Democrats & Liberals Archives

One Nation

Massachussetts Liberal. The Left Coast. Red State, Blue state… Whatever happened to the United States? One of the things I found most confounding about the former Republican majority was the willingness to turn one region against another. While such a divided strategy did wonders for politicans in times past and Republicans in recent history, is there much good or sense to it now? I don’t believe so.

The typical vision people have of Texans is typically false. Texans, by a wide margin, are urban. Eight out of ten, as a matter of fact. The TRMPAC strategy, which got Tom DeLay indicted and replaced by a Democrat, infamously extended different districts out in all directions from cities, quartering liberal Austin, creating a district that extended from Beaumont to Houston, and another nicknamed "The District That Ate Houston", which surrounds the east of Houston and then extends out on another one of the typical 100 mi plus ribbons.

What was the purpose of creating these long distance districts through the country? To dilute urban liberalism with rural conservatism. The original plan was drawn up in favor of the Republicans, but didn't unseat popular Democrat incumbents. When all was said and done, Republicans ended up overrepresenting themselves, creating a seventy percent majority in a state where they only had roughly sixty.

Texas is a real illustration of the consequences of Nixon's Southern Strategy, the strategy that use God, Gays, and Guns (not to mention race) to turn the solid South from Democrat to Republican. As it is, the populous South remains the last solid part of the Republican Delegation. Much has been done in the last decade to try and create a permanent majority. TRMPAC was part of this.

The South's political position is a relic of the Civil War that nearly destroyed this country. For political reasons, both Democrats and Republicans have pitted the South against the North over the last fourteen decades. Other political strategies have pit West against East, Midwest against New England. California, New York and Massachussetts have become bywords as states for nutty and kooky liberalism.

At times, you can hardly believe we are United States here. But factors are coming into play that are changing the landscape.

First, America has become far more urban and suburban. I have personal experience of this, being born and raised in Harris County. I can probably count on two hands the number of times I dressed like a cowboy. . With one or two exceptions, I never wore boots. I've never been hunting, I've never raised livestock, I've never farmed. I've never even ridden a horse. My accent and way of speaking might be Texan, to some extent, but it's nowhere near as bad as Bush's affected twang.

Moreover, the urbanization in my area has spread. Cattle Pastures have literally been paved over with Wal-Marts and Krogers. Houston has annexed right up to our doorstep, and will probably take us on the next go-round. I'm sad to see many of the distinctive stands of trees that made my area pleasant to look at torn down for the sake of real estate that I'm certain will hardly get sold in this market.

As it is, Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation, and its peers in Texas- Austin, San Antonio, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex- are no midgets either. This is what Tom DeLay faced when he was trying to push Texas politics to the right. This is what he diluted to get more Republicans elected to congress.

Now, even the urban/rural distinction is overshadowed by something else: telecommunications. Simply put, America sees more of itself. Though cultural distinctions and identities are still evident, America in one place looks much like America in another. In times past, accents were much thicker. Now the standard midwest accent dominates, diluting twangs and drawls. Sitting in front of a TV set, we're sold much the same products, see much the same movies, watch many of the same TV shows. One interesting thing to observe is the way The Nashville Network(TNN), once a bastion of country music and programming became The National Network, and then spontaneously gave up all pretenses of being the old TNN and just became Spike TV. You can also see the change in the way that Country music has become more like pop, with more electric guitars added in. Many artists even have to affect the accent when they sing.

It is the fear of this sort of softening of regional boundaries that many politicians played upon, but the truth is, they can't do much to stop it. communication and the sharing of ideas is what carries this change towards a more national identity. There are limits to how far it will go at any one time, of course, but America culture definitely evolves more dynamically, more in synchronicity than ever before.

The Democrats wisely moved towards a 50-state strategy this time around, on these very premises. The Republicans bet on regional strategies for years on end, and for their troubles were defeated. The difference in all these situations is the party's understanding of the country. While regional resentment is not absent among the Democrats, it's not the means by which power is reinforced. Republicans might speak of a Massachussetts Liberal, of a Left Coast, or of the various sins of California, but there is no comparable move to pit Democrats against the South or the West. Quite the opposite. We set out to woo them back into the fold, and that's just what happened.

Whatever our dissatisfactions with other regions of the country, we still are one country, and we should realize that there are limits to the reasonable level of these rivalries. Competition and identity are good. America doesn't need to become a gray land of conformity. We should recognize, though, that many of the differences that have divided us have faded with time. America is no longer so much the house divided against itself. There is strength and unity to be found in our country, as long as we have the will to look for it, and the patience with our fellow Americans to find it.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2006 5:24 AM
Comments
Comment #194864

well said….

and if the Dems start governing for and to the extremes (as the Reps did), then they, too, will be ousted. I hope they can govern just slightly left of center.

Posted by: Tom L at November 13, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #194867

The were ousted in the 90’s for being too extreme Tom L.
It’s funny though, many of us on this site were telling the Dems that they had to come back to center if they wanted to win. How did the liberals answer us on here? They said the problem was that the Dem party had moved to far to the center and that is why they kept loosing elections. That they needed to move further left. So what happens on election day? The Dems keep their extreme liberal wing hidden and run “Conservative Democrats” and win.

And Stephen. We may not be as divided as some say, but until the liberals can respect the fact that life out here in the boonies is ALOT different than the East Coast, West Coast or wherever else libs rule, they will continue to struggle come election time.

Posted by: kctim at November 13, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #194868
Massachussetts Liberal. The Left Coast. Red State, Blue state… Whatever happened to the United States?

Y’all liberals have divided it into political sections and made it multicultural. That’s what.
As far as us conservatives are concerned, it should still be one nation and one culture.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 13, 2006 1:42 PM
Comment #194871

Ron Brown, that didn’t even make sense. And are you saying that multicultural is a bad thing? This is what I don’t get: blue states are by and large much more successful than red. Better economies, better systems of education, better opportunities. Blue states support this country, as evidenced by this map. If Blue America stopped subsidizing Red America, the quality of life in the red states would suffer dramatically. Here are the rates on teen pregnancy. How about divorce rates? When are the red states going to realize that their way of doing things simply does not work? When are they going to realize that they need us more than we need them? When are they going to put down the damn bibles and pick up a newspaper? WAKE UP! You are ruining your lives, your children’s lives and the world around you with your BS DOGMA!

Posted by: David S at November 13, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #194877

I think Americans are only truly separated by regional differences in very superficial ways. For instance, I don’t remember anyone making the distinction on or after 9/11 that it was New York City that was attacked. It was simply viewed as an attack on America. Nor do I remember anyone not being dismayed when New Orleans and parts of the Gulf Coast were destroyed following Hurricane Katrina. Even though some people did question the actions, or the intelligence of those folks who ended up dead or stranded, it wasn’t as though any of us was glad that a unique and vibrant, and historic American city like New Orleans had been almost entirely wiped away, or that so many folks who lived on the Gulf Coast had just lost everything.
Also, the fact that we are at war seems to make our people much more aware of how our soldiers who hail from every state in our nation are right now over in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting and dying side by side.
I think only a very small percentage of Americans view our regional differences as a big deal, and yet even among these folks, when push comes to shove, or disaster strikes, those regional differences aren’t nearly as important as the fact that We the People are all fellow citizens of the United States of America.
E Pluribus Unum — out of Many, we are One — at least when it truly counts.

Btw Stephen, nicely written piece.

kctim:
“many of us on this site were telling the Dems that they had to come back to center if they wanted to win. How did the liberals answer us on here? They said the problem was that the Dem party had moved to far to the center and that is why they kept loosing elections. That they needed to move further left. So what happens on election day? The Dems keep their extreme liberal wing hidden and run “Conservative Democrats” and win.”

Actually kctim, it turns out that E Pluribus Unum currently applies to the Democratic, as well. The true left and the moderates of the Democratic party cannot be separated and so, must find a way to compromise with each other. Because you see the Netroots have forever changed how Democratic campaigns raise money, draw support, and encourage the liberal base to get out and vote. Instead of what you are claiming, the results of the election now past have demonstrated that the Netroots Left cannot win elections on their own (not yet anyway) without the Moderates, and that the Moderate DLC wing cannot win a major national election without the Netroots Left. So you see, all the people in our party are very much linked together, and so, we will either succeed together, or fail together, as well.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 13, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #194880

I don’t think it was extremism that ticked people off about the Liberals. I think what killed that majority is the same as what killed the one that came after it: corruption, and the failure to deal with the people’s problems.

As for the Center? I think we could have done a better job in 2004 if we had done this kind of 50 State Strategy. We had the advantage, even then, of being more centrist than our opponents, but at that point, we didn’t have the kind of bold strategy that would reach out to centrists beyond our big regions and the swing states.

Additionally, You should direct your criticism more towards the Republicans. They’ve run screaming from the center, and they aren’t doing much to reconnect to them.

Continuing in that vein, I did not see liberals struggling in the polls. I saw them winning, many by large margins. Large swaths of the NE and Midwest went blue, and gains were made across the country.

Conservatives have asked for a whole lot of respect for the Boonies, and gotten much of it. However, the time has come for the pendulum to swing, and for the suburbs and cities to get a little more respect in turn. Respect is a two way street.

Ron Brown-
We pursued a strategy that didn’t play to one region or another, but which preached our message to the country as a whole. The truth is, we are a multicultural society, but one where the environment encourages people to assimilate on their own.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2006 3:14 PM
Comment #194881

Ron-
Let me add: American culture encourages assimilation, but it encourages it by choice. When identity is decided freely, and cultures absorbed naturally, the tensions that mark forced conformity do not develop. Because they don’t develop, we don’t see the kind of tension those in other nations see.

I mean, if you want to see where forced conformity to one culture gets you, look at Iraq and the Middle East. What has it gained them to be so uptight about it. Real, functional multiculturalism is about being relaxed about the foreign and the different, rather than trying to control something you likely have no power over.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #194882

—Stephen Daugherty—
I think politics has less to due with Ideas, but
more to due with their financial status. During the
sixties, more of the population were becoming more educated, earned more money, and chose to follow the American Dream where ever success would
would take them. People are no longer the home
bodied soles they once were. People today also have
special desires for specific neches, as to what an
who surround them, for a variety of reasons. I
also think, with the huge increases in population,
more choices, and a great deal of wealth, and the
poor people back in the seventies an eighties,
who moved to warmer climates an lived in their car
until they earned enough money to pay rent, or buy
a home. Unfortunately some are still on the street. Using Redistricting is one of the largest
tools for controlling political lines, seems very
effective. Big Money takes care of the rest.

Posted by: -DAVID- at November 13, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #194964

Stephen

From someone who grew up in the “Boonies” (I’m not sure where you psuedo-intellectuals came up with this condescending geographical region to describe people in the Midwest), I find your “One Nation” argument interesting. Unfortunately it is the liberals who seem to want to separate the masses into pre-cut gender, racial, sexual, cultural groups instead of looking at people as individuals. These individuals perform at various levels in our society. Some good, some not so. They create the soup of society. Each bringing something unique to the whole, making it better than the sum. Over time the soup gets better and improves as the ingredients meld into one. It seems as though liberals, by trying always to identify the ingredients and keep their separate identities, never allow the soup to become one.

keith

Posted by: keith at November 14, 2006 8:38 AM
Comment #194970

Stephen,

Excellent piece of writing. I could not agree more.

Ron Brown,

I feel bad for you. Diversity is not a bad thing. Multicultural societies are vibrant and welcoming. Enjoy diversity. It’s something to celebrate, not fear.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at November 14, 2006 9:09 AM
Comment #194972


Keith: Many republicans think the soup has to be tomato soup. We democrats believe the soup must be vegetable soup. All of the ingredients meld into one when we are threatened by outside forces. The soup used to meld into one ingredient when natural disasters would strike but since Katrina that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Posted by: jlw at November 14, 2006 9:38 AM
Comment #194974

Ron Brown:

Y’all liberals have divided it into political sections and made it multicultural. That’s what.
As far as us conservatives are concerned, it should still be one nation and one culture.

And I supposed your suggestion for that one nation, one culture is the southern bigotted one. Thankfully, history past and not-so-past shows Americans moving decisively away from that…. the days and numbers of uneducated, racist, irrational gay bashers are in increasing decline….

Keith: Excellent metaphor! However, I tend to think the GOP wants the country to be stone soup.

Stephen: Pure racism was and is the foundation of the Southern strategy. “God, guns, & gays” was the GOP’s pc code phrase for “n——-s”… I find your post very thoughtful as I have many Texan friends who are greatly offended by the GOPs painting of Texas as a state of ignorance and hatred, and are embarrassed when Dubya claims he’s a Texan (which he is not).

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 14, 2006 9:49 AM
Comment #194975

Keith, the origin of hte word “boonies” comes from the word Boondocks, which in turns comes from the Phillipines area. See this reference: http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19971204

So as you can see this is not some pseudo-intellectul liberal thing, just normal expansion of the language. And before you accuse me of being some east/west coast elite, I am from right here in goold old Missouri, born and rasied in the midwest.

Finally, I think all of you are somewhat incorrect in your analysis of last week’s election. The people who voted in the Democrats are simply looking for RESULTS. We want results, we want problems solved, concerns dealt with, etc. That was why the Republicans took over in 1994 because Gingrich promised and delivered results. From where I sit in the Midwest, people want results, most of us don’t care that much who delivers them, just get it done. For awhile Republicans did that and they stayed in the majority. Then they stopped delivering and they got booted. Beware Democrats because I think the people’s tolerance for not delivering is getting short every cycle.

Posted by: SteveK at November 14, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #194976

Adrienne
Instead of what I am claiming?
For the past 3 years on here, I have been saying the Dems needed to move more to the center if they wanted to win. The “conservative Democrats” helped them do that and they won. As you said, the extreme liberal wing and the moderates need to work with each other if they want to keep winning.
Democrats now have the chance, again, to work for all of America. Personally, I think they will once again attempt to push urban type values, rules and lifestyle onto us and they will, once again be voted out. I truely hope that I am wrong.

Rural America and urban America are different and if the Democrats do not respect that, they will not keep their newly found power. You guys must listen to your new members and respect the people they represent.

Stephen
I do not criticize the Republicans as much because they do not attempt to take away individual rights as often as liberals do.
You guys have to understand that our lives ARE very different in just about every way. What you guys refer to as DINO’s, we call true Democrats. People like Ike Skelton and these new “conservative Democrats” better represent our values and who we are than people like pelosi or kennedy.
The liberals made room for these true Democrats so that they could win the election, lets hope they allow them to represent those who elected them.

I do agree that we didn’t really see Democrats struggling to much, but we did see liberals struggling didn’t we. IF a true Democrat would have run against Talent here in Missouri, there would have been no reason to wait for the KC and St. Louis votes to come in. A true Democrat would have won in a landslide. Instead, we had to choose between a candidate who will really only represent our 3 or 4 urban areas and a candidate who didn’t give us a reason to vote for or against him.

“Conservatives have asked for a whole lot of respect for the Boonies, and gotten much of it”

Really? The only thing we have gotten is that you guys finally saw that you need their vote to win and you ran “conservative Democrats” to get their vote.
Out here, you earn respect, it is not a given, and in order to earn it you are going to have to allow this “new” wing of your party to be heard.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #194986

jlw, Dr. Poshek

Are you sure you want to say Republicans want only tomato or stone soup? Are you really sure you understand what you said? Using my analogy you think Republicans want to eliminate all the ingredients but one (genocide) or that they can’t distinguish between ingredients. The first argument makes Republicans out to be genocidal murderers. The second argument makes them free from all predjudice (which is wildly inconsistent with your previous supposition). I think you may be better able to argue your point, with the analogy, by saying that Republicans wish to exclude some ingredients from the soup. Even then you would be hard pressed to convince me.

keith

Posted by: keith at November 14, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #194992

keith: Republicans are genocidal. “Genocidal murderers” is a redundancy.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 14, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #194996

jlw,

Great analogy, I’m not surprised that the (r)wing didn’t get it.

Stephen, kc,

I don’t think the 50 state strategy worked because of “the kind of bold strategy that would reach out to centrists” I think nearly any strategy would have worked that tied (R) congressional candidates to the unrestrained and abject failures of Bush. In other words: the (R) defeats have nothing to do with percieved shifts in (D) politics (position or strategy) as much as it has to do with the (R) shift to radical incompetency.
Let’s just hope competency becomes a necessary component of politics.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at November 14, 2006 12:22 PM
Comment #194999

Dave1-20-2009 -
Perhaps other approaches might have worked. However, there was an advantage to competing across the board: The Strength of Weak Ties (The link is to one of my older essays)

Regional approaches tend to consist mostly of preaching to the choir, trying to get them out on election day. The trouble with this approach is that the converted aren’t the people you have to worry about on on margins. It’s the skeptics.

You have to prove the quality of your positions to more than just party loyalists.

By making this a national campaign, moderating our message with pragmatism and realism, and choosing candidates to fit the districts, we were able to appeal to folks that were sympathetic to some of our beliefs, but who hadn’t seen a good choice from us in some time. It didn’t hurt that people had something to agree with us in this election, but that would have been of little use if we hadn’t expanded the fight beyond the safe battlegrounds of our strong regions.

As with any campaign, it’s important to take and hold ground, and with this election we set our sights high on what we were going to take. Most importantly, we now have a base from which to project party strength elsewhere. We may very well end up turning a number of red states blue, if we play our cards right.

As for Competence? Oh, I agree. It’s in fact more necessary than anything else. Most Americans aren’t asking, “Can we trust this person to be a liberal?”, they’re asking “Can we trust them to lead us well in this important time in history?” If we’re anything less than inspired in this respect, we do ourselves and the country harm.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #195004

Keith-
You seem to have less confidence in people from your region than I do. I don’t mind people from the boonies. I’m a Texan, remember? One of those people with those funny accents, who’s supposed to walk like he’s rode a horse all his life and spit tobacco all the time. I grew up able to ride twenty minutes in one direction and hit houston, and twenty minutes in the other and be out in the country. Even now, I bike to work past fields with Cows placidly munching grass. I was more suburban than country, but I wasn’t exactly big-city.

Truth is, the soup’s never meant to become one undifferentiated hodgepodge. The problem, across the board, is one of of avoiding both conformity and emnity. The point, ultimately, is to leave it up to people how they integrate. If you do that, you won’t get so many people awkwardly conformed into the system. As generations are born into things, they’ll have both the identity of their parents and the identity as an American to draw on, rather than the cold comfort of a narrow abstraction of both.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #195010

Comment #194999

Very good post Stephen.

“One of those people with those funny accents, who’s supposed to walk like he’s rode a horse all his life and spit tobacco all the time”

Um, no, that would be me :)

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #195012

Stephen

I had to point out dozens of times the fallacy of red/blue state distinctions. It was not the conservatives here who kept on bringing them up.

Posted by: Jack at November 14, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #195013

kctim-

“I do not criticize the Republicans as much because they do not attempt to take away individual rights as often as liberals do.”

Liberals do not “take away” individual rights. The premise of liberalism in general is to focus on individual rights and the governmental protection thereof. I think you are confusing the ideological with the practical. Don’t blame the ideology when it gets distorted or corrupted in practice. Blame the implimentation policy.

Stephen D-

“The point, ultimately, is to leave it up to people how they integrate. If you do that, you won’t get so many people awkwardly conformed into the system. As generations are born into things, they’ll have both the identity of their parents and the identity as an American to draw on, rather than the cold comfort of a narrow abstraction of both.”

Well put. I agree.

SteveK-

“For awhile Republicans [produced results] and they stayed in the majority. Then they stopped delivering and they got booted. Beware Democrats because I think the people’s tolerance for not delivering is getting short every cycle.”

What exactly did this current republican government produce that has had ANY proven benefits whatsoever? The terror legislation was obviously fatally flawed because it didn’t conform to the constitution nor international law…plus it was unnecessary and was designed only to make it so the government could cut corners in intelligence gathering. They didn’t secure a damn thing at home except the passenger lines at airports (damn water bottles!). They didn’t do anything remotely helpful for the economy because they borrowed all their working capital. The tax cuts mostly went to the rich. They continued to try and regulate the American family structure. Etc. Etc. Etc. What a bunch of nonsense.

Truth is that Bush was re-elected because of the political climate after 9/11 and the fact that his opponent was viewed as even less competent on the issue of security. There was no mandate. Just mass shrugging. Then came the extreme and divisive rhetoric and the failures of policy, one after another. Now we have a new congress. Lets extend them the same timeframes to work with and take it from there. No one will prevent you from criticising specific results once they are in power, but how about we wait to see those results before we start assuming what they will look like.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 14, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #195015

The nation is more unified than the GOP would like us to believe. The GOP strategy has long been to divide the nation. The only reason that the country seem so blue/red is that the GOP, their “liberal” media operatives, along with the Christian rightwing worked very hard to vilianize part of the population and divide us as a nation using divisive wedge issues. One of their downfalls may have been that the scope of their vilianization machine may have grown out of control alienating some of their own voters. Besides, I think people have become fed up with that mentality and the Dems did the right thing with their 50-state strategy of reaching out. I think the Dems will do OK as long as they push hard for unity at the rejection of GOP division.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #195016
I do not criticize the Republicans as much because they do not attempt to take away individual rights as often as liberals do.

kctim,

SAY WHAT???? Maybe you should ask a few people who have wound up on the GOP vilian list about that. It is the Democrats who have been fighting for individual rights against the objections of the GOP. Maybe I should ask you who you think qualifies as an individual? Or how you define “rights”?

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 1:54 PM
Comment #195019

Kevin
I’m not confusing anything at all.
Those who strongly favor taking away individual rights, label themselves as liberals.
It makes no difference whether its the proper definition or not. If they are going to claim they are liberals then I’m going to blame them as liberals.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #195021
Those who strongly favor taking away individual rights, label themselves as liberals.

kctim,

Who wants to restrict individual rights when it comes to marriage? Not liberals. Who wants to restrict individual rights when it comes to making private and personal decisions about your own body? Not liberals. Who wants to restrict individual rights to protest the government? Not liberals. Who wants to invade the individual right of privacy of Americans? Not liberals. Who wants to shit on the individual right of habeus corpus? Not liberals. I think you need to go back and reevaluate who is attacking liberty in this country. It ain’t the liberals.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #195026

JayJay
It seems you view being a Democrat or Republican as being the same thing as being a liberal or Conservative. I do not.

We could play the “who wants to restrict” game all day long but I don’t think we would get anywhere.
Who wants to restrict decisions I make about my own body? Liberals!
Oh, but wait, Conservatives don’t like abortions do they and that is what you were talking about isn’t it. Well, the “controlling what a woman does with her body” argument is bogus. The main objection is that some people believe there are 2 lives at stake. Take away the human life factor and I would be willing to bet most Conservatives wouldn’t care too much if women wanted to have their insides sucked out.
Who wants to restrict the 2nd Amendment? Liberals!
Who wants to restrict religion? Liberals!
Who wants to restrict how individuals spend their own money? Liberals!
Who wants to restrict how individuals plan their own retirement? Liberals!

And the GOP divided the nation line is nothing but a talking point.
Life in LA is totally different than life in the midwest. You cannot take the culture, values and lifestyle of one and try and force the others to accept it. That is one reason why our nation was seriously hurt when we gave up states rights and that is the reason the Dem party was rejected in the 90’s.
The “wedge” issues were already there and will continue to be there. The Republicans and Conservatives were just smarter about using them to get votes. Support of Constitutional rights has that effect.

“It is the Democrats who have been fighting for individual rights against the objections of the GOP.”

No, it has been Demorats and Republicans who been the moderates.

“Maybe I should ask you who you think qualifies as an individual?”

Every breathing American.

“Or how you define “rights”?”

The Constitution.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #195027
Many of us on this site were telling the Dems that they had to come back to center if they wanted to win. How did the liberals answer us on here? They said the problem was that the Dem party had moved to far to the center and that is why they kept loosing elections. That they needed to move further left. So what happens on election day? The Dems keep their extreme liberal wing hidden and run “Conservative Democrats” and win.

kctim,

There is only one problem, the numbers do not support your contention. When the new house majority takes effect in January the largest caucus will not be the DLC’s centrist “New Democrat Coalition,” it will be the “Congressional Progressive Caucus.” The caucus is up 14 members so far since the election bringing their total to 64 members. That number could go up to 70 since some progressive Democrats are locked in close battles in still undecided house races.

2 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, won seats in the new Senate. Also, two conservatives from the “Blue Dog Caucus,” Ed Case and Harold Ford lost.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #195030
Who wants to restrict the 2nd Amendment? Liberals!

kctim,

Liberals have all but dropped that as an issue.

Who wants to restrict religion? Liberals!

Liberals I know sure as hell don’t want that. In fact liberals fight for the right to worship as you see fit. We are talking about individual rights here and liberals have fought for individual rights of religious freedom or of no religioun is you so choose. The only time that liberals have barked about religioun is when it was sponsored by a governmental agency. There is a big difference between individual rights and the rights of the government (which should be restricted).

Who wants to restrict how individuals spend their own money? Liberals!

That is a piss poor argument. So you have to pay taxes to support the good of the country, boo hoo. Did I get a choice if my taxdollars would be spent on an immoral war? Hell no.

Who wants to restrict how individuals plan their own retirement? Liberals!

The governement is not planning my retirement, I am planning my own to be suplemented by SS. If you are letting the government plan your retirement through SS then you are going to be in big trouble.

And the GOP divided the nation line is nothing but a talking point.

Excuse me, but I just lived through the last 6 years, it is not a talking point, it is reality. Trying to dismiss what really happened by calling it a talking point is not reality based.

Life in LA is totally different than life in the midwest. You cannot take the culture, values and lifestyle of one and try and force the others to accept it. That is one reason why our nation was seriously hurt when we gave up states rights and that is the reason the Dem party was rejected in the 90’s.

I do not live in California, I live in the Midwest. My views are not out of place here. As far as taking the culture, values and lifestyle of one and trying to force others to accept it, just exactly do you think the Cons have been doing by acting like the “Morality Police?” The Dems got kicked out of the majority in the 90’s for the exact same reason that the GOP got kicked out last week.

The “wedge” issues were already there and will continue to be there. The Republicans and Conservatives were just smarter about using them to get votes. Support of Constitutional rights has that effect.

Well at least you can admit that the GOP used people’s personal lives for their own political gain. Sorry, Bud, but equality IS a constitutional right. Freedom from government religioun IS a Constitutional right. The government’s ability to collect taxes to ensure the “general welfare” of the nation IS a constitutional right. Protection from unwarrented searches and seizures IS a constitutional right. Individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness IS a Constitutional right.

No, it has been Demorats and Republicans who been the moderates.

WOW is all I can say about that one.

Every breathing American. The Constitution.

Me too. So why then do you think it is ok for conservatives to deny every breathing American their Constitutional right to equality, and freedom from a government to institute laws based on religious beliefs?

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #195031
It seems you view being a Democrat or Republican as being the same thing as being a liberal or Conservative. I do not.

Actually you are the one who made the distinction between “Republicans” and “Liberals”:

“I do not criticize the Republicans as much because they do not attempt to take away individual rights as often as liberals do.”

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #195032

Kctim-

“I’m not confusing anything at all.
Those who strongly favor taking away individual rights, label themselves as liberals.
It makes no difference whether its the proper definition or not. If they are going to claim they are liberals then I’m going to blame them as liberals.”

Charles Manson could call himself a good Christian too, but it doesn’t make it so. And bashing Christianity as a result would be a fool’s errand. Your logic is terrible.

And your perpetuating false information solely because someone else did it first does not help you make a clear point, but rather the exact opposite. You ARE confusing things…fundemental things.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 14, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #195036

JayJay
“Liberals have all but dropped that as an issue”

They have only dropped it because they know they lose with it. Once they are back on track again, they will get right back to their old tricks. I hope I am wrong though.

“There is a big difference between individual rights and the rights of the government (which should be restricted)”

There is also a big difference between freedom of religion and freedom from religion but liberals do not see it that way.
Public places were not meant to be free from religion but Americans were meant to be able to have freedom of religion. There is nothing wrong with thanking God in public schools, offering prayer time or saying God in the pledge, if one so chooses to.

“That is a piss poor argument. So you have to pay taxes to support the good of the country, boo hoo.”

No, I have to pay taxes to support what others “believe” is for the good of the country. I thought forcing beliefs onto others was wrong?

“Did I get a choice if my taxdollars would be spent on an immoral war? Hell no.”

Of course not. But then again, I do believe the Constitution covers that one doesn’t it.

“The governement is not planning my retirement, I am planning my own to be suplemented by SS. If you are letting the government plan your retirement through SS then you are going to be in big trouble”

Too many people have become dependent on govt and SS to provide for their retirements.
And most people would benefit more if they were allowed to invest their own money as they see fit.

“Excuse me, but I just lived through the last 6 years, it is not a talking point, it is reality.”

And I lived through the previous 8 years.

“Trying to dismiss what really happened by calling it a talking point is not reality based.”

Neither is ignoring the previous 8 years.

“I do not live in California, I live in the Midwest.”

Cool. Anywhere near KC Missouri?

“As far as taking the culture, values and lifestyle of one and trying to force others to accept it, just exactly do you think the Cons have been doing by acting like the “Morality Police?””

I agree. We have had Conservative morals and liberals “morals” forced onto us.

“The Dems got kicked out of the majority in the 90’s for the exact same reason that the GOP got kicked out last week.”

Amen!

“Well at least you can admit that the GOP used people’s personal lives for their own political gain. Sorry, Bud, but equality IS a constitutional right.”

Which is why I am a strong supporter of gay marriage, religous freedom and Constitutional rights.

“Freedom from government religioun IS a Constitutional right.”

I agree. But nobody I know of has ever proposed a govt religion.

“The government’s ability to collect taxes to ensure the “general welfare” of the nation IS a constitutional right”

Yes it is. The problem lies in ones definition of general welfare. To some of you, it is a nanny state, to most of us, it is to be “general” in every aspect of govt.

“Protection from unwarrented searches and seizures IS a constitutional right.”

It used to be. No knock laws and wiretapping took care of that one.

“Individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness IS a Constitutional right.”

So why have we allowed govt the power to dictate what individual liberty’s we can have and how to pursue that happiness?

“WOW is all I can say about that one.”

Why? I told you before that I do not view Dems and Reps as being the same as libs and Conservatives.

“Me too. So why then do you think it is ok for conservatives to deny every breathing American their Constitutional right to equality,”

I don’t and I don’t believe I have ever defended that.

“and freedom from a government to institute laws based on religious beliefs?”

Most of our laws are based on some form of religious belief or moral or value.
Didn’t that Jesus guy say something about helping the poor? Funny how the left has no problem with that being forced as a belief onto others.

Aside from religious beliefs, shared by both the left and right, being the main reason behind the anti gay marriage charge, nothing else really can be related to govt forcing religion onto people.
This vote getting myth of how Conservatives and Republicans want to set up a theocracy is laughable and I’m a freakin atheist.

Its funny how the left would rather fear their own countrymen and their religious beliefs over that of terrorists, who on behalf of their religous beliefs have killed so many of our fellow Americans.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #195041

Ok Kevin, then how should we label people who claim to be liberals but don’t follow the dictionary definition of the word? What would be the proper name to call the extreme left wing (who call themselves liberals) of the Democratic party?
I suppose you get upset when people use the word “soccer” over that of “football” too.

JayJay
“Actually you are the one who made the distinction between “Republicans” and “Liberals””

Yes I did. I said Republicans and liberals, not Conservatives and liberals.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #195043
Its funny how the left would rather fear their own countrymen and their religious beliefs over that of terrorists, who on behalf of their religous beliefs have killed so many of our fellow Americans.

kctim,

You cannot seperate one from the other. Terrorism is based on religious extremism. It is not totally out of the question that what causes Islamic extremism in the Middle East could not cause a similar movement of Christian extremism here. Before anyone jumps in with the Islam is evil, Christianity is good line, there are plenty of passages in the Judeo-Christian Bible (esp the OT) that could be construed by extremist as an ok from their God to perpatrate violence on others. In fact, a large Christian group that supposedly supports “family values” (I cannot think of the name right now), has advocated the killing of homosexuals. Religion can be a force for peace, but it can also quickly turn into your worst nightmare.

The only way to ensure that does not happen is to embrace religious diversity and not give superiority status to one over another. The last few years have been anything but, with right wing Christianity demanding center stage.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #195044
What would be the proper name to call the extreme left wing (who call themselves liberals) of the Democratic party?

kctim,

Maybe we should try to stop lumping people together under labels and just talk about the individual issues at hand. When we lump people together under labels we wind up waging attacks against the people who carry that label, not the actual issue.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #195046

JayJay
“You cannot seperate one from the other”

Many of us can JayJay:
Followers of Islam declared war on us and then flew planes into US buildings and killed thousands of our fellow countrymen.
Christians want to be left alone.

And I’m going to guess that many of the lefts new “Conservative Democrats” can too.

“a large Christian group that supposedly supports “family values” (I cannot think of the name right now), has advocated the killing of homosexuals”

What will happen to these guys if they are caught and resist? They will die.
There will be no left talk about how we must understand where they are coming from or how the govt went too far either. The left will sit back and do and say nothing, just as they did in Waco.

“The last few years have been anything but, with right wing Christianity demanding center stage.”

Again, other than all the anti gay marriage stuff, which is supported by religious people on BOTH sides of the isle, where do you see a Christian takeover of America in the last 6 years?

Muslims declared war on us and attacked us. Christians have not, but the left fears them more.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 4:50 PM
Comment #195050
Followers of Islam declared war on us and then flew planes into US buildings and killed thousands of our fellow countrymen.

kctim,

No, a small minority group of Islamic extremists declared war on us and attacked us. The majority of Islam is peaceful. Taking our revenge on all of Islam because of the action of a few extremists is bad policy at best. Which is my point about Fundamentalist Christianity demanding a bigger spotlight than it represents.

Christians want to be left alone.

And there are many people in this country who want Christians to leave them alone.

There will be no left talk about how we must understand where they are coming from or how the govt went too far either. The left will sit back and do and say nothing, just as they did in Waco.

There is a big difference between bringing the perpatrators of a crime to justice and finding ways to coexsist with people from different cultures. Nobody, has said that we should sypathize with those who carried out the attacks, they should all die and rot in hell. What we are saying is that we should find ways to make sure that we understand other cultures and find ways to prevent those attacks from happening in the future. We cannot get in this mode that all Muslims want to attack us, therefore we should attack them first. That is a recipe for disaster on a biblical scale.

Again, other than all the anti gay marriage stuff, which is supported by religious people on BOTH sides of the isle, where do you see a Christian takeover of America in the last 6 years?

Marriage equality and abortion have been big areas where Christian fundamentalists want to impose their will. But it doesn’t stop there. They have fought to keep the morning after pill out of Doctor’s hands, they have fought safe sex practice education that could save lives, they have fought the release of the HPV vaccine because it would remove a deterant to sex, even though doing so would sentance some to agonizing death by cancer. They have proposed a ban on birth control, and started a faith based inititive based in the federal Government. They have fought to put religion in the science class.

Muslims declared war on us and attacked us. Christians have not, but the left fears them more.

Again, Muslims as a whole DID NOT declare war on us, a small minority of extremists did. No Christians have not, and that is the way we want it to stay. The left absolutly does not fear them more, but they are a part of our culture and we do have to live with them and the concequences of their actions. If we don’t then we may wind up like Muslims who are being punished for not dealing with their own extremism issues.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #195051

JayJay
“and finding ways to coexsist with people from different cultures”

Well said!
Do American Christians not also qualify as a culture?

I totally agree about marriage equality, but it is Christian fundamentalists, not Republican or Conservative Christian fundamentalists.
And as I said, abortion, IMO, is more about saving a life than it is about religion.

Yes, we must live with Christians but their actions have not given us any reason to fear them. Treating them the same or worse, then those who do, is wrong.

But this all boils down to what Stephens topic spoke about in a way.
The majority of people try to live in geographical areas which reflect their beliefs.
Some people view Christians as no different than the terrorists and some people can distinguish between the two.
Some people worry about the govt listening to them on the phone and some worry about the govt taking their guns.
Some people want to depend on govt to survive and some want govt to leave them alone.
The Dems barely convinced the voters that they have moved towards the center but unless the Dems take that serious and respect their different views, they will be rejected again.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #195053


I am a liberal conservative. No, I am a conservative liberal. I don’t know, it’s one or the other I think. It is becoming so confusing. You have neoliberals, liberals, progressive liberals, neoconservatives, conservatives, moderates and independents. Then you also have socialists, libertarians, capitalists, communists, nazis, neonazis, nationalists and a few others that I haven’t even heard of. Throw religion into the mix and that will add a couple volumes to the list. How many political parties do we need? I think I will just stick with democrat for now.

Posted by: jlw at November 14, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #195055

Kctim-

“Ok Kevin, then how should we label people who claim to be liberals but don’t follow the dictionary definition of the word?”

Just off the top of my head? How about quasi-liberals, or neo-liberals, or supposed liberals? Whatever it is, it should be an honest description…not one that is intentionally unfocussed.

“What would be the proper name to call the extreme left wing (who call themselves liberals) of the Democratic party?”

I guess that depends on which extreme left wing you’re talking about. I’d be a tad more descriptive than “liberal” if I wanted to distinguish them for some reason though.

“I suppose you get upset when people use the word “soccer” over that of “football” too.”

No, because soccer is not football, and never will be in my eyes. There is only one football, and it involves high speed collisions and people getting knocked down in every single play. And I love saying things like: “My Trojans are going to pound on your Beavers all day long this Saturday!” And honestly, what red blooded American male doesn’t love a game that is just a huge analogy to war?

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 14, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #195057

jlw
It would be great to just be able to stick with Democrat, but we can no longer do that.
A northeast or southern cali democrat is alot different than say somebody like Ike Skelton here in Missouri. How in the hell could I vote for a kerry or pelosi “Democrat,” when they do not want to represent my views?

That is where I disagree with Stephens post. I believe there is a huge difference between rual and urban America or the coasts and the rest of America.
And I believe a party who is willing to respect the differing views and different lifestyles of each, will eventually become the party of the people.

Posted by: kctim at November 14, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #195059

jlw-

I can appreciate your frustration with labels, but they do have meaning. All of them. And saying we don’t need labels is like saying we don’t need more words in the dictionary. Well, you know, if it carries unigue meaning, it needs to exist for its own sake. That is how humans have progressed from grunting to writing grand political philosophy…by adding words.

And what in the world does it mean to be a democrat? It is not an ideology at all, but rather a party made up of loose affiliations who sometimes have common interests…just like the republicans. If I say I’m a social libertarian, you know exactly where I stand on almost every social issue. If I say I’m a democrat, it could go either way most of the time. That doesn’t help anyone, nor describe anything of political relevence anymore. There are just too many issues, too much variance in lifestyle, and too many people to speak for.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 14, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #195061
Do American Christians not also qualify as a culture?

Yes they do, and we MUST coexist together. It is a two way street, which mean that I will respect their beliefs as long as they respect mine. But when they start to push beyond the line of respect then they should expect to be pushed back.

And as I said, abortion, IMO, is more about saving a life than it is about religion.

This is a highly charged issue on both sides. This may surprise you, but I am absolutly against abortion as a form of birth control. But I also believe that when an issue is this emotionally charged on both sides then it is best to allow the individual to make an informed choice that they will have to live with.

Yes, we must live with Christians but their actions have not given us any reason to fear them. Treating them the same or worse, then those who do, is wrong.

I am not advocating treating any group worse than any other. For me it is an issue of respect. I can respect individuals making religious choices for themselves. I have a harder time respecting religious choices pushed on other individuals against their will.

Some people view Christians as no different than the terrorists and some people can distinguish between the two.

Just like some people view Muslims as no different that the terrorists, and some people can distinguish between the two, huh?

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #195063
And I believe a party who is willing to respect the differing views and different lifestyles of each, will eventually become the party of the people.

kctim,

I don’t think such a party can ever exist. Probably the closest that I can think of right now is the Libertarian Party which recently softened some of their hardline stances to become more mainstream.

Posted by: JayJay at November 14, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #195080

First to the main post. Stephen, I grew up in suburban Tennessee, and I agreed with the sentiment of your post when I was there. Then I moved to the Northeast for college and found a whole different world. There are real differences in the culture, morals, and politics of the different regions.

These manifest themselves in a difference of opinions on political issues and are ultimately up for grabs in national races. When I lived in TN, I considered myself a Democrat. When I moved to the Northeast, I considered myself a Republican. My views didn’t change nearly as much as my surroundings did. Now I live in the Midwest, and I’m still a Republican, but willing to cross party lines more often than I would in either of the previous places I lived.

There is a fundamental difference between a MA Republican and a TN Republican and an Ohio Repubilcan. The opposite is also true. This matters.

To JJ,

Gay marriage ammendments were passed in more states again this cycle as repulsive as I find that. There is now gay marriage legislation or ammendments in more states than not, red and blue. In the 2004 races, it was Kerry voters that passed them not Bush voters. Take Ohio for example, Bush voters were less than 51% of the vote, the ammendment passed at over 60% (well over if I recall correctly). There was at least a small minority of Bush voters against (let’s say 2% for arguments sake, though my guess is it was more like 10%). That meant without the Kerry voters it didn’t make it, yet it did by a landslide. This is not just a FREC issue. They just got it on the ballot (something that I hold against them).

This was not helped by the fact that the Democratic standard bearer didn’t have the balls to stand up on the issue. Also, gentle reminder, Clinton signed the DOMA into law as well. This is a bi-partisan restriction of rights that we have going.

To Dr. Poshek,
I have to ask you politely to take that back. Republicans are not genocidal in any way.

Finally back to the main post. Stephen, don’t you think that David S’s response to Ron refutes your entire argument if he speaks for any substantial portion of the Democratic base? My disenchantment with the Democratic Party in the early 90’s was founded on this kind of pendantic approach to “red states” i.e. the South by NE liberals.

Posted by: Rob at November 14, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #195081

Rob: I shall politely decline to take back my statement of the truth. Republicans and their polities are by intent and effect genocidal.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 14, 2006 8:57 PM
Comment #195084

Dr. Poshek,

The definition of genocide I’m working from is “the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group”. Source: Dictionary.com.

Do you have a different one? Because if not, I’m naively unaware of the U.S.’s government’s intent to exterminate anything since the American Indians or actions that have resulted in such an event.

Can you provide substantive proof on the intent of any policy designed or enacted by any party in the United States in the last 30 years that were created with the explicit intent to result in the extermination of a group?

Posted by: Rob at November 14, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #195087

What happened with the Iraq War wasn’t so much that things were getting worse, but that the Republicans wouldn’t let people within a yard of the policy without them giving up the option or the initiative to change things. To be taken seriously, you had to be a team player. To be a team player, you had to maintain blind faith in the war, and not suggest alternatives.

I think the Democrats successfully demonstrated that you can be a critic of the war, even a proponent of withdrawal, without having to accept collapse or defeat in Iraq as inevitable. With the Democrats, you could at least have an honest conversation about the war.

I don’t think people want to feel like being part of a political party means having to bury their heads in the sand. I think that’s the uniting principle about the new Democratic party. It’s not that we’re angels, or that we don’t have folks on the fringe or even that everybody in the Democratic party likes their new company or their old adversaries.

No, what it is is that people have a broader opportunity for dialogue on the issues within the Democratic party. The direction is not party dogma to the exception of everything else.

America needs a rest from ruling dogma, a good long rest. America needs to feel again like it’s one country where people can discuss things, despite their differences. We need to be having debates more profound than who’s the bigger poopy-head. America needs a chance to mature into this new period in its history, regain some of its hope, its optimism, and its resolve to fight the evils of the world and the darkness within.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #195092

Stephen,

I’m confused; whom are you responding to? If it was to me, I have to admit that I’m too thick to get the point right now.

Posted by: Rob at November 14, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #195098

Rob-
Sorry. I was just expressing a general thought about how things went.

My basic answer to you is that people have common interests, even across party lines. The Bush administration and the last congress ignored this, and this current one ignores it at their peril. The real reason that the Republican failed is that they unified enough Americans in the impression that their policies were hurting America at home and abroad.

9/11 unites this country in more ways than one. If we heard Bin Laden was dead tomorrow, I think we’d both be dancing in the streets. I think had the president said “I’m not going to rest until I’ve got Bin Laden’s head on a platter.” Instead of “I’m not really that concerned about him anymore”, he would have kept far more Democratson his side.

I think Americans would just as soon do things by the rule of law. I don’t think they object to their being rules and oversight on surveillance and treatment of prisoners as long as something gets done.

I don’t think Americans mind the basic concept of deregulations, so long as it doesn’t come around to bite them in the butt. Neither do I think they mind regulation, kept moderate enough.

I think Americans were much more willing to sacrifice than Bush realized or even thought to take advantage. As much as some Republicans decry the lack of vision among Democrats, I distinctly remember feeling sad that my president’s big message to my generation was “go out and spend”.

What America needs are missions: Deficit reductions, restoration of checks and balances, the best possible end to Iraq, the cleansing of temple of government of the moneychangers. Hell, what better mission could you go for than going forward with the 9/11 commission recommendations? Protect the Country!

We cannot unite ourselves around grudges and fears. We can unite around these purposes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2006 10:24 PM
Comment #195110

KCTM et al

I live in a rural county. Admitably it is on the left coast but the economic base is largly agriculture with fishing and logging thrown in in the region. It is also overwhelmingly Democratic,followed by the Reps and then the Green Party. Separating blue-red by urban or boonies is not accurate. That is in most cases an oversimplification.There was a time in America when the cenral farm states were hotbeds of radical populism. Banks,trying to forclose on farms were run out of whole regions. The central states gave birth to the Grange Movement,originally farmers unions, and farm subsidies to stabilize whole communities. These were considered radical concepts at the time,even communist by some.
That being said,the issue of gun control does reflect a very real difference between urban and rural residents.If you live in the city,especially if you are white,middle class or well to do,and you call the police about a crime in progress they will be there in a matter of minutes.Also a civilian with a gun in the city is looked upon,often with good reason,as a threat. In the country,because of the usually small police dept. and the distances they must travel.the police cannot realible offer as much protection. They usually just fill out the forms after the crime has been committed.Guns are considered to be another tool in the country. They get used for protection,to put down injured stock,kill a predator,maybe even put a little meat on the table but they are not a threat.
The Dems have done a poor job understanding this difference when this issue comes up. This has been used skillfully by some on the right to move rural areas into the red column. This is one Dem that is happy to see some pro-gun Democrats in congress. Personally I am a 2nd amendment Democrat. There is not a lot of us but we are a growing faction. I hope we will be able to change the attitudes of our party. There are signs that is happening. In fairness many of our brethern seek to limit guns out of fears and helplessness about some of the horrific crimes that sometimes occur. I would submit that the best way to stop crime is not gun control but adopting policies that give hope,that convince people that they do have a future and it can be a good one. We will disagree on this one but I have concluded that the Dems have a better shot of doing this.

Posted by: BillS at November 15, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #195113


Bills: Who would of thunk it, two 2nd amendment democrats on one thread. I live in rural Ohio. the majority here is rep. but the dems are gaining ground fast as more and more people move out into the countryside. Here the sheriff’s dept. shows up well after the act is over. It isgetting to the point that when anyone gets robbed and call the sheriff, they get told that they can come into town and fill out a statement if they want to. Half the theives are on the informant list. They get caught theiving, they give the name of a drug dealer, they are back on the road theiving again. Once in a while a thief may have to wear a wire and actually purchase drugs. everytime the sheriff or the prosecuting attorney is up for reelection there is a big drug bust and or prosecution just in time for the election. Thieves are a greater problem in the country than the city. The sheriff’s Dept. gets federal money for busting pot growers and sellers but none for catching thieves. There is no doubt in my mind that if this continues, we will need our guns to protect ourselves and our property.

Posted by: jlw at November 15, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #195120

Stephen Daugherty,

Good post. I tend to think the country is becoming more conservative as evidenced by the large numbers of Democrats elected who are conservative. Several people commented about how regional differences are real. I believe this to be the case. I’ve served around the country and also met people from all walks of life in the Army. There are different mentalities in different regions. What might be acceptable in NYC is not acceptable in Pittsburgh, what’s acceptable in Pittsburgh might not be acceptable in Iowa.

That being said, the Democrats have already essentially given up on gun control as they know it won’t carry except in big cities. I also think that they’ll at least need to moderate their stance on abortion and allow some restrictions. Telling a parent that they have to be informed if their 14 year old daughter needs a tylenol from the school nurse but not if she wants an abortion fails the common sense test amongst many others. The Republican defeat was based largely on the fact that they were seen as abandoning the conservativism that gave them the majority in the first place. I would imagine that Pelosi and Company will be pragmatic and have the sense not to try and rock the boat too hard on various social issues. If they do, then this Democrat majority may be the shortest in history.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 15, 2006 6:01 AM
Comment #195134

I too appreciate the second amendment in some cases moreso than any other. The second amendment is what keeps people like the chimp-in-chief from eroding every other amendment on the bill of rights.

Try being a gay man in the South and not supporting gun rights. Armed gays don’t get bashed, but stupid bigots who want to attack them do get shot.

But don’t worry Stephen, it seems these states can be united. All you have to do is unify them under the banner of hatred towards gay people. It worked for the Nazis, it works for the Republicans, and it works for most Democrats too.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at November 15, 2006 9:50 AM
Comment #195137

Jacob in SC,

I’m sorry to hear that you find yourself in a position where you need to be armed based on your sexual orientation. That being said, there is a difference between objecting to homosexuality on religious or moral grounds and being a gay basher. Not saying that’s what you said, but it can be taken that way. Personally, I’d just as soon let what people do in their own bedrooms stay there, and I think the Christian right needs to address a lot of other issues before they worry about homosexuality. That being said, I also find it a shame that so often any objection to homosexuality is met with accusations of homophobia. Being a straight white male, I suppose I’m not in the realm of groups that face discrimination, but the gay rights movement will not win any followers by insults to everyone who disagrees.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 15, 2006 10:06 AM
Comment #195138

BillS
I wasn’t trying to say that every rural area is a Republican or Conservative hotbed, but here in Missouri I would have to say they are probably around 60-70% so simply because of the individual rights, religion, guns and tax issues.

I don’t think we disagree as much as you may think concerning the 2nd Amendment. I know many pro 2nd Democrats and come from a family of former true Democrats. The Dem partys move to the extreme left is what causes them not to vote Dem anymore.

“The Dems have done a poor job understanding this difference when this issue comes up.”

The extreme left that controls the Dem party have done a poor job Bill. They did not believe they needed those votes so they ignored the Constitutional rights and concerns of the pro 2nd crowd. Hopefully, you are correct and they will now.

“This has been used skillfully by some on the right to move rural areas into the red column. This is one Dem that is happy to see some pro-gun Democrats in congress.”

I’m glad to see it too. Let’s just hope the controlling extreme left doesn’t start ignoring them now that they are in power again.

“Personally I am a 2nd amendment Democrat. There is not a lot of us but we are a growing faction.”

IMO, there are tons of pro 2nd Democrats, they just couldn’t vote for the Dem party anymore.

“I hope we will be able to change the attitudes of our party.”

You and me both.

“In fairness many of our brethern seek to limit guns out of fears and helplessness about some of the horrific crimes that sometimes occur”

Yes, they used fear to scare people into giving away guaranteed individual rights. Sounds alot like how the Reps were trying to handle terrorism doesn’t it.


Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #195145

1 LT B:

There’s a difference between objecting to something personally and using your objection to try to deny people jobs, housing, health care, a family, and basic happiness. While I have no trouble understanding and tolerating religious beliefs that tell people homosexuality is wrong, I do have serious problems when those religious beliefs are allowed to interfere in my life. You may not agree with interracial marriage, but that bias doesn’t make it okay to stick your spoon in that pot either. I think most will recall when Bob Jones Univ discriminated against blacks under the banner of religious freedom.

That said, telling me that you should be able to discriminate in a way that isn’t allowed with anyone else is absurd. If I were an employer and I turned away Christian rightists, they could sue me, yet they are (in most states) completely free to do that to us. Religious freedom is not the license to force your belief system on others, nor is it the guarantee that you’ll be able to use the law and social structures to effect social engineering programs to bolster your opinion.

I had no intention of insulting anyone, but I’m pretty sick and tired of people using their so-called beliefs as a mask for bigotry. Believe what you want, but leave me out of it.

Posted by: Jacob in SC at November 15, 2006 11:05 AM
Comment #195165

Jacob in SC,

You are completely right that there is a difference between objecting to homosexuality and discrimination and I was not insulted by what you said, but there are people out there who would be as it seems you’re linking Republicans with Nazis. Like I said, what people do in their own homes is their own business. I think a large part of the hostility towards gay rights stems from the perception that it is being forced upon people against their will. The Supreme Court decision that struck down anti-sodomy laws, coupled with Massachuttes allowing gay marriage created a concern that gay marriage would be broadly allowed by the courts with no input from the people. You rightly don’t like the use of religious freedom to engage in social engineering, but that’s how many conservatives view homosexual attempts to “legalize” gay marriage through the court system. Again I was not insulted and I hope you don’t think me a bigot for having a different opinion.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 15, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #195168

KCTM: I have heard the term”extreme left” used to describe a wing of the Dems often but it is has never been made clear to me exactly what that means. Please define your terms if you have the time.

Although I believe in the right of law abiding citizens to have guns I have voted consistently for Dems,even holding my nose from time to time. The reason is economic. My guns will not help me if they are in the pawn shop. I am a working union carpenter. Most of my work is on public projects,bridges etc. The Reps here are always attacking prevailing wage,overtime pay,closed shops,reasonable job safety programs, unemployment insurance,workers comp and pretty much anything else that helps working people. I hope that this election also brings about some real changes in the Rep party also. I hope they get back to their roots.For example,prevailing rate laws were divised and passed by Reps to protect wage standards and provide stability. It does not look good with Lott regaining his post. Looks like more of the same anti-worker stuff.

Posted by: BillS at November 15, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #195181

You know BillS, I really think “extreme left” and “extreme right” can only be decided by individuals themselves.
For me, “extreme left” means people who believe in wealth redistribution and use it as a means to create and capitalize on envy to get votes. Those on the extreme left also believe in punishing success and treating Americans not as equals when it comes to taxes. They do not believe in individual choice for issues which do not support their agenda. They do not support banning late term abortions. They do not support and overtly violate the 2nd Amendment. They believe social programs are the answer to every problem and believe people should be forced by govt to support that belief. They do not believe in personal responsibility. They believe in “national healthcare.” They believe the US, its military and its people are second to the world, the UN and the world population. They believe saving a stupid fish or lizard is more important than allowing a farmer to raise crops to feed his family. etc…

I know it is human nature to maybe believe in a few of these things, but too many of our elected politicians believe in most if not all of them.

Basically, people like pelosi are “extreme leftists” and people like Ike Skelton are Democrats.

” Although I believe in the right of law abiding citizens to have guns I have voted consistently for Dems…..”

This is where we differ some. I believe in all of our rights and will not vote for somebody who I feel does not. I have and still do vote for Democrats but I have never voted for a liberal. (sorry Kevin) The reason is the Constitution.
I’m one of those people who knows that the 2nd was not designed to protect hunting or protection rights. It was put in there to protect us from our govt and from those who wish to use govt to oppress us.

While I will never work as part of a union, I respect the individual rights of people to create them. But I also respect the individual rights of business owners too.

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #195191

kctim,

Good post and good thoughts. I worry somewhat about gun rights with someone like Pelosi in charge of the House, but I think she’ll be facing a revolt by a lot of her new freshman Dems if she tries anything regarding gun control. Just for her benefit, I want to buy a Barret .50 sniper rifle. The reason? California banned the rifle back in 02 or 03. Barret’s response was to announce that since Barret was legally not allowed to provide weapons or services to criminals that he would no longer sell or service Barret weapons sold to the State of California since they violated the 2nd and 14th Amendments.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 15, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #195198

Kctim-

“(sorry Kevin)”

For what?

Not voting for a “liberal”? What does that have to do with me, a traditional conservative libertarian? Or am I now a liberal simply because you personally found it more convenient?

I find your notion of personal definitions troubling. Maybe you should stop creating your own “personal” definitions of terms like “liberal” and “leftist”. You cannot change a definition unilaterally and then expect people to understand that new meaning while you use the term to disparage groups of people. Either stop using labels you don’t understand and say what you really mean, or go look up the meanings and use them properly. That is the only way to avoid overtly confusing people.

Just because someone calls themselves something does not mean that it is a universal truth. Words have specific meaning, and understanding those meanings is fundemental to using them. We do not let people re-make the English language as they go along. It defeats the whole purpose.

And your “personal” idea of what constitutes an “extreme leftist” is flawed when reconciled with the true meanings of the labels you attempt to use. Are you just calling any policy in which you personally dislike an “extreme left” policy?

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 15, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #195204

1LT B-

Have you read the 9th and 2nd circuit reasoning regarding the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment? I personally find the most literal reading to be the best one (every individual has the right to own guns), but the reasoning is fairly convincing. I believe it was the 2nd circuit court that decided that the right to bear arms was really intended to apply to militias rather than individuals. If you get the chance, check it out. If not for the fact that I believe the language of the amendment to be clear enough, in and of itself, to justify a literal reading, I would find the new interpretations to be completely reasonable…especially when viewed through the lens of urban crime.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 15, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #195205

And I personally oppose any law that would require me to give up my 9mm Beretta…after having seen firsthand what it is like to go without power (NYC blackout, CA energy “crisis”, etc.) or law and order (LA Riots, Katrina, etc.), I’d want to be put in the position of not being able to defend my family.

Of course, one man’s idea of protecting his family may be another man’s idea of cold-blooded murder.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 15, 2006 4:17 PM
Comment #195226

Man Kevin, you are in a mood today:)

“For what?”

Because we just had a little back on forth on the “proper” definition of the word liberal and I was trying to have a little fun.
It had nothing to do with not voting for a liberal or even saying you were one.

“I find your notion of personal definitions troubling. Maybe you should stop creating your own “personal” definitions of terms like “liberal” and “leftist”.”

I’m not creating anything my friend. pelosi IS of the left wing mindset and you can find her positions on issues with a simple search.

“Just because someone calls themselves something does not mean that it is a universal truth.”

No it doesn’t. But when a group of people with the same agenda or ideology call themselves liberal, I will help them out and call them as they wish.

“Words have specific meaning, and understanding those meanings is fundemental to using them. We do not let people re-make the English language as they go along. It defeats the whole purpose.”

We do that everyday. Hip, cool, wingnut and in the 80’s, bad meant good.

“And your “personal” idea of what constitutes an “extreme leftist” is flawed when reconciled with the true meanings of the labels you attempt to use.”

To you, they are flawed. To myself and many others, they define todays “leftist” or “liberal.”

“Are you just calling any policy in which you personally dislike an “extreme left” policy?”

No. I am calling any policy, in which somebody who says they represent the left, a left type policy.
Abortion on demand is supported by self proclaimed lefties, so it is a left policy.
No abortion at all is supported by self proclaimed righties, so it is a right policy.

If the left starts supporting the 2nd Amendment and the right starts violating or trying to kill it, then I will start saying anti 2nd Amendment people are Conservatives, ok?

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #195227

LT
Issues such as the 2nd Amendment are going to be the real test for the Dems. If they revert back to the 90’s, they will piss off their newest members and those who supported them. But they will also piss off the people who did not vote this year and that will not help them at the polls in future elections.

Kevin
“I would find the new interpretations to be completely reasonable…especially when viewed through the lens of urban crime”

Don’t you feel like we play with fire when we start finding new interpretations to support certain beliefs or agendas?
Many people found it completely reasonable to do that with the 4th….especially when viewed through the lens of terrorism.

Posted by: kctim at November 15, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #195228

I agree with interpretations of the Second Amendment that allow people to own guns, but I think there are reasonable limits to what weapons civilians should be allowed to possess. Our government already prohibits certain kinds, like automatic weapons for example.

To me, the argument some gun control opponents are using are self-destructive. Columbine is an example of the dangers of that approach. The horrors of seeing a high school shot up and blown up set back their cause years. I think the best way to ensure gun rights is to be reasonable about what constitutes gun rights. After all, the right to bear arms is not the right to own rocket-propelled grenades, nor is it the right for prisoners to keep their guns.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #195236

Posted too soon. Let me extend that argument a bit.

In this age of soundbites and TV News Soundbite Drama, we get all too many people refusing to compromise, because all to few people know how to do compromise with confidence. We’re taught to be competitive, to fight everything out, not to appear uncertain or vulnerable.

We’ve bought into this myth that folks can have total power, that we can just barge in and have our way if we just do so brazenly enough. The trouble is, it’s very difficult to argue people along those lines into becoming converts or into maintaining agreements.

All too often, we persuade in order to subvert, in order to trick people. Cigarette companies employed such approaches for years. Look where it got them! The end of such adversarial approaches is inevitably losing, and there are some kinds of losses that you can’t spring back from.

Moderate regulation of guns is better over the long run than absent regulation. An argument from fear only serves the true zealots on the issue by making those who oppose onerous restrictions on gun ownership appear like they’re paranoid.

The argument they present should not be a fever dream of government invading people’s houses and kicking down doors. Such notions make people afraid that the real target of gun advocates is the system itself, and that these people are closet insurrectionists. The way to successfuly defeat gun control is not to make it seem reassuring by one’s histrionics, it’s to make it a non-issue for the average person.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #195245

Kctim-

“Don’t you feel like we play with fire when we start finding new interpretations to support certain beliefs or agendas?”

What are you really asking? Of course we need to interpret laws to give them their intended meaning and effect in a constantly changing world. No one, not even Scalia, can claim to be a literalist or a textualist 100% of the time. Life is much too fluid, and we’d be stupid to assume that our legislators could pre-conceive of every possible scenario and circumstance when they write a law. They’re just not that smart. That’s why we need judges: to interpret a law and apply it to a unique set of facts in each case.

I’m not much for activism, but I’m not naive enough to believe that laws are written by omnipotent being in a timeless mannor.

So, what is it you are REALLY asking?

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 15, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #195248

Kctim-

A few retorts:

“I’m not creating anything my friend. pelosi IS of the left wing mindset and you can find her positions on issues with a simple search.”

Huh? So what? My post to you didn’t have anything to do with Nancy Pelosi’s ideology. It’s totally irrelevant to what I said even if you stated her ideology perfectly.

“But when a group of people with the same agenda or ideology call themselves liberal, I will help them out and call them as they wish.”

You’d be wrong, but hey, its a free country. Since you seemed to be sensitive about being told you are wrong, I thought I’d help you out. But if you take pride in being wrong, then more power to you. I just don’t see why you even try to justify it to me then.

“We do that everyday. Hip, cool, wingnut and in the 80’s, bad meant good.”

Yeah, it was also confusing as hell for anyone who wasn’t a kid. You NEVER saw any intelligent person who wanted to be taken seriously go onto a public forum and discuss important issues using that slang, now did you? Context is everything. I’d think that when posting here, you might want to give the impression that your communicative abilities transende those of pre-teens and rock stars.

“To you, they are flawed. To myself and many others, they define todays “leftist” or “liberal.””

Look it up in any dictionary. Then instead of arguing with me, write a letter to Webster’s demanding a revision. If you succeeded in convincing them, THEN I’ll agree.

“No. I am calling any policy, in which somebody who says they represent the left, a left type policy.”

So let me get this straight…if I was to say I represented the left, and then said I advocate killing babies…then effectively the left believes in killing babies? Same pig logic, different lipstick. Bush and many “conservative Christians” call themselves “conservative” too…that doesn’t make it correct when liberals bash all conservatives for Bush’s policies.

“If the left starts supporting the 2nd Amendment and the right starts violating or trying to kill it, then I will start saying anti 2nd Amendment people are Conservatives, ok?”

Why don’t you just describe things accurately to begin with? Its not that difficult to find the words to say what you really mean. Isn’t it much more difficult to have to keep track of all the new definitions you make up?

And I’m in no “mood” … I’m just embarrassed for people who cannot express themselves. I really do feel that if you took the time to actually understand the underlying meaning behind some of the terms you haphazardly use, you’d address a lot of your own questions and complaints. Really, I’m dead serious.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 15, 2006 7:45 PM
Comment #195249

KCTM: Thank you for your response.It should come as no surprise that I find you definitions somewhat baffleing. I was taught that’” leftist” was more of an economic philosophy. Examples of leftist individuals might be Castro,Trotsky etc. For example,if Nancy Pelosi advocated nationalizing the oil companies(not the worst idea in the world) that would make her a leftist.I would also point out that ascribeing “national healthcare”as “extreme left” you are saying that some of our staid allies like Cananda and Australia are examples of the extreme left,not to mention every other industrialized country in the world. As to abortion on demand being some how “extreme leftist” I will remind you that it is not some radical concept but the law of the land,decreed as such by the Supreme Court,hardly a hotbed of leftist thought. Perhaps it would be better for the sake of discussion to eschew labeling policy approaches and discuss them on their merits? Regards…Bill

Posted by: BillS at November 15, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #195281

Stephen D.: You brought up Colobine. That tragedy is one example of people reacting in horror and not necessarily logically. People caste about looking to place blame.The sociopaths that committed the act had broken an estimated 22 different federal and state gun laws before they even got to the school. Would it have mattered if they had broken 23 or 25.? I doubt it. What if the janitor or Gym coach had had a carry permit and managed to take them out before they could do so much damage? What if perpetrators had set off the propane bombs theyhad set up instead of shooting. Should we outlaw propane? Call for a waiting period and background check before one can fill up their BBQ tank? Right after the incident ,during this blame casting,video games were blamed as was poor parenting, bullying,a lack of school counselors etc. I have a good idea. Why don’t we blame the little assholes that did it?
I really just wanted to point out the seeming dis-connect with reality that many gun banning proponents have. Another is pointing out how many children are injured by accidental discharges. There are too many and these are indeed tragedies. More children drown in swimming pools. Should we outlaw swimming pools? Of course not. It is often pointed out that many firearms assaults happen among family members. Granted but how many of those are women protecting themselves from spousal abuse?My point is that much of the anti-gun retoric is hystericaland futile. Passing laws to limit 2nd amendment rights of law abiding people is as KCTM pointed out not much different that eroding the rights of privacy to magically fight terrorism.


FYI: The phrase “well regulated” in the parlance of the time meant well armed,no more,no less.

Just an aside: I found you term “closet insurrectionist” to be very Jeffersonian. I actually hope we are a nation of such.

Posted by: BillS at November 15, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #195326

Kevin
“So, what is it you are REALLY asking?”

I know what judges do and I’m not saying that is not their job.

What am I really asking?
Well, I wasn’t fishing for anything really. I was trying to use two very recent and controversial issues, 2nd Amendment (gun control) and 4th Amendment (wiretapping).
Govt used “interpretation” to throw away our 2nd Amendment rights and I feel they did the same thing with the wiretapping.
Just an honest question.

“Look it up in any dictionary. Then instead of arguing with me, write a letter to Webster’s demanding a revision. If you succeeded in convincing them, THEN I’ll agree”

Actually, I was never arguing with you. I am nothing but an average joe who uses the same, average, everyday language that most Americans use.

I am not here to try an impress anybody in order to make myself feel superior or better either. I am here to share, learn and have fun.

“You’d be wrong, but hey, its a free country.”

Ok! The majority of Americans are wrong for not using perfect dictionary definitions when we communicate.

“Why don’t you just describe things accurately to begin with?”

90 out of a hundred people have their own personal definitions of what a liberal or conservative are. Yes, I know you say we are all wrong, but I really doubt any of them will change for you, sorry.

“Isn’t it much more difficult to have to keep track of all the new definitions you make up?”

Thanks, but I’m afraid I cannot take credit for making up words the majority of people use.

Posted by: kctim at November 16, 2006 9:27 AM
Comment #195329

Bill
Do you think the average American knows who Trotsky or the others are? What they stood for? No.
I did not get bored and just start saying the left supports this or the right supports that. Politicians and the majority of their supporters have used those labels to seperate themselves from their opponents for a very long time.

You asked how I defined extreme left and I gave you that answer. I could do the very same for the extreme right.

From Stephens post:
“quartering liberal Austin”
“To dilute urban liberalism with rural conservatism”
“This is what he diluted to get more Republicans elected to congress”
“The Democrats wisely”
“Republicans might speak of a Massachussetts Liberal”

I did not magically come up with these tags and I am not the only person who uses them to identify where people stand on issues.

This post was about how the difference between “urban liberalism and rural conservatism” was shrinking or non-existent. IMO, it would be hard to not use the authors very words to discuss his topic.

Posted by: kctim at November 16, 2006 9:55 AM
Comment #195342

Rob: You ask,

Can you provide substantive proof on the intent of any policy designed or enacted by any party in the United States in the last 30 years that were created with the explicit intent to result in the extermination of a group?

Here are but six:

(1) Opposition to HPV vaccine — kills women

(2) The failure of the Reagan administration to fund AIDS research accounts for over 135,000 unnecessary AIDS deaths. But, as in the immortal words of former AG Ed Meese: “AIDS is the solution to the homosexual problem.” (Sounds an awful lot like Hitler’s “Endlösung der Judenfrage,” doesn’t it?!) The Ryan White Act, passed in 1990, was the program the CDC proposed in 1983. The Reagnites in the WH and the Congress refused to implement the proposal at a cost of over 7,000 new HIV infections each year. Again, the solution to the homosexual problem. In the words of Senator Jesse Helms, “We will not spend a dime on homosexuals.” Note: It was not until 1994 that the Federal government spent more on HIV/AIDS than it did on toe nail fungus (a real killer, that one).

(3) Opposition to universal access to health care — kills poor people. For example, the breast cancer 5-year mortality rate for lower middle class and poor women is twice that of upper middle class and wealthy women — kills poor women. Why the disparity? Lack of early detection, i.e., an annual mammogram. The same disparity applies to prostate cancer — kills poor men —- I don’t want the guys to feel left out. And while the cost of the status quo far exceeds the cost of universal access to health care, universal access to health care would allow the poor to live longer, more productive lives — not a good thing, that!

(4) Opposition to women’s health care — kills women.

(5) Opposition to environmental and workplace safety — kills poor people, especially women.

(6) Opposition to Social Security and Medicare — kills elderly poor people.

Interestingly, the GOP has never proffered a policy that would inconvenience or kill a wealthy white man.

BTW, I am a upper middle class, straight, white guy… but, I take my Christian faith seriously unlike GOPers who use the name of Christ to further their selfish, hate-filled agenda.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #195351

Dr. Poshek

Your examples make me think you live in fantasy land. If you actually think Republicans live to exterminate certain groups of people, and you will never change your mind, you have that right. But you still would be wrong.

keith

Posted by: keith at November 16, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #195364

Keith: The proof is in the pudding. Facts triumph over fiction except for GOPers. Your inability to distinguish fact from fiction simply means you are wrong and morally culpable for your immoral behavior and that of your party. I am saddened you so hate the poor, women, and other minorities that you wish them ill. I have the right to state the truth. You, sir, have the right to live in your delusional world as miserable as it is. You do not have the right to force the rest of us to live in it with you.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #195372

Facts do triumph over fiction Doc.
They do not oppose those things, they just don’t believe the same as you so you equate that with supporting genocide.
Just more of the “we know whats best for you so think like us or you are wrong” mindset that we will have to deal with again for the next few years.

Posted by: kctim at November 16, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #195373

Kctim-

Once again, you come back at me with the same fool’s logic. Definitions of words are in the reference section of any library and there is zero variation from library to library. Just because you claim that “90%” of people do not go by the official definition does not mean that the official definition is wrong and they are now correct. Jesus man, its just not that hard to say what you really mean in a way that makes sense to everyone. And just what proof do you have of your statement that the majority of people share your definition as opposed to the correct and official one? You seem to be grasping at straws. I’d stick to facts that can actually be found somewhere other than your brain if you want to be taken seriously. That all I’m saying. Your speculation just isn’t good enough…especially when it clashes with actual truth.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #195375

Dr. Poshek-

I think you are REALLY reaching. Your first huge problem is lack of causation. The second is that even IF the lack of support for certain programs or policies did directly cause deaths, then you’ve got the problem of showing that those that originally backed the program or policy actually did so in bad faith to try and achieve a foreseeable result of killing. Both are utterly ridiculous.

With all of the serious and tangable problems that exist in government, why would you want to bring up something so speculative, unreasonable, impractical, and irresponsible? Demonizing tactics are revolting and unjustified regardless of what ideology they attack.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 2:08 PM
Comment #195395

Kevin
Jesus dude, I really did not mean to get you all upset over my use of words. If you don’t know what somebody means, then do what I do and ask.
When you order a Number 1 at McDonalds, do you expect to literally get the number 1 or do you expect to get a burger, fries and coke?

“urban liberalism with rural conservatism”

That is taken directly from Stephens post. If you don’t like how people use the none dictionary meaning of words, fine. You can spend your time trying to decipher what people really mean, I’m going to take them at their word.

And I am not trying to say the dictionary is wrong. I am saying I prefer to communicate with people with the same language they use.

“You seem to be grasping at straws. I’d stick to facts that can actually be found somewhere other than your brain if you want to be taken seriously. That all I’m saying. Your speculation just isn’t good enough…especially when it clashes with actual truth”

Be taken seriously? You are the only one who seems to not know what people mean when they say liberal or conservative, except in Stephens case, you seem to magically know what he means when he refers to rural conservatives and urban liberals.
And again, it is not MY speculating that has associated liberal with left and conservative with right.

How about this? You use the dictionary to communicate with people and I’ll use the same language and expressions they use.
Its that simple and we both can be happy.
If you don’t like that, then I don’t know what else to tell you.

Posted by: kctim at November 16, 2006 3:44 PM
Comment #195404

Dr. Poshek-
You’re reaching. Yes, we can argue that Republican actions can have lethal consequences. That’s reasonable, and you can demonstrate it. Use terms like murder, though, and even informally you add a problematic layer of meaning, the inscrutable issue of intent. As any lawyer knows, intent is difficult to prove.

Don’t focus on intent, focus on words and actions. For example, in many ways it doesn’t matter why Bush misrepresented the certainty and the quality of the case for war, because merely misrepresenting it was a moral action by itself. Saying things were getting better when the information showed to him indicated it getting worse is a moral action, all by itself.

Don’t let your words take your points prisoner.

BillS-
First, folks aren’t necessarily logical to begin with. We have to contend with that.

Second, Guns are weapons, and little else. Propane tanks can be used as weapons, but that’s not their purpose. Swimming pools aren’t lethal by design. They are not meant to drown children.

Third, Don’t exaggerate my position. I’m not a gun-ban advocate, and neither are most Democrats.

I do not hope we are a nation of people who want to violently revolt. That should be our last resort; our first choices should be ones that constitute peace with our neighbors.

The thing is, the NRA is too aggressive about casting off any and all gun-control laws. It’s done too good of a job of stonewalling them. Because of that, the NRA’s image has become one of technological anarchy, where gun rights are pushed even as one of the most shocking incidents of gun-related violence plyas out on television.

The NRA should be about respect for that power, not the heedless use and acquiring of it. If I’m not mistaken, the NRA was once much more about teaching responsible use of the weapons. That should be the foreground: personal responsiblity.

kctim-
Liberal and leftist can be distinct in our party. Too often, you use those words in a way that compresses the Democrats down to a narrow definition.

In describing the effect of Tom DeLay’s efforts, we must acknowledge that DeLay was working from broad categories. I wasn’t exacting in my categorizing of the politics because the purpose of TRMPAC was to create broad party shifts, not micromanaged political rearrangements.

I do speak generally about political categories, but I try and acknowledge that the labels are smoothed over realities that are far more textured.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #195413

Stephen: (1) proving intentionality for the initial enactment of a policy can be problematic; (2) proving intentioanlity for continuing a policy which has been empirically shown to be lethal is not problematic; (3)GOPers’ words demonstrate intentionality viz-a-viz HIV/AIDS; (4) the principle, that knowledge of the effects of an action demonstrate the intentionality, is foundational in English Common Law, i.e., American jurisprudence, think RJReynolds.

Kevin: Causality is not a problem in the examples I presented. It has been empiricallly demonstrated over and over. Again, consider, RJReynolds and its peers. There is nothing speculative, unreasonable, impractical, nor irresponsible in what I wrote. What I did not do is sugar coat the empirical facts in order to give the GOP a pass on its agenda and acts. The GOP knows the effects of its policies, and yet persists. Their intention is clear.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 6:20 PM
Comment #195416

Kctim-

Its very sweet of you to consider my emotional state, but let me assure you that your teenager-like style of argument for the sake of argument doesn’t upset me in the slightest…I get it a lot. It just concerns me that someone could be so unwilling to communicate effectively. It is hilarious to me that my only argument here is that you express yourself more clearly (I cite only the dictionary….the closest thing we have to absolute truth), and you expressly resist citing only your own intuition. I’m not asking you to change your views, just to accurately disseminate them. But any objective reader of your posts immediately recognizes the goal to be demonization of a large and diverse group of people who believe in a variety of different positions solely based upon criticism of a small minority position. That, my friend, is a basic falacy. And you should really know and understand that for your own sake.

“When you order a Number 1 at McDonalds, do you expect to literally get the number 1 or do you expect to get a burger, fries and coke?”

Seeing as how I can look up and clearly see in black and white that a “#1” is defined as a burger, fries and coke … well I’ll let you put 2 and 2 together. Maybe the point will actually sink in if I make you think it through. It really should be obvious enough to jump out and bite you on the nose, but I could be giving you too much credit.

“You are the only one who seems to not know what people mean when they say liberal or conservative, except in Stephens case, you seem to magically know what he means when he refers to rural conservatives and urban liberals.”

It is simply because Stephen knows how to use the correct terms in the correct context. A vague term is appropriate when you are not talking about anything more specific than that. You, on the other hand, attribute specific meaning to vague terms and expect it to be seen as obvious. It certainly doesn’t help your cause that you only use these terms when you are making an negative statement…making a specific criticism into a sweeping demonization.

“How about this? You use the dictionary to communicate with people and I’ll use the same language and expressions they use.”

I think the whole point is that you seem incapable of doing that without either taking it out of context or arbitrarily attributing your own meaning. This is why we have dictionaries…as a reference for those who lose their way. Trust me, you need a reference. If you don’t want to trust me or Websters, then go about your merry way and don’t be concerned with justifying yourself to me, or anyone else. We must not have your higher level of insight into the inner thoughts of 100% of people so as to be able to communicate more effectively than our lowly understanding of the English language as set forth in the official medium (english dictionary) allows us.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #195420

Dr. Poskek-

Please. Don’t pretend that you have flawless logic with direct causation shown therein. All you did was equate a policy with its worst possible outcome and pretend that it is a foregone conclusion that one leads to the other. That is falacious. Everyone else seems to take issue with your “points” as well, so maybe, just maybe, there is something you failed to account for, like the benefits of those positions. Hell you could have even gotten a little motivated and performed a balancing test to weigh the interests on both sides. Instead you chose to insult everyone unfortunate enough to read your garbage.

“Causality is not a problem in the examples I presented. It has been empiricallly demonstrated over and over.”

No, Dr. (what the hell are you a doctor of anyway? I am personally a doctor of laws, meaning I’m well versed in deontic logic…in case you want to impune my credibility next). In real life, causation means one thing would not happen but for something else. In your examples, there are many possible outcomes, only one of which is death. That means causation is lacking, and the “evidence” would thus be thrown out of any court in the nation.

Your logic at work: since I have seen a bird fly across my bedroom window many times just after I wake up in the morning, it follows that my waking up in the morning causes the bird to fly across my window.

“There is nothing speculative, unreasonable, impractical, nor irresponsible in what I wrote. “

Actually, all of it was.

“The GOP knows the effects of its policies, and yet persists. Their intention is clear.”

The GOP is a living entity with a mind of its own? WOW. And you say you don’t speculate or generalize? You know the subjective thoughts of an inhuman entity for a fact then do you? Hmmm.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #195428

Kevin23: Try a JD + 3 PhDs and training in logic and moral philosophy from a philosophy department. Your error in reasoning fails because you have used unary deontics rather than binary, ignoring both conditional propositions and causitive probability. Hence, a gun shot between the eyes does not cause death for the reason it does not always do so. I’ll keep this in mind if I ever have homocidal ideations.

All that aside, you win: the GOP has never, ever proffed a policy which has ever hurt a woman, a poor person, or a minority. My brother, if he were alive, will be relieved to know that HIV/AIDS was not the cause of his death, the notation on his death certificate aside. The GOPers are just wonderful people who recognize that empirical fact and science are irrelevant “in real life.” What a wonderful world…. cue the music, take some soma, and pull the curtains… wouldn’t want to see the inconvenient truth of the real world passing by the window. Praise be the GOP from whom all blessings flow!

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 7:56 PM
Comment #195431

Dr. -

What a crock! You seriously expect me to find that bunch of rambling contradictive nonsense to be convincing of anything? Conditional propositions and causitive probability doesn’t change my point one bit. Just because something could happen, doesn’t mean it always does. THAT was the irresponsible part. Stop trying to pass it off as logic. You SHOULD know better.

And I’d call BS on the 3 PHD’s, but we’re all anonymous here, so it would prove nothing.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #195434

Has anyone else noticed that those who make the most outlandish and baseless assertions always say they have several advanced degrees?

I was in school for a long time, and I still work at a major university, yet I’ve never known anyone who went to school in the US who legitimately had more than 2 doctorate degrees. I have known a lot of immigrants who claim to have many degrees, and my experience has been that they are almost always more inept than someone with a BA or BS from a US school.

I also know that MANY degrees are purchased rather than earned from foreign “universities”. I’ve caught several people red-handed lying about their education while applying for a job. I have real trouble believing that people spend 16 years and a few hundred grand getting various advanced degrees. There is no need or point unless you simply are rich and enjoy it. Even then, it still seems suspect.

Anyway, I draw no conclusions, just stating some personal observations from my 12 years of being in that environment.

Then I’m to believe after all that education, they can still flub basic logic. That is the straw that breaks the camel’s back every time.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #195461

Kevin23: Clearly, the university that employs you is not getting their money’s worth. Your denigration of education and of those who have worked their asses off to be well educated in order to provide you with national security you enjoy speaks volumes to your inability (1) to read the research literature; (2) to think in a logically clear, complex manner; (3) to apply sound reasoning and data to problems; and (4) to see around your ideological blinders in the face of contravening evidence. How sad. BTW, had you ever been associated with a top-tier university, you would have found many faculty with multiple advanced degrees. That’s why I teach at one and you don’t.

Finally, at this juncture I must end this futile argument. I will will reserve my energies for debate with my peers. Besides, I need to call my doctor and cancel my annual check-up as the early detection of disease possibly will have no impact on my life contrary my the medical evidence.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #195465

Dr. -

Get over yourself. You haven’t made one true statement yet! The mere fact that you can’t even state the simple truth without dressing it up in BS tells me you are not worth the time to take seriously. Your postings in this thread are direct evidence of your lack of aptitude in every area you claim expertise. What a joke!

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 9:26 PM
Comment #195467

And don’t kid yourself into believing your calling republicans “killers” is, in any way, shape or form, considered to be legitimate “debate”. Let alone have anything to do with logic. I’ll give you an A for effort, but an F in substance. Anyone with the smallest amount of legitimate formal education sees that right away. And I’ve given you nothing to analyze but a direct critique of your own words, yet you come to all these grand conclusions about my beliefs and education? Doesn’t that tell you that you might be full of it? It speaks volumes to any objective observer. Eh, I think I’m giving you WAY too much credit.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #195468

“Your denigration of education and of those who have worked their asses off to be well educated in order to provide you with national security you enjoy”

Making stuff up are we? Go back and read for yourself…I question your post and your credibility. I have the greatest respect for education and what it produces…exactly why I doubted yours.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 9:36 PM
Comment #195470

Kevin23: Get over yourself. You haven’t made one true statement yet! You have utterly failed to provide any empirical basis for any assertion you have made. The mere fact that you can’t cite a single authority in support any assertiion you have made tells me you are not worth my time. And your failure to address the empirical evidence in my posts makes you especially unworthy of my time. But, I do take you seriously because you pose a danger to this country and its people. Your postings in this thread are direct evidence of your lack of aptitude in any area of expertise, most of all, human decency. What a joker you are, albeit a dangerous one. God save us!

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #195473

So I think now would be the perfect time for all the democrats who, with my full support and assistance, bashed certain right wing posters for their employing irresponsible and insulting tactics to demonize democrats as appeasers and supporters of terrorists, to join me in condemning Dr. Poshek’s despicable attack on republicans in calling them “killers”.

If you really want to “work together across party lines”, then a line needs to be drawn.

Demonizing republicans and calling them “killers” is abhorrent and should be immediately denounced by anyone who is serious about having intelligent debate. Here is the chance to show that you can be consistently against tactics that serve only to mislead and divide…regardless of what side of the political isle they originate from.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 16, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #195483

And a line needs to be drawn in giving voice to persons lacking a terminal academic degree (i.e., a person lacking any expertise in research or critical thinking) from proffering ideological fiction as fact into debates about which they know nothing as evidenced by their utter failure to provide any empirical data to support their assertions. A person with a terminal academic degree has earned that degree by virtue of a superior knowledge of their discipline and the demonstrated ability to conduct and understand research, and to think critically.

Again, to knowingly advocate and continue policies that the empirical evidence demonstrates results in death, is murder.

“Working together” is not a license to ignore empirical fact. Nor, is it an affirmative defense to pursuing policies that kill. Acquiecence to such policies renders one morally complicit in those deaths.

If GOPers do not want to be called killers, they need to change those policies that the empirical evidence show kills other human beings.

I, for one, will not be “working together” with anyone who supports policies that result in the unnecessary deaths of women, the poor, and other minorities. It is wrong. Americans, all Americans, deserve better than that from its leaders from inside and outside government.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #195521

Dr. Poshek-
If you are an educated man, you can avail yourself of more specific, and less sensationalist arguments. I’m not going to argue with your degrees, since I have little information on your background; reasonably, I must give you the benefit of the doubt. However, there is a degree of humility that is becoming of those who have acheived such levels of higher education.

In my degree field, Steven Spielberg managed to do more to change the way people make movies than many people who had two degrees or more to their name; he didn’t graduate college until sometime in the 90’s.

In Physics, Einstein managed to turn his field upside down with no advanced degrees. He was a patent clerk when he wrote the papers which made his career.

A lack of advanced degrees does not necessarily mean a lack of advanced thought.

While there are substantial benefits to such degrees, in terms of the advance teaching on approaches and methods, there are some who can get through advanced programs by brute force study rather than understanding of the material. Others can demonstrate a poor understanding of the real world despite having a talent for dealing with the program.

There should be no lack of respect for those who put forward the effort, and have the skill to attain those degrees. I find the kneejerk assumption of intellectuals being cut off from reality to be odious. However, having such a degree doesn’t guarantee anything about an argument. A person who has earned multiple degrees might know better than to use certain arguments, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t use fallacious arguments and unsound information to their purpose.

It also doesn’t mean that people with such advanced degrees can’t be irrational, arguing more with their heart than their head. Neuroscientists have found that neurologically speaking, there is no real divide between our emotions and reason, that they in fact feed into one another. Emotion can frame argument, argument can frame emotion. Rational thinking is a way of using one’s feelings and experience in a more discreet and interpersonally transferable way, but it has its limits, and nothing says that rational thought can’t be used in the service of irrational mood.

My advice to you is to rely on your degree training more than your degrees in making your argument. Trying to shorthand an argument out of commission by claiming greater education may intimidate some opponents, but it fails to truly answer the argument, and it can reflect on the person using it as an arrogant move. Both can undermine the argument’s persuasiveness. It’s better to explain, better to lay things out.

Your claim is extravagant. People think of Genocide, and they think of Darfur, they think of Nazi Germany, they think of Bosnia and Kosovo. They don’t think of cutting funding to programs, or taking bigoted positions on health or other such things. You can argue legitimately that such measures have had lethal consequences, and that these people knew of at least some of them.

Arguing genocide, though, is more rhetorical in this case than factual, and it carries a load of meaning that would cause many to balk at the argument from the get-go. When somebody calls you a murderer, You’re not likely to agree with them. Alleging Genocide is going to be even less persuasive.

The way to approach the legitimate arguments of whether Republican policy has been unnecessarily lethal is to stick to the facts. Facts get past people’s defenses a lot easier than accusations. That’s why I build my approach around them. I don’t tell people that DeLay’s approach is an affront to Democracy, I tell them that the previous districts were already optimized for the sake of the Republicans (verifiable), that the Districts he came up with quartered Austin (just look at the map), that the districts span long stretches of rural territory between cities (just look at the map), and that Republican gains give them a greater percentage of Texas’s delegation than there are Republicans in the state (quite verifiable). Altogether, it’s an argument they can’t knock down so easily as merely being talk. Usually, the approach to this argument is to talk about past Democratic sins in redistricting; nice rhetorical approach, but it has the weakness of conceding that they are gerrymandering by default.

It’s easier to rationalize against a argument that relies on emotional force. All you have to do is break their momentum, trip them up. You can put all the black and white moral starkness into your argument that you like, but if people aren’t convinced of the facts, you’re not going to the get the desired effects you want.

Kevin23-
Your argument concerning his use of overwrought rhetoric is valid. However, you should not aim arguments at questioning his credentials or his character, for a number of reasons. One, it’s a fallacious approach itself. Two, it’s a mirror image of his approach’s fallacy. Three, it’s a direct critique of the messenger. We don’t need that. You’re one of the more calm and reasonable of Republican commentators. Don’t give up that advantage.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 17, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #195541

Stephen: I presented the cold, hard facts early in the post. He didn’t like the facts. Too bad. Kevin23’s refusal to accept and/or address those facts in lieu of spewing ideological crap demonstrate his inability to live, much less debate, in the real world. Finally, genocide is the appropriate term for the GOP agenda — presuming we are using dictionary definition of the term.

There are no qualitative differences in intention between GOP policies and those of the Nazis or the Janjaweed. Quantitatively, there is no difference either. The GOP simply works more slowly and deliberately. Americans were silent for years on the Holocaust and the ongoing death in Darfur. Americans are and have been equally silent when it comes to the GOP’s agenda over the past 4 decades since it adopted the Southern strategy. Perhaps you would prefer the sugar-coated term of “cultural cleansing” to denominate the GOPs agenda? I prefer not to mince words when the lives of women, the poor, and minorities are at stake. To do otherwise, is to be complicit in those deaths. If speaking the truth upsets someone, good.

I’ve given too many years of my life to my country and too few years left to enable its destruction in the name of comity. “Working together” is a lovely idea. However, it assumes a moral equality that does not exist. And there is nothing to suggest the GOP has any genuine interest in working together. If we buy that line of crap, I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 18, 2006 12:27 AM
Comment #195559

Dr. Poshek

Help to understand your logic, since I am just an ignorant, lowly GOP’er from the Missouri Ozarks with only one college degree.

“Again, to knowingly advocate and continue policies that the empirical evidence demonstrates results in death, is murder.”

Since 1958 the US Govt spent $114+ billion to build the Interstate Highway System. It continues to fund the maintenance and construction of the system even though thousands of people die each year using this system. Are they guilty of pursuing a policy of genocide against the users of the highway system?

“Acquiecence to such policies renders one morally complicit in those deaths.”

Are they murderers?

keith

Posted by: keith at November 18, 2006 10:06 AM
Comment #195575

Wow, you can just feel the love on this one. Anyways, to business.

Kevin23,

I’m not aware of the rulings to which you refer, though I will attempt to look them up. That being said, I think that the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was obviously an individual right designed to guarantee all the other rights listed in the Bill of Rights. If the 2nd Amendment is a collective right, as some allege, it is a radical departure from the other rights in the Bill of Rights, all of which are individual rights, as well as a radical departure from the writings of the Founding Fathers, all of whom addressed the 2nd Amendment as an individual right.

A ruling I find more interesting is a Supreme Court decision that stated that only law abiding citizen can be charged with failure to register a firearm. The reason behind this is that prosecuting a convicted felon who is not permitted to possess a firearm constitutes self-incrimination and is a violation of the 6th Amendment.

kctim,

I think you’re off the mark about offending future voters. The Democrats were probably more fired up this time around than ‘04, and I very highly doubt that they can turn out more of their base than they have already. I think that the Democrats are going to have to permanently abandon the issue of gun control if they want to have a chance of keeping thier gains in the South and Midwest.

Stephen Daugherty,

I tend to break away with the NRA on the issue of some restrictions, but I have a very different idea of what constitutes a “reasonable restriction.” When the 2nd Amendment was written, there was essentially no differece between military and hunting firearms. This has obviously changed, and I find it difficult to justify the possession of automatic weapons, for instance. I also feel it important that all people seeking to carry a handgun concealed should be required to take a course on safely handling their weapon, as well as marksmanship classes. Accidental deaths from a lack of knowledge about how to properly use a weapon are largely responsible for what little life the gun control movement has left.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 18, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #195580

Dr. Poshek-
You represent what you believe to be the cold, hard facts, and what he considers to be merely an interpretation. Kevin23 is one of the last people you should accuse of spewing ideological crap. He’s merely a Republican who can’t believe himself a murderer, which is what your comments paint him as. In your mind, you believe you can force him to admit what bad people his party are. In his, he knows his own intentions, knows his party’s flawed, but doesn’t see things your way. To many Republicans, the deadly culture of crime in the inner cities is a direct result of the welfare state. To many of them, poverty is increased, rather than decreased by the Liberal entitlements.

To the Republicans, its saving lives not taking them.

As for Gays, it’s horrifying to us for them to take this attitude, but many of them see AIDS as a consequence of their lifestyle, no different that Cirrhosis is for Alcoholism, or STDs are for promiscuity. They made a major, deadly, and in my opinion rather un-Christian mistake in treating it this way, but there is a rationalization for this where they could argue that their intention was not to kill people, just not save them from consequences of what they inflict on themselves. The real killers, they would argue, are those who adopted these suicidal behaviors.

You and I both know that homosexuality is not a disease, not a moral wrong. But we’re projecting our logic, dependent on the premises we already accept, onto their behavior. We both know that AIDS is not a punishment, or a disease of lifestyle, but a horribly fatal disease born of a virus that does not care what fluid it contaminates to infect people. Others may see it differently.

Even well intentioned measures can have deadly effects. Measures meant to contribute to speeding up AIDS drugs’ development helped create a more corrupt system in the FDA and get drugs approved whose side effects were lethal. Many decisions at a government level can have lethal consequences. To call it genocide is to miss the problem entirely. The problem isn’t that Republicans are trying to kill or wipe out groups of people (the accepted definition of Genocide) the problem is that they have been reckless and careless with a system that can kill people even when it does things right.

By inflating the problem into a war between good and evil we distract from the real conflict: between government that does good for its people and that which doesn’t.

When you start calling people murderers in cases like this, whatever your feelings, you cripple your argument. Fact is, no government policy can save everybody. Like the guy says in Fight Club, on a long enough timeline, everybody’s survivability drops down to zero. People accept that they will die someday, or else they come into conflict with the very nature of the world.

Of course, people don’t want to get sick and die unnecessarily. Our argument cannot simply be that not engaging this policy is murder. That’s a blunt emotional attack, more likely to alienate than affiliate us with our audience. And yes, you need to bring them in. You need to persuade people.

You need to have the means worked out of how you acheive your goal. If you can’t present that, then whatever you’re proposing is going to look pie-in-the-sky, and people are going to believe that you’re the one out of touch with the real world. You have to accept that it is folk’s choice whether they take up the means you suggest. This is another place where calling people murderers comes in rather not handy, because your rhetoric doesn’t imply moral alternatives. The very form of the accusation is meant to emotionally blackmail the audience. You won’t get too far doing that.

This is a Democracy. You don’t have a choice about working with other people. It’s a requirement of the system that politicians and pundits ignore at their peril. The Republicans having worked or played well with others recently, and its cost them dearly. It’s not merely a lovely idea, it’s an absolute necessity. if you want the system to work with you.

What we shouldn’t be sugar coating is the extent to which the real world is a place of pain and suffering. What we shouldn’t be sugarcoating is that our efforts can’t save everybody. What we shouldn’t be sugarcoating is that there are right ways and wrong ways of doing all these things, and we Liberals profit little by screwing things up. You may think my approach is to mince words, but really, I don’t. The difference is, I use them as precise instruments, and I don’t use arguments I don’t feel I can support or put my faith in. I don’t try to emotionally blackmail people. Instead I use the real cold hard facts, the raw information that I can bind together to make my point, instead of making my point by way of circular arguments of what I simply believe.

Government is at its heart a practical problem. Democracy is the same way. We have to deal with both problems at once, and using alienating, vague, distracting arguments will not achieve that. We have to use arguments that can get through the armor of beliefs every person wears. We have to pay attention to the practical matters of how our programs work, and not ignore the problems that might invalidate our arguments. We got to respond to them first, even conceding them at a loss, if necessary.

The politics of rhetorical invulnerability, as the Republican Congress demonstrated, only leads to isolation and failure. Politics and rhetoric must work in the real world, or else they will not work for us at all, and we will be slaves to an impractical, harmful agenda.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 18, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #195600

Stephen:

(1) Empirical fact and ideological belief are not equal. Belief in the Tooth Fairy does not make him/her a fact.

(2) While new policies may have deadly effects, I am not talking about new policies. I am speaking of policies decades old. The empirical data has been collected and presented to both the GOP and Democratic officials for decades. Yet, the GOP continues to promote those same deadly policies despite the empirical evidence. Hence, intent is demonstrated.

(3) “To many Republicans, the deadly culture of crime in the inner cities is a direct result of the welfare state. To many of them, poverty is increased, rather than decreased by the Liberal entitlements.” Again, belief is not on a par with empirical evidence.

(4) GOP policy is based on beliefs that are bigotted and hateful, not on empirical evidence.

(5) Here’s Kevin23’s GOPers on homosexuals: “At the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, Cameron announced to the attendees, ‘Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.’ According to an interview with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as early as 1983.” - Mark E. Pietrzyk, News-Telegraph, March 10, 1995.

(6) “The Republicans having [sic] worked or played well with others recently, and its cost them dearly.” I presume you mean, they haven’t worked or played well with others. Nevertheless, they have largely achieved their goals.

(7) It has been my error to hope Kevin23 might be intellectually honest and decent enough to face the empirical evidence and admit his beliefs have no rational basis, and that the policies his party has persistantly promoted for decades has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of women, poor, and minorities. He isn’t and he won’t. I do sometimes wish I could live in Kevin23’s fact-free world. Perhaps, I just need some of his Soma.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 18, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #195616

Dr. Poshek-
I have not seen an organized, rigorously proved argument from your side for him to be intellectually dishonest about. There’s a lot of room for interpretation here, and you seem to be unwilling to acknowledge that yourself.

Your fourth point would raise a red flag for many as to the degree to which you’ve lost objectivity in the argument It’s an outright opinion, a claim that you would have a difficult time ever proving as a simple fact. A lot of subjective interpretation goes into it from the get-go to define what’s bigotted and hateful. A lot of that argument depends on what you call “bigotted and hateful”. It’s the old Archie Bunker problem. Some people watching the show registered his opinions as bigotted and hateful. Others merely believed he was standing up for the truth. Right now, you’re taking on the Archie Bunker role for Kevin 23, and a lot of other people, including moderates of our own party.

Your number five point is an example of where your approach falls short. True, the man sounds like he’s for killing off all homosexuals at some point. However, you need better evidence than that to indicate that this is the widespread intent. Some wanted gays to die. Others didn’t want to save them from what they saw as their own self-destructive tendencies.

These aren’t generally productive arguments. If you’ve ever had somebody trying to convince you that you’re evil, you know exactly how well it works. To prick somebody’s consciences, you need something better than just name-calling.

How many people, pray tell, have become pro-life because Religiou conservatives accused them of taking part in the slaughter of the innocent? The abortion debate is a great example of the futility of such arguments. According to the Right Wing religious interpretation, abortion is killing a human being. However, most liberals see the embryo or fetus as not having attained that status. It’s no more evil than having a period or a natural miscarriage in their view.

It sure makes the Religious Right feel good to use their argument, to call their opponents murderers, and boy does it fit with their views. One problem: it does nothing to change the other person’s mindset, which subsequently filters out your argument.

You can badmouth folks as intellectually dishonest for not agreeing with you, but it’s probably going to make you even less persuasive. You wouldn’t have to call him intellectually dishonest, if you could actually demonstrate it. As you are trying to tell him that his beliefs have no rational basis, that he has no facts to support them, you’re arguing something that is essentially a mental state, and not likely one he shares your critique about. You’re arguing a point so subjective, so unverifiable from your end, that a person like me finds it tough not to side with him. He knows his own mind. I know my own, you know yours. It’s a pathetic thing for any of us to try and argue. It’s what I came here precisely NOT to discuss.

It’s the issues that matter. If you want to get people to agree with you, make the necessary argument for that. Don’t try to browbeat them into agreeing with you about the illegitimacy of their doubt. If you’re resorting to that, you’ve already failed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 18, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #195646

13 senators who did not oppose lynching African-Americans in 2005:

Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee)
Robert Bennett (R-Utah)
Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming)
Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming)
Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire)
John Sununu (R-New Hampshire)
Richard Shelby (R-Alabama)
Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)
Gordon Smith (R-Oregon)
John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas)
Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi)
Trent Lott (R-Mississippi)

Interestingly, the senators from the 3 states with the most lynchings (Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama) are among the lot.

Interestingly, all 13 are GOPers.

Interestingly, Senate GOPers elected Trent Lott as their Whip. What a role model!

Interestingly, there’s not a Democractic senator among the 13.

Interestingly, lynching must not be murder as 13 GOP senators do not oppose it.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 19, 2006 5:27 AM
Comment #195675

Dr. Poshek-
Given that my attitude on hate crimes laws is that they are a legitimate course of action (had you asked, I would have told you) It’s murder on the part of the perpetrators.

The Republicans would respond that they find it to be unnecessary, given the fact that many of these crimes fit the definition of first degree murder already. Lynching or dragging somebody is hardly a snap crime of passion. Since they aren’t exactly legalizing murder against blacks by opposing the bill, the argument is weak.

Lynching is murder, and nothing has changed about that, especially not due to the Republicans you talk about. Would I want them to pass hate crimes legislation? Yes. Do I think they were wrong not to? Yes. Do I call it murder that they didn’t? No. I call it being complacent with prejudice. I call it not doing enough.

And guess what? I can make a case for that. I can make a case that we allow factors like premeditation, attending crimes and other things to affect sentencing, why not the presence of racial prejudice?

Now there, not just any law will do. We need laws that are clearly written so as to give prosecutors the support they need to prove cases. If the law’s too vague, they will be drawn by the practical nature of their job not to use the legislation where its merited because of the inability to prove the case. The prosecutors will not set themselves up to lose.

Your kind of rhetoric, though, when it works, can have an adverse effect. Lawmakers looking to defuse the emotional issue let flawed legislation go through, legislation that hurts the cause in practice. Our passion should be manifested in the care as much as the force of our arguments. We should not hand those who are wrong on these issues the ammunition of ineffective legislation and the extremity of our rhetoric. We also need to be willing to make the compromises that allow our legislation to move forward. Our party, and the congress it will soon run, are not homogenous in their structure. If we are not willing to make the effort to negotiate, to persuade, and to work with these people, we will end up only creating more friction for our policy and our politics. Our way or the highway will not work in this party, it will not work with America.

If you want greater support for your point of view, you must argue it rationally, passionately, and with as few flaws in your logic, your facts, and your rhetoric as possible. You can’t simply claim to have the facts. People are not going to do the research themselves to complete job of convincing themselves of your point. If you want to bludgeon them with the empirical evidence, don’t just claim that it’s on your side. Provide it. Provide people with the facts, and a claim they can prove, or don’t bother saying anything. I throw away a ton of arguments that are alternatively insulting, passionate, comprehensive but irrelevant. What you see are the survivors among my points. People appreciate what they don’t get from me as much as what they do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 19, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #195687

Dr. Poshek and Stephen

Hate crimes are thought crimes, plain and simple. The perpetrators can be convicted and even, in many circumstances, put to death. Using your kind of logic, Dr. Poshek, I could make an argument that they are also racist. Dr. Poshek I’m afraid you just don’t know what you are talking about. Too bad, it’s a waste of the college degrees.

keith

Posted by: keith at November 19, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #195693

Keith-
What the behavior of a person committing homicide indicates about their state of mind, what they were thinking, and what they knew at the time of the killing speaks greatly to how we prosecute them. A person who kills, having planned it beforehand, we treat their case differently than somebody who kills on the spur of the moment. A person, having killed on the spur of the moment can also be treated differently if they did so out of passion, or in cold blood. If they didn’t intend to kill, we call it manslaughter, and can distinguish between voluntary and involuntry versions

Crimes can be defined by their motivation. The intent of the crime, when distinct, can be legitimately figured in to the punishment.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 19, 2006 1:55 PM
Comment #195707

Stephen,

We have gotten off point from your original post, so I will not spend too much time elaborating. Pre-meditated murder (1st degree murder, if you will) is just that. You don’t need separate legislation to punish intent. Any such legislation is redundant and unneccessary. As a conservative,( trying to limit governmental scope), I believe excessive legislation is a poor use for government.

keith

Posted by: keith at November 19, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #195882

Stephen D-

When you are right, you are right. I shouldn’t have responded so impulsively to Dr.’s “arguments”. But his tactic of calling 50% of this nation’s citizenry “killers” solely because of their party affiliation (a decision that could be made for one of a million different reasons) was disgusting and willfuly ignorant, and needed to be called out as such. I am glad that you admonished it as well. And what’s most perplexing is that at the present time, there is absolutely no need for any democrat to employ such unsound desperation tactics.

To your credit, Stephen, I’ve yet to see you misrepresent a general republican or conservative position. Knowing how to state your adversarys’ platform in an objective and non-judgemental mannor is an often overlooked, but yet vital part of the debate process. Being unable to do this effectively relegates you to preaching to the quoir (and in people like Dr.’s case, even the quoir jumps ship to head for more moderate ground).

I look forward to many fruitful debates to come. I always enjoy discussions with those who are able to recognize where there is common ground just as well as they recognize irreconcilable differences. It leads me to believe you actually care.

Posted by: Kevin23 at November 20, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #196573

Stephen,

I disagree with you on hate crimes. It is a thread worthy of debate. It is probably too late to get a response on this one, but if you do check back, I’d like to see what you think.

I agree with you that what the person was thinking during the conduct of a crime if it can be determined should be considered at sentancing. However, it should not be included in their charges.

You have made a logical equivilance between the intention degress in murder charges and hate crimes. I think that they are two very different things. One has to do with whether someone meant to do something, and if they had whether that intention was formed with forethought or in the moment. The other has to do with the reason than an illegal action was taken. To me those are two very different things.

Posted by: Rob at November 27, 2006 2:22 PM
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