Thanks for responding in detail. In your response, you start with the 2nd of my "conservative" victories - free trade. You ignored the first item on my list - the recognition that the capitalist system is the best economic system extant for allocating goods and services for the general benefit.
The victory of capitalism over socialism is the defining struggle of the 20th century, in was the real point of wars that killed tens of millions, and migrations where hundreds of millions changed cultures. No force except agriculture and religion has ever had as much impact on humankind.
So by saying :
"Almost every social or political victory in the last hundred years of our republic has been a liberal victory, but not every last one."
You're essentially saying something akin to "even though the other team actually won the game, we pitched more strikes, had more hits, and we fielded better looking cheerleaders".
"The issue of states' rights doesn't stand out as a victory for conservatives in the 20th century."
States Rights certainly haven't had as good a run of support as the First Amendment rights, but they're still pretty darn important. Sure, the Civil War and Reconstruction pretty much established that we'll have a central government that is stronger than the States in most cases, and nearly 70 years of using States Rights to fight racial integration tarnished that banner pretty badly. On the other hand, we still do have a doctrine of States Rights, and it is becoming a force that is more and more recognized as an important balancing factor in preserving civil liberties.
Take for example the case right here in Washington State where our State Supreme Court overturned a Federal Supreme Court ruling on the basis that the Washington State consitution gives Washington citizens more rights (specifically privacy rights) than the Federal Constitution, and that those State-granted rights are not subservient to the Federal bench.
"Does it count as a success for conservatives to have retained some gun rights in the face of advancing gun control?"
Despite nearly 50 years of liberal efforts, in most states, I can legally buy an array of lethal weapons, and ammunition, and keep them in my home for self defense, hunting, or recreation. Sometimes mounting a successful defense >should
Resistence to the "gun control" position of the Democratic party is regarded as one of the key issues that kept Al Gore from the Presidency in 2000. In too many areas of the country, "gun control" is a dog that just won't hunt.
The assault weapons ban was probably the high water mark of gun control legislation. When it expires this year, it will not be renewed, nor, I predict, will similar legislation be introduced by any congress in the foreseeable future.
Conservatives have successfully explained how a position in favor of "liberal" (in the classic sense of the term) gun control law is a right that is as important to preserving our society as the right to free speech is. Having faced down the best the liberal activists can offer, I think the jig is up on this issue and history will record it as a conservative victory.
"Resistance to charter schools: This stance is a straightforward political stance. Unions support the democrats. Teachers' unions really support the Democrats."
The problem with this argument is that there are more Democrat parents than there are Democratic teachers, and a lot of those parents (due to the seiving of Democratic supporters in general) face the prospect of sending their kinds to failing public schools.
Control of the schools is a classic communist dogma. Shaping public opinion by shaping the "facts" known to the children is a recognized technique for subverting a society towards a socialist mindset. To a large extent, that technique has worked in the US. But now it is failing, because while turning schools into a system for political indoctrination, the liberals forgot to keep the academic standards high. Every parent knows that the route to success in life goes through some form of formal education. And every parent wants the best for their kids. Therefore, every parent eventually has to start asking why the school they are sending their kid to sucks and what will be done to change it. The Democrats have one and only one answer: "spend more tax dollars on schools" - but that well has run dry, and an alternate solution is now necessary.
This is an issue that could tear a large group of voters away from the Democratic party. Either the teachers get smart (and start planning for the post-charter/post-voucher school environment), or they could lose both their jobs, and their political power.
A strong focus on quantitatively improved education, backed by testing, without teacher compensation or advancement determined by collective bargaining is a winning Republican/conservative plank. And the Democratic party knows it.
"Better to be beholden to teachers' unions than to big oil."
Wow could I not disagree more. I'd much rather be beholden to a group that has problems with a crappy record of environmental cleanup and safety but still delivers a gallon of gasoline to the pump at a price cheaper than most bottled water than to a group that is holding the future of the whole nation hostage to a liberal social agenda and the politics of personal power.
"Do you mean the fact that Democrats oppose potential federal judges that are pro-life?"
Yes, that's what I mean. The problem with the litmus test is that it is distorting the whole judiciary. Instead of picking judges who support a whole range of liberal ideology, the litmus test means that a very conservative judge who opposes virtually everything hard-core liberals support is going to be "acceptable" if they have the right position on abortion, while a judge that would support and extend liberal causes in many areas but who is not a supporter of Roe will be crucified.
This is a battle that is hurting the Democratic party/liberal causes in this nation far out of proportion to the good the fight is supposedly achieving. Even if Roe were overturned today, more than half the states have already passed liberal abortion law that would leave the status quo virtually unchanged. And in the handful of states where the abortion "right" is not already guaranteed by state law, strong social and community pressures are already exerting the force necessary to make getting an abortion almost impossible for most young women, meaning that defending Roe isn't helping.
In competitive poker play, the term "on tilt" is used to describe a player who is losing, and then leaves rational play behind and plays with emotion, losing more with each hand until their can get their passion under control. I will argue that with regard to the litmus test for judges, the Democrats are "on tilt".
"But Democrat politicians need to support preferences in order to reward blacks for their support."
Racial preferences are a stopgap measure between institutionalized racism and an open and fair market for skill & talent. They are supposed to be a part of the trip, not the destination.
The Democrats need to start coming up with an "end game" for the race war. In the hearts and minds of most Americans, the war is over, and equality and Dr. King's vision where people are judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, won. The Republicans think that advocating an economic solution (more jobs, better training) is all that is required, but hte Democrats should know better. The issue needs a path to healing, not further division and a repeat of the cycle of discrimination that so damaged the last century.
I believe a lot of people in the so called "black" community recognize this fact, and are looking for leadership to move beyond the rhetoric. But until a vible alternative path is described and defended, those people have no standard around which to rally.
We have come to a point in our exchange where I would have to repeat myself in order to respond to your comments about capitalism, gun control, states' rights, etc. It seems we've begun talking past each other. Rather than go on, I think I'll just let the conversation rest here. Thanks for your inspiring comments. It was a good run.
Other responses to "Liberals"