Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What Sane Conservatism Looks Like

We hear a lot, indeed too much, these days about Republican craziness and civic irresponsibility. I’ve argued that a lot of that talk comes from frustrated liberals who ought to know better, but don't because they're losing their intellectual and civic bearings. But there’s no denying that there are more than a few conservative activists out there saying some crazy and civically irresponsible things.  And influential Republican politicians haven’t always been very diligent about calling them on it.  That matters because, at a time when our standards of civic responsibility are getting more politicized, the only effective way to combat irresponsible partisanship is for each side to police itself.   

That shouldn't be a particularly hard thing for politicians to do inasmuch as it's mostly a matter of elementary citizenship.  All of us should be able occasionally to step back from the partisan fray far enough to draw bright lines between those things that do and don't count as civically responsible partisanship.  It's not unreasonable to expect the politicians who aspire to represent us to be more conscientious about, and more skilled at, discharging that basic civic obligation than the rest of us.  Alas, it looks like a lot of them aren't.

Here’s an example of how it’s done. Chris Christie has been taking heat for appointing a Muslim to the New Jersey bench. Take a look at how he responds:


Anonymous said...

Interesting video. This guy has something that many of the Republicans running for president don't have. Dems ought to watch out.

Lone Wolf said...

Can you imagine Obama defending any of his own controversial appointments this emphatically?

Dave said...

Terrific contrast, Lone Wolf. I wonder, though: If Obama did deliver these exact words, and meant it just as sincerely as Christie, would it work for him? Or would he come off as petulant, aggrieved, and/or lecturing?

I'm not sure it's the latter, but I know there's a huge personality divide between Obama and Christie. And you can't ask Obama to be someone he's not.

Spare my Bleeding Heart said...

Christie looks like he appointed that judge because he thought he was best candidate for the job. Maybe that's not entirely true, but that's the way it looks. Obama always looks like he is trying to pull a fast one by appointing people (think Warren, Berwick and his recess appointment to the NLRB) who are more progressive than he's willing to look and hoping that no one notices. When people do notice Obama doesn't stand behind his nominees. The difference is that Christie wears his conservatism on his sleeve while Obama tries to keep his liberalism under wraps (and often succeeds).

Mean Voter said...

Dave makes a very good point. Obama is just a different sort of person than Christie. But back to original post, Christie really comes off as a very sane Conservative.