What I Will Be Listening For At the Debate

Preparations are made for the Fox News GOP primary debate in Myrtle Beach, SC, on January 10, 2008 (photo credit: Teresa via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jonathan Haidt – self-confessed liberal professor of psychology, now at NYU – is the author or a really fascinating book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.  What makes this book fascinating, in part, is that he argues conservatives are inherently more effective than liberals at communicating on issues with moral content.  This is so because Haidt has identified through his empirical psychological research six “moral receptors,” rather like six types of taste buds through which we experience the flavor of moral argumentation.  Conservatives are more effective at moral communications because we tend to engage all six receptors, providing a richer taste, so to speak, whereas liberals rarely invoke more than two.

I will be listening tomorrow for how well the candidates engage each of the receptors.  By the way, Carly Fiorina’s recent speech at the Reagan Library (discussed here) stands out because it is an example of a masterful job of touching each of Haidt’s receptors.

Is moral communication relevant to political debate?  Politics is nothing other than a great collective conversation about matters which are thoroughly morally-infused.  Every law is a statement of morality; government is about laws; politics is about government.

Here are the six receptors (these are not Haidt’s labels; I’ve renamed them for the sake of clarity), with examples of how they might be addressed:


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Breaking News: ThePulse2016.com Breaks 250,000 Facebook Likes!

It’s so exciting.  We began this blogzine in March with no big billionaire backers—only the faith that readers like you would care.  Where do you go if you care about life, marriage, and religious liberty to keep track of what is happening in the bulging, bursting GOP primary campaign?  Where do you go to hear the truth about the old ‘Truce Strategy’ and its failures?  Where do you go if you are deeply conservative and yet care about immigration from a human dignity perspective, or middle class economics?  Where do you go to learn about what is happening on Common Core?

We started with hardly any dollars but a big dream: to become the place to follow Campaign 2016 for social conservatives—and most especially for full spectrum conservatives who understand social and economic conservatism aren’t two separate wings but part of the same bird.  To fly, the GOP needs to run as if it believes life, marriage, and religious liberty aren’t side “social issues” but part of building an American dream that matters.

Thanks to you, we are seeing candidates compete as never before for the pro-life vote.  We are credited with helping move presidential candidates to sign the 20-week bill.

Thanks to you, in less than 5 months we’ve grown from nothing to a quarter million Facebook likes, guaranteeing we are on the radar screen with each post of a growing army of Americans concerned about their country’s future.

To put this in perspective, The Federalist, a publication I often read, has 26,000 Facebook likes.  Continue Reading

Clueless Dem Gameplan on Attacking Jeb Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bob Burnett’s HuffPo column on Jeb Bush contains an outline of how Democrats will be attacking the former Florida governor if becomes the GOP nominee.

Burnett’s assumption is that just as brother George attempted to hide behind the “compassionate conservative” banner, Jeb will try and fail. Why? Because like his brother, Jeb Bush “is a staunch conservative. He’s not any more compassionate than Dubya was.”

Burnett faults Bush for supporting Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, trying to protect Terry Schiavo, opposing Obamacare, passing tax cuts as governor, advocating charter schools, and, in short, being the friend of big business and the enemy of the working class. Jeb Bush, therefore is “a typical right-wing Republican.”

Well, not exactly, because as Burnett himself notes, Bush’s positions on immigration and global climate change are the opposite of what the so-called “right wing” advocates. And Burnett ignores Bush’s unflinching support for “Common Core” which has severely weakened his appeal among the conservative base.

Burnett’s column does not support either its conclusion or its premise, which, not surprisingly, are the same — that Jeb Bush will not get away with portraying himself as a compassionate conservative.

It would have been much wiser, and insightful, for Burnett to have discussed how Bush’s compassionate conservatism has become a stumbling block in 2016 after being an effective bridge for his brother in 2000.

Deal W. Hudson is publisher and editor of The Christian Review, president of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. Continue Reading

CPAC Drinking Game

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 3.0)

American Principles Project, which has taken on a leadership role in advocating for full-spectrum conservatism, has staff members participating in four panels at CPAC this week. At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25th, Emmett McGroarty (who is one of the principal architects of the Common Core rebellion) will be on the main stage for a Common Core panel. At 2:10 p.m. on Thursday, Terry Schilling, our young and smart executive director, will be speaking about monetary policy and its emerging role in Campaign 2016.  Alfonso Aguilar, a leading voice for common sense, pro-human dignity immigration policy, as well as a voice for Latinos for life, marriage, and religious liberty,  will make APP’s Reaganite case on Thursday at 2:10 p.m. as well.  And one of the most articulate new young voices for life, marriage, and religious liberty, Kate Bryan (our communications director) will be moderating a panel on the future of marriage in America at 2:10 p.m. on Friday.

This year, the organizers of CPAC, to their credit, have worked hard to reach out to the whole of conservatism: all three legs of Reaganism’s sturdy stool. CPAC recognizes the need to include and give a voice to the full spectrum of conservatives, because without such a continuing effort, there is real torquing of the conservative movement from a fusionist conservatism towards a more libertarian, immigration-restrictionist, and corporatist Republican party.

The way I propose to prove this is by discovering how much you can drink while playing my CPAC Drinking Game.

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