A Consensus of One-Third

A running interest of mine is the way in which individuals pile conclusions upon impressions upon experiences upon predispositions in such a way as to live as if in totally different worlds. Last week’s WRNI Political Roundtable piqued that interest with URI Political Science Professor Maureen Moakley’s heavily couched compliments of President Obama. The following was among the topics that she raised to support the suggestion that he’s doing pretty well, considering:

There’s now an emerging consensus that, to some extent, the stimulus package has worked.

Perhaps she means “emerging” in the way that the high tide is evidence of an “emerging” flood, but from my reading it’s difficult to comprehend how such a statement can be made. Even here in the heart of the Obama blues, only a dramatic minority count themselves among Moakley’s “consensus”:

Three-quarters of Rhode Islanders have a friend or family member who recently lost a job, and only a third believe the $787-billion federal stimulus package is doing much to help the economy, according to a new Brown University poll.

I wonder if other assumptions of Rhode Island’s commentariate are similarly questionable, including even the depth of the state’s progressivism. WRNI Political Analyst Scott MacKay lays the decline of RIGOP at the feet of social conservatives and later insists that:

If Anchor Rising and these right-wing blogs and these folks want to beat up Frank Caprio, that’s only going to help him in the Democrat primary.

He then goes on to highlight the fact that Caprio’s competition for the Democrat nod for governor, Patrick Lynch, was the first out of the gate for Obama during the last campaign season. The thread that MacKay misses, in my opinion, is that a majority of voters — including all “independents” and “unaffiliateds” — don’t view these races through a lens of us versus them partisanship. Similarly, it is not the objective of Anchor Rising to help or to harm a particular candidate, but to make an argument for a particular way of looking at the world and solving its problems.
According to that view, civic and economic conservatism will not function — meaning that human society will not endure — unless the culture does some of the work that liberals would put in the hands of government. This relates to MacKay’s conclusion in one of his radio monologues:

Rhode Island Republicans desperately need leaders to take them out of the tea party echo chamber, discuss the state’s deep economic problems, and give the Democrats some sorely needed competition for assembly seats, but if Republicans keep fighting among themselves, that day will never come.

If conservatives back down, Republicans may, indeed, gain a seat or two, although I’d predict the opposite, but the short-term political calculation is irrelevant. Longstanding pragmatic support for “moderates” will lead just as surely to societal decay as full-on liberalism. The pace and the route may vary by degree, but the result is identical, and the community — starting locally, moving through the state, and ending at the federal level — must be persuaded of that fact.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

McKay is just another Charlie Bakst,except I never heard that he grubbed free eats like Charlie did.

11 years ago

The word “Moderate” as a descriptive in the context of economics, politics and governance has been completely sapped of any true meaning. Everyone the MSM calls “Moderate” is, in fact, a liberal. Reporters love the Republicans they call Moderates because they can promote the liberal agenda while appearing to be fair and balanced.
What’s really funny is that they’ll call left of center (as opposed to far-left) Democrats, “Conservative Democrats”.
They’re all just full if it.
Maureen Moakley: what a laugh. Lets put this in perspective, they call Linc Chafee “Professor” too.

11 years ago

Scott MacKay bringing up an “echo chamber” while in a televised echo chamber. Irony, thy name is Scott!
The moment the RIGOP starts taking Mr. MacKay’s advice in how to run either the state or national Republican Party, you can count me and most of it out.
Scott’s a nice guy, but he’s definitely on the left side of the isle. He should stick to giving advice to his fellow leftists, unless he just likes being ignored.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

McKay and his ilk are the ones who have watched and reported on the goings on in this state for years with no understanding of the disaster smacking them right in the face.
To pay any attention to these clowns now would be plain foolishness.

11 years ago

Wow!! Scott McKay actually leaves the recesses of George Nee’s anal canal long enough to do some chat show on public radio? lol
Proud to say I’ve never heard it and never will. I avoid illegitimate media at all costs.
Is it any wonder moonbat lib radio crashes and burns in these United States, even here in moonbat Rhody?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

MacKay isn’t the conversation, here; he’s a participant in it.

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