Every Issue Has Its Center

In any political struggle, there’s going to be extremes. Most people lie somewhere in the middle between two viewpoints on any given issue. Electoral success can generally be determined by how well you manipulate that vast middle into supporting your position, or at the least not getting too enthusiastic about opposing you. This is something folks in the conservative movement need accept if they want to start winning elections.

What success gun rights have enjoyed has been achieved by fielding large numbers of single-issue voters, while simultaneously not motivating the vast middle to do much of anything in opposition. Whether this is because they share vague agreement or tepid disagreement is of little consequence; the point is we offer an upside to politicians for agreeing with us that has very little downside. We certainly face extremists in the gun control movement, but in terms of numbers, the passion is on our side of the issue, and anyone who is honest about it will acknowledge that.

Now lets bring in in the “War on Women.” The “War on Women” is largely a dog whistle from the left to the vast middle about control of reproductive choices. The calculation is that they are closer to the center of the issue than social conservatives, and they can sway the middle on this kind of rhetoric. The message is that the evil Republicans don’t want you to have any reproductive choices, while Democrats are all for whatever floats your boat. What concerns me about the “War on Women,” is even Bloomberg is jumping on that bandwagon (article highlighted in yesterday’s post). The question a lot of socially conservative voters need to ask themselves is why this is a winning formula lately. I think it’s a winning formula because reproductive choice is an issue that sways the middle in favor of the left.

The middle has shifted on a lot of social conservative issues. I don’t think this means social conservatives need to accept the radical pro-choice position of Democrats on this issue, but they do need to accept that abortion being either legal or illegal in all circumstances is a minority position and work within that framework. Coming out and saying abortion is wrong in cases of rape or incest is an extreme position. It’s like arguing that we ought to completely deregulate machine guns, or stand firm on gun rights for bank robbers. You can come up with beautifully constructed moral and ideological frameworks for why this ought to be truth, but that truth has exactly jack to do with winning elections, and winning elections is in the only way you get to set policy in a republican system of government. In most cases, a viable candidate is only going to carry some of your ideology. If you’re very lucky, he or she will successfully carry a lot of it, and how much of that they can carry depends on factors hardly related to your moral, ideological, or philosophical, views. It’s much more related to likability, marketability, and an ability to break down complex and difficult topics into soundbites that appeal to the instincts of people who barely pay attention.

Four years ago a fairly strong pro-gun social conservative, Bob McDonnell, handily defeated a moderate Democrat, Creigh Deeds to win a four year term as Governor of Virginia. Today, a very strong pro-gun, social conservative, Ken Cuccinelli, is looking likely to lose to a very strong anti-gun progressive, with numerous skeletons in his closet. The Democrats are playing straight from the “War on Women” playbook, and they are winning. Even Bloomberg is joining that bandwagon because he knows gun control won’t motivate anybody. That’s saying something. Whether we who oppose the left want to listen or not is another matter, but it bears directly on whether we’re going to start winning the important elections again. Social conservatives don’t need to give up all their issues, but it’s high time they started thinking about the same tradeoffs other issues have had to deal with in order to actually win.

115 thoughts on “Every Issue Has Its Center”

  1. How exactly have social conservatives not had to deal with the same tradeoffs as other issues? The current state of abortion law is the result of 40 years of tradeoffs and back and forth struggles. This is obviously an issue you care little about, and that’s fine, but understand that opinions like the one expressed in this post sound pretty much exactly like someone who doesn’t care either way about the gun control issue chastising the second amendment crowd to just accept background checks and magazine capacity limits because they think we’d sound more reasonable if we did. Please…

    “reproductive choice” only becomes a winning issue for the left when those on the right allow themselves to be duped into giving up the issue. I don’t accept the premise that the war on women narrative is a winning argument for the left. The fact that Bloomberg has embraced it means nothing, he embraces a lot of losing arguments. If anything, I suspect they believe it has the potential to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if they can repeat it enough. If some on the right who don’t particularly care about the issue hear the “war on women” claim enough, they might even start to tacitly embrace the it, maybe even start writing blog posts about it… If the left repeats it enough, they might even get those on the other side to start carrying the water for them. “Hey guys, the left keeps saying we’re fighting a war on women, they wouldn’t say it so much if they didn’t think it were a winning argument, so we should stop fighting them on this issue so they can’t accuse us of that anymore.” Never mind the fact that no amount of capitulation on the issue would ever get the left to stop leveling the claim…

    Those on the left end up free to define the right by their most extreme positions because those on the right with more moderate positions are being duped into keeping those positions to themselves and are bowing out of the discussion. As a result, the left never has to defend their extremism, but instead even has those on the other side repeating their preferred term of “reproductive choice” if they do talk about the issue at all. The pro-life position polls just fine, there is no strategic reason to abandon it. Either way, you’re wasting your breath if you think you’re going to get the extremists to drop the issue. If you’d like for them not to define the entire half of the political spectrum you identify with, the answer isn’t to go into hiding. The answer is to refine your moderate position and start owning it, publicly. The left knows this, that’s why they’re working so hard to shut everyone up with this bogus war on women narrative.

    1. “reproductive choice” only becomes a winning issue for the left when those on the right allow themselves to be duped into giving up the issue. I don’t accept the premise that the war on women narrative is a winning argument for the left.

      Umm…you do realize we’re talking about Ken Cuccinelli in the southern state of Virginia, right?

      Your entire thesis – that social conservatism is really a winner – depends on a complete avoidance of demonstrable fact. If you pull your head from the echo chamber for just a minute, you will note the following facts:

      – Cuccinelli is strongly pro-life. It’s one of his primary selling points. He identifies himself as pro-life. He has not given up the issue.

      – Virginia. We’re talking a southern state that has become more cosmopolitan over the last 40 years. Just like the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. It’s currently run (well) by Republicans and has no real scandals among the (R) establishment. In other words, people are not fed up and willing to take “anybody else”.

      – “War on Women” , – i.e. pro-life, anti-contraception – is now part of the social lexicon much like the phrase “Assault Weapon” is part of it. Both coined to push liberal causes. We can complain about how unfair the world is because they come up with all the cool taglines, but we still lose. Again.

      Ken Cuccinelli is running on a social conservative platform in Virginia. He has not shied from it, at all. He embraces it. Yet he is losing by double-digit numbers in a state controlled by Republicans, that has previously had a history of social conservatism in it. He is losing because his opponent is effectively pointing out Cuccinelli’s social conservatism. They don’t need to lie about it – Ken embraces these positions. His positions are causing him to lose. The Virginia electorate just does not want what Cuccinelli is selling.

      Accepting reality doesn’t mean you have to like it. But denying reality means you are destined to lose everything as you cling to the last shards of something already lost.

      Virginia is now affirmative pro-choice. Done. Over.

      With that settled, maybe we can focus again on guns.

      1. Is it because he is losing on a social conservative platform, or is it because he’s being outspent 2-1? I think its more later, based on the analysis I’ve read.

          1. Indeed. Of the approximately 9% that are polling for the Libertarian candidate, I’d wager more of them would otherwise be in the R camp than the Ds if the GOP wasn’t doing everything it can to alienate them. It the we want the right to have a future, social cons and libertarians need learn to play nice together. Because, the L-leaning voters are beginning to make up an ever larger slice of the center you speak of.

            1. A candidate like Rand Paul would help bridge this divide. His father seemed to do it pretty well.

        1. From the lastest Quinnipiak poll, for what it is worth (Sarvis is the Libertarian Candidate):

          McAuliffe leads 91 percent to 2 percent among Democrats, with 4 percent opting for Mr. Sarvis, while Cuccinelli leads 86 percent to 5 percent among Republicans, with 7 percent choosing Mr. Sarvis. Independent voters break for Mr. McAuliffe, 46 percent to 31 percent, with 16 percent for Mr. Sarvis.

          “Only six in 10 Sarvis supporters say they definitely will vote for him. Almost nine in 10 McAuliffe and Cuccinelli backers are committed,” Mr. Brown said. “Cuccinelli seems to be benefiting from Republicans coming home, but McAuliffe still does a little better among Democrats than Cuccinelli does among GOPers. And, McAuliffe leads among independents, perhaps the key voting group. It is difficult to see Cuccinelli winning if he can’t run at least even or slightly ahead among independents. Here, too, Sarvis’ voters matter greatly since the Libertarian is getting 16 percent of independents, but only 9 percent overall.”

          Mr. McAuliffe leads among women, 50 percent to 37 percent, with 7 percent choosing Mr. Sarvis. Mr. Cuccinelli leads among men, 45 percent to 39 percent, with 11 percent opting for the Libertarian.

          Generally libertarian and third-party candidates do much better in polls than at the poll. This is generally attributed to the “I don’t want to throw away my vote” thought pattern when people actually look at the levers.

          At best, Cuccinelli seems like he could pull 1-2% more than McAuliffle is the Sarvis vote was split between the two. Not nearly enough to overcome a 15% loss in Independents.

          We can play this game all day and still be wrong. The election will tell the story, and there is still time left on the clock. But if people find themselves (again) coming up with contorted explanations about how yet another SoCon lost – even though the populace really, really loved SoCon positions – then nothing is learned.

          Spend time in modern Virginia. It’s not just McLean anymore. The socially liberal mindset extends comfortably through all of NoVA, into Western VA and has good footholds in the middle while making inroads in the southern tiers. The demographics have swung over 40 years, and they are not going back any time soon.

          I am not arguing that the SoCon issues are “wrong”. Only that those issues are losers in the governor’s race in Virginia.

    2. I’m not arguing you need to give up your beliefs or give up your atruggle. I am not arguing for appeasement, that you give up a few things and they’ll leave you alone. The truth is you’re already far from where you want to be on the abortion issue, and the question pro-lifers and social cons face is how to get back from where you are.

      What I’m arguing is that you need to know where the center is in the issue and work from the center to push your issue more toward your liking. We didn’t win back gun rights arguing that “I support the Second Amendment, even in the case of violent felons, the mentally ill, and that this should also cover machine guns.” That’s an ideologically consistent viewpoint, and it makes perfect sense to someone who’s taken a lot of time to understand the issue. But it’s also a radical position that isn’t going to convince anyone, and probably will just convince voters who are more pragmatic in their voting habits, or who don’t know much, that you’re a loon. That’s roughly where “I oppose abortion in the case of rape and incest” is right now. If I were a pro-life activists, I’d suggest the focus ought to be on the courts, and in the public debate focus on the extremes of the issue, where people are most likely to find agreement. As long as Roe stands, there’s honestly not much that’s going to be accomplished in terms of restricting abortion rights.

  2. EVERY “conservative” should respond to the abortion question with “The Supreme Court has declared abortion to be legal with certain limitations. I Will work for a constitutional amendment that….” and fill in your dream there. Because no constitutional amendment will EVER pass to ban abortion. And if that is your “cause” in life, then go away. I don’t want to hear it. Texas “conservatives” passed a STUPID law that tried to restrict abortion doctors and the first court held most of that law unconstitutional under a “rational basis” test. And that law will continue to lose but the lawmakers that passed it will continue to get money from the zealots that somehow think it is THEIR BUSINESS what women NOT RELATED to them do with their bodys. And don’t EVER equate the Tea Party with anti-abortion or other “social” issues. That is if you want conservatives to sign up.

  3. Have you seen the quinnipiac poll from this morning? The race is down to within 4 points, almost within the margin of error. These polls have been all over the place. Just last week you saw polls say it was Terry +16. I don’t trust the polls. A lot happens in the last few days of a high profile race like this. You’re all seeing Ken’s numbers rise as the elections nears an the Libertarian candidate’s numbers are falling.

    1. That’s good news for guns in Virginia. I really do hope Cuccinelli pulls it out. I don’t agree with him on a lot of social issues, but I’m also of the opinion that if Bloomberg walks away with this election there will be hell to pay down the road. We also can’t lose Virginia, because if we lose Virginia, we lose the NRA. No real gunny will work in the state. Whether you believe it or not, most of the people lobbying for your gun rights are real gun people. Most of them are even black gun people. The worst outcome of this is that NRA becomes a DC lobbying organization comprised mostly of people who don’t have any real dog in the fight themselves. I believe this is what Bloomberg is trying to achieve in buying Virginia.

      1. We lost VA before with the one gun a month. Given that VA only allows a one term governor. It will be interesting to see what Terry would do in four years and how badly they could pay for it at the polls in two years and four years. It really comes down to how many down state voters come out. Given the current admin in DC, the beltway if full of liberal transplants working for the admin, so the beltway vote is only going one direction.

    2. “Have you seen the quinnipiac poll from this morning?”

      If the poll is valid and shows things are changing, I would suggest it is because the heavy harping on gun control by the McCauliff campaign ads are effectively campaign ads for Cootchie.

      If Cootchie pulls it out or even comes close, somebody ought to tell them to look into how they squandered a double-digit lead in not much more than a week.

      I dislike both candidates strongly, and from a distance don’t know enough about Sarvis to have much of an opinion about him, given that an (L) behind your name doesn’t seem to mean much anymore. But I like to think my sense of my own visceral reactions to things are valid, and McC’s anti-gun ads piss me off so much that if I was in the voting booth at the time, I’d surely hold my nose and vote for Cootch.

  4. While I disagree with the SoCons on many issues, it is the establishment Republicans that have damaged the brand by seemingly believing in nothing other than accommodating the left and getting their cut of the graft.

    1. “While I disagree with the SoCons on many issues, it is the establishment Republicans that have damaged the brand by seemingly believing in nothing other than accommodating the left and getting their cut of the graft.”

      Is that how Todd Akin, and Cuccinelli himself, “damaged the brand”?

      Hint: It’s not.

      1. Right on. Those guys are “the brand”.

        Republicans will not win nationally until they alter their brand. They need to stop legislating social issues and start focusing on budgets and start respecting those little things we call “personal liberties”.

        1. The problem is there isn’t much space left to go on “budgets” when you have a legislature as sharply divided with Obama in the whitehouse. They tried that with the shutdown and look where it got them. We can argue strategy, but the democrats have largely won there. 49% of the population pulls some sort of means tested government benefit at last glance.

        2. But what about my “personal liberty” to not have to pay for someone else’s choice? What about my liberty not have to buy someone else’s abortifacient contraceptives. This libertarian thing goes both ways you know.

          Obamacare requires employers to buy insurance that pays for the killing of babies. The “establishment Republicans” are in favor of letting that remain law. Social conservatives are willing to fall on their sword against that one. A true libertarian would find agreement with Richard’s statement above.

          Fiftycal is right, that if a lady wants to murder her child in the womb, I’ll let God and her husband judge and deal with her – its not my (or the fed’s) place to intrude. But if she, in the person of Ms. Fluke or whomever, demands that I pay for the consequences of her promiscuous whoredom, and that I therefore become an accessory to her crimes of murder…well, let’s just say I’d be as outraged as a liberal anti-gunner who was forced to subsidize Adam Lanza-types’ purchase of AR-15s! Except that my Adam Lanza analogy is made up – Obamacare’s contraceptive-coverage mandate is real! It’s history! It’s law! And it violates my “personal liberties”!!!!!

          The social conservatives are the ones actually being tyrannized, people. As Sebastian said, ain’t no way Roe v Wade is going to be violated by Conservative candidates for State or Federal office. But my right to not be an accessory to infanticide IS being violated, right now, this very moment, by a law that John McCain and his Republican ilk say cannot be stopped and have surrendered to.

          The Second Amendment is important to me, but I won’t vote anyone, pro-2A or not, who says I have to help pay for a lady’s choice to murder her baby. That candidate is going down!

          Sorry for venting – I get a bit impassioned on this one.

          Yet with respect, Arnie

          1. Exactly. Conscience protections and the erosion of them have led exactly to what Sebastian mentions about extremes in public debates today. Liberty cuts both ways, and government should not continually subsidize poor decisions.

            So I post this to everyone: How “extreme” (using the anti’s language) would gun rights folks have had to get if we never had NFA ’34 and GCA ’68 to slowly erode our rights?

          2. I don’t like paying school taxes while sending my kid to a private school (and partially home schooling). But I cannot convince enough of the electorate to give me a break. They don’t agree with me. If I ran for office on a platform of, “I won’t pay for your kid’s education because I send my kid to private school”, I would almost surely lose.

            This isn’t about the philosophy. This is about losing.

            And the talk of this being about libertarian principles of not paying for things you don’t like, while seriously glossing over the fact the candidate signed onto legislation banning all abortion even in cases of rape and incest; etc.

            This is not a budget battle. This is a contest between two philosophical approaches to social policy, and one is beating the other. That does not make it “right”, but it certainly cannot be ignored.

            1. Patrick: “This is not a budget battle…but social policy, etc.”

              I agree. But the social policy trends of the left are unabashedly more and more government control, including of guns, particularly at the Federal level. The policy trend of the right is [at least ostensibly] limited, smaller government, especially in regard to guns, particularly at the Federal level.

              As Sebastian has pointed out, the courts today will never allow government intrusion in the womb or bedrooms of consenting couples, the incest/sodomy law notwithstanding. Cuccelli’s explanation of his support for that law seems to acknowledge that, rendering that issue a red herring.

              With that in mind, there’s no question which one I would vote for, and not just on the basis of guns alone, but on which guy is going to intrude less into my life, my business, and my pocketbook: Cuccelli, hands down!

              If McCauliff wins, it will be because the majority of Virginians DO want more government intrusion, particularly into successful people’s pocketbooks and in the form of free handouts to the slothful, because THAT is the policy of the liberal Democratic Party. I am convinced that is why they re-elected Mr. Obama!

              Respectfully, Arnie

              1. Anybody who claims you are a ‘low information voter’ would be an idiot. ;)

                1. Thank you, Patrick; the respect is mutual, believe me.

                  (Embarrassingly, I do see I misspelled Cuccinelli’s name wrong, however.)

                  1. Aaaagh! “Misspelled his name wrong”? As though I could misspell it right??? Groan! Long day! :-(

            2. Yes, the candidate supports life in the womb. So what? Without it you would not be here to hold a gun and vote. What does it matter the condition you were conceived under?

              As I mentioned to Andy B., it’s tough to go full on libertarian without first reducing the size and scope of the state to enforce things that violate conscience rights.

              Step back, look at the totality of the issues and realize a candidate’s position on sex is a phony issue, just like attorney general candidate Kane’s stance on Penn State, just like president Obama’s stance on getting involved in wars.

              Want to see what else is phony?



          3. Fiftycal is right, that if a lady wants to murder her child in the womb, I’ll let God and her husband judge and deal with her – its not my (or the fed’s) place to intrude. But if she, in the person of Ms. Fluke or whomever, demands that I pay for the consequences of her promiscuous whoredom, and that I therefore become an accessory to her crimes of murder…well, let’s just say I’d be as outraged as a liberal anti-gunner who was forced to subsidize Adam Lanza-types’ purchase of AR-15s!

            Y’all who are wondering why Cuccinelli is getting his ass kicked? Look right there.^^^

            The preacher in Footloose was already a caricature 40 years ago, but he sounded flat ****ing reasonable compared to that.

      2. Well, no. But it is pretty good description of losses in CO and NV and elsewhere as well as the last two presidential races. The problem with Akin is that he was a stupid SoCon.

  5. The demographic shift in NOVA has much, much more to do with the current race than any platform issue in terms of changing the minds of prior R voters in the middle to D. Instead, there have literally been hundred of thousands if not millions of new D votes flooding in. You cannot drive down any road, or stop in any parking lot, without seeing at least a dozen plates on cars from NJ and NY. These are not just visitors, and will in due course turn over to VA plates. But others keep coming down.

    While it has made for a good party town in Arlington and Alexandria for the young folks, and stabilizing property markets out in Fairfax and Loudon for the older folks, this is having a political impact. There is a lot of reflexive liberalism. No matter how many new shooters we are recruiting here to enjoy their new freedoms, there isn’t yet a broader understanding that these freedoms will be lost if the newcomers simply vote the way they always had on party line tickets regardless of the issues. It is harder to make the connection for a groupon or livingsocial date night that does not understand the real impact of that legislation. Simply discussing some of the reasons why one can safely be out late at dinner or the clubs here in VA versus the increasing horror stories they hear about the scene in DC or MD is an eye opener for them, and local media simply doesn’t report crime news in any sort of fashion that would encourage them to understand self defense with a firearm. And that is just arguments at the crime / safety nexus of firearms rights.

    The libertarian spoilers in this race is also a serious concern. I understand the frustration with R go along, get along and fail approaches to important problems here. But there is a lot more at stake if the state flips harder blue.

    1. You are very much correct. However, we’ve had “demographic shifts” in many states, both red and blue, for a while. I was just sent a Washington Post article about West Virginia going more and more emphatically red as well. This is why we must be engaged in all 50 states.

      The gun issue is relevant in all 50 states, regardless of where people move. In fact, if anything, that’s why our efforts are most effective when our ideas are diffused at the grassroots. It’s what we gain in taking new shooters to the range or even letting friends and family members know that we shoot and own firearms in defense of the home. How many people would change their tune if someone they’ve known for a while owned a gun? Gun ownership by itself is not a divisive issue, and I’ve seen that play out in my own life.

      Finally, the pro-life issue is one that all of us should care about, as I have made pretty clear from my posts. In fact, it’s probably number 1 for me because without life you can’t really enjoy much of anything else enshrined in the bill of rights. It’s why to me it’s a very similar argument to ending slavery whether you are a slave to someone else or to the state. Since the nation’s founding, the bill of rights has been awfully nice for anyone who was afforded the opportunity to live. If we deny that opportunity to someone simply because it’s inconvenient to someone else for them to live then we might as well pack it up and forget about any of our other issues. I fail to see what we are fighting for if we can’t admit that we support the right to life.

      On a practical note, snuffing out the next generation of gun 2.0 doesn’t help the cause, either. It’s a demographic spiral. Take a look at yourself and your passion for second amendment rights. Now look at your kids (if there are any). Do your kids share that interest? What will become of the next generation once all of us are gone? Because without children who value what we do, the second amendment will be wiped out in a generation. How many of us became interested in guns because of our parents or grandparents, even if they just saw a gun hanging on a rack that hadn’t been used in 20 years?

      1. On a practical note, snuffing out the next generation of gun 2.0 doesn’t help the cause, either. It’s a demographic spiral.

        There’s a big problem with your practical argument there, and it’s that I’ve never seen any evidence at all that gun owners are a major source of abortions in this country. Do you have actual evidence that gun owners are aborting kids at the same or higher rates of non-gun owners?

        I would tend to doubt much in the way of anecdotal evidence just because of what I have seen in my own years involved in the issue. Most gun owning families I’ve seen are actually larger than many of the non-gun owners I know who have families. For the gun owners I know who don’t have children, I’ve never known any who had abortions to remain child-free. In fact, the only women I’ve ever known who had abortions were anti-gun.

        1. It is not that gun owner abort children. The problem is that they are not having a lot of children. Have you had child to pass on your passions? I have.
          Now I don/t see liberatarians having a lot of children, nut religous right do have lots of children

          1. But the topic presented above is about how abortion is impacting the future of gun rights. So are we now taking that to the next extreme of mandating certain reproduction requirements?

            Take a minute and realize just how extreme that position is. Even if that’s not exactly what you’re presenting, you’re pushing the message that the “problem” in need of solving here is that women aren’t having enough kids in a discussion on whether or not the government allows a woman to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy or whether the government requires that she have a baby, regardless of personal or medical circumstances. This is an example of how a debate on this issue can so easily go off the rails and give the other side fantastic little soundbites to promote the War on Women theme.

            1. I’m not saying we ought to make policy decisions off of this, necessarily. I am simply articulating what the practical ramifications of this are going to be for us when we are missing an entire generation.

              1. I’m not saying we ought to make policy decisions off of this, necessarily.

                Understand that the fact that you feel the need to leave that door open with the “necessarily” is absolutely disturbing to me.

                As a woman who has been sick and tired of the Democrats – politicians and interest groups – thinking that the only part of my body that’s relevant is my uterus, hearing either Republican candidates or GOP volunteers talk this way just cements that they also view me as nothing more than a function of my uterus.

                In other words, your rhetoric makes it easier to convince people who are pretty middle of the road or even sympathetic to your arguments see that the GOP isn’t a place for them. Maybe the Democratic Party isn’t either, and then one has to wonder why the Libertarian in Virginia is doing so well…

              2. HappyWarrior6, I think I understand Mrs. Bitter’s concern about how you’re wording your message. Fair or not, some anti-gun troll could plausibly take your statement and infer that pro-gunners want their women barefoot and pregnant…all the time, so as to eventually raise a majority of pro-gun voters. That, I think would clearly “get legs” in the media as an act of war on modern women, especially if there was any hint of making it becoming public policy. And you know how they like to drop hints!

                If I’m off base with that observation, I truly apologize!

                – Arnie

                1. “So when was the last time you beat your wife?” sounds more like Bitter’s statement.

                  My opinion stands. Where will we be in 30 years?

                  1. Understood, sir.

                    Another factor on the voting population is immigration. I don’t think “gun culture” has a positive connotation with immigrants from South of the border because of the drug cartel crimes and gun laws concomitant to that region. Our prolific procreation may not suffice. We may have to engage in some “liberty-evangelization” as potential new citizen-voters enter our realm. Just an added thought.

                    1. I like that term, Arnie! Really that needs to be happening now with all of our neighbors, not just immigrants. I didn’t start shooting until someone had to put a gun in my hand.

            2. The general tone of this conversation over several days was to jettison the social conservatives because they believe in the right to life. The issue is whether babies should be killed because it is convenient to the parents or rape and incest. In any case the result is a dead child . The right to lifers will not agree that babies should die for any reason. The is an absolute for them. Now gun owner span the spectrum of philosophies. Some are pro life , some are not. However it is a fool’s choice to think the democrats are going to save their gun rights.

              Gun owner in Virginia should vote for Cucinelli and be a single issue voter.

        2. Abortions, and also not having kids (more of this), are a problem in this country when it comes to tomorrow’s problems. Yes, of course this is a practical conclusion since you are not passing on the philosophical reasoning for our second amendment rights to anyone who will carry the torch. This is one of the reasons why immigration policy is such a contentious issue from a cultural perspective.

          1. So, what you’re saying is that you actually have no evidence to support the “practical note” about abortion impacting gun owners being a cause for concern in spreading our rights. If you’re going to claim that it’s something we need to be worried about specifically for our cause, then please document or provide whatever anecdotal evidence you have on the topic.

            1. Bitter, I hope you are right in this respect: That for me to me wrong about the population numbers would mean that folks who value individual liberty and the bill of rights are having more kids than not. Seeing as how there’s no way to actually gauge this, I have no evidence. We’ll see in 30 years who is right and who is wrong.

              1. When it comes to government regulation, there’s a big difference between abortion and the decision whether or not to simply remain childless. You argued the continued presence of legalized abortion as the issue impacting gun owners, now you’re complaining that you don’t think they are reproducing up to your personal preference. These are very different things.

                1. As relates to population, they are the same thing.

                  You are not facing the tough questions about the continuity of philosophy. That which is passed down from generation to another is worth studying. If you remain ignorant of it, don’t be surprised when it comes to bite you.

                  Now is generational support for our rights the only way the message gets across? Of course not. For me, it actually was not. I heard nothing but anti-gun things in the home growing up.

                  Again, however, this is why I mention that culture and philosophy are reasons why immigration is such a contentious issue. Namely: We don’t have the stuff to keep our philosophical ideas going under current projections.

          2. Having children is a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, with the economic situation in the country many people who are intelligent and responsible make the decision not to reproduce until they are able to support children in a responsible manner.

            However, the other side of this coin is that the people who are stupid and/or irresponsible will continue to do what they always have done and have lots of children which become a burden on social welfare systems and grow up to vote for more free stuff from the govt.

            That’s the truly insidious part about the welfare state. It discourages people who would otherwise be raising the next generation of descent responsible individuals from doing so, while subsidizing from their very sustenance those who would do the opposite.

            1. The opening sequence of Idiocracy captures this very well. Although, to be fair, intelligence is often less a factor than responsibility. I have a relative who is actually quite intelligent, but has been a heavy doper since he was 9. He is now utterly dependent on the State of California, having run out of women foolish enough to go on welfare so that he would not have to work. And in the reproduction sweepstakes, he is clearly more genetically fit than me, as judged by the number of children he has.

      2. Actually, it’s much much more likely we’re aborting the next generation of Democrats :) I understand that people who are pro-life still believe that’s wrong, but from a purely detached political point of view, abortion is going to hurt Democrats more than Republicans (who tend to think it’s wrong).

        1. I must confess to my shame that I have actually contemplated that prospect as consolation for being on the losing side on this issue. I know that’s hypocritical of me, but sometimes pragmatism overflows my idealism. :-(
          – Arnie

      3. Because without children who value what we do, the second amendment will be wiped out in a generation. How many of us became interested in guns because of our parents or grandparents, even if they just saw a gun hanging on a rack that hadn’t been used in 20 years?

        So the mass of people who own guns in the USA is a finite pool based on genealogical roots? Once they expire…it’s over?

        Wow. Didn’t know that. Growing up in New York (where we had no access to gun culture) I was not told that I could not come onto the knowledge myself. Or spread it to my mother – who now has permits to carry in more states than I do.

        I know what you intended to say (I think). I think it’s a stretch and I see the dogpile above and won’t jump in.

        I will implore you to look outside your community and recognize that the fastest growing demographics for gun ownership are so far outside the “cultural heritage of guns” that it makes no sense to restrict our outreach.

        I know many pro-choice women who own guns, carry and regularly shoot. Please don’t restrict civil rights to a singular political party.

        For the record, I am a Republican but recognize the futility of taking hard-line SoCon positions in most of this nation. The result is called, “losing”.

        1. By all means I don’t think we would restrict our outreach. However, we should also recognize that guns aren’t the primary motivating factor to get people to the polls. Will those “pro-choice women” vote on gun rights or the right to kill children in the end? No, they may decide (depending on how motivated they are) to vote based on sex, or something more substantive. Whose civil rights are you talking about? Those of the folks who were already born?

          1. If they won’t vote (just) on guns, then the “War on Women” approach to guns (which is pretty much what we’ve been seeing from some of the antis in Colorado) should be used. If the Dems can turn any issue into an attack on women, we had better be able to do the same with an issue that justifies that claim, such as attacks on gun ownership.

    2. The Libertarian vote generally tends to split 60/40 in favor of Dems when it comes to election day.

      Anti-gay is not a libertarian position. The pro-life position can fall either way, because libertarians are like the rest of society: some see liberty in letting a woman decide; and some see liberty in defending the life of a child who has not been given the choice.

      I am not advocating a position on abortion, but do note that if we (the gun rights community) keep hoping to ride the coattails of those who strongly advocate against the conventional wisdom of their own electorate, we are going to lose big every time. That goes for both Dems and Republicans.

      Gun Rights should be a liberal and conservative cause. But we keep digging into the trenches with people like Cuccinelli, and are paying for it.

      1. The problem there is how to advance liberals who are pro gun.

        Among the Democratic party there is a strong push to be anti gun especially in the more metro-lib areas.

        (The culling of many blue dogs also increased this. As did the culling of many anti-gun republicans)

        On the upside being anti-gun is not as mandatory as the other aspects of cultural liberalism.

        As Sebastian commented elsewhere in this thread being progun in the deep-blue areas is seen as putting a target on your back.

        Especially in a Dem primary.

        So yes, I think you’re very correct that we should have gun rights being a liberal and coservative cause, but how do we get there?

        1. Blue dogs in large part seem to push the Manchin-Toomey “bipartisan compromise.” They aren’t anyone’s friend, pro or anti, when it comes to guns. Take Rep. Matt Cartwright for instance.

        2. You cannot push a pro-gun Dem in an apparatus who do not want them. What you need to do is move them center by winning elections with pro-gun Republicans.

          That is the point of all this talk here. Running SoCon Republicans that will lose elections allows the anti-gun side to claim they have a winning position.

          Manchin needs to go, and his loss needs to be about guns. Defeating people helps. But winning helps more.

  6. Cuccinelli is not pro gun. He is pro-get-himself elected. As AG candidate, he vowed not to support GMU in their gun ban. After election, he broke his word and not only took the GMU gun ban defense to the supreme court, he had brady campaign material in his arguments. Some in the gun righs community have tried to justify his actions by indicating he had an obligation to defend GMU. If anything, he was obligated to recuse himself having commented on the regulations constitutionality before the case was in the hopper. Even if you excused that, the AG has no legal obligation to defend a state agency that is treading on a constitutional right, is acting outside it’s legal scope of authority or breaking the law. He went on to not defend several state agencies.

    Cuccinelli may be a hero to the pro-life crowd, but he is a known backstabber to Virginia gun owners. he is more accurately a statist, embracing government control of people’s lives in their bedrooms, in their doctors offices and everywhere else.

  7. “Center” is a moving target.

    What is center in blue states is not center in red states as relates to gun rights. Look at what constitutes “center” for gun rights in PA versus NJ. Heck, NJ would be glad for a “moderate” who says that the 2A allows you to carry outside the home without question. In PA someone simply acknowledging that would be moving backwards for gun rights.

    1. I don’t dispute that, but there’s a reason you don’t see Republicans in New Jersey getting all that cozy with the NRA or with even moderate pro-gun positions. Because they fear it turns off voters. Whether that’s true or not, it’s the perception.

      Here’s a question: why does a governor of a state really even need planks on abortion? I mean, they can have their own view. Chris Christie being a Catholic claims his own personal pro-life beliefs, but he doesn’t run on that in New Jersey, and I think that’s smart. But the fact is as long as Roe stands, there’s really not much practical that can be accomplished on pro-life policy at the state level.

      1. He didn’t run on it, but he also acted on it.

        Because of his signing various state budget acts into law, Planned Parenthood does not get money from NJ state government and he got hammered on it by the pro-abortion shills. It’s not denting him. What you are hinting at is perception versus policy. He made the case and had the apparatus to handle the problem and govern as someone who didn’t hide his religious beliefs.

        Heck, I’d take Christie over Obama when it comes to pro-life issues. He wouldn’t be my ideal choice and he is still a “politician” when it comes to lots of stuff, but he also is better at building consensus while articulating his beliefs.

  8. I used to like to write on this subject, because I think the Republican’s and the “right” in general have made a mistake by trying to legislate morality and it does us damage that doesn’t need to be done.

    i.e. I plan on raising my daughters that abortion is not an option they should ever choose (minus a risk to their life, perhaps), but that’s a religious and moral choice, and I wouldn’t make it a law, and of course in the end they’ll make those decisions themselves. I do think it is justifiable (and actually supported by most Americans) to outlaw abortion after the fetus is realistically viable, but anything before then under any circumstances is the choice of the woman. And those of us on the religious right just need to reach out and try to get more women to choose wisely.

    Same with gay marriage. I’ve been friends with a lot of gay people/gay couples over the years, and there’s no reason not to give them the same legal privileges my wife and I have (and the negatives too — wonder if Gay marriage advocates ever heard of community property or divorce court ;-).

    Now does the above mean my church will ever perform a gay marriage? No it will not, and I’ve had conversations with my gay friends as why it wouldn’t. But other churches will (and that’s their choice).

    The only thing I fear is that we open the door to discriminating against churches that don’t honor Gay marriages, but that is something we need to work out in some way — that churches are exempt from some “civil rights” legislation and rules, at least within their own walls. Not sure how that will work because pro-gay rights people (aka Obama) won’t be happy until a church refusing to perform a gay nuptial is a hate crime with a mandatory prison sentence — but we’ll just have to live on that slippery slope.

    So bottom line is … Republicans need to accept that the American people will not allow the legislating of Morality. We don’t want any form of “Christian Shariah” law, no matter how much it conforms with our past societal norms.

    1. Stephen… I appreciate your comments and your position and can agree, in part, about loving first and preaching second when it comes to these situations. And in some ways it’s a lot like the gun issue in terms of getting the electorate on your side.

      And the concern I share with you is about the forcing of religions institutions and individuals by government to do something against their religious beliefs. This has been the core of the “conscience” argument against Obamacare. It’s not so much about forcing people to do your will, it’s more about government forcing people to violate their conscience by right of citizenship. There is no way that is even debatable. This administration has done more to remove conscience protections from all aspects of legislation, and most of it isn’t even legislation. It’s governing by regulation.

      Guns save lives. We know this… We have our work cut out for us in some of these purple and blue states. Also let’s not forget the shear ineptitude for Republicans to run decent campaigns. If Bob O’Donnell had similar positions as Cooch, why doesn’t Cooch running a similar campaign?

    2. Agreed, Stephen, but to which I add the question: isn’t the liberal agenda to force the wealthy to give to the poor a legislation of morality? I certainly resent the left’s imposition of their apostate religion of “liberation theology” and the “social gospel” upon me and and the rest of society, both secular and Christian. Helping the poor is a personal decision of individual conscience (sound familiar?), and the duty only of the Church, not government (Jesus and Paul never demanded charity from the Roman government).

      There is certainly no Constitutional duty for government to redistribute wealth. In fact, in view of the horrific national debt we have wrung up trying to equalize everyone’s conditions (welfare, Obamacare, student grants, student linches, food stamps, etc., etc., ad infinitum), I would conclude we are violation the “General Welfare” clause of Article 1.

      But my point is, liberals/Democrats have been legislating morality at least as long as the conservative/Republicans have, and to a far greater and more intrusive degree!. Yet voters don’t seem to shy away from the Democrats.

      Bottom line, ALL legislation is essentially the imposition of someone’s morality (what is roght and wrong) upon everyone else. The only question is, whose morality is most popular on Election Day? That guy’s morality wins!

      Respectfully, Arnie

      1. Everybody legislates morality to some degree. Liberals do as well. No argument there. I think it’s wrong for either.

        But I think there are a few semi-objective tests we can put against new laws being passed — and since we’re supposed a free society that doesn’t want to be encumbered by too many laws, that would seem worthwhile.

        i.e. does this law restricting behavior provably make me safer? Or is it just a feel good law?

        Abortion is a bit tougher because you can argue that from conception on a life is at stake, but on that particular item we’ve just plain lost when it comes to early term abortions. During my generation legalizing abortion was such a cornerstone of the fight for women’s rights that even very conservative/religious women I know — who would never argue that abortion is a good choice — are against it being outlawed. Even my wife, who had several friends get abortions during the 80’s, doesn’t think it should be outlawed and would have trouble voting for a candidate who ran on a platform specifically about doing so.

        Gay marriage is a bit easier to me. If any 2 people want to connect up with a pre-arranged legal template of rights of property ownership and etc. and then be entangled in a difficult to break contract — more power to them. It doesn’t hurt me if gay people are marrying each other. Again … any church I attend will never perform those marriages, but I already have friends/coworkers who are gay and married and it’s caused me no pain.

        On the gun control side I look at the new anti-gun colorado laws — absolutely “morality” based and absolutely wrong. Passes no test except liberals want to make life more legally dangerous for gun owners. I just hope they don’t get away with it — but sadly for older liberals gun control is a cornerstone of their generation and anything that smacks of limiting gun ownership is something they embrace.

        1. I like your test, Stephen, and the logic behind it as well.

          I’m curious how your test would rate wealth redistribution, i. e., being taxed simply because you make more money than someone else, and your money is then given to them because they don’t have as much as you. How would that fare on your test? Not trying to push a point here, just wondering how “entitlement spending” would fare on your test.

          Sincerely, Arnie

          1. Hey Arnie …

            To me the issues we’ve discussed are different categories.

            abortion and gun laws are criminal law. We actually take away people’s freedom/rights for breaking these laws. To me we pass no criminal laws unless the highest level of testing supports it (actually makes us safer).

            Marriage, gay or otherwise, while there can be criminal implications if you break some rules, is a civil matter. It’s a template of well established legal contracts (and a religious matter for some of us, but the govt.’s not involved in that in my mind). You can question why the govt. does marriages at all, but given human desires to pair up and have long term relationships it makes it easier for us (particularly with kids) and governments always have.

            When you’re talking taxation and etc. … again, criminal issues can get involved, and there’s that pesky constitution and its limitations … but since people can change the constitution and we’re talking in general … that’s where we get into civil engineering.

            I think we all want roads and highways and fire departments and a police department and an army, but as for social programs — that’s up in the air. Is it an absolute wrong for a rich nation to let children starve to death during hard times? Are we protecting ourselves with a welfare state because starving people are a tripping hazard? And, of course, really hungry people will generally commit violence to get food and then we have to pay for their food and lodging in jail …

            I’d argue that some level of welfare is a good investment to have less people in jail. Of course, we all disagree on that level, but that’s where the whole representative democracy comes in.

            As to the rich paying more … again, representative democracy.

            1. Thanks for getting back to me on this, Stephen. I really appreciate it.

              I concur on the civil/criminal distinctions you mentioned. The tax code I think is strictly criminal.- fines and/or jail time depending on the nature of the non-compliance.

              Roads, police and fire departments are predominantly (although not exclusively) State and local issues, as could be most charity programs. I am less bothered by State and local majority-value impositions than federal because 1) the original colonies (States) were sovereignly founded and settled for that very purpose. States could even have established religions and religious tests for their office holders, as 11 of the original 13 did even decades after the Forst Amendment was written to restrict only Congress from imposing religion. If I don’t agree with the State majority’s values, I can always move to a State or local community with which I do. The Central government, however, was forbidden by the First Amendment from imposing the religious/moral values of the majority upon the rest of us.

              Therefore, the problem of wealth redistribution lies in its imposition of a (majority’s) religious value by an ostensibly secular central government upon a nation of diverse beliefs. There is clearly no enumerated power for the FEDERAL government to take care of the poor, or provide charity or humanitarian services. To quote James Madison:

              “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the [federal] government.”
              — James Madison, speech in the House of Representatives, January 10, 1794 (3 years after ratification of the Bill of Rights)

              The Founders knew that if the majority could open the federal coffers to their favorite charities, there would be no end to bias, favoritism, bribery, and ultimately tyranny. It is so easy to be “generous” with other people’s money. It was mainly for this reason the Founders forbade federal charity, regardless of the majority’s wishes. I think today’s bloated entitlement programs and our obscene national debt and unfounded liabilities bear painful testimony to their wisdom on this.

              There is a great essay on this subject entitled “Not Yours To Give” on a website called The Junto Society. It contains a first-hand account by Congressmann Davey Crockett of an encounter with one of his constituents, a farmer named Horatio Buntz, who told Congressman Crockett he could not vote for him again because the Representative had betrayed his oath to the Constitution by voting federal humanitarian relief to a private party in pressing need. The conversation between these two men is remarkable and educational. I recommend it to everyone on this thread who is interested in historical libertarianism and the Constitution’s limitations on the Federal Government’s spending.

              Lest some think me heartless, I personally give generously to charity. My Church fellowship gives to charity. I have no problem with my State and local governments providing for reasonable humanitarian relief, for the Tenth Amendment reserves that power to them. But the federal government has no constitutional power to collect my income to relieve someone else’s distress, let alone to buy votes by rewarding sloth. I believe $17 trillion of debt with no end in sight to its increase, with tens of trillions more debt in unfounded social liabilities, is sufficient evidence to vindicate my assertion. Stephen, one of your tests was “does it make us substantially safer” as a society. Being in horrific debt to arch enemies like the Chinese to keep welfare queens feasting on food stamps in a free air conditioned government housing complex with drawers full of taxpayer-provided contraception is safer for society? I think rather it makes us dangerously vulnerable to lose the great nation and its freedoms our Founders sacrificed so dearly to procure for us.

              In conclusion, I’d say federal redistribution of wealth for any reason (humanitarian or political) fails your test.

              Thanks for letting me expound, Stephen. And feel free to to reprove me on this. I sincerely want to learn.

              Gratefully, Arnie

              1. Stephen, I must abashedly apologize. The website I gave you for a reference, Junto Society, is down. Worse, I searched for the Davey Crockett story elsewhere and found it on Snopes – which decried it as only partially true, and greatly embellished by Crockett’s biographer, a fellow names Ellis in 1867. It’s not trustworthy! Again, I apologize.

                Please let me make amends by offering a verified reference evincing the libertarian prohibition our Founders placed on federal spending for charity:

                “Our tenet ever was that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. ”
                — Thomas Jefferson letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

                Hope that’s helpful.

                Thanks, Stephen!

                Sincerely, Arnie

                1. Great Stuff! Thanks!

                  I don’t really disagree with you on your main points, but the “Federal government shouldn’t be involved in welfare” train left the station and is even further down the track than the “ban early term abortion” train. Disappeared over the horizon before even I was born.

                  The argument — and it’s not a bad one — was that some states are poorer than others, and the Federal government can even things out. The problem, of course, is that the Federal government apportions payments to states based more on politics than real need.

                  We live in a world where Obama was elected after clearly running on a socialist platform and then reelected after he confirmed it. Not to mention the Dem party that has shifted hard left with him and continues to get big support.

                  I doubt we’ll turn it around in my lifetime, as the internet and the politics of demographics have been better exploited by progressives than conservatives, but who knows. Even in my case, at a decade or two away from retirement, all my retirement plans are based on having some form of government subsidized retirement resources (medicaid, SS) and it would be nearly impossible to shift to a plan totally on my own resources, though I’ve been working hard to build them up.

                  Of course I’d be helped out by the huge economic boom if we returned to a more open/free economy — but probably not enough.

                  1. Thank you, sir! And you are absolutely right, that train is long gone. My idealism is out of step with present reality and only a crushing financial collapse could wake up this electorate to the folly of our socialist ways.

                    I commend you for striving to be as financially independent as practical from federal support upon retirement. In all candidness, I don’t think that support is going to be there in twenty years, maybe less. I suspect I am much older than you and frankly I’m not counting on it being there when I am can no longer work. I delayed a lot of gratification earlier in my life to save and invest in wealth-producing assets, and now they are starting to pay off. I think I’ll be able to make it even if SS and Medicare collapse (as veritable ponzi schemes, they eventually must).

                    Stephen, if I may counsel you, you have the powerful advantage of youth in your corner. Develop a budget that spends less than you make and adhere to it faithfully, saving or investing the excess where it is out of your reach. Even if you can only set aside 5 or 10%, please do it. Discipline yourself to do it. Invest it in relatively safe, yet income-producing assets. Make sure they are at least somewhat diversified. Normally I’d say pay off any debts you have, but with interest rates so low I have to qualify that. Any debt with interest over 5% either refinance below that or focus on paying it off. Never carry-over credit card debt! Never! Pay those off completely every month or cut them up and throw them away! Make your savings work for you – it’s like giving yourself a raise without working for it! Also, discipline your body. Cut down on expensive snacks and sodas and unhealthy habits (smoking, heavy drinking, etc.) that cost money to indulge and do damage to your long-term health. Eat healthy and exercise regularly. You’ll look and feel better, have fewer health care costs now and especially in your old age. Avoid risky behavior when able; that entails a lot of issues, but much of our health care costs are avoidable if we eliminate behaviors that put us at unnecessary risk for injury or disease. I am not saying live in a padded room away from all contact; just say no to ventures that are…frankly…foolhardy. Sometimes our quest for thrills and our lust for illicit pleasures will pay us back in spades with injuries and diseases that plague and cost us for the rest of our lives. Doing 75 mph on a curve designed for 55 can be exhilarating, and medically and financially disastrous. Make recreation sensible, and enjoy the wife of your youth all the days of your life. One last biggie: Stay alert behind the wheel! A fraction of a second of distraction can wipe out your life savings, and your life!

                    Granted, some health issues may be unavoidable – and expensive. I belong to a Christian medical-burden-sharing organization that, although not actually insurance (because it is voluntary), it provides better than insurance and the law exempts me from Obamacare. Its costs are far less burdensome than insurance premiums with absolutely none of the hassles! There are many such organizations out there for Christians (Samaritan Ministries, MediShare, etc.), and I have to think other faith groups would have similar organizations of their own. There may even be such groups for the “un-faithed.” They are an outstanding alternative to conventional insurance, and especially to Obamacare. Additionally, there are surgical centers who deal in cash only that are 1/10th to 1/3rd the cost of regular hospitals. They actually advertise their prices in the Newspapers!!! They don’t accept insurance or government money – you must pay cash up front. There is one in Oklahoma City that my best friend in all the world went to for double-inguinal hernia surgery. It would have cost him over $14,000 in a conventional hospital with the bills coming in over the next six months. He drove down to OKC and they did it for $4300 cash up front! He was done paying. Period. Quality? This center gets the best surgeons in the State because they LOVE that there is no insurance or government paperwork hassles, and they get paid! Up front! It’s win-win for everybody. (Makes me wonder if the high cost of health care is BECAUSE of government healthcare and mandatory insurance!). And because my friend belongs to my same Christian burden-sharing-group, we all voluntarily chipped in a nominal love-gift so his maximum out-of-pocket expense was $300 plus the trip down and back and a one-night stay in a motel in OKC with his wife! His monthly burden-share (“premium”) is only $325! And he has 13 children!!!! We all agree to cover him for up to $250,000 ($1 million if he pays $12 more per month)! Please check these groups out – they are a wonderful service – AND you are totally exempt from paying for the communist disaster that is Obamacare!!!!

                    I am sorry to have gone on so long. But I perceive you to be a wonderful young man and I want you to succeed as much as possible for a libertarian in the land of Obama!

                    Bless you, Stephen!!! Wishing you the BEST!!!

                    – Arnie

                    1. Thanks Arnie! Blessings to you, too!

                      I am older than you think and into middle age, but too young to retire yet. And I still have young kids (started late).

                      You speak much like Dave Ramsey, someone who’s courses I’ve studied.

                      For me … I definitely believe in living a “cash” lifestyle, with the exception that I don’t mind having a mortgage or a small car payment. secured debts both.

                      I also put away what I can, and wish I’d started in my early twenties instead of my late 30’s ;-).

                      Thanks again,

    3. Democrats promote legislating morality all the time: gun control; prohibitions of refusing to photograph a gay wedding. Somehow, they don’t have a problem with legislating morality at all. They just object to a majority doing so.

      1. Ah, but that’s not really their big trick. Because of their ownership of most of the mainstream media, they get to convince people that it’s *the Republicans who are trying to legislate morality*. And of course, many stupid Republicans unwittingly oblige.

        Conservatives complain about the Left owning education, the media and academia. But they make no attempts to use those strategies themselves. And no, Fox news does not count. We have to *take back* a workable portion of the media, and be very subtle about introducing a modified message through it. Of course, the Conservatives who could pool the resources needed to do that will not do it.

        When CNN is saying the same thing as Fox News, either by direct statement or not-so-subtle implication, *then* our message will get through.

  9. I see this talked around above, but not stated explicitly, so I’ll take a stab at it; it is to some extent rhetorical, though I’ll allow others to fill in the rhetoric:

    How did it come that our issue is now consistently bundled with social conservatism? Why are the most strident SoCo candidates the ones also loudest about supporting gun rights?

    There is nothing to inherently relate them except two camps with laundry lists of issues that aren’t necessarily consistent within themselves. I guess from the SoCo side you can develop convoluted arguments like, “You can’t be pro-gun and not be pro-life because. . .) or you can take the side that I prefer, “You can’t expand the power of The State to intrude on anything at all without being implicitly anti-gun.” But take away the angels and their pinhead dance floors, and there isn’t much that logically links being pro-gun to being pro-life or anti-LGBT or anti-immigrant. So, how did that happen?

    It’s an important question, because if we’ve allowed our issue to be bundled with the wrong package, and that package goes down the societal/cultural garbage chute. . .need I say more?

    Perhaps that’s why industries diversify.

    1. With a government that were small enough not to BE ABLE to do half the things it does today I could accept a pure libertarian argument, Andy. But to me before we even go there we need to reduce the functions and scope of government. For instance, right now the government has the regulatory structure in place to prosecute a business that refuses to serve people with a lifestyle it disagrees with or hire people it doesn’t. Right now it can force me to pay for people to do things that are destructive.

      To many liberals getting rid of this authority is like a month old fish wrapped in a newspaper. Keep peeling it back and it smells worse. Who is going to blink first?

    2. I think much of it happened because many of the SoCo base own guns.

      Also consider that until relativly recently both parties were anti-gun at the leadership level (and downwards_.
      How many GOP presidential candidates have been pro AWB?

      And then consider the states where the pro-gun vote has more ability to affect things at the margins. Those tend to be red-states.

      So for may social cons, being pro gun was an easy way to get some support and would help in primaries.

      In short: the anti-gun social cons (yes they exist) lost out to the pro-gun social cons.

      The opposite effect was largly at work in the prog bastions. With the added bonus that it’s internally consistent to be anti-gun and progressive statist.

    3. It is not a matter that gun owners allowed their issue to be packaged with so cons. It is a matter that Demoncrats have aleways been gun banners. GOP are not that great at repealing gun laws, but ususlly don’t propose more.

      Tne so cons are the passionate base of the GOP. To ask the GOp to eject that is asking them to be Democratic lite. If Libertarians are now numerous then they could get their own candidates elected in large numbers. But they can’t. Or they could convert the GOP to their side which has been happening for decades. Reagan had more libertarian impulses and so does Sarah Palin who is also a so con on right to life.
      The fact is the so cons are also pro 2 A and the soc liberals are control lovers. Soc Liberals are the Democrats and the so cons are part of the GOP.

      There are some soc liberals that are pro 2 A but they are the minority.

  10. To those who are still trying to figure out why Cuccinelli has become such a lightning rod of late on SoCon issues, here is the law he chose (wittingly or unwittingly) to make his defining issue:


    § 18.2-361. Crimes against nature; penalty.
    A. If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, except as provided in subsection B.

    This infamous law made oral sex between consenting adults, even married heterosexual spouses, a *felony* and equates it with bestiality, flagrantly vilating Lawrence v. Texas and ultimately causing the law to be struck down by a three-judge panel. Cuccinelli apparently decided that getting this law reinstated in the Ostensibly-For-Lovers State was vitally important, and has appealed to have it heard by the full circuit, as I understand it.

    That clapping sound you hear isn’t applause, it’s non-SoCons facepalming.

    That bit of effing stupidity (or noneffing stupidity, as the case may be) is getting enough play in the media to make it an albatross around Cuccinelli’s neck. As I understand it, he argues that prosecutorial discretion will ensure that couples who commit felony going-down won’t get prosecuted, even though such prosecution was the impetus for Lawrence v. Texas in the first place.

    Some takes on it, both from the right and from the left:






    So, at least the *perception* is that Candidate A is a nutjob who wants to outlaw popular guns, and Candidate B is a nutjob who wants to outlaw hanky panky with your wife/girlfriend.

    Perhaps Cuccinelli could change this perception, but it is WAAAAAY beyond the “don’t worry, you won’t get prosecuted if you violate it” argument. But if the SoCons can’t wrap their heads around how ludicrous this is, then I don’t know what to say.

    1. Right. We get it. It’s all about sex/PENN STATE to the McAuliffe people, and apparently all about guns for others. They must be the only two issues at state in this election I guess.

      1. “Right. We get it. It’s all about sex/PENN STATE to the McAuliffe people, and apparently all about guns for others. They must be the only two issues at state in this election I guess.”

        I said it’s an albatross around his neck, not that it’s the only issue in play. But IMO it is certainly the most relevant issue in play with regard to the topic of this thread, namely far-out SoCon positions that alienate non-SoCons.

      2. “Gun Control is not about guns; it’s about control”

        We believe that, don’t we? We use gun control as a litmus test to grade politicians on how willing they are to control our private lives and our safety.

        Cuccinelli wants to make the things spouses commonly do, a felony. His claims that ‘prosecutorial discretion is enough’, mean that a single person gets to subjectively decide whether you life should be ruined (win, lose or draw in a prosecution…you are done) because of an act you perform in private with your wife.

        Talk about a control freak: he wants to be able to personally decide who goes to jail for getting a blowjob in his own home from his own wife. This is not theoretical. Look at Lawrence to see how this ends.

        I am not trying to pick a fight with you. Honestly. But I gotta ask: is there any position Cuccinelli has taken here that cause you a little concern? That make you wonder if he is not the same as McAullife and all the progressives…just trying to harm different people?

        1. Since you (and others here) repeatedly choose to zero in on this candidate’s position on blowjobs, I will ask you the standard fare: How many people really value a candidate’s position on this issue in particular? I remember how when there was poll after poll released where gun control consistently polls under 4%. It’s a non-issue. Where does the issue of oral sex fall there?

          I do not believe Cuccinelli gains or loses support based on his position on oral sex. It’s stupid and ridiculous to even believe that. I am convinced he gains or loses support on abortion, which he has my support on.

          Have you ever voted for someone with an issue you disagree with them on here or there? That seems to be the case here. And it sounds like you would agree with him on 90% of the other things. If anyone reads into Cooch’s campaign platform they might find, surprise, things non-sex as well. So I ask you: why do you (and his detractors) choose to narrow your interest in sex?

          1. I will shoot for direct answers…

            How many people really value a candidate’s position on this issue in particular? I remember how when there was poll after poll released where gun control consistently polls under 4%. It’s a non-issue. Where does the issue of oral sex fall there?

            I evaluate a number of positions in a candidate. Guns rate high, taxes rate high, ‘leave me alone’ rates high and I think the social positions of a candidate fall into that latter category. Specifically on the ‘blowjob’ question…in my mind it’s a big effing deal. It suggests a lack of respect for personal privacy and liberty that crosses a line I have. Problem is guns are also another line. I would definitely vote Cuccinelli based on my analysis that his positions on…’positions’ (joke) is DOA whereas gun control could gain traction.

            Now, that is me. I am the unusual guy (as are you) when it comes to gun rights. More people are interested in sex than they are guns. So if you get painted as the anti-sex prude candidate, that will resonate with voters a heck of a lot more than guns.

            I do not believe Cuccinelli gains or loses support based on his position on oral sex. It’s stupid and ridiculous to even believe that.

            I have not resisted calling your ideas ‘stupid’ because nothing you have said makes you think you are.

            I am convinced he gains or loses support on abortion, which he has my support on.


            Have you ever voted for someone with an issue you disagree with them on here or there?

            Every time. Until I vote myself supreme commander of the universe, I don’t like any politicians. Every election is a balancing act, but generally I vote for the conservative guys unless they go off the deep end.

            And it sounds like you would agree with him on 90% of the other things. If anyone reads into Cooch’s campaign platform they might find, surprise, things non-sex as well. So I ask you: why do you (and his detractors) choose to narrow your interest in sex?

            Already noted I’d vote for Cuccinelli, based purely on an informed opinion that he’s blowing a lot of hot air.

            You keep coming back to ‘sex’, which I admittedly brought up in response to the response above. But the overall theme here is that social conservatives are doomed in certain electoral battlegrounds and that the list of places they can win is shrinking – not growing. Pro-life is an electoral loser in most states. This is the single ‘one issue’ vote the left has, meaning it will bring out voters that would normally sit at home. If in doubt of that statement, then explain the dancing in the streets currently happening in VA Democratic circles that they got an unabashed pro-lifer running against McDem.

            The positions on sex (and how they are portrayed fairly or not) are icing on the Dem cake. It’s candy to them, because I think SoCons have a hard time accepting that there is a line that most of the electorate never wants government to cross, and that line is the bedroom (spare me strawmen, please).

            This should not be about you and I arguing social issues. It makes no difference if I am pro-life|choice (have not declared that here). The issue is purely one of getting elected. We got a presidential election coming up and the Dems dearly hope for a hard-right social conservative republican for a reason.

            You have yet to address ‘electability’, which is the point of my side of the debate. If the gun community keeps linking itself to social conservatives who cannot win elections in jurisdictions that matter, we might as well turn them all in now. It’s just a matter of time.

            Respectfully Submitted.

            1. Both of you have given me cause to reflect on my positions and motives, and I am grateful.

              I have to reveal that my State is presently rural-conservative, but slowly trending left as the two principal cities overpopulate the unicameral legislature. I presently have the luxury of voting a slate of conservative principles because of the majority bias. I have been spoiled. I realize now, from this discussion, that in a few years, I may have to compromise just to get my way on one or two favorite issues, even if it means sacrificing the remainder.

              The one principle you both as well as I cherish is the libertarian live and let live doctrine: Live your way, don’t tax me to support it; ill live my way, and not make you join me. Small government; low taxes; private liberty, lots of guns. I wonder, is there any chance in the end that both sides will migrate to that libertarian position? I could live with that.

              Wishfully, Arnie

            2. When has Cucc ever called for a ban on blowjobs? Specifically, Cucc supports the law but also admits that L vs. TX prevents any sort of application against consenting adults in public.

              Like I mentioned last time this came up, go read Cucc’s appeal for cert:
              Lawrence v. Texas only protects sexual conduct in private between consenting adults. L vs. TX does not protect public sex acts with minors.

              The analogy would be like if an antigunner was fighting to keep a handgun ban enacted in statute on paper, but admitted that the law could not be enforced against anyone that possesses a handgun in their residence due to Heller & McDonald. I wouldn’t like that position, but nor would I try to attack the antigunner on trying to ban handguns in the home. I’d attack them for trying to ban handguns outside the home.

              I’m not a SoCo, and I don’t agree with his position, but I think the issue has been blown out of proportion. I have never read any actual statement from Cucc stating that he would prosecute consenting adults for any private sexual conduct. The whole blowjob thing seems to be invented by the McAuliffe campaign, probably as a message that resonates with the younger crowd (I think I saw something saying the talking point pushed on college campuses…). The real problem is the inability of the campaign to tactically fight back against the rhetoric.

              One effective countertactic would be just to avoid such positions. But the absolute failure of the campaign to anticipate such an obvious line of attack is pretty inexcusable.

              1. “The whole blowjob thing seems to be invented by the McAuliffe campaign…”

                No, the “blowjob thing” was created by Cuccinelli himself, when he decided to waste state funds and political capital trying to reinstate a black-letter ban on oral sex that a court had struck down. A ban, I might add, that called going down on your wife a “crime against nature” and equates it with bestiality.

                Why he chose to initiate that Pickett’s Charge, I don’t know, but he did.

                “probably as a message that resonates with the younger crowd (I think I saw something saying the talking point pushed on college campuses…)”

                Define “younger crowd”. I think this resonates with most people Gen-X and younger.

                You are aware that this is something that over 3/4 of couples do, yes?

                “The analogy would be like if an antigunner was fighting to keep a handgun ban enacted in statute on paper, but admitted that the law could not be enforced against anyone that possesses a handgun in their residence due to Heller & McDonald. I wouldn’t like that position, but nor would I try to attack the antigunner on trying to ban handguns in the home.”

                Historically, tacit acceptance of selectively enforced carry bans is how we got blanket carry bans, prior to the shall-issue renaissance.

                But more importantly, if your hypothetical gun ban were struck down, and a hypothetical politician decided to expend huge political capital to reinstate it even though the ban equated carrying with thuggery and murder, *that would tell you a lot about the politician’s priorities*.

                I don’t think this issue is so controversial because nonfundies think they are going to get prosecuted. I think it has traction because nonfundies are uneasy about having a man with those priorities in the governor’s office.

        2. Dear Patrick, I don’t think your characterization of Cuccinelli’s position is either accurate or fair. I agree the law as written causes me concerns, but Cuccenelli clearly stated his position is that the law can only be applied against incest and child molesters, not husbands and wives. His position (unless he’s a baldfaced liar) doesn’t cause me concern at all, nor should it to anyone but a predator, I think. If the electorate thinks his position AS STATED is morally wrong, then they deserve McCauliff. If they just think Cuccinelli is a liar and really wants to control married people’s bedroom activities, then either he has a character problem far greater than his policies, or the media has been successful in hood winking the voters as to his integrity, in which case they again will get what they deserve, McCauliff.

          The claim about this being about winning or losing is probably true, but troubles me. It seems to give latitude to the claim that the ends justifies the means – and that would include lying, cheating, and slandering. I know both sides do that. But to abandon my core principles to get elected….? I’m wondering if maybe it’d be better to lose, let the other guy’s principles fail, and then be there to take his place when the electorate, after much suffering, realizes their mistake. I don’t know.

          Part of me actually agrees with you that winning is more important than purity of doctrine lest the opposition get their policies permanently embedded; part of me says don’t compromise, be true, or of elected I’ll just be big-government-“light,” las was GW Bush. If anything killed the GOP, it was 8 years of faux conservatism.

          Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth. You make good points, just thought you weren’t accurate about Cuccinelli’s position.

          Respectfully, Arnie

          1. “Cuccenelli clearly stated his position is that the law can only be applied against incest and child molesters. . .”

            But Obama also clearly stated nothing he would do should be construed as seeking to ban anyone’s guns. Meanwhile, we looked at the crowd he was hanging with, and the groups he was pandering to, and wisely chose not to believe him.

            Where was Cuccinelli speaking recently? Falwell’s Liberty U.? Has he been ignoring, let’s say, the FRC? I think not. I know not. Who has driven him to do those things, or, is he seeking to please his natural constituency?

            Some will say it’s overly simplistic, but we all are known by the company we keep, when we aren’t being forced.

            It really comes down to, left or right, candidates can’t fool all of us, all the time. We don’t need to diagram their sentences to hear what they are saying, loud and clear, or to see what they intend.

            1. Not knowing Cuccinelli personally, I can’t really disagree with you Andy B. You may very well be right about his credibility. In truth, I’ve been disappointed by several conservative promises not kept (most famously, “Read my lips: no new taxes!”).

              Again, I repair to the general trend I wrote earlier to Patrick:
              Democrats giddily declare their love for bigger, more intrusive, controlling government. Republicans at least pay lip service to hating it. Other than a hopeless third party, where do I go? Don’t know what else to do.

              Sincerely, Arnie

          2. Every candidate is portrayed in some bad light, unfairly. Comes with the territory.

            The law says what it says.

            We have a states attorney in Baltimore that stood in favor of mandatory three year sentences for any gun owner who would have had a gun that was not registered with the state in the time the law proposed it be registered (30 days). There were no exceptions for travel or even for being a deployed soldier in a wartime theater. His answer was, simply, the unicorn of ‘prosecutorial discretion’. He glibly noted that, “we’re elected and if you don’t like our prosecutions you can elect someone else.”

            That is no way to run the republic – substituting the mercy of a subjective overload for the ration of sensible laws. So for Cuccinelli – a man who claims to love the constitution – to suggest we need to just trust one-man star chambers…I get worried.

            Politics is incrementalism. You can rarely score the grand slam. It’s about moving the needle to a good place. If one side keeps fronting losing candidates on principle, then that needle will always go the way you don’t like.

            I for one prefer a government saddled with argument, confusion and rancor. Give me a divided Congress and a lame duck President. The more they look within, the less time they have to eff with me and mine.

            1. For the record, we beat back the registration requirements. We lost a lot of things, but that one we beat.

            2. Wow! You’re right, that is no way to run a republic. Glad you beat that reg requirement!

              I like your “one-man” star chamber comment. Even though I don’t think Cuccinelli would be insane enough to press for applying that law to married couples, having to rely on his favorable interpretation of a frighteningly worded law is not the answer to bad law. Repeal is. Good heavens, look at Obamacare! Sure can’t rely on Obama’s interpretation of “you get to keep your old policy.” So your point is well taken.

              Bush II proved a Republican dominated government (2003-2006) is little better than a Democrat-dominated one (1993-1994; 2009-2010), although both the AWB and Obamacare came out of those last two. While divided government is often criticized as a “do-nothing” Congress – like you, I take it to mean it will “do no harm!” (Well, less harm, anyway!)

              Thanks for your comments, Patrick!

              Sincerely, Arnie

          1. According to what I’ve read, the state legislature floated a bill to modify the law to exempt sex between consenting adults in 2004, and supposedly helped kill it. I would like to see more documentation of Cuccinelli’s role in that.

            Here’s the proposed changes:


            Because the law wasn’t changed, it was inevitable that it would run afoul of Lawrence. As it stands, it is indefensible.

            1. Egads, my iPhone keyboard let me down. That should read “and supposedly Cuccinelli helped kill it. I would like to see more documentation of Cuccinelli’s role in that.”

    2. +1 to this. Totally correct. You conservatives need to understand that being pro-gun doesn’t equal being conservative, particularly with your grab bag of social issues that want to interfere with how I live my life. I’m a Dem, I loathe the part of my party that McAullife represents, but I’d vote for him in a second over Cuccinelli. I would love for the GOP or Dems to put forward candidates who are consistently libertarian (ie, pro-choice on guns, gays, abortion, and drugs).

      1. I’m libertarian atheist, but there’s no way I could vote for McAuliffe. Given that CSGV has been running a billboard van around Roanoke lately, he can never have my vote, because, not being gay, a woman, or a drug user, I can’t support a candidate who would damage one of our most important rights while ultimately doing nothing to promote the other 3.

        Whatever Cuccinelli’s noise on sex, he’ll not be in a position to do anything about it. Remember also that by voting for McAuliffe, you’re voting for Bloomberg. And as long as you keep voting for them, that’s all you’re going to get.

      1. Actually I don’t know that. I am sure once a court with authority has issued a writ of mandamus (?) saying he or she must, then they must, or be removed or resign.

        However, I question what the oath of office to the constitution that an attorney general makes, is supposed to mean if they are required to defend state laws they sincerely believe to be unconstitutional. I (and perhaps they) would argue the principle that an unconstitutional law is not and never was law, so they have no obligation to defend non-law.

        Meanwhile I’ll admit that I’m as human as anyone in choosing to most respect such a principled stand, when an AG is declining to defend a law I don’t like. If I liked the law they refused to enforce, I would of course agree they were scumbag traitors.

        1. I find myself doing the same thing, Andy B.!!! When AG Holder refused to uphold immigration law, DOMA, and even the 1 Jan 14 employer mandate of Obamacare, I was flummoxed! Those are settled law! [Well, except now for section 5 of DOMA.] What does an official do when he is duty-bound to enforce a law he is personally convinced is unconstitutional? Resign? Resist? Or violate his conscience? What did our Founders do? This dilemma has often perplexed me. Good discussion, fellows!
          – Arnie

        1. And I should clarify that I agree with him that unconstitutional or otherwise indefensible laws should not be defended; his oath to uphold the constitution trumps any duty to defend a bad law.

          I should also clarify that I think Cuccinelli may be the slightly lesser of two reprehensible evils here…Cuccinelli may in fact believe in the law he staked his campaign on, but the courts will probably slap him down if a prosecutor tried to apply it to sex between adults, meaning that hypothetical victims of such persecution might merely lose everything but probably would not go to prison. Whereas McAuliffe would throw as many gun/magazine owners in prison as he could get away with, based on his prior comments.

          Having said that, the Virginia “Crimes Against Nature” statute was and is indefensible, Cuccinelli’s attempts to get it reinstated without modification are indefensible, and his continued defense of it reflects either an extreme statist ideology or extremely bad judgment.

  11. I seriously think I respect even a public official I disagree with, as long as they confront the question head-on, and create a situation where those who disagree with them have standing to take the question to the court system. They are giving the system a chance to work, the way it is supposed to. I have less respect for someone who just tries to skirt the law by chicanery or trickery, or tries to enforce the law selectively or in a self-serving way.

  12. It’s posts like this that let you know what a wordpress theme can handle! I don’t know if it was the walls of text or the massive reply chains, but the text is spilling all over the place on my screen.
    Have you guys considered trying an adaptive theme? They’re all the rage these days, apparently.

  13. Social conservatives don’t need to give up all their issues, but it’s high time they started thinking about the same tradeoffs other issues have had to deal with in order to actually win.

    They just have to give up the ones you disapprove of, right?

    I suspect that a similar argument, that “gun rights advocates don’t have to give up all their issues, but it’s high time they started thinking about tradeoffs” wouldn’t fly with you.

    I’m not even a particularly strong social conservative, and this BS pisses me off. I think the social conservatives got your point — you won’t stand behind them. So why should they stand behind you?

  14. “I suspect that a similar argument, that “gun rights advocates don’t have to give up all their issues, but it’s high time they started thinking about tradeoffs” wouldn’t fly with you.”

    Gun owners interested in winning rather than pushing the extremes of idealogical purity *already* do that. The giant thread about reining in the rifle-OC-in-restaurants people comes to mind.

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