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Live Blog: Conservatism Today

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2:15 p.m. "Conservatism Today" is the fourth panel convened today at the Humphrey Institute's series of forums entitled America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Moderating this afternoon's panel is E.J. Dionne (Columnist, Washington Post and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution). The panelists are:

* Ross Douthat (Associate Editor, The Atlantic)
* Mickey Edwards (Lecturer, Princeton University and Director, Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership)
* David Frum (Contributing Editor, National Review Online and Rsident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute)

2:28 p.m. Douthat examines what has made the white working class vote in increasing numbers for Republicans over the past few decades. Some argue Republicans have 'duped' working class white voters by appealing to a variety of social issues (e.g. gay marriage) while enacting policies contrary to the interests of these working class voters (and not enacting legislation on these social issues in the meantime). Others argue for reasons centering on Republican 'purity' (i.e. limited government) stemming out of the 1964 Goldwater campaign and moving forward through Reagan etc.

2:36 p.m.Edwards notes that the origins of American conservatism were based in the Constitution - the Equal Rights Amendment, giving D.C. a vote in Congress etc. Edwards believes self-identified conservatives today have gotten away from the origins of conservatism. Edwards says consevatives have now become Republicans first and crossed the line so that Repubican members of Congress view a Republican President as the head of their party, not the head of a separate brach of government which they are supposed to check.

2:44 p.m. Former Bush speechwriter Frum states the Republican Party has been in decline since the mid-1990s. Frum notes there has been a collapse of support among the affluent for the Republican Party, in addition to young voters. Frum adds Republicans have also alienated working class Americans in recent years due to economic conditions which has seen a lot of expansion, but little benefit to the working class. Democrats also now have a 5:3 advantage over Republicans on the issue of ethics.

2:55 p.m. Former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber says Republicans have wrestled with the notion of its principles of limited government with the fact that most people see a role for government in their lives.

3:05 p.m. Edwards says conservatives should be for 'limited' government, but not 'small' government - that is, there is a limited scope of what government should do, but there will be a set of issues that it will have a great role to play. "It is not our job to shut down the government," he adds.

3:15 p.m. Frum states he is very worried about McCain's selection of Palin last week - he hopes McCain did his homework on Palin, but he fears he did not. Frum acknowledges the selection has fired up social conservatives in a good way, but not the country as a whole. Douthat says he blogged about the positives of a McCain/Palin ticket months ago. Edwards believes Palin was selected because McCain had to take a gamble - the race, although polling close, was Obama's to win.

3:25 p.m. Frum believes that McCain's political philosophy and campaign is one of contradictions -- for environmental protection but also for more domestic drilling. Weber says McCain is more like FDR, who also did not campaign on a consistent message.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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