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Obama Mobilizes His Leftist Base
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Ever since I dared criticize the Obama administration and its partisans, I’ve been getting less than friendly email messages. Supposedly I work slavishly for the GOP and spend every waking hour listening to Rush Limbaugh or trying to imitate his verbal outbursts. For the record, I’ve been attacking the GOP at the national level ever since the neoconservatives came to refashion the Republican Party’s foreign policy, while taking over and reprogramming America’s misnamed conservative movement. And those things happened thirty years ago. Since that time I’ve stood athwart the GOP, as a relentless critic of how its advisors and politicians have defined America’s role in the world.

I’ve denounced in print for all to see the boasting engaged in by Republican presidential candidates and by Fox News talking heads about “American exceptionalism.” One has a right to like one’s country but not a duty to proclaim that it’s morally superior to the rest of mankind and that our state should impose its human rights ideology on everyone else. Pride goes before the fall, as Proverbs teaches.

Because of my objections to this vainglory and its foreign-policy implications, Republican and conservative movement activists have carefully avoided discussing my books; and they have written prospective publishers suggesting I would bring disgrace on those who disseminate my ideas. Moreover, those who know me can testify that I haven’t spent more than five minutes in the last twenty years listening to Rush. I view him as contemptuously I do Bill Maher, Ann Coulter, and other vulgarizers of political discussion.

This is not an effort at self-justification but an indication of how ludicrous the charges are that I am a GOP lackey and a Rush Limbaugh copycat. The problem is what I’ve said it is in the past, namely that American politics have become polarized around two national parties, and as soon as you take up the talking points of one party, then the partisans of the other one come after you, as a shill for their opponents.

As a non-Republican who admits to being a social, cultural and aesthetic traditionalist and who also believes in very limited government and a restrained foreign policy, I see no reason to cut Obama any more of a break than I would his Republican opponents. On voter IDs, the Sandra Fluke incident, and the lamentable, deliberate failure to secure American borders, it seems that Obama is mobilizing his leftist base to divert attention from his palpable economic failures.


Contrary to the charge I see coming from my Democratic critics, and even more dishonestly, from a less than factual account of the new Pennsylvania voter-ID law in a blatantly one-sided Associated Press story on March 15, there have been hundreds of documented cases of voter fraud in Texas, Missouri and other states, all of them submitted to Eric Holder’s Justice Department and none of them acted on. Holder and his assistant Julie Fernandes worked to cover up an outrageous scandal in 2009, when there was evidence that the radical revolutionary Black Panthers were intimidating voters in Philadelphia. That of course took place conveniently for Justice Department leaders, during the election that swept Holder’s boss into the presidency.

The charge that Limbaugh’s insult of Sandra Fluke represents the ultimate in misogyny is false and hypocritical, as Peggy Noonan shows in a WSJ-syndicated column. Noonan cites the multiple insults coming from numerous liberal Democratic performers and celebrities against Sarah Palin and other female Republican politicians, none of which seems to have registered with feminist groups. The spokespersons for “women’s issues” only became selectively angry at sexist outrages following Limbaugh’s bashing of an ideological soul mate. By the way, contrary to what Fluke said in her expressions of concern about a friend at her university who had to pay for birth-control pills to treat a cyst, Georgetown does cover the costs for such medication. But even if it didn’t, the $9 monthly charge for having to purchase the pills at Walmart would strain no one’s finances. Fluke’s grievance was intended to serve a double purpose, pushing a religious institution into acting against its conscience while helping to energize Obama’s presidential campaign. Nothing I’ve read would lead me to believe otherwise.

Finally, if the Republicans intend to win the presidency, then they’ll have to stay tough. Staging another McCain-Dole campaign will produce the same dismal consequences as in the past. The value of the undecided voters may be vastly exaggerated. The Obamaites are being smart by not depending on a wishy-washy center. They are drumming up minority gripes and exciting the social left. Romney has been well advised to appeal to those who are unhappy with the growing problem of illegals and to take on the teachers’ unions. There will be need for an activist counter-base to the one Obama has in place.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2012 Election 
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  1. MattSwartz says: • Website

    Finally, if the Republicans intend to win the presidency, then they’ll have to stay tough. Staging another McCain-Dole campaign will produce the same dismal consequences as in the past.

    They may win and they may lose, but my concern is this: can they get enough like-minded staffers and bureaucrats to steer the ship in the direction they want it to go if they do win? I doubt it.

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Several things:

    1. Over the past few weeks I’ve gathered immense respect for The American Conservative despite my previous belief that I’d never be able to understand the views of today’s conservatives (acknowledging that today’s conservatives are certainly different than original conservatism). Finally, information that is unbiased and fully intelligible. So I’d like to thank you for being a contributor of that.

    2. I agree that Sandra Fluke is not quite the person the mainstream media paints her to be. But for clarification, she stated the Georgetown does cover the cost of her friend’s medication – “Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance, because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy.” She simply meant the insurance doesn’t cover birth control as a contraceptive.

    3. When you say $9 a month would strain no one’s finances, you cannot truly speak for everyone, particularly those near the poverty line. I’m just nitpicking now, and I’m not trying to argue on anything regarding contraceptive coverage. Just a thought.

    4. Not that I’d expect you’d have the time for insignificant questions, but what are your thoughts on Conservapedia? (

  3. platocrat says:

    “Supposedly I work slavishly for the GOP and spend every waking hour listening to Rush Limbaugh or trying to imitate his verbal outbursts.”

    I rather doubt that your accusers believe what they write, Professor. Neocons and neolibs don’t write what they think, they write what they want circulated, and spinning, misrepresenting and outright lying is in their marrow. Think of the cynical, smirking faces of representative neolibs like the Clintons, or neocons like Kristol or Frum … your correspondents emulate such people.

  4. Aaron says: • Website

    I haven’t paid much attention to you or your reception by the political left or right, but as you feel that you’re not getting a fair shake from the left let me try to help you out here.

    When you write something along the lines of, “On voter IDs, the Sandra Fluke incident, and the lamentable, deliberate failure to secure American borders, it seems that Obama is mobilizing his leftist base to divert attention from his palpable economic failures,” it sounds like you’re parroting a string of right-wing talking points as opposed to offering a reasoned analysis of Obama and his policies.

    How did Obama fail on “voter IDs”? You state that across the country, voter fraud cases number in the hundreds? So you’re stating that it’s a statistically insignificant issue? Should we assume that the need to resolve virtually non-existent voter fraud outweighs the potential that voter ID laws and similar restrictions will disenfranchise legitimate voters? No attempt to base policies on actual need or to balance competing interests required? My personal preference would be to focus the effort on helping voters get valid identification such that disenfranchisement isn’t an issue, but I can understand why some people view the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters as a serious issue.

    How is Obama responsible for Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke? And why is that tempest in a teapot central to your indictment of Obama? And when did Georgetown become a religious institution?

    Tell us about the “the lamentable, deliberate failure to secure American borders” – what would you have the government do, and what will the cost of those measures be? Exactly what is it about the Obama Administration’s actions that you find to be a “lamentable, deliberate failure”?

    What do you propose to be Obama’s “palpable economic failures”? The stimulus was too small, or something? You blame him for the rise in gas prices, despite his lack of ability to affect gas prices? You are angry that the U.S. auto industry was bailed out, even though it’s now succeeding? The nation isn’t emerging from the Bush-era economic debacle quickly enough for you, and he’s not waving his magic wand hard enough? His tax cuts weren’t large enough? Seriously – what are we talking about?

    From where I am sitting, your essay sounds like “drumming up minority gripes and exciting the religious right”. Go figure.

  5. Dan says:

    Oh quit crying and do what so many of us did…dump not only the GOP, but all of the current political parties. None of them represent anything close to the values of mainstream America anymore and are only interested in perpetuating themselves by inbreeding.

  6. SteveM says:

    Re: Aaron “And when did Georgetown become a religious institution?”

    When it was founded? From the Georgetown web page:

    “Established in 1789, Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university.”

    And about “Obama’s “palpable economic failures”?”

    Racking up TRILLION+ dollar deficits, (in cahoots with Republicans in Congress BTW) is a HUGE economic failure waiting to happen.

    Obama and Romney are arrogant and stupid in several dimensions. A trait common to Harvard graduates. Whichever one weasels his way into office in 2013 will go down in history as the 21st Century Herbert Hoover when the implosion they are both blind to occurs.

  7. c matt says:

    And when did Georgetown become a religious institution?

    That one actually made me chuckle!

  8. Sheldon says:

    I’m with Aaron, especially on the voter ID issue and economic issues. Republican voter ID efforts have ZERO to do with “voter fraud” and everything to do with suppressing voter turnout by Democrats. I don’t see how any serious person could question something so obvious, given the fraud number Paul himself cites, and the hundreds of thousands who would be disenfranchised by voter ID. One also wonders what the effect on the economy, already in recovery, would have been if Obama had gotten cooperation from Republicans instead of deliberate obstruction, based on their state objective of hoping the economy would stay bad so Obama would not win reelection. As for Obama and immigration, is the following news report – one of many saying exactly the same thing – really a suprise to you, Paul?

    “The Washington Post reports:

    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush administration’s 2008 total and 25 percent more than were deported in 2007. The pace of company audits has roughly quadrupled since President George W. Bush’s final year in office.

    The effort is part of President Obama’s larger project “to make our national laws actually work,” as he put it in a speech this month at American University. Partly designed to entice Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform, the mission is proving difficult and politically perilous.

    This isn’t exactly new news. There’ve been stories for months about the trend, including in the WaPo itself.”

  9. Tony J says:

    “Holder and his assistant Julie Fernandes worked to cover up an outrageous scandal in 2009, when there was evidence that the radical revolutionary Black Panthers were intimidating voters in Philadelphia. That of course took place conveniently for Justice Department leaders, during the election that swept Holder’s boss into the presidency.”

    What? Really?

    I am baffled that anyone could read that and conclude that you might be a “GOP lackey and a Rush Limbaugh copycat.”

    There were, like, 5 of them. The Bush Justice Department decided there was no evidence of voter supression. And you’re calling it an “outrageous scandal”?

    Weak, weak sauce. Show us on the doll where the mean old Liberals touched you.

  10. GB says:

    I understand where Paul is coming from…

    Listening to liberals as they defend Obama from any and all criticism is just as nauseating as was listening to the neo-cons defending everything Bush did as President.

    Sheldon wrote:

    “I don’t see how any serious person could question something so obvious…”

    Really? Please explain to us what would stop illegal aliens from voting if ID is not required. Since they overwhelmingly would vote Democrat, it’s reasonable to assume Democrats would be against voter ID laws. The truth is that no one knows how many illegal aliens are voting.

    Regarding the economy, Obama made a bad situation worse. Bush was spending like there was no tomorrow and Obama took that to a whole new level. Here is a quote from which is hardly a conservative bastion:

    “During Obama’s presidency to date, the national debt has risen by an average of $1.723 trillion a year — or by a jaw-dropping $1.116 trillion more, per year, than it rose even under Bush.”

    How is exploding deficit spending going to revive the economy?

    Regarding international affairs, Obama ordered the U.S. military Libya without consulting Congress. I’m sure the neo-cons cheered this action because when they get back the White House they’ll remember this precedent.

    On domestic affairs, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 which contains provisions that many claim would allow the federal government to seize Americans on American soil just because they are suspected of terrorism! If Bush had passed this law, liberals would have screamed to high heaven.

    Please stop being so biased.

  11. Sheldon says:

    Sorry, GB, but you’re simply wrong on the facts. Here’s one of many objective analyses of the current deficit, at that well known leftist publication Business Insider:

    The number one cause of our current deficit are the Bush tax cuts and the Bush economic collapse.

    Second, you are setting up a straw man suggesting that voter fraud is a serious problem. EVERY study has shown it is a minor problem – in the three-digit figures at most (and most of those are not “fraud” but problems with such things as address problems). See here, for example:

    Now, who is biased?

  12. Mr R S says:

    Swipes felt from both paws of the beast that is Centrism should be taken as well deserved badge of honor, scars from the struggle. The era of good feelings amongst paleocon, libertarian and antiwar leftists were soon over after 2008, with the exception of those who are committed to their ideals amongst the third-named group.

    Dr. Gottfried, as is clear from your writings, you have chosen a less well trodden path, a hard row to hoe. I would refrain from going further, out of old fashioned sensibilities, which are grounded in restraint and mild expression, rather than the fulsome praise and grand-standing beloved of the Center-Left and Right demagogues.

    I don’t think many people unfamiliar with academia, not to mention the press, realize what people are sacrificing, who chose not to adhere to the official mythology. There are very real career and economic consequences. Those of us who support paleoconservative ideas should be grateful for having a scholar and writer of Mr. Gottfried’s calibre in the movement.

    Small comfort perhaps, but I do know people who are Leftists and, most shocking, Center-Leftists, who acknowledge the importance of your trilogy. The quickness with which people respond to writings, that I’ve shared, testifies to the role of the neocon-dominated GOP in which inane scribblings by Fox News “commentators” are given far more attention. Your observations, sir, are too dangerous, to be given too much attention.

    I do not agree entirely with everything you write, and this presidential campaign is a perfect example of what I will discuss in action. I’ve wanted to make this point for some time, so here goes.

    I, as someone who wants to see old-fashioned bourgeois civilized values saved in order that our descendants have a chance at decency, believe you are far too kind to US Southerners. I am a Southerner, and based on long observation of my own people, believe they are not real allies in the fight. Indeed, I believe George W. Bush’s maudlin, bellicose “compassionate conservative” Jacobinism represents the anti-intellectual, tradition-destroying boosterism, and revolutionary nature of Southern culture far more than the largely ineffectual neo-Confederate movement. Not all intellectualism is a bad thing or Cultural Marxism. Santorum, Gingrich and Romney all pander to this angry and maudlin world view, rabble rouse to bomb the brown people one day, but justify war in order to save the foreign kiddies the next.

    There is only so much that can be blamed on the Federal Government and Department of Education. Where were the neocons and leftists when Andy Jackson and his frontier riff-raff were destroying the old Republic? It isn’t entirely the fault of DC bureaucrats and leftists that a tomboy with an illegitimate grandchild is regarded as a suitable spokesperson by those angry at “elites.”

    As you have written, the US is a leftist nation by default. I must admit that, though of mostly Protestant stock, I have been forced to conclude that perhaps my ancestors were on the wrong side in the Reformation. Low church Anglo-Saxon Protestantism is not compatible with the sort of enduring Conservatism most people want to bring back.

  13. Robert says:

    A very good column by Dr. Gottfried.

  14. As you have written, the US is a leftist nation by default.

    If ’tis so, I wonder where one might find a nation which is rightist by default.

    (Outside the various Islamic theocracies, I suppose).

  15. Mr R S says:


    There are no more conservative states in the West, they were all destroyed.

    So, lest we be accused of resembling Islamic theocrats, which conservative Western regimes never did, we should embrace the Revolution?

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