A Conscientious Objector in the Culture War …

I used to be a liberal, along with all my friends, but then I evolved.

I was liberal on civil rights.  I didn’t even object to affirmative action in the beginning.  But then it started bothering me that a black kid whose father or mother was a lawyer or a doctor would get better treatment than a white kid whose dad was a coal miner in West Virginia.  How was that fair?  That white kid wasn’t privileged?

Simply being for women’s rights when the modern feminist movement began in the 1960s wasn’t good enough either, not as far as a lot of elite liberals were concerned.  You had to buy into the whole feminist package.  So you were expected to support women who wanted to be firefighters even if they weren’t strong enough to carry some big guy out of a burning building – in the name of women’s rights and equality.  Sorry, no can do.

Abortion?  Even being pro-choice wasn’t enough for a lot of liberal feminists.  You had to also support late term or partial birth abortion.  A woman’s right to choose apparently has no bounds in such matters.  And you had to accept the idea that a 14-year old girl should be allowed to get an abortion – without her parents knowledge or consent.

So over the years I edged in the right direction, and now I’m as conservative as Rush Limbaugh on anti terrorism and national defense issues, for example, and on small government and lower tax issues as well.  But not on social issues.

Frankly, I don’t care if Adam marries Eve or if he marries Steve.  I just don’t care!  I don’t think civilization as we know it will crumble if we allow gay marriage.  But unlike many liberals, I don’t think you’re necessarily a bigot if you’re against it.  If you simply hate gays, then yes, you are a bigot.  If you’re against gay marriage, say, for religious reasons, I get it.  Reasonable people, as they say, may disagree.

I don’t think a zygote, the size of a dot at the end of a sentence, is a human being just like you and me.  So if there’s even a whiff of a chance that embryonic stem cell research will cure some horrible disease, I’m all for it.

If conservativism is a three-legged stool – defense, small government, social issues – I’m on board for two out of the three.  In most circles that would be enough.  But I’ve been “accused” of not being a “real conservative” because I can see the other guy’s point of view – a cardinal sin among the true believers.

And of late the culture wars have me wishing I were a conscientious objector. A couple of quick examples:

Let’s say President Bush had said, “I think more of us in this great nation of ours need to start taking a little more personal responsibility for our actions. And along those lines, I think all Americans who can afford medical insurance, ought to get it.  And that’s not just a suggestion.  I am proposing legislation that would make it mandatory for all Americans who have the means to buy it, to do just that.  The time is over when some Americans don’t buy insurance – and perhaps use the money take a nice vacation to Cancun instead – and then expect the rest of us to pay their hospital bill.”

I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as a statement of conservative principles.  (We can debate whether the idea is constitutional some other time.)  It sounds to me like an idea conservatives would be proud to support.  And I’d bet you anything, a whole bunch of conservatives – especially the ones with megaphones on talk radio — would do just that.  If Bush had said it.

But when Barack Obama says pretty much the same thing, conservatives denounce the idea in the harshest language and call him a socialist — and worse.

Now let’s consider another example taken from the news.  Try to imagine that George W. Bush — or better yet, President Palin — said this: “We’re going to put the terrorists behind 9/11 on trial – in a federal courtroom in New York City.”  Now imagine that Bush’s (or Palin’s) attorney general publicly stated that a guilty verdict is the only one acceptable, that “failure is not an option.” And on the outside chance the terrorists are acquitted, he might send them back to an open-ended military detention.

I can hear the screams from the liberal elites. “Why try a terrorist in New York City and open all those wounds?” they would demand to know.  “Why put New Yorkers through the agony. Only a dummy like Bush (or Palin) would come up with such a lame-brain idea.”  Yes, of course, liberals prefer civil trials to the kind the military holds.  Of course, many of them don’t trust the military when it comes to trials or just about anything else.  But remember, it was Bush’s idea.  Or Palin’s!!!

Yet, when Obama comes up with it, they applaud.

And when his attorney general says, “failure is not an option”  we get nothing from those sensitive souls at the ACLU.  And nothing from the Upper West Side liberal elites along the lines of, “Doesn’t that statement mock the very idea of a fair trial?  Isn’t the attorney general saying, ‘he better be convicted or heads will roll in the federal prosecutor’s office in New York City.’  And while we’re on the subject, is the AG  really saying he won’t let him go free if he’s found not guilty?  Only a moron like Bush could find such a right-wing, fascist attorney general!”

Where are the protests from the Left about this “failure is not an option” business and about how even terrorists, if acquitted, should be set free?

You see, liberals only complain about Bush and the loudest of the loudmouths on talk radio only complain about Obama.  Those are the modern day rules of war.  To do anything else is tantamount to giving ammunition to the enemy.

As I said, there are times when I wish I were a conscientious objector in the culture war.  The hypocrisy makes me sick.

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  • Fancy

    Saw you on Fox the other day, and wow, why can’t more people be like you? You’re so different than any other political commentator I’ve ever seen or heard, it’s like a little politics mixed with a little common sense. Incredible.

  • Mitchell Miller


    This chart really represents you, please check out the chart that I made that interestingly shows the interrelationships between: the left and the right, the size of government, and individual liberty. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. It is on my website at http://www.techworksinc.net/chart

    Thank you,

    Mitchell Miller

  • http://www.aquasoil.net cameron rebigsol

    Mr. Goldberg:
    I would identify myself as one of the conservatives. However, given what I see in today’s America, I must expect that this group of social members will inevitably be doomed someday. America’s moral, culture, ideology, education are all corrupted to incurable.
    EVen Christianity is facing escalated persecution. To make it worse, Labor force in this country has been socially monopolized, enen some big business men must stay with the monopolized labor force, which is represented by unions. They have acted together to have our governhmnet partially abducted. Can you, or anyone from your social circle, whom I know are full of intelligence and wisdom, get America out of this abduction? Don’t tell me we can rely on our Constitution. Given time, the same U.S. Constitution will service the Socialists equally well in the future on this land. Indeed, the reversed enslaving system (welfare) works so well for those lazy people is because of the Constitution. Sad, sad, sad…
    Best wishes,

  • http://www.beneovlentgrammarian.blogspot.com bmmg39

    Dear Mr. Goldberg:

    I, like you, have my own unique set of left-wing and right-wing beliefs, and I, like you, believe that both sides (or more than two sides) should be presented to the people equally.

    For example, I share your doubts that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would have any sort of adverse effect on the marriages of straight people.

    At the same time, I follow that science textbooks demonstrate that we are human beings from the moment of fertilization, and so even microscopic zygotic human beings deserve legal protection from being destroyed.

    On that count, Mr. Goldberg, I have an anecdote from a stem-cell research “panel discussion”/propaganda seminar I went to a few years ago. You may not agree with my stance on this issue, but I still think you’d be most interested in the outrageousness and hubris that was displayed there. It felt like one of the anecdotes you wrote about in BIAS or ARROGANCE. May I share it with you?

  • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

    O’Reilly and Goldberg call Franken a “punk,” and a “petty,” “mean spirited doofus” for enforcing Senate rules.


    Sen. McCain has done the same to another senator!

  • http://www.achristianresponse.blogspot.com TWPeck

    Mr. Goldberg,
    I understand your point that the contentiousness has moved from ideology to personality, however, you should care about a zygote because you were once one. As Horton said “a person is a person no matter how small” or in what state of development.

    • http://tssstein@yahoo.com Thomas S. Stein

      You either Value life or you do not. If not then it does not matter which judge or agency, acting for your right to implement will act to exercise this right for the infirm and comatose. This was and is proven all the time in Oregon. One of these days some judge in Oregon is going to exercise this right for a recidivist drunk and then we are off and running to repeat 1934. Then it is only a matter of time before it is exercised against liberals, conservatives, progressives, and any other ideology determined by a jurist to be a manifestation of insanity, proving incompetence, suffering and a need to be terminated. If you don’t value life, then you should value self-preservation, because that is what is at stake here.

  • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

    Hey Bernie, Imagine if civil rights had been left to the states back in the 60’s… Think about it?

  • David

    I have noted that some of the commenters have forgotten about Bush. Bush was actually a liberal. He also took away a number of our rights in the name of some form of stupid security concept. Now we have Obama who is even worse.

    As a physician, I can tell you that government run health care is very, very bad. Yet we do have problems. The source of the problems is our government.

    We need less government.

  • yooper

    I disagree. As a conservative, I would have been very much against any form of nationalized health care if proposed by President Bush. What many people seem to be missing is that we conservatives were pretty unhappy with plenty that Bush did. I don’t think that you’d find many conservatives pushing for this health care bill no matter who initiated it. So, I really don’t see hypocrisy there…I think you build your argument on an unprovable conjecture, then slammed us for it. I posit that your conjecture is inaccurate, and I suspect might be supported by going back and looking at some of the Conservative reaction to some of the things that Bush DID institute….all of which, unfortunately were minuscule compared to the Health Care bills as currently proposed.

    And, I suspect that one really needs to consider the historical time. Unfortunately, we were not, at the time Bush was proposing legislation, in as much serious trouble financially as our nation is now. While we still think he governed much like a liberal when it comes to money, we are in a different place now. It’s just like a family….I might be able to justify a new car purchase in normal times…not so much if I’m going bankrupt. All the financial decisions change at that point in time.

  • http://www.PoliticalHonestyAct.com Frank Lo

    Please visit http://www.PoliticalHonestyAct.com An Amendment to the US constitution to stop Corruption in Federal Politics. I need your input at to if you feel it will work and if not.. Why. If you think it will work, will you help me implement it?

    Kind regards

  • Redball6

    Aah Mr. Goldberg, I didn’t follow your reasoning on the health care!, I lost you when you did not work that “Big Govt. Option” I think I realize the money interest AARP, Aetna, BCBS etc will make their deals. But and its a big one. Govt. competing in the marketplace?, no fixing of the real problems, I can’t get there! with yah. And I do not believe the numbers floated about for the total uninsured are accurate!? but I appreciate the idea of being a conscientious objector.

  • Ted

    This is to Bernie – we need some leadership on these matters:

    Obama and company are creating this Health Care disaster in order to “fix” the health care problem(s). One issue they say is to eliminate Medicare fraud and overspending. Duh?

    Shouldn’t the government be working hard at Medicare issues now? I did see something on the news that the FBI is zeroing in on this problem in Florida. I suppose this is a good place to start because there are so many retired folks on Medicare in that state, low hanging fruit, yadda-yadda-yadda.).

    I recommend we use some of that left over stimulus money to obtain bids from entrepreneurs who will take on Medicare fraud massively, fix the problem, and jail the bad guys. Select the two top bidders and let them compete for one third of the problem. ASfter a while one of the two bidders will have done the best job and this bidder gets the last one third. This way the most effective non-governmental bid winner wins the last one third as a reward for doing a good job.

    And then:
    Fix excessive medical malpractice suits
    Let all the insurers accommodate everyone regardless of what state they live in
    Do the one thing the UK does right, make the losers of law suits pay the costs.

    This all could be in the works right now. Bernie, I am anointing you to champion these chores.

  • Jeff

    I’d agree with you in principle about the mention of President Bush making the HC suggestion. And I’d be just as supportive of BO if he had thought up as simple a plan as Bush had in your scenario, one where thousands of pages wouldn’t be needed to outline it.

    But if Bush also:
    -made EVERYONE get insurance, including those who can afford to pay cash
    -threatened jail for those who didn’t
    -included language that inevitably forced everyone into govt-controlled care
    -planned on taking more money out of everyone’s pockets in various ways
    -at any point planned on allowing abortions and illegals to be covered by tax money

    -or any of the other freedom-stifling muddle contained in the current legislation, he’d lose my support post-haste.

  • Ted

    On affirmative action: Think for a moment. Most crimes happen in big cities. Sociologists point to poverty, poor education, irresponsible males, and overall local high taxes. Add that to welfare and you have a man who shirks responsibility. Educate the C student and reverse this pattern.

    On Sarah Palin: She already has more executive experience that Obama so supposedly by default this means she’s qualified to be president. The reason why the left invests resources into trashing her is because they fear that if she and like colleagues get elected the lefties and their mountain of bleeding issues will have to go out, get a job, and pay their own freight.

    On the trial for terrorists in NYC. Lemmeesee . . . . We’ll have this trial; there will be lots and lots of protestors in the streets rallying against these killers. What would the nearest homicide bomber do then?

  • Terry Walbert


    You said the secret word that distinguishes you from liberals.

    “Reasonable people, as they say, may disagree.”

    To liberals today, reasonable people can’t disagree with them.

  • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

    Bernie to Bill O’Reilly:

    “GOLDBERG: Avuncular, right. But you know what? I knew Bill Moyers at CBS. I worked with him. He’s a very serious guy. And in that sense I give him — I give him credit. When a lot of people were going for fluff, Bill Moyers wanted to do serious journalism.Some place along the line, Bill, he stopped being a journalist, and he started of being an advocate. He stopped being a journalist, and he started being an evangelist. And the religion he was preaching for was liberalism.”>>

    Hey Bernie, The above describes you! When you started reaching for conservatism. Oh, the irony!

    • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

      Wil… perhaps you should check out Bernie’s usual criticism of conservatives… as he states on a regular basis… people only see what they want… you are a perfect example…

      • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

        That happens when? One in a blue moon!

        • Ron Kean

          Wil, If you would read Bernie’s book, ‘100 People…’ you’ll see a few conservatives. More liberals. But conservatives too like Michael Savage.

        • Jeff

          When? In this column, in “100 People…”, in “Crazies….”, on the O’Reilly Factor, and other columns.

          Oh, and Bernie works as a pundit AND a journalist, in different forums. Moyers is a journalist, with the one forum.
          Show me where one of his reports on Real Sports was as glaringly slanted with opinion as Moyers’, and you’ll appear to have a point.

        • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

          Wil… you are a perfect example of the type of people Bernie talks about… you only see what you want to see…

  • David W. Hunter

    Mr. Goldberg,
    Once again, thank you for your columns. I spend my lunch break most days reading your website and the articles linked in your Daily Briefing.

    With respect, I don’t agree with what you say is the conservative approach to the person who went to Cancun rather than pay for medical insurance. I believe he should take all the vacations he wishes, but if he requires medical care at a later date then he is financially responsible for that care. I don’t think medical care should be denied, but the care should be paid for as would any other service. If the bill cannot be paid, the hospital or doctors office should be able to go after the money through normal legal channels.

    I believe insurance is supposed to be used for risk mitigation. A young, healthy person should be allowed to decide for themselves if they’d rather go on a vacation than paying for any type of insurance. However, they must also accept the financial responsibility for not having insurance should they get hurt or sick.

    • Preston

      Wow, what a can of worms you have opened. Simply put, we don’t want a society where health care facilities or workers decide who gets life saving treatment. Are you prepared to tell the selfish parents their child will have to die from appendicitis because their credit cards are all maxed out. We have the world’s best health care available to us, but it comes at a cost. We can have our bypass procedures and cancer therapies without being financially crippled because of the insurance industry and hospitals charging $75 for tylenol (to make up for the free and discounted care they are stuck with). It’s not perfect, but it works for those of us who pay the hefty premiums. Let’s face it, we oppose government run health care because we know it will ruin it for those of us who can still afford insurance. We can not have any serious solutions to the health care dilemma in the current economic condition, because neither the American public nor our government can afford it right now.

      • David W. Hunter

        Like I said before, the child you mention should not be denied care, but the selfish parents should be responsible for paying the bill. If their credit cars are maxed out, then there are other ways for the doctors or hospitals to get their money.

        I think if everyone had to take more responsibility for their own care, your $75 tylenol would be reduced down to $0.0075 where it belongs, along with most other medical costs. Market forces would take over. I know that would not be perfect, but I think it’s better than either forcing medical providers to eat the costs or allowing the government to take over.

  • Ted


    Now that you have a name for the lamestream media, perhaps we should start calling the democratic party the lawyer’s party.

    • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

      Hey Ted, The only reason for a Republican Party, is to cut the taxes of the very wealthy. Everything else, is window dressing!

      • Ron Kean

        Hey Wil, It’s hard to cut taxes on people who don’t pay taxes…like 40%? of the nation.

        • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

          Everyone pays taxes, you Ninny!

          • Troy

            Um, hey superninny, when it comes to federal income tax, which is what you were referring to the republicans cutting, after their refunds at the end of the year and all the tax credits they receive, about the bottom 40% of wage earners either do not pay taxes or actually get more back than they paid in. Not only are they not paying taxes, they are receiving welfare.

          • Ron Kean

            please don’t stain this site by calling names even though that one is the least offensive.

          • Henry

            Um, Wil, please also keep in mind that in 2006, the richest 1% of Americans paid close to 40% of our country’s total income tax bill. The richest 10% paid 71% of the entire bill. Seems to me that even with the tax cuts, the rich are paying more than their fair share!

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Because the richest 1% of Americans made close to 40% of our country’s total income! Duh!

          • Troy

            And those are the people who reinvest the money or spend it or hire people thus creating jobs. But when the government confiscates it the money is wasted at an alarming rate.

          • Henry

            So then are you saying that the rich are paying more than their fair share in taxes, Wil?

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            No, What I find amazing, is how the wealthy get the less fortunate folks to care and worry about how much tax the wealthy pay!

          • Jeff

            First, by and large the rich earned their money, and it takes some nerve to declare that it’s wrong for them to get to keep a bit more of it. It was their money in the first place, NOT the government’s.

            Second, if you think ALL Americans pay income tax, you are wrong.

            Third, if you think tax cuts mean only the rich get to keep more of their money, while the non-rich don’t, wrong again.

            Last, how likely will a guy keep his job if the rich person who employs him has less money to invest in his business? Ever get a job from a poor person?

          • Henry

            Thank you Jeff!

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Jeff, Most rich have had their wealth pass down to them. Every rich person who has become rich, has had another rich person or persons backing them. Not one has ever made it on their own!

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Hey Jeff, they rule us!

            This Bretton Woods group was created, significantly, in 1983. They have been busy ever since,
            one continent after the other.


          • Troy

            Another point that people like Wil seem to miss, and he exposes his lack of knowledge by pointing out that he thinks these rich people are only rich because the money is handed down to them. Guess what Wil, income tax has nothing to do with money you already have, it is a tax on your income, duh. So the people earning the money are those you want to over tax, not those who who are trust fund babies.
            By the way, why are all the hollywood liberal elites making their movies in Canada and making their residences elsewhere? To avoig higher taxes in California and to avoid union labor costs. Funny they seem to support those things when others have to pay them. Love how they want these oppressive laws to apply to everyone but themselves.

  • kathy915

    I love Bernie when he is on fox. He calls things what they are. I am so sad after coming to this site and finding out that he is not conservative on social issues so he has lost all his luster to me now. Sorry I believe what God says and not what any man or woman says. Morals and values do count. You should read about the falls of great governments when they become a letting anything goes society. Just like America is becoming now. I liked you Bernie but sorry Gods Laws count more to me.

    • Troy

      What I like about Bernie is he respects your opinion even if he disagrees with it. There are too many out there, like Wil Burns who posts on this site, that cast dispersions and stereotype you for your beliefs without knowing why you hold those beliefs. While I mostly agree with you on social issues, I admire someone who can see my position even if they don’t agree with me. That is the beginning of civil discourse, something our political system lost sight of many years ago.

    • dave44


  • kent johnson

    I enjoyed this article. It highlights one of my concerns for our country that, unfortunately, is closely coupled to our educational system from elementary through higher education and is reflected in political rhetoric and policy process. Somehow, we have lost the ability to think critically. We have become so polarized that reasonable debate is at least more “endangered” than polar bears.

  • http://www.obamakoolaid.com Scott Petretta

    BG — You are great on O’Reilly. Too many things we agree on .. but here is one for you .. BO does have an Ace In The Hole, when it comes for paying for this mess he is creating…Can you guess what it is … Come on .. You can do it … Times up!! The answer is going to be CUT THE MILITARY!! That’s why he is practicing oral sex in the Far East lately.

    • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

      All the money in the world to blow shit up, but it costs too much for universal health care.

      • Troy

        Have you figured out most of the country doesn’t want universal healthcare

        • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

          I have figured out that healthcare is bankrupting out country. And, I am not only blaming the Insurance companies. I continually hear about cost of insurance but the true doctor, hospital and health part of it is not discussed. I have a eye problem, my office visit procedure costs my provider $ 3150.00, that is for one office visit and I have had five, so far this year.

          • http://tssstein@yahoo.com Thomas S. Stein

            You are correct on the bankruptcy matter. My figures show a national per-capita expense of $7,941.76. Depending on your point of view, 2/3 or 4/5 of that amount is dedicated to legal. Thus, if immunity could be established, we could significantly reduce our health costs, while covering any uninsured and reinsuring anyone who has misfortunes related to medical activity. If you went a step further and allowed the creation of individual institutional annuity funding for research and education of the medical sciences and arts, with a tax deductable allotment of $2 for every $1 donated, then the number of new practioners would again half the medical expense. In other words, within the space of a post-card we have solved the problem, reduced expenses, and added no federal employees or taxation.
            Thomas S. Stein MBA

          • WeirdOne

            Mr. Stein, why are you not i office right now? You are obviously smarter than our so-called “leaders.” If you can figure it out, why can’t they?

  • Martín

    Hello Bernie

    First of all, please excuse my poor english

    I just wanted to say that here away from the USA, as an European citizen, your political position after reading your thoughs, sounds to me to be nearer to libertarian positións, rather than conservative positions (low taxes, showing affinity for the liberal civil rights point of view: this is the kind of political ideal that emerges from combining the economic view of the right wing with the “social” view of the left wing).

  • Brandon Frazier

    First of all, I love your work. But as an open minded conservative, I would have certainly opposed a federal insurance mandate by Bush, if it looked anything like the current proposals. The health care reform under consideration is far more complex- and poses significant risks to our country’s solvency- than you allow. I oppose government health care for fiscal reasons. The government has never proven, to my knowledge, that an entitlement can be operated on budget. Moreover, they are now proposing to fund health care reform in part with savings or cuts from Medicare. If such savings are obtainable, they should be obtained first- and put in a “lock box”- and this great new program should wait until the funds are in the bank.

    Under Bush we saw deficits skyrocket, and many conservatives- myself included- took issue with that. It is true that some conservatives will oppose anything profferred by a liberal, and that is unfortunate. But one look at federal budgets…


    …over the past decade is enough to alarm any American, conservative or liberal, who cares about sustaining the United States of America that we inherited. Our spending problem began before Bush and is continuing under Obama. Government should take the burden of proof when it claims that huge new entitlements can be funded in full or in part by savings from other government programs. Stop the fraud, waste and abuse. Put the money in the bank. Get our government out of red ink. Then we can talk.

    People talk about a right to health care. I say, so long as we have to borrow money to pay for that right, it will be subject to the whims of our lenders- in this case China. And I doubt President Hu will care much about our “rights” when he comes to collect the note.

    I’m a conservative, voted to reelect Bill Clinton and never voted for George W. Bush. There are other open minded individuals out here, but I refuse to saddle my children with trillions in debt, and would rather leave this country- and my children- with better opportunities than I had.

    • Troy

      I agree, I am a conservative first and a republican second, not even a registered republican because they often do not deliver what their platform promises and instead do the opposite. Out of control spending by both sides of the aisle has made me sick. I would definitely not have blindly supported Bush on a mandated insurance policy, just as I didn’t support the education bill with Ted Kennedy or the prescription drug bill. These are all things that grow the size and power of government.

  • Ron Kean


    Your reference to the stool reminded me of a story a stock broker told me once.

    The market went down and a client told him to sell. I asked him if he felt bad for his client. He said that after he sold the stock, the brokerage made money and he made money when his client lost. To that he said two out of three isn’t bad.

    I remember in your book ARROGANCE, you said that most people don’t object to 1st term abortions and you’re probably right. I just don’t want to pay for theirs. And I’m not comfortable should entrepreneurs start business’ concieving and harvesting those little dots.

    A thousand dots. A million dots. It sounds to me a little like World War I. . . . . . or the camps.

    • Becca

      Does this mean that I don’t have to pay to finance the wars if I don’t want to, and not fear being sent to jail or having my wages garnished? Can I get my money back for helping finance all that “cash for clunkers” when I don’t even have a car and didn’t get any benefit? We get to choose what our taxes pay for, now, and if we find them distasteful, we get to opt out? Because if that’s true, I’m all for it.

      • Troy

        No Bernie but our vote is cast based on what we believe and if we do not believe in our money going to infant stem cell research then we have a right to voice our opposition to it and vote accordingly and campaign accordingly. Just as the left has the right to protest the war and vote to defund it or for leaders who want to pull out.

  • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

    Bernie comes through as the voice of reason as usual. Affirmative action as it is practiced now is a joke!

  • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

    Bernie, You say “I was liberal on civil rights. I didn’t even object to affirmative action in the beginning. But then it started bothering me that a black kid whose father or mother was a lawyer or a doctor would get better treatment than a white kid whose dad was a coal miner in West Virginia. How was that fair? That white kid wasn’t privileged?”

    Really! How often does that happen… almost never!

    • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

      Then explain this to me Wil… why can’t a middle class white family get any money for thie child’s college education even though their child has more than enough academic qualificaitons to do so, but a black low class family get their child’s colleg paid for even though their kid was suspended half of highschool and got Cs and Ds with a solid GPA of about 2.3? because that happens ALL THE TIME! affirmative action, as it is practiced now, is a sham… you know it, I know it, and everoyne else knows it, but because it might be politcally incorect to bring up the topic of race everyone just lets it slide. After all, we wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes now would we?

      • Craig

        Wil – As a physician, I have been informed that the average GPA to be admitted to medical school now is in the high threes and for African Americans is in the low to mid twos. Is your physician African American? If not, then you really don’t believe in affirmative action. Talk is cheap; actually practicing what you preach is difficult.

        • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

          Is your physician African American?>>

          Craig, Dear racist, not presently, but I have previously and received good care.

          • http://tssstein@yahoo.com Thomas S. Stein

            It has always been my understanding that anyone who labels something “without” evidence is called a bigot. That having been said there is no longer any reason to accept affirmative action of any kind. It is usually a supply and demand issue which leverages a need for a C to practice, into an A for entrance. What this is, is an abomination of the free enterprise system, and it is usually precipatated by the practioners to create scarcity and increase remuneration. Since this line of reasoning leads to today’s healthcare scenario, we need to ask our physician friends the following question: How is that working for you?

      • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

        Stephen, It happens where and when? Maybe in your dreams, right? When a class of people suffer 400 years of slavery, the result can be tragic !

        • Troy

          Wil you are the racist here, you are implying that just because someone is black there is no way their family can be affluent. They can’t be a doctor or a lawyer. They are evidently too dumb by your standards to succeed on their own so they have to have the help of big brother. Of course big brother has no money of his own so he confiscates ours to help others.

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Troy, I never said what you are saying, now did I? But, you did, now who’s the racist…you!

          • Troy

            You said that it almost never happens that a black child has rich affluent parents, and that the white kid is a coalminers kid. What did you mean? You won’t explain yourself, and yet you called me a racist without giving any reasons. Guess in our world we are all racists if we are conservatives or don’t agree with Wil. How do you know I am not black?
            And by the way, have you ever tried a little civility? For a party of compassion, your posts are by far the most inconsiderate on here. You call everyone names, curse, and can’t make a solid point. Either you are hysterical or you are actually a conservative just trying to make liberals look bad. Are you really this uptight and rude a person?

        • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

          It happens every day Wil, open your eyes and take off your liberal glasses… affirmative action as it is practiced now is a joke… I’m not sure what slavery has to do with blacks with lower GPAs getting into college over a white person with a higher GPA… heck if you want to go the slavery route, Bernie should be just as mean spirited as people like Jessie Jackson… after all Bernie’s ancesotrs were slaves for the Egyptians… but neither Bernie nor Jessie were slaves… guess which ones doesn’t act like a buffoon every time a person of his race gets arrested… and I guess all those black Africans that have other black African slaves are all racists too? your argument, as usual, is flawed…

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Bernie’s ancesotrs were slaves for the Egyptians…???

            How silly you must be! Bernie is white! Black couldn’t go to the same school as whites, until recently!

          • Troy

            What do you not know about history? He is Jewish, and they were slaves of the Egyptians for hundreds of years.

          • http://tssstein@yahoo.com Thomas S. Stein

            Hi Troy,
            One of my ancestors got here in 1630 as a legal slave. The guy next to him was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ancestor. As soon as he paid off his debt, he scooted down the road to found Hartford. A lot of Black and Jewish folk have scooted down the American road to accomplish much. I even owe my existence to one. The real problem is the institutionalized folk who are corralled and propagated by real evil-doers. By institutional, I refer to Chicago, LA, NY, and Boston as examples. The real bigotry here is the scum who shepherd these people into prisons of hate and adulterated politics. It should be the business of our government to ensure that all our people have enough freedom to defend themselves from such demigods. This has not happened

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            wow… are you just ignoring history or are you just stupid? Bernie is Jewish… Jews were slaves for Egyptians… who do you think built the pyramids Wil? Aliens? you think Blacks were oppressed for a while in history? Jews have been opressed for thousands of years… do you see Bernie or any other Jewish person playing that card?

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            You will see how fast the anti-Semitic card is used if you disagree with anything Israel does! BTW, Do you think any Jewish person would trade places, with a black person today in the US?

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            Wil, I could give two hoots about Israel. I live in the United States of America. Sure foreign relations topics affect all of us, but I’m really not that concerned about it. Since I’m not Jewish I won’t speak for what a Jewish person would or wouldn’t do. I was simply showing you how ridiculous the race card is, and how screwed up affirmative action is. Since you can’t dispute it and are doing nothing but shoveling up weak rebuttles I’ll assume you realize that and you are just to stubborn and biased to admit it.

  • Jesse D. Orozco

    I’m sorry, Bernie, but speculating on whether or not Conservatives (or anyone else) would welcome what President Bush “might’ve” on mandatory health insurance or what Governor Palin “might’ve” said on Terrorist trials on American soil and comparing that to what IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING with the Obama administration on both of those points and how Conservatives (and Liberals) ARE reacting on them doesn’t make any sense. President Bush and Governor (heh, or President) Palin DIDN’T say those things, and probably would not. I say “probably” because, well, Liberals (unfortunately) don’t have a monopoly on appeasement, it seems. Certainly, conservatives HAVE been critical of conservative politicians on that. Conservatives may sip the Kool-Aid occasionally, but we don’t drink it by the gallon as Liberals do.

    Oh, your point about hypocrisy makes sense, certainly. While I’m not conceding hyprocrisy as a exclusively Liberal “asset,” there is certainly enough of it to make me ill sometimes.

    As far as gay marriage is concerned, a friend of mine once remarked, “Why not let them marry? Don’t they have a right to be miserable, too?” Heh, as negative as that statement is, it DID make me chuckle and think about it. I’m still torn on it, though, because while I believe that what people do in their own home is nobody else’s business, I have problems with homosexuality in general. It’s not JUST a religious objection. Let’s toss God out of the equation for a second and just go by evolution itself: Advances in science notwithstanding (after all, the technology hasn’t been around but for a very few decades now), if homosexuality was meant to be the norm (or even widely accepted), how would the Human race have been able to propagate? It would’ve died off long ago. If you want to be gay, lesbian, homosexual, whatever you want to call it well, ok, fine. But please don’t throw it in my face and demand rights and say it is because it is Meant to be. Really, biologically, it’s not.

  • http://ajfederation.wordpress.org/ AJ


    I love the Republican party because of sensible discussions like this. You can’t have it on the left without name calling and obscenities. It’s sad.

    I think you are somewhat right that people identify the problem by the person. The left is excusing the trial of KSM, someone that a few believe he’s been wrongly persecuted as it is, only because it’s “their guy” in office. They would vehemently oppose it if Bush or McCain were in charge.

    As one of those Conservatives on all three stool legs, I would view it no different than I do now. It is an attempt to pass that ’04 overture of a “Global Test.” No matter what, it’s already thought he was detained and treated unlawfully. The left’s approval of a trial isn’t about KSM. It’s about Bush. This trial is about putting America on trial for angering extremists enough to cause harm to America. That’s the perspective of the left.

    To take in your perspective, a trial under Bush or McCain would be caving to lefty bantering and foreign interest. The trial would be seen as an opportunity to decry victim-hood. While I would be under the belief that he would face whatever maximum penalty that could be given, the damage to nation morale would be done. It would be a great opportunity for Democrats to go hawkish for 2010 if this were in a GOP Presidency. Under the Democrats, I don’t see KSM being set free or being let off. Instead, I see a more than obvious circus show.

    Love your work, Bernie. Stewart has you wrong. I enjoy your book, Bias. Plan on getting your latest one.

    • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns


      I love the Republican party because of sensible discussions like this. You can’t have it on the left without name calling and obscenities. It’s sad.

      AJ, Below are the titles of Bernie’s books:

      Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind, and the Other Lost Its , A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media

      You think they represent sensible discussions?

  • Alan

    I don’t think the issues lies in forcing people to buy health insurance. The issue is that the government will somehow spend several trillion dollars forcing people to buy health insurance. It doesn’t add up.

    • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

      The issue is that the government will somehow spend several trillion dollars forcing people to buy health insurance>>

      Hmmm…you mean just like auto insurance?

      • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

        not the same Wil… you only have to have auto insurance if you own a car… if you don’t drive you are fine… but this current legislation will force everyone to have health insurance or you pay a 1900 dollar tax (thanks for the Merriam-Webster reference George Stephanopolous)…

        • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

          And if you never get sick, you would never need health insurance, right!

          • Troy

            Hey Wil actually made a good point, forcing people to buy auto insurance or wear a seat belt has always rankled me. If you have a lein then insurance can be required because you do not truly own the car but if someone wants to take the risk to not buy auto insurance that should be their choice. But if they are not insured and cause a wreck then they had better be prepared to have the hammer come down on them.

  • Gamers of America

    In the culture war who declared war against violent video games liberals or conservatives?

  • Woman Voter


    I think you are making headway in the Culture War!

    Today I had time to check out the blogs on several fronts and on a particularly nasty no-holds barred Left and Extreme Left All the Time site I found a lengthy discourse from a professor at Hofstra University… his piece is entitled “The Show About Nothing: Barack Obama’s Placeholder Presidency.” Of course, the reference to The Show About Nothing is a Seinfeldism.

    While I don’t agree word for word or with the progressive perspective of the article, this progressive is on to something and not afraid to say it! This is one of my favorite paragraphs because it’s a tension reliever in this Culture War and funny–

    “…But enough with the fairness doctrine already. These caveats don’t begin to mitigate the epic disaster of the Obama sclerosis. This guy isn’t just a deer caught in headlights, he’s Bambi on the 50 yard-line, under the klieg lights of a national stadium. He’s Mr. Bill. No, strike that. He’s Mr. Bill’s nerdy little nephew, Kirby Herbert Pollywog Bill. He’s a beetle walking across a school yard, where a hundred bored sixth-graders are standing and staring at their feet during an outdoor assembly. He’s a tenth inning hanging tired arm curve ball with an angry Babe Ruth at the plate. He’s Neville Chamberlain and Spongebob SquarePants’ love-child. Suffering from an anemic blood disorder. Republicans just live for this sort of Democrat – which is to say, nowadays, practically every Democrat. They eat them for breakfast. And, as much as I loathe Republicans – rather like I feel about, say, botulism – I mostly don’t blame them. …”

    What a breakthrough to find one of today’s liberal’s having the courage to give voice to his “seditious” thoughts–AND this guy is thinking!

    I am grateful to thinkers like you, Bernie, because the process of thinking today is generally so rare and I’m even more grateful that you are skillful enough to put your thoughts in writing.

  • Kenn Paul

    Bernie, you are a voice of reason. Thanks for your views. Fair common sense, plainly spoken.

  • Bert Schwarz

    As informative as you guys are. How come we never saw this on one of your programs?
    Israel Navy Intercepts Iranian Weapons en route to Hezbollah



    • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

      Seems to me the ship was hijacked by Israel. Similar to what the Somalis are doing in the Indian Ocean. What is the difference?

      • Troy

        Wil are you really that dumb? So I guess if Russia was sending military supplies to seperatists military groups within the US who had a history of attacking and murdering people within our borders by the thousands, innocent citizens at that, we should just let the ship go through. Come on, you can’t really believe some of the crap you say on here can you?

        • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

          ‘seperatists military groups within the US’

          The ship wasn’t going to Israel, now was it!

  • Andrew D

    I love your column Bernie, but I’ll have to disagree with you that conservatives would have supported an insurance mandate. I’d have opposed it even without a public option on several grounds (some mentioned above). I am certainly not partisan enough to accept everything a Republican does if it isn’t in line with my ideology. Many Republicans probably would have gone along with something like that, but many conservatives that have more a libertarian streak would have found good reason to oppose.

    Still, I appreciate your column even if we, as reasonable people, would agree to disagree on a few items. Keep it up!

  • Leland

    It is unreasonable to assume that all things may be resolved reasonably.

  • Zaz

    Mr. Goldberg,
    Regarding your example of President Bush proposing mandatory insurance legislation for citizens to who have the means to buy. Here are my problems with it. 1) Personal choice/freedom always trumps personal responsibility! Noone but the individual should decide what he/she does with his/her life as long as his/her action does not affect another citizen/human life. People must have the right to succeed and just as importantly fail. 2) What does it mean to be personally responsible? There are absolutely varying degrees of it. Mandate insurance today, and next thing you know we’ll have prohibition again, because the “consensus” is that it is unhealthy. 3) The progressives with all of their meddling have taken away personal responsible by passing laws that force relationships between citizens who don’t know each other. Your example would insert “personal responsibility” within the existing progressive framework. The progressive framework is THE THING that needs to be undone/scaled back.

  • http://www.burg.com Bob Burg

    Mr. Goldberg, I enjoyed your column. I find you to be one of today’s great thinkers. If I may suggest one thing; where you were talking about George W. Bush not *suggesting* those who can afford it purchase insurance but proposing legislation making it *mandatory”, that would not be a conservative principle, since that involves force.

    Then again, as we’ve seen over the years now, conservative doesn’t necessarily mean “small government”.

    Oh well, as the always eloquent Emily LiTella used to say…”Nevermind.”

  • Michelle G

    When cells start to divide, and if left to their own either in the same host or moved to another host, those cells becomes a human being —independent life begins! The spark that starts that and sustains that cell division does not depend on the mother other than being a host. Remove those cells to a different mother (host) the same child will be produced. The genetic imprint has been set. The life force of that baby is autonomous and should be given its right to continue life.

    • http://danfugate.blogspot.com Dan Fugate

      I agree with Michelle. I have to say, however, that I agree with you on all of your other points. I just can’t abide abortion unless it is either medically necessary for the health of the woman or if the she is impregnated during a rape. I’m all for stem cell research in these cases and also in the case of umbilical and placental stem cells. A lot of good could come from the research.

      • Greg G.


        I think Mr. Goldberg’s point is that conservatism should focus on it’s core values of small government and fiscal responsibility. Those are the areas that truly bring conservatives together. Where the social issues are divisive. I’m a very conservative Christian, but I firmly believe that my religious views have no bearing on politics, because those views are personal to me and trying to tell every other American that they should adopt my views is not only short sided, but it’s flat out un-Christian.

        That’s just my opinion though.

  • Lee

    Bernie is becoming my favorite columnist and now I know why. He is open to change and as he gets wiser, sees things from different angles. I will contend, the Gay marriage idea will expand, just like the Abortion issue, and will do the exact same thing to Sparky. THE issue that Just Gays being married is not enough. Now we have to allow all of the others, plurals, Man Boy and weirder things I do not want to think about to have Normalcy placed on them.

    You can’t put the Genie back in the bottle after that.

    Genies always used to be big ugly dudes with giant mustaches and swords.
    When you hear Genie, does the image of Barbara Eden in the pink top come to mind?
    I digress. Nice imagery though.

    OK IF Bush had proposed everyone get Insurance, it would have been private insurance, NOT Government run insurance. BIG difference. HE should have come up with the idea, because Tort reform and portability and crossing Stae lines all would have been dealt with.

    Only Bernie can answer this for me, If Sarah Palin were a Black Lady, would the Left love her then? Food for another column.

    • http://n/a Kathie Ampela

      The left would still hate Sarah Palin if she were black. Just look at what the left did to Condoleeza Rice. Talk about hypocrisy. I want Condi to run for President!

      • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

        Sarah Palin Book Signing In Ohio – Interviews With Supporters:


        It just goes to show what happens to people when you under fund education.

        • Anonymous

          Here are some techniques employed by the left to destroy Sarah Palin:


          Some of Sarah Palin’s supporters like her for the wrong reasons, but not all. Just as a lot on the left seek to destroy her for the wrong reasons. If you dislike her, that’s fine. But don’t generalize. I like Sarah Palin, particularly on national security issues, but I’m not sure I would vote for her, even after Bill O’Reilly’s interview. I think Obama was the rock star on the left and Sarah Palin is the rock star on the right. I want to learn more about the substance before voting for a rock star.

          Having said all that, I think it’s despicable the vicious attacks that were made by the lamestream media this past year on Palin. Obama certainly was not objected to that. There are a few conservative commentators who have gone after Obama but by far and wide the media’s performance was sickening and frightening in their lack of fairness.

          • Kathie Ampela

            Here are some techniques employed by the left to destroy Sarah Palin:


            Some of Sarah Palin’s supporters like her for the wrong reasons, but not all. Just as a lot on the left seek to destroy her for the wrong reasons. If you dislike her, that’s fine. But don’t generalize. I like Sarah Palin, particularly on national security issues, but I’m not sure I would vote for her, even after Bill O’Reilly’s interview. I think Obama was the rock star on the left and Sarah Palin is the rock star on the right. I want to learn more about the substance before voting for a rock star.

            Having said all that, I think it’s despicable the vicious attacks that were made by the lamestream media this past year on Palin. Obama certainly was not objected to that. There are a few conservative commentators who have gone after Obama but by far and wide the media’s performance was sickening and frightening in their lack of fairness.

            I want to put my name to this post, I don’t know why it says Anonymous previously, I submitted my name.

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Dark nights when saint John McCain tosses unable to sleep he can appreciate that he gave the world both Sarah Palin and J The P. Now that, my friends, is legacy.

          • Brandon Frazier

            Agreed: Palin is to the right what Obama was to the left: just a rock star. Palin’s hiatus from the camera gave her time to polish her one-on-one skills, but not to polish up on real substance. When asked by O’Reilly if she thought Obama was weak on foreign policy, she did everything but answer the question. No disrespect to her personally; Palin is a great American story, but I want leaders who will answer directly with the truth AND unite this country (like Bush and Obama claimed they would do). That will take a true leader. Moreover, the McCain campaign gave Palin an opportunity, and it is wrong for her to trash talk and second guess their tactics publicly. She has made it clear that to her, it’s her way or the highway; and that is not the kind of leader we need.

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            Trig as prop:

            I have seen some sick things, but this takes the cake:
            Palin in Indiana:


            Watch how Sarah gets off the bus holding Trig so the
            whore press can take pictures of Sarah the Martyr.

            Once the photo-op is over, she hands Trig off to the help.

          • Kathie Ampela

            I don’t consider Sarah to be a martyr, just a compassionate human being for bringing Trig into the world. Would you have a different opinion of her if she’d had an abortion? I’m a mother, I know what it’s like to carry and give birth to a child. I admire her greatly for her decision to have Trig.

            Regarding this video, it appears that she is travelling with Trig on her book tour and gave the baby over to someone so she could address the crowd. If she were really an unconcerned parent, she would have left the baby back in Alaska with a nanny. I don’t think this makes her presidential material necessarily, but she certainly doesn’t deserve to be trashed for travelling with Trig or any other of the savage attacks she’s endured.

          • http://www.bartcop.com/ Wil Burns

            I don’t consider Sarah to be a martyr, just a compassionate human being for bringing Trig into the world.>>

            Wait until Trig grows up and tries to get healthcare insurance. That is when the heartache, really begins.

          • Troy

            Oh do you mean healthcare or health insurance? Because libs seem to keep getting those two words mixed up. But being a good responsible mom I am sure Sarah will make sure he is well cared for his entire life.

          • Kathie Ampela

            While we are on the subject of Obamacare, have you heard what it will do to mammograms? Women in their 40’s will not be able to get screening and women ages 50-75 will only be able to get screening every other year. But I guess that’s by design. Half of the population will die early and the other half will receive their medical care.l