Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Liberation of the GOP, The Responsibility of The Democrats

When even Bill Kristol is telling you that you shouldn’t underestimate Barack Obama, you know how bad the Republicans got walloped in the last election. But what about its future? Norm Ornstein isn’t optimistic at this point. The GOP needs to ask itself some tough questions.

Some Republicans are telling Democrats like myself that now that we're saddled with the responsibility of running the country, having won both sides of the election, that we'll now get blamed for everything, and that will cause a counter backlash to the Bush backlash they feel is responsible for their troubles.

The real question is, what if Obama doesn't screw things up like his predecessor did? If Obama succeeds even partly in redeeming this country's situation, he'll probably get credit for being a good leader. This might seem unfair to Bush Supporters, but more credit is given to those who didn't cause the messes in the first place that those who have to come in and clean up afterwards.

If Obama manages to make lemonade out of Bush's lemons, the Republicans are not going anywhere anytime soon. If they try and get obstructive, it won't make anything any better. It didn't help them in this last election, I'll tell you what. The public nailed them to the wall on the Senate side, and anybody expecting different treatment in 2010 or 2012 is dreaming.

Whatever course we take, Americans want something different than what we have now. Anybody who gets in the way with have their tenure in office terminated with extreme prejudice. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader almost fell in his race, despite the fact that his state is a McCain Red State. America hasn't "shifted to the left" so much as it has shifted away from the politics of the Republican, from its theories.

The Republicans, having long ago concluded that their problem is limited to bad press didn't really let themselves admit that they had lost touch with the American mainstream. That was heresy. They WERE the voice of the silent majority. Maybe once, could they speak to that. But in America's wanderings in the wilderness, that generation has given way to new ones, ones not rooted in the Republican Party's culture war ethic, or not too favorable to it. The old button pushing politics was no longer wired to some of the right groups, and even some of those, after years of seeing GOP policies and politics fail, have yanked out the wires themselves.

The Republicans, if they want any kind of recovery whatsoever, cannot afford to go back to the well on the typical insults and wedge issues. If this election proved anything, these kind of attacks are not effective anymore, especially with the much more socially liberal Millenials. They typically don't have as much of a dog in those fights as their elders. Despite everything the Republicans did, the culture changed on its own.

The Republicans as they are now, are obsolete for most of the country. I don't say this to gloat, but to point out a hard reality. The Republicans at the top are likely going to slowly but surely pass from power. Their day is over. That isn't to say that new Republicans can't come along to reinvent the party for the new century. They'll have to get beyond their parents and predecessor's conservatism, though.

One of the main problems with the current Republican party is that it's essentially a coalition, an alliance to oppose liberals as it's constituted now. It could not be what it was without taking the fight to Democrats on a constant basis. it's no accident that the party came apart and rearranged itself in a circular firing squad following it's successful attainment of full majorities and the presidency together, nor that it could temporarily rally the troops to oppose the prospect of full liberalism in Washington. How could this not occur once the liberals were defeated?

A party on such a political war footing could not demobilize so quickly. The trouble was, the Republicans were never monolithic, and regardless of how much Republicans talked about a permanent majority, George Bush was up there undermining virtually every faction's legitimacy. The solution in every faction's collective mind was essentially to double down on whatever their particular belief was, and purify the party of whatever other faction they considered heretics. This only has become more intense as the Republicans have lost the majorities in Congress, and now lost the White House.

If Palin is the future, the Republicans have a problem. Palin is the kind of candidate who, for all her charm and photogenic looks, scares people. She's worse than Bush. The only radical parties that haunt his pasts were the ones that featured beer bongs. She's associated with a party that likes the idea of splitting off a state from the union, whose leader was murdered in a plastic explosives deal gone wrong. She didn't exactly wow people with her encyclopedic knowledge of the world beyond her front door. She might protest about people thinking that she didn't know Africa was a continent and not a country, but she left that particular door open with the inability to field softball pitches from Katie Couric. Such incredible ignorance is more plausible for what has already been demonstrated.

She also demonstrates another significant problem for the Republicans, one that haunted Republicans even at the height of their power: could she honestly speak her views without alienating folks? Republicans have lionized those folks who offer brash, politically incorrect views without apology, but fail to recognize that the make-up of America's electorate is diverse and moderate enough that really letting lose is like walking through a minefield.

My rule of thumb would be that the person who can be more honest, expressive and compelling about their views without turning off voters is typically the stronger person politically. Those who have to quibble, equivocate, cover up, etc. are in a more delicate position. By these criteria, a person like Palin is damned if they do, damned if they don't. If she's honest, she scares people. If she's not, her past associations and expressed views, will be brought up, people will be listening for her real views to get blurted out, and folks will take note of how she dances, clumsily or gracefully, around the question of her true views.

Democrats, with much more moderate and popular views, possess the advantage. Their only problem comes if they fail to live up to their promises, or screw things up royally themselves. If they do what they say and say what they do, though, they'll win. The same cannot be said for the Republicans. Many people are concerned with making sure they can't keep their promises or further their ambitions. The Republicans are not dealing with that rejection well.

I think the problem is, conservativism got turned into a dogmatic set of ideas, instead of a philosophy. Philosophies can adapt, interface, compromise. When people are allowed to think, to adapt, to tailor their approaches to the situation rather than having to shoehorn their policies into the confines of an ideology, they're better off both politically and practically.

The individual Republicans out there have a chance to stand up and brush themselves off, and take a cold, hardnosed look at where they are, and where the conservative philosophy is. They can spend sometime looking through the literature, examining the facts. Without the majority power to defend, Republicans can defy party discipline and dogma to reformulate their approach.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have their own chance to change their party, to move from new philosophy to new action, taking advantage of the lessons of the last quarter century to more effeciently work for the common good. We should not slavishly imitate the liberals of old, but take an approach that acknowledges the real structure of societies, markets, and communications in the modern age.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2008 10:32 AM
Comment #270209


it was the abandonment of the conservative principles combined with the many high profile scandals that cost them thier majorities in the 2006 election cycle. the final straw was economic crash before the election of 2008.

the country has not IMO become more liberal, but was sick off business as usual. if what you say was true the democrats would have never been swept from power during the 1994 election cycle after being the majority party in congress for many years. especially when the condition of the economy was fairly good.

many believe including bill clinton that al gore lost the 2000 election because of his stand on gun control. the democrats have learned that is and will be a losing issue for them. should they go back to those ways it will cost them. many of the dems in congress, and the senate have strong pro gun constituancies, and i believe they will be at odds with charles schumers, and carolyn mc carthys in congress.

obama and the democrats have an oportunity to do well. however should they slide to far left, and disregard the more conservative side of thier party they will be stripped of thier majorities in a hurry.

Posted by: dbs at November 12, 2008 1:33 PM
Comment #270213

Stephen, its ok to guess why and dream about conservatism being dead as you do here, but if you guys govern as if its dead, your party and our country will suffer.

It was great to see you admit that the country hasn’t shifted left though.

Posted by: kctim at November 12, 2008 2:15 PM
Comment #270223

The conflicts over conservatism and the failures of policy might have served to demoralize the Republicans, but from my perspective, they didn’t represent some sudden abandonment of principles. You look at the wars, the foreign policy pushes, the intrusive moral/religious legislation, the deficit spending and other stuff, and you’ll find these things have been showing up in the GOP almost from the start.

What we see here is the Republican Party’s real agenda, however schizophrenically mish-mashed a mix of different party faction agendas it was, finally triumphant enough to where Republicans of different kinds were confronted with the party’s internal contradictions. Without an effective enemy to fight, with Democrats at the nadir of their power, they had only themselves to attack.

The sweep in 1994 seems more to me to be a lagging indicator of Republican gains in the early eighties, as well respected Democrats retired, and Reagan Democrats finally threw in their lot with new Republican blood. It also reflected the results of the reversal of the Republican shutout from the South, which grew much in population since that time.

Republicans, though, have lost two times in a row, Effectively reversing virtually every gain they got from 1994.

To say that voters haven’t shifted in the Democratic Party’s direction would be absurd. They’re back where they were in 1992. Performance will dictate whether Democrats maintain these gains, but the fact that they have them at all, given how the party was before, should reveal to you the depths of America’s discontent with Republicans and conservatives.

Moderates who once might have thrown in their lot with the Republicans have done so with the Democrats. Much as they once appreciated Republican rhetoric, they came to believe that the Republicans were all talk about their expertise. They could say they were better war-fighters and better fiscal managers, but a close examination of the last eight years bears up neither claim.

More to the point, on the subject of the culture, whether you lean right or left, the Republicans have lost ground, not just in credibility, but also in the basic attitudes of young voters. You can sell Baby Boomers on the evil of gay marriage, but the Millenials aren’t buying it. I bet even the Republican’s kids listen to rap, play violent video games, and watch movies replete with sex and violence.

Cultural conservatism has diminished over time, and even what we might call culturally conservative now would not have been called so even at the start of the Reagan Revolution. I had a professor up at Baylor recount a prank he pulled with a rock music track at a preachers chapel, how folks actually covered their ears when the rock music came out so that demons wouldn’t get in there.

Now, many services wouldn’t be complete without high-production valued pop numbers. I should know, I had to sit through those at Chapel-Forum!

I think, as far as the label is worth anything, that the country is just a little bit left of center. Where it might be in twenty or thirty years is debateable, but for now, the country is pretty much relaxed and moderate, open to social welfare programs, but not unskeptical. Obama’s appeals on using government to help, but being strict about keeping it in line, were designed to appeal to just such a center-left attitude. We’re not talking raving leninism here. We’re talking something more truly centrist than the government Bush and the Republican leaders lead.

Conservatism isn’t dead, it’s just got some thinking to do. And I encourage it. We need folks to keep each other honest. But it’s not going to be easy or quick for that party to recover.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2008 4:13 PM
Comment #270241

Yes we need a conservative counterbalance. Why we should expect it from the GOP is pretty unrealistic at this time. Their leadership is far from conservative and quite powerful. They represent big oil and big money. Thats it. They are adept at fooling their supporters by useing fear and bigotry etc but their corrupt big government approaches are apparent to all but the most blinded.
Where are the real conservatives? Goldwater was pro-choice. Eisenhower implemented one of the larger public works programs ever(interstate hyways). Even Nixon went to China and proposed a national healthcare program similar to HC’s.We need thoughtful,REALISTIC solutions to big problems.Come on guys.

Posted by: bills at November 13, 2008 3:22 AM
Comment #270250

Stephen D.

I think you overlook the seeds the GOP sowed to return to power. The mountains of growing national debt are their ticket back to power. The very mountains of debt they created.

Here is how this brilliant Rovian strategy works. Very simple actually. Medicare and Soc. Sec. become unsustainable by tax payers of the future who are shouldering those taxes plus the interest payments and weakening credit ratings of the United States government. Republicans ride in to save the day calling for an end to Medicare and Soc. Sec. taxes, enriching the poor and middle class of the future struggling to stretch their wages to cover housing, food, energy, and transportation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 9:28 AM
Comment #270259

David R. Remer-
It’s simple, but too simple. The Republicans rode in the last time to save us from the debt and deficits and high taxes of Democrats. But what people are going to remember thirty years from now is how Republicans created all this debt.

What made the tax/big government revolt of the 80’s and 90’s work was the aftermath of a Democratic Party led war, and excessive deficit spending on programs by the Democrats. The Republicans could say, “we’re the party of fiscal sanity.”

But can they make that claim now? I think the Democrat of the future can (if Obama keeps a lid on things) make the case that Republicans are the irresponsible ones, and that electing them would make things worse.

Rove’s strategy was not brilliant. It was effective in that he won elections, but its negatives far outweigh it’s positives.

For the sake of clarity, let me talk of Rove’s strategy and the White House’s general strategy interchangeably.

Essentially, the Rove political strategy was to go 110% on the reactor, to overdrive and overcharge all the Republican power bases, and do so hard. Leaving aside the intraparty conflicts that arose, this had the effect of raising the stakes and the expectations along with them. But when things turned south with the policy, the Republicans found themselves constantly defending and rationalizing screw-ups. Occasionally doing this is workable, but the constant need for apologetics undermined both morale and credibility. You can’t ask people to explain away your incompetence and outrageous behavior forever. They are going to reach a point where you break their will to be involved, to turn out, to advocate, or even to remain a voter of yours.

The White House Strategy also united the Democratic party and added to its ranks. They more or less lost the current generation for the Republicans. The best they migh hope from many of these voters is soft support. If Obama manages to do some good things, they’re just plain lost to them, like the Depression Era generation was lost to the GOP.

The Republicans would have to build a record of quality governance to overcome the bad blood on the Bush/GOP Congress years. The alternative they have is essentially doubling down on their sentiments, and that’s going to go over like a lead balloon with my generation

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 11:09 AM
Comment #270273

If you hold your breath waiting for Bush to be declared greatest president ever, you’re going to lose quite a few brain cells.

Obama will probably be cut slack Bush wasn’t. Unfair? Bush followed a moderately successful president with a booming economy with a disaster of a presidency. Obama will have the Bush administration as a foil. But Democrats, all the same, would like to see some progress made on the policy front. We’ll see how that goes.

I’d tell you this, though: quit seeing everything through the lens of the media being unfair to you. It’s encouraged laziness in policy, politics, and rhetoric, and an insular approach to the rest of the country. It’s not an accident that we picked up several states this presidential election. It’s a real measure of the faith the Republicans broke with most of the country. If you want to keep on paying the price for your errors, keep on blaming everybody else but yourselves. If you want to rise from the ashes, throw some cold water on your assumptions for a change, and face the reality of what happened to your party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 2:51 PM
Comment #270283

This disturbing article was on the top of the RSS feed from the Chicago Tribune yesterday. The Democratic party has already been changed, but will the incoming POTUS actually change anything fundamental? So far, the administration he is assembling doesn’t sound like the change that his supporters were hoping for.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 13, 2008 5:13 PM
Comment #270284

First, the run on guns is primarily the product of a bunch of people who have let themselves be scared silly by the NRA. Second, how this comments on the change Barack Obama says he intended to bring, I can’t tell. How does a bunch of people overloading on GOP rhetoric buying guns in a panic reflect negatively on anything the Obama administration, which has not even been sworn in, might do?

Second, we’ve had fairly few details on what the shape of his administration will be.

I can’t say I’m surprised, though, that you’re quick to to start tossing cold water in the direction of Obama supporters. I was beginning to wonder where you’d run off to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 5:23 PM
Comment #270290

ohrealy, you’re right. Very disturbing article. I can’t believe GOP supporters are that ate up. All the real issues on Barack’s plate, I doubt he’ll have time to worry about gun control.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at November 13, 2008 6:18 PM
Comment #270291

Stephen Daugherty, “run off to”? Have you even read anything in this nearly deceased forum?
“cold water”? Read Mother Jones.
“few details”? Rahm E, Bill Daley, Axelrod, etc.

Incidentally, the talk last night was that whoever Blagojevich appoints to succeed BHO will be tainted by being appointed by him. Emil Jones jr would be pleased to be appointed for 2 years, until the terms ends, but Jesse Jackson Jr is campaigning for it. I’m still hoping for Tammy Duckworth, but even Blair Hull wants to run in 2010.

Rahm E’s USHOR seat is going to be hotly contested by everyone on this side of Chicago in a special election.

The leadership of the state Senate is being contested. The candidate that I would like is from a family that has been friends and neighbors with mine for 120 years. He’s one of the authors of some of those 820 bills that you thought BHO had more to do with than he actually did.

One of the news stories here this morning was the presidential motorcade, running around town to offices in the Federal building here. Apparently there are 15 vehicles, including an ambulance.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 13, 2008 6:33 PM
Comment #270298


“First, the run on guns is primarily the product of a bunch of people who have let themselves be scared silly by the NRA.”

the fear is hardly unfouned, obama has a record of supporting the type of gun control we’ve seen in states like california, and IMO would reinstate an even stronger version of the clinton gun ban that expired in 2004. that legislation will move easily through the house, i can only hope there are enough blue dogs in the senate to help support a filibuster of any new gun control legislation. of all things i dislike about obama this ranks at the top.

Posted by: dbs at November 13, 2008 7:55 PM
Comment #270309

It isn’t hard to get a gun in California unless you’re a criminal……..

Posted by: janedoe at November 13, 2008 11:46 PM
Comment #270310

There’s nothing nearly deceased about a forum that can get fifty to a hundred comments on a column. And no, I haven’t seen you much around here.

I’m rooting for Tammy Duckworth myself. It’d show those people, and the netroots left would like that, because she was one of the people they supported in the 2006 election.

First, gun laws are not the red meat liberal issue they once were. Second, at worst it means you’re restricted to weapons that kill rather than overkill.

Second, and here’s the thing, you’re disliking him for policy he hasn’t even offered up yet, if he ever does. He has ten or twelve more pressing items on his agenda, as far as I know, not the least of which is this beautifully screwed-up economy he’s going to inherit from Bush.

I mean, you’re worried about guns, and the Bush administration just handed billions of dollars to banks who rather than lend out money, instead decided to line their CEOs pockets. My God, these people should just paint a target on the side of their corporate HQ’s with the words “regulate the living hell out of me”, because by the time Americans get done getting a load of what the bankers are doing, they’re going to break their foot off in the financial sector’s rear end.

I mean, I listen the news about these people, and I just think to myself, “Are these people complete morons?” Then I recall who it was who went 40:1 on these credit derivatives.

The Gun issue is to Republican voters what a laser pointer is to a kitten. It’s a purposeful distraction, a way of making the GOP seem populist, even as it guts your income and sends more borrowed money into the pocket of their rich friends.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 11:56 PM
Comment #270312

It’s strange to hear people talking about “Rove’s strategies” as if they are not the same strategies that everybody who runs for office uses, or as if there was actually anything unique about them.

Essentially, the Rove political strategy was to go 110% on the reactor, to overdrive and overcharge all the Republican power bases, and do so hard. Leaving aside the intraparty conflicts that arose, this had the effect of raising the stakes and the expectations along with them.

And this is being compared to what, exactly? Do Democrats who run for office neglect to try and fire up, energize, and turn out their base to the massive extent possible? Are the stakes and expectations raised for Barack Obama, for example, not sky-high as a result of his campaign promises?

People are expecting free health care, lower taxes, cheap, renewable and clean energy. They’re expecting the sea levels to lower and the earth to cool. As that now infamous clip on Youtube shows, some people even seem to believe that Barack Obama is going to pay their mortgages and fill up their gas-tanks.

If Barack Obama does one tenth of what he’s promised, and does so without destroying our economy, I will change my party registration, max out on contributing to his 2012 campaign, and put a huge Obama-Biden in my front yard. Hell, if I have a son, I’ll name him Barack. A daughter? Well, I guess I’d call her Michelle.

The oddest of all accusations made against Republicans and Rove in particular is this notion of “wedge issues.” I’ve never seen this term defined in a way that actually differs from the simpler term “issue.”

A “wedge issue,” to Democrats, appears to be any position not part of the Democratic platform. It’s a reason to vote for a Republican instead of a Democrat, and hence somehow inappropriate or unseemly to bring up. The Democratic motto seems to be “All your votes are belong to us.” (If you don’t understand the reference, sorry).

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 14, 2008 12:13 AM
Comment #270324


if it’s a handgun it is so long as it’s on the NOT UNSAFE GUN LIST. the thing about that list is it’s designed to eliminate as many handguns for sale in california as possible. the most idiotic part of it is that a gun manufacturer submits a gun for testing and pays the money, and it passes only that specific model will be listed. in other words you submit the gun in a stainless steel finish, but the exact same model is also available in blued, or nickel, only the stainless gun will be added to the list. how much sense does that make. every year the legislater adds some new asinine law, like loaded chamber indicators, or must have a magazine disconect, or any new thing to eliminate even more guns from the market. want an ar15 sorry can’t have it. we don’t need this type of nanny state legislation at the national level.

Posted by: dbs at November 14, 2008 10:35 AM
Comment #270325


“First, gun laws are not the red meat liberal issue they once were. Second, at worst it means you’re restricted to weapons that kill rather than overkill.”

no but it is a red meat issue for traditional democrats. stephen any gun can be used to commit multiple murders, this overkill remark is typical liberal hype. there are countless ar and ak rifles owned by private citizens that are never misused.

“Second, and here’s the thing, you’re disliking him for policy he hasn’t even offered up yet, if he ever does.”

all you need to do is look at his history, and the things he’s said.

“I mean, you’re worried about guns, and the Bush administration just handed billions of dollars to banks who rather than lend out money,”

freedom is more important to me then my finances. i’de rather be poor without a pot to piss in then have an overbearing gov’t dictate every aspect of my life. thats the problem in this country, to many people thinking the country owes them something, whether it be a job or healthcare.

“The Gun issue is to Republican voters what a laser pointer is to a kitten. It’s a purposeful distraction, a way of making the GOP seem populist, even as it guts your income and sends more borrowed money into the pocket of their rich friends.”

you need to wake up my friend this gov’t coddling you yearn for will come back to bite you, and all of us in the ass someday soon.

Posted by: dbs at November 14, 2008 10:50 AM
Comment #270341

S.D. , “There’s nothing nearly deceased about a forum that can get fifty to a hundred comments on a column.”

6 additional comments in this thread in 24 hours, whoopee!

“And no, I haven’t seen you much around here.”

That would be because there’s been nothing to respond to, people seem to have dropped out after the election, and some other things have happened that would anger Rasputin if I brought up again.

“I’m rooting for Tammy Duckworth myself “

I’m pleased to hear that you have heard of Tammy D now that she made an appearance on Veterans Day with BHO. She is a great American hero. I was writing about her here 2 years ago when she was running against Roskum to replace H Hyde, and the RNCC was focusing on her with robocalls claiming they were calling on her behalf..

“It’d show those people,”

Those? those? Please be more specific. I think she is actually a person worthy of affirmative action, considering what she has given in service to this country.

“and the netroots left would like that,”

That would be the least of all possible reasons for anything. You say netroots, I say netrunts.

“because she was one of the people they supported in the 2006 election.”

At watchblog, I believe that the level of significance of the commentary had more to do with the ad that Michael J Fox made on her behalf. How’s that for quibbling?

Now the substantive part from Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:

“…Obama is, of course, a terrific public speaker. But watching him in action for the past year, one thing has become more and more clear; He doesn’t seem inclined to use his oratorical skill to truly shape public opinion. He’s only using it to win votes… His speeches soar, but they rarely seem designed to move the nation in a specific direction…”

They’ve also been pleading for him to allow his daughters to attend public school. Here is the link to their site in case you are not able to find it, or the actual magazine:

Posted by: ohrealy at November 14, 2008 5:07 PM
Comment #270345

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Democrat-turned-independent Lieberman doesn’t deserve to keep his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairmanship because of his campaign attacks on President-elect Barack Obama. ” It begins”

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 14, 2008 5:48 PM
Comment #270346

BHO is supposed to resign his Senate seat Sunday, but the governor isn’t planning on appointing a successor until the end of the year. Biden will also have to resign, so it looks like the lame duck session will be even more confused than usual. Cheney can still preside to block any legislation that the outgoing guys don’t like.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 14, 2008 6:41 PM
Comment #270362


And this is being compared to what, exactly?

The difference between the Rove and Obama strategies is a matter of loads and resistance. Rove and the Republicans had a failing war and economy working against them. They doubled down on everything, fomented as much aggression, anger, and hard feelings as they could to fire up the base despite all the problems.

Your party was in no condition to try and win an election like that, not do so and follow everything up with across the board failures. The 2004 election was the fulcrum across which the GOP was broken.

The economy, though, is going to snap your party clean off for the next couple decades. You can talk about Democrats potentially destroying the economy, but do you know what people see out there? The Republicans succeeded in destroying it. That simple.

The Democratic motto seems to be “All your votes are belong to us.”

A wedge issue is something that leads somebody to vote against other, considerable interests. They may be rightly justified in it. But it’s a description of what the issue does, rather than the nature of the issue itself.

But if the above is supposed by our motto, I guess the Republicans should adopt “Somebody set us up the bomb!” as theirs. (I saw the original “All Your Base…” video in college)

Is your response “Move Zig… For Great Justice?”

Mister, You can talk about typical liberal hype and all that, but the Democrats aren’t idiots. With our expansion into the west, and crime not the problem it once was, there isn’t much push in our party for red meat gun control.

But ain’t it a grand way to get you people scared enough to vote against Democrats? Obama especially. They’ve done just everything to convince you folks that Obama’s election is the end of the world.

Maybe you can say, “I told you so.” when he confiscates every weapon in the country. But kind of hold off till then.

Yes, I agree that gun laws that get caught up on things like the finish are stupid. Obviously any regulation that make such distinctions without a difference are not very useful. Here’s where you folks can help. There will some incident or rise in crime that gets people worried about guns. Columbine is an example. But rather than scare people further, you folks should participate in the process of determining how we minimize guns ending up in the wrong hands, or the presence of guns which really have no real place in a civilian environment.

As long as Gun Right’s advocates take an absolutist’s position, and use rhetoric that reflects a paranoid attitude towards the government and law enforcement, they’re going to scare people. And as long as fear, anger, and ignorance dictate on both sides how these laws are written, absurdities like those you describe will occur. Why? When people unfamiliar with guns write the laws, the laws reflect that ignorance.

You should acknowledge that there are certain good reasons why certain guns might be restricted or outlawed, why some people are rightly deprived of gun ownership, and why waiting periods and background checks make a certain kind of sense. Yes, criminals will get guns illegally, but when they caught with those guns, we can put them away for longer. Is that so bad? Some laws are made to be broken, so we can punish those who break them.

Meanwhile, with moderate gun control enacted, your people can say: look, we help shape these laws. We keep these, these, and these weapons out of the hands of criminals. We promote responsible gun ownership by law abiding citizens.

That would give the gun rights advocates more room to keep the laws relaxed, and sensible.

If you do it the other way, here’s what will happen: at some point a violent event or rise in crime will get city dwellers scared, and put the cops under seige, and that’s going to provide the political momentum to put excessive, stupid restrictions on guns, with your input disregarded as you’re going to be taking an antagonistic position on the issue. If you don’t want a nanny state, my advice is approach things like a grown-up, treat the opposition’s concerns with respect, and engineer a compromise and legislation that makes sense for all sides.

But if you go on resisting all gun control, making an uncompromising stand on the matter, something bad is going to happen, and that something is going to break your ability to resist bad gun laws.

As for freedom and finances? I don’t want coddling. Me and my family are hard workers, driven even. But health problems with in the family have had a devastating effect, and for the last two decades, we’ve faced one setback after another. We’ve had our good times, but recently, those came to an abrupt end, just as things were looking up a bit.

If we had good, dependable healthcare, sensibly put together all this time, we would have been much better off. But instead, we had the current system. Let me put this plainly: I want to preserve our freedoms too. But I don’t think that gets in the way of us coming together as a nation, and recognizing where certain problems have become a drag on everybody. There are business that can’t afford to employ people because of the troubles that come with getting them healthcare. There are people who would love to work, to be rehabilitated, but who can’t afford it, and therefore cannot rise to their potential. There are people who, if they got regular healthcare, exams and preventative care, would not develop or be worn down nearly so much by chronic health problems. If we caught cancers earlier, we could exploit our advantage in treatment much more effectively. If we caught diabetes and heart problems earlier, we could treat them before they became debilitating.

My Mother once worked with some of the best doctors in the country as an transcriptionist and an administrative assistant. She even worked with Michael DeBakey and Red Duke on occasions. She told stories of insurance companies trying to stop spinal surgery mid-way, of byzantine, self-inflicted bureaucracy among the insurance companies, admissions, re-admissions, tests no longer administered that might catch things early.

A stitch in times saves nine, and we unfortunately have a system geared towards not saving the nine stitches, but patching things up after.

I don’t want coddling. I want a society that runs better. I know that particular statement doesn’t square with your image of Democrats and Liberals as lazy good-for-nothings, but maybe that view of us is just what people tell themselves to avoid seeing what are true, larger purpose is: the good of the country.

There’s a good reason Jesus tells us to love our enemies, rather than haul off on them. Put simply, people are more complicated than the strained rhetoric of rivalry would indicate. The Republicans have made a point of treating their counterparts almost as foreigners primed to destroy the country. Good politics, in some way, but terrible for the country. The divisiveness has reach the stage of crippling the country, so many people rebelled against it.

It might be good for your people to give it up, too. As with gun issues, if all you’re prepared to go for is your position or nothing, you’ll get a whole lot of nothing, especially now that your party is deeply in the minority. If you don’t learn to compromise, cooperate, good forbid even learn to be friendly with liberals, you’re going to end up isolated, and bitter by yourself, and the world will pass you by.

Given that we’re not some high profile site like TPM, Freeperville, or DKos, our numbers are pretty good. The drop off is natural, since the election is over. Hell, even I’ve given it a bit of a rest.

On the subject of Tammy Duckworth, I’m afraid I’ve known about her for a couple years or more now. I know you want to imply that I’m a Johnny-come-lately on that matter, but I’ve been pretty much a serious browser of the substance-heavy Liberal Blogs since I signed up for this one in January of 2004. And yes, it would show those people who fought so hard to get that representative seat to see her promoted ahead of them.

Netrunts. Good God, man. What and who do you think won this election? Where do you think the Young liberals went all the time to get their information? You like to pride yourself on being better informed on things, yet you repeated BS that on the sites I frequently knew was long ago debunked. The Netroots, while not necessarily the main constituency, were some of the best fundraiser, the best organizers, the best debunkers, the best folks at uncovering the dirt on the opponents. We got tomorrow’s paper and next week’s TV News.

You know, it might not help you that I know Kevin Drum’s work pretty well myself. I’ve followed his blog since before he got to Mother Jones, when he was where Steve Benen (formerly of the Carpetbagger Report)is now. It really doesn’t help your case that he considers most of your attacks BS.

I managed to track down the article you quoted from, but did not link to. and it doesn’t quite say what you want it to say.

Drum’s concern is about Obama turning his well known oratorical skill to the task of pushing good policy. He’s not saying he’s incapable of it at all. He’s just analyzing, in a pretty thoughtful way, what Obama’s challenge is on that front. He notes, though, that FDR, back over seventy years ago, was also cautious about the policies he pushed until he was safely elected.

Obama is no stranger to political challenges, or triumphing over them. I think if you want to know which direction Obama is going, look at who he hired as Chief of Staff. You don’t hire Rahm Emmanuel if you’re looking to play it safe. You hire him if you want to put pressure on people, keep people in line.

As for Public/Private school debate? I think the big issue will be security, whether the schools in question would be able to handle the secret service presence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2008 11:54 AM
Comment #270369
ohrealy- Given that we’re not some high profile site like TPM, Freeperville, or DKos, our numbers are pretty good. The drop off is natural, since the election is over. Hell, even I’ve given it a bit of a rest.

Stephen, bless you for your valiant effort to hold this site together…..but take a look around. The drop-off or drop-out action has nothing to with the election being over. There are any number of issues that beg discussion, but not with the conditions in effect. Rules for posting are fine, and necessary at times to enforce, but the enforcement SHOULD be uniform. It isn’t now….hasn’t been for a long time, and doesn’t seem likely to change.
There has been a massive bullying action taking place, with the most vicious and hateful rhetoric being repeated, unchecked…since some time before the election.
It would seem that this has become literally a “good-ol’-boys” place to hang out. Typical red-neck comments and attitudes, and the female populace has withered to nearly zero.
Buy the blog Stephen….we’ll all come back to keep you company.

Posted by: janedoe at November 15, 2008 12:57 PM
Comment #270384

S.D., our political views are not really very different. Our main difference is your adherence to BHO, which apparently goes back to at least May of 2006 by my records of responses to you. At that time he was, as now, a person of little experience in practical politics, but there was clearly an agenda in place of which we now see the results. We are never going to agree on anything relating to BHO. He is resigning his Senate seat tomorrow after a record of …hmm.. well…he ran for POTUS and won. Congratulations on the hoodwinking and bamboozling, but did you vote for Rahm E? Bill Daley? Bill Ayers? Oops, that one slipped in. I guess my dirt still needs to be debunked a little more. They were only family friends.

I respectfully suggest you widen your circle of information gathering beyond your current sources, in order not to be viewed as the reverse of the coin that we see from the right wing, endlessly spinning a propaganda web, regarding the truth as irrelevant, only serving a partisan purpose. People who were opposed to that nonsense coming from one side, aren’t interested in hearing it from the other side.

It looks like you are at a disadvantage in Houston, stuck relying on online sources for information, and end up reading more of what you agree with, rather than what might provide useful factual information. People in even smaller cities must have even less unbiased reliable information available to them, hence the entrenchment of opinions. The internet is a great source for popular culture. It’s not very good for political discourse.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 15, 2008 2:56 PM
Comment #270391


i have no problem with background checks. the nics system works great. i recently purchased another rifle, and the check was done right in front of me while i waited. with in 10 minutes the doj gave the dealer the ok to proceed and i was on my way. waiting periods are debatable. my best guess is someone who wants it to commit a crime will get it instantly anyway. all waiting periods really do is stop someone who already owns guns from walking away with another one.

the nra recently supported new legislation that allowed instant access to information anywhere in the country to identify people who have mental issues. this would have prevented the virginia tech incident. i also support right to carry by law abidding citizens. there have been studies that show this to be a deterrent to violent crime.

IMO anyone that is not prohibited from owning a gun should be able to own any firearm they choose whether it an ar-15, or ak-47 none of the rifles available to civilians have an auto position on the selector, and operate exactly the same way any semi auto hunting rifle does. there is no mechanical difference. the rifles the have been banned in states like calif. have been demonized because of cosmetic features that don’t change the way they operate. since when did a flash suppressor, or bayonette lug make a rifle any more dangerous. it’s all demonization, and hype.

Posted by: dbs at November 15, 2008 3:36 PM
Comment #270393


i disagree many of the most vicious personal attacks that i’ve seen have been from the left, and the rules state no personal attacks are allowed. i’ve seen people disappear from this site, but usually after they’ve flagarently violated the rules. i’ve seen posters on both sides of the aisle 86ed. if you’ve been here long enough, and i know you have. you know who makes the call, and if you see something out of line all you have to do is bring it to the editors attention. IMO the rules here have been fairly enforced.

Posted by: dbs at November 15, 2008 3:47 PM
Comment #270410

And I would say, dbs, that you continue to see things colored with red from the right side of the page.
Thanks for supporting my comments and position.

Posted by: janedoe at November 15, 2008 9:06 PM
Comment #270412

As far as someone valiantly trying to hold this site together, doesn’t anyone remember when the only one writing the red column was Jack? It was not that long ago.

Posted by: ray at November 15, 2008 9:19 PM
Comment #270415

ray, I remember Jack from when his trees were little saplings… ;) No matter when that was, his comments can not compare to Stephen’s incredible patience, and reluctance to fan any flames with the results being detrimental.
Jack loved to stoke the flames.

Posted by: janedoe at November 15, 2008 9:44 PM
Comment #270421


“Thanks for supporting my comments and position.”

anything for an old friend ;)

Posted by: dbs at November 16, 2008 8:42 AM
Comment #270428

In three years I never seen Jack as Far Right he had a Little Bit of a Independent streak in him , I had a big disagreement with him over the Iraq war and other Issues But I never sensed him as one to hold a grudge or Snub Anyone he was honest and right on many issue’s and he always found time to reply to everyone I sensed a strong separation of church and state with him and I for one miss him.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 16, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #270438

dbs said “the fear is hardly unfouned, obama has a record of supporting the type of gun control we’ve seen in states like california, and IMO would reinstate an even stronger version of the clinton gun ban that expired in 2004.”

While you may claim it is not unfounded it certainly is grossly exaggerated by the NRA and others that seem to have a political axe to grind dbs.

The 2nd amendment issue is hard because their are many legitimate reasons to arm ourselves in this day and age as well as reasons not to. Clearly the 2nd amendment is an individual right, not a collective right to bear arms. I believe the primary purpose of this amendment is to protect ourselves from the government as it has a standing army. Secondarily we also have a right to defend ourselves and our families.

We have already went to far, IMHO, in governing concealed weapons as I believe weapons should be concealed all the time, unless needed of course. Most police forces seem to have a problem with that however. What is a reasonable solution without an arms escalation race between the cops and the bad guys? Our police force is way to militarized already IMHO.

But semi automatic assault rifles and armor piercing ammo are another issue dbs. Do UZI’s and AK47’s have a legitimate hunting or home defense function that cannot be filled by other weapons? Can’t they be converted to full auto relatively easy by the bad guys? Do armor piercing bullets have a legitimate sports and/or home defense use? Do we not need to think of innocent bystanders as well as law enforcement and their safety when we discuss this issue? I realize the weapons and ammo do have a legitimate use to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government but then so do full automatic weapons.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 16, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #270440

Jack and I were good rivals. To be frank he was better than a lot of folks on the right. He was, though, put in a position where the situation was conflicted for him. Was he speaking for himself, or for the State Department that employed him?

As for fanning the flames? I’m not holding this site together. I’ve been on sites where there was thermite-level flamewars going on, and as much as things are a little more heated now than they were back in the 2004 election season, they are nowhere near as bad as that got.

But I experienced enough of that to where I came to see that style of political argument was utterly useless. You have to confront somebody pretty lacking in self esteem or basic pride to be able to convince them that they are evil, malevolant, or whatever else.

I’m no angel here. I throw sharp elbows. I say the Republicans are wrong and they’re doing harm to the country. I’m stubborn, and I don’t like to say I’m wrong.

But at the end of the day, there are some things I like to hold onto.

I’ve taken formal classes on logic and journalism, and have come to the conclusion that their principles make for better, more truthful arguments, which don’t dissolve too much into the toxic stew of subjectivity.

Demagoguery doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t have much respect for shaping policy to in order to please people rather than shaping policy to work. If you’re going to accommodate other people, accommodate them on practical points. All I’ve seen come of shaping policy in the former way is bad political backwash, and worse practical consequences. There’s a job politicians have to do in the midst of applying for their next term of tenure, and I think they’d serve both their political and practical priorities far better if they mixed gaining public approval with doing actual good for the public. Doing them separately overcomplicates things, and often pits them at cross purposes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2008 1:20 PM
Comment #270449

9 comments in 24 hours here, most of them non-substantive.

I was looking for a copy of BHO’s resignation letter in today’s Tribune, and was surprised at the number of BHO related stories, e.g.:

One about a lady who owns a Dodge Neon that once belong to BHO.
His old state Senate chair is going to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
A signed BHO doodle from doodle day went for over $2000.

The Secret Service code names for the First Family: Renegade for BHO, Renaissance for MRO, Radiance for Malia, and Rosebud for Sasha.

There is a pullout photo section in which there is a nice photo of BHO as a child with his maternal grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham.

Obama urges aid for homeowners and automakers, the quotes sound like BHO has been cribbing from WJC, but that could just be his staff.

Various quotes about the transition which make James Clyburn sound like the conservative in the bunch, Rahm E wants to do something big, and Dick Durbin wants to “wait and see”.

“Obama security strains forces, security is tight Saturday near President-elect Barack Obama’s Kenwood home. Chicago leaders have grown concerned aobut the cost of extra manpower. 60 cops assigned to Loop transition office, It’s a big job protecting the president-elect, and Secret Service can’t do it alone…This week, security was ratcheted up as Obama held talks with potential administration officials…some have taken to calling “the Obama drama”.

Various churches in DC are hoping for the first family to become a member.
12 stories about peoples first impresssion when they met BHO.

Questions about questions on the questionnaire for prospective administration members about gun ownership and registration, professional background, writings and speeches, relationships and affiliations, financial information, taxes, legal proceedings, and domestic help.

The President elect dreads giving up his BlackBerry.
The use of a Sam Cooke song by the campaign, “A Change is Gonna Come”.

Write something substantive and I’ll respond on Thursday or Friday. Have a nice week.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 16, 2008 5:22 PM
Comment #270454


actually armor piercing bullets are already illegal as far as i know. that being bullets made from steel or depleted uranium.

converting a semiautomatic weapon to full automatic is a federal crime. i think punishable by 10 years in federal prison, as it is a violation of NFA.

most of the other points you made i pretty much agree with. i think you may be suprised though at what the dems. do when it comes to gun control, but i hope i’m wrong.

Posted by: dbs at November 16, 2008 5:41 PM
Comment #270456

ohrealy, Stephen must really work on posting something here that’s more to your liking.
In the meantime, there’s a red column about 8 inches (more or less depending on your monitor size) to your right, that you might find more to your liking.

Posted by: janedoe at November 16, 2008 6:21 PM
Comment #270472

you can buy a bullet casting machine and make any kind of Damn bullet you want be altering the alloy content or altering the physical shape and design of the bullet and using frictionless coatings I give my Hunter friends more credit , does any of you live or have lived in a huge city or urban area on the fourth of July or new years eve with a wife and small daughter, Scary.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 17, 2008 10:16 AM
Comment #270473

“does any of you live or have lived in a huge city or urban area on the fourth of July or new years eve with a wife and small daughter, Scary.”

Yes Rodney it is. It makes it easy to understand why more urban and suburban voters encourage their representatives to ban assault weapons. But I have also lived in the high desert where coyote are present, not to mention in the mountains where the bear and the mountain lion play. I know I still didn’t need assault weapons but having a good rifle sure makes one more comfortable.

However the 2nd amendment does give us the right to bear arms. We seem to forget when these laws are made that one responsibility we as citizens have is to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government, which may include the need for assault weapons. The assault weapon ban was based upon the premise that these weapons were not needed for sport and are favored by drug dealers and gangbangers. Hard to disagree with that but our right to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government surely doesn’t preclude assault weapons does it?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 17, 2008 10:38 AM
Comment #270474


most police deptartments now have a system for locating those few idiots who fire guns into the air. you can’t take away the rights of the majority because of a small handful of morons. also i don’t know of anyone who reloads who is doing anything other than trying to save money, or loading up thier favorite load for hunting. the truth is that any commercialy available rifle cartridge will defeat soft body armor, most soft armor will only defeat handgun bullets. if you want protection against rifle rounds you need ceramic armor like marines, and soldiers wear, but nothing is 100%. what city do you live in where your having a big problem with these idiots. my guess is your local PD is already out there trying to nip that in the bud. i’ll look to seee if i can get some info on that system.

Posted by: dbs at November 17, 2008 10:43 AM
Comment #270475


actually the ar AR-15s 223 rem. AKA 5.56mm ctg. is designed for small game. it’s an exellent choice for coyotes. don’t think i’de attempt to stop a bear with it though. 308 win., or 30-06 would be a better bet for a bear, but even that could be iffy if the bear is extremely large. in that case hope you can run fast, or have a 460 wthby on hand.

Posted by: dbs at November 17, 2008 10:51 AM
Comment #270479


here’s what i was talking about. i don’t know if this is the only technology, but this is what i found.

Posted by: dbs at November 17, 2008 11:35 AM
Comment #270480

dbs, I agree with you on the casting machines a hunter or sporting enthusiast and clay pigeon shooter can make reloads and bullets for a fraction of the cost of store bought, I don’t hunt or reload but i enjoy shooting at trap or clay pigeons once in awhile, j2t2, I agree those were 30-50-round assault weapons we use to hear I would say they were semi-automatic And it did get a little better as you know though some police forces are more proactive than others .dbs nothing is better close up than a old Ithaca Shotgun loaded with magnum slugs or 00 - 000-buck for bear , I never seen a brown bear Up close thank goodness. Ok dbs, I’ll look at it. thanks.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 17, 2008 11:51 AM
Comment #270484

Still not happy about all those Optical eyes in the skies. more secure or less freedoms? another debate.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 17, 2008 12:17 PM
Comment #270485


“nothing is better close up than a old Ithaca Shotgun loaded with magnum slugs or 00 - 000-buck for bear , I never seen a brown bear Up close thank goodness.”

you’re right. my dad had a problem with wild pigs tearing up his property in hawaii. OO buck did a fine job. not as likely to miss either.

Posted by: dbs at November 17, 2008 12:39 PM
Comment #270956

Good observations. I’ve thought much the same. Although I was a liberal in the 60’s and 70’s, the word “liberal” is due for a redefinition. The issues we struggled over in the mid-1900’s are not the issues of the early 21st Century. Rigid ideologies are based on rigid concepts of how the world works (or should work?). Liberal or not, I don’t want us to fall into that error on the left anymore than I wanted us to be trapped in the Republican errors of the right. Help the people. Be flexible. Adapt to reality. Open up and avoid closing things up.

Thanks for voicing these ideas.

Posted by: Edward Hester at November 25, 2008 4:45 PM
Post a comment