Democrats & Liberals Archives

Go Back To School.

Folks, Stay classy, Republicans.

I don’t think we even have the text of what Obama is going to say yet, yet the mind-readers at the GOP are absolutely certain that Obama’s going to somehow hypnotize the students, like some Liberal Svengali, and make little Obamabots, organizing into little Soviets, who are going to destroy capitalism when they grow up.

What is this really about? Division. The intentional ostracization of anything they disagree with. They know people will be gullible enough to believe it, so they push it, knowing they've got their audience pegged.

This just makes me sad. This is the example these folks are setting for their children, the future they're setting up, one where reasonable discourse, where a televised address to them from the President is seen as some sort of threat.

One of the central tenets of Democracy is that what mistakes the people make in choosing a candidate, the people can correct. If we got a bad President, we can change him or her out. But in the eyes of those the Republicans allow to run their discourse, just the fact that the Obama Administration stepped inside the White House is a threat to Western Civilization, as much as the Bush Administration was supposed to be its salvation.

Seems an awful pity. We were taught, when I was a kid, to respect our leaders, or at least the office they occupied, even if they disagreed with us. There was something greater than the politics at work- a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. There was something greater than just the partisan interests of party, or the culture of one region or another.

I don't remember my parents hoping for Reagan's foreign policy to fail. Their comments mostly addressed where he had succeeded in changing things in the economy, and done harm for his success. As a Republican faced with the end of the First Bush Administration, I resigned myself to a Clinton Administration, and decided in my heart that even if I didn't respect the man, I would respect the office, and hope for whatever policies he used to come out for the best. One of the strong motivating factors in my change of heart on my political loyalties was the realization that my now former party was more interested in crippling this President's ability to lead and function than to serve as the loyal opposition I expected them to be.

Even with Bush, I resigned myself, told myself that we would just have to see what kind of leader he would be. If I was given cause to be outraged, I would be outraged, but if he got good results, I wouldn't just oppose him, or counsel a blockade of the other party, just for the hell of it.

Before 9/11, Bush seemed a minor bumbler to me, not somebody I wanted to hang around another four years, but just some mediocre leader who was going to write his own ticket out of office, just like the father I had once supported. After 9/11, we were all on the same team, and I wished him the absolute best in defeating America's enemies. But I wanted him to do so in a way that glorified America, that showed the terrorists that they couldn't break our faith in Democracy, that they couldn't panic our country into becoming an authoritarian shell of its former glory.

But as always, I wanted results. My first concern was whether Bush was doing the job. My antipathy to Bush came from the ugly, ugly results of his leadership. His politics, his strident partisanship, was just added insult to injury.

Republicans have many lessons to learn from the Bush Administration's hateful legacy in policy and politics, but I think the one those reading right now should take to heart is that leaders who willfully, recklessly divide people against one another, who abuse their relationships of trust to sow hatred and discord cannot hope to long lead a united nation of free citizens. Agree or disagree with the Majority's position, we have to agree on one thing: that we all have the right to the floor of this forum, the forum of the American Marketplace of ideas, that this country belongs to all of its citizens together, not just the ones who think themselves the better patriots on either side of the aisle. Nobody is entitled to agreement. That they have to earn.

Like him or not, Obama is the President, and he is the current representative of that institution. When Republicans gleefully subvert respect for that institution in the name of gaining power back later down the road, and blocking the progress of Democratic Party power, they don't stop to consider that if what they do becomes precedent, they will see their own President, one of these days, shown the same disrespect.

If the Republicans wish to gain any real benefit from their political victories, they should consider that the game they're playing has broader dimensions than just their personal interests and beliefs, and is really not entirely a game. They're thinking of it in terms that children all too often think of games, where it's more important to win, by whatever means necessary, than it is to consider the consequences of the manner of play, or its purpose.

Do they really want to sow the seeds at this point of letting partisan spite be such a strong, defining element of how we relate to our government? Do they want to turn around one day, and find Democrats doing the same? I hope they do not, but Republicans should note that by raising the stakes and pumping up the hostility, they are encouraging the view in the opposite side that such aggression should be met in kind. At that time, will they wonder, how did this game get so nasty?

We can operate in terms of negative or positive feedback, and this is one of those few situations where the negative option is the better. If their idea is that somehow, it's only fair to, in abstract, not for substantive reason, inflict the same harm on Democrats as was inflicted on their President, they should realize, that a Democrat still stinging from the Clinton Impeachment could rationalize the same things: it become a positive feedback loop, each side punishing the other in an escalating fashion.

There's a word for this kind of behavior: brinksmanship. As in, a practice of pushing things as close to the brink as possible without getting harmed. The Republicans are playing chicken with our Democracy. Unfortunately, as of late, they've chosen poorly in terms of the risks they've taken. Trying to demonstrate how dedicated they were to laissez faire capitalism last year in the fall helped lose them the 2008 election, as the markets cratered in response to their mass refusal to take immediate action. Their refusal to admit things were spinning out of control in Iraq cost them 2006. Their refusal overall to admit how badly Bush tarnished conservatism contributed to both majority-sundering elections that followed their narrow victory in 2004.

The Republicans used their divisive tactics during the Bush Administration constantly- in fact, too much. They overplayed their hand on them before, and they overplay now. At some point, if you drive for the edge of the cliff enough, you drive over it, and it seems the Republican ability to restrain themselves, to pull back from the edges they're driving for, has gotten poorer and poorer, as they fight with greater and greater desperation.

The Republican Party of the recent past was pulled together to be competitive, to shoulder past an intimidated party whose glory days were behind it. The Democratic Party of not long ago was a party in the shadow of LBJ's war and his fiscal irresponsibility, of the 70's, of Reagan and the Republican's rapid rise.

The Democrats of today, if we're speaking of the average supporter out there, are neither cowed by nor impressed by the Republicans. The Senate and House may be a little late in catching up with these people, but their pull has been powerful enough to elect someone like Barack Obama President.

That pull will not get weaker as time goes on. The younger voters, who break more liberal and break more Democratic, will be the driving force behind politics for the next generation, and the Republicans have not just lost them, but may be pushing them further away with their antics.

There is another course of action. It's painful, and you'll see a lot of the old guard get swept away. What's needed is negative feedback, for there to be limits in what the Republicans do, and a sense of moderation. The Republicans need to quit being the folks that run around with their hair on fire, screaming about what evil and socially destructive folks their opponents are. If today's generational mix finds their antic preposterous, just what does tomorrow's generational (and ethnic) mix think of them? Sooner or later, they'll get on the last nerves of enough people, and a party that's gone off the edge will go under the bus as well.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 6, 2009 6:17 PM
Comments
Comment #287620
The Republicans need to quit being the folks that run around with their hair on fire, screaming about what evil and socially destructive folks their opponents are.

Best line in the whole piece by far. Bravo Stephen!

Most of the people who have been following politics for more than 2 years will definitely find that line priceless.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 6, 2009 9:08 PM
Comment #287621

Oh, and I almost missed the suggestive use of the race card there at the end. Seems like you’ve touched on all of the bases.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 6, 2009 9:10 PM
Comment #287623

What bothers me is Republican supporters failure’s to stick with reality and facts about the Obama administration, which are troubling enough. Why do they dilute their critiques with fabrications and unbelievable hyperbole? It may play to their base, but, their base is already loyal to their party. They have eroded Independent support for Democrats, but, have gained none for the GOP, according to polls. It is self-defeating.

Why not hammer Obama on refusing to threaten a veto on the pork barrel spending in this year’s Stimulus package and next this new year’s budget? Why not hammer Obama in his failure as the leader of his Party to rally his own party around a solid rational health care reform plan? Why not hammer Obama on his mission creep approach to Afghanistan as opposed to a fully committed effort?

Then of course, I look back at the judgments made when Republicans were ascending to and had achieved majority power, and my questions are answered. The governed like a minority party and now that they are the minority party again, they are acting the role, as if they have nothing to lose by the outrageous and over the top.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 6, 2009 9:25 PM
Comment #287629

David,

They are hitting with what sticks, it appears to me. I’ve seen the other issues brought up, heck I’ve brought them up as well, but facts like that aren’t attention grabbers.

It’s like when the left would come out and say that the House Republicans in the late 90s were going to starve children and kill grandma with their budget cuts, and then claim victory for the lower deficits under Clinton. And there was PLENTY to bring up about Bush, yet they continue to hype out the disproven ‘lies’ and ‘war for oil’ nonsense that was much more effective because it was over the top hyperbole and that appears to be what resonates with the majority of the voters in the US these days…

If both parties keep it up, though, it may spell a real good chance for a 3rd party. The right is now suddenly ‘finding libertarianism’ everywhere in an effort to prevent that from happening, but it won’t work, it’s an obvious facade. Unfortunately the press doesn’t understand that so it will most likely just hurt the party…

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 6, 2009 10:09 PM
Comment #287631

Republicans fear the Obama is setting up a cult or personality and I believe they overreacted to Obamas’s desire to talk to school kids.

IMO - Obama is a good example of how open and fair the U.S. system has become. That the son of an immigrant, a member of a racial minority, who grew up in a broken family could become rich and successful, let alone president, proves once and forever that the U.S. is truly the land of opportunity.

We don’t need all those people complaining about how hard it is to be them, when little Barack can come from such humble beginnings. His speech wil be a reproach to losers and an encouragement to the virtuous. In America, you can make it.

Posted by: Christine at September 6, 2009 11:06 PM
Comment #287633

Unfortunately, we’ve entered a phase in which no benefit of the doubt is given, and the worst possible interpretation is assumed. We liberals got to that point with Bush, but it took a few years and a failed war. Obama just had to show up.

Posted by: LawnBoy at September 6, 2009 11:26 PM
Comment #287634

This is just what happens when a liberal president governs in a center right nation with his personal appeal diminished.

Must be quite a shock from the worship he was revieving during the campaign.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 6, 2009 11:42 PM
Comment #287635

This is the center of the Republican party. George H.W. Bush has had produced a self congratulatory film in which he was booed in the sixties for supporting civil rights. Texas still had white and black restrooms and restaurants, then. Fortunately, Black leaders at the time, avoided riots in Texas by working deals with merchants to remove these barriers, quietly.

But racism still runs deep here. Communism is a catch phrase for anything that disturbs their all white, church going, male dominated, buzz haircut, and now Republican lifestyle. Hate those gays, hippie, commie, dope smoking criminals that include most hispanics and blacks.

I’ve been working in College Station(home of his library) lately, a town dominated by Texas A&M college. It’s a lot like living in the fifties there. Sort of like the movie Pleasantville. Of course, there are educated and thoughtful people there, and there is a public personna that is less racist among the educated. But it doesn’t lie very deep beneath the surface. They encouraged the assassination of Kennedy, after being betrayed by LBJ, and sent the Democratic party running. Now they pray for the death of Obama. That Negro Commie. Rush knows his audience and sings Barrack the Magic Negro, gleefully.

The biggest problem is many of these racist are rich and powerful. This IS the center of the party. Texians wiped out the Spanish, Indians and any others that threatened their dominance. Things haven’t changed much.

Posted by: gergle at September 6, 2009 11:45 PM
Comment #287636

Rhinehold-
1) The race card? Polling data demonstrates that support among minorities is low for Republicans. Merely pointing out that the Demographic changes, in that case, work against the party if they don’t shape up.

2) The previous two years? We’re expected to make like Spider-Man in the second movie and stop the train that’s been moving out of control for the better part of a decade. And do that while record breaking Obstruction goes on, too. 112 threats made, blocking nearly ever piece of important Democratic Party Legislation. And did the Republicans do much different in the next year?

The answer is no. After the elections, they decided once again to abuse the filibuster threat.

3)Sixty means we’re invincible, right?

The only reason sixty matters is because it’s the Minimum for breaking the stalemate.

But if even One Democrat disagrees, or dies (as has just happened), then it can’t be done without at least a single Republican’s support.

And guess what? the Republicans kicked out one of the last ones who disagreed. That’s how we got sixty. Message to the others: any of you SOB’s move, and you get it.

Is this supposed to be the incredibly friendly atmosphere of bipartisanship that you envision making getting those sixty votes a walk in the park? That all the imperfections and factions of the party are just going to go away?

The Republicans are undertaking a strained and artificial strategy, one that is as deliberate as it is ultimately unsustainable. Republicans are hoping that they can hold the senate hostage until they undermine the Democrats out of their majority. You ignore it, as it’s convenient from your political perspective to simply overlook the component that is the necessary part of this deal: the complete prohibition on breaking the solid wall of obstruction. Without that, with Republicans free to vote up or down, obviously much more would get passed.

And that’s the point. That’s why they’re not simply voting things down. They’re still trying to set the agenda, impose a minority’s policy judgement, bad as it’s been, on the majority, regardless of what most people want.

This hasn’t been entirely fruitful. The reason why we were close enough to hit sixty is simple: the Public elected about nine or eight more Democrats, unseating or replacing their Republican Predecessors.

But of course you defend this as a defense of the rights of the minority. But what about the rights of the majority? I can understand constitutional and statutory rights being enforced, but this goes beyond that to a sort of tyranny. Americans have decided their course as a country. The States have decided who they want to represent them. The Districts in those states have made their decision, too.

Yet you say they shouldn’t see their will win out? Whose will wins out, determined by what laws? Imperfect as it is, necessary as it is for minority rights to put a check on the majority’s power, there is, nonetheless a practical need to work from policy more people have agreed to than not.

By making the votes for the people we have serve as delegates to the Congress Democratic, and by having their votes be Democratic as well, we stabilize that tension in a more ideal way. After all, not all majorities are the same majorities. To rationalize doing away with this over partisan concerns is a first step towards fascism. You’re just gradually shrinking the collection of those who can be seen as fit to determine the country’s course to a convenient few.

But that’s not a sustainable government. Sooner or later, people want their stake in things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2009 12:26 AM
Comment #287637

Craig Holmes-
I’m assuming you’re telling us that this center-right nation just accidentally got fed up and voted in overwhelming Democratic majorities, with increases in all Democratic factions, correct?

Nobody ever had to sign a loyalty oath to Barack Obama, as I recall. Republicans did their absolute best to make it practically a sin to badmouth Bush. If you did so, you were suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, and your protests were kept out of the sight of the dear leader so they wouldn’t sully his eyes.

Obama was 1) Articulate. 2) Wonky 3) an original political thinker, and 4) not afraid to bring up alternatives to both Republican and Democratic Party Dogmas, to actually contribute new ideas to the forum.

That’s why people like me liked him.

And that’s why people like you hate him. He is the Democrat’s answer to Bush’s time in office, and although you would prefer it otherwise, people like him better than your choice.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2009 12:37 AM
Comment #287638

An older tea party

Posted by: gergle at September 7, 2009 1:19 AM
Comment #287639

Stephen:

There are at least two ways to organize voters. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Liberals, Moderates, and Conservatives. Republicans appropriately got fired, and Democrats hired. However the numbers of Conservatives are still double that of liberals.

So we have a strange case of a center right natioin “hiring” a liberal president and congress to lead them. Of course Liberals think they were voted into power to liberal things. Actually they were voted into power to do center right things.

Now, Obama is dropping dramatically in the polls because America is realizing how far out of step Obama is with most of the country.

The political landscape is starting to return to the mean of center right. They are telling the Liberal President to stay away from their children as he is too far from them on ideology.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 7, 2009 8:24 AM
Comment #287640

Stephen:

You say:


“And that’s why people like you hate him. He is the Democrat’s answer to Bush’s time in office, and although you would prefer it otherwise, people like him better than your choice.”

You people on the far left sure like to stick people in a box.

I am so glad you know first that I hate Obama, and also why. I don’t “hate” Obama. I just think he is from the far left and is going to struggle governing a center right nation.

As a right center person myself, he is not someone I would vote for or support. That goes for all of you far left types. Don’t want to tired predictable ideology based answers the come from you and Obama.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 7, 2009 8:37 AM
Comment #287642

gergle

Democrats are not communists as a group and Republicans are not racist. Stereotyping is - in fact - a species of racism.

People’s outlook on the world reflects your more own personality and than that of those you love, help, hate or criticize.

For example, I believe in smaller government because I don’t believe I or anybody else has the expertise to micro-manage society or economy. It has nothing to do with racism.

In my experience, good people think most people are good; loving people think most people are loving; prejudiced people think most people are prejudiced and hateful people think everyone else is hateful. People who are racist think others are racist.

The world has moved along. If someone like Obama is the victim, where do we sign up to get on board?

Posted by: Christine at September 7, 2009 8:52 AM
Comment #287643

Does Stephen ever write an article on themes other than what there is to hate about Republicans? Or what he hates about them?

It doesn’t seem like there’s much defense of or explanation of what’s right about either Democratic proposals or policies—its just that Democrats don’t go bump in the night like those evil bloody-fanged Republicans. Ironic to decry the excesses of partisanship when that’s the note you yourself most enjoying playing.

It’s interesting how some arguments, or ways of arguing, tend to become what they behold.

Posted by: Paul at September 7, 2009 10:48 AM
Comment #287645
We liberals got to that point with Bush, but it took a few years and a failed war. Obama just had to show up.

LOL

Let’s take a look at http://web.archive.org/web/20010119024200/http://democrats.com/. This is the website for democrats.com on January 18, 2001.

The Largest Protests Since Vietnam Time Magazine says that this weekend, Washington will see the largest protest since Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands are coming to town to denounce Bush’s coronation. Don’t miss it - and be sure to attend the protest in Dupont Circle sponsored by votermarch.org!
Commemorate the ‘Death of Democracy Night’ on Friday, January 19 Democrats.com activist Todd Schrager suggests that we commemorate the Death of Democracy on the night of Friday, January 19. At 9 pm let’s all turn off our lights and say a prayer for Democracy. Make up your own, or use Tamara Lynn Scott’s wonderful poem.
Inauguration Day Protests Across the USA There will be protests on Inauguration Day all over the USA, not just in Washington DC. Democrats.com is supporting several national events, and has links to calendars of local events. Speak out against the Stolen Presidency on January 20!
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Kennedy Signals Ashcroft Filibuster
During a dispute on Wednesday with Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said “if you don’t appreciate the way that I present it, I can accept that. But I want to make it very clear that I would restate those. And I would be glad—I won’t take the chance at this time; I will on the floor of the United States Senate—to take as much time as necessary, and it may take some time to debate those particular issues.” That’s about as clear a signal as one can get. In an interview later in the day, Kennedy specifically said he had “not ruled out” a filibuster, which is Senate-speak for “you can take it to the bank.” GO TED GO!!!!!

Demand a Filibuster Against Ashcroft! Senator Barbara Boxer has announced her opposition to Ashcroft, and other Democratic Senators are hinting they will join her. But Trent Lott says all 50 Republicans will support him, so only one Democratic vote - most likely Robert Torricelli (NJ), who appears to have made a deal with the Republicans - will make Ashcroft the nation’s most powerful lawyer. We therefore need a FILIBUSTER from 40 Democratic Senators who are willing to stand up for the voters who elected them. Remember, Ashcroft himself led filibusters against nominees he didn’t like, including Surgeon General nominees David Satcher and Henry Foster. Ashcroft deserves a very strong taste of his own medicine. Call your Senators and demand a filibuster!
40% of Americans Think that Bush is Illegitimate Despite cynical calls from the GOP to accept Bush as the duly elected president, 40% of Americans believe that he didn’t come by the office legitimately. Yet Bush keeps pushing his far right wing pro-Confederacy cabinet nominees on the majority of Americans who believe that the Civil War was decided in 1865. Bush, who keeps saying that all that matters is that he “won”, should note that the South lost. Maybe he should have run for President of the Confederate states and not have imposed himself on the rest of us.
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I am glad to be able to look back and see all of the support that the left provided Bush during his first week of office and being able to compare it to the horrible partisan treatment that Obama is getting now.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 7, 2009 11:33 AM
Comment #287646
1) The race card? Polling data demonstrates that support among minorities is low for Republicans. Merely pointing out that the Demographic changes, in that case, work against the party if they don’t shape up.

Keep telling yourself that, Stephen, if you think people don’t see through that and it helps you sleep better at night…

2) The previous two years? We’re expected to make like Spider-Man in the second movie and stop the train that’s been moving out of control for the better part of a decade. And do that while record breaking Obstruction goes on, too. 112 threats made, blocking nearly ever piece of important Democratic Party Legislation. And did the Republicans do much different in the next year?

So, what, you need 100% democrats in order to push through anything? Are the Democrats THAT WEAK that they can’t do anything against the poor Republicans who are out of power in every branch of government? I feel so bad for you Stephen, but remember that the Republicans had LESS power during the Bush years and here we sit with all of these ramrodded through programs that the Democrats never supported! How where they able to do it with less power than the Dems have now and be responsible for it but the Dems aren’t responsible for ANYTHING. WAAAA Leave us alone!

The answer is no. After the elections, they decided once again to abuse the filibuster threat.

TREAT. You want it to end? Actually make them do it. I bet that it would happen a total of 1 time. But your side doesn’t want that because they want the ability to threaten a filibuster and not have to do it either when they are back in the minority.

And that’s the really really sad and weak part of it, they want to cry foul but aren’t willing to do anything about it themselves…

Oh, much like the liberal agenda! Interesting, I will have to look into that more.

3)Sixty means we’re invincible, right?

If you were to agree on something, yes.

But if even One Democrat disagrees, or dies (as has just happened), then it can’t be done without at least a single Republican’s support.

So, if a Democrat disagrees with a law, what makes you think a Republican should be supporting that law? Do you not see how silly that sounds when you say it out loud, Stephen? Really?

But of course you defend this as a defense of the rights of the minority.

Interesting, especially when I recommended to Republicans that they DON’T do this because people like yourself would use it an excuse. I only point out that, despite your suggestions to it in the past, it is not UNCONSTITUTIONAL to do what they do because there is nothing in the Constitution telling the senate or house how they have to pass any legislation. They have come up with these rules on their own and STICK with them on their own. They could change them right now if they wanted to, but don’t, because those rules are good for them when they want them. They just don’t like it when others use them…

Tell me Stephen, all you are asking on is the right to vote on something in an up and down vote. Why is it, then, that you can’t get 60 DEMOCRATS to support an up and down vote? They don’t have to vote FOR something, just for the up and down vote. And you can’t get that. So you look to THE REPUBLICANS because they don’t want it either? Seems to me that if members of your own party are not wanting something voted on that looking to the opposing party as being the villian is just a refusal to accept responsibility for your own failures.

And yes, the American people see it that way too.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 7, 2009 11:47 AM
Comment #287647
An older tea party

As a supporter of the tea parties for longer than this year I think you might be able to imagine my response to this ignorant race baiting bull.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 7, 2009 11:52 AM
Comment #287649

Craig Holmes-
Does this look like a Center-Right nation to you?

Chris Cilliza goes over the problem of self-identification in this article, and makes some good points about the politics of labels.

It comes down to this: Republicans have relentlessly bashed liberals and liberal policies for the last generation. That said, does that mean people abandoned them?

No, not at all. What Republicans do is they move in and make certain words and concept radioactive. But if you call somebody a progressive instead of a liberal… well then, a lot more people identify themselves that way!

Besides, one man’s liberal can be another man’s moderate. One man’s moderate can be another’s progressive. Even calling yourself conservative can be deceptive. You might be conservative in one or two subjects, but otherwise be as blue as the Montana sky. I mean, have you listened to Brian Schweitzer speak? Yet they elected this obviously progressive man Governor of Montana.

I’d say if you take what are considered Right-Wing talking points, and compare them to what Republicans are actually trying, you’ll find the Rhetoric, while wild, essentially poses the Democrats as so far beyond their actual positions as to be useless for their real description.

If you look at the poll numbers, you’ll find people are balking at the fiction, not the facts of our healthcare plans, the gross exaggerations and lies. The actual items on our agenda, including the public option, again presented for what is is, on neutral terms, do quite well.

You’re not winning on the issues, you’re poisoning the well on the rhetoric. And that may come back to haunt you.

Let’s take this address to the kids at school. If it just happens to be a good old fashioned, “Stay in school and do well” speech, you’re going to have an awful lot of people who are going to be wondering just why the hell the Republicans made such a big fuss.

If the Economy continues to recover and the Stimulus continues to aid in that recovery, the line we’ll be able to use as things get better will be this: Our programs brought this economy back to life, while the Republicans could do nothing but scare people about socialism.

And if we pass healthcare, and that goes well, what’s your party’s response then?

There’s a reason Republicans have blocked the Senate: they don’t want the Democrats to get any credit. Your folks have said as much. Same thing on Healthcare. Obstruction is the name of the game. Republicans want what they see as their government back.

But it’s too soon, I think. I think your track record should be brought up every time we have a debate on healthcare, or the economy, or anything else, because your people have done absolutely nothing in the past year to offer real solutions. This isn’t about ideology. This about helping the country recover from your folks mistakes, the mistakes you wouldn’t own up to, and now won’t let anybody else solve.

Christine-
You ought to realize that such vague sentiments don’t measure up to what people your party are actually saying and doing- and most importantly, what the extremists in your party are allowed to get away with.

That’s part of your trouble, right there. Nobody sees the folks willing to help, the folks willing to cooperate with others. Instead, the most visible elements of your party are the most strident and radical. I mean, you could suppose that this is just the Liberal Media’s fault, but you only have to look at Glenn Beck’s show on fox to realize that your folks give the soapbox and the voice to many of the people whose antics and whose power to shape your folk’s opinions help shove the party radically right both in appearance and in its politics.

You folks could do with a vacation from these people. When are you folks going to find voices closer to the center, closer to what most Americans hew to? These people are helping to isolate the Republican party from moderates and liberals, and in the process, from the critical elements of a stable return to power.

Paul-
Bump in the night. Like those Death-Panelling Socialists who would have killed Stephen Hawkings if he were British?

Such rhetoric is what I’m fighting, mister. You seem to have a blindspot for the fact that I’ve shown just how bad the Republicans are getting, in terms of what their mainstream voices are saying and doing.

My purpose is to confront Republicans with the degree of nihilism and sometimes plain psychosis that has come to characterize their rhetoric. Maybe it’s a lost cause. But maybe I can convince some of you that this stuff just isn’t right in the head.

Which is not to say the people who believe it are crazy or stupid. We all get carried away with something, and don’t stop to examine what it is we’re trying to defend.

I’d say, stop defending it for a second or two, stop trying to rationalize it, and just look at it at face value, as some moderate might see it.

Understand just how unpopular the Republican Party is. Understand just how much it’s damaging its own future with its tactics. Understand that it’s putting off what will be a painful reckoning for it. Understand that it has utterly lost the nest generation, and that is the generation that will determine the Party’s fate.

Understand that Democrats have very little to do with why the Republicans are in such dire straits. You guys did this to yourself. Had you hewed to a more moderate policy path, had you healed instead of aggravated the partisan rifts, the Republican loss of power would have been a shorter term, gentler event, and the Country would have remained much closer to their ideal of center-rightwardness.

Instead, you folks played a game of brinksmanship, and lost.

I’d just as soon you guys believe what you believe, fight for what you think is right, but allow the rest of us to do the same, rather than keep fighting to prevent the policies of the Democratic Party from coming to pass. The country wants solutions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2009 12:50 PM
Comment #287650

Another article on Rpblcns in this column? I think Prof Newt or some former disciple has a list somewhere of all the little things that he wanted to do to get back at anything the Dmcrts ever did. I’m more concerned about the prime time speech on Wed than the school address. For fans of Glee, Fox says that it won’t be airing this one, so set your DVRs.

GHWB stood up against the Citizens’ Council, or whatever they were calling themselves when not in their robes, and ensured the enmity of some on the far right who would only follow first Goldwater, then Reagan, whom they perceived as being more in line with their views. W had to go even further to the right to get their support, making his father and Nixon look like liberals, following the historic pattern in the south of winning by appealing to fear and anxiety.

DRR mentions the more legitimate concerns about the POTUS. Another one is coming up with the census and reapportionment, which may be the most contentious one in our history.

I don’t think anyone should describe BHO’s father (link not intended to be viewed by sensitive individuals for fear of causing heads to explode, although I’m a little surprised that isn’t already happening in the checkout lines at the supermarket.) as an immigrant, since he only lived here for about 6 years. The presidency of 44 was made possible by the complete incompetence of his predecessor, and a severe economic downturn.

“where do we sign up to get on board?” Someone should make a list of the tax exempt foundations involved at some point, but you can’t blame the POTUS for all the problems occurring. He’ll have his scapegoats like the guy before him.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 7, 2009 1:22 PM
Comment #287654

Rhinehold-
Democrats didn’t like the way Bush came into office? Why should they? He showed contempt for the process, got the courts to cut a recount short. That’s not how you start the healing, kemosabe.

Obama won the election fair and square, winning the majority of states, about two-thirds of the electoral college, and the majority of the popular vote. Republicans just hated him going in for being a successful Democratic Candidate. He’s the stalk of grain sticking up. What bothers me isn’t so much that they go after him, but how, and with what.

If I were a Republican I would tell them, start yanking back these morons who are making these outlandish claims, because the longer an Obama Administration lasts, the more people will see that he’s hardly a radical.

I think it’s pretty despicable that they blame Obama for taking the measures he’s taken. He wasn’t trying to promulgate socialism, he was trying to save this country from a Depression. But hey, that doesn’t matter! Nothing matters except winning elections, it seems, to the Republicans.

I did not play the race card. The Republicans did, and have paid bitterly for it.

The Demographic change is a well known trend- Hispanics could be 25% of the country by 2050. What I am simply saying is that if the Republicans don’t stop their “scared white people” appeals, they won’t be riding that rising tide, and the generational transition, they’ll be drowning under it.

Or put in more neutral language: An increased proportion of Hispanic voters combined with reduced approval ratings among them for the Grand Old Party doesn’t bode well for the Republicans.

If that’s racism to you, then it’s political correctness run amok. Nobody has to vote for a person who’s insulting them and spreading fear about people they know, people who look like them, in order not to be called a racist.

As for Democrat’s Responsibility? Don’t BS me. I’m not some yahoo who just dropped off the back of a Watermelon truck. I know how the government works. I know how legislation works. I know which were the key weakpoints in the economy, and the 110th Congress didn’t have a thing to do with them.

It’s an error of logic to believe that just because people were around when something bad happen that it’s their fault. Post Hoc, Propter Ergo Hoc: After this, therefore because of this.

The enabling events were the product of legislation passed by Republican majorities in Congress. Events don’t just happen, they have a history, and you ignore that history to take a partisan potshot. I’m not so ignorant, though, that I’m going to buy that hogwash.

But your side doesn’t want that because they want the ability to threaten a filibuster and not have to do it either when they are back in the minority.

Bingo. Do me a favor. You see that entry up there? Re-read it. Part of my point, which you ignored so you could equate my party’s behavior with the Republicans, was that you have to be careful about what precedents you set up. The Republicans aren’t thinking long term. They’re thinking 90 days ahead at best, trying to take the newscycles. They’re not thinking about what happens if they provoke a harsh response with their power plays. And believe me, while most Democrats have more perspective than that, a lot of them are itching to do what you suggest.

More on this later. I’ve got some socialist propaganda to post.

;-)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2009 2:41 PM
Comment #287655

This is the speech that Republicans made a big freaking deal about:

The President:
Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country. Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

That’s it, ladies and gentlemen. That was your socialist indoctrination today. Does anybody else here get how this is supposed to be like Glenn Beck and the rest of the loonie company he keeps are supposed to get worked up over this?

What sort of logical convolutions do you have to go through to read such intent out of it? How many kids are going to go home and tell their parents, “Well, it was a bit long, but mostly he talked about personal responsibility and us setting goals for our future and not giving up.”

Sound and fury, like a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing. That’s what this controversy’s been all about.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2009 3:03 PM
Comment #287657

I don’t know Stephen, if you take every 13th letter and read it backwards it spells out a secret message to all his komrades or his freunde (I forget if he’s a communist or a fascist this week). Or could it be that he is secretly trying to get the country’s children to usher in the apocalypse. Or could it possibly be … A MESSAGE ABOUT WORKING HARD AND STAYING IN SCHOOL AND MAKING SOMETHING OF THEIR LIVES. I know some are trying to find some moral relativism with people who said bad things about George Bush but I have not heard any of these kooks called traitors as many did when the Dixie Chicks said that they were embarrassed to be from the same state as Bush. It’s one thing to complain about something real like a stupid war or tax breaks for billionaires, or a short sighted environmental policy, or deregulation or ignoring regulations and quite another to invent insane garbage about indoctrination into some socialist cult. Yikes.

Posted by: tcsned at September 7, 2009 4:10 PM
Comment #287663

Stephen

It is really nice to tell Republicans how unpopular they are, just as everyone enjoys being call racist by gergle.

I fall back on that old saying by Oscar Wilder that it is better to be talked about than not talked about.

If Republicans are so unpopular and out of touch, why do you care what they do or think?

You have on your hands a kind of logical conundrum. Actually there are a couple of questions that you might ask yourself.

1. If Republicans are so weak, unpopular and out of touch, how it is that you can blame them for stopping all the wonderful things that Democrats want to accomplish?

2. If Republicans are making themselves even more unpopular by opposing the demigod Obama and his massive majorities in the congress, why does it bother you?

It seems that you write for no reason at all. According to you, Republicans don’t matter now and the more they act as they do now the more unpopular they will become.

Democrats hold all the cards. They can do what they want.

The first stimulus (the Paulson stimulus) worked to help the economy and the Fed has been doing a good job with credit and liquidity. These are the thing government CAN and should do. The government is doing all it can. The Democrats want to do more. But there is not much more they can do that is good. What the Democrats are piling on is mostly harmful. It is like thinking that two aspirins will alleviate a headache so a whole bottle must be better.

You know what the REAL problem is for Democrats? they promised to fine tune the economy.This is not possible for any political party. They will fail. They want Republicans to share the blame, but Republicans are staying away from this train wreck.

Posted by: Christine at September 7, 2009 5:53 PM
Comment #287670

Christine-
If the Republicans were not so insistent on being a roadblock, I would be happy to just occasionally post here every once and a while, and just settle down to talk about the issues like everybody used to.

Unfortunately, despite two catastrophic losses in a row, the GOP still thinks people are just waiting to embrace it, so at a critical time in this country’s history, they’re forcing the government to essentially do nothing to change the status quo.

The status quo I fought so hard to break, to change for the better. My job, and the job of so many other Democrats is not over until we get some serious reform in Washington, and in the rest of America.

I’ve got a post in the queue that relates the news that the stimulus has added three points worth of extra growth, and likely prevented the economy from getting much, much worse. The memories of all too many Republicans is short, and they forget the dark times of just a year ago, the dark times they made worse by trying to scuttle efforts to stabilize the banks. For all their political cost, I’m glad we stepped in. For on thing, it looks like it might even turn this country a profit.

But for another thing, it isn’t worth making a political point if the world falls down around your ears. What I would like the Republicans to remember is that sometimes party dogma is wrong, and you have to do what’s necessary, not merely what you would like to do. If you don’t like it, don’t vote for it, and let the Democrats take the heat on what they do wrong. Don’t stand in the way.

It does the Republicans no good to stand clear of one train wreck just to walk in front of another, and that’s what they’ve done.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2009 7:09 PM
Comment #287674

>As a right center person myself, he is not someone I would vote for or support. That goes for all of you far left types. Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 7, 2009 08:37 AM

Craig,

The problem with a statement like this one is that NOTHING you have ever posted here would show you to be a CENTER anything. I’m pretty sure you think anything left of Rush or Sean is FAR LEFT, and too LIBERAL (Socialist, Nazi, Communist, etc., etc., ad nauseam) for your tastes.

Posted by: Marysdude at September 7, 2009 7:22 PM
Comment #287682

Christine,

I don’t believe I called anyone a racist, except actual racists.

It is my experience, that no ever likes to be called a racist, not even racists. Living in Texas. I have more than one friend who spouts racist crap from time to time. They hate it when I correct them, think I’m a soft hearted and headed liberal, and deny profusely being racist.

I’m not usually convinced after they’ve spouted some comment about “niggers” and then go on to rant about Obama destroying the country.

I accepted when I moved to Texas, that I wasn’t from here, and shouldn’t be overly critical of what I thought was racist stupidity. One friend is an intelligent average Joe, who is very honest and decent, but still holds to racist views. It is his reality. His daughter (now 22) has confided in me that she doesn’t at all share her parents racism.

Another friend is an ex-convict who claims to be a Christian and has turned his life around. He worked for me several years ago and has been a loyal friend. He’s well aware of my objections to his racist beliefs.

Neither man thinks he’s a racist. They react loudly when I touch that nerve, but find it hard to refute something they say in front of me. I doubt either of them would say the things they say privately to an audience they were trying to convince otherwise. Most intelligent people would not be that stupid. One must infer what one can from the whole of another’s positions.

Rhinehold,

As to your objection to my “ignorant race baiting bull.”

I simply came across this photo and it struck me as to the similarity of the message to the tea parties signs. I don’t recall making any other comment about it.


Posted by: gergle at September 7, 2009 8:37 PM
Comment #287683

Perhaps I should add the man’s daughter who confided in me, I have known since her birth.

Posted by: gergle at September 7, 2009 8:54 PM
Comment #287687

gergle

I guess you can tell a racist and look into people’s inner souls. Tell me, is Van Jones a racist? Some of his statement sure are.

I suppose you might live around some racists. As I said, I have not heard that n-word for many years.

Racial and ethnic feelings are spread throughout the population. I guess we all feel them sometimes. Some people might even vote based on race. Not many blacks voted against Obama, for example. Race was probably involved.

the only real test of racism is whether or not behavior is changed, if the decision would be different if the race, and nothing else, was different.

It is easy to find racism where none exists if you assume it and look for it. Let’s look at some numbers. In January only 20% of Americans strongly disapproved of Obama. Even if all these people were racists, it leaves 80% not. Today 39% disapprove strongly and 50% disapprove in general. Did all these people only discover his race in the last months? Maybe racism just is not the explanation.

Maybe your ex-con co-worker is not representative of most Americans. Maybe you are wrong about him, as you were wrong about Republicans. Maybe you should expand your horizons.

Posted by: Christine at September 7, 2009 9:20 PM
Comment #287692

Christine,

Being that you do not live in a world that uses the word nigger, and do not know my friends, I doubt you have much concept of what exists beyond your horizons. Frankly, it sounds as though you live in a rarified atmostphere just from that single observation. I’ve been around much of the US and haven’t yet found such an enclave.

As I stated, the base of the Republican party resides here in Texas and the west.

I know these people and the Republicans here. You apparently do not.

I certainly don’t paint all Republicans with the same brush. I think the elite use this in a subtle way to rally the ignorant mobs. I think the Republican party began to change with Reagan.

I would have voted for Nixon were I old enough and did vote for Ford. (Both before I moved to Texas.)

Van Jones sounds more like a conspiracy nut than racist to me, but then the Green jobs guy isn’t really that significant a post is it? I really haven’t paid much attention to it. He may well be a racist. Perhaps that’s why he’s out.

Considering I count Asians, Africans, and Europeans along with South and Central Americans among acquaintances and friends, as well as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists and Hindus, I think my horizons are fine. That’s the one oddity about Houston. It is a truly diverse culture in the midst of a “Cow Town” (to quote Carly Simon).

Posted by: gergle at September 7, 2009 10:04 PM
Comment #287694

“don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.” Or in front of your computer I would think. A seven page speech for a captive audience.

“The original version from the Department of Education suggested that students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” The updated version asks students to “write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.”

from www.wgntv.com

Posted by: ohrealy at September 7, 2009 10:11 PM
Comment #287695

gergle

Maybe you just attract a certain sort of people.

I have also noticed that people often find what they expect. If someone used the n-word around me, I would let them know it was unacceptable and I would never hear it again. I suppose people know that about me.

Maybe you might try to be a little less tolerant in this particular case. And did you ever stop to consider maybe they are just messing with you? They go back to their trailers or country clubs, respectively and laugh over their Shiner Bock about how they got you?

Another question. You evidently have this United Nations of friends down there in Houston (who knew?). Do your black friends ever mix with your white friends,or do you segregate them? And if they do mix how does that n-word go down among them?

Posted by: Christine at September 7, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #287698

Christine,

Well, yes, I’m white, used to have short hair, and live in Texas. I grew my hair shoulder length, mostly because I’m old and don’t give a crap what anybody thinks, but also to indicate perhaps I’m not a redneck.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about intolerance. I let people be what and who they are. Perhaps people do laugh at me. Perhaps they are scared of you, but I wouldn’t say that. Do we really need to get into this kind of speculation? It might violate some of the rules, here, so I’d rather not speculate.

I work in engineering which attracts a diverse group of people. It seems lots of foreigners are more competent at mathematics than Americans, but I also think it has a lot to do with cheaper labor through H1 Visas. Houston does have large foreign born populations, I suppose it may be the port, and the phenomenal growth of this city for the last 70 years.

I don’t tend to throw dinner parties, but, yes many different cultures have intermixed, and most of my friends are intelligent enough not to be rude. Perhaps, I’m just a good listener, and people open up to me, in private.

Posted by: gergle at September 7, 2009 10:34 PM
Comment #287699

I should add I sometimes do wear a Cowboy hat and boots…the real pointy ones. I have not yet worn a big belt buckle, though.

I once wore these clothes, with short hair, to Chicago and went to three Grateful Dead concerts in the area, with a long time friend (who does like to pull my chain with racist rants and emails). I got very interesting stares and comments.

Posted by: gergle at September 7, 2009 10:40 PM
Comment #287705

gergle

Seriously.There are things that are not acceptable and using the n-word is among them. Maybe people are afraid of me when it comes to that. I would be glad of that. It is sort of your duty to bring about positive change.

I recall a story about a liberal who said that if his car broke down on a lonely road, he hoped the next person who passed would be a conservative. Why?

A liberal would drive past, complaining about the bad road, poor safety & dangerous cars and feeling guilty about not stopping. The conservative wouldn’t care about those things, but he would stop and help.

Posted by: Christine at September 7, 2009 11:18 PM
Comment #287706


Craig, you claim this is a center right nation. This seems to imply that you think conservatives are a significant majority. I wonder if this majority is perdominately fiscal or social conservatives.

Abortion is a bellweather issue for social conservatives. The last stistics I saw said that 51% of the people believe that a woman should have the right to choose. That seems to suggest that there isn’t a large socially conservative majority.

Perhaps a majority of Americans are fiscal conservatives. How many trillions of dollars of personal debt do they owe? I don’t think we can claim that Americans are fiscally conservative and rightly so. Our economy is geared to discourage fiscal conservatism and promote unnessary consumption.

Perhaps center right means that a majority are conservative in that they fear change. In this I would say that you are right. Better to accept a bad situation than risk change which can be bad or good. Republicans are very good at propagandizing to encourage the fear when they disagree with the change and very good at ramming change down our throats when they want to do so.

Since both major political parties are in fact minority parties, I think a majority of Americans don’t like conservatives because of policy and they don’t like liberals because of ineffectiveness.

Posted by: jlw at September 7, 2009 11:22 PM
Comment #287709

Again, Christine,

In public, that is true nationwide. In private, that simply isn’t true.

I’m 51, and have been from Boston to LA. It exists and the word is used. It is less prevalent than 40 years ago, to be sure.

One of my biggest gripes about some of the posters here is their belief that racism is dead. All I can say, is wake up and get out a bit, and talk to middle Americans. Let them speak their mind without broadcasting your particular political bent. You’ll learn a lot.

You may feel it is my duty to confront any and all racism. I don’t. I don’t broadcast my politics to those that I don’t know. I listen more than I talk. Perhaps that is why I rant here.

I am working on Texas A&M campus currently. This is conservative, white, Texas, Republican central. My long hair is odd enough. My Cowboy hat and boots help. There is Willie Nelson, after all.

This liberal stops and helps on occasion, but I do gripe about roads, and I even used to work for the department of highways. I would even stop to help you. You could tell me your politics and I wouldn’t make you feel uneasy about them, I would likely agree where I could, since I don’t know you. I’ll bet you’ve even complained about a pothole before.

Posted by: gergle at September 8, 2009 12:40 AM
Comment #287711


On Fox NotNews, former Republican Sen. Santorum said that Obama had time to change the speech to the kids after the controversy arose. I expect the right wing pundits will grab that and run with it.

Posted by: jlw at September 8, 2009 1:33 AM
Comment #287718

jlw-
I would ask them, where’s the original? What solitary piece of evidence leads you to believe that Obama isn’t giving the original?

If all they can say is that, I would reply that for all we know, Obama was going to speak about space aliens and new age crystals, and Bush, when in office, was going to make every speech about throwing balls for his pet dog, before his aides caught him.

Arguments from ignorance are fallacies of logic, and their absurdity should be pointed out.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 8, 2009 8:56 AM
Comment #287720

Rick Santorum’s name somehow makes me think of the word Sanitorium. ‘Nuff said.

Posted by: gergle at September 8, 2009 10:21 AM
Comment #287723

Arne Duncan on changes in the study guides sent out to the schools to accompany the 18 minute speech which were not worded “quite correctly” and “clarified”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMEvyAEXuJM

Personally, I think Arne Duncan should give the speech and tell the students that if they don’t work harder, he wants to put them in orphanages. Or, Favreau should inject a little comedy, or someone should mess with the text on the telepromter, or just have Obamagirl sing a shorter version for those who also have a crush on Obama.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 8, 2009 11:47 AM
Comment #287724

I personally don’t care much about the speech, but again enjoy the liberal doublestandards…

But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush’s speech — they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.

Unlike the Obama speech, in 1991 most of the controversy came after, not before, the president’s school appearance. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president’s political benefit. “The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props,” the Post reported.

With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. “The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students,” said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. “And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.’”

Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush’s appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. “The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC,” Ford began. “As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event.”

Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly. “The speech itself and the use of the department’s funds to support it, including the cost of the production contract, appear to be legal,” the GAO wrote in a letter to Chairman Ford. “The speech also does not appear to have violated the restrictions on the use of appropriations for publicity and propaganda.”

That didn’t stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it “cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers’ money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. — while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 8, 2009 12:54 PM
Comment #287736

Rhinehold-
Liberal double standards, eh?

First, I never brought up Bush’s speech to berate it myself. Nor did any other Liberal here.

Second, the objections don’t compare. Nobody was accusing Bush of trying to indoctrinate the children with a speech into the New World Order, or the illuminati, or make them slaves to the Bilderbergers.

The objection was a fairly bureaucratic one about using government resources to back political campaigns.

This is almost twenty years old, Rhinehold. Many of the bloggers involved weren’t even far out of high school or grade school at that time. We’re largely referencing Bush’s speech to point out the Republican Party’s hypocrisy.

We’re not applying a double standard here, we’re trying to get Republicans to stick to one and only one.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 8, 2009 6:21 PM
Comment #287746

gergle

It is just a very liberal thing to be concerned about the “big” things where they can do little or nothing while ignoring the things were they really have direct influence.

I honestly believe that many people support trendy social causes because they feel guilty for their lack of active and helpful behavior to those nearby.

It is easier to demand something be done by others than to do something about it yourself.

Posted by: Christine at September 8, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #287747

All I’m saying when there is no substance to an attack, one has to look beyond the phony basis to a more serious motive.

Politics is certainly one. When your base is composed of racists, liars, and nut case religious fanatics; When you proffer Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber as heroes to your party faithful, when you grovel to a Talk Radio host that broadcast clearly racist blather; When you create hysteria over Death Panels and indoctrination over a speech about getting an education; Like Jeff Foxworthy says: You might be what people are calling you.

Posted by: gergle at September 8, 2009 9:01 PM
Comment #287751

Christine,

Only a right wing hypocrite, with utter gall, could even begin to fathom to understand someone whom they don’t know, understand that person’s lifelong relationships, and then make suggestions to modify their behavior on a personal level.

For all the big government blather it is exactly this kind of bigotry and egotism that leads to a political position that is completely bankrupt of a moral compass. Onward Christian soldiers. Onward Newt. Onward Ralph Reed. Onward Tom Delay. Onward Bush and Abrahmoff cohorts. Terry Shiavo anyone? Who were these guys manipulating for fun and profit?

If you don’t know the roots of these dumb arguments and the character of idiots that claim the majority of your party base these days, don’t blame me. Continue to stick your head in the sand.

If one’s party’s racist following bothers one, I suggest one should do something about it, rather than trying to analyze a motive to those that point it out to you. Supporting this completely crazy talk of Santorum or Beck, or any of the nonsense about Obama’s indoctrination is bat-shit crazy, at best, or simple racist style propaganda, at worst.

Even the best Rhinehold could come up with is some legitimate questions regarding several court decisions in Florida, misbehavior by the Secretary of State, and mysterious sixties style shenanigans with voter lists. He mistakenly tries to compare those issues with this loony tune stuff.

These were moot after the Supreme Courts odd decision to get involved. At that point, those clinging to these arguments were no longer arguing a legitimate point.

Rhinehold made a legitimate argument once about the birth certificate and the voting public’s standing in court, but even he no longer chases that conspiracy quackery.

One of us is pretending something doesn’t exist, that those is the real world know does. Talk about elitism.

I’m not a Democrat, but only a stroke could make me even consider backing the Republican drivel being offered up. I think you are in for a nasty surprise with regards to health care reform.

Posted by: gergle at September 8, 2009 11:17 PM
Comment #287753

gergle

It is a legitimate disagreement. I believe that I have the duty to do certain things which include various charity, taking care of others and standing up for what I think is right. It doesn’t mean I fight everybody, but if someone says or does something I consider odious, I cannot just ignore it.

You complain that I tolerate people who you say are racist but I don’t know and have no contact with. They are my “associates” only because they agree with me on issues such as smaller government or taxes. Yet you include me in the “you folks definition.” If I met these people, unlike you, I would not tolerate their behavior.

On the other hand, you seem to tolerate racists in your very presence, “on a personal level”. It is not an abstract for you and yet you seem proud to do nothing and vaguely angry that anybody else suggests you do something else.

Lots of things in life are not matters of principle. Some things are. I don’t behave in a racist way and I don’t tolerate those who do. Yes, I want them to alter their behavior or else I will alter mine by not associating with them. We both make our choices. That is just the way it is. I think it is important enough to care about those things. I am sorry, and surprised, that we disagree about this fundamental principle.

I really cannot understand how you can call NOT tolerating racist behavior bigotry. Is that what liberals really think? It is okay on a “personal level”. Please tell me that my interpretation is wrong. I would rather be wrong than right about this interpretation. I suggest you dug yourself into a hole on this one. I would be glad to help you out, but first you have to stop digging.

Posted by: Christine at September 8, 2009 11:52 PM
Comment #287755

Christine,

I am not angry. I just find your kvetching of my personal life a violation of the rules. It doesn’t really bother me, so much, it just demonstrates the weakness of your argument that you can only attack me personally.

On the other hand, you seem to tolerate racists in your very presence, “on a personal level”. It is not an abstract for you and yet you seem proud to do nothing and vaguely angry that anybody else suggests you do something else.

On what basis do you say that I do nothing? That I haven’t banished them from my life? My Grandparents were tobacco farmers from eastern Kentucky. Their views were likely racist, though I don’t really recall their use of the word nigger. Plenty of other relatives used the word. My father used the phrase nigger rich, but wasn’t racist in most ways. He differentiated between being a nigger and race. It was an insensitive argument, in my opinion, and didn’t wash with me. Are you suggesting I should have banished them from my life? That is beyond stupid blather, in my opinion, and highly offensive.

Fix your own life, not mine. I tolerate all kinds of stupidity in people in my life. These same people you want me to banish are, BTW, usually Republican, including my father, though he claimed to be independant. I don’t let them run my life, however. They know my positions.

Should my friends daughter turn her parents in for being racists?

What I complain about is that people that support political groups that are actively supporting racism. Pretending that guys like Tom Delay and Ralph Reed aren’t aware of who their political targets are, or that political calculus has changed since their influence on the party, is more than naive. It’s willful ignorance.

As to your claim of not associating with anyone who offends you, well, I’m guessing you either have a very small circle of associates, or know none of them very well.

While you play Joan of Arc, I’ll continue to let people, even you, have a different opinion than mine without attacking them personally. However, I do feel free to attack the groups they aver as free from racist posturing, when it clearly resonates among racists.

Posted by: gergle at September 9, 2009 12:28 AM
Comment #287756

Just to give you a little more confusion. I am also an atheist, yet, I sometimes went to church with the family whose daughter I am close to. Go figure. I should have stood up and told them what fools they were to believe in God, right?

Posted by: gergle at September 9, 2009 12:40 AM
Comment #287758


Christine, these right wing pundits are verbal terrorists. It could hardly be worse to have Jihadists ranting on our airways.

They are as big a threat to Republicans and the nation as they are Democrats. For them, a Republican turncoat is as bad if not worse than a liberal.

Even if your politicians disagree with their tactics, Im sure many of them do, they dare not speak out for fear of becoming targets themselves. That is basically a form of blackmail.

The longer your party is willing to tollerate this behavior the more emboldend they become and the more powerful they become within the party.

Someday, you may find that your small government presidential candidate is in reality a real humdinger of a nationalists who will, if elected, proclaim a new age of isolationism and a socially conservative new awakening.

It will be The Patrick J. Buchanan Reeducation Center for liberals and weak Republicans. They will probably just shoot progressives, no sense in trying to reeducate us.

Posted by: jlw at September 9, 2009 2:18 AM
Comment #287761

Christine-
Watch your inferences here. You’re essentially impugning many people’s motives for wanting government to intervene. It’s a standard conservative argument, and I think it’s wrong.

I think many folk’s idea is they don’t want to do this in a random way. They want something done directly, with the force of the government behind it. Rather than hope for a best case scenario, Liberals, over the past three-quarters of a century, have wanted to actively get something done about it.

As much as Republicans complain about aid to the poor, poverty in this country has been halved, even among Black communities. As much as they complain about medicare and social security, their voters, even their wingnuts, rely on it and protect it.

Quit trying to make this about the Republican’s superior morality. It’s a matter of preference, and there is room for both sides to improve people’s lives.

I don’t critique what I do in my posts because I think Republicans are just teh evil. I rebuke them because they can do better, and they have gotten stuck in an escalating loop of partisan rivalry, which I think blinds them to the extent they’ve lost touch and lost reputation with those outside the party, those who haven’t bought into their party media’s self-serving story.

These are people quite capable of rational thought. And their failing is not unique to their party- Democrats can and have made many of the same mistakes. The key here is the Democrats have allowed themselves to learn from the mistakes, allowed themselves to be he held accountable. Republicans have not. Republicans have gotten so turbocharged on their party’s propaganda about how scary Democrats are, that they think it’s an existential battle to keep the party from admit its defeat, it’s self-removal from the mainstream, and from a broader perspective of their actions.

The Republicans need to relax, and rehabilitate themselves, Quit trying to insist on being taken off the bench after blowing several important plays in a row.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 9, 2009 8:52 AM
Comment #287766
Christine, these right wing pundits are verbal terrorists

Wow.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 9, 2009 10:22 AM
Comment #287805

Gergle

I didn’t mean to attack you personally and apologize if you feel I did. I find a general liberal/conservative split on this issue and we both think we are right. Conservatives think they need to take the initiative in their own affairs to solve problems around them. They look down on those who do not. Liberals want a more collective response.

There is that old joke about conservatives – What does a conservative do when his car breaks down? Punch line: “He fixes it.”

I just don’t understand how you can criticize “conservatives” for having some people in their movement who behave in ways we both deplore, while you tolerate similar behavior in people around you.

The weakness of conservatives, IMO, is that our bias toward action makes us sometimes solve problems at too low a level and preempt bigger picture solutions.

The weakness of liberals is that they have a bias for analysis. They often cannot see anything but the big picture and don’t see or exercise their own role in solutions.

Conservatives may be too dismissive of sweeping changes; liberals are too quick to embrace them.

Personally, I am just pragmatic. I like things that work. As a matter of fact, I also like people who work. I am not much interested in why things don’t work except as a step either in figuring how to make them work or abandoning the attempt as impossible or not worth the effort. I judge things by what they do, not what people claim they are. This annoys people who are trying to build an image supported by words but not actions.

Jlw & Stephen

Like Bill Clinton, I think the era of big government was over in the 1990s. Before you attack the straw man, however, let me hasten to add that I believe in government very strongly. There are thing only government can or should do.

But government is an organization. It has to be run by fallible people and it has to be run with particular rules and bureaucracies. There are many situations where well laid out procedures and bureaucratic execution are not appropriate. As our society has become more complex, government has increasingly been unable to keep up with innovations.

As a manager, I believe in setting general goals and letting my employees figure out the best ways to achieve them. I also understand that the smartest people probably are OUTSIDE my organization. So I try to figure out ways to take advantage of their expertise. I engage them and that means giving up some control in order to achieve superior results. Government is in a similar position to a leader in any organization.

There are legitimate reasons to expand government. But whenever you ask government to solve a problem, ask WHO will do it and HOW they will carry it out and how will they and you know they have succeeded. Just saying that it will be done by the government is not a smart answer. Think it through.

Government does an outstanding job of addressing problems when they are well defined and not controversial. That is because of the nature of government organization. It is a tool to accomplish specific tasks. Somebody else must define what those tasks are and how to handle them. This is the hard part. Government execution CANNOT allow very much judgment on the part of its bureaucrats. That would be illegal. Innovation is another word for NOT following procedures and laws. It must work from detailed rules and procedures. Surely you can see that this has both strengths and weaknesses.

I probably love GOOD government as much as anyone as and more than most. It is a precious commodity that must be deployed carefully. Just because we have a problem doesn’t mean that more rules, regulations and bureaucracy (i.e. government) is the solution.

Do you recall the old story about when the mice got together and decided that if the cat had a bell around its neck they would be a lot safer? They debated the type of bell and talked about the merits of belling the cat. But the discussion floundered on the question of “who could bell the cat?”

Please just think beyond “the government” or “we” or “honest politicians” (if you can find any). The guy deciding your fate will be John Smith, GS 11, with a degree in English literature from the good school. He is a fine, experienced, intelligent and honest man, but he may not understand an awful lot about the innovation you are planning with your new augmented reality program. He will follow procedures and say no to your request, because reality programs are classified as entertainment and you are telling him yours if software.

Posted by: Christine at September 9, 2009 8:37 PM
Comment #287813

Christine,

Facts are facts. You did attack me personally. I’m not particularly offended, it simply shows the lack of argument you have, and your continued denial of reality.

Intentionally or not, you clearly miss my entire point is that it has nothing to do with action or analysis. It has nothing to do with the way we each conduct our personal relationships or lives. It’s exactly this kind of insular distance that you place around your own thinking that I am attacking. I have my doubts whether you actually repair your car. My bet is that you pay someone to fix your car. I do that,too, mostly, these days, but I actually have fixed my own car. So your attempt to color me as someone who does not take action, actually makes me laugh.

Your denial of reality is the problem that continues. It is my hope to wake you up with plain spoken words. It is up to you to take actions and open both your eyes and ears to the real plight of people around you. Sometimes when we achieve a level of comfort, we become disconnected from the struggle of those that aren’t as fortunate as us. I have seen people turn there nose up at people whom they consider beneath themselves, and as a means to justify this behavior, they cite their own hard work, and struggles, frequently using the word “bootstraps”. The thing they often miss is that their struggle isn’t particularly unique, their fortune, luck and circumstance happens to make them actually in the minority, or above average in their circumstance.

I have no problem in acknowledging the virtue in persistence, and hard work. The problem is that many people work hard and fail to achieve the same result as others. It more than irks me a little when I hear self serving grandiosity used as an excuse to despise people less fortunate.

Racism exists broadly in this country. I do believe we have broken the institutional forms of it, I think it has improved greatly in the last 40 years. The struggle is nowhere near over.

Posted by: gergle at September 9, 2009 9:42 PM
Comment #287830

Gergle

You are right that I don’t fix my car, except very simple things. The point of the joke is that the conservative is just practical and boring. The start of the joke implies a twists, such as how many … does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Just stop digging.

I indeed do not approve of saying one thing for others and doing something different in private. I don’t know if that describes you, since as you point out I only know what you have told me about yourself.

But you also know nothing much about me. I try to live by my values and apply the same standards to myself as I would to others. I don’t understand how that offends you. Evidently because I use my own resources to help people and I don’t support government flagrantly giving away somebody else’s money, you think that is wrong.

I will tell you a few things that are true.

- you cannot be generous with somebody else’s money.

- If you cannot take care of yourself, you cannot help others.

- What you do reveals what you really think

- Good intentions w/o good execution isn’t worth a bucket or warm spit.

Finally - If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he sits on the lake all day, drinks beer and doesn’t bother you anymore … and sometimes produces enough fish to give you some, as he should.

Posted by: Christine at September 9, 2009 11:30 PM
Comment #287834

Christine,

That first paragraph almost made sense..almost.


The part that made me laugh is that you apparently don’t even get that your story told on you. You think you fix your own car, when you don’t.

You haven’t a clue as to how to fix your car, most likely. It isn’t that you couldn’t, you just never learned. Few women do. Actually, few men do.

As someone who believes strongly in being grounded in reality, the non sequiters that reveal a dissociation from reality are obvious to me.

Christine, I don’t know you and believe you are both intelligent and educated, and my guess is, you are also a decent person. It is pointless to get into these personal back and forths. It isn’t about character, being a liberal or conservative. If you believe it is, then you truly are deluded.

As much as you apparently detest my association with my relatives and long time friends, and refusal to shun them for having beliefs different than mine, it has little to do with the non reality you argued about the absence of racism, and the obvious use of racist innuendo by the Republican party.

Bootstraps usually only help those who are already ahead of the game, because they have boots. Your arguments were just fishy.:)

Posted by: gergle at September 10, 2009 1:42 AM
Comment #287835

There are lots of people who think they are highly effective.

I work in engineering. Some managers in engineering are business school types who think they make effective managers. The problem is they know how to read a P and L sheet, but they don’t know the first basic principle in engineering.

They are disconnected from the roots of the business, and usually are actually quite incompetent, in terms of engineering. They can, perhaps effectively, control budgets of large firms, but in smaller firms they usually just irritate employees, clients, and interfere with effective engineering. They never quite get that they aren’t nearly as effective as they think they are.

One of my favorite lines in a movie, was from Pretty Woman, where Julia Roberts guesses that
Richard Gere is a lawyer and responds to why she thought that with, “You have that sharp, useless look about you”.

I recall a well paid boss in a meeting once discussing health care savings accounts in a policy our company had. He said he always put $2000 dollars in it, because he would usually spend it anyway, and didn’t understand why more employees didn’t. It was because they weren’t paid as highly as he was.

If I were to claim I understood black culture, I would look like a fool. I don’t live in the “hood”, and don’t have close, life long black black friends. I grew up in white, middle class suburban Ohio.

There’s nothing wrong with success, or being with people we like, love or care about, we all seek that, but sometimes we become disconnected from those that we don’t associate with. Recognizing that everyone isn’t exactly like we are, yet aren’t any less valid or valued is important in life.

Posted by: gergle at September 10, 2009 2:10 AM
Comment #287979

Here we had the President addressing students. Oh my goodness! What an atrocity!
He was advocating ideas relating to the concept of sharing knowledge. On closer examination he was saying: From the haves to the have nots. To all of you have nots, do what you can to accept the value the haves are offering you. How awful! Imagine that! Advanced education being put into the realm of radical leftist philosophy. No wonder the Republicans hate education!

Posted by: Stephen HInes at September 12, 2009 3:15 PM
Comment #288006

Christine-

There is that old joke about conservatives – What does a conservative do when his car breaks down? Punch line: “He fixes it.”

That is a joke. You think Democrats and Liberals don’t do things themselves? My Parents are liberal as the day is long, and they put in floors and walls and fences themselves.

I have no doubt that Republicans and conservatives exist as well who couldn’t find the working end of a crescent wrench if they tried. And that’s okay. Nobody can be good at everything, especially not in a society so complex and specialized in its division of labor.

The Problem with the current Republican Party philosophy is that they’re trying to appeal to principles that are behind the time- not merely traditions or morals that don’t date, but philosophies of dealing with the economy, the environment, and society that the changes in our world and our technology have made obsolete.

When Adam Smith wrote about the invisible hand of the market, he did not imagine a world like ours. He knew a world where most people were still farmers, where industry was at its infancy, where communication took place at the speed of transportation.

The American corporation that we know today was several decades in the future for Adam Smith.

I think the emphasis on the size of government is a convenient way to scare people out of a discussion of the function of government.

You discuss bureaucracy in the abstract. I think that’s a mistake. First we must realize that if we simply let big business reign, the bureaucracy doesn’t necessarily go away. The big businesses themselves get bureaucratic.

The reason is that once you get past a certain population of people, say 150, running things purely on personal relationships becomes a problem. Most cities and towns in this country have much greater population than 150, easily.

The question is, what is the efficiency of that bureaucracy. In my opinion, the best bureaucracy is that which does just enough more than than the least it can do to be safe.

Let me explain that: in some cases, people self organize, order emerges naturally. Large parts of the market behave in this way. Here, the most government should do is tweaks and little incentives. Some natural order, though, is undesirable. That’s why I said, in this thread or another, that sometimes the invisible hand behind the markets is not God’s.

It’s impossible to remove every possibility of corruption, deception, and cheating from the market, but though the job is complex, and always unfinished, we have to try, because the price for not doing so… well, we’re paying it right now. Productivity suffers. Prosperity suffers. People suffer. Great big bubbles of fictional wealth are created, benefiting mostly the elites who we’ve allowed to control great chunks of our economy. While people can enjoy temporary prosperity because of these bubbles (this is often the argument for not messing with these things) the price of todays wealth is tomorrow, and sometimes even today’s poverty.

We need government to be more powerful than business, in the long run, because businesses, by necessity, look out for their own interests. Even Adam Smith observed that people don’t do productive things like butcher meat or cut down trees or shape metal at a smithy out of sheer benevolence. They do so because they work for their own interests. The question becomes whether their interests are always in the best interests of the country.

Some use a market argument to justify the legitimization of drugs. For my part, I believe that medical considerations alone are enough to make that the wrong thing to do.

I believe we can’t really act like decent human beings, or as a responsible society until we stop seeing everything through a lens of economics. People are not merely economic beings.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 13, 2009 9:58 AM
Comment #380569

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