June 19th, 2011
02:58 PM ET

Zakaria: Conservatism has lost touch with reality

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

I've been watching the Republicans on the campaign trail and what strikes me so far is that conservatives in America have gone through a strange transformation.

It used to be that conservatism was a hard-headed set of ideas rooted in reality.

Unlike the abstract theories of Marxism and socialism, it started not from an imagined society, but from the world as it actually exists.

"This is the way things work," conservatives would patiently explain to wooly headed liberal professors. "Whatever you may want it to look like, this is what it really looks like."

But consider the debates over the economy these days. The Republican prescription is cut taxes - slash government spending, then things will always bounce back.

Now, I would like to see lower tax rates in the context of simplification and reform, but what is the actual evidence that massive tax cuts are the single best path to revive the U.S. economy? Taxes as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest levels since 1950. The U.S. is among the lowest taxed of the big industrial economies.

So the case that America is grinding to a halt because of high taxation is not based on facts, either past or present. It is simply a theoretical assertion.

The rich countries after all are in the best shape right now with strong growth and low unemployment are ones like Germany, Denmark and Canada - none characterized by low taxes.

Meanwhile, many Republican businessmen have told me that the Obama administration is the most hostile to business in 50 years.

Really?

More than that of Richard Nixon, for example, who presided over tax rates that reached 70 percent, regulations that spanned whole industries like airlines and telecommunication and who actually instituted price and wage controls?

In fact, right now any discussion of any government involvement in the economy - even to build vital infrastructure - is impossible because it is a cardinal tenet of the new conservatism that such involvement is always and forever bad.

That's the theory.

Meanwhile, in practice across the globe the world's fastest growing economy, China, has managed to use government involvement to create growth and jobs for three decades.

From Singapore to South Korea to Germany, evidence abounds that some strategic actions by governments can act as catalysts for free market growth.

But conservatives now resemble the old Marxists who refuse to look at actual experience. "I know it works in practice," the old saw goes, "but does it work in theory?"

Republicans often praise businessmen. Well, one of the first steps any business now takes when confronting a problem is to ask, "How are other companies around the world handling this? Is there a best practice we can learn from?" But in any area, from infrastructure to health care to education, to ask these questions is heresy on the right.

It's a shame. I think we need smart, market-friendly conservative reforms that streamline government, cut costs in health care and empower individuals, but they need to be rooted in reality, drawn from best practices around the world and based on practical measures of what seems to work.

What we have instead are policies that are simply recitations of some free market theory taken out of some book based on no actually existing national economy.

It turns out conservatives have become the wooly headed professors after all.

For more on this, you can read my column in this week's TIME Magazine.


soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    There are areas of the constitution that do need to be updated. Additionally, we should at the same time put in term limits for U. S. Senators, U.S. Representatives and Supreme Court Justices, especially since judicial hearings before Congress are no longer legitimate. I cannot believe the authors of the U.S. Constitution imagined "life-time" politicians, and I don't believe it benefits the country, rather it fuels lobbyists

    June 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      "Additionally, we should at the same time put in term limits for U. S. Senators, U.S. Representatives and Supreme Court Justices"

      Wow. You completely missed the most important point he made. You are advocating major changes in our government with no reason to believe they would improve anything. You just believe they would. Under no circumstances should we amend the Constitution of the United States based on a popular but unsupported belief it would be a good thing.

      Several states have term-limited legislatures and there is no evidence whatsoever that limiting terms produces better government or better legislation. In fact, two states that had term limits repealed them. Others have considered increasing the limits. Term limits create at least as many problems as they solve and actually increase the influence of lobbyists, on whom freshman members of Congress often rely for information about policy issues.

      California has term limits, and the worst budget crisis in the country. Florida and Arizona have them and they have their share of problems too. Term limits will not solve anything. They're an idea that's popular with politically lazy people who want to set up government in a way that it works well on autopilot so they can continue to ignore their responsibility to educate themselves about issues and vote responsibly.

      In case no one has explained this to you, we already have term limits for members of Congress; if they aren't doing a good job their constituents can vote them out of office. If constituents aren't doing that, it's their own fault, not the lack of term limits. Don't try to deny me my right to reelect good representatives just because you don't want to be bothered doing your homework before voting.

      June 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
      • george plunkett

        Mr. Fareed,

        On your sunday show you demonstrated an inaccurate and completely biased discriptions of conservatism. Conservative are not always republicans and republicans are not all conservatives. Conservatives believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and that although no man or woman has a right to steal the fruits of another mans labor we do have a responsibility to be charitable. You should speak to the lazy libs and the hypocrite libs, the first

        June 20, 2011 at 10:26 am |
      • 8484

        USING CALIFORNIA AS AN EXAMPLE IS RATHER SHORT SIGHTED AS ALL OF THOSE IDIOTS ARE LIBERALS.

        June 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
      • Sam

        One day your descendants will realize how intelligent and good-hearted Liberal ideology really is. And they will wake up happy that the world is no longer as it used to be.

        June 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
      • garvin anders

        California's problems cannot be laid on term limits, when the problem is a result of the referendum system any real cuts or tax increases not only need a 2/3 majority in the state senate and house but also a majority of the voting public in a special referendum. Of course increasing spending just needs a majority in the state government. No matter what your position on social spending, taxes or well anything, everyone should be able to see how the current state of California was almost predetermined by this set up. In short you cannot have system that makes it impossible to raise revenue or cut spending while making it easy to spend on debt and expect not to end up in debt. If California is going to get out of it's hole, it's not term limits that need to go but the current referendum system. Sometimes to much Democracy is as bad as to little... Sometimes.

        June 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
      • Daniel

        skytag -

        "Under no circumstances should we amend the Constitution of the United States based on a popular but unsupported belief it would be a good thing."

        And yet that is exactly what we do, time and time again! Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the Amendment that enshrined Prohibition as the law of the land, surely a change based on the "popular but unsupported (and incorrect) belief it would be a good thing". By the way, the sheer diversity of "expert" opinion on any given subject guarantees that every crackpot idea will find support somewhere.

        You see, the same is true for almost any law enacted by humans; which is why, over time, so many are amended, modified, or even repealed – so few of us have the foresight to actually write a good law, one that will withstand and anticipate the changes that time inevitably brings. This is exactly why the Constitutional Amendment mechanism exists – because we recognize that societal change happens.

        No one can see the future; this is why the Law of Unintended Consequences is so powerful, so unforgiving, and so dangerous.

        /rs/

        June 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
      • Rusty

        It should be noted every time a liberal brings up the very high tax rates during the presidency of a conservative, or during a booming economy, that those companies did not pay 70% taxes. The loop holes were as wide as an aircraft carrier. What they have done over the years is close many of the loop holes while lowering that tax rate.

        There are many problems here but the author doesn't seem to understand what they are. How about very lucrative retirement packages for politicians. Why is it that CNN never announces just how much money we are paying out to retired politicians an retired federal workers? Let me clue you in...it's a lot more than you would think.

        This is just one of the many problems we have. And Mr. Zakaria is lost on one more point. He says that businesses look around to see how other businesses are doing things. Sure, the followers, the ones that come in afterwords. But not ht e trend setters.

        Also, he is lost on the fact that China's booming economy is due to several factors, the main one is that the government there was proactive in getting business booming. But he didn't say how. They did so by offering many businesses, many American businesses a very business friendly environment to work in. Very little if any regulation, low taxes, low wage earners, etc...

        He might also look to Ireland which enticed many American businesses to come there and set up shop through lower taxes.

        Fareed, if you are going to tell a story, tell the whole story.

        June 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
      • skytag

        @8484: "USING CALIFORNIA AS AN EXAMPLE IS RATHER SHORT SIGHTED AS ALL OF THOSE IDIOTS ARE LIBERALS."

        Another right-wing drone who resorts to insulting liberals when realty becomes too frightening. And why would it qualify as short-sighted?

        Utah and Idaho are hardly bastions of liberalism, but they repealed their term limits. Florida and Arizona are red states with term limits and significant budget problems. The Articles of Confederation had term limits and they were rejected when the Constitution was drafted because they turned out to be a bad idea.

        You're obviously one of the brainwashed who is out of touch with reality. Confronted with realities you can't handle you lash out with baseless attacks on liberals because those who have brainwashed you have convinced you that all you have to do is blame liberals and that wins any argument. How can you not be embarrassed to act so foolishly?

        June 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
      • skytag

        @george plunkett: "You should speak to the lazy libs and the hypocrite libs."

        Yet another right-wing drone who resorts to insulting in response to reality he doesn't like. If you think liberals have any monopoly on either laziness or hypocrisy you really are out of touch with reality.

        June 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • skytag

        @garvin anders: "California's problems cannot be laid on term limits"

        I didn't say otherwise. My point is the term limits do not guarantee better legislation or government. I mentioned California, but several states have term limits and there is no evidence term limits result in better legislation or government, and they create problems of their own.

        Term limits are advocated by people who want government to work well on autopilot. That's simply not a reasonable expectation in a democracy if the electorate fails to educate itself about issues and vote responsibly. Term limits are not and will never be a substitute for an informed electorate.

        "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." — Thomas Jefferson

        June 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
      • skytag

        @Daniel: While it's obviously true we cannot see the future and the full ramifications of any law or change to existing law, it is also true that we have a large body of historic and at times current evidence to give us some insight so that we aren't exactly acting in the dark either.

        Although term limits are not a partisan issue, they illustrate the problem Fareed describes here, the tendency for people to adopt a belief in something even though they have no evidence to support that belief. Many people believe term limits would solve some of the problems we see in our government, but when the evidence and facts are examined objectively it turns out there is simply no rational reason to believe that's the case. They do change the dynamics of a legislature and the legislative process, no doubt. But is the result actually better? All the evidence says no, it isn't.

        June 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Bill OReiily

        Interestingly, conservatives are often the ones that:
        1. WRITE WITH THEIR CAPS LOCK ON
        2. Espouse limited government while passing laws regarding what women can do with their bodies (abortion rights)
        3. Want the Ten Commandments plastered on every wall while starting endless wars.
        4. Advocate free trade yet preventing us from buying cheaper prescriptions from Canada.

        June 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • dedawn1

        Yes but if Congress is spending 1/2 time trying to get re elected they are not doing a good job. They would do what is right instead of what will keep them their jobs if term limits apply.

        June 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
      • eldono

        2 of the main problems we have in the US are the electoral college and that we are a plutocracy. We also need more than 2 main parties to be a viable democracy. We only have 2. The primary objective of all those in the legislature are to satisfy lobbyist and get re-elected. Our congress people don't answer to us. They answer to huge corporations. Term limits won't do anything. We the people need to become smarter and more active. Its up to us. We need to take back America, and I don't mean the way the Tea Party sees it.

        June 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
      • Kirk

        In regards to term limits, it seems like voting kicks the "bad" ones out and term limits kicks the "good" ones out.

        June 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • momomiester

      Zacky...your lack of intelligence is frightening yet it is an inspiration. I mean if someone with your ideas can have headline post on CNN then a monkey can do it. You forget how lousy the 70s were with Nixon? You think in an economy where they are sending things offshore you are going to grow things by expanding the government? Insane Obama expanded the government debt by record amounts and were did that get us? If it wasn't' for China, we couldn't even fund our debt yet you want bigger government! Yeah tax more people so there is less money to invest and spend. Brilliant. Oh by the way, I thought you were offed by a predator drone strike somewhere in Afghanistan.

      June 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • GG

        1. It was Bush that put us in this debt
        2. He never said the 70's were great, only that nixon was more of an enemy to business
        3. The 50's had 90% taxes on the rich. Are you going to claim that the 50's were an (economically) bad time?
        4. We borrow from China, thus increasing our debt, yes, but 50% of our debt is to the Federal Reserve, a private bank.

        June 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
      • JayW

        the last national debt under bush was 500bil......currently under obama the debt is 1.3 trillion per year. so do tell us how W put us in debt again?
        unemployment under Bush avgd 5%, under obama 9%
        do tell us how this president is giving us hope and change again? oh he changed everyone from employed to unemployed, from insured to uninsured.

        June 21, 2011 at 6:47 am |
      • skytag

        @JayW: "the last national debt under bush was 500bil"

        Deficit, not debt.

        "currently under obama the debt is 1.3 trillion per year. so do tell us how W put us in debt again?"

        Why bother? Facts and logical arguments are powerless against the brainwashing that's been done to you by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

        "unemployment under Bush avgd 5%, under obama 9%"

        Why are you giving the Bush average? Could it be you're trying to conceal the fact that unemployment was 4.2% when he took office and 7.8% and rising rapidly when he left? One has to wonder why you people are so loyal to positions you knowingly have to use dishonest arguments to support.

        "do tell us how this president is giving us hope and change again?"

        People like you have no interest in hope or change. All you care about is having people who share your extreme ideology in power.

        "oh he changed everyone from employed to unemployed, from insured to uninsured."

        This, of course, is a bald-faced lie, but it was already clear honesty holds no value for you.

        June 22, 2011 at 10:23 am |
      • Bill OReiily

        Archie Bunker – is that you?

        June 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
      • YourUnderstanding

        GG, are you aware of which branch of government appropriates money? HINT: It is not the executive or judicial branch.

        Sorry. There goes the whole "It is all Bush's fault" mentality, right?

        June 24, 2011 at 1:53 am |
      • Jomomma

        And the "BLAME OBAMA" argument as well. They're all liars stealing our tax dollars to enrich other rich men, it's pro-wrestling.

        June 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
      • fineleaf

        @momomiester. Reading comprehension is important, there are tools to improve yours. You entirely missed the points Zakaria was making. And you are you really that much of a moron to make a racist joke confusing someone from India with Afghanistan or "is it all the same" to you? If it is, you shouldn't be allowed to comment at all.

        June 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
      • billabong021

        Just stick to shooting squirrels in your backyard man.

        You didn't even listen properly to what he said.

        June 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
      • DC

        GG & Skytag – Get off the kool-aid – you will begin to feel better. I get a kick out of how you look at numbers. Is that new math, or fuzzy math, or lefty math? What part of trillion don't you understand?

        June 29, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • glenn robert

      Zakaria confuses marxism and socialism. The socialist governments in western Europe are doing just fine. They are not bankrupt like the US. Their high tax rates allow complete care of their citizens.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:38 am | Reply
      • Lucifer Liar

        Portugal, Greece, Ireland, France, England soon Italy and Spain are contracting. Greece is burning with riots from austerity. England the same. Wake up. Smell the Molotov cocktail. Bush, Obama one in the same.

        The twit that wrote this article has no idea how to operate a business. He has no clue that with all the fees, licensing, fines, taxes etc... America has the worst corporate atmosphere. READ A BOOK!!!

        June 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
      • Jomomma

        Meh. I keep hearing about how terrible the corporations have it, yet they're sitting on $2 trillion in cash, ceo pay and profits are at a record high, and they have more voice in politics now than actual human beings. They get ENORMOUS subsidies, and it is now routine that they control the regulators watching them. They get tax breaks for offshoring American jobs and our tax code is riddled with loopholes than a wool sweater, meaning many don't even pay taxes. The government puts corporate profits before the health of it's citizens and the planet on a daily basis. So this is complete BS! Pardon us if we don't weep for the poor corporations – they certainly aren't weeping for us.

        June 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
      • Jomomma

        Oh and list off several Socialist nations (and England and Ireland aren't all that socialist) that are contracting, I can list many that are outperforming us (Canada, Scandanavia, Germany) and some capitalist nations that are doing poorly (Japan, Mexico, Africa).

        It comes down to a question of values. Our national values is MONEY, that's it. Not life, not peace, not justice, not equality, not the environment – all of those get shoved rudely aside when they conflict with the making of money. So socialism only seems evil because in conflicts with our national value. If we valued the human life, health, happiness, freedom and well-being of our citizens, our current economy and government would seem monstrous. It's funny that we so debase things which have intrinsic value to pursue money – which at the end of the day (or world) will only be zeroes written magnetically on some hard drive somewhere.

        June 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
      • Citizen K

        There are no socialist governments in western Europe. Some are capitalist democracies that happen to have socialized medicine for pragmatic reasons, and all have more regulated economies than the U.S. There is a greater reliance on policy instead of ideology. But - outside of health care in 8-9 countries - western Europe is not socialist.

        June 25, 2011 at 7:33 am |
      • oldboldgold

        Lucifer Liar... yep you are a devil telling lies!
        There was a time when I admired hardheaded businessmen. Practical, make it happen people. Then the corporate drones took over and they receive more government welfare than any group on earth... and still whine and carry on as they steal the bank. For example, Bush's buddies wanted a nice third world slave market for their corporations, but they want the stability of a first world army... so Bubba Bush gave them Afghanistan/Pakistan. Ten years and several trillion dollars later... 67 corporations have roosted in Pakistan enjoying the protection of assets provided by the US government and running their little fiefdoms with slave labor. Their names?
        ABBOTT LABORATORIES (PAKISTAN ) LTD.
        ACE INSURANCE LIMITED
        ACNIELSEN PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        AGILITY LOGISTICS (PVT.) LTD
        AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY ( PAKISTAN ) LIMITED.
        AT&T GLOBAL NETWORK SERVICES INTERNATIONAL INC.
        AVANZA SOLUTIONS (PVT.) LTD.
        BECTON DICKINSON PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        BP PAKISTAN EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION INC
        CAPTAIN-PQ CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES (PVT.) LTD.
        CHEVRON PAKISTAN LTD.
        CISCO SYSTEMS PAKISTN (PVT.) LTD
        CITIBANK, N.A.
        CRESCENT BAHUMAN LIMITED
        COCA-COLA BEVERAGES PAKISTAN LTD.
        THE COCA-COLA EXPORT CORPORATION
        COLGATE-PALMOLIVE (PAKISTAN) LTD.
        Continental Biscuits Ltd.
        DUPONT PAKISTAN OPERATIONS (PVT.) LTD.
        ELI LILLY PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        EL PASO TECHNOLOGY PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        EMC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (PVT) LTD.
        FMC UNITED (PVT.) LTD.
        GERRY'S INTERNATIONAL (PVT.) LTD. (FedEx) .
        GILLETTE PAKISTAN LIMITED
        IBM
        INTEL PAKISTAN CORPORATION
        INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISES (PVT) LTD
        JOHNSON & JOHNSON PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        JOHAN (PVT.) LTD.
        J.P. MORGAN PAKISTAN (PVT.) LIMITED
        KARAM CERAMICS LIMITED
        LEVI STRAUSS PAKISTAN (PVT.) LIMITED
        LMK RESOURCES PAKISTAN LTD.
        MCR (PVT.) LTD. (Pizza Hut)
        MICROSOFT CORPORATION PAKISTAN LIAISON OFFICE
        MOTOROLA LIMITED
        MONSANTO PAKISTAN AGRITECH (PVT.) LTD.
        MULLER & PHIPPS PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        NCR CORPORATION
        NEW HAMPSHIRE INSURANCE COMPANY
        NETSOL TECHNOLOGIES LTD.
        OBS PAKISTAN (PVT) LTD
        OPTIMUS LTD.(HERTZ)
        ORACLE CORPORATION SINGAPORE PTE LTD.
        PEPSI-COLA INTERNATIONAL (PVT.) LTD.
        PFIZER PAKISTAN LTD.
        PHILIP MORRIS (PAKISTAN) LTD.
        PRESTIGE COMMUNICATIONS (PVT) LTD.
        PROCTER & GAMBLE PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        RAFHAN MAIZE PRODUCTS CO. LTD.
        RENFRO CRESCENT (PVT.) LTD
        RIAZ BOTTLERS (PVT.) LTD. (Pepsi-Cola)
        S.C. JOHNSON & SON OF PAKISTAN
        SHERATON MIDDLE EAST MANAGEMENT CORPORATION
        SINGER PAKISTAN LIMITED
        SIZA FOODS (PVT.) LTD. (McDonald's)
        TERADATA GLOBAL CONSULTING PAKISTAN (PVT) LTD
        TRG (PVT) LTD.
        UNISYS PAKISTAN (PVT.) LIMITED
        UNIVERSAL LOGISTICS SERVICES (PVT) LTD.
        WACKENHUT PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        WPP MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS (PVT) LTD.
        VISA INC.
        VISION NETWORK TELEVISION LTD. (CNBC)
        3M PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
        ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
        SUNSOFT (PVT.) LTD.
        I hope they enjoyed their ten years, because it is time to move. Shades of the British Raj in India! The citizens paid for an army to subdue the citizens so the East India Company owners could take home billions of pounds. Good for British citizens? No. Good for Indian citizens? No. Good for the wealthy? Sure enough. They were whiner drones, too, don't ya know. I say these corporations need to pay a WAR TAX and drop their bottom lines to reflect the REAL COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN PAKISTAN.

        June 30, 2011 at 5:13 am |
    • opus512

      Term limits on the federal level are unconstitutional. We don't need term limits, we need an active, engaged citizenry. Don't blame the people that get elected, blame the people that elect them.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:48 am | Reply
      • skytag

        Exactly. Not only do we not need term limits, they're not the silver bullet people think they are. Several states have term-limited legislatures and those states are not doing any better than states without limits. In fact, California has them and they have the worst budget crisis in the country.

        June 22, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • liberalsarechildren

      There's a process for changing the constitution. It's called amending it. It's not easy to do for a reason. Any constitution that can be changed on a whim because of political fads isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Liberals who don't like this are like children throwing temper tantrums in the face of the hard won wisdom of the world. It you don't like it, leave.

      June 24, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
      • Tamara Chen

        Wait, what constitutional amendments are "liberals" asking for?

        June 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
      • oldboldgold

        There is only one active push for a Constitutional Amendment that I know about. It is to clarify that corporations are not persons. This amendment is necessary to overcome the Supreme Court's insistence on interpreting the 14th Amendment giving citizenship to the freed negroes after the Civil War as also giving corporations rights equal to human beings... including unlimited donations to politicians. Go online to the Move to Amend website to sign the Petition. They believe it will take at least 10 years, but I say with modern communications, it will be much faster.

        June 30, 2011 at 5:20 am |
    • NYCGal73

      Absolutely Kathy, just as the cover of Time magazine's latest issue explains – we can not keep quoting the same standards that kept true hundreds of yrs ago. It is time to think to the future with a fresh way of thinking. The perpetual judges on the highest court of the land make me sick. Some of them can't keep from falling asleep, let alone to have a cohesive view about the world now.

      June 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • scott

      we donot have lifetime politicians. here in pa we retired senator arlen spector after 30yrs. his job was up for review every 6yrs and this last time he got voted out, granted it was for a right wing nut job like pat toomey. the system works. no to term limits for congress people or judges

      June 29, 2011 at 4:04 am | Reply
  2. Richard Lefcourt

    Mr. Zakaria's article fails on several accounts. 1. The level of taxation is roughly double of those countries that have been taking jobs away from Americans (China, India, Taiwan, for example). 2. It's always easy to find the exception to the rule to use as ammunition. Nixon's behavior during the Vietnam war is hardly a typical example of Tea Party politics. 3. His lack of alternative solutions is glaring. It implies that we should simply continue what we're doing instead of changing course.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • Jill in Western U.S.

      Expecting solutions to the economic situation to be written in 1,000 words or less is absurd. I note that you haven't supplied any solutions despite the assertion that failing to do so is "glaring" and "implies that we should simply continue what we're doing instead of changing course". I suspect that you actually do know a lot about, or that you at least pay attention to, economics. But you didn't attempt to explain your ideas, probably due to limited space – the same problem Zakaria has.

      June 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • badcafe

      Did you actually dream up these statements? Like the GOPs, it seems you're out of touch with reality. The tax rate is much higher in both China and India... neither are there entitlements, and the government is hugely involved...

      June 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Albert Allen

      So what are the facts on taxes? Zakaria is correct and the Tea Party dogmatics are wrong on this one.

      Here is how US taxes (as a portion of GDP) compare internationally:
      http://about.bgov.com/2011/06/14/behind-the-chart-tax-burden-in-u-s-lower-than-in-many-rivals/
      Don't just look at the chart in this story, read the analysis for the limitations imposed by having to use the World Bank data for this analysis.

      And here is how US taxes in 2011 compare historically within the US:
      http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2011-05-05-tax-cut-record-low_n.htm
      You can debate why they are low, but the tax burden is the lowest it has been since 1958.

      June 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • Chettahe

        We are confusing the taxes paid to the Federal Government, with the total taxes paid by an individual in the US which includes Federal taxes, social security, medicare, sales taxes, state taxes, property taxes, city taxes, gasoline taxes, taxes imposed in your phone and water bills etc. Some of the countries mentioned in Zakaria's list they have high central government taxes but they have lower or no state taxes and we most probably pay as much in taxes as they do, with no universal health coverage and mediocre retirement benefits in comparison to Germany, Denmark or Canada.
        What is not mentioned here or anywhere is the inefficiencies in our government systems from the Federal to the local level. How this can be solved is a large question mark.
        Check the amount of funds per student paid in the advanced countries of the world and even though we pay more per student than anyone else our achievement scores are not at the top of the test scales.
        Let us face it Republicans or Democrats have brought us to the difficult economic times we are in because of their very similar policies as far as foreign trade, unfunded benefits, corporate taxation (see the percentage of the Federal taxes paid by corporations over the last 30-40 years, the trend is higher individual taxes vs corporate), unfunded wars, bail out of the Wall street and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, where it required vast amounts of money to save the major banks from bankruptcy. As of now under the Obama administration I have not seen one of these criminals in Wall Street go to jail.
        Yes we have to learn how the other industrialized countries create viable economies and meaningful jobs, but with leadership we have and the inter party bickering can we do what is good for the country?

        June 28, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Nate Beck

      Amen man. Zakaria's opinion as expressed in this article is weird. Which conservatives is he referring to? And his little summary of "Conservative history" is umm... also totally weird:

      " 'It used to be that conservatism was a hard-headed set of ideas rooted in reality.
      Unlike the abstract theories of Marxism and socialism, it started not from an imagined society, but from the world as it actually exists.
      'This is the way things work,' conservatives would patiently explain to wooly headed liberal professors. 'Whatever you may want it to look like, this is what it really looks like.' "

      Lol so let me get this straight... back when the originator of conservative thought decided to come up with some new school of thought called conservatism, he decided to landmark political philosophy with a "hard-headed" position on the status quo which naturally antagonized the lofty, idealistic viewpoints of university professors...

      Look Fareed, conservatives and liberals are as old as government. Politicians from both sides can be "hard-headed." But getting down to the point of your article– I'm not sure that conservative reform is possible without using some theory. Currently, we have strayed enormously from where a healthy chunk of the conservative base would like us to be! Think about the trillions of dollars that have recently been allocated for the new health care legislation, certainly that new status quo must be reversed with solid conservative logic, and I think the candidates are doing a good job of talking their voters through the mess instead of just speculating the outcomes of repealing legislaion that hasn't taken effect yet.

      I guess what I'm saying is that I don't understand what you're saying, Mr. Zakaria. I don't believe that the Republican candidates have become out of touch with their constituents because of a more ephemeral or "theoretical" common platform among them.

      June 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
      • 8484

        GOOD POST THERE, NATE BECK!

        June 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
      • Mateo

        Fareed actually alludes to some good points about the failure of modern conservatism in the USA to give solutions. They suggest theory as evidence.

        Take the conservative approach to health care: greater competition and free markets will drive costs down and quality up. But where is there ANY empirical evidence of market-driven health care systems controlling cost inflation? There aren't any. There is talk about the greatness of free markets, but no acknowledgment that health care 1) has inelastic demand and 2) there is no transparency of price. For example, I recently had to go to the ER. For the services rendered I was told there's no price. My insurance company will make that price up later. How am I supposed to be be a conscious consumer driven by price and quality if no price exists for any treatment? I signed the paper and received my treatments. Buying health service isn't like purchasing a new vehicle or sweater.

        Then there's still admiration for tax cuts, even though the last decade has not panned out the way "it's supposed to". The fact is, we need rigorous analysis of government policies. We can't have a bunch of academic theorists stating how the world SHOULD work. The USA used to be an innovative nation that would comparatively consider other national policies. Now we just have spouts about American Exceptionalism (or Fundamentalism, but that's a whole other deal) and how everything would work out if we followed theory. It's pathetic.

        June 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
      • skytag

        "Think about the trillions of dollars that have recently been allocated for the new health care legislation"

        That would require using my imagination because this simply hasn't happened. Making claims that have no basis in reality seems like a questionable strategy for refuting Fareed's claim that conservatives are out of touch with reality.

        I've seen the Republican suggestions for reforming health care and they are indeed out of touch with reality. For example, they claim malpractice reform will bring down the cost of health care despite the fact that several states have already implemented malpractice and it *didn't* reduce health care spending in those states.

        Mateo offers another example. Health care is a seller's market, and free market pressures in a seller's market push prices up, not down. The free market has failed to bring down the cost of health care any it's been tried, yet the Republicans claim it will do so here even though health care economists will tell you otherwise.

        "certainly that new status quo must be reversed with solid conservative logic, and I think the candidates are doing a good job of talking their voters through the mess"

        They're spewing a lot of rhetoric to demonize Obama and scare their constituents. They aren't talking anyone through anything.

        "instead of just speculating the outcomes of repealing legislaion that hasn't taken effect yet."

        Where have you been? All the Republicans have done is issue dire predictions about what the health care bill will do.

        "I guess what I'm saying is that I don't understand what you're saying, Mr. Zakaria."

        This I believe. He's spot on and since you're one of people who is out of touch with reality it doesn't make sense to you.

        "I don't believe that the Republican candidates have become out of touch with their constituents because of a more ephemeral or "theoretical" common platform among them."

        He didn't say they were out of touch with their constituents. He said they were out of touch with reality. They're very much in touch with their constituents who share their disconnect from reality.

        June 22, 2011 at 10:58 am |
      • oldboldgold

        Another thing Mr. Z is ignoring in his analysis... the world as it was back in the day (and I am old enough to remember) was a white male dominated world and neither he nor I would hold the jobs we hold today in that world. Maintaining that status quo was more important than any hardheaded reality he is talking about. He should thank God or Allah he did NOT live back then. So, moving forward to today... the Repubs still represent that status quo and wanting it back. Well, I do not want it back and I am sick of the corporate welfare program that is currently in place.

        June 30, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • j. von hettlingen

      @Richard Lefcourt
      The government has to collect taxes from the rich. David Stockman agrees too, that there's a dreadful yawning void in the treasury.
      Fareed, Stockman seems to be the only few Republicans in the country who are sensible, Get him back to Washington.

      June 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      "2. It's always easy to find the exception to the rule to use as ammunition. Nixon's behavior during the Vietnam war is hardly a typical example of Tea Party politics."

      You're arguing against something he didn't say, the very definition of a straw man argument. He was challenging the claim that Obama is the most business-unfriendly president in 50 years. His example had nothing to do with the Tea Party. So much for you being in touch with reality.; -)

      "3. His lack of alternative solutions is glaring. It implies that we should simply continue what we're doing instead of changing course."

      Nonsense. That's just not the focus of this article. Fareed has written quite a number of articles offering his ideas.

      June 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Ella

      Not really fair to compare with China's tax % as a percentage of GDP because so much of China's industry is comprised of state-owned enterprises.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • Robert

      What Richard Lefcourt has said about taxes being lower in China, India and Taiwan, is absolutely incorrect.

      Try again Richard, put some brain muscle into it this time.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • Richard A. Kent

      Those like Zakaria that point to two senators/state or the electorial colloge as obviously unfair fail to understand our history as a federal republic. At our founding a balance was struck between the Federalists and the anti-Federalist (later to become Jefferson's Democratic party). This balance was the original constitution the Federalist wanted and the Bill of Rights the anti-Federalist demanded. The whole thing came down to state sovereignty and individual rights versus federal power. What most Liberals want to do is back away from state sovereignty in favor of federal power. It's an old argument that dates back to our founding. For example, if we made the election of senators (as we do US Reps.) more "democratic" and eliminated the Electoral College, as Zakaria suggests, Presidenial candidates would not even bother to campaign in less populated states. They would just campaign in a handful like California, New York, Illinois and Texas (note that most of these most populated states are liberal states) and almost totally disregard the needs of the rest both during the campaign and after elected. Do the math. This is just another example of Liberals pushing for more Federal power and bigger government under the guise of a more "democratic" or "fair" society.

      June 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • Burt

      I think that what we really need is more centrism. Both parties are increasingly radicalizing their stands, in a nutshell Republicans think that by making the wealthy wealthier, wealth will trickle down. The democrats think that by putting more resources in the hands of the lower classes will make the economy take off. They are both dogmatic rigid positions. Republicans have their god in Reagan. Democrats follow Keynes.

      What I don't see is any moral principle dictating what is to be done. Economy, people is all and the same there not one without the other yet they are divorced from the politician's views. Moreover both parties have been hacked by special interest. For example who would ever give 60 Billion to Exxon for research when oil has been $100.00 dollars or more you guessed it a president with ties to the oil industry.

      On health we need to be more humane. A man just rob a bank for $1.00 to be arrested and get medical attention. Instead of shunning each other out politicians should agree in a set of principles (for example the constitution). Yes nobody follows the principles stated there. With social unrest there will be no possible growth. Expecting that the rich who became that way by being selfish, out of the goodness of their hart increase wages is a fairy tale that will never start.

      Not to be cynical, but economic principles must be established on the fact that man is selfish as oppose to man being altruistic for the simple fact that we need to control the latter and not the former.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  3. Jill in Western U.S.

    Fareed Zakaria should run for Senator. Until then, let's put him in a role where he can actually influence policy. He's relentlessly rational and habitually points out that the Emperor Has No Clothes. Maybe we're just too stupid to elect people who are more knowledgeable and intelligent than a stuffed animal. What a shame that our Congress can't be filled with people as capable as Zakaria of addressing complexity.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      Meh. There's a big difference between criticism and actually having to make decisions.

      June 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  4. Jolene

    This is so because American politics has been dumbed down to the point where stupid is taken for smart, arrogance for mutual respect, greed for good, and intolerance for tolerance. Orwell's 1984 has arrived, just a few years late.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      Except that Orwell's dystopia was a single party dictatorship where no discussion or dissent – much less active argument and criticism – was allowed...

      June 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Reply
      • chris

        But the american people are lost, panicked, arrogant, willfully ignorant, undereducated, childish, locked in a self-identity crisis, etc. What's the intelligence level of discussion and dissent today? Pretty pathetic....to the point of pointless....

        June 22, 2011 at 4:48 am |
    • Mateo

      Modern America is Huxleyan if anything.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  5. tom

    Conservatism hasn't lost touch with reality. What has happened is the refusal to continue to tolerate this current level of PC attitude which has made this country weak.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Dabu

      Nice, evasion!

      June 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Larry Land

      No, what has happened is a failure to rationally discuss the fundamental causes of our problems. I really don't know what's meant by "PC" within the context of Mr. Zakaria's commentary. The nation's fundamental problem is not difficult to understand. The rate of government spending far outpaces the receipt of its revenues. David Stockman's comment in today's debate about the failure of Keynesian economics, whether based in right-wing or left-wing ideologies, was highly illuminating and it should be taken very seriously by all sides. Excessive debt, be it for and overly generous welfare state or military adventures, is causing an exhaustion of our resources in a manner almost reminiscent of Great Britain's condition toward the end of World War II. Unlike Great Britain, I believe we have the wealth in this country to address the problem, but we're paralyzed by a rigid ideological orthodoxy (a right-wing verson of "political correctness" propagated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh) now dominating the GOP that makes progress in solving our economic problems a near-impossibility. Neither left nor the right wing factions of our polarized political culture are without sin. Among Democrats, there needs to be a recognition that middle class entitlements cannot go on forever without undergoing serious, cost-saving reforms. Tom, on second thought maybe in an ironic way you are right. There is a level of a "PC attitude which has made this country weak." But maybe it's not the type of PC" you think.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Strictly speaking I don't think conservatism has lost touch with reality, but too many people claiming to be conservatives have lost touch with true conservatism in their pursuit of the far right fanatic vote.

      June 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Reply
    • oldboldgold

      You mean talking to others respectfully and in a decent manner has ruined the country? Hmmmm politically correct means not calling the President of the United States a nigger? That has RUINED this country? Man, I have heard everything now... and here I thought PC mean a shift to mannerly behavior instead of making vicious remarks. Wow. It RUINED this country. How was a girl to know? My Sunday School teacher said... well, that's another day.

      June 30, 2011 at 5:42 am | Reply
  6. Disenfranchised

    The notion that businesses and corporations take jobs overseas because of the tax rate is absurd. Sure, taxes elsewhere might be lower, but by and far the largest factor effecting the outsourcing of jobs is wages and benefits. Instead of paying an American worker $15/hour, and contributing to a 401k, providing health insurance, etc, a corporation can pay someone in China $5/hour with zero benefits. That's where corporations save all of their money, not taxes. Any Republican who tells you that taxes are an incentive to businesses really just wants to put money back into the pockets of his or her campaign contributor.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • oldboldgold

      Taking jobs overseas isn't all that cheap. Bubba Bush opened up Pakistan for 67 corporations... because their hourly rate may be cheap, but their unstable governments are not. Trillions of dollars and ten years later...
      ABBOTT LABORATORIES (PAKISTAN ) LTD.
      ACE INSURANCE LIMITED
      ACNIELSEN PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      AGILITY LOGISTICS (PVT.) LTD
      AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY ( PAKISTAN ) LIMITED.
      AT&T GLOBAL NETWORK SERVICES INTERNATIONAL INC.
      AVANZA SOLUTIONS (PVT.) LTD.
      BECTON DICKINSON PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      BP PAKISTAN EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION INC
      CAPTAIN-PQ CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES (PVT.) LTD.
      CHEVRON PAKISTAN LTD.
      CISCO SYSTEMS PAKISTN (PVT.) LTD
      CITIBANK, N.A.
      CRESCENT BAHUMAN LIMITED
      COCA-COLA BEVERAGES PAKISTAN LTD.
      THE COCA-COLA EXPORT CORPORATION
      COLGATE-PALMOLIVE (PAKISTAN) LTD.
      Continental Biscuits Ltd.
      DUPONT PAKISTAN OPERATIONS (PVT.) LTD.
      ELI LILLY PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      EL PASO TECHNOLOGY PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      EMC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (PVT) LTD.
      FMC UNITED (PVT.) LTD.
      GERRY'S INTERNATIONAL (PVT.) LTD. (FedEx) .
      GILLETTE PAKISTAN LIMITED
      IBM
      INTEL PAKISTAN CORPORATION
      INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISES (PVT) LTD
      JOHNSON & JOHNSON PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      JOHAN (PVT.) LTD.
      J.P. MORGAN PAKISTAN (PVT.) LIMITED
      KARAM CERAMICS LIMITED
      LEVI STRAUSS PAKISTAN (PVT.) LIMITED
      LMK RESOURCES PAKISTAN LTD.
      MCR (PVT.) LTD. (Pizza Hut)
      MICROSOFT CORPORATION PAKISTAN LIAISON OFFICE
      MOTOROLA LIMITED
      MONSANTO PAKISTAN AGRITECH (PVT.) LTD.
      MULLER & PHIPPS PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      NCR CORPORATION
      NEW HAMPSHIRE INSURANCE COMPANY
      NETSOL TECHNOLOGIES LTD.
      OBS PAKISTAN (PVT) LTD
      OPTIMUS LTD.(HERTZ)
      ORACLE CORPORATION SINGAPORE PTE LTD.
      PEPSI-COLA INTERNATIONAL (PVT.) LTD.
      PFIZER PAKISTAN LTD.
      PHILIP MORRIS (PAKISTAN) LTD.
      PRESTIGE COMMUNICATIONS (PVT) LTD.
      PROCTER & GAMBLE PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      RAFHAN MAIZE PRODUCTS CO. LTD.
      RENFRO CRESCENT (PVT.) LTD
      RIAZ BOTTLERS (PVT.) LTD. (Pepsi-Cola)
      S.C. JOHNSON & SON OF PAKISTAN
      SHERATON MIDDLE EAST MANAGEMENT CORPORATION
      SINGER PAKISTAN LIMITED
      SIZA FOODS (PVT.) LTD. (McDonald's)
      TERADATA GLOBAL CONSULTING PAKISTAN (PVT) LTD
      TRG (PVT) LTD.
      UNISYS PAKISTAN (PVT.) LIMITED
      UNIVERSAL LOGISTICS SERVICES (PVT) LTD.
      WACKENHUT PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      WPP MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS (PVT) LTD.
      VISA INC.
      VISION NETWORK TELEVISION LTD. (CNBC)
      3M PAKISTAN (PVT.) LTD.
      ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
      SUNSOFT (PVT.) LTD.
      Are all in Pakistan doing business. Our boys are dying overseas, not to protect the citizens of the United States, but to allow these corporations to "take advantage of" Pakistans cheap labor. They should be assessed a WAR TAX to reimburse the taxpayers the trillions it has cost to "stabilize" the area and protect their business concerns. Not many countries go to war to protect their corporations' right to move jobs out of the country. And folks are complaining about Social Security... which is all self-funded?

      June 30, 2011 at 5:49 am | Reply
  7. Matteo

    Fareed Zakaria is a liberial reporter that can't see what is in touch with normal Americans. Conservatism has not lost touch with reality. In fact they are the only ones that are in touch with reality. If we don't change how we spend money and take some drastic steps we are going to end up like Greece.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Huh. In touch with reality like two unfunded wars and unfunded tax cuts that make up the lion's share of our budget deficits? I guess it all depends on what "reality" you're talking about. If you watch Fox News or get your information from Rush Limbaugh you have no business – NO BUSINESS AT ALL – talking about "reality" because you are completely deluded.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
      • bannister

        There's no such thing as an "unfunded tax cut" you idiot. Think about it.

        June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • zazu

      Just saying that whoever presents you with fact that forces you to confront your delusion, does not hide the facts. You can't dispute the facts can you?

      June 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Belingo

      I didn't know he was from Liberia :D...

      Seriously though: what ruins Greece is none of the things that Conservatives want to fix or abolish. Look at taxes: the Greek government is so poor because lots of people paid no, or much less, taxes than they were legally obliged to pay. Tax evasion etc. Why didn't businesses thrive in that environment? Because the state failed to push through reforms, invest in ways that would have made Greece a competitive economy producing things they can actually sell in the rest of Europe, etc.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • standingwave

        So in other words Greece is the logical outcome of conservative tax policy.Stop demonizing taxes.They pay for so many things we take for granted.

        June 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • skytag

      Sorry, but his comments are spot on. Calling him a liberal doesn't actually refute what he said.

      Sure, we need to reform our spending habits, but at the same time if we cut spending dramatically when the unemployment rate is 9% we'll just add millions to the unemployment rolls and end up negating most of the deficit reduction benefit of the cuts. That's reality. You in touch with that?

      June 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Reply
    • Goran Revaic

      America's spending habits do need to be reformed, but nothing can be done while the fight between "conservative hard hats" and "hippy liberals" ravages U.S. politics. So much useless propaganda is being spread that the common man cannot even understand what the hell is going on. So many people today are ignorant to world, and even state, politics that they just vote for whoever promises the most. Lower taxes do sound good now, but the entire thought is short-sighted. They say ignorance is bliss, but all ignorance has ever done is destroy.

      June 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • misterheath

      Did you not watch, or read, what he had to say? He just wants proof that lowering taxes will help us. Normally what happens when we lower taxes is trillions of dollars to the debt. i.e. Reagan, Bush and now Obama. Reagan was smart enough to raise taxes a little bit to slow the ballooning debt. Obama would do the same thing if he had a Congress that would allow him. Now everyone hates taxes, and I'd like to see a flater, fairer system. But it seems like fantasyland these days with all the debt.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:48 am | Reply
  8. Dave

    Conservatism has lost touch and will ultimately lose the support of the American people. Well, at least those who have a memory longer than a gnat and who don't watch Fox News channel.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • mike g

      are you addicted to pulling fox news into every part of your life? the thing that the American public is getting rid of is liberalism, they see thru the massive push towards socialism from obama that liberal policies do not work. social justice is not the role of government. income redistribution to "balance" the field does not work. liberals seem to assume that everyone is of the same intellect, same ambition, same drive and those that make more money got lucky or knew someone that helped them therefore if all the money was spread around evenly that would be good. however we are NOT all equal in IQ ambition and drive and if you spread all the money around evenly within 5 years it would be back to where it was before getting spread around. why? because some people are dumb, some are lazy, some don't care, some are content with less... and, some are smarter, more ambitious, have more drive and determination, want more... that's what makes this country great. look at countries that try the other way, those would be the countries going under right now ie: greece.

      work hard, save, don't be lazy, and you too can acheive. don't hate those who accomplish more than you.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
      • Goran Revaic

        Mike, I'd have to agree with you that we are not all equal in abilities and that we should work for ourselves, not depend on others, but that's as far as that goes. Socialism has been in the US since Welfare Reform Act. You act like the Obama administration proposed the first socialist-like policy. If you want to cut socialist policies in America then vote for the next candidate to cut government positions and see how well it can function.

        June 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  9. zazu

    As an international student who lives in the US, I am seriously amused that Republicans are happy to preach their politics like religion and people are happy to receive it like they do their religion. People did not even question them when they pretended to be defenders of medicare in the 2010 midterms when it is public knowledge for decades that from the beginning Conservatives never liked both Medicare and Social Security. People ask for no evidence. My theory is that their continued attack on good education is working for them. No where in civilized world such politics works. It is a sad commentary on the American electorate. As Jefferson is quoted as saying, ""If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." (as cited in Padover, 1939, p. 89)

    June 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." — Thomas Jefferson

      June 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Belingo

      zazu, I think so too re: dismantling the American education system. Every single person who I have spoken to who has on a student exchange to the USA during high school said that the quality of high school education was SO low. And those were not all supersmart Einsteins who went on those exchanges, pretty much people from all across the board in terms of school performance. My mother is a teacher in Germany and they have a partner school in the US which she visited, and she said classes were far less advanced than the comparable age here, and teachers really scored 0/10 on measures like applying pedagogics, didactic methods and so on. Of course, there are the schools that prepare the future university graduates, but the rest... It's hard for me to tell the reality on the ground, i.e. how many Americans really believe what the right-wingers preach, but the 2010 elections were quite a bummer for me in that regard.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
      • Questioner

        Interesting that you an Zazu brought education into this discussion, framing it up as the failure of conservatism. Why is it interesting? Because the educational system in the US is very much a liberal institution, from what is taught to how it is run. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe we spend as much or even more on education per child (grade-school to high-school) than countries that you might consider "Better" at education, indicating a worse outcome for greater spending. I'm sure we could argue back and forth about why, but I don't believe there is much of an argument against the statement that the educational system in the US is run by liberals as a liberal institution.

        June 26, 2011 at 9:13 am |
      • Tamara Chen

        Questioner: Who says it is "liberal" – Why????
        What states are involved?

        June 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  10. Stuart

    Where does Zakaria come up with this crap?

    June 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Dabu

      certainly not from Fox news. There are no facts there just more delusion.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      This is not crap. He is spot on.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Stopthemadness

      Obviously not the same place you learn false info, and religious persecution from.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  11. skytag

    I've been telling people the reality is not their happy place for a long time. The most frustrating aspect of trying to discuss issues with people on the right (and at times with the left) is exactly what Fareed describes. They are truly convinced that the stuff Republican politicians and talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck is truth handed down from God and can't possibly be wrong.

    In point of fact they believe a lot of things real world evidence contradicts, and a good bit for which there is no real world evidence to support what they believe. This is why I butt heads with them so often even though I'm a moderate conservative. I'm a conservative from the "in touch with realty" camp. In my world your theories, beliefs, and assumptions are worthless if you can't support them with real world evidence and logically valid arguments, two things that are pretty much impossible to get from the folks on the far right.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • jester

      yet, You yourself didn't put one tangible piece of data in your assertion. I want you to look at the page Zakaria's article is on. In his "About us" description, he offers to break down the tough issues for us. That's thoughtful, offering to tell me what the "tough issues" mean to me. Then, look at the headline "Conservatives out of touch". He made that easy for me. I don't even need to read the article. Thanks, man. And if I'm wondering who I should vote for in 2012? Hey, look no further, because Zakaria has put a Barack Obama poster, BAM, right there for me to see.

      While I'm at it, I want you to consider the following: why won't Barack Obama consent to an interview with one of the conservative talk show hosts? He made time for Oprah, and all the Sunday shows. And being busy just doesn't cut it with 70+ rounds of golf under his belt. So, why then? Could it be that he would be exposed for his ideologies and would lose support of more Americans? Of course you know it is. He is not frugal with his time in front of the camera, but don't dare ask him to step behind a microphone, sans teleprompter, and engage his critics. I'd love to go on and on, but I think I have strep throat and need sleep. Thanks for all your engaging and encouraging thoughts.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:06 am | Reply
      • skytag

        "You yourself didn't put one tangible piece of data in your assertion."

        True, and all you can conclude from this is that I didn't provide examples in that particular comment. But I have in other comments and in many others under many other articles. But just so you can't say I'm punting, here are some examples:

        – Republican myth: Malpractice reform would bring down the cost of health care and make it affordable to millions more Americans.

        Reality: Several states, including California, Texas, Ohio, and Indiana have already implemented tort reform and it didn't bring down health care spending in any of them. That's what the data shows. If tort reform really does bring down health care spending, why Republicans don't show us the proof?

        – Republican myth: Get government out of health care and the free market will drive the costs down.

        Reality: The free market has never been able to bring down health care spending anywhere in the world it's been tried, and for reasons that are well understood. Every other industrialized country in the world has some implementation of universal health care. In every case government plays some kind of major role in either running or regulating the health care sector, and all of them spend far less than we do. They cover everyone and the best of them beat us on a wide range of measures of health care performance. Better care, lower cost, greater coverage. This is what Republicans want you to fear.

        – Republican myth: We need to keep taxes low on the highest incomes so the rich can create jobs.

        Reality: The extension of all the Bush tax cuts maintained a tax structure that has failed to produce a significant number of jobs for over seven years now, and businesses are sitting on over two trillion dollars in capital waiting for demand to pick up so they have a reason to hire more people. They have plenty of money to hire people if people were willing to spend money on goods and services. Job growth under Bush was the worst of any administration since they started measuring.

        Additional thought: A significant number of people are self-employed or work for small companies whose owners aren't making high incomes. Keeping tax rates low on the highest earners does nothing to encourage people to start their own businesses or small business owners to hire new workers. But you know what would? A universal health care system that doesn't make people feel trapped in their jobs because they need the health care benefits and doesn't give large companies an advantage in attracting talent. How is it good for innovation and productivity for workers to pick employers based on their health care plans? Studies consistently show that our system's heavy reliance on employers to provide health insurance is an impediment to labor mobility and discourages people from starting their own companies.

        "While I'm at it, I want you to consider the following: why won't Barack Obama consent to an interview with one of the conservative talk show hosts?"

        Why should he? They're not interested in conducting an honest interview any more than they are in objectively reporting the news. They'd just ask loaded questions like "Why do you think Americans want socialism?" and he'd have to spend all his time correcting them, and then given the ideological bent of their viewers they'd all just tell themselves he was lying every time he make a valid point. Look, I've spent years discussing politics online with those folks and talking to them is like talking to my TV. Facts don't matter. Data and studies don't matter. Logically valid arguments don't matter. Demonstrate they're wrong and they'll just call you liberal and claim you're what's wrong with America.

        And for the record I saw just such an interview back when Obama was campaigning in 2008 so I'm not just making that up.

        "but don't dare ask him to step behind a microphone, sans teleprompter"

        Only brainwashed drones on the right say stuff like this. Obama has been interviewed many times and expressed his views without a teleprompter and he's better at it than most people. Way better than Bush, McCain, or Palin, for God's sake. This kind of comment may be red meat for the rabid haters, but it's just idiotic to thinking people.

        "I'd love to go on and on"

        I'm sure you would, but all you have is baseless speculation so I'm glad you didn't. I offered concrete thoughts. You talked about Obama's teleprompter. Enough said.

        June 22, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Greg

      Wow, Skytag good job. If only I could articulate my thoughts as well as you.

      Good job sir.

      June 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  12. Doug Pancoast

    I like Zakaria so much but he is intentionally misleading in this article. He knows that income tax rates in America are among the lowest in the world and that our corporate tax rates are among the very, very highest. In reality, it should be the opposite. We should cut corporate tax rates to encourage businesses to bring jobs here. Then, when they reward themselves, as individuals, we should tax them more in the form of higher income taxes. Until both sides can see this magical combination, and only tell half the story as Zakaria does here, we will not have will not have an economic Renascence here in America

    June 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Our corporate tax rate is the second highest, but the actual taxes paid are not as high as the rate would indicate because companies use a variety of strategies to reduce their liability. I agree with your position, but I don't think Fareed was misleading in any way.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Reply
      • GG

        Yep. They only actually pay about 14%

        June 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Belingo

      I don't think it's really that simple. WIth the free flow of capital internationally, corporations (and thus the individuals who run them) are *so* adept at manoeuvering around national tax laws that, if corporations pay only little taxes, so will the rich individuals who would be supposed to make up for that with high income taxes. Germany has both high wages and high taxes, and yet it's doing well.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  13. Dave

    Yes he is an open minded, I mean "Liberal" reporter. Keep it up!

    June 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Ah yes, when you have no counter argument call the other person a liberal. Rush Limbaugh has taught you well.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  14. RV1982

    I am not sure what this has to do with conservatives or rebubicans. Seems to me he is referencing both social and economic libertarians that have always existed, and probably make up most of the "independent" voters in this country. Zakaria references individual tax rates, ignors corporate tax rates, and then cites combined tax revenue with respect to GNP. Under his worldview, a healthy economy could not exist without taxes. He ignores the economic principals understood by some of the early founders (e.g., Hamiton) that concentrated wealth is the fuel for economic growth...something that high corporate taxes (as well as oppresive regulations) and high tax rates on wealthy individuals diminish. The bottom line is that any type of redistribution of wealth inversely affects economic growth as well as opportunity for individuals to pursue wealth. This is not to say there should not be laws regulating individual businesses or corporations (e.g., anti-trust laws), but it should be understood by legislature and regulators that both taxation and regulatory action can have impacts on economic growth.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      You're one of those out of touch conservatives, presenting your ideology as if it were some great truth.

      What passed for "concentration of wealth" in Hamiton's day would pale in comparison to what we have today, with the top 0.1% of income earners earning almost as much of the total AGI as the bottom 50%. The business community is sitting on $2 trillion in capital waiting for demand to pick up before they invest it in growing their businesses and hiring more people. How much more wealth needs to be concentrated to get us going, all of it?

      And while that $2 trillion is sitting idle waiting for demand to pick up, the masses don't have money to spend to create more demand. A thriving, vibrant economy depends on money flowing through it, and that doesn't happen when too much of it becomes concentrated at the top.

      The problem with your thinking, which seems to be a fairly common problem with a lot of people and certainly with people on the right these days is the assumption that if some is good more will always be better. If some concentration of wealth is good, more must be better. To hear you people talk there is no such thing as too little taxation or too little regulation. If cutting spending $20 billion from the 2012 budget is good, cutting it $1 trillion would be better.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • MightyMonkey

      Speaking of comparisons between tax systems with fast developing countries... China's tax is primarily consumption-based. Corporate taxes there are based on revenue, not profit. Also, higher taxes often result in higher budget deficits, but one has to be careful about making a simple comparison – for a high-growth rate economy, more debt can be sustainable, whereas for a country like the US it's crippling. Lower tax can be beneficial for China, where the growth of income was far outpaced by the growth of GDP, but America is an entirely different matter.

      On the whole I agree that tax cuts in the US is not the panacea for all economic ills. Tax cuts at a time of high budget deficit is simply irresponsible – and plenty of people on the right, Greenspan included, agree. I also agree with Zakaria's overall assessment – the GOP candidates on the field are all delusional. You can't cut tax out of trouble; in fact, you cut yourself into a bigger mess.

      Many on the right blames Obama for the huge deficit – and I agree some of his policies increased the deficit, but a lionshare of that increase can be attributed to his tax cuts.

      June 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Reply
    • dedawn1

      well said 🙂

      June 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  15. Dave Smith

    My theory is to vote out any Republican. They are so in bed with special interests they don't stand for anything but what will put money in their pockets. They have no brain power or logic.
    And keeping people uneducated is good for them. They want people dumb to be their slaves and vote for them. Dumb, uneducated people does not understand logic or think for themselves. They believe anything a Republican tells them.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      I don't think special interests are really the problem. I think what Fareed describes is the real problem, that they're now driven by ideology and disconnected by how things work in the real world.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • dedawn1

      I think our founding fathers had it right by having both paties in office there is more accountability. checks and balances my friend ,because power and money goes to everyones head at some point.

      June 24, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  16. Rod

    As a conservative I will put it bluntly. There aren't many conservatives left. There are none currently holding public office that I am aware of. Most if not all the comments above appear to have been made by zealots of one flavor or the other verbally poking and prodding at each other. You people will cut your own nose off to spite your face. The new norm appears to be the ends justifies the means by whatever price is required. Conservatives are not limited to one party nor have they ever been in American politics. Suddenly one side has the numerical edge on conservative participation? Sounds more like a group of people have hijacked the term conservative for there own use and all of you including Mr. Zakaria have swallowed it hook line and sinker. Keep drinking the Kool Aid and be eternally pissed off.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      True conservatives have had no party to represent them since the Republican party decided to chase after the vote of right-wing extremists.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  17. Harry Flickinger

    Of all the causitive factors driving America's decline, none is more damaging than the excessive influence of the corporate world and special interest groups on government and politics – achieved primarily through contributions to political campaigns. A Constitutional amendment written,in part, as follows, would stop that:
    Elections to offices of the United States Government, including the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United States, United States Senatorial and Conressional seats, and any other elected position, shall be funded by Congressional Appropriation. The United States Congress shall set the funding level, for both the nominating process and the election process, for each office, and all viable candidates shall receive the same funds for each cycle. Viable candidates are defined as those who can provide evidence, by signed petition reviewed and validated by the election authority in their jurisdicrion, that five percent of the registered voters in the jurisdiction, in which they seek office, support their candidacy. The only sources of funds that may be used in elections to offices of the UJnited States Government, beyond those provided by the aforementioned Congressional appropriations are: (1) funds drawn from a candidate's personal wealth, not to exceed $100,00.00, adjusted for inflations as necessary, in an election cycly, and (2) financial contributions received by candidate campaign organizations or political parties, from individual citizens of the United States who acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization. All funding to support policical parties shall be limited to contributions from individual citizens of the United States. The only voluntar or unpaid support of candidates and policical parties, that is allowed, is that provided by individual citizens promoting their personal choices. The purchase of attempted purchase of votes in elections is prohibited and violators whall be subject to prosecution. Congress is authorized, through legislation, to impose limitations on contributions from individual citizens to candidate organizations and to political parties to ensure the fairest participation of all citizens in elections.
    In elections to offices of the United States Government, and advertising, promotional events or similar activities, sponsored outside the jurisdiction of candidate campaign organizations, whether sponsored by an individual or individuals, a special interest group, a profit or not-for-profit business or organization, or any other entity, is prohibited. The only exception to this prohibition is advertising or promotioan events or similar activities sponsored by political parties. All permissile advertising shall identify the sponsor and the source of funding to support the advertrising.
    All television and radio networks and stations operate upon mediums belonging to the public. Therefore, all television and radio networks and strations shall provide, at no cost, equal access to airtime to all viable candidates during both the nominaition and election processes. Viable candidates are as defined above. The Congress of the United States shall set the number of hours to be provided by each network and station for each upcoming nomination and election cycle on a annual basis. This, more than anything else, is what America needs NOW.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Genius

      Agreed. The corporate culture of "make profit now" makes sense for shareholders, but as a personal ethos, it provides nothing.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  18. Genius

    The real problem is that Americans themselves have been so heavily influenced by mass media that we as an entire populace are out of touch with reality. The American dream used to be the ability to afford comfort. Now what is it? The ability to get on a reality show? Having a youtube video with lots of hits? Americans used to deal with their problems and learn lessons and grow. Now they take anti-depressants and adderall and have completely abandoned any notion of discipline. Let's face it, we have the government we deserve: a government that does not address reality, that has no discipline, that panders only to our short term and base insincts.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • ItsSimpleReally

      ^^^this. The biggest barrier I think to actual progress is the media. The beast has become, for the powerful, a means of molding the minds of the public which has shown again and again to be extremely effective. This influence is what I believe to be behind Bush's undeserved election to a second term and absurd loyalty of the republican base and also president Obama's election to office unfortunately. Maybe I am naive but to me it seems wrong not to have constructed and put into place laws that would check and balance the power of the media. We have to be careful ofcourse because the media should not be controlled or seriously restricted but at the same time the power of the media should not be allowed to be abused by any person(s)

      June 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Reply
    • dedawn1

      that is very true and there is no where to get objective news. one leans left, the other right. People no longer are responsable for their own actions and we all get a ribbon. In the real world there is a 1st place and a last place we need to deal with it!

      June 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  19. CommonSense

    Whenever I hear some ignorant, hypocrite, fascist neo-con talk about corporate taxes, I can only laugh. Who cares what the corporate tax rate is? Corporations don't pay it!!!!! Here you go, geniuses.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/12/us-usa-taxes-corporations-idUSN1249465620080812

    Well, I can't expect much from people who think Rush Limbaugh is intelligent. Dumb republicans!!!!
    Hey, where are the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!?? Hahahahahaha!!!!!!! What a load of hicks.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      I know. They always cite the tax rate, not the actual taxes paid.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
      • Michael

        No. I'm a liberal, but I'm going to push back here... that article does not seal your point.

        Here's the argument:
        Fareed says: "The tax rate is the lowest in 50 years."
        Conservative counters: "But the corporate tax rate is high!"
        Liberal counters: "But companies don't pay it! See this report - http://tinyurl.com/4anvjkt "

        But the reporting in that article is incomplete. The report quotes "a variety of reasons" that the corporations didn't pay taxes FOR ONE YEAR out of 7. Those reasons were "operating losses, tax credits and [shifting money] to low tax countries." Only the last of these is deplorable. The others are standard tax items.

        The article does not say what percentage of the missed taxes are from normal things like operating losses, and what percent are from greedy things like shifting money around.

        So I do not accept your counterpoint. It may be true that corporations don't pay the high tax rate, but the cited article doesn't establish that.

        June 20, 2011 at 2:27 am |
      • skytag

        @Michael: Most people, including Obama, understand that we need to lower the corporate tax rate to be more competitive. The current high rate motivates companies to pursue strategies that allow them to pay taxes in other countries were the rates are lower.

        But that is separate from the issue of personal income tax rates, and it is true that our personal income taxes are lower than the historical average, at a time when we have historically high deficits and debt.

        June 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  20. Don Beal

    It is ironic that, as Republicans extol the virtues of a "free" market, we are looking over our shoulders at China, a fascist state. Government and business work hand-in-hand. Individual freedom is of little concern. And they are overtaking us at breakneck speed.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      One of the limitations of a free market independent of government influence is that there is no entity coordinating the efforts of industry and business. There is no long-term strategic planning. Instead you have millions of businesses focusing exclusively on their little piece of the pie.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply
      • jimbo

        "enitiy coordinating" means central control. Freedom is not born out of control.... Every single thing you buy or use is a product of the free market... The coordinating comes from success and failure... When something works it continues... When something doesn't work, it is discontinued...If you don't like it, then don't buy it.. The free maerket polices itself... Jackass!

        June 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • ErnestineBass

      The truth is, Republicans want very much to emulate the current Chinese model.

      June 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Reply
    • jimbo

      I guess the NLRB not letting Boeing expand its business into right-to-work states is your idea of freedom? We are looking ahead to China because the US gov't is making business operate with its hands tied bhehind its back... Not to mention the industry killing taxes and unions

      June 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  21. JB

    The main threat to our future is budget deficit and uncertainty due to threat of government bureaucracy taking over capital allocation decisions. This is what really makes it difficult for risk takers to invest/undertake new projects. So, while I agree with Fareed that it is not time to raise taxes, I strongly disagree with his promotion of simplistic Keynesian ideas. It is laughable to claim that China's command economy "works", and posit it as a model for the US (which with all its difficulties is still the best functioning economy in the world). Under pressure from Communist Party to raise GDP, China builds malls where nobody is going to shop and cities where nobody is going to live. I was born in Russia, and saw firsthand how easy it is for communist party to dazzle gullible western liberal arts majors with high growth rates... So, Fareed, you promotion of Keynesianism is potentially even more harmful than (admittedly wrong timed) calls to reduce taxes.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  22. Joseph

    Just from reading the commentaries above I'm now convinced that most of us are so entrenched within our own information cacoons and our own chosen ideologies that we refuse to consider any ideas or facts that might challenge or contradict our own embraced versions of the truth. As long as that is our collective mentality, whether we label ourselves liberals or conservatives, our journey toward a very destructive end will be expedited. All I can say is this: A plague on all our houses if we don't grow up!

    June 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  23. CMS

    Who is Zakaria? A Journalist or a just another Professor?

    June 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • Fareedsn_idiot

      He works for CNN! That means hes important.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:24 am | Reply
  24. TRH

    If you think the Republican presidential candidates know something special...know something we don't...read AND listen to Fareed's piece here...and you'll see that they are clearly CLUELESS. I'm not the brightest penny in the roll, but somehow I knew all this years ago. Maybe it has something to do with being around during the Reagen years and his failures, especially economic failures...the "trickle-down" theory that even George H. W. Bush referred to as "VooDoo" and which most Republicans STILL think is just fine. It's a proven failure.

    Interesting that many countries with high tax rates and more uh, dare I use the dreaded "S" word...socialistic forms of government are thriving (read the piece)? Mind you...SOCIALIST not COMMUNIST...there IS a difference. Pure Marxist Communism doesn't work very well either, as we all should know.

    I call upon all right-wing flag-wavers and free-market champions to read the piece...and realize that, to quote an old Barry Goldwater campaign slogan..."In your heart, you know he's right."

    Face it...our system is broken...broken by it's single major weakness, GREED. Somewhere between a society controlled by Corporate America (some think we're already there) and pure Marxism (another proven failure) is the right way to go. And trust me...the current crop of "candidates" are, I'll repeat...CLUELESS.

    June 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Reply
    • skytag

      Dick Cheney said Reagan proved deficits don't matter. Why don't we hear this more from Republicans these days?

      June 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Reply
      • GOPisGreedOverPeople

        Regan put the CON in CONservative.

        June 19, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  25. Fed Up

    I am so tired of paying for wars I don't want. If you do...please pay more taxes to pay for it. I want my taxes going for education, infrastructure & health care that I can afford. Obama promised in his campaign not to be like G.W. & pay as we go. What happened? There is so much money spent every day distroying and killing but the Republicans want to balance the budget with my husband's meager Social Secuity check? I'm too young for SS and I had to quit my job 6 years ago to take care of my husband. Can't afford outside caregivers. Oh and please, let's not make the ultririch pay anymore taxes. After all they really need that 5th home in Malibu to keep up with the other ultrarich. There is need and then there's greed. That's what is ruining this country. Get yours while you can the hell with the country. That was obvious in the housing market scam. As my name implies I am fed up with both parties. Harry had a great idea. Also limit the campaign media frenzy to 3 months. With today's technologies, 24 hour news cycles, if a voter can't make a decision, they aren't paying attention & no amount of time will help.

    June 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  26. TheMostWise

    Republicans=religious minds=inerrant holy books=talking snake=7 day creation=6000 year old earth=talking donkey=reversal of three-day rigormotis=invisible cosmic dictator=COMPLETE NONSENSE.

    June 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  27. KarlMarxjr.

    It's nice that Mr. Zakaria can give us a diatribe on conservitism if all his life he seems to be liberal in nature. He should have written an article about how the liberalism of today is not the liberalism of, say 10 or 20 years ago. In my opinion, the liberalism of today is more Socialist in nature. Funny how the liberals back in the '60s wanted the government to stay out of their hair. Now many liberals want the government to take care of all their problems, as if the liberals feel the answer to all our problems is government EVERYWHERE from heatlhcare to running the economy. That to me is very strange. And one final note. If the liberals of today, like Mr. Zakaria, had their way, most conservatives would be imprisoned for even THINKING anything that is not liberal in nature. .

    June 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Soundoffer12

      You probably realize the most recent mention on this topic was CIA members leaving due to the targeting of anti-war advocates by G.W.Bush.

      June 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Fareedsn_idiot

      We need the evolution filter to weed out the liberal socialist. Or a hanging would suffice, start at the top of the big social spenders.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:29 am | Reply
      • thedude

        or even better, lets find every jack@$s that still believes in god, f.u.ck him up the as.$ with a broomstick, and light his family on fire while he watches. 🙂

        June 23, 2011 at 4:02 am |
  28. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP only have one solution. The solution is to turn the Old, Sick, Poor, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military. A self sustaining system.

    June 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Reply
    • A. Frank

      gop is greed over people. Can you talk with someone and discuss world views or is your idea of discussion just labeling and stereotyping people. if you don't want people to be predjudice than you have to treat others like you want to be treated. I have never heard anyone advocate the kind of extreme radical thought you are mentioning. If you want to influence others you have to know how to treat people.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Reply
      • GOPisGreedOverPeople

        Check the GOP voting records.

        June 20, 2011 at 11:55 am |
      • GOPisGreedOverPeople

        GOP stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

        June 20, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  29. Robert Crites

    I agree that conservatives ain't what they used to be. They seem to be becoming desperate, willing to take any position, no matter how bizarre, to win an election or to oppose Obama. The electorate is becoming desperate to elect someone who can take decisive action. Our national government is non-functional. Perhaps the threat of a constitutional convention would get some action. If not, we might consider going to a parliamentary system. At least we would have some action. That is a little like Russian roulette.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:36 am | Reply
  30. Nick M.

    When, exactly, are these "hard-headed pragmatist" conservatives supposed to have existed? Give me some concrete examples. I suspect strongly this is revisionist history based on a stereotype. Conservatives have always been ideologues. Now they're just dumber and more entrenched.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:37 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.