Revisiting Decorum: The CPAC Controversy

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Photo: Snooki at the Grammys. This is not business attire–unless your business is street walking or being provocative on the Grammy’s red carpet.

It didn’t strike me as particularly controversial to say that a business-political gathering calls for business attire generally or to say, specifically, don’t dress like a tramp. Here’s the link to the offending post.

Why is this controversial?

Well, some objected to me using the words “whore” or “slutty” to describe the dress. The language was provocative but no more provocative than the dress, itself, which was the point. Do young women want to be seen first as a sex object? If the answer is yes, then dress that way.

To be clear, the vast majority of women dressed beautifully at CPAC. Look at how awesome conservative women looked here. Enough poorly dressed women got my attention, and a guy brought it up to me (and then a girl did) at the convention, and then I read Erick’s post about young men, and all this was on the heels of an event I took my daughter to recently, that I decided to write about the phenomenon. Altogether, I came to the conclusion that firstly, we are doing a poor job teaching proper decorum to the next generation and secondly, these young women won’t have the benefit of being long forgotten fashion fails. Social media will capture it for all posterity.

Young people need to be more careful these days to maintain their reputations than those of my generation.

I should have divided my post, had I to do it again, because I was really talking about two things: social behavior and sartorial behavior. They are correlated, but not causative. That is, dressing sleazy does not necessarily mean one is a sleaze. That impression can be taken though, and can be detrimental to a woman’s professional and personal opportunities.

It may surprise people to know that I don’t particularly care about fashion in the abstract. I don’t pay attention to it. Women who pull off pulled-together consistently have my full respect. It’s not easy. I’ve referred to myself as fashion-unconscious.

Decorum, though, does matter, and when not one or two outliers, but groups of women seem to be so clueless that even I notice, it might be a problem. So I wrote about it.

This was not a prescriptive post. That is, I wasn’t telling people to wear such and such. It was proscriptive. That is, don’t do this.

Some men lamented that I recommend the coverage of cleavage. Some men were relieved. It shouldn’t be controversial to say that women should be aware of their effect on men and to be respectful. And even I noted that women will show a little bit and can be tasteful, but too much is too much. Who is to say what’s too much? Well, that takes judgment, discernment, and that’s what seems to be lacking.

Some folks worried that even mentioning decorum would discourage young people from getting involved. The mohawk-wielding, Fingers Malloy said that he thought the GOP was too uptight as it is, fashion-wise. Probably. But I never said to be uptight or nunnish but to dress to suite the situation. To be respectful.

And since I’m here, I may as well go all the way. Some of the young men and women I’m writing about didn’t look edgy fashion-wise–they looked unkempt. They looked like they needed showers.

Personal hygiene, being schooled in basic etiquette, knowing where to wear what, are all foundational to being respectful of those around you. I’ve caught a couple episode of What Not To Wear, and repeatedly, the hosts are stressing being respectful by dressing and grooming in a manner appropriate to the situation. They don’t ask people to give up their essential selves. They ask that the people be their best selves.

And really, that was my whole point: Young ladies, those few who this was written to, being their best, pulled-together selves is simply respectful to themselves and to their friends, their co-workers, and the environment. What you wear, how you wear it, and in what situation you wear it does provoke a reaction from people either good, bad or neutral. To pretend that people don’t judge is just silly. They do.

On Twitter, I gave examples of women who are beautiful and even edgy and sexy but not overtly sexual or sleazy. There’s a line. We all seem to know the difference. Well, Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, Pamela Gellar, Abby Alger and Tina Korbe are all unique and uniquely beautiful, tasteful, and sartorially pleasing, as just a few examples.

As to the latter, Robert Stacy McCain, decided to link-whore (there’s that word again) on my previous post and took the opportunity to be vile to Tina Korbe. There is no excuse for what he wrote. Please read Katie Pavlich’s thorough evisceration. He was wrong and came across as a sexist pig. Tina is an example of what TO do. That she sat down, and her skirt hiked up, and that someone captured it and pointed it out is classless. All women in a skirt (even ones that go to your knees), can empathize with her situation. The people publishing the photo should be embarrassed. [It just makes me angry that I’m playing into what Stacy really wants, which is for someone, anyone, to link to and read his blog.]

Hopefully, this clarifies things. There’s a line between stylish and even sexy, and sleazy and kinda dirty. Women who dress the latter at a business or politics conference shouldn’t be surprised when people judge them. Some ladies do this knowing the effect and being happy for it. More women though, are unaware of the impression they’re leaving and would like to be seen differently. For those women, a knowledgable Department Store worker can be a huge help. I know I have one. She calls me when she thinks something would be good, since I’ve told her my job. Being fashion stupid doesn’t mean one has to violate decorum. It just means one has to work harder.

Here’s a link to good advice. There’s more at the link.

Oh, and since I’ve irritated everyone, I’ll address the social behavior in another post.

CPAC: The Jersey Shore-ification Of Our Young People — UPDATED

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Erick Erickson wrote a must-read piece to the young men of the conservative movement. It’s good stuff and especially important considering men are to be future leaders at home, at church, etc.

Women will be future leaders, too, and I was dismayed to see how many of them either looked frumpish or like two-bit whores.

First, are these young people being taught anything by their parents? I was at another service-oriented gathering of young women where the girls were in tight bandeau-skirts (you know, the kind of tube-top skirts that hookers wear on street corners?). They were sitting with their mothers. What is going on here?

Second, have women so internalized feminist dogma that they see themselves in only two ways? Butch, men-lite wannabes or 3rd wave sluts who empower themselves by screwing every available horndog man?

Neither path is a way to self-love and respect, mind you. Both tracks will inhibit future success.

Women, if you’re at a conference where you’re learning to be a future politician or wish to succeed in the business of politics, dress the part. No, you don’t have to be in a business suit with pearls. However, modesty is a minimum. So:

1. No cleavage. That’s right. Cover that up. I say “no” in absolutist terms because women will show a tiny bit and that’s okay, but really, in a business environment where ideas are the priority, a dude thinking about your ta-tas is counter-productive.

2. Skirts no more than three finger-widths above the knee. Why do I even have to write this? Well, because someone is allowing these girls out of the house with mini-skirts that reveal too much.

3. Save the stilettos for Saturday night on a date with your boyfriend.

4. Bend at the knee. No, I don’t want to see your butt.

Young women, you degrade your own value by dressing and then acting the ho.

I cannot even tell you how many girls have told me that all they want is to get married and have babies. They do not seem to make the connection that a young man is not interested in getting married and making babies with a girl who is so easy as to have a one-night stand over a CPAC weekend (or any other weekend.)

You know what a guy thinks when you slut-it-up? He thinks: If she’ll do that with me, she’ll do that with anyone.

This is not politically correct advice, mind you. Young ladies at college are encouraged to embrace their sexuality and flaunt it on the one hand (empowerment!) or to be tough, gruff and make-up free (man’s world!) to be taken seriously.

A successful woman can be tough and beautiful, modest and stylish, smart and sexy while still being chaste and having expectations of men.

The conservative movement means conservative values–promoting behavior that will lead to a sound society. Family is at the basis of this. Sexuality, and the self-management of it, is at the core of family.

A man who will use self-restraint, respect a woman, honor her enough to not pressure for sex–is a man who will more likely be faithful in marriage, work and life.

Likewise, a woman who sees herself as more than a sex-object and realizes she doesn’t need to be a man in order to be worthy, who carries herself with confidence and modesty, will attract men who want to get married and make babies.

It is disheartening that these ideas even need to be written about, but clearly they do. If, at the number one conservative conference of the year, young men and women are looking and acting like the cast of Jersey Shore, it’s time to reset the compass.

It’s past time.

P.S. Parents, your children reflect your standards, or lack thereof. For. Shame.

UPDATED: Worth a read. A father gives his account of young women and says, in his article, The Death of Pretty:

Most girls don’t want to be pretty anymore even if they understand what it is. It is ironic that 40 years of women’s liberation has succeeded only in turning women into a commodity. Something to be used up and thrown out.

Of course men play a role in this as well, but women should know better and they once did. Once upon a time you would hear girls talk about kind of women men date and the kind they marry. You don’t hear things like that anymore.
But here is the real truth. Most men prefer pretty over hot. Even back in 6th grade I hated the “hot” Olivia Newton John and felt sorry for her that she had to debase herself in such a way. Still do.

Please read the whole thing.

Updated again:

Well, at least Wonkette is consistent. They are for sluttiness! Yay! Let’s promote STDs, drunken debauchery, casual sex, and by extension, the inevitable unwanted pregnancies and abortions that result. Isn’t being progressive positively regressive? Like it’s some big cultural evolution and progress to have humans rut like animals.


Dan Riehl welcomes Tube Tops.

On “Whorishness.” Related: STDs

Little Miss Attila on navigating gender relations:

There is, in fact, a sort of intellectual jujitsu that a few conservative males practice, wherein they decline to respect women in the egalitarian John Stuart Mill sense (because, doncha know, that’s feminist, and it’s bad), and yet they decline to do it in an Old-World, gentlemenly sense (because that would be old-fahioned, and we’re all very modern around here). These two approaches can overlap, but in a certain type of male they might both be eschewed . . . and that is a recipe for caddishness.

I’ve seen it, and it isn’t attractive.

But, you know: these matters of etiquette aren’t easy, no matter where one stands on the social-conservative spectrum. And conventions . . . well, they can be dicey arenas when it comes to the etiquette of flirting. (Rebecca Watson just called to point out that a guy once tried to coffee-rape her in an elevator, which, you know . . . made me sigh heavily.)

The bottom line is, treat people decently. If you’re wrestling with heavy-duty personal demons such as uncontrolled anger—or a tendancy to proposition new acquaintances‐don’t drink as heavily, even if there is a hosted bar.

She brings up a good point on acting respectful. And that’s really what I’m talking about here–dressing, acting respectfully, appropriately (man, I hate that word).

It’s a matter of even knowing what is respectful attire, action, etc. This all makes me seem terribly old-fashioned. And it probably makes me seem hard on women.

If a woman is looking for a man, don’t act like a little girl, don’t dress provocatively and then be appalled when you’re propositioned, and have a couple standards for behavior–your own and his.

These sorts of things used to be taught. Now the rules and expectations are so blurred and confusing, there’s a certain amount of blithering hysteria involved in the Western mating ritual. Girls really have no concept of their own value and are shocked at being treated as a commodity.

Question: Were loose standards the standard for getting into the bloggers lounge? Inquiring minds outside the room want to know.

CPAC: The Conservative Movement’s Confusing Conference

Monday, February 13th, 2012


CPAC 2012 seemed surreal. The event was anchored by two staunch conservatives.

Thursday, Governor Rick Perry gave a rousing speech with multiple standing ovations. Saturday, Governor Sarah Palin gave a barn burner of a speech, firing up the crowd. She deftly dealt with protesters. She painted a soaring vision.

Sandwiched in between these speeches: Moderately interesting political speeches from Santorum, then Mitt, then Newt.

Internet connectivity was spotty to an enraging degree. I couldn’t write, upload, and sometimes even tweet. Any coverage I did give, came via my phone and 3G.

Aside: This is the fourth time I’ve been to CPAC and this is the fourth time the internet has been a problem. If they want their event to be reported effectively, you’d think the organizers would make the investment into some serious bandwidth.

A couple people asked me how I felt CPAC compared to years past. Well, in 2008, Mitt Romney got out of the race at CPAC and there were multitudes of weeping Romneybots there. Mitt Romney still won the straw poll that year.

Romney edged out Santorum for the CPAC Straw Poll this year. In years past, paid Romneybots or Ronulans stuffed the vote. It was a competition to see who could win. The Straw Poll has never mattered, but the press loves to blab about it anyway. That Santorum came so close to winning this year is somewhat significant. He must have some organic following amongst the faithful to even compete with Romney’s Straw poll ballot-stuffing machine.

Generally, the energy just didn’t seem to be there for CPAC this year–not like I think it should be during an election year. Does it concern me for November? Yes, it does. This should be a shoe-in year for Republicans. I’m afraid it’s going to be close because our candidates can’t articulate a clear, inspiring vision. We’ll see.

Some fun moments included the Paul Begala – Tucker Carlson slap fight, Andrew Breitbart’s rousing speech and the promo for the Hating Breitbart movie, and Steve Crowder and Chris Loesch’s parody rap (watch for the N-word–lefties fell right into the trap).

Mostly, CPAC is about networking. On that account, it was a spectacular success.

Some years back, Hillary Clinton groused about a “vast right-wing conspiracy”. That statement was laughable when she said it. Now, there’s a right-wing network. No, it’s not the top-down MMFA-Obama machine fueled by Journolist like on the left. The more a patchwork of people who tolerate each other and work together when forced to achieve a useful end. Ever try to rangle a hoard of one-man-bands? Well. The bands are starting to become aware of one another, work together, and help promote each other’s work. It’s heartening.

A couple events help with that. For the third year, Ali Akbar, Aaron Marks and I decided to torture ourselves by throwing a party for bloggers. Microsoft on the dreaded K-street hosted and the party was an alcohol-soaked success. As John Brodigan says, the proponents of limited government are not for limited alcohol. See also karaoke.

At the Blogbash awards were given by and for bloggers. They weren’t the only ones. The presented some awards, too.

Winners included Michelle Malkin (legacy award), Andrew Breitbart (changing the narrative — Weiner Press Conference), Ezra Dulis (video–Attack Watch), Jimmie Bise (podcast–The Delivery), RB Pundit (Twitter–@RBPundit), Peter List (Activism — unions), Lisa DePasquale (friend of bloggers), Jason Hart (state level blogger of the year — Ohio politics), True The Vote & Catherine Englebrecht (bloggers stand with), James O’Keefe & Project Veritas (Sunlight–New Hampshire voter registration fraud) and John Sexton who won both investigative post AND Blogger of the year for work at Verum Serum with Morgen Richmond.

One heartening part of CPAC: Hollywood types are starting to come out of the closet. Kirk (Growing Pains) Cameron spoke for the first time. Allen Covert and Dan Kessler launched their patriotic iPhone/iPad app CherryTree for children. I saw Chuck Wollery on Radio Row.

CPAC seemed better and more discouraging than in past years. Better because it was wonderful to make more new friends and renew old acquaintances. Worse because I believe that the country is moving leftward both morally and fiscally to our eventual demise. Conservative actions are spreading locally and at the state level. Nationally, conservatism is voiceless and leaderless and that’s too bad.

Bloggers Honoring Bloggers: Award Nominees To Be Voted On At Blogbash CPAC

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Blogbash was created for one purpose: to honor the unpaid, activist bloggers who are making a huge difference in the conservative movement. They are, as Pamela Gellar said, “the ones who will change the world.”

This year, we’re adding something special: A tangible way for bloggers to honor bloggers by nominating posts, blogs, tweets, podcasts for awards. Seeing all the amazing things bloggers have done over 2011 in one place is inspiring.

Below, you’ll find the nominations for the different awards and you bloggers will be able to vote for the winners.

You’ll also note the categories of awards to be chosen by committee.

This is so exciting! Please tweet this post and share all the great work bloggers are doing!

See you Thursday!

Activism Post

(The Right Sphere) Brandon Kiser, Editor and (Tea Party Brew) Dennis Pedrie, Editor — Greater Food Bank of Boston/Occupy Boston, encouraging readers to donate
(RedState) Breanne Howe, Writer
(LaborUnionReport) Peter List, Writer

Investigative Post

Welfare Reform (Christine Rousselle – The College Conservative)
Occupy Wall Street (John Sexton – Verum Serum)
Weiner-Gate (Ace – Ace of Spades)

Sunlight Post

James O’Keefe, Project Veritas, New Hampshire Voter Fraud Expose
Matt Boyle, Daily Caller, Fast & Furious
Doug Powers, at Michelle Malkin on Solyndra

Best in Show: Podcast

Jimmie Bise, The Delivery Show
Andrew Lawton & Ben Swenson, Strictly Right
Fingers Malloy, The Snark Factor

Best in Show: Twitter

@rumpfshaker (Sarah Rumpf)
@iowahawkblog (David Burge)
@RBPundit Rebel Pundit

Best in Show: Video

Attack Watch: Ezra Dulis, Misfit Politics
New Hampshire Voter Fraud: James O’Keefe, Project Veritas
The Story of Citizens United, A Critique, Lee Doren

In addition, there are more awards that will be awarded, selected by a Blog Bash panel of your esteemed colleagues, including:

Best State-level Blogger
Changing the Narrative
Friend to Bloggers (Julie Laughridge Award)
Bloggers Stand With…

We will honor one pioneer blogger with the Legacy Award. And, of course, we will honor the Blogger of the Year.

Learn more at

Blog Bash: What Was I Thinking?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year Javier Manjarres was honored at BlogBash. The year before, Ed Morrissey was honored by Freedom Work’s Dick Armey:

Three years ago, I thought it would be cool to do something fun for bloggers at CPAC. Everyone was gathering there, why not have a casual get-together for people who work so hard.

In fact, my thought was little more than a Tweet-up sort of deal. Ha!

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one thinking about doing something for bloggers. Ali Akbar, who himself, a young blogging buck, along with Aaron Marks, a young finance and tech genius who helped online fundraising for elections, also wanted to do something for bloggers.

So, we three started Blogbash. Like most things in my life, it started as a modest idea and morphed into something else entirely–sponsors, food, drink, cake, swag, speeches, awards.

Blogbash became a thing.

We continued the tradition last year. And this, year, Ali, Aaron, and I have been working nearly full time putting together the best Blogbash yet. Hours of work, endless conference calls, dealing with caterers, procuring bartenders –and we’re doing it all from out of state. Aaron is in Pittsburg. Ali is in Dallas by way of Georgia. I’m here, north of Houston.

We have helpers (learn more about everyone here): Devon Wills has worked on getting bags, shirts and other things printed up. Others like Lyndsey Fifield and Abby Alger will help organize in DC. In other words, it takes lots of work by lots of dedicated people to pull this off.

It’s important, too, to know that some groups have loyally supported bloggers by way of Blogbash–Freedom Works is chief among these. We are gratified to have their help again. We’ve had new supporters, too, like Heritage Foundation, Injustice the Film, etc.

This year, we’ve had groups clamoring to support the bloggers–some candidates, more industry groups. This is heartening for the conservative movement as a whole. Many industry groups have been afraid to “come out” for fear of punishment by the Obama administration.

Please go take a look at this (still incomplete) list of sponsor

Please make sure and thank them and remember them. Blogbash approached nearly every single group who asks bloggers to pimp their stories, candidates, ideas, etc. With sponsorships as low as $300, it didn’t take much to participate.

Finally, this year, we’re adding to the already big party atmosphere of BlogBash. Bloggers can nominate their peers.


Best Investigative Post

Best Activism Post

Best Sunlight Post

Best in Show: Podcast

Best in Show: Twitter

Best in Show: Facebook Fanpage

Best in Show: Video

Conservative bloggers are doing amazing work shining the light in dark places, causing real change. They are making a difference. Please nominate the posts, podcasts, social media stars. They will be voted on AT the party.

What started out as a friendly get together, has become that and much more–an event filled with surprise guests, renewed relationships, and rewards recognizing our peers phenomenal work.

It’s been an honor to put this together. Unlike the left, where the blogging community is almost entirely corporate, now, on the right, bloggers tend to be unpaid and independent.

Blogbash is a yearly token of appreciation for hard work and sacrificial commitment.

Podcast 87: CPAC Post-Mortem With CPAC Organizer Lisa De Pasquale, John Hawkins of Right Wing News And Ali Akbar of Republic Modern

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

CPAC organizer Lisa De Pasquale, John Hawkins, and Ali Akbar talk about CPAC. Straw polls, youth, where was Sarah Palin and Huckabee, the venue and much more.

Being Conservative: When Everyone Hates You, It’s Liberating — UPDATED

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

UPDATED AGAIN: Check out the pictures!

Flying back from CPAC (conservative political action conference) in D.C. today, I tried to sum up the general feeling of the gathering. The word that came to mind was exuberance.

Everyone was exuberant.

Are conservatives waaaay out of power? Yes. Is the Democratically controlled everything capable of doing horrendous damage even still? Yes. Is the media still a commie-loving propagandist machine? Yes.

Even still, attendees were exuberant. Why?

For one, even out of power, the legislation that would destroy the country got blunted or stopped. This is heartening. For all the talk to the contrary, it seems America is far more conservative, fiscal and otherwise, than people thought.

For another, being out of power is fun. Chucking lobs from the cheap seats, while watching perpetual children try to govern is emotionally satisfying. For years, a decade even, the Left has had opinions about the complicated issues of our time. Most of them have been idealistic, naive, stupid and juvenile. Guess what? Leading is hard. So, Gitmo is open. Why? Because it MAKES SENSE. Americans are rebelling against civilian trials. Why? Because they are STUPID and resource hogging. The war on terror continues. Why? Because it’s the RIGHT THING TO DO. All the issues the left opined about changing have turned out to be very difficult to change because (shhhhhh) George Bush was right. And not only that, the things that he was wrong about–big spending and expanded government still pisses people off. Ooopsie. That’s just what Democrats had hoped to change. No dice.

Mostly though, it is absolutely liberating to be hated no matter what you do.

Liberals hate conservatives. And because they control the networks, the newspapers, the House, Senate, and White House, Americans are inundated with just how much they’re hated. I say Americans and substitute conservative for Americans because the vast majority of Americans self-identify as conservatives.

We’re hated. We get it.

You think we’re racist, stupid, Bible-thumping, NASCAR-watching, gun-clinging, homophobic, did I mention stupid?, morons.

Guess what? You suck.

And at CPAC, people just didn’t care. They cheered for Cheney. They cheered for The Moustache. They booed the gay-hating kid. They exuberantly expressed themselves because they have nothing whatsoever to lose. What more can be said? Every cliché is hackneyed and wrong and superficial and lame. The sting is lost.

So, CPAC attendees just enjoyed themselves. It’s been a long time I’ve seen conservatives so happy. With sell-out Republicans on the run and leftist libs getting hit with a clue-bat, it’s a great time to be conservative.

There’s nothing more that can be said that hasn’t already been said. The conservative movement is free to be themselves. It was a great weekend to be in the company of like-minded folks.

The narrative may not change, but it will die along with the purveyors of the mean message. Meanwhile, conservatives have embraced the hostility and transformed the energy into something positive and happy.

CPAC was exuberant. A liberated conservative is a happy conservative.


Jimmie Bise of the Sundries Shack says this:

Here is a case in point. Max Blumenthal wrote a nasty article for the Washington Post-owned about James O’Keefe in which almost every important detail, including the accusation that O’Keefe is a racist, was simply wrong. The article was so riddled with dishonesty that Salon retracted it, even though Blumenthal, in his whiny omega-male way, stood behind his charges. You can get a good rundown on the story from Larry O’Connor here. This came to a head at CPAC on Saturday. Sid Blumenthal, son of Max, showed up with a camera crew to do God-alone-knows-what, and Breitbart pounced.

After making Blumenthal shrink off with his tail between his legs, Breitbart fended off yet another serial liar, Daryl Jenkins of the One People’s Project and another Salon “reporter” Mike Madden.

Go read the whole thing and watch Andrew’s video, too.

Blog Talk Radio

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

The Ali Akbar and Matt Margolis Show Is Having Me As A Guest Tomorrow!
Listen in at 5:00 EST

Rush To Chairman Steele “Where Are Your Guts?”–UPDATED

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

“The RNC is against Obama’s agenda too, but they’re too afraid to stand up and tell the press that they want Obama to fail. Stop sending me facts and quotes about how bad the Obama agenda and then not stand up against it,” says Rush to Republican National Chairman Michael Steele in response to Michael Steele calling Rush’s words “ugly”.

Rush gives Chairman Steele a smackdown–decrying the hypocrisy of Republican leaders desiring to come on the show and essentially use the alternative media when they need them (Steele went on Rush’s show when he was being targeted in Maryland and when his email got stolen) while distancing themselves from him now, when he’s speaking the truth about wanting Obama’s policies to fail because they’re bad for America.

Republican leadership needs to understand what Rush is saying: “American conservatism is starting a huge awakening.”

I think Rush is right about this. The awakening is starting. “The pressure on the Republican party is to become Democrat-lite, but exactly the opposite is happening and it’s a beautiful thing.”

It’s messy, though. I came away from CPAC with mixed emotions. (I’m not alone.) Nearly every state operative I talked to described a mess at the precinct all the way to the state level. Forget the national Republican organization.

However, the grassroots groups and vendors selling technology were vibrant and motivated. As one man from Florida told me,”I came to CPAC to see what the hell was going to happen to the party.” Well, if something is going to happen, it’s going to happen by the outside putting pressure on the party and the elected officials. It’s going to take a lot of pressure.

Washington insiders are bathed in moderate and liberal group-think. Any idea outside the liberal mainstream is branded as mean, hateful, and base. So Republican leaders find themselves saying,”I’m not a racist! I’m not dispassionate! I care! I do!” And then, they go about working on crap legislation to make it somewhat better. These disgusting half-measures make Republicans look weak and confused ideologically.

Instead of playing defense, the Republicans, including Chairman Steele need to go on offense. We need to demonstrate that we are the party of the little guy, the small business man. We need to have the best ideas on health care, the environment, and the economy. We need to speak these ideas clearly and unequivocally.

And when a man like Rush Limbaugh articulates what millions of Republicans are feeling, the leader of the RNC does not get on the liberally biased station CNN and bash an ally and friend. It’s wrong. He should apologize. And Chairman Steele should go to work doing what he has said he wants done: a changed Republican Party that will win elections by winning in the arena of ideas.

I believe Chairman Steele wants to do this. Now, I want to see evidence that my optimism about the RNC under his leadership isn’t misplaced.


Matt Lewis has more:

“The Republican National Committee and Michael Steele need a little leadership … we’re going to have to drag them kicking and screaming back to our core,” Limbaugh said. “They are caught up in so much fear because of where they live and work in Washington, DC,” he said.

Responding to Steele’s argument that he is the “de facto” head of the GOP, Limbaugh warned: “Michael Steele — you are head of the RNC — you are not head of the Republican Party.” Limbaugh went on to say Steele would have to become President for that to happen. He also noted: “… I’m not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don’t want to be.”

“I hope the RNC Chairman will realize he is not a talking head pundit,” Limbaugh added.

Limbaugh also noted that he had helped Steele out in the past: “Michael Steele was on this program … he got air time on this program … I personally took time to defend Michael Steele … Something has happened. Now, I’m just an ‘entertainer’, and now I’m ‘ugly’ and my program is ‘incendiary’.”

That’s just it. When it comes to modern media, the Republicans on the Hill and who ostensibly lead the party have no problem using the new media for their own purpose, but there’s no reciprocity. A relationship goes two ways.

Further, they worry about integration and looking good but keep old party hacks and the same old consultants giving them the same stupid advice. Meanwhile, Hispanic and Black conservative groups are trying to change the party from within and finding it difficult to find a spot. They are conservatives who know how to put forth a message that will be heard and the people who lose elections cling to their power and seem utterly tone-deaf to new realities.

How many elections do Republicans need to lose in order to realize that they need to change? It’s not in the ways they think, though. They believe a more moderate, liberal party is the way to go. No. A more principled party is the way to go. The part is diverse. The party has room for everyone.

What makes the party strong, though, is core ideals like liberty and freedom and life and the pursuit (not the guarantee) of happiness. Instead, Republicans are mired in bad legislation and worried about looking good to the liberal press who have always and will continue to hate them.

Updated again:

John at Powerline has a must-read about this and says:

The White House’s attack on Rush, on the ground that he “wants President Obama’s economic agenda to fail,” is stupid even by White House Press Secretary standards. What we conservatives want is for America’s economy to succeed. That’s why we oppose President Obama’s economic policies; we think they are poorly conceived and will damage the economy. Thus, for the sake of America’s success, we hope that Obama will fail to implement his misguided policies. How tough was that to follow?

If Michael Steele thinks that the way to respond to the White House’s attack on Rush Limbaugh is to throw Rush under the bus, his understanding of the party’s base and of the current political landscape–not to mention his understanding of Limbaugh–is too weak for him to continue as RNC Chairman.

Michelle Malkin gives Chairman Steele advice:

We need conservative spokespeople who condemn anti-capitalist claptrap, not spokespeople who parrot it.


One more thing: When liberals sit there and accuse the GOP convention of looking like “Nazi Germany,” you might not want to sit there, nodding your head, and respond, “I agree.”


Ace says this:

And no, I can’t say I’m upset that Limbaugh got annoyed by this and chose not to play ball.

However, the media controls the public discourse. This is an issue because they want it to be an issue, and they want it to be an issue because… well, guess. Hint: It’s not because it helps the conservative cause.

If everyone wants to bang on Steele for dealing inartfully with Limbaugh’s own inartful remarks, and play right into the media’s and the Obama Administration’s (but I repeat myself) game of stoking a full-on civil war in the party rather than kissing and making up, fine. What can I do.

The media has made this an issue because it hurts us. Steele is scrambling among several not terribly good options to avoid the media’s use of this against us. The media has fucked us — and everyone buying into the Let’s Burn the Party Down game is letting them fuck us even harder.

I’ve thought of that, too. But you know what? Don’t be a jerk and go on to CNN expecting to be buds with the host. Chairman Steele should know better. Why not go to a blogger or to Rush, himself and have a debate. But no, he goes into enemy territory and surprise! gets used by the enemy, I mean press. Naivité will kill the party just as soon as division will.

James Joyner (the moderate Republican who kept me in a state of constant amusement during CPAC) says:

Limbaugh played a powerful role in mobilizing the base in 1994 and he’s still a major influencer today. But he’s not the leader of the Republican Party; Steele is. Unfortunately, this was a misstep on the new leader’s part. This wasn’t a Sister Soulja Moment; he was merely attacking a figure popular with his base for no apparent reason. It’s one thing to condemn Limbaugh when he says something that’s actually ugly and incendiary. This, though, was nonsensical.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Matt Lewis

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Newt Is Back
Will he be president? He didn’t answer when I asked him.