Friday, June 24, 2005

The Benefit of Context

Wow. It's amazing how Karl Rove gets worse with context. Here's my "favorite" part:
Conservatives believe in lower taxes; liberals believe in higher taxes. We want few regulations; they want more. Conservatives measure the effectiveness of government programs by results; liberals measure the effectiveness of government programs by inputs. We believe in curbing the size of government; they believe in expanding the size of government. Conservatives believe in making America a less litigious society; liberals believe in making America a more litigious society. We believe in accountability and parental choice in education; they don't. Conservatives believe in advancing what Pope John Paul II called a "culture of life"; liberals believe there is an absolute unlimited right to abortion.

Umm...what? Maybe once upon a time this was true. Today...not so much. Conservatives do favor lower taxes, I'll give them that. But they don't have much else. Meanwhile, liberals have, since Clinton and his third way, proven themselves to be more zealous in advocating governmental reform and accountability. Hillary Clinton has come out in favor of common-sense abortion policies--not knee-jerk crackdowns or reflexive claims to choice. And when a member of the Bush administration tells me that Republicans are interested in shrinking government, well, my response is the same as Dan Drezner's: "Spin Better!"

Do they have anything besides pathetic attacks? Shameful slanders? Bald-faced lies? I don't think they do. The benefit of context shows that this quote...wasn't out of context. It was indicative of all that is the modern GOP.

Balloon Juice tips me off.


N.S.T said...

Um, Schraub, Rove is still right that conservatives(generally) believe in protecting the "culture of life," school choice, and less litigation. You also mispeak; Since the days of Clinton democrats have proven themselves more adept at SAYING they are trying to hold government programs more accountable. It doesn't mean they've actually done very much to achieve the goals of the government accountability movement.

Mark said...

You'll note that Rove is careful to say "Conservatives" and "Liberals", which force your comments off point, when you point out that many Republican's in Congress (and perhaps the WH) don't support those things. That makes them not so Conservative.

And your point on Hillary makes his point as well, as commentators cite her as positioning herself more to the center on those issues, i.e., less liberal.

Your mistake is in equating (as Rove perhaps intended) Liberal=Democrat and Conservative=GOP.

So given that, what then is your beef with Rove's speech?

David Schraub said...

See here.

I recognize the distinction between "liberal" and "democrat." It was very crafty of Rove. Since the majority of Americans will immediately superimpose "Democrat" over "liberal" the political impact still flies. But since he actually said "liberal" he can duck behind that to dodge responsibilty for his comments. But I think we all know what he means here--so I'm not biting.

Also, since Rove is the architect of the Republican shift away from Conservatism, if you will, I think its a bit rich of him to claim identification with, among other things, "smaller government."

Mark said...

The first comment on your provided link makes a valid point. How exactly would you have Mr Rove make a distinction between moderate Democrats and liberals besides without using the terms he did?

David Schraub said...

"Certain Liberals" "Some Liberals" "Some Leftists"--basically anything that doesn't imply categoricalness (is that a word?). "Some leftists" is probably the most accurate--with the exception of Barbara Lee, not a single Democrat oppossed attacking Afghanistan, and Lee, who represents Berkeley, is perhaps the most leftist Democrat in congress. Besides her, most of the folks who might fit Rove's description are to the left of the Democratic party--Naderites, Greens (including Michael Moore, who is not a Democrat), etc..