Monday, March 31, 2014

Why Doesn't Ta-Nehisi Coates Flee Oppression?

Ta-Nehisi Coates's latest installment in his ongoing debate with Jonathan Chait uses tortured logic, perverts history, and systematically rejects reality to present a wholly distorted view of the United States as a racist hellhole.  

Mr. Coates opens with an illuminating discussion seeking to clarify the difference between "black culture" and a "culture of poverty." He contends that the unfairly maligned "black values" are indeed critical virtues for black people in certain walks of life, although they are not necessarily transferable to other walks of life, which is why they’re oft derided.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Mr. Coates launches into a vicious tirade against the United States, going so far as to mock Jonathan Chait's irrefutable assertion that the United States has made tangible progress in terms of race relations since its founding.


How can an ostensibly intelligent man deny the strides the United States has made to eliminate institutional racism?

How can anyone seriously argue that white supremacy is at the heart of contemporary U.S. society, as Coates does without any equivocation whatsoever? Is there a cabal of Freemasons and Jews (to mock a Nation of Islam conspiracy theory) systematically persecuting African Americans?

White Supremacy cannot merely be an amorphous entity or some abstract notion. To persecute African Americans as systematically as Coates imagines African Americans are being persecuted, the white supremacist system must be institutionalized and clearly identifiable.

Are black politicians who run inner cities at all levels of government, black police chiefs, and black city managers members of this white supremacist cabal?  Are there meeting minutes?

What is most disconcerting about Coates's world view is its inherent hypocrisy.

My family fled the anti-Semitic Soviet Union because they couldn't justify remaining in a country hostile to their heritage, not to mention a country that squashed individualism and liberty.

If Mr. Coates truly believes that the U.S. is inherently--and as he makes clear, irredeemably--racist, how does he justify remaining in the United States?

It's irrational at best, cowardly at worst.

I suspect I know the answer.

Mr. Coates enjoys getting paid big bucks to write. Though he won't admit it, he cherishes the freedom bestowed on him by natural law and guaranteed to him by the U.S. Constitution to write scathing diatribes against his country.

Mr. Coates MUST know that he would not have the freedom to write the kinds of things he writes were he living in any country in Africa or the Middle East or most parts of South America.

So he cheerfully collects his check without contemplating the implicit absurdity of a black man choosing to live in a country he purports is dominated by white supremacists, while making good money writing about white supremacy.

Is Mr. Coates really so oblivious as to not appreciate that the freedom of expression he enjoys in the United States is a freedom that so many other countries do not afford their citizens?

It is quite extraordinary that in his tirade against the U.S., Coates never deigns to express even a modicum of gratitude for the Bill of Rights and the Constitutional freedom he has to make a living writing half-truths and lies about his country.

Nor does Mr. Coates dare to mention the tyranny and oppression that pervade his ancestral homeland, from which millions of men and women have voluntarily fled over the last 150 years for Europe or the United States.

Does Mr. Coates ever wonder why so many Africans, Arabs, Latinos and Asians choose to come to the United States, where they will be relegated to "minority" status, instead of remaining in their homelands where they would be in the ethnic majority?

Does the answer unnerve Mr. Coates because it so vividly dispels the myths he spreads about the country in which he inexplicably chooses to remain?   


If Mr. Coates was intellectually honest and truly believed that white supremacy in the United States was not only alive and well, but indeed, irreversible, it would behoove him to escape the United States, to flee this oppressive land, as so many millions (including my family) fled their oppressive homelands (for the United States).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bill Maher Is an Idiot and Other True Stories

Appearing as an iconic (?) comedian (?) and a noted expert (?) on all things political, Bill Maher dazzled fan Harry Smith of NBC News on Meet the Press with witty (?) banter themed around how Republicans are bad and Republican voters are dumb.

The segment is worth watching, because Bill Maher for all his faults—including the fault of being the caricature of pretension and snobbery—in a vital way epitomizes how the American Left views conservatives and Republicans.

You see, Bill Maher is an idiot.

Although I enjoy calling people idiots because it makes me feel intellectually superior, I assure you that calling Maher an idiot is fair, accurate, and above all, makes me feel intellectually superior.

Bill Maher thinks that Americans who are not in the so-called “1%” are “corporate America's useful idiots” if they vote Republican.

Note the strikingly original (and not-at-all intellectually shallow) reference to the “1%,” a term coined by a leftist fringe “movement,” whose only other worthless contribution to American politics was being chased out of public parks by ultra-liberal mayors who for some reason valued public health over incoherent anti-capitalist drivel and the inalienable right to defecate in public.

“1%.” LOL insert smiley face winking. Bill Maher is so witty!

But beneath the veneer of an idiot who uses uninspired clichés to make anti-intellectual partisan points, is a bigger idiot who believes that a majority of Republican voters vote against their self-interests.

This theme was thoroughly and mindlessly overanalyzed in a 2004 book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” which has become the leftists’ gospel for psychoanalyzing conservatives because it portrays Republican voters as misinformed morons. And that makes leftists happy.  

We see this theory advanced whenever elections don’t go the Left’s way.

When Volkswagen employees in Tennessee voted against joining the United Auto Workers union, the crazies at MSNBC blamed racism (duh!), but also lamented that the workers were voting against their economic benefits.

Bill Maher and other idiots echo this crackpot theory every chance they get, in part because it makes them feel better for not having a coherent philosophical foundation for their ideas. There is no Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Thomas Sowell, or Henry Hazlitt on the left. Unless of course we count Karl Marx. There are liberal authors, but there are no leftwing intellectual heavyweights who have ever come close to offering a compelling counter-thesis to Friedman’s epic “Free to Choose.”

What books do you suppose Bill Maher has read that have shaped his world view? I’ll venture to guess he’s read such brilliant authors as Michael Moore and Al Franken. It’s clear from his firm and courageous reliance on platitudes and sophomoric analysis that he has never read anything serious or substantive.   

To fill the intellectual void and to avoid reading Friedman, Hayek, et al., liberals like Bill Maher rely on some variation of “What’s the Matter with Kansas” to explain why lower-class and middle-class Americans vote Republican.

I want to help Bill Maher understand—in so much as he is capable of understanding anything—why people who are not as filthy rich as Bill Maher vote Republican.     

Here’s a very short list.


Public Schools

The United States’ public school monopoly is failing a great number of kids, especially kids in poor neighborhoods. As even some Democrats who support public school reform have recognized, the blame rests squarely with teacher unions and their left-wing enablers in federal, state, and local governments.

Let’s say Mark, a fella of average means, who cannot afford to send his kid to private schools, decides he’s had enough with union abuses and votes for a Republican who pledges to take on the corrosive influence of teacher unions on education. Seems to me, Mark is voting his self-interest.    

The debate over charter schools, which is inextricably linked to the power wielded by teacher unions and their political allies, is playing out in New York City, where far left-wing Mayor Bill De Blasio is waging a war on these quasi-private schools.

This has drawn the ire of predominately Democratic voters in Harlem, who are suing De Blasio for violating their kids’ civil rights.        

Janette makes $30,000 per year. She is a lifelong Democrat, but votes for a Republican who runs against De Blasio and pledges to not violate her son’s civil rights by denying him the right to attend a school of Janette’s choosing.

In short, if members of the “99%” aren’t happy that policies advocated by teacher unions have the effect of trapping kids in failing public schools, they may vote Republican.

Public Unions

Jack is struggling to get by. He works two jobs and resents the fact that employees in his state’s public sector earn higher salaries and receive more generous benefits than their private sector counterparts. The discrepancy is not based on merit, but rather on union bosses having spent millions of dollars to elect liberal Democrats who use Jack’s tax dollars to pay off those who got them in power with disproportionately high wages and benefits.

Jack decides he’s had enough of this unethical and unfair collusion between unions and government, including the havoc it’s reeking on his state’s budget, and decides to vote for a Republican governor who pledges to rein in out-of-control public union contracts.        

Detroit

That’s it. Checkmate. Okay, I’ll needlessly elaborate.

Detroit is the shining example of decades of liberal policies. Try as they may (and Bill Maher’s partner in idiocy, Ed Schultz tried) liberals cannot get around the straightforward, unambiguous fact that liberal Democrats at the local, state, and federal levels destroyed Detroit.

In fact, if you look at virtually every impoverished, crime ridden neighborhood, you will notice that the people who run it at all levels of government are Democrats.

So maybe Martha, who lives in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, is disgusted with the liberal Democrats who have failed to lower crime, reduce poverty, and create jobs in her hometown, studies the experience of New York City under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and decides to give a tough-on-crime, pro school choice, pro tax credit Republican mayor a shot.

You see, Billy, it’s in her self-interest.    

Ok, there you have it. A few reasons why people of all backgrounds may choose to vote Republican. There’s also the debate about the proper role of government, the balance between individual liberty and government control, the practical effects of an ever-expanding welfare state, the morality of income redistribution, and other philosophical issues that Bill Maher could not possibly begin to understand.

Because, you know, he is an idiot.   

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Eugene Robinson’s Inexcusable Historical Revisionism

In an atrociously reasoned essay—comical really in its contempt for logic—liberal Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, managed to condemn the U.S. liberation of Kuwait in the first Gulf War, the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11, and the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The crux of Mr. Robinson’s unfortunate thesis is that all military intervention and occupation is the same. No, really. Context is irrelevant. U.S. has no moral authority to condemn Russia for invading Crimea, because of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also throws in Panama and Grenada in the stew of moral equivalence to make sure that no anti-Western talking point remains unmentioned:

“the United States, frankly, has limited standing to insist on absolute respect for the     territorial integrity of sovereign states. Before Iraq there was Afghanistan, there was the Persian Gulf War, there was Panama, there was Grenada.” 

Robinson’s shockingly flawed argument takes minimum analytical firepower to debunk, which begs the question as to why a shrewd editor didn’t point out to Robinson that his brazen assault on reason was ill advised.

Let’s examine each case separately.  

Russia has invaded and occupied Crimea, a sovereign territory of Ukraine, taking over its government buildings and military installations. The sovereignty of Crimea is not in dispute. It is unequivocally sovereign Ukrainian land, whose sovereignty was reaffirmed in 1994 when Russia signed a treaty guaranteeing that Crimea remains a part of Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Russia is unambiguously in violation of that 1994 treaty (among other treaties).

Russia’s justification for the invasion and occupation centers on the claim that ethnic Russians are being threatened and persecuted by Ukrainians (and strangely, neo-Nazis). So far, no independent reports have confirmed Russia’s claim.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait under the pretext that Kuwait had refused to forgive Iraq’s debt accumulated during the Iraq-Iran war when Saddam was fighting on behalf of all Arabs against the Persian enemy (or something like that. Saddam offered a litany of reasons for the war of aggression, none of them compelling.)

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States petitioned the United States to first protect Saudi Arabia and others from Saddam (operation Desert Shield) and then to expel Saddam from Kuwait (operation Desert Storm).

The United States organized and led a coalition of 39 nations to expel Saddam Hussein from Iraq.

JUST LIKE RUSSIA’S INVASION OF CRIMEA.

What’s that you say? The unilateral (literally unilateral, Russia is the only “coalition” member) occupation by Russia of a sovereign country that has not invaded its neighbors is NOT like an international coalition liberating a sovereign country occupied by a maniacal tyrant?

Ok, let’s keep going.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States issued an ultimatum to the Taliban, Afghanistan’s ruling party: surrender Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, and expel al-Qaeda from Afghanistan,  or face an international coalition to overthrow your government on the grounds that you are harboring terrorists responsible for an act of war against the United States.

The Taliban refused to comply, and the United States organized and led an international coalition, this time of over 40 nations, to overthrow the barbaric Taliban regime.

JUST LIKE RUSSIA’S INVASION OF CRIMEA.

No? Some minor differences there? Ok then, Robinson surely nails the next analogy.

In 2002, the United Nations passed a resolution demanding that Saddam Hussein (yes, the same Saddam Hussein who invaded Kuwait, and the same Saddam Hussein who was in material breach of every single UN resolution passed after a ceasefire agreement ended the first Gulf War) disclose when and where his WMD stockpiles had been destroyed as he had claimed.

After Iraq failed to meet the stringent requirements outlined in the 2002 resolution, the United States led a coalition of over 30 nations to overthrow one of history’s most brutal dictators; a dictator who had used weapons of mass destruction against Iraqi Shiites, Iranians, and Iraqi Kurds, who had been a prolific sponsor of international terrorism, and who continued to defy the international weapons inspectors, according to most objective experts, including none other than the UN’s chief arms inspector Hans Blix.
JUST LIKE RUSSIA’S INVASION OF CRIMEA.

Eugene Robinson, whose smugness is only eclipsed by his hatred of facts, unapologetically draws a parallel between Crimea and Iraq:

“We’re supposed to be shocked — shocked! — that a great military power  would cook up a pretext to invade a smaller, weaker nation? I’m sorry, but has everyone forgotten the unfortunate events in Iraq a few years ago?” [emphasis mine]

No, Eugene, we haven’t forgotten that every intelligence agency in the world had concluded that Saddam Hussein had WMD stock piles, financial and operational ties to international terrorism, and a capacity to reconstitute his WMD programs even if the programs were currently dormant (only the first of these claims proved to be based on faulty intelligence).

On the other hand, there is no international consensus to back up Putin’s claim that ethnic Russians are being targeted. In fact, Putin is the only one making this claim.

Ok then, what about the U.S.’s actions in Central America in the 1980s. Surely, those cases revoke all moral credibility the U.S. has in opposing the Russian occupation of Crimea, because they are totally the same.            
In the 1989 invasion of Panama, the United Stated deposed and arrested the thuggish dictator, Noriega, who was under indictment in Florida for drug smuggling. The rationale for the invasion centered on protecting the integrity of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties governing the Panama Canal, which Noriega was continually threatening, and on defending democracy and human rights, which no person familiar with Noriega’s rule disputes were under attack.

The 1983 invasion of Grenada must be seen through the context of the Cold War. Communist controlled Grenada was one of the few nations that refused to condemn the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan 4 years earlier, and most U.S. national security experts considered Grenada to be a satellite of Cuba.

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Barbados and Domenica supported U.S. action to liberate Grenada from a group of communist thugs who had literally machine gunned their way into power. That these thugs were brutalizing the people of Grenada is not in dispute, unlike the dubious and unsubstantiated claim by Putin that ethnic Russians are in danger.  

And again, Russia was the sole member of the “coalition” to occupy Crimea. No other nation or international body called for Russian intervention in a territory only Russia believes is being overrun by neo-Nazis and terrorists.

If Robinson wanted an apt analogy, he could have drawn one between the Russian occupation of Crimea and the German annexation of Sudetenland in 1939. It would go something like this:

Hitler claimed the right to the sovereign Czech region because of the 3 million ethnic Germans living there, allegedly under persecution by the Czechs. Putin is claiming that occupying Crimea is necessary to protect that sovereign region's ethnic Russian population, which is allegedly being threatened by ethnic Ukrainians, though there is no independent confirmation that this is happening. Hitler used Sudetenland as a pretext for occupying all of Czechoslovakia; Putin is signaling that other territories in Eastern Ukraine with large pockets of ethnic Russians are in his sphere of influence. Hitler assumed Europe would do nothing, Putin assumes Europe, NATO, and the U.S. will do nothing.

But of course, that analogy does not advanced Robinson’s goal of perverting U.S. history in order to question the U.S.’s moral authority in condemning Russia.

Like so many good leftists who preceded him, Robinson is unapologetic in drawing a shameful moral equivalence between U.S. interventions on behalf of freedom, and Soviet (now Russian) wars on behalf of tyranny.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's Cruel and Unusual Punishment To Not Execute Some Convicts

Denis Prager has a heart-wrenching piece in the National Review on the injustice rendered in the case of two scumbags who violently assailed a father of two, leaving him severely brain damaged. The two "men" got 4 and 8 years in prison, a woefully inadequate and unjust punishment for their heinous crime.   

I am only half kidding when I say that we need to revisit the "no cruel and unusual punishments " clause in the Bill of Rights. Until we do, the people and their state representatives should fight to reinstate the death penalty in all 50 states. It's cruel and unusual punishment inflicted on the victims to allow the worst kinds of criminals to spend the rest of their lives in America's exceedingly humane and gratuitously snug prisons. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Racialists Value Lives of Murdered Blacks More if Murderer is White

Is an innocent black life taken by a white murderer worth more than an innocent black life taken by a black murderer?

If you’re not a race-obsessed sociopath, this is a ludicrous question.

But if you’re racialist, the answer is inevitably yes.   
 
Racialists are far-left ideologues of all races who invariably view all public policy and indeed, all human action, through a racial prism. For the racialists, race is a paramount trait (which is why the line between racialists and racists is often blurred).

This race-based, pseudo-intellectual worldview serves to polarize society along racial lines, and is used to smear the United States as an inherently and irredeemably racist country.

Frighteningly, this school of thought, previously endemic to Nation of Islam rallies and faculty lounges of the most left-wing universities, is gaining traction as a mainstream idea.  

Last Saturday, the so-called “loud music” trial ended with a Florida jury convicting Michael Dunn, a white male, on three counts of second-degree attempted murder of three black teens and one count of shooting a deadly missile.  

The jury was hung on one remaining count of first degree murder of 17 year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn faces up to 60 years in prison, and Florida’s state attorney has vowed to retry Mr. Dunn for first degree murder.

While the legal experts who followed the case closely can debate the merits of the charges against Dunn and the jury’s verdict, I want to expound on the perverse racial narrative that dominates this case and cases like it. 

If you followed this trial on Twitter or in the mainstream press, you know that race has been the central theme. Why did a white male murder an ostensibly unarmed (there is controversy as to whether Dunn believed the victim was wielding a weapon) black man?

The consensus among the racialists is that Dunn is a racist who was threatened by innocent black teens playing loud rap music. His fear and inherent racism led him to open fire with tragic consequences.

This is not an impossible scenario, and it may very well be true. Yet the racialists go much farther, and contend that this case is a microcosm of American society: a society plagued by racist, trigger-happy whites, who won’t hesitate to gun down innocent black men for any arbitrary reason.

We heard near-identical arguments during the George Zimmerman trial, involving a Hispanic man (dubbed white-Hispanic by the media) who killed an unarmed black teenager, and who was tried and acquitted on self-defense grounds.

Not insignificantly, unlike Zimmerman, Dunn was found guilty of four out of five counts, and will be retried for the fifth count. Implausibly, the racialists point to two cases with opposite outcomes to prove that whites are not only racists but can actually get away with murdering blacks because of the racist U.S. justice system.

But the most sinister consequence of the racialists’ obsession with misguided racial politics is the devaluing of innocent black lives taken by black murderers.

This devaluing occurs when the left-wing racialists bestow martyrdom on black murder victims if the perpetrator happens to be white, but remain eerily silent when the perpetrator is black.

According to a 2007 Special Report issued by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93% of blacks homicide victims and 85% of white homicide victims were murdered by members of their own race.

The Dunn and the Zimmerman cases are anomalies, representing approximately 7% of all cases according to the most recent data available.

Yet the racialists will have you believe that there is a white-on-black crime epidemic.

Why do these cases garner so much national attention and evoke virulent indignation from left-wing activists on Twitter and in liberal newsrooms, while the same people say virtually nothing of 93% of black homicide victims?

One explanation is that white-on-black crime conjures the painful memories of past racial injustices, including lynching. But that would only explain the initial emotional response, not the tireless effort to paint contemporary America as a haven for racists.    
  
The more plausible explanation is that publicizing black-on-black crime does not advance the racialists’ goal of smearing the United States as inherently racist.

The malicious demagoguing of white-on-black homicide cases as windows into American racism underscores the striking indifference to the African Americans who live in communities plagued by black-on-black crime. For the racialists, it’s all about racial politics. They cannot perpetuate the myth of a racist America by focusing on black-on-black crime.

It is tragic that a majority of innocent black people murdered by other black people remain anonymous outside of the occasional local news broadcast, obituaries, and memorial services, while the black people murdered by whites are cynically used as props to advance the racialists’ warped word view.




Monday, February 17, 2014

'Never Again'

Where are the fake human rights activists who righteously denounce NSA "spying" or drone strikes on troglodytes who plot to kill Westerners and non-Islamist Muslims? Where are the fake human rights activists who are obsessed with demonizing the free and democratic state of Israel? There is a Holocaust happening before our eyes in North Korea. Unspeakable, widespread torture. Babies murdered in front of their mothers, mass starvation, and universal terror. Yet NOTHING is being done about it. Sanctions? What a joke. The world’s leaders are silent. The aforementioned humanitarians? Forget about it; bringing down the North Korean regime does not advance their leftist political agenda.  George Bush referred to North Korea as part of an “axis of evil.” The Left vilified him for speaking the truth. The United States under Barack Obama does not lead on human rights issues—that much is obvious. Will another nation fill in the leadership vacuum left by the United States and force this infinitely evil regime to crumble by any means necessary? I hope so, because otherwise, the oft-referenced promise made post-WWII that “never again” would we allow another Holocaust to happen, will be broken yet again.     

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/17/world/asia/north-korea-un-report/index.html?hpt=hp_t1




Monday, December 30, 2013

The Tea Party's Strategic Ineptitude


When the Tea Party surfaced in 2009, I backed the movement’s general philosophy and political objectives. However, following the historic Republican victory in the 2010 elections, which was undeniably driven by Tea Party energy and shrewd grassroots organizing, I became a critic of the movement’s lack of strategic savvy engendered by a false sense of invincibility and hubris.

Since then, the Tea Party’s popularity has declined precipitously, and its vaunted grassroots energy and mobilization efforts could deliver neither the Senate nor the White House for the GOP in 2012. (Yes, I know all about how Mitt Romney wasn’t a true conservative, and therefore couldn’t energize the base to turn out for him as it would have for a true believer. The scapegoating of Romney for GOP misfortunes is belied by the hundreds of millions of dollars conservative groups poured into electing Romney, by the extreme desire of conservatives to defeat Obama, by talk radio’s “we must vote for Romney” consensus, and by the fact that Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock, who unseated the “Establishment-RINO” Richard Lugar in the GOP primary, lost in solidly Republican Indiana.)

The Tea Party’s low approval ratings can certainly be attributed in part to the national media’s concerted efforts to vilify these patriotic Americans. And while the media’s role in the Tea Party’s receding fortunes should not be understated, neither should the shocking strategic ineptitude of the Tea Party and its major supporters in non-profits, in Congress, and in talk radio.

To better understand this ineptitude and without revisiting the original rationale behind the decision to tie defunding of Obamacare to funding the government, let’s look at the aftermath of the budget deal reached in October to end the government shutdown, and the long-term budget deal struck in December.     
        
When the Senate and House overwhelmingly voted to approve a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government, the self-anointed leaders of the conservative movement immediately denounced Republicans for acquiescing to a budget agreement that did nothing to undermine Obamacare.

The harsh criticism was all too predictable and sweepingly counterproductive to the wellbeing of not just the Republican Party (who are after all part of the problem, according to our conservative overlords) but the conservative movement as a whole.   

If the leaders of the Tea Party and the conservative grassroots, well-meaning conservatives like Jennie Beth-Martin or the Madison Project’s Drew Ryun , were strategically savvy, they would have praised Speaker Boehner for holding the line for as long as he could and for doing everything in his power to do something which everyone knew was impossible: defunding Obamacare through the CR process.

Instead, Jennie Beth Martin, Mark Levin, and the other stalwart guardians of the conservative ideology unleashed a barrage of attacks against Speaker Boehner, Republican Senators, and anyone else they arbitrarily deem to be a member of the Inside-the-Beltway Establishment or the “Ruling Class.”

They said it was the Establishment, those dreaded RINOs, who betrayed the infallible Senator Ted Cruz and the conservative cause by agreeing to the Senate deal. And they reflexively attacked the House Republican leadership for “surrendering.”

They were oblivious—oblivious to the point of delusion—that neither the House Leadership nor the conservative Republican Senators who voted with Senate Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell had any other viable alternative. Had they continued to “hold the line,” we would have hit the debt ceiling, and forced to eliminate in one fell swoop 40% of the government—a prospect that all, not most, all non-fringe conservative economists and business leaders agree would have been devastating and entirely pointless.
In other words, Senate and House Republican leaders had two options as of October, 2013: support a short-term spending measure at the 2013 Sequester levels and reopen the government, or risk a completely unnecessary financial disaster, for which they would have been blamed.  

They chose wisely.  

Speaker Boehner fought the good fight. He stood with Ted Cruz and the Tea Party movement for as long as he could. He submitted bill after bill defunding or delaying Obamacare. He slammed the White House and Senate Democrats for their intransigence, their unwillingness to compromise or even negotiate. He fought literally to the last 90 minutes of hitting the debt ceiling.

He was a good conservative soldier and he should have been praised as such. The same goes for Mitch McConnell. Yet, he was subjected to wrathful denouncements by Tea Party leaders. Men and women who had no plan for what would happen once the Senate and the White House invariably rejected defunding or delaying Obamacare. Men and women who insisted that John Boehner fight an unwinnable fight, only to stab him in the back once he lost.

Two months later in December, 2013, facing far less scrutiny from the media, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan struck a long term budget deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray.

Although generally well received by moderates from both sides, the deal was criticized by both conservatives and liberals for conceding too much to the other side. But by far the most vociferous opposition came from our friend Mark Levin and the conservative grassroots, who were against the budget deal before they even read it, prompting Speaker Boehner to fire back against the same people whose torch he carried during the government shutdown.

Given how unfairly they had treated him, Speaker Boehner’s reaction wasn’t a surprise (though I think a more prudent Speaker may have avoided publicizing the internecine warfare, which gave an opening to the left and their media allies to attack conservatives.)

The deal brokered wasn’t perfect, but incredibly, it didn’t give Democrats the three core things they wanted. Given that the GOP controls just one third of one third of government, it was indisputably the best deal conservatives could have gotten.

But alas, the deal struck by the staunch conservative Paul Ryan and passed overwhelmingly by the Republican caucus was an anathema to the Tea Party because it didn’t go far enough in cutting spending. Fortunately this time, with a few notable exceptions, the conservative leadership in Congress  ignored the base, and the best result conservatives could have hoped for was achieved. Undeterred,  the Tea Party was furious and vowed to crusade against Boehner, Ryan, et al.

And this is the environment conservatives currently find themselves in. President Obama’s popularity and credibility have taken massive hits largely because of the Obamacare fiasco, yet the severe internal division within the conservative movement threatens conservative electoral prospects.  

Predicting what the political environment will be like next November is futile—there are too many unknowns. What is known is that the Tea Party’s ironclad commitment to making the perfect the enemy of the good does not bode well for putting the GOP in the best possible position to win the Senate and strengthen its House majority. The conservative movement is divided. Whether conservatives like Paul Ryan have the leadership skills and strategic savvy to unite the movement remains to be seen. But if conservatives are to win back the White House and build a lasting majority, unite we must.

The war between the Establishment and movement conservatism reached its zenith when Ronald Reagan and his allies took on the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party in the 1970s. Reagan challenged and almost beat a sitting GOP President Gerald Ford in the 1976 primary, and beat out the more establishmentarian (though not a big fan of Nelson Rockefeller) candidate George H.W. Bush four years later. 

Today, self-anointed conservative leaders in the Tea Party (a movement whose core philosophical principles I embrace) are obsessed with refighting this battle. They see Rockefeller types everywhere they look, even when their targets are staunch anti-Rockefeller (to use an anachronistic phrase) conservatives like Tom Coburn and Paul Ryan. They see anyone in the GOP leadership as a member of the vaguely defined Establishment, even though Speaker Boehner towed the Tea Party line throughout the entire shutdown, never once turning on the Tea Party caucus.

The Tea Party’s willingness to fight their own in the open can be boiled down to this principle:
If you agree with us on policy and strategy, but disagree with us on tactics, you are part of the problem, a sellout RINO, and a member of the surrender caucus.

Just think about the breathtaking hubris of such a position. If I agree with Ted Cruz on policy (Obamacare is bad for the country), agree with him on strategy (Obamacare should be repealed), but disagree with him on tactics (Obamacare should not be defunded through the CR process), I am a RINO!

The Tea Party sees the current Republican civil war as a battle between the Establishment and movement conservatives akin to Reagan taking on Rockefeller. But it’s not that. Paul Ryan is not a Nelson Rockefeller Republican. Neither is John Boehner. The war the Tea Party is waging is not against the Establishment; it is against conservatives who recognize the limits of power (and especially power limited by minority representation in Congress.)

It would greatly behoove the Tea Party to lay down arms in its war against conservatives who don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good and who pursue conservative policies that can actually be achieved. It is acceptable, and indeed desirable, for the conservative base to pressure Republicans to maximize conservative outcomes. The Democrats' left-wing base does the same thing. However, there is a big difference between pressuring the GOP to move right and demanding the GOP do something that is politically impossible and then excoriating them in the harshest possible terms. Notice that the left-wing base doesn't do that.    

We won’t know what long-term impact the current conservative infighting will have on Republican electoral prospects. What we do know is that Tea Party leaders who have come unhinged in excoriating Speaker Boehner and others do nothing to advance those prospects, or the conservative cause.