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Young Republicans at Berkeley:

Today's WSJ has a story (link for subscribers only) on how young Republicans are "flourishing at liberal Berkeley." According to the story, the College Republicans chapter is among the largest student groups on campus, with over 600 members. While liberals still outnumber conservatives by a large margin on the campus, the story claims, the young Republicans are more unified, while liberal students are splintered.

The growth of the Berkeley College Republicans at one of the nation's most liberal campuses echoes some broader political trends. At Berkeley, while leftist students still dominate and outnumber conservatives, the liberal groups have splintered and are now spread across factions from the Cal Democrats to the International Socialist Organization to groups formed to oppose the war in Iraq. At the same time, several faculty members say, there are more conservative-leaning students than in the past, propelled by swells of patriotic feeling after events like Sept. 11 and an increase in the number of religious student groups.

The modus operandi of the Berkeley Republicans over the past few years has been to be provocative. In 2003, its members opposed affirmative action with an "Affirmative Action Bake Sale," where students paid for pastries on a sliding scale: White students were charged more, while Hispanics and African-Americans paid less. Under Mr. Prendergast's presidency, the group this year protested the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, by giving away hot dogs and encouraging students to eat meat. Mr. Prendergast also held an "Anti Antiwar Rally" in nearby San Francisco, and staged a "Dunk a Republican" contest. The group gets several thousand dollars a year from the Berkeley student government. It also does its own fund raising and will sometimes get donations from local Republicans and others.

The story discusses the growth of the group, and closes with this cute anecdote from last year's annual student organization fair:
UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau walked by. When he saw President Reagan's cardboard figure, the chancellor chuckled and stopped to talk.

"I gave an interview to a British newspaper recently, and the journalist asked me about Berkeley's liberalism," said Mr. Birgeneau to the group. "I had to tell him that the largest student political group on campus is Republican. You should've seen him: He was so disappointed."

AV:
Weird!

I was v-chairman of the Conservatives at the London School of Economics, another school with a reputation for radical socialism. We, too, were the largest political society, surpassing Labour and the Liberal Democrats by a considerable margin, and narrowly defeating the Greens and the Socialist Workers.

Tellingly, perhaps, the Clown Society beat all the political groups...
10.20.2006 10:14am
E.S.:
When I was an undergrad at Berkeley more than ten years ago Berkeley Republicans were rumored to be the largest student club on campus. What's not known about Berkeley is that it has a prominent conservative streak. Many more students live in fraternities and sororities than in Berkeley's world-famous co-op student housing. Most would also be surprised by the number of well-known faculty members with conservative views.
10.20.2006 10:22am
Helen (mail):
My impression is that the Berkeley student body is considerably more mainstream politically than the other residents of the city, many of whom are "hangers on" and burned-out 1960's radicals, drawn to Berkeley by its obsolete reputation. I don't think that the folks manning some of the pro-Palestine and other tables on Telegraph Avenue are University students, and it's likely that many of them never were.
10.20.2006 10:33am
JB:
I like the affirmative action bake sale idea. I'm not opposed to affirmative action per se, but it's a very nice bit of satire that exposes the contradictions in the policy.
10.20.2006 10:37am
buddingeconomist:
"Tellingly, perhaps, the Clown Society beat all the political groups..."

Thats just cause its British. The same is true for most colleges at Oxford I'm sure.
10.20.2006 10:47am
therut:
I have often thought I would like to take off a year from work and go to a lefty University just to stare at the lefties from up close. They are like aliens to me.... Since I good give a tinkers damn about what grade I got I would love to just shock the Professors and students in class and let them know what I think... Now that I am older and wiser and with nothing to lose it would be a great year!!!!!!!!!! I think I would write a book about the experience. I can just see me with my NRA shit and pick up truck with all the pro gun stickers. IF the vandalized the truck it would not matter as it is old and it would make a good picture for the cover of the book about so called free speeech respect by lefties. I would unfortunately have to leave my CCW weapon at home. Wonder if I could have a whistle???????? and a bell to blow and ring in case of emergency?
10.20.2006 10:49am
Steveo987 (mail):
therut-
Just a tip: In your admissions essay, you should probably avoid ending sentences with more than one question mark or exclamation point. Many "lefty university types" believe that the intelligence of the writer is inversely proportional to the number of consecutive exclamation points he uses to end a single sentence.
10.20.2006 11:09am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Therut,

I used to wear an NRA hat to law school just for grins. It got some interesting reactions shall we say from the overwhelmingly more liberal than me student body.

Says the "Dog"
10.20.2006 11:09am
LTEC (mail) (www):
I learned two things from this article:
Socialists are liberal, and tend not to be provocative.
10.20.2006 11:12am
Drive By Comments:
I was a member of the College Republicans back in my time at Cal. These stories come out every so often. I believe that Time magazine did a story on us while I was there.

While the College Republicans may be the single largest organization on campus (although the number of highly active members is dwarfed by various Asian ethnicity associated groups; when I was there, I believe that the Asian (maybe Chinese, it has been a while) Business Association had the largest number of active members), remember that it is essentially the only organization on that side of the political spectrum- the city's, and general student body's, political choices in a given election year aren't "Democrat or Republican" but "Green Party or Democrat," after all.

"What's not known about Berkeley is that it has a prominent conservative streak. Many more students live in fraternities and sororities than in Berkeley's world-famous co-op student housing."

Because, yeah, joining a frat makes you a blazer-wearing, cigar smoking, GOP voting good ole boy. You might be surprised to know that a student chapter of the ACLU formed while I was an undergraduate, and every single one of its officers were then members of a fraternity. True, frat life doesn't appeal as much to the angry socialist or radical minority fringe groups, but that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of very liberal democrats who were happily members of the Greek system at Cal.

"I don't think that the folks manning some of the pro-Palestine and other tables on Telegraph Avenue are University students"

Not on Telegraph, no, but there were a large number of them on Sproul Plaza itself, and they would, every year, storm and lock down an academic building. None ever got arrested, sadly.
10.20.2006 11:13am
Houston Lawyer:
It's not at all uncommon for large liberal universities to have a significant cohort of conservatives, organized or not. Very few conservatives would choose not to attend a school of Berkeley's caliber just because of its reputation as a liberal hotbead. I had a great time back in 1980 working on protest disruption when Gerald Ford and Bush Pere showed up at the South Mall at UT. We had balloons to hold up in front of protest banners and yelled counter-chants to the protest chants. From what I could tell, we and our opposition all had a great time.
10.20.2006 11:15am
Steve:
Oh, those scrappy underdog conservatives! They were doing bake sales 20 years ago when I was in college, so it might be time for a new act.
10.20.2006 11:37am
Bret (mail):
Helen has it right. The liberal 1960s counterculture reputation is better suited for the city of Berkeley than the actual university.

Co-Students in my CS150 class (primarily asian descent) boo'ed an affirmative action supporter out of the room one day. She was trying to promote a rally they were holding on campus.

The irony, of course, is that modern day liberalism/progressivism doesn't come close to reflecting the free-thinking, classical liberal values that gave Berkeley it's academic reputation. At least there's Top Dog, a popular hot dog stand in Berkeley, where the walls are lined with quotations, pamphlets, articles, and comic strips all promoting libertarian, free market ideas. The pro-gun ones really have to make some those on the fringe left pitch fits.
10.20.2006 11:38am
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
I was involved in Bruin Republicans at UCLA while I was in college from 1989 to 1993. Berkeley consistently had a largest Republican club than any other school.

This doesn't mean Berkeley is surprisingly conservative or anything -- smaller groups can plausibly be more active because they're more beleaguered than at a relatively apathetic place like UCLA (that's the demand side), and they can plausibly be more unified because there's less ability to split the conservative population with niche organizations (that's the supply side).
10.20.2006 11:38am
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Also, speaking of town vs. gown radicalism. I spent the years between 1998 and 2004 in Cambridge -- a city where Nader came in second in the 2000 presidential election. A Republican friend of mine who ran for Cambridge City Council (this isn't as hopeless as it sounds because Cambridge has proportional representation, so 10% of voters can elect one guy) tells me that Harvard University is a conservative bastion in Cambridge. Its Republican voter registration is 14% -- Cambridge's as a whole is 7%.
10.20.2006 11:40am
MS (mail):
It's a strange feature of American-youth politics that the conservatives, not the liberals, view themselves as iconoclasts. This probably made a lot of sense in the '60s; it makes no sense on most campuses today. Nevertheless, modern young-conservatives cling to their self-image as intellectual non-conformists, despite the fact that we are living in very conservative times.

Every lawyer here knows that the federalist society dwarfs ACS at most law schools. Is anyone surprised that at over $30,000/year, most large public universities have more issues of The Economist than Mother Jones delivered to their dorms? Yet even at the University of Texas, the conservatives circle their (BMW) wagons.
10.20.2006 12:01pm
Erasmus (mail):
This doesn't surprise me at all, for reasons mentioned above. I went to a notoriously liberal university, and I would be surprised if the Republican organization on campus wasn't one of the largest on campus. If you're left of center, you had 10 or 12 organizations to join. Right of center people, on the other hand, had maybe 2 or 3.

I'm also not particularly impressed with the fact that the Republican organization has 600 members. Cal, like my university, is enormous, so even if a small percentage of the population as a whole is conservative -- say, 15% -- that still equals an enormous number of people as an absolute number.
10.20.2006 12:34pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
First of all Berkeley isn't that liberal. There is a small liberal fringe but te biggest club on campus is the asian baptists or something like this. It is a public school and most of the people going to the school are just whoever did well in their highschools.

Secondly I have to say I'm not a big fan of the Berkeley republicans. Their paper (the patriot) spends more time whining about people who wear pink or other Berkeley cultural activities (the city is liberal) that giving reasonable arguments on serious issues. It generally appears to be more of an emotional reaction against liberals that a consistant statement on policy.

What really annoyed me recently was that in the same issue they had one article bashing affirmitive action on the grounds that taxpayers/students shouldn't have to support special benefits for anyone. Then they had another article about benefits for students with families without the slightest hint that this might be an unacceptable benefit for a particular group.

I can understand the position they take against affirmitive action but if you are against special benefits for groups then surely you must be against special benefits for a group which volountarily chooses to do something for their own enjoyment.
10.20.2006 12:36pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Since people above seem to be talking about it I'm pretty sure that the current largest group at berkeley is an asian religious group. I thought it was the asian baptists but not totally sure.
10.20.2006 12:41pm
ksd:
Just to echo what everyone else is already saying, I don't find this article surprising at all. I attended the University of Michigan in the late 80s. Ann Arbor is commonly thought of as a midwestern Berkley, and the stereotype is that it is extremely leftist. While the "PC" movement was certainly strong on campus in the late 80s and early 90s, and far left groups were everywhere, the conservatives were also present and vocal in significant numbers. The College Republicans were certainly active and highly visible. One of the most widely read newspapers on campus was the Michigan Review, a decidedly conservative (and bitingly satirical) publication obviously patterned heavily on the Dartmouth Review. While I was more of a liberal back then, I knew quite a few Michigan Review staffers and their parties were heavily attended.

My view is that the vast majority of students in Ann Arbor in those days were apolitical. The loudest and most obnoxious of the politically active students were the multiple far left groups, but the right had almost as strong of a presence. Which side any particular member of the "silent majority" leaned toward was difficult to determine.
10.20.2006 12:45pm
Hoosier:
AV--

Remember who the *second* chair of Poli Sci was at the LSE? I've always thought that LSE was probably much less radical than my--admittedly loopy--undergrad college, at least.

But the largest student political group during the 1960s was YAF, not SDS. And the university where I teach now has a high-quality conservative student weekly, but nothing from the student left.

I think the right tends to feel so beseiged by the overwhelming tendencies of faculty that they stick together. Even moreso, however, conservative students perceive a *need*. I don't think our leftist undergrads are apathetic--at least not more than any other group. But they read faculty editorials in the campus paper and the local newspaper. Why would any of them say "Hey, we need to start a paper to get our views out there"?
10.20.2006 1:17pm
Spartacus (www):
I went to Berkeley from '95 - 2000, and I did not find it to be at all that Republican or conservative as the comments seem to claim. I went there a rather moderate sort of libertarian, and I rarely found anyone even remotely sypathetic to those views (except fo course, Top Dog, where I first discovered FEE's The Freeman). There were almost daily leftist protests, on campus, and off, students and townies alike. Almost every one of my Profs was a lib. The townies are often former students as well. I was a member of the Berkeley Gun Club, and of course we had our flyers torn down. Maybe Berkeley is more conservative now, but it sure didn't seem that way back in the 90s. Fun place, but defeinitely not conservative, or even libertarian. They don't call it PRB for nothing, and than seemed to extend well onto the campus and into the lecture halls as well, in my experience.
10.20.2006 1:47pm
buddingeconomist:
"most large public universities have more issues of The Economist than Mother Jones delivered to their dorms"

Really? Do they also have more Time magazine than National Review? You are comparing apples and oranges - The Economist is a slightly left of center mainstream publication. Mother Jones is socialist.
10.20.2006 2:21pm
JerryW (mail):
You might be surprised to know that a student chapter of the ACLU formed while I was an undergraduate, and every single one of its officers were then members of a fraternity.

When I attended Berkeley back in the free speech movement era of the 60's I took a course in Constitutional Law given by the head of the San Francisco ACLU. (Coleman Blease)

He questioned why I considered myself a liberal after I voiced my opinions. It later turned out I wasn't an ACLU liberal but a libertarian. It was just that that term wasn't around.

In retrospect those were indeed "interesting times".
10.20.2006 2:49pm
hey (mail):
buddingeconomist:

I speak as someone who is about as far right as possible (at least in terms of foreign policy and market freedom) but that's not quite fair to The Economist. They're a bunch of squishes and are trending far too close to RINO style, but they're not one iota left of center. They're foreign policy wimps (and have become more so since 2003) and the Ivy League background of too many authors leads to non sequitirs in favour of regulation and opposing markets on occasion, but they're still to the side of good. Now Fortune and BusinesWeak (especially BW, a business magazine for Mother Jones subscribers) are left, and while The Economist doesn't hold a candle to Forbes in its stance it's still an ally on most days.
10.20.2006 2:53pm
Derrick (mail):
buddingeconomist,

While the Economist is no National Review, I would consider it slighly right of center in its views. It's staunchly for free markets, vigorously against Socialism and for market solutions for social problems.
10.20.2006 2:55pm
Oski:
BCR has far more members on paper than they do "active" members but I suspect this is true for most clubs...

A half-dozen or so friends of mine were once brought in as ringers to vote in an internal BCR election. We were made members on the spot so we could support another friend of ours who was running for some office. I carried around the membership card in my wallet for a number of years.

Something like that wouldn't be possible if all 600 or so reported members of BCR were active. If memory serves, there were about 50 at that meeting. Apparently there were enough people that six new members weren't noticed...

I don't remember if my friend won or not. I do remember I was paid in beer!
10.20.2006 2:57pm
hey (mail):
As to group sizes... any university with a significant asian population will see very many LARGE Asian Christian organisations. My school had at least three Chinese groups (Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese), a Korean group, and a Japanese one, and they were all VERY large. Thos kids also tend to be VERY conservative, both socially and fiscally, since their families tend to own businesses while their churches are very traditional.

It is especially surprising that any sort of Affirmative Action speaker would show their face in front of an audience with a significant number of Asian students. The UC AA program is very aggressive in discriminating against asian students, so that they have to vastly outperform other students to get accepted ("there's too many of them!"). Outside of a few people who try to encourage racial grievances (Margaret Cho), Asian students and their families tend to have views (and even religion) that mirror conservative Southern Baptists. Berkeleys radicalism is the province of a few silly white kids with trust funds, while most everyone else from all backgrounds are there to work hard and get a VERY high paying job.
10.20.2006 3:02pm
Kevin!:
I ran a Berkeley-based blog from 2002-2004.. plus I did quite a bit of student politics. (calstuff.blogspot.com)

Some interesting things about the Republicans and Cal that kind of fell outside of the article:

1. The Republicans are almost single-handedly responsible for shutting down the more irritating antics by Left groups. While I was there, they became a conduit passing on stupid stuff like theft of newspapers or taking over classrooms to people like Drudge &the major blogs. (I did this too). Not only did they get great national publicity, donations flooded in everytime someone got called a fascist. Eventually Leftist groups got tired of being used and got smart about stuff like paper thefts.

2. While the Republicans at Cal are interesting, the REAL story is the huge growth in Christian groups at Berkeley. Walk down Sproul -- or down UCLA. (Where I'm going to Law School now). A near MAJORITY of student groups advertising there are religious. The growth of a solid core of Republicans is interesting, but the huge increase in religious groups and students is dramatic. That story probably hasn't gotten the attention it deserves because most of the religious students are Asian.

3. The Republicans aren't just antagonistic anti-democrats. Over the years I've been there, they've been consistent allies in the student government to the dominant political party. That party -- Student Action -- is an alliance between Fraternity/Sorority/Asian/Jewish/Engineering groups, along with Dorm elements. They're opposed to the more-left group, mostly composed of what we usually consider minorities, along with Progressives.

4. Tying the growth of Republicans to the Frat scene makes, like, 0 sense. Most of the hardcore Republicans I knew were not Frat boys. (In fact, almost none were). I knew as many hardcore Progressive frat boys as I knew Conservatives. Far more likely it's tied to the NATIONAL political scene, where being a Republican at Berkeley earns you accolades, donations, and a probable post-graduate political career. The Republicans at Cal have it GREAT now, after all -- they're heroes! If you're thinking of a Conservative political career, Berkeley is now a great place to go.
10.20.2006 3:10pm
MnZ (mail):
From my experience, public universities tend to have a more conservative student body that private universities. So, I am not very surprised that Berkeley has such a large contingent of Republicans.
10.20.2006 3:12pm
Thales (mail) (www):
The Economist is a liberal (in the English/classical sense) paper. It is also frequently more erudite and focused on stories that matter than most of the U.S. news media (though its coverage of the U.S. has become noticeably dimmer of late, mostly due to a hamhanded attempt to be "fair and balanced"). The Economist also *explains* the political and economic underpinnings of its stances and why it is occasionally, but not often pro-regulation--there are genuine instances of market failure not cured by Coasean bargaining, something American conservative/libertarian sources are often loathe to admit. National Review is anti-intellectual, a poorly drawn cartoon by comparison (especially since the departure of Buckley).
10.20.2006 3:19pm
MnZ (mail):
From my experience, public universities tend to have a more conservative student body that private universities. So, I am not very surprised that Berkeley has such a large contingent of Republicans.


I should clarify that I am talking about large, well known private universities. (Oral Roberts is certainly conservative.)
10.20.2006 3:19pm
SCS:
I'm a conservative (although not Republican) attending the Law School at Berkeley. I have just a few observations.

Almost all of the students in the law school are big-time lefties. No surprise. And most of the law-school profs are also way left-of-center. Again, no surprise. But what may surprise some is that this is a fantastic place for a conservative law student to thrive. I get to be the one to articulate the right-of-center pov in class. And since the lefty prof would rather have me be the moutpiece for those views than his/her seriously insincere representations of those views, I receive huge amounts of faculty attention. I know for a fact that this faculty attention has "paid off" in terms of grades (profs who have specifically told me that non-anonymous grade bump-ups at the margin have gone to me because of my class participation....participation actually induced by the lefty prof's questions). I also know that such attention has paid off in terms of letters of recommendation and offers (begging) to co-author papers (mostly from the few conservative profs who are struggling to find RA help from conservative students).

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that there are large gains to be had by being a conservative law student at an otherwise liberal institution. I don't believe I would have received such attention had I been yet another conservative law student at a place like GMU or Chicago. Of course, I might not have to regularly cross a protest (both in-class and out) against John Yoo by students in hoods, chains, and orange jumpsuits at such schools, either.

Just a plug for being conservative at Boalt.
10.20.2006 3:46pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
<blockquote>
I was involved in Bruin Republicans at UCLA while I was in college from 1989 to 1993. Berkeley consistently had a largest Republican club than any other school.
</blockquote>My, how times change. I was on campus one day in 1981 when I saw that the Bruin Republicans were holding a candidates's forum for the Santa Monica City Council race. Since I was one of the 12 candidates for the four open seats, I thought it strange that they didn't invite me.

So I showed up, and discovered that they had only invited registered Republican candidates. (There was just one. I was a registered Libertarian at the time.)

In the course of the discussion, I found myself having to defend private ownership of electric utilities—this bunch was convinced that it was more efficient to have the government own utilities, and could not imagine why anyone would defend private ownership.
10.20.2006 4:06pm
Steve:
I get to be the one to articulate the right-of-center pov in class. And since the lefty prof would rather have me be the moutpiece for those views than his/her seriously insincere representations of those views, I receive huge amounts of faculty attention.

Based on my own experience, the guy who calmly articulates the conservative legal viewpoint, although he may get derisive chuckles in the process, ends up getting a lot of silent respect from everyone at the end of the day.

I'd wager that this sort of conduct ends up attracting more adherents to the conservative cause than the obnoxious, confrontational techniques described in this post.

It's not always easy to avoid stooping to the level of one's detractors, but I'm impressed that you seem to be making the most of your opportunity. I think it's more productive in the long run.
10.20.2006 5:47pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I was head of the Chess Club much of my time at Cal. We used to meet on the fourth floor of the Student Union on Thursday (?) evenings, as did the BCR and the Gay and Lesbian Student organization.

It generally did not take much effort to guess in the elevator who would go which way when the doors opened upstairs (except there was one Republican chess player).
10.20.2006 6:10pm
Constantin:
MS, surely you recognize that there's a big difference between the putative "conservative times" we live in and the climate on most college campuses in America. A conservative student at one of these places likely has every right to view himself an iconoclast (if the school's speech code allows it).
10.20.2006 6:15pm
plunge (mail):
"While the Economist is no National Review, I would consider it slighly right of center in its views."

You didn't get the memo? Only those that unquestionally praise the dear leader (except when he does occasionally foolish things like pretend that illegal immigrants may not all be drug running scum) can even be described as centrist, much less "slightly right of center."
10.20.2006 6:19pm
Room 237 (mail):
MS:

I think Constantin is right. While society MAY be as a whole more conservative today than in the 1960s, university society is skewed to the left. I attended a supposedly conservative Catholic university, and in my departments (History and Government) I had maybe two conservative professors, one of whom was an anti-communist Chinese immigrant. That is why college student conservatives see themselves as iconoclasts -- because they do try and break the liberal campus shiboleths.
10.20.2006 6:53pm
SCS:
Steve,

What from my post do you think indicates that my behaviour is either confrontational or obnoxious?

While admitting that I can't have an unbiased view of my own participation, it doesn't seem reasonable that I would get the wide variety (and quantity) of faculty attention I described if I was being confrontational, obnoxious, or "stooping to level of my detractors", as you put it.
10.20.2006 6:54pm
SCS:
Steve,

It just occurred to me that maybe you were referring to the confrontational and obnoxious conduct of the orange-jumpsuited protesters...?
10.20.2006 7:08pm
Ricardo:
I think the public v. private distinction people have been drawing here is largely correct. Berkeley is a solidly middle class institution with people of all walks of life. Liberals may be more vocal but the conservative students are more likely to be busting their asses is business, pre-law, pre-med or engineering courses. That means less time for publicity stunts and such. Berkeley naturally attracts liberal activists due to its reputation as well as the fact that many kids in the Bay Area have ex-hippies as parents.

The John Yoo protests are the work of LaRouchites (many of whom are not students) who are small in number but extremely vocal and disruptive.

That said, Berkeley-style conservatism is certainly not Alabama-style conservatism. I think many students identify as Republican to be contrarian and to react against extreme left-wing rhetoric (I saw a poster the other day advertising a debate on whether the Left should support Hezbollah!). I would guess a large number of College Republicans have not seen the inside of a church since they left their parents' house and many are friendly toward gay rights.
10.20.2006 7:13pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Every lawyer here knows that the federalist society dwarfs ACS at most law schools. Is anyone surprised that at over $30,000/year, most large public universities have more issues of The Economist than Mother Jones delivered to their dorms? Yet even at the University of Texas, the conservatives circle their (BMW) wagons.
First, the Federalist Society is a lot older and more well established than ACS, so it's not exactly apples-apples. Second, even if that's true, what about all the other liberal organizations, such as the identity politics ones? Why are you picking and choosing one organization on each side, rather than looking at all the organizations on each side?
10.20.2006 7:36pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
SCS,

I think Steve was referring to the Berkeley College Republicans, and praising your example in contradistinction to theirs.

I went to Cal (undergrad 1984-88, grad 1989 to whenever it's fair to assume that the ABD is staying that way), and I found the political environment rather difficult. A considerably-left-of-US-center position is more or less assumed. If you're anything else, you're apt to get trapped in conversations where you're pegged automatically as one of the correct-thinking folk, and it can be difficult to find your way out.

The BCR is pretty much what happens when a bunch of smart and articulate people discover that their not-at-all-outside-the-US-mainstream political views cause a lot of their fellow-students to regard them as scum. I knew several people at Cal who were obnoxiously and abrasively outspoken conservatives purely because the prevailing culture on campus put their backs up. Many others just stewed quietly, taking the odd opportunity to say something but generally not raising a ruckus.

I remember one sort of quiet protest that happened my first year. This is when a general campus strike had been called to force UC to divest from businesses trading with South Africa. My (lefty) physics prof didn't exactly cancel class, but he devoted the hour to a discussion of apartheid. When the strike was extended to the day of the next class meeting, the prof began another discussion of apartheid — until a student protested that he'd rather hear a physics lecture. The prof put the matter to a vote, the class voted for physics, and he was compelled to teach.

MS, the problem with the Economist/Mother Jones comparison is that the Economist is a mass-market weekly, and Mother Jones is a monthly with a much more specialized readership. Even taking the latter's claimed circulation as gospel, one has four times the readership of the other.
10.20.2006 8:17pm
CLS (mail) (www):
An Anti Anti-War protest by the College Republicans. Seems these young Republicans are willing to support the war every way possibe except enlisting. Democrats are charitable with other people's money. Republicans fight wars with other people's blood.

One good thing about Berkeley is that you can find good free market and anti-communist books there. At least it used to be a favorite spot of mine to locate the same. It seems no one else wanted them so the prices were reasonable. I never went to the books shops there without loading up on books. Moe's Books especially.
10.20.2006 8:42pm
Lively:
CLS:

Apparently a few Republicans are willing to support the war by enlisting in the military.


By an astonishing 72 to 17 percent margin, the active-duty military personnel who took the survey favored Bush over Kerry (Guard and Reserve respondents favored Bush, 73 to 18 percent). Frankly, the margin greatly exceeds anything that I or any other analyst had expected.


Washington Post
10.20.2006 11:10pm
Drive By Comments:
"Seems these young Republicans are willing to support the war every way possibe except enlisting. Democrats are charitable with other people's money. Republicans fight wars with other people's blood."

Not true. There was at least one student while I was there, named, if I remember correctly Seth Norman, who joined up on graduation.

This also doesn't count the number of ROTC members who also were active in the college Republicans.

I suppose, though, that it is all well and good to repeat the brainless "if you like the conflict so much, why don't you go enlist!" line rather than, you know, actually engaging the subject.
10.20.2006 11:42pm
Chris[topher] Chittleborough:
The WSJ item is now available to non-subscribers.
10.21.2006 1:08am
Jim Carlile (mail):
It's a pretty big myth that Cal Berkeley is a liberal enclave. There have always been a substantial number of Republicans and Greeks on that campus. Because it's so huge it wasn't always noticed. UCLA has traditionally been more leftie.

It's no surprise that the Right is so vocal-- college students are pretty conventional these days. But how much of this political action is financed from the outside, by well funded right-wing groups? And what if that financing disappeared?

That could be a contributory factor. Left wingers are poor, for the most part.
10.21.2006 7:19am
CLS (mail) (www):
Lively: I'm not sure that an old poll from two years ago indicates the willingness of young Republicans to join the military. While you site the Washington Post it was not a poll by that paper but The Military Times survey their readership, who are described as "career military people who at least entertain the idea of servicng the 20 years needed to earn full retirement benefits, and previous surveys have established that this group tends to be more Republican."

Not only that but wouldn't these be the people the least likely to be in combat positions? That is aren't the long term career people in positions of authority where they send others to do the fighting? These are not young Republicans facing combat but old Republicans sending others to combat. My point was that where Democrats want charity with other people's money Republicans want war with other people's blood. And all you did was point to a second group which illustrates my case.
10.21.2006 7:19am
Lively:
CLS:
Not only that but wouldn't these be the people the least likely to be in combat positions? That is aren't the long term career people in positions of authority where they send others to do the fighting? These are not young Republicans facing combat but old Republicans sending others to combat.

Have you ever seen a want-ad in the newspaper for a five star general? You speak as if a career military person has little combat experience....but it's to the contrary; that's how a person gets promoted to their position of authority. Someone who has seen plenty of combat is not flippant about seeing other men die as it seems you are ascribing.


I'm not sure that an old poll from two years ago indicates the willingness of young Republicans to join the military.

A two year poll is still probably a good indicator of the political make-up of 1.4 million military members. A Republican Commander in Chief has been calling the shots for the last 7 years, so it makes even more sense that young Republicans are still signing up to fight.

Most liberals who are against any war would not sign up since there is a good chance that they would be fighting against their own ideals.
10.21.2006 11:32am
CLS (mail) (www):
Lively: In fact many, many officers today do not have combat experience or have very little. Exactly where would they have received it? Were there major, protracted wars of which I was unaware? I

When was the last war of any protracted length (outside Iraq)? It would be Vietnam. That ended 30+ years ago. So most today's officers are too young to have served then. Now is there another reason for career officers to vote for Bush, regardless of whether they have combat experience or support the war? Sure there is. They are in a department of government where they know Republicans will throw money at them. They will like that. Just as you will tend to find teachers overwhelmingly voting Democratic -- also because the Dems. throw money at them. Military officers are career bureaucrats like any other career bureaucrats and will tend to support the party that will be good to them. Military bureaucracy is one area where Republicans love to waste money.

And you are well away from your original claim which was that young Republicans must be willing to enlist since the career officers supported Bush two years ago. If they were already career officers two years ago then it is very likely they enlisted when under Clinton not under Bush. We still have no evidence that young Republicans are anything but chicken hawks.
10.21.2006 2:03pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
An Anti Anti-War protest by the College Republicans. Seems these young Republicans are willing to support the war every way possibe except enlisting. Democrats are charitable with other people's money. Republicans fight wars with other people's blood.
Yes, but I don't recall taxpayers volunteering to make those 'charitable' contributions.

Oh, and CLS, why do you keep repeating "career officers"? That's not what the article said.

And you've got your stereotypes wrong. Republicans throw money at military contractors, not at military personnel.
10.21.2006 5:06pm