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What Does Success Even Look Like? Fundamental Differences, Left Vs Right, Part I

As most Americans have watched the utter disaster of President Joe Biden’s ill-conceived call to withdraw from Afghanistan – and the completely incompetent implementation of that decision – we have concluded that the debacle has been an unprecedented failure. But Biden and his cronies on the left wholeheartedly disagree. In their eyes, the pullback from Afghanistan has been absolutely triumphant. When pressed on the matter during a press briefing last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained, “[This] is now on track… to be the largest airlift in U.S. history … so no, I would not say that is anything but a success.”

For anyone initiating any type of new venture, it’s always helpful to consider the question: “If we are successful in this effort, what does that success look like?” For instance, a new restaurant opening on Main Street might determine that breaking even financially after year one, and attaining a 15% profit margin by the following year is what success looks like. For a start-up charity looking to eradicate Alzheimer’s Disease, perhaps victory means raising $500 million for research annually by year five and eliminating the disease entirely by the end of next decade.

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But what about politics? Shouldn’t politicians and their parties have a clear set of goals of what success looks like? Yes, and in fact, they do. We just have to look past their distractions and sift through the noise to understand what those interpretations of ‘success’ are, and occasionally we experience a moment of clarity and honesty like we saw last week with Ms. Psaki.

So, let’s examine the idea of success and what it looks like, for both Left and Right, for a few key topics. And please note that we’re not approaching this exercise from the viewpoint of Democrat Vs. Republican, but instead simply from the higher level of Leftist Vs. Conservative. With so many RINOs running around these days, it’s important that we make such a distinction.


#1: What does a successful foreign policy look like?

The Left: Jen Psaki and President Biden lifted their skirts on this issue with Afghanistan. Successful foreign policy for those on the left looks very much like what we have just witnessed with the handling of the Afghan withdrawal.

  • Avoid or remove us from most, if not all military conflicts, thereby reducing that spending to be used elsewhere (i.e. domestic welfare state projects and pork for political allies and elected leftists).
  • Apologize for any perceived historical injustices and transgressions. America was, after all, founded on unjust ideals and is therefore undeserving of any exceptionalism we may have achieved as a result.
  • Have the rest of the world approve of us. “We’re cool, woke, and laid back.” What they think of us in Paris, Brussels, and Beijing is much more important than our national security and our country’s interests.
  • Build alliances with other countries that are focused on the primary goal of globalization. Nationalism is bad, globalism is good, and anyone who agrees with that approach is our friend.
  • Prioritize relationships with leftist-thinking nations such as Cuba, China, and European socialists, and minimize relationships with those that align with free markets.
  • Do whatever possible to get us away from our ongoing alliance with Israel, up to and including embracing the terrorists and tyrants in Palestine and Iran.

The Right: Sorry neo-cons, but you’re in the minority. George W. Bush doesn’t dictate this philosophy, common sense and experience does.

  • Allocate whatever funding is necessary for a strong, robust military, and pursue “peace through strength” the way President Ronald Reagan did.
  • Engage in military action only when absolutely necessary. And when we do engage, we do so overwhelmingly and with a complete commitment to a specific goal related directly to our national interests. We withdraw if, and only if, that goal(s) is achieved.
  • Embrace American exceptionalism. We are the greatest country the world has ever seen, we have done more to promote human rights and freedom than any other nation in history, and we should be proud and vocal in calling out this reality.
  • Ignore what other countries think of us. If you’re a Croatian and you like us, great. If not, that’s fine too. You do what you think is right, and we’ll do the same.
  • Apply the priority of “America First” in all our dealings and expect that other countries will do the same. We should see “Ecuador First,” with our friends in South America and “Zimbabwe First” with our friends in Africa. Not only is that acceptable, that’s the way it should be.
  • Ensure our national interests, particularly the security of our citizenry, is the top priority. If our citizens are safe, and if other countries are dealing with us fairly with trade and tariffs, then we’re doing well.
  • Along with strategic value, countries that support free markets and promote human rights should be welcomed and aligned with ahead of socialist/communist regimes and those who disregard human rights.


#2: What does a successful immigration policy look like?

The Left: Border czar Kamala Harris has done virtually nothing with the southern border because things are going along perfectly fine in her view.

  • Politicizing immigration is the primary goal, and unsubstantiated claims of xenophobia and racism against the right should be applied at every opportunity.
  • Allow as many immigrants to come into our country as possible provided they are likely to vote for leftists in the future. Those coming from Cuba hate communism, so don’t let them in. But those from Central America will probably vote Democrat, so let as many of them in as possible.
  • Disregard whether those coming here are doing so legally or illegally. So long as they vote for us in the future, it doesn’t matter how they get here.
  • Current immigration laws are acceptable as-is. They don’t work, and that’s fine.
  • National security is an afterthought, and low on the priority list. We need people to come here that we can hand out government funds to, and will therefore vote for us down the road, national security be damned.
  • A potential immigrant’s skill set is irrelevant, only his/her political ideology is.
  • Assimilation into our culture by newly arriving immigrants is discouraged. The less assimilated someone is, the more likely we are to keep them divided into their own intersectional victimhood group. Keep speaking your language, and disregard America’s toxic culture.

The Right: Many RINOs pretend to embrace this vision of success but will advocate for illegal immigrant amnesty at the first opportunity. Don’t be fooled.

  • We should welcome immigration provided it’s done legally and in our national interests. An immigrant’s political views don’t matter.
  • Immigrants who are allowed to come to America should be prioritized based on what skills and value they offer. If we need doctors and scientists, they should be the first to enter. If we need unskilled labor, then they should be prioritized.
  • If someone comes here illegally, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, they should be deported immediately. No exceptions.
  • If the current immigration laws are too cumbersome to administer timely and fairly, then change them so they work. Simplify them, but make sure our interests and security are paramount.
  • The national security of our country is the top priority. Terrorists, criminals, and those that pose risks to the nation’s health must be prohibited from entry.
  • America is a melting pot, and those who come here should assimilate. It’s fine to hold onto your heritage but embrace our language (English) and our way of life. We’re an incredible country, but you need to integrate with us to become part of it. If you do, we welcome you with open arms.


#3: What does a successful education policy look like?

The Left: For the left, education isn’t a service offering for the betterment of society, it’s a tool to be wielded in attaining and retaining power.

  • The goal of educating is to indoctrinate students into the leftist way of thinking. Understanding the details and nuances of whatever discipline one studies – economics, biology, carpentry – is secondary.
  • Money is no object with education. If there’s a problem, fix it by throwing money at it. Taxpayers have deep pockets; they can afford it.
  • Teachers are more important than students. The teachers’ unions support us, therefore we must do whatever they want regarding contracts, curriculum, and school policy.
  • The private sector has no business educating our children. We can’t close all private schools, but we can actively oppose initiatives such as school vouchers.
  • Positive results with standardized test scores would be great but aren’t a priority. Equity in educational outcomes is much more important.
  • Disparate outcomes in standardized test scores for minorities are the failure of government and its systems, not the culture or upbringing of the student.

The Right: Education is critical to our future, and success in education is attained by producing better educated students through student and teacher accountability.

  • Teachers’ political opinions have no place in the classroom. Teach your subject, teach it well, and leave your politics at home.
  • Funding is usually not the solution. Our spending on education has been skyrocketing for years while test scores simultaneously plunge. Part of government’s responsibility with educating our young is to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely and only when necessary.
  • Students are more important than teachers. Teachers have chosen their profession, they are being paid to do a job, and that job is to now serve the students by providing an excellent education.
  • The private sector has a significant role to play in education. If public schools are losing enrollment to private schools, then public schools need to improve. And school vouchers are an excellent option.
  • Students and teachers must be held accountable for results, and standardized test scores can be critical in establishing that accountability. Good students get good test scores, bad students get bad scores. If you’re getting bad test scores, teachers need to teach better, and students need to study more.
  • Disparate outcomes by race, gender, or other inherent characteristics don’t necessarily reflect a failure by government. Often the cause is cultural, as witnessed by the excellence in education results amongst our Asian-American population. If your identity group is below par in education, don’t blame the student that’s getting better results or the government, look in the mirror and look at your culture. There’s the culprit.

PF Whalen

P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at  His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.

Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

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