Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reaching Out to Minorities

Everyone says that Republicans should reach out to minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks.

But, Thomas Sowell writes,
Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to "reach out" is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson -- that is, people tied irrevocably to the Democrats.
Fuggedaboudit, he says. "Voters who want what the Democrats offer can get it from the Democrats."

Actually, I think that there are two things to consider here.  The Democrats have two ways they appeal to their voters, as any political party does.  First, they appeal to greed; second, they appeal to fear.  Greed is the free stuff, of course, the programs, the appeal to resentment with the inequality agenda.

Obviously the greed agenda is a hard row for Republicans to hoe, as Sowell recognizes, because the Republican greed agenda is tax cuts and deregulation and spending cuts.  You'd have to be talking to a middle-class minority to get them to sign on to the Republican greed agenda.

But in my view it is the fear agenda that yields a 90 percent black vote for Democrats.  You cannot get a 90 percent vote on anything without scaring the heck out of people.  It is the notion that whites are getting together just around the corner planning the tactics to bring back Jim Crow that keeps the African Americans at home voting for Democrats.  And Democrats work on that every day.

And that's not all.  Democrats use the immigration issue to strike fear into Hispanics; they want Hispanics to fear that Republicans are ready to deport every last one of them back where they came from.

And there's a fear factor with Jews.  Scratch a Jewish-American and you will find someone frightened by anti-semitism.  And who does she fear?  The Christian fundamentalists that vote Republican.  Earth to Jews: it's the left that's turning anti-semitic, because the left experiences the Palestinians as victims of colonialism, and the Islamic masses in the First World cities as victims of racism.

If you ask me, Republicans need to get to work countering the Democratic fear game.  I'm not a messaging expert, so I don't know how you do it.  I suspect that you have to fight fear with fear.  If blacks are afraid of a return to Jim Crow, then maybe the only way to neutralize it is with a counter-fear.  Maybe that abortion is a cunning trick to commit genocide on blacks and browns?

Could Republicans accuse Democrats of hating blacks because they give them lousy schools as Sowell suggests?  You'd think, but in Washington, DC blacks voted out the mayor that hired Michelle Rhee to turn around the DC school system.  Why?  Because more important that education to DC voters are the jobs that they get in the school system.

Probably the only thing that helps Republicans in the long term is to promote a culture of Americanism. The Democrats work to hyphenate their voters, to get them to think of themselves as African- Hispanic- female- gay- Americans.  They talk inclusion but they practice division.  When voters lose the hyphen they lose their attachment to Democrats.

But probably in 2014 and 2016 it won't matter because voters will be so mad about Obamacare.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Against the Axis of Losers

What should the US and its allies do about a revanchist Russia?  Or Iran?  Or Venezuela?

Leaving aside the question of Ukraine, we learned recently that Russia was setting up agreements for naval port facilities in eight countries.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday the military was engaged in talks with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.
But really do we care?  Because Russia is allied with countries that you might call an Axis of Losers: Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, China.

Think about it.  The Axis of Losers includes a bunch of countries that are determined to run a top-down autocracy that wants the political sector to sit astride all other power centers in society.

And we know where that leads.  Absent abundant energy, it leads to poverty.  And with energy it leads to poverty too, only more slowly.

What the Axis of Losers can do, and can do pretty well, is act like spoilers.  They can sponsor terrorism.  They can invade their neighbors and sink them into poverty.

Up to now, the US has seen its role as the global hegemon, acting as global daddy, keeping the losers on the hop.

During the Cold War, that was probably a good idea, since the Soviet Union did seem to cast a shadow over Europe.  Anyway, when Jimmy Carter backed off the Cold War, citing an "inordinate fear of Communism" he got his head handed to him, and Reagan went on the win the war without firing a shot, except in Grenada.

But Obama's global retreat has seemed to offer a new option.  As regional leaders have lost trust in the US they have joined up with their neighbors to oppose the local troublemaker.  With the mess in the Middle East, we have heard rumors of an Israel/Saudi axis against Iran.  And then we also hear of cooperation between India and Japan and South Korea.

So let regional alliances flourish to oppose the local Loser.  Really, what could be better?

There's another option: declare war on energy prices.  After all, what could hit Russia, Venezuela, and Iran worse than a drop of, oh, 50% in oil prices?

The thing is that this is already happening, with the horizontal drilling revolution.  The US has just about doubled its oil production in the last few years.  With new refineries, pipelines, and crude oil exports we could start an oil price revolution.  Drill, baby, drill.

And now our neighbor Mexico has taken the huge step of allowing energy development by private actors, ending the monopoly of its corrupt and sclerotic national oil company Pemex.

Yes, but what about Al Qaeda?  I don't know, but I suspect that with oil revenue cut in half the Saudis won't have so much money to spread around encouraging Wahhabi mosques all over the planet.  We know that Al Qaeda can do terrorism, but can it build powerful states that can wage regional war?

The thing is that once you have built a powerful commercial state, you really lose interest in regional domination, because you are too busy making money.

What a pity the Axis of Losers seems determined not to learn this lesson.