Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I think part of the conservative exercise ought to be contemplation. Think about this. We derided and stood steadfastly against, mocked and impugned, and called every name in the book that we could to those “liberals” who promoted the hysterical idea that I talked about yesterday on the show and talked about three years ago on the show, that we had to have this thing called Obamacare. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: An essay yesterday from LibertyLawSite.org, “Catastrophizing With Ted Cruz.” It’s really brief and I thought it was pretty provocative and that the author makes a pretty salient point here.
“Norman Podhoretz has done us all a service by pointing to the unvarying political content of the proclamation of impending doom. The person making such a statement is asking that power someone else has be given to him or to her.”
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Coping: Essays on the Practice of Government
“We’re nearing the edge of a cliff, and our window to turn things around, my friends, I don’t think it is long. I don’t think it is 10 years. We have a couple of years to turn the country around or we go off the cliff to oblivion.”
– U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, speaking to the Values Voters Summit
Call it what one will. “Populist” works. So does “alarmist.” But “conservative” does not—not to describe the doomsday rhetoric that has overtaken a certain strain of political figures who nonetheless claim exclusive title to that label. Cruz is one . . . It is too given to the cult of personality, to the concentration of power, to convulsions anathema to the very idea of conservatism. For if oblivion waits around the corner, surely emergency powers and sudden change do too. A Cruz presidency, one can be sure, would be neither reserved nor restrained. Constitutional deference to Congress? Unlikely—not with the nation careening toward the cliff.
It is time for a serious self-examination within conservative thought, and not just on tactical grounds. The cult of personality arising around these figures is simply incompatible with basic principles of conservatism: the dispersal of power, the stability of constitutional systems, the suspicion of sudden change and the respect for perspective and facts.
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That is not to say the nation does not face serious problems or that Cruz does not have serious points. It does, and so does he. Scores of trillions in unfunded liabilities loom. A great debate over the proper role of the state is afoot. But to suggest the survival of the nation is at risk is both demagogic and absurd. It no more is today than it was when the left was engaging in similar hysterics during the Administration of George W. Bush.
Compare Cruz’s insistence that the Republican leadership is constantly selling out the American people, for whom he alone evidently speaks—never mind polls that show he is, simply and in point of fact, wrong about public opinion—to Burke’s description of Britain’s steady constitutional institutions:
“[T]hey render deliberation not a matter of choice but of necessity; they make all change a subject of compromise, which naturally begets moderation; they produce temperaments, preventing the sore evil of harsh, crude, unqualified reformations; and rendering all the headlong exertions of arbitrary power, in the few or in the many, forever impracticable.” [Mike: In other words, obstinance in the form that we see some obstinance will prevent the discussion of what could possibly be a solution.]
Burke warned in the Reflections that “[m]oderation will be stigmatized as the virtue of cowards, and compromise as the prudence of traitors.” Yet these, he separately wrote, are the true conservative virtues, because these comport with human limitations: “Moderation, prudence, and equity are far more suitable to our [human] condition than loftiness, and confidence, and rigor.” This is conservatism. It relies on compromise not on the basis of a Progressive insistence on “getting things done” but because compromise disperses power and reflects the frailty and uncertainty of human nature.
Yet deliberation is not evident in the rhetoric of oblivion. Neither is limitation. There is no sense of caution, no awareness of the limits of human judgment or the horizons of human perspective. There is only certitude and righteousness. The will of the people is neither channeled nor seasoned to distill its common sense but simply exalted in its raw form—measured, in Cruz’s formulation, by Twitter followers and online petition signers. Meanwhile, defeat seems merely to reinforce the messianic sense, a perverse form of victimhood once glorified by liberalism but now embraced in this strain of self-described conservatism too.
Mike Church Show Transcript – Ted Cruz Could Learn From Rand Paul How To Be A Statesman And A Gentleman
None of this is to be Pollyannish. The constitutional order is coming under growing strain.
The question conservatives must ask is why the stakes must so be inflated. The answer may lie in Cruz’s legions of adoring fans, a phenomenon prudence tends not to produce. Conservatives are going to have to decide, sooner or later, whether to call this what it is: a cult of personality, a quest for power; moral certitude, political puritanism. Perhaps some of these things; perhaps all. But conservatism it is not.
Mike: Interesting. There’s one part of this essay that sticks out to me especially. In some of our — yes, I am guilty of this, too. I am constantly undergoing self-evaluation, so I will be the first to say that I, too, have participated in this and probably need more sober reflection on the subject. Just to be fair, I have also cautioned and tried to make the case that we’re not the first people to suffer tyranny. We think we are. The point that he’s making here about oblivion and about this being the end of days, about how desperate our time is “we only have moments; we don’t have years.” We may only have moments to certain events such as not being able to service the interest on the debt. Does that necessarily lead to oblivion? Does that lead to the need for having a Fidel Castro around to rein in an angry populous that has been denied government cheese and butter?
We often chide liberals out there. Think about this. I think part of the conservative exercise ought to be contemplation. Think about this. We derided and stood steadfastly against, mocked and impugned, and called every name in the book that we could to those “liberals” who promoted the hysterical idea that I talked about yesterday on the show and talked about three years ago on the show, that we had to have this thing called Obamacare. What was the necessity? Why the rush? Well, it was because there were families living in empty refrigerator boxes, boxes that had once held new refrigerators, that now doubled as condos for the poor underneath overpasses. If we didn’t have some kind of a new healthcare system, those people were all going to die. Andrew, what is that pronouncement? Is that moderate or is that hysterical?
AG: That would be on the hysterical side.
Mike: That’s hysterical. It’s hysteria. When conservatives rightly called it hysteria and “come on, man, it’s not that bad” and presented facts to the opposite —
AG: The dentures clip you play, that sticks out in my mind.
Mike: Louise Slaughter’s dentures, you remember that? As a matter of fact, I asked Picard to find that the other day for just such a moment.
[start audio clip]
Louise Slaughter: I even have one constituent, you will not believe this and I know you won’t, but it’s true. Her sister died. This poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister’s teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit. Did you ever believe that in America that that’s where we would be?
[end audio clip]
Mike Church Show Transcript – True Conservatives Aren’t Hurting The GOP Because The GOP Doesn’t Represent Them
Mike: [mocking] “Can you believe!? She had to pass her dentures onto her sister. Oh, my God!” Hysteria. If hysteria is wrong in the liberal promoting it when it comes to healthcare, why is hysteria correct then when the “conservative” promotes is when whatever issue suits their fancy and gets the public all worked up for the day? That’s the point.
End Mike Church Show Transcript