these over the years, but I’ve never seen one that got response like this does. Maybe that’s indicative of something larger. I also wonder if I’m being cursed at CPAC.

  7. I don’t think conservatives have much to fear in 2012, let alone 2010. Familiarity breeds contempt. The more face time Obam-uhh-uhh-uhh and co. get, the less appealing the progressive brand. Oh, and they’re bankrupting the country and destroying our future. Voters tend to resent that.

  8. Yes. Yes. We don’t like elites. But let’s not swing in the opposite direction by lionizing low-brow, anti-elitists.

  9. “I’m less than convinced that what we have before us, ISN’T Jimmah Carter in blackface.”

    Well, let’s get real: Brownface.

  10. The high brow elitist Republicans didn’t like Ronald Reagan either. Screw ’em. It’s time real people took back the Republican party.

  11. It’s rather silly to suggest the “intellectual” conservatives and the “populist” conservatives cannot be allies.  In fact, they MUST work together or else continue to be routed.

    I was impressed by Joe the Plumber in his initial encounter with Obama (and his first few interviews, but less so as an analyst).  In his few words he was able to convey the simple economic message that the intellectuals were and are failing to get across despite hundreds of thousands of eloquent words in thousands of essays of piquant prose.

    The assertion of being the “intellectual” side is in itself elitist, arrogant, and counter-productive.  I’m certainly not willing to concede the mantle of “the intellectual side” to those claiming it, in the first place.  But whoever “they” are, their number is nowhere near enough to win an election. 

    If “being” an “intellectual” only means you can relate to other “intellectuals” about how very “intellectual” you all are and how very déclassé the hoi polloi are, it’s nothing to brag about anyway, is it?

    An idea which cannot be readily explained to a person of average intelligence and education may be a beautiful and brilliant one, without doubt, but it will not win any elections.  And in elections winning is ALL that counts, as we are now discovering to our sorrow.  Reagan could reach out to the “Reagan Democrats,” but they were really mostly remnants of Nixon’s “Silent Majority.”  Both demographics are roundly disdained by the “intellectuals,” but necessary parts of a winning coalition who must be persuaded to return.

    The true intellectuals of the conservative movement aren’t the likes of Ruffini, Frum, or even old George Will.  They are people like Krauthammer, Sowell, Victor Davis Hanson, and Walter Williams – people who, like Milton Friedman and Bill Buckley before them, are so dedicated to the search for truth that they are practically useless in politics.  (Of course, so are Ruffini, Frum, and Will)!

    We need the populists like Palin, the wonks like Jindal, the efficient businessmen like Romney, and the advocates for fiscal common sense like Sanford.  What we lack is a communicator who can explain the economics and pull together the various areas of conservative in a way the average voter, forged with contemporary public education, can comprehend.

    That leaves out Frum, Ruffini, and Joyner (who, as an avowed “moderate,” has no reason to “help” the GOP or the conservative movement at all).

  12. Intellectuals are the ones that develop, play with, and mold ideas. Without any ideas, the populist, so-called real conservatives have nothing of which flog on talk radio and Fox News. Before you guys start rushing to mantle of Ronald Reagan for comfort and safety, keep in mind that the man actually had respect for intellectuals like Russell Kirk, Ludwig von Mises, and Robert Nisbet. Today’s conservative leaders are but a mere shell of what their predecessors were many years ago.

  13. I don’t think that conservatives (and libertarians) understand how to win elections. The rule is KISS. If you stand for nothing but tax limitation (and hopefully reduction), you’ve got a good shot. Even the pork barrel stuff, odious as it is, is simply beyond the attention span of the average voter. The big plus is, Republicans don’t have to lie to win elections. If you’ve learned very little from the last election cycle, I can teach you something. Given a candidate who stood for “hope” and “change”, as opposed to a candidate who had far too many policy positions, it was a no-brainer. It may be altogether true that the Democrat was predestined to win regardless, but somebody with less excess baggage would have had a better shot. Remember that Lincoln may well have been right that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but the Democrats have proved that you can fool enough of the people every 16 years, e.g. in 1960, 1976, 1992 and 2008. Of the Democratic candidates in these years, Obama had the strongest performance, though nothing to get excited about. It doesn’t apply to other years, however. Remember 1980 and 1994.

  14. Joe Wurzelbacher and Sarah Palin had the guts to say the things the ‘Conservative’ elite were too afraid to say.  They said Obama was a socialist.  They were excoriated.  Called liars.  After the election Newsweek runs the cover “We’re all Socialists Now”.

    They were right.  They weren’t lying.  They had the stones to tell the truth and they got slammed.  The Left slamming them is expected.  The pansies on the Right are the biggest disappointment and possibly the biggest danger.  Who can win when they’re getting stabbed in the back as well as the front?

  15. There is a kind of Republican who claims that the only way for the GOP to suceed is to behave more like Democrats or, at least, liberals. Typically, they reside in the Northeast and Washington DC, consider themselves culturally and intellectually superior. Somehow, they have set themselves adrift from William Buckley (who was superior. In general, they were unhappy with Bush and more comfortable with Obama for cultural reasons, sweeping Obama’s extreme left recond under the carpet. Remember their discomfort when the “bumbler” Reagan came along?

  16. Patrick Ruffini was tweeting a link to his article today. After reading it, my eyes were rolling and I had a big sigh as it is clear that the elitists are alive and not so well in the GOP. My response to him was a simple question. “Why does Joe the Plumber scare you so much?” He, of course, never responded.

    But, I already know the answer. The popularity of Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber and their ability to talk the talk that the people want to hear, scares the bejeezus out of the DC/NY crowd. All they have is their degrees and their columns and like all who feel threatened, their first impulse is to belittle anyone they see threatening their status as the “final word.” They don’t believe that “We the People” have any more ability to have a cogent idea, or walk and chew gum, than the liberal elites do.

  17. I guess I’m surprised that Joe The Plumber is an entity in the world of the GOP. Not for his opinions or anything like that, heaven forbid, but the fact that he’s been given so much credence. He sounds like a decent guy who was wanting to make something of his life, and he figured out Obama wanted to stand in his way. That message should have been the primary story. Instead, Joe was touring with campaign and given national celeb status — albeit more like one from a reality TV show. 

    The secondary story should have been the MSM and the Obamatron’s personal demonization of a man who dared to ask a question. His personal records were hacked into by people who bitched for 8 years that Cheney, Rove, Bush, and “ZOMG Neocons!” were going to do the same thing. His background, name, profession, ideas, and family were ridiculed by smug pundits on Comedy Central and MSNBC. Not once did they bother to address what he said.

    In short, the leftists did exactly what they blamed the GOP of doing. They are hypocrites, and that message has been drown out by both those defending Joe and those who helped kill journalism last year.

    This extends to Palin, Jindal, Pawlenty (just wait), and every other person not from a traditionally Blue state who didn’t jump through their hoops.

  18. To Sara, who asks: \”Why does Joe the Plumber scare you so much?\”

    I can\’t answer for Ruffini or Joyner, but I can answer for myself.  The reason Joe the Plumber scares me is that the guy is simply not persuasive.  He earned a lot of fans during his time during the spotlight, but he hasn\’t really changed many minds. 

    The movement already has the Rushes and Hannitys who can inspire the true conservatives.  What we need are folks who can make the conservative case to non-conservative people, not more \”shoring up the base.\” The base is plenty shored up.

  19. Agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, adding two things: John McCain is no intellectual. He couldn’t articulate a conservative idea if he even had one.

    Joe the Plumber rose to fame because he challenged to Obamessiah. McCain and other “intellectuals” thought they should steer clear of direct confrontation with Obama’s ideas and plans.

    These Republican establishment types are always looking to be accepted in elite liberal circles, and this reveals how badly they misunderstand our enemies the leftists and socialists.

  20. Joe the Plumber doesn’t scare me so much as bore me. 

    I was all for his one moment in the sun when he was unfairly pilloried for daring to ask Obama a legitimate question, but I never expected to look to this average guy hanging out on the lawn to provide me with any sophisticated political analysis that I can come up with myself in the shower. 

    And Pajamas Media immediately reduced their integrity by turning him into some kind of correspondent. 

    If the repubs are going to hang their hat on every yahoo that manages to get some screen time on the boob tube then they might as well just go recruit down at the Jerry Springer show and be done with it.

  21. I for one have had it with anyone presuming to be a spokesman for conservatism, and telling me what I must do and think to be a conservative.  Rush speaks for a lot of people, but not for me.  JTP speaks more along my lines than Rush.

  22. Agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, adding two things: John McCain is no intellectual. He couldn’t articulate a conservative idea if he even had one

    True John McCain is not an intellectual.  Then intellectuals do not tend to go into politics, and McCain was not running against an intellectual.  McCain has better record of academic achievement than does the one, who college records are still under seal

    Barack Obama got elected on combining massive amounts of George Soros money with his only real life skill, the ability to read a teleprompter.

    McCain’s problem wasn’t that he wasn’t an intellectual.  His problem is that he was never a conservative.

  23. Hale, I agree, conservatism as an idea, can be used in a campaign.  The problem is that our “elite” and those members of congress that belong to our party have forgotten who they are and what they are supposed to represent.  Republicans in congress have become “Democrat Lites” and are just as sordid as the Dems are.

    We need to turn out all the rascals and return to the roots of our party.  The “intellectual” elite in the NY/DC axis have lost touch with those of us in the hinterlands.  That’s why Joe is so popular with us…he’s one of us, and THAT’s what frightens them.

    Rich Vail
    Pikesville, People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland

    “Pray that you will never have to bear all that you are able to endure.”
    Jewish Proverb quote

  24. As I read these articles/ comments, I am curious about the identity of the so called intellectuals.
    There are conservative intellectuals, but I don’t think they are necessarily I’m the Beltway.  I am serious abou the question.
    Otherwise, it seems there is a confusion
    between intellectuals and political operatives like Ruffini.  Both are necessary, but haven’t we seen enough of political expediency being confused for intellectual principle?

  25. With all due respect to Mr. Ruffini, who the f**k is he?  As far as I can tell, he’s not some sort of brilliant businessman who’s built some amazing financial empire.  He’s not a brilliant scientist who’s made some remarkable discovery.  He’s not a superlative political operative who’s won election after election after election.  He’s not even an academic star with pages of scholarly achievements to his name.  He’s an internet scribbler who got out of college with his Bachelors degree in 2000.  As far as I can tell, he has yet to put much on the table that anyone should bow down to his elite superiority.  And, frankly, I don’t think I’m alone in finding myself more and more uninterested in the cultural and intellectual pretensions of a segment of the conservative movement that seems to agree with the left that their diplomas qualify them as an elite.

  26. I am not surprised Reagan respected Russell Kirk, Ludwig von Mises, and Robert Nisbet. Who among what passes for Republicana today respects those men? Damn few and they are not the intellectuals.

  27. Which is why Fred Thompson – serious, real, not anti-intellectual – was the logical standard-bearer in ’08.  (Sorry – pet peeve of mine.)

  28. “I dare to suggest that holding the intellectual crowd so high is a herd mentality, one that Republicans simply do not subscribe to. It’s one major reason McCain got clobbered.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that McCain’s candidacy was the project of some “intellectual elite” of the Republicans that we unwashed rank and file simply refused to get behind sufficiently to win?  “Intellectuals” had nothing to do with it.  The conservative movement has plenty of real intellectuals, alright – Victor Davis Hanson for one – but the candidates come out of a process dominated by the Republican wing of the permanent political class whose members, frankly, have more in common with their counterparts on the Democratic side than they do with ordinary productive Americans.  This is why the insurgent Republicans of 1994 took only a few years to become as out of touch and corrupt as the Democrats who had spent the prior 40 years reaching a similar state of wretched dysfunction.  McCain is a hybrid figure, a longstanding member of the political class who is still not seen as really their “homeboy,” yet also not a figure of unreserved appeal to the grass roots either.  The Republican figure most clearly embodying the “Wurzelbacher Tendency” is obviously Sarah Palin.  Her selection as running mate is evidence of the occasional political genius John McCain has displayed over the years that has kept him in office and in the hunt even without the full-throated support of either the “establishment” political class professionals or the grass roots of the Republican Party and the overall conservative movement.

  29. Are you seriously suggesting that McCain’s candidacy was the project of some “intellectual elite” of the Republicans that we unwashed rank and file simply refused to get behind sufficiently to win?

    A Project? No. But look… Bush…(Either one, frankly) was at best a centrist. Remember, please, Bush Sr was added to Reagan’s ticket to moderate the ticket.  McCain came down to the left of Bush. And of course these were regarded as the more intelectual among us. None of these has operated from conservative principles since they came on the scene.

    Is there serious inteligence among those who hold with strict conservative principles? Certainly, and I quote them quite frequently in my writings, here and elsewhere.  Yet the mainstream regards these people as having less brainpower, than they have a dogged devotion to the principles of conservatism.

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that there is a major difference between a conservative intelectual and a Republican intelectual.

  30. I think the Wurzelbacher/Palin Effect exposed a strain of populism and sense of alienation that has been simmering among the rank and file of the base and that the GOP elite (as opposed to intellectuals) have been feeding for close to a decade.

    Palin was the plain spoken PTA mom who finally got fed up and took on the elite entrenched establishment, and won.  And not by being supposedly the smartest and most talented politician or having the right credentials, or having graduated from the right schools.  She did it through hard work and common sense.

    Joe the plumber was the guy who managed to show that the Obamasiah had no clothes.  A simple question, one the press couldn’t with all their Pulitzers and J-school degrees think of, or bring themselves to ask, and Obama made probably the biggest mistake of his campaign.  With no teleprompter or talking points, he told the plainspoken man what he thought about taxes and “fairness”.

    The reaction to both Joe and Sarah is pretty obvious to me.  The press, the campaigns, the party elite, and the “intellectuals” were all reacting to the lese magiste.  How dare these people involve themselves in our election.  How dare they think themselves our equals.

    The elites would be much happier if we all just shut up and let them run their elections and publish the news they find worthwhile and spend our money as they see fit, but these two threaten that. 

    The meaning of the Wurzelbacher/Palin Effect is clear to me.  We want our country back.  Politicians still haven’t grasped that, but I saw the first rumblings in the 2006 immigration “reform” debates.  All the professional politicians were of the opinion that once they passed the properly negotiated amnesty into law with whatever other reforms they felt appropriate that then they would consider enforcing our laws for us and perhaps even securing our borders, but only after we all got on board and swallowed their medicine like good little sheep.  Anyone remember the reaction?

    As for McCain I think two aspects of his career typify the attitudes of the elites.  First is campaign finance “reform”.  He (they) want to make sure they control the debate and the parameters of the election.  Can’t have any outside group expressing any opinion too loudly or effectively, so within 60 days of an election make it illegal.  Make sure that the laws are so dense and obscure that nobody without a team of lawyers can negotiate the regulations to get the blessing from the FEC to run political ads without being ruinously sued or fined (but that isn’t prior restraint).  This pretty much limits people who run for office to those who come through the major party ranks and can count on party resources.  Thus do the elites make sure the right kind of candidates get chosen.  Second was McCain’s 2000 run, where he decided he wanted the Republican nomination, but didn’t actually want to have to appeal to Republicans to get it, so he sued to open up the primaries, essentially saying to the base “Screw you, it’s my party, my election and I’ll pick my voters”.

    I’m somewhat hopeful that the national party is starting to catch on.  After involving itself in state primaries to ram Jim Jeffords, Lincon Chaffee, and Arlen Spector down the throats of the primary voters who were silly enough to consider an actual, you know, conservative, they may actually NOT back Arlen Spector and the ladies from Maine and let the voters choose the candidate they want to represent their party in the general election.  But I’ll believe it when I see it.

  31. Hm, do you think we should require after six years in Washington, residents should be issued a four year restraining order that forbids them to set foot in D.C.?  Sounds like it might bring some rationality back to that nest of fools.

  32. Ruffini claims the Republicans have become too much like the Democrats.. and then PROVES it by spouting the same brand of intellectual elitism that the Democrats are famous for. It’s sad and hilarious to realize that he’s claiming that the same Academy famous for its Leftist indoctrination and hysteria… is the only proper origin for a Conservative leader.

    I wonder what Pat would have made of Lincoln or Eisenhower? Or Sam Adams?

  33. Look…I am just a regular person who wants someone to represent me who holds my ideals. Limited government. I don’t know why that is so hard.

    I liked Joe, and still like him, because he is a normal person who asked a simple question to a politician. I like Sarah because she is a normal person who made her way into politics. And they share my ideals.

    That is why I like them. I wish there were more like them in the GOP.

  34. The idea behind America was that we the people would run the thing. We the Joe the Plumbers. We the Sarah the Hunters. Not the Beltway elitists. Not the sewer trout who pass power from one generation to the next, like the Kennedies, the Gores, the Bushes. America was meant to have a Congress of Joe the Plumbers, Not Carolines-the-Heiresses or John-the-slip-and-fall lawyers.

    A Congress of Joe the Plumbers would never have forced banks into making mortgages to deadbeats. A Congress of Joe the Plumbers would never have approved a trillion-dollar pork barrel in the name of stimulus. A Congress of Joe the Plumbers would not be spending taxpayers dollars on Chinese abortions or trains to nowhere. You have to be a moron-elitist to do that.

  35. I second everything Ernie Davis says in his comment above.

    Joe is a symbol. We the People understand who he is and what he is and we celebrate him for that, not for his erudite analytical skills.

    We are tired of elitists thinking they know best for those of us who actually work for a living or struggle to raise our families in today’s liberal world.

    We’re proud of our accomplishments, proud of the degrees we’ve earned, even if they are from state colleges and universities no one has ever heard about in Washington. We are proud that we worked our way up from the bottom. We aren’t ashamed to work with our hands or have a job where we might get dirty. A good many of us don’t even own a suit and tie or a power suit with coordinating accessories. We are the people who make America work. We are the ones who serve in the military, dry clean your clothes, provide security at your mall, cheer at NASCAR or a Friday night high school football game. We prefer good ol’ fashioned rock’n’roll or country music over some stuffed shirt chamber music, and we aren’t the least embarrassed to stand and salute our flag or show unabashed patriotism for our country as we sing along to patriotic songs. And we’d rather eat BBQ than gourmet any day. 

    Joe the Plumber is a symbol of who and what we are. Sarah Palin, PTA Mom is a symbol of who and what we are.

    We no longer want to be led by those who do not get it. Some of the GOP understand and are gaining our support, but so far, there is little change in the GOP elite, who get their strokes and their A-list invitations from those who reward them for apologizing for us or denigrating us. Why should we support any leaders who are ashamed to let their friends and colleagues know they associate with us? The old guard has passed its prime. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. Since the populist movement is on the rise, the sooner these elitist retire and leave the hard work to those not afraid of hard work the better. We don’t want them anymore, we don’t need them any more and we are perfectly smart enough and capable enough to run our own lives, thank you very much. So sit down, shut up and get the heck out of our way, we have important work to accomplish and you are a drag.

  36. I don’t understand why Reagan was so great and George W. Bush was so bad. Really, the only thing Bush didn’t do that Reagan did was sign the largest middle class tax increase in American history. Apart from that, playbooks: IDENTICAL.

    Bit replies: First of all, in terms of raw dollars yes Reagan did in fact sign the increase.  In terms of percentages, however, the text take was actually lower on a per capita basis.  That’s one thing that seems to get by an awful lot of people; lowering the tax drain on the individual actually increased the tax dollars flowing into the Federal coffers.  To this day, most liberals can’t seem to get there and arms around that concept.  They seem to be still stuck in the idea that this is a limited sum game. 

    Bush, meanwhile, signed onto a tax bill the democrats wanted, in apparent effort to “go along to get along”.  In short, he compromised his principles where Reagan did not.  At which point the democrats preceded to use his acquiescence to them as a baseball bat with which to beat him about the head and shoulders in the 92 campaign. 

    The difference between them is their motivation; their ability to adhere to conservative principles.  It’s something that neither 41 nor 43 could ever get a handle on. 

  37. “Really, the only thing Bush didn’t do that Reagan did was sign the largest middle class tax increase in American history. Apart from that, playbooks: IDENTICAL.”

    Really? Tell me, then, about all the big government programs that Reagan enacted. I mean his equivalents to the trillion-dollar Medicare RX, his federalization of education, and his steel tariffs. I’d also like to see anything Reagan signed that even comes close to limiting freedom the way McCain-Feingolds CFR did.

    Reagan was far from perfect. But if you can’t see the difference between Reagan and Bush, you aren’t looking very hard.


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