Taking Mr. Retske’s ‘Conservatism’ test

Yesterday, one of the first comments on my "Give me that old-time conservatism" column post was from Gene Retske, who proposed the following:

Brad, c’mon, do you really believe that you are a conservative? Do you think that Roe v Wade was improperly decided? Do you think Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th Century? Do you think America is the model for the world, and is obligated to spread democracy? Do you think America is a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles? Would you leave your wife for Ann Coulter?

If you can’t answer "yes" to all these questions, you may not be a true conservative.

John McCain believes in Duty, Honor and Country, for sure. That these basic criteria are touted as presidential qualities shows how far down we have come. There are over 12 million current and former military who also have these qualities, and are thus more qualified than Hillary or Obama to be president.

Sorry, Brad, you can’t redefine conservatism to your standards, nor can John McCain.

Hey, I’m good at tests! So here we go:

  1. Brad, c’mon, do you really believe that you are a conservative? No. I utterly reject both the "conservative" and "liberal" labels, because the popular, current definitions of those terms describe world views that each contain much that is repugnant to me. One of the main reasons I do this site is to have at least one place in the blogosphere that provides an alternative to the perpetual extreme-left vs. extreme-right argument that tends to predominate in this medium. Traditionally, however, there is much (or perhaps I should say, was much) in both conservatism and liberalism that I see as being of value. The last part of my column Sunday was an evocation of what I see as good in conservatism. As for liberalism — well, there used to be much good in that, too, but it really started to degenerate starting about 1968.
  2. Do you think that Roe v Wade was improperly decided? Yes, absolutely. In fact, you don’t state it nearly strongly enough. It was disastrous, on many levels. First, there is the obvious — more abortions. But then it’s not the job of the Court to decide cases in terms of outcomes (a point on which the admirers of Roe would disagree). Therefore in answer to whether it was "improperly decided" I’ll say this: The ruling was based on a bogus proposition — that the Constitution guarantees a "right to privacy." It does no such thing. (I’ve always been struck by the way the presumption was said to arise from a "penumbra" — suggestive to me of the Shadow of Death.) Finally, I’ll say — and once again, this is irrelevant to whether it was properly decided, but I think it speaks to where you intended to go with this — that this disaster of a ruling is probably more to blame than any other one cause for the nasty polarization of our politics. This country would be a better place in many ways without Roe.
  3. Do you think Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th Century? Absolutely not. While I don’t dislike him today as much as I did at the time, I think he did much to ruin the sort of conservatism that I have always valued — in particular, he helped instill the imprudent notion that we can have all the blessings of good government (and folks, there’s no such thing as private property — to cite one such "blessing" — without a sound system affirming, protecting and supporting it) without paying for it. The grossly immature Gimme-Gimme wing exemplified by the likes of Grover Norquist is a product of the Reagan era. As for defeating communism — I give him credit for doing his part, as had every president of either party since Truman — and he had the honor to have the watch when it all came tumbling down. If he provided the final push needed to reach the tipping point — which seems to be the consensus, although I have no idea how to measure such things — hurrah for him. He certainly demonstrated resolve — such as the resolve to spend the Soviets under the table. To the extent that’s what did it, hoorah again. But was that "conservative?" Oh, and if you want to talk about "amnesty" for illegals (which I don’t, but a lot of folks who call themselves "conservatives" do) — Reagan went for it; McCain does not. (Let me point out that Sen. McCain, unlike Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney, has been opposed to abortion his entire career.)
  4. Do you think America is the model for the world, and is obligated to spread democracy? Yep, in many ways (although obviously we’re a poor model on health care). That’s why I’m an unreconstructed interventionist — but then, so were liberals before 1968. In fact, as I’ve often said, the invasion of Iraq was the most liberal thing that George W. Bush ever did — which is probably why he botched the aftermath. Like most conservatives, he doesn’t believe in nation-building. Like liberals of the endangered JFK stripe, I do. I’m assuming you meant to go in that direction. Or perhaps you’re speaking of the "city on a hill" notion of American exceptionalism? I’m for that, too. But again, there’s nothing conservative about that. To the extent that we are a beacon for the world, it’s based on liberal principles — in the sense of advancing liberal democracy. But then, I’m using terminology that has little to do with the post-Reagan definitions of "liberal" and "conservative" in our domestic politics (although, I’m happy to say, the term is still current in an international context).
  5. Do you think America is a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles? I believe it was founded by people whose culture was informed by Judeo-Christian principles, such "freethinkers" as Thomas Paine aside. If it helps you any, I’m much more an admirer of John Adams (he who wrote, "Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.") than Thomas Jefferson, although Jefferson probably had a greater impact on the development of the country’s self-concept, which is a shame.
  6. Would you leave your wife for Ann Coulter? Certainly not! Nor would I leave her for French Socialist leader Ségolène Royal, who is a LOT more attractive. I would cross a continent to avoid either Ann Coulter or Paul Krugman, either Rush Limbaugh or Frank Rich, or any of those who delight in tearing this country apart. My support for both John McCain and Barack Obama is based in the same principles that cause me to utterly reject the Coulters and Krugmans of the world.

I’ll have to leave it to Mr. Retske to score this. Since it was an essay test (my favorite kind, much better than multiple guess), and since he’s the "teacher" in this instance, I guess he’ll assign whatever values (in every sense) he chooses to each question.

But if I flunk, fine by me. See my answer to question 1.

44 thoughts on “Taking Mr. Retske’s ‘Conservatism’ test

  1. Richard L. Wolfe

    Brad, I agree with you that Reagan was not the greatest president of the 20th century.
    I think Teddy Roosevelt was care to enlighten us to your pick if you had to choose one?

    Reply
  2. Brad Warthen

    Teddy, definitely.

    As to whether he was THE greatest, I don’t know. One of many things I have assigned myself is to read up on Teddy, and I have at home the first two books in the Morris trilogy (The Rise of and Theodore Rex). I need to read those before deciding. All I have right now is a very favorable general impression. You know, I might jump right on those as soon as I’m done rereading The Thirteen-Gun Salute (Any Aubrey-Maturin fans out there?).

    Actually, what little I do know and like about him seems akin to the reasons I like McCain. But that’s pure gut; I have to become more informed before I can say that with any authority at all.

    Speaking from my ignorance, though — how about that Brian Keith version in “The Wind and the Lion,” which may be my favorite Sean Connery flick? I particularly liked Steve Kanaly’s Marine Capt. Jerome. But once again, we’re talking cartoon-level analysis of Teddy and his times. “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!

    Reply
  3. JJ

    Brad – Oh, and if you want to talk about “amnesty” for illegals (which I don’t, but a lot of folks who call themselves “conservatives” do) — Reagan went for it; McCain does not.
    McCain didn’t support amnesty for illegal aliens already in this country?
    Care to retract, and/or elaborate?

    Reply
  4. The 7-10: Anthony Palmer

    I personally think Eisenhower was the best Republican president of the 20th century. Tough, competent, and well respected.
    Reagan granted amnesty to illegal immigrants–something which is anathema to conservatives. I’m not so sure conservatives remember this so much when they extol Reagan.

    Reply
  5. Doug Ross

    Brad is pulling the same semantic games that Mr Straight Talk McCain is pulling now.
    In order to claim that McCain is against amnesty, you have to agree that paying a small fine, not paying any back taxes owed, not having to return to your home country to get in the line legally, and not having to learn English is not amnesty.
    The fact that McCain refuses to even answer a simple question as to whether he would vote for the same bill he and Lindsey Graham sponsored six months ago says it all about McCain. Wrap yourself in the flag and dare anyone to question you…
    He’s as phony as the rest of the career politicians…

    Reply
  6. Brad Warthen

    Well, we all like Ike, don’t we?
    McCain pressed his immigration bill in the face of huge political headwinds for one reason, and one reason only: He thought it was essential to secure our borders — not to keep out Mexicans, but to keep out terrorists.
    The people who are upset about illegals from Mexico are concerned about a different thing entirely.
    The whole “amnesty” thing that these people go on about arises from the fact that — since McCain DOESN’T sit up nights worrying about folks speaking Spanish in the U.S. of A. — he had a sensible, pragmatic approach to those who are already here.
    Folks who entertain fantasies about making 12 million people NOT BE HERE ANY MORE (and good luck with that, by the way, because it ain’t gonna happen) seem not to like any plan that doesn’t have that as a coequal goal with keeping future illegals out.
    Hence all this talk about “amnesty.” which seems to me a willful twisting of the point of the McCain legislation.
    Now, back to the “conservative” quiz…

    Reply
  7. Brad Warthen

    Looks like Doug’s comment and mine passed each other, which I suppose is just as well, since there’s nothing I can say that will dissuade him from the notion that McCain — a man of honor if ever I’ve met one in American politics — is a BIG FAT LIAR because… oh, I don’t know why. I guess because he’s not Ron Paul.

    Reply
  8. weldon VII

    Is Brad a conservative?
    Less so than McCain, more so than Obama. But McCain is no conservative.
    Was Roe vs. Wade improperly decided?
    Yes.
    Was Reagan the greatest president of the 20th century?
    The best I can remember, going back to, but not including, Eisenhower.
    Do you think America is the model for the world?
    Yes, but much of the world does not agree.
    Was America founded on Judeo-Christian principles?
    Certainly.
    Would you leave your wife for Ann Coulter? No. Ann Coulter is too tall.

    Reply
  9. Gene Retske

    Mr. Warthen
    I have graded your quiz scores on my conservatism test and here they are.
    1) Let’s do this one last, since it was designed to be the objective of the test, not an answer, but since you gave it a thoughtful answer, it deserves a thoughtful response (do I sound like a teacher?)
    But, let’s take the others one question at a time.
    2) Do you believe that Roe v Wade was properly decided?
    Your answer is partially correct. The Constitution does not list Privacy as one of the enumerated rights. A true conservative believes that, while privacy could be one of the derivative rights under the Constitution, the proper procedure for making public policy is through legislation, not litigation. Roe v Wade, to a true conservative violated that basic structure in the Constitution, and thus, was wrongly decided. But, I also have to mark you down a bit because you justified your remarks by stating that Roe had done much to degrade political dialog. While this is a true statement, conservatism is based on principle, not on consensus, and certainly not on achieving a particular result.
    3) Was Reagan the greatest president of the 20th Century? It is difficult to imagine that any true conservative would not answer “yes” to this on many levels. First, Reagan formed the broadest coalition of conservatives in the 20th Century, and won elections based on principle. But, you overlooked Reagan’s greatest conservative achievement; he won World War III, also known as the Cold War, and defeated the greatest threat to conservative capitalism, communism, without firing a single shot. And, he did it using a conservative idea, beating them with money. He outspent the Evil Empire and ground it onto the dust pile of history. No other president has ever faced a bigger challenge to conservative principles than Reagan – not Lincoln, not Eisenhower, not even Roosevelt.
    I do have to challenge one thing you said, that McCain never proposed amnesty. This is not true, and in doing so, McCain has sold out conservatives. The underlying assumption in the failed (thank Heavens) McCain-Kennedy bill, and liberal talking points, is that illegal aliens have an objective to become citizens of the United States. This is a false assumption, in the vast majority of cases. Illegal aliens (known in liberal circles as “undocumented emigrants), have the objective to live and earn a living in the US. Becoming a citizen is not a goal, and in most cases, not even desired. In McCain-Kennedy, as long as illegals are “working towards citizenship,” they can enjoy the fruits of their crime and remain here illegally for a long, long time.
    4) I will give you full conservative credit for your answer, although I do note that you have impishly used the term “liberal democracy,” knowing full well that the “liberal” in this phrase has nothing whatsoever to do with “liberal” as in a liberal political philosophy. (Be careful, if you try to make a case that they are the same, your answer will be docked!)
    5) I, too, am an admirer of John Adams, so you get full credit for using his name. An ultimate conservative would note that democracy has only sprung from the bosom of Judeo-Christian culture. This is not a bigoted remark, since it is supported by the truth. You are aware, of course, that Ancient Greece was no democracy, since not all inhabitants were citizens. You will also note that the Declaration says that the rights of mankind are derived from “the Creator,” and not granted by the government. This is a critical point.
    6) This was a trick question, and, unfortunately, you fell into the liberal mode of thinking by trying to draw a moral equivalence between Ann Coulter and Paul Krugman. Coulter is an unapologetic lover of this country, Krugman an unabashed self-hater. True conservatives believe that there is a vast difference between Coulter clearly stating her point of view, and being dismissive of other political philosophies. True conservatives have read her writings, and understand her philosophy. Nobody can read Krugman’s writings and understand anything other than he is going to pitch a fit until we put a $3 a gallon tax on gasoline. Only liberals understand how this is beneficial and populist.
    You support Obama, (whom Coulter calls, “B. Hussein Obama”) whose stance on issues is murky at best, but you like his style. Sorry, but that is a liberal trait. Conservatives are focused on the ideas, not the individual.
    Now, back to #1. That is a very good and compelling answer, but unfortunately, it has a liberal ring to it. Why? Well, back in the 60s, the notion of “don’t label me, man,” started on the streets of Haight Ashbury, which it not known for its conservative leanings. True conservatives are proud to be called conservative, and while we may differ on some of the details, the conservative political philosophy is clear and unwaivering in its assertion that freedom and liberty, free markets, and a reliance on the tolerance of the Judeo-Christian heritage is essential to free people, and democracy essential to a free world.
    Mr. Warthen, you get an “A” for effort, but you have a long way to go before you can call yourself a true conservative, a label you seem to be reticent to apply anyway, as you acknowledge.
    Regards,
    Prof. Retske, the self-proclaimed expert. (Just ask me!)

    Reply
  10. Doug Ross

    Ron Paul would answer the question, Brad. Why won’t G.I. John? Because he would have to admit that his bill is pure amnesty. If someone who entered the country illegally can stay ahead of someone who is waiting in line, what do you call it? A free pass? An open borders policy?
    You keep talking about Mexicans when everyone else talks about illegals. Do you know the difference? Why is it that you can only equate illegals with Spanish speaking people? Who’s playing the stereotype game? It’s not about race. It’s about the law. It’s amazing to me that you get more bent out of shape about people who drive over the speed limit than about people blatantly crossing our border, not paying taxes, and working for below market wages at the expense of American workers.
    If you take away the incentives for illegals to stay: jobs, free healthcare, free education – they will leave on their own.
    It’s already happening around the country in communities where laws are being enforced.
    Here is the specific portion of the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill related to current illegals:
    ” Illegal aliens already in the U.S.A. would have to register, pay a $2,000 fine, clear a criminal background check, and pass an English language exam. If they did that and had a job, they could stay in this country and apply for citizenship in six years.”
    You and Senator I’ll Do Anything To Win Now can claim that’s not amnesty but you are in the very small majority. If you can enter illegally and not go back home, that’s amnesty. Anyone who is not blinded with bias can see that.

    Reply
  11. Doug Ross

    The other thing that amazes me, Brad, is that you can watch Senator McCain now and completely tune out everything he says and does that falls under your “things I hate about party politics” mantra. I’ve watched nearly every televised debate so far? Which candidate brings up the name of Hillary Clinton the most? McCain. Which candidate talks about how terrible Democrats are the most? McCain. Which candidate links himself to Ronald Reagan every chance he can? McCain.
    Just watch him if he wins the nomination. If you expect him to run a campaign on issues and vision, you’re going to be very sorry. He’ll adopt all the anti-Democrat and anti-Clinton rhetoric that any other career Republican politician would. It’ll be interesting to see how you will brush aside McCain’s partisan politics when that happens.

    Reply
  12. zzazzeefrazzee

    Anthony, I rater wonder if Eisenhower were to run today, what names would he be called? a RINO? Doesn’t the interstate highway system smack of socialism? Or his skepticism about the military-industrial complex?
    < http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html>
    ” In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. ”

    Reply
  13. zzazzeefrazzee

    Anthony, I rater wonder if Eisenhower were to run today, what names would he be called? a RINO? Doesn’t the interstate highway system smack of socialism? Or his skepticism about the military-industrial complex?
    < http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html>
    ” In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. ”

    Reply
  14. Doug Ross

    Does this sound like a different type of candidate? From today’s AP newswire:
    “McCain had eased up on his criticism of the former Massachusetts governor since winning the primary in Florida last week and had begun acting like a general election candidate, focusing his harsh rhetoric on Democratic rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.”
    I guess when you don’t have any ideas or any record from the past two decades to run on, your only fallback is to slam the opponent.

    Reply
  15. bud

    After reading Gene’s summary of what makes a good conservative I’m very proud indeed to call myself a liberal. The reprehensible Ann Coulter is nothing but a pure political hack trying to peddle her filthy books. She has no ideas worthy of civil, political discourse. I have nothing wrong with anyone stating their political views and pointing out the flaws in others point of view but Coulter is nothing but an attack dog making comments like “the Jersey Girls enjoyed the deaths of their husbands”, or called liberals “treasonous”. Those are political statements that’s just plain hate speech.
    As for Roe-v-Wade, of course it was properly decided. There is definitely an implied right of privacy in the constitution and it’s nobody’s damn business how a woman choosed to excersise that right. It’s called the fourth ammendment. How anyone could interpret that as anything but a right to privacy is beyond me.
    After reading Gene’s summary of what makes a good conservative I’m very proud indeed to call myself a liberal. The reprehensible Ann Coulter is nothing but a pure political hack trying to peddle her filthy books. She has no ideas worthy of civil, political discourse. Her books are filled with false statements claimed, for example, that the NY Times did not feature the the Dale Earnhardt tragedy in it’s paper. In fact, that event was featured prominetely on the front page of the NYT the day after it occrred.
    I have nothing wrong with anyone stating their political views and pointing out the flaws in others point of view but Coulter is nothing but an attack dog making comments like “the Jersey Girls enjoyed the deaths of their husbands”, or written books call “Treasonous” and “Slander” aimed directly at liberals. Those are not political statements but just plain hate speech. As far as I know Paul Krugman has never made such hateful statements.
    As for Roe-v-Wade, of course it was properly decided. There is definitely an implied right of privacy in the constitution and it’s nobody’s damn business how a woman chooses to excersise that right. It’s called the fourth ammendment. How anyone could interpret that as anything but a right to privacy is beyond me.
    •Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Seems clear to me. The government’s intervention into a woman’s reproductive system violates the provision that a person cannot be inflicted with an unreasonable “search”. The ammendment specifically indicates the people shall be “secure in their persons … “.

    Reply
  16. bud

    Whoops. Last posting was a mess. I need to be more careful with “copy and Paste”.
    To elaborate further on Ann Coulter. Here’s a direct quote from one of her books, from Wikipedia.
    In Godless, Coulter criticized the four 9/11 widows known as the “Jersey Girls”, writing:
    “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. … I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much … the Democrat ratpack gals endorsed John Kerry for president … cutting campaign commercials… how do we know their husbands weren’t planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they’d better hurry up and appear in Playboy.”[
    This was not some off-the-cuff remark said in private, this was put in a book that was intended to be sold to thousands of people.
    Now compare this to a recent article by Paul Krugman discussing the Reagan years.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/opinion/21krugman.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
    There’s no comparable hate speech. He’s simply trying to set the record straight about the Reagan years. It is somewhat partisan, but not in a hateful way. Here’s the most partisan paragraph in the entire article:
    “Now progressives have been granted a second chance to argue that Reaganism is fundamentally wrong: once again, the vast majority of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. But they won’t be able to make that argument if their political leaders, whatever they meant to convey, seem to be saying that Reagan had it right.”
    -Krugman
    No talk of Reagan loving the death of someone. No accusation of treason or slander or godlessness. Just a comment that liberals should address the conservative mantra that Reagan’s economic policies were successful. Now why isn’t that a fair topic for discussion in an election year featuring GOP candidates falling all over themselves trying to be the next Reagan? Really Brad, you disappoint me comparing the despicable Coulter to the well written, fact based arguments of Paul Krugman. And Gene, you are completely off-base in your assertions.

    Reply
  17. Gene Retske

    Wow, Bud, you surely have one of the greatest characteristics of a liberal, never actually read something that supports your viewpoint. Ann Coulter never said the Jersey girls said they were enjoying their husband’s deaths. And, the fourth “ammendment” does not say a thing about wiretapping, which every president since the invention of the telephone has authorized. I don’t think you can make a reasonable case for “person” including your cordless telephone. And, of course, you don’t care if the Constitution says a thing about privacy, you care more getting your agenda advanced than in Constitutionality. Liberals believe that the courts are there to do what they can’t get an elected Congress to do.
    Brad, to earn some extra credit, just reject all of Bud’s clearly liberal ideas. It may get your grade up to a passing level!

    Reply
  18. bud

    Gene, you are full of s***. She may not have said it but she sure as hell WROTE it. It’s printed in black and white. She’s a hate monger, a total self-absorbed bitch. You disgust me by defending that vile human being. I’m so proud to be a liberal. Here’s more filth from Ann Coulter:
    Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), prior to Coulter’s appearance (at a GOP fund-raising event): “I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh yeah!”
    UPDATE II: Previously, Coulter has put “even money” on Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) “[c]oming out of the closet,” said Bill Clinton shows “some level of latent homosexuality,” and called Vice President Al Gore a “total fag.”
    That’s pure hate speech, period.

    Reply
  19. bud

    Liberals believe that the courts are there to do what they can’t get an elected Congress to do.
    -Gene
    Here’s some more of the conservative mantra that doesn’t hold up to the facts. Oregon has passed legislation that allows patients to die with dignity. Clearly this is an issue that should be decided by the state’s. Yet the conservative courts have declared this law unconstitutional. Also, California has a medicinal marijuana law that involved neither interstate, nor commerce activity. Yet the conservative courts in this country have deemed this law unconstitutional based on the interstate commerce clause of the constitution. Conservatives use the courts whenever it suits them to strike down “liberal” laws that they don’t like. Indeed conservative have not problem with legislating from the bench when they don’t get their way through the legislative process.

    Reply
  20. Lee Muller

    White liberals have written off the unemployed blacks in America, and replaced them with illegal Latinos who will work for lower wages.
    With unemployment high among blacks in Horry and the surrounding coastal counties, businesses say they have a “labor shortage” and need more illiterate migrant workers, legal or illegal, to do the work.
    John McCain has no ideology except McCainism.
    He is happy to take contributions from businesses and remove controls on immigration in return for the money.

    Reply
  21. weldon VII

    Here we have the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
    From those words, Bud, you might divine that the government has been forbidden to seize a woman’s unborn child, but nothing in that sentence gives a woman the power of life and death over a child growing within her. Nothing in that sentence gives a doctor the power to kill an all-but-born baby, either.
    The words of the Fourth Amendment, moreso than they grant the mother of an unborn child the right to terminate that child’s life, should rather give the fetus the right to be secure in its person against an unreasonable seizure — having its life taken away.
    And one more thing, Bud. Probably the only person here taking Ann Coulter seriously is you.
    But you’re stuck with what “the meaning of ‘is’ is, so you can’t argue semantics, and then there’s the phrase “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” which really precludes you from discussing what’s true and what isn’t, so your flaming liberal heroes have really parsed you into a box.
    To a liberal, words might mean whatever a liberal wants them to mean, but to reasonable people, words speak for themselves.

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  22. Brad Warthen

    I don’t think bud’s even TRYING to get a good grade in this class. He’s treating Mr. Retske worse than I treated substitutes back in the day. Now I know what they mean about discipline lacking in the classroom.
    bud, you should at least respect Mr. Retske for using what I have reason to believe is his real, full name.

    Reply
  23. bud

    Weldon, I certainly hope you’re not suggesting that Ann Coulter, when she states the Jersey Girls enjoyed the deaths of their husbands, was using humor to make a point. That just doesn’t strike me as particularly funny. Of course I don’t take Ann Coulter seriously, but Fox News and maybe even some of the other news networks do. Brad started this by including Paul Krugman in the same category of partisan pundits with Ann Coulter. I find Krugman’s articles very well thought out and not in any way offensive. Just read the link I sent. Krugman’s article merely suggests that the Reagan economy was not nearly as grand as the right-wingers spin it to be. If you look at the facts as they relate to the 1981-1992 period without all the talk-radio spin you’d have to agree that indeed the economy was not all that terrific. Krugman never called Reagan, or anyone else, a childish name the way Coulter routinely does in her books and articles. I find the comparison between Krugman and Coulter to be highly offensive. If Brad comes up with a better example of a left-wing nutcase to use then I’ll consider that on it’s merits. But Paul Krugman is definitely not in the same league as Ann Coulter.
    As for Mr. Retske using his real name, so what? He’s still an idiot.

    Reply
  24. Gene Retske

    Ah, Bud, Bud. I have to point out that calling someone an “idiot” because you disagree with them, and they won’t change their mind and agree with you, will not get you far in any reasonable exchange.
    I believe you are wrong, although since you cannot clearly articulate your point of view, other than to call me names, I cannot really tell if I do or not agree with you. (I am relatively certain that I don’t agree with your statement that I am an idiot.)
    Who knows, if you could make a logical case for your point of view, maybe I would dig out my bell bottom jeans, tied-dyed tee shirt and peace beads, and relate to you, man.
    Peace and Love
    Gene Retske (my real name!)

    Reply
  25. bud

    Rather than commenting further on the condescending nonsense of Mr. Retske I’ll simply explain the truth about what liberals stand for.
    Liberalism respresents hope for people.
    Conservatism is merely a means for extremely wealthy people to exploit those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.
    Liberalism is a smart philosophy that understands the various people of the world believe in different dieties and have a different set of experiences that have brought them into their current belief system from a different path than those who believe in the Christian world view.
    Conservatism is an arrogant philosophy that falsely believes the United States was founded on a singular belief system embodied in one book, the Christian bible.
    Liberals believe that all life has value and we should not squander it away on wars based on lies. Nor should we allow a cruel and unusual penal code that allows for the death of fellow human beings using extremely painful methods.
    Conservatives have little value for life insisting on fighting wars regardless of what history tells us about the futility of such wars. They further believe it is ok to slaughter human beings using torture machines such as the electric chair.
    Liberals believe in freedom for all women to make tough decisions about reproduction. Liberals further believe birth control should be utilized to keep unwanted pregnancies low.
    Conservatives want the government to impose their will on pregnant women. They condemn many women to the horrors of seeking illegal abortions. Conservatives have little use for effective education regarding birth control. The end result is a high unwanted pregnancy and abortion rate. In addition, many conservatives are willing to make exceptions to the prohibition on abortion in an inexplicable display of contorted logic.
    Liberals abhor name calling for the sake of making a buck.
    Conservatives anoint one of the most vile, slanderous name calling human beings (Ann Coulter) as a great American devotee of the conservative movement.
    Liberals believe human beings have dignity and can improve their lot in life if given a fair chance. Liberals also believe that offering all Americans quality, affordable health care makes America stronger.
    Conservatives are interested only in attacking quality health care proposals as socialistic insisting instead that the current system works fine. This view comes in spite of overwhelming evidence that a few people are enriched by the current disasterous system that exploits the sick.
    Bottom line: Liberalism will lead to a more prosperous, healthier and more free America and world. Conservatism benefits only a few very fortunate Americans at the expense of many billions of people throughout the world.

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  26. weldon VII

    Bud, Ann Coulter can say whatever she wants to say. I don’t listen. I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, neither she nor Paul Krugman exist. Nothing coming from either of them ever made an impression on me. They’re sycophants, not players.
    Your comparison and contrast of conservative and liberal is almost enough to make me cry. Apparently, you’ve bought every lie the the Democrats have been selling for the last 16 years, and you don’t notice your own inconsistencies.
    Liberals don’t believe in name calling, you wrote, but you called Mr. Retske an “idiot.”
    Liberals believe all life has value, you wrote, but fetuses have to die by the millions to preserve a woman’s right to choose, which somehow means more than life itself.
    Liberals believe human beings have dignity and can improve their lot in life if given a fair chance, you wrote, but for as long as I can remember, liberals have acted as if human beings can’t better themselves without government help, and conservatives are the ones who believe people can better themselves just be devoting themselves to doing it.
    You see, Bud, conservatism’s not about wealth or religion. It’s more about people making their own way and expecting others to do the same.
    It’s about individuals taking responsibility for their lives, not leaving it to government to make their lives better.
    It’s about sharing responsibility, not just the benefits.

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  27. bud

    Even bleeding heart liberals can be pushed over the edge. My appologies to Mr. Retske for calling him an idiot. But facts are facts and unlike opinions no one is entitled to their own facts. Ann Coulter did write: “I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much”. Mr. Retske, in a bit of spin, suggested she did not SAY that. Thus I suggested he was an idiot.
    As for the philosophical differences between conservatism and liberalism it is quite clear which works the best when actually put into practice. A comparison of the peaceful, prosperous, low-crime, high-world-respect-for-the-U.S. Clinton years with the recession-laden, war infested, low-world-respect Bush Jr. years says it all.

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  28. bud

    Bud, Ann Coulter can say whatever she wants to say. I don’t listen.
    -Weldon
    I can’t let you get away with that one. I didn’t bring up Ann Coulter, Gene did. I didn’t compare Ann Coulter to Paul Krugman, Brad did. Gene apparently has great respect for her as a conservative icon. Brad believes Ann Coulter and Paul Krugman are equals in their partisan writings only on different sides of the aisle. I was only trying to point out why both Gene and Brad are completely wrong. I personally don’t care what Ann Coulter says but apparently thousands of conservative do. And that’s scary.

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  29. weldon VII

    Gene and Brad can believe whatever they want to believe, Bud. I don’t listen to Ann Coulter. I don’t watch Oprah. I don’t watch Judge Judy. I don’t watch Dr. Phil. I’m not Gene. I’m not Brad. You can’t paint every conservative with the same brush or dress every liberal in the same pair of jeans.
    I mean, heck, some of us real conservatives differ on which forms of torture we like best.
    We don’t all agree on how to suck the life out of the poor and downtrodden, either.

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  30. Lee Muller

    Anne Coulter may be impolite, but is is not “hate speech” to repeat the observations of trained professionals and close acquaintances of the Clintons.
    Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian, whose girl friend lived in the White House, so Hillary and Bill are not the first Odd Couple.
    Hillary has a lot of lesbian friends, and a lot of visible traits. Likewise, Bill Clinton is effeminate, and some psycologists long ago noted that his womanizing and physical brutality against women fit the pattern of many abusers of women who are attempting to compensate for their feelings of inferiority and doubt.

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  31. Gene Retske

    Lee, “hate speech” is liberal jargon for ‘you said something we don’t like.’ It is part of the ‘politically correct,’ or PC way of speech and mind control. Now, labeling something ‘hate speech,’ which, as you pointed out our friend Bud did, slaps it with the tinge of being illegal, which is, unfortunately, a federal crime.
    That’s how liberals can justify telling people what they can and cannot say. Bud calls me an idiot because then he does have to thoughtfully consider what I say, because you don’t have to listen to idiots. It is a effective broad brush technique to shut anyone you don’t agree with. It is also part of the Bush Derangement Syndrome, BDS, which afflicts so many of the press, like Dowd and Krugman, and Congress, like Reid and Pelosi.
    But, just to show that I am prescient, I predict that some liberal will now attack me for my BDS comment, and without refuting it, declare me a, well, just fill in the blank. It doesn’t matter. “Bushie” is Dowd’s favorite term, “neocon” is Krugman’s.
    It is very interesting to note that liberals, who love to apply labels, are flummoxed when labels are applied to them. Call your friendly neighbor leftie a “liberal,” and they will immediately correct you, and say, “progressive,” because it sounds better. I do admire Bud’s willingness to accurately label himself a liberal, although he cannot say why without sounding like an ad for moveon.org.
    I wear the label “conservative,” proudly. I don’t even mind, “neocon,” although I was a “con” before “con” was cool, pre-Reagan. (to be correct, I guess I am a “paleocon.”)
    Which is why I question the conservative credentials of those who are afraid to don the title, like Brad, and those who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk, like McCain.

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  32. bud

    Gene, feel free to call me a leftie liberal. I wear that label as a badge of honor. We leftie liberals are generally right on the issues. Remember the Panama Canal bruohaha? Conservatives at the time went ballistic over that common sense treaty using every scare tactic in the book to try and defeat it. It passed during the Carter years and of course none of the horrors predicted by the right ever came to pass. It only strengthened the good-will we now enjoy with Panama and our security was improved by it.
    Signed
    A proud Leftie Liberal

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  33. Lee Muller

    Exactly what good came out of Bill Clinton selling off control of the entrances to the Panama Canal to Red China in exchange for the illegal million in bribes Hillary and Gore laundered through Charlie Trie, the Buddhist Temple, and John Huang?

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  34. Gene Retske

    Bud,
    You really need to read my entire post before you comment on it. I complimented you for not shirking the title.
    But, as to being “generally right” on the issues, you might want to consider what happened to the great liberal experiment that started in 1917 and fizzled in the 1980’s, the Soviet Union. This leftist government murdered and subjugated millions in its infamous history. Shows freedom, not liberal government interference, works.
    But, enough of this. I enjoyed the discussion, except when you called me an idiot. That part I didn’t like, but have to come to expect.

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  35. Lee Muller

    bud’s idea of liberalism is nice, and there are actually a few of them.
    The problem is that most who call themselves “liberal” do so because it sounds better than the actual alignment of their political philosophy with “socialist”, “Marxist”, and “fascist”.
    Real liberals are tolerant of those who want the freedom to smoke tobacco, have drink, hunt, fish, drive the car of their choice, and choose the type of medical care they wish to buy. Real liberals don’t hate wealth and achievement, and realize that taxation destroys freedom, so it must be kept as low as possible.

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  36. bud

    Lee you are absolutely correct. People should be allowed to choose the medical care they wish to buy. Trouble is, 47 million Americans can’t afford to buy ANY insurance. So why do we help them out?

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  37. Lee Muller

    The Myth of the Uninsured
    ————————–
    Most people cannot afford the automobiles, houses or vacations they want, either.
    Wanting doesn’t entitle anyone goods and services of other people.
    Of that mythical “47,000,000 uninsured”
    * 20,000,000 are illegal aliens, mooching free treatment at our hospitals
    * 7,000,000 can afford very good insurance policies, but refuse to buy them. Many are young people who choose to spend the money on nicer automobiles, vacations, and houses.
    * Most of the rest are only TEMPORARILY without insurance while changing jobs and insurance plans.
    Real reform would end all employer-provided insurance and put everyone on their own individual policies which would follow them from job to job, through unemployment, and into retirement.

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  38. Lee Muller

    There are fewer people without medical insurance today, than there were under Clinton.
    The Census Bureau recently reported that the number of Americans without health insurance rose in 2002 to around 43.6 million, up from 38.7 million in 2000 but below the record 44.3 million who were uninsured in 1998.

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  39. KayDay

    My, my. This debate is absolutely fascinating and I see a couple names here of men I admire (Hey, Lee; hey, Gene!)
    I wish I hadn’t read this because now my mind will fly off into a million different directions.
    I’ll volunteer this:
    I think conservative and liberal are fine labels. I use the term “extremist” for a person who goes off into la-la land, abandoning the quality of moderation that keeps humankind from imploding ourselves by a variety of methods.
    The best president of the 20th century was of course FDR. Select academics agree–here’s a link all of you (you too, Mr. Warthen) should engage:
    Presidential Survey/Federalist Society
    I have come up with a new label for political affiliation: survivor.
    This was so much fun to read. Men really just have such in-depth, thinkative positions on politics. Women, well, we just think with our hearts and sometimes that makes it easier.
    best, KBD (Lee, tell Deb I really miss South Carolina despite the fact Florida basically made my career)

    Reply
  40. Lee Muller

    Good hearing from you, Kay.
    Moving out of SC made a lot of careers.
    I avoid working in SC.
    I recently followed up on some old friends, who had all moved out of state, and became wealthy within a few years, doing the same thing that was a struggle in SC.

    Reply

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