Streams

Republican Malaise

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

George Packer, New Yorker staff writer, talks about his article this week on Republican despair and the fall of the conservative movement.

Guests:

George Packer

Comments [73]

Repub101 from manhattan

I think your explanation of "mega-narrative" vs. meta-narrative makes sense, personally.

I was thinking about why this bias issue bothered me so much this morning. Basically, I come to WNYC because they tend to offer a more scholarly and intellectual approach to news and cultural commentary than other radio outlets. So, although a Sean Hannity might be more in line with SOME (not all) of my political views, I listen to him more for that "down home" or "common sense" approach to political commentary. On the other hand, I look to WNYC for more of an analytical approach to all sorts of issues. In that respect, I truly admire commentators like Brian and Leonard, and WNYC as a whole. So, when I hear segments like this one, that seem to aim directly for that anti-Republican (or anti-anything) sentiment, it just bothers me because it seems to represent the same kind of Sean Hannitizement (made that word up, too), only veiled in the WNYC/New Yorker intellectualism. In sum, my criticism stems only from respect for the station. It may not be possible to stay away from left-leaning segments like this one on WNYC, but it would be interesting to explore certain right-leaning issues more thoroughly in the future.

May. 20 2008 10:58 PM
mc from Brooklyn

eva, I can't believe you of all people would attempt to restrict someone's imaginative use of language. What was that definition of pimping?

May. 20 2008 08:23 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Barack Obama: meta-narrative: Born of a Kansan woman and a Kenyan father, he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. Abandoned by his father, his mother raised him on her own. He was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and spent time in Chicago doing community organizing. While serving in the Illinois State Senate he was elected to the US Senate. He is on the brink of securing the Democratic nomination for president.

Mega-narrative (from sound bites): Fresh-face senator from Illinois who draws large crowds with his soaring rhetoric and rock star persona. Has trouble with blue-collar white voters and senior citizens who hesitate to vote for a black man.

May. 20 2008 08:23 PM
mc from Brooklyn

eva,
I have already used it in a number of places and so far you are the only one who did not seem to know what I meant.

The sarong/thong was a mistake that I admitted to so I think it is unfair to bring it up here.

May. 20 2008 08:17 PM
Lee Kane from NYC

In this piece we see just about everything that is wrong with old-style journalism and why, no matter how tempted I repeatedly am, I can not bring myself to donate a dime to WNYC during pledge week.

OK here it is.

1.) A "journalist" (Packer) who is actually a liberal views advocate, posing as if he is a disinterested "observer/reporter." Biggest reveal? He states big government and high taxes are the answer to today's problems. In fact, he does this quite amusingly in connection with a statement that conservatives are out of ideas, his evidence being their refusal to accept big government and high taxes as the answer to society's problems! (Note to George: That doesn't make them out of ideas--it just makes them not liberals.)

2.) A "disinterested" questioner, Lehrer, who is actually quite sympathetic to the guest's one-sided position and so, instead of challenging the guest, dishes up many soft-ball questions.

3.) No second guest who might effectively challenge the one-sided view so far presented.

I am no fan of Rove, but when I listen to him comment I know where he is coming from and he is not trying to hide his sympathies.

Would that Packer - or Lehrer - for that matter be so straightforward.

Keep your views--be proud of them. But please don't pedal them as "objective," not at least without someone to challenge them.

May. 20 2008 07:57 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

mc, studied Greek, and thus get the meta/mega difference, so no need to explain that.
but like the sarong/thong thing, be careful when you create new meanings for words (or just invent new words) because no one will know what you're talking about without a long explanation.
Currently, I think you're the only person to use "meGa-narrative", and your definition seems to be very personal.

May. 20 2008 06:53 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Just did some more reading on meta-narrative and also the root meta, which means beyond, behind, change. Metaphysics, metamorphosis etc. This is not what I mean when I say mega-narrative. Mega means large, big, million. I think a meta-narrative is more of a back story and a mega-narrative is a big story, big enough to be hard to change, to have a life of its own, separate from the truth. People may be using meta-narrative to mean that, but I think it is an inaccurate choice.

May. 20 2008 06:37 PM
mc from Brooklyn

eva,
Just saw your post. I looked up meTa-narrative and I think there is a subtle difference. It looks like MeTa-narrative :-) means a grand story that explains all. My meGa-narrative is not quite that grand. Perhaps an example of a meta-narrative to me is the timeline of history that you might read in textbooks which give you a very sanitized version of events but does not really represent anything realistically. In a mega-narrative you have a story line that might be in the air for a particular period of time, like a personal "rut," but it can get changed. It also may have very little to do with reality. An example might be similar to a post from earlier today: "Freedom is never free but comes at great cost." Or one that I remember in the run up to the war in Iraq: "See how the responsibility weighs on the president."-CNN, 2003. Obviously that narrative has evolved.

May. 20 2008 06:26 PM
mc from Brooklyn

hjs,
I supposed that is what it might take - a revolution of some kind. As for when I might have grandchildren, probably sooner than I'd like to admit :-)

May. 20 2008 05:17 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

mc, I tried to answer you earlier around 2 pm ET, but the post was lost until now.

May. 20 2008 05:11 PM
hjs from 11211

mc
ps
good, if both partyies crash, then we could have some new ideas. maybe the EU will take over.

May. 20 2008 04:38 PM
hjs from 11211

mc
"ur grandchildren" is that soon or like in 50 years. because if the corner isn't turned soon then i'm thinking they'll be living in the 3rd world.

May. 20 2008 04:36 PM
mc from Brooklyn

hjs,

I am sad about it too, but hopeful that maybe my grandchildren might see some other parties. Maybe they'll see universal health care.

I think the Dems are headed for a crash if they don't find a way to close the breach. Repubs have the same problem.

May. 20 2008 04:19 PM
hjs from 11211

mc
these 'failures' historically happen twice in a generation, but without a crystal ball I would have to say the dems, out of touch with the 'flyover zone,' will let the country down again sooner than later. I'm sad to say, since there are only 2 party allowed to hold power in the US.

May. 20 2008 03:24 PM
mc from Brooklyn

hjs,
You are right. That is the subject of today's broadcast. I jut wasn't sure if you were responding to something I wrote. Maybe you could clarify?

Do you think the Dems might be poised for another failure in, say, 4 years?

May. 20 2008 02:19 PM
hjs from 11211

mc
sorry i thought we were talking about the failing GOP did i misread something?

May. 20 2008 02:14 PM
mc from Brooklyn

hjs,
Not sure why this was directed at me (#48) but I am happy to engage. I also do not think that the Republican Party is dead, but I do think that it is made up of very shaky coalitions. I mean, what do social conservatives really have in common with fiscal conservatives? I saw this falling out a long time ago.

But I also think that the Democrats are divided, perhaps going all the way back to LBJ. The conventions in '68, 72, and '80 were terribly divisive and I think the divide just went underground while they were in the minority. We need to figure out how Travis Childers and Nancy Pelosi fit in the same party. I think that we maybe should start with shared prosperity, and, yes, education and access to health care for all. I would also like to see viable alternate parties.

May. 20 2008 02:04 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

mc,
sorry, problems posting my response.
I think you mean meTa-narrative, which you've probably been hearing on the airwaves. Check:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_narrative

May. 20 2008 02:01 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

mc,
Interesting. I think you've been hearing "meTa-narrative" on the airwaves and it lodged in your subconscious, later coming out as "meGa-narrative" as an invented term for something more personal.
check:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_narrative

May. 20 2008 01:55 PM
mc from Brooklyn

eva,
I'm not sure. What is meta-narrative? Mega-narrative is a term that I made up. I began to think that with all of this talk about having a conversation that what got lost is that no one is listening. And that even when it looks like someone is listening, he/she often comes with a narrative already in place and that nothing that does not jibe with that narrative is listened to. Mega-narrative is the same thing writ large. If the story doesn't fit the narrative it is usually underreported.

May. 20 2008 01:51 PM
hjs from 11211

eva
no code

May. 20 2008 01:50 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Just checked out the politico.com article. This is not news to me. Many people, myself included, do not feel that the media by and large have been even handed in this race. That is not to say that HRC was always the victim, for a while they were really stuck on Rev. Wright. Again, this comes down to perception. What one sees as rough treatment toward one candidate is seen as deserved by someone who opposes said candidate. There is no way to resolve this - I would like it if there was more accurate reporting. I see misquotes of many people every single day.

May. 20 2008 01:45 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

howdy,
hjs,what's a unitedstater? Is that some kind of coded term?
mc,what's a mega-narrative? Does it differ from a meta-narrative?
hjs,you can see where a lack of opposition for the GOP made them lazy. Same thing goes for Dems. I think this links to what mc is talking about with flyover states. It's easy for liberals, holed up in Oregon or New York, to dismiss the cultural concerns of people in Kentucky or West Virginia. Without interaction with the "other side", we lose sight of what our priorities should be, and get lost in the culture wars, instead of sticking to essential bread-and-butter issues, like the economy, clean air and clean water, and education. Instead, it's all abortion and all gay marriage all the time, and the usual orthodoxy of "boy-aren't-those-folk-in-Idaho-monstrous" because they don't agree with us, instead of making the case to them for why they might agree with us, or for how we might find common ground to fix our country.

May. 20 2008 01:44 PM
mc from Brooklyn

seth,
Thank you for that. We will have to agree to disagree on both Clintons. I have a somewhat more nuanced view of both - don't consider them angels, but not the antichrist either.

As far as the media, I think it shares the blame for a lot of what's wrong with the political process and it has to do with what Jeremy said (#30), that they are lazy and much more consumed with what I cam calling the mega-narrative than in doing actual reporting. I'll check out the politico.com article, but I have to say, they too, seem to be most interested in the current narrative.

May. 20 2008 01:36 PM
hjs from 11211

mc
well I don't think the GOP is dead and buried but they have suffered during the period of one party rule (2000 - 2006.) with no real opposition they lost any vision they had as they lined up at the trough. during this time working people saw briefly the hypocrisy of GOP, (do I need to make the list?) and now that the country as a whole enters a period of decline people will want the state support that we as a nation have eschew since the reagan revolution. the real question I have is can the dems pull it together. while unitedstaters don't want a ted kennedy style new deal era government, they will want education for their kids, healthcare for their parents, jobs and cheap energy and food. with the GOP dead in the north east and new england it would be a great time for a 3rd party movement, if the dem's continue to fail to see where the people want to be in the 21th century.

May. 20 2008 01:32 PM
seth from Long Island

MC,

Thx for catching my typo. I was trying to do too many things at once. See http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10420.html which illustrates one of my points.

May. 20 2008 01:30 PM
seth from Long Island

I wish that the conservative movement was in decline but unfortunately they have a stranglehold on talk radio and have effectively neutered other media outlets. Network newscasts (esp. Brian Williams) and NYT and WP are often cowed into submission by conservatives by their specious but effective cry of "liberal media" bias.

May. 20 2008 01:23 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Jeremy,
I was wondering if you could define "enemies of freedom" and "win." I hear both lobbed about often as what seems to be another mega-narrative. What do those terms mean to you?

May. 20 2008 01:18 PM
seth from Long Island

MC,

Thx for catching it, I regret typo as I was trying to do too many diff things at once. I regret that so many folks have blind loyalty to Hill/Bill after they repeatedly violated the public trust. Here's an ex of what I referred to yesterday "Clinton turns her fire on media" http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10420.html. It's sad when a politician blames the media to coverup his/her many shortcomings as a candidate.

May. 20 2008 01:17 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

Repub101, do you really think you'll be able to fly the "Mission: Accomplished" banner ever vis-a-vis Iraq? If so, how will you do that given our 9.5 TRILLION dollar federal deficit, and our pressed-to-the-edges military?
Are you and Jeremy actually involved in helping the military, or is all your combat enacted on web sites?

May. 20 2008 01:01 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I agree with eva #42, in large part because I think many so-called talking liberals have very little experience with the interior of the country, dismissively calling it the flyover zone.

seth,
Re: our last exchange yesterday - you misquoted me. I said that a "great" many people agree with HRC that she is the best candidate. When you disputed the point you turned it into "greater" thus changing the substance of what I said. I think that having civil discourse among people who disagree can start by making sure we reflect each other's words accurately. I hope that it was unintentional on your part.

May. 20 2008 12:48 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

Repub101, there is no fall of the conservative movement, this is just George Packer talking out of the wrong end of his body cavity.
Liberals are always too quick to declare the country is headed their way, whether it's that suddenly the whole country will embrace gay marriage tomorrow, or the death of conservatism. Note my earlier point that G. Packer is one of the few liberals who couldn't have IMAGINED Iraq would be such a disaster.

May. 20 2008 12:39 PM
seth from Long Island

The Republicans ran out of new ideas in 1931.

May. 20 2008 12:38 PM
hjs from 11211

GOP is losing because people are not interested in legislating morality. people want abortion. people want stem cell research. the culture wars are ending and the GOP has failed to claim today's issues. don't look to WNYC for the right wing talking points.

May. 20 2008 12:38 PM
Jeremy Kareken from Sunnyside

Eva!
Thanks for that! I'll look for it. Not that Mr. "every frickin medium" Mamet needs another soapbox. Like he's ever had a hard time keeping his mouth shut. But I *always* like to hear what he has to say.

May. 20 2008 12:37 PM
Jeremy Kareken from Sunnyside

Well said, Repub 101. Mission ongoing. Freedom, by nature, can never "win," anyways. We have to fight with one hand behind our back because we do care about the rights of the Enemies of Freedom. But win we must. And I believe that we will win.

May. 20 2008 12:34 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Jeremy,
I hear you on this. Though I come from the other side of the divide from you I understand your calling the media lazy. I have come to feel that I must beware the tyranny of the mega-narrative, whatever it might be. There always are several going on at once and I think it behooves us to constantly question it.

May. 20 2008 12:33 PM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

Jeremy,
Contrary to your statement, David Mamet has been a guest on Lopate. It was a great show, you should listen to it, it's available through the website.
The media may have been too optimistic in the beginning, but let's be frank: The people who were REALLY too optimistic in the beginning were Rumsfeld et compagnie, who didn't even bother to draft a plan for the occupation. Now you've had five years to make it work, longer than we spent fighting WWII. The optimists in the Bush admin told us we didn't need a draft, now our military personnel is stretched to the hilt and exhausted. If it's improving SO MUCH there, and you're so gung ho, do us a favor and enlist. I'm sure they'll take someone your age, they just took a Vietnam vet as a re-enlistee, that's how stretched they are.

May. 20 2008 12:32 PM
Jeremy Kareken from Sunnyside

Agreed the Republican Party is failing, but some claim that it's failing because they're not being conservative enough. There's some evidence: Medicare reform, pork gone wild during the DeLay years, and nation building. Some also think it's because the Republican party isn't socially conservative enough. I'm not one of them, but they have their point and I respect it.

And there are those who feel the Grand Old Party is just failing to get its message out. With George W. Bush as our messenger in chief, I don't blame them for saying that.

At my heart and soul, I'm a libertarian, so I'm used to not getting listened to. "Aw, let him." is hardly the stuff that gets people riled up to get to the polls, but it's one of the things this country was built on. I don't have Congressman Paul's vehemence against the war in Iraq, but I certainly wouldn't mind more Federalism in this Republic.

May. 20 2008 12:31 PM
Repub101 from Manhattan

We can surely wait another year before declaring "Mission: Accomplished." But I think what Jeremy is saying, among other things, is let's hold off on declaring "Mission: FAILED" in the meantime.

May. 20 2008 12:30 PM
hjs from 11211

Jeremy
ok baby steps, but, why don't we wait a year and see how things are going before declaring mission again accomplished.

May. 20 2008 12:29 PM
Repub101 from Manhattan

Jeremy-- I HEAR you. Glad to know there is at least one other listener who is seeing some of this bias...

May. 20 2008 12:28 PM
Repub101 from Manhattan

Ok, Chris O. That does make sense. There is among Republicans to re-gain their seats, to be clearer with the public on their stances, as well as the principles behind their stances. But there's a major left-ist spin in "fall of the conservative movement" (just one example). But, hey-- I suppose I can't convince the unconvinced. But still voicing my concerns to WNYC!!

[[BL Moderator Writes: Thanks for keeping this discussion civil. Just a reminder that the most effective place to voice concerns such as these is with Listener Services - you can give them a call at 212.669.3333. Thanks for listening!]]

May. 20 2008 12:26 PM
Jeremy Kareken from Sunnyside

What positive steps? His name is David Petraeus. He saw where it was (and it was) failing and has done a fine job of fixing many of the problems. I think we could list Anbar province itself as a step in the right direction. I think we can call much of what are serving men and women are doing, if not most, are positive steps these days. Do we hear about any of that? No. Just more "toldja so" from Sy Hersh and his cronies. Even when "so" changes.

I'm sad that I have to go to partisan sources for different parts of the truth. Why did the insurgent faking of news photographs have to be outed by an angry right-wing website? Because the big media isn't doing its job. Now that NPR has the Kroc fortune on its side, they have to step up to the plate a little better and not just call old friends from cocktail parties.

The "media" writ large isn't leftish, it's lazy. They were too optimistic in the beginning, part of the push to war, and too negative when things were bad. And they're still too negative when things are going well. WORK HARDER, NPR! I know you can do it!

May. 20 2008 12:18 PM
Repub101 from Manhattan

I didn't say I had no interest in hearing a former Republican's views. I just feel that the only times they invite a Republican on here is to discuss how the Republican party is failing. I expect more from a media institution that I respect.

May. 20 2008 12:18 PM
Chris O from New York City

Earth to Repub101: The Republican Party is in trouble. China just had an earthquake, do you wnat the news to report that Taiwan had one, too, just to be fair (OK - now I am mocking you). I repeat: Newt Gingrich is saying the Republican party is in dire straits, leading Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) is saying this (he's retiring). Republicans just lost 3 traditionally rock solid districts in special Congressional elections. Bush has historically low approval ratings. It is not biased to say the party is in bad shape - it is what is really happening. Leading Republicans are making this point because they are NOT in denial and they want to turn it around.

May. 20 2008 12:18 PM
hjs from 11211

Repub101
i've had to listen for 3 months about how the primary is dividing the democratic party.
so you have no interest in a moderate former republican, guess u should go to fox.

May. 20 2008 12:16 PM
Repub101 from Manhattan

Not that I believe they SHOULD do a show on the fall of the Democratic party. I don't think they should necessarily. But to do a show on the fall of the Republican party almost feels like wishful thinking.

May. 20 2008 12:11 PM
Repub101 from Manhattan

Lincoln Chafee is not a Republican, but thanks anyway. Just to emphasize my point again, look at it this way: is it likely that either BL or LL would ever do a show called "Democratic Malaise" or "The Failures of the Democratic Party?" Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it. I think they are much more likely to do a show on "Republican Malaise." Well, I'm 100% right about that one.

May. 20 2008 12:08 PM
Chris O from New York City

I wonder if the segments are a little more liberal during the pledge drives. It would make sense, and dollars, probably.

I suppose the claim that WNYC is biased is based on George Packer's discussion on the demise of the Republican Party. But Newt Gingrich is saying this, leading Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) is saying this (he's retiring). Republicans just lost 3 solid Republican seats in special Congressional elections. Bush has historically low approval ratings. It is not biased to say the party is in bad shape - it is what is really happening. Leading Republicans are making this point because they are NOT in denial and they want to turn it around.

May. 20 2008 12:07 PM
hjs from 11211

Repub101,
and Lincoln Chafee to be on Leonard Lopate Show today, enjoy.

May. 20 2008 12:03 PM
Chris O from New York City

Of course, in a world where perceptions are tenuous and sometimes random, you call me narrow-minded yet you claim I mocked you. Hmmm. I had no intent to mock you and don't see how I did.

May. 20 2008 11:56 AM
hjs from 11211

chis O
thanks, i was getting around to responding to tat but you said it better than i could. althought this is new york BL brings a lot of GOP voices (national & local) to the air.

May. 20 2008 11:55 AM
Repub101 from Manhattan

Chris O,

Ok, so there are 2 segments per week out of roughly, how many? And the fact that I seek balance (if not neutrality) from a news org means that I'm trying to make WNYC into Fox News? Yet another example of the narrow-mindedness I mentioned. You can disagree with me, but there's no need to mock my suggestions.

May. 20 2008 11:51 AM
Chris O from New York City

It is not neutral or news to say, "One side says this and the other side says that..." That is being a mindless tool. News organizations SHOULD not do this but they do, NPR and WNYC much less than the mainstream for profit news organizations. And, unfortunately for those of your political stripe, in the 21st Century, reality clearly has a liberal bias.

May. 20 2008 11:50 AM
Chris O from New York City

Dear Repub101,
Brian just had Fred Kagan on last week to push the POV you feel is neglected, at least in foreign affairs. Doug Feith was on recently and also given a fair hearing, at least by Brian. So your point about 1 segment a year is so off base it can not stand unchallenged, there is probably at least one segment a week of the type you desire, of the type you claim does not exist. But please, don't try to turn the only mainstream news sanctuary left into Fox News or other cable news tragicomedy-fests.

May. 20 2008 11:48 AM
hjs from 11211

Jeremy
what postive steps about the war are there?

May. 20 2008 11:43 AM
Jeremy Kareken from Sunnyside

"lack of neutrality from a media organization"

I couldn't agree more. What's worse is that when they claim to offer diversity of opinion, they go to more mass-media folks. This is their chance to actually go to interesting, detailed and nuanced opinion-makers. Why not the Cato Institute, atheists who are positive about religion, Lomborg-style environmentalists. While Conservatives like David Brooks are doing their damndest to think beyond partisanship, liberals like WNYC and Barack Obama claim to be beyond it but offer the same left/right dialectic. It doesn't help anyone. For instance, the war: why the news blackout of the positive steps, only the same retread of failure? Particularly when we're not failing!

May. 20 2008 11:39 AM
Repub101 from Manhattan

hjs-- I just mean that it would be nice for once to hear a fair debate on air between someone on the Right as well as someone on the Left. But it seems to me that WNYC only invites speakers who have Leftist views, and only their voices get heard on this station. I may be wrong, but whenever I tune in, this seems to be the case.

We don't all have to agree with Republicans. However, Republicans do not all have hatred in their elitist corporate imperialist hearts. Many of us just believe in individual rights for all. The issues and conflicts that we face in today's current events are so much more complicated than many of the voices on WNYC seem to convey them. The way the Republican party seeks to deal with these issues deserves a more fair consideration. I am sorry if I am not addressing one specific issue, but perhaps I will address them as they come up in other forums. But the bias aspect is my basic point here.

May. 20 2008 11:38 AM
hjs from 11211

Repub101
which issues did u want to heard about?

May. 20 2008 11:16 AM
Repub101 from Manhattan

Liberal bias at its best. I'm not sure why we can't discuss the issues, instead of constantly reverting to this "anti-Republican" rhetoric. While I once enjoyed listening to your programming, I am sick of this constant bashing and lack of neutrality from a media organization. It's clear that most of your listeners have a left-leaning bias. But, couldn't you spend ONE segment per year discussing values that may be traditionally viewed as "Right-wing," in a fair light? If not, you continue to promote this left-wing narrow-mindedness that refuses to discuss issues reasonably.

May. 20 2008 11:09 AM
Jeremy Kareken from Sunnyside

Another New York playwright social critic laying bare American failure. Whoopie.

Real diversity of opinion. Why don't you get David Mamet, Bill Hoffmann, Bruce Norris... or fer hecksake, ME!

A conservative playwright show. Dast you?

May. 20 2008 10:40 AM
scnex from harlem

when did the p.c. shift to call "racism" or white man's burden - "culture war"? when and where will the next tipping point occur when the true stats are not acerbated and the lie of the establishment of history comes clean...

May. 20 2008 10:40 AM
wanda

six years wasted ??? How about 40 years wasted from the Republican party

May. 20 2008 10:32 AM
hjs from 11211

GOP is already dead in new england dieing in north east. we are living in a realignment and many can't see it. no suprise some GOP are still waiting for pre-50's america to return

May. 20 2008 10:29 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

This is such BS. Now that the Bush administration is a failure, conservatives are trying to make themselves look smart by saying "the movement is not what it was" instead of "I guess we were wrong."

May. 20 2008 10:27 AM
ee from SOHO

This seems like another liberal brainwashing propaganda. Reminds me of when MTV was advertising that "Rock is Dead". I never thought that rock was dead at that time (but not according to MTV) -- it was just advertising, which is another word for lies. Of course, MTV resurrected the whole genre back. This is just a cycle; Republicans are elected (think Gingrich, GBush) and soon people get tired of them and wants Democrats, and vice versa(Clinton,Carter,Tip O'Neill. No, there is no fall of conservative movement, only according Packer. If Democrats are elected and control Congress in 2008, then Packer will be writing about the fall of liberal movement.

May. 20 2008 10:27 AM
EricF

my questions have to do with the meaning of the terms "conservative" and "conservatism".

seems to me that the so-called "neo-conservative" movement (which i think of as the "psuedo-conservative" movement) has coopted the term "conservative" and some conservative rhetoric and ideas, but is not really conservative at all.

we've seen proponents of balanced budget run record deficts, proponents of modest foreign policy engaged in aggresive foreign policy, proponents of small government try to expand executive branch power, etc.

are we talking about the fall of conservatsim, or pseudo-conservatism?

if we're talking about the latter will we see a revival of "real conservativism"? and if so, what should we call "real convervatism"? has term been so thoroughly appropriated that actual conservatives may have to find another way to describe themselves?

May. 20 2008 10:21 AM
Mike from Bellport

Isn't the fall of the Republican party due to the corruption inherent in their ideals? You can't have smaller government while at the same time contracting out all the government jobs. You can't have smaller government when you are also running another country. You can't allow corporations to export all their jobs and taxes to foreign countries and then blame the few immigrants working over here for the problems in the economy. You can't say you want the government out of our lives and at the same time say you want them to spy on our phones without warrants.

It's all just lies. They say they believe in core values, but over and over again they vote against those values.

May. 20 2008 10:09 AM
BORED

Now that HRC is the standard bearer of the right, she and Karl Rove can start rebuilding the GOP.

May. 20 2008 10:02 AM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

Without the Iraq invasion, where would George Packer be? The obvious debacle it would turn out to be could be exploited, I mean, "treated" as tragedy, in "The Assassin's Gate" and in a related play, entitled "Betrayed." A play which, incidentally, blames the Iraqis for the current state of the country, which is great, because I was really feeling guilty about the possibility that forcing our guys to preside over a total fiasco of an occupation might have been something resembling OUR FAULT.
In conjunction with my purchase of Packer's book and tickets for his play, I'm looking forward to the handsome George Packer action figure. I'm also looking forward to the day any of these idiots are held accountable for their war cheerleading. But I may have to settle for the action figure.

May. 20 2008 05:51 AM
eva from 635 miles south of Portland

Republican despair? The only despair I feel is that people like George Packer, who passionately egged everyone on into war (without, of course, actually serving in combat) are still employed. He's shameless. WHY should anyone take this terribly earnest and well-meaning idiot seriously ever again, whether on conservatism, on the war, or anything else? And just as he was really, really overly optimistic (read: wrong) on Iraq, he's also overly optimistic on the death of conservatism. Brian, please ask George Packer if he would still dare to advocate staying in Iraq (oh, his troubled conscience should we leave!) if his darling colleagues were conscripted as cannon/i.e.d. fodder, instead of some poor schmuck high school athletes from upstate who just needed to pay for college. Packer should resign in shame, but he has none.

May. 20 2008 02:14 AM
pam from nj

as a fiscal conservative/social liberal who never saw any sense in paying people [read: some politicians] for their views on the consequences of my sexuality, i never really thought the repub's had any good ideas to begin with.
so seriously, why start worrying about it now?

and news flash!! infectious disease, bird flu, etc.., none of that stuff really cares about your soul, or mine.

May. 20 2008 12:26 AM

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