On Black Friday, it looked as though a lot of the "99 percent" and Occupy Wall Streeters were crowding the big stores to buy products manufactured by cheap labor in other countries at prices as low as possible.
When it comes to buying products, people don't really care if the manufacturing was moved out of the U.S. to take advantage of cheap labor. It's all about price.
The companies targeted by Occupy Wall Street don't really care how many people camp and protest. The real majority does its talking through its purchasing.
Michael Medved's message to conservatives in his Nov. 23 op-ed "Conservatives, Romney, and Electability" is that they can back a principled conservative candidate who likely will lose in 2012 or they can support Mitt Romney and have a decent shot at victory. Mr. Medved offers data from 2008 exit polls and anecdotal evidence from earlier elections to support his contention that GOP candidates who are perceived to be moderates generally win by "seizing and holding the ideological center."
Mr. Medved's political analysis makes sense, but tea partiers and other fiscal conservatives have to wonder what they've accomplished by helping GOP moderates get elected. With Nixon/Ford, federal spending growth actually accelerated slightly to double-digit levels, following in the footsteps of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society buildup. Spending growth slowed a bit in the Reagan/Bush years, but it was back up above 7% a year during the George W. Bush administration. Along the way, alleged GOP moderates gave us wage and price controls and stagflation in the 1970s, tax increases in the Bush 41 years and entitlement expansion in the Bush 43 years. Only Ronald Reagan slowed the growth of federal spending (a little) and delivered more tax cuts than increases.
The Whig Party was a predecessor to the Republican Party in the first half of the 19th century. The country and the Whig Party were bitterly divided in those years over whether and how to stop the spread of slavery. Whigs gained control of the White House and Congress at times but always sought compromise on slavery. Finally in 1860, zealous, right-wing Christian conservatives found a home in the Republican Party and helped elect Abraham Lincoln. Stopping Washington's growth today should be a great deal easier than ending slavery (and absolutely no moral equivalence is implied or appropriate in that observation), but the electable GOP moderates of the past 50 years mostly accepted a welfare state as a fait accompli. Perhaps Mitt Romney is ready to break the moderate mold and truly shake up Washington. If not, and he wins next year, the conservative base of the GOP will again be looking for a new home.
Mr. Medved performs a service by statistically debunking some prevalent electoral myths about the recent behavior of conservative voters. With the rise of the tea party, we are enjoying a welcome surge of enthusiasm for conservative principles. But that enthusiasm must not overwhelm William F. Buckley Jr.'s famous advice to vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.
After Barry Goldwater's historic defeat, a conservative friend told me that Goldwater would have won if he had been a real conservative. Conservative principles are crucially important, but elections are not a lab test for product purity. We must be careful not to let ideological rigidity cloud our judgment or damage our candidates. There are always people who would rather make a point than make a difference, but 2012 is too important an opportunity to squander.
William R. Snaer
Palm Desert, Calif.
The premise of Mr. Medved's message to the GOP is to go center, not conservative, and then he uses three-quarters of his claptrap explaining how successful John McCain was in 2008. He acknowledges that Ronald Reagan was the only conservative to be elected in modern times, but he omits minor details such as Reagan's spectacular unmatched successes in the economy and national defense—bedrock foundations of conservatives. "Republican in Name Only" failures since 1988, with a brief respite during the Gingrich Congress, have badly damaged the Republican brand and ushered in Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and an unstoppable Democratic Senate with resultant enormous deficits, ballooning debt and ObamaCare. Yes—we need to get behind another RINO. How ridiculous.
While Lawrence Lessig eloquently describes the benefits of public financing of elections (“More Money Can Beat Big Money,” Op-Ed, Nov. 17), successful public financing is not possible while it is being undermined by the “Citizens United” Supreme Court, which has done everything possible to strike down or limit public financing legislation in states where it has been adopted.
An underlying problem is the Supreme Court’s corrupt and misguided recognition of corporations as “people.” This has to be changed as well.
Katherine and I just completed our viewing of Into the West (2005). This nine-hour miniseries, produced by Steven Spielberg, appeared on TNT in 2005. I watched it on television at the time, but had forgotten most of it by the time we began watching the DVD in September. The miniseries is disappointing. The acting is mediocre (at best); it's hard to understand much of the dialogue; and the Indians are portrayed as angelic, when in fact they were diabolical. Don't watch this miniseries unless you want to see how propaganda works.
Will the militant atheists (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, et al.) come down hard on African-Americans, who are more religious than the population at large?
African-Americans are remarkably religious even for a country known for its faithfulness, as the United States is. According to the Pew Forum 2008 United States Religious Landscape Survey, 88 percent of African-Americans believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with 71 percent of the total population, with more than half attending religious services at least once a week.