There is a spectrum

Printer-friendly versionSend to friendIt should go without saying, but not all Nixa residents think alike. Though most are politically conservative, there is a spectrum of opinion. This ideological diversity is apparent on many issues. Here are just a few examples: Census 2010: letter in the Springfield News-Leader complains, "Knowing that you are a very liberal paper, it does not surprise me that you are pushing the 2010 census." Quoting Article I, Section 2 of the United States Consitution, the author argues the census threatens the freedoms of ordinary Americans. Such charges echo the words of Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota), who said she would not answer most of the 2010 questions. They do not represent the views of Nixa's leaders, including Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sharon Whitehill Gray. In an engaging presentation at my son's school, she made a strong case for full participation.  Using trivia questions to introduce the topic, Gray handed out t-shirts and mugs stamped with the Census 2010 and Nixa Chamber logos.  Noting that government dollars and political redistricting hang in the balance, she urged us to fill out the forms. In a strong show of support, the Espy Elementary PTA unanimously endorsed the census. Islam: Recently, talk radio station KSGF featured author Bill Federer. In What Every American Needs to Know About the Qur'an, Federer painted a militaristic portrait of Islam, focusing on Muslim violence against Jews and Christians. Noting that the Marines were "called 'leathernecks' as they tied wide leather straps around their necks to prevent Muslims from beheading them," he highlighted the enmity between Islam and America. Compare this with Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith's reflections on the anniversary of September 11, 2001.  Writing in the Nixa XPress, he asked, "Does hating an entire region of people broaden our opportunities worldwide or make the world a safer place? I don't think so!" Crediting his wife with broadening his horizons, Kleinsmith charted his journey towards tolerance. Emphasizing tolerance and understanding, Kleinsmith's views are more in line with those of George W. Bush, who repeatedly called Islam a "religion of peace."  Both Bush and Kleinsmith are very popular in Nixa, suggesting that such remarks have been well received. Haiti: Last week Pat Robertson said that the Haitian earthquake was a result of a pact with the devil. On the same day, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh charged that humanitarian efforts would "play into Obama's hands," bolstering his credibility in both the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community." Later Limbaugh argued that giving money to Haiti was akin to pouring money down a drain. Though Limbaugh and Robertson have fans here, many Ozarks evangelicals have repudiated their statements on Haiti. A sample from the discussion board on "This makes me sick to my stomach. I visited Haiti on my first overseas mission trip when I was 16. . . . That place has always had a special place in my heart and seeing the devastation there is gut wrenching. Comments like that are totally uncalled for." Rather than turning off the humanitarian spigot, religious non-profits like Convoy of Hope have sprung into action.  Last Sunday morning, Campbell United Methodist Church in Springfield gave $9,300 to UMCOR, the national Methodist relief agency. Scott Brown: Area reactions to the election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown offer further evidence of diversity. As a Massachusetts politician, Brown is far less conservative than many Ozarks Republicans. While an opponent of "partial-birth abortion," he is largely pro-choice. Brown also voted for Romneycare, a plan that closely resembles the Senate version of Obamacare.  Most Ozarks Republicans are celebrating Brown's victory, glossing over the fact he may be almost as liberal as New York's Dede Scozzafava (at least according to William Upton of the American Conservative's blog). All this suggests that Ozarks conservatives are far more diverse than the stereotypes would indicate. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this blog mistakenly identified Ozarks blogger Bungalow Bill as a critic of Scott Brown.  That was a result of taking a statement he made about Mark Kirl (R-IL) out of context.  I should have read more entries from the Bungalow Bill blog to get a better picture of his view of Scott Brown.  This doesn't change my overall conclusion that Ozarks Republicans are willing to be pragmatic and support candidates that are somewhat less conservative than many Ozarkers.


If you study religion, you're

If you study religion, you're studying the wrong politician. At least I am not aware of any Church of Scott Brown, but, sadly, I did see a religious movement in the last presidential election, at least I think I heard or story or two of a candidate walking on water. I believe it was Nicolas Sarkozy that had a thing or two to say about that.

One more thing: For those

One more thing: For those interested in a fuller account of Pat Robertson's remarks (which were a bit more elaborate than I could do justice to), here is a link to a video: It is only 1 minute 17 seconds in length. But it gives a better idea of the full context.

I got it backwards in the

I got it backwards in the previous comment: Shor's analysis of voting records supposedly shows Scott Brown is more liberal than Scozzafava. But that doesn't settle the matter definitively (as I explain above).

I said Brown may be as

I said Brown may be as liberal as Scozzafava, not that Brown definitely is. The reason I find this claim (which I don't think can proven one way or another) plausible is that there is a debate about it among some conservatives. The American Conservative blogger referred to a statistical analysis of the voting records of both politicians. According to political scientist Boris Shor, his analysis of voting records shows that Brown is more conservative. This analysis can be found here: Shor writes: "I can estimate Brown’s ideological score very precisely. It turns out that his score is –0.17, compared with her score of 0.02. Liberals have lower scores; conservatives higher ones." Though I am sociologist (who studies religion, not voting records), I don't have the statistics chops to critique Shor's work. Like the American Conservative blogger (who cites the Mark Twain line about lies, damn lies, and statistics), I am skeptical, though I do find more convincing Shor's finding that "Business and gun rights groups typically rate him very highly, labor and and environmental groups have rated him both middling and high over time. The teacher’s union rated him low in 2001, and high in 2005." Does this prove he is definitely more liberal than Scozzafava? I don't think so, but the fact that there is any ambiguity suggests he is more liberal than Republicans in this part of the country. In one respect, she is definitely more liberal: She supports partial-birth/late term abortions. He does not. I'm not sure why the American Conservative and Shor don't give this more weight.

Re: Dede Scozzafava of the

Re: Dede Scozzafava of the infamous NY 23. Do you have any substantial evidence to back up your position that Brown is 'as liberal' as Dede Scozzafava. Seeing that you cite an outside source but leave the details ambiguous at best, I would like an elaboration on that. 'He said it' doesn't prove anything.

I think there are lots of

I think there are lots of good reasons for conservatives to support Scott Brown. I just don't think he's super conservative. I think that abortion is a key issue. I'd go so far as to say it is the major morality issue of the GOP. Maybe Brown will become more pro-life as he becomes part of the national Republican scene (just as some pro-life Dems shed their position against abortion when they go national), but right now he votes like a Blue Dog Democrat on abortion (anti-partial birth, but not completely against abortion). I am under no illusion that SW Missouri conservatives are liberal. I think it's just a matter of pragmatism in strategy. This will probably derail the current health care bills and that makes total sense from a conservative standpoint. I guess want I wanted to convey is that SW Missouri has a mix of people *within* conservative circles. I know some folks who merely want less government, but shy away from other issues. Others are more committed to a slate of issues. It's so hard absent any good survey research to tell what the precise mix is. I was not aware of all of the politics of government-based unions in the Brown race. That helps me understand things a bit better as well.

For years, I had professors

For years, I had professors comment on my papers, so being on the other side of this is actually stimulating. I think your conclusion on Scott Brown and Ozark conservatives is a bit narrow minded. These are far different times where the very foundations of our Constitution are under attack. We have politicians running around citing the General Welfare clause like it's a 19th enumerated power with the elastic of a rubber band. That's very dangerous considering the limits our Constitution imposes on the federal government. I know you probably are aware Claire McCaskill frequently justifies healthcare by referencing the General Welfare clause, which is why I alluded to Federalist #41. Madison defines what the General Welfare clause does in #41. To claim diversity over one issue, since you already lost the states' right argument with the Tenth Amendment, seems like a total misunderstanding over what Scott Brown's victory was about. There are two things that have come into play with this election that gained Scott Brown votes in Massachusetts. First, the public service unions have demaned so much through the years, our communities are financially strained over government-based unions. This was set up by the Kennedy admnistration, and it's hit many communities hard over the past few years. Secondly, the big government reality of a public option and out of control spending through stimulus, bailouts, and TARP (a product of the Bush adminstration through the approval of Barack Obama) has many people worried, as our government is preparing to raise the debt ceiling to over $14 trillion. Scott Brown offers hope that this can be slowed down, which raised the interest of other states and pushed Brown to national prominence. To imply that conservatives are more liberal in Southwest Missouri, which I believe you are indirectly implying by using the word diversity, overlooks the real issues of the day. Scott Brown was the stop sign American needed to slow down the non-transparent healthcare debate and the radical Obama agenda.

I at least owe you a thanks

I at least owe you a thanks for not taking the sophmoric Keith Olbmermann route using the word 'teabagger.'

Fair points on Romneycare and

Fair points on Romneycare and Obamacare. The folks I cited on that matter were from (and they cited conservatives over at the American Spectator). Unlike my quote from your blog, I don't think I am misinterpreting their take on Romneycare. You're right that they are not the same, though I think that many conservatives would be reluctant to support either right now. I heard a tea party activist on Fox & Friends criticize Romneycare as well (but go on to support Brown). Of course, Romneycare hasn't worked out so well and may indicate the weaknesses of government healthcare in general. I am open to that critique. Thanks for clarifying the 10th amendment angle and how it relates to health care, as well as the reference to Federalist #41.

By the way, Romneycare is far

By the way, Romneycare is far different than Obamacare. What is done on the state level is the right of the state and its people provided by the Tenth Amendment. There is nothing in our Constitution that provides Congress or Obama the kind of authority to provide any type of social welfare program. Read Madison's Federalist #41, and look at how Madison, the father of the Constitution, reacted when Congress was going to pass a $15,000 spending bill to give aid to refugees who escaped San Domingo for the United States. To even compare the two shows how little you know about the Constitution.

Okay, thanks for the

Okay, thanks for the correction. I will change the blog to reflect your real views. I read your blog too hastily. I should have looked over more entries to get a sense of your complete analysis of the Brown race. I apologize for misrepresenting you.

For an instructor at Missouri

For an instructor at Missouri State to take my comment of context is beyond me. Of course, I graduated from MSU and understand there are good professors and there are some really rotten professors. While I will agree I oppose a few of Brown's views, I supported Brown throughout the process and listed the reasons why on my blog, including his committment to stop out of control spending, free enterprise and less regulations, opposition to cap and trade, his views on immigration, and the Second Amendment. This has been well documented on my Web site. The fact a professor took my comment this far out of context really disturbs me. Of course, it appears to me like you have an agenda in doing so. My comments were directed towards Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL), and that was clear as I pointed out his vote for cap and trade. Surely an educated man like you understood that, since the title of the article you pulled my quote from said I am sick of certain republicans jumping on the Scott Brown bandwagon. I proceeded to attack both Newt Gingrich and Kirk, while even placing an image of a Kirk campaign ad I noticed on my site. I most certainly celebrated Brown's victory on Tuesday night.