Tag Archive: Paul Mulshine

Mulshine: You aren’t smart enough to be conservative

Paul Mulshine’s latest half-effort (most of it is either a reprint or a script from Rush Limbaugh) reveals why the conservative movement is truly doomed.  I won’t spoil the ending, I’ll let him tell it:

If there is one thing I have tried to accomplish as a conservative writer it is to discredit the notion that such characters as Rush Limbaugh are conservatives.

They are in fact populists. And populism is the opposite of conservatism. Conservatism presumes a level of intelligence and refinement inaccessible to the common man. Populism, by comparison, appeals to the type of true believers Limbaugh calls “dittoheads.” I have long maintained that such people are dimwits, but I was surprised the other day to hear that Limbaugh agrees with me.

While I agree with Mulshine’s assessment of Limbaugh – and his followers – as nitwits, conservatism and populism are not polar opposites.  The opposite of populism is elitism.  Populism and elitism exist across the political scale.  They are a belief that concerns who should govern (or decided who governs).  By contrast, liberalism and conservatism are political ideologies – they tell us how government should govern.

Click on through to the other side.  There’s more to say about this.

National Popular Vote Is Possible

A letter to the best political column in the country:

Paul Mulshine, a political columnist at the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, says, “I get tired of hearing from well-meaning readers who want to go to a national popular vote. This can’t happen, of course, because the small states would be idiotic to go along with such an amendment. However, a district-by-district system would accomplish much the same thing, so I wonder why more of these characters aren’t pushing it. Also it might have the effect of encouraging state pols to draw more competitive districts in the hopes of picking up an electoral vote or two. (And, of course, as a journalist here in solidly blue Jersey, I sure wish the candidates would show up every four years.)”

So, Mulshine wants New Jersey (and maybe other places) to divvy up electoral votes by district. Ok, that’s one opinion.

But his rationale for why he thinks a National Popular Vote (NPV) system cannot be enacted completely misses the point of how the proposed legislation — not amendment — works. Mulshine writes that it “can’t happen, of course, because the small states would be idiotic to go along with such an amendment.” Small states and their three electoral votes aren’t seeing much action anyway. But the legislation like the kind that is before New Jersey right now enacts the NPV when states with the majority amount of 270 votes agree to join. So, the small states don’t have to go along with it in order for it to work.

And if deciding races by district is such a great idea, why don’t we do it in our races for governor or senator? Here’s a novel idea: let’s elect the president the way we elect every other office — through the popular vote.

The Most Dangerous Cliche

In response to my Sunday post about Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine and his conservative Wild West fantasies about the proper way to deal with one’s frustrations on the highway – simply put, he scorns calling the police and favors hauling out a pistol and blasting away, regardless of the danger to other drivers and their passengers – I’ve been seeing and hearing entirely too many “Yes, but . . .” comments.

You know the kind I’m talking about. “Yes, it was stupid and crazy to start shooting on an interstate highway during the morning commute, but tailgaters are so obnoxious,” or, “Yes, she might have put a bullet in the brain of a toddler in a child seat, but the other driver was scaring her,” or, “Yes, she might have killed another driver and triggered a chain-reaction highway pileup that would have killed and injured scores of people, but what about her right to defend herself?”

I’ve also had a couple of people smile and agree with Mulshine, citing as their authority the science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, who once opined that “an armed society is a polite society.”

Marbles for Mulshine: A Community Appeal

If you go shopping sometime this week, be sure to buy a nice big bag of marbles and send it to Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine. I don’t know how many marbles he started with when he began his sinecure as Winger-in-Chief of the Ledger op-ed page, but on the basis of this genuinely freaky column he’s definitely running short.

The springboard for Mulshine’s musings is not, I’m relieved to say, something that happened in New Jersey, but could easily happen on the Turnpike or Parkway one of these days. Last month along an interstate highway in Michigan, 39- year-old Bernadette Houghton Headd found herself being tailgated by a lunkhead in a looming Dodge Ram pickup truck while on her way to work. Many of us have found ourselves in similar situations, and our reactions, depending on our nerviness and level of irritation, run the gamut from slowing down and frustrating the oaf to sending a salute up the one-finger flagpole. Ms. Headd chose a different course of action: She hauled out a 9 mm pistol and fired off a round at the road in front of the offending driver’s tire, or so she told police.

Double-Issue of Doublespeak

From George Orwell to George Lakoff, the connection between controlling language and controlling politics has been well established.  But when the effort to control language gets to the point where it denies reality, it simply gets to be too much to believe.  That is why people lose faith in politicians and pundits.  When you spend your time saying east is west and up is down, eventually people just realize that you are either lying to them or lying to yourself.  Either way, you are lying.

Witness the publication of Star-Ledger‘s Paul Mulshine:

We see something of the same phenomenon with George W. Bush. Liberals love to paint Bush as a conservative and therefore argue that his abject failure is a failure of conservatism. But Bush himself never claimed to be a conservative. The closest he came was when in the 2000 campaign he termed him self a “compassionate conservative.”

Well, how would you explain this:

When asked about these critiques [that he is not a conservative] on Fox News Sunday, Bush replied, “I’m a conservative. I got elected governor in a conservative state.”

From President Bush’s 2004 speech at the RNC Convention:

I’m running for President with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world, and a more hopeful America. I’m running with a compassionate conservative philosophy: that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives.

Or this line from a speech in Pennsylvania:

And that sets up a real difference in this campaign. My opponent is a tax-and-spend liberal; I’m a compassionate conservative.

And just to pile on – because it’s so easy and demonstrates how shoddy Mulshine’s “journalism” is, I’ll include Bush’s 2000 announcement speech:

I’m running because my party must match a conservative mind with a compassionate heart…I’ll be guided by conservative principles. Government should do a few things, and do them well. Government should not try to be all things to all people…I make decisions based on a conservative philosophy that is engrained in my heart.

Mulshine can argue all he wants that George W. Bush is not a “true conservative” – I actually agree with that – but he can’t say that George W. Bush doesn’t say that he is.  Nor can he argue that he campaigned, not as an isolated reference, but as a political identity in both 2000 and 2004 as a conservative.  As I recall, it was liberals at the time that questioned what his use of “compassionate” as a qualifier might actually mean back then.

See Scott Garrett flip below the fold.