Convenient Ogres

In a debate of ideas, it’s almost irresistible for the left to throw in “Sarah Palin” as a shining example of everything that is wrong with this country, the conservative movement, or the Republican Party. Six years into a new presidency, it’s still “George W. Bush’s fault” when the economy or U.S. foreign policy isn’t up to par, and America’s motivation for just about anything is “oil”.

I have a theorem called “the rule of 5”. On Facebook, any conservative post made usually only takes about 5 comments from liberals before Fox News is somehow roped into the argument—no matter how unrelated.

To the left, these straw man arguments are conveniently-made ogres.

They are used because they are banners that are easy for the left to rally behind. The left has characterized each of these with a narrative that is so pervasive and unquestionably held, that the truth becomes shrouded. Lobbing a reference to one of these entities into any conversation becomes a tactic of distraction that largely works because the right doesn’t spend enough time deconstructing these narratives.

Let’s consider them, briefly.

Ask anyone what the problem is with Sarah Palin, and the “tolerant” and “pro-woman” left will usually offer an argument that equates to ‘she’s dumb’. Consider Chris Matthew’s comments on MSNBC or Huff Post’s perpetuation of the insult.

In an interview with Katie Couric, Palin didn’t answer a condescending question about which news outlets she read. And why would she? When running for President, any side or brand you publicly favor will inevitably lead to those who favor another brand losing favor with you, which means fewer votes. I wouldn’t have answered that question either.

How about seeing Russia from her house? Fact check any leftist who tries to use this argument. According to Snopes, “interviewer Charles Gibson asked her what insight she had gained from living so close to Russia, and she responded: ‘They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.’” The left’s version of Palin’s answer comes from their own mockery of her on Saturday Night Live, yet that distinction is conveniently forgotten.

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Iraq is Burning: A Look Back at Those Who Warned Us Not To Cut and Run

Looking back through time, it seems that the major liberal talking point post-9/11 was that the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not really wars at all and that there was no foreseeable end date or identifiable enemy. Liberals weren’t saying that the enemy would persist but rather that American interests in the region were either selfish or, if Bush was sincere, then futile. Now there are two sides one can take in light of recent events: either ISIS is born of US military interference in the region or US military presence in the region was all that was preventing the inevitable (ISIS) from rising. There are plenty of examples of Dems calling for early withdrawal and calling the war pointless. They should be held accountable for pushing for the troop withdrawal the whole time. Ultimately (no matter how Bush and Cheney framed it), Republicans were committed to a long-term presence in the region because they knew that was the only chance that Iraq had to be rebuilt as a functioning (and free) country. The implication from GOP politicians at the time was that we can’t be rushing to leave the Mid-East; not now, not in a few years, perhaps not for decades. Now as ISIS systematically beheads women and children, I wonder if the left still believes the operation was fruitless. All I know is that when the US presence was at its greatest, safety was at an all-time high. With the troops withdrawn, it is at a low. In any case, let’s look back through quotes from various players in the war over the years.

President Bush, speaking at a Senate Republican fundraising dinner, said that he welcomed the debate but vowed that there would be “no early withdrawal” from Iraq “so long as we run the Congress and occupy the White House.”

I want to remind you of the consequences if those who want to withdraw from Iraq happen to prevail in the debate,” he said. “An early withdrawal would be a defeat for the United States of America. An early withdrawal would embolden the terrorists. Talk about a deadline before we’ve done the job sends chills throughout the spines of Iraqi citizens, who are wondering whether or not the United States has the capacity to keep its word.

[…]

“Three years and three months into the war, with all of the losses, the insurgency, the burgeoning civil war that’s taking place — what was it, seven bombings in Baghdad yesterday? — an open-ended time commitment is no longer sustainable,” Feinstein said on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.

What now comes to mind is Pelosi’s quip in June 2006:

“Stay the course’ is not a strategy, it’s a slogan, and we need more than that,” she said in June in a jab at how Bush once described his approach to the war.

So what exactly was/is her plan? Stay the course seems like a lot better than what we have now.

Or how about when she said:

The president “is an incompetent leader _ in fact he’s not a leader,” Pelosi said in 2004, referring to his Iraq policies.

Perhaps this quote is better applied to the current administration – but I digress.

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Stereotypes I Refuse to Accept

Bottom line, for me it is about people. I care about people living and succeeding. Everyone. Our lives are our right; our freedoms are our tools to our happiness and success. This is what I defend.

As a general principal, stereotypes exist about every demographic that should be deplored. I am not discounting their bite.

I am a conservative. There are stereotypes about the right that I can laugh at, accept, and even buy into. Does the Republican Party have a lot of ‘elderly white male’ representation? Sure. Are conservatives wealthy? Some are. Are there outlandish and in some cases deplorable stances taken by a fringe that associate themselves with my same ideology? Of course.

However, I am absolutely and unequivocally rejecting the vitriolic stereotypes of conservatism that are regularly assigned all too often by the left. The legitimacy of those labels end here and now.

As one of few openly conservative students at Columbia University, I sometimes have one of these stereotypes lobbed my way. I can take it, but I won’t accept it.

I will deconstruct these stereotypes one by one.

“Conservatives are anti-minority”

No statement could be further from the truth. Conservatism as an ideology is based upon the notion of the importance of the individual and a government that is limited in its capacity to infringe upon individual liberties. As government becomes larger, it must increasingly rely upon the categorization of citizens to dispense public benefits and collect taxes for the public good. To the government, a system of bureaucracies, you are not the smart, good, hardworking, and capable individual that you, your friends, and your family knows you to be. Instead, you are a white/black/Latino/Asian male/female of the Christian/Jewish/Islamic faith in a certain age group and a certain tax bracket, etc. If you don’t believe this reconsider the information you are required to submit every year on your taxes or the questions asked of you by the U.S. Census.

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